Debarkle Chapter 11: Dramatis Personae — Larry Correia

Larry Correia, a man whose fans have called him “The Mountain Who Writes” and “The International Lord of Hate”[1] and about whom it was probably not said that he would “END WRITING FOREVER”[2]. Writer of fast-paced action-filled fantasy and arguably Baen Book’s biggest star novelist to begin publishing there after the departure of Jim Baen in 2006.

As with earlier Dramatis Personae essays, this chapter uses two key sources

Any unreferenced statement will be either my opinion or drawn from one of those links listed above.

The son of a Portuguese immigrant farmer, Larry Correia was born in the mid-1970s and grew up in rural California. This makes him the youngest of the people I’ve covered so far, although he is still within the same generation X demographic as Vox Day and John Scalzi.

While he was still in high school, his family moved to Utah. There, he converted to the Church of the Latter-Day Saints and spent two years as a Mormon missionary in Alabama. He’d considered joining the military but …

“However, Bill Clinton was our new president and was in the process of gutting everything. The recruiters were kind of ho-hum, and then they shot me right the heck down when we got to the part where I had severe allergies, asthma, and extremely flat feet.”

Instead, he took on an accounting degree. Before he finished his degree he was married and was hoping to start a career in law enforcement. Life sent him in a different direction and he ended up as an accountant in a large company’s Utah offices.

However, our story is getting ahead of itself. In the late 1990s while still at college, Larry Correia became active in gun forums. Firstly on a forum called The Firing Line[3], and later in the 2000s, a forum called The High Road[4]. These forums included some people we will encounter later including Marko Kloos and Peter Grant but also Correia’s future writing collaborator Mike Kupari.

Gun politics is almost uniquely American. Certainly, other nations have had debates on appropriate levels of gun control and there’s no universal international consensus on civilian gun ownership. However, by the 1990s gun politics in the USA had become a key political issue with strong partisan ideological divides and high profile lobby groups.

The internet helped bring gun enthusiasts together in a way that paralleled the use of the internet by fan groups. Indeed, the inherent fannishness of these forums is hard to deny. Politics, specifically the “right to keep and bear arms” (usually shortened to RKBA[5]) was only a fraction of the wider discussion among forum members, which covered makes of weapons, tips for uses, pointless arguments about types of guns and free-wheeling discussions of popular culture or a mix of guns and popular culture[6]. At times the discussion would combine all these things.

“I was talking with a friend of mine today about what we thought it would take to get our country away from liberalism and socialism. We talked a little bit about the blue and red election map, wherein Gore only won urban areas.

Then I thought of the movie Independence Day. With Will Smith, remember the Aliens come and start to blow up the biggest cities on the planet. They start with LA, NY, and Washington and work their way down from there. After a couple of days mankind comes back and kicks their butts.But think about it. Aliens could come down and obliterate every Liberal mega center in the country. Afterwards we would be totally set! Think about it, are there any big urban areas in America that are Conservative. Even Salt Lake City gives Utah its only Democrat congressman!

Maybe I can get on one of those big SETI radio sets and start sending taunts out into space. We would kick butt in every election after that!”

Larry Correia “Strange thought. The movie “Independence Day”: Best scenario ever for Gun Owners? [7]

The politics on the forums Correia followed was loosely libertarian, pro-police but sceptical and fearful of federal agencies in particular the FBI and the BATF. Looming large among forum members was two critical incidents in the 1990s. The siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas in 1993 and the shooting of Sammy and Vicki Weaver at Ruby Ridge in 1992[8]. As President, Bill Clinton had also signed into law two notable pieces of gun control legislation, The Brady Bill which mandated background checks for gun purchases and the 1994 Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act commonly known as the Assault Weapons Ban[9].

So the gun discourse modulated between a fun collecting hobby, fears of tyrannical government and fears of home invasion[10]. The line between the scenarios about governments confiscating guns or violent criminals breaking into a house, being genuine fears or anticipatory fantasies was hard to tell[11]. However, the more practical enemy was the large gun control campaigns that were mobilising support in the wake of events like the 1999 Columbine High School massacre[12] and the Los Angeles Jewish Community Center shooting[13].

Like most communities in America, the members of the Firing Line forums were traumatised by the events of 9-11 in 2001.

