A RESPONSE TO BRAD TORGERSEN

One of the comments that was put up on my web site while I was out of town was a long one by Brad Torgersen. Because of Brad’s prominence in the debate over the Hugo Awards, I think it’s incumbent on me to respond to him. My response is going to be long because I’m going to put it all up in one post today. I’m doing that because Brad will be deploying soon and is likely to lose access to the internet for a while. I don’t think it’s fair for me to criticize his arguments if he can no longer respond.

Whether he chooses to respond or not will be his decision. If he does, I will make no further responses to him beyond this one. I think the argument we’re having about the Hugo awards is approaching its productive limits.

I will make one more post in a day or so, but that one will deal purely with my own practical suggestions for ways I think the Hugo awards could be improved.

The post by Brad that I’m responding to here is a long one—you can find it in the thread under “AND AGAIN ON THE HUGO AWARDS”—so I think this will work best if I begin by quoting all of it. My reply will come afterward:

(the original comment can be found in context at this link — webmaster)

 


“The following is general commentary, not directed at Eric Flint per se. But at the body of the thread and all the comments as a whole.“The thing about self-identifying progressives in 21st century America is that they don’t realize when they’ve won. Especially in the field of SF/F publishing. You cannot fight against The Man when you are The Man. In SF/F publishing, progressives make up the vast bulk of editors, authors, artists, and publishers. Oh, they will quibble about differences between them — in fine detail — but taken as a whole picture, the field of SF/F is a thoroughly progressive playhouse. Trying to explain to a progressive the existence of progressive prejudice (against conservatives, especially in a media entertainment arena) is like trying to explain to a trout that water is wet. The trout simply gapes at you goggle-eyed and exclaims, “But sir, that is the very nature of the universe!”“Someone up-thread pulled a quote from my blog, and I want to re-emphasize a portion of it.

“Sad Puppies 3 was “open source” and demanded nothing, threatened nothing, nor did it badger anyone. I state again: we were open source, we demanded nothing, we threatened nothing, nor did we badger anyone.

“The opponents of Sad Puppies 3 — some of whom I would be tempted to call puppy-kickers — have threatened, demanded, and badgered a great deal. This wasn’t a life-or-death bloodsport until the progressive guardians of the field decided that Sad Puppies 3 was justification for open war. They happily became (and in most instances, remain) puppy-kickers. And they are proud of themselves for it, too.

“I guess inviting more people to the table is the most horrible thing in the SF/F world?

“Because that’s what happened: Sad Puppies 3 invited more people to the table, not less. We wanted to make the tent bigger.

“The puppy-kickers have busied themselves trying to find ways to evict people from the tent. For ideological infractions. For taste infractions. For insufficient “fan cred” as defined by the denizens of Worldcon — some of whom are obsessed with keeping Fandom a capital-f affair, for capital-f people only.

“Sad Puppies 3 wanted to push back against blind spots, and get recognition for new and established authors alike.

“The puppy-kickers used that as an excuse to scream “NO AWARD!”, while at the same time threatening careers, using lies and character assassination against myself and Larry Correia in particular, and to also try to cajole deserving people to withdraw from the ballot.

“Remind me, again, who “loves” Science Fiction & Fantasy? Who pissed in the cornflakes, to borrow one user’s analogy?

“Sad Puppies 3 never said the Hugo award should go to only the works or people we like, or to only the works or people who flatter our ideologies. We merely wanted a share of the pie for works and people who’d otherwise struggle to get that share.

“The puppy-kickers have absolutely stated — over and over again — that the Hugo award should go to only the works and the people whom the puppy-kickers deem worthy — for all definitions of “worthy” which include, “Must almost always be left-leaning in ideology, and satisfy our stuffy criteria where taste is concerned.” Moreover, the puppy-kickers have stated that the “wrong” voters should be kept out of the process, and that the “wrong” fans are not welcome to participate.

“Got it? The puppy-kickers have been screaming GO AWAY at the top of their digital lungs.

“And yet the puppy-kickers pretend to claim the mantle of “inclusiveness”? How does that work? You’re “inclusive” by erecting walls, calling people names, and sticking your nose in the air?”


Let me begin with the key sentence in the second paragraph, since that is in many ways the real substance of the debate. To refresh everyone’s memory, here it is again:

“In SF/F publishing, progressives make up the vast bulk of editors, authors, artists, and publishers. Oh, they will quibble about differences between them — in fine detail — but taken as a whole picture, the field of SF/F is a thoroughly progressive playhouse.”

Is Torgersen’s depiction of the state of F&SF today an accurate one, in political terms? The answer is…

To some degree, yes—although the conclusions that Torgersen draws are false, for reasons I will discuss in a moment. But the degree to which his accusation has some substance has to do with professional editors. Authors span the spectrum politically, as do publishers. But professional fiction editors—probably anywhere in publishing unless there is a conscious counter-selection process—will tend to be shifted to the left in their political views compared to the American population as a whole.

Why is this true? Basically, for two reasons. First, being a professional editor is not a particularly remunerative occupation. That’s a fancy way of saying the work pays like crap, at least adjusted against the training and skill level required. In turn, that means that most people who choose to become professional editors do so for reasons that go beyond purely economic motives. Simplifying a good deal, most editors enter the profession because they really care about writing and story-telling.

Which means, in turn, that they are usually people who majored in literature or some other branch of the humanities in college—and, at least in the United States, those branches of learning are generally left-leaning in terms of politics.

To be sure, some of those people shift their views after leaving college. A fine example is Baen Books’ own publisher, Toni Weisskopf. She graduated from Oberlin College, as splendid and certainly long-lasting an incubator of progressivism as you can find in American higher education. Sadly—from my point of view, not hers—she jettisoned that outlook after she entered the world of professional publishing.

But Toni Weisskopf is more the exception than the rule. So far, therefore, Torgersen is correct. Where he goes wrong is in his assumption—obvious if not made explicit in these comments—that this is somehow a recent development.

But it isn’t. The situation with editors that Torgersen depicts is true today, yes. It was also true ten years ago, twenty years ago, thirty years ago, forty years ago—about as far back as you can go in publishing, at least for a century. So this factor obviously can’t serve as an explanation for what is one of the central grievances of Torgersen and the rest of the Sad Puppies, which is that F&SF has gone astray from some supposed “golden age” when the majority of editors weren’t liberals.

That golden age never existed. Consider this depiction by Samuel R. Delaney, whose long and illustrious career began in the early 1960s:

“Understand that, since the late ’30s, that community [F&SF], that world had been largely Jewish, highly liberal, and with notable exceptions leaned well to the left. Even its right-wing mavens, Robert Heinlein or Poul Anderson (or, indeed, Campbell), would have far preferred to go to a leftist party and have a friendly argument with some smart socialists than actually to hang out with the right-wing and libertarian organizations which they may well have supported in principal and, in Heinlein’s case, with donations.”

Is the field of fantasy and science fiction riddled with and divided by politics? Yup, sure is—and always has been, and always will be. But the notion advanced by Torgersen and the Sad Puppies that “progressives”—which, by the way, is another slippery term—have some sort of hammerlock on science fiction’s major awards is…

I’m trying to think of a more polite term than “ludicrous,” but I honestly can’t. And the main reason it’s ludicrous is that the villains Torgersen points to—to remind you, it’s all the pros: “editors, authors, artists, and publishers”—don’t decide who gets the Hugo awards in the first place.

That decision is made by the fans, not the professionals. So the charge advanced by Torgersen only makes sense if the real source of the leftist rot is the very people he’s trying to persuade to stop being a lot of rotten leftists.

As I said—ludicrous. Torgersen is literally demanding that the people who decide who gets the Hugo awards must have a brain transplant. And if they refuse—a prediction, here: they will—then they’re a pack of—of—

Well, fish. In his own words:

“Trying to explain to a progressive the existence of progressive prejudice (against conservatives, especially in a media entertainment arena) is like trying to explain to a trout that water is wet. The trout simply gapes at you goggle-eyed and exclaims, ‘But sir, that is the very nature of the universe!’”

(This is a niftily written couple of sentences, by the way. Whatever I think of his reasoning on this issue, Brad Torgersen is a damn good writer.)

My question now is:

If Torgersen and the Sad Puppies genuinely think that—and I quote—“taken as a whole picture, the field of SF/F is a thoroughly progressive playhouse,” then why do they want a Hugo Award in the first place? According to the logic of Torgersen’s own argument, the Hugo Award should rightfully be renamed the Political Correctness Award. (Popularly known as the Huggy due to its obsession with non-judgmental inclusiveness of anything except nasty rightists who don’t like to hug anyone anyway so screw them.)

I am not joking. If the people who bestow the Prometheus Award ever lose their minds and decide to give it to me—not likely, to say the least—then I would refuse to accept it. Politely, of course, since it’s bad manners to be rude to people who are trying to be nice to you. But I’d still refuse to accept. While I like a number of libertarians personally, I am not a libertarian myself nor do I agree with or approve of libertarianism as a political philosophy.

So why would Brad Torgersen or Larry Correia want to accept a Hugo in the first place, given that they think the award has become essentially a political one—and one with whose politics they vehemently disagree?

Consider this statement by Torgersen:

“The puppy-kickers have absolutely stated — over and over again — that the Hugo award should go to only the works and the people whom the puppy-kickers deem worthy — for all definitions of “worthy” which include, “Must almost always be left-leaning in ideology, and satisfy our stuffy criteria where taste is concerned.” Moreover, the puppy-kickers have stated that the “wrong” voters should be kept out of the process, and that the “wrong” fans are not welcome to participate.”

I will leave aside for the moment—just for the moment; we’ll come back to it—Torgersen’s perennial habit of substituting the pronoun “they” for any and all actual identities. I will leave aside for the moment the fact that the statement makes wildly general accusations that I defy Torgersen to substantiate with actual citations. As ever—George R.R. Martin has criticized them for it also—the Sad Puppies’ favorite rhetorical tactic is paraphrasing. Let a couple of birds somewhere chirp a few discordant notes and a spokesman for the Sad Puppies will report the incident as flocks of carrion-eaters are descending on poor puppies struggling in the desert, cawing their glee at the imminent rending of flesh.

But leave all that aside. Even taken at face value, the statement bears no relation to reality whatsoever.

Let me approach this from different angles. From one angle, is it true that “the [as always completely nameless] puppy-kickers” who presumably control the Hugo awards [by what method? who knows, but they must] see to it that the awards must only go to works which “Must almost always be left-leaning in ideology, and satisfy our stuffy criteria where taste is concerned.”

Really? Then how to explain the fact that the author who has received more Hugo nominations than any other in the history of the award is one Mike Resnick? (He’s also one of the top winners of the award.) Nor is this ancient history since the most recent nomination Resnick got for a short story was in 2012.

Were the puppy-kickers asleep at the switch?

And while I’m thinking about it… Dammit, where the hell were they when Virtuous Lefties like me and Mercedes Lackey and Steven Brust got passed over, year after year after year?

Let’s look at it from the opposite angle. Implicit in Torgersen’s statement is the notion that “progressive” or “leftwing” fiction is tied to “stuffy criteria.” I.e., that lefties lean toward so-called literary fiction whereas stout and stalwart right-wingers prefer fiction that is red-blooded and full of action and excitement.

The problem with this narrative is that someone forget to tell the New Yorker magazine, which is pretty much the epitome in America of liberalism and a preference for stuffy lit’rachure. Just recently, the New Yorker—which almost never deigns to notice F&SF—ran a laudatory article on a science fiction author. The byline, in fact, was “Sci-Fi’s Difficult Genius.”

http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/sci-fis-difficult-genius

Sadly for the Sad Puppy thesis, the author is Gene Wolfe—who is politically quite conservative, a devout Catholic, and a man whose fiction is usually in one way or another illuminated by his religious outlook. And who is also, without a doubt, one of the half dozen finest literary authors in the history of fantasy and science fiction.

And someone forget to tell me—and Mercedes Lackey, and Steven Brust, and plenty of other leftwing SF authors—since none of us write very much in the way of what’s generally considered “literary fiction.” In my case, only two novels out of almost fifty could really qualify as “literary fiction” and then only if you’re willing to allow that a comic surrealist treatment of Karl Marx’s Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 infused with affectionate riffs on the works of Joseph Conrad and Herman Melville are anything but lunacy masquerading as fiction. But one of the books—that would be Forward the Mage—has a grammatically valid (albeit insane) sentence that’s 430 words long and the other novel—that would be The Philosophical Strangler—has a serial murderer for a hero. I mean, how literary can you get?

Still, that leaves forty-six or so novels of mine not one of which can be considered anything but stout story-telling of Ye Olde School.

And finally, there’s this: If the Sad Puppies are so opposed to “literary fiction” as opposed to “the good old stuff,” then why in the world did they nominate John C. Wright for a Hugo Award? And, in a previous year, so-called “Vox Day”?

Leave aside the political and social statements and attitudes of Wright and Vox Day. Consider them, for a moment, simply as fiction authors. What they are, in a nutshell, are…

Literary authors. Contemplate, for a moment, the story by Wright that is nominated for best short story in this year’s Hugos. The story is titled “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds” and—

It’s every bit as dreary as it sounds, from a sturm und drang let’s have a nifty action tale! point of view.

Nothing happens in this story. Literally, nothing. A bunch of animals sit around having a religious/philosophical/political debate.

In short, a lot of talk. Jabber-jabber-jabber, coated with a really heavy slathering of allegory.

Action? We’ll, let’s see…

Okay, at one point the Horse rears on his hind legs and shakes his great black mane. Ooooo

At another point, Lion unsheathes his claws and roars. Ooooo

At yet another point, the Lion raises his paw! Oooooooooooooooooo

Then… well, the Cat washes herself and the Hound snarls and barks… the Cat yawns and stretches… later she waves her tail and the Fox barks…

Yeah, I know I’m reaching—but this is all there is. I’m not making it up. Compared to this stuff, a Henry James story is downright riveting.

