agilebrit: (Urge to bitchslap)
The rest of us are not psychic. The rest of us are parking normally. If you wish to park in such a way that you do not have to back out of the space when you leave, then perhaps it behooves you to find a pair of spaces you can pull all the way through at the end of the lot (which was not super full today) and hike the few extra yards, rather trying to maneuver your gigantic belching-black-smoke POS backward into a space.

The guy who parked in the space beside the one you wanted (or maybe it was the space you actually wanted to back into; I was unclear) did nothing wrong. I'm sure he had no friggin' idea what you were doing, since you stopped and I'm pretty sure he pulled into the space before your backup lights came on, being right behind you. Getting angry at him for not reading your damn mind was stupid as hell, especially since your complicated maneuver would have taken a fair amount of time and blocked access to three pretty good spaces rather than just the one you would have eventually ended up in (badly, if your parking job in the space you did end up in was any indication) while the other patrons waited for you to get your land yacht berthed--not to mention anyone waiting to pull out whom you were blocking.

Save your anger and indignation for yourself and understand that, even as humongous as your truck is, it does not have its own gravity well, the world does not revolve around it or you, and you should start parking like a considerate human being rather than an entitled ass.


Those of us who witnessed your unwarranted anger and shook our heads
agilebrit: (Urge to bitchslap)
In a story today about Trump's press room, the nation's birdcage liner, oh, wait, I mean, "Newspaper of Record," the New York Times, said:

Mr. Trump’s unconventional, sometimes hostile, relationship with the news media and his penchant for communicating through unfiltered Twitter posts threaten to upend a decades-old Washington tradition that relies almost entirely on protocol. The result, reporters and editors say, could be a loss of transparency that would hinder the press’s role as a conduit for information to the people.

No, you idiots. The word you're looking for is not "transparency." Trump's unfiltered tweets are wholly transparent. The word you're looking for is "spin." Or perhaps "control." Trump's "unfiltered tweets" are actually exactly transparent, because there they are for everyone to see. You're just mad because you can't twist his words, though I'm sure you'll still try to tell us what he really meant.

The Times complains about not being allowed to come on the plane with Trump to meet President Obama. And about the infamous "dinner incident" where he went to have dinner with his family and *gasp* didn't invite them, leaving them "scrambling for information," the poor lambs. Of course he didn't invite the press to dinner. Who wants a bunch of yapping purse dogs along when you're trying to eat?

Answer me this, New York Times, and all you other press outlets crying about all of this: Why the hell should he cater to you people? You have been mocking, incredulous, hostile, fear-mongering name-callers since the day he announced he was running. Be happy he's giving you any access. I hope he sticks you in the back of the room and puts Infowars, Breitbart, and WorldNetDaily on the front row, and only takes questions from Milo Yiannopoulos, since I can't have Milo as actual Press Secretary.

KIDDING. (Mostly.)

I said it before and I'll say it again: Everything should be turned upside down on occasion. It lets in air and light.

But press advocates say these traditions, even in the age of Twitter, ensure fundamental tenets of democracy: historical record and access to information.

Twitter is right there for everyone to see. Anything you post on the internet is forever. You cannot get more "historical record" and "access to information" than that. You people see your power and prestige slipping away, even more than it already has been, and it scares you to death.

Some former press secretaries suggested that Mr. Trump’s administration should rethink the tradition of broadcasting press briefings on live television, which many say has led to posturing and performance.

And Ari Fleisher thinks they should take the press briefings off live television altogether. Oh. So that's a "protocol" and a "tradition" you're perfectly willing to jettison because it suits your agenda, meaning you really do want it to be less transparent. You are positively terrified that you won't be able to filter things your way, that the American people will be able to see for themselves the raw quotes, and make up their own minds.

Well. Good. We're tired of your fake news, and your spin, and your fatuous arrogance, and your oblivious disconnect. Those of us in flyover country haven't been buying what you've been selling for a long time now, and maybe this will be the final nail in your well-deserved coffin.

Seriously, do you people even listen to yourselves?
agilebrit: (Urge to bitchslap)
I will not name names here, but I will put forth the story as a cautionary tale.

I freely admit that I am mercenary, and I will write damned near anything if you throw enough money at my head. So when someone approaches me with an opportunity to "write for a movie or TV show," sure, I'm intrigued, but wary. When you say "Don't ask me about the money because I'm the least qualified person to handle it," I am less intrigued and more wary. When you tell me that you want ten professional writers for main plot, character, and worldbuilding stuff, plus an unknown number of amateur writers giving input (that can be vetoed by the "pro" writers), it starts sounding like a mess. Especially when you have yet to explain the actual premise of it to me but are acting like I'm wholly on board and signed up when I've said no such thing.

