Heinlein Reader’s Discussion Group Thursday 09-27-2001 9:00 P.M. EDT Heinlein and Racism

Heinlein Reader’s Discussion Group

Thursday 09-27-2001 9:00 P.M. EDT

Heinlein and Racism

Click Here to Return to Index

Here Begin The A.F.H. postings
Heinlein Readers’ Group

AIM Chat September 27, 29, 2001

“Heinlein and Racism”

Reading: Farnham’s Freehold and Friday

Combating bigotry in all its forms was one of Heinlein’s most persistent personal agendas in his role as a public moralist. (And let us note we will be having this chat on Yom Kippur). With respect to racism, his usual approach as to include “minority” characters as major figures in his stories, without special comment about the fact, not revealing until the end that, for example, Johnny Rico (Starship Troopers) was of Phillipine extraction or implying ambiguously that Rod Walker (Tunnel in the Sky) or Colin Ames (The Cat Who Walks Through Walls) was Negro. His first juvenile for Scribner’s, Rocket Ship Galileo, featured three friends, one of them a Jewish boy, in an era (1947) when Jews were non-persons in this country, routinely excluded from public life. Thus we are encouraged by subtext and implication to see non-white and non-male characters as a functional part of the human drama.

In two instances, however, racism and bigotry were made a part of the thematic material of his books.

Farnham’s Freehold, written early in 1963, immediately after the Cuban Missile Crisis, through not published until late in 1964, is based on two themes — first, the Cold War dilemma of Mutual Assured Destruction: no matter who might “win” a nuclear exchange, the liberal values of Western civilization were gone for good — and what they might be replaced by didn’t bear thinking about. Hugh Farnham is a “less than” character unusual in Heinlein because he is a participant, in the middle of the Cold War betrayal of Western liberalism, bartering American ideals for his slice of commercial success. Farnham is also a participant in the second thematic examination: he wishes only well for The Negro as personified in his servant, Joseph (note that Joseph is not provided with a family name) but Farnham’s vision is warped by the pervasive racism in which he lives. He does not understand what he is talking about, as Joseph tells him directly. Grace and Duke exhibit a conventional pukka-sahib racism, and even Karen’s attitude is tainted by Black-Mammyism. Everyone in Hugh’s family circle is damaged by racism, Joseph included: when offered the opportunity to turn the tables on the Farnhams — take the “up” side of the power relationship — he unhesitatingly does so, though it means endorsing slavery as an institution. He has no personal moral commitment to liberal values.

The message of Farnham’s Freehold is that racism damages everyone it touches, on either side of the power dichotomy.

Both themes are framed for Heinlein within the larger thematic context of individualism — racism is an offense to the individual by considering it only as a member of a group and not as an individual with its own merits, and the Cold War is the political reflection of the same moral error: a contest of which social organization shall win: the liberal society of free individuals, or the Marxist and illiberal nation-state, mass society. This context is ignored by the pc types who characterize Farnham’s Freehold, like its ultimate source, Huckleberry Finn, as a racist statement. Jim in Huckleberry Finn is the only morally straight character, because Twain is condemning specific racist/hypocritical attitudes that portray the Black as subhuman; Joseph in Farnham’s Freehold cannot rest in this niche because Heinlein’s thematic position acknowledges an unspeakable truth we have permitted only Spike Lee to articulate.

Both books are condemned because they commit the ultimate sin against “nice,” against the shining, happy people, by making realistic use of the “N” word in one case, and by associating cannibalism with the dark-skinned inheritors of the earth (George Slusser even goes so far as to identify them as Black Muslims, though on what evidence is not apparent) — and yet a straightforward reading of both texts reveals them both as strong anti-racist statements. Heinlein again approached the same materials from the same direction in Friday (1982), but his message has somewhat evolved. The eponymous heroine is an Artificial Person — smarter, faster, stronger than you or I, yet damaged in her core by the bigotry she has internalized. He explores the mechanisms of damage by posing various incidents by which the internalized message of bigotry is enforced upon the self — Friday cannot resent rape; she is not a person. She cannot have a real family; nobody can love an artificial person. She sees herself as wearing the brand of her shame publicly like a scarlet letter, though she cannot, even with her superior senses, discern the scarlet letter of a fellow who has internalized and self-enforces the same brand of bigotry against himself.

Friday is damaged by racism — but it is not the damage Heinlein wishes to explore this time. The bigotry against the Artificial Person is a type of all bigotry — racism, anti-semitism, anti-feminism, homophobia, and the psychological damage is carried by self-hatred internalized. About this, there is something that can be done — and it is something that an individual has individual power over and control of. Friday has begun the process of self-healing (though the process is by no means complete by the time we leave her) because she has given up enforcing an internalized self-hatred. In the early part of the book, she enforces the nobody-could-love-me-because-I-am-an-Artificial-Person attitude she accepts without questioning or examination, and despite all evidence to the contrary. Gradually she comes to realize that the evidence is contrary to the attitude and moves her psychological commitment over to the evidence — a process that forces her to abandon the internalized rule of bigotry against the Artificial Person.

The Artificial Person is an oxymorony, for one can be a person only by being genuine, and the AP prejudice is symbolic of public hypocrisy. Empowerment exists, Heinlein says, in the commitment to truth. This is the same message we found in Stranger in a Strange Land, and carried out by the same trope — the examination of private truth versus public hypocrisy.

Heinlein took a strong anti-racist stance throughout his long career. Farnham’s Freehold and Friday are two of the strongest statements he ever made about racism; both are made in the context of Heinlein’s ongoing exploration of what it means to be an individual within a community. A morally self-responsible human being, he holds, cannot be a racist.

Bill
Good choices Bill but can I make a plea to also include The Star Beast in the discussion? This juvenile has not only a very strong black character in the shape of Mr Kiku (one might almost call him the major character in that he hold the power of life and death over Lummox and that is perhaps the ultimate power) but his sidekick is called Sergei Greenberg. I may be wrong but I always thought of this as a Russian/Jewish name and considering the time of writing (1954) this is another point to consider. Added to that is the racism between humans ( McClure seems to be covertly racist in his attitude towards Kiku) and between humans and aliens ( Kiku and Ftaemal being a shining example of this being overcome as friendship does what drugs and hypnotism can’t). In fact, the blurb on my copy, written by the Denver Post says,

“Heinlein never preaches directly and he never writes down…His underlying theme, I
think, is that not only are all men children of God and therefore brothers, but all higher
life-forms that men may encounter, some day, in the outer reaches of the galaxy…”

There is also Heinlein’s depressingly likely pressure group, lampooned mercilessly at the trial scene; The Keep Earth Human League, represented by T. Omar Esklund, Doctor of Philosophy. His speech could be used quite happily with only minor alterations, by any group of bigots as they orated;

“As is well known, ever since the inception of the ungodly practise of space travel, our
native Earth, given to us by Divine law, has been increasingly overrun by
creatures…’beasts’ rather let us say…of dubious origin. The pestilent consequences of
this unholy traffic are seen on every..”

Here he was mercifully cut short by the judge.

Going back to MacClure, consider this little chat he has with Kiku as he tries to persuade him to appear on TV with Pidgie-Widgie,

“The Secretary frowned.” I hate to insist, if it really makes you nervous. But Mrs
Murgatroyd asked for you especially. You see…” MacClure looked mildly embarrassed.
“…Pidgie-Widgie preaches racial tolerance and so forth. Brothers under the skin…the
sort of thing we all want to encourage. So?”

later, Kiku tells him a story about an African tribe, three centuries earlier, who were wiped out by machine guns used by Europeans demanding taxes. How does MacClure refer to these men who had guns of their own and used clever strategy to trap their opponents in a box valley?

“An ignorant tribe of savages.” Hmm….

Jane

http://www.heinleinsociety.org

In article, BPRAL22169 writes…

>Heinlein Readers’ Group
>AIM Chat September 27, 29, 2001
>”Heinlein and Racism”
>
>Reading: Farnham’s Freehold and Friday

What’s left to discuss, Bill? 😉


Gordon Sollars

>What’s left to discuss, Bill? 😉

*Sigh*

Bill
BPRAL22169 wrote: Farnham’s vision is warped by the pervasive racism in

>which he lives. He does not understand what he is talking about, as Joseph
>tells him directly. Grace and Duke exhibit a conventional pukka-sahib racism,
>and even Karen’s attitude is tainted by Black-Mammyism. Everyone in Hugh’s
>family circle is damaged by racism, Joseph included:
>snip
>Bill

I agree with your assessments of the Farnham household but I wonder how much they are formed by the current climate. IOW, how would that household have appeared to an average contemporary reader?

I also wonder how Barbara stacks up? Not too badly from my recollections of it. She seems about as free from racism as one can be and still be human.

Jane


http://www.heinleinsociety.org

>IOW, how would that household have appeared to an average
>contemporary reader?

I think the average contemporary reader wouldn’t have noticed anything — it was simply naturalistic characterization, but it sneaks up on you, and I think Heinlein intended that deliberately, as he exposes the different strains of racism, from Grace’s out-and-out “Niggerism” and Duke’s conventionally disguised Niggerism to the more subtle racism contained within Hugh Farnham’s country club liberalism.

It strikes me that Duke and Grace define one end of a spectrum, and Hugh and Barbara define another end of the same spectrum. I don’t think Barbara was “free” of racism, precisely; she strikes me as just a little too sweet to be perfectly convincing — I’m thinking she starts from Black-Mammyism but is working to overcome it. So I class her and Hugh Farnham both as “men of good will” who don’t really have a clue.

Now, on that spectrum, where would you put Joseph? I have to say he is closer to Duke and Grace than to Hugh or Barbara — an out-and-out racist.

Bill
On 2001.09.21 19:20:16, the amazing 7LT;>declared:

 

>…. His first juvenile for Scribner’s, Rocket Ship
>Galileo, featured three friends, one of them a Jewish boy, in an era (1947)
>when Jews were non-persons in this country, routinely excluded from public
>life.

This sounds way off – there were lots of prominent Jews, weren’t there? Though Dorothy Parker did say that there were two things she would never understand, the theory of the zipper and the exact function of Bernard Baruch 🙂

 


Nollaig MacKenzie
http://www.amhuinnsuidhe.cx/rahfan/

>there were lots of prominent
>Jews, weren’t there

Yes, but — this is the same period when Groucho Marx tried to get into the LA Country Club on Wilshire in Beverly Hills and couldn’t so he said he wouldn’t belong to any club that had standards so low it would have him as a member, anyway. The “prominent Jews” who ran LA (the entertainment industry) actually had to set up their own country club on Pico across from the Fox lot.

There were prominent Jews, true, but they were still marginalized.

