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Simon Bestwick (Simon_b)
Username: Simon_b

Registered: 10-2008
Posted From: 86.24.209.217
Posted on Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 09:37 am:   

With NEVER AGAIN due for release, it's worth remembering what the damned anthology is supposed to be all about.

Yesterday was the third anniversary of the murder of Sophie Lancaster. (Although she died two weeks later, on 24th August, she never recovered from the attack.)

Murdered for being different. If there's anything more pathetic or revolting, I don't know what it is.

There's a short piece on my blog here:

http://simon-bestwick.blogspot.com/2010/08/in-memory-of-sophie-lancaster.html

Please share it with anyone you think will appreciate it.
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Rhysaurus (Rhysaurus)
Username: Rhysaurus

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 212.219.233.223
Posted on Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 10:31 am:   

> Murdered for being different. If there's anything more pathetic or revolting, I don't know what it is...

Murdered for being the same?

That's just a suggestion off the top of my head.

I don't know if it would be more "pathetic and revolting" than being murdered for being different, but you have to admit it would be unexpected, to say the least!
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.74
Posted on Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 11:04 am:   

"That's just a suggestion off the top of my head."

Not a very helpful one, I'd say.
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Rhysaurus (Rhysaurus)
Username: Rhysaurus

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 212.219.233.223
Posted on Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 11:53 am:   

The least helpful suggestion I ever had in my life was when I was climbing one of the via ferrata in northern Italy. At one especially difficult point, the climber behind me gave the following advice, "Hold on with your left and right hands and reach up with your other hand..."

What's the most unhelpful suggestion you've ever been given, folks?
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.74
Posted on Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 12:50 pm:   

Would you mind taking the question and starting another thread with it, Rhys? This thread is in memory of Sophie Lancaster.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 01:36 pm:   

Good blog, Simon.

The Sophie Lancaster Foundation has helped to widen the debate around 'hate crimes', by pointing to the role of social and cultural intolerance in what, until quite recently, might have been written off as 'random' or 'unmotivated' attacks. A lot of people walk around with the intention of finding someone who 'deserves' their violence enough so that anyone who is socially stigmatised is a likely target. That isn't a new situation, of course.

It's nice to note that the Bloodstock heavy metal festival near Tamworth has renamed its third stage the Sophie Lancaster stage, and its website carries information about the Foundation.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.79.63.107
Posted on Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 01:45 pm:   

You nearly lost my sympathies half-way through that blog, Simon, but your support for rational non-violent action at the end rallied them again.

Is NEVER AGAIN devoted solely to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation or are there other charities beneficiaries?
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.79.63.107
Posted on Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 01:46 pm:   

Oops, strike "there".
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 01:57 pm:   

Proto, we're still looking at what the book will say about organisations, but we're planning to divide any profits made from the book between Amnesty International, PEN and the Sophie Lancaster Foundation. These are all human rights organisations.

I gather some blogger in the USA has insisted we should be donating to an anti-racist organisation but given that (in the UK context) Unite Against Fascism, Youth Against Racism in Europe, Searchlight and Anti-Fascist Action have different approaches and are critical of each other, we'd rather just list them and let readers decide who to support.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.79.63.107
Posted on Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 02:12 pm:   

Good call. You'd also be spreading yourself a bit thin, I think.
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.104.135.73
Posted on Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 02:28 pm:   

These terrible hate crimes need to be discussed and yes, the details are hard to read but true. The Sophie Lancaster Foundation is a very worthy cause and volunteers go into schools to discuss bullying etc. And organise many awareness campaigns. It needs a higher profile. Teenagers have a desire to fit into groups and some of those groups look different. Everyone has the right to dress and look how they want without being murdered for it. I'm still upset and angry about it all and that is why I suggested that the foundation should be supported.

Stamp
Out
Predjudice
Hatred
Intolerance
Everywhere
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 82.38.75.85
Posted on Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 02:42 pm:   

I was very moved by this whole situation with that very brave girl. So I hope I'm not going OT but I just wanted to mention something I've become aware of recently - victimisation of disabled people just because they're "different" too.

I don't have any examples to hand at the moment (in a bit of a hurry getting sorted for work later today), but my time spent on the Fibromyalgia Association forum has opened my eyes to some really awful prejudice against, and bullying of, disabled people. There have been a few cases in the news recently - for example, there was a mother and disabled daughter whose lives were made so intolerable by these bullies that the mother killed her daughter and then took her own life. Sickening.

