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Crib Sheet: Dead Lies Dreaming

(Crib Sheet essays may contain spoilers for the book in question. Previously I refrained from writing them until the book was published in paperback, typically 12 months after first hardcover release. However, times are a'changing. In the UK, Orbit released the paperback of Dead Lies Dreaming only six months after the hardback. And in the USA, Tor.com is an ebook-first publisher; while they issue my books in hardcover, there will probably never be a paperback release unless for some reason they decide they need a trade paperback. (The mass market paperback channel for trade fiction has been dying by inches since about 2005, as ebooks supplant it.) Dead Lies Dreaming came out in October 2020, and I figure you've had time to read it by now: so I'm releasing this particular essay a few months earlier than I would have done for previous books.)

I wrote Dead Lies Dreaming in 2018-2019, during a difficult time in my life when I was unable to grapple with the book I was supposed to be writing (Invisible Sun, which got finished a short time later). Dead Lies Dreaming happened almost by accident—it wasn't on my to-do list at all, let alone planned with the idea that it might be the start of a whole new series (book 2, Quantum of Nightmares, is with the copy editor right now: it comes out next January 11th). That, and the chaos caused by the arrival of COVID19, probably account for it being marketed in hardcover as Laundry Files book 10, which it most certainly is not: but it's set in the same world as the Laundry Files, the world of the New Management, and that's why it says "New Management book 1" on the spine of the UK paperback.

I'm insisting on the distinction because the New Management books are not about the government agency known to its staff as the Laundry. Nor do any Laundry Files characters—with the significant exception of His Dread Majesty, the Prime Minister—show up in the first two books of the new series. As the first Amazon reader reviews predictably complained about the lack of Bob, Mo, and the Laundry, I want to make it quite clear: Dead Lies Dreaming is set some time (six months to two years) after the end of the final, not-yet-written (or titled) Laundry Files novel. Spoiler: the Black Pharaoh, N'yar Lat-Hotep, is still Prime Minister of the UK, and CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN is ongoing (if not actually getting any worse). There may or may not be survivors and revenants from SOE Q-Division and Continuity Operations. We will get to briefly see Persephone Hazard again in book 3. But that's not relevant ot the plot of this book, which kicks off a whole new series.

The previous series turned out to be impossible to continue as of 2018-2021, a period during which British politics became so bizarre as to be impossible to satirize. I promise I'll get back to it eventually! But if I was to write more stories in the same setting, I had to drop the political/civil service angle, which meant dropping the Laundry and moving the spotlight to focus on civilian life under the New Management.

So what happened to trigger this unexpected attack novel?

My father died in 2017, leaving my mother, aged 88 and very infirm, behind. They lived in Leeds, a city roughly 200 miles from Edinburgh by road or rail. In July 2018 my mother had a stroke, and was admitted to hospital. While hospitalized she had another brain bleed and was left semi-paralysed, speech impaired, and with difficulty swallowing. I've always been quite close to my parents: consequently I shed a bunch of other committments to spend time with her (and give me other siblings—who lived much closer—some respite). She stayed in the hospital for more than three months, before finally being discharged to a nursing home that was able to provide the 24x7 support she needed. She never recovered, but spent roughly 15 months in the nursing home before she finally succumbed to one last stroke, a few weeks after her 90th birthday.

During the 18 month period I commuted weekly by train (it's much faster than driving, and less tiring). But despite the commute being tolerable, the experience was exhausting. Dealing with death or terminal illness is stressful, as I discovered during my father's terminal illness (which killed the book I was working on at the time). I had just begun to recover, by way of taking a long-postponed six month sabbatical, when my mother became ill: at that point, I recognized that my conscious attempt to take time off and recharge was a bust, I couldn't work to deadlines either while stressed out, and so I downed tools for the duration.

But my subconscious is terrible at handling idleness, and even if I can't make deadline targets, I can still do tentative, exploratory work. So after a few weeks I gave myself license to indulge in creative writing, something I hadn't done for years. This freed me to start something new, or rather, to cannibalize something old and repurpose it to deal with the emotional pain of visiting my mother's bedside.

The last time I tried to do something new and unplanned, I hatched the first 30,000 words (or about a third) of a new weird/contemporary fantasy novel titled Ghosts in the Dreamhouse. GitD was to be the story of a millennial couple who rent the attic of a big, old, plausibly haunted house from a sick old lady and gradualyl discover that far from being the bargain they'd hoped for (two bedrooms! A separate bathroom and living room of their own! All for low, low rent and some decorating expenses!) they'd stumbled into a grotesque family curse that had hung fire as the dynasty of sorcerors who owned the house had failed to breed in the past generation.

Ghosts in the Dreamhouse is never going to be published. But I cannibalized it for parts which show up in Dead Lies Dreaming (Imp and Eve's family curse, and the top floor of their house) and Quantum of Nightmares (Amy, Ade, and the whole supermarket deli counter plot).

To start something new, I ripped the haunted house out of GitD and dumped it into the universe of the Laundry Files, where it plausibly belonged. Then I decided to send off for some new protagonists and a bit more detail about the New Management.

The New Management parodies the dark undercurrent of performative, theatrical cruelty that is baked so deeply into British culture that it leaks into our politics. Our tabloid newspapers and much of our reality TV culture is built on sly bullying and cruelty, with a veneer of prurient denial: "I'm not a racist, but ..." meets transphobia and calls to bring back the death penalty in an oddly worrying, non-specific way that might pertain to hanging serial killers but might equally well apply to being wilfully homeless or wearing a loud shirt in a built-up area. Additionally, the post-CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN world is overflowing with dubious magic, some of which sticks of people who really shouldn't be allowed to run with scissors, never mind being gifted with superpowers. We met some of them in The Annihilation Score, as minor characters: I've had a yen to do a supervillain story for some time, so examining superpowered crime and punishment was an obvious direction to go in.

I was also working through issues to do with grief and death in the family. British culture offers a rich buffet of classics to choose from, and I decided that, to start a new series, I'd go with a pastiche of one of the classics: Peter and Wendy by J. M. Barrie (which you can find a free downloadable ebook of via Project Gutenberg—note that this is the 1911 novel, not the 1904 stage play). Peter and Wendy is the original source for Peter Pan, but if your only experience of Pan is the saccharine Disney version, you'll get a nasty shock. Barrie's Pan is a sly sociopath, a feral demiurge divorced from even his own shadow, who steals children away to Neverland (and thins the numbers of Lost Boys if they have the temerity to try to grow up). Barrie's play and book were wildly popular, but like much Victorian morally uplifting Kidlit they smuggled a bitter subtext in under the twee surface. Back in 1900, roughly 20% of children died before they reached the age of 5 years, for there were few effective treatments for most modern diseases of childhood. This was a huge improvement compared to the infant mortality of 1800, but still: almost every parent had at some point to explain to their surviving children that a sibling wasn't ever coming home.

Like the best modern kidlit, Peter and Wendy also had something to say to the adults who would be reading it to the children: it stands up to a modern reading, although the usual content warnings apply (racism and sexism to a degree you would expect of Edwardian Engliand, i.e. unthinking and obnoxious).

So I decided to tackle a New Management setting Peter and Wendy, with some metafictional twiddles. Imp (our Pan) is actually a magically enhanced film director wannabe, who is obsessed with Peter and Wendy and intends to make his own post-cyberpunk motion picture version of it. Problem: Imp is financially challenged and not anything like as gifted as he thinks he is. Second problem: the charitable trust who own the rights to Peter Pan in the UK will not approve of Imp's intended treatment, to put it mildly. Third problem: because of their use in making field-expedient Basilisk Guns, the New Management has banned the unlicensed sale or rental of high definition camcorders, and there's a six month waiting list to rent a film camera. (The book is set in a dreamlike 2016 that diverged from our own reality some time after 2012: plausibly, smartphone camera resolutions are limited by law, harshly enforced.)

Imp and his crew are squatters (a highly illegal practice). They're also criminals. The New Management has reacted to a spike in magical crime by reintroducing the Bloody Code (a typically British violent and cruel over-reaction), but has—equally typically—failed to increase police funding or provide for enforcement; indeed, they've outsourced it all to the private sector by bringing back the very real 18th century Thief-takers, who are in turn employed by the usual big government contracting corporations (like the real world Serco and G4s: in the New Management setting, you can blame it all on HiveCo Security or their rivals, the Wilde Corporation, named after this guy—who show up in Quantum of Nightmares). Cruelty can be monetized, magically, via ritual human sacrifice (of which executions are a very useful subtype), and Imp's crew are the sort of outcasts who the machinery of the New Management won't miss: none of them are straight, two of them are non-white, one is transgender, and all of them are (strictly speaking) criminals. But they're not the villains here.

So we have our thieves. We have a sketchy outline of our police (the heroine of Peter Pan was Wendy Darling: it is not a coincidence that the thief-taker with a heart of gold in Dead Lies Dreaming is one Wendy Deere). Who are the victims? Well obviously, the law exists to protect the rich. But Richy McRichface—or Rupert de Montfort Bigge as he is called in this series—is not exactly a sympathetic protagonist. (At least, not until he gets to explain what he's doing in an epic supervillain monologue in book 3.) So we zoom the focus in on Eve Starkey, the aforementioned Imp's elder sister, who is not-coincidentally employed as Rupert's executive assistant.

In the interests of avoiding spoilers for Quantum of Nightmares and the not-yet-properly-titled third book, I'm going to pass over certain aspects of Imp and Eve's relationship, Eve's relationship with Rupert, and Rupert's Grand Plan. For now, you'll have to settle for Rupert as a sexually abusive, moustache-twirling billionaire scumbag and human-sacrificing Cult high priest. Rupert can quite literally get away with murder because he's a pillar of the establishment and richer than Croesus, greedy beyond anyone's wildest imagining, and totally depraved. (Or at least that's the version of himself he puts on display for Eve.) At the end of Dead Lies Dreaming Eve is reasonably confident that she has fatally outmaneuvered him. But Rupert has a better handle on Eve than she on he, and his plans are much deeper, nastier, and more subtle than is obvious from Dead Lies Dreaming: he may be out of sight but death gods and necromancers have a disturbing tendency to come back from the grave, and Quantum of Nightmares is all about the mess Eve uncovered after his disappearance.

Other tid-bits: the four groups traipsing after each other in Whitechapel are a deliberate shout-out to the hunting scene in Peter and Wendy (where: the Pirates are hunting the Lost Boys, the Lost Boys are stalking the Indians, the Indians are hunting the Wild Animals, and the Wild Animals are hunting the Pirates).

Imp's house is very close to, but not actually the same as, the house where J. M. Barrie wrote Peter and Wendy.

The Mister Bond is purely Rupert's affectation: Bond is an archetype, and for the discerning depraved villain who has everything (even an island lair!), what better accessory than a suited and booted Bond to assassinate his enemies?

The Channel Island of Skaro does not exist, but if it did it would be near to Guernsey and Sark, only a bit smaller and much, much weirder. (We get to see more of it in Quantum of Nightmares.)

"Gammon" is a particularly tasty cut of quick-cured hind leg of pork, best eaten as a steak (grilled or fried). In current British parlance, it's also a term applied to a rosy-faced, bald, shouty middle aged man, and to a lesser extent to their younger angry male counterparts. (America has MAGAs who cover the same sort of political base, but Gammons are specifically middle-aged and right wing males: famous examples would be Piers Morgan or Andrew Neil.) Eve is misapplying the term slightly by using it for Rupert's bullet-headed thuggish guards, signifying contempt.

Eve's mother fell foul of the Golden Promise Ministries (Laundry Files: The Apocalypse Codex, The Delirium Brief). Eve's ambition is to go after Raymond Schiller with a pointy stick, but she's been so busy slaving 120 hours a week for Rupert that she hasn't noticed Schiller's disappearance. She will be most annoyed when she realizes the New Management has deprived her of her long-planned revenge ...

Dead Lies Dreaming was originally going to be titled Lost Boys (after Peter Pan's gang of minions, and Imp's movie). However, in 2019 I discovered that one of the US cable networks had begun airing a TV show based on a reboot of the 1986 cult movie of that name. In general, it is a really bad idea to give a novel the same title as a current movie or TV show, so my story had to be retitled ... and by the time it was published, the TV show had been cancelled. Feh!

Quantum of Nightmares was originally titled Dead Meat (due to the Sweeney Todd subplot). Then my agent pointed out that if my publishers' marketing folks dislike the book, they'd make sure it was dead on arrival, and vetoed it. (Apparently it's a bad luck title. Who knew?) So it went through Flesh Lies Bleeding (sub-optimal) then became, for a while, In His House. That aliterated with Dead Lies Dreaming/In His House and carried on the non-archive Lovecraftian tone, but ... nope, UK marketing didn't go for it. So Quantum of Nightmares was the final short-notice compromise title, which cannibalized the working title of the third book (which was to be Bones and Nightmares), so I'm now looking for a title for that book. Luckily it isn't finished yet, so there's plenty of time ...

You must have Questions. Ask them in the comments below, and I'll try to answer! (But I won't spoiler the other books in the new series.)

241 Comments

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1:

Okay, let's get this to 300...

You forgot to mention the Memory Palace. That was rather cool.

2:

I'm a little unclear on something. Have you axed the whole Sweeney Todd subplot, or just the Dead Meat title?

3:

Although the sentence "Magic is a branch of applied mathematics" does appear in DLD, and at least one character is I gather a gifted mathematician, it doesn't really have the feeling of a plot that hinges on computer and math nerds, and on magic being done by communicating Platonic truths across universes. That, to me, was the respect in which DLD seemed most un-Laundry Files-like.

Not saying I didn't enjoy it -- I did, a lot. But it didn't have that special sauce that makes The Laundry Files The Laundry Files. It felt more like the Popular Science version of the Laundry Files, aimed at the large audience of folks who Don't Like Math.

4:

Here's a direct link to Peter and Wendy on a Project Gutenberg mirror that will not block users with a German IP address:
http://www.gutenberg.lib.md.us/2/6/6/5/26654/

5:

Im sure the marketing people know best, but your next book could be titled: "Nigel Farage is a fantastic lover and should be Prime Minister" and i would buy it.

6:

I took great delight in Rupert being the feudal overlord of an island called Skaro, though a little disappointed that there were no Mk III Travel Machines animated by Night Feeders...

7:

I think that with Case Nightmare Green so close, so much is leaking through from other worlds/dimensions as the stars align, that even people with the most limited of mathematical skills, those who are totally reliant of the use of fingers and toes in counting, are able to channel powers from the interstices of the universe or become hosts for any one of a plethora of unnatural "things". One thing I would imagine the New Management would ruthlessly crack down on would be compute power and mathematical geniuses.

8:

Just the title. But the main pastiche subplot of Quantum of Nightmares is Mary Poppins (again: the P. L. Travers original, not the grotesque Disney abomination).

9:

...so I'm now looking for a title for that book.

The House of Nightmares?

10:

I always applied Gibson's quote to the spread of magic in the Laundryverse; "The street finds it's own uses for things."

