Tell the truth — or at least don’t lie

I was a lying little brat. Not on purpose, I think.

How the heck should I know, considering it was 55 years ago and memory is a slippery thing? My recollection of those years is covered all in confusion over what I dreamed and what was truth, and some of the dreams are more real than the truth.

I remember vividly, for instance, walking down grandmother’s garden path, down past the flowers, and the onions, and the little patches of grass where we sun-bleached laundry, and past the place where we grew potatoes, and suddenly there being a gate there, a gate that, when opened, led down this other garden path and to my uncle’s home in Brazil. I know that was a dream. (Or at least I hope so, otherwise I’m grossly deceived about the nature of the world and have spent a lot of money and time I didn’t need to spend on transatlantic travel. And I’m not sure which one annoys me most.)

But I think I knew I was telling lies most of the time, because I recognize the “feel” of it, the impulse.

You see, some of us were born to fictionate. (Okay, technically it should be fictionalize, but fictionate feels closer to the meaning.)

I couldn’t read (or at three have a book read to me) without elaborating on the end, or rewriting it in my head if I didn’t like it. (And btw I hated “and they lived happily ever after” not so much because even at three I knew no one was happy all the time, but because frankly it didn’t let me mess with those characters in my mind after the story was done.)

But also, say I went to the store, and on the way back I found a little piece of glass amid the cobblestones. I HAD to make up a story about how it was a great big stolen diamond and how I’d fought off the robbers, and….

I didn’t make up lies out of dishonesty and convenience. I never accused someone of something when it wasn’t true, or to make myself look better. I just wanted life to be more interesting, and kept “editing” it in my head.

And at some point (I think I was five and I think it was over the incident of the bubblegum pig) my dad had a “come to Jesus” talk with me. (Though this being dad, it did not involve religion, not because he wasn’t a believer but because by then he had gleaned that I was much like him, which means that appeals to should and could don’t work as well as appeals to what I’ll call “civic virtue”, i.e. showing me the results of my behavior on the ability to live with others and be respected by others. (Dad is a Roman of the Republic. It’s not at all his fault that he was born millennia late.)

If it was over the bubblegum pig (and it makes sense it would be, because I can see how adults would have seen what I said) it went like this: I was five or six, and I was allowed limited outings on my own recognizance, usually to buy peanuts in shell across the street, or to take someone a message, or to visit a little school friend.

I don’t know what mission I was on at the time (the all-compelling reasons of childhood are a closed book to me, and most adults) but I remember walking out and coming face to snout with a giant pink pig.

Pigs were not rare in the village, which lived much off salted and smoked cod in winter, or anytime fish were scarce. And yeah, they often ended up on the street, not because this was normal (we did have traffic. Not heavy. I mean kids played soccer in the street, but often enough that kids knew to listen for the sound of a motor and call “There’s one coming” and scurry to the edges of the street. Since animals don’t do that), owners at least tried to keep them inside and within bounds. But people kept pigs on the edge of remote fields far from their houses. (The North of Portugal is like a quilt made up of things people inherited from here and there. From the air, instead of the vast fields of my beloved Western US, you see this patchwork of tiny squares. Okay, a lot more houses than you’d expect, and on landing, startling views of some backyards that you swear have Roman ruins. But also a lot of tiny, tiny lots, each cultivated in a different thing. This is because by law the inheritance gets divided among all the children, and cut up in odd ways. Heck, that’s a subject for another post but sometimes you don’t even inherit a whole lot. My family had vineyard rights in properties we didn’t own, or that had passed out of the family long ago. So grape harvest — an all hands affair for which I was drafted by the time I was five, and which justified the kids in school taking two days off, even in high school and college — we went all over the village, collecting grapes from sometimes a single grapevine on someone’s property.)

Anyway, pigs were kept far away from people’s houses, sometimes, and that meant that they escaped (pigs are smart) and no one figured it out, until they were caught (or run over) on the village street.

But most pigs in the village were little. Well, not little-little, but not the side of industrial-farm-American-pigs. They might have been a couple hundred pounds, maybe. And they were brown or grey-black (sometimes spotted.)

Because even smallish pigs can attack a small child, the procedure was to retreat home or behind a gate fast, and then tell an adult.

