Orion’s Cold Fire – The Origin Story

Now, you’re gonna have to bear with me for a bit.  This will be a rambling seemingly incoherent rant.  But I’ll try by the end to bring it back to the point.

 

Over the course of the last few years I have become aware of the range of “philosophies” and personalities that exists on the right wing.  I do not have an exhaustive knowledge of all the players, nor do I want or need to.  I think it would be fair to say these personalities run the gamut from extremely sober to raving lunatic.  And over the course of the last few years this has given me reason to pause and consider how or if I fit in with this spectrum of individuals.  Surprisingly, I have learned that not all the serious individuals are right and not all of the nuts are wrong.  Now, that doesn’t make it easy to commune with the lunatics.  In fact, most of the time you probably shouldn’t.  Lunatics tend to the mercurial and don’t always play well with others.  But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hear what they are saying.  And by the same token, the sober guys may be charming and polite individuals but listening to them may be counter-productive.  Especially if they are extremely clever.  Sophistry can be highly entertaining and unfortunately also highly deceptive.  To my mind that is kind of how we got where we are now.  Cheerleaders for supposedly conservative ideas convinced a lot of people that the Bushes and John McCain and Mitt Romney knew what the word conservative means.  That was sophistry.

 

So, the people you agree with logically aren’t the same as the people you enjoy listening to.  What that means is that you tend to have to compartmentalize your relationships.  Some people you can discuss your political beliefs with easily and other people you can’t.  Some people are fun to discuss zombie movies with and others only want to discuss the actual apocalypse.  It’s not the most comfortable arrangement imaginable.  It’s sometimes annoying.  And it’s the way things are going to be for the foreseeable future.  Trying to avoid this reality will lead to trouble.  For example, suppose you have a good friend who likes the same sports you do.  The two of you can go to a ball game anytime and sit up in the stands and talk all day about Joe Dokes’ batting average or who the best relief pitcher is.  It’s great.  But if you try discussing politics with him you’ll end up in a shouting match and probably won’t want to get together for months.  Very not great.  And alternatively, you might know someone either in real life or on the web who you agree with politically almost completely.  The two of you can discuss politics and even cooperate on political action and other projects.  A mutually beneficial relationship.  But otherwise you have nothing in common.  You like country music he’s a gangsta rap enthusiast.  You like science fiction he reads books on playing golf.  Absolutely no common ground.  What about these two scenarios?

What about them?  There’s nothing wrong with either one.  They reflect the reality of the world around us.  You accept that division.

 

Now, of course, the best case scenario is when both spheres align.  Now you can talk about baseball and the revolution at the same time.  Better still, you can start a fantasy baseball league for right wingers!  And for something like baseball or hockey or NASCAR you might do quite well lining up people who fit both sides of the equation.  No problem!

 

But what if your interest is photography or science fiction?  Now it’s not so easy.  If you happen to be a photographer and also happen to not be a left winger you’re probably aware that the majority of photographers both professional and amateur skew pretty hard left.  As with a lot of the “creative” professions these people seem to be steeped in a bohemian, urban culture that is extremely hostile to right-wing values and individuals.  When I first got interested in photography I experienced this hostility over and over at a number of photography websites.  It was both on a subliminal level and also on a purposeful, even confrontational basis.  Whenever anything in the news offended the denizens of these sites it inevitably was dragged through the forum pages in the most strident and challenging terms.  Basically, it was a public challenge to deny the libel being foisted.  And interestingly if you succeeded in presenting a logical argument that was too convincing, the powers that be on the site were very likely to step in and either erase your posts (or force you to erase them) or ban you from the site altogether.  To say this was a sorry state of affairs would be an understatement.  The only way to coexist (what a loaded word) in such an environment would be to keep your mouth shut and ignore these virtue-signaling spasms.  You can only imagine how much fun that would be.  But there was no other way.  Eventually I found one website that had a policy that I found commendable.  They specifically forbade divisive discussions that involved non-photographic topics.  So, no political, racial, religious or ethnic discussions were allowed to drift into an argument.  It could be a little restrictive but it totally avoided the type of nonsense I was discussing above.  Interestingly, I could still tell which individuals would be the worst offenders if it was allowed.  They were always the ones being censured by the moderators.  And it never was anyone on the right being stopped.  Always rabid leftists.  You could tell they thought it was highly unfair that they were not allowed to lecture us all on the topic of the day.  I have to confess I took a good deal of delight in posting complaints against the worst offenders whenever I could.  But it was still only a grudging allowance of what was obviously a despised minority opinion.  I believe the site owner was a right-wing guy who found that, to avoid alienating the lefties, the best he could do was try to avoid all flash points.  He knew that the demographics were against him and he settled for this uneasy truce.  I still have great respect for the way he maintained that arrangement.  It was the best environment that existed for right-wing photographers that I ever found.

