Racist Takes Dump in SFWA Twitter Stream: News at 11
The background: former SFWA presidential candidate Theodore Beale is known for rather over-the-top screeds. To this day, I can’t figure out if he actually believes the stuff he writes, or if he’s doing some sort of whiny white male supremacist performance art.
Normally, I wouldn’t waste my energy on this. Free speech is a thing, and he has the right to take a dump in his own little corner of the internet. The rest of us can carry on and leave him to play in his filth.
But Beale is also a member of SFWA. We’re already struggling with a few black eyes over sexist content in the Bulletin, among other issues. The last thing we need is for the smell of Beale-droppings to taint the whole organization.
Today he not only wrote a racist attack against author N. K. Jemisin, he then had it automatically tweeted to the SFWAauthors Twitter feed, which is used to promote relevant and appropriate content for SFWA members, as spelled out in the Twitter feed guidelines.
SFWA reacted exactly as they should have. When they became aware of the Tweet, they removed it, and Beale no longer has the ability to submit content to that feed. But once again, his actions have stained an organization I’m a part of.
Amal El-Mohtar has screenshots of Beale’s post “A Black Female Fantasist Calls for Reconciliation” here.
Trigger warning for racism, sexism, and general fuckmuppetry…
Now, Jemisin did refer to Beale’s candidacy in her Guest of Honor speech at Continuum, so I don’t think it’s at all unreasonable for him to respond.
He begins with his usual routine of accusing John Scalzi of being a rapist. Because man-crush, I guess. He describes Theresa Nielsen Hayden as a “fat frog” for good measure. Not sure what this has to do with Jemisin’s speech, but maybe he was warming up for the main act, wherein he explains:
…it is not that I, and others, do not view [Jemisin] as human, (although genetic science presently suggests that we are not equally homo sapiens sapiens), it is that we simply do not view her as being fully civilized for the obvious historical reason that she is not.
Jemisin mentioned “Stand your ground” laws in Texas and Florida. Beale responds:
The laws are not there to let whites “just shoot people like me, without consequence, as long as they feel threatened by my presence”, those self-defense laws have been put in place to let whites defend their lives and their property from people, like her, who are half-savages engaged in attacking them.
The awkward sentence structure here offers two interpretations.
- When “half-savage” people like Jemisin (i.e., Black people) attack you, you should be able to shoot them.
- Jemisin is a half-savage engaged in attacking Beale (via a speech), so Beale should be able to shoot her.
I’m guessing he meant the former, but either way it seems to come down to describing “Stand your ground” laws as legal protection for white folks who shoot scary dark-skinned people.
Beale goes on with more gems like this:
Unlike the white males she excoriates, there is no evidence to be found anywhere on the planet that a society of NK Jemisins is capable of building an advanced civilization, or even successfully maintaining one without significant external support from those white males.
You can read the whole thing if you’re feeling masochistic, or want to see other bits, like his comparing Jemisin to an “illiterate Igbotu tribesman.”
Beale is a member of SFWA. He has been held up as the reason people refuse to join, and I have a hard time arguing with that decision. Why would I want to join a group where I know there’s at least one person who will take a steaming dump of hate, play around in it, and start throwing it at anyone he doesn’t like.
Ten percent of SFWA’s voters supported this man for president. Given typical voter behavior, I have to assume a good chunk of voters didn’t read anything beyond the presidential platforms, and weren’t aware of Beale’s history. But even so — and even with Beale getting so thoroughly trounced in the election — I agree with Jemisin that it’s disturbing he got even that many votes.
Beale hurts the organization. I’m assuming this is a deliberate effort on his part, a mix of a fun game and a plea for attention.
I don’t believe he should be kicked out for his views.
I’m not sure whether his comments and behavior in the discussion forums or toward other members violate SFWA policies. (See update below.)
I do know that SFWA should not be an official platform for anyone’s foaming diatribes. And I know that while Theodore Beale is indeed part of SFWA, so are many, many people actively working against racism and sexism and discrimination.
Yeah. This sort of ignorance, bigotry, and hate still exists. Often it’s more subtle. Sometimes it’s even worse.
I also believe it’s fighting a losing battle. For every sexist rant in the Bulletin, we see hundreds of people speaking out in protest, demanding that women be treated not as “beauty queen lady editors,” but as equals. For every racist screed, far more people speak out to denounce that bigotry.
It’s a long battle, and like Jemisin, I don’t expect to see it won in my lifetime. But I also see rants like Beale’s as an increasingly desperate cry of protest as he and others who share his hatred slide further and further into irrelevancy.
ETA: Thank you to those who pointed out Article 4, Section 10 of the SFWA By-laws, which state, “The officers of the Corporation may, by unanimous vote, expel any member for good and sufficient cause.” While the by-laws don’t specify what “good and sufficient cause” means, I personally think we’ve cleared that bar with Beale actively using a SFWA resource as part of his personal attacks on members, as well as the reputational damage he’s done to the organization as a whole.
A glimpse at the racism lurking around science fiction | Tobias Buckell Online
June 13, 2013 @ 1:22 pm
[…] himself ‘Vox Day’ who recently blogged this about SF writer N.J. Jemisin (Jim Hines has more context for you here). Beale ran for president of SFWA recently, and is an exemplar of the sort of science […]
June 13, 2013 @ 1:41 pm
Jim, I agree completely and deeply respect what you’re doing in this post overall. Because of that, may I please suggest that you rethink your use of the phrase “tarred by association”? There are some problematic connotations there. Thanks very much.
Jim C. Hines
June 13, 2013 @ 1:51 pm
Stephen – I’m not familiar with the connotations in question, and Google is failing me. Can you help fill in this knowledge gap for me?
June 13, 2013 @ 1:57 pm
I’m assuming he’s referring to tar babies or somesuch.
June 13, 2013 @ 2:06 pm
Tarring and feathering. Also associated with lynching.
