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The Other Reason Conservatives Have Zero Cultural Power

Yesterday I pointed out that the fact the idea that conservatives have zero cultural power is the product of pure narrative, and therefore a lie.

Conservatives could have actually thought about this for a moment and then said, “hey… Jeffro’s got a point. Our ideological enemies do want us to think we’re weak and unattractive. Maybe we shouldn’t abandon culture to the left because we really do have something to contend for in that space. And a much stronger hand than we ever imagined!”

But is that what happens…? Nope.

It’s not just that the Left has managed to push non-leftists out of every cultural platform in sight. But we also have a very vocal contingent of “conservatives” that are downright eager to mock, disqualify, and deride anyone attempting to push back against the Left’s cultural hegemony.

If you don’t believe me on this, I present to you exhibit A, a commenter going by the name of Groffin:

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien has been dead for four and a half decades, Edgar Rice Burroughs has been gone for nearly seven, and it’s been over eight since Howard Phillips Lovecraft and Robert Ervin Howard met their untimely demises. Their works survived the inept attempts at besmirchment of the resentful and creatively sterile subversives, but in response they have changed tract and co-opted the stories, made gross, irreverent, black-washed parodies of their work on the silver screen to present these men as the face of their cultural hegemony and progressive messages. Young people today are not reading LotR for Christian allegory or Tarzan for the ideal Man of Nature, they watch glitzy Hollywood “reimaginings” of them that is stripped of nuance and with a pro-diversity tagline slapped on. And for all your glorification of the insular and self-aggrandizing indie-literature circuit, you have no minds of comparable skill or prestige, and will not for years and years if ever.

People are reading Burroughs and Lovecraft and Howard. And they’re not just an antidote to Hollywood’s bastardizations. They are powerful inspirations. People read these authors and quit waiting around for someone else make culture for them and they go out and do it themselves.

Guys like Groffin? They’re waiting for the very people that instituted the dark age of the past forty years to hand out a prize to the guys that are challenging their supremacy. Here’s a clue, pal: revolutions don’t work that way!

A say this not as a black-pill but a reality check. A soil-bed for unconscious Conservative dreaming might still remain, but don’t stand on the graves of men long dead, point to their fully-converged and corporatized estates, and claim that Right-Wing art in the modern day is anything other than a cast-out desiccated sham. It reeks of delusion. For Hell’s pity, seriously hold up Jordan Peterson as an equal to those old greats!? The agnostic Canadian Libertarian whose singular political stance is resistance to constructed pronouns (side-stepping or acquiescing to Feminism and Multi-Culturalism whenever he can get away with it), whose “literary masterpiece” is an incredible shallow self-help book marketed to fatherless boys? If he’s the best we have, how can you unironically claim we haven’t hit rock bottom.

And now he goes the full Denethor. (Groffin, are you okay, man? You sound like you’re about to set yourself on fire!)

Really, it doesn’t matter who is in the vanguard upending the status quo, overturning the narrative, and taking back ground from the enemy. People like Groffin will be hanging back, leaving people that actually have convictions to fight their battles alone.

Congratulations, guy. You are the other reason why conservatives have zero cultural power. Yes, the mainstream conservative commentators of course get paid to prop up that lie. But guys like Groffin are much worse, though. They’ll police our cultural gulag for free.

