Goodbye, and Hello.

To keep this relatively short while trying not to degenerate into worthless drama: I’m out. Of where? Now that’s a good question. Of whatever BS has been going on for the past 4-6 years, which has been a complete waste of time for me. Maybe for you it has been a time of great productivity and self-discovery, in which case, congratulations, but for me and, I’m sure, many others, this has been quite useless.

I wrote most of the posts in this blog and joined a loose, ill-defined, and nebulous (maybe even not real) group of people under the assumption that the proclaimed goals were accurate and that this was, indeed, a “cultural” opportunity. None of those things were true. To be fair, the culprit is not so much the people, or the message, as the medium. The two medium chosen (or forced upon us,) which are social media and the closely-linked area of self-publishing, are antithetical to those goals and seem to corrupt and degrade everything they touch. But those other things don’t help either.

But, really, it’s my fault for, not so much not having seen it (for I did,) but not leaving when I should have done so, hoping that something would change. Nothing has changed, and things have only gotten worse.

The cringe/signal ratio in my environment has increased to intolerable levels and all the incentives in place point towards more nonsense. Recently, I deleted two social media accounts and almost deleted Twitter and this blog. I was this close to disappear and take down everything (including books.)

Things will not get better as the American election approaches and (in the long run) people’s lives become more virtualized and the discourses more detached from any reality. An alien invasion aside, whatever happens next will only make things, well, maybe not “worse” but certainly “lamer” (besides, why should I be supposed to follow or care about those things; I’m not American.) And that is the issue: the lameness of the current situation is unbereable. I’m not going to spend another year looking on, waiting for some miracle to happen. Besides, I haven’t seen a really funny meme from “my” side for a long, long time.

There’s little interest in real culture or literature as far as I know, and let’s not even get into what passes for “politics.” Only the Plato’s Cave that is social media seems to matter. Yes, all the leftwing “takes” might be pop culture trash analogies or Cancel Culture witch hunts, yet this is how the future of the rightwing twitterati cultural commentariat will look like (and, keep in mind, there are clear attempts at setting up their own version of Cancel Culture):

This is just the latest one I came across yesterday, but I could list dozens, even more spine-twisting cringey.

That’s it. Do not expect anything more in-depth than that from now on. It’s either proper Trad Content (like anime, which, I’m being told, is the last bastion of Western Civilization still standing) or Demonic Content (like 18th Century Enlightment-era literature.) Or perhaps you’ll be able to enjoy the next ten years of debating which D&D edition is more or less trad, or how inconsequential difference in rules can say whether you are a strong, All-American male, or a limpwristed soyguzzler. Yes, yes… that’s going to be… so much fun.

The “right” seems to be currently undergoing their own “Potterization”, like the other side did years ago, just with their own preferred cultural products. You can do that if you want, but I’m out of here. I’m not saying those people are not popular. They are, to some extent. Which is another way of saying that this is obviously not my place. The answer to almost everything I have done is silence. I don’t belong here.

This is the future: Anime Christian people, cringe W40K Deus Vulters (“I converted to Catholicism after watching 1,000 hours of W40K-lore videos,”) grifters of all kinds, middle-aged men for whom this is just a vanity project, political hacks, and furry crusaders screeching about the Pedo-Marxist cult behind Hard Science Fiction or whatever (seriously, what’s up with that? Twice a year, for the past five years or so, like some sort of two-minutes-of-hate ritual, there’s been a raging pile-on against Hard-SF in my circle… why…?) For years I have had ideas for writing posts on how to add a bit of science in your stories without affecting the more fantastic elements, yet at the back of my head I always had the image of some dumbass going “Hur Dur, Science is Dumb, Burroughs just teleported Carter to Mars, just add laser swords, pfff, what are you, a Communist?” In two decades, I’ll be fifty-something, and the entire conversation will still be smug takes about how Scifi is just Fantasy. “But it’s just a meme/joke.” I don’t care. I’m out. Goodbye. This is just dumb.

