Category Archives: meritocracy

The Right to Self Defence

This was originally meant to be a reply comment to this post at According to Hoyt, but as it has multiple links, it’s easier to write the comment here, and link only ONE thing in a comment.

A common accusatory meme about gun control that usually pops up after a school shooting is ‘you love guns more than you love children.’

The meme is wrong. It is because I love children that I believe they should be defended with every resource possible – and if that requires guns, then so be it. I would rather the ones wanting them dead to make a name for himself or herself be the one dying of bullet wounds, than the children.

Having been taught by my father – yes, I know, cis-patriarchal and all that noise – to gasp value my own life over that of my attacker, I consider self defence one of my most basic rights. Since I live in Australia, I’m fairly sure that people will disregard my opinions on this – which is a mistake, since my perspective is that of someone who is more vulnerable as a result. I cannot carry anything specifically for self defense – not a gun, not a knife, no pepper spray. Maybe a rape whistle?

Folks at ATH know me as someone who is teeny tiny – I’m 4’7, and am likely to shrink with age. I also brawled a lot as a kid and well into my teens – y’know, because there were people who thought I was ‘less’ than they were -racism being the usual reason, because an English speaking Asian always stands out in places like Germany and France; basic bullying being the rest of it – and I frankly disagreed with the idea that I was less than anyone else, and refused to bow down to physical attempts at pushing me into the box of ‘less.’

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Geeky delights

Eldest son had his birthday recently, and of course, got presents. He’s older now, and it’s actually easier to buy him things, given his recent introduction to manga – he blew through the various ones I have that we parents deemed okay for him. He loves Card Captor Sakura – we pushed to get the 4 omnibus set; and is excited to learn that CCS: Clear Card is currently ongoing. His response when he found out that Skip Beat! isn’t over yet: “NOOOOOO!!! I have to wait!” Sometime recently he asked me if there were going to be any more books in Dave Freer’s Dragon Ring series (I don’t know.) and soon he’ll be old enough to be introduced to Monster Hunter International, and later, The Dresden Files.

Reading boy = happy parents.

He also loves video games, of course, but we don’t go out of the way to get the latest and the newest consoles (our house has a Sega Dreamcast, a Nintendo 64, Xbox 360/1, I thiiink we have a PS2, but that thing isn’t hooked up and is somewhere… maybe a PS3 now, inherited from my brother-in-law) because we tend to play on PC for the most part (insert PC Master Race joke here), but it’s the holidays.

Well, this was his big pressie – a full scale display model (ergo, it’s purely decorative and not sharp) of Frostmourne, the sword of Arthas the Lich King. Aff got him a small Arthas figure and some awesome tech swag – a desk-mat, a Genji themed mouse, and Heroes of the Storm Turtle Beach headsets – sort of a mix of birthday and Christmas pressies, really.

The sword replica is almost as big as he is too, and he had problems lifting it, remarking repeatedly that it was heavy and huge and he couldn’t imagine how Arthas would swing it around… then his father picked it up one handed, to his glee and delight.

We’ll have a ‘proper’ party for when some friends will be around (School holidays = kiddies go off to Grandparents to visit, usually.)

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Going with the flu and a bit about SESTA

First off, I’m very sorry for missing out on a bunch of things I really needed to write about. SESTA and why it’s a horrible bill that’s pretty much a reincarnation of SOPA/PIPA being pulled into the guise of being anti-sex trafficking but really a censorship bill being one of these things, and the small stories / trips down memory lane I was planning to write up.

Y’see, here in the land Down Under, we’ve got this lovely (coughmotherfuckinglybadcough) flu season. I caught it last week. I thought I was having a bad case of allergies from a local grass fire (they do controlled burns and sometimes, I’ll react, some times I won’t… and I was reacting…) but instead of just being allergies, it hid the fact that I had caught flu. A very bad case of flu. This savage thing’s been killing people over here. Everyone, except for our 10-year-old boy caught it – fortunately, not all at the same time. Even the eldest caught it, and she’s usually the one with the most robust immune system in the family. I’m starting to get over it, but I don’t want to push too fast and too hard because I don’t want to end up making things worse for myself in the long run. So after I post this, it’ll be back in bed for me, and I don’t think I’ll be 100% for a while.

Funny about the boyo not being sick; he’s usually the one who brings home the plagues from school, too.

Luckily, (or unluckily) it’s the school holidays, so the kids aren’t missing school, but at the same time this killed about a week of work for me and things I had planned to do through the holidays.


(This part is a repost of the comment I wrote before regarding SESTA, with links to things and notes added in.)

Summary given to me, to boil it down –

Right now, all the services that we use for discussing, blogging, conversation have, for the most part, no responsibility for the content that is hosted on it. We are able to write about anything we want, discussing anything we want. The blog host (say, WordPress, or Blogger, or Tumblr) is not responsible or culpable for any of the content their users put out. Similarly, the bloggers, or original post writers are not responsible for the comments that result – legally or otherwise.

SESTA changes that. Platforms would be responsible for the content displayed, and blog owners would be responsible for what people say on their blogs, as if they had been the ones to write it themselves.

The relevant line is this (source):

This carefully crafted legislation offers three reforms to help sex trafficking victims. The proposed legislation would:

Allow victims of sex trafficking to seek justice against websites that knowingly or recklessly facilitated their victimization;

Remember the various discussions we’ve had over the years – such as during Sad Puppies, or say, like the one where Larry blogged about that Ms America candidate who was pro self-defense? There was someone who came into the comments and made it seem like everyone who was arguing in favor for self defense was enabling rapists (Shadow’s note: that mindset exists, by the way), and not only that, she argued that we should change the definition of rape to allow for women who felt they were raped but claimed that ‘this doesn’t necessarily need to have legal consequences.’ (Note: Her fuzzy definition was met with outrage; my original response to this idiocy is here) Or, for example, the discussions recently where we talk about self-responsibility, and I cited that Tumblr post where from the story of the writer most of the people she described engaged in purely reckless behavior and then were raped… and somehow it’s up to other people to ‘start the change.

People who responded, either negatively, or arguing against those stances would be – let’s be honest here, conflating isn’t new – easily positioned to be ‘in support of sex trafficking – because some of the victims of sex trafficking might have been a bit reckless but were also unlucky enough to end up being trafficked. Or that rape victims were also trafficked.

Not only could our detractors complain about those comments, they could have the blogs shut down for ‘recklessly facilitating sex trafficking victimization.’

Nothing we say, even if we police ourselves, would be safe.

Say one of the trolls who frequently shows up goes to our blogs while we’re on our low-activity time, or while the blog owner is asleep, and makes a comment, completely unrelated to the topic at hand, saying “I know where we can get young boys.” The comment doesn’t get deleted for some time. The owner of the blog would already be a ‘sex trafficking facilitating criminal’ – because under SESTA, the blog owner and the hosting service is responsible for all content and is legally culpable. Then the allies of that troll submit a report citing that comment and claim that the blog is in violation. And escalate it.

Boom. Gone. You don’t even get to argue because you can’t.

Even blogging about writing – police procedurals, chatting about how to realistically portray fictional criminals or crime, or how to write thrillers – would potentially fall under the ‘reckless’ because “Sure, you’re writing fiction, but then someone took your ideas and used them in real life!” – kind of like how there’s a train of thought out there that Tom Clancy gave Osama Bin Laden the idea to crash a plane into American monuments because it happened in one of his books.

Am I fear mongering? No. I am not. I simply understand the social climate we are in now – dissent must be erased by all means. This could easily be used to chilling effect – beyond chilling effect, in fact. Brexit wouldn’t have been able to happen, Trump would not be elected, there wouldn’t be any voice for anyone wanting to say “No” or “But wait…” or “I think…”

All that would matter are the ‘victims’ or ‘potential victims’ or ‘hypothetical victims’ that could be ‘harmed’ by those ‘haterbigotracistnazipatriarchycishomobhobescum’ daring to say anything out of line.

Look at Antifa. Look at the media. Alternative media wouldn’t. couldn’t exist. We wouldn’t have anywhere safe to talk. Remember that we are not considered remotely human or worth protecting, that we are, in the view of the rabid, controlling Left, the Social Marxists, outside the protection of the law – and that the laws are supposed to be a weapon to keep us quiet and cowed and silent.

I can’t do anything but warn my friends in the US from here in Australia. DON’T LET THEM WIN.

==end of comment repost==

 

I’m not sure I’ll be able to write more about about SESTA (link goes to the US congress page on it), I can point to a few VERY helpful pages where they wrote about it.I really wanted to write about it and I know I said I would, but I’m sorry. I’ll have to put this down because I will not be able to write about this in any timely manner, and I hope you’ll forgive me. However, please do read about it.

This lovely Techdirt article, Why SESTA Is Such A Bad Bill covers most of the reasons why it’s bad, and manages to do so without swearing. It even comes up with examples that I wouldn’t have thought of. I encourage you to read it, especially my friends and readers in the US.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has more on how badly SESTA will damage freedoms and have catastrophic chilling effects on speech online, but does absolutely nothing in preventing sex trafficking at all.