43 responses to “The Other Reason Conservatives Have Zero Cultural Power

  1. Groffin March 4, 2018 at 10:49 am

    @Alexandru Constantin
    Charming. I’d like to know what has given you that conclusion of my character, beyond of course me merely and civilly disagreeing with you and Jeffro that classical literature is still an esteemed pastime in modern youth culture, let alone is somehow magically instilling a right-wing mindset on everyone who picks it up.
    It’s literally all bluster, that’s all you have. “Uh Ahktually, tons of kids are reading early-20th century pulps.” Where then? Because they’re not at my local library, my local book store, or my college literature club. They are reading Tolkien in that “Intersectional-Feminist Perspective on Lord of the Rings” class, but I somehow doubt you’ll like the lessons those people are getting from the books.
    Show me numbers, and show me impact. But you can’t do you and your mindless cronies reflexively insult me. Explain to me how the Left has monopolized the entertainment industry if these Magic Books of yours are so effective at convincing people of conservative values. And don’t think I haven’t noticed how you judiciously refused to quote and answer the paragraph in which I point out how some of these early-20th “Right-Wing Idealogues” you obsess over were actually progressivism-supporters in their day and outspoken xenophiles.
    I think I know what the problem is; you’re living in the past and are territorial. When you hold up a piles of works that were written 70-100+ years ago and go “See, conservatism is still producing great art!” and I point out “Conservatism inarguably has a diminished presence in the art world, hiding behind reprints of Golden Age stories doesn’t change that fact,” you screech, because to your all-encompassing yet fragile ego, a critique of the modern state is an attack on everything that came before as well.
    Yes, Conan the Cimmerian was a brilliant piece of work that no one has really topped since then; that says as much about the weakness of us as the strength of Robert Howard. And even then, those works weren’t as influential as you claim, or didn’t push the politics you read into them, because otherwise the culture wouldn’t have morphed in such a way as to bury him, and people’s mental image of him wouldn’t be of a fur-loincloth and an affected Austrian accent.
    You try to have it both ways. Either these books are decades-old classics that are taken for granted as cultural icons, or they are newly discovered innovative works. And hint: the first one aligns with reality.
    I repeat; Tolkien died in the 1900s, we need a new “Author of the Century” going forward and it’s not gonna anyone in your clique. It’s not gonna be you. You can’t even when an internet argument with a South American feminist who idolizes a child-abuse enabling subversive author.
    Wake up and acknowledge the blockbuster movie adaptations, the well has been befouled. I don’t want us to give up (though you want to believe that because otherwise you can’t dismiss or refute what I say) I want us to stop using dead men as a crutch and actually make worthy art. And to do that, you are going to have to get. The hell. Over yourself.
    Also thank you for tacitly admitting that self-help books are fiction, and that Jordan Peterson is a snake-oil salesman.

    • Groffin March 4, 2018 at 10:50 am

      *Can’t even WIN an internet argument.

    • Jesse Abraham Lucas March 4, 2018 at 4:10 pm

      Groffin, I like your attitude. The dissident right as a whole is vulnerable to fawning over e-celebs rather than approaching the arts with appropriate fear and trembling. I’ve been critical of the same sorts of things you have been, though I haven’t been as loud as I should have. If you come on our Discord we’ve been having a similar discussion, I’d love to see more of your input there.

    • Alexandru Constantin March 4, 2018 at 5:45 pm

      I don’t know what this wall of text says because I don’t want to read your cuck tirade but I know you are a bitch because you act like a bitch. It’s quite simple.

  2. Brian Niemeier March 4, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    “Old man yells at cloud.” Film at eleven.

    The folks who pace about wringing their hands because the newfangled talkies are showing flappers in immodest dress (and why can’t they make decent films like The Birth of a Nation anymore?) are stuck in a terminal analog mindset.

    Conservatives forfeited Hollywood, libraries, and academia to the Left decades ago. What the Conservative ghetto police forget is that we fight the Left because they inevitably destroy whatever they touch. Hollywood and academia are well on their way to cultural irrelevance. Libraries have been relics of historical interest only for years. I should know. My mother is a recently retired librarian.

    Don’t bother looking for signs of cultural resurgence in the ruins of the old converged institutions. You won’t find it there. Meanwhile, Conan books are flying off Amazon’s digital shelves, and guys like Nick Cole move from strength to strength as B&N crumbles.

    Don’t give money to people who hate you.

    Don’t seek approval from dying institutions that hate you.

