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F&SF Forum » Non-Fiction

Aug/Sep Editorial

(89 posts)
  • Started 5 years ago by John Joseph Adams
  • Latest reply from BrianJackson

  1. Kyte
    Member

    Delphi had two important sayings: "Know thyself" and "Nothing to excess." At least you've got one of them down :)

    Posted 5 years ago #
  2. BrianJackson
    Member

    Since I was 11!

    To excess!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  3. Kyte
    Member

    Trop d'informations, Brian.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  4. BrianJackson
    Member

    Translation: "Overshare"

    Posted 5 years ago #
  5. BrianJackson
    Member

    SFMurphy-

    No word from you on the excellent point I made about your Irish heritage and how dreaded political correctness made it (again, somewhat) okay (or tolerated, anyway) to be Irish in Great Britain? You kinda side-stepped that particular shamrock. Thought I'd shake it, again.

    I've got you vapor-locked, haven't I?

    When that happens to me, I rethink my whole deal, no matter how stubborn I am, or else I wouldn't ever learn anything. You can't be those dumb monkeys, covering eyes and ears and mouths to keep from dealing with things. Or shout "Lalalalala!" until the bad ideas quiet down for now.

    I myself could write an excellent comeback for you that tears my arguments about PC apart. I could literally smash myself to the surface, if I had to take the other side of this on the debate team.

    I am only somewhat disappointed that you can't.

    Brian Jackson

    Posted 5 years ago #
  6. Kyte
    Member

    This may be a case where it's wisest to let murphy go without a last post. He doesn't want to go around on that ride again (also wise), so respect that rather than poking at it. I don't know if my mother did a good job of raising me or not, but that's how I feel.

    On the other hand, your recent tale of PTQ's visit was amusing.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  7. BrianJackson
    Member

    Thanks again, Kyte.

    Letting SFMurphy squirm off this hook only furthers his backward ideology. You call these people out intellectually, and they just go hide under a rock, because their BS dries up in the hard light of a logical day.

    He can't explain why he's bigoted, but he can teach others to be bigots themselves. What a loser. He's *hiding* behind that "Ah, Brian. Why bother?" crap. He had plenty of fight in him when he thought he could win (which is typical of his ilk). This is another one that couldn't think his way out of a wet paper bag.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  8. Kyte
    Member

    I haven't read any bigoted behavior from Murphy, but certainly if you see something that's inappropriate in that direction, then point it out. He does seem angry and resentful about something, but unwilling to go into it again, so I can respect that.

    As for thinking your way out of a wet paper bag--that whole being able to logically reason circles around others--I think it's fun to read about such characters, but highly overrated in real life. Quite possibly those who have it can lead a happier life with better contributions all around by masking it a bit. I know that this idea is related to the pop-psych that says smart girls hide what they've got to attract boys--but that's not what I'm talking about: It's more of a quiet confidence and balance with the emotional side of life.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  9. BrianJackson
    Member

    Kyte-

    You put your finger on the main conundrum of my life, and I'm ticklish about it. I live in a very rural farm community in central California and my mind travels at light speed compared to the anti-intellectuals that populate my tiny little town. In pretty much every social interaction I have, I must pretend to be a redneck and 'dumb-it-down' for the local yokels. That makes me miserable. It drives me crazy.

    So crazy I come to this forum and intellectually arm-wrestle the SFMurphy's.

    He hasn't expressed bigoted behavior (here), but he decries political correctness, which is the yellow brick road to that particular nowhere.

    I can't respect him for cowardice or for not being able to smack me down with a good comeback. I could nail myself on this one, so I know he could get me. He just can't learn. I'm rubbing his nose in it.

    You excuse him. Excusing illogical behavior is what creates REAL Nazis.

    Brian Jackson

    Posted 5 years ago #
  10. Kyte
    Member

    No. Excusing evil behavior creates Nazis. Simply being illogical (most of us are) isn't evil.

    Any prospects of moving out of the rural community?

    Posted 5 years ago #
  11. BrianJackson
    Member

    Evil behavior is usually illogical, there are exceptions; two big craters in Japan... Some others.

    Outside this community I am a small fish in a big pond.

    Inside it however...

    Posted 5 years ago #
  12. Kyte
    Member

    I see what you mean. The fish story is a little heartbreaking.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  13. mace59
    Member

    Kyte, this is subtle and wonderful:

    "Quite possibly those who have it can lead a happier life with better contributions all around by masking it a bit. I know that this idea is related to the pop-psych that says smart girls hide what they've got to attract boys--but that's not what I'm talking about: It's more of a quiet confidence and balance with the emotional side of life."

    Posted 5 years ago #
  14. BrianJackson
    Member

    Kyte-

    I knew a genius once. A real one. He worked on a cure for AIDS with David Ho in the 1990's. He came from my tiny valley, was a major intellect, and went on to hit the big-time, somewhat.

    Among rednecks, he'd been an intellectual giant, but among other academics, he was only average. It killed his ego, I think. His ego drove him. One of the last times I saw him he was living in Oakland looking for a vein to cram a bleached dirty needle into and blood was oozing from all of the missed shots. I looked away, up at the ceiling, and saw brown spray patterns.

    "What's that?" I asked, as he was tying off his leg with a belt.

    "Sometimes when you get a bad injection it sprays out the wrong end of the hypodermic," was his simple reply.

    He used to weigh 300 lbs. He was only about 110 by then. Greasy, like a vampire looking for pure blood. Almost all because he couldn't deal with being anything less than the the top dog, mindwise.

    This is the big-time flipside of the heartbreaking fish story.

