Conservatism is dead

I’ve been accused of having wished for Sarah Palin’s death and/or threatening her life because of this tweet:

[blackbirdpie url=”!/MoriahJovan/status/23857842133929984″]

Now. Anybody who knows me, has read my books, has read my blog, has read my Tweets, has breathed the same internet air I breathe knows I’m a Reagan-conservative-moving-swiftly-to-libertarian Mormon with a side of objectivism to spice things up.

Thus, it didn’t occur to me that my tweet, made in conversation with someone else, in response to my utter disgust with the immediate blaming of Sarah Palin for Saturday’s shooting of a Congresswoman would be taken as a threat against Palin and/or a wish for her death.

It smacked me in the head last night when I was tweeted that I was “scum” who had threatened her, with a link to a YouTube slideshow of a collection of tweets that actually DID wish her dead. Mine and one other tweet were vague enough that they didn’t belong in the collection in the first place. I’ll not defend the others except to say that my first reaction on seeing them was, “They’re blowing off steam like everybody else.” Which is, I think, a reasonable thing to conclude.

Let me tell you what I was doing Saturday when I was watching all the Palin-blaming go down on Twitter: I was at a packed roller rink with my kids, in the middle of loud music and people-chaos, barely listening to their whining, looking at my Twitterstream for news on the Congresswoman’s status…and crying.

For the country. For what it means for political discourse when some nutjob pops his cork for no reason other than he’s a nutjob. For “my” side, which is being blamed for everything from eating their boogers to nuclear winter.

But mostly I was crying for Congresswoman Giffords, who was out doing her job and a guy with a mental illness decided to kill her, for the six innocent people including a 9-year-old girl who died, and the other 18 wounded.

If you are coming here because you saw that video or saw whatever random tweet in which some nutjob on “my” side put me in that list, and you actually are taking the time to find out who I really am, know this: The people who made that video and who are blindly tweeting make “us” look bad.

There is nothing that will kill an ideology or a movement faster than the nutjobs co-opting it: Because the reasonable people who can disagree without being disagreeable, who can let the slings and arrows go by like mature people, who can get “our” things accomplished, who can discern the nutjobs on the “other” side—people like me—will simply walk away quietly because they don’t want to deal with the nutjobs.

And in reference to my tweet in particular, even taken on its face: If you don’t get it, you need to learn nuance, sarcasm, irony, hyperbole. Buy a clue, rent one, steal one, I don’t care. GET ONE.

This is not conservatism. This is its formerly disenfranchised nutjobs peeing and shitting in its swimming pool.

God help us all.

UPDATE (2011-01-12 10:00 a.m. CST): Mike Cane has documented the conversation that led to my tweet. Thanks, Mike.

Dear neighbors…

(…who would know this blog existed if you ever bothered to come talk to us…)

We are not obligated to go ’round the neighborhood introducing ourselves and presenting ourselves for your approval as The Right Kind of People. Not when we moved in five years ago. Not now.

It’s yours. Your obligation to come to us to find out who we are. Until you do that, your judgments about us are your problem, not ours.

If you had come to our door, you might have realized we are quiet, well-educated and well-traveled people who live our lives with honor and dignity. The county government and police department have, fortunately, already realized this, thanks to your meddling.

You will not take that dignity and quiet away from us because you hate that your 40-year neighbor died and we bought her house. You will not take that dignity and quiet away from us because you hate that the neighborhood demographic changed nearly overnight from the nearly dead to the newly hatched. You will not take that dignity and quiet away from us because we don’t spend 24/7 working on our lawns because we’re too busy working on improving the whole of our lives.

We pay the same taxes you do, even though we don’t make as much money as you made when you were working, and you are now retired on the Social Security we are paying. You can judge us and co-opt our children when you start paying our mortgage, for the infrastructure repairs you can’t see on this 45-year-old house, and for someone to keep our lawn for us.

If our biggest sins are that we keep to ourselves, we’re quiet, and we let our tax deductions have a bit more physical freedom than you deem is proper, and we don’t have as much money or free time as you do, we can live with that.

No, we aren’t The Right Kind of People. And if you are, then we don’t want to be.

And oh, P.S. We don’t need to be friends with you. We need you to mind your own business.

The mysterious ways of the universe

I’m in the middle of writing Magdalene, book 3 in my series.

If you’re passingly familiar with Christian myth, it should be quite clear where I’m going with this.

But let me tell you a little about my main characters.

Mitch Hollander, PhD, metallurgical engineering; founder and CEO of Hollander Steelworks, headquartered in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He is also a widowed Mormon bishop who served half an 18-month mission in Paris, France. He likes fast cars and ZZ Top.

Cassie St. James, MBA; Vice President-Restructuring Division, Blackwood Securities. In a previous life, she was a high-dollar hooker. She is divorced, lives in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, has four adult children (all of whom live with her), engages in strategic revenge, and possesses a latent penchant for silliness.

So I was on the search for a special little gift that Mitch could give Cassie that meant something but was not expensive. After all, what do you give a woman who can buy anything she wants?

Naturally, I turned to books because I have a vested interest in people buying books (product placement!). I decided that Mitch might have a special book that he may have acquired on his mission and is probably in French. Naturally, I googled, and then headed over to Wikipedia where I stumbled upon a list of French novels. I doggedly worked my way through them one by one, read the synopses, then picked one based on a vague similarity of the plot to Cassie’s past.

