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How Baxter Butted In

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How Baxter Butted In
Film advert
Directed byWilliam Beaudine
Written byOwen Davis
StarringDorothy Devore
CinematographyDavid Abel
Edited byWarner Bros.
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • July 25, 1925 (1925-07-25)
Running time
70 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)

How Baxter Butted In is a 1925 American silent comedy film directed by William Beaudine.[1][2]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Writing Muslim American Fantasy: Saladin Ahmed
  • The Stolen White Elephant (audiobook)


>> All right, good evening and welcome. My name is Lisa Rabey-- I'm the Systems and Web Librarian here at the college, and I will also be the moderator for this evening. And along with myself, the library and the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf, we are pleased to present Saladin Ahmed, an award-winning science fiction and fantasy author, to give his talk tonight. And before I begin fan-girling Mr. Ahmed, I need to point a few things that if you're unfamiliar with the campus. The ladies restroom is on this side, the mens restroom is on that side. If you parked in the Bostwick parking ramp, just across the street from us, the exit is actually unmanned, so it does take cash, credit, and debit cards. If you have any questions about... (laughing) any of those things, let me know after the event and I will help you out. And now, onto the fan-girling. I first came across Saladin's work a few years ago through a mutual friend of ours who had introduced me to his debut book, "Throne of the Crescent Moon," and I've been a fan-girl ever since. And it's no surprise. He has won the Locus Award for the "Best First Novel" for "Throne of the Crescent Moon." He is also been nominated and a finalist for the Hugo, the Nebula, the Crawford, the Gemmell, and the British Fantasy Awards. This also does not include the awards and accolades he has won for his short stories, prose, and poetry. His work transcends his contemporaries in not only his genre but all genres, and his characters are people that you get heavily invested in from the very beginning, and his worlds are places where you want to live in. He is a passionate voice, he is an enchanting voice, and he has a very powerful voice. His work is provocative, thought-provoking, and underscored with humor that teaches us to look at each other and within ourselves, and not to take ourselves too seriously while telling a great story at the same time. While I'm sad to report Mr. Ahmed did not show up wearing Speedos and a Spiderman mask, as he had claimed he was going to do on Twitter, I think we'll take him just the way he is. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm proud to present to you Saladin Ahmed. (applause) >> (laughing) Hello. I did threaten to wear a Speedo and a Spiderman mask, and I'm sure you're all really happy I didn't, so. I'm here to talk about writing Muslim American fantasy, I think is the name of a talk, and... I'll be fairly informal here. I'm more used to letting my writing speak for itself, and so the bulk of what I'm going to be doing up here is reading a couple of short stories for you guys. But I did want to give some kind of introductory remarks on the topic. So if we're talking about writing Muslim American fantasy, you know, what does it mean to write Muslim American fantasy? Or Muslim American fiction in general? How does one do it? I guess the answer is just that there's no one answer. For me, I guess it's a little weird-- and this is something that I think pretty much anyone who is a writer or an artist who is writing as a member of a marginalized group, whether you're a woman painter, whether you're a gay actor, or whatever you might be, you have this label on your life and it interacts with your work in a strange way. That is, on the one hand, you know... it's the kiss of death and the worst thing in the world if somebody says, "Well, you know, he's a great black writer." Well, you know, why am I not just a great writer, right? Or "He's a great Muslim painter." Well, why am I not just a painter? And yet, for most of us I think who are from these backgrounds that are not necessarily in the mainstream, it is a big part of who you are, and it does affect what you write. And I absolutely-- it's central to me and to what I write, that I come from this place. So to start off by telling you just a little bit about my background... I'm a fiction writer. You know, Lisa went through all the award nominations and stuff, so I won't bore you guys with that, but I'm a fiction writer. I'm a fantasy fiction writer. I wrote poetry for a good number of years and have my kind of training as a poet, in some ways, but really I've become most known as a writer of fiction. My first novel "Throne of the Crescent Moon" came out last year in 2012, and did get some nice mentions and notice. And I've also had a number of short stories in magazines here and there. Um, mostly fantasy, a little bit of science fiction, and actually superhero stuff here and there. So... but as my bread and butter, I'm a fantasy writer at the core of what I do. And the vast majority of things I write do have kind of a cultural influence and/or a caste that is of an either Islamic or Arab or a kind of quasi-Islamic or Arab influence, in terms of the culture. And the fact that I write that kind of stuff is kind of the almost natural mix of things that made me. I grew up about 2-and-a-half hours east of here, just outside of Detroit in Dearborn, Michigan. Dearborn is famous for two things-- for being Henry Ford's hometown-- you know, the birthplace. People say the car was born in Detroit, but in a stricter sense, it was born in Dearborn, Michigan, and that's the birth of the assembly line. And in more recent decades, it's become known as kind of the unofficial capital of "Arab America." There have been Arab immigrants in Dearborn for decades and decades and decades, but especially in the past 20, 30, 40 years, there's been a real concentration there, so much so that if you talk to Arabs from other parts of the world, other parts of America, it's astonishing how many people-- for being this, you know, relatively small city of 100,000 people-- how many people have heard of Dearborn and kind of know its reputation, the restaurants there, and the kind of community that's there. I grew up-- my father was born here. My mother is Irish-American. My father is Arab-American, but born here. So I grew up in a very kinda weird place culturally, in the sense that I was... in this little ethnic immigrant Muslim Arab enclave that stood in stark contrast to the rest of America in a lot of ways, and then within that enclave, I was atypical in that my father was born here, you know, he was a native speaker of English and was also kind of a weirdo. (laughing) He was into things like science fiction, fantasy, comic books, you know, rock 'n roll, and things that were not typical for the elders in the Arab community that I grew up in. And so, I grew up essentially hearing the kind of call to Muslim prayer out my window while I was reading my dad's copy of "Lord of the Rings," right? And so, if you kinda mash those things together, that's naturally where some of the stuff that I write comes from. And so, I can't stand up here and make any kind of declarative universal statements about what it means to write Muslim American literature or even what it means to write Muslim American fantasy. I can talk about my own experiences doing so, and kinda some things that I've seen and learned, and I'll talk just about couple of those. And probably the first thing that you learn, unfortunately, is that when you're a Muslim in this country-- and I should say