This little bit of film is the single most appalling thing I have seen all year. The reporters are liars.
Amazing what you can find on the Internet. Here is an article I wrote two years ago which I frankly have no memory of writing, nor was it listed in my list of published works: but it is clearly mine.
It was published by the same fine fellows, Intercollegiate Review, who published my seminal article that started my career as an Evil Legion of Evil author, that is, nonpolitically correct: Heinlein, Hugos and Hogwash.
In reality, the best way to find reality is through fairyland.Fairy tales of any sort are more truthful about the eternal verities of the human condition than many a tale told in the realistic style.
Stories about a bold champion of Camelot or the enchantress of Aeaea, or the great dragon beneath the Lonely Mountain, will tell you more of sin and salvation, love and loss and love found again, than a yarn about a cuckold in turn-of-the-century Dublin, or a decadent drunk living in West Egg, Long Island.
This is because so-called realistic tales deal only with the surface features of life, what we see with our eyes, so to speak; fairy tales touch the mystery and wonder at the core of life.
This is true even of tales that treat the matter of ancient epics and ballads lightly, as when a young orphan discovers he is not of our world but a wizard from the land of magic hidden from human eyes. Harry Potter somewhat cheekily, and with tongue in cheek, puts all the tropes of once-upon-a-time into modern garb, so that broom-riding witches play rugby in midair, and the sorcerer’s apprentice goes to boarding school straight out of Tom Brown’s School Days to face bullies as bad as Flashman.
But even a lighthearted treatment of the eternal things will brush up against eternal themes: Harry must face a Dark Lord who is a dark reflection of his own soul, and he bears the wound of his mother’s love, which saved him as a babe, upon his brow.Harry Potter is the most successful book of all time next to Pilgrim’s Progress and the Sear’s Catalogue.
And so, naturally, there is a certain cult, known in his world as Deatheaters, and in our world as Political Correctness, that seeks repulsively to claim that success as their own.A recent article in i09 reports that Anthony Gierzynski, a political scientist at the University of Vermont, found that Harry Potter fans are more open to diversity and are more politically tolerant than nonfans.
The fans are also less likely to support the use of deadly force or torture, more politically active, and more likely to have had a negative view of the Bush administration.From this the conclusion is put forth (in a leap of logic that would make the cow jumping over the moon blush with shame) that Harry Potter draws children toward the political Left.
What an utter load of rubbish.
I have inspected neither Gierzynski’s data nor his methods, but I know blast-ended skrewt dung when I smell it.
Asking on a questionnaire whether one is open to diversity is like asking whether one likes raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. And the caricature of conservatives as cretins who applaud deadly force and torture, intolerance and cruelty, is as much of a world make-believe as Voldemort himself.
Finding that no one in real life believes what bigoted leftists pretend conservatives believe does not mean most people lean left: it means leftists are bigots.
It is no surprise that more leftists buy books, including fairytale books, for their children, and pass along their political viewpoints as well. Leftists already live in Cloudcuckooland, which is next door to fairyland.
I suggest that some enterprising political scientist perform a similar study for any book-reading of any kind, not just books about schoolboy wizards, or, indeed, any idle pastime whatsoever. Leftism is found more among idle folk whose mental immune system is weak: among teens, among university professors, and among everyone else who does not work for a living. (And the People’s Republic of Vermont is as thick with the leftism-carrying vectors as a fever swamp with mosquito and tse-tse fly.)
As part of their ongoing attempt to politicize private life, and spread their cult, leftists since the 1930s at least have attempted to import their messages into movies, popular songs, television, everywhere. It is a particular badge of courage to them if they can get a conservative father to buy a book containing propaganda for his child unknowingly.
When a leftist critic calls a book “subversive.” he means it as a compliment. He means that the work undermines the expectations of art form but also that it undermines the current social order, because, to the Left, even art forms, even children’s books, can carry the plague vector of their worldview.