Bill
“BPRAL22169″wrote in message

news:

>>there were lots of prominent
>>Jews, weren’t there
>
>Yes, but — this is the same period when Groucho Marx tried to get into the LA
>Country Club on Wilshire in Beverly Hills and couldn’t so he said he wouldn’t
>belong to any club that had standards so low it would have him as a member,
>anyway. The “prominent Jews” who ran LA (the entertainment industry) actually
>had to set up their own country club on Pico across from the Fox lot.
>

I was in the sixth grade when I first learned that Jews faced that sort of thing. I didn’t believe it at first because it seemed so ridiculous. It wasn’t long after that when we studied the Holocaust.

I was in a freshman history class when a classmate innocently asked “Who was Jim Crow.” This was in 1982, I believe. There is some progress, but not enough.

[William Dennis]
Bill Dennis, commenting on prior posts:

>”BPRAL22169″ wrote [replying to Nollaig]:
>>>there were lots of prominent
>>>Jews, weren’t there
>>
>>Yes, but — this is the same period when Groucho Marx tried to get into the LA
>>Country Club on Wilshire in Beverly Hills and couldn’t so he said he wouldn’t
>>belong to any club that had standards so low it would have him as a member,
>>anyway. The “prominent Jews” who ran LA (the entertainment industry) actually
>>had to set up their own country club on Pico across from the Fox lot.
>>
>
>I was in the sixth grade when I first learned that Jews faced that sort of
>thing. I didn’t believe it at first because it seemed so ridiculous. It
>wasn’t long after that when we studied the Holocaust.
>I was in a freshman history class when a classmate innocently asked “Who was
>Jim Crow.” This was in 1982, I believe. There is some progress, but not >enough.

In 1954, early in the summer before I started seventh grade, a librarian handed me a copy of Galileo to take home and read, telling me to come back the next day and see her if I liked it. I was too young to check the book out myself, as my card was a ‘children’s card.’ She also told me to discuss the book with my parents and report what they had to say to her.

After I read it that day, I talked to my mom and dad at dinner. My dad asked to look over the book. He read it for about a half-hour, commented to my mother that it was the first boys’ book he’d ever read or heard of with a Jewish boy character or one that mentioned ‘conditions’ in Germany during the late world war, returned it to me and told me it was fine with him if I continued to read such books. In fact, I hadn’t noticed the Abrams boy in particular until he mentioned it; but then I was eleven, and not then fully aware exactly how many blood relatives of my father went into the camps and never emerged thereafter during that war.


David M. Silver
http://www.heinleinsociety.org
“The Lieutenant expects your names to shine!”
–Robert Anson Heinlein, USNA ’29, (1907-88)
Lt.(jg) USN R’td

“Lou Adornato”wrote:

BPRAL22169wrote in message

news:

>Heinlein Readers’ Group
>AIM Chat September 27, 29, 2001
>”Heinlein and Racism”
>
>Reading: Farnham’s Freehold and Friday
>

Bill,

Thank you. For nearly thirty years, I’ve heard the pseudo-intellectuals dismissing RAH as “racist”, and even though I *knew* that nothing could be further from the truth (and that no one who had ever actually read those books could ever think so), I never had the elegance with words to explain just how wrong they were.

Lou Adornato wrote:

>Bill,
>
>Thank you. For nearly thirty years, I’ve heard the pseudo-intellectuals
>dismissing RAH as “racist”, and even though I *knew* that nothing could be
>further from the truth (and that no one who had ever actually read those
>books could ever think so), I never had the elegance with words to explain
>just how wrong they were.

This brings up what I think is an important point; the need to look squarely at those accusations and try to answer them and understand what might have prompted them. I have always, possibly, maybe probably, erroneously, thought that Heinlein was speaking through his character Archie, in Magic Inc. If you recall, a character in that is, “as black as draftsmans ink!” Like Mr Kiku, Dr Worthington is an African who has been educated at Oxbridge. He is also a witch doctor. Archie is shocked to discover that he is a Negro but;

“I tried not to show surprise. I hope I did not, for I have an utter horror of
showing that kind of rudeness.”

Later he says,

‘We white men in this country are inclined to underestimate the black man – I
know I do – because we see him out of his cultural matrix. Those we know have
had their own culture wrenched from them some generations back and a servile
pseudo culture imposed on them by force. We forget that the black man has a
culture of his own, older than ours and more solidly grounded, based on
character and the power of the mind rather than the cheap, ephemeral tricks of
mechanical gadgets. But it is a stern, fierce culture with no sentimental
concern for the weak and the unfit, and it never quite dies out.
I stood up in involuntary respect when Dr Worthington entered the room.”

That doesn’t sound racist to me…yet consider this comment by Slusser in his critique of Heinlein, ‘Stranger In His Own Land”. He has been discussing Time For The Stars and Double Star;

“There are more egregious stereotypes. The kind and saintly Uncle Alfred of
‘Time For The Stars’ has as counterpart here another gentle darkie, the
faithful errand boy Jimmie Washington. Women in both novels are either
helpless, whining creatures, or prudes – discardables. At their best, women
and Blacks are fit to be servants and adulators of the elect, no more.”

This is the kind of assertion that needs to be pulled to pieces and examined in the light of day, not shuffled aside in embarrassment in case it contains a shred of truth.

I believe that Slusser has made an error here because he is assuming that the depiction of some women as whiners or prudes is wrong. It isn’t. Some women are like that. Including them in a book that has other strong, admirable female characters ( Vicky and Celeste for instance) is allowable by any standards. By the same token, a black character who is in an administrative position ( as Jimmie Washington is) is not the same as a black character in a servile/slavelike position.

Go through Double Star and see how Washington is described; loyal, tight lipped, utterly trustworthy. He isn’t just a civil servant either; he is a member of the great parliament, representing the Lapps. It is a safe district…but so is Penny’s. They are not slavish characteristics.

Jane


http://www.heinleinsociety.org

“Lou Adornato”wrote in message news:fBNr7.26091$

>
>BPRAL22169 wrote in message
>news:
>>Heinlein Readers’ Group
>>AIM Chat September 27, 29, 2001
>>”Heinlein and Racism”
>>
>>Reading: Farnham’s Freehold and Friday
>>
>
>Bill,
>
>Thank you. For nearly thirty years, I’ve heard the pseudo-intellectuals
>dismissing RAH as “racist”, and even though I *knew* that nothing could be
>further from the truth (and that no one who had ever actually read those
>books could ever think so), I never had the elegance with words to explain
>just how wrong they were.

In all fairness, I had to reread F.F. cause the first time left me wondering.

[William B. Dennis 2nd]

>In all fairness, I had to reread F.F. cause the first time left me
>wondering.
>

This may be a good opportunity to ask what about FF seemed ambiguous.

Bill
“BPRAL22169″wrote in message

news:

>>In all fairness, I had to reread F.F. cause the first time left me
>>wondering.
>>
>
>This may be a good opportunity to ask what about FF seemed ambiguous.
>Bill

It was not ambiguous.

The first time I read it (I was in college and strived to be a politically correct liberal), I just had an emotional reaction that this MIGHT be racist. It had a white middle-class suburbanite who spoke fondly of his obedient black servant, up until the servant makes decisions on his own. It featured a society controlled by black cannibals, for God’s sake. Of course, from a politically correct perspective, portraying these things was the same thing as endorsing them.

I didn’t enjoy it and only after I reread if about a year ago (after I became more libertarian) did I begin to see the subtle way Heinlein was making commentary about race relations.


— William B. Dennis 2nd
http://billscontent.tripod.com ,
http://heinlein-libertarian.tripod.com and
http://mycoolwebpages.tripod.com

>It was not ambiguous.
>The first time I read it (I was in college and strived to be a politically
>correct liberal), I just had an emotional reaction that this MIGHT be
>racist.

Perhaps I am confused by the way you say this — it “might” be racist, but there was no ambiguity (i.e., it was definitely racist).

Historically, a number of the critics who commented on the book at the time were deeply offended by the black cannibals figure — Slusser, writing 10 years later, identifies them (for no textual reason whatsoever) as Black Muslims. I think this was a mistake in approaching the book, on several levels. For one thing, it makes the commentary more “topical” than it seems to me Heinlein intended, at least on this point. I think the topical reference is profitably read to the Cuban Missile Crisis that happened just a couple of months before he began writing the book. I think in terms of its commentary on racism and bigotry, it is more correct to classify FF as a “philosophical” romance rather than a “topical” or “didactic” novel.

Bill
In article,

BPRAL22169wrote:

>>It was not ambiguous.
>>The first time I read it (I was in college and strived to be a politically
>>correct liberal), I just had an emotional reaction that this MIGHT be
>>racist.
>
>Perhaps I am confused by the way you say this — it “might” be racist, but
>there was no ambiguity (i.e., it was definitely racist).
>
>Historically, a number of the critics who commented on the book at the time
>were deeply offended by the black cannibals figure — Slusser, writing 10 years
>later, identifies them (for no textual reason whatsoever) as Black Muslims.

Well, I think we can agree that the dominant level of society certainly thought of itself as black. Wasn’t there a section about Islam in FF? ISTR Hugh thinking the text he was reading was different from the version he read in the 20th Century.

The following comment is being relayed from Tim Kyger, who does not have access to this newsgroup:

And to add my $0.02 worth, Bill, WRT Slusser’s “Black Muslims” comment — /Farnham’s Freehold/ was written in ’63, published in ’64, and if I remember right, the Black Muslim’s don’t come to any sort of cultural prominence for about two more years — i.e., about ’65, ’66, around in there.

Heinlein surely was aware of the political and cultural landscape around him, but I truly doubt that such a marginal group was visible to him in 1963. And in 1963, the Black Muslims -were- marginal.

Slusser was reacting, of course; which was one of the things Heinlein wanted people to do when reading this book (IMHO of course). It’s -supposed- to make you uncomfortable. And, with any luck, one would then examine the source of the intellectual and/or emotional discomfort, and *think* about it…

Bill
“BPRAL22169″wrote in message

news:

>The following comment is being relayed from Tim Kyger, who does not have access
>to this newsgroup:
>
>And to add my $0.02 worth, Bill, WRT Slusser’s “Black Muslims” comment —
>/Farnham’s Freehold/ was written in ’63, published in ’64, and if I remember
>right, the Black Muslim’s don’t come to any sort of cultural prominence for
>about two more years — i.e., about ’65, ’66, around in there.
>
>Heinlein surely was aware of the political and cultural landscape around him,
>but I truly doubt that such a marginal group was visible to him in 1963. And
>in 1963, the Black Muslims -were- marginal.
>
>Slusser was reacting, of course; which was one of the things Heinlein wanted
>people to do when reading this book (IMHO of course). It’s -supposed- to make
>you uncomfortable. And, with any luck, one would then examine the source of
>the intellectual and/or emotional discomfort, and *think* about it…
>
>Bill

IIRC, There are a number of native Africans who are Muslim and I had always assumed that it had become the dominant religion by the time Hugh and party arrived. I do remember the part about the Koran and how it seemed different to Hugh.

I seem to recall that OJ Simpson played a native african Muslim in ‘Roots’.

