19 February 2018

The Human Dress available on 2018-03-23

Not a Commonweal book!  (The Commonweal book, Under One Banner, is with the copy-editor.)

Currently available for pre-order on Google Play.

Book cover for The Human Dress by Graydon Saunders
It will be up via Draft2Digital's various channels, but I would like to give people on the quality reviewer list some chance to send me typos, first.

This isn't a Commonweal story.  This is something Past Me wrote, and referred to as The Doorstop.

It's been said that everyone of a certain age who winds up writing fantasy in English has a response to The Lord of the Rings in them.

This book is mine.

It's about grief, duty, and royalty as responses to violation of the natural order.  Also adversity, social change, terrible sartorial choices, and an obscure literary revenge on Thomas Hardy.

The acts of vengeance taking place in the text aren't obscure at all.  Some people make Adversity very, very sorry it ever said anything.  Gruesome and terrible things happen.

There were giants in the earth in those days.

16 February 2018

That whole gun thing

Everybody's talking about gun control as an issue again, without talking about the core problem. (In the US and Canada.)

Access to firearms is seen as a guarantee of a right to enforce patriarchal white supremacy through violence.  (This is not an enumerated right but it's absolutely trivial to make an historical case for it.)

You can sidetrack into the "you don't treat me the way I think I should be treated so you're all going to suffer" (personal, local implementations of the core social drive for fascism; this is also the thing that ties it into the strong correlation between domestic abusers and those who commit gun violence) wibbling, because the traditional "economic marginalization" solution to unwelcome attitudes doesn't work when everybody has been economically marginalized, but while that's definitely A problem it's not THIS problem.  (If unspoken core cultural precept was "live by the precepts of the Benedictine order", we'd definitely have problems but they wouldn't be shooting-up-schools-and-concerts problems.)

So all those folks coming up with desired gun control laws; that bit about "qualified instructor"?  That's only going to work if all the instructors are black women, who have an at-will, no-justification-required power to flunk people for attitude.

At a time when the cousins have a department of their federal government engaged in active ethnic cleansing going on and the changing climate's effects on food security are gaining scope.

15 February 2018

The delusion of manliness

I keep seeing people talking very earnestly about a need to re-imagine manliness.

This is part and parcel of the huge ghastly mistake involved in considering gender of public relevance.

One of the things you can pick up from a cursory examination of biology over the last couple-four decades is that any kind of judgement-based taxonomy is an inherent disaster.  It leads to unresolvable arguments to the limit of available emotional energy and it cannot do anything good because there's nothing there to connect it to facts.  Quantified, materialistic, falsifiable taxonomic hypotheses give us new knowledge (Afrotheria! Whippomorpha! murder parrots!).

Thing is, gender is a social construct. It's a creature of feels.  It's deeply contingent on who knows what developmental events.  It's generational in variation. It's not usefully subject to a predictive analysis.  (Your ancestors are always your ancestors; your understanding of your gender changes over your life.)

ANY community where there are attempts to make fine distinction of gender presentation style turns into this incomprehensible fractal thicket you can't hope to understand without participating in that community.  This applies to boring neighbourhoods where dad is ritually required to barbecue just as much as it does to edgy queer communities in bad parts of town.

The historical solution was savagely destructive enforcement of a gender binary; we're going to make this simple.  (The limiting-variety version of getting enough technical-sense control to have a system.)

The historical solution is stupidly expensive, destructive, and unconscionable.  The "let's be aware of every community's distinctions" reflex of politeness is simply impractical; there's no way to keep track of living definitions across diverse communities.  (No way to provide matching variety or to build the variety amplifier to get a working system if we're not going for the forcibly-limiting-variety version.)

The thing we can actually do is not treat gender as having public relevance.  (It might have a lot of personal relevance; it might not.  But that's a friend-group and personal and maybe community thing, not a general-public-society thing.)

That doesn't mean some sort of soft patriarchy of understatement; that means taking the notion of gender off all the forms.  It means adopting a single standard salutation.  It means writing dress codes in utterly gender-neutral language.  (It means harsh and savage regulation about acceptable salary ranges and mean, cruel, and heartless laws criminalizing surreptitious gender norm enforcement.)  It means designing bathrooms differently.

If you want an analogy, consider sexuality.  Someone who is gynosexual is not interested in every woman or most women.  The very broad term is obscuring the large amount of work necessary to establish what sort of intimate relationship any particular gynosexual person wants to be in.  The work is necessarily personal.  (To meet "wants", yes it is personal, no matter how many cultures have had arranged marriages.)

So, anyway -- public significance of gender starts with patriarchy which starts with bribing your army with women as property back in the Neolithic somewhere.  You don't get to a just society -- there is no just patriarchy -- while maintaining the public significance of gender.  Any "manliness" that's ascribed generality, rather than temporally and personally -- these are the people who know what this means -- locality is perpetuating the attachment of necessity to injustice.

It's a mistake everybody needs to stop committing for themselves; it's the "am I who I want to be?"  "What purpose does it serve to act like that?", "Am I trustworthy?" questions.  It's work.

It presents the possibility of a good outcome.

Writing update

I have a cover for The Human Dress.  I have about 4,000 changes left to review.

I have a cover for Under One Banner.  The dedicant liked it.  The copy-editor has it, and has been afflicted with mischief since they got it to such an extent that I could wish to send Halt to visit until said editor's surroundings and circumstances commenced to be better behaved.

The building I live in has been sold to a developer; I'll be moving sometime March.  I have a place to go to, but it's sufficiently far away that the logistics present challenges.  (One may not transport cats in rental cars, for example.)  Work is being good about this.  (It does not harm that I'm headed in a direction convenient to work's future plans.)  This does nothing good for the book schedule, not least in terms of predictability.

So -- not dead.  Still working on books.  But packing has to come first.

12 February 2018

If fear excuses

From: Graydon [address obscured]
To: jus.minister@gov.sk.ca, Jody.Wilson-Raybould@parl.gc.ca
Subject: if fear excuses

If fear excuses -- if what I feel renders it acceptable to discharge a
firearm at a fellow-citizen -- then the next time a car cuts me off
while I'm cycling, I can do my best to shoot the driver.  I will have
been afraid; I will have been at immediate risk of death.

If fear excuses -- if what I feel renders it acceptable to discharge a
firearm at a fellow-citizen -- then it's completely right and proper to
find the people trying to fund tar sands projects and shoot them,
because they're participating in a project that's surpassingly,
terrifyingly likely to kill us all by breaking agriculture long before
the seas come up or the great plains of North America become a desert.
I am afraid; if the death risked is not immediate, it is soon, and
grimly certain.

If fear excuses -- if I what I feel renders it acceptable to discharge a
firearm at a fellow-citizen -- then there is no peace, only panic.

You job and your oath require of you that you take the precedent of the
present result of the trial of Gerald Stanley and grind it into dust.

Leave aside, narrowly, that the jobs and oaths of your governments
require much of you that is not done with respect to the First Nations
peoples of Canada; leave aside, narrowly, that the present's ongoing
habits of genocide are a blight and a stain on anything that Canada
might hope to become.

Do the one narrow certain thing you must.


Graydon Saunders