Authors and their Politics

March 8, 2014
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So apparently, the whole “Demonization of Orson Scott Card” thing is bugging me more that I realized. It came up on a friend’s feed on Facebook, and I went over and wrote something horribly, amazingly disjoint on the subject. (No link, because it’s embarrassing.) I figured I’d take another shot at explaining myself, in case it came up again.

Firstly, it’s worth mentioning that Card is imperfect, and deserves to be criticized for some of his views. That’s actually important, because if you’re not willing to enforce a principle defending people you don’t like, then you don’t actually have principles — you have sophistry that you trot out in defense of principals.

(Full disclosure: I haven’t read any Card in about twenty years. At the time, he only seemed able to write the same three stories, over and over again. I have no real clue what he’s written since then, except Ender’s Shadow, which supports my critique.)

Secondly, what got me going was the idea that, “if the wrong people believe something, then what they believe must be wrong.” I can go into the example of what Card believed in detail, but that’s not very important to the discussion. It’s that Slate presented this belief as obviously wrong because Card believes it. In this manner, they actually treat Card as worse that Hitler, as nobody seriously argues that vegetarianism, animal rights, and conservation are wrong because Hitler supported them.

(In fact, it’s more a sign of how messed up Hitler and the Nazis were — they would do things to Jews that they outlawed doing to animals.)

And so, extending that thought, this means that an author (Card, in this case) is perfectly capable of doing something right, separate from his beliefs. Just because you disagree with an artist on one point, doesn’t mean you should discount his work out of hand. This would mean I, as a libertarian, would dismiss Firefly out of hand because Josh Wheedon’s politics run entirely counter to what is presented in that work. And, in this case, a leftist would miss out on Ender’s Game if they judged an author simply by his private beliefs.

All that said, Firefly and Ender’s Game play fair with the audience. The plots of both go where they need to go, and don’t get sidetracked by the authors’ politics. I’m not telling you that you should read an author who gets preachy — those that write “message” or “advocacy” fiction generally don’t do a very good job, no matter their politics. Avoiding them because they can’t write is perfectly fine in my book.

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Linkpost, 12/16/13

December 16, 2013
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6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person

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Wyder’s Pear Cider

October 26, 2013

At 4% AC, this cider doesn’t pack much punch. In the end, it reminded us both of a similar punchless drink, the wine cooler. Granted, a good wine cooler, but still a wine cooler.

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Hard Ciders

October 22, 2013

Another tag, to track hard ciders.

Cherry Bomb, from Julian Hard Cider, is nicely sweet and well-balanced. Definitely a winner.

Strawman, from Angry Orchard, is nowhere near as good. It might be an adequate cider, had I not already had Cherry Bomb.

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Autumnal beers

October 11, 2013

Pumpkick, from New Belguim, is nothing special. It tastes like a beer, slightly less bitter and less hoppy, but no sign of cranberry, pumpkin, or spices.
Tumbler, from Sierra Nevada is a brown ale. It’s also pretty straight-forward, but Leanne likes dark beers, and likes this one.

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Batch 19 Lager

October 6, 2013

Leanne: workman-like without being cheap. I’d drink it again.
Mark: fire and hospitals. The taste builds in my mouth, even with food. What starts as a straight-ahead beer ends too bitter.

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Blue Moon Agave Nectar Ale

September 30, 2013

A bit bitter by itself, it goes okay with sushi. I’m sensing a pattern between beer and sushi.

Leanne’s take: “I won’t turn it down, but won’t go out of my way for it, either.”

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Teas I like

September 24, 2013

Yet another food tracking tag.

In this case, it’s a cinnamon plum tea from (I think) Republic of Tea.

Tazo flowering honeybush.

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Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy

September 10, 2013

Light, slightly lemony, and not so hoppy — like you’d expect from a shandy. It goes well with sushi.

Leanne liked, and I’m OK with splitting one with her.

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Bite of Boston

September 8, 2013

Bite of Boston is safe. Eating the following puts me at 135: a small North Ender, half a pack of chips, and half a pudding. Basically, this means I might get chips and no pudding if I’m by myself, and I definitely never get a large sandwich.

But I do get to eat there!

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