I wrote it into my book as if I’d read the thing (but hadn’t), then decided I probably should read it. And it freaked me out. Big time.

The book? Angélique, the Marquise of Angels by Anne & Serge Golon, first published in 1958.

Unbeknownst to me, this was a huge hit in Europe and apparently a big hit here. I’d never heard of it, never stumbled across it in the intellectual drunkenness of my youth (that actually amazes me).

The book is heroine-centric, so it’s all about Angélique. The parallel I found between Angélique and Cassie was that they both had arranged marriages. The similarity stopped there.

Angélique didn’t know her contracted husband, feared him at first, then grew to love him.

Cassie knew the man she was to marry, adored him from afar and was eager to marry him, and then quickly realized that her marriage was a sham.

Cassie is familiar with the story via film, so she has no problem making this parallel and had, in fact, written a paper on it during her undergrad years.

What doesn’t show up in the plot summary is a description of the hero’s “unusual way of life.” Joffray (the hero) is described as “scientist, musician, philosopher.” I didn’t think much of it. Mitch is a scientist with his own lab, true, but he’s also a CEO and I’ve always thought of him in those terms.  He’s not a musician. He’s not a philosopher. At heart, he’s a blue-collar steel worker who loves steel enough to reinvent himself and the industry; steel is his life’s work.

Turns out that Joffray’s science is metallurgy. That was freaky.

Turns out that Joffray is hung out to dry, religiously speaking, for reasons that have nothing to do with religion and everything to do with power, politics, and money. That was even freakier.

As I got deeper and deeper into the book, I felt like I’d entered the Twilight Zone.

Then I got to the end. Angélique plunges out into the cold night, penniless and powerless, to exact revenge. That is so Cassie. I nearly expired from the freakiness the universe had perpetrated upon my person.

I couldn’t have picked a better novel if I’d written it myself.

PS: Yes, I know Mary Magdalene wasn’t a prostitute.

PPS: In the mid-1980s, missions were, in fact, only 18 months long for men.

Tab A, slot B

If you remember, about 100 years ago in blog time, Eugene got lambasted all over the bloggernacle for his book, Angel Falling Softly, for various crimes from “not very spiritual” to “sacrilege” to calls for his excommunication or at the very least, pulling his temple recommend. Eugene’s tab did not fit into the proper slot.

A while back, I came across a blog I keep a little eye on and had commented just to clarify a point. Yesterday I noticed that “Anonymous” had chastised me for acknowledging that my book is filthy (it is) and for dropping the F-bomb in the first line of the story. The chastisement was something along the lines of, “You call that quality Mormon fiction”?

::gallic shrug::

Well, A) “quality” was used in terms of how well the book is designed by the publisher and how well it is constructed by Lightning Source and B) I don’t consider it Mormon fiction.

People have different tastes. Nice, sweet, nearly conflict-less LDS fiction wasn’t cutting the mustard for me with regard to sparkle and (dare I say it?) lust (which doesn’t have to be consummated, but could we acknowledge its existence?). Fiction by Mormon authors out in the wild might be my brand of wild but it’s short on philosophy and faith. Genre romance of any stripe, inspirational to erotica, suffers the same lack of one for the other, so it’s not us. It’s a general lack of crossover between faith and sex.

Slot B47c&&2kd existed, but there was no correlating Tab A47c&&2kd to put in it.

I, Random Reader, wanted my slot filled. I’ve been wanting it filled for a long time. And it remained empty, growing cobwebs. I wasn’t writing it, either, because I wanted to “get” published and you don’t “get” published with a mixture like that.

So I said, “Fuck it. I’ll write what I want.”

As far as I know, I only have 1 (count ’em, ONE) LDS reader who’s managed to get past the first page. That’s okay, too. I probably made a mistake in vaguely hoping I could find a small audience amongst my own who, like me, wanted something titillating and faith-affirming (er, maybe) at the same time. Or, at the very least, not anti.

What I didn’t expect was the positive reaction from non-members who found my portrayal of us as human and extremely fallible, struggling with matters of faith and sexuality, as sympathetic and relatable—and who found the addition of faith to these people’s lives just another layer of their personalities.

Eh, don’t get me wrong. Plenty of people haven’t liked it also, for various reasons including the politics and my prose style and the fact that my characters aren’t, well, very likable at times. But…I don’t like everybody else’s books, either, so no harm, no foul. Regardless of all that, though, who liked it, who didn’t, why or whatever, the fact of the matter was that for this consumer, the market had an empty slot. So I carved out my own tab. And lo and behold! I’m not the only one who liked the shape and size of that tab.

All the foregoing is to say that this past weekend, I was blessed to brainstorm projects with two religious types (one protestant, one Catholic and independent of each other) who also like the s(t)eamier side of genre romance. It doesn’t hurt that I love these two writers’ work already, but these two projects are so outside their creators’ norms AND they are outside of, well, everybody’s norms. And I love them for it. I would never have thought of these two ideas, but these ladies did and their tab fit my slot.

Now, ladies, hurry up and finish those things. I know this publisher, see…