David Wright
This is forwarded from Andy Thornton — the unfortunate who started this topic months ago…

There is a strong element of Nietzsche in Heinlein’s writings but none, perhaps, more strongly than in his two books about racism: ‘Farnham’s Freehold’ and ‘Friday’. Ironically Nietzsche was usually portrayed as the intellectual progenitor of National Socialism before the recent surge in academic interest because of his numb nuts sister’s manipulation of his notebooks and image during her unfortunately long life. This simple-minded interpretation of Nietzsche depending, as it does, on ripping sentences out of context, a misunderstanding of the textual form of Nietzsche’s writings, and finally an inability to either read German or – more simply and commonly – inability to _read_ and then _think_ about what one has just read, is finally starting to go; but it is only finally starting to go and when Heinlein wrote both ‘Farnham’s Freehold’ (FF) and ‘Friday’ (F) the academic myth of “Nietzsche as Nazi” was the predominate consensus.

It is crucially important to grasp this misinterpretation as it is the foundation of misinterpretations of FF and F.

FF is a book about racism and it is a tragedy. Note the last word. Tragedy is the literary form wherein everything goes to hell in a hand basket. Hugh Farnham, as a character, learns nothing, and effectively does nothing throughout the book. He is acted upon rather than acts. He does not escape the slavery of the future but is rather kicked-out of the society by an act of noblesse oblige.

First important point: You can be the Master in the Power relationship and yet operate under the Slave Morality.

So now it’s time to define Slave Morality.

Slave Morality is, according to Nietzsche, the exact inverse of the aristocratic morality found in Homer’s poetic works. Master morality does not work on a Good/Evil but a ThingsDone/Things- NotDone scale. Killing another member of the aristocracy, just because battle is so much fun, is a Thing Done. Taking women and boys “into your tent” for your own sexual satisfaction is a Thing Done; Slave Morality says you should Love Your Neighbor and maintain celibacy. Someone operating under the Master Morality would kill someone who insults them; under Slave Morality they would turn the other cheek. In Master Morality if you see a ‘wrongness’ you vow your sacred honor and fortune to correct it; in Slave Morality you bow your head meekly and accept God’s or the Gods’ will.

Nietzsche is NOT saying one is “better” in ANY objective sense. What he IS doing is DESCRIBING two extreme poles of mores.

What Heinlein adds to this mix is a very low key analysis of Power (whom can do what to whom) Relationships. Hugh Farnham is initially the Master in terms of Power Relation (the scenes in the bomb shelter) and later the Slave in terms of the Power Relationships is throughout the book always a Slave in terms of Morality. (The only character, btw, who operates from the Master Morality is Ponce.)

In this way we can begin to see that Hugh Farnham, while the protagonist, is not a hero: Romantic or Morally. Hugh is a racist but one not usually depicted in literature or public discourse. Hugh’s racism is the gentle, suffocating, Slave Morality version: Joseph is “The Negro” or “The Unfortunate” or “Our Oppressed Brother”. Joseph is not seen as an autonomous individual; he is not _valued_ as Joseph. Hugh’s racism doesn’t kill the body. It merely kills the soul! Heinlein would have been familiar with this version of racism from both his upbringing in Missouri, including Kansas City, and his experience in EPIC. In the former he would have encountered the “darkies are just like children, so we have to take care of them” while in EPIC it would have been the “drug addiction is a valid lifestyle choice for those in the inner cities” attitude. The first, in the U.S. of A., is usually – but not always – seen in Southerners while the second is usually – but not always – noted in Northerners.

For whatever reason Heinlein does not attempt to “resolve” most of the issues he raises in FF – and to my mind why FF is one of his weakest books – but is content to merely describe, or depict, them.

Andy Thornton

forwarded by

Bill

This is being relayed for Andy Thornton:

>Slusser, writing 10 years
>later, identifies them (for no textual reason whatsoever) as Black Muslims.

Slusser’s main problem is that he is never willing to grant the possiblity that Heinlein is a literary artist.

His second problem is that he will not give a statement running counter to his thesis on page 165 the same weight as a statement supporting his thesis on page 37.

His third problem is a really irritating in- ability to get basic facts straight.

Andy

Bill
This is being relayed for Andy Thornton:

>black cannibals figure — Slusser, writing 10 years
>later, identifies them (for no textual reason whatsoever) as Black Muslims

Slusser’s assertion about Black Muslim’s in FF have the same truth as his assertation of body painting in SIASL.

That is: None to Speak Of.

Andy

Bill
“BPRAL22169″wrote in message

news:

>>It was not ambiguous.
>>The first time I read it (I was in college and strived to be a politically
>>correct liberal), I just had an emotional reaction that this MIGHT be
>>racist.
>
>Perhaps I am confused by the way you say this — it “might” be racist, but
>there was no ambiguity (i.e., it was definitely racist).
>
>Historically, a number of the critics who commented on the book at the
time
>were deeply offended by the black cannibals figure — Slusser, writing 10 years
>later, identifies them (for no textual reason whatsoever) as Black Muslims. I
>think this was a mistake in approaching the book, on several levels. For one
>thing, it makes the commentary more “topical” than it seems to me Heinlein
>intended, at least on this point. I think the topical reference is profitably
>read to the Cuban Missile Crisis that happened just a couple of months before
>he began writing the book. I think in terms of its commentary on racism and
>bigotry, it is more correct to classify FF as a “philosophical” romance rather
>than a “topical” or “didactic” novel.
>Bill
>

At that time in my life, I was a liberal. I believed it was my duty as a liberal to expose all wrong-thinking for what it was. My mindset was: If a book *portrayed* behavior I found objectionable, it therefore must be “wrong.” It was a very literal, very immature way of thinking. The subtleties of the book escaped me. Of course, there was a part of me that enjoyed works of literature that made me think. That’s why I kept coming back to Heinlein, even though college professors kept insisting he was fascist.

It wasn’t until about 4 years ago (I am 38 now) I finally admitted to myself I was more libertarian than liberal. I try to think for myself now and avoid advocating positions simply because that is what liberals are supposed to believe. Which is why I am now no longer a Libertarian, but a small-L libertarian.


— William B. Dennis 2nd
http://billscontent.tripod.com ,
http://heinlein-libertarian.tripod.com and
http://mycoolwebpages.tripod.com

“BPRAL22169″wrote in message

news:

>The following comment is being relayed from Tim Kyger, who does not have access
>to this newsgroup:
>
>And to add my $0.02 worth, Bill, WRT Slusser’s “Black Muslims” comment —
>/Farnham’s Freehold/ was written in ’63, published in ’64, and if I remember
>right, the Black Muslim’s don’t come to any sort of cultural prominence for
>about two more years — i.e., about ’65, ’66, around in there.
>
>Heinlein surely was aware of the political and cultural landscape around him,
>but I truly doubt that such a marginal group was visible to him in 1963. And
>in 1963, the Black Muslims -were- marginal.
>
>Slusser was reacting, of course; which was one of the things Heinlein wanted
>people to do when reading this book (IMHO of course). It’s -supposed- to make
>you uncomfortable. And, with any luck, one would then examine the source of
>the intellectual and/or emotional discomfort, and *think* about it…

*Exactly!* The first time, I read it, I could only comprehend the discomfort it gave me. It was years before I had the intellectual capability to grasp what I *think* Heinlein was really trying to say.


— William B. Dennis 2nd
http://billscontent.tripod.com ,
http://heinlein-libertarian.tripod.com and
http://mycoolwebpages.tripod.com

BPRAL22169 wrote:

>This is forwarded from Andy Thornton — the unfortunate who started this topic
>months ago…

[snip Thornton’s depiction of Nietzschism]

>
>
>FF is a book about racism and it is a tragedy. Note the last word. Tragedy is
>the literary form wherein everything goes to hell in a hand basket.

Uh, actually I prefer a stricter definition before I apply the label ‘tragedy.’ “Goes to hell in a hand basket” is a little looser than ‘protagonist destroyed by his own hubris,’ e.g., ‘fails to learn the lesson,’ or some such more classic definition. Everything goes to hell in a handbasket in Catch-22. Does that make it a tragedy?

>Hugh
>Farnham, as a character, learns nothing, and effectively does nothing
>throughout the book.

Sez who? PPOR.

>He is acted upon rather than acts. He does not escape
>the slavery of the future but is rather kicked-out of the society by an act of
>noblesse oblige.

Well, isn’t that something like what Frye calls low-mimetic? Most of modern-day realistic fiction deals with actors who are accusative case rather than nominative. I rather thought he ‘acted’ rather badly (for a slave who should be grateful to the actor granting him noblesse oblige) by trying to destroy the world of the noble Ponce who stupidly obliged him by leaving open one tiny opening that Hugh took advantage of when he sent the bomb back to destroy Ponce and his world.

>First important point: You can be the Master in the Power relationship and yet
>operate under the Slave Morality.
>
>So now it’s time to define Slave Morality.
>
>Slave Morality is, according to Nietzsche, the exact inverse of the
>aristocratic morality found in Homer’s poetic works. Master morality does not
>work on a Good/Evil but a ThingsDone/Things-
>NotDone scale. Killing another member of the aristocracy, just because battle
>is so much fun, is a Thing Done. Taking women and boys “into your tent” for
>your own sexual satisfaction is a Thing Done; Slave Morality says you should
>Love Your Neighbor and maintain celibacy. Someone operating under the Master
>Morality would kill someone who insults them; under Slave Morality they would
>turn the other cheek. In Master Morality if
>you see a ‘wrongness’ you vow your sacred honor and fortune to correct it; in
>Slave Morality you bow your head meekly and accept God’s or the Gods’ will.
>
>Nietzsche is NOT saying one is “better” in ANY objective sense. What he IS
>doing is DESCRIBING two extreme poles of mores.

His version, of course. What’s a poor low mimetic protagonist, under Nietzsche’s scheme of things, to do? Has to have a ‘slave morality,’ otherwise he couldn’t be low mimetic (or anything like most of us — not to suggest anyone else reading here but myself is low-mimetic — the rest of you all could all be (possibly are: you read Heinlein) Heroes and Gods — I just know I ain’t.) and would have to be either a God or a Hero or a sociopathic villain anti-hero, otherwise. Maybe like Lazarus Long in his less attractive portrayals? (Nice to read about, but darned hard to emulate IRL).

>What Heinlein adds to this mix is a very low key analysis of Power (whom can to
>what to whom) Relationships. Hugh Farnham is initially the Master in terms of
>Power Relation (the scenes in the bomb shelter) and later the Slave in terms of
>the Power Relationships is throughout the book always a Slave in terms of
>Morality. (The only character, btw, who operates from the Master Morality is
>Ponce.)

That’s ’cause Ponce is a God; just ask him. Sometimes, depending on what stuff I’m smoking, I think, as Lenny Bruce did, I’m a god too — but my wife always brings me back to Earth quickly with a word or two.