For better or worse, reality is conservative. Because of this, drama in any form tends to be conservative: readers still enjoy reading love stories and heroic adventures. Hence a book like Harry Potter, which is based on archetypes as old as cave paintings — wise men with long gray beards, evil serpents, trusted comrades, the unloved orphan (who, like Hercules or Moses, is chosen by fate to slay monsters or evil lords and save his people) — is innately conservative.
George RR Martin remembers David Hartwell: http://grrm.livejournal.com/468266.html
My comment: Mr. Martin’s words were moving to me, and I wrote him the note below.
Mr. Hartwell launched and sustained my career with the same unselfishness and goodheartedness you here describe. Under very trying circumstances, for example, his work allowed me to write NULL-A CONTINUUM, which, like your ‘Bitterblooms’ is to you, is a favorite of mine.
It grieves me that you and I should be at odds over unimportant political matters when science fiction as a genre, and the people in our lives, and much else besides are things we both have in common and outweigh any differences.
The shadow of our mutual loss of a friend sharply reminds me of what is important in life, and mutual ire is not one of those things.
You wrote not long ago of a desire for peace in the science fiction community; I second that sentiment and voice it also. Let there be peace between us.
John C. Wright
I agree, death has a way of putting life’s other trials and triumphs in perspective.
My own political and social views are very much at odds with yours, Mr. Wright, and our views on literary matters, especially as regards science fiction and fantasy, are far apart as well. But I have always believed that science fiction has room for all, and I am pretty sure that David Hartwell believed that as well.
If we want to heal the wounds our community suffered last year, all of us need to stop arguing about the things that divide us, and talk instead about the things that unite us… as writers, as fans, as human beings. Our grief in David’s passing is one of those things. Everyone who ever knew him or worked with him will miss him, I do not doubt.
So thank you for your note, and your heartfelt and compassionate words about David.
Well said, Mr. Martin. Spoken like a gentleman.
Congratulate me, for the first draft of my latest book, GREEN KNIGHT’S SQUIRE, was finished last night.
It is my first attempt at a juvenile, and tells the story of Gilberec Moth, a sixteen year old from North Carolina, who is unpopular with students and administrators alike because he tells the truth fights for the weak, but does not inform on his fellow students. He also can understand the speech of birds and beasts. He is expelled for fighting, and must find honest work. At the advice of his dog, Ruff, he decides to become a knight.
Even though there is really not that much call for knighthood in the modern age. He follows the dog into the woods, and far from the fields we know.
He finds a one-eyed bear and a mermaid, and an elfin feast, an Arthurian monster and a monstrous saint. He enters places on the globe forgotten to normal men, unseen by satellites and mapmakers, and not a small spot either, but whole citadels, cities, mountains taller than Everest, a third hemisphere. In this untouched, hidden continents are skies where passenger pigeons still fly, plains where American Indians still hunt, jungles where Aztecs still sacrifice, and battlefields where elfish knights adorned in glory fight over which misfortunes to impose on their slaves and cattle, mankind.
And I just wrote the last word of the curtain line last night. Pop the corks and blow the horns!
Now, the first thing to ponder, of course, is the question any Christian fantasy writer must sooner or later encounter: Whether the portrayal of magic powers in his fantasy tale step over the bounds into glorifying occultism?
At one time, I held it to be absurd to worry about the portrayal of magic in books like Lord of the Rings. I thought only that fretful Christians with too much time on their hands, the kind who worry about whether Dungeons and Dragons is satanic, held such knuckledheaded ideas. But then my mind changed (and grew knuckleheaded) in college I met not one but several practicing neo-pagans, modern witches, who listed Tolkien’s work as their primary inspiration for an interest in the supernatural, which led to an interest in manipulating the supernatural by any means that presented themselves, that is, occultism.
To me, it matters not one whit whether occultism actually was real or all elaborate self delusion: worshiping devils and bowing to pagan gods in return for health and happiness, victory in battle or good crops is not so bad, but when you start asking for money and power, revenge on your enemies, curses and diseases, and even the alleged ‘white witches’ who seek only the good of others are reduced to a grinding hatred for their foes and hearts hard and pitiless, that is very bad, and that is precisely where the road of witchcraft lures.
