Laura Ingalls Wilder Hits the PC Guillotine

From Intellectual Takeout:

Growing up, I never got into stories with knights and fair maidens. Walking around in princess dresses while imagining I was trapped in a castle by a vicious dragon? Not interested.

But give me a sunbonnet and braid my hair and I was lost in the world of Laura Ingalls. I still remember being in a titter of excitement at age four when my parents took me to the famous Little House on the Prairie pageant in Walnut Grove, Minnesota.

As I grew older, my conception of Laura grew a little less romanticized as I read her books and realized the amazing hardships she and her family went through. I certainly wouldn’t want to spend six months freezing and starving through a horrendous winter, nor do I relish the thought of huddling in a cabin for several days thinking I could be killed at any moment by my screaming, angry neighbors close to going on the warpath. The Ingalls family had a tough life, yet they weathered through the storms and gave America an inspiring story of strength and perseverance.

Unfortunately, good ol’ Laura is the latest victim of our PC culture. As the New York Daily News reports, Ingalls was the first recipient of an author award given by the Association for Library Service to Children. The award was then named in her honor.

After 60 years, however, the award is being renamed as “the Children’s Literature Legacy Award” because of the attitudes conveyed toward minorities in the Little House books:

“‘This decision was made in consideration of the fact that Wilder’s legacy, as represented by her body of work, includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC’s core values of inclusiveness, integrity and respect, and responsiveness,’ the Association for Library Service to Children said in a statement after the unanimous vote.

The racial issues in her books have been debated long before February, when the ALSC announced it would be voting on whether to keep Wilder’s name on its award, calling her legacy ‘complex.’ At the forefront of the argument is her handling of black and Native American characters, both in namecalling and characterization.”

In the PC culture in which we live, I can see why Laura’s family story might be problematic. Because of bad experiences, the family – Ma especially – had some understandable fears of Indians, which naturally resulted in prejudices. And while these prejudices weren’t right, they were a fact of life which the pioneers had to wrestle with.

Link to the rest at Intellectual Takeout

PG worries that if de facto censorship of historic voices continues, the people who live in nations where such censorship occurs will increasingly become historically ignorant of past events and the sources of today’s (and tomorrow’s) social values.

In a very real way, the world in which Laura Ingalls Wilder lived and about which she writes is a direct cause of the nature of the United States in which its citizens live today. If the citizenry doesn’t know where it’s been, it may not collectively make wise decisions about where it’s going.

There were, in fact, Indian wars in the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries, wars in which both Native Americans and Anglo Americans, including active participants and innocent bystanders, were injured and killed. To paint all those on either side of those conflicts as innocent of bad behavior is simply incorrect. Blood lust characterized each side on more than one occasion.

When PG was in high school, he lived within walking distance of the site where a major massacre of white troops was carried out by a group of Native Americans. A number of white civilians were also killed. Later, Native Americans, combatants and non-combatants, were also killed in retribution.

The descendants of some of those on either side of this battle attended a small local school together. The school’s athletic teams were called the Indians and both whites and Indians played on those teams.

At the time, the tribe lived in poverty on land set aside for their settlement several years after the big battle. PG did some checking a few years ago and the fortunes of the tribe and its members have taken a distinct turn for the better. The former lands held by Native Americans have been transformed into a reservation.

The tribe has built a gambling casino on its land and one of PG’s former high school football and basketball teammates is the President of the tribe. According to the reports PG has read, the financial conditions for members of the tribe are much better today than in former days in large part from the jobs and financial distributions to tribal members from the casino.

PG is not trying to imply a happily ever after ending for all or most survivors of the Indian wars in the United States. He does suggest that learning this history, whether through the fiction of Laura Ingalls Wilder or from even-handed historians, is important, in part because doing so may help us avoid a repetition of it in the future.

For those who think that 21st century residents of western civilizations are well beyond the behavior others exhibited in former times, PG suggests that many things change, but human nature is remarkably similar in all ages. Having a clear view of former hostile manifestations of human nature is important if we are to diminish and eventually eliminate the adverse consequences of future disagreements.

77 thoughts on “Laura Ingalls Wilder Hits the PC Guillotine”

  1. It’s not censorship if a book remains freely available to download or buy.

    But organizations that seek to reflect modern interests and values may sometimes not want to be associated with historic voices that could be seen to undermine those.

    It’s simply a matter of re-branding.