“… If we would have killed every last one of them the first time, destroyed their entire organizations, and ruined any country that dared to support them then today wouldn’t have happened. I’m not in favor of peacekeeping missions. I believe in what the military was originally intended to do, and that is protect us. If that means killing our enemies ruthlessly, razing their land, and salting the earth, then so be it. El Queda had already declared war on us. It is about time that we declare war on them.
Bill Clinton was looking for a legacy. In my opinion, this is it. He let evil people hurt us, over and over again, and we never destroyed them. They have just been getting bolder, until today. And in the next New York senetorial election, somebody needs to make a bunch of posters of the picture of Hillary kissing Yassir Arafat on the cheek, and distribute them around Manhattan…” [14]

These forums were not all politics and guns. In 2002 on the High Road forum Larry Correia and another member called Nightcrawler (Mike Kupari[15]) began a serial story written directly within a forum thread. Called “Welcome Back, Mr Nighcrawler”[16] the story featured the imaginary adventures of the titular author in a secret counter-terrorism organisation. The story was popular in the forum and it led Correia to consider writing a novel in a more conventional way.

As well as accountancy, Larry Correia began running his own gun shop as well as providing gun training and in 2007 shifted to doing that full time [17]. He had already written his first proper novel, Monster Hunter International. Inspired by B-movies but also by a desire for competent heroes and accurate description of guns. However, once the book was finished, he couldn’t find anybody willing to publish it. As a consequence, he took on the task of publishing the book himself as print-on-demand. It was finally released in 2008.

Correia remained active within gun-rights activism. In the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting, in which 32 people were killed [18], multiple media outlets identified the wrong person as the killer [19]. Among those who and falsely attributed the murders to an innocent man was Geraldo Rivera at Fox News. On The High Road forum, Correia called for action:

“Gentlemen, we’ve got a perfect opportunity right now for a coordinated assault. Geraldo Rivera’s program picked the first Asian, VT student, that owned guns that they found on the internet, and threw him under the bus.
This guy is one of us. He’s an ARFcom member. It is time to ZUMBO Geraldo.” [20]

Meanwhile, in early 2008 Monster Hunter International began to enjoy some success. Correia’s combination of well-paced action, gun combat and monsters was gaining readers. He used his presence of the gun forums to promote his book and serialised parts of it on his blog[21].

One of his readers was friends with the owner of the famous independent science-fiction bookshop Uncle Hugo’s.[22] That led to the novel being passed on to a science fiction publisher who eventually agreed to publish it. Ironically, Correia’s announcement that the print-on-demand version would soon be withdrawn led to a massive boost in sales of the original version.

In 2009, Baen Books published a new version of Monster Hunter International. Larry Correia was now a Baen author.

Next Time: Time to catch up with politics up to 2008.


113 thoughts on “Debarkle Chapter 11: Dramatis Personae — Larry Correia

  1. First para: “novel” should be “novelist”.

    (You ARE going to have JJ take a look at this before it goes on Smashwords, yes?)


    1. Me neither. I also had no idea that Marko Kloos used to hang out on forums like this one.

      Typos and nitpicks:
      “was born in 1977 grew up in rural California”

      There’s an “and” missing in here.

      “and arguably Baen Book’s biggest star novel to begin after the departure of Jim Baen in 2006”

      Larry Correia is obviously a novelist, not a novel. And there’s a “publishing” missing after “begin”.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, concerning Kloos he’s a writer of MilSF after all and was an Unteroffizier (NCO) in the Bundeswehr, so I do think he’s got some conservative / libertarian leanings and friends and wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a gun owner and enthusiast. I also assume that not only nutters like Correia wrote on these forums but also moderate and sensible gun owners who gave pushback to people like Correia especially in the 90s and before the WTC attacks but will of course defer to Camestros who after all sampled these forums.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Without wanting to preempt current events, Baen’s Bar would be an appropriate analogy. The default political assumption being the right wing quasi-libertarianism but not universally. Somebody more left leaning could still find a place within in these spaces but only by being very careful around political debates.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Was Kloos actually an Unteroffizier? I always assumed he just did his regular military service, which is why I always rolled my eyes at the “Was in the German army” bit in his official bio, because most male Germans his age were.

        Anyway, he might also have developed an interest in guns via hunting or joining a shooting club, both of which are perfectly legal in Germany in spite of strict gun laws. And hunting and shooting clubs are common in the region from which he hails.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Cora:
        “Was Kloos actually an Unteroffizier? I always assumed he just did his regular military service, which is why I always rolled my eyes at the “Was in the German army” bit in his official bio, because most male Germans his age were.”

        Chris M:
        “It’s in this interview I got via Wikipedia. He describes himself as former NCO.”

        For what it’s worth: I did only the compulsory 12 months military service in Norway, and I had an NCO rank for part of it. (And as part of later assignment to reserve forces, which involved week-long training sessions and courses every year, I was eventually promoted to second lieutenant. This was very much against my wish – I wanted out, not up – but I never managed to make myself unpopular enough to be dismissed.)