Another of my interests is (or was and now is again) science fiction and fantasy stories.  Growing up in the nineteen sixties and seventies I can remember finding all the classic books by the Golden Age authors and just eating that stuff up.  And there was all kinds of range to the quality of the stories.  Some were great and some were pretty bad.  And even as a kid I knew that.  And yet, I could still enjoy even the bad ones because at least they were of a kind.  They involved science and adventure and space flight and alien creatures and time travel and inter-dimensional mumbo-jumbo and especially cover art involving scantily clad green-skinned women.  Who could ask for anything more?  But as time passed and it moved into the late seventies something started to change.  Fantasy books weren’t about orcs and dwarves.  They were about nature spirits fighting back against modern western civilization to protect Mother Gaia.  And science fiction wasn’t about humans exploring the galaxy but sexually confused individuals exploring their various orifices.  And along with all these “improvements” was the overarching message that the most important problem that science fiction and fantasy needed to solve was how can we make books that no straight white men would want to read?

And I’ll be the first to admit they succeeded with a vengeance.  For a few years I still picked up new books and gave them a try.  But without a doubt something bad had happened.  It was like all the nit-wits who had made the sixties into a stinking hippie nightmare went off and got MFA’s and started writing sf&f.  And worse still they had taken over the publishing houses and the awards ceremonies and only allowed their own kind of stories to make it to the bookstore shelves.  Well, eventually I stopped trying and gave up on the genres.  I figured it was me.  I was no longer a child and I had to put away childish things.  But a few years ago, I read about the Sad Puppies.  I think the link was at PJ Media.  After reading about the Hugo Awards and the way nominations were only handed out to those who fit the club and wrote only right-think it all clicked.  I read all I could about the Puppies and started picking up some of their books.  And they were good!  Of course, not everything was great.  Some was just okay.  But all of it was recognizable as sf&f.  And there was a community of people who believed in writing stories and not social justice agit-prop.  And they had websites where like-minded individuals could talk and discuss writing and stuff they liked without having to get approval from the better sort.  And I heard them talk about what it used to be like before the Puppy movement, how everyone had to kowtow to the better sort and if you wanted to get ahead you had to like the right sort of stories and hold the right kind of ideas.  And how even if you went through this kabuki act you still had to wait your turn and if you had the wrong plumbing and skin tone chances were you wouldn’t ever get a shot at the brass ring.

But what really sounded familiar was how everyone had to hate the same things.  There was an orthodoxy and if you didn’t hate George Bush and the military and straight white men, then you were cast out.  And that I recognized.  It was the same group-think I had seen on the photography sites.  These were the same people.  The Artists.

And it got me thinking.  If the Puppies could do it for sf&f why couldn’t I make a photography site where right-wing opinion wasn’t something you had to hide.  Now I wasn’t looking for some kind of gated community where only right-wing right think was allowed.  But a place where I wouldn’t have to hear a two minute hate every time Donald Trump’s name was in the news.

So that’s kind of my whole reason for making this site in a nutshell ( a very long 1900 word nutshell).  I wanted this site to allow me to discuss right-wing issues both seriously and with a little humor.  That’s for all those folks who agree with me politically but don’t speak my language on hobbies.