Well, this pig scared the living daylights out of me, because it was at least twice (might have been more) the size I expected, and it was bright pink. And it made for me.

I barely made it in the gate where I told the first adult what had happened, including the detail that it was pink, like bubblegum.

The adults laughed and promptly ignored me.

Until my cousin, who is almost 14 years older than I and lived with us, went out the door and met the bubblegum pig.

At which point due alarm was given, etc. I don’t remember, but I’m going to assume someone had imported piglets or a stud or something. I know at the time seeds from abroad were a big thing and — heaven help me — it’s not even difficult to imagine someone’s relative driving back from France or Germany with a littler of piglets in a wicker carrier. (Until the late eighties it was common for Portuguese immigrants to arrive in JFK carrying a gallon jug of local wine in one hand and a live chicken in a basked in the other. Either gifts to immigrant relatives or what they viewed as essential for starting their new life here.)

Which brings me to the speech dad gave me which went something like this: “It’s not that what you said was impossible, but that we’re used to you telling lies. And this story sounded so fantastic, we assume it was just another of your lies.”
“When you lie habitually, people are not going to believe you even when you’re truthful. Even if your lies are inoffensive and fun. And then someone else could be endangered because you couldn’t be trusted by those around you.”
“This is why it’s important to always tell the truth, or as close to the truth as you can get. Because otherwise people won’t believe you. And after a while you won’t know what the truth is, yourself, which is the worst thing of all, because then all your decisions will be tainted.”

It impressed me greatly. Almost everything dad said impressed me greatly, partly because he rarely went out of his way to either chastise me or punish me, and never did it unless it was really, really important.

So, after that I tried. For a while, if I felt a need to make up a really fanciful story (and sometimes I did, all the way through my teens) I first made up the story, and then I told people I lied. Immediately after. And told them what the truth was. I was fortunate in having a couple of friends who found this hilarious, particularly the one who also encouraged my writing.

And yes, I eventually channeled that need for excitement into my writing.

And honestly, after the concussion and the thyroid issues, I’m d*mn glad I learned to tell the truth (in fact, when lying is needed (usually in limited amounts and to protect others) I’m extremely uncomfortable doing it, and as some of you know, my face is glass-fronted, revealing all my thoughts and feelings.) because these days my memory is so bad I could never keep the lies straight.

But also because — as dad put it — you lie enough, you forget what the truth is.

At some point — in my teens — I decided I’d become a journalist. Understand, I like writing. All sorts of writing. The highlight of my days is when I came into school and was told I’d have to write a paper. And in Portugal fiction didn’t pay.

I’m glad I gave up the idea in my late teens, partly because I understood the level of corruption that had undermined the profession (having interned in a newspaper.) I’m glad because it’s gotten worse since then.

I’m not going to make this political, but the media has not only started making up lies out of whole cloth, but they now piously believe them and try to reveal what they’re sure is the real truth, even though it’s very well disguised. Or, you know, it’s a blatant lie.

It all has to do with starting to believe the duty of the media is to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” and other such nonsense. In fact, the duty of the news media is to relate the truth as far as they can ascertain it, and without a narrative in their heads that they hew to and try to make facts conform to.

This type of self-and-other deception is particularly dangerous when it involves constructing narratives that might be true in the future and that, if true, would be dangerous.

So, when the media having decided those to the right of Lenin are “of course” white supremacists, decides to fit this onto a president who has JEWISH GRANDCHILDREN whom he is, by all accounts, very close to and who, until he decided to run for president, received accolades for his philanthropy to the black community, their lies are dangerous.

I HAVE met white supremacists in the US. Most of them not on the right, but on the left. Unless you think the assumption that I cannot write anything but Latin stories means they think I’m just as good as your average white person. Or the assumption that I “of course” need their help due to being able to tan. Let me tell you, btw, that what we have in common with our grandparents is like 10% of DNA (and might be less. Or a little more.) And that under the microscope, race isn’t visible. Or that though I’m mostly Spanish and Portuguese (yes, in that order. My parents still haven’t accepted THAT) I have enough from France, England and Scotland (Not to mention Congo and possibly Hungary, though that keeps flicking in and out with revisions) to probably match many citizens of those countries. Under the microscope, race is bullshit. BUT I have also met white supremacists who consider themselves to be on the right. Well, I met one. In the mid nineties.