Does anyone know, is there an organisation which helps people in this situation? It looks from the Sophie Lancaster Foundation site like they only cover ".. prejudice and intolerance towards people from alternative subcultures" so it probably doesn't cover disabled people.

I'm starting to feel quite strongly about this issue. Joel/Ally - I know you don't want to spread yourselves too thinly with the proceeds from your book, but do you think it would be worth looking into whether there are any organisations of this nature which you might support with it too?

Meanwhile, all power to Sophie's mum and what she's doing with the Foundation - a wonderful legacy to someone who must have been a wonderful daughter.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 03:09 pm:   

Caroline, once you start to look properly at civil rights and intolerance of minorities, there are quite a few examples of minorities who incur violent prejudice. Three more examples that leap immediately to mind are gay (and trans) people, gypsies/travellers and the mentally ill. We can't cover a wide range of such issues in the book, but we would expect readers to be mindful of them.
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 82.38.75.85
Posted on Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 03:49 pm:   

Fair enough point, Joel. I guess what I was trying to say in my clumsy sort of way was that it seems to me disabled people (including the mentally ill) are yet another "forgotten" group who are often the victims of hate crime.

I just can't understand the mentality of people who feel it's acceptable behaviour to target such groups.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 04:58 pm:   

Start teaching morality, the basic difference between right and wrong (without the taint of religious dogma), and respect for all, in our nurseries and primary schools from day one, with as much importance put on it as Maths or English or social skills, and we may see an end to all such crimes based on prejudice and ignorance. Let's take the battle to where it really can do some practical good!!!!

Enough with the preaching to the converted, let's get serious about these issues, folks! Or am I just ranting to myself...
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.104.135.73
Posted on Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 10:11 pm:   

'Start teaching morality, the basic difference between right and wrong (without the taint of religious dogma), and respect for all, in our nurseries and primary schools from day one, with as much importance put on it as Maths or English or social skills, and we may see an end to all such crimes based on prejudice and ignorance. Let's take the battle to where it really can do some practical good!!!!'

Well said, Steve.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 11:07 pm:   

Well said, Mr. Bestwick.
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 220.138.163.131
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2010 - 05:47 am:   

Well said indeed, Simon.

I am always taken aback whenever I encounter racism (usually, I'm afraid, when I go back to the UK), and it leaves me feeling a mixture of dismay, anger and disgust. I have lived in Taiwan for most of my life (29 years this month), and I've never once witnessed any kind of racist behaviour. I feel terrible for my friends and relatives (our family has its fair share of mixed blood after having lived here for so long) when they go abroad and are called names or subjected to any kind of racist attack (it hasn't happened often, but it has happened). I often wonder how people in different societies can be so fundamentally different and what it is that causes this kind of ignorance, intolerance, and lack of basic empathy for human beings (of whatever race).

Good luck with Never Again, Joel and Ally.
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 82.38.75.85
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2010 - 11:39 am:   

>>I often wonder how people in different societies can be so fundamentally different and what it is that causes this kind of ignorance, intolerance, and lack of basic empathy for human beings (of whatever race).<<

I have a theory on that which my neighbours' cat has demonstrated to me! Our neighbours now have a gorgeous long-haired tortoiseshell female moggie from a cat rescue - problem is, she only has three legs. Their daughter initially rescued her, but the daughter's five other cats set about the poor moggie with such violence that she thought they were going to kill her. I guess the other cats thought that this strange creature among them - a cat which hopped like a rabbit because it only had one back leg - was some kind of freak of nature.

It all goes back to the theory of natural selection I guess - these cats saw something which they considered to be "unnatural", "freakish", something which shouldn't infect their gene pool, and decided it was survival of the fittest - they must kill it!

I reckon that when humans engage in this kind of behaviour towards people who don't seem like them, it's the same kind of thing - a regression to basic animal instinct, the urge to protect the gene pool of the species and keep it "pure".

In other words, they've lost all sense of humanity - the caring and compassion which sets humans apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. Whether you can teach people "humanity" I don't know. Perhaps some of us are born with it and others aren't? Maybe Stevie's suggestion of teaching right and wrong at an early age would work - or maybe there will always be those amongst us who are no better than the rest of the animal kingdom?