Then, contemplate the use of language in the story. Here’s a sample:

“Above the boulevards and paved squares where merchants once bought and sold ivory and incense and purple and gold, or costly fabrics of silks from the east, or ambergris from the seas beyond the Fortunate Isles, and auction houses adorned and painted stood where singing birds and dancing girls were sold to the highest bidder or given to the haughtiest peer.”

This is an example of what I think of as the Saudi School of Prose. No noun may go out in public unless she is veiled by grandiloquence and accompanied by an adjective.

You can have a high opinion or a low opinion of this story—for the record, mine is pretty low—but the one opinion you simply can’t have is that this is anything but literary fiction.

A side note: Yes, I know this isn’t the story nominated by the Sad Puppies. The problem is that the story they did nominate is a damn novella and I had a hard enough time plowing through a short story by Wright. I did look at the novella, as well as the novelette by Vox Day nominated in a previous year, and they appear to be along the same lines. A lot of talk—I mean, a lot of talk—and what little action there is usually takes place offstage and is related rather than depicted.

I.e., not at all the sort of stories the Sad Puppies claim to be championing.

So I now have to pose the question to Torgersen and the Sad Puppies—if you were bound and determined to nominate a literary fiction author for a Hugo Award, even while insisting you were doing the opposite, then why did you pick a flyweight like John C. Wright when you could have nominated something by Gene Wolfe? Who is a genuine giant in our field—and who has never won a Hugo award.

Granted, you couldn’t have done it this year because Gene Wolfe didn’t write anything that would have qualified. But you could have done it the previous year, because he published several qualifying stories including a novel—and any of the years before that in which you’ve advanced a slate.

But you chose instead to champion Vox Day and John C. Wright, neither of whom could reach up high enough to shine Gene Wolfe’s shoes. And, to make things still worse, have spouted such opinions as that:

Throwing acid in women’s faces is a small price to pay for stable marriages. (Vox Day)

[Here’s the actual quote: “a few acid-burned faces is a small price to pay for lasting marriages, stable families, legitimate children, low levels of debt, strong currencies, affordable housing, homogenous populations, low levels of crime, and demographic stability.” http://voxday.blogspot.ca/2012/06/scientist-beats-up-pz.html]

The instinctive reaction of men to homosexuals is to beat them to death. (John C. Wright).

[Here’s the actual quote: “In any case, I have never heard of a group of women descended on a lesbian couple and beating them to death with axhandles and tire-irons, but that is the instinctive reaction of men towards fags.” http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2015/04/john-c-wright-tries-to-cover-up-that-hes-a-wannabe-gay-basher.html]

I have the privilege of knowing Gene Wolfe and counting him a friend. I don’t know Gene’s opinions on same-sex marriage, because we’ve never discussed the issue. But I’m pretty sure he’s opposed to it for the same reasons many conservatives and Catholics are opposed. What I am absolutely certain of is that no one ever has or ever will hear Gene Wolfe express the sort of attitudes about other human beings that spill from the mouths of Theodore Beale and John C. Wright like sewage out of a drain pipe.

So if your purpose—as Larry Correia has stated publicly—was to demonstrate the liberal perfidy of Hugo voters and their blind prejudice toward conservatives, why did you nominate Vox Day and John C. Wright instead of Gene Wolfe? Or, for that matter, Mike Resnick—who had seven qualifying stories in 2013 and four in 2014?

The answer is obvious. Gene Wolfe might not have won the award—he’s been nominated twice but never won—and Mike Resnick might not have won again. But there would have been no opposition to either nomination on political grounds. We don’t have to guess about this. While Gene has never won a Hugo award he’s been showered by Nebula nominations—twenty in all—and he’s won the Nebula twice. Resnick has been nominated for a Nebula eleven times and won once.

Keep in mind that the Nebula awards are handed out by SFWA, an organization of professional authors—that is to say, by the very source and font of all Liberal Wickedness, according to Brad Torgersen. And yet SFWA has never hesitated to applaud two of science fiction’s prominent authors despite their political conservatism and, in the case of Wolfe, his Catholicism. (Resnick is an atheist.)

Torgersen and Larry Correia are being disingenuous. In order to get the sort of political opposition they wanted to “prove” their contention that the awards are politically biased, they had to go out of their way to nominate two authors whose political views are so toxic they were bound to trigger off a furious reaction. By analogy, this is like someone who insists on including paintings by Adolf Hitler in an art exhibit in order to “prove” that his critics are politically biased when they object—biased against the exhibitor’s politics, mind you, not Hitler’s.

I can speak for myself. I am not biased against authors whose political views I disagree with. Hell, I co-author novels and stories with the same writers I’ll turn around the next day and argue politics with. To name two, David Weber and Mike Resnick. To name a third, Dave Freer, who has been supporting the Sad Puppies in the current ruckus. And while I’ve never co-authored anything with Gene Wolfe and don’t expect I ever will, I hope to see him again at Windycon later this year and have dinner with him, as we do whenever we meet each other.

Outside of science fiction, some of my favorite authors are Fyodor Dostoyevsky and William Faulkner, neither of whom—especially Dostoyevsky—had political views I agree with. This is hardly an unusual stance for socialists, by the way. Karl Marx’s favorite author was Honoré de Balzac, who was a conservative royalist.

But neither Dostoyevsky nor Balzac advocated—as Theodore Beale (“Vox Day”) does—that my daughter should be shot in the head because she’s a schoolteacher and my wife should have acid thrown in her face. (Yes, I know Beale insists he doesn’t “advocate” such things. He simply calls them “rational” when the Taliban or someone else does it. All that demonstrates is that he’s a liar on top of everything else.) Nor did they ever advocate the extermination of people whose politics or religion offended them by equating them with insects, as John C. Wright has done. (Here’s the quote from him: “I have no hatred in my heart for any man’s politics, policies, or faith, any more than I have hatred for termites; but once they start undermining my house where I live, it is time to exterminate them.”)

If Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia can’t understand the difference, that’s their problem, not mine.

If they wanted to challenge what they perceive as the liberal orthodoxy that has a stranglehold over science fiction’s major awards, they could have nominated works by such conservative authors as Gene Wolfe or Mike Resnick. Instead, they deliberately chose vicious, sadistic flyweights like Theodore Beale and John C. Wright. Both of whom are literary authors, to boot, not the sort of appeal-to-the-mass-audience writers the Sad Puppies claim to be championing.

 

All right, enough on that. Moving on to the longest portion of Torgersen’s post, we encounter many paragraphs of denunciation:

“The opponents of Sad Puppies 3 — some of whom I would be tempted to call puppy-kickers — have threatened, demanded, and badgered a great deal. This wasn’t a life-or-death bloodsport until the progressive guardians of the field decided that Sad Puppies 3 was justification for open war. They happily became (and in most instances, remain) puppy-kickers. And they are proud of themselves for it, too.

“I guess inviting more people to the table is the most horrible thing in the SF/F world?

“Because that’s what happened: Sad Puppies 3 invited more people to the table, not less. We wanted to make the tent bigger.

“The puppy-kickers have busied themselves trying to find ways to evict people from the tent. For ideological infractions. For taste infractions. For insufficient “fan cred” as defined by the denizens of Worldcon — some of whom are obsessed with keeping Fandom a capital-f affair, for capital-f people only.

“Sad Puppies 3 wanted to push back against blind spots, and get recognition for new and established authors alike.

“The puppy-kickers used that as an excuse to scream “NO AWARD!”, while at the same time threatening careers, using lies and character assassination against myself and Larry Correia in particular, and to also try to cajole deserving people to withdraw from the ballot.

“Remind me, again, who “loves” Science Fiction & Fantasy? Who pissed in the cornflakes, to borrow one user’s analogy?”

 

Once again, we see what has become the Sad Puppies’ standard operating procedure—long-winded denunciation of usually-nameless villains who have supposedly done them wrong.

Before I go any further, I need to make something clear. That there have been wrongs done to the Sad Puppies is unquestionable. Leaving aside the criticism I just made recently of Irene Gallo’s comments, a number of the characterizations made of the Sad Puppies in posts scattered all over the internet have ranged from stupid and ignorant to downright sleazy and scurrilous. To make things worse, some of these ignorant/stupid/sleazy/scurrilous statements have to some degree bled into the mass media.

But fair’s fair—or, I should say, unfair is unfair, since plenty of the Sad Puppies’ ignorant/stupid/sleazy/scurrilous statements—and if you don’t think they haven’t made plenty of them, stick around—have bled into the right-wing mass media as well. Consider, for instance, this gem of journalistic distortion on Breitbart: http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/02/05/the-hugo-wars-how-sci-fis-most-prestigious-awards-became-a-political-battleground/)

I’m going to dissect the article in Breitbart at some length, for two reasons. The first is because I don’t want to be accused of doing what I accuse the Sad Puppies of doing, which is to cite people who are obscure and have no influence (on the rare occasions when they cite anyone at all). Breitbart is a major outlet in right-wing media and has enough influence to have gotten USDA official Shirley Sherrod fired by lying about her, to have played a major role in destroying the community organization ACORN by lying about them, and to have temporarily impeded the confirmation of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel by lying about him.

(If you want the details concerning Breitbart’s inveterate dishonesty, they’re not hard to find. Use the magic word: Google.)

In short, Breitbart is a WAY, WAY more influential force than someone like Irene Gallo.

The second reason I want to concentrate on the Breitbart article is because of its one and only virtue: unlike the normal practice of the Sad Puppies, Breitbart actually name names. Hallelujah.

After an opening two paragraphs in which Breitbart trots out the standard right-wing whine that the nation is being over-run by social justice warriors, they move on to discuss how this blight has now affected science fiction. They begin as follows:

“The story begins, as ever, with a small group of social justice-minded community elites who sought to establish themselves as the arbiters of social mores. This group would decide who deserved a presence in SFF and who deserved to be ostracised.

“Their victims are littered across the SFF community. In 2013, the Bulletin of the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) were targeted by a shirtstorm-like cyber-mob of digital puritans after one of their cover editions was deemed to be “too sexual.” The controversy did not die down until two of its most respected writers, Mike Resnick and Barry Malzburg, were dismissed from the publication. This occurred despite a vigorous counter-campaign by liberal members of the sci-fi community, including twelve Nebula award winners and three former presidents of the SFWA.

“Unfortunately, the current crop of elite figures in the SFF community have become either apologists or out-and-out cheerleaders for intolerance and censorship. Redshirts author John Scalzi, a close friend of anti-anonymity crusader Wil Wheaton – was head of the SFWA at the time of the controversy and quickly caved in to activist pressure. This was unsurprising, given that he shared many of their identitarian views.”

[Nota bene: all the spelling errors are theirs, not mine. EF]

First, notice the standard method also used by the Sad Puppies—to make sweeping generalizations based on… a tiny number of cases.

The sweeping generalization is this: “Their victims are littered across the SFF community.”

Jeepers! Images of the slain and mutilated careers of dozens of conservative authors spring to mind. Unfortunately for the premise, however, there is only one specific case cited, involving only two authors. And the damage actually done to anyone doesn’t begin to match Breitbart’s hyperbole. But this should come as no surprise since it’s the method Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia and the Sad Puppies have been using all along. Wild charges, sweeping generalizations, based on…

Not much of anything, if anything at all.

What happened in the not-so-notorious case of Resnick and Malzberg [please note my correct spelling of Barry’s name: EF] vs. SFWA’s Bulletin? In a nutshell, two authors made some comments in the course of a discussion printed in the Bulletin to which a number of other members of SFWA objected. Resnick and Malzberg then took exception to the objections, a wrangle erupted, at the end of which the people in charge of SFWA and its Bulletin decide the best course of action for the organization’s self-interest was to fire Resnick and Malzberg. (More precisely, since neither of them was an employee of SFWA, they discontinued the column that Resnick and Malzberg had maintained for some time.)

In short, following the standard practices of organizations and companies in a capitalist society, enshrined by law, they severed business relations with people whom they’d found to be an impediment to their well-being. When applied to employees, it’s called “at-will employment” and it’s something that every right-winger in America vehemently supports—until they get caught in the grinder. Then, all of a sudden, they discover “principles” that don’t exist.

Not being employees but what amounted to free-lance contractors, Resnick and Malzberg had no legal basis to object at all. Any more than Phil Robertson had a legal basis to object when A&E suspended him from Duck Dynasty because of his controversial public remarks on race and sexual orientation.

The American right wing blew their stack over that issue also. Apparently they believe there’s a constitutional right to have your own reality TV show. And now, it seems, a constitutional right to maintain a column in a magazine owned by someone else.

Uh, no, there isn’t. Why does a Bolshevik like me have to keep explaining the ABCs of capitalism to people who claim to love and adore that economic system?

But let’s leave aside the legalities. Did Resnick and Malzberg suffer any significant damage to their careers as a result of what Breitbart calls “a shirtstorm-like cyber-mob of digital puritans”?

(If you’re wondering what a “shirtstorm” is, so am I. Probably a clumsy attempt to meld “storm troopers” and “shit storm.” Happily for them, Breitbart’s writers don’t have to make a living based on their prose, just their bullshit.)

I haven’t had any contact with Barry Malzberg for a while, so I can’t say in his case. I do have regular contact with Mike Resnick, since we’re co-authoring a novel at the moment. And while Mike was certainly pissed off by the whole thing—everybody has a constitutional right to get pissed off, you betcha—he never said anything to me indicating he thought he’d suffered any significant damage to his career. The truth is, he’s one hell of a lot tougher than Breitbart gives him credit for. So is Barry.

Part of what I find so annoying about the Sad Puppies and those who support them or publicize them is what I will politely call their “inflation” of actual harm done and damages suffered. As I spelled out in an earlier essay, my own definition of “political persecution” has a hell of a lot higher bar than theirs does. I think in terms of people trying to run me over with pickup trucks and beating me with baseball bats, not being rude to me on a panel discussion at a science fiction convention or discontinuing a column that doesn’t pay all that well anyway.

