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Posted by Fred Clark

Kelly J. Baker studied one of the darker corners of American history, writing Gospel According to the Klan: The KKK’s Appeal to Protestant America, 1915-1930. Baker wishes this was simply the esoteric specialty of a historian, but her topic of study remains disturbingly relevant today. She’s written about that continuing relevance in a Religion & Culture [Read More...]

Meme for a rainy afternoon

Jun. 27th, 2017 01:57 pm
el_staplador: Yuri Plisetsky from 'Yuri!!! on Ice' sticking his tongue out; caption 'makes me wanna barf' (yuri on ice)
[personal profile] el_staplador
Pick any story I've written, or, in the case of my longer, chaptered works, any chapter from any story I've written, and comment to this post with that selection. I will then give you the equivalent of a DVD commentary on that snippet: what I was thinking when I wrote it, why I wrote it in the first place, what's going on in the character's heads, why I chose certain words, what this moment means in the context of the rest of the fic, lots of awful puns, and anything else that you’d expect to find on a DVD commentary track.

My fics are here.


Also, I note with some amusement that the only fic mentioned in this post that I haven't actually managed to finish is The Fall of Strelsau. Though it's now sitting at 6,833 words, and yes, includes a by-election.
wychwood: man reading a book and about to walk off a cliff (gen - the student)
[personal profile] wychwood
55. The Interior Life, Dorothy J Heydt - DON'T JUDGE


56. The House of Shattered Wings - Aliette de Bodard ) Ultimately too dark for me, and for the plot to work for me, but I'm not giving up on de Bodard. This series, maybe.


57. The Young Stepmother and 59. The Carbonels - Charlotte M Yonge ) The Carbonels is not great, but The Young Stepmother is solid (for values of Charlotte Yonge).


58. Mortal Engines - Philip Reeve ) I've read worse; SFF-minded children might enjoy it, and there's definitely worse out there.


60. A Closed and Common Orbit - Becky Chambers ) Like the first one; entertaining, sometimes interesting, would probably read more, but I was not blown away.


61. The Art of Deception - Nora Roberts ) An acceptable-enough Harlequin, if you can get past the standard "consent is UNMANLY" elements.


62. Green Rider - Kristen Britain ) A solid fantasy - I want to read the rest of the series, now.


63. Too Like the Lightning - Ada Palmer ) A nasty unpleasant piece of work, with some potentially interesting ideas and worldbuilding that couldn't sustain my enjoyment in the face of the rest of it.


64. All the Birds in the Sky - Charlie Jane Anders ) Ultimately a bit unmemorable, although I enjoyed it well enough in the reading.


65. Words are My Matter - Ursula Le Guin ) Somewhat insubstantial, unfortunately.


66. The Geek Feminist Revolution - Kameron Hurley ) A much better collection - I like Hurley's nonfic much more than her novels!


67. Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet - Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze ) Definitely not your typical superhero comic, even your typical thoughtful superhero comic; I'm interested to see where they take this.


Four Mantlemass books - Barbara Willard ) Classic English children's books, and still well worth reading. I should make sure I get hold of the others.

Sunday favorites

Jun. 25th, 2017 01:35 pm
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Posted by Fred Clark

You have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?

Well it's not Watergate....

Jun. 24th, 2017 08:30 am
legionseagle: (Default)
[personal profile] legionseagle
...except in the sense of the cover-up being worse than the original offence, but the strange goings on at Holman Fenwick and Willan's Christmas Quiz have livened up what was otherwise a rather dull crop of stories over at Roll on Friday.

(The most interesting thing which happened recently in the legal world prior to Quizgate was the merger between Bond Dickinson, a firm memorable for one associate complaining that "I have more chance of being savaged to death in the gents loos by a walrus than I have of making partner at Bond Dickinson" during a RoF Quality of Legal Life survey, and Womble Carlyle , a US firm, creating a "transatlantic giant" to be called Womble Dickinson which, as per a lawyer I bumped into at a recent course on digital rights confirmed, is as a result in the middle of a mass exodus of talent, since it's bad enough being expected to work US legal hours on a UK legal salary, but having all your peers at other firms singing, "Remember you're a womble" at you on every conceivable opportunity puts the cherry on top of the shit sundae.)

Anyway, Holman Fenwick are a traditional shipping firm, and those always have a bit of a reputation for excessive machismo, especially the "wet" shipping specialists, and as per people chipping in in comments, the partner in question has the reputation of being the biggest wanker in a tough field. When his team won the Christmas quiz by a large margin, it was whispered in the ears of HR that there might have been dirty work at the crossroads, and, indeed, it transpired that the quiz question and answer document had been opened on said partner's computer hours before the quiz commenced.*