Until recently that is, when I’ve met a lot of millenials who think they can find truth by reversing everything they were taught in school. And since in school they were taught white people are guilty of everything and are born with racial guilt (shut up. Unless you have had kids in school in the last thirty years and read their books with an eye to subtext, you don’t know what you’re talking about) they…. reverse that.

This is dangerous. This amounts to the press, which should be objective, crawling up its own behind looking for facts, when the real facts stand poised to biting them in the *ss in a generation or two. And that danger is of their own making.

Or take the hysteria about COVID-19, which they fostered in the amiable impression that a crisis is good to help their favored side pick up power, or perhaps simply because for the first time in decades it gave them a captive audience. And yes, COVID-19 is an illness. It is not nearly as lethal as it’s been made out and is still being made out by the press. Lots of people die with it, few from it, unless they are very very old, when anything could take them.

And thank heavens it is not nearly as lethal, because having traveled across the country by car recently, I can tell you that if it were, most of the country would be dead, particularly the parts engaging in ordering people to wear masks. I have yet to see a person wearing a mask who doesn’t pull it, bend it, twiddle with it, etc. several times a minute. And then touch things. Lots of things. (I need to get a pneumonia vaccine, because the bacterial crud this winter will be next level.)

And no, I’m not saying COVID-19 didn’t kill people (though the reporting makes it hard to even guess how many of the reported cases are “real.” As do the ridiculously “amplified” positive tests.) But the flu kills people. Sometimes a lot of people. And sometimes, by fluke, otherwise young and healthy people. Which COVID-19 seems to do massively less of. Yes, the old count too. But let’s be real, the old are also relatively easy to protect if we bend all our resources to it. And also there’s only so far you can protect them. Or should. If you don’t believe it, talk to people who do end-of-life care. I’m sure if I live really long, at ninety I’ll be praying for one more week to finish the fricking novel. And that’s fine. That’s “purchasing time for a purpose.” But I do not wish to have extraordinary measures performed on me if the mind is no longer functioning and the body can only function with 24/7 assistance. Yes, it is a horrible truth, and I’ve been guilty of keeping my cats alive way past the point of no hope, but we ARE mortal, both people and cats. At some point we will die. It’s horrible, but it’s not the most horrible thing. The most horrible thing is when we destroy the lives of the young and healthy and create panic over a relatively harmless virus, in order to fit the internal narrative.

Why is that terrible? Well, because there might be a bubblegum pig. In fact, given that China loves biological warfare and other forms of asymmetric warfare, a bubblegum pig, that is a virus that is actually lethal (and not just in their extremely polluted, lacking in public hygiene domain) is inevitable.

And when it comes, no one will believe it. If strenuous measures are ever needed, we’re just going to die. Because no one will ever comply with this kind of pandemic theater ever again. Not once they get over this one — and most people are doing so.

So tell the truth. Or at least don’t lie. It’s not always easy to remember things exactly, or tell things exactly. This is why journalism, particularly investigative, is a difficult, difficult profession.

Just making up things is much easier. It is also emboldening the guilty and harrying the innocent. (Since the media needs easy parallels, apparently.) It is also making people take stupidly out-of-touch with reality steps not just in politics. It is creating stupidity in the world, which is at least as damaging as lies.

And for writers, if you’re one, telling the truth is massively more important. I think that Terry Pratchett was referring to this when he talked about “knowing which voice in your head is yours.”

This is literally true for those of us who get “attacked” by a fully formed character, courtesy of our subconscious.

I don’t have auditory or visual hallucinations relating to story creation. This, believe it or not, puts me in the minority. But I do get a …. “vivid stream of thoughts.” An internal voice, telling me the story. And it’s really important to remember it’s not my voice. Mostly because honestly it starts influencing my food tastes, sometimes my sense of humor, and I resemble Star, in Glory Road when receiving the “memories” of her ancestors. If I believed this was me, I’d have 100 personalities, give or take.

And yeah, I try to tell the truth in fiction too, by not letting it hew to the way I believe things should be/secretly are. (Not that I’m much for secretly are. As the man said “Again, and again, what are the facts?”)

I’m very tired of just-so books, where everything conforms to the authors politics or philosophy. Mostly because they’re boring. They’re not inhabited by real people, with real and flawed ideas, but by puppets, dancing when you pull the string. Worse, the string-pull is PREDICTABLE.

