SFWA Presidential Election Thoughts
Warning: SFWA business and potential drama ahead!
SFWA elections are coming up again soon, and after three terms, President John Scalzi has announced that he’s done trying to herd this particular clowder of cats. Knowing how difficult writers can be, I can’t imagine how he’s done it for this long, but he has my thanks for his work and service, and for helping to push through some important changes.
The first person to announce his candidacy for SFWA president was Theodore Beale, aka Vox Day. Steven Gould has also tossed his hat into the ring. I knew Gould as the author of Jumper, among other things, and we’re on at least one mailing list together. Beale’s name was vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t remember where I had heard it. So I went looking…
What I found raised some concerns. Beale is a prolific blogger, and has written such pieces as Women Ruin Everything, in which he he starts out talking about Title IX and moves onto politics. He writes, apparently in all seriousness:
Orwell put it beautifully. All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. And the Sports Guy put it even better: women ruin everything.
Do you really think it was an accident that women were never permitted any voice in the governance of the Roman Republic or the great historical democracies such as Athens, Thebes, Imperial Britain, and Revolutionary America? Do you really believe it to be a mere coincidence that many modern democracies, including Germany, Italy, and the member states of the European Union, were not able to survive even 100 years of female suffrage?
He also writes columns for WND, such as this one titled Why women’s rights are wrong:
I very much like women and wish them well, which is precisely why I consider women’s rights to be a disease that should be eradicated.
Or this one, wherein he describes the real threat to science:
But this is not to say there is not a genuine threat to all three aspects of science today. Unsurprisingly, it comes from the same force that is the primary threat to the survival of Western civilization: female equalitarianism.
Beale also has a history of referring to current SFWA president John Scalzi as “McRapey.” In case that was too subtle, he also titled his first such post John Scalzi is a Rapist. (Beale also talks about how rapists are more likely to vote Democratic, because one third of all forcible rapists are black.)
I wonder if the SFWA will be concerned that their current president is an admitted rapist or if they’ll take the approach towards him that NOW and the other feminist groups did towards Bill Clinton. Of course, unlike Scalzi, Clinton never admitted to being a rapist … Wait, he claims his confession is satire? Well, that might fool anyone unfamiliar with the concept of blown cover as cover.
He was recently asked about the value of SFWA on his blog…
VD, any value with the SFWA?
Considerable entertainment value, but other than that, not so much.
Which does tend to reinforce my gut feeling that he’s running for president for the laughs. He’s been toying with the idea of running for SFWA president for several years now. Back in 2010, after quoting a hateful rant about Wiscon, he joked (at least, I assume this is supposed to be a joke):
I feel inspired to run against John Scalzi for SFWA President next year. My platform is going to involve disenfranchising all of the female members and endorsing a Federal law banning women from writing any science fiction or fantasy that does not contain vampires or wereseals and comes with a warning label: WARNING: this is Vampire/Wereseal fiction, not actual science fiction or fantasy.
Now, Beale has argued that just because people think he’s an asshole and disagree with his personal beliefs doesn’t mean he’d be a bad leader. There’s some truth to this. But in this case, I believe his personal beliefs and proclamations would seriously interfere with his ability to lead the organization. The president of SFWA has to be able to work with others on the board and within the organization. I’ve seen nothing to suggest his ability to do this, particularly when others disagree with him. Nor do I trust him to treat members with respect, particularly if those members happen to have the “wrong” chromosomal pair.
As president, Beale would be the public face of the organization. He would have to work with a board made of up people who might not be white or male or straight, and who might not always agree with him. And my sense is that this is a disaster waiting to happen.
The first five points of his platform for SFWA presidency are here.
Steven Gould has posted his platform and qualifications as a SF/F author here. I don’t actually have that much to say about his candidacy, save that he seems to have a realistic sense of the internal and external challenges facing the organization, has shared and supported ideas for moving SFWA forward, and certainly has a strong SF/F background.
For me though, one of Gould’s strongest qualifications is that he’s not Theodore Beale.
For those of you who are members of SFWA, please take some time to read through the discussion forums, review the Q&A with the candidates as well as their platforms, and vote.