that "Muslim" is a very broad term with a very diverse set of people involved in it. I'm particularly liberal in terms of my particular interpretations, more so than some people I know, and less so than other people I know. And so, when I describe myself as a "Muslim," it's kind of a complicated thing what that means theologically. But certainly, culturally, there's really no escaping it, and especially since 9/11, although certainly before then, it was a presence in my life. There's no escaping the fact that we are in a culture and a country that has a lot of hostility towards Islam and that has a lot of hostility towards Muslims. And it's this kind of constant tension in the back of your head, essentially. And it's something that informs everything you do. So when you come to writing, of course that's a presence. And when you come to fantasy writing, in particular, there's a particularly marked presence, in a way, in the sense that fantasy has typically been very kind of Euro-centric, maybe even more so than American literature in general. It's been very concerned with white people and people who are the "fairest prince," and these very, kind of-- it's almost-- you know, for a country that's as multicultural, even leaving out Arabs and other people of color in this country, even amongst the kind of various white immigrant groups that have come to this country and mix-and-matched-- for a country that's as diverse even within, say, the white population, fantasy is almost a harkening back, especially Tolkien, to this kind of racial purity, essentially, right? To this kind of imagined Anglo-Saxon history. And so, we bring that baggage with us when we read fantasy and we kind of look at, you know, who are the bad guys in "Lord of the Rings"? Well, it's the guys off to the east and the guys down south, right? And they're darker than the heroes, and when we read descriptions of the Orcs, you know, there's a lot of weird stuff in there racially that has them sounding like black people here and sounding like Asians here. So this kind of "othering" is really kind of central in a lot of fantasy, and it's been kind of a weird tension all my life growing up, right? And sort of reading this stuff and identifying with it in one sense, and then kind of seeing yourself cast-- when you appear at all-- seeing yourself cast as a kind of villain at the same time. And it's kind of a strange thing. I think what I'll do to kind of evoke that a little bit is actually read the first story here that I'm going to read. Now, this is from-- and I'm going to read not the entire story but selections. This is from an anthology called "Rags & Bones" which came out just about a month or so ago. I was pretty fortunate to be in here, sort of out of my league, as it were. Neil Gaiman and some other folks are in here, and it's an anthology of kind of retellings of classic stories. What I took on in this anthology was the story "The Faerie Queene," which is by Edmund Spenser and is kind of the urtext of fantasy in a sense. And as soon as I can find it-- here we go-- I'm going to read you, actually, the statement. Each of the stories in this anthology has an author's note, kind of explaining what the author was thinking about when they wrote it. So I am reading actually the newest thing that I have for you first, kind of going in backwards order here. And this story is called "Without Faith, Without Law, "Without Joy." It's, uh-- so "The Faerie Queene" is Edmund Spenser's great, epic fantasy-- essentially poem-- from the 17th century, and it's a kind of epic that is both kind of adventure story, starring this figure, the Redcrosse Knight, and the Redcrosse Knight is the hero of this kind of big massive epic poem. And the Redcrosse Knight embodies holiness, is the virtue that he embodies, right? He wears a big red cross on his chest and he's very much-- he's St. George. It's an allegorical poem. He's St. George. He's also sort of King Arthur undiscovered, and he stands for holiness and he stands for England itself, or Albion, right? And it's the story of the Redcrosse Knight going on these adventures across this kind of allegorical landscape. And if you've read anything from that period of time, you know that these allegories can get very weird. So he's walking and he sees, you know, one mythological creature that's a woman who has a mouth full of scorpions and she's "Error." And then, he meets another character who's all these sort of vices evoked as physical monsters. His eventual opponent is a dragon. But along the way to fighting the dragon, the Redcrosse Knight-- or "Redcrosse," as he's called, St. George-- crosses paths with three Saracen brothers, Saracen being kind of the old-fashioned word for "Muslim." Essentially "pagans" in the eyes of the writer. And these three brothers are called "Sansfoy," "Sansloy, and "Sansjoy." That is, "without law," "without faith," "without joy." And in the poem of "The Faerie Queene," these three brothers exist only as kind of negative figures. They're sort of-- they lack all the virtues that the noble, heroic Redcrosse Knight has. And so, just a little bit more in this note. So in the anthology, I said, "Spencer's 'Faerie Queene' is, "in many ways, the unacknowledged urtext "of the modern Anglophone epic fantasy novel. "Everything we know and love about epic fantasy-- "sword fights, monsters, jaw-dropping scale, "a cast of thousands, deliberate antiquarianism, "the ability to make magic real to a rational reader-- "it's all there in the fairy book." It's all there in "The Faerie Queene," Book One. And it is one of the masterpieces of English literature. "However, 'The Faerie Queene' also prefigures "many of epic fantasy's weaknesses-- "It rambles horribly. "There's too much description of clothing. "And most importantly, there is a series "of kind of gruesome caricatures-- of women, "of Arabs, of Catholics-- "and it kind of sets the precedent "for epic fantasy's hatred of the Other. "Despite this, or perhaps because of it," I've always been intrigued by it the Saracen brothers, Sansfoy, Sansjoy, Sansloy, and I've always kind of wondered what it would be like to be that Muslim character trapped in this allegorical universe in which you've been made the bad guy. And so, that's what this story is about. So this is most of "Without Faith, "Without Law, Without Joy." Holiness has murdered my brave brother. Holiness has mangled my mind and my name. Holiness has stolen God's love from me. I am walking a winding road of pale stone. Who am I? Where am I? I have answers, but they are forged falsehoods. For... days? Years? My brothers and I have been forced to live in this world that is not our world. And I have half-forgotten my own. The one who abducted us-- the mailed man-thing called Holiness-- calls this place "Albion." He calls it Faerie Lond. He calls it the Glorious Isle. The sunlight here is cold and lifeless, the trees are strange, and the birds have evil eyes. He has brought us here to test himself. To prove himself a worthy knight. To hunt us. I do not know how he brought us to this land of blood and iron masks. I know only that I am a real man trapped in a mad landscape of living lessons. My brothers and I were spirited here from my home in... Damascus? Yes, praise be to God I can remember that. The sound of the street preachers, and the smells of the spice vendors' stalls. Damascus. We were sipping tea in a room with green carpets, and I was laughing at a jest that... that someone was making. Who? The face, the voice, the name have all been stolen from me. All I know is that my brothers and I suddenly found ourselves in this twisted place, each aware of the others' fates, but unable to find one another. Unable to find any escape. Now my eldest brother has been slain. And my next eldest brother has disappeared. Who am I? I