But it is possibly worse when people create fiction and sell it as the truth, including to THEMSELVES.

Because that poisons the world and unmakes civilization.

67 thoughts on “Tell the truth — or at least don’t lie

  1. “I’m very tired of just-so books, where everything conforms to the authors politics or philosophy. Mostly because they’re boring.”

    Oh, holy crap Sarah. You just mashed one of my buttons with this piece. I’m so utterly done with the “moralizing” of the Holy Left that I literally stopped reading. I just stopped.

    I’ve been talking about this with Lela Buis over at her blog, she does reviews of all the award nominees, so I don’t have to. (Full disclosure, she did a very nice review of my (only) book and gave me 3.5/5, which I thought quite complimentary. Often award nominees get a 2 from her.)

    Rather than simply complain about the Left in their present incarnation, a little history might be better. The current rash of political fiction (IMHO) can be traced to the rise of the Structuralists and Post-Modernists in the academic world. People like Foucault pretty much took over the Humanities in the late 1970s. If you graduated from a Humanities or Social Science program much later than 1985, you basically learned Post-Modernist, Structuralist theory. Deconstructionism is another buzzword.

    Which basically boils down to a denial of Objective Reality. Reality (TM) isn’t “real,” everything in the world is an act of speech. It’s RELATIVE to your position in life. Aka: Relativism. This is the basis of Critical Race Theory, which takes the denial of objective reality to dizzying heights by holding that everything in the world is relative to how much power you have in your culture. This is how you get those people claiming math is racist, or showing up for work on time is Toxic Whiteness.

    This “relativism” is the Great Lie of of the Boomer generation. Reality -is- real (obviously), and they’re lying about it.

    Generally when people start claiming that everything is relative, I step on their foot or grab their nose and give it a hearty tweak. Physical pain has a way of penetrating even the airiest of cloud castles in a way that mere reason can’t. Objective Reality does not care about your culture or your philosophy of life. It is a bus, and it will run your over-educated ass down if you don’t step out of the way.

    You can’t grab a whole generation of kids by their nose and twist. But what you -can- do is refuse to play the Deconstructionist Literature game. You can write your uplifting and empowering stories the way you want to. Take those noble archetypes and mighty themes, polish them to a shine and make them the centerpiece of your work. Anti-heroes get kicked to the curb.

    The Left will cancel you for being a racist/bigot/homophobe, if you dare to lift your head. For sure. So stand up tall and be all the unapologetic bastard you can possibly be.

    Here endeth the rant.

    1. People who believe that everything is a construct (the Matrix, but worse) and that there is no truth seem to get bit hard by Truth. Fire burns, gravity will win, there’s a good reason for hygiene [despite what some profs claim] . . . Truth wins, especially real Truth, be it medical, physics, or philosophical.

      1. there’s a good reason for hygiene

        This is the one that burns me.

        I shouldn’t have to explain that washing dishes/clothes/abodes/bodies can have health benefits.

        And I’m still horrified at how many people don’t wash their hands.

      2. Yes, gravity always wins. It doesn’t matter what race you are, if you don’t get your sums right that bridge you’re trying to build will fall down. Because gravity.

        The above is considered horribly racist in some circles. It puts Western culture above all those “other ways of knowing” they like to tout.

        Somebody comes up with a way to build bridges and buildings that don’t fall down without doing all that math, I’m interested. But I won’t hold my breath while I wait.

        1. Akshully, it is very possible to build practical bridges, with a predictable replacement life, without the advanced mathematics.

          What the mathematics, and the scientific training lets engineers do is solve problems that are a little bit novel.

          Locals can build a bridge by rote to the same design that they perfected generations ago.

          Engineers two thousand years ago could build variations on fairly well established designs, using a little bit of math, a little theory, and a lot of rules of thumb.

          Last five hundred years of mathematical and theoretical development has added a lot of capabilities.

          Study of the defective bridge designs produced by modern engineers apparently teaches a lot of interesting lessons.

          1. It’s about time for me to wander over to Eng-tips and review the FIU pedestrian bridge disaster. The main lesson* seems to be that Highly Regarded Engineer at Highly Regarded Firm can screw up, and if his self image tells him that he cannot make a mistake, reality will bite a lot of people. (I want to see what the final disposition of HRE and HRF is after the lawsuit dust settles.)