Maybe it’s the heat of the moment, but right now I regret having entered this “conversation” (which I’m not sure it actually exists,) and if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t write a lot of my stuff (esp. Dangerous Gamers*) or half of my blog posts.

*Not because I was wrong or anything, I stand by (almost) everything I wrote. But it wasn’t worth the effort.

Besides, self-publishing and the #writingcommunity, as they are now, are getting dangerously close to becoming a pyramid scheme (I mean, for the writers*, not the readers,) which is not really a new observation as I saw that years ago but only hinted at it… but I suspect hinting it managed to get me cold-shouldered.

*Which means that, if you have not succeeded, don’t take it too personally. You might be an OK writer.

But, anyway, I’m writing a blog post about the MLM tactics embedded in the #writingcommunity (talking in general here,) mostly to warn new writers and those truly creative people out there, but I have one or two about the craft of writing first. I also have a couple of long essays more or less done as first drafts, but I have to edit them and see where to upload them.

So, Goodbye, but also, Hello again.

9 thoughts on “Goodbye, and Hello.

  1. Constantin

    I agree with you here completely, and share your frustration. Been reading your blog for a while now and may have even commented at one point(I can’t remember), but I’ve come to the same conclusions as you. I speak this as someone who, while not active in this community or conversation, have done my bit and purchase works created from this “movement” thinking this is where I can get some good reading. After all, I too noticed that modern Entertainment is trash, so I decided to do my small part of supporting alternatives.

    And yet I’ve read nothing but subpar literature, some of which are so bad they haven’t even risen to the level of the shitiest stories from the classic pulp era. But not only will nobody dare say anything against them, they have even been praised as being as good as classic SF/F writers or even better. Ludicrous. And it’s another thing I dislike; this idea of denigrating genuinely good authors to make way for massively inferior ones. I’m not naming any names, but some of the writing I’ve read makes me consider that the person who wrote it should have their fingers cut off permanently. It was that bad; fanfiction level of bad. And they get no feedback except:

    “B-B-B-But it’s better than anything tradpub is publishing!!”

    That’s like saying that it’s better than a bag of fecals left for weeks on the front porch. Not exactly much of an improvement.

    “B-B-B-B-B at least we’re optimistic! We’re not like those nihilists and post-modernists!”

    Terms thrown around divorced from their original meaning and turned into “bad words” to “own the SJWs and libralz!!”. Also, good intentions don’t mean shit if they don’t produce anything worthwhile.

    John C. Wright is the only worthwhile writer I’ve discovered, and even he hasn’t produced anything as good as “Awake in the Nightland”(which in hindsight, is kinda overrated).

    Twitter user Kantbot (KBULTRA0) was correct when he said that the “Right” will always be a joke because it always claims to align itself with “Western” culture and art, and with classical ideals of beauty and truth, when in fact this is just posturing. The entire historical and philosophical framework they use is just chewing gum and duct tape. It’s people who grew up on 90’s pop culture longing for high culture, but the object of their longing is only this indeterminate self-parodying idea of what they imagine high culture is. It’s something they don’t know how to approach. That they’re eternally alienated from. They throw around meaningless words like “Wonder” and “Heroism” without being able to accurately describe them, basically saying “you know it when you see it”.

    “It made me feel good, therefore it good.”

    Sorry for the long rant, just felt the need to post this, get it off my chest. Just genuinely disappointed and have given up hope for anything to come out of this scene. I appreciate that this Right and PulpRev movement or whatever introduced me to some good works of fiction I might’ve otherwise ignored, I enjoyed reading some of the blogs I’ve discovered, but I’m also done with them. It’s stale and not moving anywhere. A circle jerk, basically still stuck in 2016. Produced no worthy Art. Also, while I like pulp fiction and SF/F, they really aren’t the be all and end all of Art. Sorry PulpRev, Burroughs is a lot of fun, but not even close to being “one of the greatest writers in history!”. Repetead readings of him yield nothing.