The Housemate reckons that it will die at this point and I hope he’s right but, folks over in the US, don’t let up! Make sure it dies. I’m in Australia; I can’t do much except give that heads up. OvergrownHobbit wrote a very good and quick How You Can Help, and I hope ‘Hobbit doesn’t mind that I put it here too.

 

How to reach your elected representative: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
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Please don’t use the victims of sexual trafficking as an excuse to destroy American liberties.
Right now, all the services that we use for discussing, blogging, conversation have, for the most part, no responsibility for the content that is hosted on it. We are able to write about anything we want, discussing anything we want. The blog host (say, WordPress, or Blogger, or Tumblr) is not responsible or culpable for any of the content their users put out. Similarly, the bloggers, or original post writers are not responsible for the comments that result – legally or otherwise.
SESTA changes that. Platforms would be responsible for the content displayed, and blog owners would be responsible for what people say on their blogs, as if they had been the ones to write it themselves.
As a librarian, and a union employee, my freedom to speak up about controversial issues could be abrogated if a Trump “pizza-gate” activist decided to use law-fare to shut down the social media site. For those on the right, if the next president and congress are Democrats, they could face a similar shut down.
Please stop this bill.
And now, it’s time for me to lie down again, as the headaches and aches everywhere are back.

The Illusion of Memory

Recently I watched two sci-fi movies that I deeply enjoyed; Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale, and the live action version of Ghost In The Shell starring Scarlett Johansson. Despite vastly differing source material, they touched on related themes. Memory – or what is perceived as memory, also played heavily in the movie The Arrival. All of these were excellent movies that I highly recommend watching, as they both entertain and, for me, are incredibly good science fiction stories, full stop. Speaking of stopping, if you haven’t seen these, you’d probably want to stop here.

(Spoilers abound, you’re forewarned.)

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We are living in Sci-Fi realms

A friend of mine linked this to me via Skype, and Skype, weirdly enough chose not to let me know she’d messaged me. Bloody hell.

Become a citizen of Asgardia

I wonder how it’ll be determined who goes onto the space station, should it launch? By merit and need, or by who has the most connections? There’s also the matter of more …hah! Earthly concerns; such as recognition of the things which require statehood – I doubt, strongly that they’ll go with a Star Trek concept of ‘no money’ – a concept which, though I love the series, I always found rather implausible (because trade still existed, and there were mentions of things like credits.)

Now, personally, I think they’re looking ahead; but at the same time I wonder how many of the old ‘rules’ will still hold, like the Outer Space Treaty, which is ridiculously vague, and I wonder always who will determine ‘the use of the resources.’ Every country will want to say ‘I need that’ but I do not think that such would simply be ‘given away’ – determined by some uncaring Communist-replacement body that decides who benefits based off some arbitrary guideline.

That said, I think that it’s an eventual step in the future that humanity will expand to the stars, for things like mining, settlement, and so on. It’s all a question of when, and whom. Continue reading

Vote in the Dragon Awards!

Golden Dragon Bookworm

image source Google

 

First off, congratulations to the various authors who were nominated to, and are on the finalists for Dragoncon’s Dragon Awards! Larry Correia, who is a finalist, has a list of the other finalists on his blog.  Another finalist, Declan Finn, has made comments about the reactions; apparently already there is at least one author recusing himself from the ballot, for whatever reason.

However, there is a diverse range of books and authors, as well as games to vote for. Go vote for the ones you liked, enjoyed, the most, or find worthy for whatever reason you wish to use. Don’t let anyone else tell you what to pick or to vote for; this is your vote! And it’s free!

Vote for and support the thing you love! THIS is the award that is really and truly BY THE FANS. This has NOTHING to do with politics, nothing to do with the judgement of the gatekeepers. That’s evident from the finalists that ended up on the ballot!

So go forth, and vote. And most importantly, have fun!

 

 

 

When Rights Don’t Trump Individual Safety.

This post was originally meant to be a comment over at Nicki’s The Liberty Zone. It’s a response to how a state over in the US has ruled that bathrooms must be male or female only. The discussion is about rights and government over-reach, and for the most part I agree with Nicki’s post, that a business should be allowed to decide whether or not they will accommodate transgender people being allowed to go into the restroom as the gender they identify as. But as Nicki said, this is not a simple question at all, and from my own limited observations, it is slowly escalating outside of the seemingly innocuous question of bathroom access.
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Dragoncon’s New Award

Because I’m not online as much as I used to, I guess I’m a little late to the party celebrating the establishment of the Dragon Awards, just very recently announced.

Welcome to the first annual Dragon Awards! As a part of our 30th Anniversary as the nation’s largest fan-run convention, we are introducing a new way to recognize excellence in all things Science Fiction and Fantasy. These awards will be by the fans, for the fans, and are your chance to reward those who have made real contributions to SF, books, games, comics, and shows. Not only can you nominate and vote, the Dragon Awards lets you share your support with others!

Read the rest at the site.

I think this is a good thing, quite honestly. As I don’t live in the US, I have only heard of DragonCon from friends, or read about it, over the years. It’s a pretty freaking huge con, with lots and lots of people going, and it always sounded like lots of fun to me.

I think it’s a wonderful thing that there is an award for Science Fiction and Fantasy at DragonCon, as it seems to be a natural outgrowth of the popularity of the convention.  I especially like how they didn’t attach a monetary value just for the privilege of nominating and voting for the year’s favorite works by fan vote. Anyone can participate, and I think in the long run that actually is more representative of the enjoyment of the fanbase.

I’m also rather happy that video games have a representation here, because there are lots of games now with very immersive storylines, well crafted multidimensional characters and absolutely engaging characters – and some of these games don’t have to have shiny graphics, although it helps a lot with some players with building the atmosphere itself. I’d like to think that for a really good game, you need to have more than just shiny graphics, but at least this way the stories that make part of the game would be recognised.

I’m rather hoping that English-translated manga and light novels will have some representation here, because I think it takes talent to be able to translate a foreign language work into English and still get the story across – after all, ‘Lost In Translation’ happens a lot and manages to butcher many a fine work that would otherwise be completely unappreciated.

I think that the categories could be further refined and expanded to include things such as shorter works but hey, it’s the first year. There are bound to be some rough edges, but I expect those to be smoothened out as the years go.

So, if you have a sci-fi or fantasy work in any of the listed categories that came out new in the last year and part of this year (you’ll have to look at the range of dates on the site) that you feel you enjoyed enough for an award recognition, do nominate or vote for it! Let’s join in an award for the works most enjoyed by the fans at this wonderfully popular convention!

 

Canaries in the Coal Mines

I popped over to Larry Correia’s site today; having had a little time for a change, and ran into this blogpost, which talked about how a conservative science fiction writer has found his career effectively threatened for advancing a concept in a book.

http://monsterhunternation.com/2016/02/10/left-wing-bias-in-publishing-your-wrongthink-will-be-punished/

The blogpost by the author himself, Nick Cole, is found here.

I won’t write about the freedom of speech issues and the effective censoring being done, nor the reasons that Harper Collins’ has shut down a writer under contract here, as Larry and Nick have done excellent jobs of that; Larry in his inimitable way as usual. No, I’m going to write about something that Nick said in his post, that resulted in a realization.

I am a writer.
A writer is often the last defense in a society collapsing into a one-mind totalitarian state where the rights of people are trodden upon by the ruling elite in the name of the “greater good.” Where freedom of speech and independent thinking are also curtailed in the name of the “greater good.” Where writers and other artists disappear either by blacklisting or “disappearing” because they say, or write, something that the intellectual elite hates. I am a writer. It is my job to stand up and say what cannot be said. It is my job to play with unpopular ideas. I would not deny anyone from doing so, and I expect not to be denied. I expect the same courtesy others are being extended. I expect not to be discriminated against merely because I am different. Better people than myself have written the truth at the cost of their lives. Many dead writers have paid for the freedom of others with the truth, and their lives. Writers are often the last flame of freedom on the flickering candle of civilization in the darkness of a world going mad.

There is often a vocal defense that Science Fiction editors do not have a liberal bias. Well, here’s your proof. They do. So you may not agree with me on the idea I advanced. But what happens the next time when some potentate decides they don’t like your idea? There is no place in publishing for this kind of Censorship. This is an issue, regardless of the idea, that affects all of us and our freedom.

It is quite de rigeur these days to encounter the disease called Social Justice bullies and CHORFs everywhere one turns. The majority of people seem to think that they’re a fad that will go away, the latest version of ‘teenage rebellion’ – if it weren’t for the fact that the folks engaging in such shrill, rabid denunciations range from their teens to their late sixties.

Simply put, for those of us who actually recognize them for what they are, they are people who would have been the Useful Idiots of the Cold War era (which, I submit, never really ended – the battlefield simply shifted.)

The people who advance that a totalitarian regime, that the suppression of freedom of speech, human rights, etc are the pampered children who have never lived under such a regime. This is especially true of modern day Europeans, and especially true of Americans, Canadians, New Zealanders and Australians.