            (*) The secondary lesson should be (but might not be learned) is that Designing for Cool should be subordinate to Designing to Make the Damned Thing Work.

            1. There’s a man on youtube using the channel name AVE who did a a couple of videos on possible reasons for the collapse. People should have gone to jail for that one.

            2. I followed it regularly until the NTSB and OSHA reports finished percolating. I have vague memories about problems with the AVE videos. Here’s the last thread (14, so about 2700-2800 posts) that has the latest discussions as well as links to the previous ones. Warning: it’s a *deep* rabbit hole. The results from the fed investigations show up in thread 13 and 14, as memory serves.

              Jail time is possible, particularly for the Engineer of Record, both for negligence and for attempting to cover it up. The “phone in the washing machine” trick did *not* amuse the investigators. The engineering company (FIGG) has been barred from federal contracts for 10 years. They went to court to fight it, and the judge kept the bar in place.

          2. For engineering over the ages I recommend the book “Structures, or Why Things Don’t Fall Down”. Turns out the old pre-math rules of thumb didn’t always work; the rooves of Greek temples were intellectually squalid essentially being piles of mud covered with tiles; and Roman semi-circular arch bridges were dreadfully inefficient. Regarding arch bridges you must keep the thrust line within the arch or the bridge WILL fall down. Cast iron turned out to be a dismal material for bridges–it took several collapses to find out. But I do notice a change in books written on all subjects since the time change mentioned. I rarely read recent fiction; too much of it is a semi-predictable Middle Earth-type drivel or some other cliche. I tried The Hobbit but gave up at page 53 over 50 years ago and I have no desire to resume. Holden Caulfield was just an annoying brat in need of a few good slammings against a wall–I really mean it! Disgusting kid in a disgusting book. I myself am slowly reading all the novels of Anthony Trollope. I got the writing out of me by putting out a railfan newsletter for four years 1976-80. You can recognize my writing style (heavily influenced by National Review) by counting the semi-colons. I hate The New Yorker. Now, the Bubblegum pig story? Is the author really part Brazilian or is that itself a lie? Brazilians AREN’T Hispanics BTW; I asked the census bureau woman when I was trying to get them to class me as Slavic rather than White because I don’t have blue eyes or light hair.

            1. BLINNK?
              Are you out of your fracking mind? No, I’m in no way Brazilian. Is your fracking geography fracked?
              ALSO FYI Portuguese are Latin. Yes, the state department says that.
              Census bureau, I don’t know.

            2. Also well done. Brazilians, who have basically the same cultural background as anyone in South America, but spell their last names with s instead of z are not Latin, but the rest of Latin America is….
              Uh….. This is why we don’t pay attention to the government, kid.

    2. The only just-so fiction I like is Ringo’s Last Centurion, and it’s not even because I agree with him.
      It’s because there IS a story and a real voice for the character, as well as the “just so” setup.

        1. I was about to take my copy on this latest Army mission. I’d set it out with my bags and everything.

          Then my wife saw it and read the back cover. I haven’t gotten it back yet!

      1. Haven’t read it myself yet, but I don’t see how it can top (for Just So Stories) such masterworks as “The Butterfly Who Stamped”, “The Cat Who Walks By Himself” (my own favorite!) and “The Elephant’s Child.”

      2. I liked that series -despite- the message-heavy setup, because of the characters. They rang pretty true to me. I could have done nicely without the post-apocalypse setting and the weird sex bits.

        Ringo thinks pretty hard about his stories, and he knows a lot of practical shit about how things get done. That makes the stories move a lot better than most. That deep knowledge is what sets Larry Correiea’s works apart too. He -knows- what happens when guys try to shoot something.

          1. Last Centurion is a stand-alone, right? Thought it was…

            Peter Nealen’s Maelstrom series is getting a bit close for comfort at times.

              1. Oh ghod I still haven’t got a freaking cover for my second book. I have a half-finished mess, and no gumption to do it because the Photoshop-ing takes away from the writing.