>In this way we can begin to see that Hugh Farnham, while the protagonist, is
>not a hero: Romantic or Morally.

I agree he’s not a Hero. Can’t be if he’s to be very realistic, or a human operating outside a fantasy. Now Elias was a Hero. He was taken bodily into Heaven. There was no ‘heaven’ for Achilles, so he had to sit in the underworld with the rest of the shades; a clear problem in the classic heroic tale. But Hercules got promoted to mini-God, and got out of Hades. Roland, of course, goes to Heaven along with Oliver and the rest of the gang — but they were Christians, lucky them; Arthur to Avalon; etc. — a much better solution; and Oscar gets to go back hang out with Star, and go ‘a-heroing’ again possibly ad infinitum along with Rufo once he makes Hero First Class, and even gets to return to the heaven of the twenty universes he’s found thanks to Star after coming back to “Urth,” and finding it wanting.

[snip description of patronizing liberal racism common to the 1960s — and
earlier, both versions]

>For whatever reason Heinlein does not attempt to “resolve” most of the issues
>he raises in FF – and to my mind why FF is one of his weakest books – but is
>content to merely describe, or depict, them.

Why does he have to “resolve” issues?; and please define what you mean by a resolution. You’ve suggested Hugh doesn’t learn anything; and I’d like to hear your proof — at first blush it appears to me that you’re simply speculating on his state of mind at the end. What was he supposed to have learned, exactly, if, in your view, Heinlein had chosen to ‘resolve’ the issues? And why do you presume to say he didn’t learn it? As I said: PPOR.

And while we’re at it, do you think Heinlein ‘resolved’ the issues (or any issue) in Friday?

Bill: please pass this to Andy for his reply, for whom and which, as we three know, I always will endeavor to have ample smoke and mirrors available to confuse the audience, if not rebut.


David M. Silver
http://www.heinleinsociety.org
“The Lieutenant expects your names to shine!”
Robert Anson Heinlein, USNA ’29
Lt (jg)., USN R’td (1907-1988)

Relayed from Andy Thornton, who does not have access to this newsgroup but who started it all nevertheless and is realio-trulio to blame for It All:

I wrote:

>>FF is a book about racism and it is a tragedy. Note the last word. Tragedy is
>>the literary form wherein everything goes to hell in a hand basket.

Mr. David M. Silver has replied:

>Uh, actually I prefer a stricter definition before I apply the label ‘tragedy.’
>”Goes to hell in a hand basket” is a little looser than ‘protagonist destroyed by
>his own hubris,’ e.g., ‘fails to learn the lesson,’ or some such more classic
>definition. Everything goes to hell in a handbasket in Catch-22. Does that make it a tragedy?

I reply:

Actually Catch-22 is a Satire or what Frye would call an “Anatomy”. These thingie’s have different rules and are not on the Comedic/Tragic range or scale of literary works. The most generalized definition would have to be: a Tragedy is a story wherein the protagonist is not intergrated into a society when the plot comes to an end. Whereas Comedy is when the protag is so integrated.

[Editorial comment: the ever lit’ry Mr. Thornton means the dynamic of a tragic story is based on separation of the tragic protagonist from his society. The hamartia or tragic flaw of a Greek tragic protagonist marks that particular type of tragedy, but not tragedy as a literary genre. Back to Mr. Thornton:]

I said:

>>Hugh Farnham, as a character, learns nothing, and effectively does nothing
>>throughout the book.

Mr. Silver said:

>Sez who? PPOR.

I reply:

Sez me! Wanna make somethin’ outah it, buddy? 😉

(What does PPOR mean?)

You make a good point when you analyize the Hugh Farnham character as low-mimetic. ( I am currently 1,500 miles from my reference shelf so this definition is off the top of my head but the low-mimetic character is what Northrup Frye uses to describe a characters and/or literary works that have a knowledge and morality less than ours. I trust Mr. Silver will correct this definition.) In fact I would go so far as to say that by doing so you’ve cracked the core, speaking LitCrit, of the work. This is meant seriously: Kudos to you. And, of course, that means Heinlein is being true to his character when he has him following Slave Morality – the schmuck can’t do anything else.

Which also points to the solution previous critics have had with FF, when they bothered to notice it at all. You’ve got to understand the literary form in order to base a critique.

And what the devil does PPOR stand for?

Onward …

But any literary work is greater, or lesser, than the mere form. What Heinlein doesn’t do is resolve the intellectual theme (the Logos/Dianoia) of the work. Hugh’s only remark about the Slave/Master-Morality/Power matrix is when he says after the return something on the order of ‘When I had power I didn’t use it very well. Ponce used his power much better than I’. So the Power issue is resolved but nowhere is the Morality theme finished.

(Note, by the way, how closely Joseph in FF follows his namesake in the Bible.)

By “resolved” I mean having a character acknowledge an underlying theme through word or action and “round” it off in some manner. Like Heinlein did in the Upper Room in the last part of SIASL in the conversation between Jubal and Mike. Or in Catch-22 when Yossarian breaks-out of the the situational insanity by running away; i.e. removing himself from the situation and thereby becoming sane.

How one gets this done in a low-mimetic work is the test of the artist and, I think, Heinlein didn’t do this job in FF.

All through-out the book Friday wants to be part of a human family/community. At the end she is. That’s the (Comedic) resolution.

But in both FF and Friday Heinlein makes a very *interesting* observation: individuals can be free in almost any environment, but that freedom is only maximized when the individual is validated by a community. This is an extremely subtle and suggestive thesis. And, I might add, a _very_ American (don’t know Canada well enough to say) thought.

Andy Thornton

relayed by

Bill
BPRAL22169 wrote:

[snip]

>
>Actually Catch-22 is a Satire or what Frye would call an “Anatomy”. These

Actually, in the classic sense, Catch 22 was pathos. The characters had no control over the events that shaped their lives. The term Catch 22 is a hallmark of pathos.

OTHO, in FF, the pathos ends in romanticism.

Allow for inflation, subtract the charity tax……$0.02.

>–

Art
————————————————————————————-

When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
So-oldier ~of~ the Queen!

—————-Rudyard Kipling

In article, says…

>Actually, in the classic sense, Catch 22 was pathos. The characters had no control
>over the events that shaped their lives. The term Catch 22 is a hallmark of
>pathos.
>

Naw, Catch-22 is a classical comedy. It *appears* initially to be pathos, except that in the end Yosssarian *does* take control of his life (given the example of Orr).


Kirk

Experience is the best teacher…
But her pop quizzes can be mighty tough.

Kirk wrote:

>
>In article , says…
>>Actually, in the classic sense, Catch 22 was pathos. The characters had no control
>>over the events that shaped their lives. The term Catch 22 is a hallmark of
>>pathos.
>
>Naw, Catch-22 is a classical comedy. It *appears* initially to be
>pathos, except that in the end Yosssarian *does* take control of his
>life (given the example of Orr).

Not only classical comedy, it addresses the fact that Catches of classical tragedy were Official — and phony — constructs, in the various characters who spend the entire book reciting — as excuses, and submitting to — their various Catches, precisely as do the protagonists of classical tragedy.

Rather than “classical tragedy,” I prefer the term “propaganda.” It may have been Heller’s point, and can certainly be had without adding anything to the book but the existence of classical tragedies, but he buries it in a good yard about “idiots I have known,” or “what we did on our summer vacation.” But that Heller’s characters were all deliberately antiheroes is more than indicative that he knew it.


—+%
:oD_|
Frankly, my Dear, I don’t think the Clothes
are wearing any Emperor. Kids…
http://t-independent.com/scrawlmark-press/

BPRAL22169 wrote:

>Relayed from Andy Thornton, who does not have access to this newsgroup but who
>started it all nevertheless and is realio-trulio to blame for It All:

[snip my quibble and his reply about ‘tragedy’ and his definition of of what Frye would call Catch-22]

>I said:
>>>Hugh Farnham, as a character, learns nothing, and effectively does nothing
>>>throughout the book.
>
>Mr. Silver said:
>>Sez who? PPOR.
>
>I reply:
>Sez me! Wanna make somethin’ outah it, buddy? 😉
>(What does PPOR mean?)

An acronym particular to this group: “provide proof or retract.” When I use it I expect to read a reply that draws a factual basis from the text to bolster the argument, detecting contrary factual threads within the work and distinguishing them from supporting a contrary argument.

>You make a good point when you analyize the Hugh Farnham character as
>low-mimetic. ( I am currently 1,500 miles from my reference shelf so this
>definition is off the top of my head but the low-mimetic character is what
>Northrup Frye uses to describe a characters and/or literary works that have a
>knowledge and morality less than ours.

Sometimes I think Frye means simply a character whose knowledge and morality equals our own imperfect states. YMMV

>I trust Mr. Silver will correct this
>definition.) In fact I would go so far as to say that by doing so you’ve
>cracked the core, speaking LitCrit, of the work. This is meant seriously:
>Kudos to you.

Dr. Richard Lanham, Professor of English at UCLA, retired, a Frye disciple, would possibly be a little proud of what effect his teaching had my poor effort but he’d tell me to try harder than that.

>And, of course, that means Heinlein is being true to his
>character when he has him following Slave Morality – the schmuck can’t do
>anything else.
>
>Which also points to the solution previous critics have had with FF, when they
>bothered to notice it at all. You’ve got to understand the literary form in
>order to base a critique.

You meant to say “problem”?

>And what the devil does PPOR stand for?
>
>Onward …
>
>But any literary work is greater, or lesser, than the mere form. What Heinlein
>doesn’t do is resolve the intellectual theme (the Logos/Dianoia) of the work.
>Hugh’s only remark about the Slave/Master-Morality/Power matrix is when he says
>after the return something on the order of ‘When I had power I didn’t
>use it very well. Ponce used his power much better than I’. So the Power issue
>is resolved but nowhere is the Morality theme finished.

I’d disagree. Look at the instance when the Grand Slam occurs, er, the second grand slam, or was it the third? Hugh discards the slave morality at that moment, at what is essentially the very beginning of the story. The rest is mere elaboration, restatement, and peregrinations.

>(Note, by the way, how closely Joseph in FF follows his namesake in the Bible.)

Lovely, isn’t it? Hugh as Potifer? [Was that how it is spelled?] But now, doesn’t Hugh then twist the story and echo the sequel: the Moses story vis-a-vis his relationship with Ponce, leading Ponce and his Egyptian armies into the flood of the closing of the Red Sea when he sends the bomb back? “Pay back” is hell?

>By “resolved” I mean having a character acknowledge an underlying theme through
>word or action and “round” it off in some manner. Like Heinlein did in the
>Upper Room in the last part of SIASL in the conversation between Jubal and
>Mike. Or in Catch-22 when Yossarian breaks-out of the the situational insanity
>by running away; i.e. removing himself from the situation and thereby becoming
>sane.

