On the Confederate Flag, Symbols, and Who Decides

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The Confederate flag comes down in South Carolina 7/10/15

I had some quick thoughts about the Confederate flag controversy. I’ve heard a lot of otherwise reasonable and intelligent people claim that the flag means something other than slavery and racism to them. Southern heritage and pride comes up a lot, and no one is saying it’s not okay to be proud of where you come from. I lived in the South for six years, and there is beauty to be had almost everywhere you go.

But.

Here’s the deal. You need to learn to seperate Southern heritage and pride, which are entirely understandable and justifiable things, from a symbol of racism and hatred. Because I’m sorry folks, but that’s what the Southern Cross is. It was flown by traitors to the country who seceded so they could preserve their slave-based economy. It was once more revived in the 1950’s as a symbol of segregation and Jim Crow laws.

What white southerners think the flag means to them is immaterial. They are not the people who get to decide what the flag represents.

Think of it like this. We don’t ask the Jews to accept whatever meaning the decedents of Nazi soldiers choose to believe the swastika means, because they were the victims of the evil perpetrated under that symbol.

In the same respect, it’s not the decedents of white slave owners we should be asking about the meaning of the Confederate flag. It’s the decedents of the slaves. And not just decedents, we’re also talking about people who are still with us who lived through the beatings, arrests, hoses, dogs, stones, and even lynchings committed under that symbol during the Civil Rights movement.

If you care about fairness, equality, and compassion, those are the people whose opinion should carry the most weight with you.

It’s okay to be proud of being from the South. It’s even okay to be proud of your ancestors who fought and died for a matter of principle that turned out to be on the wrong side of history.

But it’s not okay anymore to continue supporting the symbol and embodiment of those sins, while insisting that everyone affected by them accept the justifications and meaning you have created for yourself while ignoring their lived experiences.

That time is long past.

Scott Walker: “God is Calling Me to Put a Democrat in the White House”

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Yesterday afternoon, Wisconsin Governor and conservative icon Scott Walker launched his utterly doomed campaign for the Presidency of the United States. In a fundraising email sent out to supporters, Walker spoke at length about his Christian faith and how he came to decide to embark on the quixotic quest for the White House.

“My relationship with God drives every major decision in my life. Each day I pray and then take time to read from the Bible and from a devotional named Jesus Calling. God has a plan for everyone, and His plan for me is to run for President… and get absolutely hammered.”

Pointing to other candidates in the GOP field who were also drafted by God to be eviscerated by the eventual Democratic nominee, such as Mike Huckabee and perennial nitwit Rick Santorum, Walker’s spirits only rose:

“The Almighty has called upon many of His loyal servants to sacrifice their political futures this election season. It is my opinion that no one candidate really encapsulates all of the completely awful, regressive, and unnecessarily cruel policy proposals that are so important to our supporters. If the rest of the nation is going to be exposed to the full breadth of this toxic mix of anti-science, dehumanizing, sexist, indeed racist beliefs that permeate the rightwing of the polity, well, that’s just too much responsibility for one man to bear. You have to spread the load.

After months of prayer, I believe with all my heart that it is God’s intention to have my run go deep into the Republican primary season, exposing my unparalleled record of incompetence and corruption as Governor of Wisconsin to a national audience so the American people can see for themselves just what an absolute nightmare the country would experience if they adopted even a fraction of my economic proposals.

God willing, and with the dedication of my supporters, it is my great hope that I’ll go on to capture the nomination so that the American people can be absolutely horrified by my steadfast opposition to Same Sex Marriage, a woman’s right to body autonomy, history of gutting public education, and desire to rip out the Affordable Care Act by the roots without any viable plan to replace it, leaving millions without healthcare coverage.

I look forward to debating my Democratic rival on national television, where my numerous shortcomings as Governor of the now ruined state of Wisconsin can be exposed in exquisite detail. Yes, it will be personally humiliating, and will mean the end of my political career, but it’s God’s will. And I could no more ignore His calling than I could ignore the opportunity to strip public unions of collective bargaining rights,  pass right-to-work legislation after I promised not to, or double down on drug testing welfare and unemployment recipients even when it’s been a proven disaster in every state that’s implemented it.

