Tuesday, January 21, 2014

On personal opinions

This past weekend Jay Lake posted on his blog a long scroll on the subject that everything conservatives have ever supported historically has been wrong.

Of course, Jay is entitled to his opinion, but my experience in the past has been when you make such blanket statements, you will be called out on it, and Brad Torgersen did so Sunday on Facebook. Brad and Jay quickly got into a rapidly escalating heated discussion.

Like a virulent disease, the discussion quickly burned itself out, with everyone feeling a little stupid, I suppose.

My only contribution to this exchange was the following short and succinct summation of my personal position about exchanging opinions:

I've come to the personal decision that if I know someone because of writing, I will talk to them about writing. If I want to talk politics, I will discuss it with someone I've involved in politics with. If I want to talk religion, I will talk to someone I know from church. 

Mixing up these topics online, to me, has been worse than worthless, because it only leads to argument and fights. Religion, politics, and even stuff as trivial as personal tastes in food, are purely personal.

On the reasons the Masons have prospered as a fraternity is that they explicitly prohibit any discussion of religion or politics within its ranks.


  1. Lou, in the interest of watching a train wreck, do you have links to these posts?

    1. Keith -

      Try this link.


  2. Rollory1:39 PM

    But the principles underlying behavior in one or another sphere will be reflected in behavior in those other spheres. So all you are doing here is trying to avoid noticing a problem in the hopes it will go away.

  3. I prefer to think of it as picking my fights. Besides, I don't think people in one sphere need to know what I am doing in another sphere. I've always thought one of the most basic human rights is the right to be left alone.

  4. Avoidance...pffft. How about "class"? For a change, in this day and age. "Argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men" ---Walt Whitman. Or Emily Dickinson: "They talk of hallowed things aloud, and embarrass my dog."


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"It’s possible that you haven’t run into the stories of Lou Antonelli. Since 2003, he’s been publishing delightful short tales of alternate history all over the nooks and crannies of the SF world. Thanks to Fantastic Books, we now have 28 of these little gems in one place. "Many of Antonelli’s stories have an unexpected twist ending. And many of them are what he calls “secret history” stories, which aren’t exactly alternate history—they’re set in our familiar history, but there’s always some element that contemporary observers missed. " -

- Don Sakers, The Reference Library, Analog July-Aug. 2014

A better path develops for a distraught man in “Double Exposure” by Lou Antonelli (debut 6/11 and reviewed by Frank D). Jake is about to end it all. He has been trying to keep his high maintenance wife happy for decades and has needed to embezzle to satisfy her spending habits. Now, on the verge of indictment and abandoned by his spouse, he buys a gun. Before he pulls the trigger, he spies a Kodak one-day photo hut. Curious, he pulls up to the window. They are holding pictures of him and his last girlfriend from 30 years before. The package is a lot thicker than it should be. Double Exposure” is listed as an Alternative History story but I would classify it as a Magical Realism tale. It is set as a second chance tale, a look into a life that should have been. The author is inspired by his memories of the old photo huts (I remember them) and of their disappearance. A cool idea (photos of another life), one that I could imagine would make for a great anthology.

- Frank Dutkiewicz, Diabolical Plots

“Great White Ship”: A traveler stuck waiting for a flight strikes up a conversation with an old airline employee. The Old Timer tells him a story of a Great White Airship that arrives from a most unusual destination. The story of a craft from an alternate reality and how it got there is only the precursor to the final act. This is one of my favorite stories from this site. I have a great passion for lighter-than-air craft and their potential as a future means of transport, which opens the story. The author uses this speculation to launch into an engaging tale. As fascinating as the main story line is, the alternate history premise that accompanies it is just as worthwhile. This story was well written and very well thought out. It is well worth the read. Recommended.

- James Hanzelka, Diabolical Plots

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