11:

There is a time travel subplot in book 3, but no blue police box shaped objects ...

As for CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN, it's like anthropogenic climate change. We learn to live with it to some extent, but mitigate the most obvious effects. (The New Management are probably happy for most people to have a dumbed-down-tablet-computing experience, where they can only install apps from a state-approved app store and can't write their own software, but general purpose computing? That's something you need a driving license equivalent before you can use.)

12:

Philip Kerr wrote a nasty post-Soviet-era thriller called Dead Meat. Out of print, alas.

13:

I'm uninterested in collecting reader suggestions for titles.

(Plz keep the comments clear for actual Q&A for now.)

14:

The Mary Poppins books were among my favorites when I was a kid. Hated, hated, HATED the Disney movie. It could not have more completely misrepresented the personality of the book version of Mary Poppins.

15:

The Channel Island of Skaro
Two things - Sark is occupied/dominated by people I suspect of being necromancers anyway & "Skaro" - really?
Skaro is the Home-World of the DALEKS

"Gammons" are also extreme Brexshiteers, IIRC?

16:

Not so much questions as observations:-
1) I liked the mention of the Baby Deltic. Any chance of adding either a Warship or a Hymek (subject to period) to the MPD?
2) Is "being possessed of a loud and offensive wife", or "looking at me funny" also an offence?
3) I rather liked the "house in L-space" and particularly the multiple libraries.

17:

FWIW, my paperback copy arrived from the UK/EU just yesterday. I'm a good third of the way through it.

18:

I liked it, in my mid-teens.

On the other hand, shortly after Capaldi became the Doctor, there was the episode with... 2d creatures? Anyway, they were in a subway, and Capaldi did it *right*: the Doctor as a DEEPLY SCARY ancient alien with unimaginable powers.

19:

I went off Dr Who for many many years - having seen the ORIGINAL ...]
But Capaldi had something that ( I think) none of the intermediates had - like Hartnell, he had that slight "edge" - he could be seriously creepy whilst apparently being "pleasant" one always got the impression of "something unseen"

20:

I found the description of what happened to Imp and Eve's mother GENUINELY DISTURBING, although it was to be expected since we all know what GPM was up to (even before they escalated to TDB levels).
It's different when you see some thing you know is Bad happening to random passers-by... it's much, much worse when it happens to a beloved family member and you, for all your proficience at ritual magic, are completely unable to cure it.

21:

When Eve is done with the Bond in the elevator, how does she know it's time to leave the book behind? I know the plan is to have Rupert pick it up without being able to claim any ownership, but did she know he was on his way? How?

22:

Oddly, nobody else (no test readers, no editors, and nobody else who's read the book) has asked that question.

Put it down to a missing exchange of text messages and pretend you're waiting for me to retcon it in book 3.

23:

Well, FWIW it reads as she planned to leave it $somewhere in the house that was not readily accessible by anyone, ever.

24:

As becomes clear at the beginning of Quantum of Nightmares, Eve was actually somewhat pissed that she didn't get the opportunity to murder Rupert herself.

(Then, as becomes clearer later on, someone or something has been messing with Eve's head, amplifying her worst, most violent impulses -- she's not entirely in control of herself. Who or what it might be is a plot twist in book 3.)

25:

Is it coincidental that *Quantum of Nightmares* is kind of opposite to the Bond title *Quantum of Solace*? (Apologies if this is an obvious question which has been asked before.)

26:

Yes, it's pure coincidence. (There is virtually no James Bond angle here at all, unless "Bad Bond Babe gets to explore Blofeld's Lair (after Bond and Blofeld have both disappeared) and uncovers heinous plan" qualifies.) It's just a side-effect of having three more like six working titles rejected and needing something to slap on the front of the book that kinda-sorta stood side-by-side with "Dead Lies Dreaming" (which was itself a third choice).

27:

I read the book as soon as it came out ... flowed pretty well.

My memory of it is a little foggy, but interestingly that's what stands out.

This 'memory London' - is it a permanent place that people can visit? Or does it only exist in a quantum sense, when people are looking upon it? Are the denizens really generated apparitions of humans with their own desires, or is the whole place more of a hallucination?

I get the sense of what you were building - maybe some kind of residual memory-place based upon people's feelings and expectations of Victorian London?

28:

How far are you going to dwelve in the depths of paradoxes?
How many time has history been rewritten?
By whom?
How much can Forecasting Ops understand about this before being forced to self-unestablish?
How and how much is actually "scientific" magic better than "ritual" magic?
What or who made one better than the other?
And on behalf of whom?
Can the two of them coexist?
Safely?

29:

So many questions, so little answers...

30:

I enjoyed DLD, read it (mostly) in one sitting the week it came out, looking forward to QoN. Having followed discussion and updates here all through the time it was written I'm not surprised by the content of the crib sheet: it all makes sense. Makes me want to re-read it, but I'll defer this pleasure to December/January so it's fresh in my mind when QoN comes out.

The mechanics of using an already-defined universe are interesting, since the other examples of this show varying approaches. Discworld and the Culture are the obvious ones, I guess, where it's not always the same storyline, not always the same characters, and only Discworld comes to mind as involving specific story arcs within the overall universe. All the same the appealing thing is that it is economical, and not just for the author. It's a way to build on the existing world building capital in the heads of readers too. Demanding slightly less cognitive load for world building means more is available for adventurez and crimez and stuff.

31:

A suggestion for Book Three of the Series: "The Master of Skaro"?

(As an hommage to Terry Nation.)

32:

To me the right time to ditch that thing is “as soon as possible,” and that’s when she did.

33:

How far are you going to dwelve in the depths of paradoxes?
How many time has history been rewritten?
By whom?

These questions get chewed over in book 3, which is the historical Laundryverse novel folks periodically ask me for.

(TLDR: magic comes and goes in waves, policy on magic oscillates between polite disbelief and "we must control and suppress this at all costs!", and -- of course -- the one tendency drives the other.)

34:

Brendan, that's an interesting question. Of course "this is based on our fictional memory" lets OGH riff on whatever he wants, and gives plausible deniability against historical nitpickers.

That said though, I'm not clear whether that's reliably true. (We know all his narrators are unreliable! :) As Charlie led off with, it's almost impossible for us to understand today just how bad life was for your average Victorian slum-dweller, and how close every Victorian was to death. However grimdark you make your Victorian setting, it's almost guaranteed that you're underplaying it. (Unless any major actors have tentacles or are squamous and rugous...)

35:

I'm about half-way through; just got to the part where the treasure map is revealed & where the book is hidden.

Is it revealed how the book got hidden where it is & who hid it there?

36:

I expect there's an island called Sodor in the Irish Sea, too, where they wall up misbehaving shoggoths in tunnels.

37:

Is it revealed how the book got hidden where it is & who hid it there?

Can't remember, but if it's not revealed in DLD then it's a trilogy-level spoiler for the untitled third book.

38:

Too bad the memory palace demanded a sacrifice each generation to maintain access. It could have been much more interesting had it been run like Singularity Sky, where the price of being a customer with borrowing privileges is bringing in something new and shiny every time for the keepers to curate. If you don't access all the collections regularly (on a ritual basis, say), they get neglected in favor of stuff that does get used, and in the absence of humans, the memory palace will start catering to the needs of whatever customers are available: mice, rats. Cockroaches. Ants.

Going into an abandoned memory palace could be...ummmm. Very, very ummmm.

Guess I'll have to think about this some more. But accessing a memory palace formerly used by humans and taken over by ants? Oh yeah.

39:

What we currently "know" is: that the book might have been placed in the memory palace in about 1880 and that it might have been done by Imp's Great-Grandfather (add a few more "Greats" as needed).

I'm more interested in how Rupert Bigge knew where to look and who set up the auction...

40:

I'm more interested in how Rupert Bigge knew where to look and who set up the auction...

At risk of spoilers: wait for book 3.

41:

Only if Charlie thinks that he needs multiple copyright suits to "make his life more interesting".

42:

Do not talk to me about IP lawsuits. (The delay in "Escape from Puroland" is entirely down to the need to take emergency action to head one off before it has a chance to happen.)

43:

I am aware; I was saying that the message I responded to was likely to generate another 3 or 4.

44:

Charlie,

Have you considered that the title of a book may be significantly more valuable than the contents? My college bridge partner ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_DeWitt ) was paid a cool £250K for the film rights to her book "The Seventh Samurai" -- primarily because Holywood thought it could use the title.

I wonder if there's a copyright equivalent of version control. Could you bag the titles by publishing blank First Editions, and then fill in the words afterwards? Perhaps those First Editions could become non-fungibles?

ps I certainly didn't want an answer to my query on Bigge's sources -- it was pretty obvious you'd be filling in the details later.

45:

I'm fairly certain book titles can't be copyrighted. At least not in the US.

46:

Book titles can't be copyrighted. Most likely the film rights to your friend's book were sold because someone thought they could film it -- but they ended up filming something else and slapping the title on it. (See also "Blade Runner", the Alan E. Nourse book, which got chucked away while they slid a rather more opaquely-titled Philip K. Dick story under it.)

47:

Thanks for pointing that out about the Victorian era.

I always found the millennial Steampunk craze, and especially the generalized nostalgia for the Victorian era at the turn of the millennium, to be somewhat perplexing.

Oh, I understand that reasons for it. I do.

But it was an unbearable era for many commoners, and in fact things had been like that for many in England since about the time of the enclosures.

Everyone, looking back at these times, seems to think they would be the one driving the airship, or at the ball.

I think there was an episode of "Bob's Burgers" where there is some kind of 1890s party or such, but the partygoers are surprised to find themselves playing the part of maids and other menial jobs. Only a fraction of people would be the nobility depicted in paintings.


Anyway, I can see the narrative benefits of how the memory London was established...good point there. What still eludes me is if the place even exists if people aren't visiting it. And how much agency people there have. Which of course brings up philosophical questions of its own.

Ultimately, I agree with Heteromeles that we need a memory palace taken over by the needs of the ants.

48:

But it was an unbearable era for many commoners

As was most of the past. But most people imagine that they would be on top of the heap.

Just as in the recovered memory/past lives community everyone is a reincarnated noble, no one a peasant dying of infection or woman dying in childbirth — even though those are much more likely. At least the SCA knows they're ahistorical…

49:

Totally Off-Topic Quote from "Private Eye"
[ Indicating why I will never vote Green or identical problems about "Purity" with the Corbynistas .... ]
Sea levels rise, California burns & BoZo dithers, but the Green Party is being torn apart by the issue that matters most to its leaders - gender-critical feminism
Let's have a faction-fight for "purity" & DEMAND that the best is the enemy of the good enough.
Right.

Whilst the fascists sail merrily onwards, dooming us all.

50:

I happen to agree that the classism of Imperial England is fun but rather galling at times.

That's why I'm fiddling around with the "Lincoln, Albert, and Kaiser Fred II lived" scenario, wherein, politics in the late 19th Century swung towards what Lincoln considered radical republicanism. So I'm giggling through the quaint possibility of an "All Men Are Created Equal" Party pushing for suffrage, unionizing former slaves, and unionizing immigrant Chinese and Hispanic along with whites, so that no one can be exploited by industrialists paying bottom level wages. Oh, and the whole flood of European immigrants to the US tapers off, because they've realized that organizing at home might work better than seeking their fortune elsewhere. Perhaps Lady Liberty stands on Angel Island, welcoming Christian Chinese refugees from the Tai Ping aftermath, instead.

Plus steam-powered spaceships, because who needs to stop at just one planet?

But let's get back to Dead Lies Dreaming, please.

51:

"Gammon" is a particularly tasty cut of quick-cured hind leg of pork, best eaten as a steak (grilled or fried). In current British parlance, it's also a term applied to a rosy-faced, bald, shouty middle aged man, and to a lesser extent to their younger angry male counterparts. (America has MAGAs who cover the same sort of political base, but Gammons are specifically middle-aged and right wing males: famous examples would be Piers Morgan or Andrew Neil.) Eve is misapplying the term slightly by using it for Rupert's bullet-headed thuggish guards, signifying contempt.

Some notes from the non-euclidean realms: there was a minor spat some years ago betwitx Author and one of those Prime Gammons. £60,000,000 later and what can only be described as "a Hindenburg of a Media Launch" and the fastest taking of Leave Time (did you see what we did there?) in Corporate History and ... the Prince of Hammark's entire media career has ended in pathos, bathos and universal hilarity.

We did warn you all about the Faery Rings and Wishes. Or, actually, what's actually our thing, totes 100% no bullshit: Hubris. Tasty-Pork-Barrel-Gammon-Steak.

Not sure about modern monetary conversion principles: one insult = £60,000,000 loss seems fair game when they're putting 14 years in Prison if you squeak about their Crimes / Deals in Public? Who knows, but you'd better start playing this seriously, they're not fucking around about it, are they?.

Here's the response: "We liked the Books (more than we liked the TV station)" (this is a GME joke)

Oh, Lore Ipsum, kudos to Host.

And, er... Dead Meat is ... Ok, if you can answer why having the Ace of Spades tattooed on your person (notably ankle or wrist) is probably not a great idea if you don't know the context, well then. Like biohazard signs on the chest / upper arm. (We're so old, we remember when Leather Hats were Kink, not tombstones. Joke is dark, is intended. Yes, yes, we've been there).

-Sneaking in a real point: on the QT the UK plan is for average person (peon, sub £50k / annum, remember they control the wage economy) to only eat meat 3-4 times a week with a whole load of other stuff. Like Petrol - should look up Petrol shortages, gonna be big soon[tm]. For Real. Big Time Crunchy-Crunchy "what good are 20 million of our population for compared to IN / CN" type discussions. And yes, you have to drink through them.

Note: Some People (aka, people like P.Cross and Other Intel Agencies and various Abrahamic Fundamentalists) have been altering wikipedia again - this name is the correct usage: it's part of a much larger effort (major cases in India vrs Southern Brahmic spellings vrs Northern (BJP) users)

Yes: even when they've screwed up the NI border and now want a New Deal (Old Deal was ...) they're purging actual English on Wikipedia.

https://www.thefreedictionary.com/Bean+Sidhe


Question:

Contractually you put yourself through one of (not the most, but in the top 20) heinous production cycles in SF currently. Why? (Ignoring funding drug habits, off-world jaunts, secret anti-TERF railroads and so on).

>Message from the *wild crew* "PROTECT CHARLIE!!* -- Notes: this might include burning down sixty million quid or so.

52:

Oh, and +++points if you know the ancient cartoon book of Prince Of Hammark (??) which is a pastiche of Hamlet. Throw an extra ++++ if you can remember King Kanut and the Great Horned Cheese.

Kinda cool.

Waaay before Tiny-Winky got Disney Sponsorship cool.

53:

That's bothered me, too, about steampunk. The last con I was at that had a steampunk ball, a few years ago, I did my cord suit and Greek fisherman's cap, and announced I was a socialist and a union organizer, not some lord.

54:

Which is why I tell the joke of "the busiest woman in the afterlife".