    Btw, we went through all this “Political correctness gone mad” in the 1980’s, when it was decided that blatant prejudice should no longer be tolerated in media. Despite the protests then we’ve come to accept those values. Now casual prejudice is no longer regarded as acceptable – give us another decade or so and we’ll all wonder what all the fuss was about.

    2c. 🙂

    • I’m sorry to say that in another decade or so we won’t be wondering what the fuss was about because keeping the fuss going is some people’s whole purpose in life.

      “Political correctness” isn’t about prejudice it’s about not being allowed to say what is true because people can’t be trusted with the information. Laura’s mother was afraid of the indians, her father more compassionate, but her mother was a real person and kind. That’s the truth that can’t be told… that imperfect people are people rather than monsters. That someone who is “good” can have blind spots or failings or be a product of their time and still be a whole person and good. Complex.

      But we don’t TRUST people with complexity. And as a result the fact that people are complex gets hidden. Everything is binary and anyone who is “good” never has to worry that some of what they think or do might be outright toxic.

      Hiding this doesn’t make us better. It won’t result in life become more kind. It won’t result in people wondering what the fuss was. It will just engender an ever growing need to control what people are exposed to so that they don’t get confused when presented with the complexities of human nature.

      • It’s not just complexity that is at issue.

        It is actual freedom of thought. People can’t be trusted to think for themselves because they might start asking questions about the official narrative, so examples must be made of anybody expressing “deviant” thoughts. Especially those that can’t defend themselves, which the dead can’t. Tolerance for dissent must be crushed. Nuanced thinking about context can’t be tolerated. It is all or nothing.

        All orthodoxies do this. It is absolutist thinking.

        • I agree, particularly since romanticising the red Indians has become quite popular these days.
          The reality is, many of these tribes were little more than savages and while much of what the settlers did was unfortunate, we can’t deny that they brought a strong civilising influence to the continent.
          The only thing I might quibble with is to call this censorship, while we may be on the path their, we’re not there yet.

          • Give it time.
            The mindset is in place and they are institutionalizing it.
            We’re already seeing nutjobs going out to shoot people for belonging to the wrong party. Just nutjobs, for now. Give it a decade and the brownshirts will be out in force.

            The point of no return is right before us.

            • Beg to differ. There were quite a lot of ‘wrong party’ political murders, even some massacres, carried out by more or less sane people, and we were able to move to a situation with a relatively low political murder rate.

              So while things are quite troubling, it is not the worst it has ever been, and it is not certain that things will be broken beyond repair.

              • I hope not.

                But it is awfully close.
                In recent months we’ve had idiot celebrities calling for a military coup, calling for somebody to step up and “take out” the idiot in the White House, and members of the Congress calling for people to harass and confront government employees. With no consequences.

                The point is getting pretty close.

          • Cheap shot, Anon.

            “Savages”? It was their continent. The were here for thousands of years. They had a civilization. Then we show up, destroyed it, slaughtered most of them, drove the survivors into and imprisoned them in the desert, breaking every treaty made with them along the way. Did it in the name of God. Then did our best to deny, hide, bury, and forget we did it. That is “bringing a strong civilizing influence”?

            • Absolutely, and thank God for allowing the Europeans to eradicate some of the Indians more barbaric practices.
              As for Indian reservations, many of those people are there by choice, if they refuse to integrate into American society then they will soon be erased from history.
              For those who do choose to integrate, they can keep many of their original cultural practices so long as they don’t harm anyone else.

              • Uh… It takes two to tango.
                Once people are marginalized long enough, they look to other approaches.

                And it’s not as their interests are of particular interest to the elites and the media, who are more interested in the plight and allegiance of non-citizens than the actual native-born of any race. No more interest in a “First peoples’ lives matter” movement than an “Appalachian lives matter” or even “Poor folks matter”.

                Nothing that happens outside the mega cities really matters, after all.

              • And we exterminated way more of them then that and stole entire continents from them. But we’re morally superior… more civilized? “Civilization” refers to the existence of whatever system of operation exists, not moral superiority… though admittedly it is often misused for that purpose.

                • Well, if you want to talk extermination, nobody beats the Communists. Stalin’s 20 million and Mao’s 80 million makes the Spanish Inquisition in Mexico look like a bunch of Cub Scouts.

                  I’d suspect that -less- people died under Spanish rule in Mexico, actually. Probably a lot less. That’s what happens when you destroy a death cult and replace it with Catholicism. People live longer.

            • SMH – Who is “they” and who is “we”?