And then, when I put the title of the project together with the art you show me, and the penny drops for me that this thing is probably something not in my wheelhouse--that it is, in fact, an x-rated outer-space harem manga with one human-looking dude and seven human/alien hybrid women and a "feminist balance" (whatever the hell that means--I'm going with "lots of voyeuristic lesbian sex," here, but I could be wrong)? And I mention that I don't write women too often and that I have a problem with third-wave feminism? And your reaction is to block me from your personal facebook and the project's facebook too?

Well, dude. I think I just dodged a bullet.

I mean, this is clearly one of those "I have this great idea, you should write it (along with nine other people and these artists too!) and we'll split the proceeds!" things. This guy has no earthly idea what he's really getting into, or trying to get other people into. The mind boggles at what kind of contract he'll come up with. Successful shared worlds do not work like this, or, at least, do not work like my tiny peek behind the curtain seemed to imply.

I would love to know why this guy thought I'd be perfect for writing his furry space orgy porn for him, or why he thought such a project would appeal to me, the conservative Christian who is (probably) old enough to be his mother. But he blocked me in a snit, so I guess it shall remain a mystery.

agilebrit: (NOT a smile)
Yes, yes. I've ranted about this before. At length. Well. I'm going to rant about it again, because it's getting more and more ridiculous.

Standard Manuscript Format. We all love it. It's ugly, but functional. It lends uniformity to our deathless prose. One-inch margins, double-spacing, name, story title, page number in the header, half-inch indent for paragraphs (via tab or ruler), first page with the contact info and word count. There's a few things up for grabs (two spaces after a period or one? Underlines or italics? It doesn't matter because those things are easy to change), but this is the standard for a professionally-prepared manuscript.

Unless you are a special snowflake.

I came across a market today (which shall remain unnamed). In their guidelines, they want:
  • 1.5 spacing (not double spacing, no, that would be too easy)
  • .3 indent (no tabs, use the ruler)
  • no header
  • very definite that they only want one space after a period
  • Times New Roman (yes, I realize that TNR is becoming as accepted as Courier New, but bleargh)
  • ETA: OH AND... a summary of the story. Kill me now.

I am going to assume that they also want italics rather than underlining, because that seems to be how they're rolling. But they didn't say so, perhaps assuming that modern writers don't use such outdated things. *snort*

And I look at guidelines like that, and make a o.O face, and then... don't submit, nine times out of ten. Because I am tired of ticky-tack guidelines that turn me into an unpaid typesetter for these people. And oh my God, but it seems like the less they pay, the more ticky-tack the formatting they want is! This is a small-press royalty antho. There's no guarantee I'll be paid anything at all!

I am also tired of having eight different files of the same damn story on my hard drive. PICK A FORMAT. I realize that publishing is in flux right now and everyone thinks that Word is a shiny toy they can play with, but... why do they insist on making my life more difficult than it already is?

The nice thing about Word is that I can make the stupid changes, save the file, send it, and then undo them back to my Standard file, especially for guidelines as ridiculous as this. But the weirdo formatting demands are becoming such that I don't even want to submit to these places unless they're offering pro rates or better. If you're going to throw wads of money at my head, sure, I'll format the damned thing in Papyrus or Comic Sans or friggin' Wingdings for you. "A share of the proceeds"? Ha, no, not unless I know you and I'm doing you a favor.
agilebrit: (not amused)
Senators Strike Compromise to Ban Suspected Terrorists from Buying Guns.

Considering the fact that you can be placed on the no-fly list without even knowing it, and having violated no law, I don't see how it's in Congress's power to deny someone a Constitutional right without any due process whatsoever. Are you going to deny them free speech? How about unreasonable search and seizure? How about the Fifth Amendment?

I do not trust this Administration to not abuse the power of the no-fly list. And if you do trust them, well, good for you, but... what about future Administrations? Would you trust Donald Trump not to abuse it? Oh, he won't win, you say. Are you sure? If you wouldn't trust an Administration you oppose to abuse a power, then it's a bad idea.

Not to mention the fact that the Orlando Asshole wasn't on a no-fly list. He passed more than one FBI background check. It's super cute that the CBS article says at the end: The FBI had investigated the gunman, Omar Mateen, in 2013 and 2014 and interviewed him several times. He was still able to purchase and use in the shooting an AR-15-style rifle and a semi-automatic pistol.

That's because he hadn't actually done anything actually wrong yet. Idiots. "Investigation" is not the same as "convicted of an actual fucking crime." It's not even the same as "indicted."

I realize that we would all like to be "safe" (whatever that means) from terrorists, but this is the world we live in: a world where someone can be a total law-abiding citizen until they go off the rails and do something completely terrible.

The last thing we need to do is hamstring other law-abiding citizens. Or fly into a hoplophobic panic and start up with "presumed guilty (and on our List) until proven innocent." Due Process should come before the fact, not after it.
agilebrit: (not amused)
We'll just pass a law that says that people who plan to go on an ideologically-driven shooting rampage are prohibited from owning guns! BOOM, problem sol--

Wait, you say that won't help? You think that's ridiculous? You say that people who are going to go on a shooting rampage won't follow a law like that?