do not know how he changed our names. But in this world of lions and giants and the blinding shine of armor, I am called Joyless, as if it were a name. It is not my name. It was not my name. But this is his place, and it follows his commands. And so, now, here, Joyless is my name, and Joyless has always been my name. This place, this Albion, has scrawled its hateful sigils over even the past. Now, when I remember my mother's voice calling for me across the small souk, I can only hear her voice of rock and honey saying "Joyless! "Joyless, come here at once!" Now my father's last whispered words to me as sunlight streamed in the wood-lattice window, his last words all those years ago, were "Joyless, my beloved, thanks be to God "that you are such a smart boy." It's the only name I can find in my mind and my memory now. Whatever I was once called, whatever I once called myself, has been stolen. Joyless. A part of me knows it to be false. Some small, near-dead piece of my soul knows that I was once a joyful man. Sometimes God grants me... flashes of the man I once was. Of what joy was. The feel of the falconer's glove as I hunted with my beautiful birds. The jeweled light of water the first time I saw the sea. The old poet at court granting my scribblings unfeigned praise. These are the sunbeams that break the murk for a moment here and there. "Memories" is too weak a word. They are like lightning. Like the pain of a marked thief or a maimed soldier still feels in his hand-- still feels in a hand that has been lost. But they are so fleeting that they feel, they become mere flashes of pain. And each day they fade. Fewer. Farther. Each day becomes easier to succumb to the grim magic of this place that has claimed my kin. To forget joy. To forget who I am. I'll skip ahead just a bit. The character we so far only know as "Joyless" is continuing down the road and seeing all of the allegorical horrors that the Redcrosse Knight has put there to test himself. I am the only one who really lives now. I am the only son of my mother and my father that this thing-in-armor has not slain in body or soul. But it is only a matter of time-- of that I am certain. I can think of only one way to escape this fate. I could slay myself. The thought drifts to me, sweet and gentle as a breeze. Yes, I could destroy myself and be free of this place. My hand grasps my sword hilt. In my mind, I see each of my brothers die again. And I take three deep breaths. No. No... I cannot abandon faith so. I cannot abandon God's own law so. Not when I watched my most beloved brother die fighting. Not when I've seen my law-loving brother turned to a beast. No, I cannot flee this Saint. And if I cannot flee from him, I must hunt him. It does not take much to find him. He is singing songs of praise for his Queen, his voice like a trumpet as it blares across the plains. I walk the pale stone road, following the sound of his songs. Past castle and cavern, past a sleeping giant and a woman with a mouth full of scorpions. How many of us has he brought here with his magic? How many have been twisted into monsters on which he might whet his sword-edge? After a half day's journey, I finally spy his tent, like a great red war drum. He has stopped singing. I approach as quietly as I can, keeping to the trees, trying to remain unseen. Outside the great scarlet tent of the Redcrosse Knight, I see my dead brothers' battered shields. In the old poem, enchantments often die with those who've cast them. If I can-- somehow-- kill this Knight, perhaps I can free my brothers' souls from this mad land. I call on God for strength, and I force myself to remember that my brothers lived by faith, and by law. My eyes burn with the effort, and as I watch, the letters on their shields waver as if seen through smoke. And finally, our narrator finds the Redcrosse Knight and engages into a confrontation. And all this time, the Redcrosse Knight has kept the narrator's name and the names of his brothers from him. And so, he only knows his brothers as Lawless and as Faithless, and he only knows himself as Joyless. And in this last moment-- and there's another name that he feels that the Redcrosse Knight has been keeping from him, a name that he associates with his joy of his former life, and we've yet to find out what that is. And this is the scene in which he finally confronts the Redcrosse Knight. The Knight of the bloody Redcrosse, the killer Saint, the hate that calls himself Holiness, turns slowly. His impossibly handsome face is radiant, an unforgiving sun. His ice-blue eyes are alight with bloodlust and madness. He answers my challenge with haughty mock honor. He can afford this charade, for he knows that his grisly magic protects him. He has his chivalry and his cheat both. He wipes his gory hands on an unstained tabard. Soon we stand twenty paces apart, in a circle of hard-packed earth. Each of us prepares our arms and our armor, our hearts and our souls. Each of us dreams of killing the other, though I know that my dream is folly. Across the tanned leather of my buckler, JOYLESS, the only name I know now, is scrawled in lines like knife slashes. Another flash. I am young, in the courtyard of a small mansion. I can see the old tree that I grew up reading beneath. An important man in yellow silk-- my father-- is training me to use the saber, though he knows I will never be the type who loves fighting. "Always remember, Joyless, that you are fighting a man." Some part of me knows that my father did not call me Joyless. And yet I can remember the smell of his breath as he did so. "It is the man you are fighting, not his sword or his dagger." The lightning flash fades. I look up at my foe. The Redcrosse is no man. He is anger in a suit of armor. He is war made flesh. We raise our blades and step toward one another. His great sword sings. I deflect the blow with my saber and riposte. We each dodge death once, twice, thrice. But each blow I meet rings through my muscle and weakens me. I will not last long. We match blow for blow for blow. Our swords meet in a storm of steel, and each of us staggers from the impact. For a long moment, we can only stand there and stare at each other, as shocked as two rams that have just butted heads. But I see in his snarl that this is all mock to him. Sweat barely beads his brow, and his breath still comes easy. And my own body is sore and tired. Each breath I suck down is like drinking a bowl of fire. I will die soon. Redcrosse attacks again. His great downward chop knocks my shield away, splitting the wood beneath the stretched hide. It comes close enough to killing me that I can smell the oil on his sword. I will die soon, but I will not die hiding. I will die doing what is right. What law and faith demand. And... And then the moments flow as slow as honey. And God takes mercy on a man about to die far from home. The Lord of the Universe-- of the true Universe-- grants me a boon. Before my eyes, the letters on my lost shield slip and tumble and writhe. They squirm and wriggle like newborn babes until I can nearly read my name. My name! My name, not the name that this murderer-Saint has given me. Not the evil name that he has forced me to falsely recall having painted there. The man-thing Holiness, with his monstrous mock courtesy, waits for me to regain my feet. I stand slowly, my eyes on the shield at Redcrosse's feet. And as the letters reweave themselves, stolen memories return to my barren mind, like cool water on parched lips. My wise little daughter, sitting on her divan, mastering her letters at four. My daughter, Aisha. When we learned that my wife would never give birth again, I thought God had robbed me by not giving me a son. We had named her after the wife of the Prophet. Aisha-- "Alive." As she grew, I knew what true joy was. The clever tricks she