Charles Conrad Castagna, the recently arrested wanna-be anthrax terrorist who sent threatening letters laced with white powder to Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, David Letterman, Jon Stewart, and Keith Olbermann, turns out to have seriously stupid opinions about science fiction. He also turns to be a regular at Free Republic, where—no surprise—he says a lot of dumb things. Here’s his Freeper-bio:
I am a lifelong Conservative Republican .And what kind of name is “Charles Conrad Castagna”, hmmmm?
I have an Associates Degree in the Science of Electronics .
Ann Coulter is a Goddess and I worship Laura Ingraham and Michele Malkin .
English is the langauge of the United States of America- - our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution are written in the langauge that expresses our civilized freedoms .
Spanish is the language of Banana Republics, beyond that it belongs in a European country.
(Come to think of it, I know the answer: it’s an anagram of SCARCE GONADS, CHARLATAN.)
I take it he doesn’t think that English belongs in a European country.
Sadly, No! has been having a fine time with this story—once, twice, and again—but so far my favorite writer on this subject has been David Neiwert at Orcinus. That’s because he says hey, this guy really is a terrorist, even though he’s not a very good one; and he points out that the pundits and websites that feed a constant stream of hate, lies, and eliminationist rhetoric to vulnerable losers like Castagna are very much at fault as well.
Granted, journalists aren’t responsible for the people who decide to listen to them. Neither can they control the reactions of everyone in their audience. All true—but also not the point. Castagna’s reactions are precisely the ones Faux News and Free Republic have been shooting for all along. We may think ourselves lucky that the guy who blew up this time is a terminal dork who couldn’t get an audition with the Legion of Substitute Heroes; but that’s chance, not exculpation.
And now it’s time to make fun of Castagna’s opinions about science fiction, as expressed in a letter to Science Fiction Weekly in late August of 2002. I’ll take my best shot at interpreting it:
SF Has No Space for PCGreetings, fraki.
With the passing away of Lexx ends an intriguing albeit smarmy experiment in sci-fantasy.
One that breaks with conventions, or should I say, cliches of TV sci-fi of the ’90s. The politically correct pabulum, the multicultural indoctrination, the Bladerunner motifs, and not the least—the steroid mutated superbabes that can punch the lights out of men, but never get punched back in return!?Does this guy have issues, or what? I take it some female character on an SF show makes him feel like his Favorite Thing is about to shrivel up and disappear into his body. He resents this, so he blames the liberals.
Here’s the script for his transactions with the far right: Castagna is whiny and resentful over the world treating like an unattractively whiny and resentful little git. He feels that someone else should be to blame for it. The far right, knowing that losers like Castagna exist, is perfectly willing to tell him that it’s the liberals who are at fault. He and his chosen masters have one thing in common: they don’t care whether the story is true or not. The right wants to tell it, and he wants to believe it.
I’m not sure which female character set him off. River Tam (punches but is not punched) and Starbuck (her cigar is bigger than yours) hadn’t appeared yet. He might have been ticked about late-season Buffy, but that show wasn’t science fiction. Perhaps it was someone on Star Trek. Or Babylon-5. Or something else.
And speaking of women who never get mistreated anywhere near as badly as they mistreat others, it’s got to be some kind of a hoot that this guy thinks Ann Coulter is a goddess.
How about creating a new sci-fi anthology with none of the puerile baggage of Rod Serling, Gene Roddenberry, Rockne O’ Bannon, etc., etc. It is time to end their reign of Left-wing innuendo, their anti-American, anti-mankind cynicism and fatalism.Cynicism, fatalism, anti-Americanism, Gene Roddenberry? The man who did more to kill off cheap nihilistic post-holocaust SF than anyone else in the history of the genre? Who once wrote an episode which climaxes with the reciting of the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution? Whatever Castagna’s talking about, it’s not science fiction as we know it.
(Or, to steal a riff from Seth Breidbart: “Alexander the Great, Black Death in Europe in 1347, Neil Armstrong in 1969. And which timeline are you from?”)
Let us create a future of infinite possibilities devoid of the agenda of the social engineers who work their corruption on us through the one-way world of television (kind of how the liberal-left have always worked).Liberals and leftists, fangs and horns and pitchforks, check. See above on blaming Faux News and Free Republic. That’s one of their favorite lies.
A world where anything is possible but not everything is possible. Anything can happen, but not all things can happen at once. That is what time is for, to keep all things from happening at the same moment. That shall be the only rule of our new fantasy world. That an event happens only once. What has been done, cannot be undone. There is no turning back the sands of time. You can review the past but you cannot change the past.“We’re in power. We’re going to run things our way, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Resistance is futile. Furthermore, I want you to stop fighting back because it scares me.”
(Okay, so I’m guessing. You tell me what that passage means. I dare you.)
That a vision of a possible future, to the present, must be taken in the context of the present. A cosmos not governed by compassion or tolerance or equality, but common sense and merit. A universe of strange and totally new lifeforms and not distorted reflections of human characters in our present world, just to make some social allegory—that is the insipid barren road of Political Correctness that sci-fi entertainment has been a slave to for so many years. The future is not the current events of our world thrown into outer space.If he were writing that today, I’d be sure he was upset about the recent Battlestar Galactica storyline; but given the date of his letter, I can’t tell what he’s talking about. Star Trek, maybe.
The future is not with the Liberals, not with the Multiculturalists (both hate America), …Another lie from the far right’s Mighty Wurlitzer o’ Hate. If this were Germany in 1939, Castagna would be just as happy to explain that it’s all the Jews’ fault.
It’s like that thing I said once about Spanish Prisoner con games: not only is it not necessary for the prisoner to exist; it isn’t necessary for Spain to exist. The transaction is between the person who’s telling the story and the person who’s listening and believing it. You could substitute Venusians, or Muggletonians, or Walloons, and as long as both parties agree that those people are indeed the subject of the story, the transaction will work out exactly as it did before.
… and it is certainly not to be found in Canada!That must mean he doesn’t read William Gibson, Cory Doctorow, Robert Charles Wilson, Candace Jane Dorsey, Rob Sawyer, Yves Meynard, John Clute, Geoff Ryman, Peter Watts, Donald Kingsbury, Judith Merrill, S. M. Stirling, Gordon R. Dickson, Spider Robinson, Phyllis Gotlieb, Michael G. Coney, or A. E. Van Vogt, and he definitely doesn’t read Elisabeth Vonarburg, Joel Champetier, Francine Pelletier, or Daniel Sernine.
Congratulations, Canada, on your national ice-igloo!
The future is not written, the future is unformed.“I won’t, and you can’t make me.”
It’s been well established since time immemorial (1964) that you can’t actually kick someone out of science fiction fandom. Perhaps we can send Mr. Castagna many attractive and pleasurable works of mainstream fiction, and hope it sticks.
(Thank you, Protected Static.)