Anyway, for the cat lovers amongst us, you'll be pleased to know that Poppy (or Hoppy, as we call her!) has settled into her new home with our neighbours and looks like she's really landed on her feet this time (all three of them!)
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Rhysaurus (Rhysaurus)
Username: Rhysaurus

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 212.219.233.223
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2010 - 12:11 pm:   

> Start teaching morality, the basic difference between right and wrong (without the taint of religious dogma), and respect for all, in our nurseries and primary schools from day one...

My own view is that what's missing from modern British society is the old-fashioned concept of honour. One of the imperatives of honour is that it's our duty to respect minorities and protect the vulnerable; and that this duty applies regardless of how we feel about things... Our modern society lays too much stress on how we feel: if we have soft tender feelings we are good people; if we have aggressive hard feelings we are bad people. Whatever happened to the concept of exerting reason and acting against our feelings? That's true morality.

For instance, I can't stand being hassled by Big Issue sellers. What I want to do is punch them, but I don't do that because my reason overrides my desire. It would be wrong to punch a Big Issue seller, it would be dishonourable, so I don't do it. It's not my 'nicer feelings' that prevent me, but the control of my reason. Nicer feelings are totally unreliable...

When it comes to morality I don't know if stressing 'good' and 'evil' is necessarily the best way forward, partly because some 'evil' things will always be more glamorous than good things... but a focus on 'honour' might ensure that this difficulty is bypassed. For instance it can be taught that bullying is dishonourable and therefore unmanly, rather than that it's evil. The 'unmanly' accusation is a powerful deterrent, a more powerful deterrent than any 'wrong' accusation (because some wrong things are right, if you see what I mean)... Why talk about right and wrong when we can talk about strong and weak? It's better psychology, I think. To bully someone just because they are different is weak; to protect such an individual is strong.

Bring back honour: it provides a code that specifies how to act in any situation and takes away emotional indecision. It doesn't matter if you have much "humanity" or not if you have a code of honour -- you only require enough humanity to have the code in the first place: your own natural (and rational) desire to be 'strong' rather than 'weak' will fill in the rest..
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Kate (Kathleen)
Username: Kathleen

Registered: 09-2009
Posted From: 213.122.209.76
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2010 - 12:49 pm:   

Excellent point re: honour, Rhys!

I despise this use of the word "evil" and oh, how it grated on me immediately post-9/11! Aside from its obvious naivete (terrorists are not "evil"), the word has religious (specifically Christian) connotations that are at odds with my somewhat paganistic (but mostly atheistic) feelings.

Yes, absolutely, bring back honour!
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Rhysaurus (Rhysaurus)
Username: Rhysaurus

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 212.219.233.223
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2010 - 01:05 pm:   

Yes, in religious and political terms, honour is neutral. You don't have to believe in a divine 'credit and debit' system ("I must be good or God will punish me!") to act with honour; it also has nothing to do with a respect for governments or law; you don't even need any social awareness. You merely require a wholly natural desire to be strong and to edify yourself by obeying the honour code despite all difficulties.

And Kate, I too hate the word "evil"... I am also dismayed at how being "good" has come to be exclusively identified with being soft, gentle, inoffensive, non-aggressive, etc. This seems a bit unfair on people who have a strong active spirit inside them (good old fashioned male aggression) who also know the difference between wrong and right.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2010 - 01:37 pm:   

Honour for me is a part of basic morality - one of the reasons I love Robert Heinlein's writing so much, he is always preaching honour, self control and respect for others in his novels, and for me is bang on the money. We should all be free to live our lives the way we please as long as it harms no one else or stops them from living as they wish.

No one would pretend that we don't all have our own hot-wired dislikes and prejudices - that's what makes us human. But the controlling of our baser instincts and our innate propensity for selfishness should be made an intrinsic part of our education system - whether it be by role-playing or the use of old-fashioned fables from as young as children are able to grasp them and be made to explain why they are right. And I believe we shouldn't pussyfoot around when this identifies those kids with sociopathic, usually alpha male, tendencies. We need to identify these individuals at an age when it is still possible to investigate the causes of their behaviour and do something about it, to set that kid back on the right path, to channel their disruptive energies into something positive - for his/her own good as well as that of their peers and society as a whole.