    • Groffin March 4, 2018 at 2:16 pm

      “Anyone who criticizes my views is a defeatist!”-Says the man who advocates giving up any and all hope of ever entering let alone influencing the syndicated market in any capacity and obsesses over the resell-numbers of early-20th works.
      I find it funny how you people never discuss the numbers or money made on actual new fiction, still waiting for sales to crack triple digits to justify patting yourself on the back? Do you realize how heavily abridged, edited, and distorted the classics allowed on storefronts are? Do you realize that the market growth for e-books has plateaued? Do you think you can build the future by digging up and claiming credit for fiction written a century in the past?
      “Don’t give money to people you hate.” I will keep that in mind, along with the ad hominoms and vulgar vitriol thrown my way for having the audacity to have a dissenting opinion. In the meantime, take your own advice and try to remember the politics of the people controlling and profiting off the estates of the men whose bones you are using as a soapbox and advertising platform.

      • Brian Niemeier March 4, 2018 at 3:19 pm

        “I find it funny how you people never discuss the numbers or money made on actual new fiction…”
        A) You don’t find it funny, and everyone here knows it. B) You’re either ignorant of lying, as numbers are easy to find. The Alt-Hero Freestartr raised over a quarter of a million dollars. Legionnaire made the same in royalties in six months, and that’s just book 1 of a nine-book series, each volume of which has enjoyed similar sales. Though not in such lofty company, I quit my day job in 2016.

        “Do you realize that the market growth for e-books has plateaued?”
        False. Amazon themselves reported overall eBook growth. Digital manga outsold print manga for the first time in 2017. It’s only tradpub, with their artificially jacked up prohibitive pricing that’s seen a decline in eBook sales.

        “I will keep that in mind, along with the ad hominoms and vulgar vitriol thrown my way for having the audacity to have a dissenting opinion.”
        You don’t know what an ad hominem is. As for wagging your finger at us for daring to be so vulgar without lifting that finger to back up your indignant act, that’s why nobody listens to you pearl-clutching schoolmarms.

        Time to get out of the pool, waterwings. This is adult swim.

      • Jeff Duntemann March 4, 2018 at 10:37 pm

        Ebooks have *not* plateaued. Perhaps ebooks published with an ISBN–something of less and less usefulness as time goes on–but you can sell ebooks without an ISBN. Those numbers are what traditional publishers are using to try to convince the world that they’re still relevant. Once B&N goes under, there won’t be enough retail shelf space to support the Big 5, and there will be blood in the streets of Manhattan. I know how publishing companies die. I’ve seen it up close and a little too personal. It won’t be pretty.

        I say this as one who has worked in publishing for a long time (30 years in various capacities) and recently retired. The business model is corrupt and much too dependent on a set of conditions–primarily ubiquitous large chain booksellers where store positioning can be bought–that no longer apply. The cultural left has hitched its wagon to a dying business model. My primary point here follows from that: The cultural left is increasingly irrelevant in publishing, especially in genre fiction.

        I’ve made a sort of second career of teaching aspiring writers that they don’t have to be afraid of traditional publishers, nor of the cultural left. I tell them to write what people want to read, publish it themselves, and laugh at anyone who calls them names or says they can’t do it. I know a fair number of people in several genres who are making a solid living at indie publishing. Their number grows all the time. Most don’t say much. They’re too busy writing books and selling them.

        Indie writers who look to all those Old Dead White Authors do so for a reason: Those guys wrote what people wanted to read, and they’re still being read decades after their deaths. We want to look closely at what they did and how they did it so that we can learn from their success. Brian Niemeier pretty much figured it out, and he (and a host of other young-ish men and women writers) are the future of genre fiction. It’s kind of obvious for a secret: Write what people want to read. Is that so hard to understand?

        It is for the cultural left, who (to borrow a venerable piece of snark) sold their birthright for a pot of message. People won’t pay for message. They’ll pay for something to make a commute or an airplane ride pass more quickly. They’ll pay to be shown something that makes them gasp in astonishment, or shiver, or realize that there is hope and a future.