I view the intellectual theme a little differently. Hugh is the ‘adult educated’ man of his time, much like Owenby’s thesis in the work as yet unpublished but based on his dissertation suggests Heinlein advocated. Hugh got his learning, his social morality, out of books. Viz. his library selections, but note that his library selection omits the then early-1960s current sociology pap he undoubtedly also read.

At the point of the third grand slam (Hugh’s imagined last fling with Barbara as the second grand slam is arriving on target), Hugh has rejected the nicey-nicey teaching of contemporary self-improvement or family improvement writing, the same sort of break the rod, spoil the child junk that resulted in Ducky, er, “Duke” turning out the way he did. The same sort of writing containing a wrong contemporary viewpoint of the black man the family newspapers and magazines taught him.

The balance of the story tells the ultimate total rejection by Hugh of those social mores — “protect and be loyal to wife and family at all costs,” in an in extremis situation, mind you, and therefore a ‘slave morality’ appropriate solution, if you like — he finally has no intention of rescuing Grace or Ducky, what efforts he expended were rejected, and he leaves Joseph with them as well (Joseph figuratively screwed his wife along with his friendship by becoming Pharaoh’s stooge) when he takes Barbara and his new set of children back to the promised land, and closes the sea in around Ponce who he knows intends to pursue.

>How one gets this done in a low-mimetic work is the test of the artist and, I
>think,
>Heinlein didn’t do this job in FF.

I think, as I’ve suggested, maybe he did, beginning with the third slam as I suggest.

>All through-out the book Friday wants to be part of a human family/community.
>At the
>end she is. That’s the (Comedic) resolution.

In a way. I always view Friday as satire, “tend your garden” a la Voltaire; but I agree the ending is a ‘happy’ one.

>But in both FF and Friday Heinlein makes a very *interesting* observation:
>individuals
>can be free in almost any enviornment, but that freedom is only maximized when
>the
>individual is validated by a community.

And in an apocalyptic community, necessarily the ‘community’ follows what mores it self creates. Ponce and the boys ate humans. Hugh leaves behind his fat wife and fat gelded son for their future menu, if they are to have any further eating. And Hugh gets out of the business of raising ‘long pig.’

>This is an extremely subtle and
>suggestive
>thesis. And, I might add, a _very_ American (don’t know Canada well
>enough to say) thought.
>
>Andy Thornton
>relayed by
>Bill

Please punt back to Andy, Bill, if you find time.


David M. Silver
http://www.heinleinsociety.org
“The Lieutenant expects your names to shine!”
Robert Anson Heinlein, USNA ’29
Lt (jg)., USN R’td (1907-1988)

>Sometimes I think Frye means simply a character whose knowledge and morality
>equals our own imperfect states. YMMV

People who haven’t read Anatomy of Criticism may be lost at this point. Frye suggests, following Aristotle, that genres sort themselves out by their attitutudes toward the protagonists. They may be (1) Superior to us in both kind and status (i.e., gods), (2) Superior to us in status but equal in kind (i.e., the heroes of legend and myth); (3) Equal in both kind and status — and here we have the bulk of 19th century novel of manners, or (4) equal in kind but inferior in status (which gives us the modern “ironic” novel.

There are other possibilities less frequently used — a work about animals, for instance (Bambi?, Watership Down?), would give us inferior in kind as well as status — or possibly about a demon

The high mimetic deals with gods and heroes in fantastic or exotic settings; low mimetic deals with ordinary humans in naturalistic settings (these are rules of thumb). Myth and romance are the usual literary forms associated with the high mimetic — and Heinlein was extremely fond of romance forms. In fact, you can make a good case (as Frye does in several cryptic remarks) that science fiction is inherently a romance form. This seems to me to explain why Heinlein was attracted to the expressive possibilities of science fiction. I have said before that I think of Farnham’s Freehold as a romance of a king and court in exile, which explains the figures of powerlessness and dependency.

Bill
“James Nicoll”wrote in message

news:9oqbnu$1fq$

>In article ,
>BPRAL22169 wrote:
>>>It was not ambiguous.
>>>The first time I read it (I was in college and strived to be a politically
>>>correct liberal), I just had an emotional reaction that this MIGHT be
>>>racist.
>>
>>Perhaps I am confused by the way you say this — it “might” be racist, but
>>there was no ambiguity (i.e., it was definitely racist).
>>
>>Historically, a number of the critics who commented on the book at the time
>>were deeply offended by the black cannibals figure — Slusser, writing 10 years
>>later, identifies them (for no textual reason whatsoever) as Black Muslims.
>
>Well, I think we can agree that the dominant level of society
>certainly thought of itself as black. Wasn’t there a section about Islam
>in FF? ISTR Hugh thinking the text he was reading was different from the
>version he read in the 20th Century.

He says something about the Prophet not being able to recognize the text they use.

NW
Jane Davitt wrote:

>Lou Adornato wrote:
>
>> Bill,
>>
>> Thank you. For nearly thirty years, I’ve heard the pseudo-intellectuals
>> dismissing RAH as “racist”, and even though I *knew* that nothing could be
>> further from the truth (and that no one who had ever actually read those
>> books could ever think so), I never had the elegance with words to explain
>> just how wrong they were.
>
>This brings up what I think is an important point; the need to look squarely
>at those accusations and try to answer them and understand what might have
>prompted them.
>
>I have always, possibly, maybe probably, erroneously, thought that Heinlein
>was speaking through his character Archie, in Magic Inc. If you recall, a
>character in that is, “as black as draftsmans ink!”

Such expressions were common in the 1940s, perhaps more honest than politically correct expressions today. How exactly do you today describe a very dark skinned “black” man? A “black Black.” Forgive me, but blank-blank to that. I keep remembering early 1950s political discussions my mother participated in when they had folk over for dinner and drinks. She’d complain about her thwarted efforts to get into restaurant management, by describing herself as: “I’m free, white, and twenty-one, but I can’t convince the people I work for that I can run a restaurant as well as any of the last six managers they’ve hired.” Finally, she bought a part of her own restaurant; and ran it very well, thank you, until her two bird-brained male partners got into a dispute over who was and who wasn’t ‘male’ enough (one of them had been ‘outed’ — he also happened to be one of the best chefs in town) and dissolved the business partnership to everyone’s detriment.

>Like Mr Kiku, Dr Worthington is an African who has been educated at Oxbridge.
>He is also a witch doctor. Archie is shocked to discover that he is a Negro
>but;
>”I tried not to show surprise. I hope I did not, for I have an utter horror of
>showing that kind of rudeness.”

Imagine what folk who encountered Ralph Bunche, or first saw a newsreel of the man at the United Nations felt.

>Later he says,
>’We white men in this country are inclined to underestimate the black man – I
>know I do – because we see him out of his cultural matrix. Those we know have
>had their own culture wrenched from them some generations back and a servile
>pseudo culture imposed on them by force. We forget that the black man has a
>culture of his own, older than ours and more solidly grounded, based on
>character and the power of the mind rather than the cheap, ephemeral tricks of
>mechanical gadgets. But it is a stern, fierce culture with no sentimental
>concern for the weak and the unfit, and it never quite dies out.
>I stood up in involuntary respect when Dr Worthington entered the room.”

Yet, I would criticize this statement because Ralph Bunche was emphatically within his culture. Nevertheless RAH had to make the point by referring to an African culture. How quaint! A Frenchman’s reference to the glories of the Sun King leaves me untouched; I want to know what France has done lately, aside from foisting le grande Charles on the world, and enticing Dulles and Eisenhower into taking over the fight in Vietnam.

>That doesn’t sound racist to me…yet consider this comment by Slusser in his
>critique of Heinlein, ‘Stranger In His Own Land”. He has been discussing Time
>For The Stars and Double Star;
>”There are more egregious stereotypes. The kind and saintly Uncle Alfred of
>’Time For The Stars’ has as counterpart here another gentle darkie, the
>faithful errand boy Jimmie Washington.

Well, then, there’s always Colin Campbell, just about as unkind and unsaintly as you would like; but Heinlein had to slip that business about the color of his feet in at us late in the novel. And we were into what? the eighties? when he found that necessary. Maybe the problem is the society, not Heinlein, if he still found that necessary in an adult novel by then.

>Women in both novels are either
>helpless, whining creatures, or prudes – discardables. At their best, women
>and Blacks are fit to be servants and adulators of the elect, no more.”

Slusser wrote when? Before or after Cat?

>This is the kind of assertion that needs to be pulled to pieces and examined
>in the light of day, not shuffled aside in embarrassment in case it contains a
>shred of truth.
>I believe that Slusser has made an error here because he is assuming that the
>depiction of some women as whiners or prudes is wrong. It isn’t. Some women
>are like that. Including them in a book that has other strong, admirable
>female characters ( Vicky and Celeste for instance) is allowable by any
>standards. By the same token, a black character who is in an administrative
>position ( as Jimmie Washington is) is not the same as a black character in a
>servile/slavelike position.

Of course, Slusser might come back by saying that any black portrayed by Heinlein as having leadership ability either eats his white slaves (Ponce) or eats Walker Evans (Colin Campbell aka Richard Ames); and what do you suppose, he’d inquire, Heinlein was trying to say by that? All Blacks are savage cannibals? I suppose you could reply that so too are whites: e.g., what does Duke keep calling Mike?

>Go through Double Star and see how Washington is described; loyal, tight
>lipped, utterly trustworthy. He isn’t just a civil servant either; he is a
>member of the great parliament, representing the Lapps. It is a safe
>district…but so is Penny’s. They are not slavish characteristics.

Neither I suppose was cannibalism. Still wondering what he was trying to say when he named my favorite female (pre-Maureen Johnson in To Sail) character Friday. Friday, aside from other things, shared one attribute with Podkayne and her Unca Tom, her literary ancestor was a cannibal as well.

I’m going to have to closely read an uncut version of Defoe’s romance again, I suppose. Read it as if it is a satire and see how Robinson stacks up next to the cannibal who was Marjorie Baldwin’s antecedent.


David M. Silver
http://www.heinleinsociety.org
“The Lieutenant expects your names to shine!”
Robert Anson Heinlein, USNA ’29
Lt (jg)., USN R’td (1907-1988)

Go To Postings

Here Begins The Discussion Log
You have just entered room “Heinlein Readers Group chat.”

AGplusone has entered the room.

AGplusone: Hi, David. Where’s your alter ego?

AGplusone: afk, eating dinner snack

DavidWrightSr: Sorry. wasn’t watching the screen. I am trying to bring my laptop on-line

DavidWrightSr: with the tv so I can watch ER while chatting tonight.

AGplusone: that’ll work … but don’t tell me. It comes on at 10 PM out here. Hour after chat ends.

AGplusone: I’ve already figured out plot. Mark goes to jail for murder and has to leave the series …

AGplusone: blonde doctor comes back …

AGplusone: Doug runs out on Carol Hathaway, and she has to come back to support rug-rat, falls in love with blonde doctor and they live happily ever after as lez team.