Jim C. Hines
June 13, 2013 @ 2:15 pm
Had a quick and interesting Twitter chat about it, and did a little reading at http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-tar1.htm
I did go ahead and change that phrase, though. I like the new version better anyway 🙂
June 13, 2013 @ 2:16 pm
It’s unacceptable. In the UK, what he wrote is hate speech and probably actionable. I’m one of those who has written to sfwa calling for his expulsion, because I will not be driven out by him and his ilk.
And as ever, a fine post, Jim. Thank you.
Tarring and feathering is a mediaeval European feudal practice in origin, but this doesn’t stop the phrase being problematic, as a result of its associations.
Jim C. Hines
June 13, 2013 @ 2:18 pm
That’s pretty much my understanding of the phrase too, after a bit of discussion and digging. And it certainly doesn’t hurt me at all to change it.
June 13, 2013 @ 2:28 pm
I’m assuming it’s referring to tarring and feathering (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarring_and_feathering), which does have classist/racist undertones.
June 13, 2013 @ 2:35 pm
Oh holy… I can’t… I just… Nope.
Nope, nope, nope.
Fuckmuppetry is right.
June 13, 2013 @ 2:46 pm
This makes me wonder if part of a future SFWA discussion should include us thinking and discussing hate-speech (and/or attacking another member) as being a criteria for removal of membership. Maybe we’ve reached the point where SFWA bylaws should include the same general behavior agreements that you’d find in a condo association, a food-coop or frankly any company.
Stephen A. Watkins
June 13, 2013 @ 3:23 pm
I’m not a member of SFWA, and likely won’t be any time in the near future, but it is my desire to one day be capable of joining.
Basically, I don’t have a say in the matter right now, nor necessarily the right to say something. But if I could have my say, I’d say that I fully support the campaign to rid SFWA of this noxious weed.
June 13, 2013 @ 3:33 pm
Jim, you forgot “douchebaggery” — which is not only a wonderful phrase, but refers directly to something which is out of date and demonstrably harmful to women.
June 13, 2013 @ 4:02 pm
I’m extremely hopeful that abuse of the official Twitter feed means there are clear grounds for expulsion.
June 13, 2013 @ 4:55 pm
Well, Beale has already implied that he would sue the SFWA if they tried to remove him as a life member. You might check out his Vox Populi blog – his latest update on the issue isn’t too coherent – I’m not sure exactly to what he is responding, but it is clear that he is prepared to do battle. He also has a connected attack on another of his blogs – which is even more disgusting that Vox Populi (if that is possible) – Alpha Game – there’s a link on VP, under “Daytrips”. I have been checking him out periodically – this may not have shown up in his comments on the SFWA site, but on April 15th of this year, he posted a blog “McRapey and McRacist respond to criticism”, where he makes it quite clear that he was talking about Scalzi and Jemison. I am not sure why he chose to attack her – it is not uncommon for him to attack Scalzi with a made-up cause. He apparently took offence over a Twitter conversation between Scalzi and Jemison. But it seems clear that rather than Jemison provoking Beale, it was the opposite. He had already attacked her two months ago. I believe he referred to Jemison as McRapist in at least one other blog post after that.
Jim C. Hines
June 13, 2013 @ 5:22 pm
I hadn’t considered that. I wonder if he’s lawsuit-fishing then, similar to the Westboro Baptist Church’s approach.
June 13, 2013 @ 6:33 pm
When you are a dicey eugenics conspiracy theorist like Beale, you need to have enemies and you go looking for them. Beale has clearly been trying to undermine SFWA for some time now. Jemisin did reference him in her speech, and not in a flattering way, but more to the point, she’s one of the leading black writers in SFFH today, so she’s been a regular target of his, it seems, because according to his view of the universe, there aren’t supposed to be any leading black writers in SFFH. I am surprised that he made it an outright threat, though. Sounds like the guy is starting to lose it, but I’ve never visited his Internet lair, so maybe this is normal behavior for him. He is very obsessed with Scalzi.
June 13, 2013 @ 7:00 pm
I’m with Gabby.
I cannot even.
June 13, 2013 @ 7:40 pm
I will say that I DO LOVE the word Fuckmuppetry!! And it just seems to fit this situation, and the individual involved, so well!! I’m only going to use it when describing egregious situations like this. It’s unconscinable to use a professional organization to promote personal views (regardless of the content). The fact that those views are as vile as they are is just the icing (or other substance) on the cake. Even if he isn’t forced to leave, there need to be consequences for his flagrant abuse of resources!! And THANK YOU Jim for the new vocabulary!!!!
June 13, 2013 @ 8:28 pm
And Female. Don’t forget female. Ghu forbid a black female author dare write better books than RSHD ever could. I’m convinced Jemisin could write a better book than RSHD if she was in a coma. She’s just that good.
For no particular reason whatsoever, Scalzi, Jerico, Larbalestier and Westerfield are matching pledges made today to the Carl Brandon Society (who run Con or Bust) or the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund.
June 13, 2013 @ 8:39 pm
Beale, as Vox Day, has been well known in some political blogging circles as a major racist, misogynist, and general ass for years.
B. Ross Ashley
June 13, 2013 @ 8:53 pm
Hate speech up here in Canada too. Although I detest the idea of hate speech crimes, I’d rather mine enemy feel free to identify itself for target practice.
Reconciliation: A Response To Theodore Beale | shattersnipe: malcontent & rainbows
June 13, 2013 @ 9:02 pm
[…] as to defy the utility of cataloguing them here, when all you need do is Google him – has responded to Jemisin with a racist screed so vile and unconscionable that the only surprise is that even he, a man with […]
June 13, 2013 @ 9:02 pm
I’m confused by this guy’s apparent belief that a society of white men could “build an advanced civilization” by themselves – I’ve never heard of any successful “advanced civilization” without women. Without white people, sure, but women?
June 13, 2013 @ 9:07 pm
“Fuckmuppetry” is now my word for the day. Hell, my word for the year. It’s awesome.