pulled. My pride, in spite of her uncles' disapproval, as she wrote her first lines of poetry. Her name was Aisha! Redcrosse's spell stole that joyful sound from me, but now it is mine again! Aisha, who made me as proud as any son could have. I will never see her again, but I will not die having forgotten her. Yes, I once knew joy. "My daughter's name is Aisha," I say. My voice, her name, is sweet and strong to my own ears. Like an angel's war horn. This place had nearly made me forget that I could speak! "My brothers were Abdullah and Abdul Hakam." Redcrosse's eyes widen with shock and fury, and he bears his teeth. Again I fix my eyes on my lost shield. Ain. Ba. Dal. The Arabic letters of my name weave themselves into words. Lam. Waw. I am not Joyless. I have never been Joyless. "You have lost, creature-- I am Abdul Wadud!" I shout at the Saint. "Abdul Wadud, the Servant of God the Loving!" And as I raise my sword and I go to my death, I am smiling. So... That was "Without Faith, Without Law, Without Joy." A kind of, I guess, literalization of what I see myself doing all the time when I'm writing a fantasy, which is kind of both honoring and acknowledging the tradition that come from as a writer, and also wrestling with it, and especially with its more problematic aspects. Take a glance at our time here. You know, I could talk kind of on and on abstractly about kind of what being a Muslim writer means to me, but it's the funny thing about fiction writers and creative types-- that I do kind of have a background in academia, but part of the reason I think I ran away from a PhD program is because there's a certain point at which rational explanation of what one does starts to fail, and you just sort of-- you write. And then, maybe once you've written something, you're sort of comfortable talking about it. But I'm probably more comfortable illustrating the kinds of things that I think I'm doing as a Muslim writer than I am talking about them too much in the abstract. One of the things, though, that is very important to me is not just in kind of a reactive way... writing in response to the kind of problematic aspects of the tradition-- the tradition of both just English literature in general and of fantasy specifically, but in a kind of more positive and proactive way-- telling stories that are not told, and casting heroes specifically. Because I am-- you know, I'm not kind of terribly meditative literary writer. I write stories about people who hunt monsters and shoot aliens and fight super villains... (chuckling) so one of the things that is important to me is the simple fact-- and the sad thing is, in the 21st century, in the United States, it's still kind of an argument that we're having is the simple fact of having different types of people as heroes, you know? If you-- you know, I mean, just think how few action movies have, for instance, female leads, right? We're still very used to thinking about one type of person as been a hero in our culture, and especially of being a kind of genre hero. The heroes that we see in fantasy and science fiction are only now starting to change and started to look more like what our country looks like and what our world looks like, even more to the point. So certainly, one of my tasks has felt like the simple act of giving people different kinds of heroes to identify with. And I think that it's good for two reasons. One is that there are a lot of readers like me. I mean, every week-- you know, I'm not George R.R. Martin. You know, I don't have millions of readers. I have maybe a few thousand readers. That said, even given that small number, the fact that every week at least I receive an e-mail or a message on Facebook or Twitter or whatever from someone who's very often Muslim and/or Arab, a younger reader who's come across the book and said, "Oh, my gosh, I've been reading fantasy for 10 years, "for 20 years, and I've never come across a hero "who sounds like this or looks like this or prays like this." And sometimes, it's actually people who are not necessarily Arab or Muslim, but are from another kind of different background that has felt kind of equally marginalized by the genre. But the other side of it is that I've had an equal number of e-mails and kind of correspondences with readers who are very much from the mainstream of American culture and who are-- their dad is a lawyer in Arkansas, and they grew up in an all-white town... you know, not just all-white, but all-Christian town, and had never met a Muslim before. And I've literally had this e-mail and just my work being the first place where they kind of encounter not just a Muslim protagonist in fiction but just kind of a Muslim telling their story... or Muslim-like character telling their story. And I think writers-- we tend to be very self-important about how important our work is in changing the world, and I don't tell myself that story too often because I think it leads to arrogance, but those little moments are pretty gratifying. So at the end of the day, I think maybe one of the most radical things that being a Muslim American writer means in our current historical moment is just kind of telling stories that are either not being told or that people are actively hostile against, and there is still a pretty significant portion of the country that just as soon as the word "Islam" is out of your mouth, or "Muslim," or as soon as a Muslim name comes to their ears, you know, they react with images of terrorism, because people have been conditioned to. And I think in an environment like that, simply making your superhero have a Muslim last name, or simply having your cowboy pray like a Muslim is a kind of small act of rebellion. And I want to leave time for a Q&A, so I'm actually going to read one more story-- speaking of cowboys... and I'm not tweeting here. I've got the story on my iPad. So this is a little bit lighter, I think, than the last piece. This story is one of the earlier short stories that I had published, and it's called "Mister Hadj's Sunset Ride." A little bit of background on this piece. My family is probably one of the earliest Muslim Arab families in the country. My great-grandmother was born in South Dakota in 1910, and she-- now, she and her daughter grew up kind of back and forth from the states and the Middle East. It was a little bit complicated. So to say that-- you know, it's not just that our family came over and then we've been there ever since. There's kind of a back-and-forth from Lebanon. But my family was here quite early. And my great-grandmother would tell me stories about being a little girl in South Dakota. And you know, she was 10 years old in 1920 in South Dakota-- that was still almost the old West. I mean, it was kind of just out of the Western period-- the classic Western period. There is this history. The one thing you find out when you dig into American history is that everybody has been everywhere. There's been one person at least from whatever group in whatever weird corner of American history and geography you find, and once you start reading up on this stuff, there is this history. And so, in the Arab American Museum-- the national Arab American Museum in Dearborn-- they actually have a door from one of the first mosques in the country. It actually has a bullet hole... (laughing) in it. I don't know that it was like hate crime or I don't know the story behind that bullet hole-- I should research this. But that dated back to either the very early 20th century or the late 19th century. So it's kind of interesting seeing how long some people have been around some places. All of that is kind of maybe a little bit more serious than this story, which is basically a zombie cowboy story. (audience laughing) So... and you're going to have to forgive me because I like to do funny voices but I'm not