[LMB] Chain letters and such, was Fun

Paula Lieberman paal at gis.net
Sun Apr 5 07:25:02 BST 2009

ObBujold content quite a few paragraphs below....

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Azalais Aranxta" <tiamat at tsoft.com>
To: "Discussion of the works of Lois McMaster Bujold." 
<lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk>
Sent: Friday, April 03, 2009 2:35 PM
Subject: Re: [LMB] OT: Fun

> On Fri, 3 Apr 2009, Elizabeth Holden wrote:
>> I'm not sure if it's fun or not - clearly, not for all - but
>> there's something refreshing about taking a look back and
>> thinking, 'Yeah. People younger than twenty never experienced
>> that.' Not as a matter of judgement, but of perspective.
> Most of my friends are younger than me; I've definitely had those
> moments.  But there's a difference between looking at someone you
> like and thinking, "hey, you never lived through that...wow," and
> the kind of...idk, superior attitude I picked up from that
> particular post.  It didn't offend me the way it did Tria.  But I
> think I understand why it offended her, and it wouldn't hurt the
> OP to just say, "sorry about that."
> In general, e-mail forwards like that make some people very happy
> and most other people really unhappy.  We have someone at work
> who loves passing them on, particularly the kind with all these
> nice pronouncements about friendship and then, at the end, "send
> this to everyone you love, even back to me if you feel about me
> that way."
> Which annoys the crap out of me.  Because I don't want someone
> thinking I don't care about them if I don't spam them back.  I
> hate that stuff, particularly the emotional blackmail part or the
> ones that say "send this to X number of people and something good
> will happen, deleting this is bad luck," because I'm just
> superstitious and just sceptical enough to be uncomfortably aware
> that people make these things true for themselves and if you send
> it to the wrong person it will change their luck for the day and
> not in a good way, because they'll believe it on some level.

I agree.  There are outlooks on life out there that don't consider it worth 
considering that not everyone thinks the same way they do, has the same 
lifestyle and values they have, likes the same things they like, etc.  They 
give gifts to people on the basis not of "Is this something the recipient 
would like/would appreciate/wants?" but rather, "This is something the 
persons -needs-/should have" or "This is something -I- like and would want 
to receive therefore I am bestowing an enormousfavor on the recipient by 
presenting them something that  -I- want/like as a present as opposed to 
buying it for myself--I am being Good and Honorable and Morally Upstanding 
and showing myself Important by instead of giving in to self-gratification 
and buying this thing I think is so wonderful for -myself-, I;m practicing 
self-denial and constraint and proper humilty by instead giving what I want, 
to someone else as a present! Since I think it's such a valuable thing, I am 
showing how much I -care- for this person by giving them what I want instead 
of buying it for myself and keeping it myself!"

Euwwww.... The first case, is why e.g cleaning supplies are NOT appropriate 
presents to anyone who doesn't ASK for them....  the "gift" is an insult 
pointing out failure to properly be neat clean tidy and domestically-minded. 
Cleaning is for most people a CHORE, not a pleasurable discretionary time 
enjoyment activity.

The second case, the gifter is being inconsiderate, lacking in empathy, and 
egocentric.  "This is something I value, therefore I give it to you because 
obviously what I think is worthwhile is important and trumps whatever 
opinion you might have, and your opinion is irrelevant and to be dismissed 
without consideration. and lacking in empathy

In the case of chain letters, even or especially the "pass these thoughts 
on," both cases are in play--the persons originating the chain letter think 
the content of the chain letter has value and that the person originating 
MUST pass this valuable content onto lots of other people, because the 
content is so worthy and important... regardless again of the feelings, 
opinon, attitudes, etc., of the persons on the receiving ends of the chain 
letter. "You have been selected for...."  by people who didn't generally ASK 
or show ANY interest in being on the receiving end of such things.
>> I'm sort of age-blind, and even when young had a lot of older
>> friends. I don't mean being a fifteen-year-old with
>> eighteen-year-old friends, more like being fifteen years old
>> and having friends in their fifties and sixties.  I've always
>> liked knowing people of different ages, and knowing them well.
> Me too.  And I've often had relationships people thought were
> inappropriate; dating people a lot older than me when I was
> young, dating people a lot younger than me after I got divorced
> my 30s and it was actually possible without, you know, being
> immoral and illegal because everyone more than 5 years younger
> than me was a kid.