        We’re playing a long game. It will still be going on decades after I’m dead. Culture is the second derivative of entertainment. You don’t get there if you don’t entertain, and our goal is to entertain. Eventually the culture will belong to neither right nor left, but to creators of all sorts who think for themselves, obey no tribe, and provide what consumers want. Full stop.

      • Brian Niemeier March 5, 2018 at 11:22 am

        @Jeff Duntemann: Bless you, sir!

  3. Dismal Farmer March 4, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    Well, really conservatives don’t have any cultural power is because culture is downstream from actual power, as is obvious from observing any human social institution from the family on up. Since conservatives are merely catechically retarded liberals, they submit to the same liberal power regime which engenders liberal culture. That there is no cultural power in submitting to the power which determines culture is a tautology.

    Now, Traditionalists have a heck of a lot of cultural power. Just look at all the hijabs! This of course is because everyone knows Traditionalists are willing to exercise their actual corporal power to promote their culture.

    But the cancer of conservatism has metastasized to quite an extent throughout Western tradition.

  4. Groffin March 4, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    @Brian Niemeier
    “You don’t find it funny, and everyone here knows”
    Don’t tell me how I feel or other people think.
    “numbers are easy to find”
    And easy to compare, which is why Jeffro didn’t actually bring any up in this discussion.
    “Alt-Hero Freestartr raised over a quarter of a million dollars”
    Oh wow, that’s so much. I’m sure the literal hundreds of liberal-hipster game devs and webcomic artists that have held multi-million dollar crowd-funding campaigns are quaking in their loafers.
    “Not in such lofty company,”
    That you consider this lofty shows the sheer destitution of the current situation, and that you fail to meet even that bar shows small your reach in particular is.
    “I quit my day job in 2016.”
    I’m sure you were just as productive before as you are now.
    “artificially jacked up”
    Everything about markets is manipulated and manipulable; you are manufacturing a personal narrative of the “inevitable” dominance of digital sales because you have transparently put all your chips down on the assumption that physical copies will cease to exist soon because “it’s the future.” I’m not playing along.
    “You don’t know what an ad hominem is”
    Ad hominem- an attempt to devalue an argument not by addressing it but by deriding the character of intelligence of the one making it.
    I’d say Jeffro cutting up part of my original comment without addressing it directly beyond “nuh uh, people are reading!” and comparing me to Denethor in a curt dismissal of my worries without substantial evidence of why i’m apparently hysterical qualifies as ad hominem. As is Alex calling me a “piece of shit” for daring to back-talk the apparent Great Right-Wing Media Hope.
    You yourself strawmanned men in your first comment pretty blatantly with that pithy quote I didn’t say, and you also didn’t directly answer any of my points in said first comment. Don’t try to deny it, it’s right there on screen in plain English.
    “without lifting that finger to back up your indignant act”
    What is this supposed to mean? Do you expect me to physically track you down and fight you? All I said was that Jeffro’s initial prognosis of the state of Conservatism in the modern media landscape was rose-tinted, reliant on nostalgia, and missing the forest for the trees, and the next day i’m swarmed with slurs and mockery by nakedly defensive small-time hacks. I’m not even offended, i’m disappointed; the three of you are reacting childishly and pathetically.
    “Time to get out of the pool, waterwings. This is adult swim.”
    Spoken like a true Snarky Leftist. When you inevitably lose what little appeal you have as an actual author in half-a-decade, you’ll fit right in with the bitter-Beta back-up columnists over at The Mary Sue.

    • Xaver Basora March 6, 2018 at 6:14 pm

      When you claim that ebooks have plateaued you ignore that publishers have actively conspired to make ebooks either hard to find or damn scarce. In Europe the publishers have even convinced govt to preserve their paper oligopolies under the guise of saving the bookstore(tm) and preserving culture. The result is that a lot of the books i want to read particularly the canonical books are impossible. Further most ebooks are 3xcluded from the 5% discount
      Worse a lot of ebooks are deliberately overpriced. For example a book by Toni Soler entitled Historia de Catalunya (modestia a part) the paperback costs 6,99€ but the ebook is 9,99. Now tell me how are electrons more expensive than a paper book?
      I won’t buy the book because the shipping costs are prohibitive.
      The publishers categorically refuse to offer either ebooks or at affordable prices.