Libertarianism controlled by a strict code of morality/honour/chivalry enshrined in our legal and education systems is a way forward that I believe would actually work...
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.79.122.235
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2010 - 01:41 pm:   

I despise this use of the word "evil"

I view its use as a refusal to try to learn and understand. In short, a refusal to think like an adult.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2010 - 01:41 pm:   

Caroline, there's a robust literature on the psychology of prejudice and victimisation I spent some time studying it when at university in the eighties. Erich Fromm's The Fear of Freedom and Theodor Adorno's The Authoritarian Personality are particularly valuable.

A key thing to keep in mind is that 'hate crimes' are generally committed by inadequate people who want to see themselves as belonging to a superior type. So they latch onto and intensify conventional predudices, channelling their personal aggression into them. There is a systematic relationship between the bigotry used by politicians, journalists and comedians to court a following and the violence of sections of that following. You can't have a rabble-rouser without a rabble, and vice versa.

It's misleading, I think, to see racism as an 'instinctive' mechanism of biological protection that the 'higher self' has to override with democratic values. There is a natural fear of 'the unknown', but people are not creatures from another planet: they are just people. They are 'unknown' only in the lesser sense of being people we don't know. Cultural and human unfamiliarity does not amount to biological alienage. Treating people who are different from us as 'alien' is an attitude driven by pseudo-biological myths of the kind that were prevalent in the 19th century the idea that 'racial purity' needs to be protected against 'contamination' being the foremost such myth. These are attitudes that people learn.

Modern genetics has made it very clear that race mixing is essential to human genetic health: it's inbreeding in closed communities that causes genetic deterioration. At one time, people of mixed race were heavily stigmatised as 'tainted' but in our society, their genetic health is so much taken for granted that there is even widespread exploitation of their physical attractiveness. That shows, I think, how far from 'instinctive' our reactions to human differences are.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.79.122.235
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2010 - 01:46 pm:   

Or it could be that mixed race actors are used in adverts as a shorthand way of flogging the same product to everyone.
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 82.38.75.85
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2010 - 01:56 pm:   

Hmmm. It's the age-old nature-nurture controversy, isn't it? It's not something we can settle here - psychologists have been arguing about this for many years.

I guess it's probably a bit of both - people can learn "correct" (and also "incorrect") behaviour, but they also have an innate tendency towards particular behaviours which they're born with (as Stevie says, about identifying kids with such traits before it's too late to do anything about it). So that would mean there certainly is a benefit in teaching "morality", "honour", "humanity" or what ever you want to call it - I'm certainly not denying that. I think we're all saying the same thing here - just in slightly different ways!
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 82.38.75.85
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2010 - 01:58 pm:   

Sorry, I crossed posts with Proto. I was referring to Joel's assertion that hate crime isn't caused by instinctive urges.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.79.122.235
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2010 - 02:02 pm:   

Yeah, I'm not so sure about that, Joel. You can't deny territoriality is encoded in homo sapiens at some level. Even the nicest dog growls when you try to remove the bowl as it's eating.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2010 - 02:24 pm:   

Proto, you must be aware that dogs having an instinctual behaviour does not mean that humans necessarily have the same instinctual behaviour.

Though if they did, board meetings could be a lot more fun.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2010 - 02:28 pm:   

As Adorno said, and it's one of his most memorable statements, "Nothing is so widely falsified as human nature."
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2010 - 02:42 pm:   

I think I agree with Proto on this one. Tribalism and territoriality are ingrained in the human psyche. Easily identifiable invaders coming into our territory can trigger unhealthy responses.

Whether we can get past those responses is down to our own personal strengths and weaknesses.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2010 - 02:42 pm:   

That's badly phrased but I hope you can see what I'm trying to say. i'm not trying to condone anything.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2010 - 03:23 pm:   

Understood in both cases, and I don't want to derail this thread into a discussion of psychology.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.79.2.208
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2010 - 04:05 pm:   

I'm on the side of peace, harmony, dignity and the progress of the human spirit towards the zenith, Joel. (That that sounds trite demonstrates a problem with society.) I think those things can only be achieved by acknowledging the prickly furtive things within us.

A while back, Ramsey wrote his definition of horror here ("that with which we've yet to come to terms" or words to that effect). That Freudian healing is one of the reasons I'm drawn to supernatural fiction.