I am not here arguing the point; I am speaking from experience. I have seen people, friends of mine including my closest, who are a good and kindhearted as any man alive, on an instant turn into sniggering, swaggering, sneering bundles of paranoia, malice and malignancy in a fashion that looks like demonic possession; and this is due (as far as I can tell) in their dabbling in occult forces they think they understand, but don’t. It is freaky.
It is also immensely stupid, like watching the intern pick up radium in her hand without donning gloves or protective goggles.
Nonetheless, the abuse of the imagination should not lead to the banning of the imagination, but to its healthy and proper use.
We exiles from Eden know as if by instinct that the material world is not all that there is, and the span between life and death is not the whole story, or, rather, a story of grinding fury, futility, mocking irony and final despair. If it is the whole story, it is senseless, absurd, and ugly. For the Exiles to dream of the realms where glory and power arising, singing, in the vales of endless light is no more contemptible than a muddy soldier in a foxhole clutching the photo of his fiancée, seeking comfort in the image of his true love to whom he will one day return.
To extend the metaphor, if the captain sees some soldiers carrying a picture of a girlfriend, allowed by army regulations, and others carrying a Playboy centerfold that is clearly pornography and against regs, he has to make judgment about pinup girl photos of Betty Grable or Rita Hayworth.
To do this he has to list the ways in which the first case is like or unlike the second, and if it is too like the second case, it falls into the rules applied to the second case.
Now, those puritans who would throw out the girlfriend’s picture along with the Playboy bunny, be off with you. I need not hear your argument and will not.
There are Christians who eschew Wizard of Oz and Disney’s Tinkerbell for the same reason the monstrous Cromwell banned Christmas and burned violins and smashed stained glass windows.
Anyone who would throw away Narnia for fear of the occult is throwing away a book that saved more souls than their sour rigorism ever did. I am not giving up my Christmas Tree and not given up my D&D. You may, if this forms a particular temptation to you, you give them up, but not everyone need be teetotalers just because you cannot hold your wine.
For the rest of us, there has to be a judgment made between the harmless use of magic as a metaphor for real miracles and the harmful use of magic as a lure toward the occult.
So what are the two cases when it comes to fantasy magic?
Miracles display the power over nature Adam before the fall knew in Eden, and which prophets and martyrs are allowed in crucial moments to display. Occultism is the false promise by devils to give man such powers for the sake of accomplishing those evil works one dare not carry to heaven in prayer. Lucifer promises he will grant your will for filthy, mundane, and shameful things the magician would not dare insult the Virgin to grant.
Miracles in fairy stories are like the blessings of the fairy godmother in Cinderella. The theme of that story is the same as in the Magnificat, the Canticle of Mary: He hath put down the mighty from their seat : and hath exalted the humble and meek.
The fairy godmother is a childhood stand-in for the real Mother Mary in the same way that Santa Claus is a stand-in for the real Saint Nicholas, patron of Mariners and protector of children.
Such stand-ins are less prone to mislead the misleadable if certain fences or hedges are placed about the way magic is portrayed in fantasy stories.
The critic and apologist Steven D. Greydanus, in his essay ‘Harry Potter vs. Gandalf’ (http://decentfilms.com/articles/magic), identifies seven possible hedges that serve to divide the magic of fantasy from occultism. Here is the summary by Tom Simon, whom I quote to provide me with an excuse to link to his excellent essay ‘A Taste for Magic’ http://bondwine.com/2008/04/29/the-taste-for-magic/
- The pursuit of magic as a safe and lawful occupation is restricted to wholly imaginary realms, unconnected with our own world.
- The existence of magic is an openly known reality of which the inhabitants of those worlds are as aware as we are of rocket science.
- The pursuit of magic is confined to supporting characters, not the protagonists.
- The author includes cautionary threads in which exposure to magical forces proves to be a corrupting influence on the protagonists.
- Magical powers occur naturally only to characters who are not in fact human beings.