                !@#%. On skates. 😡 😡 😡

    3. Antiheroes have their place, and have featured in stories since Gilgamesh.
      Or since Jack put one over on the good neighbors.
      Or in the preserved stories of pagan gods.
      Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
      The Hero’s Journey, yes. All well and good.
      But you don’t have to let your Skywalker go Solo.
      Audiences love Falstaff more than Hal.
      Edmond Dantes and Conan cross swords over the nature of honor.
      Many are the antiheroes who took the journey to become heroes, many are the antiheroes that provided contrast and antagonist to the hero on his journey, and many are the antiheroes whose virtues eclipse their vices.

  2. The national establishment news media have turned themselves into pretzel-knots, they have become so partisan over the last quarter-century and more. With at least half the country, their credibility is in tatters.
    And the intellectual and entertainment set are not terribly far behind them.
    I found this article, through following links – and thought it quite interesting; the dreadful snobbery regarding poor and working-class whites in the US. The only class of people of whom brutal fun can be made, these days.

  3. There are other consequences. Consider the case of George Floyd. We know, now, that he OD’d on fentanyl. One of the commonest symptoms of acute fentanyl toxicity is fluid buildup in the lungs and a suffocating sensation. “I can’t breathe!”

    And the cops, racist jackbooted bastards that they were, ignored him. Guilty!!

    Thing is, ‘I can’t breathe!’ has been going around for a while. Probably half the suspects those cops arrest start the ‘I can’t breathe!’ routine and they’re obviously faking it. When that many people tell you the same lie, over and over and over, day after day, week after week, month after month, what happens? You start to assume that it’s always a lie. That’s human nature. It’s as predictable and inescapable as water running downhill.

    Now, in George Floyd’s case, it didn’t matter. He was a dead man walking from the minute he shot up that evening. The cops did not cause his death, and they could not have prevented it. Nobody could have. There is no antidote for that much fentanyl.

    But, in some other case, it might matter. Some suspect might be choking, or having a panic attack, and the cops ignore it because they’ve heard it all before. OTHER PEOPLE’S LIES can get you killed!

    Today, with the leftoid media spewing lies and (minimal) truth indiscriminately, you don’t know what to believe, which lies you had nothing to do with that might get you killed or your house or business burned down. You don’t know what to do, if anything. You have no information you can trust to base decisions on.

    THAT is the real danger to our society.
    I used to live on a farm. I know what bullshit smells like.

    1. “Nobody could have. There is no antidote for that much fentanyl.”

      There is, as it happens. Had Mr. Floyd plotzed on the floor of an emergency room they -might- have been able to keep him alive, and if the cops had an ambulance right there stocked up with the right stuff they -might- have been able to keep him alive to get to the hospital. Maybe. ERs can do some pretty amazing shit these days.

      Likewise, making a patient who is short of breath lie prone with their heat do one side and kneeling on their back for EIGHT MINUTES with their hands cuffed behind their back is not part of the treatment protocol for an opiate overdose. Try lying on your front with your hands behind your back. It sucks.

      But then, on the other hand, Mr. Floyd was a convicted felon with a history of violent crime, sitting in the driver’s seat and getting ready to drive a car while wasted out of his mind on fentanyl, plus he was trying to pass a bad check (or counterfeit money, or some shit I can’t be bothered to look up) so really, the cops had no reason to expect he was telling the truth about not being able to breath.

      So really, in keeping with the theme of this post, the actual problem is that everybody involved, from George Floyd to the cops to the police department to the media to #BLM, has been lying. Even Snopes is lying.

      Going right back to the beginning of the chain, if Floyd was just some guy having chest pain the cops would have chucked him in an ambulance, whisked him to the hospital, and he’d have probably been okay. Minneapolis has really good hospitals. But instead, everybody lied and now Uncle Hugo’s is burnt down along with a whole section of Minneapolis and a bunch of profitable private businesses. Adding insult to injury, the city council is STILL LYING and businesses are leaving the city in case they get burnt down by mobs. Mobs composed of people who do not live in Minneapolis, not to put too fine a point on it.

      Proving Sarah’s point, lying is bad. 😡

      1. Even Snopes is lying.

        Snopes jumped the shark when they started factchecking Babylon Bee.. I have them in the same category as Drudge.

        1. Yes, Drudge has very definitely entered the enemy camp and set up shop. On the bright side, people who know these things are saying that his traffic is -way- down. Like more than 25% down. So if that was some sort of business move, it was a bad one.