And for those who happen to also have an interest in either sf&f or photography it’s a place where I could talk about those things.  And other general things like tv and movies and other culture topics with like-minded people.  So, if any of those things interest you stop by and have a look and leave a comment.

And finally after the revolution when I am elevated to the highest circles of the new order, hopefully in the movie version of my life story I’ll be played by Ryan Reynolds and Morena Baccarin will play Camera Girl.  And they really should include “Angel in the Morning” in the soundtrack but absolutely nothing by Wham!  They really suck.

See I told you I’d bring it all back in the end.

A Rambling Wreck – Book 2 of The Hidden Truth Series – A Science Fiction Book Review

Hans G. Schantz is the author of the “The Hidden Truth” series and based on the bio at the end of the book some sort of a genius.  He’s a PhD in theoretical physics and a high-tech inventor of radio frequency gadgets (e.g., near field electromagnetic ranging).   Suffice it to say he doesn’t need to use a macguffin in any of his stories to fake a scientific plot line.  So, it’s kind of ironic that the first chapter is named “Whatever Happened to Angus MacGuffin.”

I picked up this second volume of the series without having read the first because the premise caught my fancy.  The protagonist, Peter is a college freshman at Georgia Tech who is digging up information on a shadowy organization called the Civic Circle which seems like some kind of combination of the Illuminati and villains from a Bond movie.  They murdered his parents for getting in the way of an operation being carried out to hide the Civic Circle’s involvement in an assassination campaign.  This campaign was meant to prevent the leading minds in electromagnetic field theory from discovering a secret that would give its wielder enormous power.

Now imagine that plot line embedded in a story that includes a freshman pick-up artist, social justice warriors on campus, a Chinese demigod, a 17th century nuclear energy program and a freshman trying to keep his grade point average high enough to keep his scholarship money intact.

It’s sort of like what might happen if one of Heinlein’s juvenile heroes (say Kip from Have Spacesuit Will Travel) was thrust into the modern era and was forced to use “SJWs Always Lie” as his freshman orientation guide while battling the Black Hats.

The book combines an elaborate puzzle involving an ancient Chinese philosophical text that seems also to be a clue to the secret knowledge that the Civic Circle is protecting.  There’s a rationale involving historical figures from the early days of electromagnetic field theory to explain how this secret hasn’t been discovered by the physicists of today.  There are all kinds of geeky fun throughout the plot.

One other interesting note.  This is an alternate history world where President Gore was killed in the 9-11-2001 terror attacks.  So, they must have completely missed out on the joys of climate change.

The action moves along and the various plot elements reach their crescendo in a nicely coordinated climax.  Secrets are revealed.  The damsel in distress is saved and the hero moves up the ladder of experience and prepares for his next foray against the powers of darkness.

I thought the book was good.  I should probably go back now and read the first volume (but once you cheat it’s always tough to do that).  But I look forward to next installment.  Hopefully in it Donald Trump will be given super powers and a license to kill.

The Pod People Strike Back

Google is in the news.  They are demonetizing and de-platforming the haters.  And who are the haters?  Whoever they say they are.  And so is PayPal and Patreon and GoFundMe and on a less important front so is Facebook, Twitter and all the other leftists who are still smarting over Trump’s win.  If you make money from monetizing your website through Google advertising then this can be a big deal.  If you have a YouTube channel you could find a stream of income that you’ve depended on shut off.  And it’s not something you can appeal.  If they shut you down, that’s it.

I’ve been reading on a few sites that alternative sources for monetizing and funding are coming into being.  For instance a payment site to replace Patreon ( amusingly named Hatreon) now exists.  Stripe and Square perform similarly to PayPal but haven’t been banning rightwingers (yet).  WeSearchr and Counter.Fund also provide crowdsourcing to the right.  Gab provides a Twitter alternative.