very good at them. And this narrator is an old West narrator. So if there's anybody who's like actually from the American West or from down south and you're offended by my accent, come see me after the reading and I'll give you a card to do a bad Arabic accent. (audience laughing) We could do an exchange. So I think we'll read this and then go to Q&A. So this is "Mister Hadj's Sunset Ride" and it opens from a quote from the Qur'an. "...and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind." The toughest man I ever met? That's an easy answer to give, but a tricky tale to tell. Mister Hadj was from the same place as my rattlesnake of a Pa. Araby, or someplace like, though I don't rightly know the name since neither him nor my Pa ever said a blasted word about the Old Country. You'd ask and ask, and all you'd get back was a look as hard as rocks. No use digging after that. I've ridden with good men and bad men, but I never rode with a man like Mister Hadj. That wasn't his proper name. Just a way of calling the old man respectful-like. My Pa taught me that, if I ever met a man from the Old Country, to call him "Hadj." Damn near the only thing that sonuvabitch ever taught me. Anyhow, a good few years back now, when I was a young, full-of-hisself bounty hunter, I was riding with Mister Hadj in the Black Hills. We rode together about a year. He was a little leather-brown knot of a man with a moonlight-white beard, and he took an immediate and powerful shine to me on account of my Pa's being from Araby. Now, understand, I'm a bastard. I carry my momma's name-- O'Connor. But the way I look-- a little darker than the average man, I know, and you can see the hatchet nose-- well, I get taken for a lot of things. South of the border, I've fibbed that I was half-Mexican. Lived a summer trading with the Cheyenne, claiming to be part redman. Even got chased outta town once when I winked at the wrong girl, 'cause they was sure as hell I was a mulatto! It can be hell, sometimes, being different things to different folks. But it can be right useful, too. Well, Mister Hadj musta smelled the Old Country in my blood, somehow. Like I say, he took a shine to me. And me knowing how to call him respectfully, well, that seemed to seal it for him. I can't say I ever understood it, but Mister Hadj was the kind of man you wanted on your side, so I wasn't about to complain. For what it's worth, I was the last man ever saw him alive. The last time I rode with Mister Hadj, we was in a little shit town in Texas, trailing Parson Lucifer's gang. Old Parson Lucifer was an ex-preacher, mad as a rabid dog. Said he took the name "Parson Lucifer" 'cause he was "part blessed and part damned, like any man." I can't say I ever saw the blessed part, though. Like I said, the man was out of his blasted mind. Anything ruthless or nasty you might have heard about his gang was probably the plain truth. That three-day-slow murder of the blacksmith and his wife in Deadwood, done with their own smithing tools? That weren't no tale. The widower sheriff of Redemption and his baby boys getting their ears chopped off and force-fed to them? Yeah, Parson Lucifer'd did that, too. We were in the employ of the town of Crossblood, where even the old Sunday school teacher was foaming at the mouth to see Parson Lucifer and his gang strung up. They'd lost a lot to those boys. Most of the gang had been caught before we ever got hired-- and what got done to 'em wasn't none too pretty, neither. But Parson Lucifer and his two sons were still out there. Well, one and a half of his sons, anyway. To hear it told, two sheriff's deputies had fired three shots each into his youngest, Shambles. Wasn't nothing left but a bloody pulp shaped like a man. But Parson Lucifer and his eldest, James, went through the trouble of killing two more people just to haul off the younger boy's body. Now, Mister Hadj and me weren't the only hunters hunting those dogs, but it was us that found 'em. Rather, it was him that found 'em. By serenading the rocks. See, that old man could sing. I don't think he knew what half the words meant. But when Mister Hadj started in on them old cowboy songs-- well, as sure as I'm standing here, when that man got to crooning a tune, he made the earth itself cry. This ain't just me tale-telling, you understand? I seen tears fall from big red rocks when that old man hummed. I heard stones weep and they parted before him. So when Mister Hadj said that a stone in the road told him where to find Parson Lucifer, I didn't doubt it. And though it still spooked me, I didn't flinch when he sang softly to a great big cliff-face until it wept and opened a passage to a perfect ambush perch. Y'all ain't got to believe me for it to be truth. I never learned Mister Hadj's Christian name, but tell the truth I don't think he was a Christian. Not to say he wasn't living Christianly, you understand-- when we were down Mexico way, that man would toss his last peso at the first beggar who asked. But I don't think he ever touched a Bible in his life. And Sunday to him was just another day. Every evening, he'd roll out this funny little rug. Then he'd turn his back to the setting sun, bow down and say some'a his words. Heathen praying, far as I could tell. "You gonna do that every night?" I'd asked him early on. "Should be more," he'd say in that rocks-and-honey voice. And that was all he'd ever say on the matter. No, it wasn't nothing Christian. But my momma taught me that another man's religion was like another man's wife-- none of my goddamn business. That old gal taught me a lot of lessons, but sticking to my own business was just about the best of 'em. Granted, he ain't seemed to like words a whole lot. Never said much more than "Yup," "Nope," "I reckon," and "Good, huh?" Once in a while, he'd get real mad, he'd start to talking his Old Country talk, sounding like... like a man clearing his throat with flowers. I suppose it would have drove a lot of men mad, riding with a man as quiet as that. And I can't say that, once in a while, I didn't wish Mister Hadj was a bit more social. But I've always liked my quiet. There ain't nothing in this world drives me up the wall like riding with a man who keeps talking when there ain't nothing to say. I always knew Mister Hadj was there, and that was all I needed to know. By my hope of being saved, I'll tell you I never saw a man as good with a gun. It wasn't natural, the things that old man could do with a Navy Colt or a Winchester. You'll think I'm talking tall, but I'd swear it before the Almighty hisself-- I seen Mister Hadj shoot the buck teeth off a jumping jackrabbit. Seen him shoot another man's bullets out of the air. I seen him shoot more than a couple men, too. We made a over a dozen bounties in that year together. And not all of 'em were alive. Not by a clean sight. We was spying on Parson Lucifer and his son from our hiding place high in the cliff-face when Mister Hadj, for reasons knowed only to him at the time, insisted we wait till the next day to nab the bastards. Well, I didn't want to hear that. I was a foolish young man in those days. Hot and headstrong, with even more to prove than your average prairie boy. "Tummarah," he said, making the word sound like his Old Country talk. He was loading his Colt with funny-looking bullets. Silver, if I didn't miss my guess. "Tomorrow-- we've got 'em dead to rights right now! "With them powers you got--" Mister Hadj looked up from his gun and ran a hand over his beard. "Powers? "Shut up, you. "Just a knack." "A knack?! "You can--" I stopped, knowing I'd flapped my gums too much. The old man didn't like when I brought up the things he could do. His eyes narrowed like I'd just called his momma a whore. Somewhere out there in the purple early evening, a coyote howled. Mister Hadj spit at my feet and jabbed a