Note something else as well. I will give Breitbart credit for one thing: They did at least mention that the discontinuation of Resnick and Malzberg’s column generated “a vigorous counter-campaign by liberal members of the sci-fi community, including twelve Nebula award winners and three former presidents of the SFWA.”

The problem here is that Breitbart, like the Sad Puppies they are championing, is trying to have its cake and eat it too. On the one hand, they point to the defeat of the “vigorous counter-campaign” as further proof of the tyrannical power in the science fiction community of “a small group of social justice-minded community elites.”

But by what means did these small groups come to wield such power in the SFF community? Well—according to Torgersen—because they are not small groups at all but “make up the vast bulk of editors, authors, artists, and publishers” who have, aided and abetted by like-minded fans, turned the field of science fiction and fantasy into “a thoroughly progressive playhouse.”

But if that’s the case, where did this “vigorous counter-campaign” of liberals—which included twelve Nebula award winners and three former SFWA presidents—come from?

To call this argument a muddle is to insult muddles. It’s a mishmash of contradictory statements none of which make much sense on its own terms and which become downright hallucinatory when they are combined.

All right. I’ll skip over the paragraph that denounces Scalzi for being a lapdog to identitarians—whatever the hell that silly word means—and a friend of Wil Wheaton’s, gasp!—except to take note of the term itself. What is it about right-wingers, anyway? They keep accusing everyone else of being victim-mongerers obsessed with identity politics but they’re the ones who prattle endlessly about their supposed persecution [“victims are littered across the SFF community”] and nobody generates identity-labels like they do. Start with the term “identitarians” itself—did I mention the clumsy prose?—and move on to “social justice warriors,” “SJWs,” “CHORFs”, oh, it goes on and on.

Those lousy social justice warrior identitarian cliquist holier-than-thou obnoxious reactionary liberal fanatics keep trying to reduce people to categories…

Ah…yeah. Right.

But let’s move on to the next paragraph, which seems to have some meat on it. At first glance, anyway.

“But Scalzi is, if anything, merely the moderate ally of a far more radical group of community elites. He hasn’t gone nearly as far as former SFWA Vice President Mary Kowal, who handles political disagreement by telling her opponents to “shut the fuck up” and quit the SFWA. Or former Hugo nominee Nora Jemisin, who says that political tolerance “disturbs” her. Or, indeed, the prolific fantasy author Jim C. Hines, who believes that people who satirize religion and political ideologies (a very particular religion, and a very particular ideology, of course) should be thrown out of mainstream SFF magazines.”

Notice, first, the usual absence of details. Oh, those pesky, pestiferous details—such as “where, when, why and to whom?”

First, we are told that former SFWA vice-president Kowal handles political disagreement by telling her opponents to “shut the fuck up” and leave SFWA. As it happens, I ran across Kowal at the recent Nebula Awards and asked her for her side of the charge. Mary told me that she did indeed tell some people to “shut the fuck up” but it had nothing to do with “political opposition” unless you define the term so broadly as to be meaningless. What happened, according to her, was that a small number of SFWA members were behaving abusively toward her when she was secretary of the organization and she finally got fed up and told them to shut the fuck up.

Which version of the story is correct? I can’t vouch for it either way, personally. What I do know is that Breitbart’s track record for honesty stinks to high heaven, so I figure that Kowal’s version is the accurate one. But for the sake of argument let’s give Breitbart the benefit of the doubt and assume that she is, indeed, a veritable Harpy of the Left.

Moving on to the charge Breitbart makes against Jemisin, we find the same pattern. Breitbart gives no indication as to when, where, to whom and in what context Jemisin supposedly made her statement that political tolerance “disturbs” her—that is to say, those pesky pestiferous details that always seem to elude the Sad Puppies and their allies in the media.

I’d particularly like to know those details in this case, because the characterization of Jemisin’s supposed remark positively reeks of “taken wildly out of context”—which is Breitbart’s well-known stock in trade.

Where did Jemisin say it? When did she say it? To whom did she say it? In what context did she say it?

You will search in vain for the answers.

Things pick up with the third example, however, for Breitbart does provide a link to the statement by Jim Hines which they summarize as his belief “that people who satirize religion and political ideologies (a very particular religion, and a very particular ideology, of course) should be thrown out of mainstream SFF magazines.”

That is a preposterous interpretation of what Hines actually said. You don’t have to take my word for it, read it yourself:

http://www.jimchines.com/2013/04/bigots-bullies-and-enablers/

But let’s leave aside the fact that Breitbart either grossly distorts what people actually say or makes obviously paraphrased or taken-out-of-context accusations without providing any citations. Let us assume for a moment that every single charge they level in this paragraph is completely accurate in every jot and tittle.

SO FUCKING WHAT?

This is just absurd. We are told that a former vice-president of SWFA told people to shut the fuck up or leave SFWA when, even in the days when she was the organization’s vice-president she had no power to enforce either demand. (And wouldn’t even if she’d been the president instead of the vice-president.)

So what difference does it make what she said?

We are told that N.K. Jemisin is “disturbed” by political tolerance. If so, why should anyone care? What power does she have to enforce her distaste for political tolerance?

Answer: zero.

As for Jim Hines’ supposed demand that offenders of his dictates be thrown out of mainstream SFF magazines, he is neither the publisher nor the editor of any mainstream SFF magazine. So who cares what he does or does not “demand”? How is he in any position to enforce his so-called demand?

In the next paragraph in the article, Breitbart makes an attempt to explain the undue influence of “a small group of social justice-minded community elites.” Here it is:

“Most of these people are small fry compared to the true big beasts of the SFF world, like Neil Gaiman, George R.R. Martin, or J.K. Rowling. But through a mix of obsessive politicking in institutions like the SFWA and the familiar whipping up of social-justice outrage mobs online, they have been able to exert disproportionate influence.”

Oh, boy. Like I said, calling this a muddle is to insult muddles.

Let’s start with this strand in the tangle: “But through a mix of obsessive politicking in institutions like the SFWA…”

First, note the ever-present inflation and sweeping generalization: “…in institutions like the SFWA.”

What other institutions “like the SFWA” are you talking about? There is only one writers’ organization in the field of fantasy and science fiction, which is SFWA itself. You can stretch that to two if you include the Horror Writers Association.

Between them, they have less than three thousand members. The “power” they exert over the careers of writers barely reaches the level of “minimal.” Plenty of successful authors do not belong to either organization without suffering any harm to their careers whatsoever. So how and in what way does “obsessive politicking” in SFWA matter to anybody except the people in SFWA engaging in it? It doesn’t matter who wins, because regardless of who it is they can’t exert any significant influence over writers as a whole.

And they can’t exert any at all over the fans—who are the ones who vote on the Hugo awards.

Ah, but it seems the (laughable) power of the “institutions like the SFWA” exerts itself through “the familiar whipping up of social-justice outrage mobs online.”

Which is just as laughable. I say this as someone who has been the victim of a real mob. Trust me, the difference between a flesh-and-blood mob and a virtual one is enormous. It’s the difference between a club and an electron.

I sneer at the electron. Besides which, it only takes a few dozen people to form a real mob, but it takes a hell of a lot more to form an online mob.

Not to mention that nothing stops right-wingers from forming their own online mobs—which they do, quite readily.

Oh, wait—I forget the double standard. When progressives gather on a web site to shriek their social-justice outrage, they are a “mob.” When right-wingers gather on a web site to denounce social-justice outrage, they are having a “discussion.”

Ah…yeah. Right.

Finally, we come to Breitbart’s concluding paragraph:

“Today, no one is safe. Right-wingers like Theodore Beale face ostracization over accusations of racism (Beale is himself Native American), while even progressives or independent authors like Bryan Thomas Schmidt are denounced as “cultural appropriators”; in Schmidt’s case, because he prepared an anthology of nonwestern sci-fi stories. Peak absurdity was achieved in 2014 when Jonathan Ross was forced to cancel his appearance at the Hugo Awards after the SJWs of SFF whipped themselves into a panic-fuelled rage over fears that Ross might – might! – make a fat joke. Even the New Statesman, which sometimes reads like an extension of Tumblr, came out and condemned the “self-appointed gatekeepers” of SFF.”

We begin with a portentous statement of doom: Today, no one is safe.

Wow! But, ah…. safe from what, exactly?

A bullet in the back of the head in the virtual cellars of a virtual Lubyanka?

Ah, no. If you go back to the title of the article (“The Hugo Wars: How Sci-fi’s Most Prestigious Awards Became a Political Battleground”) you will be startled to recall that we’re actually talking about the Hugo award.

So, we need to translate Breitbartese into English:

Today, no one is safe from not getting a Hugo award.

Not… quite as dramatic, is it? Especially when you consider that since the first Hugo awards were given out in 1953 the overwhelming majority of science fiction and fantasy writers have never been safe from not getting a Hugo award. We have always been at great and terrible risk of not getting an award.

Yet, somehow, we survived the ordeal. There is not one recorded instance of an author keeling over because they didn’t get a Hugo. (Getting drunk, yes; dropping dead, no.)

Breitbart then—gee, what a surprise—glosses over the nature of Theodore Beale. He is “accused” of racism, it seems. This is like saying that Heinrich Himmler is “accused” of anti-Semitism. Uh, no. Heinrich Himmler was an anti-Semite and Theodore Beale is a racist.

Breitbart also provides us with the information that Beale is a Native American, in a transparent attempt to further gloss over Beale’s racism. Assuming it’s true—which I don’t, since it’s based on a statement by Beale himself, who lies about lots of things—so what? One of the most vicious racists in American history was Stand Watie, the slave-owning Cherokee who served as a general in the Confederate army and who ordered his troops to murder any black soldiers they captured.

This all culminates with the supposedly great crime at the 2014 Worldcon, where Jonathan Ross was “forced” to cancel his appearance by the SJWs.

Oh, those blood-drenched acronyms! Just like Tamerlane, they leave pyramids of skulls behind them.

Well. Sorta. In a really really virtual sorta way, if you know what I mean.

In point of fact, Ross was not “forced” to cancel his appearance. He chose to do so after seeing the ruckus on Twitter by some people planning to attend the London Worldcon. The behavior of those people was publicly criticized by Neil Gaiman and plenty of others in the F&SF community.

 

Breitbart is unusual, however, in providing any names at all. The much more common practice of the Sad Puppies is the method used by Brad Torgersen in the long diatribe I quoted earlier. Except for James May, you will hardly ever see the Sad Puppies name names and provide examples of their charges and claims. The accusations are almost always vague when it comes to specific identities. The villains all wear black hats with such broad brims that you can never discern any actual features. They are faceless, nameless, unknown.

(I should mention one other possible exception, who is Dave Freer. I say “possible” because it’s not clear to me if Dave really supports the Sad Puppies or if he’s just irritated by their opponents. Dave Freer is to “contrarian” what water is to “wet.” Whatever the case might be, he does not hesitate to name names. But Freer is not at the center of this debate so I’ll ignore him hereafter unless that changes. Full disclosure: Dave Freer is a good friend of mine and someone with whom I’ve co-authored almost a dozen novels, with at least two more coming.)

The reason the Sad Puppies avoid naming names is because of the problem they immediately run into when, as James May does, they do start identifying individual villains. In a nutshell, as villains go, these black hats are…

Well. Pretty pathetic.

I mean, give me a break. James May winds up having to dig around so deeply in the bottom of a (mostly empty) barrel that as one example of the presumed puppy-kickers he cites an individual simply because he submitted a term paper for an undergraduate English Literature course at a university in Sweden whose title sounded suspiciously…

You know. Suspicious.

The title was “Androgyny and the Uncanny in Ursula Le Guin’s Left Hand of Darkness and Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice.

Ooooooo…! You can practically hear the poor puppy’s ribcage being crushed under the literary jackboot…

I read the first part of the paper, by the way. It has absolutely nothing to do with the Hugo controversy. It’s simply the sort of hyper-intellectualized analysis of two novels that any undergraduate will write to get a good grade in a literature course. (There’s a reason I majored in history instead of English Lit.)

But this is the method Torgersen uses himself—and has from the beginning. He points to—refers to, rather; it’s always a wave of the hand rather than a pointing finger—incidents at least some which are genuinely outrageous in terms of unfair and sometimes scurrilous charges being leveled against him or other Sad Puppies. And then, by leaving the details and specifics unclear, tries to inflate the incidents into the literary equivalent of the Albigensian Crusade.

So, any insignificant nitwit spouting insults on a panel at an SF convention becomes the equivalent of being blackballed by publishers. Any lout spewing venom in a discussion anywhere on the internet becomes a Secret Master of Hugodom, even though nobody’s ever heard of him except his (few) friends and family. Any troll with a blog that has a very modest number of readers is transmuted into the She-Devil of Political Correctness.

As time goes by, talking to each other in their echo chamber, Torgersen and his supporters have persuaded themselves that this (not so very large) pack of trolls, jerks and assholes are science fiction’s equivalent of the iron fist of the KGB dragging poor helpless little puppies into the bowels of Lubyanka Prison, there to be silenced by bullets in the back of their heads.

What makes this even more ridiculous—not to mention annoying—is that while the Sad Puppies have indeed been the victims of excessive belligerence and vituperation, they are just as guilty themselves.

Consider this gem of hyperbole, spouted by Brad Torgersen:

“Nielsen-Haydens, your fellow travelers, and media goombahs . . . I MOCK YOU! I MOCK YOUR ASININE INCESTUOUS CLUSTERFUCKED LITTLE CULTURE OF DOCTRINAIRE PROGRESSOSEXUAL MEDIOCRITY MASKED AS SUPERIORITY! You are all dolts. You are moral and physical cowards. You are without ethics, without scruples, and if you weren’t so patently pathetic, I’d say you might be dangerous.

Fuck you. Fuck you all. The forces of the progressive pink and poofy Xerxes were met at the Hugo Hot Gates, and repelled by a few brave dudes and dudettes with the stones to stand up to your bullshit.”