Note: There’s a good chance this post will attract trolls. I don’t plan on moderating the comments here, and I suggest not engaging with any trolls who do show up. I’m hopeful things will stay civilized, but if not, well, they say you can judge a man by the company he keeps…
Stephen A. Watkins
February 1, 2013 @ 10:06 am
I see. This is the guy Scalzi has been warning about on his blog recently (albeit obliquely).
I wish I was a member of SFWA just so I could vote against this morally-impoverished example of humanity.
Of course, I’d wish I was a member of SFWA even if he wasn’t running, because that would mean I’d had some of my writing published…
February 1, 2013 @ 10:21 am
“I don’t plan on moderating the comments here, and I suggest not engaging with any trolls who do show up. I’m hopeful things will stay civilized, but if not, well, they say you can judge a man by the company he keeps…”
That might be a decision you want to rethink, Jim. On the upside, they will probably give you an entertaining nickname.
Jim C. Hines
February 1, 2013 @ 10:33 am
I suggest McPoser!
I can always rethink things depending on what happens, but for now, if we were to see an explosion of trolls, it seems like that would just add to the points I’m making.
February 1, 2013 @ 10:40 am
“An explosion of trolls” is my 1980s TV show theme song cover band.
February 1, 2013 @ 10:43 am
I’m relatively new to this professional community, so I apologize if this is a newbie question. How has this guy held a position of influence while consistently spouting things like this? Has he been involved in influential projects/magazines/journals/people or something? I’m surprised he hasn’t gotten ostracized/laughed out of the scene a while ago.
February 1, 2013 @ 10:46 am
I’m not sure he HAS held a position of influence. He is just asking for one.
Jim C. Hines
February 1, 2013 @ 10:48 am
He hasn’t held a position of influence in SFWA. He does appear to have some influence and a following in other areas.
February 1, 2013 @ 11:05 am
And people like this running for office remind me of why I got OUT of FandomAdmin roles.
This could be very interesting as this is probably going to expose the little cucaracha to much more daylight than he may be used to.
Jamie Todd Rubin
February 1, 2013 @ 11:52 am
I wandered into the forums last night because I’d heard that Steven Gould was running and I wanted to read his platform. I hadn’t heard of Beale until I read his platform and the comments and questions that followed. My first thought was: is this guy for real? I liked what I saw in Gould’s platform even before I saw Beale’s. Now I’m doubly glad Gould is running. I generally don’t get into the politics of SFWA. I just write stories. But I like what John Scalzi, Mary Robinette Kowal, and others have done in the last few years. I can’t imagine Beale actually winning an election, but if he did, I would likely resign my membership. He’s not the kind of person I want looking out for my interests as a writer, or a human being, for that matter.
February 1, 2013 @ 11:54 am
I’m trying to figure out how he plans on growing the numbers of SFWA members when a) several of those “unequal” types will no doubt quit, and b) many new “unequals” will refuse to join. I guess all the straight white male game designers and self publishers will more than make up for us.
February 1, 2013 @ 12:00 pm
….I LOVE it!
February 1, 2013 @ 12:11 pm
“How has this guy held a position of influence while consistently spouting things like this?”
He writes for a small press that doesn’t pay advances or distribute to bookstores. He has never held office or chaired a committee in SFWA, though he has volunteered on the Nebula Jury.
His only “position of influence” seems to be based entirely on posting multiple daily rants on his own blog(s) for his blog audience, who do not seem to be sf/f writers or related industry professionals.
February 1, 2013 @ 12:27 pm
I’d be out like a rocket if he does win (he won’t) but I do want to mention that I’ve heard occasional calls for vetting candidates in various quarters, and that I’m glad we don’t, and wouldn’t support a proposal that did force candidates to be examined by anyone other than the voters on election day. Troll candidates are not as big a problem as barriers to volunteering.
Jim C. Hines
February 1, 2013 @ 12:30 pm
I would generally agree with that. I don’t object to the proposed (I think) bylaw saying that the President has to have held office, but trying to pre-screen candidates based on their view or opinions seems like a very bad idea.