Where things then took a turn for the worse is that the partner alleged that it wasn't him, squire, his computer must have been hacked. And while cheating on the Christmas quiz barely registers on the list of batty things I've heard of partners in law firms doing in my thirty-odd years in this profession (in no particular order, these include but are not limited to: ordering one's trainee to iron one's jodhpurs in time for hunting at the weekend, throwing a Company seal at the head of a trainee, ordering a trainee to mouth-siphon petrol out of another car in the office carpark during a fuel shortage, resulting in hospitalisation of said trainee, asking a dark-skinned and a light-skinned secretary at a Christmas party, "Well, girls, how do you feel about cafe-au-lait?", inviting two interviewees to a brothel as soon as the interview had finished with the words, "Well, now that's over, let's go and get our nobs polished" ....) allegations of hacking into partnerial computers** get the IT team really interested, officially because it threatens the integrity of client communications, but really I suspect because it gives them a chance to give the thing a right going over in the hope of being able to go "Good God, I'm glad you brought us in. The same person who framed you for the Christmas quiz must have also tried to frame you for the possession of porn! Look, this file here --and here -- and here -- there's terrabytes of the stuff! We'll have to extend the search to all your mobile devices too, I'm afraid."

Anyway, I'm going with "watch this space."



*HFM clearly take a Kingscote-like approach to security of examination questions and the like. It would never have happened in the Airedale Quiz league, in which I played for about five years.

** Which is usually like taking candy from a baby, tbf; I once many years ago took advantage of the habit one of our partners had of leaving his computer logged on and unlocked while he went off on hours-long gossip sessions with the other team partners to send round an email warning the department of the dangers of leaving one's computer logged on and unattended, and then departed on holiday before the fallout happened.
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Posted by Fred Clark

Those of us who have served time in conservative Christian youth groups recognize this theme from the many, many Why Wait lectures we heard. Your purity and innocence, the lecture always said, are the Greatest Gift that you can offer to your spouse on your wedding day. Setting aside the merits of this particular pitch for chastity, the strange thing here is finding that the inner monologue of jet-setting, secular, un-saved Buck Williams sounds like a True Love Waits seminar.

If we confess our sins

Jun. 22nd, 2017 11:47 pm
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Posted by Fred Clark

At this point in the sermon, pastors often balk and attempt to do the impossible -- to provide an example of their personal "sin" that is not actually shameful or hurtful or distasteful. They'll bring up some minor matter of akrasia, some petty foible or embarrassment. They'll confess to once saying a dirty word when they accidentally hit their thumb with a hammer, or to being impatient in traffic. Their personal illustration, being something trivial, trivializes the entire sermon.
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Posted by Fred Clark

Some would adamantly disagree that white evangelicalism has, in any way, "gone wrong." (It's those liberal mainline Protestants who went wrong, doncha know, with their fancy seminaries and their Darwinism and whatnot.) But the more important and more interesting disagreement is among those who perceive that, yes, white evangelicalism has gone wrong, but who approach what that means in two very different ways.
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Posted by Fred Clark

The Southern Baptist Convention has passed an official resolution on racism. I'm happy to report that they're against it. Alas, they also demonstrated that they don't understand what it is they're against and up against, or what it will mean for them to oppose it in substance and not just in rhetoric.
17catherines: Amor Vincit Omnia (Default)
[personal profile] 17catherines
I've moved temporarily to a four day week - basically for as long as my workload and budget can sustain it.  I've been wanting to do this for some time - I'm so tired all the time, and with wanting to visit my little niece on weekends when we can, there just isn't enough downtime at the end of the week for me to catch up.  This weekend was the first proper long weekend of its kind, and while it wasn't exactly restful, it was what I wanted it to be.

On Saturday, we had been planning to visit my niece, but the whole family is sick and I'm singing in a concert next weekend, so it did not seem like a good time to get a throat infection, so we wound up going to see Wonder Woman instead, which was fun.  I actually don't have very many thoughts about the film at all, I'm afraid.  Most of my reading and media is pretty woman-centred, and I don't see a lot of films or read comics or follow superhero stuff, so I didn't have the whole feeling of it being groundbreaking that other people have talked about.  But I did enjoy it, especially the whole training montage and that first fight sequence on the island.  The bit where Diana walks across No Man's Land was also rather special.  So yes, a fun movie, and I liked it, and I'm glad it makes people happy, but that's about it.

We got home from seeing the film, and I basically sat down and started to write my next Paris story, which had been haunting my brain all week, but which I hadn't actually had any time to work on.  It's called Still Waking, and is for Ternes station, and it's a Sleeping Beauty story.  Since 'terne' means dull in French, and is also a word for an alloy coating of lead and tin that was historically used to cover steel and keep it from tarnishing, I gave Sleeping Beauty a sister who was her opposite - plain to the point that people would forget her features even when she was standing in front of them, strong and stubborn where Sleeping Beauty is charming and yielding, and of course awake while Sleeping Beauty is sleeping.  Which is a good thing, because someone has to keep an eye on all of those princes.  Some of them are not pleasant people at all. 

I'm quite pleased with this one, and I think it's rather sweet, despite some dark moments.  I was not expecting it to have the ending it did, so that was fun.  It does have a lot of adult themes, but then, so does the original story.