55:

I agree with Heteromeles that we need a memory palace taken over by the needs of the ants.

It's been kicking around in my head for a while that something like that is plausible, though as far as we know it doesn't happen in nature.

Consider how many insects communicate by scent; we find many realtime signals and enduring trail markers in nature. It's no great leap to imagine enduring local signals in particular places along a path, encoding information into the shape and composition of the hive itself.

Such a thing wouldn't be very much like a classical Turning machine; the software would look more like a very messy funge. But it would give vastly increased intelligence to social insects without needing the individuals to do anything radically new.

The 'wisdom' of a hive could endure long past the lives of its original inhabitants, if their successors used compatible encodings.

So yes, I find an "ant memory palace" completely reasonable.

56:

Ace of Spades possible contexts - Highest scoring card in the deck, in games using fixed trumps in the English speaking world: Motorhead album : Title track and hit single from same : VMA-231 USMC.

57:

"Deep Mind" - Protein folding problems greatly reduced, at the least
LINK This is ... IMPORTANT - to say the least.

a memory palace taken over by the needs of the ants.
"Anthill Inside" ...++ Out of Cheese Error ++
Ridcully: "What does Hex say, Ponder?"

58:
But it was an unbearable era for many commoners

As was most of the past. But most people imagine that they would be on top of the heap.

There's a reason my standard reply to people who ask what I "would have been" in $PAST_CENTURY is "dead at 14". (Quite possibly younger, of course, from some disease C20th-me got vaccinated against, but acute appendicitis is the earliest thing I know actually happened which would have killed me without modern medicine.)

59:

Well, if childhood bronchitis hadn't killed me by 18 (rather than being cured by steroid powder), haemodialysis wasn't even invented until 1943, so I'd be recently (last 6 months) dead from renal failure.

60:

Memory palace taken over by ants

There's something not-dissimilar in Bruce Sterling's brilliant 1990s SF novel Holy Fire, which depicts the world of a post-plagues 22nd century ruled by a medical gerontocracy. Memory palaces after a fashion have become ubiquitous -- they're the VR digital repositories everyone ends up accumulating all their online crap in. One of our protagonist's friends dies, leaving her as their executor: they also leave behind a somewhat-uplifted companion-animal -- a dog, which is driven mad by the memory palace riding around in/on its implants.

61:

Greg: what appears to be happening with the English/Welsh Greens is that they're in the process of ejecting a couple of noisy GC/TERF types. After the model of the Scottish Green party, which kicked them out, re-asserted that human rights are non-negotiable, and went back to green politics. Also after the model of the SNP (hint: Salmond's Alba took 90% of their residual right-wing and TERF contingent out of the party.)

This is not the topic for a discussion of contemporary British political hate-politics, other than to say that as transphobia spreads (with a huge amount of media attention) it's been adopted as the current xenophobic campaign by the extreme right, as hating on Jews/Non-whites/Muslims is still marginally unfashionable among the non-fash. So it's hardly surprising that the more left-aligned parties are kicking out the members who drifted into alignment with neo-nazis.

(I am not planning on tackling TERFery in the Laundryverse other than to note that at least one of the characters in "Dead Lies Dreaming" and "Quantum of Nightmares", Game Boy, is trans (and his experiences of discrimination are based on the accounts of people I know).

62:

In my case, likely dead by 3. Acute dysentery while living in Cairo - it was only some antibiotics our doctor happened to have that kept me out of hospital. My mother really thought she'd lose me - I couldn't keep anything down, not even water.

63:

I've always been absurdly healthy, so I might have survived, but I must give due credit to vaccines and antibiotics, which at the very least have saved me a certain amount of trouble.

64:

Ditto.

But listening to my parents, grandparents, and their contemporaries talk about their life growing up... well no thanks.

Out houses, hand pump wells, frozen water in the morning water bowl to splash your face, running to the barn when it's below freezing outside and still dark in the early morning to milk the cow, and on and on and on.

Just no thanks.

And this is from people born in the later 1800s into the early 1900s. A bit earlier was even more fun. At least the people I could talk to grew up with SOME electricity and communications.

65:

Charlie,

What you say about copyright is what I thought, too.

I'd recalled a bit of a furore about Helen's book, but that stuff is now more than twenty years old. Much of it was the envy from more established authors, but that's par for the course in LitFic circles.

On her web site for the book "The Seventh Samurai" ( http://helendewitt.com/dewitt/samurai.html) we have the following cryptic comment:

Disney and the Weinstein brothers had a difference of opinion which had nothing to do with a novel which had nothing to do with a film starring Tom Cruise.

Reading between the lines, my guess is that the two film companies had a bidding war over the book -- without either of them reading it first! Had they known that there was more Wittgenstein than Kurosawa, they'd probably have ignored it.

66:

Agreed completely. No thanks to the more primitive methods of living.

A big part of the problem here is that people have forgotten history. The idea that vaccines are the biggest part of why we don't have 50 percent child mortality simply isn't something most people know. So maybe we all need to live a little bit of that shittiness.

67:

Life before... yeah. I remember my father talking about how he hated, during the depression as a teen, helping my grandfather pull a cart up and down the hills in Roxborough (part of Philly), peddling, in all kinds of weather. And me... let's see, I'd be dead in '01 (cancer), and any time now, I'd have a heart attack (open heart surgery this past Feb *before* I had it).

68:

Re: Memory Palaces. I'm using that as a shorthand for the other world in DLD, but in case some of you missed the curve, here's the background.

Memory palace (aka the Method of Loci, aka Songlines, aka...) is a technique for memorizing information in the absence of paper and pencil. It's a basic human technique that's been discovered and rediscovered an unknown but probably huge number of times.

The basic trick is that humans normally don't have good RAM: give us lines or tables of words or numbers, and we're garbage at remembering them, especially compared with a computer. The problem only gets worse with long-term storage.

And no, there is no such thing as photographic memory. Those people who claim it turn out, on examination, to have figured out how to do a memory palace. I'll leave the savants out of this discussion.

Humans are better at remembering other things: songs, dances, bad jokes, places, even familial relationships. Now each person differs: an athlete is better at remembering movement, a musician better remembers songs, a comedian better remembers jokes, and so on. They're not mutually exclusive.

The memory palace works for people who have decent working spatial memory. The trick is to remember specific information with specific locations. The classic example from ancient Rome is where the roof collapsed on a dining hall, killing everyone except the poet who was orating at the time. When asked which mangled body was whose, he reconstructed in his mind where everyone was sitting, helped put names on corpses, and created the Method of Loci from that. Roman architecture was actually designed to help Roman orators remember their speeches, since speaking from notes was frowned upon. Similarly, Shakespearean plays were memorized by assigning lines to different parts of the Old Globe Theater, and the actor walked through the theater to remember lines. This may be why replicas of the Old Globe crop up elsewhere.

Anyway, let's get back to DLD via European ceremonial magic. Rome had a thriving memory craft, and public figures were expected to have excellent memories. Then the Medieval period made this even more important when Europe got shut out of the trade in Egyptian papyrus and had to make do with parchment. Suddenly, a papyrus book a slave copied that was sold in the market was worth a small car, when slowly copied onto parchment. A lot of the illumination in Medieval manuscripts wasn't just to gild these precious objects, it was to help the readers memorize each book. They couldn't take the copy with them, so they had to memorize the darn things. Oddities like Bestiaries were also mnemonic devices, whole books of them.

Then we got paper, and the printing press, and it was increasingly cheaper to store knowledge outside people's heads. Much of the old knowledge of the memory palaces got repurposed, first for religion and then for ceremonial magic. Memory palaces got appropriated as fairy lands, and mnemonic devices became daemonic or demonic, or monsters. A lot of this creative repurposing got jammed into Dungeons and Dragons of all places, where stuff grubbed up from courses in Medieval art history became monsters in the game (Demogorgon being only one example).

Getting to DLD, where we've got an otherworldly memory palace holding a real book. This gets to an interesting problem for modern fantasists:

If otherworlds are memory palaces, and we want characters to physically enter them...how is that supposed to work? This seems to be an area where, as with the novel magic systems of the past 40 years or so, there's quite a lot of room for innovative solutions.

OGH's proposal is that the memory palace only continues to work so long as someone sacrifices a child to the librarians every generation. One can wax eloquent on librarians who want to eat children, but I won't. It's a legitimate solution, and in line with the Laundryverse.

Another one that's quite traditional is use it or lose it. That's the way memory palaces actually work, although they require less work to maintain than crammed short term memory. This is part of why groups like the Australian aborigines spend so much time traveling their songlines and doing the rituals. They're preserving their memories, which include things like what to harvest when how to deal with a drought, and stuff that turns out to be critically useful for rare disasters and would get forgotten otherwise.

This is where the idea of ants taking over a memory palace comes from. If memory palaces are magically real spaces, and if those that run the spaces need to be cared for or they'll abandon the space, then what happens to an abandoned space? What happens when someone else, or something else, finds an abandoneed space, starts caring for it, and those that run the space start catering to the new tenants and abandon the memories of the older tenants?

There are many possible answers to that question, just as there are many answers to the ways mnemonic devices become magic--rituals, other worlds, mnemonic gods and spirits, magical memory equipment, enchantments that consist of mnemonic chants using props, etc. I'll just pitch this as something story writers might want to add to their fiction.

And since ants obviously have spatial memories, as do rats and likely cockroaches, they probably could take over a human memory palace. Likely most animals could.

69:

Have you read John Crowley's Little Big? It's got an enchantress who uses a memory palace and a weird country house that does strange things with architecture. (The prose is delicious!)

70:

I'd have died before I was one. Not certain of what — my mother has never explained (and maybe doesn't remember details) — but I went from a chubby baby to a skinny runt and never regained my weight after the illness.

71:

A big part of the problem here is that people have forgotten history. The idea that vaccines are the biggest part of why we don't have 50 percent child mortality simply isn't something most people know.

Um, have you forgotten clean water? Because childhood mortality was dropping before we got vaccines for childhood diseases…

http://hdr.undp.org/en/content/children-and-water-sanitation-and-hygiene-evidence

It is often stated that vaccination has made the greatest contribution to global health of any human intervention apart from the introduction of clean water and sanitation, but this is a claim that needs some qualification. Study of the pattern of infectious diseases in industrialized countries from the end of the nineteenth century onwards shows that there was a large and progressive decline in child mortality, owing largely to a reduction in mortality from infectious diseases, prior to the development and deployment of vaccines. This was associated with improvements in housing, nutrition and sanitation.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4024226/

72:

Not much disagreement there. Clean water was important, and pasteurized milk was also a huge factor. But "anti-pasteurized milk campaigns" are not currently threatening millions.

73:

The comment about "state run app stores" alludes a particularly thorny problem that new management, and actually most coverments would have to solve. Especially with American tech companies being coopted for nefarious purposes. How do you deal with the fact that the software on just about every phone in the world is controlled by two American companies that have the ability to push out updates on a whim. The security and access controls on a device are useless when it's not necessary to actually access any information on the phone, or access any of the hardware. All that's necessary to do a lot of damage is the act of running a program. Imagine Google decides to push out an update that executes a human sacrifice or summons some sort it jibbering horror.Perhqps only on one geographic region. At the very least it would be a good way to create total chaos.(most especially with all the Apple Polishers smugly proclaiming "Maybe they should have bought an iPhone")

74:

Why go with Android when Apple's gibbering horrors are user fiendly?

75:

Not much disagreement there. Clean water was important, and pasteurized milk was also a huge factor. But "anti-pasteurized milk campaigns" are not currently threatening millions.

Clean water shenanigans, on the other hand...

76:

Clean water shenanigans, on the other hand...

Providing contaminated drinking water, to an entire city, for years can cost less money than safe water, and money driven systems have trouble resisting doing things that give short-term profits even when they cost human lives later.

77:

Of course you would then be denounced by the other socialists as a "mere trade unionist or *gasp* or an "Economic Marxist"

I'me kind of assuming we are around the time of the fourth congress of the Second International.

78:

For those so inclined:
https://deepmind.com/research/open-source/alphafold
They ask that their Nature paper be cited if you publish findings using the source code.

79:

I am not very social and had not noticed these in person, so immediately hit the google:
A biohazard tattoo should be easy even without knowing or looking it up. (Hint: less than 40 years old)
An ace of spades tattoo (and related, queen of spades) on a white female is supposedly a symbol indicating interest in black males. There are many other usages, of course.
I have been playing mentally with Laundry Universe tattoos last night/today. Some fun possibilities. (Does Game Boy have any tattoos? I don't recall; kindle search doesn't find anything.)

---
"Non-Revisionist Bean Sídhe (non-Trf allied)" at 51
Been enjoying watching Big Gammon flail.
What is the non-revisionist meaning of Bean Sidhe? I looked through a lot of the wikipedia history and it was not obvious to me.

81:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08070j8 appeared on PBS this week, and it's just a fractional hint of how bad things were. Helped to understand why the lead character in THE NEVERS would jump in the Thames to end it all.

82:

Yeah; my point was that attempting to draw a socio-sexual cultural implication from "Ace of Spades" was fraught with possibilities for misunderstandings...

83:

Made me look. Now will watch all of it.

Yep. Truly awful how most people had to live.

If really poor, renting space to sleep on a hang over bench. Or if you can't afford that on a rope with no bench.

I understand New York was similar in the same time. I have to wonder just what people were fleeing in central and eastern Europe to make this look attractive.

My grandfather was born in a one room house/cabin 1885 yet I suspect he had a much better life in his first 10 years than these folks. (His grandfather settled the land in 1824.) My grandfather apparently really got the farm going and improved his standard of living. He opened a small slaughter house in 1911 (which might finally close this year) and when my father was young (born in 1925) they had a small saw mill going.

84:

That meaning of the ace of spades may well be US-only. (I certainly haven't run across it before ...)

85:

From Wikipedia, "The ace of spades is used as a symbol for people who are both aromantic and asexual."

86:

Providing contaminated drinking water, to an entire city, for years can cost less money than safe water, and money driven systems have trouble resisting doing things that give short-term profits even when they cost human lives later.

Yep.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walkerton_E._coli_outbreak

If you read the story it doesn't look like profit motive, but the Koebels' motive was keeping their well-paid and (relatively) cushy jobs.

The neocon government had also privatized a lot of the testing and pushed oversight down to municipalities from the province. There was a minor scandal at the time that one of the private companies the Ministry contracted testing to (after their own labs were ordered closed) had not tested all the water samples provided and simply reported good results.

87:

I have to wonder just what people were fleeing in central and eastern Europe to make this look attractive.

Starvation and pogroms, in many cases. Also encouraged by immigration agents who talked up the streets of gold in the new land…

88:

"how bad was it in Central/E Europe in the 1880's?
Try This Film - which I have seen.
A funny & also dark parable of how (bad) things were.