February 1, 2013 @ 12:43 pm
Luckily enough, I don’t think he really has a snowball’s chance to get actually elected. He reveals himself to be precisely what Mr. Scalzi refers to him as on a regular basis, and seems compelled to wallow in his ignorance to a surprising degree.
February 1, 2013 @ 12:58 pm
IIRC, you already have a nickname dating back to your first pose-off with JS, which put you on their radar. There may or may not have been an entire post on that blog about said pose-off
Sadly (or maybe not), I do not remember the nickname and I really don’t want to slog back through that blog to find it again. It took a week for my eyes to stop bleeding after the last time I was there.
February 1, 2013 @ 1:18 pm
Can I just register my horror at Mr. Beale’s attitude — and my appreciation to you, Jim, for bringing it into the daylight? I can’t vote, but I can hope that those who can see your post, and check the candidates out thoroughly before casting their ballots.
February 1, 2013 @ 1:24 pm
From his “Women Ruin Everything” post, VD writes in the comment section: “I do not believe any women should be given the responsibility of voting in any democratic or quasi-democratic system. Neither do I believe in democracy as a reasonable and functioning form of government.”
So, he has open contempt for women AND democracy, yet there’s nothing in the SFWA rules that restricts him from running for president?
February 1, 2013 @ 1:25 pm
Congratulations, Incoming President Gould!
Jim C. Hines
February 1, 2013 @ 1:26 pm
Yep. Which to me, is proof that SFWA *does* value democracy.
February 1, 2013 @ 1:34 pm
Here, here. (Yes, I’d read the platforms. VD immediately elicited the “Oh, HELL no” response.)
February 1, 2013 @ 2:37 pm
Here’s a fraught question, should there be any rules about principles the candidate is supposed to uphold, an ‘oath of office’ if you will?
Shouldn’t any democratic system have rules that someone who says they themselves don’t believe in democracy, shouldn’t stand?
Jim C. Hines
February 1, 2013 @ 2:41 pm
An oath of office has always struck me as more of a symbolic act, and I’m not sure what it would accomplish.
February 1, 2013 @ 2:54 pm
He has an interesting line in rhetoric.
“but tell that to any software developer, and he’ll be able to provide you with plenty of current examples of computer science engineers, some with advanced CS degrees, who have no idea how to even begin writing a computer program.”
I am a software developer, and I’ve not seen this. And yes, I’ve met good developers who were also female. You know, there’s a lot of people out there who are very ready to say what we software developers think. I wonder why we’ve become the analogy-du-jour?
February 1, 2013 @ 4:24 pm
“Luckily enough, I don’t think he really has a snowball’s chance to get actually elected.” eerily reminiscent of Barbara Bush’s early comments about George W.’s first presidential campaign.
February 1, 2013 @ 4:36 pm
No offense to Mr. Gould, but it’s a shame no women or people of color are running this year. It would be a good year.
February 1, 2013 @ 4:39 pm
I don’t beleive the entries have been finalized? Others could choose to run still…
February 1, 2013 @ 5:36 pm
There you go with your thoughtful logic again! 😉
February 1, 2013 @ 8:31 pm
As someone who’s neither a member of the SFWA, nor eligible to be one, nor a fan based in the USA, I don’t have a dog in this fight. However, as a female, Australian science fiction and fantasy reader (and yes, I do consider “urban fantasy” to be fitting under the broader heading of “fantasy”) I do see an impact from the statements of officers in the SFWA on the broader fandom world as a whole. For example, I certainly heard about Howard Hendrix’s comments about “pixel stained technopeasant wretches” back in 2007, and quite honestly that didn’t impress me with the organisation; I wasn’t the only one who was annoyed by the comment, if International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day is any indication.
Now, admittedly, 2007 was a bad year for the SFWA in general, with a few different scandals coming to light. But the fact remains that the way most people who weren’t involved in the SFWA heard about the organisation in that year was through those scandals. Scandals which came close to threatening the value of the organisation itself.
To be honest, I doubt most of the members of the SFWA will actually seriously consider Mr Beale as a candidate. I suspect most of them have far too much common sense for that. But as Mr Scalzi put it a few years back, “Ultimately, everything SFWA does goes through its president; it rots from the head.” If Theodore Beale winds up as head of the SFWA, it’s going to be very hard for anyone to take the organisation seriously in future.