The Achille's heel of the left is a refusal to acknowledge uncomfortable facts about human nature. The monster and the rocket; the pit and the star.

That said, what's innate and what's learned are still up for debate. We need more data here, and more social experimentation. Assuming we can achieve an exalted moral state might well be enough to bootstrap ourselves into a uptopia.

The changes in my society in my lifetime have been mostly good ones. That gives me confidence that progress isn't an illusion. But we have to be wary about assuming we're better than previous generations. What moral blind spots do we have today? I can think of one: the elderly. In a few decades, we'll realise with horror that through history all of society has colluded in sweeping an entire class of defenseless people aside as human debris.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.79.2.208
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2010 - 04:08 pm:   

This brings us back on topic - it sounds like NEVER AGAIN is using horror to heal.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2010 - 04:13 pm:   

Sorry to be picky but the greek bloke was called Achilles therefore the apostrophe should be after the 'S' making the phrase Achilles' heel.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.79.2.208
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2010 - 04:20 pm:   

Yes, I spotted that, but there's no edit function.
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.104.135.73
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2010 - 04:54 pm:   

Thanks Huw! It has been a pleasure working with Joel. We are almost there with the anthology. It won't be long before the stories can be read.

And to Simon for starting the thread. Sometimes you just have to stand up and say....no more.

I taught my daughter about honour, Rhys, at an early age. She's never done anything horrible to another child. She knows to think how she would feel if treated badly. Mind you ...there are a few no doubt she'd dearly like to .... (insert word of choice here) we've taught her self control and to keep her mouth shut rather than hurt others.
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 82.38.75.85
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2010 - 08:40 pm:   

>>This brings us back on topic - it sounds like NEVER AGAIN is using horror to heal.<<

Sorry, I hadn't realised I'd taken it off topic. My comments above were intended to further what I considered to be the same topic - ie. thinking about why these so-called hate crimes happen and what we (ie. society) might do about it. That's what the Sophie Lancaster Foundation appears to be doing - going into schools, etc, trying to teach kids right from wrong.

If anyone thought I'd taken the thread off topic, my apologies. That wasn't my intention.
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Rhysaurus (Rhysaurus)
Username: Rhysaurus

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 212.219.233.223
Posted on Saturday, August 14, 2010 - 12:25 pm:   

> Libertarianism controlled by a strict code of morality/honour/chivalry enshrined in our legal and education systems is a way forward that I believe would actually work...

You're talking my language exactly, Stevie!

But let's be careful about what we do with those alpha males... If we remove them from society (as some people would like) then we'll be taking a powerful driving force away from civilisation: it will be like removing the oxygen from a petrol engine. Their energy and creativity needs to be harnessed for good, not kneecapped altogether!

Joel: unlike you, I do tend to believe that violence is a fundamental part of the function of life -- that life itself is violent, a process of violence, a sequence of extreme chemical explosions, as it were; even cell division is violent; but as you say, let's not divert into a discussion of psychology!

I merely wish to put in a positive word for those physical, aggressive, intense and active people among us who are often automatically considered in our modern age to have somehow defective characters. It's easy for people who are basically placid and gentle and soft to be "good" -- they don't actually have to do much to earn that praise. How much harder it is for the hotheads and the physically robust to earn that epithet -- they have to work much harder.

But anyway...
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 61.216.46.61
Posted on Saturday, August 14, 2010 - 01:55 pm:   

"I merely wish to put in a positive word for those physical, aggressive, intense and active people among us who are often automatically considered in our modern age to have somehow defective characters. It's easy for people who are basically placid and gentle and soft to be "good" -- they don't actually have to do much to earn that praise. How much harder it is for the hotheads and the physically robust to earn that epithet -- they have to work much harder."

To me it doesn't matter whether one is 'gentle and placid' or 'physical, aggressive, intense and active' (or any combination of these - a person can be both/all at different times): the key is treating others with respect and kindness, regardless of the individual degree of introversion or extroversion.

I'm not sure what any of this has to do with racism, which I hope we can all agree is a bad thing?
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Gcw (Gcw)
Username: Gcw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.158.238.131
Posted on Saturday, August 14, 2010 - 02:06 pm:   

Much as I laud the motives behind 'Never Again' I do fear it will only preach to the converted.

It's quite scary what I, & most likely everyone else here considers normal behavior seems to be treated as 'wierd'.