- Magic is the safe and lawful occupation of characters who embody a certain wizard archetype — white-haired old men with beards and robes and staffs, etc.
- The author gives no narrative space to the process by which magicians acquire their powers. Although study may be assumed as part of the back story, the wizard appears as a finished product with powers in place, and the reader is not in encouraged to dwell on the process of acquiring prowess in magic.
I am going to add my own hedge 8 beneath this: does the magic in the story act or feel like what real occultism does or pretends to do? Is the character turning to a magician to learn the outcome of a business deal, buy a love potion, lay a curse on a foe? Does the magic involve a rituals mocking of real Roman rites, including bad Latin, and mystic passes, calls and responses, mockeries of baptism or anointing and so on? Does the magic involve open or implied supplications to demons or dark powers, or is it just a superpower or psychic power like the Mind Meld of a Vulcan or Supergirl’s ability to fly, which might as well be a hitherto undiscovered branch of science and technology? Because if the wizard is an adventurer who throws fire from magic wand like a gunfighter blasting away with a sixshooter, in the fashion of Harry Dresden, this is about as occultic as the magic ring of the Green Lantern, which is to say, not at all.
So, the whole world from pole to pole is no doubt breathless and dazed and suffering stomach cramps of wonder and astonishment over the question of how my unpublished manuscript that no one has read lines up with this rather haphazard list of hedges against occultism. Well, gasp with brain-dazzled wonder no more!
Some very mild spoilers are below, but no one has read this manuscript, so it does not matter. Let us step through the list.
I once proposed a two dimensional political spectrum with orthodox Christianity, otherwise known as the truth, at the center of the x-axis and y-axis like a lighthouse, and concentric rings issuing outward to show the distance from orthodox thought. In each direction the dominant thought of that direction eventually displaces Christian thought, and ends in nihilism, the philosophical posture that there is no truth known or knowable to man.
- South is chivalry. In that direction is nationalist monarchy and Protestantism, the hierarchy of the old order of throne and altar, national churches and the divine right of kings, and far south the sultan or caliph who is both church and state together, and Caesar is worshiped as divine, not Christ;
- North is the pragmatic and individualistic ‘classical liberalism’ of the conservative which severs church from state, and far north is deism, cynicism, libertarianism and selfishness, where individualism and human rights are worshiped as divine, not Christ;
- East is ideology, which is the attempt to replace religion with a secular philosophy. Here is the zealous spirit of the reformer, and far to the east is the communist, and Christ is hated as a rival to the Utopia;
- West is mysticism, which is the attempt to divorce reason from religion and leave only an esoteric sentiment. The theosophists who would do away with government altogether are here, mystics and New Age spiritualists, and far west is the Gnostics who deny Christ in favor of their own personal claim to divinity.
Each one is an reaction to (or an overreaction to) the abuses or lapses of the previous. The abuses (real or not) of the Medieval Church led to a rise of national monarchs, as in England and Germany, who assumed clerical and spiritual powers, leading to Puritanism; the overreach of the national churches led to the classical liberalism and separation of church and state embodied in the Enlightenment, which is pragmatism and worldly practicality, devolving to cynicism; those weary of cynics wanted something deeper in life, but sought it in pursuit of secular utopias, and sought mystical union not with God but with the collective spirit of Marxism; the bloody failures and broken promises of Marxism led next to a rejection of worldliness, but not back to any true faith, but just to a vague and directionless paganism, bogus copies of eastern faiths, and a fashionable belief in theosophy and claptrap. This mysticism at its core is antinomian, and seeks to undermine whatever is the norm in law or morality.
I propose a new psychological test based on which race of satirical characters from GULLIVER’S TRAVELS one might be:
- Lilliputian — petty and vicious
- Brobdingnagian — magnanimous but contemptuous of mankind
- Laputan — clumsy, dazed and impractical intellectual, fearful of comets and other unreal problems, often cuckolded
- Balnibarbi — even more impractical intellectuals, wasteful, fussy, perhaps insane, but always frantic to follow the latest fad or fashion
- Luggnagg — Respects the past, listens to the wisdom of honored dead
- Struldbrugs– Typical Leftist: seeks an earthly eternity or utopia, but lives in misery
- Japanese — Tramples the cross
- Houyhnhnm — logical, remorselessly rational
- Yahoo — poop-flinging brute
- Englishmen — all of the above, but worse and not as funny
The test is that you place yourself on the island where you think you best fit, and then your friends secretly vote and say where you actually fit.