        So that someone is “a former NCO” doesn’t necessarily mean they had a long and glorious military career. Kloos probably needed more service to become an NCO in the Bundeswehr than I neded in the Norwegian army – at least my impresssion back then was that the Norwegian military had unusually quick promotion to NCO ranks compared to other NATO countries – but it wouldn’t surprise me if he has less than, say, five years experience.

        Liked by 3 people

      4. It sounds more impressive in English, since Americans would think NCO = sergeant or chief petty officer, which are a lot more responsibility and take longer to achieve. And sergeants are such a big part of milSF.


        1. It may bring to your mind a more senior sergeant, however, NCO is not always a senior position nor indicative of long service. It should not be overlooked that (at least in the US Army and Marines) a corporal is also a non-commissioned officer. Also, during the Vietnam era a friend of mine enlisted in the Air Force (to avoid conscription into the infantry) and he wrote me a letter from Okinawa that he was around number 32,000 on the list for promotion. People were cycling through their 2-year enlistments at such a rate that within 18 months he was a sergeant.



    I love how it is somehow Bill Clinton’s fault that Correia is 4F for military service.

    It’s a good thing he went into accounting instead of law enforcement. He would definitely have been one of the bad apples we’re trying to get rid of today.

    Though his being an accountant was probably not great for his employers, given his utter incompetence with election statistics analysis.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I heard Bill Clinton personally went around and flattened the feet of Libertarians trying to join the military.

      Liked by 5 people

    2. Not actually sure that accountancy requires good statistical knowledge? Some number theory woudl be good, though (this is how we get “throw out the nines”).

      It could be that statistics nous speaks to other number-related nous, though.


      1. I did a quick look around at statistics programs at a few universities, and they seem to require at least one semester of statistics to get your degree. At least the 4-year ones do. Thus my wondering what grade he got. Maybe he only squeaked out a C- and resolved to forget it all.

        I mean, let’s face it, we’ve all got at least one class we crammed just enough for to pass at the time and promptly forgot it.


      2. Accountancy doesn’t use those skills even a tiny bit, typically. (I say this as someone with a maths degree with concentration in statistics, who coincidentally also passed the Certified Public Accountant exam, long ago in an occupational galaxy far, far away.)

        Reading Larry’s attempts to apply his alleged auditing skills to supposed voting problems was… painful.

        Liked by 2 people

    3. There is no way that Larry would have been accepted for military service with those issue under any president. I am a few years older than Larry and I was turned down for military service for far less reason (I have a fused joint in one of the fingers of my right hand as a result of a childhood accident). I was being actively recruited by the Navy at the time, as my high school math and science performance was good enough that they thought I was a good candidate for their nuclear power school. But a fused joint that has never caused me any actual issues was disqualifying.

      This was in 1987. I’ll let everyone else figure out who was President at the time.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I’m pretty sure the military wouldn’t have taken him regardless of who was President. Not even in Vietnam, and probably not even in WWII. (Not on the Allied side, anyway.)

    Same with law enforcement, although maybe in some tiny town in the boondocks in a red state. He could have been one of the good ol’ boys chasing the Duke brothers or Smokey and the Bandit. Maybe he should have stayed in Alabama for that to happen.

    I “like” how he completely ignores the fact that 9/11 happened on his boy Bush Jr’s watch, even after W was explicitly warned. But we know the RWNJ avoid all inconvenient truths.

    That company was lucky to have him leave, if his accountancy skills are as bad as his statistics seem to be. Ditto his noticing and remembering accurate details.

    Finally, I can’t be the only one who always reads “molon labe” as “moron lame”. But what do you expect from people who ignore the fact that the Spartans (and their slaves) all died and didn’t even achieve their objective? FAIL.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The first rule of American conservatism is everything is the Democrats’ fault, somehow.

      Sadly, this is the rule of quite a few American ideologies, including vast swathes of the press.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. @Chris M: I’d be surprised if that coinage existed prior to 2010. I could be wrong, but it’s specific to the comment section of the “Lawyers, Guns, and Money” blog which I’ve read for quite a while, where Murc is an extremely active and verbose commenter, and I feel like he didn’t make that a thing until Obama’s second term. I’m also a little skeptical that it’s particularly well known in “the blogosphere” outside of LGM (same goes for “Green Lantern Theory”)— every reference I’ve seen elsewhere had to explain it.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. To lift an analogy from Cordwainer Smith, the Democrats are the Go Captain and the Republicans are the Stop Captain. The Democrats try to do things. The Republicans, in power or out — even when they have control of the Executive branch — try and keep things from getting done. So if anything happens, it has to be the fault of the Democrats.