      In Europe,especially on Spain, indie publishing is growing but nowhere where it is in the Anglophone world and it’s still tough.

  5. Brian T Renninger March 4, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    So Groffin,

    The question I have is so what are you doing? What’s your strategy for success for the values you espouse?

    Regardless of the details all that’s being said here is irrefutable. Conservatism does have cultural influence greater than zero. It’s a pretty mild statement. But, it seems to have put you out into left field of attacking things that were not said. Nobody has said the the left hasn’t infiltrated institutions. Nobody has said, Jordan Peterson as a writer rivals the greats of the past. Nobody has said the left doesn’t have more cultural influence. What is being is that conservatives has influence greater than zero and that that is not nothing.

    Why is it that you are married to the idea of having no influence? Why are you using your little power to influence on this particular fight? What good thing are you ignoring in favor of trying to make sure some people feel powerless?

    • Jesse Abraham Lucas March 4, 2018 at 7:25 pm

      I think he’s saying we shouldn’t get complacent with our influence and act like it’ll win the war for us. If that’s true, it’s true, even if he doesn’t have a detailed plan for success.

  6. Rick Stump March 4, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    Category error.
    You’re confusing low culture with all culture.

  7. Psychokitteh March 4, 2018 at 8:27 pm


    Sales or GTFO. Tell us please, what have you written to raise the interest and spirits of young men? What classics (hard copy) or digital editions have you handed to college students or others?

    I’ll stand with writers like Nick Cole and Brian Niemeier, and bloggers like Jeffro, and fight for the future. Time to build a skull pyramid that reaches orbit, and make the Left run in fear.

    I’m stuck at about 2/3 the way through “Souldancer” (Sorry, Brian!) because I got lost in the plot; the book went on digital shelf until critical work and volunteer work gets done first. I like the writing, but I need mental energy elsewhere.

    • Brian Niemeier March 4, 2018 at 8:41 pm

      No worries. My job is to give you an escape from the grind of reality when you need it. SD will be right there waiting for you, and I guarantee the payoff is worth it. Book 3 hits the ground running and never lets up the pace!

  8. Felix Bellator March 5, 2018 at 12:12 am


    Lighten up, Francis!

  9. Bot Scourge (@scrittoir) March 5, 2018 at 5:20 am

    Groffin, that was one long whine. That’s all it was. What is the use of you?

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  11. malcolmthecynic March 6, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    I want to know when we all just gave up and gave in. Was it the Castalia/superversive/pulp rev crowd?

    Right wing art is a cast out dedicated sham? Huh. Interesting. It’s almost as if whole movements that have seen massive success are growing to fix that problem- if it even is one.

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  14. jaynsand March 8, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    “You can’t even when an internet argument with a South American feminist who idolizes a child-abuse enabling subversive author.”

    Well, that’s…flattering, I guess. Cryptic, but flattering.

  15. The Practical Conservative March 9, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    I found this entire discussion interesting enough to consider blogging about some of its details, but I’ve got too much offline stuff to knock out this month, so I’ll just comment and hope wordpress tracks it.

    Right wing art has the Protestant problem– there’s always another splinter group. Combined with the usual lapsing into cliques that quickly become self-dealing and closed off to newbies, Groffin has some valid criticisms buried under the cranky reactionary walls of text.

    That’s where the Castalia/Superversive/PulpRev stuff is. If any new people wanted to join, it doesn’t matter, they aren’t allowed in. We can all see the same few names bantzing back and forth on google+/twitter/gab and the big old “closed to submissions” signs three months after announcing yet another “Regressing Harder 2.0” magazine quite well. And while some of the material has promise or snap, there is quite a bit that isn’t all that.