One of the things I hated early-on and continue to find objectionable about 
the public schooling system, is the age stratification and the absolute 
boundaries involved, that put children into lockstep as a single-year cohort 
of alleged peers... which doesn;t allow cross-age interaction, respect, 
cooperation, learning, teaching, socializing, etc., expect at the 
misinformation and rumor level outside of formal classroom time... in the 
classrooms for primary education, there is no mixing in multiple classroom 
schools, across those year group boundarkies.    The barriers get put there 
by Authorities, who regard the stratification as requisite....

>> Since I tend to think of everyone I know as being age-free,
>> sometimes there's a moment of shock.  Not too long ago I was
>> chatting to someone about fanfic and I told them I used to be
>> an X-Files fan.  They said they had been too young to watch
>> X-Files.  I did the arithmetic.  X-Files seems to me like
>> *yesterday*.  That isn't perspective, that's... wibbly-wobbly
>> timey-wimey stuff. I thought of this person as my contemporary.
>> Misleading.
> Yes.

I try to avoid assuming that someone outside the cohorts I'm in, is going to 
have the same "general" background I have... it MIGHT be easier for me than 
most people to do that, because my experiential background is far from the 
society defaults.... grew up as an exception and stayed one, which means 
that my experiences tend to be highly atypical... therefore, assuming that 
what I "know" other people my age and "ordinary people": everyeones know, is 
bogus from the get-go... my more likely assumption is that the person's 
experiences are far different from mine, and only if asked and responded to 
in the affirmative, is the other person going to know referents that almost 
reflexive for me.
> The fact that it is called 'perspective' is part of the problem.
> There are things I've noticed as I get older.  In my 40s I no
> longer feel the same urgency about a lot of things, because I

As I get older, some things I feel less urgency about, and somethings I feel 
more urgency about, and other things I consider I perhaps ought to pitch 
entirely, or at least cut back on....

> know that sometimes things do get better on their own, and I've
> experienced situations where my meddling did not help.  In my 40s
> I don't jump into things as quickly because I've had a lot of
> experience of things being more complex than I thought they were
> and how doing what looks like the right thing at first glance can
> cause loads of problems later when the variables I didn't know
> about hit me across the bridge of the nose.  In general, I've
> learnt to accept that sometimes people who appear to be in a bad
> way like the mess they're in, and to be very careful about
> deciding unilaterally to assist them with that.
>> I'd be curious to ask Trialia why she found the post irritating
>> - did she think it was ageist stereotyping? - but I'm afraid to
>> ask, because I don't want to anger her again.
> Well, it kind of was.  Along with the notion that people who
> haven't lived through these experiences don't understand why the
> world is the way it is.  Sometimes that can be true, but it is

There are styles of writing which imply or connote superiority or primacy of 
certain experience/attitudes from Way Back When over contemporary.    The 
song "When I Was a Boy" by Frank Hayes caricatures that:

(excerpted off from lyrics posted at

"And you kids who complain that the World Wide Web
Is too slow oughtta cut out your bitchin',
'Cuz when I was a boy every packet
Was delivered by carrier pigeon

"And we walked twenty miles to the schoolhouse
Barefoot, uphill both ways,
Through blizzards in summer and winter
Back in the good old days.
Back when Fortran was not even Two-tran
And the mainframe was only a toy
And we did our computing by torchlight
When I was a boy....."

> possible to educate yourself, and a younger person who has taken
> the time to do that may know as much or more than an older person
> who never cared enough to pay attention.
>> I'm not an old fogey, of course, and never will be.  The
>> numbers add up but age is a state of mind.  Most people
>> associate age with illness, but I had more illness in childhood
>> than I do now.
> I've always had illness.  But I look and feel young and relate
> better generally to people who are younger than me.  Part of it
> is because I've never had children or been married for very long;
> the people my own age I'm close to are usually similar.