[http://madgeniusclub.com/2015/04/13/nostradumbass-and-madame-bugblatterfatski/]

Anybody who posts something like this online has no business complaining about the rhetoric of other people.

What this debate has basically come down to is the Sad Puppies defending their frequently irresponsible and sometimes outrageous conduct by insisting “they did it first!” And, often enough, their opponents yell back the same thing.

He cheated first! No, she did! He was mean to me! She was meaner! He lied! Maybe I did but she lied first and worst!

Who is right and who is wrong? Who did or did not instigate the brawl?

I DON’T CARE. This crap belongs in a playpen.

Leaving that aside, can we pause for a reality check? Being insulted and denigrated only constitutes “persecution” if the people doing the insulting and denigrating are in position to enforce their opinions. That general truth is only amplified when the insults and denigrations are mostly virtual. Or is there anyone still alive who doesn’t know that an accurate map of the internet would have THERE BE TROLLS plastered all over?

I could post a statement online that “Apple pie tastes good” and within a week there would be counter-posts accusing me of being a stooge for Marie Callender and Sara Lee, an ignoramus on the subject of gluten and its dangers, an outright apologist for gluten and its malevolent evil, a dolt who doesn’t understand that blueberry pie is way better than apple pie, an advocate of patriarchy trying to smuggle my message under the guise of plaudits for a type of pie when what I really want is to force all women back into the kitchen baking pies, a pewling lackey for women selling out his masculine birthright for a piece of pie instead of hunting wild boar with a spear in a manly manner, a cultural chauvinist trying to impose his culinary preferences on the world’s population, most of whom don’t eat apples in any form, on and on and on…

And…

So fucking what? None of this counts as “persecution” unless the jerks posting the stuff are in position to deny me access to apple pie. Which—to put it mildly—they are not.

So what this all really comes down to is the implication that even though the “puppy-kickers” don’t have much if any real power, the purportedly deafening noise they’re making online is overwhelming the critical senses of people who will be voting on the Hugo awards. Whether that’s true or not can be debated, mind you. Personally, I doubt if most of the people who will be voting on the Hugos are paying that much attention to all this. People who participate in online wrangles invariably over-estimate the extent to which The Rest Of The World is paying the slightest bit of attention to them. But even if it is true, I come back to my sad (couldn’t resist) refrain:

So fucking what? By Torgersen’s own analysis, most of those Hugo-voters already belong to the “thoroughly progressive playhouse” anyway, so they’re naturally inclined to think the worst of Sad Puppiedom even if there were complete silence on the internet.

Finally, let’s get down to the most basic reality check of all. We are not debating the fate of the universe here. Nobody is doing the literary equivalent of storming ashore at Omaha Beach or—whatever Brad Torgersen’s delusions—making a desperate last stand at Thermopylae. The fate of western civilization is not hanging in the balance—or, for that matter, the fate of the most run-down roadhouse in the most desolate stretch of the loneliest highway in the least populated area of North America, whose one (drunken) customer is arguing with the (dimwitted) bartender over whether Star Wars is better than Star Trek.

No, what’s actually at stake here is who gets (or doesn’t get) a Hugo Award.

Thazzit. An award that is voted on by less than one-tenth of one percent of all the people in the United States who regularly read science fiction and fantasy—most of whom, although they are often aware of the Hugo, pay very little if any attention to it.

My point here is not to denigrate the Hugo. It’s simply to recognize it for what it is—and isn’t. The Hugo is the most prestigious award handed out by what is usually called “SF fandom.” Not even that, actually, because most members of SF fandom only attend local and regional conventions, not the Worldcon, and don’t vote on the Hugo awards. So it’s really only a subset of fandom, albeit one that’s very blurry at the edges.

The mistake people often make—Torgersen and the Sad Puppies are certainly making it—is to confuse that specific subset of people who read fantasy and science fiction with the readership as a whole. More precisely, to assume that the tastes and opinions of that (relatively quite small) subset of readers is an accurate sample of the tastes and opinions of the general audience.

But it’s not—any more than the subset of readers who generally prefer military SF, or epic fantasy, or urban fantasy, or paranormal romance, or alternate history, or hard SF, or space opera, or any other of the many branches of our genre (so-called “genre,” rather, but that’s a subject for another day) are necessarily an accurate sampling of the whole audience.

An author can spend his or her entire career—long, successful career—working in branches of fantasy and science fiction that generally get short shrift among that subset of readers who vote on Hugo Awards. Just as a different author can become a darling of the Hugo-voting subset of readers while remaining very obscure to the vast majority of the F&SF audience.

Which of them is “better”? The question isn’t completely meaningless. The problem is that there is only one objective answer to it: Which one of them—if either—is still being read by anyone except graduate students looking for a dissertation topic a century after they died?

Alas, it’s an answer that no one will ever know during their lifetime.

So it goes. This is the reason I don’t lose any sleep over awards. I don’t go to bed at night filled with bitterness because I haven’t won any awards—even been nominated, for that matter—and I don’t wake up in the morning with a new hope springing up in my heart that maybe… maybe…

The truth is, I simply don’t give a damn. If someday I should happen to win an award, great. I enjoy being applauded as much as any normal human being does. But winning or losing awards is not why I became a writer in the first place, it’s not something I think about except on rare occasions—and then, usually as idle curiosity (“I wonder who’s up for a Hugo this year? Anybody I know?”)—it’s not something that defines my self-worth even as a writer, much less as a person, and it’s not something that will determine whether or not people are still reading my work a hundred years after I shuffle off this mortal coil.

Do Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia really disagree with me about this? I doubt if they do, actually. So why do they let themselves get so worked up about it? Why don’t they—along with any and all of the Sad Puppies—simply shrug their shoulders, dismiss the Hugo Award as something only of interest to pea-brained liberal twits, and go on their way.

If they really, really still want an award, nothing stops them from creating their own. Call it the…

Well, whatever strikes their fancy. If it was me, I’d call it the Morlock Award. Yeah, sure, the snotty holier-than-thou effete Eloi think the Morlocks are a bunch of lowbrow troglodytes, but guess who winds up eating who…?

 

Okay, that’s it for now. In a day or two, I’ll make a final post in which I will make some practical suggestions and recommendations for how the Hugo awards might be improved.

 

(for the other posts on the Hugo controversy, visit the Hugo Controversy category.)

This entry was posted in Hugo Controversy, Information. Bookmark the permalink.

379 Responses to A RESPONSE TO BRAD TORGERSEN

  1. brightglance says:

    I’m going to be cheeky and change the subject a little here, by posting a link to something about writing and SF (not about the Hugos) I bet all the Sad Puppies, and our host, would find themselves agreeing with. Except they might never read it, because it’s by Kameron Hurley.
    “I Don’t Care About Your MFA: On Writing vs. Storytelling”
    http://uncannymagazine.com/article/dont-care-mfa-writing-vs-storytelling/

    • Bibliotheca Servare says:

      Trigger warning, much? Honestly, some people are so thoughtless…how hard is it to type “trigger warning” when you’re linking to triggering content? Not hard at all. *sighs*

      • Paragonlost says:

        What? I actually had to Google the term to figure out what you were going on about. I read the link and I didn’t see anything in the link that registers as requiring a “trigger warning” as the term is used.

      • Morgan Smith says:

        I am at a loss to understand what this link could possibly have triggered.

        • Elliot Lannigan says:

          One of the new tactics of Puppies / Gamergaters / etc (cue angry protesting that they are not the same thing at all?) is to pretend to be what they perceive as their enemy, but in a exaggerated and nonsensical way, in order to try to discredit the whole mindset in a devious and very ad hominem way. If this is one of those, the author is intending to mock the idea of trigger warnings by posting a complain that doesn’t make sense. Quite stupendously cruel and thoughtless to anyone who has ever experienced or even read about the effects of PTSD, but God forbid these Gamergaters / Puppies / etc spare a thought for how their actions affect anyone outside of their own ideologically safe bubble.

          If on the other hand this was a legitimate complaint (I don’t want to judge) then I’m sorry for our collective insensitivity. For future reference it might help if Bibliotheca could explain in broad terms what was problematic with the linked content. So that it is less likely to happen again.

          • brightglance says:

            In general I don’t have any occasion to use “trigger warnings” . Certainly if I thought I were linking to something that people might find distressing, I probably would have a content note or indication in my comment. Like Elliott, I would be glad to know what the problem was.

            Otherwise I would be interested to know what people in general thought of Kameron Hurley ‘s essay. I linked to it because I think a lot of people who might hang out here, would expect her views on writing vs. storytelling to be different.

          • birdboy2000 says:

            I’m pro-gamergate and (after a fair bit of vacillating and reading the arguments of both sides) anti-puppy.

            There’s certainly overlap between the two. I’ve certainly seen more pro-puppy than anti-puppy people in Gamergate. But one should fairly note that there is a Sad Puppies-related subreddit linked on KotakuinAction (the main Gamergate hub on Reddit’s) sidebar… and it has 338 readers, under 1% of KiA’s. And that Sad Puppies launched 2 campaigns before Gamergate existed. And that a search of the archive of 4chan’s /v/ first mentions the sad puppies campaign in February 2015.

            Throwing in jabs like this is really uncalled for.

  2. David Lang says:

    Eric, I appreciate your calm posts on this topic, but I think you made a fairly significant error this time in mixing up SP1&2 with SP3

    Larry ran SP1&2 and he made it very clear that his point was to draw people out into showing their outrage when the works of ‘wrong’ authors got nominated. In doing that he suggested one of Vox Day’s works. I don’t believe that that work won a nomination, although the outrage of Larry’s book getting a nomination was educational.

    At the end of SP2, Larry basically said “mission accomplished”. He had shown the outrage, and satisfied his inner accountant that the hugo process was fair and above board in it’s handling of the votes.

    When Brad decided to do SP3, the focus changed. Instead of picking works to recommend because the politics of the Author would trigger outrage from the left, he looked to pick works to recommend based on the fact that the authors had been overlooked, no matter what the politics of the Author. Vox Day was not on this list and has had nothing to do with the SP3 campaign. There was no way for Brad, Larry, or anyone else could prevent Vox Day from creating his separate Rabid Puppies campaign, sponsor artwork for it that was similar to the artwork created for free for the SP campaign, and recommend several of the same people that the SP3 campaign recommended.

    But in your post you (possibly inadvertently) continue the smear tactics of the puppy-kickers to say that the SP3 people are supporting (if not being led by) Vox Day.

    Finally, I’ll point out that the tactics of McCarthy and the House UnAmerican Activities Committee were wrong when they targeted Communists and the left (along with the blacklists “you’ll never work in this town again”), and they aren’t any less wrong when they target people on the right.

    Over the last several years, it really seems as if large portions of the left have moved from “we want equality” to “if you disagree with us you shouldn’t exist”, the hounding of Benden Eich out of the Mozilla CEO job last year over his small donation to a winning ballot proposition many years before is a perfect example.

    As far as the Hugo awards go, look at the works, not the politics of the people who created them. Nominate and Vote.

    • Actually Vox Day’s story did get a Hugo nomination that year.

    • Mike says:

      Come on. If Brad had wanted to disassociate himself with Sad Puppies 1&2, then why in hell did he call his effort “Sad Puppies 3″? He knew that he was going to be associated with Sad Puppies 1 and 2. I can’t see anywhere that he wasn’t actually proud to take over the Sad Puppies leash. It’s a little late in the game to ret-con that Sad Puppies 3 has nothing to do with Sad Puppies 1&2.

      • David Lang says:

        I didn’t say he was trying to disown SP1&2, just that the focus is very different. Blaming Brad because Vox was on the recommendation list earlier is not reasonable.

        And while Brad, Larry, and other SP types are very quick to point out that Vox is not part of SP3, they also don’t agree with ritual shunning and guilt by association, so when there have been cries for them to disavow Vox and declare him an Evil Person ™, they have refused to do so.

        but refusing to attack someone doesn’t mean that they are your leader, or that you agree with anything (let alone everything) that they say

        • Mike says:

          It’s not “guilt by association”. The original Sad Puppies specifically chose to recommend Beale and many works published by him. It’s completely legitimate that people might question their judgment and motivations.

          Obviously Brad can and does make his own decision, but I think if he had really wanted to do something different, with a different motivation, he really shouldn’t have used the name Sad Puppies 3. It’s not at all unreasonable for people to be judging him by Sad Puppies 1&2. In fact, it’s pretty unreasonable to expect them to not assume SP3 is a follow-on of SP1&2.

        • Eric Flint says:

          Sorry, that’s bullshit. Brad is the one who sent me the Irene Gallo quote and more-or-less demanded — not directly, but that’s what it amounted to — that I take a public stand on the issue.

          Which I did. I publicly criticized Gallo’s comments and made absolutely clear that they were unacceptable. But I could have done what Brad and Larry Correia have done all along, which is simply to “distance” themselves from Theodore Beale. I could have — this is a direct paraphrase of Larry Correia’s non-criticism of Beale — said “I am not Irene Gallo.”

          I am fed up with the Sad Puppies and their defenders playing this chickenshit peekaboo game where they insist “we are not Vox Day” but have never once, to the best of my knowledge, leveled the sort of direct and unequivocal criticism that I leveled against Gallo — despite the fact that Gallo’s statement, as reprehensible as it was, doesn’t hold a candle to the vile filth that Beale and John Wright spew forth.

