Letting It Burn

As a matter of interest as an independent author, with some affection for science fiction … (principally Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series, and once upon a time for Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover series, both of which explored in an interesting and readable way, a whole range of civilizational conceits and technologies with a bearing on what they produced vis-a-viz political organizations, man-woman relations, and alternate societies of the possible future … oh, where was I? Complicated parenthetical sentence again; science fiction. Right-ho, Jeeves – back on track.) … I have been following the current SFWA-bruhaha with the fascinated interest of someone squeezing past a spectacular multi-car pile-upon the Interstate. Not so much – how did this happen, and whose stupid move at high speed impelled the disaster – but how will it impact ordinary commuters in their daily journey, and will everyone walk away from it OK? So far, the answers to that are pretty much that it will only matter to those directly involved (although it will be productive of much temporary pain) and yes – pretty near everyone will walk away. Scared, scarred, P-O’d and harboring enduring grudges, but yes, they will walk away, personally and professionally. Some of these are walking away at speed and being pretty vocal about why.

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What kind of delusion is this?

Watched Charlie Rose last night. He and some of his guests were discussing President Obama’s political fortunes – post a Scott Brown victory – and what the President might do in order to reverse the downward trend. To give you a flavor of the conversation, I present the following excerpts from the transcript:

CHARLIE ROSE: Joining me now, Jon Meacham, editor of “Newsweek”
magazine, in Washington, Tom DeFrank of the “New York Daily News,” and Anne
Kornblut of “The Washington Post.” I’m pleased to have all of them here as
we take a look at this week, which is important for the president, and a
state of the union which is very important to him.”….

: “Well, he has clearly found that history is a more
complicated matter than the speechifying and the glamour, really, of the

In politics, you don’t get credit for what didn’t happen. So I think
we should say that he did in concert with the outgoing administration and
with his own folks, he did keep us out of a more severe downturn in 2009.”….

To my mind, the real problem has been that he has a kind of
intellectual snobbishness about being simple and clear about what he wants
the country to be. What does he want it to look like when he leaves? And
it sounds odd to say that sound bites are important, but they are. Jesus
spoke in them, and his stuff has aged rather well.”….

THOMAS DEFRANK: “Why is he where he is today? I think it’s because they made a real
miscalculation on health care. They thought they could sell it. They
didn’t sell it. They lost control of the message. The critics have
controlled the message on health care for the last four or five months, and
it’s a negative message.”….

ANNE KORNBLUT: “I guess it’s confusing to me why it’s so difficult for
them to show what his emotions are. All of us who have been around him or
covered the campaign know he isn’t a robot. He actually does have emotions
and a family he cares about, and he’s extremely good at talking about the
feelings he felt growing up in extraordinary circumstances.” ….

Seriously, the entire transcript and conversation are like that: He’s misunderstood, he’s misrepresented, he’s under appreciated for all that he has done! What?