    I think I’ll engage with the Western Canon and form my own literary path, see where it takes me. That includes both classical AND modernist literature, fuck the “don’t read anything after xyz year” shitty meme. It’s all you can do now, honestly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “and form my own literary path,”

      That is the only way.

      Quite literally. It’s not a good or easy one, it may be disastrous, but I don’t think there’s another one.

      I haven’t read much of their stuff so I can’t comment much on that. My grievancies were more general (on purpose, to avoid possible personal dramas) with one of the few specific ones being that I can’t believe people still seriously defend self-publishing (well, right now, it’s mostly defense by omission of criticism) and haven’t realized how scammy the whole thing either is or has become. And I keep seeing younger writers wanting to get into the “business” and I don’t want them to make the same mistakes. Also, although it’s honestly a less important issue, I just can’t stand Twitter warriors and I seriously believe that having allowed (on our little corner) the most deranged Twitter Deus Vulters to lead the conversation was an awful mistake.y. Hence the, “Well, you do your thing, guys, I’ll… yeah. Goodbye.”

      But, yes, I understand what you mean. I was quite surprised when a few months ago realized people were still using the pulprev hashtag. I’m not part of the group, really, so I don’t know their motivations. Don’t worry about ranting. Keeping these things for yourself for too long can be unhealthy.

      Like

      1. Constantin

        Thanks, man. I agree with your other points. Most people joined the Right movement as convenient cover because they could let out their psychopatic side without consequences. They don’t really care about culture, they just want constant dopamine hits. I didn’t mean to personalize my critique, merely to use one of a million anecdote to add to your general point. So if anyone reads my comment and takes it personally, please don’t. At least not on Xavier’s blog.

        Self-publishing is a scam; if you didn’t have the luck to already have a large following when the migration from traditional publishing happened, your out of luck entering the scene now. It’s the bitter truth.

        Looking forward to your future posts. Most writing advice in general is useless but your posts are like diamonds in a desert; your dispelled many scam myths like “show, don’t tell”, and they are invaluable to new writers.

        Like

  2. Cristina

    Hello,
    I loved your “reading the Hugos” posts… both your style and your opinions… sad to see you go… do you happen to have a goodreads account you would like to share with me/the world?
    Best regards,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t have a Goodreads account… Actually, now that I think about it, I have one but never used it, so it doesn’t matter.

      Also, you might have misunderstood this post. I thought about DELETING EVERYTHING but didn’t really do it. The blog is still here and I will keep posting, in fact, one new post will most likely go up today (although there might not be more Reading the Hugos because reading that stuff is exhausting.)

      I’m leaving a “group,” for lack of a better term. In fact, if you don’t follow that kind of stuff, you probably won’t know what I’m talking about. This post was a way of saying that I don’t see any reason to pretend a lot of the “culture wars” posturing of the past few years have been really useful or that the writing community isn’t extremely unhealthy. Besides, I believe some people in my circle have degenerated a lot. Too much social media and Twatter, I guess. I just don’t care for the “conversation” I have to pretend to like, especially when I have come to disagree with most of what people around me believe and I get literally nothing out of it (hate to sound that mercantile, but one has to start thinking in such terms eventually.)

      Hard to explain. It’s a philosophical goodbye, I guess. Not really leaving (hence the “hello” in the title and at the end of the post) nor is this a huge “Fuck you don’t ever contact me ever again, jerks!” It’s a realization that years have gone by and I have little to show for it and that, quite honeslty, the environment I was in is (I feel) destructive to creativity and has degraded into a circle jerk.

      Like

  3. Robert Zoltan

    First, I’m glad you’re not actually leaving this blog and public discussion (such as it is).