Take note, this is not a sneer at the abovementioned nations’ people – you are all incredibly lucky to not remember what it was like. Americans especially have had a freedom that is, in my opinion, very unlike the experience of any other group of people on this planet. On one hand, for hundreds of years, you have refused to bow down and stayed guarded against overt attempts at conquest. On the other, it makes for a great emotional and intellectual cultural vulnerability – because such oppression has never been experienced, to some extent that same precious freedom and opportunity is taken for granted. Too easily do people think “surely, that can never happen here / they couldn’t possibly be that stupid/gullible etc.”

I’ve lived on the other side of the Berlin Wall, and one of the more common frustrations that the people whose homes we were invited to voiced discreetly to my parents (in the safety of their sprawling gardens, away from potential bugs in their homes) was that they were unhappy with how their government treated them like children, incapable of making up their own minds. They missed their relatives from whom they were separated by the Wall, and simply wanted to meet with them again, visit them on occasion. “After all,” our hosts would tell our parents, “we are so much better off than they are in the Capitalist world. Why wouldn’t we want to return?”

Looking back on the differences, with an adult’s eyes, I understand now that the Socialist government could not have maintained the illusion that they’d hoodwinked their people with if those people had been free to travel to the West, instead of only select groups being allowed to pay short visits. As it was, such was the shock to the psyche of a number of people after the Wall fell, that they wished it had never happened, that they could return to the comfortable illusions they had, comfortable, old and worn, like familiar habits and old woolen sweaters.

A great number of the most vicious and fanatic social justice attack hounds come from the countries that have not experienced being under a totalitarian ruler. The immature belief that ‘if we did it, then we’d do it better, in a non-evil way’ of good-intentions backed magic thinking echoes one of the favorite sins to damn a person to hell employed by the Devil in old folk tales: Pride. Pride that ‘we know better’ and the certainty that ‘it’s not evil when we do it,’ or, the ever so insidious ‘for the greater good’ without ever checking if it actually results in good things. I’ve even seen the illogical concept that ‘good intentions are enough reason for us to employ horrible methods.’ That’s just a more complicated way of saying “The ends justify the means.”

The useful idiots and the quislings are useful exactly because they secure in the belief that when this dreadful, nightmarish regime that they work for comes, they are spared, or rewarded, or benefit in some way.

They don’t remember that they could just as easily be rewarded as a traitor deserves.

I sometimes wish my father were still alive, so I could ask him for stories about what it was like to be a journalist under the Marcos regime. (On the other hand, I am glad he is not around to see that a Marcos is one of two possibly only GOOD candidates running for the Philippine Presidency! And on the third hand, I wonder what other good Dad might have accomplished. Apparently they’re still talking about the good things he did while he was the Philippine Ambassador to Israel; that my youngest brother was asked how he was related to ‘the Honorable Ambassador Antonio Modena.’ cackle! His turn now!)

My mom remembers some of the things my father was willing to share with her. Or there’d be a wife of one of his colleagues trying to find her husband. If they were lucky, they got the man in question back alive; or had something to bury.

I sometimes wonder, “Are they so desperate to experience this, that they import something that would do exactly this to everyone, if they got the chance?” Then, I shake my head and remember the SJWs think that they’ll be the ones in control, in power, instead of the ones who’ll first be up against the wall. By what means do they think they’ll cling to control? It is only through the trappings of civilization that they’re able to get away with what they do, but if they erode enough of it away, those fetters they rely on will be too weak to hold back the horrors they’ll experience.

Oh, and I got a copy of Alt Ctrl Revolt too. I wanted to know what happened beyond the ‘offensive’ concept – which really, was not offensive, and the logic-process tree is completely sound. I think Nick Cole succeeded in giving a reason that a reader who isn’t a mental eunuch can understand – and similarly, those readers can go from there and want to find out ‘what happened next?’

That’s good writing.

The Worth Of A Fan

This started out originally as part of a comment over in Mad Genius Club which grew into a rant, which the little Rhys-chibi in my head looked at and said “My darling, that soapbox doesn’t go there.” So it has it’s own blogpost where I natter on because I can.

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Still swamped and sick

I’ve been dragging myself out of bed to work on commission art (11… or was it twelve?  Sexy Desktop ladies, a book cover and some other stuff.) Sold a computer that was sitting idle to someone who needed it in an instalment plan; and I’m hoping to get a battery for my little netbook soon. I wish I could afford to buy a portable Cintiq and a new computer for the bedroom so that while I’m too sick to sit up I can draw in bed and keep working. At least with the netbook I can write while in bed and it’s not bulky. (Ok, theoretically I could write with Ayumi the super tiny netbook but I need new glasses first.) However, writing with an objective as opposed to rambling requires the ability to concentrate and focus, so alas, no essay or story writing for me. I REALLY NEED TO GET NOT SICK. The only reason that I can still draw is because I don’t need to be coherent or make sense when drawing. I can draw without worrying about whether or not my grammar is being infected by German or French or did I just insert the Japanese borrowed term for something I just wrote…

We’ve been flat out this last few weeks. I’ve got commissions from people who want Sexy Desktop Lady backgrounds (and I’ve been told for most of them “whatever you wanna draw is fine! – as long as it’s a pretty girl) – most of them from people who are also asking Aff to do system builds for them.

One of the customers brings us Maccas whenever he drops by, enough that Aff says that he’s waiving the standard fee but the customer says it’s so he doesn’t feel bad that he’s eating all by himself.

On a happy note, I’ve a nice pile of manga, and artbooks and books that arrived today. I had a nice stack of Skip Beat omnibus volumes arrive the other day but I forgot to take a photo.

If this sight makes you itch for some new reads, I found out via some helpful Twitterfolk that the November 2015 Baen Book Bundle can be ordered. Larry Correia’s Son of the Black Sword is there, as well as Mike Kupari’s new book, and a bunch of what look like really good reads. I’m going to wait because I kinda smashed my book budget already so it’ll be sit and wait again.

Leaping off that tangent into another, ff you read science fiction and fantasy, you’ll need to read about one of the biggest scandals in the genre, which is “Breendoggle”, the thing that the anti-Sad Puppy people seem find LESS objectionable than Sad Puppies, simply by the dint of the NOISE that is made about Sad Puppies versus Breendoggle. The Story of Moira Greyland is heartbreaking to read, and she talks about how she was repeatedly raped and molested from the age of five by both her mother and father, both of whom are big names in science fiction and fantasy. One of the things I’m sure that lots of people will find objectionable despite what happened to Moira is the fact that Moira wonders if the lifestyle or the sexual identity of homosexuality has something to do with what happened to her, as she describes by her account that she was constantly being told that she was supposed to be a lesbian and pressured to be one, and that her parents were upset that she was born a girl. The comments only serve to prove this disappointing line of thought true.

In the vein, however, of that blog, she raises a point that shouldn’t be ignored, even if you support gay marriage in any way at all (like I support the concept, but not how it’s being executed or pushed for.) This is part of the whole ‘flip-side’ thinking that a lot of people don’t try to engage in any more – which is, contemplate the other side of a situation.

In this case, if the ideal situation of a child who identifies as gay is born to heterosexual parents, the parents accept their child’s homosexuality, then ideally the reverse is also true: that gay parents would accept their child’s (adopted, or partly biological/surrogate-born) heterosexuality. However, the question that is raised by what happened to Moira (aside from the rape) is whether or not this is happening, if heterosexual children are given the support they need, and whether any children at risk are actually given the protections they need (from both the ‘sides’ of homosexual and heterosexual parents). There are stories out there that give rise to doubt that equal treatment is given in this case; and it is clear that abuse happens to some children regardless of the orientation of the parents. However, my point is, is the discussion happening, and if it does, are those discussions being policed on whether they’d be perceived as ‘bigoted’ or ‘anti-gay’ or similar threats and fears?

For me, the core thing of being a parent is the ability to prioritize the child’s needs, safety, and future over the parent’s wants. This is true regardless of whether or not the parents in question are heterosexual or homosexual, or married or not. Parents need to ask themselves if their identity -whatever that may be- is more important than ‘parent.’ It tells the person what is their greatest priority – themselves, or their child? After all, having a child means you’re setting aside a massive chunk of one’s own time, needs and interests aside for the sake of the child. Simply put, if a person pondering parenthood puts being ‘gay’ or ‘heterosexual’ or anything else over ‘parent’, then perhaps they should rethink becoming parents. I do not think there should be a qualifier before the ‘parent’ part. It does not matter to me if the parents are gay or not; what is most important is whether the parents consider their children the most important thing to them.

The response on the Moira Grayland story makes me wonder indeed, if the honest and necessary discussions occur, as opposed to devolving to mere accusations of being hateful.

Can such discussions occur? I’d like to believe that they are, because I don’t know if they are.