    Being able to handle reasonable criticism goes a long way and this blog post and most of the comments responding to Groffin are not examples of that. I mean, I’ve read a lot of Castalia/PulpRev/Superversive stuff and paid for quite a few things and it sure looks like you’re not allowed to say meh about meh fiction because muh pulprev or whatever. Getting snarky about mediocre fiction is just replicating what mediocre SJWs do with less of their media platform and reach. Lying about numbers and traffic, same. I can see what sells because I keep up with this as I’m extremely supportive of conservative media alternatives (I use my checkbook power, as already noted). A lot of these writers aren’t very good. Some are decent, and some have real potential. I found a couple of really promising, decently selling authors via Castalia’s blog roundups of sci-fi and fantasy. But I also got burned multiple times by the promotion of crummy stuff as AH MAYYYYY ZINNNNNGGGGGG. It’s very worth noting the stuff I found is not from people in “the movement”, but from indies who happen to be writing cool stuff that is pretty clean and not-progressive and entertaining and who Get Paid.

    Fundamentally, Castalia the publishing house has almost-mainstream tastes, so there’s a chance of a breakout hit there that takes it to the next level up. Castalia the blog has too many cooks with much less mainstream or good taste, and there are some signs of their recommendations becoming narrower and lower quality than even six months ago. The Superversive/Pulprev stuff is mostly weird, esoteric and inauthentic

    I read very little “pulp”, but I read plenty of what was current when pulp was around and which outsold pulp because it was widely popular mainstream fiction that pulp riffed on/subverted/etc. Once I saw that none of the pulp-obsessives were reading old books that were not pulp, I became a lot more bearish on the prospects of the whole shebang. And this little discussion thread merely confirms the validity of that bearishness.

    • Jesse Abraham Lucas March 10, 2018 at 11:24 am

      One of the instigating factors for the pulp revolution was the discovery that a lot of old books that were pulp were actually high-quality and very well-written. This aspect has become confused, often overshadowed, by the discovery that those same authors had ridiculously high wordcounts and a lot of action, and what that’s produced in practice is this weird thing where a movement started by noticing that the pulp stereotype was a lie ends up, to an extent, embracing that stereotype as a good thing.

      We’re still hashing that out. Expect a few more Internet arguments before it’s done. Most of my work has been as an editor, where I applied a very light touch on the PulpRev Sampler. You’ll probably find that to be a mixed bag as well, but I hope you notice the gems in there. The next, upcoming project is the Swords of St. Valentine anthology, which I’ll be putting a heavier hand on.

      And the next? There’s a vocal faction that’s growing frustrated at the output of the wordmaxing-yourself-into-a-good-writer technique. We’re discussing a massive reading challenge, asking the pulprev to read AT LEAST the complete works of Shakespeare and the King James Bible, to wash out some of that modernist filth we’ve been rooted in and let us draw from what our heroes drew from.

      Riffing on contemporary works has never been a design principle in this movement (I refer exclusively to pulprev, as I’m not involved with superversive). It’s about finding the spark that gave The Broken Sword and The Face in the Frost and The Moon Pool and everything written by the Man from Texas their incredible power.

      The constant demand that critics accept their genius was never that spark.

      • The Practical Conservative March 14, 2018 at 5:17 pm

        I posted one or two comments to your blog post about all this stuff and I’m writing a blog post about the core issues I am concerned with. I’ll post the link here and there I guess when I’m done, probably as late as the weekend though.

    • jaynsand March 13, 2018 at 7:50 pm

      I think that one possible reason why conservatives in general tend not to be at the forefront of arts and literature lies in the primary dictionary definition of ‘conservative:’ “holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion.”

      Yes, ‘typically in relation to politics or religion,’ but conservatism is a general attitude and can extend to science, art and literature as well. Establishing a canon of Great Literature in general or in SFF is a fine thing, but adhering too rigidly to a canon and judging all subsequent literature as ‘good’ by how closely it quotes the canon in its main points and ‘bad’ by how far it departs from the canon can lead to the canon hardening into a confining straitjacket. The 19th century Impressionists revolted against the conservative Academy by painting in a new way that was vilified as bad for not adhering to the established classical academic standards, and it was only the beauty of some of their work that eventually made the establishment grudgingly admit that some of the stuff they did was worth doing, and eventually enshrine the Impressionists in the canon themselves, which did not prevent the establishment from later ranting at the Cubists and the nonrepresentational artists. It’s an ongoing, eternal process.