February 1, 2013 @ 10:20 pm
The only concern I would have is if he gets ANY votes. A clown the caliber of VD (Venereal Disease? Verbal Diarrhea? Vocationally Defeated?) luckily is very public in his social self-abuse. Better to have a public idiot who elicits ridicule than a two-faced hypocrite who wears a publicly attractive face, but carries out the policies VD (Vomitus Defecus? Vanilla Dimwit? Vocal Dunderkopf?) without warning. I trust SFWA to have a vast majority who would find this clown to be the except fit only to be served at the kiddie table.
February 1, 2013 @ 10:21 pm
Daniel D. Webb
February 1, 2013 @ 10:26 pm
Jim, stop me if this question has been asked and answered elsewhere, but…have you ever considered running for one of these?
February 1, 2013 @ 11:26 pm
For what it’s worth, I think there have been a good number of female Presidents.
February 2, 2013 @ 12:36 am
Has anyone noticed that there are pretty much no women in the comments section on VD’s blog post? Are they simply not deigning to reply or are they being deleted?
February 2, 2013 @ 4:04 am
So… he actually thinks Orwell viewed his famous ‘equal’ line as a positive thing? Was he reading it upside down?
February 2, 2013 @ 4:54 am
Jesus, what a piece of shit. I think Scalzi has been overly generous in his description of this waste of perfectly good flesh.
I’m sure he won’t get any votes in the election. He is, after all, an overtly racist, misogynistic subhuman.
That said, points two and three of his platform make sense to me. I’m glad that Gould at least touches on point 3 in his statement.
February 2, 2013 @ 8:34 am
He also recently got a gig on Black Gate magazine, supposedly the editor didn’t know who he was before taking him on board and begged everyone to give him a chance. It seems to have ended with his error-filled attack on the Nebulas as examples of corruption needing to be dealt with, presumably by him as president. And he has been an author at WND all along, but his father helped start that, IIRC.
Jim C. Hines
February 2, 2013 @ 9:56 am
I’ve been asked several times, but between the writing, the day job, and wanting to see my family, I don’t believe I’d be able to give the time and mental/emotional energy to do a good job.
February 2, 2013 @ 10:24 am
“[F]emale independence is strongly correlated with a whole host of social ills. Using the utilitarian metric favored by most atheists, 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.”
I’m no longer a member of SFWA. As a female SF writer, I’d very much like to hear Mr Beale’s current take on acid attacks, the enabling of which do seem to be somewhat in vogue among the bloggerati. I suspect he is merely attention-seeking, but this in itself is tedious.
February 2, 2013 @ 10:53 am
Can someone here explain how MAIMING WOMEN leads to debt reduction, strong currency, family stability, and affordable housing?? Or why a “homogenous population” is desirable, let alone SO desirable that it’s well worth THROWING ACID IN SOMEONE’S FACE to achieve it??
Oh, wait. Of course people here can’t explain that. Because everyone present (so far) appears to be sane.
Daniel D. Webb
February 2, 2013 @ 10:56 am
Excellent reasons not to do something. I don’t really have a horse in this race, not being a member of the SFWA, but the idea of that first dude being in charge of anything scares me.
February 2, 2013 @ 10:57 am
It evidently makes sense to someone who is a TOTAL LOON. Which is pretty much your point.
I’m continually amazed that people who espouse VD’s level of reasoning are capable of logging onto the internet in the first place, but there you go.
February 2, 2013 @ 11:24 am
>Has anyone noticed that there are pretty much no women in the comments section on VD’s blog post? Are they simply not deigning to reply or are they being deleted?
There was one who commented on how protected Medieval women must have been, because they had special rooms in castles in which they could drink tea and read books (sic. No, really).
Mr Day apparently feels that women (and a lot of other people) have given up debating with him because our pretty little heads can’t handle confrontation. I read some of his posts and it did cross my mind, but basically, I can’t be arsed.
February 2, 2013 @ 12:23 pm
The most noticeable effect of his running for SFWA pres is that it has certainly attracted wider attention to himself.