89:

I was going to post a joke I tell about my own family leaving Russia, then decided it was in bad taste. Then went to BoingBoing and encountered their write-up of a new video game about healing Hitler through psychotherapy.* After that saw a report of the NSO Group CEO telling us that "Law abiding citizens have nothing to be afraid of..." Very tempted to rant like the Seagull this morning, but will finish coffee instead.

Jesus Fucking Christ on a Solar-Powered Pogo Stick, do we ever live in a fucked-up world!

* Needless to say, the reaction has not been kind.

90:

Well, yes: but they didn't all go to the USA; my paternal grandfather's family fetched up in Yorkshire and Lancashire instead. (It made a lot more sense to them as they weren't penniless refugees but moderately successful wool merchants, which was thriving in Lancashire and Yorkshire back then.)

91:

How no pissed-off heads of state have so far ordered their military to whack the board of directors of NSO Group in retaliation is beyond my ken. Even if NSO's customers include most of the developed world intelligence services, they must have pissed someone off, and you do not want to personally come up on Kim Jong-Un's radar.

92:

Agreed. I'm increasingly reminded of Heinlein's "Crazy Years."

93:

Charlie
The problem with the NSO spyware outrage is ...
You simply cannot at any price, miss one, or leave any behind, to start it up again, in a more shielded location.
You have to KILL THEM ALL & make sure of it .. ( "Do not leave a live enemy behind you!" )
Which will probably mean "collateral damage" & quite few innocents getting wasted
Um, err ... now what?

US government orders Israel to "KILL THEM ALL"?
BUT- are NSO a front for the USA operating out of Israel? Entirely possible - likely?
Um, errr ... now what?

And so on, vanishing rapidly up your own orifice

94:

whitroth @ 80: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handkerchief_code

So, what's the code for "I've got a bandana in my pocket so I'll have something to wipe sweat with when I'm working out-doors? Why does everything have to be a signal?

95:

Greg Tingey @ 93 US government orders Israel to "KILL THEM ALL"?
BUT- are NSO a front for the USA operating out of Israel? Entirely possible - likely?
Um, errr ... now what?

According to Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NSO_Group - the founders were ex-members of Unit 8200 of the Israeli Intelligence Corps ... Israel's version of GCHQ or the NSA. Seed money came from an Israeli venture capital firm.

The company was bought by an American (multi-national) private equity firm in 2014, and a 60% stake was sold back to the founders (with the money being provided by a British private equity firm) in 2019. The American involvement appears to be GREED HEADS rather than government backed.1

But, since the primary targets that have been revealed so far are journalists & human rights activists, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Trumpolini's DoJ and/or FBI had purchased (and used) the software.

And ... if you think the Israeli government does what the U.S. government tells them to do, you've got another think coming.

1 My guess is NSO Group didn't have as much in the way of strippable assets as the GREED HEADS expected to find, so they were reduced to jacking up the price before selling it back.

96:

JBS
Righty-ho ... given that history
Kill them all, anyway?

97:

Why does everything have to be a signal?

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar?

98:

Greg: You simply cannot at any price, miss one, or leave any behind, to start it up again, in a more shielded location.

Wrong.

You don't even need to kill them; just make sure they know that they could be killed, that there is a line in the sand which, if overstepped, will result in the over-steppers being treated as hostiles in wartime, and that it will be enforced.

(Nor is the goal specifically to shut down NSO; rather, it's to deter other folks from starting up similar businesses.)

99:

And ... if you think the Israeli government does what the U.S. government tells them to do, you've got another think coming.

It's a bit more complex than that.

I tend to think these days that the relationship between Israel and the USA -- at a diplomatic/military level -- is rather close to what the British establishment think their relationship with the USA is (but hasn't been since, oh, 1956 or thereabouts). In other words, it's a special relationship where the parties are frenemies -- they have certain interests in common but the one is not a client state of the other, and sometimes they come to loggerheads over stuff that doesn't align with their common interests. And the common interests in question are: keeping the Arab world from unifying against Israel.

(This is obviously Israel's objective. It's less obvious why the US might do this unless you put on your cynic's cap and view Israel as a barely-leashed attack dog that the US can rely on to intimidate the OPEC oil exporters. Then the US state department can step in and pass themselves off as mediators, quietly pay the Israeli government off, calming things down in return for political concessions. In other words, it's a game of good cop/bad cop.)

Note that this was how things operated from the mid-1970s through to the Arab Spring. Now we seem to be at or past peak oil, electric vehicle sales passed 15% in Japan and are on the way up, and the ground rules have changed. Hmm.

100:

Um, this deserves a properly elliptical answer.

You may want to peruse the works (or at least the Wikipedia entries upon) an American named Alfred Thayer Mahan.

You may then want to look at a map of global trade, particularly for medium to large cargo vessels. As a hint, look for choke points and proximity to key American suppliers.

And then you may want to meditate upon the United States need to have those ships move efficiently and effectively.

And then the US relationship with Israel, along with the US relationship with a number of other small countries, formerly including the Kingdom of Hawai'i, might make itself a bit more apparent.

101:

Suez, Panama, yeah. (Also Hawaii because: trans-Pacific trade.) And maybe Chile/Argentina and South Africa because of the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn, but neither of those are quite as important as it's possible to detour around them.

But I gather than thanks to belt and road, the cost of shipping a container from China to Europe by rail is now only about double the price by sea ... and it travels at twice the speed. Hence all sorts of new railway construction in Siberia and the Near Abroad, even before we get into Russia trying to get the North East Passage navigable all year round using mammoth nuclear icebreakers.

102:

It's less obvious why the US might do this unless you put on your cynic's cap and view Israel as a barely-leashed attack dog that the US can rely on to intimidate the OPEC oil exporters.

This, plus the fact that Israel is right there and very much in the public awareness. This distracts the angry hotheads - of which the Middle East has plenty, for too many historical reasons - and as long as they're wound up shouting about Israel blatantly existing and wearing a loud shirt, they're not wound up shouting about whatever The Great Satan did this week.

103:

I must thank the Memory Palace thread contributors. It’s inspired me to have another go at Serpents Reach by Cherryh. It’s the only one of hers I’ve bounced off hard multiple times.

104:

H
Agreed
Which makes US actions in 1956 even more counter-productive, from their - the USA's - p.o.v. ( I'm not saying that would have been the "Right" thing to do - it's Realpolitik)

105:

My take on Serpent's Reach is that it's 10,000 in Gehenna with ants instead of lizards, if that helps. To unpack that, she's experimenting with people altering their social structures to fit into nonhuman systems.

For whatever reason, 10,000 in Gehenna is my favorite story of that universe. It shows my low taste, I suppose.

106:

But I gather than thanks to belt and road, the cost of shipping a container from China to Europe by rail is now only about double the price by sea ... and it travels at twice the speed. Hence all sorts of new railway construction in Siberia and the Near Abroad, even before we get into Russia trying to get the North East Passage navigable all year round using mammoth nuclear icebreakers.

Don't forget the South China Sea (Philippines) and the Singapore Strait (Indonesia).

As for China and the US, we've got another iteration of the Great Game on, with China trying for overland hegemony while the US goes for oceanic control, while China contends for that, too. Fortunately, even though China is repaying us for the opium wars with a flood of interesting drug precursors coming in through Mexico and Fedex, we've got a better item to balance trade than opium for tea: We're shipping in blockbuster Hollywood pictures, cleaned up for the Chinese market, in return for consumer goods. Compared with Mexican/Andean silver or Afghani opium, this is comparatively humane (/snark).

As for spreading hegemony to the Arctic Ocean, this is an excellent test of how not serious certain billionaires are. Colonize Mars? Set up corporate aristocracies in the Arctic first, specialized in servicing trade and settlement up there. If you can't do that, going suborbital is just rocket porn.

107:

Charlie Stross @ 99:

And ... if you think the Israeli government does what the U.S. government tells them to do, you've got another think coming.

It's a bit more complex than that.

It's certainly not as simple as Israel being a puppet of the U.S. as Greg appears to think.

I tend to think these days that the relationship between Israel and the USA -- at a diplomatic/military level -- is rather close to what the British establishment think their relationship with the USA is (but hasn't been since, oh, 1956 or thereabouts). In other words, it's a special relationship where the parties are frenemies -- they have certain interests in common but the one is not a client state of the other, and sometimes they come to loggerheads over stuff that doesn't align with their common interests. And the common interests in question are: keeping the Arab world from unifying against Israel.

(This is obviously Israel's objective. It's less obvious why the US might do this unless you put on your cynic's cap and view Israel as a barely-leashed attack dog that the US can rely on to intimidate the OPEC oil exporters. Then the US state department can step in and pass themselves off as mediators, quietly pay the Israeli government off, calming things down in return for political concessions. In other words, it's a game of good cop/bad cop.)

Note that this was how things operated from the mid-1970s through to the Arab Spring. Now we seem to be at or past peak oil, electric vehicle sales passed 15% in Japan and are on the way up, and the ground rules have changed. Hmm.

The main reason the U.S. supports Israel so strongly is because AIPAC has an even tighter grip on Congress's "hearts and minds" than does the NRA.

108:

The main reason the U.S. supports Israel so strongly is because AIPAC has an even tighter grip on Congress's "hearts and minds" than does the NRA.

This is an anti-semitic minefield to trip through, sooo...

Thing to remember is that if you shade that wrong (or rather, Right), it comes across as anti-semitic, with the rich jews pulling strings.

And of course, they are pulling strings. Jewish history, to paraphrase a friend of mine who's Jewish, is paranoia reinforced by history. Making friends with the most powerful country on the planet, one that does have a history of suppressed anti-semitism, is important to Jews. Many, probably most, Jews want Israel to succeed, even though they may well wish Netanyahu completely gone and the settlements ended. Heck, I feel that way myself.

There are a couple of key differences between AIPAC and the NRA. The NRA is currently a morally and financially bankrupt entity that is an unholy amalgam of Far Right PAC and the wholly owned advertising arm of the American gun industry.

None of this applies to AIPAC. AIPAC is bipartisan, and I don't think bankrupcy is an accurate description of their actions, although I have some issues with what they do, as do many liberal types like me.

109:

I'll just add this comment to the current discussion, and then I'll back off because I really don't want to get involved: I'd really like to be able (or for people in general to be able) to talk about Israeli politics without being marked as sionists or anti-sionists.
One can claim a certain country's politics are right or wrong without necessarily loving or hating them.
Just saying.

110:

In the US it gets strange. As H mentioned it doesn't fit into the typical D/R divide at all.

I know plenty of Evangelical R's who basically will give any government of Israel a pass on anything they do. And there are plenty of Orthodox and Ultra O congregations who feel the same way.

I also know people of Jewish decent who even whitroth would consider to be liberal who feel the same way. Although the last 10 years of Bibi have given them pause.

111:

H
another iteration of the Great Game on, with China trying for overland hegemony while the US goes for oceanic control
China will lose, provided the US & Europe remember Mahan
What is now the USA was only "lost" because we forgot Mahan ( Yes - I know, but you see what I mean? )

JBS
Actually, I think that the US is/was Israel's puppet, but the sock-control is going both ways, too.
[It's complicated.] "Benny" hasn't helped & IQ45 certainly screwed with it...

Massimo
It works both ways
About 3 years back, I ran into someone I used to meet fairly often, then didn't see for about 15 years.
Someone mentioned the "israel" problems & I commented that move No-1 was to get rid of "Benny" & go back to about the peace offer made way back when. ( "Land for peace" )
She immediately started into a total rant about the injustices of the foundation of Israel & how evul they were - pure ultra-"palestinian" propaganda.
I backed off, as fast as I could & went & had a drink with other people ....

112:

The main reason the U.S. supports Israel so strongly is because AIPAC

Yes, but why was AIPAC allowed to secure that death-grip on state policy? Compare with, for example, the Irish Republican lobby in Boston during the Troubles in NI, or the Cuban exiles in Miami -- AIPAC seems to have orders of magnitude more clout.

I'd suggest that AIPAC only got to where it is because it served the interests of the petrochemical industry, and the dominionist Christian lunatics (who believe all Jews have to return to Israel before the second coming can happen), and the state department (choke-points on shipping, as Heteromeles points out), and probably half a dozen converging interest groups. It's not as if there aren't also Arab-Americans who could potentially have formed a counter-lobbying group, but they were much more fragmented and -- a key point -- seen as targets for a colonial/imperialist relationship, because of a certain strain of racism running in US elite circles (remember, this shit goes back to the 1950s if not earlier).

Basically AIPAC were pushing at an open door with a welcome mat carefully positioned outside it by various other groups with an interest in shaping policy deniably.

113:

I would have thought that was fairly obvious. Many supremos and countries regularly murder their own citizens, but very few regularly do so to other countries' ones, especially in the latter's home countries. The main exceptions are the USA and Israel, and the latter dominates all other countries in the covert murder of foreign citizens in their home countries.

If any pissed-off head of state ordered the elimination of the NSO board, there would be a high chance that Israel would arrange the same for the head of state's immediate clique, or even the head of state. The prevalence of irrationality (as distinct from evil) among such people is lower than is often claimed, and it would require a considerable degree of stupidity for them not to think of this downside.

114:

EC
Bollocks
Putin
Followed by Mossad, followed by the USA, maybe.
OTOH, as Charlie has noted NSO have "made themselves known" to the God-King of N Korea ...

115:

Brendan:

As someone who was fairly involved in US steampunk fandom at one point, I can speak on this.

At its peak, there were (and probably still are... I GAFIAted a few years back) two main camps of Steampunk fans.

The first was HIGHLY political and had Things To Say™ about imperialism, class inequality, and gender politics. They tended to focus on the literary side.

The second loved the aesthetic because it looked cool. There was a running gag in those days that "Steampunk is what happens when Goths discover brown." :D

There was some overlap, but much less than you'd think. After a while, the books got a bit tropey, and fandom moved on.

116:

H: another iteration of the Great Game on, with China trying for overland hegemony while the US goes for oceanic control. China will lose, provided the US & Europe remember Mahan What is now the USA was only "lost" because we forgot Mahan ( Yes - I know, but you see what I mean? )

No, actually I don't know. Mahan was fairly religious, and I think he'd have a problem with being seen as a prophet of The Truth.

While I agree that:
a) oceanic surface transport is likely to stay cheapest, and
b) oceanic chokepoints are going to be geopolitically critical for the rest of our lives,

I'd also point out

c) with climate change, ports can be taken out by big storms that much more eaily.
d) we're all going to have to do the managed retreat thing, as sea level rise is pretty much locked into at least one meter this century.
e) Cislunar space is proving to be critical, not for living space, but for communication and weather satellites, without which that so-cheap shipping is going to suffer substantially more from storms.

So we're not entirely in Mahan's world any more, if we ever were (and he'd say we weren't I suspect)

Worse, from the perspective of Russia, China, and India, the big Eurasian powers:
f) they've all been conquered by Mongols, and China got conquered by Manchus, and India by the Moghuls. From the land side
g) while both have suffered incursions from the ocean, these haven't led to large-scale conquest, a la the Mongols (India is the exception with Britain), therefore
h) China, Russia, and India would be daft to not work to control Central Asia.