Well, genius, what the everlivin' fuck makes you think that they're going to follow any other law you pass concerning mag capacity, type of firearm, or background checks?

I saw an article the other day from an AR15 owner saying that "oh, if we just limited mags to ten rounds, it would fix everything because they'd have to reload and it would maybe give people time to charge him and disarm him." And I realize that this has been proposed and shot down more times than I can count, but, uh, in this specific case? The Orlando shooter was texting his wife and posting to Facebook during his rampage. I am pretty damned sure that having to reload a few extra times would not have fazed him. This guy's naivete was super cute but ultimately dangerous and not helpful.

This is assuming that if you suddenly pass a law saying "ten-round mags only!" that the high-cap ones people already own will just suddenly disappear like fucking magic or something. Basically, you're going to hamstring the law-abiding while the criminals and terrorists laugh up their sleeves at your stupid, stupid, knee-jerk Do-Something-Itis.
agilebrit: (NOT a smile)
Because for someone who used to be a "Constitutional scholar," he sure doesn't seem to know what the Fourth Amendment says:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

President Obama sez: "The question we now have to ask is: If technologically it is possible to make an impenetrable device or system where the encryption is so strong that there is no key, there's no door at all, then how do we apprehend the child pornographer, how do we solve or disrupt a terrorist plot?"

Well, the same way you've always done it, Mr. President. You prove probable cause and you get a damn warrant.

But this is awfully funny coming from the guy who won't even allow his law enforcement departments to look at public posts on social media. If a cop pulls you over for a traffic stop and sees drug paraphernalia sitting right there on your front seat in plain sight and arrests you for it, that's not an illegal search, that's out where God and everyone can see it. Same thing with public posts.

And this is the same Administration who thinks they should just be able to comb through the metadata of every American and have a haystack of immense proportions, rather than looking through the stack of needles they already have and going on a terrorist hunt there.

Not only that, but this same President is refusing to enforce our immigration laws, thereby allowing a massive leak of terrorists and MS13 gang members--along with murderers, rapists, and the pedophiles he's suddenly so concerned about--across our borders, with no end in sight--and now he's saying that he should get to break the law because "you cannot take an absolutist view"?

The law is the law, Mr. President. You are not a monarch, an emperor, or a dictator. You don't get to pick and choose which ones you enforce and which ones you ignore. Or which ones you outright break.
agilebrit: (OMG MATH)
You know what they say about the road to Hell? That being said, at this point, I don't even think I can credit you with good intentions. You once again touted the "2 million people who shouldn't have had guns were stopped with background checks, huzzah!" statistic, but when you drill down into the actual numbers, you get this for the first two years of your administration:

2009: Total denials: 67,324. Referred for prosecution: 140. Guilty Plea or Conviction: 32.

2010: Total denials: 76,142. Referred for prosecution: 62. Guilty Plea or Conviction: 13.

That's right. 143,466 denied. 202 prosecuted. 43 either pled out or convicted. .0014%. Notice that the raw number of denials in 2010 was nearly 9,000 higher than in 2009, but the number referred for prosecution was less than half.

Are you seriously positing that your justice department--the same justice department that "masterminded" an international gun-walking scheme for which no one has received so much as a slap on the wrist--is going to suddenly start enforcing NICS violations because you've got a bug up your ass and issued an executive order about it?

WHY? Shouldn't they already be enforcing the fucking law? Oh, wait, I forgot. Your administration would rather flout our laws (See: the border) than enforce them.

I'm not going to take this point by point because it's tiresome and I'm sure other people will address it better than I can. But I'm going to get a few salient things off my chest.

1. Keep guns out of the wrong hands through background checks.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is making clear that it doesn’t matter where you conduct your business—from a store, at gun shows, or over the Internet: If you’re in the business of selling firearms, you must get a license and conduct background checks.

Well, no shit, Sherlock. We already have that in place. I've purchased guns at They had to go through an FFL before they got into my hands. I had to fill out your four-page form. We don't need you to lecture us about it.

Quantity and frequency of sales are relevant indicators. There is no specific threshold number of firearms purchased or sold that triggers the licensure requirement. But it is important to note that even a few transactions, when combined with other evidence, can be sufficient to establish that a person is “engaged in the business.” For example, courts have upheld convictions for dealing without a license when as few as two firearms were sold or when only one or two transactions took place, when other factors also were present. (bolding mine)

What other factors? Are you kidding me with this? If I buy a gun, keep the packaging, and then a month later decide that I found one I like better and thus sell it (perhaps at a profit because I'm not stupid, and, hey, you're creating demand, so thanks for that!) with the packaging and instructions (because I do tend to keep stuff like that even for my electronics), this makes me an ex post facto "dealer" who's "engaged in business"? What?