I had never heard of Theodore Beale (or Vox Day) until I read his candidate platform in SFWA about 10 days ago, and no one I know seems to have heard of him before then, either. (Except for John Scalzi, it turns out, whom Mr. Beale, for reasons best known to himself, has been attacking noisily online for quite some time now.)
In fact, I had no idea until last week that Mr. Beale had attacked -me- on his blog months ago. (Thus I now miss those halcyon days of never having heard of him.) Many of his blog readers participated in the attack, posting various lewd insults and denigrating fabrications about me (all of them predictable in view of the essays to which Jim has linked above). I never heard about it at the time, or later. I learned about it quite recently, a few weeks after Beale announced his candidacy as SFWA president, which is when he started attracting attention–within SFWA, on his own blog, and elsewhere online–aas a direct result of running for SFWA president.
February 2, 2013 @ 12:40 pm
Which, I am beginning to think, is the point of this exercise for him.
February 2, 2013 @ 12:43 pm
Oh, the pain. I mean of my head, banging against my desk and/or computer screen.
There’s no POINT in debating this guy on his blog, or anywhere else; you can’t debate this kind of twisted logic – it will only hurt you and bounce off of him. Heck, maybe he’s just an epic troll. I’m just thinking positively because I would hate to believe that anyone like this exists within SFWA.
Laura, I’m very sorry you’re a target. I’m sure many of us will share that joy over the coming months.
Best thing to do is alert the membership, as Jim has done so brilliantly here, and for the membership to VOTE OVERWHELMINGLY against him. Let him rant for the entertainment of his blog audience in a small, darkened internet room. The worst fate for these kinds of people is to be … ignored.
February 2, 2013 @ 2:30 pm
thanks for the post, Jim. I’m a member, although not particularly active. However, I’m definitely going to vote…and I know who I’ll be voting against.
Signed a girl who revels in her supreme power to ruin everything.
February 2, 2013 @ 3:16 pm
I would guess most women have better things to do with our time. Sometimes it’s worth arguing with a brick wall for the benefit of the audience that will witness said argument, but I don’t think that’s the case in the comment’s section of the gross sexist guy’s blog. It’s basically a giant circle jerk of misogyny, racism, and homophobia.
February 2, 2013 @ 4:39 pm
I really shouldn’t engage. But I have.
Laura, I’m very sorry you’ve been subjected to this. I have gone onto Mr Day’s site and have been told that ‘I don’t know what’s gong to ensue’ over the next few months. I’ve asked for clarification, but haven’t had any. Presumably people might say nasty things about me on the net. Which they’ve never done before. Ahem.
February 2, 2013 @ 5:12 pm
John Scalzi has come up with his own solution. I volunteered to help. I can speed read, so I won’t have to actually read the words.
February 2, 2013 @ 5:16 pm
>I can speed read, so I won’t have to actually read the words.
You could probably do it with ‘find’ once you’ve got the nicknames down – even quicker.
February 2, 2013 @ 7:39 pm
I bet when he loses, he’ll go on an awful screed about how women wronged him.
I look forward to it. Because it means he will have lost.
To quote the Ghosts, Feth Off, Mr. Beale.
February 2, 2013 @ 7:43 pm
I absolutely agree.
February 2, 2013 @ 8:47 pm
I thought about that and I’ve been skimming and then using ctrl F as back up. Don’t want the charities to miss out on any money!
Lighting a candle instead of cursing the disturbing internet circlejerk of hate. ← katsudon.net
February 2, 2013 @ 10:55 pm
[…] end your evening snorting borax.) The reminder came in the form of him throwing his hat in the ring to run for SFWA president, and
Signal Boost: If you care about the future of SF/F… « Aging Backwards
February 3, 2013 @ 10:37 am
[…] on a variety of issues. A couple days ago, someone drew my attention to a post he titled “SFWA Presidential Election Thoughts” by stating that if you’re a member of SFWA (I’m not, but hope someday to be), […]
February 3, 2013 @ 3:31 pm
This asshole has been trolling and inciting other trolls on atheist and feminist blogs; it appears only recently he starting believing he’s a real writer and targeting other writer’s blogs. Pharyngula is still a target, as PZ Myers just recently posted on Scalzi’s donation response to him.