              Many of the Native American tribes in North America actively fought to conquer other tribes and enslave or kill the members of those tribes. Ditto for Central and South America. The idea that the Americas were a peaceful Eden prior to the arrival of white explorers is a fantasy.

              Native American tribes often enslaved war captives whom they used for labor, ritual sacrifice (often involving torture) and sometimes such slaves were killed and eaten pursuant to religious cannibalism.

              Additionally, prior to the Civil War, some Native Americans owned Black African slaves.

              As far as “we”, are we discussing English, French, Spanish or Portuguese explorers? These are different countries, different peoples and different cultures and each dealt with the Native Americans in different ways.

              The history of the world in both the Eastern and Western hemispheres includes the regular movement of various peoples into better territories, dispossessing the previous tenants of those territories.

              The ancient Romans fought the ancient Persians. Ancient Egypt conquered most of the Middle East.

              The Aztec and Toltec Empires covered most of modern Mexico. The Mayan Empire covered present-day Central America and the Incas ruled Peru, Equador, Chile and the Andes Mountains.

              The Ottoman Empire came close to invading and conquering 16th Century Europe. China and the Mongol Empire also conquered and destroyed the cultures of many different peoples. Don’t forget that Russia colonized Alaska in the 1700’s, claimed ownership of an area that extended down to the present Pacific Northwest in the United States. In that process, the Russians treated the Aleuts and Tlingit tribes pretty badly.

              • Where did I say the Americas were a peaceful Eden prior to the arrival of white explorers?

                Though I suspect if one looks at the body counts, they were a lot more peaceful than Europe and Asia at that same time in history.

    • You, Brian Turner, are a racist bigot against my culture.

      And the willingness to kill on a mass scale is alive and well in the world, outside of the walled garden you like to pretend is the future. It will seem to you to work as long as the people within it are carefully curated, but humans are far more diverse than that.

  2. I’m sad to see this issue being characterized the way it is here. Having attended many discussions and trainings about diversity and inclusion, I think that there’s a lot of context being left out of the characterization of things like this as simplistic censorship and political correctness.

    For one, it’s just the name of the award that has been changed. Nothing happened to her books. MPR did a nice story about it yesterday and one of the people they interviewed talked about he importance of reading the books and learning about the way some people thought back then.

    Second, I can only speak for myself, but I’ve never seen aiming for diversity as a way of dumbing down something g or stopping people from thinking for themselves. Rather, it’s learning about events that have been forgotten by the dominant historical narrative, like the reasons that Indians were so “savage” – being forced from their homes and exterminated in mass genocide. I’m on my phone, but my source for that is “An Indigenous People’s History of the United States”. Also included in that book is a discussion of the fact that there is evidence that civilizations already existed here, the land was cultivated, and societies of people traveled from what is now South and Centeal America in trade and governed themselves.

    I loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder books growing up too. I haven’t read them for awhile but I’m sure now I would notice some things I would find offensive. I interpret things like changing the name of the award, or the name of Lake Calhoun here in MN back to Lake Bde Maka Saw, as an attempt to acknowledge the damage that has been done in the past and to be respectful to a group of people who have been hurt and traumatized.

    I know, too, from working with the tribes across MN in a previous work position, that not all natives feel the same way. They don’t even all agree within one tribe or band or community whether to call it a tribe or a band or community. Or whether you should say Native or Indian. So yeah, speaking as one of those crazy politically correct millennial liberal people, I do hold these opinions and also acknowledge and have awareness that the world is a complex place with complex people and histories.

    • No. Just no. The same error as anyone who has read The Communist Manifesto, People’s History of the United States, or Mein Kampf for that matter – and taken it as gospel.

      The First Americans (which I call them for actual accuracy) were, by and large, savages. Most of the “European” words for the tribes are taken from when they had encountered one tribe – and took up that tribe’s word for the next one that they would encounter. That word, almost invariably, meant “enemy” (if not something even nastier).

      This is not to say that a large number of the Europeans moving into their territories were not also savages, only better armed. A bit of knowledge of things like the Protestant Reformation period in Europe will drive that home, if nothing else.

      There are still plenty of savages around – of all races, mind you. Some are reasonably well suppressed, although I fear that they will gain strength as other savages are allowed to commit their savagery – but that is a discussion for elsewhere, not PG’s living room.

      • Tell me why my source is not valid. I didn’t say I took it as gospel, I cited it to support a thing that I said. So tell me why.

        I was a history minor, so yes, the Protestant Reformation is not unfamiliar to me.