Between This Essay and The Next

A few days ago, I retweeted something I saw on The Ralph Retort‘s feed and briefly wrote about how I stopped being a feminist in reply to that retweet. A brief discussion followed and I decided it would be best to expand on it. I guess it’s one of those ‘triggering’ things for me because whenever I flash back to that time, it always results in the same towering fury I remember having that pushed me to my feet and had me start shouting back. After all, all the hate they were spewing went against everything we ourselves had been taught about being good strong Catholic women. I decided to break it up into two parts because 1) I had to stop being angry because it really wasn’t doing good things to my heart rate and 2) I had to do stuff away from computer, namely lunch for the family. As it was I had to ask my daughter to handle the rest (just make sure it didn’t burn) because I needed to fall over into bed: I was burning up with flu and everything hurt. I’ve been bedridden since.

Ralph asked if he could feature it and I said yes.

While I was asleep it went up on his site.

I woke up today, fever broken, and went to check on the kids. My eldest boy, Vincent, was up already but Big Sis wasn’t so I sicced him onto her to wake her with cuddles, yelling “INVASION OF THE LITTLE BROTHER” at the top of my voice. Cue “KYAAAAA!!! What are you doing?! Oh, hugs.” The ruckus had Aff come out of his room where he was playing L2. I made coffee and sat down to look at stuff online. That’s when I saw that my account had gone up on The Ralph Retort, and saw retweets talking about a young girl/woman. My still fever-fuzzy brain thought “…I hope they don’t think this is current events.” (I’m still fever-fuzzy.)

 

That’s my graduating year ID – lucky it was where I remembered it was. I blacked out my ex’s surname – yes, I was married then to someone else; our marriage was on the rocks and we separated before I graduated and eventually divorced – He was American so he could divorce me; the Philippines does not have divorce for anyone who isn’t Muslim and that is a rant for a different day. I visited Australia in 2004 and Rhys and I have been together since. My ex and I still talk on occasion, and we both agree that we’re in better places than we were before and we wish each other happy.

This happened while I was still in college. I went for six years from 1998 to 2004, not because that’s the required time to put in, but rather because as an ‘irregular student’, I didn’t have the per-assigned hours and classes that regular block students did. I started in the second semester, not the first, of the last co-ed school ‘batch’ before Miriam fully reverted to being an all girl’s college. So I had to try grab the empty slots for my required major and minor classes if they were still available, or if they weren’t, I’d take them next year. This caused some issues as …I think it was calculus?… was dropped while I was attending (Miriam did not offer hard science or engineering majors at the time – that may have changed now) so other than Algebra or Statistics, there was no need for it – and it had been on my curriculum list when I entered. So I had the strangest schedule sometimes. The history classes were supposed to be spread across the first three years; I got them all on my second semester. Unfortunately I had a very boring World History teacher – one of those people who focused more on geography and dates and timelines as opposed to bringing the events to life in the classroom. Philippine history and Asian Civilization was fun, especially Philippine History, because that was taught by someone who became one of my favorite teachers ever. A tale for a different day.

I wrote as much as I could remember – this would have happened sometime between 2000-2002 or 2003, so I’m afraid that I don’t remember things like names any more. I’ve always been bad with them, so I’m sorry, I can’t point you to a particular lecturer, I remember only that the two Indian women were the most outspoken of the four or five guests up on that stage. They’re a lot like the typical militant feminist common today, just without the rainbow hair.

I forgot to include the parts where I argued extensively about how could they simply shove aside half the human population and dismiss them as rapists when surely all of us present knew of good men, were related to them, and had good male friends. How were we supposed to become good parents to sons, if we treated them with suspicion simply because they were born the opposite sex? I suppose most of the details have gotten hazy in the back and forth shouting. But I remember that fury, the feel of my sense of restraint breaking one chain at a time with each outrageous thing that the feminist lecturers were verbally heaping on our heads – and trying to crush our spirits with. In a way, they did us a favor by overplaying their hand; that particular batch of students were never feminists of the type that seem so prevalent today.

I have good memories, for the most part, of my college years in Miriam. I liked most of my professors and had problems only with the Statistics teacher and the hard-line socialist who was very upset that I didn’t paint a shining picture of glorious utopia after finding out I’d lived in East Berlin. In fact, I don’t really have bad memories of Women Studies classes either – and I know now I was very lucky in that respect. It was a lot more classical feminist than the fainting couch paternalism-encouraging Third Wave weaklings. The focus was more of being able to improve conditions for women and push for a more egalitarian outlook on a local scale. In some respects that is correct and indeed a good thing to advocate. In some other respects however, I don’t think it really applies to a lot of the Filipino outlook either honestly, but that’s the topic of my next essay, which I’m still in the process of writing.

 

First though I have to make sure I don’t relapse.

 

Surprising responses

Note for people using wordpress: please remember to select ‘Log In with WordPress’ before using your WordPress login, if you wish to comment, thank you!

My essay, Nazi is not a term you throw around lightly got Instalanched, re-linked, and mentioned in lots of other places – a response I honestly did not expect. Larry Correia linked it, Sarah Hoyt linked it, Peter Grant linked it, Cedar Sanderson did as well… it’s been retweeted a lot as well.

I’ve read comments from other places, including at Instapundit and getting responses directly to email.

I honestly only expected to be mocked by the Anti Sad Puppies (ASPs), and some supporting comments from my friends and fellow Mad Geniuses. Larry’s busy writing (yessss) and Brad is in the Middle East now, if not in Iraq (stay safe, my friend!)

I’ve just run across your post here:

Nazi is not a term you throw around lightly

I’m having a particularly rough day after being accused of associating with a hate group by a potential customer.

Our sin? We advertise with focus on the family.

Your post bolstered me up. Thank you and God bless.

h.

That letter made me ridiculously happy. To cheer someone who was depressed by being falsely accused of hate, because of conducting their business in a way that meshes with their values and their faith, I am glad for. As a mother of two wonderful children, and two angels in Heaven, I know the importance of family, the value of family. To work with support and focus on the family is an expression of love, not hate. Families cannot be built or kept if there is no love.

Hello, Mrs. Modena.

Good post on your father and on Tor. I’m glad you combined them–mainly just because the story of your father is very interesting in itself, rather than because it’s needed for the Tor part. He’d be proud to be remembered that way.
I write now so I can become a small part of your post. Change “by the dictatorship and it’s cronies” to “by the dictatorship and its cronies”.

IHS

I grinned, leaned over and told Rhys that he’s Mr Modena now.

I write with my maiden name for security reasons. The first has to do with Rhys’ job as a fitter armorer for the ADF; the second has to do with the fact that I have a longtime stalker online who has been known to instigate others into doing his dirty work for him, so that if something happens to someone he is targeting, he isn’t ‘directly responsible’, and it would be difficult to prove.

I’ve been told that it would be a good thing to collect the stories of my experiences into a book, so that my family’s glimpse into history will not be lost. As it is, with my father already gone, a good chunk of that is lost! Fortunately, my mother now has working Skype and I will use it extensively, as long distance phone calls are very expensive. Thank goodness for technology!

I should also grill her for anecdotes of her childhood and youth, and the ones she remembers of my father. They were both fascinating characters, and their lives show a glimpse into a way of living that frankly would be quite alien to most of us now.

Speaking of stories, I saw this wonderful comment at Peter’s blog:

Shadowdancer Duskstar,

I not only found your essay on your father moving, but I found that it inspired me to write a short story. I have the outline down but I wanted to ask your permission to do so, since it’s obviously a very personal thing for you and I wouldn’t want to offend you.

I already gave permission that he continue with the story, and told my Mom about it. Then we joked that if Dad had been around he’d be all fluffed with pride and that we’d need to puncture his ego again.

I responded with this comment:

*grin!* You have no idea how pleased I am to hear that my little essay moved you to write. You’ve become the first to fulfil one of my dreams as a writer: to inspire others to write as well. Thank you so much.

I don’t aspire to award-winning writing, of the pseudo-intellectual elite. I want to write stories that people enjoy, and hopefully become comfort reads, the way I read and reread David Eddings’, Jim Butcher’s, Larry Correia’s, Anne Bishop’s, Tom Clancy’s, Matthew Reilly’s books to pieces and require new copies. I want my stories to be the sort where the prose doesn’t get in the way and instead, you’re ‘in’ the adventure with the character, in a mental cinematic experience of your own. I want the reader to start reading, and be surprised that they reach the end of the book, run out of pages, surface some hours later and blink at the clock, wondering where time went. I want them to think ‘and then what happened?’ and keep turning the pages.

At the top of my goals in writing, is to inspire others to write.

To have achieved that with my essay is the most surprising and most uplifting thing of all.

The nicest part is, it’s going to be a Sci-Fi story! I’m looking forward to this!

My mother’s response to all the reactions I’ve been getting was to be proud, congratulate me, then promptly go, “So, the next thing you write will have to top that.”

That’s the same thing she always told my Dad.

Over at Sarah’s I gave a little more background to how I found out about the erasure of World War II.

I didn’t include it in the essay, because it felt clunky, but the reason why I found out about World War II not being in the books was because of well, my being known in the whole school. I was literally the only ‘colored person’ there. EVERYONE knew my name.