      When conservatives get upset at recent changes they often hark back to an earlier time when all was good by their standards, but often their desire to see themselves as they are now in the great figures of yore colors their perception of the past. Like, say, Tolkien. They count him now as a ‘conservative’ because he was a devout Catholic and sympathetic to the concept of aristocracy. However, they overlook the fact that in his time and place a Catholic was considered at best a doubtful figure among the conservative establishment of England, which was heart and soul with the majority Church of England. Converting to Catholicism from Anglicanism – as Tolkien’s mother did – was considered a radical, disreputable yielding to the wiles of the corrupt church of the Scarlet Woman – certainly not a conservative thing to do in that time, in that place. He was sympathetic to the concept of aristocracy – as well as to the concept of noblesse oblige, the duties of the aristocracy to the commons – but he was also anti-imperialist – which was also NOT a conservative attitude of the time. Shades of gray, not black and white.

      Calling a canon the measure of Good and THE Model to Emulate (like, say, Jeffro, and his adorable Appendix), and judging new works by how closely they resemble your canon as Good while judging works that are different from the Canon – perhaps even subversive of it – as automatically Bad isn’t really good for literature.

      Why? It’s true that when authors rudely disregard accepted standards and write outside the boundaries, most of what they produce will be crap. But it is also true that when authors respect established standards and write carefully within those boundaries, most of what they produce will ALSO be crap. As the great Theodore Sturgeon (who wrote some great pulp and spent most of his career pushing at the boundaries of the Acceptable) remarked: 90% of EVERYTHING is crap.
      So while conservatives are indeed capable of writing well, the rude subversive Canon Dissers who are willing to do something new and different will always have the edge. Because that 10 percent of good work that they produce will have the added virtue of being attractively different and novel. Whereas, no matter how well wrought a work written is that respectfully conforms to the existing canon, no matter how well it emulates the best and hits those dear old familiar beats, it cannot escape the feeling of being TOO familiar, being One More Slice Off the Same Old Baloney.
      Besides, dividing things into Good and Bad is another hobble on good fiction. One CAN make wonderful works of art using only black and white, but using shades of gray offers greater flexibility and variety (not to mention all the colors).

      • The Practical Conservative March 14, 2018 at 5:13 pm

        Well, in this particular situation it’s two duelling black/white approaches, neither of which is sufficiently authentic to break out into a large audience, and one of which (the SJW/progressive black/white) is heavily promoted like a rich man’s untalented mistress or relation.

        This was an interesting comment. It’s entertaining that you do engage and though you’re a feminist and all that, you really like Tanith Lee and so you already have substantially above average taste, which is one of those unexpected finds.

      • jaynsand March 18, 2018 at 11:00 am

        Thank you *curtseys*
        Re: Tanith Lee: which Tanith Lee do you like the best? The wonderful writer of YA like the Black Unicorn trilogy? I like her a lot. The author of classic adult SFF like Biting the Sun? I adore her. (BTW, if you like those Tanith Lees, I HIGHLY recommend Uprooted by Naomi Novik).
        The more explicit books, where the hints of pansexuality seen in the adult SFF are brought out in more detail, sometimes along with more explicit violence, like, say, The Books of Venus or the Books of Paradys? I like a lot of her, though to me it’s hit or miss. Or the extreme of her spectrum, which often goes right into grimdark sadism (like the books of Vis, or the Birthgrave)? I don’t care for that aspect of her, often finding it unreadable. But it’s all one author, an author I love. And I wonder if she had forced herself to suppress all writing of the kind I disliked by telling herself it was shameful and wrong to write so – would she still have been able to write the books I loved as well? Somehow I doubt it.
        And if we can have that diversity (oops, there’s that word) in a single author and have some of her work be classic – then why not in the whole field of SFF and be willing to see what comes out of it?

