I'm James Maxey, the author of numerous novels of fantasy and science fiction. I use this site to discuss a wide range of topics, with a heavy emphasis on cranky, uninformed rants about politics and religion and other topics that polite people attempt to avoid. For anyone just wanting to read about my books, I maintain a second blog, The Prophet and the Dragon, where I keep the focus solely on my fiction. I also have a webpage where both blogs stream, with more information about all my books, at jamesmaxey.net.


Sunday, May 21, 2006

Politics again

It's been a while since I wrote about politics here. Laura and writing have commanded my attention for a month. It's been hard to work up righteous indignation about the news while the news in my own life has been what it's been.

Laura was someone who appreciated that tragedy and triumph tend to come at you all at once. The whole time she was in her steepest decline, or in the immediate aftermath of her death, I couldn't open my mailbox without getting some kind of good news. In the span of a month, I (1) got the contract for Bitterwood (edits of which are going great!), (2) sold my novella Greatshadow to an anthology I didn't technically submit it to, and for a dollar amount larger than what I was expecting, (3) resold my short story "Final Flight of the Blue Bee" to the Russian SF mag ESLI, without ever having submitted to them, either. They contacted me. As my fellow Codexian Eric James Stone observed, in America, you submit to the markets. In Russia, the markets submit to you. What a country! Also during this time, I've gotten fan mail about "Final Flight," always a thrill, and I've finally gotten my contributors copy of "Modern Magic," which is just gorgeous, easily the best looking book I've been in to date. (I hope to soon report on the stories. I have reason to suspect they kick ass.)

But, little by little, politics are seeping back into my awareness. The thing that currently has me annoyed is the proposal to make English the official language of America. The other night, before dinner with Greg, I was standing in front of the restaurant and a man and a woman were standing nearby and I overheard thier conversation. The woman was talking about how it was crazy that immigrants didn't want to learn English, and were forcing banks and doctor's offices to offer thier services bilingually. The guy agreed, and from his comments I got the impression that he was fine with rounding up anyone who couldn't speak English and shooting them. Now, ordinarily, I would get angry at this sort of bigotry, but I was too amused to really get indignant. They were having this conversation while waiting to get a table at a Mexican restaurant. So, let them be racist crackers while standing on the sidewalk--within the hour they would be shelling out their hard earned greenbacks to a restaurant that didn't have a single gringo on staff. And, I suspect the people who run the restaurant--all the way down to the waitstaff--would agree that voting for multiculturism with your money is better than voting for it with your mouth.

I would like to point out that no one has forced banks to provide services in Spanish. This is capitalism at work--immigrants have money. Not competing for their business would be crazy. And, while I'm on the subject of the free market, it seems to me that we shouldn't be afraid of having English and Spanish duke it out head to head in the free market of the culture. If Hollywood starts putting out movies in Spanish and we have to wait around for the English translation, I might feel a tiny bit inconvenienced. But, I don't see that day coming. The fact is, if you live in America, and only speak English, you just aren't going to having any trouble at all functioning. Your bank, your doctor, your grocery store might devote a sliver of their resources to serving Spanish speakers, but you are never going to walk into a bank in North Carolina and be unable to conduct a transaction because of a language barrier. Enshrining this in law speaks to me of a certain cultural insecurity on the part of Americans. A fear that our language isn't all that great, and can't stand up to competition.

Wow, a rant. It's been a while. Perhaps the healing has begun.

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