The Nice Guy Defense

Announcement 1: I’ve posted the first two chapters of Red Hood’s Revenge.  Enjoy!

Announcement 2: Congratulations to Theresa Ryder, who wins a copy of STRIP MAULED on the Facebook Fan Page.

ETA — Announcement 3: Doc has offered an explanation in the comments on my previous post.


Doctor Pus at Library of the Living Dead Press put out a statement regarding the cancellation of their LGBT-themed zombie anthology.  I appreciate that he takes responsibility for the decision, and that he offers a kill fee to the authors, but nothing in his statement changes my initial anger and disappointment.

Most people in the LLD comments jumped to Doc’s defense.  (As did some on my own blog.)  The editor of the cancelled anthology started his own thread to defend Doc.  They talk about how LLD has published gay writers and gay-themed stories before, and that he’s a good person who’s always been supportive of LGBT people and issues.

To those commenters, I want to say this: I believe you.  When I read Doc’s statement, I don’t get the sense that he’s an evil, hateful man.  I believe he’s published LGBT works before — after all, he initially accepted a gay-themed zombie anthology.  A raging homophobe never would have allowed the project to get to that point.

My anger is not because I believe Doc to be an evil, homophobic, hateful man.  My anger is due to his actions in this situation.  Based on his words and the editor’s first statement, this anthology was pulled for fear of people’s reaction.[1. The editor now says there were concerns the anthology would be seen as a gimmick, and that it wouldn’t have good stories.]  For fear of what the bigots might say.  Whatever his personal views on homosexuality, I find that disappointing in the extreme.

I don’t want to just pick on Doc here, so let’s make me the target.  I consider myself to be supportive of LGBT issues.  Heck, I’m the one who made both Sleeping Beauty and Smudge the fire-spider gay!  That doesn’t give me a free pass.  I still screw up sometimes, and when it happens, I deserve to be called on it.  If I say or do something hurtful, the fact that I’m a nice guy doesn’t change the fact that I’m hurting people.  Nor does it excuse that fact.

I’ve seen this defense many times.  “But he’s a good guy, and you have no right to be angry!” or “He marched for civil rights — how dare you accuse him of racism!” or “He was the first to publish [female author].  It’s ridiculous to call him sexist!”

The nice guy defense misses the point.  Say I edit and publish another anthology and end up with a ToC of white male authors.  That’s likely to cause some (justified) anger. So my friends jump to my defense, pointing out that I’m a wonderful guy.  So what?  The conversation was about my actions in choosing an all white, all male contributor list, not over whether or not I’m a nice guy.  By focusing on the latter, you ignore and derail other people’s legitimate concerns and complaints.

Discussion is welcome as always, but I’m not really interested in another round of criticizing Doc or LDP.  I think that point was made pretty well yesterday.