        What part of my comment are you saying “No. Just no” to, even? Go ahead and be dismissive, but at least try to convince me.

  3. This is not censorship. All they did is rename an award, and the anti-PC crowd acts like they’re throwing her books on a burning pile and trying to rewrite history.

    All they did was rename an award. There’s no vast conspiracy here to brainwash the masses.

    • Nope.
      The just want to pretend that that time period didn’t happen and that otherwise decent and intelligent people all over didn’t behave that way, so they don’t have to explain *why* the Wilder family had those fears… because it runs counter to the official narrative of one-way victimhood.

      Nothing wrong there, right?

        • No, that is not all they did.

          They gave their reasoning for renaming the award and in the process they judged the past by their present prejudices and demonized both the people and the era. Along the way, they added fuel to an already burning fire. Things are bad enough already.

          Penduluums swing both ways and the incautious get whacked by their own force on the backswing.

  4. This sort of thing seems to be an attempt to force contemporary mores on the past. It arrogantly asserts a position of moral superiority against people who in some ways might be viewed as our moral superiors, having virtues we seem to lack these days. (Adherence to duty comes to mind, courage is another.) So in the name of moral sensitivity, the ALCS exhibits lack of moral understanding.

    Nevertheless, a private organization is entitled to name its award whatever it wants to name it. But rather than selecting some modern writer to replace Wilder as an exemplar, the ALSC merely signals its virtue, then adopts a name that is devoid of any real meaning – other than to suggest that there is no meaning to the award.

    I’m not interested in Wilder. Never read her books, and have only a glancing acquaintance with them, mainly from women who love her books. Ironically, one of the biggest fans I know is my niece, a flaming liberal who is at the same time an award-winning teacher of elementary level children. I’ll have to ask her what she thinks about all this.

    But as a grandfather, I can tell you that I will look carefully before buying any book for my grandchildren if it has received this new award. I mean, how can the ALCS be trusted to select books on the basis of literary merit rather than moral vanity?

    Meanwhile, you can be sure that all my grandchildren will have the opportunity to read Wilder’s books.

    • Well, of course it is all about applying today’s values to the past!
      Today’s values are eternal and universal!
      Anybody who doesn’t/didn’t share them is/was evil! To be censured/confronted/erased.

      All of them, going back to the caves!

      Because todays universal values will forever be ascendant and the future is never going to look back and find fault with these times. No way, no how.

      Besides, it is soo much easier to condemn than to try to understand.

      The former makes you feel oh so superior while the latter requires actual thinking and study.

      • All of them, going back to the caves!

        Rarely anything new under the sun. At least since the first builders of wattle and daub huts sneered at their cave-dwelling ancestors from their dung encrusted abodes.

  5. “PG worries that if de facto censorship of historic voices continues”

    I love your sense of humor, PG. Thank you for the laugh.

    To clarify, describing this as censorship is about as stupid as claiming that tearing down Confederate statues is erasing history. It is laughably wrong on the face of it. Her name was removed from an award – that’s it. her books have not been suppressed, or even unpublished. Thye haven’t even been pulled from schools. There is no censorship here, and trying to pretend there is just looks silly.

    • What confederate statues?
      There never was a confederacy.

      And we’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

      • Wait, are you trying to make an allusion to 1984 using the early 20th century white supremacists putting up cheap mass produced statues to promote their Noble Lost Cause revisionist history?

        I guess that fits, although it is a bit of a stretch.

          • Then why are you defending Wilders’s books?

            They have so much history erased from them that they are propaganda, not history.

            To name one example, Laura was born in 1867 in a part of Minnesota (er, Wisconsin) where the Indians had been driven out only 5 years before.

            Laura was literally born on stolen land. That historical fact was erased from the first book, and all y’all defending her books are supporting the erasure of that historical fact.

            I could go on, but honestly, folks, the facts are against you.

            • And you are, conveniently, concealing the extent to which Indian populations extant at the time had themselves massacred and stolen land, hence the extent to which the Indian Wars were a simple matter of bringing those populations to justice. 🙂

              Marx was systemically wrong. Interpreting anything according to the patterns he set out is a good way to produce hot garbage.

              Large groups of people who are purely innocent victims or purely guilty oppressors? Ha.

              Followers of his religion have yet to prove that they can control a society for long without it going to mass graves. The effing state cult of the Aztec Triple Alliance had a better track record.