          Snopes likewise. The George Floyd page reads like something off the Huffandpuff Post. I checked it to see if he was sitting in the driver’s seat when the cops arrested him, and he was. So really, the cops potentially saved a bunch of people taking that guy off the road, and there’s Snopes pretending the guy was a saint and a hero.

          On the minus side, sitting on a middle aged man complaining he can’t breath for that long is -stupid-. Even if he’s lying about the breathing, he could have any number of spontaneous heart issues from the prolonged pressure increase in the chest. Without some major dangerous reason for it, it is very bad police work. Oddly that reasoning is ABSENT from Snopes, almost as if they didn’t have a f-ing clue what they were talking about.

          Everybody gets black marks on that one. Perfect storm of stupid.

          1. In the case of Drudge, I’m of the opinion that he was bought out mostly for the non-compete clause. If not for that clause, he’d be able to start back up at a new website and have most of his audience aware of that fact within 24 hours. As it stands, he becomes a game piece that has been taken out of play and cannot speak about the hows and whys. The new owners might be recouping as much of the cost as they can during the meltdown of the site, but the primary goal was achieved when Drudge was removed and silenced.

            Much like what is happening at Fox News, it takes awhile before everyone notices that you’ve been turned by the progressive zombies. Some of the people at Fox still have contracts and are still able to use the platform as before, but you will not see any new talent along the lines of Tucker Carlson on that platform. It will be slower at Fox than the turnaround at Drudge, but in both cases the platform will be removed and the former viewers will go through an increasing sense of betrayal until they finally leave. Iowahawk’s tweet about wearing the carcass as a skin suit comes to mind in both cases.

            1. Yes, I agree. Some really huge money moved there and bought FOX and Drudge. Although the scuttlebut is that Drudge is still there, so some other type of deal might be going on.

              The one positive thing in this is the obscene amount of money it must have cost them. Ouch, that’s got to sting.

          2. IIRC, Drudge sold off his site and related bits some time back. It’s the current replacement staff digging deeper and deeper holes in the landscape.

    2. At least some of the looters are shouting it while filming themselves.

      And then posting it to YouTube. . . .

      1. “I can’t breathe” has actually been out there a couple years. It’s associated with a NYC man, Eric Garner, who was supposedly put in a chokehold while resisting arrest for selling loose cigarettes which is illegal there.

  4. “and as some of you know, my face is glass-fronted, revealing all my thoughts and feelings”

    I find myself needing to repress my eyeroll reflex quite often these days . . .

  5. The lies confronted with reality create a level of cognitive dissonance that I have never seen before. The truth or reality can assault many of these people on a very personal level and they will move straight into Stockholm Syndrome, justifying any evil that happens to them. That creates a very dangerous situation for those around them as such individuals will lash out in an effort to protect themselves from whatever they feel is attacking.

    I’m seeing some of that now with people i know well and it worries me on one level as i know I will lose people who I considered to be friends. But on another level I feel like it will be a necessary sacrifice in order to begin what will be a looooong return to some level of sanity.

    I don’t know if any of that made sense, but I’m sort of thinking out loud here and trying to work through and explain some things for myself.

    1. What is happening in our society right now is crazy making. There’s a bunch of confusing stuff, we guesstimate answers, become emotionally committed to our answers because some assurance is comforting, and then find it very easy to escalate being angry at people who jumped to different conclusions.

      When someone you love has a psychiatric episode, it can be very difficult. When one personally has an episode of becoming intensely nuts, maintaining relationships becomes a wee bit challenging. When this is all happening at the same time, across very many of the relationships in a society…

      I’m only finding it a little stressful, I think for two reasons. One, I’m perhaps a wee bit unreasonable in my expectations for relationships. I have few, and am perhaps too strongly influenced by theory from books. Consider the friendship between Hennessy and Jimenez in Kratman’s A Desert Called Peace, which was originally formed in the understanding that they might try to kill each other. Two, I’m nuts; I expect my head isn’t always going to be on straight, and know that not everyone is going to be prepared to tolerate my behavior.

      Knowing that the status quo isn’t permanent, perhaps more of the relationships could be salvaged than one would expect.