And, no, I do not trust you to differentiate between a drug dealer thug who runs guns to his friends, and me, when you have shown absolutely no inclination to differentiate between a violent thug and a cop doing his duty--and, in fact, treated the cop far worse than you would have the thug. You haven't earned that much trust, and never will at this point.

Ensure smart and effective enforcement of our gun laws. In a call earlier today, the Attorney General discussed the importance of today’s announcements and directed the Nation’s 93 U.S. Attorneys across the country to continue to focus their resources—as they have for the past several years under the Department’s Smart on Crime initiative—on the most impactful cases, including those targeting violent offenders, illegal firearms traffickers, and dangerous individuals who bypass the background check system to acquire weapons illegally.

Oh, puh-lease. See above. Show me some more recent numbers to prove this is actually true. Until then, I call bullshit. Start enforcing the laws we already have (which might actually prove effective) before you throw up a bunch of new laws that you will then proceed not to enforce--and then bray about how we need yet more laws... which you will then also not enforce. Then you will use the lack of enforcement to "prove" that we should just ban guns altogether. You think we don't know how this works?

In the event of an emergency, victims of domestic violence should call 911 or otherwise contact state or local law enforcement officials, who have a broader range of options for responding to these crimes.

Right. Because when seconds count, law enforcement is minutes away, and will arrive in time to bag my dead body. But, hey, at least I didn't shoot anyone while they were beating me to death!

I will never, God willing, be the victim of domestic violence. My husband is one of the Good Guys. But if I were in danger of such, the last thing I would need is some fatuous prick in the White House who is surrounded by armed guards 24/7 telling me to "just call 911."

We must continue to remove the stigma around mental illness and its treatment...

Sounds good, until you drop down and see:

Although States generally report criminal history information to NICS, many continue to report little information about individuals who are prohibited by Federal law from possessing or receiving a gun for specific mental health reasons. Some State officials raised concerns about whether such reporting would be precluded by the Privacy Rule issued under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Today, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a final rule expressly permitting certain HIPAA covered entities to provide to the NICS limited demographic and other necessary information about these individuals.

Oh, so we can violate HIPAA on your whim. Got it.

Look, if someone is actually adjudicated mentally ill and a danger to themselves or others, they should not have a firearm. I am wholly behind that, because Due Process has been met. But if I talk to a therapist while I'm going through some shit and idly bring up suicidal ideation, that is between me and my therapist. You are not going to get people to seek the help they need if they think they're going to be reported to law enforcement over it. So, congrats, you've just made it so that people look at this and go "ha, no, not going to therapy." Awesome.

I will give you this: At least there's nothing in this press release about your stupid, stupid statement about people on no-fly lists being able to buy guns. Considering the fact that a person can be placed the no-fly list without even knowing it until they show up at the airport, and having violated no law, I don't see how it's in your or Congress's power to deny those people a Constitutional right. I mean, you wouldn't tell them they couldn't, say, write a blog post, or go to church... would you? Would you break into their house without a warrant?

Well, maybe you would. Because, after all, this is an administration that has weaponized the IRS against its perceived political enemies, lied repeatedly to the American people about all manner of things, sucked up to our enemies and shat on our friends, and can't seem to keep its big fat Federal nose out of things that should by all rights be local law enforcement issues.
agilebrit: (NOT a smile)
Buying a gun is easier than buying a book? Really?

That's funny, I can walk into my local B&N, grab a book off the shelf, pay for it, and walk out again five minutes later--and it only takes that long if there's a line. I can go to Amazon, "buy with one-click," and have a book delivered to my door two days later--or have an ebook delivered to my device of choice in seconds.

In order to purchase a firearm, I have to fill out a six-page Federal form, produce ID, and undergo a background check that takes a good half hour or more of cooling my heels. And this is in Utah, where buying a gun is a relatively painless process. In places like New Jersey and California, that process is much more difficult. Fortunately, there's a lot of Shiny in gun stores to occupy my time, so that's not a particular hardship. I certainly cannot just buy one online and have it sent to my home--if I want to buy one from, say,, I have to have it delivered to a licensed firearm dealer and pick it up from them, after filling out that same six-page form.

As the article linked above notes, if you're talking "more gun stores than bookstores"... Well, that too, is factually and laughably incorrect. Your hometown of Chicago proper has exactly zero gun stores, though there's a few on the outskirts of the city that serve the needs of the few people there allowed to own them. As for the rest of the country not laboring under the bootheels of control freaks, this may actually be true, but it's only because Amazon and poor business practices killed most brick-and-mortar bookstores deader than the buggy whip.

So, before you go spouting off utter nonsense that sounds good to your sycophant sheep who gobble it up without utilizing a single brain cell in the process, perhaps you ought to check your actual facts so that the rest of us don't feel like throwing things every time you open your mouth about an issue that you have a lot of Feelings about but don't actually know anything about. That'd be peachy.