The fourth graders were doing one of those class project presentation displays in the main school hall; and I was still new enough that while I could communicate in German, and read in German, some words eluded me, so I was often in the company of a teacher who spoke English. One day, a bunch of boys ran past, pointing at me and yelled “It’s the Panzerkreuzer Aurora!!!”

I was puzzled, so after scolding them and sending them off, the teacher decided to show me the class exhibits, saying I was too young for this part of education to be included in my lessons, and started talking about the Great War at the start of the century.

“Oh, World War I,” I said. “I’ve only started reading about World War II.”

“Excuse me?”

“World War I. The one that came before World War II.”

The teacher looked at me kindly. “Ah, I forget that the Philippines has been tainted by American lies. There was only ever the Great War, and they lost, so they have to make up that there was a Second World War where they won against an imaginary evil person.”

“Hitler?”

“That one. No German could ever be that evil. Don’t worry, you’ll learn the truth when you’re old enough.”

I, being 7 years old, said: “But I saw pictures.”

“Americans are clever at faking things. Its’ time for your class now.”

And I remember it that well only because I made a particular effort to remember it so I could ask my Dad about it. It REALLY stuck in my head.

The following comments are also worth a read. “Chilling,” Sarah said, and she should know as she lived in a very Socialist Portugal before coming over to the US.

For those looking to find out more about the Sad Puppies/Hugo/Tor controversy, I refer you to these links, randomly copied from open tabs.

http://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com.au/2015/06/well-well-well.html

This, That, The Other, Now With More Robots

The latest Sad Puppies related stuff

http://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.ca/2015/06/anger-doubt-and-confusion-at-tor.html

http://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.ca/2015/06/most-interesting.html

http://tlknighton.com/?p=7197

http://tlknighton.com/?p=7190

Sad Puppies Summary and Wrapup

Rant: You Can’t Shame a Puppy

Odd Lots

http://voxday.blogspot.com.au/2015/06/tor-books-stands-by-gallo.html

Sheepdog staring at the horizon

www.scifiwright.com/2015/06/irene-gallo/

For now, I’m off. Dinner calls, and I have a nice beef and Portobello mushroom rice porridge waiting for me.

Nazi is not a term you throw around lightly

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Also: I’ve been Instalanched?! (Hi!) AND Larry Correia linked this?! faints!

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I haven’t really written about the Sad Puppies 3 campaign on my blog because when it really started to heat up, my two and a half month old son Brandon died of SIDs. After that, I kind of wanted to keep my little space on the Internet off that kind of harassment, like what I saw levelled at Brad Torgersen – for a while. Nevertheless, I openly support Sad Puppies 3, because I honestly saw it as a chance to vote for the Hugos, as a fan of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, to see try vote for books I felt was worthy, honestly.

I can’t any more.

I’m just a small (literally – I’m only 4’8″) indie author and artist. So most people will probably dismiss me as unimportant. Most people don’t know who I am, and that’s okay.

The problem is when you don’t know who you’re talking about, or yelling insults at, you don’t know anything about them, where they’ve been, what they have done.

You don’t know what stories they have.

This will be long, so brace yourself.

A bit of background about myself first, which I don’t really wave around much.
My family’s always been a politically active one. My father, the son of two poor teachers was a police beat, later investigative journalist during the Marcos Era, and he openly didn’t approve of the abuses being conducted at the time by the dictatorship and its cronies. I don’t think most people who read this will really get it unless they’ve lived under similar circumstances, but that pretty much was walking around with a big fat target on your back. Not the bullshit social media kind that is common these days, but the kind that actually gets you hit with bullets. Journalists disappearing wasn’t uncommon, and most of those who did disappear were never seen again. If the family was lucky, they’d find something to bury and mourn – my parents related that a belt buckle in a shallow grave in the jungle was all that was found of one of my father’s journalist friends years after he’d vanished. One of the ones who made it out alive refused to talk about the years he was gone and missing.

For whatever reason, Dad didn’t vanish, nor was he openly assassinated, even with critical columns when he was an editor. He was a bit too visible perhaps – at his funeral, one of his longtime friends described Dad as a noisy bantam rooster, kicking up a fuss when it was warranted. (Another described him as being so restless and excitable that he would often be like a headless chicken rushing about, or so his senior editor would yell.) He taught me that there’s a story to be told if you know how to find it – and he was very good finding stories and bringing them to light. Have an article written by another one of his friends which some examples; which, surprisingly, has comments from myself, AND Uncle Larry Sipin’s daughter. Larry Sipin and my father were best of friends, and when Tito Larry died, he grieved for years. When my father died, his former colleagues in journalism wondered who they would first pester for an interview when they got to Heaven.

Dad was also a union leader, back when such a title actually meant something, looking out for worker’s rights and safety. One day, when I was on my way to college, I put on my school ID – it clipped to my blouse pocket. An old man sitting across from me in the Tamaraw FX taxi (these functioned more like jeepneys, plying set routes) saw my surname and asked if I was related in any way to Antonio Modena. Surprised, I replied that he was my Dad.

The old man then said “Ah, a man of great principles, your father. When he was the leader of our union at the newspaper I worked at, he looked out for us, the workers lower on the ladder – the cafeteria workers, the janitors, the people running the print machines, the security guards. When one of us lost his fingers in a printing machine accident, your father was able to fight for our employer to pay for the medical bills and give the man accident compensation and a pension. His children didn’t have to drop out of school to work.

“He never sold us out, you know. I heard they tried to bribe him, two million pesos and immigration to the US and a job, and he turned them down. A man of great, solid principles, your father. Be proud of him.”

Needless to say, his principles and unwillingness to bow to fear earned him enemies, including one of the relatives of Imelda Marcos. When Dad refused to accept that bribe, he found himself sacked on Christmas Eve that same year. There’s lots more to that story, but at any rate, he was encouraged to take the Foreign Service Officer exam. Out of two or three thousand, only six passed. Dad was number four, I think.

The relative of Imelda, we heard later on, was quite unhappy and tried to get Marcos himself to keep my father out of the foreign service. Supposedly, Marcos told him that because my father had passed the exam, there was nothing he could do.

My father’s first assignment was to East Berlin. A World War II history buff, he was excited because this meant that he could go and live in a place he had only read so much about. I was seven when we got there, and for two years we lived under in a socialist country. Privacy was an illusion, quite honestly; and my parents knew that there would be listening devices, and that our house would be inspected while we were out of the house. It would be little things – cups just out of place, neckties and suits not in the same order that my Dad carefully arranged, our toys moved from their original positions. There had been no housing in the diplomatic quarter, so we lived in an apartment high-rise where the families of the Stazi were granted homes. Dad was happy – we got to live Socialist East Berlin unfiltered and uncurated.

But to get to East Germany, we first flew to Amsterdam. And while we were there, Dad took us kids to the Anne Frank House museum. That started my education in history. Dad felt it very important that we learn about it before we got to Berlin, because once we were there, there would be no mention of it. This was particularly emphasized by the fact that the Second World War was excised entirely from East German education at the time, and they were only taught about ‘The Great War’ – what the rest of the world was calling World War I. Socialist Germany was a big exercise in erasing the past and reconstructing it in a great big lie – and somewhat inconveniently, there were still people who remembered WWII. It was a verboten subject, and the younger generation knew nothing of it. They didn’t believe that someone as evil as Hitler could have ever existed.

Dad, the Aristotlean gadfly that he was, liked to smuggle in copies of Mein Kampf and give it away as gifts, his own little subversive fight for the truth. I know he horrified one of our babysitters with it, who was a college student and an avowed Marxist who enjoyed being able to pit wills and philosophical arguments with ‘someone unfortunate enough not to be educated in Socialist education.’ It was her awakening into questioning what she knew.

One of the people working at the consulate fell in love with an East German woman. The only way they could marry was if she escaped East Berlin, and so he smuggled her out. The details of that I don’t know, but I remember my dad saying she was struck dumb for three days from sheer culture shock after she saw West Berlin for the first time – and realized that everything she’d been raised to believe, and had known as truth was in fact a carefully manufactured and maintained lie that was possible only through total control of information. Everything had to be spoon fed. They had to develop a disdain, to instil contempt, pity and aversion to Capitalism, America and other countries on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

It was actually the control of information that the older people tended to rebel against – the younger generations knew nothing of that, of course, because they did not know about the reality of the past. But the older people hungered for news, information. So we’d often get invited out to houses outside the city, where there were big, sprawling gardens. While my brothers and I played, my parents would be discreetly grilled for information and news about the outside world. They had no interest in leaving the Socialist setup, but would have liked to have the freedom to make up their own minds about the information out there, as well as events. They didn’t like being treated like children who were unable to think for themselves, or thought of as not having that capacity. They also wanted to just be able to travel and see their family on the other side.

The other thing they didn’t like what that good manners, right conduct and personal responsibility for one’s actions was no longer taught, and was considered ‘old fashioned’ and ‘wrong.’ Basic decency was being slowly erased, and the younger generations sind nicht mehr so nett. (no longer as nice.)

