Sunday, January 21, 2018

A Night For Freedom NYC

Last night it was my privilege to attend A Night For Freedom event hosted by Mike Cernovich. The event had been repeatedly misrepresented and sabotaged by the Left even before it began, and I spent most of yesterday on Twitter following the organizer's scramble to find yet another venue after two others reneged on their contracts at the last moment. I'm not generally conspiracy minded, but it did look to me as a concerted effort to stop the event from happening. Whether the two different venue owners were paid off/intimidated, or were intending to cancel all along will be for the lawyers to untangle. The bottom line was, the opposition was bound and determined to keep a few hundred people from getting together and having fun at a private venue.

To re-phrase an old joke about Jewish Holidays:

They tried to stop us. They failed. Let's party.

Oh yes, I'm going there. The fervor seen on the Left to shut down all dissent absolutely comes from the same place as ancient tyrannies that practiced religious prosecution. Fortunately, in this country, they don't have the power of the State to support their desire to silence and if necessary kill those who do not share their worldview.

Or rather, they don't have it YET. Every time someone nods approvingly at a "Punch-a-Nazi" joke, we inch closer to the day when incidents like the unprovoked attacks at the attendees last night become the norm. And that is when the First Amendment becomes just words on paper.

No, we are not yet there. But we can't dismiss the urgency of our situation either. Citizens who have lost their right to think and speak different ideas, and to get together to discuss those ideas, are no longer free.

And so I was, an immigrant from the former Soviet Union, after 30 years in the country that's been a beacon of freedom to the world, about to attend an equivalent of a dissident meeting.

If that was not enough cause for trepidation, I came to the event alone, which is something I almost never do.

Naturally, this being an "Alt-Right" event and all, I quickly came across a group of Russian/Ukrainian Jews and spent most of the main program hanging out with those fine gentlemen, bonding over our love of Ayn Rand and making fun of feminism. They also introduced me to Michael Malice, a Ukrainian-born writer and commentator best known for his book Dear Reader: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Kim Jong Il. 

What's that, you say? This doesn't sound like the "Alt-Right" crowd at all? Well, who are you going to believe, mainstream media or someone who was actually in the room?

The program itself was ranging from inspiring to pure fun, with everything in between. Owen Benjamin channelled the late George Carlin at his edgiest, and performed a large part of it as musical numbers to boot. Michael Malice presented an optimistic spin on the current cultural and technological challenges and advances. Jack Prosobiec did a spoken word performance tribute to the American flag. Gavin McInnes was his usual irreverently hilarious self.

But the best speech of the evening, somewhat to my surprise, came from a Canadian political commentator Stefan Molyneux. He encouraged us to ask a question that may of us immersed in the culture war and political strife often forget.

We all know what we're against. In fact, we know it so well it's possible to spend days, weeks and even months in a state of simmering anger at what is being done to the country we so love under the guise of common good and political correctness.

But what is it that we are FOR?

Generally speaking, movements built only on destroying the status quo, no matter how tyrannical, end up either failing entirely or turn into their own form of tyranny when they prevail. But also, for practical purposes, it's easier to convince people to follow you if you can present a vision of the world YOU want to build. Tempting as it is to say, "Let's just defeat the Left and we'll figure out the rest later," we do need to know OUR vision and we must be able to present it in a coherent way.

And this, for me, is one of the bigger takeaways from the event. It's important to fight, and I will always support those willing take on the modern version of Thought Control Police. But in the long run it's also important to present an inspiring, positive vision of the future. A Night For Freedom was more than a political event. It was also a party, a celebration, complete with almost two hours of dancing, and I suppose our the fact that our last-minute venue was an actual nightclub was very appropriate.

While Left-wing artists lament loss of creativity because their favorite candidate lost an election, we are the ones having fun: partying, creating, and inspiring. This is how we get people on our side. And this, friends, is how we win.

Speaking of Winning, Superversive Press has lowered the price for MAGA 2020 and Beyond to celebrate the first Anniversary of Donald Trump's inauguration. Pick it up and enjoy stories and essays that present a positive, optimistic future. Happy Reading! 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy 2018! Looking Behind and Planning Ahead.

Putting a certain scientist of outstanding pomposity aside, there is always a special feeling that comes with ushering in a New Year. Unlike personal milestones, such as a birthday or an anniversary, this one is universally understood across generations and cultures. Even for those, like myself, whose religious New Year does not coincide with a secular December 31st celebration, the date is still significant.

It is always useful, after all, to take time to assess where you've been and plan where you want to go. Doing it with a glass of bubbly in your hand, and sharing the experience with millions around the world, is as good a way as any.

As a woman of a certain age, I am surprised and gratified that 2017 was a year of challenges and learning.

My first-ever visit to Dragoncon, covered in detail in this podcast, and also in my guest post at Uprising Review was more than an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone. I also showed me that perhaps I'm not as much of an introvert as I always thought. I didn't mind the crowds. (OK, I wasn't happy about standing online for 2hrs trying and failing to get into the Alton Brown show, but nevertheless...). I loved chatting with strangers in the Con Suite and taking photos with cosplayers. I even enjoyed every introvert's nightmare: participating in a panel. But of course one of the highlights of the visit was randomly running into John Ringo outside one of the host hotels. And yes, I shook his hand and told him I was a fan and he was gracious enough to chat. On the whole, the Dragoncon experience is hard to describe except that now I fully understand why people come year after year for decades.

In terms of creative news, writing for and helping put together the Superversive Press anthology MAGA 2020 and Beyond was the biggest event of my year. As one of the editors for the project, I got to work with both new an experienced writers, and my interactions with them were both positive and rewarding. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I might be doing more editing in the future should an opportunity present itself. The SQUEEE moment, of course, came when I lucked into editing the Foreword by one of my favorite celebrities (if that's the proper word): Milo Yainnopoulos. In light of the current controversy, I am happy to report he delivered a very clean copy and took all the edits 😀

There were other interesting new experiences, included but not limited to: finally visiting Washington, D.C. and taking tour of the White House (hey, my Congressman turned out to be good for SOMETHING!); getting yelled at in a convenience store parking lot for wearing a MAGA hat; getting blocked on Twitter by a Senior Editor at National Review; and being a guest on an L.A. broadcast radio show The Writer's Block.

Plans for 2018? A this point in my life, I'm not too much of a planner because life has a way of changing things. However, I have already booked my next Dragoncon trip, and as for my other goals... More writing, challenging myself, and making new friends on- off-line.

Happy, healthy and prosperous 2018 to all my readers, and thanks for sticking around!