Dan Simmons Demonstrates There’s No Such Thing as Bad Publicity

Apparently he committed thoughtcrime by criticizing Little Angry Climate Girl, whereupon the usual gang of Two-Minute-Haters jumped up and down, whereupon his most well-known book shot up to #1 on Amazon. Larry Correia has the details.

Now, logically speaking, we must stipulate that Correlation is not Causality, so it’s entirely possible that the Legions of Woke were not the cause of Dan Simmons’ thirty-year-old book getting purchased by everyone who wearies of the Legions of Woke.

But if something else were the cause, then that might be even worse for the Neo-Puritans. Because that means their *INTERNET RAGE* had no power to derail … whatever that cause was. Incompetence or irrelevance, take your pick.

This reminds us that, absent a real armed struggle, the perpetually angry only have the power that you grant them. And once people realize that, realize that there are plenty of people who are sick as they are of the endless noise, then the noise retreats accordingly. As Rotten Chestnuts has it:

once the revolutionary fervor passed away with the first generation of fanatics, Puritanism was unsustainable.  In Massachusetts, for example, they were hanging witches in 1693; by 1698 Cotton Mather was being openly mocked, and by 1700 everyone was pretending that the whole sordid business never happened.

Stand Your Ground seems to be the operant principle.

 

New Pumpkin Spice Unnamed Journal!

It’s obligatory to do Seasonal-themed issues of a lit mag, and as much as I enjoy bucking trends, I also enjoy bucking the need to buck trends, because contrarianism knows no bounds.

UJ_20

This is one of our longer issues, as one of the four pieces is a radio script, and the other is almost 7,000 words. The other two come in at about 2,000 words, which is pretty standard for a piece of short fiction.

Click here to read.

 

Considering John O’Brien

The author of Leaving Las Vegas pretty well fit the cliche of the alcoholic writer. He embodied it so well, in fact, that it killed him.

O’Brien had been a hardcore alcoholic for much of his life. His sister, Erin O’Brien, said of his drinking: “John’s drinking problem started as soon as his drinking started. By the time he was 20, he was taking a clandestine flask to work. By the time he was 26, he was chugging vodka directly from the bottle at morning’s first light in order to stave off the shakes.”

In popular culture, it is often written that Leaving Las Vegas was the author’s suicide note, perhaps to try and make something ugly a tad bit prettier. His sister takes exception to that. “That story was the fantasy version of John’s exit,” says Erin, “The man who goes to Vegas and fades away in his sleep with a beautiful woman at his side? John’s death was nothing like that.”

Erin O’Brien has spent many years being the keeper of her brother legacy. “John was profoundly misunderstood by most people,” she told me. “There has been very little intelligent commentary out there on him and his work.”

This is relevant not just because Leaving Las Vegas is a masterpiece of prose style, albeit one that has drifted off the cultural radar in the last 20 years (virtually everything does, and if I can discover the novel 20 years later, there’s no reason anyone else can’t), but because of the promise destroyed. O’Brien had the talent to become a major American author, perhaps the best of his generation. Instead, he became the embodiment of what became his magnum opus by default. The true artist should always be larger than his work, not bound by it.

The Beautiful and the Sublime

Here’s a YouTuber’s take:

The argument is that beautiful and sublime are central to art. They could almost be called the yin and yang of aesthetics, but they’re not entirely opposite to each other. Delight and Awe are not mutually exclusive.

One could make an argument, however, that Low Art seeks delight (beautiful), while High Art, awe (sublime), but that could be a case of stretching the heuristic.

To capitulate to Chinese censorship, or not to capitulate? That’s the billion-dollar question increasingly facing U.S.entertainment companies that wish to retain their access to China’s enormous 1.4 billion-person market while maintaining a veneer of integrity in the eyes of supporters back home. A “South Park” episode and a single tweet from an NBA employee have…

via ‘South Park,’ NBA Controversies Point Up Challenges of Doing Business With China — Variety

I wonder how much this matters. The Chinese don’t give a damn about free speech and they never have. There’s a whole lot of things about our culture that mean nothing to the PRC, and so long as they remain the PRC, never will.

What remains to be seen is if the media industry will sacrifice free speech to keep access to Chinese markets. Which raises all sorts of questions about the value of doing business with China in the first place. The idea, back in the 90’s, was that opening China up would expose them to Our Way of Doing Things, and lead them to change. It worked well enough with the Soviets.

But China is not Russia. China is the oldest contiguous civilization on earth. China doesn’t care what the foreign devils have. China cares about China. Rather than admire our system, they appear to be exploiting it.

Which means… Well, it means a whole bunch of things.

Married Priests Might Be a Thing Again

I’m fine with this.

The Celibate priesthood is a non-essential tradition, dating no earlier than the Middle Ages. I dont’ expect it to be a panacaea, but I don’t think it will do any harm. At any rate, it constitutes a change to the priesthood, and I think after the last fifty years the priesthood merits a change.

Francis isn’t my favorite Pope, but I can’t fault this move.

Man Complains About Foofoo Whiskey, Proceeds to Use It to Create the Most Foofoo Cocktail Of All Time

Some people say “fru-fru” but in my college days, we all referred to “foofoo drinks”. I believe our standard for what constituted a foofoo drink was:

  • Any cocktail named after a magazine
  • Any cocktail that is pink
  • Any cocktail containing liquer

This was the 90’s, so you can probably guess what cocktail was specifically on our minds. I’d concede that this was the pedantry of inexperienced, Because I’ve had Cosmopolitans, and if properly made, they’re a most refreshing cocktail, if a bit girly. But I’d drink Cosmos every day with my pinky out, just gushing about my hot dates before I ever allowed Peanut Butter Whiskey to pass my lips.

Flavored whiskey is an abomination.  It’s one thing to add a buch of sugary syrup to vodka, because vodka has no flavor. Whiskey, however, does have a flavor, a sharp tang of bitterness that suits a grown-up’s palate. And there are variations in flavor amid the various kinds of whiskeys: scotch, bourbon, rye, Canadian, and Irish whiskeys each have their own style. The aesthetic experience of imbibing whiskey is not improved by adulterating it. Just admit that you want something that tastes like candy and leave perfectly good spirits alone.

And if you think I’m just having a go at girly drinks again, let me just state that in my family the women enjoy their whiskey like they do their men: straight, strong, and icy.

But since the turn of the 21st century the whisky industry has suffered self-inflicted indignity, with Red Stag, Jack Daniel’s Honey, Crown Royal Apple, Rock and Rye, flavored whiskies that don’t add slight accents to whiskey, but instead have all the subtlety of a Washington D.C. Womyn’s March. And don’t even get me started on Crown Royal Maple, it’s not even fit for pouring on French Toast, if you were so inclined. And the blasphemy of blasphemies, the armageddon of the cocktail culture that has forever ruined the bar business, is that blend of formaldehyde and cinnamon that is Fireball, rife with the artificial taste of cinnamon flavoring, table sugar and regret.

I agree with this. But then the author betrays his enjoyment of Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey and proceeds to create a liqueur-stuffed alcoholic milkshake with it called the Nutty Buddy. All of which says to me that the above is mere rhetorical dressing to cover up the fact that someone said “Peanut Butter whiskey” and some dark corner of his mind wanted to try it. Only the ones who hold standards can betray them.

harrumph_2