These seem like such a small things, I’m sure, to those of you reading this now, but the truth is, lots of little things eventually pile up, and become bigger than expected. We were reassigned to West Germany after only two years, but those two years still have an impact on me.

I was the only Asian student, and an ‘unknown’ Asian at that, in my classes in East Germany – most of my classmates had never heard of the Philippines; for the most part, they had heard of China, a sister nation in Communism. The years that followed in Bonn exposed me to the kind of racism I only had read about, but hadn’t experienced. See, my parents raised me to believe that I am a worthy human being, that my sex and skin color didn’t matter, and that it was my personality, my skills, my mind that mattered, that had merit, in the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. who is one of the figures of history we look up to. So I was surprised to find myself getting bullied because I was seen as ‘less’ because I came from a ‘dirty Asian country.’

And since I’m my father’s daughter, I got into a lot of fistfights. I got accused of a lot of falsehoods too, including supposedly trying to throw a teacher down a stairwell, with ‘lots of witnesses’ lined up against me. My father asked that the person I supposedly tried to murder be brought into the room. So they did, and the teacher in question was surprised. “She saved my life, because she kept me from falling over the railing when the lunchtime rush caught us both.”

The teachers, trying to save face, tried to tell my father that I was disliked because I was ‘abnormal’, preferring to read (Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern, at the time) over playing during recess. My father jerked his thumb at the other children and said, “No, they are.”

In time though, the fights from my fellow schoolmates dribbled away as they decided I ‘wasn’t as weak and as cowardly as the other Asians’ – just in time for me to get into a fight with several teenagers from the high school who had heard of the uppity Asian girl who didn’t bow to her superiors. The same kids I used to get into a punchup with were right there with me and fighting back, and telling the teen boys that I was ‘stronger’ than the ‘rest of the weaklings.’

I remember trooping back to my house, the whole lot of us cleaning the scrapes and cuts and bandaging them up, and my mother, baby brother and the nanny coming home to see a crowd of Turkish, Iraqi, Iranian, African and German kids with cuts and bruises eating pizza at the dinner table. My mom’s only response was to send the nanny back out for more pizza and coke and for more band-aids. My house became the preferred place to hang out at after that, which my father said was fine because at least if we were there, we weren’t out in the streets getting into fights. I didn’t get into more fights after that, since word seemed to spread.

We moved around a bit after that, staying in the US with relatives for a few months, then going back to the Philippines, where I endured a different kind of discrimination – our household had always been English speaking, and the California sun had lightened my hair to a reddish brown, something I myself didn’t notice but my schoolmates did. Worse, I didn’t know how to speak Filipino, my English had a notable German mode of pronunciation, and the repeated syllables of Filipino, as well as it’s tonal inflections greatly eluded me. I was treated outright as an outsider, because I’d ‘lived abroad’ – seen as one of a different class of privilege and ‘snobbishness’ that I actually didn’t have (despite my father’s job and social standing, we were financially middle class.) The Philippines had changed a lot in the time we’d been gone, and I have to admit that the whole concept of envy of social and financial circumstances had been something I didn’t understand. It made less sense to me than racism, because it was something you could change with your own two hands!

My Dad got an assignment to Paris, France, as the Embassy’s minister counsellor, for six years. Because I was of college age, my mother and I stayed in the Philippines (though I stayed there for a year) and my brothers and father lived in France. When that tour was over, they came back home, and after a couple of years Dad took the panel examinations to qualify to become an Ambassador. He passed (not easy to do), was assigned to the ASEAN division of the Department of Foreign Affairs for a while, then he was up for assignment. He three options, one of which was open an embassy in Ireland (I think?) an assignment… I think the Maldives, and Israel.

I came down from upstairs to get a cup of coffee (that which sets my mind in motion…) and he was sitting at the dinner table, pondering what to take. He asked my opinion.

I said, “Ireland would be interesting. But Dad? You’re the kind of guy who thrives on stress. Israel’s better for you! Besides, that’s the land of the Bible! Think of all the history! And besides, it’s the only place in the Middle East where you won’t go insane from all the human rights violations and discrimination you’d be able to do nothing about.”

He chuckled and said I was right.

Now I mentioned before that my family is very political; and while Dad admired the Jews, he and my mother disagreed on the Israel-Palestine history. He felt that the Palestinians were the victims against a better set up aggressor – essentially buying the long-running media narrative. My mom on the other hand, curious about the Jews, studied the history, and took Israel’s side. It was, my mother and I felt, Dad’s blind spot; but he was also honest enough and objective enough that in the terms of comparison, Israel was the best place in the Middle East to be if you didn’t want to be in trouble for having different beliefs and religions.

Within five months of his arrival in Israel as our Ambassador and representative of the nation, Dad changed his decades-long opinion about the Palestinians, and sided with Israel. During a brief visit back we asked him why. Frankly, we were shocked; the Israel-Palestine situation had been an on and off debate with my parents, and we’d figured Dad was firmly entrenched in his view.

“It was all a lie,” he said. “Everything that I thought had been true of the Palestinians, is a lie. They fire rockets from hospitals and schools and houses, aiming at the Israeli schools, hospitals and houses, not military targets, and then run to the media and complain about how their civilians died in retaliatory fire. It’s stupid that they act like they’re the victims.” What broke the straw on the proverbial camel’s back though, was seeing the thrice a week caravans of food, supplies, necessities for living in food aid going across the border, funded by the Israeli government

He was also furious that any land the Palestinians got, ‘they turned into a wasteland’ – Gaza, Bethlehem… Gaza had been a fertile stretch of orchards and farmland when the Israelis surrendered it. Bethlehem, with it’s deeply religious significance, had been a thriving center for tourism and pilgrimages, but under the Palestinians, ‘it had become a slum.’ He saw the pictures of what these places looked like while under the care of the Jews and Israelis. Under the Palestinians, those places were ruined.

This isn’t to say he became unable to judge between right and wrong – barely a year into his ambassadorial duties, he called my mother, saying that he was likely to endanger his career, and told her why. She supported him and told him to do what he believed was right.

Now, I know in the light of the current controversy, which I will address later, this may sound hypocritical, but it isn’t – only those who are incapable of reading comprehension will take it wrongly.

My Dad, you see, had witnessed and been subject to very rough treatment by the Israeli Immigration Police. I know the general populace will go ‘so what?’ but there’s a culture of proper diplomatic protocol expected from the host country – and the IIP were violating it. Worse than that however, were the reports brought to him in his capacity as Ambassador of how the Filipinos were being segregated and discriminated against– told to sit in the back of the plane, treated more suspiciously at the immigration lines, and generally disrespected.

For the Filipino workers, he heard stories from both groups, and their Israeli landlords, how the IIP would conduct sudden searches – usually at night, startling families who were about to go to bed, often taking showers or were half-undressed, by kicking down doors and breaking through the windows. There were stories of men trying to protect their half-undressed female kin and being beaten, and if they protested the rough treatment, would be struck with the butts of rifles, and if the Jewish landlords protested the rough treatment of their Filipino tenants and the damage to their property, they would get yelled at and intimidated and threatened. “They were looking for illegal workers,” the landlords said. “But that doesn’t excuse their treatment of our tenants, because it assumes by default that the people they’re investigating are guilty.”

This was a gross violation of basic decency and human rights, as well as a big case of unfair discrimination. Further investigation by him – and when I heard about it, by me – that this was a common problem but limited to the IIP. There used to be a website documenting their violations, which I linked to my Dad.

Around this time he was also scheduled for an interview in one of the local magazines, and during the interview, he talked about the actions of the IIP, and called them ‘Nazi-like,’ ‘Gestapo-like,’ explaining why he used that description. He said that the Israeli people were quite hospitable, friendly and welcoming – and that this behaviour was specifically confined to the actions of a particular government body. He cited those offences, and talked about the responses of the landlords.

When the interview was published there was a brief firestorm, because, how DARE someone describe Jews as ‘Nazi-like’?! The furore was actually confined to a single politician in Israel, and one in the Philippines, calling for my father’s resignation in disgrace, that he be declared persona non grata and be immediately deported from Israel.

The people on the other hand… Well, my unofficial help on this side was to keep track of the news. I provided my father links and information, detailing the feedback. What was interesting was, the Israelis themselves said “We call each other Nazis in fits of pique, and he’s not wrong about the rough treatment he’s complaining about.” This response was common in the comments of the online newspapers even in Israel; at home, countering the grandstanding of that one local politician, the journalists were saying that my father should be lauded as a hero for standing up for Filipino well being and treatment, behaving as an Ambassador should. He would call my mother at odd hours, saying he was sleepy but was unable to sleep because he was getting interviewed globally – radio shows, newspaper interviews.

The Knesset called for an investigation. My father said that other representatives from other Embassies delivered complaints of mistreatment and discrimination.