    Brian Jackson

    Posted 5 years ago #
  15. Kyte
    Member

    That genius story is certainly heartbreaking, too. I see at least three possible morals to the story. What moral do you read into it?

    Posted 5 years ago #
  16. BrianJackson
    Member

    Read into it?

    I wrote it!

    It wasn't really intended as a parable.

    I think the most exciting assignment would be guessing what three morals *you're* seeing in it, as the reader. Truth be told, I don't even know if I'd guess a single one right, and I'm the guy who said "You'll never be a writer unless you can recognize the subtext in your own lines," so harshly. Are you a teacher, Kyte? I often suspect that D is.

    Hmmn. Let me think on this, I may zing you later or admit agonizing defeat a second time, which will be two times too many for one week

    Brian Jackson

    PS.) What's vapor-locking me on the deal here is the word "Morals". Clarification would be like asking for definitions of "is", right?

    Posted 5 years ago #
  17. BrianJackson
    Member

    I know multiple definitions of the term morals. I don't really try to write "morals" into anything I've ever authored, especially forum postings. I'm careful to say "I'm 'tough' on you," and not "I'm *hard on* you", but subtext is about as deep as I can read into my own lines. (Shout out to Ross Jeffries Speed Seduction & NLP) As above, where I write a phonetic gimmick: "I may zing..." I'm amazing. See?

    Or make gags like: "two times too many for one week

    Brian Jackson"

    Which is 2x2=4 & one weak Brian Jackson. Three jokes at the expense of none.

    Morals seem like packaged, manufactured subtext. Or I should say that subtext is only bootleg moralism, not real Tennessee sour mash.

    You're spinning me into a circle by asking me to actually do something intelligent and make authentic items out of what I only see as vague concepts while writing.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  18. Kyte
    Member

    There is an apocryphal story about Asimov who once went to a lecture by an expert about one of Asimov's own stories. The learned lecturer precisely explained all of the subtext in great detail. Afterward, Asimov approached the lecturer and ventured that he thought all that subtext wasn't really in the story.

    The lecturer puffed himself up and demanded, "Just who are you to challenge my expertise?"

    "I am Asimov," said the author in his humble way.

    "Hrumph. As if *you* would know anything about the subtext."

    Me? I have no desire to ever teach, but thanks for thinking about this challenge. A passing grade has only a loose connection to the definition of "moral."

    Posted 5 years ago #
  19. BrianJackson
    Member

    Great Asimov story,

    Easily, Asimov's guides to the bible saved me from a lifetime of confusion or guilt over all that religion BS. I get it now: "It's easier to give Jesus a few dollars to handle my sins when they pass that plate than it is for me to do the right things in my life."

    Really, thanks Asimov, freeing my mind so that my arse might follow (the kingdom of heaven is within).

    But, uh... Y'know, whether you realize it or not, any time you get someone to think, you are teaching. You say you have no desire to teach, Kyte, and that's why you let the SFMurphy's of the world get away with their garbage, but you're practicing on me, sharpening your stick. One day you'll poke someone's eye out with that.

    I have a story about the Dalai Lama:

    Like, a dude at a press conference stood up and asked freakin' Kundun what he (as a dude) could do *right now* to change the world.

    Richard Gere's highest holy one said that by simply smiling at even a single person, you can change the entire universe.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  20. BrianJackson
    Member

    Now you see up there where I wrote G E R B I L down the margin and then put Richard Gere in the end? That's the kind of subtext I can make and spot.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  21. Kyte
    Member

    I can't make or (usually) see that kind of subtext, though I appreciate its cleverness when pointed out.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  22. BrianJackson
    Member

    Kyte, I will not admit defeat, but I will surrender for now as I am really interested in your take on the post about my friend's adventure with Burroughs' "Cool blue wave".

    I could never guess what you see in there, I don't think. What are the three morals you're spotting? I'm too close to that ramshackle flophouse and the crawly feeling it gave my flesh & blood.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  23. Kyte
    Member

    1. Even a genius can make incredibly stupid decisions, perhaps combined with "The bigger they are, the harder they fall."

    2. Don't let ego rule.

    3. But the real subtext comes from the juxtaposition of the story with the question of whether there were any prospects of your leaving the rural community where you admittedly find yourself miserable among people that you see as anti-intellectual and unstimulating.

    Too harsh? I told you I was cynical today.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  24. BrianJackson
    Member

    It's never too hot in here for me, Kyte. We have 120 degree summers where I live.

    I see your first two and I wrote the third in consciously, in fact, it was the whole point of the post, on my end:

    That extrication from the frying pan often leads to self-immolation.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  25. Kyte
    Member

    So there are times when it is best to stay in the frying pan and other times where jumping into the fire is wise. Usually it's unclear where god set the tipping point.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  26. BrianJackson
    Member

    You should only Jump Into The Fire when listening to Harry Nilsson

    Posted 5 years ago #
  27. tjsherlock
    Member

    Earlier this week I got the Aug/Sept issue of F & FS in the mail. When I read the news that "F&SF is going to begin hosting a writing workshop," I immediately went to the website, registered as a member and scoured the website for any news from Gardner Dozois on the new workshop.

    Please send me an e-mail (tom@ramruva.com), once you're organized (or even drop me a line if you need an extra pair of hands).

    Being in Rutherford,NJ myself, I wouldn't mind setting up a local chapter.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  28. It just struck me that this thread is a perfect example of Godwin's Law.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law

    Posted 4 years ago #
  29. BrianJackson
    Member

    Yeah, that's a good observation, SuperWhitePill. Thanks for that link, I didn't know about that.

    Posted 4 years ago #

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