For instance, numerous people have visited my house & looked at my bookshelves with a kind of faint amusement & kind of !oooh isn't he a bit strange' attitude.

I long ago gave up trying to convert these people to reading, to be fair, they won't convert me to football!

Shame though, I know someone who proudly told me he had only ever read one book, and thats only because he was made to at school, (though I assume he had read other books in primary school)

It's really sad, but just the way a lot of people are.

gcw
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Degsy (Degsy)
Username: Degsy

Registered: 08-2010
Posted From: 86.134.93.9
Posted on Saturday, August 14, 2010 - 02:30 pm:   

I agree with GCW that the book will have missed an opportunity if it just ends up being bought by the usual Fantasycon types, but that surely is an incentive for all of us to try and plug it wherever and whenever we can and get it out there to as diverse an audience as possible.

It's a cause that I feel as strongly about as everyone else here and as a result I've tried to spread the word to as many reading and (non-reading) friends as I can.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.110.180.142
Posted on Saturday, August 14, 2010 - 06:05 pm:   

We're hoping the book will (a) persuade some readers who avoid genre fiction that it can be relevent to today's world (not, of course, that other anthologies haven't done that); (b) persuade some genre fiction readers that politically themed genre fiction is not a bad thing (ditto); (c) increase the political awareness of some genre fiction readers who think politics is uncool; (d) entertain, scare and disturb lots of readers, some of whom expected it and some of whom didn't.

What we're not expecting is that the book will: (a) cause the BNP to disband; (b) bring about global socialist revolution; (c) tranform the weird fiction genre. That half of the stories are reprints reflects the fact that we know we're not inventing the wheel.

We think these stories are good and interesting that's the main thing really. We want to make people think these issues but we know what leaflets and marches are for (believe me), and we're not pretending that political activism starts or ends with a book of horror stories. Both politically and in literary terms, this book is a small part of something much bigger.

And let's be honest, would there be this much excitement about a book of werewolf romance stories? Not that werewolves don't deserve romance. There's a time (or phase of the moon) and a place for everything.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.110.180.142
Posted on Saturday, August 14, 2010 - 06:14 pm:   

"I merely wish to put in a positive word for those physical, aggressive, intense and active people among us..."

No problem with that, Rhys, at least where said people are making a positive contribution. People like that are the driving force of any effective movement. They're also fun to be around.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.110.180.142
Posted on Saturday, August 14, 2010 - 06:18 pm:   

It does depend on what you mean by aggressive. Allied to negativity aggression means cruelty, hurtfulness and pointless violence. Allied to compassion and human commitment it means someone who would fight to challenge injustice and create a better world.
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Simon Bestwick (Simon_b)
Username: Simon_b

Registered: 10-2008
Posted From: 86.24.209.217
Posted on Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 10:57 am:   

And as the riots (hopefully) die down...

Today is the fourth anniversary of Sophie Lancaster's murder. The work of the same kind of stupid, vicious morons.

RIP.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 12:01 pm:   

RIP Sophie Lancaster.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 92.8.30.56
Posted on Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 12:49 pm:   

I fear you may be right, Simon.
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Greg James (Greg_james)
Username: Greg_james

Registered: 04-2011
Posted From: 62.244.179.50
Posted on Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 01:36 pm:   

It's also food for thought as I understand there have been racist undercurrents to the actions of the English Defence League and vigilantes in Enfield over the last few nights.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 02:21 pm:   

And, I'm afraid, BNP supporters are now writing heavily coded letters to the national press about how soon there will be a 'new leadership' that wipes away the liberal errors of the last century and restores the 'British' spirit.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.156.210.82
Posted on Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 02:59 pm:   

Why are they heavily coded? Don't they want anyone to read them?
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 04:00 pm:   

What I mean is that they don't name the type of leader or movement they are in favour of. Just that 'soon' all this nonsense about rights will be swept away, along with 'non-British' elements.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.156.210.82
Posted on Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 04:03 pm:   

Ah, right...it did baffle me that they would be heavily coded.
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 202.73.206.32
Posted on Friday, August 12, 2011 - 04:34 am:   

Just been offline for a few days (was cut off, actually...because I didn't pay the bill.) Yes. Another year gone by now and very sad to think that she'll not have a life because some idiots didn't like the way she looked. Horrific.

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