Back when I was an atheist, I was had in my arsenal, well polished from use, every argument that could be mustered against theism, and particularly against Christianity.
There were two arguments I never bothered with, both because they are illogical, that is, they cannot be formed into a properly formatted syllogism.
The first is the argument that when compared with a universe designed by a benevolent and omnipotent God, our own universe is too disorderly to have been designed. This is the atheist equivalent of the theist argument from design, and suffers from the same flaw. Since we have no other universes to which to compare our own universe, the crucial evidence that ours is either more orderly or less, that is, the evidence on which the argument turns for its persuasive force, is missing. You may, if you wish, speculate that universes not created by God would be more orderly or less order than this one which we inhabit, but such speculation is not supported by observed evidence. So this is an argument I never brandished as an atheist.
Please note that I make no comment about related arguments, such as whether there is evil in the universe, or whether evidence of purpose or ‘teleology’ in the organs of organisms implies a designer. Those can be properly formatted, and cannot be dismissed summarily by any honest thinker.
A second argument which rusted in the arsenal was the argument that since Man evolved from the Ape who was Darwin’s grandfather, therefore God does not exist. This is an argument akin to saying that since Zeus does not exist, therefore God does not exist. It is simply a misreading of the Christian claim. The Christians claim their God is simple, omnipotent, eternal, spiritual, omnipotent, the source of all being and the end of all being. He is not merely a local or limited phenomenon, nor is he the author of only a single chapter of the book of history, but of all of it.
The atheist argument that Darwin is true therefore a boneheadedly literal reading of the first two chapters of Genesis is false does not prove Genesis is false. It proves that boneheads should be kept away from interpreting the Bible.
Since the boneheadedly literal meaning of the first chapter of Genesis contradicts the boneheadedly literal meaning of the second chapter, even when I was an atheist, I said it was a safer bet to throw out the boneheads than throw out the Bible. An atheist who only plucks the lowhanging fruit of criticizing the nonstandard, nonauthoritative, and overly literal interpretation of Genesis will not sharpen his sword nor hone his wits, nor will he do his position any honor.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Western civilization and our literature, Genesis One says trees and grass are older than the sun, and that evening and morning came and went before the sun was made, and that animals are older than man, all men being created at once directly from his word, whereas Genesis Two says man is older than animals,and all men descend from one man, only one of whom was directly created from the dirt.
Note to boneheads: this is not what the passages mean, this is only what they say when interpreted with a boneheaded overly literal interpretation.
If I say “sorrow is the sunset of my heart” it is merely boneheadedness to point out that the heart is merely an organ that pumps blood whereas sorrow is seated in the nervous system, or to say that the earth rotates but the sun is still, therefore no such thing as sunrise really exists. No one but a bonehead will go into a phrenzy trying to explain that the heart, because it is connected to the nervous system, actually is a seat of emotion, or that sunrise, when seen from Earth’s surface, according to the laws of relativity, does indeed make the sun move and rise. Normal and sane people who know how language works can tell the difference between a falsehood and a figure of speech.
Now, some wellmeaning souls mean to forestall the alleged conflict between religion and science by attempting to reconcile the Biblical account of spiritual creation with the scientific account of the physical order of the physical universe, two things that, in my mind, are unrelated. Such persons invent parallels between the Big Bang and the Fiat Lux, or talk about how the early earth was swathed in an eternal cloud barrier that made it so that the sun did not come out until the fourth day of creation, or somesuch.
All a waste of words. Myself, I do not see how it detracts one iota from the wisdom or honesty of God Almighty if Moses thought the word was flat and that the sky was like a tent with an ocean overhead.