No love,
agilebrit: (Urge to bitchslap)
I realize that losing my paltry two paid accounts will not do much to your bottom line.

But you are getting to the point where DreamWidth is looking like a better and better option. I won't be jumping; your own actions will have pushed me. You don't listen to your userbase. When your userbase complains about things, your basic reaction is "suck it up and deal."

Well, sucking it up and dealing by bailing on the site is looking like a more and more attractive option. I finally found the "thread/link" link you so helpfully got rid of/changed to the date/time stamp, but it sure would have been nice if you'd put something in a News or LJReleases post to the effect of "hey, that thing you've been used to for over ten years? Yeah, we moved it."

But this business of not being able to preview a post when I simply have LJLogin enabled (so I can see which of ten accounts I'm logged in to--two of which, as mentioned, are paid accounts with extra icons, and one of which had extra icons, though I haven't re-upped those this time, yet, because, well. You don't want me, clearly) is super sucky. I realize that you "don't support third-party software," and I'm not asking you to. But that software is incredibly useful to those very few of us still clinging bitterly to our roleplay accounts on LJ. What I'm asking you to do is not make it completely unusable to those of us who used it for years with no issues. It feels like you borked it on purpose, honestly, and the fact that you don't seem to care that it affected a wide swath of people with paid accounts makes me more and more likely to migrate to a place that actually wants me and welcomes me.

No love,
[ profile] agilebrit & [ profile] werewolf_hacker
agilebrit: (harshing my squee)
Say, for the sake of argument, I write a story that gets published this year. (And, yes, I do have a specific story in mind for this little mental exercise.) Say also that it gets enough buzz to actually be nominated for an award.

I'm really proud of this story. I worked hard on it. I think it says important things and deals with important issues, while still being a fun read (for certain values of "fun"). It's one of the best things (if not the best thing) I've ever written. I'd be thrilled if it was nominated.

But. Suddenly, I'm supposed to turn this nomination down (on a story I adore, remember) because someone I have no control over put me on a slate? I'm supposed to think my nomination is "tainted" somehow, and should have an asterisk next to it?

You know what, how about: no, fuck that.

And if it happens (hahaha!), I'd be super happy if folks would let me be excited about it for five whole seconds before exploding in rage.
agilebrit: (Don't make me beat you in the name of gr)
Got back from the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab to find that the internet blew up in my absence. Since I knew the Hugo nominations would be announced on Easter Saturday, this was inevitable. And I thought long and hard about whether I was going to make a public post or just lock it to the folks I trust, but I've decided I'm not going to let fear rule me. I'm going to do my best to be a Voice of Reason. Considering the fact that in other circles I'm considered The Mean One, this may be difficult, but I'll try.

Disclaimer: Larry Correia and Brad Torgerson are friends of mine. I do not know Vox Day, and have never had a conversation with him, though I have on occasion visited his blog, and I've read (and enjoyed) some of his fiction.

First of all, congrats to all the nominees. Special shout-outs to Kevin J. Anderson, Jim Butcher, John C. Wright, Tom Kratman, Gray Rhinehart, Annie Bellet, Kary English, Carter Reid, and Bryan Thomas Schmidt. I look forward to reading the Hugo voter packet once it's ready.

I am somewhat gobsmacked by the reaction, though I suppose I shouldn't be. I've been trying to unpack my own reaction to the reaction, and it boils down to a few points:

1. The Hugos are a fan award, and the "fans" in this instance are the ones who buy at least a Supporting Membership to Worldcon. The fact that more fans found out they could do this, and blew at least forty bucks of their hard-earned money in order to make their voices heard, thus putting more money into Worldcon coffers? Is a good thing. The fact that those fans might not be the Sorts Of People that "fandom" is used to having vote on "their" award? Is also a good thing. Because, you know what? The award belongs to them too. Everything should be turned upside down on occasion; it lets in air and light.

2. I keep seeing people saying that they're going to vote "No Award" for anything and anyone who appeared on the Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies slate. I am gobsmacked by this reaction as well. Are you seriously going to punish Jim Butcher, Kary English, John C. Wright, and all the others because of how you think they got on the ballot? Because of who supported them? Do you honestly think they don't belong there?

This strikes me as petty, and beneath us. I thought we were better than that. But apparently there are Cool Kids, and there are the Cooler Kids, and then there are the Great Unwashed. If giving everyone a fair shake--by actually reading the works and voting accordingly--makes me one of the Great Unwashed, well, I'll stand proudly with them. And if your conscience is clear when you vote No Award over the godfather of an entire freaking genre without even reading him, well. I guess it's your conscience.