          Liked by 3 people

    2. Molon labe sounds like a flavor of ice cream to me. “I’d like a scoop of chocolate and a scoop of molon labe, please.”

      Just me? Okay, then.


      1. Also, while brushing my teeth before bed, I thought “Moron Lame’? That’d work too.”

        Spangly stars and stripes. I’ve seen them, you’ve seen them, it’s moron lame’ wall to wall at Republican conventions and T*ump rallies.


  4. Ironically, this chapter took a long time but I didn’t add much to it as I went along. Instead I got sucked into reading those gun forums for a couple of days.

    The other weird thing that as a CHARACTER, Larry is seriously under-written. The Larry of 1998 is basically the Larry of 2021. Obviously events have happened in-between but its the same voice and more-or-less the same opinions and attitudes. Both Vox Day and John Scalzi have better character arcs. Larry should fire whoever is plotting him.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. He must be an NPC, just there to move the plot along. Nobody changes that little between age 22 and 44.

      I’d get along fine with 44 year old me. I’d pat 22 year old me on the head.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I think I’d not like myself at 22. I haven’t met 44 year old me yet but based on my current trajectory I assume he’ll be working part time as an instructor (swords, climbing and yoga) and maybe taking on odd marketing jobs. Hopefully he speaks passable Japanese and some Korean.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I’d like to like 22 year old me. A bit naive, sometimes frustrating, but at the very least you could see the core values that made me become who I am. Plus, I’ve spent so much work trying not to loathe myself that I sorta have to give myself a break on who I was and keep reminding myself that I was honestly doing the best I could at the time. I have changed, grown deeper, pruned (or attempted to prune) things that could have made me an uglier person. But I like to think that core me, that one that generally cared about life and people and connections, even though screwing up those ideals at times. Also, I’m not 44 yet, I have about a year and a half to kick myself in line… 😉

        But something tells me Larry’s not that introspective.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’d get on with 22 year old me, though I’d probably give her advice she wouldn’t take. But we’d both have Star Wars and Doctor Who to talk about. And chocolate.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. The reference to Hilary Clinton kissing Yasser Arafat, who was not involved in the 9/11 raids, indicates that to Larry Islam is like SPECTRE, one vast united organization where all the bad guys work together.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, my reaction was, “Uhm, what has Arafat got to do with 9/11?” He was a semi-respected statesman by 2001 and besides, Al-Qaeda was responsible for 9/11, not the PLO.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I was listening to BBC World News Order when 9/11 went down, and they reported someone putatively from the PLO had claimed responsibility. Ten minutes later a “terrified-looking” (per the BBC reporter) Arafat was saying, in English, “No, it wasn’t us.”

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Closer to Fu Manchu’s Si-Fan, where the Persian Assassins work alongside the Genghis Khan-revering Mongol nationalists who wiped out the order, because clearly all non-Whites will get along in destroying the British Empire.

      Liked by 3 people

    3. My favorite analogy here is the opening scene of the first “Police Squad” movie aka “The Naked Gun” where the US’ greatest enemies (Idi Amin, Muammar Gaddafi, Ayatollah Khomeini, Yasser Arafat, Fidel Castro, and Mikhail Gorbachev) are plotting to strike in the US but are thwarted by Lt. Frank Drebin who beats them up.

      But yes there was the strong and persistent belief that the Left ™, Iran, Iraq and whatnot where all in cahoots in the early noughts and earlier.

      Liked by 3 people

    4. It is interesting, because there was some controversy if Arafat became a christian before his dead.
      As a evil moslem, who hates all christians, a man who maried a christian is an interesting choice.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Huh. Larry’s a bit over a year and a half older than I am, and we grew up in different parts of the Great Central Valley. And while my experience growing up is a bit different than his, I know roughly what the zeitgeist of Valley folk is, and it sure isn’t anywhere near ‘The Great California Socialist Republic’ the rest of the country seems to think this whole state is. So the fact Larry came out as libertarian and conservative as he did doesn’t shock me.

    As for his entry on gun forums — hmmm, he’d have roughly been starting out two years ahead of time, and then given his Mormon mission, he’d probably have been finishing college about the same time as me, roughly the turn of the century. So he’d have been exposed to the pre-Web2.0 years of the internet, which roughly tracks with my own experiences. Well, except Larry found gun forums and I found this crazy group of roleplayers who played in a universe where *ahem* a certain annoying mid-90s children’s television character was the source of all evil. (It’s a bit of a long story.)