As for the US rebelling against Britain, that was predominantly a land war (the US rebellion) abetted by French naval interference (making life miserable for the US navy). I'm not sure the British Navy could have retaken the colonies, as demonstrated in the War of 1812 and the Civil War. The US (and, uh, Canada and Mexico) have the same problem of long undefended terrestrial borders to deal with that China and Russia, and India do. While we've had our border wars (especially the US and Mexico), we haven't had the large scale takeover of one polity by another or both by nomadic forces, as in Asia. Probably that's due to our relatively shallow history compared with Asia.

117:

If you haven't read the AIPAC Wikipedia page, you might want to do so.

It was founded in 1951, and I strongly suspect that the same thing that inspired Britain to donate a chunk of Palestine--The Holocaust--got Si Kenen his entrance into Washington DC as a lobbyist. AIPAC became powerful in the 1980s by backing winning candidates in US Senate races against sitting Senators who'd back pro-PLO and pro-Saudi legislation, but that's 30 years after they got into the system. Given the current mess with AIPAC being seen as increasingly right wing, I'd be shocked if they're not busy reaching out to progressive democrats and making amends. Especially now that BeBe is out of Israeli politics for the moment.

118:

The interest goes back rather further than that specific organisation, though. A good deal of the British purpose in whipping up Zionism during WW1 was to encourage pressure from interests internal to the US for the US to enter the war and counter pro-German sentiment. After all the US already had a significant population of Jews who had fled from persecution; at the time Russia were the principal shits for that sort of thing, and there was a tendency for people who had experienced it to see Germany as the good guys for attacking Russia and to disapprove of entering the war on the other side. Britain wanted to give them a strong reason to change their minds, as they were already considered to have significant influence over US policy.

Everyone seems to see this stuff as being something that came along after WW2 for obvious reasons involving Hitler, but really the post-WW2 stuff is pretty much a rerun of the WW1-and-after stuff only this time on nitrous. We need to look at the least to before WW1, with persecution of Jews in Eastern Europe and Russia and the British navy deciding to switch to oil firing.

119:

Heteromeles @ 108:

The main reason the U.S. supports Israel so strongly is because AIPAC has an even tighter grip on Congress's "hearts and minds" than does the NRA.

This is an anti-semitic minefield to trip through, sooo...

Thing to remember is that if you shade that wrong (or rather, Right), it comes across as anti-semitic, with the rich jews pulling strings.

No, the thing to remember is that these are AMERICAN Jews who have the same 1st Amendment right "to petition the Government for a redress of grievances" ... same as any non-Jewish AMERICANS.

And of course, they are pulling strings. Jewish history, to paraphrase a friend of mine who's Jewish, is paranoia reinforced by history. Making friends with the most powerful country on the planet, one that does have a history of suppressed anti-semitism, is important to Jews. Many, probably most, Jews want Israel to succeed, even though they may well wish Netanyahu completely gone and the settlements ended. Heck, I feel that way myself.

Exercising their 1st Amendment rights IS NOT pulling strings. I too hope Israel succeeds, but which Israel? My hope is for a post-Zionist, multi-cultural Israel at peace with their neighbors.

Which, BTW, is what I think is in the United States' best interest.

120:

Greg Tingey @ 111: JBS
Actually, I think that the US is/was Israel's puppet, but the sock-control is going both ways, too.
[It's complicated.] "Benny" hasn't helped & IQ45 certainly screwed with it...

And that is no more true than was the assertion that Israel is/was the U.S.'s puppet.

121:

the quaint possibility of an "All Men Are Created Equal" Party pushing for suffrage, unionizing former slaves, and unionizing immigrant Chinese and Hispanic along with whites, so that no one can be exploited by industrialists paying bottom level wages

The interesting real-world-timeline movement to compare with this is Chartism. It's slightly prior to the period you're considering and I suppose the labour movement features you mention were partly adapted from Chartism, but also brought additional features, like unionisation, together with the suffrage and democratic reform focus.

122:

Note: in English, it's Zionism, not Sionism.

I would like to see Israel back in its *original* borders... as it was created in the late forties and early fifties. Anyone who starts on with Eretz Israel (I know people who do) can shove their heads down the toilet.

And claiming I have to support Likud to support Israel is like saying I needed to support The Former Guy to support the US.

123:

Really? As I'm in real SF fandom, I never saw the subgroup that was political.

Interesting....

124:

Charlie Stross @ 112:

The main reason the U.S. supports Israel so strongly is because AIPAC

Yes, but why was AIPAC allowed to secure that death-grip on state policy? Compare with, for example, the Irish Republican lobby in Boston during the Troubles in NI, or the Cuban exiles in Miami -- AIPAC seems to have orders of magnitude more clout.

I think Heteromeles does have a point about "Jewish history" ... being ... "paranoia reinforced by history". Part of why AIPAC is so strong is they got an earlier start.

When I was growing up and going to almost all white schools in the southern U.S. they taught about Hitler trying to murder all the Jews. There were still a lot of veterans around who had actually SEEN the camps. Holocaust denialism couldn't catch hold here in the U.S. while most of those veterans were still alive.

It's obvious why American Jews would strongly organize to rally around the State of Israel and why U.S. support for the State of Israel predates Suez; predates the current regime in Israel.

I'd suggest that AIPAC only got to where it is because it served the interests of the petrochemical industry, and the dominionist Christian lunatics (who believe all Jews have to return to Israel before the second coming can happen), and the state department (choke-points on shipping, as Heteromeles points out), and probably half a dozen converging interest groups. It's not as if there aren't also Arab-Americans who could potentially have formed a counter-lobbying group, but they were much more fragmented and -- a key point -- seen as targets for a colonial/imperialist relationship, because of a certain strain of racism running in US elite circles (remember, this shit goes back to the 1950s if not earlier).

I don't think it's ONLY because they serve the interests of the greed heads & the lunatics, although I can see how the greed heads & lunatics would try to use them ... the same way AIPAC are trying to use the greed heads & lunatics. I do sometimes wonder if American Jews who welcome the dominionist evangelical support really understand the depth of the dominionist's depravity.

It's not just that all the Jews are supposed to return to Israel, but they're supposed to build (rebuild?) the THIRD TEMPLE on the site of the previous temples sparking a nuclear war with the Arabs (or Persians, or Russians, or ...) which will complete Hitler's Holocaust, with any survivors converting to dominionist christianity (or only those Jews who have converted surviving). There won't be any Jews after the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! There won't be a state of Israel and there won't be a city of Jerusalem.

There's your REAL anti-Semitism, and I don't know if American Jews are sufficiently prepared for the inevitable betrayal.

Basically AIPAC were pushing at an open door with a welcome mat carefully positioned outside it by various other groups with an interest in shaping policy deniably.

I see it as two parades going in almost the same direction who got mixed together. Both found something useful in the other, but they're still only going in almost the same direction.

125:

The second loved the aesthetic because it looked cool. There was a running gag in those days that "Steampunk is what happens when Goths discover brown." :D

Yep. They're modeling their look off of old sepia tone images. You're probably aware of what they don't care about - that the late 19th century was when humans really got the hang of chemical dyes and the era was full of screamingly bright colors.

126:

SS
I've done traditional Silver-Sulphide toning - bleach with pot Ferricyanide & then bathe in the sulphide salts ..
I still have a 20x16" print of old photo taken in um, err, 1966? Of a NE-England colliery railway scene, toned.
You have to look really carefully to realise that it wasn't taken in about 1916!

127:

Similarly, it's the beginning of the era where black clothes were routinely "blued" to keep their blackness, lest they brown with age. And really rich black fabrics were still premium, so going brown is more or less going downmarket. OTOH it does make stuff for the goffier cosplayers and enthusiasts that's much more interesting (and potentially less harmful, frankly) than a lot of other things they might get up to. And brass-and-leather consumer items are more intrinsically repairable than plastic ones I guess...

128:

Yeah, I learned about the color thing after the fact.

Personally, I always preferred a variation:

"Steampunk is what happens when Goths discover shiny." :D

130:

When I was growing up and going to almost all white schools in the southern U.S. they taught about Hitler trying to murder all the Jews.

When I started teaching in the 90s I got called anti-Semitic for pointing out that the Nazis also tried to murder other types of people*. I was also told I had to understand why the Israeli kids beat up one of my students who had a German last name.

Criticising the Israeli actions was met with accusations of anti-Semitism (or being a self-loathing Jew if you were Jewish), which still happens in the school system.


*Not a good time to be 'defective', homosexual, Roma…

131:

the era was full of screamingly bright colors

Something I discovered when researching colour schemes for painting Space: 1889 miniatures. If you go with actual colours most people think you've got it wrong. :-/

132:

Something I discovered when researching colour schemes for painting Space: 1889 miniatures. If you go with actual colours most people think you've got it wrong. :-/

Anyone can paint a locomotive black or grey. If you paint your locomotive green and red and blue and more green it will really stand out from the others!

133:

Link to pic, please!

134:

Punk "rebelling apparently without a cause"... I thought punk came in in the '80s, during Raygun, and "let's restart the Cold War", and tax the rich less, but tax social security and unemployment..." (I think they had reasons.)

135:

Everyone seems to see this stuff as being something that came along after WW2 for obvious reasons involving Hitler

Not so much if you saw the play/movie "Fiddler on the Roof".

136:

Not a good time to be 'defective', homosexual, Roma…

Or in disagreement.

Mother in law born in southern Germany in 1928. Her sister, 8+ years older, was in higher ed in 30s. Multiple friends vanished after talking about needed changes in government.

137:

I thought punk came in in the '80s, during Raygun

Punk rock is a 70s phenomenon and started in at least 3 places independently (Brisbane, New York City, and London) and burst into the spotlight in roughly 1976. People refer to the famous Sex Pistols Free Trade Hall gig in the Manchester as the "birth of punk", but those people forget about The Saints and The Ramones, both being very widely influential. People refer to The Stooges (from Ann Arbor, Michigan) as proto-punk, and certainly Iggy claimed a certain proprietorship or elder-brother relationship to the punk movement, but there were plenty of precursors in the 60s. It's essentially an attitude more than anything else, and the weirdly paradoxical commercial opportunity it made for certain sorts of creative people of that era, who might have otherwise had pretty limited horizons. People deride the Pistols as a manufactured band, a somewhat alienated Monkees, but it's undeniable that they blew off the castle doors, so to speak, and let many talented people through in their wake.

It's not quite the same as "rebelling apparently without a cause", it's more a statement that "I don't know what the ideal society is, but this one here with these specific stakeholders and decision makers that is doing these specific things right now is fucked up and I don't like it". Which is to me possibly the most reasonable political thing anyone can say, anywhere anytime.

138:

It's not quite the same as "rebelling apparently without a cause", it's more a statement that "I don't know what the ideal society is, but this one here with these specific stakeholders and decision makers that is doing these specific things right now is fucked up and I don't like it".

Punk wasn't (isn't? Punk never dies, after all.) a homogenous thing anyway. To my understanding, a lot of it was only style and attitude (musical or personal), and a lot of it was really rebelling without a cause. Musically some of the rebellion was against the complex and difficult direction much of popular music was going for.

Not all people were that much politically inclined. Some of them obviously were (and are!): Bad Religion, Dead Kennedys, and The Clash seem to be quite left-leaning. Then there were enough hard-right punks that the Dead Kennedys had a song called 'Nazi Punks Fuck Off' in 1981.

Then many of the Ramones apparently were, to my knowledge, more Republican, which does not quite gel with my impression of counter-culture, even in the Nineties. The Sex Pistols were partly a project for a clothing shop (of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood) and were fuelled quite much just by shocking. Both of them obviously had some issues to talk about, but the message was quite garbled in many ways. They still had a great influence on the sound an aesthetics of other artists.

I'm a bit too young to be part of the first punk scene, but I still find it interesting, and have for quite a while. It's not even always easy to play as a music - for example, that Bad Religion, even though their gear is simple, is not especially easy to perform.

In Finland, we have (had) a punk scene for a long, long time, and it's been somewhat political, too. Sadly, just last week there's been quite a big #metoo fallout in the Finnish punk scene, with some big players' actions coming to light, and it's not that good, obviously. (Misogyny and violence are obviously the thing here...)

I may have some punk leanings, but I think a line from Bad Religion's '21st Century Boy' describes me well: 'My dad's a lazy middle-class intellectual'.

139:

Loco Colours
Green x2 / Black / White / Yellow / Terracotta & Scarlet?
SECR Calss "D" 737
Or, for really over-the top: This

Whitroth
SLIGHT problem
It's a 20"x16" mounted print!
[ IF I can find an A4 copy - there is one somewhere - I'll digitise & then electronic-tone it for you ... ]

140:

#122 - I know a couple of Sabras, and their take on Israel's borders heavily features "defensibility" and "not being able to yomp across the nation in a day in full kit".

#132 - Ok, I can't think of any UK loco quite like that, but green and red, or bright blue, red and white, oh and black. (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caledonian_Railway_Single ) are common.

#139 - The SECR class D sort of reminds me of City of Truro, but I can't find as a good a picture...

141:

I refer to the Holocaust as killing 11 million people. I think some Jews find this irritating, but I haven't run into a hard pushback.

142:

There's your REAL anti-Semitism, and I don't know if American Jews are sufficiently prepared for the inevitable betrayal.

There are more Christian zionists in the USA right now than there are actual Jews, zionist or otherwise.

As for zionism -- speaking as a Jew here -- it's a classic example of 19th century European ethno-nationalism, the same stupidity that got us a century of warfare, ethnic cleansing, and genocide in Europe. There were other spatterings of it around the globe, notably Rhodesia and Apartheid South Africa: the form of Israel that Netenyahu's crew want is essentially an Apartheid state, and you'll find Jewish opinion outside and inside Israel is highly polarized both for and against that. (I'm strongly opposed: there's a reason I refuse to apply for an Israeli passport, despite all the fuck-uppery in the UK this century.)

143:

With thanks to Martin Niemoller -

"First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me"

144:

Niemoller, you will note, never mentioned the gays, the roma, or the disabled. In fact his list is entirely political except for the Jews, who were such a prominent target they were impossible to leave out.

145:

Agreed, and, in fact I've seen much longer versions of "First They Came...", but I honestly don't know which is the original, which are shortened and which are lengthened from the original.

146:

I refer to the Holocaust as killing 11 million people. I think some Jews find this irritating, but I haven't run into a hard pushback.

I have (depending on how you define "hard").

Apparently, as a gentile I have no right to an opinion on the Holocaust, because I don't know what it's like to sit down every year and see the empty place at the table laid for grandma who never came back home from the camp. (Which is true, because my family doesn't leave empty places at the table for the 2/3 who died in the camps, mostly Jewish but some gentile.)

My 'crime' was commenting that out of 11 pages of text on the school display on the Holocaust*, only one sentence mentioned anyone but Jews, and maybe we could do with a bit more historically accurate inclusion? Apparently mentioning anyone other than Jews 'diminishes the uniqueness of the Holocaust' and is antisemitic. So is pointing out that there were other genocides, and indeed other genocides still happening right now.