June 13, 2013 @ 9:53 pm
If you think about it, those ‘advanced civilizations’ are generally built on the backs of non-whites/minorities. Those advanced civs usually take the dim view that women are inferior or barely better than property as well…
I hope to be an SFWA member one day, but I would hesitate to join an organization that had this sort of fuckmuppetry going on. I understand that it is frowned upon, and that in any group of humans there seems to be little to no chance that there won’t be at least one more more members of the group that are racist/misogynistic/homophobic/bigoted, but it is appalling that someone would use such a high-profile platform to subject the rest of us to such hatred.
I sincerely hope the SFWA addresses this issue, not just to remedy this specific incidence, but to make it clear that in the future there are rules in place to cover such a situation.
More fallout from the SFWA controversy | angelahighland.com
June 13, 2013 @ 10:53 pm
[…] Jim Hines addresses the matter here. […]
Reconciliation within the SFF genre, one writer at a time (or finally getting around to the SWFA kerfuffle) | The Cafe in the Woods
June 13, 2013 @ 10:54 pm
[…] And then this happened. […]
June 13, 2013 @ 11:28 pm
Oh yes, of course, female. But what I found funniest was the part where it took Western Europeans a thousand years after being in contact with ancient civilizations to be civilized, so Africa needs more time. It actually took them longer than that, and some of the ancient civilizations that did the important contact were African, like ancient Egypt, ancient Carthage, the Ottoman Empire, not to mention the trade with other ancient civilizations that also had advanced tech, science and civilization long before Western Europeans wore clothes — the Chinese, Japanese, etc. But a firm grasp of history and science seldom comes out of these people’s mouths.
I pledged to the Carl Brandon Society for no particular reason. The drive is still open for at least another half hour.
somewhat past time | Crime and the Blog of Evil
June 14, 2013 @ 3:16 am
[…] once again, SFWA has an explosion on its hands – in this case, Theodore Beale/Vox Day has used SFWA’s writer-promotion Twitter account to promote a virulentl… on N.K. Jemisin, a writer of colour, who is also a SFWA […]
June 14, 2013 @ 6:47 am
I think it’s kind of amusing that the linked article goes on at some length about how the origin of the phrase is not actually racist, concluding with “The links of the colour black with matters that were detestable, dishonourable or evil also added to the negative sense.”
Elizabeth A. Mancz
June 14, 2013 @ 7:38 am
He could well be. As you noted above, the man does love attention. And a big, messy, AND noisy lawsuit against the SFWA would certainly garner him a whole mess of attention. I would change his acronym from RSHD to RSHN (Nutcase) however – as I said above, I have been reading his blog since the whole thing with Scalzi blew up, and this is a man who claims to believe that the moon landing was a hoax, Sandy Hook was a hoax (to allow the ‘gubmint’ to pass laws to pry guns out of patriotic Americans’ ‘cold, dead hands’, etc. This is not a rational person. So I would not be at all surprise to find him lawsuit trolling.
June 14, 2013 @ 8:26 am
Lifetime members can be expelled, as per Article IV, Section 10 [emphasis mine]:
I will note that I am not a lawyer, and have no idea if this would hold up in court. I also have no idea if the SFWA has ever had to do this in the past.
This Week in Racist Bullshit — Radish Reviews
June 14, 2013 @ 8:30 am
[…] Racist Takes Dump in SFWA Twitter Stream: News at 11 […]
June 14, 2013 @ 11:24 am
Maybe with his Scalzi man-crush, he’s hoping to add “mired in controversy” to all references of Scalzi’s SFWA presidency.
Or maybe it’s simply trolls need big platforms, the bigger the better. For jerks like this, everyone NEEDS to hear what they have to say, so there is an obligation to get the word out as widely as possible.
June 14, 2013 @ 11:52 am
I’m beginning to find all of this baffling, as in, how is this happening and being tolerated (enough that it’s still happening) in “a professional organization for authors of science fiction, fantasy and related genres” whose mission “is to inform, support, promote, defend and advocate for our member writers.”
So, a professional organization of authors of speculative fiction keeps getting mired in throwback societal issues that most companies/organizations/governments wouldn’t tolerate for 5 seconds? Usually because it’s ILLEGAL in any public organization. Society has been making huge strides toward tolerance, inclusion, equality, and the organization of SPECULATIVE FICTION writers is 50 years behind everyone else barring white supremacists, Westboro and its ilk, Neo-Nazis?
Color me confused.
June 14, 2013 @ 3:55 pm
Like many others, I first heard of this guy due to his escalating attacks on John Scalzi–and I assume a key purpose of his attacks on Scalzi is indeed to attract attention, given that this seems to be how MOST people have heard of him.
Since then, the more I have seen, the more I suspect something is seriously wrong with him. By “wrong,” I don’t just mean character defects like the bigotry, mendacity, narcissism, and malice that are all are quite evident in his public blog. I mean that I wonder if he suffers from serious mental illness which is either undiagnosed, not treated effectively, or not responding to treatment.
For example, there’s his tendency, displayed regularly on his public blog, to spiral into hysteria; in his blog posts, he frequently seems to be in a state of rambling, incoherent, panic-stricken rage and fear. There’s also his rampant paranoia (a number of his blog posts evince a belief that everyone is out to get him, he is always a victim–and, yep, he also succumbs with ardor to various elaborate conspiracy theories).
In any case, his behavior seems to be snowballing. So the SFWA Board needs to take strong steps, despite compassion for the mentally ill, to protect SFWA, which is its mandate. Hopefully his family and/or medical caregivers can help him, which is–or ought to be–their mandate.
June 14, 2013 @ 4:03 pm
Well, it is a bit problematic diagnosing someone with mental illness over the internet. So I wouldn’t really go there.