February 3, 2013 @ 8:16 pm
I know Steve Gould pretty well in various professional capacities. I think he’d be an excellent SFWA president, able to draw disparate groups together and focus on improving SFWA’s services to writers. It would be a bit of a shame if he became just “the guy who isn’t That Guy” in this election.
Jim C. Hines
February 3, 2013 @ 8:24 pm
I’m glad to hear that, Emma. I don’t know Steven personally, nor am I that familiar with his work, but since I posted this I’ve been hearing a lot of very positive things about his ability to work with people and continue moving SFWA in a positive direction.
February 4, 2013 @ 12:25 pm
“It would be a bit of a shame if he became just “the guy who isn’t That Guy” in this election.”
It would be, but from my perspective:
I started following the SFWA election about 12 days ago, mostly because I finally figured out how to retrieve my SFWA passwords that week. I had never heard of Theodore Beale aka Vox Day (“Voice of God”… oh, dear), and my impression, drawn strictly from his self-conduct, platform, and statements as SFWA pres candidate, was that he seemed a very poor choice for about a dozen reasons. (THEN I visited his blog, etc. YIKES!)
Similarly, I read Steve Gould’s platform, read his comments, and observed his self-conduct, and thought he seemed like a very good choice. Not just The Other Guy, but someone who knew SFWA well, knew what he was talking, and knew how to deal with people–as well as keep a level head even when interacting online with a hysterical crank, i.e. his opponent. Beale exasperates and inflames a lot of people with his overtired-toddler-on-a-sugar-crash persona. I’ve been impressed that Gould doesn’t give in to it, but maintains a professional demeanor, without backing down from what he means to say. That kind of level head and people skill is important in an org leader.
February 4, 2013 @ 9:40 pm
This Beale guy reminds me of Andy Kaufman (the comic who was on Taxi years ago). His way to fame (infamy) is achieved by being so weird and inflammatory that it makes him the subject of endless discussions while people debate if he’s “for real.” He can’t make a name for himself with actual achievements, so he does it by making a nasty spectacle of himself.
I’m also tempted to congratulate myself that, since I’m not a writer/SFWA member, this doesn’t affect me. But the sad thing is that it does. This kind of misogyny and hate is more prevalent than we’d like to think. Just look at the headlines.
Good luck to Mr. Gould. I have Jumper and Reflex in my Kindle queue–guess I should move them up in my TBR list.
February 5, 2013 @ 5:56 am
Stop right there chum. Just because I’m a straight white male game designer doesn’t mean I deserve to be lumped in with this turd. In fact, I think he’ll find that particular call to arms goes largely unanswered, as most of us are actually fairly odd types that come in quite low on his Nietzschian pecking order.
February 6, 2013 @ 7:36 am
On the one hand: I agree wholeheartedly.
On the other: Rob Ford is my mayor. Please look him up (but if you don’t have time — he’s a joke, kind of like this guy). There are arguments that he won his seat because people were voting not for the other candidates but against Ford. Vote splitting does not go well.
Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little
February 6, 2013 @ 5:57 pm
Jim, I’m finally catching up on the Questions for the Candidates thread at the SFWA forum. (Highly recommended to all SFWA members, especially those eligible to vote (which I am not).)
THANK YOU for asking some great questions in there, and also for giving me the biggest belly-laugh of my afternoon. In light of Beale’s candidacy, I need all the laughs I can get.
Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little
February 6, 2013 @ 5:59 pm
To add to the heaps of praise: I attended Viable Paradise in 2006, and was very impressed with Steve Gould as a writer, a writing teacher, and simply as a person. I think SFWA would be in very good hands with him at the helm.
I am also touched by his decision to announce his candidacy via the Acts Of Whimsy fundraiser.
Jim C. Hines
February 6, 2013 @ 7:13 pm
Now I’m curious which comment got the belly-laugh!
B. Ross Ashley
February 9, 2013 @ 1:06 pm
Mother of PEARL.
I’m not a writer, just a serious fan, but this jerk running for office in SFWA does concern me as much as if a fascist were to run for the presidency of my old union. I hope he does not just go down to defeat, but gets a lower percentage of the vote than Governor Wallace got in the precincts in Harlem when he ran for President.
Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little
February 17, 2013 @ 3:09 am
O hai there from 10 days later! I think I must have been reacting to January, 2013 at 06:36 PM.
February 17, 2013 @ 8:42 pm
The deadline for declaring and presenting a platform, was February 16. Who . . . pray tell . . . are the 2013 SFWA Candidates for President?
Jim C. Hines
February 17, 2013 @ 8:46 pm
Steven Gould and Theodore Beale, the two candidates in the blog post.
February 26, 2013 @ 1:36 pm
I recently rejoined SFWA after I don’t know how long. Until I did, I had actually never heard of ‘Vox Day.’
Now I’m having trouble believing that ‘Vox Day’ is an actual person.
Is it me or did the weird get into the water supply?
March 4, 2013 @ 6:25 am
THE 2013 SFWA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: HYPOCRISY, HERESY & HATE (PART I)
March 6, 2013 @ 6:50 pm
Good Evening, Jim,
Thank you for explaining the situation so clearly. I’m a fairly new member of SFWA, and also a woman. I read Theodore Beale’s letter out loud for friends asking, ‘does this sound strange to you?’ While everyone agreed that it did, after chewing on his ideas for a few days, I actually liked them. I think he’s right that game design is an important part of SciFi culture, and as a gamer, I’d love to see an improvement in back-stories and dialog. I admit, I leaned toward voting for him, thinking that year with a firebrand who has new ideas might not be a bad thing for the organization.
Thanks to your blog I see how damaging some of his views are. Worse, it sounds as if he isn’t even a good writer. And, of course, there’s the pesky problem of my dual X chromosomes, and how they would render me a non-person in his eyes. I’m off to check those posting boards and blogs you mentioned, but thank you (again) for bringing all of this to my attention.
March 7, 2013 @ 5:51 am
>I think he’s right that game design is an important part of SciFi culture, and as a gamer, I’d love to see an improvement in back-stories and dialog. I admit, I leaned toward voting for him, thinking that year with a firebrand who has new ideas might not be a bad thing for the organization.
Having initially been exceedingly scathing about Mr Beale’s ideas myself (as I am frequently described as a feminist writer, you can probably see why!), and never having come across him before, I have been looking at his blog on a more regular basis and I’m actually not averse to some of his platform. I’m not playing devil’s advocate here – I am not currently a SFWA member (being in the UK, it offered little to me) and would be voting for Gould, but that doesn’t mean that Beale isn’t asking some hard questions which might be worth looking at more closely. And I have to say that, since I essentially trolled on his blog, he was substantially more courteous than I had a right to expect. I don’t want to see him as president, but I don’t think he should be banned from the organisation, as some have suggested.
Jim C. Hines
March 7, 2013 @ 8:18 am
I don’t disagree with everything the man says, though I think his predictions about the future of the genre are a bit over-the-top. But I don’t see him being effective as the public face of the organization, nor as someone who would be able to work with the rest of the board.
I suspect a Beale presidency would be much more about trying to prove how smart Theodore Beale is–and particularly about trying to show that he’s better than John Scalzi–than it would be about trying to help the organization and its members.
March 8, 2013 @ 3:09 am
Thanks for posting your thoughts, Jim.
I rarely get involved in SFWA politics. But I do care about the organization. It provides valuable services to a lot of good people.
I will be voting for Steven Gould.
March 8, 2013 @ 4:56 am
I think you nailed it there, Jim.
Yeah, there are a few good ideas in his platform. But given the overall portrait of this person, I tend to look at those with suspicion, like poisoned candy, or apples with razor blades in them. They are there simply to get people to say, ‘Oh, but look, he really *does* have some good ideas!’ Take a closer look–are they really all that innovative? I’d say these are things that SFWAns have already been thinking about and talking about already, and not because Theodore Beale drew their attention to them; these are things that will be acted on regardless of who is president.
Reading over the two candidates’ platforms again–as if I had to, but I did–it becomes obvious to me that Theodore Beale’s platform is really all about Theodore Beale, whereas Steve Gould’s is all about SFWA.