(And it's kind of amusing to me, because I can see where the story was influenced by my visit to Darwin and by watching Wonder Woman, and by reading and disliking a bunch of Hugo nominated stories, but I don't think anyone else can...)

The other writing project this weekend was a lot less fun.  A friend of mine is about to go through a very difficult court case, and asked me to write a character reference.  I'm not going to go into any details here, except to say that it is deeply uncomfortable to write such a reference, even when you are saying positive things, particularly when it is for someone who has quite a different value system from your own.  In many ways, you passing judgment on someone's character in a way that you would never do normally in the context of the friendship, and you have to step back from the friendship a bit to do so, which is disconcerting.  I think she's OK with what I wrote.  The one thing I do know for sure – since I was largely bearing witness to my friend's integrity and respect for the truth – is that she would never want me to compromise my own honesty in writing about her!  And she does know that I am on her side, which is important.

Still weird, though. 

On Sunday I had choir practice in the afternoon for the concert that we are doing next Saturday, and then went from there to an Iftar dinner organised by the Australian Greens and hosted by the local Muslim community.  The goal of the event was  to make an opportunity for non-Muslims to talk to Muslims, and generally to promote a sense of community, and I think it was definitely a good starting point.  Though I did feel a bit weird at all the people who came and thanked us for being there – because really, all we did was show up, eat lots of lovely food and try to make conversation.  As shows of solidarity go, this was a pretty easy one, really.  And it worries me a little that this is considered a significant enough effort to be worth thanking people for.

But anyway, it was really lovely, and there was a good turnout, and of course the food was amazing (and ridiculously plentiful)!  They asked us to get there a bit before sunset, and we sat at our long tables with our bottles of water and jugs of lemon drink and plates of dates in front of us, and they brought a split pea soup around, and then we sat there and waited for sunset, feeling thirsty but of course not drinking yet.  A local imam did the call to prayer, and we ate, and then there were evening prayers, and then we ate even more, and then there were speeches by several local politicians and several leaders of the local Muslim community.  I noticed that we had some excellent diversity - half the speakers were women, and most of the women were women of colour.  And there was an opportunity to ask questions, and also just to talk to the people around us. 

So that was a very pleasant way to spend an evening, and I'm very glad I got to do so (especially as I then woke up the next day to the news about the attack on worshippers near the mosque in Finley Park in London).  My Muslim friend at work who let me know about this event has promised to let me know about any similar events that are on, and I think that's something I want to really work at being involved in.

And yesterday was my first, lovely, day at home!  I had very grandiose plans, which were not achieved, largely because Mayhem decided at around 7am that she really wanted to sleep on my face, which was not restful.  But I got a couple of loads of washing done, and went for a long walk, and had a massage, and did two hours of singing practice and spent two hours starting to clean out my pantry and reorganising my spice rack, and planned the weeks menus, and made dinner, and started planning my Europe trip... and actually when I list it all like that, I did get a fair bit done yesterday, didn't I?  Just not any of the writing/research that I had hoped to start on, so apparently, the rest doesn't count.  Hmm...

Also a random recommendation.  We've recently discovered Sammy J's Playground Politics, which is a cross between Play School (an Australian children's TV classic) and political satire, and it is hilarious and horrifying and brilliant.  We've basically watched all the episodes (most of which go for five minutes) over the last few days.  I think my favourite is Musical Pollies, which serves as an excellent introduction to Australian politics, if you recognise any of the names...

He has a new show now, called Sammy J's Democratic Party, which is a full-length show, but which always includes some of the Playground Politics stuff.  Which in my view is the best bit by far...

I'll get back to the Hugo reading soon, I promise.  I took a break from it last week, because I had cramps and felt terrible, and because I kept on running into short stories which had really horrible things happening in them and I just didn't want any more of that in my head.  But one must be brave in the service of democracy, so hopefully I'll finish the Campbells sometime this week...

How long?

Jun. 19th, 2017 11:55 am
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Posted by Fred Clark

Today’s protest anthem and Monday morning open thread comes courtesy of U2. But is that protest or is it lamentation? Yes. (The melody here is pretty old — over 30 years at this point. The lyrics are, of course, much older. Bono and David are both among my problematic faves.)

Sunday favorites

Jun. 18th, 2017 12:14 pm
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Posted by Fred Clark

"O Lord, you God of vengeance, you God of vengeance, shine forth! Rise up, O judge of the earth; give to the proud what they deserve! O Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked exult?"

LBCF, No. 139: ‘Worlds collide’

Jun. 16th, 2017 10:54 am
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Posted by Fred Clark

There would be, post-Event, some kind of ritualized exchange that would acknowledge this common ground of loss and bewilderment, some way of asking and answering the “where were you when?” and “who did you lose?” questions. Nothing like this ever happens post-Rapture with any of the characters in Left Behind.
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Posted by Fred Clark

Resolutions and the votes on them tend to get reported as official Southern Baptist pronouncements -- as analogous to papal encyclicals or edicts issued by the bishops of formal denominational churches. That's misleading. These resolutions don't present official denominational dogma because there is no official denomination.

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