  6. Reality will slap a *lot* of people very hard. They’re so insulated from reality that they can’t perceive it until they can’t avoid it no matter how they try.
    The end result won’t be pretty.
    Many of our ‘betters’ also don’t believe in something greater than themselves — other than their own naked self-interest dressed up for Sunday — so they’ll believe in anything that keeps them inside their cushy golden bubble.

    1. The last two presidential debates I watched, I mostly just sat there in horror, trying to decide if the Democratic candidate was *that* crazy, or *that* evil.
      Both times, I eventually decided upon “Yes”.

    2. As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
      I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
      Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
      And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

      We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
      That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
      But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
      So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

      We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
      Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
      But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
      That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

      With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
      They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
      They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
      So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

      When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
      They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
      But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
      And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

      On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
      (Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
      Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
      And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

      In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
      By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
      But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
      And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

      Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
      And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
      That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
      And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

      As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
      There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
      That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
      And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

      And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
      When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
      As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
      The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

  7. I skim the dust jackets and covers of the sci-fi and fantasy at the regional B&N every so often. It’s depressing how many have what could be a great story premise . . . .and then THUD-Splat by jumping up and down shrieking “I’m bending tropes! I’m being wild and subversive and anti-patriarchial! Watch meee!!” I have a great desire to take their story premise, write it straight (the Puritans were right and there IS evil in the woods [paging Solomon Kane, Solomon Kane, please pick up the white courtesy phone for a message]) and see if it sells. They’ve become boring.

    1. I cruise through the YA section of the local library (when I can; it’s been shut down since March for browsing, though you can reserve books.) One thing I particularly like is retold fairytales—and so many of them are dreck. Especially those who cram an LBGTQ character in the story without giving them any real traits, just because they think it’s what they’re supposed to do. (I have an author I use as a counter-argument for that—her books are full of queer people, but it feels natural, because those are the folk she is surrounded by and LBGTQ is not their sole or even primary defining characteristic.)

      Why do I keep cruising through them? Because I occasionally find an author who is fun and readable, and the investment of time is minimal (and of money is nothing.) But truly, “subversive” they ain’t.

      1. I know! Sticking a (insert current favoured victim class here) into a story is not enough to make it an awesome story. The author also needs to have a solid grasp on character arcs, plot, pacing, economics, military strategy and tactics, and basic human decency and empathy….

        …not that I recently went on a rant about such things to friends, after being most upset that a book that could have been awesome was in fact completely terrible. At least, not more than once in the last month. Um. Okay, more than once in the last two weeks?

    2. Please do.
      Imagine if you were part of a group of warrior-monks that were trying to get royals to stop pointlessly fighting each other, and get back to what was actually important*. You and your brotherhood had painstakingly gathered the capital to mostly fund the expedition you were single-mindedly advocating. All you needed was men and secular leadership.
      Then one Friday the 13th you happened to be outside of the convent when Phillip’s lackeys came storming in…
      The most subversive thing you could do as an author, is simply play it straight.
      *Liberating Outremer, of course.

    3. Last book I picked up at random at a B&N I enjoyed. Then it was manga. (My Status as an Assassin Obviously Exceeds the Hero’s — which BTW is not a brag. I think it’s an unfortunate title.)

  8. I do not touch/read/listen to any of the”main-stream-media”. As for the NYT, the WaPoo, The ATLANTIC. I despise, detest, and totally DISTRUST every word they write, and I do not watch TV news.
    As Satchel Page said, that “angries up the blood”.

    1. So true. I have not sat through tv news in a decade or more. I “think” I am more informed than the average bear.

  9. Or at least I hope so, otherwise I’m grossly deceived about the nature of the world and have spent a lot of money and time I didn’t need to spend on transatlantic travel. And I’m not sure which one annoys me most

    Hahaha! Oh my. I feel that. So many dreams of just opening a door. At least we have telephony. Imagine what is when a letter (by boat, or donkey-to-train) was the only option.

    As for “… At least don’t lie.” To blazes with that. Tell the truth and shame the devil. At least don’t lie is how they got us to shut up and shovel their… Early via all these years.

  10. Side note: The people with co-morbidities who died with COVID probably did die because they got COVID–it’s just that it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
    Kind of like a hemophiliac dying of blood loss due to what, in anyone else, would have been a minor wound.

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