DavidWrightSr: You are probably right, but I would hate for it to be that predicatible

DavidWrightSr: predictable

AGplusone: God, I hope I’m not right.

DavidWrightSr: Mark is leaving sometime at the end of this year I believe. My son will be happy

DavidWrightSr: to see Sherry Stringfield back

AGplusone: Yeah, Sherry wasn’t too bad.

DavidWrightSr: He met one of the producers in a theater in LA and told him that her leaving was a mistake.

DavidWrightSr: The producer agreed.

AGplusone: Eric leaves too

AGplusone: Watch Enterprise last night?

DavidWrightSr: Sure did, it was on at 11:00 P.M

DavidWrightSr: Ah. got the tv screen working, finally.

AGplusone: Missed first fifteen minutes. Came on here at 8 PM, and I was channel surfing until I found the TV guide.

AGplusone: Hardly ever go to channel 13 which is where it cames on.

DavidWrightSr: http://tvguide.com

AGplusone: Of course, we must watch Buffy coming out of her grave next tuesday.

DavidWrightSr: You can customize that for your zipcode.

AGplusone: Now we know what she was doing off-screen with the friendly vampire ….

DavidWrightSr: I have never watched Buffy. My wife can’t be talked into it.

AGplusone: whatever his name is …

AGplusone: I watch it when everything else is really the pits.

AGplusone: Keep hoping she’ll get a live and get rid of all those loosers she hangs with

AGplusone: life

DavidWrightSr: I was just reading your latest post on a.f.h.

DavidWrightSr: haven’t finished it yet

AGplusone: Including that sleazy librarian … which one?

AGplusone: “Buffy and her girlfriends to parents: Well, we’re going to the library tonight to meet with the librarian, you know, that 30ish guy they hired … ”

AGplusone: Parents to Buff and gang: “Like hell you are! We know what you’re up to!”

ddavitt has entered the room.

ddavitt: Hi D’s

BPRAL22169 has entered the room.

AGplusone: Just because you’re really a J, only married to one of god’s elect, now there’s no need to make fun of us ‘beloveds’ …

Lu11Bran has entered the room.

ddavitt: Ha!

Lu11Bran: Hello

AGplusone: Evening Bill, and hello and welcome Lu11Bran.

BPRAL22169: Greetings, andy

ddavitt: Hi there

AGplusone: Okay, then, Andy …

BPRAL22169: Lu11Bran is Andy Thornton

ddavitt: I was saving keystrokes..someone has to

Lu11Bran:

ddavitt: Now you’re just confusing me Andy

ddavitt: OK, that makes sense I suppose

Lu11Bran: I do it with mirrors

BPRAL22169: Oh, vacation? is that what it is?

ddavitt: A Hinlein title

ddavitt: Heinlein even…

pakgwei has entered the room.

Lu11Bran: If I knew how to change the silly name I would, but I don’t

BPRAL22169: That reminds me — I just acquired a copy of that issue of Popular Detective.

ddavitt: Hi pakgwei

AGplusone: Hi, Pakgwei, ltnc

pakgwei: morning

ddavitt: Really? Is it illustrated?

Lu11Bran: In NC to pick-up a cello (believe it or not)

AGplusone: Morning? Where are you, Korea?

BPRAL22169: It hasn’t arrived yet.

ddavitt: Does it say who he really is or just have the pen name

pakgwei: no… DC

Lu11Bran: Greetings pakgwei

ddavitt: Oh well, tell me when it does

ddavitt: Was it hard to get?

BPRAL22169: Just the pen name, I understand.

Lu11Bran: to whom was your remark directed ddavitt?

BPRAL22169: Not hard — but as with anything on EBay, it takes patience.

ddavitt: Bill but was the cello difficult too?

Lu11Bran: Nope, just a pain

ddavitt: And you can call me J

ddavitt: er, Jane

Lu11Bran: ok Jane, I should have remembered that

AGplusone: Ginny asked me to give everyone her regrets, she doesn’t feel too well tonight, especially not too charitable toward Islam (or certain branches of it).

ddavitt: Sorry to hear that.

Lu11Bran: hope she feels better soon

BPRAL22169: I have a keepsake of Ginny’s cold; I thought it was getting better, but it seems to have moved into my intestines today.

ddavitt: No, I’m the shrinking violet type, easy to overlook

AGplusone: And she’s still got that cruddy flu

ddavitt: I have been snuffly but feel brighter today

BPRAL22169: Hard to believe it’s only been two weeks.

ddavitt: My parents arrived safely from the Uk.

ddavitt: That was a relief

BPRAL22169: Are they having thd same kind of hysteria in Canada we’re going through in the U.S.?

AGplusone: yep … isn’t it nice to not hear about the sexual pecadillos of politicians for two whole weeks!

ddavitt: Yes, lots of coverage

Lu11Bran: I’ll have an order of tamales, hold the pecadillos – please

pakgwei: I think I’m going into Brittney withdrawel though

ddavitt: I saw her pepsi advert

ddavitt: But I didn’t know it was her..

AGplusone: Anyone read Safire’s Times column yesterday or this morning, I forget which … ?

BPRAL22169: I believe her breasts are on videotape already.

Lu11Bran: don’t read Safire

AGplusone: Usually I don’t either, but was bored

AGplusone: he’s off out-of-step as usual, saying ‘nuthin’s changed, except now maybe we’ll pay attention to reality for a while

Lu11Bran: anything intelligent or his usual blather?

maikoshT has entered the room.

ddavitt: Hi David

AGplusone: fairly intelligent point

AGplusone: Hi, David two

DavidWrightSr: Hi to all again.

DavidWrightSr: Finally got everything set the way I want it.

DavidWrightSr has left the room.

BPRAL22169: Actually, that’s not a bad point — nothing has changed; we just got a demonstration of what people have been trying to get us to pay attention to for the last thirty years.

ddavitt: That’s ironic…

AGplusone: famous last words

Lu11Bran: is that an editorial comment?

DavidWrightSr has entered the room.

AGplusone: ‘got everything set the way I want it’

AGplusone: musta hit ESC\

pakgwei: wb

BPRAL22169: That will do it.

DavidWrightSr: And then I immediately bomb out on one. Yep, the old ESC

Lu11Bran:

Lu11Bran: People are now going to the supermarket expecting terrorists to jump out from the dried figs…it’s ridiculous

AGplusone: yes

BPRAL22169: I believe you’re up to speed on all the pre-chat posts, Andy; how would you like to fulfill your destiny and kick off the discussion?

pakgwei: topic tonight?

BPRAL22169: True — everybody knows you can’t hide behind a dried fig. You need a bunch of dates for that.

AGplusone: …. wheet …. wheeeet …… wheeeet …..

ddavitt: Or a leaf at least

Lu11Bran: Our topic tonight is Heinlein’s depiction of racism in Farnham’s Freehold and Friday

Lu11Bran: and we may EVEN talk about the topic!!!!

pakgwei: hey… books Ive actually finished this time

pakgwei: 🙂

AGplusone:

ddavitt: and star beast?

ddavitt: Pretty please/:-)

AGplusone: if you must, Jane

Lu11Bran: For you Jane, anything

ddavitt: I must, i will, i shall

ddavitt: How sweet!

AGplusone: I did reply to your post.

ddavitt: Thank you.

ddavitt: I saw it but have been too busy with guests

ddavitt: To reply

ddavitt: And that was the magic Inc post not the Star Beast one I think

BPRAL22169: I tend to think of the rather pointed anti-racist setting of Star Beast and Rocket Ship Galileo as the “practice” while Friday and FF is the theory.

ddavitt: He refined the technique you mean?

ddavitt: And they were juveniles…broader brush approach required?

AGplusone: juveniles vs. adult

ddavitt: GMTA

Lu11Bran: In both SB and RSG it was real background material, whereas in FF and F it was a basic building block of the works

AGplusone: semi-G

BPRAL22169: No — FF and F are explorations of theory, whereas TSB and RSG used his conclusions in setting.

ddavitt: speak for yourself….

ddavitt: But racism was rife in SB

AGplusone: xenophobic setting

ddavitt: I don’t see how that differs from FF

BPRAL22169: I rather think, though, that the comments about Worthington in “Magic, Inc.,” would be classified as “racist” by pcers.

AGplusone: I agree

ddavitt: But times have changed; that was, what, 50 years ago?

BPRAL22169: 62

ddavitt: I have a problem with all black people being classed as Africans

BPRAL22169: or 61, depending on how you count it.

BPRAL22169: I have a problem with “African-Americans.” Americans are not hyphenated.

ddavitt: Those third generation US are simply American to me

ddavitt: As are the Italians, germans,…

ddavitt: Why the hyphen?

pakgwei: ‘don’t look at me,… I always thought I was ‘human’

ddavitt: That too

DavidWrightSr: Notice, we never say ‘English-Americans’?

BPRAL22169: It’s a much prouder thing, IMO, to be an American than to be a human — as Aaron Sorkin said “This country has been a beacon to the world for 2 centuries…”

AGplusone: I always thought I was “free, white (nominally), and twenty-one”

ddavitt: Quite…

ddavitt: Well, I might beg to differ on that Bill

pakgwei: well then I’m a mutt

Lu11Bran: there is a connection, rapidly getting more historical, between being of overt African descent and low social/economic status

AGplusone: … and then they let eighteen-year-olds vote, wadda let down.

BPRAL22169: David W — “anglo-Americans” is in use.

ddavitt: If you, and your grandparenst were born and raised in the US, you’re American, end of story

BPRAL22169: If you choose to be an American, you’re an American, end of story.

AGplusone: Ah, but they weren’t, at least three of them weren’t.

DavidWrightSr: Yeah, but that is rare, much rarer than african-american or irish-american etc. I think.

ddavitt: Complicated if parents were immigrants; one of my daughters is Canadian, one isn’t

BPRAL22169: How did Between Planets get in here?

ddavitt: But in a century or so..why cling to the past?

ddavitt: He was the ultimate confused citizen

BPRAL22169: Heinlein had a remark about particularism, didn’t he?

ddavitt: That was racist too; fog eaters?

ddavitt: leads to trouble

AGplusone: ‘citizen of the solar system’ — was that what he wanted to call himself

ddavitt: Citizen of the system, yes

Lu11Bran: and was told that that might mean something, someday… but not at that point

ddavitt: Identifying with a small group, not the whole, leads to problems

BPRAL22169: The theory he set out in “Politics of Patriotism” is actually related to his ideas about racism.

AGplusone: pp. in Universe?

ddavitt: In a way, Americans have a class system

BPRAL22169: Expanded Universe, yes — also Analog in I think January 1974.

ddavitt: ‘real Americans’ equate to royalty

Lu11Bran: yup, just not as fixed as the British system

ddavitt: I have moved from working clas to middle; that’s not hard

AGplusone: Yeah, if there’s a middle class left

BPRAL22169: It’s not the presence or absence of classes — it’s the permeability of the boundaries between the classes that’s characteristic of America’s (formerly) open society.

ddavitt: But isn’t a mexican who comes legally over the border and becomes a citizen looked down on more than a mayflower descendant type?