          • Bibliotheca Servare says:

            Mr. Flint: Didn’t you, not so long ago, say that, unless a person who is saying vile things about other people has some power to affect those people (you were referring to people with the power to affect author’s careers, eg: Irene Gallo, the Nielsen-Haydens, or a similar person from the other side of the political spectrum) then the appropriate response to their words, however objectionable those words might be, was to say “so fucking WHAT!?” and ignore them? I’m not trying to be a boor, I’m asking sincerely. Assuming I read tyour words and understood them as you intended me to understand them, why are you suggesting that “Vox Day” and Mr. Wright’s words are any more worthy of response than any other random, powerless jerk’s words? Or do you feel that Mr.Beale, and Mr. Wright, have a similar level of power to wield in the publishing industry as the power that Irene Gallo and the Nielsen-Haydens have? I am not as well informed as you -colossal understatement- with regards to the way the publishing world functions, and who has what kind of power. Conceding that point, I have to admit that I was under the impression that Mz. Gallo, with her high level position at Tor, had a level of influence over multiple authors’ careers that was so great that Mr. Beale and Mr. Wright’s level of influence…”didn’t hold a candle” in comparison…pardon the tortured sentence structure, heh… Was I mistaken? How much power do Mr. Beale and Mr. Wright have over the careers of others? If they have a great deal of power, I apologize, and admit that my understanding was woefully incorrect. If, however, they have only the power that any blustering blogger has -none at all- when spouting his/her opinion on the web…how can you justly accuse Larry, Brad, Dave, Sarah, Amanda, Cedar, Kate, Mrs. Modena ( https://www.affsdiary.com/shadow/2015/06/10/nazi-is-not-a-term-you-throw-around-lightly/ ), Peter Grant ( http://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com/2015/06/neo-nazis-in-action.html ), and many more fine, decent, goodhearted, in no way “unscrupulous” people, including hundreds, and more, of their fans, of being “chickenshit” game-of-peekaboo-playing, hypocrites for “failing” to write blog posts castigating two people who, despite their participation in the “puppy” hooplah, have no real power over anyone? I mean, if it’s fair to criticisize and scold people for the words of people who happen to agree with them, while also being unpleasant people, regardless of how much tangible influence those unpleasant supporters actually have, then surely it would be just for the people I listed to call you disdain-stuffed names, and write withering criticisms of you for not actively calling out all the “anti-puppy” authors who have been saying nasty, vile, reprehensible things about -those same people I listed, and their fans- them? I’m not sure if this is a coherent, or even vaguely understandable, reply, but I’ve done my best, considering my exhaustion and fuzzy-headed state. (pain meds: you can’t live with them…and you can’t see straight without them, immediately following surgery. lol) I’m not an unscrupulous schemer, I’m not a racist, or a homophobe, or any of the other things the “puppy” authors and their fans have been called by many more people than just Irene Gallo. I’m just a young person whose addiction to books approaches the clinical level. A bibliophile who happens to love the work of Larry, Brad, and yes, even the incorrigibly fustian-prose-inclined, “vile,” Mr. Wright, and the rest of the authors behind “Sad Puppies 3″ (I added Mr. Wright because he wasn’t involved in “SP3″ as far as I know), along with those authors who, while not participating, have voiced their approval, such as John Ringo, Tom Kratman, and so on. I’m just a reader. An autodidact. A nerd. One of your dedicated fans. What have I done to earn you disgust and disdain? Whether you read this or not, I hope it reaches you well, and I pray God’s blessings on you and your house. May you keep writing until I’m old and grey, and may you be hale and hearty all the while. Thank you for all the adventures and worlds you’ve already created, and thank you in advance for those yet to come. Dio ti benedica, Mr. Flint. ;-)

          • Bibliotheca Servare says:

            Well, I hope the fact that my reply/question/long-winded-explanation of how my skin is thin when it comes to hearing authors I love question the content of my character *clears throat; blushes* is in moderation isn’t a sign that I’ve finally overstepped the bounds of polite behavior and (unintentionally) expressed myself in an unacceptably boorish fashion, thereby earning myself a ban… In any event, I just wanted to say I’ll be endeavoring to hold my tongue and, in fact, avoid this space at least for a few days. Hopefully taking some time to get some perspective will allow me to reboot and recharge my emotional batteries. Yeah, I know I sound like a dork. Hopefully it’s a *blue whale’s* dork, at least, because blue whales are awesome…heh. (Yes. Yes, that was a dick joke) Anyway, if I’ve offended anyone (and I probably have) here, my apologies. Even if I still find your position to be a silly, reprehensible, or staggeringly ignorant one, there is no just excuse for incivility. And I am aware I have been uncivil more than I have been civil, in many of my comments here. I would change them, but I lack that power therefore, the best I can do is apologize for my rudeness, and endeavor to do better in the future. Hence, in part, my decision to abstain from participation, whether by commenting or reading, for the next few days, at the very least. I hope you take this apology in the spirit in which it is offered, and that you believe me when I say that it is unreservedly sincere. Until next time, God bless, and be well.
            Sincerely,
            Bibliotheca Servare

    • Jody says:

      Don’t give him too much credit on that trout line. It seems to be a play off of a line in This is Water, an amazing David Foster Wallace speech.

  3. Mike Van Pelt says:

    I’ve been only observing this from more or less the outside, not being a Hugo voter. And, I’m way behind on my reading, so I’m not familiar with any of the works on the ballot this year.

    I guess I’ve mostly lost interest in the Hugos over the years. See, I’ve been a subscriber to Analog since 1971. I’ve tried the other magazines, and mostly been disappointed. To me, what Analog publishes tends, to my taste, to be far closer to “The Real Stuff” than what’s in F&SF.

    So, how many shorter fiction works on the Hugo ballot were published in Analog? Back when I was looking… dang few, and winners very seldom. And Stan Schmidt *never* got a Hugo, until his last year as editor.

    When, a number of years ago, I made some comment along these lines at a convention, I generally got an eye-roll, and a dismissive “Oh… *sniff* Analog stories.”

    This isn’t a pro-puppy/anti-puppy argument, just my personal observation, and a conclusion I came to before the very first puppy slate — what gets Hugo awards generally doesn’t seem to have a lot of overlap with what I’m looking for in science fiction.

    • Analog did have a couple of stories on the ballot in 2011; I suppose that’s one of the unconscionable things, like Larry Correia being on the Campbell Award ballot, that led Larry to create Sad Puppies.

    • John Cowan says:

      (Personal note: Are you the Mike van Pelt from Stuart II, the author of the story about the forebrain/hindbrain aliens? I’m Wizzard.)

    • Morgan Smith says:

      The world of SFF is very different (and a whole heckuva lot bigger) than it was in 1971.

      It is within the realm of possibility that just because your taste has not evolved very far from your 1971 self (and I say that as someone whose first taste of SF was John Carter/Mars stuff at about age 9) but that does not mean that other people’s tastes had to remain in the same place as their first experience of SFF, or that people arriving to the scene forty years later would not (having had radically different life experiences and values) want something different from the genre.

      And I think that has a lot to do with the current controversy. It’s probably normal for people to think that what they want is what everyone else [should] want, but it isn’t terribly realistic.

  4. Phil Palmer says:

    “No, what’s actually at stake here is who gets (or doesn’t get) a Hugo Award.”

    Wrong. That is not what is at stake. I am not an American, nor do I live in America. Sheer weight of numbers, however, means that Hugo noms and votes are determined by American fans for American authors (pace Brunner, Clarke, Gaiman, Rowling and Clarke). So it goes. Facts of life. Way of the world.

    What is incendiary, however, is that the history of fandom, its right to exist and its ownership of the Hugos can be so lightly and contemptuously dismissed. American fandom has a long, strong and proud tradition of openness and generosity; find out how TAFF was founded, find out how Walt Willis replaced his broken letterpress, find out what the customs officers were laughing at. Fans made the Hugo rules the way they are because that is the way that fans see themselves. For American wreckers, especially from the American military, to come in and destroy the nomination process, to destroy fandom’s openness, is a crime against all the world. Find Geoff Ryman’s remarks about how this has affected the African Fantasy Reading Group. I have a damn good mind to write to the local embassy and get some answers.

    • Bibliotheca Servare says:

      Who’s engaging in hyperbolic, unsubstantiated, baseless “wolf-crying” now? Exhibit A:
      “…destroy the nominating process, destroy fandom’s openness…”
      Destroy? Seriously? By spending the same amount of money everyone else has to spend to purchase a supporting membership, and voting the same way (if for different things) that any and every supporting member does, the “Sad Puppies” “destroy[ed]” the nominating process, and the “openness” of “fandom” in one fel swoop? Ohhh…I get it! You’re trying to make people laugh! It’s *satire*…right? Because if you are serious, you’re bringing a whole new light to “scurrilous” my friend. “…crime against all the world…” indeed. Alert the International Criminal Court! They have a new case to incompetently bungle! Sound the trumpets! Cry ‘Hark’ and let loose the dogs of war!! …in the meantime I’ll be busy quietly giggling at your pompous, american-military-hating inanity. Shoot…you are a funny fellow, Phil.
      Good day. ;-)

  5. By now the Worldcon committee must be getting worried about having anything to do with the Hugos. Maybe they should do something about that.

    While the rules say that the awards have to be announced/presented at the Worldcon, as far as I know there is nothing to stop the worldcon committee from distancing themselves from the awards by doing this in a minimal fashion. For example, they could have someone stand up on stage in one of the con rooms, read through the list of winners then tell them that they can collect their awards from the green room afterwards. Get the whole thing over in half an hour, and save a lot of embarrassment all round. This won’t be much fun for anyone involved, especially those who win awards on their own merits, but it would at least make it clear that fandom, as a whole, does not want to play these games.

    • Mary Frances says:

      Er–Marcus Rowland, Worldcon owns the Hugo Awards. That’s why only members of a Worldcon (supporting or attending) can nominate or vote. The con committee can’t “distance” themselves from the Hugos unless they decide to not be the con committee; it’s part of their responsibility to administer the Hugos, agreed to when they presented their site selection bid. So–are you trying to say that Sasquan should be arguing that the Hugos aren’t really all that important?

      • Bibliotheca Servare says:

        I doubt he reasoned through his points well enough to have an answer. Good point, though, Mz. Frances. Ciao, by the way. ;-)
        Be well :-)

        • I really don’t see what either of you are having trouble understanding here. Several years ago, when they won the con bid, they promised to administer and give the awards. At the time they had no way of knowing that it was going to turn into this epic crapfest.

          Given the circumstances they may now feel that their obligation is to protect the good name of their convention, by doing the minimum necessary to meet this obligation but no more.

          • Mary Frances says:

            Er–why? I guess that’s what got me confused, Marcus. “Their convention” doesn’t exist unless it’s a Worldcon, and Worldcon is inextricably linked to the Hugo Awards, forever and ever. Even the Rocketship is trademarked, I believe. I mean, it isn’t as though there will ever be a Sasquan that isn’t a Worldcon; it exists as a convention because of the Worldcon bid to become the 73rd Worldcon. So unless the Sasquan committee thinks that people will stay AWAY from the con this summer because of the controversy . . . was that what you meant? If so, my apologies for misunderstanding you, but I really don’t think it’s a sensible thing for the Sasquan people to worry about, in any case. That ship has pretty much sailed . . .

            • Mary Frances says:

              (Note to self: stop prefacing comments with “Er.” This is getting ridiculous . . . )

            • Apologies for the delay replying.

              Basically, I think that Sasquan must have to consider the possibility that there will be a hostile audience at the awards ceremony, and that one or another side in this argument will use it as a ‘political’ platform. Another possibility is that it will be boycotted by large portions of the usual audience, meaning that an extremely expensive convention space is under-utilised for several hours. The best way out of these problems is probably to minimise the ceremony, to reduce its impact on the convention as a whole and make it clear that the committee aren’t responsible for the problems.

              The trouble is that it takes considerable time to plan these ceremonies, so the Con committee needs to decide what to do well in advance.

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  7. Terranovan says:

    As suggested, I Googled Breitbart.com, and what I read (I’ll freely admit I didn’t read much, as I wanted to get on with reading this) has Wikipedia saying that Breitbart.com is guilty of nothing more than sloppy and lazy journalism. Four more sources call them dishonest. However, I’ve never heard of one (gawker.com) and the other three (wired.com, newyorker.com, and theatlantic.com) I remember (or maybe just perceive) as having center-to-left-wing politics. I don’t know how much this means for Breitbart.com’s reputation, and I don’t care, since I don’t get any news from them (and what does that say about how much they mean in right-wing America?).

    On an unrelated topic, I’d like to repost something I apparently posted too late in the previous newsletter (and hope it’s not in bad taste to do so):

    [The whole Hugo controversy] seems (to me) like a good (or at least quintessential) topic for a panel discussion at an SF convention. Could this be the case? Any ideas for who would be a good moderator and/or participant?

    • Terranovan says:

      Okay, after some thought and reading of what was said about Breitbart’s influence, I will concede something. I had believed what was said about ACORN from the time I first heard of them until just now, when I Googled Breitbart. So my previous comment was partially incorrect.

      • Mike says:

        ACORN was the bycatch of a Swiftboating attack on Obama. Swiftboating works because people only remember the initial attack and don’t remember the refutation later.

        (As a side note, I’ve never understood why more right-wing vets didn’t defend Kerry. Or McCain either, when Rove did much the same to him in 2000.)

        • Tom Kratman says:

          That one’s easy, look at his Winter Soldier testimony. They’ve never forgiven him and never will. He is approximately as hated as Jane Fonda.

          • Mike says:

            Kerry, right? Not McCain?

            • Mike says:

              Even so, it seemed like a bad precedent for vets. Between McCain and Bush, it seemed like being a vet became a political liability rather than an advantage.

              • Mike says:

                Doh. Meant to type Kerry, not Bush.

              • Tom Kratman says:

                Here’s a little story, true as it happens, that you might find amusing:

                I was shooting the shit with the brigade commander several months prior to the 88 election.

                Me: “Oh, I dunno, sir; I’d kind of like Dukakis to win.”

                Him, grasping his chest at the encroaching heart attack: “Wha…WHA…WHAT!?!?!”