    So yeah, Larry’s me, in some ways, through a glass darkly. Or, at least, if I hadn’t had the parents I do, I could have easily been much like him. It’s kinda weird to think about that.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. That I was. I still have access (my good friend owns) to the domain.

        I’m a little sad the universe is dead now, but after Usenet started falling apart, it became a moot point. Some of us tried to keep it alive a little longer, but all good things come to an end.


    1. I KNOW! I’ve been through the Central Valley many times and read news from there, and it is NOT at all left-wing. It’s as red as the Deep South or Midwest. At least among the white people, but they (probably like Larry) don’t care about the Hispanic population that does most of the work their economy is based on.

      If you look at electoral maps, California is blue only along the edge, near the ocean, and the rest is red. It’s just that most of the population lives in the blue part, because the weather is much better and there’s more opportunity.

      As a whole, though — and I know you will be shocked to hear Larry’s wrong on this — the state has no anti-Portuguese prejudice. Lots of places have big deal celebrations of St. Isabel of Portugal, with her bread and roses. Not sure about Utah.


      1. As for the Portuguese thing, I find it interesting that both Larry and Sarah Hoyt claim there’s a lot of prejudice towards their ethnicity in general and I find it a little weird. The only thing I can think of is that since Portugal is part of Hispanola, and thus they’re Hispanic, if they’re twisting anti-Latino/a prejudice to anti-Hispanic prejudice and using that as a shield. Because in my Central Valley white bread enclave, we didn’t care one way or another about Portuguese people. Latino/a and some Asians were suspect, and we had so few black people that we had a racial dust-up between our team’s running back (who was Black) and an entirely white opposing team. (I’ll give the community credit, when it came out, it was roundly condemned by most adults in town.)

        But Portuguese? If it wasn’t seen as coding “white”, I never heard of it as an issue.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. There is history in the U.S. of racialized bias against Portuguese is evident in academic studies like “Two Portuguese Communities” (1923), comparing Massachusetts communities of recent immigrant Portuguese from the Azores (then classified as “colored” in the Census) and less recent Portuguese immigrants (called by one academic the ‘so-called white Portuguese’, which shows the agenda involved.) I was aware this was a thing on the East Coast, but just because I didn’t hear about it while growing up in SoCal doesn’t mean it didn’t happen — this area seems to have people with every kind of bias.


          1. I can imagine it. I grew up in a part of England in which quasi-racial bias against ethnically-Irish/catholic had basically ended but where the remenants of it were still visible. That sectarianism lasted longer in, say, Glasgow (and obviously Northern Ireland is a whole other matter). The extent to which a community goes from percieved as a racialised minority to just-another-form-of-‘white’ doesn’t follow a set timetable and can happen very quickly.


        2. “Portuguese” used to be a standard hand-wave for mixed-race individuals — “oh, no black blood in our family, it was a Portuguese sailor that made our skin so dark.


    2. Heh. I was familiar with the newsgroup’s existence (and several other newsgroups with similar naming structures, which because a bit of a running gag for a bit), but didn’t really know about the ‘Jihad’ by that name until I ran into references to it from an old round-robin fanfic called ‘Self-Extraction’.

      (The primary plot of Self-Extraction involved an assassin normally hired to take out self-insert fanfic characters. At one point he gets hired to be a bodyguard for said mid-90s children’s television character. It was one of the few cases where he seriously regretted his own professionalism.)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Well, fair cop, we *were* full of self-insert characters (including mine, before she grabbed the reins and made herself her own person). I like to call what we were up to anti-fanfic, as in, we were *opposed* to thing we were fighting. I nearly got sued over the whole thing, but that’s a story for another time.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Second last para: “ That led to the being passed on to a science fiction publisher who eventually agreed to publish it.”
    Needs another word between the and being.


  8. I assume the people who thought the US should have “ruined any country that dared to support [Islamists]” managed not to learn that Al Qaeda came out of Saudi Arabia, whose government was (and is) massively supported by the United States. And thus they’re calling for ruining the United States for being a danger to the United States.

    Come to think of it, that’s consistent with the insurrectionists who claim to be supporting the constitution while condemning Congress and the vice president for doing what the constitution calls for.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. I hit a roadblock immediately, when I hear of a libertarian who is upset because he couldn’t get a government job (or a fellow who became a libertarian in response to be deprived of a government job). He does know who the military works for, right? Bill Clinton would have been his boss, if Larry’s feet weren’t flat and his lungs weren’t swollen.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The military and local law enforcement don’t count as ‘government’ because of clause 273 of the Libertarian-Conservative Character Class user manual which explicitly explains the reason why as “because we said so”

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Similarly Reagan saw no contradiction between “we can’t trust unelected bureaucrats to manage us” and “We can completely trust the unelected bureaucrats running the FBI and the CIA.”