3. The idea that the nominees aren't "real" and should have an asterisk or something on their win. I'll be succinct here: Bull fucking shit. Jim Butcher is, as said earlier, the godfather of an entire genre and helps writers out wherever he can. Kevin J. Anderson has written more books than God and also helps out new writers. John C. Wright is generally the smartest guy in any room and has books published by Tor, which is not precisely easy. Kary English won Writers of the Future, which is also not precisely easy, and she is lovely. Toni Weisskopf manages--very well!--a publishing house that gives no shits about the politics of their writers. Are you seriously telling me that these luminaries don't belong on the ballot? Please.

4. On "fixing" this "problem": The thing is, no one did anything against the rules. Anyone and everyone is free to suggest their own slate based on their own agenda. Others probably will, next year. As far as I'm concerned, the more the merrier. The way to combat speech you disagree with is not to ban that speech, it's more speech. So. You don't like how this panned out? Start your own campaign. Come up with your own slate next year. Get your friends who read SFF involved. Let them know that they can be involved, for crying out loud. I keep seeing, again and again and freaking again "Oh, wow, I did not realize I could actually have a voice in this, how cool."

We don't need to shut it down. We need to pump it up.

Okay, look.

Jan. 4th, 2015 01:26 pm
agilebrit: (Prayer)
I am a 51-year-old female conservative fundamentalist Christian who writes science fiction and fantasy.

If you think I don't feel marginalized, dismissed, and disrespected in a genre that I've loved since I was 13, you are freaking delusional.

That being said.

Do you think I'm going to let that stop me from realizing my dreams? Do you think I'm going to let other people determine my fate? Especially with the options we have today?

If you answered "yes" to that, then you are also freaking delusional.

In this business, you are the captain of your own ship. If you sit there and wring your hands about how "marginalized" you are, rather than writing your best work and then sending it out to let it stand or fall on its merits, that is no one's fault but yours. Don't wait for damn permission. Just send it.

It really does take ten years to be an overnight sensation. Hone your craft, put your nose to the grindstone, and stop whining about the work. Do you seriously think this is easy for anyone? And if none of the publishers will touch your stuff, and you believe in it that hard, then for the love of God and little green apples, self-publish it and let it find its own audience.

Don't self-reject on the basis that no one is interested in hearing your voice. If I did that, I'd never have even gotten off the ground. In today's climate, where editors are falling all over themselves screaming for "diverse" voices (even though they sort of kind of actually pretty much definitely leave out the "diversity" that I represent, go figure), there is no excuse. Seriously, read the guidelines of just about any SFF publication out there. They're begging on bended knee for diverse voices. Take advantage of that!


Corollary: Grow rhino skin. Don't take this stuff personally, or it will destroy you.

That is the only way to make it in this ridiculous, brutal, ridiculously brutal business.
agilebrit: (Facepalm2)
I'm perusing Drudge today (as one does) and see this headline:

Secret of healthy aging discovered in 35-year study...

Eat well, work out and never smoke...

Well. NO SHIT.

So I click through to the article in the Guardian and find that they asked 2500 men to volunteer for this thing back in 1979...

and 25 of them actually stuck with it.

So. On the basis of a 1% participation rate, we have a headline screaming at us that a healthy lifestyle *gasp* makes you healthier! And they proceed to draw all kinds of conclusions from these 25 dudes who ate healthy, exercised, didn't smoke, and drank in moderation. Nevermind that a self-selecting "study" like this (which picked guys from a single moderately-sized village) is hardly scientific or comprehensive, or the fact that the rest of us realize that this is, you know, common friggin' sense. NO. We need a 40-year university study to tell us what we already know!

[quote] Dementia expert Professor John Gallacher of Cardiff University said: "The Caerphilly Study has made a tremendous contribution to UK Science." No, it really hasn't. Good grief. It's made a tremendous contribution to your pocketbook, no doubt (who paid for this study? The article, mysteriously, fails to mention this), but this isn't "science" in any meaningful sense of the term.

I weep for my planet when "news" and "science" like this passes muster.
agilebrit: (not amused)
And they are asked, in all seriousness, by CNN anchors.

"They often shoot to kill," Blitzer said of police. "Why do they have to shoot to kill? Why can’t they shoot a warning shot in the air, scare someone off if they think they’re in danger. Why can’t they shoot to, injure, shall we say? Why do they have to shoot to kill?"

Well, gee, Wolf. If you'd spend five minutes on the range firing actual guns, then you would know why: Because hitting a three-inch target in a high-stress, high-adrenaline situation where you think your life is endangered is much damn harder than hitting a one-foot target. It's the same reason they don't go for head shots--your chances of missing are much higher because it's a smaller target. They are trained to aim at center mass.

And guess what? They still miss. Not only that, but if you're being rushed from 30 feet away, you do not have time to "fire a warning shot in the air." Also, where the the hell do you think that round is going to come down, possibly injuring someone who isn't even involved? Now, I'm not one of those who can never, ever see the utility of a warning shot, but if you've got someone coming at you With Intent, there's no reason to waste your ammo. They even tell you in the concealed carry class that warning shots are dumb--and illegal.