Interestingly, the year after I left that school the same person who accused me of antisemitism got a commendation for doing exactly what I had suggested**. Which leads me to believe that it was a political tactic to shut me up so that no one but her would get credit. If I'd stayed I strongly suspect nothing would have changed (and my career would have been very limited).

So my strongest attacker was apparently using accusations of antisemitism as a weapon to further her career, but mud sticks and I was labelled at that school. I've seen the same technique used multiple times in my teaching career — accusing someone of being anti-group-the-accuser-is-in to shut them up***.

This is probably more a commentary on academic political infighting than actual issues of antisemitism.


*Provided by Yad Vashem.

**Mentioning other targeted groups, noting that genocide still occurred and that 'never again' meant acting against genocides happening right now.

***One of my colleagues was told that as a white male he knew nothing about fairness and had no right to complain. This happened in a 'discussion' where he was being ordered to agree to his classes being larger than in our contract****. He was so shocked (this came out of left field) that he didn't think to respond that as a gay person he was quite familiar with unfairness, even if he wasn't a straight Asian woman.

****We have hard caps that can be over-ridden if the teacher agrees. They don't have to agree, but many principals retaliate against teachers who refuse to agree.

147:

Niemoller, you will note, never mentioned the gays, the roma, or the disabled.

Because when he wrote that, they were still legitimate targets?

148:

in fact I've seen much longer versions of "First They Came...", but I honestly don't know which is the original, which are shortened and which are lengthened from the original

Interesting that the version in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum leaves out his reference to Communists…

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/martin-niemoeller-first-they-came-for-the-socialists

There have apparently been many versions, even from Neimoller. Some have added groups he never mentioned, such as industrialists.

https://marcuse.faculty.history.ucsb.edu/niem.htm

149:

Yeah, that was a good series. If you know a bit of history then you know most of the statistics for Victorian slum living, but (as Stalin knew) putting faces on it makes it personal. Also some things I'd not heard of, like paying to sleep sitting up on a bench with a guard-rope to hold you up, just because it was somewhere out of the weather. The other similar series set in various parts of the 20th century have all been very good too, but this is the first one where recreating how people lived gave the participants the feeling of "be lucky or die".

It did skip over general criminality and gangs. The young boy wouldn't just be getting his costermonger's ticket for running round balancing crates or for street-selling - he'd probably also need to be the survivor of a few turf wars between rival gangs, and be seen to at least be hard enough that random thieves would think carefully before trying to rob his barrow. And of course no mention of prostitution, which is how most single mothers made their living, as well as a large number of girls (and not a few boys).

You can understand why - this was family viewing, after all, not "Peaky Blinders", and it already felt pretty grinding. Adding the fact that the kids of the family with the disabled grandad would probably be sucking cock on a street corner is just going to give them nightmares, even if it's true.

150:

And of course no mention of prostitution, which is how most single mothers made their living

You must have missed it. It was brought up. 2 or 3 times as I recall. I had it playing while I did network configs and I got through 4 1/2 of the 6 episodes and can't remember which one. But I think it was the 1st or 2nd.

Basically the outlook for single mom's was so bad than over 10% went into the sex trade. As I remember what was said.

151:

Also some things I'd not heard of, like paying to sleep sitting up on a bench with a guard-rope to hold you up, just because it was somewhere out of the weather.

I think I caught a reference to one level down from that. Just the rope and you stood. But I may have not remembered that correctly.

152:

I haven't seen the show, but sleeping on your feet with a rope to hold you upright is the origin of the phrase "on the ropes". So the trauma lingers in folk memory long after the specifics are forgotten.

153:

I haven't seen the show

I want noise in the background (and not always music) when I work. Doing software/network configs I can put a show like this on and only look at it when I notice something really compelling.

But if I made my living writing (and when I am writing emails and such) I'd have to turn it off. I suspect you wind up being much more selective in what plays in your background given your career.

Anyway, it's an interesting series. Only 6 episodes. Each covering a decade starting with the 1860 of life in the east end of London. It is done by taking small families / couples from around England of various backgrounds and having them act out set plays of how thing might have been for them in the time.

I liked that one lady said she always felt she grew up poor. She now says something to the effect she had no idea how much lower one could be on the poor scale back then.

One thing I found interesting and still happening today (at least in the US). At some point later in the 1800s the government started closing down the worst of the worst of the doss-houses (flop houses to those in the US). But they didn't address where those people would go. So many became homeless or street people as they were called at the time. After all, if they needed money they could just get a job was the feeling of those in power.

154:

So "on the ropes" is not a reference to boxing? Interesting...

155:

JBS
Yes
I've been accused of being at different times, a "communist" & a "fascist" simply because of my refusal to be "a dedicated follower of fashion"

156:

Admittedly these are models -- and of post-1900 locomotives -- but they'll give any non-railway specialists an idea of what the pre-WW1 railway looked like.

http://www.gwr.org.uk/liveriesloco1900.html

Greg's image linked above is about the limit of British Edwardian Railway lunacy.

[*] Check out the second image: the Dean Goods was the standard light _goods_ engine on the Great Western.

[**] And the 517 class was the "standard" branch passenger engine dating from about 1860 on the non-Broad Gauge Great Western.

[***] Note the varied colours. That's because the foreman in the painting shed had complete control of paint mixing. Some batches of paint had more of one pigment than others. There are apocryphal tales of engines whose painting spread out over a week-end. One side could be a completely different shade to the other!

157:

if they needed money they could just get a job was the feeling of those in power

And still is, apparently.

158:

Part of what's wrong with the world is that there's no place for refugees in general to go. This makes the existence of Israel seem rather crucial.

I actually have less connection to the Holocaust than a lot of other Jews because my family was out of eastern Europe in the 1880s.

I still don't think preserving the uniqueness of the Jewish part of the Holocaust is an important project, though I wouldn't mind having a word for the Jewish part (Shoah?) and another word for the whole thing.

Sometimes I bring up all the people killed in Hitler's war, too. People get cut too much slack for empire-building.

159:

While I completely agree with both your statement and its sentiment, I will gently point out that getting 50-odd years of freedom from pogroms isn't nothing.

160:

#156 - They go well with a real (if restored) picture of City of Truro - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:GWR_3440_City_of_Truro_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1479746.jpg . The other shot I linked above doesn't show just how bright Caledonian Blue is.

#158 - I could get on board with those comments and suggestions. Gentile, with no blood connection to Jewish/Hebrew roots. Still, when I visited https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garnethill_Synagogue in 1981, the Cantor was proud to tell visitors that the building "had no scars": I trust the point and symbolism are understood?

161:

I'm not sure which of my several statements you're agreeing with.

America has a much better record on antisemitism than Europe.

162:

I'd agree with that in depth of the "anti". But in breadth we're right there.

No ovens but plenty of "none allowed" here.

163:

"No ovens but plenty of "none allowed" here."

When and where are you talking about?

David Baddiel talks about English antisemitism, which strikes me as considerably worse than the background level of American antisemitism.

Fair warning-- his angle is about antisemitism not being a concern for English progressives.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6QfW78Mtgo

164:

Continental level is far too broad a brush when discussing antisemitism in Europe; Note my earlier comment about Garnethill synagogue in Glasgow, and compare with Clifford's Tower in York https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/York_Castle#Massacre_of_Jews .

165:

When and where are you talking about?

All of the US. And while the anti has been declining a LOT in GENERAL for a decade or few it is still strong in many population groups.

166:

I really need some more specificity. While I seem to have been exposed to much less antisemitism than the other American Jews I know, the stories I hear are more like having pennies thrown at them as children rather than being excluded as adults.

167:

Well, briefly mentioned, but not in the kind of way that put it as front and centre as it would have been. For obvious reasons though you can't randomly assign one of your participants to be a street-corner prostitute, nor "right, you kid there, you're dying of typhus tomorrow". However grindingly awful it seemed for the participants, the reality would still have been so much worse.

@Charlie, at the risk of over-reliance on the internet, https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/on+the+ropes has a number of sources agreeing that "on the ropes" originated in boxing.

168:

I tend to think these days that the relationship between Israel and the USA -- at a diplomatic/military level -- is rather close to what the British establishment think their relationship with the USA is (but hasn't been since, oh, 1956 or thereabouts). In other words, it's a special relationship where the parties are frenemies

...except that the British relationship is a bit closer; we haven't had a Jonathan Pollard incident, because we're part of the Five Eyes (see also the UK/USA sharing of nuclear weapons technology, or the trust involved in sailing a USMC F-35B squadron on a UK aircraft carrier).

169:

Wow. And then there's the Flying Scotsman.

I was afraid you hadn't digitized it. Thanks, though.

170:

Close down the flop-houses. U. Utah Phillips, "They're Running the Bums Out of Town". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prC9QNopgQ8

171:

The late RBG mentioned seeing signs, when she was young, "no Blacks or Jews". And, of course, the KKK and their ilk were happy to kill Jews, too, and union organizers, and...

172:

Greg Tingey @ 126: SS
I've done traditional Silver-Sulphide toning - bleach with pot Ferricyanide & then bathe in the sulphide salts ..
I still have a 20x16" print of old photo taken in um, err, 1966? Of a NE-England colliery railway scene, toned.
You have to look really carefully to realise that it wasn't taken in about 1916!

Ever tried hand coloring photographs with oils - print on traditional B&W paper and then "restore" the color by hand? That's how they did color photographs before color films & papers became readily available.

You probably already know that, but some of the non-photographers might not.

Nowadays you can do it with Photoshop, but it's not really the same.

173:

The Pistols turned up in 1976 with Anarchy In The UK and were effectively gone by 1979. Clash turned up 1977 with White Riot and were winding down from 1982 onward - Rock the Casbah is amiable pop music.

Thinking back to Sham 69, The Clash, The Sex Pistols, Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Buzzcocks it was mostly over as a movement by 1980s by which time even the New Waves was starting to fizzle or mutate (Ultravox?) and we were into the New Romantics - who also didn't last long.

Punk had a long lasting impact on UK music and certainly gave the Prog Rockers a well deserved kick up the bum, which isn't to say I don't love Close To The Edge - but some of them really had forgotten the word "Rock" in their musical genre.

At the time I wasn't convinced that the US really "got" punk, but they produced a few bands that would pass for New Wave and do good singles certainly, but generally...

Despite the best effort of the NME/Melody Maker and Sounds, to my mind, Punk never really had a coherent political pitch beyond "We're pissed off and if you don't like it fuck you!". Some were socialist and antiracism, other were just skinhead yobs with guitars while some others just loved music and wanted to play - and punk was easy to play.

Certainly, hearing "God Save The Queen" and Magazine's "Shot by both sides" for the first time was great.

174:

Robert Prior @ 130:

When I was growing up and going to almost all white schools in the southern U.S. they taught about Hitler trying to murder all the Jews.

When I started teaching in the 90s I got called anti-Semitic for pointing out that the Nazis also tried to murder other types of people*. I was also told I had to understand why the Israeli kids beat up one of my students who had a German last name.

Criticising the Israeli actions was met with accusations of anti-Semitism (or being a self-loathing Jew if you were Jewish), which still happens in the school system.

*Not a good time to be 'defective', homosexual, Roma…

I probably wouldn't have learned about all the other people Hitler murdered if I hadn't been a voracious reader. The curriculum on European History that was taught in U.S. schools in the 50s & 60s didn't go much beyond 1492 other than when the U.S. was involved in the World Wars.

175:

Re the Nazi genocidal program against the Romani (Porajmos),
ROMANIES AND THE HOLOCAUST: A REEVALUATION AND AN OVERVIEW (Ian Hancock, 2004)
It is a passionate(/fiery) essay.
The author (Romani) lightly touches on some influential agenda-driven shoddy scholarship that attempts to minimize the Porajmos (the arguments affecting him personally and professionally); mainly it's a history piece, with references (worth a look), and widely cited.
My attitudes towards genocide denial resemble those of Grey Area; I'll attempt to refrain from comment on such in this specific case. (You could say that Grey Area walked away from Omelas. Mostly, it was relentlessly curious.)

176:

whitroth @ 134: Punk "rebelling apparently without a cause"... I thought punk came in in the '80s, during Raygun, and "let's restart the Cold War", and tax the rich less, but tax social security and unemployment..." (I think they had reasons.)

1950s - Gen-X don't like it, but the "Greatest Generation" invented punk.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4NkkAQllfo

Bit early for the boomers. The oldest were still in grammar school.

177:

Urk, didn't preview an edit: Grey Area

178:

Punk, as opposed to punk rock, was late forties/early fifties.

The war's over, but we remember the Depression, and something's just not right.

179:

Charlie Stross @ 152: I haven't seen the show, but sleeping on your feet with a rope to hold you upright is the origin of the phrase "on the ropes". So the trauma lingers in folk memory long after the specifics are forgotten.

It's also apparently the origin of "hangover".

180:

Hardcore U.S. Punks included X, Black Flag, Fear, Germs, and the Plasmatics.

Or if you want a band that's not punk, but formed in 1973, and doubtless a foundation for later punk music, there's always Devo, an American band from Akron, Ohio. ("Mongoloid" was first played in concert in 1975, and I find it difficult to argue that it wasn't punk.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGdxX5qzeW8

Wikipedia says punk goes back to "Louie Louie" in 1957...

181:
David Baddiel talks about English antisemitism, which strikes me as considerably worse than the background level of American antisemitism.

Fair warning-- his angle is about antisemitism not being a concern for English progressives.

Baddiel probably understates things. At a previous General Election, I told our Labour MP that "I wouldn't be voting for a fucking Anti-Semite (quote/unquote)". I got some hopeless guff about him personally not being anti-semitic, to which I replied that his inactions on this matter with regard to Jeremy Corbyn were a clear indicator that he -- personally -- had culpability. I may even have ended with "You don't actually expect Jews to vote for Labour do you?"

So, I've probably got one of those yellow stars against my name in the Labour Party Database -- despite not being Jewish.

Anyhow, ...

... having got that off my chest, ... before we go any further I'd like you to unpack the term "progressive" for me. In England I'd view it as a synonym for "Tankie" -- an old-style term of abuse used to describe people in the UK (mostly communists) who supported Russian Tanks in Budapest in 1956. And lest that be thought extreme, we did indeed have such people in my minor public school. One of whom is a journalist at the Guardian. He might have changed his views, I suppose, but his articles would seem to indicate otherwise.

I have had particular difficulty explaining the trope of the "English Public School Boy Communist" to my East European students. But it's common enough, and you'll note Agatha Christie had such an individual featuring in "Death on the Nile"; he was the poshest of the lot -- of course.

To me Seamus Milne is a useful case study. Father: Director General of the BBC, schooled at Winchester (for posh boys with some brains -- though noted for two centuries for the "Wykhamist Fallacy" -- that everyone's a good chap really) and Balliol (most leftwing college in Oxford).