However, since this guy thinks so highly of his genetic superiority, I’ll gladly point out that he comes from some fine genetic stock – http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Robert_Beale
June 14, 2013 @ 4:27 pm
What confuses me about his attack on the stand your ground laws is that he claims that Jemisin misrepresents the purpose of the law — a fair point, I think — but then proceeds to do exactly the same thing while at the same time proving her point. It’s sort of this wandering sea of contradictions, confusions, inanities, and absurdities. I agree with you. Given how much he sounds like the sea of conspiracy theorist “news people” like Alex Jones, Beck, etc., it’s hard to know whether he’s serious or engaging in performance art. If the latter, he’s doing a fine job of it, I guess…
June 14, 2013 @ 5:29 pm
I’m one of those who won’t join as long as Beale is a member, and I personally know of at least two others who hold the same opinion. He’s using SFWA–the events, the forums, the membership in general–to troll for victims. No way I’m opening myself up to that and paying money for it to boot.
June 14, 2013 @ 6:00 pm
For the sake of precision. Carthage was culturally Phoenician, so Levantine. The Ottoman Empire was Turkish (central Asian), with strong Arab (Near Eastern) and Persian (Middle Eastern) religious and cultural influences and some Byzantine Greek influences too.
SFWA: It gets worse… | Cora Buhlert
June 15, 2013 @ 12:32 am
[…] VD hits and Google juice and still want to see what he wrote, Amal El-Mohtar, Foz Meadows and Jim Hines have excerpts of VD’s shitdump on their respective blogs along with thoughtful commentary. In […]
Theodore Beale and how organizations get poisoned from within. | Fiction
June 15, 2013 @ 12:47 am
[…] whole mess with Beale is well outlined by Jim Hines. The short version is that Beale is a racist, a misogynist, and seems to generally enjoy pissing […]
June 15, 2013 @ 12:59 am
A part-Asian mongrel
June 15, 2013 @ 8:39 am
Beale (let’s not call him “Vox Day” as that is his idea of a clever pun on “vox Dei” or “voice of God” and he definitely is NOT), believes that women have nothing to do with the actual building of “civilization” – their only role in his view of history is to produce many offspring to build and maintain civilization. One of his major themes on his various blogs is that feminists and modern white women are falling down on the job. By taking jobs etc. and not marrying men chosen by their fathers (yes, he had a blog on that) in their late teens, young women are destroying -yes, destroying Western Civilization by choosing their own husbands and by not having 5-6 kids each, we are letting ourselves get outbred by those differently colored people. (58 year old unmarried, childless Ph.D. here). So yes, he sees civilization as being the product of white MEN. His world is pretty scary. (Sorry if the middle of this got a bit tangled.)
June 15, 2013 @ 8:44 am
Well, no. Sumerians (who invented the idea), kept as slaves their own people, or inhabitants of neighboring cities, who were ethnically and racially the same. Again, the vast majority of Greek slaves were other Greeks, just as the majority of Roman slaves were Italian. In the empire we see the addition of large numbers of Egyptians (mostly North African descent), Greeks, Carthaginians, Persians and Palestinians (Near Eastern) and Northern Europeans (Gauls, Germans, English Celts, etc.) again, mostly “white”. It is not until the 16th century AD where we see slaves/colonial people of color becoming a majority. It is modern civilizations, not ancient, which were built upon the weary backs of non-whites/minorities.
June 15, 2013 @ 8:53 am
That statement also had me somewhat floored. He never bothered to open a world-history book, did he? But then, who cares about historical facts?
Just a few days ago we had a documentary on tv about Amber found in the tomb on Tutankhamun and how they assumed that the Amber came from the Baltic sea and then tried to figure out the trade-routes. Over 3.000 years ago. Totally fascinating.
I would add Sumer (Mesopotamia) and the Indus-civilization to that list. Together with Egypt the three oldest and first civilizations.
Also Babylon and Iran (Persia).
And then there are also the ancient civilizations in South-America: Maya, Inka, Actek, Caral.
June 15, 2013 @ 1:04 pm
For the sake of my peace of mind I have consciously avoided reading anything by Beale under any name for many years. The man has a sewer for a mind and he thinks its a palace, and he wants to spread that sewer around the world ‘to make things better’.
I certainly hope SFWA is able to get the unanimous vote they need to end his membership. I think that the best end for him is in obscurity as he becomes a long forgotten footnote on Scalzi’s otherwise pretty dang decent tenure as president.
June 15, 2013 @ 1:07 pm
Because of SF’s ‘boy’s club’ attitude, I have largely retreated from my childhood and adolescent love for SF — because there is no room in the field for woman-centered and minority-centered fiction that is more broadly representative. I read mostly female SF and fantasy authors if at all any more, and have largely moved to more mainstream fiction because ‘speculative’ fiction no longer speculates about anything other than a misogynistic, racist future where women and minorities are either invisible, tokenized, or simply ‘tolerated’.
Sexism and gender issues in SF/fantasy/horror, and what I plan to do about it. | www.seanmunger.com
June 15, 2013 @ 11:32 pm
[…] not all. In a related issue, Theodore Beale, a well-known SF writer, let loose with a disgusting racist screed which was posted to the SFWA’s Twitter feed. In this sickening rant, Mr. Beale likened black […]
June 16, 2013 @ 4:09 pm
Well, I’ve got a couple serious mental illnesses, and I’m pretty sure that even when I was undiagnosed and untreated, I never wrote a giant racist and sexist screed.
It’s pretty gross to conflate mental illnesses with being an asshole, or being a raging racist/misogynist. Please don’t.
June 16, 2013 @ 7:53 pm
Suzanne, I did NOT equate mental illness with racism and misogyny. I specifically referred to those qualities as character defects.
I cited other qualities entirely–the hysteria and paranoia he regularly evinces (more of that on his blog yesterday, in fact)–as the behaviors that make me wonder if he suffers from mental illness.
The Grumpy Buddha
June 16, 2013 @ 9:24 pm
Also interesting that N.K. Jemisin’s speech uses the phrase “tar and feather” — and I don’t think she was trying to be ironic/sardonic/sarcastic/whatever the word is. (Otherwise you have to read her speech as saying “Hey, audience, I think that your country has some problems with racial equality — but before you lynch me, let me continue!” which would be kinda rude.