              Year zero we are gonna have a utopia has been attempted and failed many times in history. Often inspiring someone to try again, stupider. This current go around of socialist year zero, ‘this time it really is the thousand year utopia’ isn’t likely to be all that better. This crap of ‘must hide any evidence that anyone ever disagreed with us’ is gonna be very stupid.

    • Tearing down confederate statues is erasing history. And a cherrypicking erasure of history at that. Look at how the Kennedy Eternal Flame memorial at Arlington isn’t being molested. Because the left still seeks to profit by trading on his reputation, for now.

        • I’ve seen the crap your folks have pulled with the school curriculum. Physical artifacts are a reminder that mere manipulation of words is not the sum of history.

          If you personally are not willing to go tear down the JFK memorial, the memorial of a man elected thanks to white supremacist terrorism, you are either a hypocrite, or a supporter of white supremacist terrorism.

        • When I lived in White Plains, NY, there was a cannon on the sidewalk (North Broadway) commemorating the “Battle of White Plains”. Until I saw that cannon, I had never known that there *was* a Battle of White Plains.

          So yes, these memorials/statues *do* serve to remind us of past events. Destroying such memorials is certainly a way to erase history.

        • Someone above made a point about Blazing Saddles and how it’s viewed today. Perfect analogy. Imagine a comedy award named “Blazing Saddles Excellence in Comedy Award.” And then, someone said, “hey, that movie is pretty insensitive to minorities, maybe we should update the name of the award to better reflect current views?”
          No one would be calling to remove Blazing Saddles from existence. It’s not being censored. They just don’t feel the need to celebrate it. We can say we know better now without erasing history.

          Renaming an award doesn’t remove the previous thing from existence. The slippery slope argument is dumb and never comes to fruition.

  6. I watched Blazing Saddles again the other night, and laughed my butt off. Later I laughed at what the current crop of PC police would think if it was made today. “The sheriff is a…”

  7. It’s important to remember just how effed up humanity can be if pushed. We need to learn our history and forgive, not avoid and forget.

  8. A few professors dismissed from their posts. A street renamed here and there.

    There were synagogues in Germany as late as 1937.

    The road to the showers starts with a single step. The further along that road you travel – the harder it becomes to change direction.

      • Why?
        We’ve been on that road for decades already.
        He’s just playing by established rules…just crudely.

      • Keep up your antics of the past week, and continue the escalation. You’ll not have the real Donald Trump in the White House. You’ll have someone that is the Donald Trump of your fevered imagination. It would only be ironic if he happened to be named “Buckman.”

        Myself, I’ll be in the hills, taking out just as many of that person’s minions as possible – along with the odd target of opportunity that led to him.

        • Good grief, no!
          We’ve been warned about that nutjob.
          And yet, he might still come to pass.

        • I didn’t know deflating reactionary whining with facts could be described as antics or escalation, but you do you.

          And thank you for your comment; when people complain about my comments I will point out that your comment is an implied death threat and PG let it slide.

          Anything goes on this site, clearly.

          • 1) “Your” is plural Left, there, Nate. As in “your side” – all of you (plural Left, again) that are calling for even more violence against any of your (plural Left, again) political opponents.

            2) No, that is a “conditional” death threat. The conditions being that a) you (plural Left, again) manage to establish either your (plural Left, again) dictatorship, or a reactionary (plural Right, this time) dictatorship; b) given (a), any of you (plural Left, again) happen to wander into my sights; c) given (b), you, personally, happen to be that person at that time, and d) given (c), there are no better targets to service. My strong preference, and actual expectation, is that (a) will not come to pass, in either of the variants – so that is a very weak “death threat.”

            But, of course, any disagreement with you labels me as a Nazi, racist, homophobe, whatever. Saved you some time there, chanting the words that you (plural Left, for the last time) have rendered completely without meaning.

  9. I was a bit perturbed when I’d first read about this stupidity being performed. I agree with some of the commentators that it’s not censorship, it’s merely trying to apply PC values/norms to a point in history that was radically different from micro-aggression/safe place chasm that half the population embraces.

    Mores/values/language were much different back then and people didn’t have a problem with that (if you want offensive, read a newspaper classified section from the mid 1870’s). People need to deal/view the past through the lenses of what the people were like back then, not through the warped lenses of today.

  10. Despite my earlier comments, there is one bright spot in this kind of thing. Another organization that wishes to honor Ms. Ingalls by naming an award after her is now free to do so.