                Me: “Well, part of me does. See, way back around 1970 or so I hooked school and went to watch the debates at the State House on Beacon Hill. Boston Latin was a highly political school, self consciously so, and you could get away with hooking about once a year, maybe twice, to further your own political education. So I saw Dukakis arguing in favor of a bill for the state to impose itself to prevent Massachusetts boys from being drafted. About a week later I saw him riding the subway, walked up, stared down at him, and said, “You communist c*cks*cker.” He stared down at the floor, half fear, half shame. I was only 13, not big, and still bigger than he was. So think about it; Dukakis wins and I am the only serving officer in the Regular Army to have called the President of the United States a c*mmunist c*cks*cker to his face…”

            • Tom Kratman says:

              Correct, Kerry, not McCain. In McCain’s case, I think it’s widely felt he’s just a RINO, hence unworthy of support. Being a vet was not, in any case, a political liability. Being a vet other vets detested was a political liability, but one suspects those people would have been detested if they’d never served a day in uniform.

              • Johnny says:

                Kinda sad when old-school republicans are pushed out by what we used to call dixiecrats for being “RINOs”. Reagan courted the South to win and win big but speaking as a guy from the west it feels like the tail is wagging the dog.

              • Tom Kratman says:

                I’ve written some columns on the subject Johnny, on everyjoe; _everything_ is getting pushed to the extremes.

              • Johnny says:

                Thanks Tom and thanks for that link. I like to read your articles, you’re excellent at providing tons of information to reach a conclusion (and even if it isn’t sometimes the conclusion you come up with it’s pretty easy to see where you’re coming from and how it’s a logical conclusion).

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  9. I have read very little that Vox Day has written, but I have certainly heard a lot about it second hand. I see where we Puppies are regularly tarred with his statements, etc etc. I also see a lot of our opposition talking about Mr. Delaney as a good example, even Mr Flint quoted him in one of his well written pieces on this mess.

    My question is , why is Mr Day’s positions so vilified and yet Mr Delaney, who says good things about NAMBLA for Christ’s sake, is held up as an example? Is actively promoting child predation and molesting somehow more acceptable than racism or sexism? Why is it so important that we disavow someone who we don’t back or endorse but our opposition is free to ignore these fraternization rules?

    I am not a professional writer so I am sure this could have been stated better, but I am puzzled by this apparent double standard.

    • Maximillian says:

      The reason people don’t currently say as much about Delany is that he is not leading any political movements in the field, and never has. The reason that people are using different standards is because the situations are different.

      Also, if you think that people haven’t in the past said plenty about Delany’s views, I think that you may not be as familiar with fandom as you think.

      • ThePinkAndPoofyPervulsionOfJoy says:

        @Imp etc

        “Is actively promoting child predation and molesting somehow more acceptable than racism or sexism?”

        Delaney isn’t promoting either of those things. His point, whether you agree with it or not, is that children have more sexual agency and capacity to give consent than they are generally thought to have. He reached this conclusion on the basis of his own sexual experiences as a child with an adult man. Distorting Delaney’s views as a way of dragging discussion away from what the Puppies have done and said re: Theodore Beale is not a particularly honorable way to behave. As for the views of Theodore Beale himself, you can find them quite easily, if you care to look. Despite his numerous intellectual and moral limitations, Mr Beale is nothing if not talkative. You may find his opinions on throwing acid in a woman’s face, marital rape, intelligence relative to race, Anders Breivik and much more by a simple series of Google searches. Or you could start by going through the citations to this discussion of his life and views:

        http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Theodore_Beale

      • Tom Kratman says:

        I wonder if that’s true or even can be true in a society where virtually everything has become political. For example, when Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir signed a petition to abolish age of consent and legalize sex between adults and children (the pair of them apparently having a taste for underage girls), can we really say that was a non-political act?

        • Estaban says:

          I’m not sure if you’re being sarcastic or whether you truly believe changing age of consent laws is an apolitical act. If you’re being sarcastic, bravo, and disregard the rest of the comment as it is based on a misunderstanding. If not, read on:

          What’s political about it? Was it a “political act” when states enacted age of consent laws ages ago? The laws were designed for protection of minors and are not much different, if at all, from laws prohibiting child labor, drunk driving, etc.

  10. Kyle says:

    One area I didn’t see addressed is the idea of “wrong fans” involvement. Personally I watched as an entertained bystander until that point as one of those awful libertarians I am happy to allow anyone who reads any form of sci-fi fantasy to be a fan. Read if you enjoy something I hate fine. I started to be upset when I saw posts saying people like me are the not real fans (I had read lotr & dune by age ten, 32 years ago) I lack a degree (science major drop out) but what the HELL does that have to do with my ability to decide what’s a good story & isn’t that what art is about what you enjoy? (1632 is on the enjoy list Scalzi butchery of Pipers fuzzy books is not). What is the matter with more people voting for the Hugo’s?
    Personally I am going back to avoiding Hugo winning prices, I have not been impressed since “Enders Game”

    • Mike says:

      Kyle, do you know who started talking about “wrongfun” and “wrongfans”? Larry Correia, that’s who.

      In fact, it is ONLY the Puppy supporters who are talking about “wrongfans”.

      • Tom Kratman says:

        I’m not interested enough to do any digging on it, but I have the impression that “wrongfans” and “wrongfun” are not indefensible paraphrases of some things that some among the anti-puppy consortium, some of those perhaps prominent, have said.

        • ThePinkAndPoofyPervulsionOfJoy says:

          Well of course you aren’t interested, Tom Kratman. Facts are such inconvenient things for Puppies who desperately need to play the victim to cover up their own abusive behavior.

          You know, if you’d ever been able to listen to criticism and work to improve your writing, you and the Puppies would have been much better off. You might even have produced something that genuinely merited a Hugo nomination, rather than having to game the system with the help of Theodore Beale and the Gamergaters. As it is, you are stuck in second-rate grievance artist mode.

          • Tom Kratman says:

            Spare me your amateur psychoanalysis and irrelevant criticism. I’m not interested in those, either.

            • ThePinkAndPoofyPervulsionOfJoy says:

              I like you the way you foam at the mouth, Tom. It adds some entertainment value to your rather limited prose.

              • Tom Kratman says:

                You have an odd definition of foaming at the mouth. Nothing you have said here, or are likely to say, are going to get much of a reaction from me.

                Sad for you, is it not?

              • Johnny says:

                “Sardonic” is “foaming at the mouth”? You’re being the guy that’s keeping the puppies in the right, sort of like how James May keeps the anti-puppies (kitties? anti-puppy is clunky) in the right.

          • Bibliotheca Servare says:

            Please, pleeease provide *one* example of a “puppy” in a leadership position, engaging in abuse. And no, Theodore Beale and his supporters are not valid citations, as it has been universally acknowledged, even by them, that they (in their words, true or false as they may be) “use the same tools as the opposition”. So, just one example of a leading figure other than the (not a leading figure, feel free to disagree, but if you put your disagreement in your reply, I will assume you are an illiterate lackwit, and give a consequent level of import to the content of your future comments) ever so popular as a condemnatory example Theodore Beale, just one, solitary example of one of them, Larry, Brad, Sarah, Kate, Cedar, even Dave…being as abusive as, for example, Irene Gallo, or the Nielsen-Haydens, or N.K.Jesmin, or K. Tempest Bradford, have been in the past towards Larry, Brad, the rest of the authors involved, and all of their fans, and I’ll reassess my current analysis of you as an inveterate imbecile, who wouldn’t know an example of intellectual honesty if it danced naked in front of you, coated in fluorescent body-glitter. Oh, you can’t? Or rather, you won’t even *try*? Thank you for proving my point. A point made all the more sound by your active, and childish, efforts to irritate Mr. Kratman by hissing like a rabid cat. It would be funny if it weren’t so damn sad.
            Ciao, imbecille. Buona fortuna. ;-)

            • Tom Kratman says:

              S/H/It did sound rather like a spoiled brat with a soiled diaper.

              • Bibliotheca Servare says:

                *undignified giggle-snort* Indeed. S/H/It is more than capable of making remaining in a diaper an unbearable circumstance. No one likes a S/H/It-ty diaper, I’ve heard. *S/H/It-eating grin*

            • Alex H. says:

              I suppose there might possibly be a working definition of abuse under which this bit of childish vituperation from Brad Torgerson, quoted in the article above, wouldn’t qualify: “Nielsen-Haydens, your fellow travelers, and media goombahs . . . I MOCK YOU! I MOCK YOUR ASININE INCESTUOUS CLUSTERFUCKED LITTLE CULTURE OF DOCTRINAIRE PROGRESSOSEXUAL MEDIOCRITY MASKED AS SUPERIORITY! You are all dolts. You are moral and physical cowards. You are without ethics, without scruples, and if you weren’t so patently pathetic, I’d say you might be dangerous.

              “Fuck you. Fuck you all. The forces of the progressive pink and poofy Xerxes were met at the Hugo Hot Gates, and repelled by a few brave dudes and dudettes with the stones to stand up to your bullshit.”

              What I can’t imagine is why anyone not already committed to Mr. Torgerson’s cause would ever consider adopting such an unorthodox definition.

              • Bibliotheca Servare says:

                I just saw this, and though I am all but certain you will never see it, I felt the need to respond.
                Seriously? Your “example” of abuse similar to that of Irene Gallo, the Nielsen-Haydens, Phil Sandifer, et al is THAT? I…if you are really that fricking intellectually dishonest, then…just… wow. Try again. Oh, and it better come from prior to the date of the original comment you responded to. IE prior to the self-destructive clusterfrack that was the Hugo award ceremony. Good luck.

        • Estaban says:

          Well, I think that Mr. Flint makes a valid point about the tendency of the Puppy People to paraphrase just about everything. Instead of paraphrasing things, address what was actually said in the context it was made. It helps keep the debate/argument/internet war on track.

      • Bibliotheca Servare says:

        “Wrongfan” is a term utilized as the natural counterpart to the term, popular amongst SMOF’s and the like, “trufan”. A more precise natural outgrowth from that term, and its unpleasant connotations, might be “falsfan” or “falsefan” as the opposite of “tru” is “fals[e]. Even if “trufan” had no unpleasant implications as a term -as some of its users desperately insist is the case- “falsefan” or “wrongfan” would still be the natural grammatical counterpart/alternative. If you aren’t a “trufan” what are you? Why, a “falsefan” or “wrongfan” of course! But either of those choices serve to highlight the unpleasantness of the term “trufan” and as such, they cannot be permitted to exist, and anyone pointing out that logic and grammar dictate otherwise, audacious though it be to imagine such an act, must *obviously* be a naughty, naughty, wicked “puppy” or one of their equally evil “supporters” and, as such, should be both disregarded, and gleefully tarred with the label that the fine example of humanity known as “ThePinkAndPoofyPervulsionOfJoy” delighted in using: “abuser” or, if that fails to stick because of irrelevant, inconvenient things like truth, lack of evidence, evidence to the contrary, etc, then an alternative label must suffice. Perhaps “racist” or maybe “misogynist” are valid options, that are acceptably difficult to remove or prove scurrilous after they’ve been applied? Hmmm.
        Ya falla? (You follow?) (Watch “The Sting” if you don’t get the reference. Robert Redford and Paul Newman are scowling at you)
        Larry didn’t construct “wrongfan” out of whole cloth as an excuse to stir outrage. It was a natural outgrowth of the way the term “trufan” was being used by the critics of “Sad Puppies” and their “trufan” supporters. Do some basic research before spouting the nonsensical, in no way reality-based, Party-line. The “Party line” is moronic. Considering the sort of folks who thought it up, though, that’s not exactly a surprising development. (Yes, I am aware it is possible that all the persons that have been spouting the same nonsense over and over in the comments on this blog and others came up with that nonsense on an individual, spontaneous basis, and that the identical nature of that nonsense could be pure coincidence…I prefer to hope that there aren’t that many identically brainless folks seeking to participate in this…discussion… The alternative, that every lackwit that has shown up in the course of this “teapot tempest” cogitated the exact same list of idiotic, baseless statements and arguments that are utterly free of evidence and lacking even a basic, however tenuous, connection to reality…is truly frightening. I prefer to believe (until shown otherwise) that they all read the same stunningly stupid, idiocy-riddled blog posts at their various shared “gatherings of the unoriginal lackwits,” and proceeded to more or less quote from those posts anywhere they could find a perch from which to make meaningless duck-noises. And yes, I mixed that metaphor both brutally, and spectacularly. You are most welcome.)
        Good day. ;-)

        • Mike says:

          Blah blah, blah blah, but Kyle’s comment is not the first time I’ve heard someone be all indignant that people are calling the Puppies “wrongfans” without knowing it was something invented by Larry as a rhetorical device.

          In case Tom does decide to look it up, he’ll find on Larry’s blog a quote where Larry says he invented the term “wrongfun,” and when one of “his people” started using “wrongfan” he (Larry) thought it was funny and adopted it too.

          • Tom Kratman says:

            I know where it came from, Mike, and I’ve seen the post on Making Light that seems to have inspired it. As I said, I think it’s a not indefensible paraphrase, though YMMV. I’ve seen enough absolute lunacy taken as reasonable wisdom – Irene Gallo’s post prominent among it – that I am sure YMWV.

            • Mike says:

              It could easily be turned around, you know. This whole Sad Puppies thing appears to be, in part, that Larry (and later Brad) thought that the wrong fans were voting for the Hugos and electing the wrong books because they were having the wrong fun, and that a different group (the right fans) should jump in and vote too, so that the right fun would be had by the right authors.

        • brightglance says:

          “Trufan” is a jokey term going back at least to 1954. It implies not a particular set of beliefs but a level of fannish activity.

        • Bob says:

          . And this is you refraining from commenting huh ?!

  11. Jen from Ontario says:

    I have read an awful lot of books and short stories by you, and I don’t think I’ve ever been more impressed. Equally as impressed, yes, of course – I don’t mean to shortchange the enjoyment I get from your ‘real’ writing. But this was just sheer joy to read. For that paragraph on apple pie alone, you officially win the internet. Thank you.