All he wanted was for the Filipino people to be treated like normal human beings, he said, like people. He cited that with the history that Israel has, they shouldn’t forget what it is like, to be treated as less than human, second class. He did not blame the entirety of Israel. He sincerely apologized for his heated remarks in that light, but, he said, he had been so shocked and dismayed by that unfair discrimination that he forgot himself.

Bolstered by his stance, Israeli employers pressured the government to improve the lot of the Filipino workers and caregivers – many of whom work in caring for the aged and infirm.

There was no further ill treatment of overseas workers or discrimination from that point on, as far as I know. That website with the descriptions of the IIP’s wrongdoing went away, and was gone. During checks of passengers on the planes, Filipinos were no longer segregated to the back of the plane, but investigated and checked like everyone else.

My father consistently believed that the Filipino was worth fighting for – not as superiors, but in defence of their equality, that they have the right to work for their successes and dreams without discrimination. This does not mean he was blind – he was just as open about his criticisms of the flaws of Filipinos, just as he was willing to call out a flaw in Israeli performance.

We are human after all, and not perfect. He believes that we are capable of mistakes, and when we do them, apologize and make up for it.

This would not be the only time that my father would do everything he could in defence and protection of the Filipino. During the Israeli-Lebanon war, he coordinated the efforts in evacuating Filipinos from Lebanon – in some cases, helping them escape from their employers.

Soon after that, my father started promoting awareness of how the Philippines had opened it’s doors to the fleeing Jews during World War II. It’s a piece of history, he said, that isn’t commonly known, and is, by large unacknowledged.

Courage and determination to give humanitarian support for the Jews seeking refuge from the Holocaust in Europe in the 1930s.

These are the Filipino values that are sought to be remembered in this project called “Open Doors, ” the first Philippine Monument in Israel symbolizing the people’s hospitality, when the Philippines opened its doors to the Jewish refugees fleeing Europe during the Holocaust.

In 1939, the Philippine Commonwealth Government, as a matter of policy, opened its doors and welcomed Jewish refugees escaping Nazi tyranny in Europe. Ten thousand visas earmarked for travel to the Philippines Islands were made available to thousands of Jews.

President Manuel L. Quezon fully understood the crisis that the Jews were facing at that time. And to reinforce this open door policy, President Quezon built a housing community for Jewish refugees in Marikina in 1939 and allotted a farm and large settlement area in Mindanao for Jewish refugees before the outbreak of World War II.

The Filipinos expressed their indignation to the persecution of the Jews. On 17 November 1938, hundreds of Filipinos held a rally in Manila to express their moral outrage and to denounce the Kristallnacht.

These episodes in the journey of Jews to the Philippines to escape the Holocaust were documented and thoroughly discussed in the book entitled “Escape to Manila” by Frank Ephraim, one of the Jewish refugees and a witness to the humanitarian efforts of President Quezon. “Escape to Manila” will preserve for all generations the memories and experiences of the European Jews who sought refuge in the Philippines and the warm hospitality of the Filipinos during this difficult period in the Jewish history.

Perhaps impressed by my father’s willingness to fight for his fellow countrymen, or by the strength of his character, the Israeli government offered that a monument be raised to commemorate and remember that show of welcome when so many other nations turned the Jews away.

My father never saw the fruits of his efforts; he came home that last Christmas to tell us he had lung cancer. His doctors in Israel were optimistic; saying that if this had been twenty years prior, he should have been saying his farewells. Instead, they felt it was treatable. He collapsed while accompanying my mother on a pilgrimage to a certain church so she could pray – the unusually cold weather had given him pneumonia. While he was in the hospital, they treated his cancer as well, but his body had been so weakened by the pneumonia he didn’t make it through recovery.

I gave birth while he was in the hospital, and Rhys and I would sit and ‘talk’ with him – Dad had a tube inserted into his throat through which he was fed or to help him breathe, and couldn’t reply, but wrote his replies on a pad of paper. Vincent wasn’t allowed into the ICU then, so my father demanded photos, as many as we could take, which he would gaze at longingly. The day Rhys had to return to Australia, he promised my Dad he would take care of us.

A week later, Dad was released from the ICU and put into a normal hospital room. We brought Vincent to see him. Dad looked happy, and nibbled at his grandson’s little toes. Perhaps prickled by my Dad’s mustache, Vincent began to cry, and that seemed to upset Dad, so we said we’d visit him again later.

He passed away the next morning.

http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/anglo-file/local-filipinos-mourn-death-of-ambassador-antonio-modena-1.213810

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/59977/pinoyabroad/open-doors-first-rp-monument-to-rise-in-israel

http://www.philstar.com/travel-and-tourism/481231/open-doors-monument-filipino-heart

What does this have to do with the Sad Puppies, I’m sure you wonder. I’m fairly sure few would have made it down this far, down this long-winded summary of the last 30-odd years of my family history.

Well see, consider first what the Hugo Awards are, and the claims that are constantly slung against the Sad Puppies, Rabid Puppies and their supporters. I won’t deny that the Sad Puppies campaign is politically touched – Larry Correia set out to prove that if he got conservative authors nominated, the left-leaning establishment would explode in rage and out would come every single tactic in Alinsky’s playbook.

Sad Puppies 1 and 2 proved that he was right. Satisfied by that, Larry was ready to lay down the banner. After all, Sad Puppies 2 had shown that the opposition would go FAR beyond merely calling him names and making up false claims on the Internet about how evil he was. He was libeled on the Guardian by Damien Walter, and people called up Larry’s home, ‘offering help’ to Larry’s wife to ‘escape from her abusive husband’ – the sheer amount of slander that he got, simply for disagreeing and exposing the biases and hate was staggering.

The Hugos are the big prestigious award for science fiction and fantasy. One of my books was a finalist for best novel. A bunch of other works that I recommended showed up in other categories. Because I’m an outspoken right winger, hilarity ensued.

Many of you have never heard of me before, but the internet was quick to explain to you what a horrible person I am. There have been allegations of fraud, vote buying, log rolling, and making up fake accounts. The character assassination has started as well, and my detractors posted and tweeted and told anyone who would listen about how I was a racist, a homophobe, a misogynist, a rape apologist, an angry white man, a religious fanatic, and how I wanted to drag homosexuals to death behind my pickup truck.

The libel and slander over the last few days have been so ridiculous that my wife was contacted by people she hasn’t talked to for years, concerned that she was married to such a horrible, awful, hateful, bad person, and that they were worried for her safety.

I wish I was exaggerating. Don’t take my word for it. My readers have been collecting a lot of them in the comments of the previous Hugo post and on my Facebook page. Plug my name into Google for the last few days. Make sure to read the comments to the various articles too. They’re fantastic.

Of course, none of this stuff is true, but it was expected. I knew if I succeeded I would be attacked. To the perpetually outraged the truth doesn’t matter, just feelings and narrative. I’d actually like to thank all of those people making stuff up about me because they are proving the point I was trying to make to begin with.

Larry didn’t win the Hugo, but despite what John Scalzi and the rest of Larry’s detractors claim, that was never his goal. His real goal was to expose what he, and Sarah Hoyt, and several others have been saying all along:

Short Version:

I said a chunk of the Hugo voters are biased toward the left, and put the author’s politics far ahead of the quality of the work. Those openly on the right are sabotaged. This was denied.
So I got some right wingers on the ballot.
The biased voters immediately got all outraged and mobilized to do exactly what I said they’d do.
Point made.

I’ve said for a long time that the awards are biased against authors because of their personal beliefs. Authors can either cheer lead for left wing causes, or they can keep their mouth shut. Open disagreement is not tolerated and will result in being sabotaged and slandered. Message or identity politics has become far more important than entertainment or quality. I was attacked for saying this. I knew that when an admitted right winger got in they would be maligned and politicked against, not for the quality of their art but rather for their unacceptable beliefs.

If one of us outspoken types got nominated, the inevitable backlash, outrage, and plans for their sabotage would be very visible. So I decided to prove this bias and launched a campaign I called Sad Puppies (because boring message fiction is the leading cause of Puppy Related Sadness).

Sad Puppies 3 started with a bid by Brad Torgersen to try get the authors’ works we felt were worthy of nominating into the Hugo nominations, but wouldn’t otherwise get nominated. Larry felt that Brad was being rather idealistic, but hey, Brad felt the Hugos could be brought back to it’s original meaning of being an award that represented ‘the best of SFF’ as opposed to ‘who wrote the ‘most important work’ by purely left-leaning talking points of ‘important’, or by the color of their skin, their politics, who they slept with, if they’d changed gender, or were female. He wanted simply that the works be judged as works of science fiction and fantasy. So he called for suggestions. People replied – not just on his blog, or his friends’ blogs, and facebook posts, but also sent in suggestions via email – either to his friends, to Larry, to Sarah and Mad Genius Club, who forwarded it on, and such.

Brad called for everyone to send in suggestions of what they felt was worthy of an award. That invitation included people who opposed the previous campaigns. The only rule? Was to suggest only works that the persons suggesting it had read. No ‘I’d heard that…’ People sent in their suggestions, and the resulting slate of suggestions to nominate for the Hugo awards was a wide range of people and political leanings, sexual preferences and races – diversity by it’s very definition, as is considered important by those who are our detractors, but in reality, what we cared about were the works those authors produced.