        “Well, in this particular situation it’s two duelling black/white approaches, neither of which is sufficiently authentic to break out into a large audience, and one of which (the SJW/progressive black/white) is heavily promoted like a rich man’s untalented mistress or relation.”

        I’m not sure which work you’re referring to, that isn’t ‘sufficiently authentic to break out into a large audience’, but is somehow heavily promoted anyway. Would that apply to Neil Gaiman’s work, for example? Do you think it’s not sufficiently, authentically entertaining, but is only promoted into a simulacrum of popularity due to his liberal (AFAIK) views?
        Thing is, ANY institution – whether it’s a government, a religion, or a labor union – can become hidebound and conservative by the primary dictionary definition…saying ‘this is the way we’ve done it, therefore this is the RIGHT way and change is bad,’ regardless of what they’re being conservative ABOUT. You can even see that in Jeffro’s narrow vision of what constitutes ‘conservative’ and therefore good in his eyes right now. Dungeons and Dragons, he’s okay with, he knew it as a child, therefore to HIM it’s perfectly compatible with the concept of something old and good and traditional and conservative. But when D&D first became popular, it was distrusted and positively LOATHED by the conservatives of the time on religious grounds – check THIS out:

        When I first saw this I brought it to my friends I’ve been playing D&D with since college, and told them how TERRIBLY my feelings were hurt that they’d never invited ME to join the coven. :D
        It was also distrusted by conservatives on non-religious grounds, based on 1950’s-era psychology, the kind that burned comic books as a scourge to youth – saying that D&D and fantasy literature at large dangerously promoted confusion among children and young adults between fantasy and reality, leaving them unfit to deal with the latter. Le Guin wrote a great essay on this attitude in the 70’s:…/02/Why-are-Americans-Afraid-of-Dragons.docx
        So if what was once degenerate, radical and dangerous can change over time into a beloved institution that even the veriest conservative (as Jeffro presumably is) can wholeheartedly embrace, then maybe an attitude of coolheaded critique is better for conservative art in the long run than bawling “Man the barricades! The barbarians are at the gates, and they’re SNEAKY! Pull up the drawbridges, and anyone who tries to enter without acknowledging the supreme virtue of Appendix N and swearing to model their work after it in subject and morality is a subversive degenerate who should be beaten with (figurative) tire irons!”

      • The Practical Conservative March 20, 2018 at 2:06 pm

        When I was in the demographic for her YA, I preferred the Paradys writing. Now that I’m not, I like Tanaquil more, curiously enough. I like her short stories best, though they are wildly varying in quality, the best ones are, of course, well crafted and authentic. I think she falls into the same too-private category as a lot of writers I like who just aren’t that popular.

  16. Pingback: Another Astonishing One Star Review for Appendix N! | Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

  17. Pingback: Trouble in Pulp Paradise | Camestros Felapton

  18. tomia March 17, 2018 at 5:57 am

    You’re a coward Jeffro.

  19. King Richard March 17, 2018 at 10:39 am

    The real issue is that too many “conservatives” aren’t, leading them to fail to be aware of actual Conservative art and such. Combined with an habitual conflation of “low culture” with “all culture”. Thus instead of looking at excellent work from people like Prince Hans-Adam the argument is about whether or not a pop singer should wear red or if the 120 page novel you read on the beach should or should not be written by an Etruscan.
    This is akin to ignoring Dicksee to argue about the shoes on a music hall dancer or the font of a broadsheet.
    Low culture is dominated by people of low skill, low morals, and low cunning? Of course. When a field was small, niche, and obscure the creators were more dedicated and talented? Naturally. Etc.

  20. The Practical Conservative March 20, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    Necroing this thread with my response post, a little late and not what I thought I’d write, but that is ever the way of such things.

  21. Pingback: Heckling vs Criticism - SuperversiveSF

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