And then we get to the missing photos at the Sochi Winter Olympics. Initially Pravda put up some nice photos of Putin enthroned on a dias with various functionaries bowing and "kissing the ring", amongst whom Mr Milne was one. To seal the case against him, those photos have been purged from the internet -- a bit like photos of Alexander de Pfeffle "Boris" Johnson and the rest of the Bullingon crew.

182:

While I'm horrified at the description of football fans making hissing noises to express antisemitism (simulating gas in death camps), and none too pleased at Alice Waters' gross antisemitism getting a pass, the thing that chilled me most was the Jewish woman who just took it as normal to conceal that she's Jewish in England.

As for progressives, I use the word without precision. I see people call themselves progressives, they can have the word. As far as I can tell, they say they want Sweden, but they're very fond of Cuba. What do they actually mean in terms of policy if they have power? I have no idea.

I've met one person who was an apologist for Stalin, and another who was an apologist for Mao.

183:

Nancy L & Dave L:
The collection of conspiracist nutters is growing: It's why I won't trust J. Corbyn, because among others - there's his brother Piers C. + David Icke + Gillian McKeith + Katie Hopkins ... etc .
Yeah

184:

Ever tried hand coloring photographs with oils - print on traditional B&W paper and then "restore" the color by hand?

Apparently my aunt used to do that for my grandfather when she was a girl. She died of Covid last year, so no more details than that she hand-tinted pictures for him (and apparently his 'darkroom' was under the kitchen table with a black cloth over the top).

185:

I've met one person who was an apologist for Stalin, and another who was an apologist for Mao.

Had lunch last week with an old colleague who was exposed to two different views on the Chinese Revolution. His wife's family owned some land and so were at the bottom after the revolution, and very against it and the communists in general. His teacher's family was so poor they sold his teacher into slavery for food for the rest of the family, and until the communists the poor were at the mercy of the rich (which may have been "anyone with enough to eat" to a child). His teacher looked at communists giving food to the poor and joined them in the fight against the Japanese.

I've met people who supported Marcos in the Philippines, because he sent wealth to their village (family connections).

I wonder a bit if most people will support anyone who gives them a decent life without worrying too much about the ethics of the leader?


they say they want Sweden, but they're very fond of Cuba

Sounds like the old joke about Americans saying they want Sweden, but voting to get Brazil…

186:

Progressives....

Populist has come to mean white-wing rabble-rouser. Liberal has come to mean "nice" people (listen to Phil Och's "Love Me, I'm A Liberal"). A lot of people still have trouble in the US with calling themselves socialist.

So, progressive is it. Think New Deal, and you've got it.

187:

New deal and maybe some Euro-Socialism; state-run medical care, pensions, and good vacation policies.

188:

Reasonable sick and parental leave policies…

189:

I remember my Pipe-Major telling us about agricultural employment in 1930s Argyllshire; hiring fairs, absolute dependence on the employer, only being paid if you lasted the whole year. Not quite indentured Labour, but close.

It went a long way to explain the Labour general election win of 1945 - although the Royal Army Education Corps has a claim to having educated the workforce during the war, along the lines of “there’s a better way”…

190:


Graham@167 wrote, "sources agreeing that "on the ropes" originated in boxing."

Michael Crichton wrote a semi-historically based account of a
sensational Victorian era crime, "The Great Train Robbery" in which he filled a lot of pages with research he'd done on living conditions in London of the 1800s.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Train_Robbery_(novel)
Also made into a decent movie starring a much younger Donald Sutherland back in the 70s, dvd available at libraries or from netflix.
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079240/
One scene took place in a sailors' hang, so called because of their rope clothesline arrangement to support sleeping homeless men upright by their armpits, which allowed maximum occupancy of available space by paying customers. This supposedly inspired the expression "hanging around." McNeil-Lehrer's "Story of English" claims Australians later modified it to "hanging around like a fart in a phone-booth."
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWBVMdB_505ikJyx8WtftmCAjN1GDZ4SE
Makes sense, by the time public pay-phones were a thing, sailors' hangs had been long forgotten, so a plausible back-construction supplied missing context.

191:

By the bye, whoever suggested a few online comics - the others I did not like, but Gunnerkrieg Court is brilliant.

192:

So, progressive is it. Think New Deal, and you've got it.

Without the racism and classism. And with a good understanding of the limits imposed by climatee change.

I'd almost say Green New Deal, but the kickoff meeting I attended on that was so badly run I walked out. Hopefully, if the GND gets off the ground, it will be with people who know their history enough not to blindly repeat the mistakes of the last three generations because they don't want to be schooled by old white fogies. The Opposition has spent most of a century fighting progress. If too many GNDers think that they can do a Galahad Gambit and win, not because they know what they're doing but because their intentions are pure, they're going to be chewed up and spat out like so many of their predecessors have been.

193:

> People get cut too much slack for empire-building.

How do you think the state of Israel was established? That land wasn't empty; almost a million were expelled at gunpoint.

194:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 166: I really need some more specificity. While I seem to have been exposed to much less antisemitism than the other American Jews I know, the stories I hear are more like having pennies thrown at them as children rather than being excluded as adults.

Maybe start here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_antisemitism_in_the_United_States

195:

whitroth @ 170: Close down the flop-houses. U. Utah Phillips, "They're Running the Bums Out of Town". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prC9QNopgQ8

"Flop-houses" ... that's the word I was trying to remember.

196:

there's no place for refugees in general to go. This makes the existence of Israel seem rather crucial.

Can you explain how that works? I thought Israel had been a net creator of refugees since day one? Unless you're one of the "Palestinians are not people" types.

197:

whitroth / Troutwaxer
The phrase is: Social Democrat

Keitmastersom
Micheal Crichton is (was?) an ahistorical arsehole
I got about 30 pages intio that novel & threw it away. Wall-to-wall lying impossible bollocks about C19th railway operation.

H
but because their intentions are pure
Being spat out is the GOOD option
The bad option is that they succeed.
And end up like Robespierre or Dzerzhinsky - their motives were "pure", too.

skulgun
There's another narrative/story about that ...
That the Arab countries surrounding Israel ordered "their people" out, so that they could genocide anyone left behind ...
And promptly dumped them in Gaza (etc) to use, for ever after, as bleeding-heart bargaining chips

Note - I said "narrative" - not that it is/was true, or that yours is/was either.
I don't know & the current narratives are ... muddied.

198:

Meanwhile in the seriously bonkers-but-harmless stakes
I mean a Jadgtpanther a torpedo & a flak gun (!) You what?

199:

#189 - This would actually be typical of most places in Scotland that had hiring fairs for the trades pre-WW2. Including a few places people may have heard of like Glasgow, Paisley, Dumbarton, Lanark...

#198 - The illustration is of a PzKfg 5 "Panther".

200:

How do you think the state of Israel was established? That land wasn't empty; almost a million were expelled at gunpoint.

It's a lot more complicated than that.

Circa 1880 the land was lightly populated by Ottoman empire standards. Jewish settlers began to arrive, bought land, built settlements, proved the land was underpopulated, and the Arab population also began to increase. By the 1930s there were large populations of both Jews and Arabs (not just Muslims, but Christian groups also), and increasing tension which escallated to near-civil-war intensity by the mid to late 1940s.

Then the UN vote on what to do with the British Mandate arrived, the UN voted for partition (as did most of the planet) ... Israel declared independence within the partition borders, and was simultaneously attacked by Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and forces from Iraq and Libya (with whom there was no land border). Those nations (mostly despotic monarchies) announced they intended to throw the Jews into the sea; so, setup for an instant existential struggle.

Note that the State of Israel barely existed at that point, and there were multiple armed Jewish militias (or terrorist groups, depending on your perspective) arguing over policy. One group, Haganah, turned into the official armed forces and mostly focussed on defending their borders. A different, more extreme group, Irgun (the "Stern gang", per the British) decided to start up ethnic cleansing, as it was called in the former Yugoslavia, and started shoving the Arab neighbours out. Note that the leader of the Irgun was one Menachem Begin, later PM of Israel, and Bibi Netenyahu is his spiritual inheritor.

The invading nations announced that it was okay to avoid the Irgun, once they'd thrown the Jews in the sea everybody (the Arab displaced people) could go back to their homes.

Needless to say, things happened differently. Also, 73 years of politics happened and the fundamentals of the situation on the ground are irrevocably changed.

I can denounce the ethnic cleansing of the Nakbah and denounce the invasion of the UN-established State of Israel by its neighbours. I can denounce Hamas and denounce the Israeli army for shooting at unarmed civilians. I don't even need to draw a false equivalence here: the Israeli state is the bully with all the power, at least since roughly 1977, or 1982 at the latest. But what to do to fix the situation today ...? That's a much harder question which may not have any good answers.

201:

Can you explain how that works? I thought Israel had been a net creator of refugees since day one?

You seem to have missed that, in the event of a Nazi takeover of the UK, Israel is the one place guaranteed to take me in, no (or minimal) questions asked -- under the Law of Return, if I ask for a passport, then as someone the Nazis would have defined as Jewish under the Nuremburg Laws, they're required to give me one (along with permanent right of residence).

If you're a member of a people with a history of being rounded up and murdered by their neighbours over a millennia-plus period, that's one hell of a life boat.

(And if given a choice between being murdered in a death camp and moving to an apartheid state, I'd probably hold my nose and move -- at least I'd be alive to vote for the anti-apartheid folks, right? Go on, tell me to hop in the gas chamber on a point of principle, I'm listening.)

Personally I think this should be a non-issue. If we don't get global citizenship and residence rights within the next century, far more people will die due to climate change than died during the 20th century as a result of war and ethnic cleansing. But that's a different consideration.

203:

Very amusing, but your SQL injection attack won't work here!

204:

:-) Although it was supposed to be a regex typo correction, but I muffed that too.

205:

I really need some more specificity. While I seem to have been exposed to much less antisemitism than the other American Jews I know, the stories I hear are more like having pennies thrown at them as children rather than being excluded as adults.

Let's see. Coops keeping them out. Clubs of all kinds keeping them out. Local politics of all kinds keeping them out. Just like with those of darker skin but way more politely.[1]

Basically the Jewish were considered to have money and thus the redlining and other things of them was morally OK as it didn't take away their money. Unlike what was done to darker people.

I grew up in a very rural area of far western KY. No where near Appalachia. My blindness to all kinds of discrimination was baked into the society that raised me. So I didn't notice or even think about the single Synagogue in the town of 32K. But in hindsight I now remember various comments by the adults of other families that indicated "they" were not to be allowed to buy a house in OUR neighborhoods. And all kinds of other things. And being in the middle of SBC country, Catholics were almost as excluded.

It was just baked into the system. No lynchings or ovens but the discrimination was there.

[1] In my early teens there was a push by various family friends to put together a private swim club down the street. This was in the late 60s into around 1970. Only in hindsight do I see how this was a reaction to the only area public pool being de-segregated. It never happened but I THINK the only local small country club membership did go up.

206:

And that's an over-simplification! I was unusual amoung my friends for supporting Israel's occupation of Palestine, Sinai and the Golan heights in 1967, as something they had no choice over, and said that it gave them the most wonderful opportunity for long-term peace.

Specifically, Israel should have asked for a UN protectorate, which it would have got, and administered the occupied territories accordingly (e.g. no dispossession or 'settling'). Many (most?) Palestinians actually welcomed Israel's occupation, as they were utterly fed-up with the corrupt and brutal PLO. Also, it should have asked for funds (mainly from the USA), and used those and its expertise to bring improved Palestine's economy and living standards.

However, the Irgun camp prevented that, and chose the path of repression,'ethnic cleansing' and worse; the end-game of that path is even worse.

As you say, what to do now is unclear. If we had a functional UN (damn the USA and UK for killing that), taking direct UN control (as described in several SF books) might work. I can't see anything else that would, not even the USA developing enough sanity and spine.

207:

H. but because their intentions are pure Being spat out is the GOOD option
The bad option is that they succeed. And end up like Robespierre or Dzerzhinsky - their motives were "pure", too.

Greg, you're so far below not even wrong...

This is a basic problem with the progressives: we don't read, we don't apprentice, we don't practice, and too often, we don't think. And also too often, we lose.

The basic problem is that few of the newly radicalized stop and think to ask if anyone's already tried what they're about to do, and whether it worked.

It's a standard trope that the cops spend more time reading up on nonviolence than the nonviolent actionists do. The kids read MLK, or Gandhi, or Thoreau, get inspired, and try their stuff. The cops have already read MLK, Gandhi, and Thoreau, know what they're in for, and roll it up. It's like kitting out with a nineteenth century soldier's gear and going up against a 21st century warfighter with M4s and air support.

But this approach is baked in to the GND I saw. People were randomly assigned to tables with strangers, given no more than 10 seconds to say anything, and asked kindergarten-level questions. This mixed a bunch of newbies in with more experienced people, and set it up to silence the experienced people. Then the most popular answers were taken and read to the room, where the most popular ideas in the room (Those of the newbies) became what people were expected to work on going forward. The experienced people got the message, shut up, and left, because they had no desire to see the same set of naive ideas fielded yet again. And that part of the GND foundered.

The intent was "pure," designed to make all voices heard in the interest of environmental justice and leveling the playing field. To me, racial justice involves the more experienced people (of all genders, races, and backgrounds) telling their stories about what worked and didn't, and everyone else learning. Then the agenda-setting starts.

208:

The experienced people got the message, shut up, and left, because they had no desire to see the same set of naive ideas fielded yet again. And that part of the GND foundered.

I just walked away from a conversation about local recycling because the people talking the most didn't understand AT ALL what the reality was after the curbside pickup. So they were wanting to talk about how much better recycling would be if the schedule changed. Not believing what really happens after the truck dumps it at the recycling center.

209:

That problem isn't limited to activists. I've seen it with engineers and teachers too. People are enchanted by the new-to-them; combine that with the tendency to fall in love with your own ideas, and you have the perfect recipe for iterated wheel-reinventing without much actual progress.

When you've just had a brilliant new idea and someone says "we tried that xx years ago and it didn't work" the temptation is to reply "you didn't do it right" rather than ask "what went wrong".

210:

As you say, what to do now is unclear. If we had a functional UN (damn the USA and UK for killing that), taking direct UN control (as described in several SF books) might work.

I'm not sure that perspective is reflected by the evidence: look at the list of vetoed UNSC resolutions (link). You'll notice that the USSR/Russia are both the earliest, and the most frequent, users of the veto within the UN Security Council (link)...

211:

My #181 and following.

I forgot to say -- for those not used to UK-style electioneering -- that the candidate comes around knocking on doors to drum up support; there's a spending limit of £7,000 for each constituency, so this is what they all have to do.

Next a big apology for the tone of 181, especially to you Nancy. My query about progressives was because I strongly suspect (and whitroth has confirmed) that usage is different in our respective countries. But racist scumbags -- or their enablers -- really piss me off.

Greg writes:

The collection of conspiracist nutters is growing: It's why I won't trust J. Corbyn, because among others - there's his brother Piers C. + David Icke + Gillian McKeith + Katie Hopkins ... etc .

