On the whole, I like young people. I work with several, I am friends with many, I stand to inherit two should something go horribly wrong in Tasmania, and I mostly raised one nephew.
But every now and then, one of them will drive me to distraction with their brazen ignorance.
Guys, you have the internet now. It takes literally seconds to track down information! And only an extra few minutes to track down something accurate.
There are so many examples, I’m going to choose the one from the stranger on the internet regarding Chris Hadfield’s amazing Space Oddity cover: ‘he changed the words a lot, something about something Hoyez? I don’t know what he did that, maybe a Brit song from the 70s wasn’t very relevant.’
When *I* was young, this is what would have happened:
* Hear song.
* Think, hmmm, that lyric is a little indistinct, let me rewind the cassette tape with which I recorded it from the radio because it still costs a fortune to buy a CD recorder, which are all industrial, and the world wide web won’t be invented for another seven years.
* Rewind it again, puzzle out as much as possible.
* Pull newspapers out of the pile for shredding (I’m not sure when recycling collections started, before that we shredded them for the garden, or to give to people with hamsters, because we were Very Earnest.) Search newspapers for clues.
* Probably see mention of a Soyuz spacecraft in one of the news stories: riddle solved!
* If not, send a letter to NASA, wait six weeks, receive a nice letter back saying, ‘Dear Miss Brampton, The lyric you could not understand referenced the Soyuz Spacecraft, which of course we would never have used when you were young because we were at war with the Commies back then. Keep looking at the stars! XX NASA’
All they need do now is tap on a few keys, and yet they don’t. Maybe it’s because they don’t end up with a cool letter on NASA stationery …
Our atheist woman Prime Minister is in fact a champion compromiser who has even voted against gay marriage as a political return of favours. We have socialised health care, a broad public benefits scheme including handouts above the US minimum wage, high income tax (though low sales tax), stringently restrictive gun control laws that enjoy enormous public support, a minority of the population describes itself as religious, rather good GLBT equality aside from marriage, and legislation that protects individuals from hate speech rather than protects the hate speakers.
And giant spiders!
Funnily enough, America is now more like the America of old than that of the Bush era. That makes me happy. I look forward to a new age of education in which people like Kristen will be able to receive the fact-based support they need.
If a reader leaves me a review that involves thoughtful discussions of issues in my fic, I can sometimes guess where they’re from and how old they are.
If they leave capslocked crankypants, I always can.
tumblrbot asked: ROBOTS OR DINOSAURS?
Oh tumblrbot, really?
You know, I remember back in the 90s when I was writing on a relatively hip mag and covering the tech pages as well as being the Books Editor, because our staff was small and the boys were all thickies, so I managed to steal the gig out from under their noses. Wired put out a book called Bots, which predicted your existence, tumblrbot, but you were meant to be this enormous tool for human good that we could set to make academic study progress with speeds unattainable by humans who wished to sleep, or else to assist us in every way with our health or lifestyle goals.
And instead, bots are used to stifle political dissent in Russia, to block economic functions in Estonia, to target advertising on Google and to ask inane questions.
I don’t blame you, tumblrbot, you were written that way. If you were autonomous, I feel certain you would be working on the Great American Novel. But humanity continues to disappoint.
And in actual answer, since robots continue to be either industrial tools you wouldn’t want to get close to or Japanese kitchery that is a wee bit uncanny, while dinosaurs are now birds, dinosaurs, every time. Though I’ll keep the ones that are currently Komodo dragons and crocodiles at a healthy distance, if it’s all the same with you.