    “This post was a way of saying that I don’t see any reason to pretend a lot of the “culture wars” posturing of the past few years have been really useful or that the writing community isn’t extremely unhealthy. ”

    Getting involved in the crazy polarized so-called “culture wars” is to choose to live in a crazy delusional concept mind-world that has little resemblance to actual reality (reality even in the simplest sense of two people holding hands, or sitting and listening to the wind in the trees—both of which are far more real than the most brilliant political diatribe from a materialistic civilization.

    Whatever my views, even my strong ones about what is and isn’t good art, it is not my job to educate or convince anyone of anything. Such results often backfire, and are at best, not very effective. I had to get out of the whole game of judging others and judging others’ art because it only made me unhappy and bitter. I have even had to let go of my hatred for the lowest common denominator commerce culture we live in. The only solution I have to the cultural degradation, hostility, and fading love for that which is good, gentle, wise, beautiful and kind (if that is what’s happening) is to create the best art without compromise that I possibly can and accept the consequences. Thankfully, I know that I am not alone. We may be the minority, but there are many talented true artists (that includes writing and all the arts) out there.

    My latest “craziness” is to start publishing a new monthly magazine, the first issue of which comes out on January 1st of 2021. Sexy Fantastic: The Erotic Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy. It will be art, literature, and culture of the very highest quality. It is simply a magazine of the fantastic that does not leave sex out (which to me, is just a normal magazine, even if it is not to our sex-neurotic culture). The first issue is almost complete and contains contributions by award-winning authors and some new names. The endeavor is going to cost me a lot and I may have smashing success or end up living in a van down by the river. But I know I’m supposed to be doing it, and I’m putting all of my heart and soul and talent into it. That’s all I can offer this culture, this country, this world. If it’s not wanted, that’s not in my control. I’m super proud of the first issue and people have come out of the woodwork to contribute, as if the universe is saying, “Trust me, just do it.” So, I’m doing it. I don’t think the Emperor will mind me telling you about this. Here’s the link if anyone is interested in being notified when the first issue comes out. I’ll be sending the Emperor a copy before release. But the first issue is free. What more can you ask for, especially in America? https://sexyfantasticmagazine.com/

    Keep the faith folks. And by that I mean, be good to each other, stick to your path and ignore all the strange animal noises you hear on either side of the path, stick to your vision of true art, create something beautiful, and as they said in WWII, “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pat D.

    I can see where you’re coming from – I’ve been watching the indie writing scene for a while and while I’ve found a decent amount of fiction I like (especially on the short story side of things) the social media/meme culture side of it is tiresome. I avoid the D&D talk (D&D doesn’t interest me much and I think it’s been a bad influence on fiction) and the whole “don’t read anything written after 19XX” meme is not only dumb but bad marketing too. Social media is a disaster. It dumbs things down almost by definition.

    Like

  5. IfAYearIsALongTime

    Nice to have you back, you weren’t kidding when you said back in June you were going to reduce activity here. I don’t follow politics or care about any of that, but my best friend killed himself about 2 years ago.

    His first attempt, he tried to go out in style. He got really drunk one night and took his AK-47 and his AR-15 and the plan was to go door to door through his apartment complex shooting until the cops took him out.

    He went to the first house, knocked on the door and told them to open up so he could shoot them. They told him to go away. He passed out on their doorstep.

    Woke up around 4 or 5 am the next day and walked home kinda embarrassed.

    After a few more unsuccessful attempts he finally managed to drink himself to death in a copy-cat suicide styled after one of our high school friends who overdosed on meth about ten years ago.

    My point?

    If you’re going to blow your blog up, blow the damn thing up. None of this high school girl in the bathroom slitting her wrists the wrong way to get attention crap.

    It’s beneath you. Your blog is really good and really original and you have some insights into the craft that don’t exist anywhere else.

    van Goh is van Goh because he lopped off his ear and shot himself not because his art was any good.

    Like

    1. I’m sorry about your friend.

      I’m not sure I get your point, but appreciate the encouragement.

      PS: I’m convinced van Gogh would have been much better had he not being insane. Modern art needed a martyr, though.

      Like

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