We're sorry, the John Reese you're looking for to kneecap your perps is unavailable to take your call, because he is a fictional fucking character.

Go back to looking for missing airliners, CNN.
agilebrit: (Hit you for no reason)
Okay, look.

We live in a world where Bad People do Bad Things and frankly don't give a shit who they hurt.

Should we teach our boys that Rape Is Bad? Of course. And we do. I don't know a single man who thinks it's okay to coerce a woman into having sex, and every one of the men of my acquaintance thinks that rapists are the scum of the earth. Hell, even other criminals hate rapists.

We should also teach them that robbing banks is bad, and setting houses and woods on fire is bad, and killing people is bad. Newsflash: We. Already. Do. This. If we are not doing this, we are falling down on the job as parents and a society.

Another newsflash: Sometimes our kids don't listen to us. We can teach them all the right things, and they still make their own terrible choices. It happens. Free Will is a Thing.

So. Knowing that we live in this kind of world, what's better? To tell potential victims to "Lie back and think of England"? Or to tell them "Shoot him in the face"? Telling them "hey, self-defense is something you should learn" is not "victim blaming." It is common fucking sense. It is taking back the night. I thought we wanted this, but somehow, somewhere, saying "learn self-defense, because this is smart" suddenly turned into "we should just wish rape away because that is super effective."

Seriously, what's a better deterrent? Having a finger shaken in your face and being told that what you're doing is bad and you should feel bad, or having a gun shaken in your face and being told that, along with a solid kick to the nuts or knee, an elbow to the jaw, and a punch to the throat?

I realize that not everyone is willing or able to obtain a concealed-carry permit, or is able to take self-defense classes. I am an old(ish), small-boned woman with a herniated disk in my back. The wrong move, on the wrong day, puts me on the ground, writhing in agony. But the thing is, the bare fact that there are people who are willing and able to put it on the line makes everyone else safer. A potential rapist shouldn't know if the victim he's scoping out is the sort who will hurt him--and that should at least make him a bit uneasy. I for one like the idea of uneasy rapists. And uneasy criminals, period.

Shouldn't we all?

Criminy, the fact that this is somehow controversial makes me weep for my country.
agilebrit: (Urge to bitchslap)
Yeah, language warning ahead. I don't suffer assholes lightly.

So, apparently, Michelle Malkin "can't be conservative, because she is a minority."

Now, I don't know if this guy thought he was revoking her permission to be a conservative, or just couldn't believe that she is. Either way, it's a prime piece of idiocy. He is not the boss of her, and she has no obligation to conform to his (stupid) stereotypes. When she rightly told him "Watch me," he had a bit of a minor meltdown. Perhaps he couldn't believe that this *gasp* minority woman dared to stand up to him and form her own opinions.

First, he called her a foreigner, because, I guess, someone with that particular shade of melanin and those particular facial features couldn't possibly have been born in, you know, Pennsylvania. (She was, in case you're wondering.) Not content to run away with his tail between his legs when called out on his blatant racist fuckery, he instead doubled down and declared that there was "something off" about her, without elaborating on what it was. He also stated that "conservatism has nothing to offer minorities."

Well, golly gee willikers, dudebro, thank you so much for whitesplaining that to the poor dumb little minority gal who can't possibly be as smart as the guy with giant arms that probably aren't his and no head for an avatar! We have all seen the light and will be better sheeple presently! We will baa along behind you while you spread your generous and benevolent 5% largesse for us all!

Or, you know... spread something for us all. Something that smells remarkably like bullshit. I realize that it's difficult to form a cogent argument in 140 characters, but he seemed to think that we should all treat his flat declaration as Word of God without backing up his opinion one iota. So, thanks for your arrogant and... did I already say racist? It bears repeating. ...racist stereotypical opinions, pal, but I think I'll decide for myself if conservatism has anything to offer me as a woman if not a minority.

Of course, once he had his head handed to him on that particular issue, he deflected to the old mainstay, "Bush's war!" Nevermind that Hillary and Biden voted for it, and that every single other intelligence apparatus in the world thought that Saddam had WMDs... or that he had already used WMDs on his own fucking people. BUSH. BECAUSE. CONSERVATIVES BAD.

If I didn't know better, I'd think this guy was a caricature. Unfortunately, a glance at his Twitter timeline reveals that he regularly takes oh-so-intelligent shots at Rush Limbaugh in between tweeting incomprehensibly about sports or... something. Hell if I know.

As the immortal Bugs Bunny used to say: What a maroon.
agilebrit: (Schlock Overkill)
What an interesting "bill" I just received from you.

"The amount of $15.98, which you owe for your Reader's Digest magazine subscription, is now several months past due. You have already received several issues of this unpaid subscription. Despite several notices, we have not heard from you.

We ask that you SEND PAYMENT IMMEDIATELY. [capslock theirs]

Please return the attached bill yaddayadda..."