tree-branch trigger finger at me. "Talk too much. "Just heed, huh? "Tummarah." "Now look here," I said. "You know I respect your experience. "And I do try to heed you, but--" "Should be more," the old man said, and turned his back to me. Now, if I'd had half a head on my shoulders, that woulda been the end of it. But I was young, a little fired up, and a lot of stupid. I thought I could make Mister Hadj respect me. And half a whisky flask later I just knew I could do it by bushwhackin' two outlaws singlehanded. So after Mister Hadj'd turned his back to the sunset, said his "Should be more" rug-prayer to the heathen god and gone to sleep, I snuck down the cliff. Like I said, young and stupid. If I hadn't been drunk on top of that, I might have given a second thought to those silver bullets Mister Hadj'd been fiddling with. Now, them boys was too smart to set a campfire. But the moon was big and bright and by its light I could see Parson Lucifer's white preacher's collar. He was snoring away, but his son James was on watch. I crept up behind James, close and quiet. Now, even a boy as brash as I was knows that taking on two men at once-- even if one of 'em is sleeping-- requires getting underhanded. And when it comes to a gang of killers like Parson Lucifer's, well, I got no problem shooting a man in the back. So that's what I done. Three shots right up that boy James's spine. Excepting it wasn't James that I shot. It wasn't James that turned around. It was the other boy. The dead boy. I swear it by God and my momma's grave. That boy they called Shambles just stared at me, something like a smile on his rotten lips, his chopped-steak half-of-a-face. I put another slug right through his eyeball, but the boy didn't even bleed. Now I'd heard that when he was a natural living man, they called him Shambles on account of his funny walk. But when I shot that boy four times and he ain't stopped coming at me, well, that name wasn't so funny no more. My mouth dried up, my heart hammered hard, and I screamed and ran back the way I'd come. But there was Parson Lucifer cut right across my path, wide awake and a revolver in his gray-gloved hand. His boy James was beside him. They didn't shoot me. Just laughed and told me to drop my gun or they'd give me to Shambles. I heard the dead boy laughing through his opened throat and-- I won't lie-- I wet myself. Then I dropped my gun. A half hour later, I found myself lying trussed up on the ground with two teeth knocked out. Parson Lucifer's boot-heel was digging into my cheek, and I was wishing I'd listened to Mister Hadj instead of letting my hot blood send me off half-cocked. "Don't look so worried, boy," the old bandito laughed. "I ain't going to kill you yet. "No, you got to die in a special way. "A slow way. "That hex what raised my boy Shambles "is constantly calling for fresh blood. "Having you here, well, it saves me dangerous raidin' on a town." He took his boot from my face and strutted slowly into view. He smiled a nasty little smile and looked up at the night sky. "The blood-spilling-- it has to happen at sunrise, "when Shambles sleeps. "So you got yourself another few hours to live." Tears started to burn in my eyes. It's one thing to get shot, but it's another thing entire to have your blood spilled for black magic. I swallowed and foolishly tried to play on the guilty conscience of a man who didn't know what conscience was. "You know you killed a little girl during that last robbery? "Eight years old and you--" I felt fear filling me, but I still wasn't ready to make the man shoot me premature for naming him as the monster he was. I switched up to make like I was giving him the benefit of the doubt. "Now, look, could be it was an accident...," I started. But Parson Lucifer just frowned at me like a disappointed uncle. "Boy, there ain't nothing involving a pistol "and Parson Lucifer ever an accident." A better man would have called Parson Lucifer a devilish, dog-faced son of a whore just then. But it wasn't a better man lying there with his face in the dirt. It was just me, and I kept my peace as that devilish, dog-faced son of a whore went on. "That girl died for a purpose, boy-- "more than most folk these days can claim. "Every man and every child must play his part. "I ravage so that our Lord Christ can heal." "Yeah, and I guess you make a nice living "doing it, don't you?" The old bastard smiled. "There's a Caesar in all of us, boy, "and we must render unto him what is his. "But the girl's was just one life. "Even way the hell out here, "there's a lot of lives to go around. "Ain't any one of 'em any more sacred than another, "far as God's concerned. "You think our savior cares more about some snot-nosed child "than a sinner like me? "You must not read your Bible then, boy. "Ain't no man ever kept Jesus' love busier than I have." That thing that he called his son shambled into my view and it gibbered something. Whoever it used to be, right then it just looked like a plate of bloody meat walking on two legs. My breath caught in my chest. "What about that creature there?" I said, trying to make the bold in me cover up the scared pissless. "My hex brought my boy Shambles back alive, "even after what that snaky deputy did to him. "That's the Lord's work, boy. "Same thing our savior did with Lazarus. "This here's a Christian hex I put on my beautiful baby boy." I couldn't hardly help myself. "Mister, I don't know what to call that, "except to say that it's about as Christian "as pissin' in the pulpit on a Sunday morning." And at that moment, Mister Hadj appeared from I-don't-know-where, looking at my frightened eyes like an avenging angel of the Lord. He sang a quick string of words in his talk-- sounded similar to his sunset prayers, as best as I could tell. The rocks around us wailed right back, and Parson Lucifer looked around, frantic-like. Then Mister Hadj shot five of them silver bullets right into Shambles. That thing what used to be a living man stopped and dropped to the ground. There wasn't no blood coming from where Mister Hadj had shot him, but the way he started moaning, well, it was like all them bullets that he oughtn't have been able to walk away from all caught up with him at once. There was one last howl, like a demon getting his tooth yanked by the meanest barber in the world. Then Shambles stopped moving, stopped kicking, and died an honest death. Mister Hadj already had his gun on Parson Lucifer, and now he was whistling "Bright River Valley." The rocks kept a-wailing. And I swear to y'all that a little piece of flint jumped up and cut my bonds. But by then the boy James, who'd been off shaking a sagebrush when Mister Hadj showed up, had his gun on me. James gestured toward me with the gun and growled at Mister Hadj. "Well, it looks like we're all of us in a fix here. "My Daddy can't see no hangman." He said it in that fast-slow Kansas City way that drives a prairie boy like me clean out my mind, and his Pa finally wore a look of real fear. "Now, I don't know what kind of Injun magic "you got hold of here, but my Daddy can't see no hangman. "You hear, old man? "Whatever kind of redman devilishness "you done worked against my Daddy's hex, "you'd better hope you can lift it "and bring back my baby brother. "I got a clean shot right here at your--" There was no movement that I saw. But there was a shot, and then there was smoke coming from Mister Hadj's gun. And a boy with a hole in his head was lying where a fast-talking murderer had just stood. "He hurt alotta people. "He had a price to pay. "Should be more." Nine words. For Mister Hadj it was like a whole sermon. He looked up at a patch of moonlit cloud in the eastern sky and he nodded, like he'd been arguing with the Almighty but was granting God a point. He didn't even flinch when Parson Lucifer spun around and shot