June 17, 2013 @ 9:37 pm
“…it is not that I, and others, do not view [Jemisin] as human, (although genetic science presently suggests that we are not equally homo sapiens sapiens), it is that we simply do not view her as being fully civilized for the obvious historical reason that she is not.
Jemisin mentioned “Stand your ground” laws in Texas and Florida. Beale responds:
The laws are not there to let whites “just shoot people like me, without consequence, as long as they feel threatened by my presence”, those self-defense laws have been put in place to let whites defend their lives and their property from people, like her, who are half-savages engaged in attacking them.”
Wow! I mean. Wow! Uh, wow!
SFWA, hate speech, and standing up for what is right | Diodati L.O.D.G.E.
June 17, 2013 @ 10:05 pm
June 18, 2013 @ 4:29 am
A librarian who would like to be able to depend on SFWA’s judgment chimes in:
What am I saying to my own patrons if I trust the judgement of people who associate with men who refer to them as “savages”? If I trust the integrity of people who make excuses for shocking displays of racism?
June 18, 2013 @ 3:10 pm
True, but these ancient empires did spread out over and involve African peoples and involved a high level of science and tech advancement that also influenced Europe, as did ancient Egypt and other African and Arab/Mediterranean/Asian civilizations. The idea that Europe was isolated from Africa, that great cities and advanced civilizations did not exist in Africa, that the “civilizing” influences in Europe were entirely Greco-Roman, and not African, Asian, Arabian, Persian, etc. is ridiculous. “Civilization” such as it is existed long before the Greek city states.
But of course, it’s all ridiculous. As far as the fossil evidence can determine, most if not all of humanity started in Africa and spread outwards. Biologically, our variances in skin color are statistically insignificant and have nothing to do with our brains and nervous systems.
June 18, 2013 @ 6:49 pm
I don’t obsess about how long it took someone to be civilized. Everything I’ve read that wasn’t “look at us, aren’t we so clever” in terms of human political history says to me that civilization is just human domestication, and that we are capable of doing impressive things and being decent to one another without it. That white supremacists so pride themselves on how early and how quickly they turned from wolves to pet dogs says nothing good whatsoever, at least in my view. (And if you’re curious, check out Jason Godesky’s Thirty Theses, findable on Google via the Anthropik Network. Daniel Quinn is also fascinating.)
Look at what’s happened in every area of the world that “civilization” has occurred. Iraq was cedar forest, now it’s desert. China and the Yellow River. And so on.
But that’s a whole potential realm of speculative fiction that I don’t think the SFWA would ever cover.
June 18, 2013 @ 6:55 pm
Mental illness can manifest as being an asshole. That’s happened to me. The brain not working properly can manifest in so many different ways, antisocial behavior (whether from a genuine sociopath or not) being only one.
Certainly, a *sane* person has no reason to want to behave that way. We are a social animal and we tend toward sociality when everything’s working properly. Repelling people who have done nothing bad or wrong to you is not tending toward sociality.
Yes, we should be compassionate in the face of mental illness but sometimes compassion means ostracizing one person to protect all the others. SFWA is not his only social group, and his family and face-to-face friends are falling down on the job. Let *them* pick up his slack.
Back from hiatus and 10 things on my mind | E. E. Sheridan
June 21, 2013 @ 1:59 pm
[…] Racism, sexism and misogyny suck balls. See these posts, and these too, for more information. Apparently our most forward-thinking constellation of […]
Through Dangers Untold and Hardships Unnumbered - The Murverse Annex
June 24, 2013 @ 11:53 am
[…] But apparently women not wanting to be harassed at a convention, not suggested to be Barbie, not calling people of color “savages,” and not crying about your right to be a bigoted asshole with no one calling you on it […]
June 25, 2013 @ 2:52 am
Truly a depraved case warranting pity more than anger. PLONK into the BanHammer bucket with him. To me- I think Pox more fitting than vox…
July 1, 2013 @ 1:50 pm
Boot the fucker out. No question.
The rules seem clear enough; he gets a partial refund of his life membership fee.
I can’t see any grounds to sue – and he’s certainly published enough libellous content that he *really* doesn’t want to start that game.
July 20, 2013 @ 7:41 pm
I do find I agree with Mr Beale that there are a lot of half-savages running aroung Florida attacking decent civilised people.
I’m not quite sure however that I agree with him on exactly who the half-savages are.
July 21, 2013 @ 1:36 pm
Slavery linked to skin colour is a relatively modern idea.
The 1772 court case which declared slavery to be illegal in England was based on a law passed to outlaw Russian traders from bringing white Slavic slaves into the country.
Also in the early chapters of Robinson Crusoe he is taken and enslaved to a North African owner, which was the fate of many Europeans up to 200 years ago. Arab slavetakeing of whites was the cause of the USA’s first foreign war (look up http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbary_War).
You might consider the early USA’s objections to white slavery to be somewhat hypocritical – but that’s another story.
August 9, 2013 @ 8:18 am
[Comment deleted for ignorance and general dumbassery from a Beale fanboy.]
August 9, 2013 @ 11:39 am
I understand why this post was dropped, but I respectfully disagree.
1, It’s said that “free speach is for b***s or it’s not free speach” (not my choice of language, but I think this gentleman qualifies admirably on that basis).
2, As long as he doesn’t advocate violence or similar, I’d prefer to have his views up there. He really does make a fine job of making his side look bigoted and ignorant.
3, Most of the worst fascist-type outfits (and I used to live in Germany) do have a few genuine grievences, which they cherish and nurse because they use them to justify all their other nastiness. In this case denial of right to speak would be one of them. It is regretably true that some liberal organisations have sought to silence people they disagree with. As an earlier contributer said, your country’s constitution protects Beale’s right to free speach, just not when claiming to speak for an organisation whose members repudiate his vile words.
4, Lastly I want to be able to reply to this man, and ask him what on earth is he talking about.
We started off talking about an unarmed kid being shot by an armed man who had stalked and hassled him, then claimed to be in fear of his victim.