  12. ThePinkAndPoofyPervulsionOfJoy says:

    Mr Flint, greatly as I enjoyed the opening 200 paragraphs of your Summa Contra Puppos Tristes Et Rabidos In Partibus SJWium, I feel compelled to address your brutal butchery of the innocent word “puling” and replacement of it with the obviously anti-Puppy theocratic polling organizational substitute “pewling”. Such vile choices, sir, must not stand!!!

    p.s. I am not a kook.

  13. Tammi says:

    Huzzah

  14. Jorgernaut says:

    Why does this degenerate into a small minded tirade against people who seek a larger perspective? Yes there is a form of prejudice and bias prevailing in the media. Calling for a neutral or merit based approach is no reason for a sane, rational person to revile those making the call. In fact, if you don’t address the root causes either through a lack of understanding or willfully ignoring them when they are pointed out, then what should sane, rational and truly open minded people make of your arguments?

  15. Jody says:

    Meant to post this as a comment on the thread but inadvertently replied to a comment…so again…
    Don’t give him too much credit on that trout line. It seems to be a play off of a line in This is Water, an amazing David Foster Wallace speech.

  16. James May says:

    It should be obvious what the problem is here and who is at fault. Before John Scalzi, Jim Hines and their hoard of racist man-hating intersectional feminists appeared there was no divide like this in SFF. In effect, these morons set out to fix something which wasn’t broken – an imaginary Jim Crow which included gays and women – and preceded to break it. They introduced us to a shower of new racial and sexual slurs about “white tears” and demonization theories about “white privilege,” “rape culture,” “white saviors” and the “white male colonial gaze” and how to “fuck the cisheteropatriarchy” (Ahmed). Or it may have just been a “hetero white male guy really wants the Patriarchy to burn, and burn to ashes” (Weimer).

    The cure for a completely innocent demographic which skewed white and so was deemed racist was “diversity.” Any group that was all white instantly came under suspicion of immorality, and so a set of naive do-gooders made sure to tow along the “underrepresented” and “marginalized” not only to prove they weren’t racist but to heal SFF of its white “monoculture” (Stross). In effect, affirmative action was introduced but if you call it that our feminist cult gets very angry, even as they promote work by nothing more than race and sex every day and ultimately nominate it for awards, unless you’re stupid enough to believe they don’t act on their own words. No one seems to have noticed how bizarre it was to introduce such idiocy into a genre about science fiction and fantasy in the first place, although “narcissistic racial and sexual obsession” seems a good term.

    Because of its wrong-way racist anti-racist instincts and hate speech this new feminist movement of race and gender was dubbed “social justice warriors.”

    This wrong-way movement introduced us to the wonders of the prefix “cis,” used lavishly and in a pejorative sense virtually 100% of the time, though feminists will tell you “cis-scum” (MacFarlane) and “cis-dude” (Leckie) are academic usages. Hugos began to be passed out for the false assertion men had erased women from military history and therefore a legitimate place in SFF. Not-the-Straight-White-Men anthologies began to come out like We See a Different Frontier, Long Hidden, and Queers and Women Destroy SF. As revenge for past indignities, the Lightspeed Magazine which put out the “Destroy” series had one of its reviewers justly declare Lightspeed a safe-space where he will review no white men. By an amazing coincidence that reviewer has a record of anti-white racist comments. N.Y. Times best-selling author John Green declared he would boycott any all-male or all-white panels but exempt non-white boxing cards and blues clubs line-ups because “punching up” or some semantic gibberish. In the name of justice anti-racist K. Tempest Bradford emerged from the racially segregated room she created at WisCon and asked us all to observe a moment of silence and not read cis white men for one year. Andrea Phillips asked for help on Twitter to “de-white” her library.

    The list is so long I can’t begin to address it and the flood of racist and bigoted remarks against men and whites so enormous one would need an archivist from the Library at Alexandria to keep track of them all. This is what created Sad Puppies – period.

    This is the feminist cult which set the standard for how hate-speech will be dealt with, even if that speech is imaginary as in the case of Rabe/Malzberg/Resnick or pre-crime as in the case of Jonathan Ross. In the case of a tie Vox Day gets booted out of the SFWA and N. K. Jemisin gets 4 Nebula nominations. And here we sit. The hate speech has to go and its simply a matter of defining it like a baseball umpire does and then making it go. America is a large country and there is plenty of room for racist man-hating feminist intersectionalists to hang out in the same swamps we’ve marginalized the KKK and neo-Nazis into.

    • Tom Kratman says:

      James:

      The _was_ a similar divide, over Vietnam. I don’t know that it was quite as virulent. I don’t think that it could be fairly characterized, as this one can, as “the two sides are essentially insane to each other.” But it was pretty severe.

      • James May says:

        That was a fight over issues. Yes it got pretty hot, but it wasn’t based on the innate immorality of an entire ethic group or all men. I was against the war and never lost one friend or hated on anyone. Ask yourself this question about the difference between politics vs. ethnicity: why didn’t the Egyptian army use live fire on their protesters and why did Assad in Syria? This divide in SFF is not one of issues but one of ethnic and sexual hatred. Syria lies smashed and Egypt is the same as in 2010. That is the difference between ethnic hate and politics. This modern version of feminism is not based on the politics it claims but on hatred.

        • Johnny says:

          What are you talking about? Modern feminism is based on ceasing to care what gender values other people put on your choices. What you think is “modern feminism” has about as much to do with the movement as the red pill failures have to do with actually being a man.

          • James May says:

            That is a stunningly ignorant statement. Do your homework. If the president of the SFWA and Damien Walters are straight out asking you to look into “intersectionality” that means they’re not? I can’t count how many of these so-called feminists self-identify as intersectionalists. Who are some of you people?

            • Johnny says:

              Wait, let me get this straight. You think that the very IDEA that there are multiple forms of discrimination that interact is akin to ethnic hatred? You don’t think that if gay guys have it tough, and black guys have it tough, gay black guys have it tougher than either just gay guys or just black guys? And that that simple thought is akin in type to shooting protesters in Syria?

              • James May says:

                I never said anything of the kind and I am no longer annotating my comments.

              • Johnny says:

                Yes, you did. You absolutely said that. You compared modern feminism to protesting Vietnam to the difference between stopping protesters with bullets and stopping them without, and when challenged, all you could come up with was “intersectionality”. You need to get your philosophy in order.

              • James May says:

                You are brainless. You have to prove discrimination, not just assume it. Of course there could be such a thing a intersecting oppressions. The con game is they can’t show it. Do you not follow the news? They were flogging around 1 in 5 rape statistics that would require one college student to get raped every minute. The DOJ put the kibosh on that and they’re still lying. What they can show is the mysterious coincidence of a flood of hate speech against men and whites. There’s a sucker born every minute, and you appear to be one. Intersectionality is not politics, it is a hate movement. The Vietnam protests was a political difference. Protesters were shot in Syria because of perceived ethnic differences. Assad is a minority Alawite. Before his father it was against the law for him to even be president. There is nothing like that in Egypt. It was political. There is nothing like the fragmentation of Syria Get it? If you think SFF in a woman-hating Jim Crow, all you have to do is prove it. Where’s the culture-wide quotes that go after women, black and gays 24/7 like I can find the other way round on any day?

    • Mike says:

      I said earlier that I never called Larry or Brad “angry white men”. I’m pretty sure, though, that is a valid descriptor for you. This was about as much of an angry white rant as I’ve ever seen.

      • Tom Kratman says:

        You know it’s very hard to tell, on the net, whether someone is actually angry, having fun, or pursuing a plan. I wonder, myself, if the people who assume anger are capable of neither fun nor planning, hence project all they can understand, which is anger. One test of the latter would be, having read the above, getting an admission (or failing to get one) that, “Okay, maybe I don’t know for certain which it is.”

        • Mike says:

          I tend to think I’m reading James the way he intended to be read. I think that if I laughed that off and thought he wasn’t really angry, it would actually be disrespecting the obvious intensity of his feelings.

          (As for white and male, I’m making an assumption there, but I think it’s a pretty safe one based on his own words.)

          • Tom Kratman says:

            The way someone intends something to be read is not necessarily the way to read it.

          • James May says:

            Did you mean intensity of my logic? Because I don’t operate on my fee-fees to assemble clues any more than Holmes does. The truth is that when I and other researchers read Jemisin’s comments about careers strangled at birth knowing she was awarded 4 Nebula nods right off the bat I frequently have to use napkins to get rid of the stinging salt from tears of laughter. I just now saw my friend Hawad from the Sudan for the first time in 2 years. I read him your remark about angry white men and he laughed and rightly pointed out when was the last time I even saw one in person. He asked me if that was why I was angry and I nodded yes and we did have a laugh at your expense.

      • James May says:

        You’ve just invoked Scalzi’s Squirrel Theory. Throw rocks at squirrels, don’t throw rocks at blue jays. Theory confirmed. Squirrels are angry, not blue jays.

        Who the hell did you think was going to be pissed – Arabs? Brianna Wu and Anita Sarkeesian use this same con: “See! I toldja! Misogyny!” Attack gays and you get GLAAD, not the Armenian National Front.

        The larger issue is this: when in the world did my race and sex become such a hot-button in SFF? It’s SFF!

        Listen, when you go out there and travel the world on four continents and see how people behave and then look in at this it comes off as starkly weird. It’s just a bizarre obsession. The “white male colonial gaze?” Who talks like that outside a mental institution? I’ve mentioned that phrase to Sudanese friends while in Africa and they get a giggle out of it every time. That’s cuz they’re not nuts.

    • TK Davis says:

      “…their hoard of racist man-hating intersectional feminists…” Ooohhh, look at the sweeping generalizations.

      The hyperbole is strong in this one…

      Members do like to talk about diverse authors and books with diverse messages. But if the writing sucks it’s going nowhere. This insistence that only the gender/orientation/race of the author or of the protagonist matters is utterly false. The story is key – if it has messaging that is also pleasing then that will make it double-plus-good.

      • Mike says:

        As it happens, I have liked or really really liked every book I’ve read by Jim C. Hines. I know a lot of the Puppies don’t like his politics, but what do you think of his actual books?

        I thought Goblin Quest was the best sendup of a D&D session ever. (I loved the Dwarf cleric who obsessively mapped everything, and the crazy traps, and the pointless dragon buried at the very depths of a dungeon with no way to get in or out, only existing to be a boss-level fight for adventurers.

        His Princess series books seem like exactly the kind of crazy, action-oriented, fun books that the Puppies claim to be focusing on.

        And the Libriomancer stories are also pretty good, though I think I liked the idea better than the execution.

    • “It should be obvious what the problem is here and who is at fault. Before John Scalzi, Jim Hines and their hoard of racist man-hating intersectional feminists appeared there was no divide like this in SFF.”

      I read this line and cracked up.

      Then I read the next few sentences and realized, oh, you meant that seriously.

      One of my problems with this whole Puppy mess is that I keep getting confused about what is and is not parody, since the Puppies are so often SERIOUS when posting hyperbolic absurdities that read like satire.

      • James May says:

        Words like “hyperbolic” and “satire” aren’t available to a sophisticate who not only enthusiastically supported Scalzi comparing me to a convicted terrorist and serial killer like the Unabomber over nothing more than my sarcastic takedown of his moronic white privilege post but then made up paranoiac motivations as to why and when I did so which were all made up out of your head. By that standard, I should now compare you to the Boston Marathon bomber and write off your motivations to fragile lady-fears, low self-esteem, an egg-timer and incontinence.

        • merkur says:

          “…comparing me to a convicted terrorist and serial killer like the Unabomber”

          What Scalzi said was: “It’s not everyone who gets their own Unibomber-grade manifesto about everything that is wrong with him.”

          He was clearly comparing your writing style to the writing style of the Unabomber, rather than comparing you personally.

      • James May says:

        http://whatever.scalzi.com/2013/04/14/overthinking-done-poorly-and-at-length/

        Nicely done, Miss Resnick. I’m sure your cats are proud.

        • Will McLean says:

          Indeed. I see that absolutely the only similarity with the Kaczynski manifesto is verbosity, paranoia, verbosity, bile, length, literary style, length, tortured logic, length, length and length. And the more recent piece uses italics instead of ALL CAPS, so that’s a difference right there.

          • James May says:

            I’m grateful you point out the concept of equal protection is “tortured logic.” It highlights who you are and the way you think. There is no “paranoia” involved except to the extent you dislike disagreement. As for the rest of it, the idea those are the standards of being compared to serial killers is a display of your own moral insanity. Word length or a poorly edited essay is a mental health issue? You say that in a community of writers which puts up billions of words about goblins and werewolves? Well done. The fanfic about My Little Pedo Pony easily meets your criteria, my essay does not.

        • Will McLean says:

          The problem, of course, is that the genre of multi-kiloword screeds is so small it’s hard to find an adequate comparison. It’s like Kaczynski without the bombings! It’s like Rand without the the style, rough sex and industrial swashbuckling!

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  18. Charles Ranier says:

    small point of clarification: “shirtstorm” is probably intentionally used. It refers to the outcry over the ESA Rosetta scientist Matt Taylor who, on the day the team successfully landed a craft on a comet, chose to wear a bowling shirt with pictures of scantily clad women on it: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/events/shirtstorm

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  20. Jaymie says:

    A number of comments come to mind, most of them have been made upthread, I’m sure. So I’ll just say, how dare you, sir! How dare you be rational in an internecine fight! Next you’ll tell us not to fight in the War Room!

  21. @Mary Frances Marcus Rowland did _not_ say that the Worldcon should disown the Hugos.

    What he _did_ say was that they may want this year to distance themselves from it for example by having a minimal ceremony.

    An eminently sensible suggestion.

    • Exactly right – they’re stuck with it now, to the extent that they promised to administer and give the awards when they won the con bid several years ago, but given the circumstances they may feel that their obligation ends there.