I've never been married or shacked up, and never had children, but it doesn 
put me necessarily "closer" to people who're younger than I--I known a 
number of never-married women, a quite a few never-had-kids people around my 
own age.   It feels so very strange at work, that my age mates are married 
and their children have children, and other people I work with had childlren 
ranging in age from under a year old and up.  I got allergic reactions 
starting a long time ago to social events involving focus on spouses and 
significant others as participants, since I can't remember ever not having 
gone stag to an office party social event.... the discomfort level depends 
on a lot of factors but because literally there parity bit isn;t there, the 
numbers come out odd--unless there are more than a token of others who're 
also unaccompanied who are ordinarily unaccompanied.

And it's is mostly not an age thing--lots of people are paired up if not 
married by the time that they even are in their first job after college.

Where the Bujold connection comes in, is thinking about Miles, Mark, and 
Ivan.  Miles from early on in his appearance in The Warrior's Apprentice, 
was spouse-hunting.  He'd had something of a fixation on Elena, originally, 
but when she turned him down for the final time with her announcement of her 
choice of Boz and staying in the Dendarii and Barrayar was a hell she never 
wanted to set foot on again, Miles started looking around in other 
directions for his Lady Vorkosigan.

Ivan was out for a good time, no strings attached, when originally met in 
TWA--and stayed that way for book after book and year after year in the 
series, until one day he woke up noticing that everyone else in his cohort 
had married and settled down, and he was mate-lacking and 

Mark, on the other hand, arrived on Barrayar towed by or towing (I forget 
which..) Miles, with a defined and specific pigeonhole waiting for him to 
arrive and ensconce himself in... Mark expressed the desire to find himself 
a nice deep safe protected job position showed himself ready to take the 
family membership and name and identity offered him and make them deeply and 
entirely his own.  He also looked around and found himself the woman he 
wanted to spend the rest of his life living with as spouse, once he had 
gotten the worst of his ghosts if not out of his system, at least mollified 
and put to acquiescence.

Mark, though, had had different experiences than either Miles of Ivan--Mark 
didn't feel any need to prove himself the way Miles had had internal 
pressure to prove himself.  Mark didn't grown up with a strong body etc. 
which Ivan had.  Mark was raised as a tool and not as someone born and 
reared to be his own person with a strict code of honor.  Mark was looking 
for security and roots and attachments, not excitement and adventure.

Mile and Ivan grew up within a matrix of Barrayaran Vor values, and 
family--connections which Mark didn't have. Mark coming to Barrayar with 
Miles, was getting the opportunity to make connections to other people, to 
be a part of their society, to have a place for Lord Mark Vorkosigan, 
formerly pawn clone of Miles Vorkosigan, created specifically as a tool and 
one which could be put in as replacement for Lord Miles Vorkosigan.

Miles wanted Vor standard life--military service, a wife Lady Vorkosigan, 
and children to carry his lineage forward.
Ivan wanted, eventually, marriage and children and handing his Vor heritage 
to his offspring.   He got sidetracked, though, with the self-indulgent life 
of personable good-looking bachelorhoos., and by the time he decided, 
"Perhaps I ought to pick a bride and get married" the pool of eligbles had 
dropped precitously.

Miles started out out of step with his cohort because of his congenital 
physical shortcomings.  Ivan not being exposed to soltoxin attacks, Ivan had 
no such physical limitations and constrants and concern.   Ivan, though, had 
the shortcoming of having put off for so long even doing serious thinking 
about wife-seaching and then selecent.   Ivan was completely in-step with 
his cohort, until things changed with the contemporary of Ivan all gettign 
married nd settled down, and Ivan still being in bachelorhood, but without 
mature women around belonging to his cohort and its experiences and 

Mark, of the three, was fitting in and immersing in many ways most 
easily--exploiting his assassin;s training to blend it, and taking seriously 
development of a relationship aispired to be lifelong.
To a strong degree, some of th

> ~malfoy :)
> ****************************************************************
> Azalais Aranxta (~malfoy)
> ataniell93 on LiveJournal and Vox
> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/malfoymadness

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