Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Quick Update

I need to go to work soon, so I can't write much.

Work has been... stressful. So much so that I, as I have said before, basically turn off when I get home. I would like to write more of what I want to write, but that hasn't been an option the last few months. We're adjusting to a new house style and a new publisher and it's just taking longer than it ought to be taking. Depending on the day, I'm either deep in despair that we'll ever get on an even keel or hopeful that we're finally starting to "get it" and making progress.

That said, I finally received my Hugo PIN, and I'm starting to sort through my reviews from last year and working on figuring out what I want to nominate. I haven't had time to read in the past few months, thanks to the new boss, but I hopefully have enough to get started. I'm excited to be nominating for the first time, and I hope to get it "right" in the sense that the stuff I put on the ballot is truly the stuff I think is the best I read published last year.

I tend to obsess. I think most of my readers have figured that out by now. I've got a handful of current obsessions at the moment. One is my so-far pathetic attempts to start a Doctor Who club locally. I know there's the interest, and I know my hubby's model for a club (bring food, watch Doctor Who, have fun, no fees) should work, but I'm having trouble reaching the local fans, since they are all students. And since hubby is subbing a lot in another district, he can't spread the word. Ug.

Another obsession is Fortean Times. I had a thrown-together page of cover scans, but I upgraded it to a wiki over the weekend to make it easier to update. I was getting tired to hand-writing the HTML files and uploading it via FTP, when with a wiki I only upload the latest scan once and then it's got all the sizes automated by the wiki. Of course, being an obsessive, I started to index issues while I was at it... hey, don't judge me. I know what I am.

The final recent obsession is with a slightly local news incident, which I refer to as the Bird Sanctuary Bozos. Living in a largely conservative area, I know a lot of people who sympathize with the cause of the bozos, but I find it hard to accept that most of them would support the people who did the occupation if they knew even a little about the background of those people. I ended up writing a long Facebook post about it, which I will reproduce after the fold. I have no idea why I'm obsessed about it, I got obsessed long before I knew that some of the "protesters" claim to share my religion (they understand their religion about as well as they understand the Constitution, which is to say: not at all). All I know is that they fascinate me, like watching a car wreck or something, and for a time I couldn't get enough about their antics. Now only a handful of people are still paying attention, since the media has mostly moved on, but I'm still curious to see how it turns out and find out what damage they actually did to archaeological sites in the area... a crime for which I hope they pay most dearly.

Well, time to get dressed and head to work, so if you are interested, my Facebook rant is below...

Let us journey to an alternate universe for a moment...

In this alternate universe, a bunch of western ranchers, fed up with high federal land ownership and poor management by said feds, decide to stage a protest. In this alternate universe, the ranchers decide the protest will be a peaceful sit-in at a federal property.

They leave their guns at home. This is because these alternate universe ranchers are smart enough to recognize that if they take guns with them, they will come off as "not peaceful" to half the population.

They settle in at a federal facility, peacefully, using their vehicles to block access. Immediately, the ranchers post videos of their protest to YouTube and send links to media, local and national. The videos show the protesters peacefully assembled, and then explain the problem as they see it: Too much ownership of land by the federal government in the west, and extremely poor management of the land. They tell personal stories in their YouTube videos. They explain the situation and how it has affected them, their families, and their own properties.

After a few days or a week, the police come in and arrest the protesters. Again, peacefully. Like intelligent protesters, the ranchers in this alternate universe are absolutely willing to go to jail for their beliefs, because sometimes that's the only way to inspire change. They are let off with a slap on the wrist because their only crime was trespassing.

In the meantime, other ranchers and activists keep the subject alive in the media. Half the population, the ones that in our reality reacted very negatively to the armed occupation of a bird sanctuary, are listening in this reality. They may not agree, but they will listen, because the ranchers were brave enough to go to jail for their beliefs, and presented them in a way everyone could understand.

Instead, we live in this reality, where the "ranchers" who were protesting were mostly under-employed felons who talked about killing federal agents instead of laying out their arguments in a peaceful and persuasive way. The more I learn about the "ranchers" at the bird sanctuary, the less I care about anything they believe in, because they were, almost without exception, either violent criminals who weren't supposed to have guns or people who make their living off taxpayers by using government handouts or immorally taking advantage of the foster care system.

What's funny is that I know several otherwise intelligent people who believe in the same cause as the bird sanctuary guys. They have turned a blind eye to the violent and destructive manner in which the "protest" took place, and concentrated instead on the message that they already understood. The only reason I know what the message is supposed to be is because those people told me. Otherwise, I'd still be wondering why a bunch of idiots took over a bird sanctuary.

All in all, I call that an unsuccessful protest. My friends disagree. They think it worked because we're talking about it. Well, yes, I'm talking about it... but half the population thinks the bird sanctuary bozos were just a bunch of gun nuts trying to overthrow the government. The central message did NOT get out into the general public. Depending on which parts of the internet you look at, you may think they are heroes... but at least half the population thinks they are total idiots. And that's not a successful protest in my opinion. That's a farce.

The next group that comes along trying to promote the same topic will be looked at as being as nuts as the felons at the bird sanctuary, and a great many people will stop listening as soon as they hear the subject. Again, because of the violent and destructive "protest" that took place. They've permanently damaged their cause and further divided the country. That doesn't make them heroes. They are the villains of this piece.