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I am under the impression that the vast majority of libertarians work for the government. It’s adorable how they think that large corporations can’t be bureaucratic and wasteful.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Government is incompetent! How can I tell? Well, they hired me didn’t they!


        1. What was your title? I’m imagining — Director of Central Intelligence Schnookums Von Fancypants. But not during the Trump Administration, of course.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Ha! Funny story, when I was in the Army (under Clinton no less) I was extremely close to going to work for the NSA (I was stationed at Ft. Meade as my final duty station). Had I stayed in longer I would have completed my background check and gone to work for them.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. Ah, he’s a frustrated solider/cop who worked with business/money and then managed to turn his hobbies into money. That makes a lot of sense on the rhetoric front.

    So, U.S. gun politics. The first part of it is racism. White right wingers want to be able to shoot Black Americans and anybody else they decide to claim is a threat as part of their identity, but most particularly Black Americans to keep up white supremacy. As such, white nationalists in the U.S. have been traditionally hostile to the government regulating guns and ammo, even if it benefits the cop enforcers, such as the issue of cop killer bullets. As part of pretending that Black Americans are inferior and threatening and the cause of most problems (and that they therefore deserved to be enslaved, segregated, etc.) the white supremacists have routinely declared that Black Americans and other POC are committing vast amounts of crime and destroying the cities, in particular of course raping white women or doing nasty things to kids, plus being horrible parents themselves, etc. The whole “home invasion” concern is entirely about the hope to shoot Black people and declare it’s protecting the homestead.

    Which brings us to the second part of it, which is also racism — the cowboy LARPing of U.S. conservatives as the narrative of white supremacy. All conservatives, even if they live in cities, invest themselves in the Hollywoodized idea of being tough cowboys on the Old Western frontier. The LARP claims that cowboys and farmers were only white (they weren’t,) and the only ones with good (and far right Christian) values and that by the sweat of their own brow and the strength of their character, they killed off all the indigenous, Mexicans and other POC who sought to unjustly and violently (while also lazily,) take what should be theirs. The cowboy image pretends self-sufficiency, self-policing, common sense, fairness, toughness, competency, etc. and a whole bunch of things that white settlers were not, while trying to erase things from history like the bounty on indigenous scalps, slavery and so forth. Far more than the idea of the plantations of the South, it’s the frontier cowboy mythos that motivates the white right wing. It’s also the group identity they market; why W. Bush, a Connecticut preppie, pretended to be a good old boy Texas rancher to be governor and then President.

    And the cowboy thing, to be John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, etc., goes across the spectrum. Tech lords like Musk want to be cattle barons in space, business CEO’s destroying their own companies for cash see themselves as swaggering rugged individualists and so forth. U.S. Evangelicals, right wing Mormons and Catholics, all see themselves as missionary pioneers. The cowboy mythos morphed into action movies with gun blasting cops and films like Terminator 2 and Die Hard. Scratch a conservative, right wing value, particularly their most blatant white supremacist ones, and you’ll find the cowboy frontier gunfighter myths. The myth of the white settlers, in broader terms. (BIPOC are sometimes allowed to join in as long as they go along with the white settler cowboy mythology and know their limits.)

    In the late 1970’s, hardline racists started taking over the NRA, the ones pushing the myth of POC’s committing massive crime in the cities and violent migrants coming in over the border. The NRA started getting obsessed with the global and home invasion protect the homestead stuff instead of hunting, which lost them a lot of members but made them very attractive to the right wing politicos. And again, they started running out of money and turned to the gun companies who pushed the crimewave and rugged frontier narratives as part of the lobby. Gun control was a big, mostly favorable issue in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s because Reagan had been almost assassinated and many people remembered Kennedy’s assassination in the 1960’s. When Bill Clinton won in 1992, the age of action movies but also the end of the Cold War, it was a setback for the rightwing Moral Majority movement of the Regan 80’s, and the right wingers shifted from not just using wedge issues, but by personifying the Democrats as, essentially, the indigenous and the Mexicans — evil, inferior, invading and causing the destruction of the country. It was Clinton who got the first “he’s coming to take your guns away” campaigns, exacerbated by successful pieces of gun control legislation passing and the hyped shooting incidents that right wingers decided to declare holy crimes. Republicans who wanted the backing of conservatives had to get on board — if the NRA rated a Democrat bad on gun control, that didn’t matter much, but it did with the Republicans who wanted to be seen as cowboys, shooting it up on the frontier, with their white right-wing voters. And the right-wing media that developed kept them in line.