So, problem solved?  Probably not.  Google is a behemoth of a company that controls the lion’s share of internet advertising.  They also dominate the search business.  And this is the way to control what gets seen and what doesn’t.  If they think your site is guilty of thoughtcrime all they have to do is make it invisible and it will dry up and wither away.  That is a big problem.  There are other search engines like Brave and DuckDuckGo and, and, and …  But most people google things they’re looking for.  What’s a deplorable to do?

Well, mostly wait.  We should start using all the alternatives because we need to make a start.  But don’t fool yourself into thinking you can move a mountain with a teaspoon overnight.  There’s no magic bullet for 100 years of ignoring the problem.  These institutions are entrenched and they don’t like you and they want you to go away (meaning drop dead).

One thing we can and should do is network.  Find like-minded folks and communicate and support each other.  If they sell stuff, look at it.  If it’s as good or even almost as good as stuff from the pod people buy it instead.  And when you do buy from them let them know why.  And if you have stuff for them to buy let them know and maybe they will.  Support these alternative institutions and spread the word.  Put links on your site if you find something good.

And it’s not all gloom and doom.  Look at the Dragon Awards.  Only two years running and already it is a fantastic alternative to voting in the fully converged Hugo Awards.  I used to waste money voting in that thing.  And that money was then spent on feeding SJWs at the WorldCon.  Instead I can vote in the Dragon Awards for free and have a much greater impact.  And that is a direct result of the puppies (sad and rabid) standing up to the pod people and saying we don’t believe you and we’ll go our own way.

So, there are cracks in the wall.  And if you apply pressure at these weak points damage can be done.  And don’t forget, Trump isn’t a friend of Silicon Valley.  They don’t like him and he doesn’t like them.  If he sics the anti-trust dogs on them Google will grovel pretty quickly.  It will be interesting to see if the investigation into search algorithm tampering is resurrected.

So be of good cheer and go out and deplore with a smile on your face and a song in your heart.  Somewhere out there in the bowels of Google the pod people are beginning to fear you.

James Damore

Probably so much has been written about this young man that anything I write is bound to be at least somewhat repetitive.  So, instead I’ll tell you what bothers me about this situation.  This is a pretty idealistic good-hearted kid who just got railroaded by the richest company in the world and then pilloried by the press.  Can you imagine how his parents feel?  Can you imagine how he feels?  I listened to him answering the charges trumped up by the media.  They did everything they could to twist his statements into misogynistic and somehow even racist sentiments.  His answers were measured and well expressed and very much to the point.  His facts were accurate and his whole approach was reasonable and genuine.  He struck me as a very intelligent and very young man.  Naïve is also how I’d describe him.  I think he was genuinely surprised that he would be punished the way he was for opinions that were moderate and reasonable.  I think his sin is believing the words that his employer told him.  James Damore believed Google when they said that those with different opinions could speak openly at Google and have no reason to fear.  That was the lie.  Someone of my generation knows that is the leftist lie.  It is a recasting of the basis of the story “Animal Farm.”  Basically, it is a way of saying, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Well, he’s just learned that lesson.  Chances are he’ll be just fine.  Anyone who goes to multiple Ivy League schools probably won’t be out on the streets anytime soon.  And I’m sure that his family connections will allow him to bounce back from this setback.  So maybe this will make him a wiser man.  But he’s just learned a hard truth.  Because he’s a normal white male, he’s a second-class citizen and nobody is going to come to his defense at Google or any other Fortune 500 company if he tells the emperor that he has no clothes.  He’ll be cast into the outer darkness where there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Anyone over the age of thirty knows how the corporate diversity speak works.  We’re all told how important it is and to what lengths we must go to make it work.  And if you want to hold onto your job you’ll keep quiet and go along at least to the extent of keeping your opinions to yourself.  That’s what James Damore will do from now on.

But the most important thing that comes out of this whole circus is that more and more people are finding out just how pathetically twisted the whole diversity sham has become.  It’s become a religion from which no dissent is tolerated or allowed to survive.  Possibly this will re-open the debate about the whole government affirmative action racket.  Maybe something finally will be done by the Supreme Court.

