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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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election and recs
children of dune - leto 1
I am unmotivated. I am not even motivated enough to rant which is sad and some kind of reflection on our society, I'm sure. Or rather, the election, because it's freaking draining even in peripheral involvement. It's not just that so much news here seems to be dominated by it; it's also the scare tactics, and the mudslinging, and the ridiculous posturing (and I don't even mean by the candidates) or Joe the Plumber (a record deal? Really?) and the relentlessness of equating electoral choice with moral choice, which I hate.

Dualism is workable in fiction, which is by nature two dimensional and easily shaded. It's crazymaking to try and apply that to real life. And the fact that both parties and their adherents do it drives me nuts.

And that is my rant on politics. For those who plan to be online during the election on Tuesday night, anyone schedule a chat yet? I've heard this rumor this election is going to be a bit controversial.

Other News That Is Not Election Related, Yay!

A.) miss_porcupine continues the Qui Habitat universe in Loyaulte Me Lie, a Jeannie-centric companion to the Rodney-centric Art Is Long. I'd say read Art is Long first, but then again, I'd say read the entire damn novel.

Qui Habitat probably one of SGA's best novels (in progress) and makes my top ten reading of all time in fandom for characterization, scope, and creativity. The premise is based on the idea that SG1 did not defeat the Ori and the Milky Way fell, leading to an evacuation to Atlantis. It's ruthlessly practical, unsentimental, and startlingly blunt with few easy answers as the slow emergence of the Ori in Pegasus becomes more and more inevitable.

The Jeannie story, however, is painful in a very different way, and goes a long way to humanize the unthinkable. While completely different from the Jonas-centric Huma, the time taken in these stories to focus on individual people pre-surrender paints a fascinating picture of how it happened on both a personal and political level, and, at least to me, does a better job of explaining what happened than space battles ever could.

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If I never hear the words "Joe the Plumber" again it still will be too soon. I mean, WTF? I always knew American politics were kind of crazy, but who cares what some random person, who even worse is also clueless on top of everything else, thinks about politics? On the other hand, maybe I'm just envious, because nobody offers me record deals and other profitable ventures for producing uninformed babble about campaign topics as random "RatCreature the Slacker" everywoman...

America has a long tradition of celebrating ignorance as purity; it's like virginity in the political arena. Luckily, like virginity, he loses his appeal the second he starts being political as well. There's a very strong belief in the bootstrap theory that comes from this; it's easier for people to believe that their lives are totally within their own control (hence bootstrap) instead of admitting at any time that luck and friends/family/connections have anything to do with success or failure. To admit that would undermine a lot of the appeal of the Republican party to people. And this overlaps heavily with strong evangelicals, who believe Christianity is a set of rules to follow strictly, checking off each one to achieve salvation, rather than a faith to be lived and explored, with rules being less important than adhering to the spirit of faith. So it's literalists versus non-literalists, which probably is a pretty good breakdown of the difference between Republicans and Democrats in a lot of ways.

I have thought about this for a while, you might say.

I understand your bootstrap myth, the whole "from dishwasher to millionaire" American dream narrative I guess, but I'd always assumed that *competence* somehow figured into this.

I mean, it's not that I think being a plumber disqualifies anyone from being a high level politician eventually if they want to and turn out to be good at it-- heck, one of our most popular foreign ministers was a high school drop out who before he became a full time politician worked in jobs like being a store clerk and taxi driver iirc, but being rather driven he advanced in politics into high offices, and well, now that he's retired he has jobs like *teaching* international politics at Princeton, no matter that he never attended any university himself afaik, and of course he also sold his autobiography and such.

So clearly you don't even a whole omnipresent ideology promoting this ideal to have it work out for some people. (Of course while the attraction of the self-made success story is present here too, belief in it as some kind of promise as long as you only work hard enough is not, hence we still have at least some welfare and health insurance, unlike US people... )

What baffles me about this Joe character, they are so fond of, is that he hasn't done anything yet. I mean, formal education or not, in my example above the guy is smart, and it took him decades to rise through a party hierarchy and win elections with his party. Nobody would have been interested in his autobiography *before* he accomplished anything.

The assumption with bootstrap is if you do it, you have high competence and drive. Joe is, for weird Americans, is a man who (liberal) government is keeping him from bootstrapping. It's counterintuitive, but that is how they think.

Yes, it's utterly insane.

To look a gift horse in the mouth -- the link to Art Is Long is wonky. ;)

Thank you very much.

Well, the horse needed the dental work anyway. *g* Fixed.

Because I still can't find the right feedback for this--Huma was probably one of the most painful stories I've read in a while. I think your lack of sentimentality worked fantastically with Jonas especially, who was so ultra-focused from what had happened to him that it read almost like a modern horror story of invasion. Since I don't know him, I had to work from what little I'd read about him, and it was just amazing. Thank you for that.

Thank you.

I have deep pride in how Art Is Long turned out, but Huma has a special place on the meta level because it's pretty much coming from nothing -- in Season Six we got very little of Kelowna and almost nothing of Langara, which was fine considering Jonas was on Earth, but we got so little of Jonas, too, which was less fine.

My occasionally-too-disassociated style worked, I think, because if Jonas had taken a moment to think about any of it on any levels other than tactical, it would have crushed him completely.

If you find out about a chat, let me know! Or else we'll have to start our own.

I'll definitely be on. If no one else volunteers, I'll do a sign up tomorrow for people interested in group chat.

I will be on. There are some folks I hooked up with to get through the debates, but I have no idea if we'll be doing anything Election Night, too. And even if so, I'd be quite happy to hang out in two chat rooms and make the night more bearable. :-)

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