    Clinton did not want a legacy of gun control. He didn’t particularly like gun control legislation. He was going after a legacy of national healthcare, which did not happen. He managed to re-steer the economy after the early 1990’s recession and end up with a government surplus but it involved a lot of compromises including really harmful deregulation. But with Gingrich, the NRA and others, the narrative was pushed that Clinton was a slick shyster who liked Black people too much and that Gore was an incompetent, hippie liberal (he was a centrist) environmentalist also simultaneously in corrupt league with Wall Street and big business. Who would probably come take their guns. While W. was of course a good old cowboy who loved oil and guns (though W. wasn’t particularly into gun issues and showed an over fondness for Latino voters for many of them.) As violent crime declined over three decades and gun ownership declined until Trump, the NRA increasingly got desperate (and as we learned crooked) on pushing that any sort of gun control would lead to crushing the American spirit and that we needed more guns and nastier guns, really we did. (And the cops took advantage to get more and more military equipment even as they needed it less and less.)

    The U.S. white right wing has an enormous amount of resentment that the frontier cowboy identity mythos they’ve invested their whole identity in, symbolized and enforced by the gun, toxic masculinity and settler whiteness, is something that fewer and fewer Americans are willing to pretend is normal and good and should remain in charge in a democracy, at least in part. Gun politics is white politics in the U.S. So we get all the talk about how cities will be invaded and collapse and only the (white) rural people will know what to do out on the new frontier cause they’re the cowboys with guns. And how they are the patriot cowboys with guns who can fight the international invaders and their unAmerican proxies in the government (Democrats). And how the BIPOC immigrants crossing the borders and bringing disease and raping white women should be countered with guns and frontier justice (whiteness.) As long as the police are the sheriffs who kill and imprison the BIPOC and support the white cowboy settlers, they are good. But if they show up on the frontier and try to restrain the white cowboy settlers from doing things that hurt their neighbors, then they become bad and it’s okay to beat them. That’s white frontier justice.

    And all the cool kids lunch table university elites stuff is about those who are turning away from the white settler cowboys with guns mythos in larger and larger numbers, making their racist cowboy mythos unpopular, and/or those who are supposed to be kept down by it but are refusing to stay in their place and opposing that autocracy. When they say “cool kids,” they mean city slickers not going along with their LARP, as we’re familiar with. Larry seems to have gotten in on that white cowboy mythos early and stuck with it as his identity. And it is still a very successful brand in much of the U.S. But it maybe wasn’t such a successful one in a SFF field that is slowly being less white cowboy myth-oriented, more equal, and so he played John Wayne and tried to declare BIPOC and white women writers who don’t go along with the mythos as the dirty threats to the proper (white) frontier. And he might have had even more success with it if he hadn’t brought in Beale.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to work with cops, many of whom were ex-military. My boss’ boss was head of the SWAT team, and had been a decorated Marine who’d seen real war action. And he had a small horse ranch.

      And yet — not openly racist or sexist even being a white Marine/cop/cowboy!

      Real cops’ comments on wannabees make the Puppies put-downs of SJW look like the nicest compliments. They would LOL at Larry and his pretensions. And those were just the ones they said in front of me; I’m sure they’re even more scathing in public.

      If the NRA et al really supported gun rights, they’d have complained about Philando Castile. But melanin.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Unfortunately, real cop/wannabe cop never really worked as a division. The entire system is openly racist and has been entrenched along with the courts on enforcing racial oppression, whether an individual cop is openly that way or not. Black Americans, as you know, have never not lived in a police state in the U.S., even when some of them are cops and high ranking to boot. And a lot of the white wannabes are/become cops, especially in rural areas, some of whom took part in the Capitol insurrection. A cop shot Philando Castile.

        But yeah, the 2nd Amendment folk mean guns for white people and the fantasy, sometimes realized, of being able to kill a POC on the grounds that they are threatening. They passed a number of gun laws in the late 1960’s and 1970’s in large part because Black people were arming themselves, like the Black Panther Party, (which is why we got the Black Panther Party is trying to trash the election in 2016 mythos; they’re still not over the horror of it.) Black and brown people can participate individually in the white militias as long as they are suitably deferential and deeply, racistly anti-migrant, but when it’s groups of Black Americans with guns, they change their tune very quickly. Black Americans openly carrying guns get shot or at minimum harassed by cops, or if they’re suspected of having a gun, they get shot, etc. That Black Americans have been increasingly arming themselves during Trump’s time, because white people keep hoping for a race war, fueled a lot of increase in that idea of a coming race war and the claim that (white) militias have to keep people safe. And that always leads to the more conspiracy minded assholes mass shooting up schools and BIPOC spaces, something that we had less of during the pandemic thankfully.