him twice in the chest. I tried to stop it-- fumbled James's dropped gun into my hands and fired in Parson Lucifer's direction, feeling like my anger alone could push the bullet through his skull. I'm proud to say I killed that hex-casting sonuvabitch. But I wasn't fast enough. Parson Lucifer and his boys were dead. But that didn't change Mister Hadj lying there with two holes in him, and it didn't stop the little red rivers that seeped into the dirt around his old oak root of a body. As I say, I was still half-green back then, but I'd already come to know by sight which wounds a man might walk away from. One look told me Mister Hadj wasn't going nowhere else in this world. Any other man would have been screaming hisself silly. But Mister Hadj was so quiet I could hear the wind whispering in the brush. He grit his teeth and refused the rum and laudanum that I offered him. "Tufusahal," he said, and I thought he was speaking the Old Country talk. I wished my Pa-- or anyone from the Old Country-- was there, just to hear him say his peace. It's a hell of a thing to speak your last words to a man who can't understand your language. But he said it again and I realized I did understand. "Tough as all Hell," the old man was saying, the first time I ever heard him talk proud. "Tough as all Hell." "Yeah, you are that, Mister Hadj," I said to him, "There ain't no man anywhere can begrudge you that." That man bought my life with his, as God as my witness. I ain't seen what I'd done to deserve it, to tell the truth. I told him as much, as he lay there dying. The old coot spit out some blood and smiled real mean-like. "For you?" he said, and shook his head. He pointed his long brown trigger finger up at the sky, like he was naming a target. "For him. "I hurt alotta people. "Price to pay. "Should be more." And that was the last thing he said. I watched the light go slowly out of his eyes, saw that smile go slack. I smelled crushed roses in the air, though I can't say where the scent came from. For a long time I just sat there, my thoughts mingling with the moonshadows. I spent that sleepless night burying him with a short-handled shovel, his guns and his little heathen rug beside him. Come morning, I was wore out as man could be, but it was time to leave. "Ashes to ashes," I said, by way of goodbye to the old man, "dust to dust." Then I dragged myself eastward, my eyes half-blinded by the rising sun. That's it. (applause) Thanks. Uh... all righty, thanks for staying awake. I'll take a breath. (chuckling) I'm happy to answer any questions that anyone has. There are books for sale-- copies of the novel "Throne of the Crescent Moon." And I'd be happy to sign those if you brought books of your own. I'm happy to sign them, or just questions from anyone. >> (indistinct speaking). >> Donahue style. Anyone? Sure, sir. I bet we could probably hear you if you talk loudly. (chuckling) >> So I know your focus is on writing Muslim American fantasy, in that sense. Have you come across much in terms of... Arab fantasy that you feel there's a significant difference in the way you approach it versus, say, if you weren't Muslim American? If you were just Muslim and you were writing fantasy? do you feel there's a significant difference? >> Yeah, that's a really good question. It is very hard for me to disentangle the two. I mean, much of what I think of and what I've experienced as Muslim culture for me has been Arab-- or more accurately, Arab American culture. And so, I think that you-- when I interact with fans, especially science fiction and fantasy fans, it's been interesting seeing different parts of the world. My expertise, my kind of cultural training, as it were, is essentially Lebanese and Egyptian. And since putting out the book, I've had readers who were from Malaysia or Muslim from the Philippines, or from Sub-Saharan Africa, and it's been interesting seeing how being a Muslim geek in these different cultures means pretty different things in different cultural contexts. If I were, you know, Turkish, it would probably-- I would probably write differently, sure. On the other hand, if I were an Arab Christian, I would probably also write very differently. You know, there are many, many Arab Christians, of course. So the two are fused for me, and it's very important to note that the religion of Islam and Arab as an ethnicity are very, very different things. But for me, personally, they've always been fused in the way that I've grown up, so it's probably hard for me to disentangle the two. Other questions? Sure, please. >> (distantly) Yeah, I probably don't need that. You said earlier that-- >> It's for a recording. >> Oh. >> Mic, mic, mic. (chuckling) >> (into mic) Thank you. You said earlier that there are more characters of ethnicity coming out and being heroes. Do you contribute that more to the way publishing has changed or more the way culture has changed? I don't know if it's so much publishing, per se, although I think that publishing is more accountable now. You know, it really-- like almost every industry, movie-making as well, the music industry-- you know, you did have this period where at least on a national level, the stuff that was coming out was really filtered through this very small community of gatekeepers, and they were-- demographically, they were not just almost all white, but almost all male, mostly straight-- or at least publicly straight-- from-- living in New York. And so, there's this kind of monotonous and homogenous culture that I think-- books, TV, movies, all the stuff-- has a filtered through historically. I think it's changing partially because of things like, say, self-publishing and stuff like that, but even more so because of things like Twitter and Facebook. And you don't want to oversay, "Oh, the Internet has changed everything. "It's a different world." But there is a lot of truth to that, in that, for instance, if you want to talk about-- if somebody says-- you know, if some prominent comic book artist says, "Oh, well, girls don't read comic books." You know, that used to just go and fly, and now Twitter is crucifying somebody who says that within an hour of them making this stupid-ass comment, right? So there is this maybe increased sensitivity. And then, of course the big thing is the demographic shift in the states, is that we are really-- we're fundamentally a multicultural country. We always have been but we're kind of-- we're looking that way in terms of how far apart people are coming from, how many of them. And not just in places like New York or California or something like that, but you can go to Oklahoma and find some random Somali population there, or you can go to wherever it may be in this part of the country that used to seem very isolated and homogenous-- even these areas are becoming more and more heterogeneous, and that combined with constant access to all kinds of entertainment from wherever in the world, people want to find it. You know, it's like if some new cartoon comes out in Pakistan, you can watch-- even if you don't know Urdu, you can watch the first episode on YouTube now. And so, I think all those things kinda combined to making a more accountable and hopefully a more diverse culture, just in general. So that's definitely reflected, I think, in fantasy and science fiction, too. It's still got a ways to go, but... Other questions? Sure, yeah. You, sir. (chuckling) A microphone. >> I was just curious-- was there a definitive moment in your past where you chose to write in the Muslim viewpoint? Or is it just kind of your natural voice as an author? >> You know, I think it's been pretty organic for me, in that I've always-- you know, I used to-- so I'm a big Dungeons & Dragons nerd, and I grew up as much-- even more so perhaps than reading actual fantasy novels, reading these Dungeons & Dragons books and comic books and things like that. So in Dungeons & Dragons, you always come up with-- you create your own characters, and I would just gravitate towards creating these quasi-Middle Eastern characters, and I don't-- you know, my father was involved in founding an Arab community center, and so he was a very-- without kind of being belligerent about it-- was always very instilling a strong sense of ethnic-- a little less religious, in his case, because he's a pretty secular guy-- sense of who I was. I think that-- and he was also the person who encouraged me most. I lost my mother when I was very young. He was the person who encouraged me most creatively. And so, I think that I was getting these same messages from the same guy probably did a lot. I think that the other thing is that, as a writer, when you come to a crowded field, you start to think about what you have to contribute that other people aren't doing. And so, I could've written yet another novel about a fantasy thief, you know, that's wearing leather armor and is in this-- but it felt like I had something maybe different to say that wasn't being said. So those things probably happened at the same time. Other questions? Anyone? Yeah, sure, no problem. >> So speaking of voices, and from what I can tell, you're approaching this from a place where there is a voice that really isn't being heard, and you're saying, "Hey, there's these stories." Have there been other people's voices out there that have surprised you? You know... >> Sure. Now, do you mean just in general, kind of in terms of the diversity? Or specifically in terms of Arab and Muslim stuff? >> No, I meant in general, in terms of diversity, because we're seeing this explosion of diversity, and you're one facet of it. Are there other facets that-- >> Yeah, yeah, there's-- rather than me trying to list authors, if you just google "diversity science fiction and fantasy," it's astonishing over just the past very few years how much stuff is being written by people from different backgrounds and stuff set in different worlds, too, I should say. Not just in terms of the biography of the writer, but a dear friend of mine is a guy named Howard Andrew Jones, and he's a middle-aged white guy from Indiana. You know, but he has written this series with these kind of 8th century Middle Eastern heroes. And so, it's not necessarily just like "You're from this background, write this kind of fantasy," but the culmination of interest in a diverse set of influences and actual writers who are more diverse than they were a generation ago. I mean, there's remarkable stuff out there. I mean, a few names that come to mind-- Howard Andrew Jones, Elizabeth Bear has a recent series that is based on kind of Mongol myth, NK Jemisin, who's a dear friend of mine, has two series. Her first is her main character's essentially biracial but in this very kind of "fairest of them all" court, and then her second series is straight-up based on a kind of black Egypt analog. So there are these writers out there who are doing this stuff, and not just according to gender lines. But you know, it's part of a reinvention of the genre in general, I think, an interest in some of the thornier stuff that a writer like Tolkien often-- Tolkien was writing an intentionally idealized mythology, you know? And the generations who have come since him have kind of wanted to pick that apart, and so that means everything from kind of a wider variety of ethnicities kinda being depicted in the worlds that are being created and among the writers themselves, questioning kind of gender politics. There is people writing, you know... trans protagonists, you know, and gay protagonists in epic fantasy, which would have been unheard of kind of a generation ago. And so, even in the quote-unquote "mainstream," if you look at who's the best selling kind of middle-aged white guy New York Times bestseller fantasy writer is George R.R. Martin right now, right, who's having his show made-- er, his books made into a TV show, even George is sort of like looking at this world that he was handed and saying, "Well, what about this? "What about the fact that kingship "is really kind of a crazy and messed up thing? "And what about the way that women were treated "in this world? "And what kind of options did they have?" So there's a general deconstruction of fantasy that diversity is kind of happening hand-in-hand with, and I think it's a pretty exciting time for the field. Any other burning questions? Sir... in the orange. >> Yes, I was wondering... have you thought of or have you done some like retelling of English American fantasy tales? Like, there have been some very graphic retellings of like Snow White and the kind of stuff. >> Right, yeah. >> Have you thought about doing it from a Muslim American point of view and what it would look like from that point of view? >> Well, the first story I read that was a response to "The Faerie Queene" is probably the closest thing that I've come to writing that. I haven't taken on fairytales directly, per se, but there's always ideas percolating in the back of my head. And it's rich, ripe material, too. And the other big fairytale source for me-- or not fairytale, but the folklore source for me is "The Arabian Nights," and those stories are something that have been a huge influence on me, too. >> What about like-- I mean, there's some stuff from the Grimm Brothers that's not fairytale that can be very gruesome, but very fantasy. Is that something that you-- >> Well, you know, that's a case to me of other people have already done that better than I'll ever do it. If you read a writer like Cat Valente-- Catherynne Valente-- there are writers whose whole career is kind of examining those fairytales and getting to the bloody parts. You know, it's like the "Little Mermaid" ain't Disney if you go and read the original story. And there are a great number of stories like that. But I think that's something that... that there's a whole school of writers who do that really well, and I don't know if that's where my talents lie, you know? Others? Okay, well, if there's questions that people want to ask that they're not comfortable asking in front of everyone, or you want to chat, I'm here. Otherwise, thank you so much, everyone, for coming. I appreciate it. (applause) And if anyone wants anything signed, I'm up here. So thanks.


As described in a film magazine review,[3] Henry Baxter is bashful and fails to get ahead in the world because people do not understand him. That is, all but Beulah Dyer, whom he loves blindly. His hard luck increases when a widowed sister-in-law and her two children descend upon his household. He works days at the office and nights doing clerical work for a druggist until his health fails him. Walter Higgins, his office boss, has stolen Henry's idea of boosting newspaper circulation by giving valor banquets to heroes. When Henry recovers from his illness, he is invited to one and finds that his struggles are appreciated as real heroism. When his home catches fire, and spurred on by the desire to be the other sort of hero, Henry thrusts aside the firemen and rescues the children himself.



With no prints of How Baxter Butted In located in any film archives,[4] it is a lost film.


  1. ^ "Progressive Silent Film List: How Baxter Butted In". Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  2. ^ The AFI Catalog of Feature Films: How Baxter Butted In
  3. ^ "New Pictures: How Baxter Butted In", Exhibitors Herald, Chicago, Illinois: Exhibitors Herald Company, 22 (4): 55, July 18, 1925, retrieved June 14, 2022 Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ The Library of Congress American Silent Feature Film Survival Catalog: How Baxter Butted In

External links

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