In the end, it’s God’s plan to use me to make the choice the American people face next November as clear cut and unequivocal as possible, and I believe I am up to the challenge.”

THE ARK is Boarding!

TheArk final cover

 

Hey everyone. Well, here it is, the beginning of the self-promotion deluge. I’ll try to keep it to a dull roar.

My debut, THE ARK, has just gone live for preorders. For those of you who aren’t neck deep in publishing industry stuff, a book’s preorders are a very important metric that publishers use when determining how much weight to put behind a given title and helps to determine things like the size of an initial print run, marketing allotments, and a host of other factors that can greatly contribute to a novel’s success.

So if you plan to buy THE ARK, please consider preordering it now. It will be very helpful to me and greatly appreciated. You can reserve your copy at Amazon.

GenCon is Coming. Here’s Where I’ll Be

untitled (2)After a couple of years away and in the run-up to the November release of THE ARK, I’ll once again be making the trek to Indianapolis to participate in the wonderful GenCon Writer’s Symposium. If you’re unaware, the Symposium is one of the strongest and largest literary tracks at any convention in the country. It was attending the Symposium five years ago when I got my foot in the door as a slush editor at Apex. It was at GenCon that I made the connections I needed to write tie-in fic for BattleTech. It has shaved years off my development as a professional author.

This year’s programming features over seventy-five published authors, agents, and editors sharing their knowledge of writing and the publishing industry in a couple hundred hours worth of panels, AMA’s, and interviews.

Anyway, here’s what I’ll be up to over the weekend. In addition to my author cap, I’ll be flexing my stand up muscles as the opening act for my dear friends The Damsels of Dorkington:

-Thursday 11:00am Room 243, Writer’s Craft: Where to Start the Story SEM1577156
-Thursday 5:00pm Room 244, Business of Writing: Pitching your Project SEM1577116
-Thursday 6:00pm Room 244, Worldbuilding: When Your World is a Character SEM1577117
-Thursday 8:00pm: Dorkington Presents: This Dorkington Life ENT1568096 (Nerdy storytelling show. BTW Anne Wheaton is scheduled to appear)
-Friday 8:00pm: Dorkington Presents: Science Friction ENT1568125 (Nerd improv comedy show)
-Saturday 3:00pm Room 243, Writer’s Craft: Magic and the Modern World SEM1578856
-Saturday 7:00pm: Dorkington Presents: Deeper Dickins II: The Dickening ENT1568156 (Nerd improv comedy show)
-Sunday 9:00am Room 242, Read & Critique WKS1578889

Covers Uncovered!

Over the weekend, while I was hanging out with a cadre of other Angry Robot authors and employees at CONvergence, the next big step in the roll out of my debut, THE ARK, took place.

Over the last couple of months, photographer and digital artist Larry Rostant has been hard at work preparing cover art for both THE ARK and the follow-up, TRIDENT’S FORGE. Larry’s covers are very well respected among authors and fans of the sci-fi and fantasy genres. He’s done work for other friends of mine, including Myke Cole’s latest release, GEMINI CELL.

Securing Larry’s talents for not just a debut novel, but the sequel even before the first draft is finished is a bit of a coup and shows how much faith Angry Robot Books has in them. I am pleased and humbled by the results. So without further adieu, here they are:

TheArk final cover

 

TridentsForge final cover

I’m super happy with how they turned out. Larry’s choice of model for the main character, Bryan Benson, hits all the right notes. He’s athletic without being grotesque, and has the sort of blended, indeterminate racial features you’d expect after eleven generations of interbreeding onboard a generation ship. There’s even a nice little Easter egg hiding on the TRIDENT’S FORGE cover that Angry Robot let me sneak in. Also, the tag lines capture the tone of the books almost perfectly.

All things considered, I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out. Everyone involved has done a wonderful job positioning these books to be the sort of breakout successes I sincerely hope they can be.

THE ARK will be available for preorders soon. Keep eyes on this space for updates.