I don’t know what the kid’s character was like, maybe he was a yobbo, but the actions of his killer clearly qualify for the title of savage barbarian.
“People living in barbaric cultures where rape and stoning is part of life.”
On the evidence I see, some parts of Florida appear to qualify. I’m just glad to see there are so many Americans who want to try to change that.
Jim C. Hines
August 9, 2013 @ 11:50 am
I am neither a liberal organization nor a country. This individual absolutely has the right to speak his views, however much I disagree with them. I would gladly fight to defend and protect that right for him.
That doesn’t mean I’m going to let him use my personal platform to spew ignorance and hate.
I have zero interest in debating this person, or in hosting him here. I’m sure you could follow up with him over on Beale’s website, however.
I understand and respect that you disagree with me on this one, and that’s fine. There was a time I probably would have left it alone, and possibly even tried to engage with him. But I have less energy and patience for this stuff than I used to.
Hope this makes sense, and thanks!
August 9, 2013 @ 12:11 pm
It’s your blog and it’s your decision, but FWIW I agree with Jim. Since I’m subscribed to this particular post, when the email popped into my inbox, I just rolled my eyes and deleted it. It’s obvious trolling and there’s the old (in internet years) saying “Don’t feed the trolls.”
However, it really goes beyond that, really. Unfortunately I can’t find the post, but I think it was Mary Robinette Kowal (and since I can’t find it, it might have been someone else, if so, I apologize) who had a blog post about dealing with people like this. They aren’t trying to engage in a meaningful debate, and it’s not just that responding to them just feeds into their need for attention and spewing their views. At some point you need to think about the rest of the reader community, and realize that just ignoring isn’t necessarily enough and, in a way, you need to protect your blog community from degenerating into a home for trolls spewing nonsense in order to get attention and rile people up. “Don’t feed the trolls” sometimes need to go a step further into actively keeping them out. (I am horribly paraphrasing and it was explained so much better, but like I said, I can’t find the original post unfortunately.)
So there’s deleting comments from people who disagree, which I can see as being a not so good thing. And then there’s deleting comments from those who aren’t even interesting in a discussion. All they want is a platform to rant from and in their minds anyone who disagrees with their views is ganging up on them and trying to silence dissent. To them – that is the only “discussion” they are interested in. Letting them have their platform to rant from won’t spark debate, it will only move towards poisoning the well as those who don’t want to put up with having someone rant at them will stop commenting and move away.
So, while I as a reader just ignored it as the trolling it sure seemed to be, Jim had the tough decision of leaving it be, or taking a stand and saying unreasonable ranting like that just isn’t allowed. In my experience, every discussion forum and comments section sinks as low as the moderation allows it.
Jim C. Hines
August 9, 2013 @ 12:14 pm
Mary Robinette Kowal’s post on Angry vs. Rabid Weasels: http://www.maryrobinettekowal.com/journal/how-to-identify-a-rabid-weasel/
August 9, 2013 @ 1:46 pm
Thanks Jim (and others) for well thought-out replies.
Yes, I accept that it’s Jim’s website, and Jim’s call. It was also a well-argued and polite response by Jim.
The point made by Mary is a good one. Someone – in this case Jim has to decide is this man:
1, Someone whose opinions I disagree with or
2, Someone who had a bad day (and we all do) or
3, Someone out to cause trouble – a troll.
(1) demands respect, (2) deserves mercy, (3) deserves neither.
In response to Ken, I think he has it right.
I have had bad experiences with left-wing militants who classify anyone who disagrees as fascist/sexist/racist (usually all three at once). That has probably coloured my initial response.
So in response to courteous arguments, may I review my opinion and say that a good case has been made for regarding him as a troll – a rabid weasel as Mary put it – and that deleting his post was a reasonable and proper way to treat him.
Jordan S. Bassior
August 9, 2013 @ 2:39 pm
In the UK, what he wrote is hate speech and probably actionable.
That is Britain’s shame, not glory. Freedom of speech should never be abridged save for reasons of state security, and when you pass a law banning speech you do not like, it shall eventually be used to ban speech that you do like — or personally make. I’m glad I live in America, where those with whom I disagree must be argued against, rather than suppressed by the force of the State.
Jordan S. Bassior
August 9, 2013 @ 2:45 pm
Tarring and feathering is mostly relevant to American history in the 1760’s and 1770’s, when it was done by Patriots against Loyalists. Our wide retroactive toleration of this terroristic pratcice is a blight on our national origins. While the crime (among many) was also committed at times against blacks by anti-black racists, it is hardly special to anti-black racists: indeed, the most common manner in which whites lynched blacks was hanging, sometimes accompanied by some earlier mutilation. This was especially true during the early to mid 20th century.
This hardly excuses anti-black racists, as the reason why they didn’t usually tar-and-feather black victims is that tarring-and-feathering was usually survivable. The KKK wanted to kill its victims.
Jordan S. Bassior
August 9, 2013 @ 2:51 pm
I read mostly female SF and fantasy authors if at all any more, and have largely moved to more mainstream fiction because ‘speculative’ fiction no longer speculates about anything other than a misogynistic, racist future where women and minorities are either invisible, tokenized, or simply ‘tolerated’.
You mean like in white male author David Weber’s “Honor Harrington” series, in which women are the full equal to men in most interstellar societies including as regards military service (with the exceptions very much looked at suspiciously for their attitudes), the human races have merged and split and re-merged so often during the Diaspora that the very concept of “racism” has become difficult for most non-historians to grasp, and the main character is an incredibly-admirable woman modelled loosely on an amalgam of Admirals Nelson and Cochrane and Horatio Hornblower?
Maybe you need to read more Baen Books?
Jim C. Hines
August 9, 2013 @ 2:57 pm
Jordan – I enjoyed the Honor Harrington books, but a single example doesn’t really build or support an argument, any more than saying “But Octavia Butler!” proves the genre isn’t slanted toward white authors.