        Black people walking and protesting in the streets for civil rights without guns is threatening enough for white ammosexuals. And they help it along by setting fires to blame on the protesters, breaking windows to blame on them, etc. The two times counter-protesters to BLM were shot, it was when they were attacking protesters and the shooter was a white person thinking they were helping. White people can carry guns, Black people aren’t supposed to in the U.S. (unless accompanying white people or being cops/military accompanying white cops/military.) White gun lovers like Larry can talk incessantly about killing BIPOC because that’s the cowboy frontier fantasy and they are always the just heroes in that scenario. BIPOC talking about simply defending themselves from white violence is considered a grave affront.

        The re-rise of the white militias was because we elected the first multi-racial Black man as President. The expansion of them came because Trump was an open white supremacist as his main policy plank. They continually ignore the “well-regulated” part of the 2nd Amendment in opposing that regulation in gun control. And they love to talk incessantly about Mexican gangs supposedly shooting up cities and Black protesters supposedly shooting up cities. But when you look at the factual stats, white people are the ones who mainly shoot things up. Because they can walk into a place with guns and nobody questions it, not even the cops. It’s one of the areas in which racial and ethnic hierarchy is at its strongest and most violent in the U.S.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. They surged in the 1990s under Clinton too. Even if Obama had been a white Democrat, they’d have surged again (which is not to say race wasn’t a factor because yes, it was).
          There’s some misogynist elements in the gun rights debate too. A woman who shoots her spouse/boyfriend in self-defense is unlikely to get off on “stand your ground” — one prosecutor in SC said specifically that it applies to assault by strangers, not family members.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah, well that’s the lord and the peasants intersectionality part, where white women are above, but not above white men who are conservative. It’s fine for the peasants (marginalized) to support the lords in their assertions, like the gun-touting Congressional Reps, but not to actually defend themselves against men who are supposed to be seen as their betters. That’s too uppity.

        Also, I did a mistake on an election point — it was the 2012 election with the Black Panther thing from conservatives, not 2016. When the right wingers talk about the wonders of militias, they certainly don’t mean that Black people can form militias to defend themselves, as if they had equal civil rights. Only certain people get to run around with guns intimidating others for “defense.”

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Well, and if we take what Larry says as truth, he cut his reading teeth on Westerns. Science fiction and fantasy came later. So there’s a bit more evidence to your theory.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. This is a minor remark, but footnote [6] isn’t cited in the body. I think it’s meant to go with “a mix of guns and popular culture.” (I’ll admit the only reason I noticed is that, being an ardent X-Phile, the footnote’s reference to Dana Scully caught my eye, and I wanted to go back and see what I’d missed.)


  12. I first encountered “Green Lantern Theory” in the space communities. Space perverts are very keen on the idea that the main thing between them and the off world colonies is lack of will. Well, that and too much welfare for minorities.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember the lovely fellow who claimed that lack of fullthroated enthusiasm for space exploration is a sign of diagnosable mental defect.


  13. Mike:

    “There is history in the U.S. of racialized bias against Portuguese is evident in academic studies like “Two Portuguese Communities” (1923), comparing Massachusetts communities of recent immigrant Portuguese from the Azores (then classified as “colored” in the Census) and less recent Portuguese immigrants (called by one academic the ‘so-called white Portuguese’, which shows the agenda involved.”

    I believe it. The definition of “white” has slowly widened over the course of American history, with Ben Franklin considering only the English and European Saxons “white” (and definitely not the non-Saxon Germans and Scandinavians).


    1. Also, all the cited references of anti-Portuguese racism are

      a) from decades before Larry was born
      b) from back East

      Neither Larry nor Hoyt live back East.


      1. You have deftly deflected my point. Which was that discrimination directed against Portuguese immigrants and their descendants is a thing — which had been scoffed at. You can choose to disbelieve Larry and Sarah because their credibility is in shreds, but you can’t dismiss the historic existence of the phenomenon.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. “Think about it, are there any big urban areas in America that are Conservative.”

    No. People who like to live near Americans seem to not be conservative. People who avoid living near Americans are much more likely to be conservative. The directionality of cause and effect is unclear – is it conservativeness that makes one flee the presence of Americans, or the other way around?


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