    I can see the day when the names for the Hugo and John W. Campbell awards are changed, so as not to honor those “horrible, racist white cis-males.” Three years later (as I read the statute), we can reclaim those service marks as indicators of quality work. Or perhaps immediately – apparently a statement that they have abandoned the name and have no intention to use it again is sufficient, and I’m sure that the virtue signaling will be massive.

    (Well, the JWC might survive for a while longer – but how long will Analog be able to keep using it under the pressure?)

    • For that matter, how long will ANALOG itself survive?
      Or ASIMOV’S?
      They’re down to bimonthly and I hear the digital subscriptions are getting harder to get.

      • Both of those sank down into “I don’t care” territory long ago. Once I realized they hadn’t printed anything I was even vaguely interested in for years, I stopped wasting my money.

        I suspect much of their subscription base is people who are renewing out of habit.

        • I abandoned the short-story market nearly 20 years ago; the magazines of science fiction and fantasy back then had few stories that required imagination. Nothing fantastic, nothing adventurous, nothing exciting, except on rare occasions.

          The idea of reclaiming awards is nice, although in the case of the Hugos — I don’t think I ever read any “Campbells” — you’d have to do a massive rebranding campaign. Readers have had it pounded into them that those awards are for tedious slogs. Usually when Bookbub says a book had that award/nomination I skip it, unless the author is from a time period when it meant works of fantastic adventures.

  11. Whatever happened to “people thought/acted differently back then than they do now”? Oh, right … can’t let anyone think that we were ever *less enlightened* than we are now.

    We’re at war with Eastasia? Humph, I thought we were always allied with Eastasia!

  12. Just read this whole series aloud to my daughter, so the problematic parts are fresh in my mind. I don’t see any discussion of LIW’s portrayal that I found most troubling, not on this blog nor in the original article–the “humorous” blackface evening in Little Town on the Prairie. Laura doesn’t call into question this “entertainment,” just presents it as funny. I’m curious if anyone else has read this book recently…

    • I think you are missing the fundamental point: This is an accounting of the way people thought and lived BACK THEN. Back then is not now. You cannot judge people back then by today’s standards. It’s arrogant. Be assured that people tomorrow will be judging you by tomorrow’s standards. And sometimes, the way social politics are now, tomorrow can be five minutes from now. Or next week. Be confident that what you believe is true now, will be judged as “on the wrong side of history” by the clueless denizens of tomorrow. To think otherwise is to have hubris, which invites Nemesis, which can be very amusing for bystanders to watch.

      If you’re a writer it’s a question of empathy: can you put yourself in the shoes (and mind) of a person who thinks differently from you? Without turning them into a cartoon? It is not “problematic” for a person to think and behave in ways that are congruent with their time period, and the circumstances in which they lived it.

      I will say that a writer who can’t put themselves in the heads of people who are different from them is likely to write lousy novels, particularly in fantasy, historical, and sci-fi. But if you’re a regular joe, then forays into the past can be a great way to develop appreciation for the present.

      • +100 🙂

        I admire Nemesis. Totally underappreciated.
        I strongly respect Ananke. In many ways the best of the early ones. The world owes much to her followers.

        Unfortunately, these days Bia holds much sway.

      • “can you put yourself in the shoes (and mind) of a person who thinks differently from you? Without turning them into a cartoon?”

        This is a good point. I recently read an indie book that had later become a tradpub book, with significant changes. There’s one point where an unimportant person reacts in a fearful way to the MC because of her ethnicity (to show the overall stigma that the MC faces in her daily life). In the indie version, this person read as a real person and the action was fairly subtle but effective–backing away and bumping into a table. In the tradpub version, suddenly this person was a caricature of idiotic racism–backing away, twisting into contortions, hamming it up. It was not an improvement. It felt like the tradpub editor went, “No, we need to show not only that she’s racist but that racism is BAD. Your readers won’t understand that racism is BAD by just showing that she’s racist. You need to really mash their face in it so they get that racism is BAD. Make sure she doesn’t at all seem like a real person because racists aren’t even real people. They’re RACISTS.”

  13. I fear for the future.

    Someday, we will make contact with intelligent beings from beyond Earth. They are likely (some of them, anyway) to be appalled at the hideous, inaccurate and stereotypical images of aliens portrayed in science fiction books, stories, movies, TV shows, etc.

    Just imagine what might follow…

    • They’ll be laughing their heads off as they move on to another system.

      “Maybe in a thousand cycles, if they learn to think.”

  14. He who controls the past controls the present. He who controls the present controls the future. Or something like that. 1984 won’t be brought about by conservatives. It’s a libero-fascist dystopia for sure.

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