November 8th, 2010

Politics

Last of the Southern Democrats?

RealClearPolitics - Jim Webb: Why Reagan Dems Still Matter:
"I've been warning them," Webb says, sighing, resting his chin on his hand. "I've been having discussions with our leadership ever since I've been up here. I decided to run as a Democrat because I happen to strongly believe in Jeffersonian democracy. There needs to be one party that very clearly represents the interests of working people ... I'm very concerned about the transactional nature of the Democratic Party. Its evolved too strongly into interest groups rather than representing working people, including small business people."


I didn't vote for Jim Webb last time around, as I was still in Minnesota, but as a fan of his writing I followed the race pretty closely through the Internet. Didn't much care for what I saw. Webb may have been the last champion of the Scots-Irish Reagan Democrats annoyed by the Iraq War and convinced that the GOP had sold them out to the Wall Street moguls, but there was enough old-school anti-semitism in the primary, and vile New Left race-baiting in the general, to put me off him. I also had the gut feeling that he was going to be much less independent in office than advertised, and I am sorry to see that I was right. He's been a reliable foot soldier for Harry Reid, which is enough to damn any Senator in my eyes, and worse yet has been silent in the face of all the filth being spewed by his comrades in the Party.

I'd have a lot more respect for him if he'd been even half the pain in the ass to the Democrats that the Maine Sisters have been to the GOP, and if he'd been closer to Joe Lieberman in foreign policy...ah, what am I saying? There's no way Webb could have held those positions and won the primary, even in Virginia, and he very likely would have lost the NoVa & college lefties who make up most of the Democrats' base down here in the Commonwealth.

Still, he's got a couple of years left to change my mind before his time is up in 2012. If he starts acting more like Lieberman than the late Robert "Sheets" Byrd, I might not hit the trenches to help throw him out. On the other hand, if he continues to be just some Southern window-dressing for Reid, it'll be time to roll up my sleeves and help get another poser out of office.
HALO

Ursula Vernon Explains It All

Well, not really. But she does, in her own gentle and indirect way, explain why "realistic" steampunk, which shows the horrors of Victorian life for the proletariat, isn't that common and is rarely popular when it does show its head. Basically, nobody wants to read it.

And I'm totally on board with that argument. People read fantasy (and let's face it, steampunk is fantasy) to explore and enjoy another world. People play fantasy RPGs to be heroes in their own fairy tales. Being a TB-stricken denizen of a city's slums is seldom heroic, being a farmer is not all that exciting, and usually if we see one of those people in a fantasy novel they're either supporting characters or they get ripped out of their unpleasant/boring lives and thrust into the plot, in which case they're no longer the people they were. So of course most of the protagonists in steampunk stories are aristocrats, Wrench Wenches, stodgy yet solid bourgeoisie, or plucky proletarians who are on the make/on the rise. You want to have heroes the reader can identify with, after all, and most readers aren't into reading about losers.

Which is why Chivalry and Sorcery never caught on. People didn't want to deal with the filthy, disease-ridden mess of the actual medieval period any more than they want to eat actual rats on a stick when they go to the RenFest. And the same is true of the Victorian Era.