Jordan S. Bassior
August 9, 2013 @ 3:39 pm
If you’re talking story content, I think that most far-future science fiction stopped being explicitly racist sometime around the 1940’s and implicitly racist sometime around the 1960’s. Sexism lasted a bit longer, but I’d say that SF in general stopped being explicitly sexist by the 1980’s and implicitly sexist by the 1990’s. If you think about it, today’s racial prejudices wouldn’t last long after the existing races all merged and re-split repeatedly, though new racial prejudices might emerge. Even Clark Ashton Smith saw this in his depiction of a (future-racist) society in “An Adventure in Futurity”
If you’re talking story authorship, I think there are several issues to consider. The first is that fans are often unaware of the race or gender of a writer. I became a major Andre Norton fan in the mid 1970’s and only became aware in the early 1980’s that she was even female. Though this is less the case today, when women usually do not conceal their sex behind pen-names, it is certainly true as regards racial origins: many American names are quite uninformative regarding ethnic origins, particularly where blacks are concerned. So I don’t think it’s a matter of reader prejudice.
The second has to do with self-selection to be a science fiction writer. It’s very much a volunteer profession: if white men choose to write science fiction stories out of numerical proportion to women or non-whites, the reason probably lies in cultural traditions. I seriously doubt that very many editors are rejecting stories because they happen to have been written by non-whites or non-males — why, even in the (racist) Inter-War Era I can point to female writers and occasional non-white writers (and, if you consider that back then Jews and Slavs were not really thought of as “white,” more than “occasional” non-white writers). In other words, I think that in our culture non-whites are less likely to try to be science-fiction writers, especially hard science-fiction wrieters: the reasons are complex and worthy of discussion, but to make myself clear I do not think that they stem from any biological differences.
Thirdly, I’m not sure that there’s very much point in even focusing on the ethnic or sexual identity of authors as opposed to the quality and content of stories. I am more concerned to read good science fiction than to read “white” or “Latino” or “Jewish” or “black” or “women’s” or “gay” science fiction. I find the very focus on race, sex and orientation of authors in a genre spawned from the awareness of the transience of the present to itself by absurd.
Here’s my article on that topic: “Why I Am NOT Into Group Identity Based Anthologies”
August 10, 2013 @ 6:57 am
August 9th, 2013 at 8:18 am · Reply
[Comment deleted for ignorance and general dumbassery from a Beale fanboy.]
Jim C. Hines
August 9th, 2013 at 11:50 am · Reply
1. I am neither a liberal organization nor a country.
Reading comprehension. I never said you were. I talked about fascist organisations and states silencing those who disagree with them, sometimes with deadly force. I see this kind of thing in embryonic form when I see people appealing to the government to label certain things ‘hate speech’. Demonstrated in some of the posts here. I personally think we have real issues when the government starts to police what we say – it never used to be the case here in England, but now you can be imprisoned for telling a joke about the wrong kind of group with protected status.
2. This individual absolutely has the right to speak his views, however much I disagree with them. I would gladly fight to defend and protect that right for him.
A lovely sentiment, but utterly meaningless when you delete comments on a public platform.
3. That doesn’t mean I’m going to let him use my personal platform to spew ignorance and hate.
This is not a personal platform. It is a public platform. Something you restrict to family members and friends may well be regarded as a personal platform. This is certainly not, whether you think so, or not. And of course, the ‘ignorance and hate’ is simply a robust disagreement with you. How can you possibly pretend to have any consistency or principle if you say, on one hand, that you will defend and protect a person’s right to speak his views, but then on the other, delete (sensor) someone’s comments? Can you not see how fuzzy your thinking is here?
4. I have zero interest in debating this person, or in hosting him here. I’m sure you could follow up with him over on Beale’s website, however.
‘I believe in people’s right to speak their mind – just not here.’
5. I understand and respect that you disagree with me on this one, and that’s fine. There was a time I probably would have left it alone, and possibly even tried to engage with him. But I have less energy and patience for this stuff than I used to.
Translation – ‘I’ve essentially given up on debate.’
6. Hope this makes sense, and thanks!
Of course it makes sense. You are too butt-hurt to allow my comments to remain. You display a troubling inconsistency in what you say you believe, and what you actually do.
Don’t you think that if my comments were ‘ignorance and general dumbassery’ then you could just leave them be. They will obviously speak for themselves and anyone reading them will be left in no doubt about my narrow, bigoted mind? Instead of that, you kind of prove my point about liberals being unable to tolerate dissent.
‘I am tolerant, as long as you agree with me.’
August 10, 2013 @ 8:19 am
Since I’m the one who questioned the deletion of James original may I make it clear that I believe the decision on what to do with this one is Jim’s and Jim’s alone.
He paid the money to host this website.
Jim C. Hines
August 10, 2013 @ 9:54 am
“Reading comprehension. I never said you were.”
Reading comprehension indeed. I wasn’t talking to you.
Jim C. Hines
August 10, 2013 @ 9:59 am
Still trying to decide what to do with this one…
August 14, 2013 @ 8:02 pm
I regret never having met Ms. Jemisin, and in any case cannot approve such language used about her. But I have met, have read, and admire Teresa Nielsen Hayden, and whoever you are, you are not going to talk about her that way if I have any say in the matter whatever. In fact, you can leave the party right now.
August 15, 2013 @ 6:46 am
Jordan, I’m glad you’re in the USA too. I don’t want you in my country.
I see my country’s stance on this as a positive, because I actually understand what censorship means and have lived through *real* censorship in action. Racists here are free to spew hate if they must, but they don’t get to incite violence, hatred and division without then facing consequences. You and Mr Beale are free here or anyway else to express your opinions. I support that. The rider is that I am likewise and equally free to express mine, and my opinion is that you are both intolerant, racist f*ckwits.
Feel free to shout. I am now going to exercise my right to ignore you totally.
Jordan S. Bassior
August 15, 2013 @ 7:04 am
Which opinion or opinions of mine do you believe to be “racist?” Do you consider opposing “hate speech” laws to be inherently racist? And of what am I “intolerant?”