I wish the best for James in the future.  I hope he goes on to great success as a software programmer or whatever tech specialization he possesses.  Maybe someday he’ll own a company of his own and then he can treat people the way he says he thinks they should be treated.  But I just hope he fires the first person who tells him he has to hire more women.  That would seem to be poetic justice.

So good luck James and welcome to the real world.  It ain’t pretty.

Making the Greatest Show On Earth Again

When I was about eight years old my father took me and my brothers and sister to see Ringling Brothers’ Barnum and Bailey Circus at the old Madison Square Garden in Manhattan.  Before the performance, we walked through the menagerie and saw lions, tigers, zebras, a huge bored gorilla and most importantly the elephants.  They were the stars of the circus and from the point of view of a little boy, the real reason to go to the circus.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I liked the other acts too, the tightrope walkers, the clowns, the lion tamers and the trapeze acrobats.  They were fun and some were exciting.  But what I wanted to see were the elephants.  Watching these giants go through their routines and seeing the trainers perform their acrobatics on the backs and heads of these amazing monsters was thrilling.

When I had kids of my own, I would bring them every year to the circus.  At this point I preferred the Big Apple Circus because they provided a retro and more intimate experience.  And of course, they had elephants.  My kids loved the clowns and the trapeze acts but what always brought the oohs and aahs was the elephants.  There weren’t as many or as big as the ones I remember from my childhood but they did the trick.  When my kids were a little older I decided to bring them one last time to see the circus.  Much to everybody’s surprise and disappointment there were no elephants.  I assumed that the Big Apple Circus had fallen on hard times and couldn’t afford them anymore.

Over the last few years I had heard that animal rights activists were the reason that circuses had been forced to eliminate the elephants.  They worked to get municipal laws passed making elephant training and control equipment illegal.  They picketed the circuses and harassed the patrons.  Among all the other outrages of the Social Justice Warriors I never considered how this particular campaign would impact the world I live in.  A few years ago, I went with my grandsons to the Ringling Brothers show and there were the elephants.  All was as it should be.

Today I read that Ringling Brothers’ Barnum and Bailey Circus was going out of business this year.  The last performance will be this spring.  Reading the article I discovered that the last year or two the circus finally caved in to the pressure and eliminated the elephants from the circus.  The circus officials attributed the large drop in attendance to this change.  The article said the Barnum and Bailey Circus was 146 years old and was actually older than baseball.  So, the SJWs killed the circus.

Well, that’s about the perfect emblem of our era.  Politically correct harassment and knee-jerk regulation strangled one of the most legendary symbols of happiness and childhood adventure.

For the activists who supposedly did all this for the sake of the elephants, I think it might be interesting to consider what the law of unexpected consequences might have to say about this development.  Now that children won’t be thinking about elephants as much anymore there’s a chance they won’t grow up quite as interested in elephants.  Currently, elephant populations are under enormous pressure in their native ranges.  In fact, both Asian and African elephants are being decimated by the combined pressures of habitat destruction and poaching.  A time may come when only a concerted effort by conservationists using heroic efforts will preserve a population of elephants.  This would require a large amount of money on a continuous basis.  This money will not come from Asia or Africa.  I think it is entirely possible that if governments aren’t in a position to underwrite something like this for political and financial reasons it will require the sympathy of individuals in first-world countries to make this effort possible.  However, if elephants are no longer a popular or common concept perhaps there will be little interest in underwriting their well-being.  So, if Dumbo isn’t a figure that parents remember fondly, maybe they won’t bring their kids to see the new version.  And one day the kids will be unaware that elephants are any more interesting than sewer rats.  And when they drop off the face of the earth the activists can rail against the callous ignorance and selfishness of people.  And no one will know or care.

In the weeks and months going forward President Trump may be able to make many American institutions and aspects of life “great again.”  Unfortunately, I don’t see any hope of making the Greatest Show on Earth “great again” or even making it again at all.  And we are all poorer for it.