I used to write fiction. I suppose I still do, at least in several continuing outside projects. But there has been a turn in my interests, away from apocalyptic satire (my genre, both inside science-fiction, as well as with personal apocalypse stories of one person, or a group of people, watching their lives fall apart.) I have this one story–no. Never mind. This is the problem, or at least one of them, with writers of fiction. Get us started talking about our work and we will never shut up. We won’t even tell you the story, but boast of technique and inspiration and self-proclaimed genius. We will be infinitely proud of ourselves while boring our audience after a few stray minutes.
This site–Recording Editorial History–falls somewhere in between fact and fiction. Oh, sure, opinions are true, at least to the person expressing them, but I have gotten plenty of mail (not all of it hate mail) telling me just how wrong I am. They explain to me what the real truth is, trying to teach me, hoping to sway me away from heresy, and come back into the fold as a proper human being.
Of course, sometimes the opinions I express here are not really my own. You see, I collect human beliefs and belief systems. They fascinate me. There are times when I try them out to gauge responses. To give you an example of just how far the shift in beliefs can impact other people I will disclose that, numerous times, for the same comments, I have been called both a ‘liberal snowflake’ and a ‘right-wing fascist.’ I’ve been declared a Communist and a Nazi. There is a certain satisfaction for someone like me to evoke such strong, conflicted feelings across the spectrum of beliefs. I suppose this has become my ambition any longer–provocateur. It is easy enough to take sensitive issues–race, gender, sexuality, politics, religion, and attempt a rational discussion (or not), only to be met with fanaticism. And this is what I am interested in. I am interested in absolutism, in the way individuals define truth for themselves, and the rest of the world, regardless of what anyone else thinks.
I have a tag line on this site: “When lies become another face of truth.” That has been my focus from the moment I began writing these pieces, which goes back well before the rise of social media. I used to scribble commentary in musty notebooks when I was sixteen years old, a mean-spirited teenager only interested in offending people with ‘fucks’ and graphic sex and violence. And it has had the same title ever since. I have been recording editorial history. I have been gathering all these different ideas, often in conflict with one another, for more than thirty years. It has taught me a lot about human nature–more than I probably ever wanted to know.
As I said, I used to write fiction. Talk to anyone of a literary bent (I have both a Bachelor’s, and a Master’s degree in English, so this perspective certainly applies to me and my pretensions), and they will tell you that you can learn more about the state of the world from fiction, than any biased history text. And this is often, sadly, quite true. History books, almost all of them, are unfortunately written with a specific agenda in mind–all of them revisionist in one way or another, attempting to teach the ignorant present past lessons about how either noble or awful we have always been.
PC cultures are destructive ideologies that bury the truth under an engineered ‘acceptable morality.’ And there is a reason I wrote ‘PC’ instead of flatly ‘Political Correctness.’ And we all know that being ‘politically correct’ is the zone of pussies and professional victims, crying their outrage about anything with the slightest implication of inequality. People following this code ruin the magical diversity of language–ruin diversity itself, something that, on the surface, they claim to be celebrating. They are toxic, people who think like this. They are George Orwell’s thought police. They are a danger to freedom, and they need to be swatted aside not with attacks, or mocking and trying to enrage them, but with profound indifference; with head shakes and laughter. All we need to do is ignore them, and walk away, and all that is left for them to rage against is themselves.
But the right has a PC culture too, which is every bit as virulent, equally censorious, and filled with the same fascist demands of submission to beliefs perhaps not your own. We can call this style of presumed righteousness ‘Patriotic Correctness.’ How dare you not salute my flag! How dare you take a knee in protest! You don’t like it, don’t wanna worship it the way I do, you can get the hell outta my country! This is the sort of absurdity–the variation of chanting ‘Racist!’ in someone’s face (someone quite possibly actually racist)–that people who really don’t believe in freedom take to heart.
Freedom is the ability to express your disapproval of anything–anything! The First Amendment to the Constitution was devised, primarily, because people were getting executed for mocking the King, and were being persecuted for following different religions (or none at all). It was about belief, about expression, and the ability to live together in harmony despite our different opinions (and how well that is working out these days . . .) In other words, the very freedom that our noble troops have been fighting for is the freedom to say ‘fuck your flag’ or ‘you’re president’s an idiot,’ or even ‘America is a shithole.’ This is the definition of true freedom. When one tries to enforce moral codes on beliefs, we no longer live in a free society. Outlawing burning a flag is insanity. Telling someone they should go to prison because their experiences with a certain class of people has caused them to generalize their hatred is the methodology of a police state.
And so I declare that everything has sank into a bubbling goulash–the melting pot actually melting as the heat keeps rising. Facts are no longer relevant to so many people . . . I wonder if there is hope for the future? I wonder how that future might be written. And I am horrified to think what might be passed off as the truth.