AGplusone: Depends on what part of Colorado you come from

ddavitt: All citizens are not the same..some are ‘better’

BPRAL22169: Depends on — GMTA

BPRAL22169: There isn’t any consensus as to class status any more. there never really was, but people pretended there was…

AGplusone: As in: I was here from Coronado, when did you arrive?

BPRAL22169: I mean, by mid 20th’ century.

ddavitt: In the Uk, it’s judged on your job, wealth, apart from nobility ( different rules)

AGplusone: What makes belonging to skull and bones any different from being nobility?

BPRAL22169: In the U.S. people do make the same sort of judgments — but they are regarded as individual (and sometimes as weaknesses)

ddavitt: It’s also something you can label very precisely without knowing how you do it

ddavitt: trailer park trash is a label

ddavitt: not a kind one, but it’s used isn’t it?

BPRAL22169: Those judgment are not regarded as affirming a system.

AGplusone: I like trailer park Barbie … she’s refreshing

ddavitt: You could say that about someone not actaully living in a trailer..it’s a type?

BPRAL22169: We may do some of the same thigns in the U.S. as are done in the UK — but they don’t mean the same thing in a social sense.

ddavitt: As in the Uk someone can be comoon and rich

BPRAL22169: Yes: All of Las Vegas is one gigantic trailor park.

Lu11Bran: As I see it the Brit’s still have a lingering “Master Morality” left from the aristocracy days –

ddavitt: common

ddavitt: tugging forelocks?

DavidWrightSr: We have a very racist saying here in the south. ‘Po white trash’ implying that …

Lu11Bran: yes, actually

AGplusone: but in Las Vegas you get out of the trailer park label if you belong to the LDS

DavidWrightSr: it would be expected from blacks, but not from whites

AGplusone: since they are the elite these days there

ddavitt: Maybe..not my generation so much tho; the royals have lost so much ground recently

BPRAL22169: Now that’s a scary thought.

Lu11Bran: An Earl (or Duke) can get away with stuff that wouldn’t be tolerated in a commoner

ddavitt: If they are the ultimate and they are shoddy, how can you respect anyone?

ddavitt: I have never been the curtesying type..but that’s just me

ddavitt: I don’t see how who your parents are define you

Lu11Bran: I’ve heard that one will get better treatment in the UK by affecting an upper class accent. I do not know if that is true

ddavitt: Oh yes.

BPRAL22169: Oxonian

ddavitt: I got lots of stick for my accent

AGplusone: Well, we don’t curtsy, but they still lay us off without warning after we bail out their industry

ddavitt: I’m from the Midland

ddavitt: I don’t towk rite:-)

ddavitt: I say ‘book’ not ‘buck’

BPRAL22169: Arrh doan tawk ri-yut, you mean?

ddavitt: Sort of but not that broad.

Lu11Bran: I’m from Kansas, meself

AGplusone: Sí, señor!

BPRAL22169: And we’re not in Kansas any more, Toto!

ddavitt: My friend at uni was from walsall; 40 miles away. We had trouble communicating the first few weeks

BPRAL22169: That’s true — no common language.

pakgwei: are you from england or Brooklyn?

pakgwei: 🙂

ddavitt: But voice is important

BPRAL22169: Same difference.

ddavitt: England:-)

ddavitt: Potteries; you know, Arnold Bennett, Wedgewood pottery

ddavitt: Andy; rein us in, we are getting far afield

pakgwei: i know tupperware

pakgwei:

AGplusone: ‘Dazed and Confused’ …

BPRAL22169: You think we can extend this to get him out of the country, while we’re at it?

pakgwei: send him to england

pakgwei: 🙂

BPRAL22169: Good idea.

pakgwei: wasnt the toipic racism?

ddavitt: err, thanks, I think…

BPRAL22169: Are we all on the same page in re: FF is an anti-racist statement?

ddavitt: OK, why did H make them cannibals in FF? Why go so OTT?

BPRAL22169: OTT?

ddavitt: over the top

AGplusone: Haven’t gotten many faxs asking whether bin Ladin’s camel is pregnant lately, but then I’m not in bidness anymore.

BPRAL22169: Ah.

pakgwei: i think FF was more observation than comment

ddavitt: He made them demons…worst nightmares..

DenvToday: Yes, I think it is.

Lu11Bran: He designed a future that would be a racist’s worst nightmare

ddavitt: Why did he do that?

BPRAL22169: Perhaps he was saying “look how much worse things could be”?

AGplusone: Deliberately so? Why didn’t he just leave it with them cultivated and kind?

ddavitt: That doesn’t really work for me

AGplusone: Instead of making them cannibals?

ddavitt: maybe David. Why not?

BPRAL22169: That wouldn’t work for the story — he has two conflicting principles:

ddavitt: Because that wouldn’t work with racists?

Lu11Bran: in a book about racism you have to push buttons, gouge egos, throw sand in the works

BPRAL22169: Cultural relativism: every culture evolves with its own values intact

ddavitt: But were many H readers likely to be racists?

BPRAL22169: versus the civil values of Western Civilization go down the tube.

DavidWrightSr: I personally don’t think that ‘racism’ is the main theme in FF

BPRAL22169: I don’t either.

ddavitt: Isn’t a love of Sf sort of saying that you are more tolerant of differences?

Lu11Bran: he’s not talking TO racists but ABOUT racism

ddavitt: You read about aliens

AGplusone: Ginny told me once that they liked Pat Frank’s stories … his post-apocalyptic involves a hero black man

ddavitt: If you can accept them green and with tentacles, a mere few shades of skin colour is nothing

BPRAL22169: Is that Mr. Adam?

Lu11Bran: this was during the height of the Civil Right’s Era… people were getting killed in the South

AGplusone: the Air Force veteran, no, Alas Babylon

AGplusone: and white villains

BPRAL22169: Right.

ddavitt: so if it isn’t racism was is it?

BPRAL22169: Andy, “what” was in the height of the civil rights era?

ddavitt: FF?

BPRAL22169: Pronouns, pronouns.

Lu11Bran: FF, wasn’t it written in 1963?

BPRAL22169: Can’t be — written in Jan/Feb 63

ddavitt: I tought you had stuff going on about then

AGplusone: not much

BPRAL22169: It was just ramping up at about that time.

DavidWrightSr: I think the main theme deals with ‘Power corrupts’

ddavitt: Wasn’t MLK killed in 64?

DenvToday: 68

Lu11Bran: 68

ddavitt: Ah..sorry

ddavitt: H ahead of his time again?

AGplusone: freedom marches began in late 50s ….

BPRAL22169: Same as Bobby Kennedy — ramping up for the 1968 election.

Lu11Bran: the Voter’s Right legislation wasn’t passed until … 64? 66?

BPRAL22169: That’s an important view of the subject matter — he was using dialog paradigms from before the Civil Rights movement.

AGplusone: Eisenhower sent in the 101st Airborne to Little Rock in 58, 59 …

BPRAL22169: Arkanas! Can no good come out of Arkansas!

DenvToday: None ever has

BPRAL22169: Not so far.

ddavitt: Would he have written Hugh differently in say 1970?

AGplusone: Told Faubus he’d nationalized the Arkansas Natl Guard and they could all go home.

ddavitt: Was he trying to make him PC for that era?

ddavitt: Are we judging him as lacking from our perspective and missing something?

BPRAL22169: Hugh Farnham’s attitudes seem conventionally “country club liberal” for that period.

ddavitt: Was that about as good as it got?

Lu11Bran: Don’t forget Heinlein was from the south (Missouri).

ddavitt: I mean, was Hugh a good guy?

AGplusone: I’m not even sure I’d go that far, Bill. They seemed simply in tune with the time for someone not from the south

BPRAL22169: I think he was trying to make Farnham PC for that period.

ddavitt: But NOW he seems condescending

AGplusone: country club liberal is an oxymoron …

ddavitt: I liked the point that we don’t get Joe’s last name

BPRAL22169: It wasn’t back then.

Lu11Bran: Let’s put it this way, the Commies in the ’30’s had a saying: “I’ll bring the folk singer, you bring the Negro”

AGplusone: country clubs are generally conservative, even back then

BPRAL22169: Heinlein always does such fascinating things like that with names.

ddavitt: It is typical though; slaves didn’t have last names

ddavitt: Or only that of their owners

ddavitt: Is that right?

AGplusone: Is there anything significant about the two towns of Farnham in England, Jane?

Lu11Bran: I’m convinced Heinlein modeled Joe on the Joseph story in the Bible

BPRAL22169: Well, yes, David, that was kind of the point of having an expression like that: someone who espoused liberal social values but didn’t act on them.

AGplusone: I agree with you, Andy

ddavitt: I lived near one of them; no I don’t think so

ddavitt: Not that i know of anyway

Lu11Bran: what does “Hugh” mean?

BPRAL22169: I always wondered what to make of The black Prince — couldn’t find anything in symbolical philosophy. But Potiphar does seem to work.

ddavitt: But didn’t Joe like Hugh?

ddavitt: Before they went forward?

BPRAL22169: And Joseph fell out with Potiphar because his wife was scorned.

Lu11Bran: Joe worked for Hugh, but I don’t think he liked him. I know I wouldn’t like the son of a gun

AGplusone: Hugh: prob. from “heart” or “mind”

BPRAL22169: I believe it was short for “Hubert.”

DenvToday: Actually, it’s short for “Hefner”

Lu11Bran: Ahh, I wonder – I wonder

BPRAL22169: Hsssss!

BPRAL22169: He did hang around with Heff a bit back in those days.

AGplusone: Simon Schuster’s 2d Collegiate ed, Websters … just says ‘heart’ or ‘mind’

Lu11Bran: OK, so what does “Farnham” mean?

AGplusone: … probably … just two cities in England so far as I can find

Lu11Bran: We have “Heart” or “Mind” of Farnham

BPRAL22169: “Ham” is a village — hamlet, actually. smaller than a town.

DenvToday: No kidding? Hef in the sixties. Non-apologetic sexism and hedonism at the Chicago mansion. Why not me, Lord?

Lu11Bran: I HATE NOT HAVING MY REFERENCE LIBRARY

BPRAL22169: I have thousands of books around me but not a single name reference book.

ddavitt: Hugh is Germanic, bright in mind and spirit

Lu11Bran: In that case what good are you?

BPRAL22169: But what about Hubert?

BPRAL22169: (I ask myself that constantly)

DenvToday: Yeah, what about Hubert?

ddavitt: Hubert is shining of mind

AGplusone: OHG

ddavitt: similar

DenvToday: Humber Humphrey should have retired the name.

ddavitt: barbara is strange, foreign..hmmm

DenvToday: Hubert Humphrey, that is.