You know, Reader's Digest Billing Department, the fact that we didn't renew the subscription in a timely manner should have been a friggin' clue that we didn't want to receive your magazine any more. The fact that you kept sending us issues after the subscription expired is not on us, it's on you. And the fact that you're sending me a dunning letter for something that's your fault does not endear you to me. At all.

Perhaps you need to send out these increasingly desperate renewal attempts because your current editorial slant means that you're bleeding subscribers. Your current editorial slant is the reason we, ourselves, have not renewed--nor will we. "Bill" notwithstanding. That's a pretty shoddy business practice, dudes, and I don't particularly like paying money to get liberalism shoved in my face. I get that enough in my free entertainment without shelling out cash for it.

So. Stop sending us both magazines and bills, and we will all be happy.
agilebrit: (Tired & Long-suffering)
You know, I spend a lot of time in grocery stores, and I don't see a whole lot of moms standing there scratching their heads over labels in the aisles. Frankly, it doesn't happen.

That's because most of us don't actually look too hard at the damn labels. Most of us use common fucking sense when it comes to feeding our families. And for you to think that we need your help in deciding what to buy is not only a disconnect with reality, but an act of supreme hubris on your part--

Especially since I'm pretty sure you haven't actually had to feed your family yourself for at least six years.

You said, "So this is a huge deal, which is why everybody is here. (Laughter.) And it's going to make a big difference for families across this country."

No. Bullshit. The only "huge difference" it's going to make is that my damn grocery budget will shrink as prices rise because the manufacturers have to scramble to comply with your new regulations. The "huge deal" is that, hey, now my food is going to cost more.

So, you know, thanks for that.

How about you and your husband get the hell out of my way and let me take care of myself? I don't need my hand held by clueless, arrogant bureaucrats who think they know better. And neither do the moms of America, who are far smarter than you give us credit for--and smarter than you.
agilebrit: (kill you with my brain)
I decided that I nevertheless want to weigh in, even though a couple of giants have already done so. Larry Corriea did a masterful fisking of the HuffPo article, and John C. Wright gave his own thoughts as well.

So, Ms. Shepherd, congratulations, you've garnered some attention. Probably not the kind of attention you wanted, but when you write something that utterly, egregiously stupid, be prepared to reap the consequences from people smarter than you.

In the writing world as well as the economic world, a rising tide lifts all boats. I look at people like Jim Butcher and Carrie Vaughn and Patty Briggs and Rob Thurman, and I don't want them to stop writing so there's more room for me in anthologies. I want them to stick around because they are creating a market for the things I write too. Someday, in some far-off future when I'm actually writing novels instead of shorts, maybe some fan of theirs will be poking through the shelf, find my book, and think "Hey! That sounds exactly like the sort of thing I love to read! I think I'll check it out."

The mere fact that they exist has the potential to put money in my pocket. And this is the point that Ms. Shepherd is woefully ignorant of.

The other ridiculousness here is that Rowling's mysteries are nothing like Shepherd's. "The Cuckoo's Calling" takes place in the modern day, while Shepherd's detective is a Sherlock Holmes knockoff in 1850's England. Rowling's prose is clear and evocative; Shepherd's... well. Isn't. Look at this opening from "The Cuckoo's Calling":

"The buzz in the streets was like the humming of flies. Photographers stood massed behind barriers patrolled by police, their long-snouted cameras poised, their breath rising like steam."

I don't know about you, but I immediately got a sense of "flies around a corpse" from that even though we don't even know there's a body for several more paragraphs. I thought that was pretty neat. Not only that, but there is action here. People are doing things--interesting things. Clearly something just happened, and we keep reading to find out what it was.

Contrast it with this, from "A Fatal Likeness":

"We began before thick in autumn fog; we open now in the fury of a west and winter wind. Above us high loose clouds drive across a steep grey sky--"

And that's about when I started skimming. She goes on in this vein for a page and a half. I realize that my personal loathing of present tense is not Shepherd's fault, but the pretentiously "royal we" POV is the icing on that particular cake.

I don't pretend that I know everything about writing; I'm a barely-published short story writer and Shepherd has had five novels published. But I do know better than to open on the weather and then spend a page and a half waxing rhapsodic about it and the city street it's taking place on, in a POV that only college lit professors and others of that ilk will find endearing. There is "setting a scene," and there is "bludgeoning the reader with turgid atmosphere until they are semi-conscious and bleeding from the eyeballs."

So, Ms. Shepherd, my advice to you is this: stop bawwing about how Rowling is daring to exist in your (loosely-defined) genre, crack open her book, and actually learn how to write a bestseller from reading it. And then other wannabe writers can write whiny screeds about you sucking all the air out of your genre and how you ought to step aside and make room for them.

That's assuming you haven't killed your incipient career altogether with this ill-considered diatribe.

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