Who says our ideas about the physical universe are any closer to the truth? We could be at the early part of the prologue of the scientific revolution, not near the last act.
The whole problem with this approach of trying to shoehorn Biblical meanings into a modern scientific worldview is that the modern scientific worldview has a shorter lifespan than the fourscore and ten a healthy human can live.
The Space Age began and ended in my lifetime; the Atomic Age in my fathers’, and my grandfather was before the 1919 solar eclipse provided the first observational proof of Einstein’s theory of relativity. My greatgrandfather is older than the publication of Darwin’s revolutionary theory.
Modern people are parochial. They tend not to realize that the latest word of modern science lasts no longer than the latest word in women’s fashion. If the Bible is chained to an interpretation saying that ‘Let There Be Light’ refers to the Big Bang, what becomes of faith when scientists in our children’s generation discover that the Steady State theory was correct after all, and there never was a Big Bang?
What do Biblical scholars who busily reconciled Genesis with Darwin do once Darwin is thrown on the same ash heap of exploded scientific models as phlogiston and geocentrism and phrenology?
The guest post this week over at the Superversive site is Theologic License by Matthew Schmidt (http://www.ljagilamplighter.com/2016/01/27/superversive-blog-guest-post-where-religion-and-fantasy-meet/):
The problem of mixing speculative fiction with actual religion has existed since the first time Og told a ghost story around the cave’s fire, and, having returned to hunting the next day, wondered what ghosts meant for the Great Spirit. Whatever Og’s conclusion was has been lost to time, but we see it again more recently (relatively speaking) in The Divine Comedy. In the depths of Hell, Dante comes across Odysseus, who is eternally punished for attempting to reach Purgatory by the sole effort of humans. What exactly the presence of Odysseus implied for the panoply of feuding Greek divinities of the Iliad and the Odyssey, in the further reality of the True Divine, is not considered.
But while Og needed only entertain his tribesmen for a few minutes, and Dante used Odysseus as a symbol of the inadequacy of mortal powers, the modern speculative fiction author does not get off so easily.
The questions for the fantasy author have plagued the genre since Tolkien. They arrive like rubberneckers at the world’s construction site, incessantly pestering the author. If there is a fictional pantheon, are those gods “real?” Are they angelic like the Valar of Valinor, or noble beings like the Overcyns of Skai? Or are they mere frauds as Tash—a safe choice, but then Tash actually appears at the end of the Chronicles of Narnia and the issues are immediately raised. Add magic and ethical issues enter immediately, and whole essays have been written on the topic (see the excellent one by Tom Simon.)
The science fiction author can only avoid the same questions with sufficiently hard science and sufficient planning ahead. (Be sure to put three or so bishops on your generation ship to avoid issues of apostolic succession.) Reach for any other ingredient—time travel, artificial intelligence, or worse yet, extraterrestrial life—and now you have some irritating theological question, one that will devour your creative energies like a black hole.
And avoiding that singularity is the key. In my experience as a writer, attempting to write any kind of speculative fiction while staying behind every jot and tittle of established theology is futile. Fear of writing heretical ideas will do more damage to your writing than actually writing something theologically inaccurate….
Read the whole thing.
The teenager told police that she was attacked in central Sønderborg on Wednesday at around 10pm by a dark-skinned English-speaking man. She said the man knocked her to the ground and then unbuttoned her pants and attempted to undress her.The girl was able to save herself from further assault by using pepper spray on the attacker, but now she may be the one who ends up in legal trouble.“It is illegal to possess and use pepper spray, so she will likely be charged for that,” local police spokesman Knud Kirsten told TV Syd.The case has sparked a backlash among some Danes who point to increasing reports of sexual harassment in Sønderborg and other Danish cities at the same time that police say they are stretched too thin to properly carry out their duties.Numerous readers wrote in the comments section on TV Syd’s story about the incident that they would be willing to pay the girl’s fine, which will most likely be 500 kroner.The man who attacked the 17-year-old fled from the scene and has not been charged.