August 17, 2013 @ 6:05 pm
Wow, Kari, I think you grossly misunderstood Jordan’s comment and overreacted a great deal to it. He seemed to merely be defending the idea of free speech, NOT offering a defense of racism and racists.
Its dangerous for us to conflate a belief in freedom of speech with a belief in some of the vile ideas espoused under the auspices of that freedom.
And I would agree with him as well about the fact that it is healthier to have all opinions heard, thereby allowing small-minded bigots to be bludgeoned by facts and reason IN PUBLIC – rather than allowing their kind to fester underground and cultivate an “outlaw” image that appeals to adolescent minds both young and old.
August 17, 2013 @ 7:17 pm
I don’t know which country Kari is in, but the issue of free speach is the subject of debate in the UK.
The theory of our law was simple. You can say what you want, but you can’t advocate violence or put lives at risk (as one of the American Founding Fathers put it – you are not allowed to shout “fire” in a crowded theatre.)
I have no problem with that, but there are a lot of grey areas.
– Who says what is provocation to violence – it seems to have been interpreted rather freely by the police in some cases.
– There’s an attitude by some left wing groups to “deny a platform to racists”, usually by shouting them down by a flashmob. Unfortunately the label “racist” seems to be applied to anyone who doesn’t hold the politically correct views on the subject.
I’ve seen some of the results, and it’s not pretty.
August 18, 2013 @ 7:18 am
Elliott and Cerddaf:
I’m British (ell, more accurately I’m Anglo-Welsh). Under British law, anyone can express any opinion, but not without consequence in some circumstances. Which means tht the likes of the Westborough Baptist Church could, in theory, make their homophobic pronouncements but if they did so publicly, they might well face prosecution for incitement to hatred and violence. That’s not censorship: no-one is stopping them (or the Theodore Beales and so forth) from saying or writing whatever they like. They just don’t get to do so with complete impunity. My observation is that some American champions of free speech seem to believe it means that *they* get to say whatever they like but woe betide anyone who dares to disagree — screams of censorship, ‘fascism’, ‘communism’ the minute anyone says ‘I don’t like this’ about anything they’ve said. Free speech for one side only, apparently and how dare anyone suggest they take responsibility for effects of what they said. To me, this desire to scream and shout and then silence any critics through bullying and gaslighting is closer to real censorship than European hate speech laws.
As to Jordan… I’ve come across him and his views before.
Ydych’in yn siarad Cymraeg, Cerddaf? Bore da!
August 18, 2013 @ 9:58 am
Bore da Kari. Ydw. Daeth teulu fy mam o Gymru tua canrif yn ol, ond dydyn nhw yn siarad yr iaith – roeth rhaid i mi ei dysgu.
(For foreigners – I am confirming I speak Welsh)
I agree that to ” silence any critics through bullying and gaslighting” is a truly nasty form of censorship. It’s all the worse for being a kangeroo court, a lynching party, where the accused has no right to a defence. It’s not just the prorogative of the right wing either, I’ve seen our local “anti-racist” campaigners do terrible harm and injustice. Google “burnage murder in the playground” to see the case we were involved in. In the end justice was only achieved through the work of several courageous and honourable blacks and asians whose words could not so easily be dismissed as “white racism”.
The problem is where do you draw the line between honest opinion (even if misguided) and provocation?
What is allowed?
1, I disagree with XXXX ( = white|black|muslim|jewish|christian|homosexual – delete as appropriate). I think their beliefs / culture are wrong.
2, I don’t like XXXX, because of their beliefs and culture.
3, I don’t want anything to do with XXXX, because of their beliefs and culture.
4, I we should not allow XXXX in this country, because of their beliefs and culture.
5, I think we should shoot all the XXXX, because of their beliefs and culture.
And if some group appears to wish to carry out option (5) against me, what should I do about it?
Remember many of the values held dear today would once have been regarded as outragious. Votes for the working class? Property rights for women? Use of Welsh in Schools?
We need the right to say things publically that others disagree with, and a system where that right is not easily abused.
August 18, 2013 @ 5:26 pm
Rhaid i mi yn dysgu hefyd. Roedd fy mam yn genedigol yn Cwm Celyn, ond doedd hi teulu ddim yn siarad Cymraeg — doedd hi’n ddim yn dysgu Cymraeg yn yr ysgol hefyd — roed hi’n gwaharddefig. (This is about my mother’s family, for the English speakers.\)
I do understand what you mean, and it is a difficult area. I’m not old enough to remember the Rivers of Blood speech, but I grew up with its consequences in the 1970s, however, and, as we were living in Leicestershire at the time, saw the effects of the rise of what was then the National Front and the damage they did — and the ways they went about recruiting. The hate speech laws didn’t exist back then and real harm was caused by racist and homophobic agitators, who faced no consequences for what they said and did. The same was true of the radical left (though they were less prone at that point to firebomb people). I prefer a system where those who advocate and provoke violence find themselves having to take responsibility for harm if they provoke it. And the laws apply to everyone, not just the right wing — religious bigots of various kinds, the hard left, women and all flavours of nationalist. It’s often depicted as a ‘liberal’ law aimed at muzzling the right, but it has been applied to Muslim clerics as well as members of the far right. It’s more part of the racial equality and sexual equality provisions than a form of censorship (though certain groups do try and present it as the latter). People misunderstand and assume they are not allowed to express opinions that are unpopular, but that isn’t the case. They can say anything, but speech that deliberately incites hatred and violence can lead to prosecution. You can bet that the recent government advertising aimed at illegal immigrants is on the safe side of the law, even though to many people here in the UK it looked pretty extreme. In your list above, I think only 5 would potentially be classified legally as hate speech.
I’m a historian, as it happens, and well aware of how public values change. We have more rights to free speech now than in the past. We are less than a 100 years from a society in which the owners of businesses and land could fire workers and turn them out of their homes and blacklist them for asking for safety equipment; less than 50 since men could legally beat their wives for disagreeing with them. If you are working class or female or a person of colour, your right to express your views if much greater than it’s ever been. I think that’s a good thing.