[LMB] Are we still reading Gentleman Jole and the the Red Queen?!

pouncer at aol.com pouncer at aol.com
Mon Oct 24 17:55:23 BST 2016

Howard Brazee responds to Gwynne:

GP>> I wonder how long before the two merge and everybody 
>>is regular army/service?

HB> Or whenever Gregor decides.   Remember when Truman 
>ordered racial integration.   The military can make 
>such changes much more quickly than society does.

I don't remember Truman.  The history books suggest
that he, like Woody Wilson before him -- who (whom?) 
I also have no direct memory of -- commanded changes
(in the exact opposite direction of Wilson) more 
superficial than substantive in their effects on 
society at large; though of major effect on the 
directly affected participants. 

Wilson's decision re-segregated federal employees (not
just the military) to be more like the Southern 
society of his Virginia and the District of Columbia than
the North and West of certain prior deciders. Truman's
post WWIII decision restored a post-Civil War societal 
regard for the military service (and competencies) of 
previously under-appreciated demographic groups: language 
groups and gender groups as well as racial groups. 

As in Cordelia's direct experience, nothing affects
general respect quite as effectively as a reputation
for competent violence. 

Cordelia, Jole, and most explicitly Elli Quinn exhibit
a philosophical bias towards space-based, high-tech, 
populations, and a slightly dismissive (not to say,
deplorable) attitude toward "dirt suckers". Spacers, 
for example, consider threats to civilization like 
comet strikes, solar flares, and of course military
incursions as problems of maneuver.  Push the comet;
dodge the flare, flank the enemy ...  If a volcano
poses an unstoppable threat, retreat. (Lakewalkers share
this attitude.) 

Ground dwellers hold and build on territory.  Ten 
generations of Vorkosigans in the District; keeping 
the valley despite the radioactive glow; attics full 
of heavy immovable mathoms. Gravesites and plaques on
the pavement. To retreat from "your ground" is a shame
and dishonor.  As it is to not know and respect "your
place" in the society, the pecking order,and traditions.  
This, even of EVIL traditions like infanticide; it's a
woman's "place" to cut out the mutation. (As we 
discussed of Piotr's frustration with Cordelia.) Place
and the history of a place and the connections and
use and surrounding culture of place has a value. 
(And an economic value, if we can persuade Nick Rosen
to provide us the Georgist perspective on this issue.)

It seems to me Cordelia's disconnect with her petitioners
is rather analogous to Wilson's with the NAACP.  "I've
made up my mind, for your own long-term good. Why are 
you opposing me?"  She doesn't always exhibit the 
requisite mindset to budge attitudes along when she 
has the authority to command. She HAS the ability; as
she shows when herding the cats of the Survey Service.
Budging and nudging other spacers. She is patient with,
but unsympathetic to, the "farmers" threatened by a
malicious volcano. 

I suspect she may subconsciously appreciate this 
about herself; and incorporate this, among other more
overt and consciously accepted reasons, in her decision
to step away from her job. She and Aral checked and
balanced each other. (Aral representing his District's
dirt suckers well.) Alone, she has no interpreter or
advocate for the landsmen's "free-holder" viewpoint.  
Without Aral to negotiate with, she makes no plans 
or offers to the --after all, partners, not adversaries --
of her empire, offseting the loss they're facing in 
consequence of her decision.

Coming back to the original question, I have another:
How many Greekie officers in Jole's command do 
we see, as opposed to "techs" as in Miles's early,
pre-female, Imperial Service ranks.  Are the advances
of Barrayaran women coming at the expense of
linguistic minority groups?  

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