We chose entirely based on merit.

Not on whether the person who wrote it was white, black, yellow or green striped and with red and orange polka dots.

We didn’t choose because of their political leanings.

We didn’t choose because of who they slept with.

We didn’t choose because of their religious beliefs.

We didn’t choose works based on whether or not the writer was transgender.

Brad stressed that nobody had to follow the slate. It was just suggestions – if there was a work that they felt should be nominated over one that was on the list, then by all means, vote for it. All that mattered was that this time, we were participating. And that we should also get the word out to other fans to nominate, and if we missed that, see about spreading the word that anyone who paid the supporting fees could vote this year, and nominate next year.

All he cared about was getting more and more people involved. That we judge works, as opposed to the people.

Leaving aside whether or not you agree with what we Sad Puppies did, let me emphasize that this is an award ultimately determined by who votes for what, as they wish, according to their individual tastes. I’ve been seeing lots of complaints, rage and demands, lots of misrepresentation, and falsely pretending to be impartial. There was a ridiculous complaint that if ‘we puppies had done the thing perfectly, the anti-pups wouldn’t be complaining.’

(That one is extra silly because it soon became clear that nothing we did or said was ever going to be good enough.)

There was also a strange, and frankly unrealistic expectation that we should have predicted that we sweep the nominations (Sorry, but while some of us write fantasy, we’re not wizards.) This one is funny to me because it’s a tacit admission that we supposedly outnumbered their nominations, thus ‘that’s not fair!’

We didn’t make the Sasquan rules. We followed them. And yes, yes, I hear the arguments about the ‘spirit of the awards’ – well, what are Hugos awarded for? The ‘best of SFF.’

Heck, we were unaware that we’d get so many works nominated – and honestly, not all of the ones we picked were. Larry and Brad both got nominated – and then refused their nominations. But the outrage was already showing up before the nominations themselves were announced.

We really didn’t know.

And while we kind of expected that rage would be directed at Brad and Larry for their nominations, honestly we didn’t expect that kind of rage to be directed at say, Jim Butcher, whose politics were completely unknown. Our detractors were demanding to know if ‘they’d allowed’ themselves to be included on our list. I’m sorry that you think that we need your permission to like something that much, but no, we don’t. Others complained about The Three Body Problem not being nominated by us – then demanded to know why we hadn’t read it in time.

And on and on and on. Even we were shocked by the Entertainment Weekly smear piece, but the detractors pooh-poohed it as careless journalism, because they were quite happy that we were being spread far and wide as the usual list of outrage engendering labels.

Misogynist.

Racist.

Homophobic.

Rape apologists.

And so on and so forth. Not a whit of it was true of course. This was, however, a step further than the smears laid on Larry by Damien Walter at the Guardian, because within hours, the libelous Entertainment Weekly piece was requoted across the globe – and even after the threat of litigation caused Entertainment Weekly to retract – bit by bit, starting with the title, then the content, then changed it to the point that it just leaned towards the anti-Puppy side in tone – the other articles have not been changed the last I heard.

There were accusations of us dragging in GamerGate, but this had little to no traction, honestly because Sad Puppies is about books, while GamerGate is about games – different focuses of ethics. Yes, there was some overlapping fandom but it didn’t take – until well known anti-Gamergater Brianna Wu said something. Gamergate wondered then what they were being accused of this time, apparently being the new boogeyman that is ad hoc blamed for everything. The problems we fight against are similar, especially with #NotYourShield.

The controversy has grown to the point that big name authors have weighed in, some in defense of us, some against. Ultimately, most of those have been private opinions, expressed privately on their own blogs.

Then along came Irene Gallo.

When you are promoting the product of your company, you are representing your company. Hitch along with it sneering in the main body of that post? You’re using your company’s name to give your words weight, whether or not that was what you intended. When someone asks you a question, and you respond in such a libellous, career-destroying manner, including authors in your statement – not by name, but by association – that your company publishes, you are indicating that this is the company point of view.

The thing is, honestly, such is what is considered acceptable – and frankly, you’re showing Larry is right again – from the other side, as indicated by the dismay by the anti-Puppies by Tom Doherty’s addressing the outrage from out side. They toss those labels at us because they consider us the enemy and must be destroyed.

Proving Larry right again and again and again.

The thing is, they toss those labels blindly, caring only for the destruction such words a capable of. So all-consuming is their hatred, that they include people like myself as ‘hateful white cis-men’ – I’m Filipino, female, and in an interracial marriage – and label people like Peter Grant to be the very thing that heroes like Peter have fought: White supremacists, Nazis.

Mr. Doherty, I spent eighteen years working with the victims of racial and tribal violence in South Africa, trying to overturn the vicious and racist policies of apartheid. The white government sought to rule by diktat, and the so-called ‘liberation movements’ who opposed it sought to render white rule impossible through terror. Groups such as ours that sought to bring relief and new hope to areas of conflict were targeted by both sides. We paid a heavy price for our beliefs. Twenty-seven of us died during those years, and more have died since. I’ve written here from time to time about some aspects of our experiences. If you’d like to know more, try this article, or this one. As for my attitude towards racism, try this article for a start.

Given that background, you’ll understand that to be told by Ms. Gallo that, as a supporter of the Sad Puppy campaign, I’m “unrepentantly racist”, is utterly unacceptable to me. Furthermore, I’ve fought (and I mean exchanged gunfire with) real neo-Nazis who sought to impose Nazi-like ideals of racial purity on a country at war with itself. Thus, to be told that I’m a member of an “extreme right-wing to neo-nazi group” is equally unacceptable. I could go on cherry-picking individual clauses out of Ms. Gallo’s statements, but why bother? I think you can understand why I exploded with anger when I read it. She has no idea about those realities. I do. I will bear their scars, mental, spiritual and physical, until the day I die.

I strongly, strongly advise you to read his post. The links in that quote that should, no must be read.

This is why I prefaced this post with a history of who I am, and a rather summarized description of my experiences. I have faced real racism, real discrimination. I have stood OPENLY in support of the Jews, of Israel, for which I have been stalked by someone on the side of the Antis FOR NEARLY SEVEN YEARS AND RECEIVED THREATS AGAINST MY CHILDREN FOR.

Peter Grant has fought against it.

Brad Torgersen goes to fight ISIS / DAESH – against REAL terrorists, REAL religiously motivated hatred, REAL rape culture, REAL KILLINGS OF GAYS.

You who sling mud at us, who question our honor our integrity, our hardships and experiences are doing so FOR THE PETTY REASON OF AN AWARD FOR FICTION.

With Irene Gallo’s original response to the protests of her words, and her subsequent non-apology, it is clear she is unrepentant in her contempt, in her hatred.

The difference between her and my father is, she is ‘sorry’ that ‘we were hurt by her calling us Nazis’, not that she is sorry at all ‘for calling us Nazis.’

My father apologized for his words, for calling the then actions of the Israeli Immigration Police as Nazi-like.

Irene Gallo and her like are not building, they are destroying. They are discriminating against merit, and favoring things extant to merits.

I frankly feel bad for Tom Doherty. He has employees who are more interested in their own agendas and their own ideology, than they are interested in keeping the business of the customers who do not share that ideology, or being welcoming towards authors who do not share that ideology. I do not know him, but I’ve heard about him, for the large part, good. I do not remember bad things said about him – and I heard about these good things from Larry Correia, John C. Wright, Sarah A. Hoyt, and others I may have forgotten. It is clear he treasures what he has built up.

An actual apology, instead of a sulky ‘I’m sorry you’re pissed off by what I said,’ would have been good. Perhaps probation. It depends on what punishments are deemed fit by the head company (Macmillan in this case) – as noted by other people already, the human resources departments of other companies would have already fired her for her unprofessional conduct.

Personally, I have no wish that their words ever be silenced. Let them speak, let them scream. Let everyone know what they think. Let them show the world how they react to disagreement.

Judge them by their words, their actions, revealing their character.

The people Tom Doherty has under him stand on the house he has built and throw rocks and jeer at half of their audience, and have openly reviled some of their authors, and openly reviled authors of other houses, regardless of their true beliefs.

But that is not important to them. That is why Brad came up with the term CHORFs – it was to distinguish the easily, perpetually outraged from those who lean simply left or disagree with us, like Eric Flint, who is on record as disagreeing what we Puppies are trying to do / how we did it, but speaks in our defence because such shrieking hatred is flat out unacceptable.

For all the accusations that they are flinging our way for ‘destroying the Hugos’ they really need to look at the behaviour they are displaying.

When it is gone, they will find something else to destroy in their attempts in recreating the Great Leap Forward in whatever genre or part of society they are in.

I would like to thank my mother, Maria Caridad Modena, for proofreading and checking my essay, as she used to do for my father’s articles and editorials.

Thank you to Eric Rasmusen for letting me know of a typo!