    • Mary Frances says:

      Please don’t take offense, either you or Marcus Rowland, because I promise no offense is meant–but do you think that the Awards Ceremony is the only thing a Worldcon Committee has committed to doing for the Hugos? Because in some ways that’s the least of it . . . and to change the Awards ceremony and all the hoopla surrounding it (the unveiling of the winning award design, just for one example; in my opinion, canceling that would be terribly unfair to Matthew Dockrey, the winning artist) at this point in the planning process would probably require a lot more effort than just going ahead as planned. In fact, canceling things might end in a great deal more publicity, as well, under the circumstances, and–given that the program books are likely at the printers already, or will be soon, and the rooms are already reserved–might be quite expensive, too.

      • Apologies for the delay replying.

        Agreed, it may already be too late, but I think it’s something the convention needs to look at, if only to minimise bad publicity if things go pear-shaped.

        I’d imagine that this is something that next year’s Worldcon committee are watching VERY carefully.

        • Nic says:

          For what it’s worth, I’ve been following David Gerrold on Facebook for a couple of months to see what he has to say on the matter (as he’s a Guest of Honor at this year’s Worldcon and thus in charge of handing out the Hugos to their winners). He’s said several times that despite the Puppy rows, he and the other people organising the ceremony are determined that it would be bad manners to bring those arguments into the ceremony itself – for the sake of the Worldcon organisers, who’ve spent years arranging the details, for the sake of the attendees, many of whom paid good money for their entertainment before the row blew up, and for the sake of the nominated authors, who deserve a good night out in return for their hard work.

          The ceremony will go ahead, there will not be any mention of politics or side-eyeing of the winners, and whatever invisible asterisks may be attached to some winners’ names by some people, they will not be treated any differently.

          I hope it goes well for them.

  22. Paragonlost says:

    Eric, thank you for the well thought out articulate blog post on this subject. Will it have any productive impact upon the Puppies? I doubt it but thank you again for a great blog post.

  23. Roy McDaniel says:

    Here is the thing, I don’t care. I don’t care that Eric Flint might be a left wing commie or that Larry C. is a right wing knuckle dragger. I read the books to be entertained. I have never bought a book because it won an award, I buy them because they entertain me. I have bought Hugo award winning novels but the fact that it had won an award meant nothing to me. I do a job where my customers are given surveys about how I do my job. I really don’t care what they say about me as long as it doesn’t cost me money. See that is what I work for money, not kudos or slaps on the back, I do it to make my 401k and checking account grow.
    I assume that most authors are writing books in order to make money, so that they can quit what day job that they have and write. I hope that they at least like what they are writing to make their living.
    So even though most of the editors of the publishing houses might be or are leftist they are still putting out books from authors who are on the other end of the spectrum.

    I do agree with Mr. Flint to all of the writers that feel they are being left out of the Hugo awards due to their political leanings why do you care. You hate them, If someone that I hated wanted to give me something I’d tell them to go f themselves.
    So start your own award if you are that desperate for attention, but last time I looked at my little league soccer trophies they aren’t worth shit.
    You are writing syfy or fantasy, not the Iliad, The Prince, The Gulag Archipelago.
    So to all of the authors I don’t care what your political leanings are, write a book if I like it I will buy it and you will make a little cash. If I don’t you won’t.

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  25. mclaren says:

    Jeez Louise, folks, enough already. Do not feed the trolls.
    Those of us who’ve been around for awhile saw this whole song and dance long ago, when Chip Delaney got his first Nebula award. An august and venerable science fiction writer got up to give the award and launched into a long and fulminatory peroration about how awful it was that this great award was going to a whippersnapper like Delaney. How Delaney wasn’t a true honest-to-goodness science fiction guy, but just a politically correct darling of the New Wave. And yadda yadda.
    C’mon, people, been there, done that.
    The answer now to the Sad Puppies is the same as to that character 40 years ago: if you don’t like what the new science fiction writers are pounding out, go back to reading Vargo Statten.
    ‘Kay? Thanx. Bye. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

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  29. In a long list of jaw-dropping statements in this thread this one still stands out:
    “Intersectionality is a hate movement.”

    Wow.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersectionality

  30. Rajesh says:

    One good thing to come out of this is that I’ve discovered, at the least a couple of new blogs (This and File 770) and hopefully a new author. I’ve downloaded Ring of Fire and added to my backlog of books to read.

    One the topic in general, I am more sympathetic than many to the idea that some people in fandom are overly concerned with waiting to be offended. I tend to agree with Eric that no real harm was done in the various flaps like the Jonathan Ross affair or the Mike Resnick kerfuffle. However, that does not alter my belief that the response on twitter etc was overblown and there is a small vociferous subsection of people who basically are living examples of “something is wrong on the internet”.

    Having said that I do not understand the Sad Puppies response of packing a slate and either do not understand them or believe them when they express shock that people are upset.
    If people wanted to give a long list of titles that they think are worthy and overlooked that is fine. If you want to pimp your own publications that is fine. But to attempt to run the table by publishing a slate. Not fine and deserving of pushback.

    That is the issue here, along with the horrible invective and alignment with Vox. Nothing more , nothing less.

    • Rajesh says:
      “Having said that I do not understand the Sad Puppies response of packing a slate and either do not understand them or believe them when they express shock that people are upset.
      If people wanted to give a long list of titles that they think are worthy and overlooked that is fine. If you want to pimp your own publications that is fine. But to attempt to run the table by publishing a slate. Not fine and deserving of pushback.

      That is the issue here, along with the horrible invective and alignment with Vox. Nothing more , nothing less.”

      This basically almost exactly reflects my view. I didn’t even know who Vox Day was or had ever heard of file770.com before April of this year. Now I’m a voting member of Susquan.org!

  31. Benjamin says:

    Dead cats in your sanctuary Mr Flint?

  32. Colum Paget says:

    I want to say something with regard to Mr May, that most of you on this thread are not going to like. I’ve tangled with Mr May elsewhere, we got into a bit of a fight, and I have to say (and I do not mean this as an insult, though I’m sure he will take it as such) that I think he’s a little crazy. But I know what’s driven him crazy, because I’ve seen it too, and in some of the things he’s saying, I think he’s right.

    I’m an outsider to the SF community (although I’m a long-time fan of the genre). I came into it five years ago, when Eastercon came to my home town. When I came into the SF community, I considered myself a feminist and someone broadly on the left. Now I don’t consider myself to be those things. After only a couple of years involved with SF fandom, I’d been forced to redefine my politics. I’d had someone publicly call for my murder. I’d had people tell me that because of my race and gender I was not entitled to state an opinion. I’d encountered a wide range of unacceptable attitudes and behaviors that I never thought I’d see. Science-fiction fandom has been the most alarming and bigotted community that I’ve spent time in, and the only place where I’ve felt hated for my race and gender. I know there are other places out there that are just as bad, but target other racial and gender groups, but I don’t frequent those places, and now I don’t attend SF cons either. It’s not just me, there’s a lot of people who are not really happy about what SF has become, but many of them won’t say it except in whispers. We are not talking about right-leaning “sad puppy” people here, either, we’re talking about people on the SF left.

    The thing that blew it all wide open for me was being a target of requires_hate. It wasn’t so much the targetting, it was that people I spoke to in UK science-fiction, (and I don’t want to get into who any of these people were, but let’s say they were people of some standing) supported her. While she called for people to be murdered, they applauded (as you no doubt know, this wasn’t true of everyone in the UK SF left, but it was true of a shocking number). When I spoke to them about it, all their justifications were couched in a language of ‘privilege’ and racial and gender exclusion. The ultimate justification was that requires_hate’s vitriol wasn’t racist or sexist, and so not problematic, because there’s no such thing as racism to sexism towards whites/men. This is a class of argument called ‘moral exclusion’ in which a group is declared to be somehow ‘different’ from everyone else, and to be outside of the standard protections of society, and expected standards of behavior, effectively declaring ‘open season’ upon that group. This is a concept that you normally encounter in genocide studies (which makes some of requires_hates published work quite interesting, I’d say).

    Now, before you all start mocking me for this assertion, I’d like you to consider something. Lots of people are saying that they didn’t know about what requires_hate was doing, that they weren’t in the room. I’m pretty sure in some cases, and I know in other cases, that this isn’t true, they knew full well but they didn’t think it was problematic. What does it take to make someone think that hatespeech on the level that requires_hate was engaging in, isn’t problematic? Now, however, they think it’s problematic enough that they don’t want to admit they did it (and note the hundreds of blogsposts that have vanished from the internet, where people blogged in support of requires_hate’s “insightful” critique. How could all these very clever people have been so wrong?) The things requires_hate was doing/saying, are a crime under UK law, and people supporting it or joining in were accessories to the fact. If requires_hate had, for instance, driven someone to suicide (which was a real possiblity) and this was a white man (rather than all the people-of-color that she was secretly also attacking) and people who supported her or joined in had to defend themselves in a court of law (requires_hate would, of course, just close her account and vanish scott-free) how well do you think the “It wasn’t a racially-motivated attack because there’s not such thing as racism towards whites” argument would work as a defense? I don’t think it would last a second when tested against the legal code, myself.

    And this is the thing: in SF fandom I see a widespread ideology that I’d never seen anywhere before, and which, when I tell people outside of SF fandom about it, they accuse me of making shit up. Interestingly it’s a very middle-class ideology that kindof genocides the white poor, by claiming that it’s all race and gender, and that class doesn’t exist. I’ve had multiple conversations with people who think that I (a white man from a working-class background, neither of who’s parent’s held degress) have the same opportunties in life as David Cameron, or even Barack Obama. I see this ideology being used by wealthy, privileged, international bright-young-things (like, perhaps, requires_hate herself) to deny that they have any privilege at all, as privilege is no longer related to whether your parents were millionaires, but only to the color of your skin.

    There isn’t room here to list all the appalling things I’ve seen in this community, a community that thinks it’s “better than mainstream society”, but which is actually deeply alarming and in a constant state of internal warfare (and is, in fact, not a community at all as I would understand the term). I’m sure that the ‘Sad Puppy’ crowd have their own ideological problems, but I don’t know them, I’ve not met any of them, I only know the left-leaning UK SF crowd, and they scare the hell out of me. Something is rotten in the state of science-fiction. Something allowed people who consider themselves ‘progressive’ to stand by and watch personal attacks of the most horrible nature, and have no problem with it at all. Even when we consider some of the people who were heroic in bringing down requires_hate, there’s still the uncomfortable question of why they saw nothing wrong with what she was doing until requires_hate turned on their friends. What was it that disabled these people’s moral compass?

    Sorry, but I think it was the ideology that they signed up to, in fact I’m sure it was, because they consistently defended their choices using that ideology. I bet quite a few of them wish they’d chosen differently now. But if requires_hate creates a new persona, and comes back into the community and starts doing it all over again, how many people will fall for the same tricks? And why will they fall for the same tricks?

    This ideology, whatever we want to call it, is the first thing I’ve encountered that can undermine what I call the “post holocaust consensus” (the idea that all people are equal and must be treated equally). This is dynamite, and it’s poison, it’s an ideological weapon. ‘Privilege’ is used to power a moral-exclusion argument that makes targetting one group (currently white males) acceptable. But what is privilege? Whatever someone can make a good argument for, is the answer. All around the world various racial minorities enjoy startling privilege (for instance chinese people in much of Asia: read Amy Chua’s “world on fire” for details) and it’s my belief that this argument that currently targets whites can be appropriated and used to target anyone. In certain contexts the results are going to be bloody. It’s not inconcivable that in this brave new century, as the Pax Americana declines, these arguments may be used to target whites in genocidal attacks, but it’s almost a certainty that they’ll be used to target *some group*. This will result in their discreditation, which will be very embarrassing for all the people who used the words previously, though that’s the least of my worries about this stuff.

    I think that James May sees the consequences of the ideology of science-fiction quite well, and he’s blown his fuse about it, which I don’t blame him for. I don’t really recommend trying to talk to him: he sees this all as being a criminal conspiracy to spread a new racist ideology, with lots of voices from SF all being card-carrying members of the conspiracy. I see it as being an emergent structure that is spreading from person to person as they parrot what they’ve heard others say (something we all do, but which becomes pathological if you exist in an ideological monoculture, which SF fandom mostly is). However, it’s not useful or kind to mock Mr May or call him names: he’s off the tracks in a lot of ways, but much of what he’s seeing, I believe, is real.

    • Simple Desultory Philip says:

      Laura Mixon is nominated this year for the Best Fan Writer award for her very comprehensive coverage of Requires Hate. The piece includes many links to discussions among both detractors and former supporters about how she used the rhetoric of social justice in her campaigns of harassment; how people committed to equality and compassion were fooled by her manipulation and her playing of “oppression olympics”, and thus didn’t speak up against her as they now feel they should have; and how such co-opting of basic progressive ideas for use in the the exact opposite way than how they are generally intended and understood can be prevented in the future. I’m sorry you were targeted by a sociopath and harasser and I’m sorry that she tainted your experience of feminism and progressive ideas. At the very least give Mixon’s piece a read. Many of Requires Hate’s victims show up in the comments and I believe there are links to some forums focused on support for those she has attacked. http://laurajmixon.com/2014/11/a-report-on-damage-done-by-one-individual-under-several-names/

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  34. Jades says:

    I’m sorry, it was a good read until your Goldwin point about Hitler’s painting…

    • Colum Paget says:

      # I’m sorry, it was a good read until your Goldwin point about Hitler’s painting…

      I think you mean ‘Godwin’, not ‘Goldwin’, and the problem with Godwin’s law is that it’s prevented people from seeing what’s right in front of their face. We spend all our time inventing excuses that “This isn’t what it looks like”, but sometimes if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.

  35. Schismatism says:

    Shirtstorm (n): When a shirt hits the fan and becomes all tangled, where scraps fall where they may, the fan’s motors begin releasing smoke, and where the people who eventually wind up cleaning up the whole thing have no interest in what caused the situation, they just don’t want to deal with this shirty situation anymore.

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