Greg, it's important to distinguish between powerless cranks (most of those on your list), and people with actual power conferred either by the ballot box or by having a big enough soapbox provided by the media. (Let's ignore the anti-vaxxer medics, for the moment, shall we? That's just financial scamming, with a perverted dark charisma.)

#185 Robert Prior. Yes people can have different views about political leaders, and that's fine and dandy, especially if they actually lived under the system in question. My objection to the UK supporters of Stalin that I've met is that by and large they are have formed their opinions through the right motives, but have then failed to observe that their good intentions ("there should be more fairness") are being slyly subverted. It's the same with Westerners recruited into ISIS: starry-eyed idealists discovering too late what they've got into.

212:

EC @ 206
After the 1997 & '73 wars, Israel' then (& sane) government offered: "Land for Peace" - to EVERYONE.
And was consistently rejected, with (almost) all the Arab countries determined to continue with attempted genocide ... one result of which was the "Entebbe" piracy & killings - which is how Bibi got into Israeli politics
The Arabs have done it - all of it, every single bit of it - to themselves, since 1967, at any rate.
And the Apartheid state that Israel has/is become is a result of that.

I like your idea of a UN Mandate - but would the Arab ultras have even accepted that, I wonder?

Robert Prior
The people who REALLY screw-up with that one are politicians.
"Oh, it didn't work - right lets just do it again, only HARDER ......"
The list for that one is so loooooong....

213:

Balls. The Palestinians were offered a piffling amount in return for unacceptable conditions. And may I remind you that referring to the Palestinians and many of the near-eastern countries as Arab is racist?

214:

The vetoes have little to do with it - yes, they were and are used mostly for cold war politics, and were set up by the victorious powers specifically for that use. The emasculation of the rest of the UN was an almost entirely separate matter.

215:

Happy to steer well clear of your discussion with Greg, but I really didn't realise calling Palestinians Arabs would offend. That's interesting I didn't realise that.

Which countries in that area should not be referred to as Arab?I thought most of them had joined the Arab league - obviously, Iran doesn't play well with others.

216:

Thank you for the reminder of Devo. I recall a friend playing "Are We Not Men?" and hating it - I used to play him Six Wives of Henry VIII by way of revenge.

I had totally forgotten Mongoloid and see what you mean. I imagine the Arty, slightly cabaret presentation wouldn't have gone down well with UK punk rock audiences but they had a following at the time in the UK.

I checked out the Plasmatics again and they were better than I remembered - quite fun. Again a bit theatrical in their live gigs, but perhaps that was just the way to get noticed on the vastly bigger gig US circuit - that and Wendy. The other 3 I didn't know at all.

I think a good case could be made for the New York Dolls too - if you avoid the visuals.

Perhaps its best to think of UK Punk rock as a briefly popular and influential musical form that was itself heavily influenced by a previous musical form? :)

I had a very happy hour playing some old stuff on youtube and am still perplexed by the critical acclaim for the first Clash album.

217:

EC
The Egyptians may or may not be Arabs, but the rest are, surely?
Grant has a point ...
If not "Arabs" then w.t.f does one call them, then?

218:

That's the best (most honest) compact history of the State of Israel I've ever read. Thanks!

219:

I'd suggest that the Soviet Union as was should also take a share of the blame for the UN.

220:

Hitler is to blame for the UN. (Kinda-sorta.)

Lest we forget: its predecessor, the League of Nations, proved itself to be utterly toothless in the 1930s, as it had no equivalent of the Security Council and no mechanism for taking action. See also Italy v. Ethiopia, Hitler's looting spree in Europe, etc.

Fast forward to the Yalta conference during WW2. We don't hear about this much today, but one of the side-effects was to establish a formal alliance against the Axis powers: an alliance that was named the United Nations. Yup, the post-1945 UN was the organization originally created to fight fascists and their allies. Unlike the LoN, the UN had very big teeth: teeth with atom bombs, Marshal Zhukov's armies, the entire war-fighting power of the fully-mobilized British Empire, and so on.

Then the war ended ...

The UN already had a whole bunch of members. It had a dispute resolution process and military co-operation agreements (the thing the LoN had lacked). So the allies foisted it on everyone else as the de-facto successor to the League of Nations, with one principle that everyone agreed on (even Stalin): thou shalt not wage aggressive warfare, or the UN will shit on you from a very great height.

(Which, incidentally, is why the unpleasantness between Argentina and the UK in 1982 was not a "war" but a "conflict", even though there were naval fleets attacking each other and a couple of amphibious invasions. Legalese is important and the UK wasn't about to violate a core principle of the agreement that gave it a permanent seat on UNSC. Nor was the Argentinian Junta willing to assert that it was waging war on the UK -- they were just reuniting their alienated territory with the fatherland, that's not a war, that's an anschluss or something.)

Anyway the good-natured let's-all-get-along version of the UN only lasted until the Nuremburg criminals were hanged. Then the iron curtain came down, because Stalin was totally not going to let a major capitalist imperialist power position army groups within a thousand kilometers of the Soviet frontier (which in view of the events of 1941 was probably sensible of him, even if rather ignoring the coming new realities of nuclear war and ballistic missiles). So the UNSC ended up deadlocked over almost everything ...

Except for the Korean War: at the time when things turned hot, the USSR was boycotting the UNSC and so was not present at the critical meeting where they could have exercised their veto, which is why the USA, UK, SK, and other allied forces on the peninsular fought under the UN flag.

But anyway: the only reason the UN exists is because Hitler. Nobody remembers this (or cares) any more, but it's worth pausing to think about next time you hear someone proposing to stop paying UN membership dues or kvetching about what it's good for.

221:

Greg Tingey @ 217: EC
The Egyptians may or may not be Arabs, but the rest are, surely?
Grant has a point ...
If not "Arabs" then w.t.f does one call them, then?

Some of the people from the State of Israel's neighbors are Arabs, some are not. Some Jews are also Arabs, and some Arabs are also Jews.

Depending on where they're from, maybe call them Egyptians or Jordanians or Lebanese or Syrians or even Palestinians ... same as people from Israel are Israelis.

222:

Charlie
Important Addendum

Some OTHER PARTS of the UN are very useful indeed, provided they have not bee suborned from within by "someone" with ulterior motives.
UNESCO / WHO / UNHCR / FAO / IAEA / IMO / IMF /WFP etc

Full list HERE Getting rid of all of these would be a very bad idea, indeed.

223:

Meanwhile, we were talking about "Arab"/Israeli fuckwittery ....
I know the "olympic" games ought ought be permanently put down in the name of sanity, but:
Try this for size

224:

Membership of the Arab League is irrelevant. Iranians and most Egyptians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese are not Arabs. But the main reason that it is racist is that it is used by the pro-Israel bigots (to be euphemistic) who say that the Palestinians are immigrants to Israel and should be resettled in 'Arab countries'. In fact, at least some will be descended from Canaanites and their residence in Palestine predates Judaism - as will at least some Israeli Jews and Christians.

No, I do not know how many of those people regard being called Arabs as offensive, nor do I care, though I know that some do. It is a racist term when used as I describe in the previous paragraph - and, yes, Greg, that means you.

The simple fact is that basing any claims of residence on purported immigrations of over a hundred years ago is at least bigotry, usually outright racism, and this is a matter thousands. It's over a thousand even to the Arabisation of the Levant! On this matter, I regard OGH to have at least as good (and probably a better) claim to Scottish citizenship than I do, my surname is a well-known Highland one, and my great-grandfather was born in Edinburgh.

225:

Yes. The USSR was jointly responsible for the UN's dysfunctionality, but treating the General Assembly with contempt and emasculating many of the UN's sub-organisations was primarily the work of the USA with the UK's assistance.

226:

Black Flag, Fear, and X were part of the Los Angeles punk scene, which was concentrated around south Hollywood and the Olympic Auditorium south of Downtown Los Angeles. It was a very hot scene in the late seventies and early eighties. The bassist in Fear went by the name Lee Ving, which wasn't a huge laugh, but definitelyone of those jokes that ages well.

227:

In terms of 1970s UK punk's relation to politics, Jon Savage's England's Dreaming is great reading. And in the US, here's a great article on Jello Biafra's 1979 run for mayor in SF.

228:

I went to see Snakefinger at one of those dives and someone snuck a Christian "Punk" band into the show as the first act. When they got off the stage the MC went up to the microphone and told a riddle:

"Why doesn't Jesus eat M&Ms?"

"Because the crucifixion left holes in his hands!"

The audience cheered for a good, long time and the Christian "Punk" band slunk off into obscurity.

229:

EC
FUCK RIGHT OFF
You quite deliberately raised a totally false flag of racism - so that you could just have a go at me - & not the first time either
STOP IT
OK?

As for your bullshit about the UN - I SUGGEST you re-read my post on the list of UN organisations, right?

230:

The Six Wives of Henry the VIII? You don't mean "'Enery the eighth" do you? Herman's Hermits? (Who I saw do that live....)

231:

Re Jello Biafra running for mayor: I'll see you, and raise you one: Kinky Friedman, with an album "Texas Jewboy", running for governor of TX. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Texas_gubernatorial_election

232:

Friedman is an interesting character. I read his detective novels back when they came out, and got the album on the strength of that (Sol American is the title, but it's the first one from back in the early 70s). He also ran for sheriff at least once in his hometown in Texas (not motivated enough to look it up at the moment).

I actually went to a gig he did as part of an Americana festival at a pub in Brisbane a few years ago. He spends a bit of time in Oz, is old buddies (maybe from his Peace Corps days, though I'm not sure how that works) with an arsehole right-wing newspaper columnist here. Which is how he ended up doing a speech at the National Press Club (which should be available online). So I'm not sure about Friedman's politics: seems relatively liberal and he certainly isn't keen on guns, but he plays around the edges of a lot of things. I think he aligns better to (hippy) freak voters than to Libertarians and I like to think he distances himself from the latter but I could be wrong.

One less salutary thing: his stage set includes a cover of the Warren Zevon song 'My Shit's fucked up'. Despite the title, it's not really a comedic song, and should be played straight as tragic. To his credit Friedman does this, but because he made his whole career by acting as a transgressive clown, and the song's impact is built around its swear words, it's not a fantastic look.

233:

Sorry, that's Sold American. It's something that rewards listening to, if you can tolerate the country music from that era (which it parodies). Most of the songs contain Jewish references along with other jokes, some of which are real gems, for instance:

Well, it's retro rocket time inside my attic
I'm all wrapped up in the flag to keep me warm
Got my brain locked in the cruise-o-matic
Rollin' Ronnie Reagan in suppository form.

234:

Then there's AhNold actually winning the governor of California race--twice. Jesse Ventura won in Minnesota. I think that says that pro wrestlers know more about politics than do actors and musicians.

We won't mention that other actor, one Ronald Wilson Reagan. He ran for some stuff too.

236:

As ever, you have to notice the jokes:

Wikipedia altering the (original Gaelic / Irish spellings) -- > us fucking around Symbolic(ally).

Yes, it's the Queen of Spades originally (but has now bled into Ace of Spades - which all decent readers of Host's books will instantly goto Motorhead, of course[1]) - and it has a significant sexual response patterning within the USA[3]

There are about three thousand children books re-imagning Hamlet as having a Pig as a protagonist, finding the right one (it's a 1970's version) is the quest.

It's not "King Kanut (Canut)" but King Canoodlum[2]

#181 / 182 - these people are not living in reality, they're living in the Above Zone Fiction Times[tm] and sadly: they do not even know who is creating it. Hint: there a a couple of Jewish people involved, but largely it's Big Goy Capital with Nukes who are afraid of China.

For the record: Baddiel is a middle-weight comedian who rode to fame on two far more talented people (one of whom was essentially black-listed for his politics: check out his live shows, esp. regarding history and oil, man has talent) and is horrendous as a "figure-head" given his history of dressing up in black face + pinapple headdress (not in, say, 1979, but in the late 1990's) given the current state of play regarding modern Football politics (Rashford etc). Anyone listening and/or believing him at this point is: Old and Useless Husk.

Real Players burn people for £60,000,000; they don't waddle through a crappy book deal that's modelled on the US Politics market to get noticed in lists (and yes: we happen to know who 'bought the rights', who sponsored it and who is paying for rubbish like that - if they want to fuck around with the Big Horned Cheeses, £60,000,000 buy-in price is not something they can afford).

This is a polite notice: update your Wetware or get Mindfucked. The "Allies" selling you this tripe are running really much nastier shit and laughing at you.


Anyhow: oh, right. Original version of bean sídhe: hint, modern definition is C18th, might be something happening in Ireland around that time that might have changed the mythological nuance to it (like... genocide).


No, seriously: 181/2 - your Minds are getting prepared for a Harvest you cannot congnitively resist and it's depressing as fuck to watch you line up for it.


[1]

[2] https://www.worldofbooks.com/en-gb/books/joseph-o-conor/king-canoodlum-and-the-great-horned-cheese/9780563177463

[3] For the UK, one might discuss "dogging" as the geographical equivilent

237:

TL;DR

If you're simping for Baddiel when Rashford is in play, you're basically Telegraph / Times (UK media) fodder.

Brains ----- Mush.

238:

If you're simping for Baddiel when Rashford is in play, you're basically Telegraph / Times (UK media) fodder.

I'm tired enough that the only response I have for this sentence is "Mornington Crescent".

239:

The first learning point for all Conscious Minds is the realisation that they do not, and cannot, understand everything.

Farting out boring Games that have long been surpassed is a symptom that states: My Mind is Done, I wish Death / Void, please Hunt Me Now.


It's not our kink, but Holy Fuck you do not want to meet those [redacted] who have it.

240:

[Note: looking who fronted the £££ for Baddiel's book and so on is not exacrly hard. Dig a little further, you're hitting Arms Dealers and Establishment ties to.... the Telegraph and Times)


Does "Mornington Crescent" actually mean: "SKULL FUCKED BY A RAMPANTLY INEPT ESTABLISHMENT WHO NETHERTHELESS WEILD DISPPROPORTIONATE POWER VIA VIOLENCE"?

'Cause that's a Game we're really... really good at.

241:

Anyhow, Triptch.

Here's Macron being buried under "welcome garnishes" from an (ex) Colonial Nation:

https://twitter.com/jeonpeem/status/1419909912193388561

No, really. You think "MoringcrueCrescent" is funny: skip to 0.07 -- reality is MUCH MUCH BETTER THAN YOUR LITTLE BRAIN.


~

QED.


p.s.

181/2 - LOL. Everyone under 40 is like - "Naaaaaaa Mate, Your'e Trippin". Your Minds = MUSH, EATEN ZONE.

And... we do not lie. We produce Results. (Hint: Some of your "Allies" are proud to instigate / infect people with neural degenerative diseaeses like Parkinsons and so on. For Real. And They do.)


Your Clearance level for this is: HOLY SHIT, THAT'S TRUE.

~


And we'll burn your World Down stopping them.

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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on July 19, 2021 3:46 PM.

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