BPRAL22169: “famous warrior” from the Germanic elements hun “warrior” and beraht “famous”. This name was introduced to Britain by the Normans. It was borne by two kings of Italy.

AGplusone: of course, Hugh Capet was the first Marshal of the Franks

BPRAL22169: That came from a meaning of names site.

AGplusone: ancestor of Pepin and Charlemagne?

ddavitt: Karen = pure. Very ironic

ddavitt: Pure of heart maybe

ddavitt: But for the time, not a good girl

AGplusone: Just a couple years ahead of the love generation

Lu11Bran: Darn, that was the daughter?

AGplusone: yep

ddavitt: with her shoes on..an eager beave…sorry

ddavitt: Yes, the one who died in childbirth

ddavitt: Duke = leader. Well, he tried

Lu11Bran: What is the name for the “other women”?

Lu11Bran: who goes back with Hugh

ddavitt: Barabara?

ddavitt: Foreign

ddavitt: strange

ddavitt: She was too, an outsider to the group

AGplusone: from the Latin, fem. of barbarus

ddavitt: A wild card in the bridge, playing cards analogy H uses in that story

Lu11Bran: She was the only one that seemed to have at least some grasp of reality

AGplusone: But she knew how to play by the book too, if she had to

ddavitt: She was an odd character

ddavitt: I didn’t like her much

ddavitt: Didn’t like anyone in that book much come to think of it

Lu11Bran: One of the problems I have with FF is my dislike of every character therein.

AGplusone: low mimetic chaacters ….

ddavitt: Nasty, small minded lot

AGplusone: you’re supposed to look down on them and understand their mistakes

Lu11Bran: with no redeeming social features

ddavitt: First part is easy

AGplusone: I thought Hugh had a few

ddavitt: I know 🙂

AGplusone: Ginny tells me they modeled him on the guy who built their home in Colorado Springs, named Hugh too

AGplusone: but he didn’t have a wife who drank

ddavitt: That has to be a Leslyn connection

ddavitt: A way of H getting it off his chest by writing about it?

BPRAL22169: Well, I just tried to get a surname site from Askjeeves dot com and tried to wade through the dinosaurs and abbreviations.

AGplusone: I felt it possible

AGplusone: and only had a daughter, not a

ddavitt: Don’t annoy a writer; he’ll put you in a book…

AGplusone: Duckie

AGplusone: They liked him. he could build anything

ddavitt: Duke is the best of the lot….

DenvToday: lol Jane I’ll remember that

AGplusone: Duckie?

AGplusone: Hah!

ddavitt: Wel, if Grace did represent Leslyn she had a bad ending…

Lu11Bran: In FF it is a male who is dominant while in Friday it is a woman who is dominant during the crisis’…. does anyone wish to speak to that (little cat amongst the pigeons)

BPRAL22169: Not “represent” — he may have used some traits of his experience, but writers generally reprocess stuff.

ddavitt: Sure..to avoid law suits

ddavitt: And because reality isn’t always that interesting

BPRAL22169: No — that’s a side benefit; they do it because it serves their art.

AGplusone: Duckie is possibly the biggest weakling next to the english professor in Dora’s story (the one figures he could run the bank better)

ddavitt: Is friday dominant?

ddavitt: Isn’t she Boss’s puppet?

BPRAL22169: There’s also a freedom/license issue raised between Hugh and Duke

Lu11Bran: No, the woman in the Troika in Canada

BPRAL22169: Duke’s conception of freedom is that he will endanger everybody in the shelter.

Lu11Bran: (I can’t remember her name)

ddavitt: Oh, janet, sorry

Lu11Bran: Yes, Janet

AGplusone: He has the ‘right’ to endanger them

ddavitt: Yes, she seems to be

AGplusone: because he’s “Duke” … he has a right to a ‘share’ … because he’s Duke

AGplusone: rest on his father’s laurels

ddavitt: I don’t agree entirely with that.

BPRAL22169: Funny — the U.S. falls apart into balkanized states, so Friday can get her personal unity.

AGplusone: How don’t you agree jane?

ddavitt: Isn’t that a bit of a stretch Bill? Or do you mean as a comparison of themes?

ddavitt: Well, this is old road we are travelling David…

DenvToday: I must be getting to bed. Work tomorrow. I’ll see you all on Saturday.

DenvToday: Night everybody!

Lu11Bran: bye….

AGplusone: night Ron

ddavitt: and I don’t have FF handy to refute you with brilinatly chosen quotations

ddavitt: Night Ron

DenvToday: Night…

DenvToday has left the room.

AGplusone: good, we’re even, you’ll have to make due with your memory

AGplusone: do

ddavitt: Duke is starting out at a disadvatage, thanks in great part to H’s neglect

Lu11Bran: make ’em up – that’s what everyone else does 😉

ddavitt: He is doing the best he can

ddavitt:

ddavitt: I never do that!!

AGplusone: Why? He’s a successful adult, a lawyer, bright, polished, obnoxious … what more did he need to sustain himself in Colorado.

ddavitt: Hugh humiliates him then expects loyalty. Duh…that’s so likely isn’t it?

AGplusone: He asks for it.

ddavitt: B didn’t think much of him and she is an outsider

AGplusone: Hugh should have simply shot him, and pushed him outside.

Lu11Bran: We’ve been going for an hour … does anyone want to take a break?

ddavitt: That would have shown what a hero he was?

AGplusone: Heroes survive. Dukes cause the boat to sink.

ddavitt: The group dynamics would have suffered from that

BPRAL22169: We just really got started; unless there is need, I say keep going for another 30 minutes or so.

ddavitt: Grace would have gone ballistic

AGplusone: No great loss.

ddavitt: B had just met him. Would she have slept with a man who had just murdered his son (her date)

AGplusone: Sedate her and hang her up in the larder for reserve supplies later on.

ddavitt: Well, maybe she would.

AGplusone: She didn’t like him, and was really there for Karen.

BPRAL22169: Oh, you’re really enjoying this, aren’t you?

ddavitt: Which of us?

ddavitt: This is an old, old fight

AGplusone: She was using Duke … as an entre.

ddavitt: An entree?

AGplusone: that one

ddavitt: Who was main course?

ddavitt: Oh, yes, someone else’s husband!

BPRAL22169: It was obvious they were at a restaurant…

Lu11Bran: what wine does one serve with long pork? a hearty burgandy?

AGplusone:

ddavitt: chianti?

AGplusone: only with fava beans

BPRAL22169: And fava beans.

BPRAL22169: Exactly.

ddavitt: How did H make it seem so nice in SIASL?

BPRAL22169: Did the bridge symbolism detract from what was going on, for anyone?

Lu11Bran: Bill and I can bore you for hours about that

ddavitt: That man could sell snowballs to Eskimos

AGplusone: That’s why I think btw, Andy, that the development in theme occurred almost immediately.

BPRAL22169: Andy and I can bore you for hours about anything.

ddavitt: Hey, I got the book; I’m a fan

AGplusone: I didn’t find it so. I played bridge then. Everyone did.

ddavitt: Wasn’t one of the titles a bridge one?

AGplusone: We all read Goren. yes, Grand Slam

ddavitt: I was totally lost with the bridge game

BPRAL22169: Yay. Yes — it was originally Grand slam

ddavitt: I can play it now but not at a level where I can see what’s going on

AGplusone: three grand slams …. 🙂

ddavitt: In their game

BPRAL22169: I think it’s like the chess game in Through the Looking glass — it doesn’t matter if you don’t follow it.

ddavitt: True

ddavitt: It adds background

AGplusone: typical what you did after dinner, unless you were into wife-swapping

BPRAL22169: And interestingly, Bridge is a game of partners and partnerships — and the book is about partners, too, isn’t it.

ddavitt: And swapping them

AGplusone: that could come after the bridge game

ddavitt: Can we equate the characters to cards?

ddavitt: Hugh is king

BPRAL22169: Which is another thing you can do at the end of a rubber. . . (whistling, not going there)

ddavitt: Ooh, that’s so tempting to play with…

AGplusone: Duke is the deuce of clubs, Joseph is the black knave …

ddavitt: That could work…

Lu11Bran: why is it always called “wife-swapping” – why not “husband swapping” or ….. and here I thought this was a family chat

ddavitt: But Duke is a jack

Dehede011 has entered the room.

Lu11Bran: Duke is a jerk

AGplusone: naw … false Jack

ddavitt: It’s a Heinlein chat…

Dehede011: Howdy

AGplusone: trumped

ddavitt: Hi Ron

BPRAL22169: Yo

Dehede011: Hi Jane, Hi all.

ddavitt: Who is Joker? ponse?

DavidWrightSr: Revolving Rons

BPRAL22169: We’re working on Bridge game symbolism in Farnham’s Freehold at the moment.

Lu11Bran:me—->afh

BPRAL22169: On the Silver shores of Gitchigumie

Lu11Bran: Did I just call someone by a wrong name?

Lu11Bran: first name, that is?

AGplusone: Don’t think so …

AGplusone: David is me, and David is David Wright too

Lu11Bran: *Whew!* Thought I made a mistake (I should know better!)

BPRAL22169: You can be Andy “David” Thornton

AGplusone: If you pay the franchise fee.

Lu11Bran: And you can be Bill “David” Patterson

Lu11Bran: And Jane “David” Davitt

BPRAL22169: We’re all Davids on this bus.

AGplusone: married to David Davitt

pakgwei: *hideing*

BPRAL22169: Of course,she’s already got a David Davitt.

BPRAL22169: ok, David.

AGplusone: Wadda we talk about in two weeks?

DavidWrightSr: BTW, I sent an invite to Connie Willis, but haven’t received any response.

Lu11Bran: People, I’ve got to get-up and drive 800 miles or so tomorrow so I’ve got to go

Lu11Bran: thank you for an enjoyable evening

AGplusone: okay, Andy, see you … 800 miles is fun.

Lu11Bran: of the mild sort

AGplusone: Not something I’d necessarily do for fun anymore, but fun

BPRAL22169: Have fun. I have no idea what’s in store for us in 2 weeks.

AGplusone: How ’bout Kondo?

Lu11Bran: bye all *poof*

Lu11Bran has left the room.

BPRAL22169: It would be good to have another writer.

AGplusone: but it was great to have a topic to talk about …

AGplusone: even if we drifted a bit

DavidWrightSr: This was a lot more on-topic than the last one.

BPRAL22169: True.

AGplusone: yes

BPRAL22169: I feel I has done my duty.

BPRAL22169: I’m going to check out afh and mail and then sign off. ‘Night, gents.

BPRAL22169 has left the room.

pakgwei: nite

pakgwei has left the room.

DavidWrightSr: Night. Chet.

AGplusone: right 🙂

DavidWrightSr: See ya later.

Log officially closed 11:50 P.M. EDT
Final End Of Discussion Log

Click Here to Return to Index


This entry was posted in Readers Group. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply