“I am not doing it because I was pressured by anyone either way or on any ‘side.'” -[Author]
“[Author] is everything any good leftist could ever want in a Hugo nominee, and they got hounded off the ballot by the LEFT.” -Brad Torgersen
I’m conflicted about starting this post with those particular quotes. A handful of people have withdrawn their names from the Hugo ballot, and have asked to be left out of the anger and arguments, which I can certainly understand. I removed the name of the author in question because I don’t want them getting dragged into my rant here. But at the same time, this pair of quotes is one of the best illustrations of something I’ve been frustrated with for years.
I am so damn tired of the insistence on shoving everyone and everything into an artificial “Us vs. Them” framework. The Puppies thing is just the latest example. The only clearly defined “side” in this mess is the puppies themselves, and even that’s a slippery argument. Is Theodore Beale of the Rabid Puppies on the same side as Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia? Correia suggests they are: “Look at it like this. I’m Churchill. Brad is FDR. We wound up on the same side as Stalin.” But what about the commenters? Can people support some of what the puppies said they wanted — say, greater awareness of tie-in work in Hugo nominations — without having to swear allegiance to all things rabid?
What about the people on the respective puppy ballots? Is Sheila Gilbert of DAW on the puppies’ “side”? (Given that she has basically zero online presence, and that I’ve chatted with her about this, I can state for a fact that she was not contacted about being on any slate, nor did she know anything about it.) What about the creators of The Flash? Mike Resnick was on the slate, but has spoken out against the kind of bloc voting the puppies represented. (I’m unable to find the link where I read his comments on this, however.) Does choosing not to remove yourself from the slate or ballot mean you’re in lockstep agreement with Beale, Torgersen, and Correia?
I keep coming across commentary and arguments that assume you have to be either pro-puppy or anti-puppy. In broader discussions, you’re either us or you’re the enemy. Left or Right. Puppy or CHORF. Lately, I’m seeing more accusations of blacklists and gatekeepers and people’s careers being hurt because of their politics or beliefs or whatever, because some publishers are for Us and some are for Them, and you can’t succeed in this business without swearing allegiance to the Evil Gun Nuts of Baen or the Evil Tree-hugging Lib’ruls of Tor.
To be honest, that last bit is funny as hell. Baen publishes folks like Eric Flint and Lois McMaster Bujold. Jim Baen wanted to buy my very first book, and Baen continues to buy my shorter work for some of their anthologies. Then there’s Tor, which publishes Rabid Puppy darling John C. Wright, as well as Hugo award-winning author Orson Scott Card.
The “Us vs. Them” framework does nobody any favors. It’s simplistic, childish thinking. Pointing out that a particular author is a homophobic bigot based on things he’s said? Fair enough. Accusing anyone who likes said author’s work of being a homophobic bigot? Sorry, no. Torgersen and Correia have gotten a lot of ugliness hurled their way in all this — some of it has been truthful, and right on par with what they’ve been hurling, but some has been absolutely over-the-line and unacceptable.
I’ve talked to conservative friends who’ve described various microaggressions and flat-out attacks toward them and/or their religious beliefs. I’ve been attacked for beliefs I don’t have, simply because someone assumed I was on the other side. More recently, when I criticized the Sad Puppy slate on Twitter, I had someone accuse me of being a child molester. I spoke out against GamerGate and got a doxxing threat in my email within the hour. Then there’s the editor on the Sad Puppy ballot who publicly blacklisted and badmouthed me and a few other authors for not being on his “side”…
And I don’t get a fraction of the abuse, harassment, threats, and worse that people in more marginalized groups do, simply for daring to exist and speak out. Simply because people decided they were “Them,” and therefore fair targets for abuse and hate.
I know some of the Sad Puppies desperately want there to be some kind of Social Justice Warrior Conspiracy that’s been manipulating the Hugos and persecuting them for years, because that creates a simple narrative with them as the feisty rebels striking a blow against the Evil Empire. But there’s been zero evidence for it. Correia himself said he’d audited the Hugos a few years back and found no sign of anything suspect.
Are there systemic problems that permeate the genre, and our cultures in general? Of course. Malinda Lo has done a tremendous amount of work and analysis of diversity in fiction and the overall lack thereof. That doesn’t mean everyone has to be drafted into one of two like-minded armies of Pro-Diversity and Anti-Diversity warriors.
Some of the problems are linguistic. Hugo-nominated author Eric James Stone said recently, “In my opinion, accusing someone of racism is one of the severest charges one can make against someone’s moral character.” I disagree. I’ve absorbed the racism, sexism, and homophobia of my culture for almost as long as I’ve existed. I blogged about that a bit back in 2010. It took me years to recognize my own problematic attitudes, and to start actively working to change them. If I say I believe someone is being racist, I don’t see it as the severest charge against their character; I see it as recognizing we’re all imperfect beings who should be working to do better. (I recommend reading Stone’s entire post. I don’t agree with everything he says, but he has some good and valid points.)
MCA Hogarth talks about fear of being attacked for being one of Them, of deprecation and insults and criticism that generalize from “This individual is a nasty, bigoted human being” to “Christians and Republicans are the Enemy.” Once again, I don’t agree with everything she says — I’m particularly skeptical that anyone has the power to destroy a career with one Tweet — but I also think the fears she talks about are real and valid and worth thinking about. In many contexts in the U.S., to be Christian or Republican is to be the majority. To have power. But contexts vary, and this isn’t always the case in SF/F and fandom.
Part of my anger at Torgersen and Correia is because I feel like they deliberately encouraged this Us vs. Them mentality in order to win support and votes. They invented an evil cabal of “Them,” then rallied people to join their side against this fictitious enemy. Which only increases the abuse and the hatred. And please note: I’m angry at them as individuals, not because they’re conservative, or because of their views on gun control, or because they might have a different religious belief than I do. I’m angry because whatever problems were out there, these two individuals actively made them worse, and they hurt a great many people in the process. Themselves included.
Fandom is not two distinct sides. It’s a bunch of people who like things in a really big genre, a genre that has guns and spaceships and dinosaurs and dragons and magic and manly men and genderfluid protagonists and grittiness and erotica and humor and hard-core feminism and sexism and racism and hope and stereotypes and anger and messages and politics and fluff and were-jaguars and superheroes and so much more.
Criticism is not war. Choosing not to read or support things you don’t like isn’t censorship. Liking something problematic doesn’t make you a bad person.
We’re not perfect. And we’re going to keep arguing and fighting amongst ourselves. It’s part of being human. It’s part of being a fan. We’re really freaking passionate about the things we love. (If you diss Season Four of Legend of Korra, then hell yeah I’m gonna argue with you!)
But I swear, the next time I see someone arguing not against what someone said or did, but against their own imagined cardboard caricature of “Them,” I swear by Asimov’s Mighty Muttonchops I’m gonna feed that person to a goblin.
As always, I’ll be moderating comments if necessary — not based on what imaginary “side” you’re on, but based on whether or not you’re acting like an asshole in my space.
ETA: I’ve made several minor edits for clarity since this post went live.
April 25, 2015 @ 8:36 pm
“I am so damn tired of the insistence on shoving everyone and everything into an artificial “Us vs. Them” framework.”
Bravo! You, sir, win the internet today.
April 25, 2015 @ 8:48 pm
Since the Sad Puppies contingent is so bent on calling people offended by their motives the “Elite Ruling Class”, I’m tempted to make my social media picture one of Grimlock wearing a crown (preferably in dinosaur mode, if I can dig up any of those old images).
April 25, 2015 @ 8:57 pm
In re Eric Stone’s comment about being accused of exhibiting racism, have you seen Jay Smooth’s TedX talk “How I learned to stop worrying and love talking about race”? It’s a helpful framing of the issue.
(Video and transcript at the link)
Jim C. Hines
April 25, 2015 @ 9:05 pm
I’ve heard good things about it, but hadn’t seen it yet. Thanks!
April 25, 2015 @ 9:06 pm
This is a great post. Thank you so much for it. I’m still formulating all of my opinions on the issue (not that they’re worth that much in the scheme of things), but this is an important point on dichotomies, and you addressed it really well.
April 25, 2015 @ 9:27 pm
It’s Correia and Torgersen’s fault that authors they thought were worthy of awards were blindly slandered and branded conservative sexist white-supremacists (even the women and PoC), and were put in a situation where a vocal minority declared they would never purchase any of their works if they did not reject and denounce the Puppies.
April 25, 2015 @ 9:28 pm
April 25, 2015 @ 9:28 pm
Remember the old days when everyone in the genre got along and everything was peace and love and understanding… me either. So pull up your big boy panties and grow up. Sometimes people and writings we do like win awards. When you’re a adult you understand these things.
Jim C. Hines
April 25, 2015 @ 9:32 pm
::Rereads Slime’s comment::
Okay, I don’t know what conversation you think you’re trying to have, or what point you think you’re making, but go do it somewhere else.
Jim C. Hines
April 25, 2015 @ 9:33 pm
Not sure who you’re addressing here, D.K.
April 25, 2015 @ 9:47 pm
Not to mention the little fact that this didn’t happen. At least not by the people you’re undoubtedly implicating (the so-called “left wing elite ruling class” of SF).
April 25, 2015 @ 9:57 pm
i know what you mean. To me, one of the most frustrating things about this is that I have to become a Them to the Puppies, because I can’t support their actions and I can’t defend their reasons. I’d like to have a conversation about it, but when one of the guys in charge of the Sas Puppies is talking about me like I’m a North Korean prison camp commander (literally) and the guy in charge of the Rabid Puppy effort has publicly stated that he thinks there’s a rational case to be made for disfiguring people with acid for teaching women to read, where does the reasonable conversation fit in?
April 25, 2015 @ 10:04 pm
I have been thinking that this issue derives from the long term disaffection and, well, attention-seeking of Theodore Beale and people who shared his views meeting a rising pace of change and desire for social progress that has seemed to come out of the Tumblr community. The strengths of the latter is that they are fresh, new and progressive, following the latest trends in Social Justice with amazing speed. The weaknesses are that old values get discarded and a ‘once-damned, always damned’ view can get applied to people.
Pretty quickly you have a wide division between them, use of rough dialectic, which Beale delights in, and a culture war for people who get the worst problem – a fetish for disaffection. As in ‘haters are gonna hate’ because they can’t stop or brake once they’re obsessed.
It’s a totally fugly mess with casualties in all the ways you have described. So, what I’m really saying to your article is ‘you’re damn right’.
– Justin S.
April 25, 2015 @ 10:49 pm
When all of this blew up I was not even a non-attending supporting member of WorldCon. I’ve known about the Hugos for years, but never knew I had, as a fan, a chance to vote for nominees or on the final ballot. That all changed this year. What also changed was that I came down on the Sad Puppies side of the debate.
For awhile I was trying to look at both sides and judge equitably. I was trying to be fair and open-minded and non-biased. Then I asked the wrong question of the wrong people at the wrong time. Even Brianna Wu chimed in on that one. I was a “white supremacist” by mere association with Brad Torgerson and Larry Correia because they knew Vox Day and I was friends with Brad and Larry on FaceBook. Guilt-by-association. I do not tolerate being accused of something that anyone who knows me understands that I am not. You want to push me into somebody else’s camp, make an accusation like that.
Personally, I think Teddy’s an extremely damaged piece of human wreckage, but I’m not a Rabid Puppy and I’ve seen the attacks on the Sad Puppies with my own eyes. There’s a faction “on the other side” that recently stated they’d be happy if all the Sad Puppy members were euthanized. That’s advocacy for whole sale murder of the Sad Puppies membership. We would stomp that flat, but there was no such stomping by the other side in that conversation (to be fair, there was not general agreement either).
Those are the kinds of people and writers and fans that I’m against. The ones that cannot stand the fact that I have a voice too, that others might disagree with their viewpoint, that everyone deserves the chance to vote for a “fan-based award”, the ones who say we “broke” the award or that, because we got a different slate of nominees actually nominated by actual fan participation that the award should be “nuked from orbit”.
Those are the people I’m against. And, to think, I wasn’t even on the Sad Puppies side until about 3 weeks ago.
Kat Tanaka Okopnik
April 25, 2015 @ 11:03 pm
Greg, if your impression is that the bulk of the violence is on the notPuppies side, I think you are having some sampling bias or error in your data set.
April 25, 2015 @ 11:12 pm
See, I think there are at least two different issues in play: the issue of slates/organized campaigning versus the issue of framing this as part of the culture war.
The former is tricky for me, because I don’t want it to be whoever can organize the biggest nominating block, even if it’s people like me. Because I use the Hugos to try new work that is well regarded. If my people control the nominations, I probably have read everything all ready. If the Sad or Rabid Puppies control the nominations… well, last year their choices bounced against my tastes hard, so this year I expect a lot of disappointment. Best to have no one set of fans controlling the nominations. (Which might mean changing how we nominate, just like how one figures out the winner isn’t by first-past-the-post; basically, the ideal should be that the nominees sample as large a group of fandom as possible.)
So, yes, by my perspective the awards are broken, because I feel disenfranchised in an award that should be the broadest one for SF literary fandom. Because whole categories were dictated by a single part of fandom. And, hey, maybe it’s necessary, because my prior view of fandom was as overlapping bubbles that Hugo-nominated works had to have broad coverage of, and if there really is a section that feels disenfranchised by the nomination system, maybe we should change it. (Or maybe the fandom is too broad and big for a single award any more.)
April 25, 2015 @ 11:38 pm
I don’t remember ever calling someone a “white supremacist” in an exchange. Thank goodness that a search of my Twitter shows that has never happened.
I think you might be exaggerating a bit.
April 25, 2015 @ 11:47 pm
I’m a fan of the idea that for most ideas that most of us will have, somebody else has already said it better, so for this issue, I point you toward Dan Wells’ blog post about this, where he does an excellent job of summing up everything about the issue, and talking about with probably the most respect of anyone I’ve heard. But since he’s taking a really neutral stance on the issue, and not yelling about it, most people haven’t read his post. You can find it here: http://www.fearfulsymmetry.net/?p=2282
Secondly, I find your mention of the debate being somewhat between Tor and Baen extremely humorous. In one of the episodes of Writing Excuses (Season 8 Episode 44) Tom Doherty, the founder of Tor, says that he is also one of part owners of Baen.
April 26, 2015 @ 1:12 am
I have written about this a few times on my blog and I completely agree. I have never understood the us vs. them. I read many authors that would be considered fine sad puppies. Does this mean I am a Sad Puppy. I love John Scalzi’s writing. I assume this makes me an egotistical social justice warrior.
I always just considered myself a science fiction fan. I read what I like. I read what entertains me. I vote for what I want to. At some point I hope sanity returns to that which I love. I do know that I’ll just keep reading books that I want to read.
April 26, 2015 @ 2:15 am
Greg, I am much like you, a long time reader who only recently found out about all the ins and outs of the Hugos and all. And I agree, calling you a white supremacist for simply being Facebook friends with Brad and Larry is ridiculous, and calling for the euthanasia of Sad Puppies is out of line.
However, my perspective on it all apart from those issues is very different. Maybe it’s because we hang around in different spaces, but over the last few weeks I’ve seen vitriol from the Puppy side thrown at several prominent folks who were openly critical of the Puppies but were not, themselves, abusive. One of them was a guy who had expressed his views on why he withdrew his work from the ballot. Man, did that cause a shitstorm, and it wasn’t lefties. At least, not the part of the thread I actually read, because it ran LONG.
I’ve been sneered at for being a ‘good little prog’, for the crime of saying ‘that’s not helpful’ when the guy made a snarky remark about “that’s a long way of saying “muh ideological complaints”.
I have gone round and round in circles with people who want to be offended at every last little thing that ‘They’ say. I’ve seen people who pop into a thread once, say something nasty, and never return. I’ve seen Puppies GLOATING at ‘making heads explode’ and ‘causing pain’.
Basically, you say you’ve seen attacks on Sad Puppies, I’ve seen them attacking others. (Which is not to say I haven’t seen anger directed at the Puppies, but mostly it’s been restrained)
And where I’ve seen people calling for the ‘nuclear’ option, it has not been because of WHO got on the ballot, but HOW. It’s a protest against block voting, to try and discourage anyone from doing it next year. From what I’ve seen, folks do NOT want to see the Hugos become a competition between political parties.
And in my view, it was not ‘fan’ participation that did anything here, not the ‘trufans’ entrenched in con activity, and not the wider spectrum of fans that Torgersen claims to represent. Frankly, it was the Rabid Puppies, so… you might want to be careful with that ‘we’.
April 26, 2015 @ 2:39 am
I’ve watched the whole Hugo fight evolve with stunned fascination. I haven’t followed it closely – even though I write in the genre. I couldn’t.
You see, I’m European. US vs THEM does not work very well in Europe, even though people do try. There are many here, and many different nuances and many different languages and many different shades, and it is considered a cultural advantage to be able to talk and create compromise. Countries with two-party systems are extremely rare, and thus cooperations, coalitions and compromises are a fundamental part of political and public life.
So correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve seen the US drift into US vs THEM (and yes, that is intentional) over the time of two decades or more, with a decisive move toward it after 9/11. I’ve seen it happen in my own chat channel, on message boards, and in the news. It’s so much easier than taking the time to research and build a more detailed opinion. And very often, those who do are derided as idealists and dreamers.
I wish it were different. I wish something good would come out of this Hugo award fight, that fans would wake up and really talk. But considering the larger scenario, I don’t have a lot of hope, because it’ll take a fundamental cultural shift. And if even the SFF genre fans can’t do it…
I’ll just go and write about dragons some more.
April 26, 2015 @ 2:44 am
So he hates himself!
Well, that’s just typical of Them. Or Us. I forget.
April 26, 2015 @ 5:28 am
This is my favorite thing I’ve read concerning this whole Hugos/Puppy mess. I’m going signal boost. Thanks for writing it!
April 26, 2015 @ 6:18 am
Good to see someone citing M Hogarth. I don’t share her views but she’s an interesting, thoughtful commentator and as such tends to get ignored. I spent some of last night on PM to a writer who is more SP than not, in a civilised and enlightening discussion. It’s not us vs them…it’s just us.
April 26, 2015 @ 6:48 am
I just went and had a look at her page based on your recommendation there, and yeah, she makes some good points.
And for added value there’s a fairly wonderful conversation between two commenters, one who is sympathetic to the Puppies and one ‘from the other side’ as it were and after a while they’re just geeking out over books and it is perfect.
This is what all of fandom should be.
April 26, 2015 @ 7:41 am
I found Cheryl Morgan’s post an upbeat consideration of ‘where do we go from here’ and a good way to aim to get away from us v them.
Dark Matter Zine
April 26, 2015 @ 7:48 am
I actually like the CHORF label. One of the things I like about the CHORF label is puts fanatical people reacting to something in the same basket; a Rabid Puppy and an SJW can be in the same basket. (There are people behaving unreasonably from both ends of the political spectrum.)
I suspect Brad didn’t mean it quite like that but, if the shoe fits…
D. D. Webb
April 26, 2015 @ 8:10 am
Who are these puppies? This blog is pretty much the only online fandom circles I peruse on a regular basis; it’s the only place I’ve heard about this. So far, nobody involved comes off looking good.
April 26, 2015 @ 8:14 am
When I was a teenager, I had three hobbies: Computer, Games and SF&F books. The first became a job, the other two remained a hobby since. I am surprised to find both of them in the middle of a cultural war.
Perhaps I should not be surprised as two mechanisms were known to me, that apply here as well.
1) Evolution of memes
You can think of a meme as an organism. It is not static. Especially when in contact with other memes, it adapts. Memes compete for resources as well (let’s call it mind-space). Memes have sub-memes which act like genes and sub-memes that help a meme propagate get adapted and included.
If you look at several areas, the “create an us vs. them” sub-meme has been successful in the past. While it comes with disadvantages (caps max-propagation) it is an efficient sub-meme to ensure survival.
Apply this to a meme under pressure (e.g. misogyny): Voila 🙁
(Remark: Not my idea, i read the following book and found the ideas applicable to other memes beside religion: http://www.thereligionvirus.com/)
2) You can build a career on confrontation
If you look at the U.S. landscape, you can see several people who have built a career on confrontation (e.g. Beck, Limbaugh). They have become very rich people by positioning themselves as pure, non-compromising ideologists.
Gamergate has show that this is possible in other areas as well. There are people who have used that meme to build themselves a crowd of loyal fans who also contribute financially as well. They restricted there market but over-compensated by market-share in the remaining market.
I do not think this applies to Larry Correia, but I am pretty sure the Hugo controversy pays a huge dividend for Vox Day (who otherwise would be literately insignificant).
April 26, 2015 @ 9:52 am
Brad didn’t bother to Google; the previous meaning for “CHORF” is “Christ on a rabbit farm!” Which is very much more appropriate for Brad’s accusations, in my opinion.
And the amusement value of *Brad* calling other people “Cliquish” (did you notice how many of the Puppy nominees to this point have been personal friends of the nominators? The first one who wasn’t, as far as I can see, was Vox Day last year.) “Obnoxious” (speaks for itself, I think, but if not, do check out Puppy nominee Tom Kratman’s comments and threats on Brad’s blog and File 770) “Reactionary” (as in wanting to restore science fiction to some previous “Golden Age”, Brad?) “Fanatics” would be priceless if there weren’t so many people pretending that it somehow applied to fans who aren’t Puppies.
April 26, 2015 @ 9:58 am
“I am not doing it because I was pressured by anyone either way or on any ‘side.’” –[Author]
“[Author] is everything any good leftist could ever want in a Hugo nominee, and they got hounded off the ballot by the LEFT.” -Brad Torgersen
*rolls eyes* That’s right, Brad the author in question is everything any good leftist could want. Except that they are only on the ballot due to an unfair boost from a slate. Maybe it’s time to consider, however tentatively, the remote possibility that it is your slate and not your politics that are the problem.
April 26, 2015 @ 10:07 am
@Hannah: I am afraid it will hit us with some delay. The “us vs. them” meme will take some time to adapt to our ecosystem. But we are living on borrowed time concerning that…
April 26, 2015 @ 10:27 am
Mind you, being “Them” to the Puppies doesn’t mean being “Them” to everyone who broadly shares their taste, politics, or religion. I’ve seen plenty of people whose reading preferences and political ideas are pretty different to my own literary, progressive tastes, but who reject the slating, and/or don’t have a problem with SF that’s not their favourite flavour landing on the ballot, any more than I have an issue do. If there’s a reasonable conversation to be had, it can certainly be had with them!
Jim C. Hines
April 26, 2015 @ 10:38 am
“Then I asked the wrong question of the wrong people at the wrong time. Even Brianna Wu chimed in on that one. I was a ‘white supremacist’ by mere association with Brad Torgerson and Larry Correia because they knew Vox Day and I was friends with Brad and Larry on FaceBook. Guilt-by-association.”
Greg – Your description is a bit vague here. As Brianna Wu points out, it sounds like you’re painting multiple people with the same brush. Did Wu actually call you a white supremacist, or did she say something different? (I’m not seeing any evidence of the former.)
I don’t think having Brad or Larry on your Facebook friends list makes you a white supremacist. But it sounds like you might be taking multiple people who challenged or disagreed with you in different ways, or for different reasons, and lumping them into a unified “Them.”
I’d also be curious to see this faction calling for mass murder, and what was actually said there.
Eric James Stone
April 26, 2015 @ 10:40 am
> If I say I believe someone is being racist, I don’t see it as the
> severest charge against their character; I see it as
> recognizing we’re all imperfect beings who should be working
> to do better.
When you say it, that’s what you mean. But the word is very politically charged and carries a lot of connotations (hates people of color, wants to bring back Jim Crow laws, etc.), especially when used by people on the left against people on the right.
As an example of the same sort of thing from the other side, in the Bible (Romans 3:23) it says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” It’s Christian doctrine that we are all sinners. But if the word is used in the context of a Christian calling a homosexual a “sinner,” do you interpret it as merely a recognition that we are all imperfect beings? Probably not. In that context, it’s a very charged word.
April 26, 2015 @ 10:40 am
Very good points, and well stated. This issue, more than a lot of them, seems to have room for some shades of gray, at least in terms of goals if not tactics.
The only little thing I’d like to say is, I wish, in this argument (and many similar internet battles) that death threats and other over-the-top crap from EITHER side, didn’t get so much time. That stuff is important to point out–vital even–but it belongs to the subject: “assholes on the internet” or “dealing with harassment on the internet”. I just don’t like the horrible people to be allowed to pollute so much of the discussion and analysis. When dealing with the actual issue at hand those crazies should relegated to, at most, a minor mention, when too often the pieces I’ve read purporting to look at the concerns of the two sides devote a preponderance of space, which is essentially giving the fringe trolls and psychos the mike. Too many pieces purporting to be about the issue waste paragraphs with examples and anecdotes of insane comments and threats when, for the purpose of discussing the actual debate, the space would be better used discussing the points of those engaged in reasoned and civil discourse.
That may not apply as much to your piece here, since it’s actually -about- the contentiousness and us-vs-them tone, but… in a way it is. I’m just not sure that, asking people to be more tolerant and less condemning of the other side is served by citing the actions of the trolls who aren’t listening anyway.* You can always find examples of attacks and harassment these days it seems, and because of that, for purposes of the argument, they should be discounted as any kind of evidence of the contentiousness between those members of each side that are arguing in good faith. (AGAIN–NOT saying the attacks should not be discussed elsewhere, or that they’re not completely toxic and MATTER–just that they shouldn’t be used as proof, or take space from, the attitudes of the rational people I believe exist on both sides when discussing the ISSUE itself).
I’m rambling a bit, but I guess I’m saying I’d rather see examples of “us-vs-them” that don’t give the crazies a voice. For the purposes of this debate and my perspective at least–the crazies aren’t the US or the THEM. They’re the CRAZIES. Maybe an impossible task, but I’d rather see examples of threads or blog posts illustrating “us vs them” by using cases where rational participants aren’t resorting to insults or spewing venom, but still seem to be not “getting” that there’s even another side to their arguments or that there can be “grays” in one’s attitudes.
*Of course, this particular kerfuffle does have the distinction of having as one of it’s “leaders” one of those toxic trolls, so I do understand that mentioning some of that toxicity is a bit harder to avoid. In that regard, the above applies to the good faith members of the SPs, not the RPs.
April 26, 2015 @ 10:42 am
I, too, disagree that accusing someone of racism is the worst thing you can say about them. Partly that’s because it’s a pointless distraction to argue which form of bigotry is the worst of all. But mostly it’s because the stigma around using the word “racism” paradoxically protects racism, making us timid about identifying it, acknowledging it, and dealing with it. As N.K. Jemisin put it: “The problem is, we live in a society which — due to the fact that racism is our status quo — treats calling someone a racist as worse than doing something racist. The only way to repair that society is to stop accepting that status quo, and call racism what it is when we see it.” (See her comment here: http://nkjemisin.com/2015/04/not-the-affirmative-action-you-meant-not-the-history-youre-making/)
Jim C. Hines
April 26, 2015 @ 10:48 am
You might be happier not knowing. But if you want to know and have a lot of time, I’d suggest heading to File770 and clicking on the Puppies tag. Mike Glyer has been doing an amazing job of rounding up links and information in a relatively balanced way.
Jim C. Hines
April 26, 2015 @ 10:51 am
Well, I suspect “fanatics” applies to most of us in one way or another. In my case, it’s Avatar: TLA, Janet Kagan’s books, DC’s The Flash show, and plenty of other stuff.
Jim C. Hines
April 26, 2015 @ 10:53 am
Part of the problem is that at least some of the people on the slates probably could have gotten onto the ballot without that boost. I don’t want to get into this particular author, or any specific example, but that doubt the slate creates for the puppies’ nominees is one of the more tragic things to come out of this mess, in my opinion.
Jim C. Hines
April 26, 2015 @ 10:56 am
Yep. The history of Tom Doherty and Jim Baen’s work together is rather eye-opening…
Jim C. Hines
April 26, 2015 @ 11:11 am
So, given that linguistic disconnect, how would you suggest someone point out another person’s racist assumption/comment/behavior/etc?
Homosexuals as sinners … I don’t know that the analogy holds. In part because it’s usually such a selective accusation. The Bible lists all kinds of sins, but homosexuality gets singled out for condemnation and persecution in a way most other “sins” don’t. (I put sins in quotes because there are plenty of Christians who don’t see homosexuality as sinful. Calling it Christian doctrine erases the beliefs of a great many Christians out there.)
Eric James Stone
April 26, 2015 @ 11:49 am
In my comment, the only thing I called Christian doctrine was that we are all sinners. I did not attribute any beliefs about homosexuality to all Christians.
> So, given that linguistic disconnect, how would you suggest someone point
> out another person’s racist assumption/comment/behavior/etc?
I’ll have to think about that for a bit.
Jim C. Hines
April 26, 2015 @ 1:21 pm
“In my comment, the only thing I called Christian doctrine was that we are all sinners. I did not attribute any beliefs about homosexuality to all Christians.”
You’re correct. Sorry about that. Please disregard that last sentence in my comment.
Dark Matter Zine
April 26, 2015 @ 4:05 pm
I confess I hadn’t googled CHORF myself but lurv THAT definition! And I had no clue about the personal relationships required to get on that particular slate.
Dark Matter Zine
April 26, 2015 @ 4:07 pm
Yes. This. And for more fan-ac, see all the cosplayers at any expo, just out to have fun.
April 26, 2015 @ 4:11 pm
I think he’s using a “Hugo Awards” tag, if memory serves.
April 26, 2015 @ 5:18 pm
I was unclear: “Fanatics” is generally applicable (at least in the sense of “fans”)–it’s the *other* words (especially Reactionary, of course) that I thought applied better to Puppies.
April 26, 2015 @ 5:20 pm
Neither did I; the Puppies haven’t been very straightforward about it. It was when I read Larry’s account of his first WorldCon that the penny dropped: most of the people he mentioned as old or new friends in that post popped up on Sad Puppies 2.
April 26, 2015 @ 5:25 pm
Yes. This occurred to me as a disadvantage of slates last year. At one point I was even toying with a song on the subject: “With the ballots bare, could he have won it fair? Now I guess we’ll never know.”
If you get nominated with a boost from a slate, you’ll never know if you could have done it on your own–and neither will anyone else.
April 26, 2015 @ 5:40 pm
I read a secondhand quote where Correia says he put Jim Butcher on the ballot as much because the guy’s his friend as anything…
And if you check out Torgersen’s wikipedia page, he has previously worked with one of the graphic nominees…
So, yeah, at least some of the slate is “quality, underserved work” AND ‘friends/acquaintances of the head Puppies”.
April 26, 2015 @ 6:21 pm
I managed to attend two Worldcons when they were close enough to be affordable, and there was some campaigning, probably by publishers as they had the resources. But this kind of campaigning and combative rhetoric shows a lack of respect for readers’ widely varying taste and ability to choose. I’m not voting this year, my budget is far too tight to have much opinion of the field, but this brangling is tainting the process and creators, and THAT is what I severely disapprove of the makers of both slates. This taints the victory AND defeat of every nominated entry. This year will be remembered for this debacle, not the merits of the pieces. That seems a waste.
I’m hoping that that the conditions that enabled this mess can be addressed so we don’t waste this much energy on anything other than enjoying good stories. Some great works in any arena don’t win, and some works we look back and wish they had, but that’s the reality of any award. I’ve enjoyed works from all strips and this is too divisive.
Dark Matter Zine
April 26, 2015 @ 6:50 pm
I confess that I’m so over the us-vs-them thing that I’m focusing on anything that tickles my funny bone instead of the “real” issues.
Yes, people have gamed the system. Yes, people have behaved badly (on both sides).
I have become increasingly cynical over the past 5 years since discovering there is a thing called ‘fandom’ that goes above and beyond actually being a fan of SFF. A person who would probably qualify for the SJW title (and be proud of it) declared in a podcast 3 years ago that she wanted to “win all the awards”. She has campaigned, right down to looking into the fine details of awards in locations that excluded her because of where she lives (eg organising projects with the minimum number of people living in the right area to secure a valid eligibility; as the minimum number of people changed, so has the proportion of people living in certain locations and the number of people working on her projects).
Gaming the system is not just restricted to the Puppies and not even to the Hugo Awards (see prestigious TV and movie awards for more examples).
I don’t have any suggestions for how to prevent this kind of manipulation of the system or how to prevent people buying extra votes via purchasing supporting memberships for friends and family (for example), and lobbying people to vote on the basis of relationships rather than quality of work.
I think we have to accept that the Hugo Awards will reflect this kind of manipulation if they continue. The only alternative to Puppy Domination is for the equivalent behaviour on the other side, which doesn’t fix the problem either.
So, being Ostrayan (Australian), I am sitting back and poking fun where I can without being offensive. Hence my flippant comments.
April 26, 2015 @ 7:56 pm
I’ve been called racist more than once, and after my initial bristling (like a puffer fish, it’s a reflex), it’s turned out, in fact, that I had actually done or said something racist. Mostly unintentionally, but still. In that situation, racist. At which point I apologize and try not to do that again. Inevitably, I’ll fail (we’re all imperfect and fall short of the glory of God or the FSM, or our better nature), but I’m trying to get my average up.
If being called a racist is the worst thing that’s ever been said to you, you’ve led a charmed life.
April 26, 2015 @ 8:10 pm
So that’s what happens when I get online after a shot of Baileys. Hmm.
April 26, 2015 @ 8:21 pm
Oh, I am very MUCH a “them,” though not in the way that the Puppies have defined.
I am opposed to orchestrated factional campaigning for voting slates in the Hugo Awards.
I am opposed to publicly insulting, belittling, denigrating, and/or verbally attacking past Hugo nominees, winners, and voters. I am opposed to unprofessional behavior.
I am opposed to gaming the Hugo Awards on the basis of personal vitriol and professional envy or resentment.
Not feeling like an “insider” or one of the “Cool Kids” is a very common experience, and I do not agree that it’s a reason to attack the reputation of the Hugo Awards and undermine the nominations process.
I do not believe that not winning an award you’re nominated for, or not even being nominated for an award you want, is proof of a conspiracy against you. There are many factors that more realistically account for that turn of events, including: you were not the most deserving nominee, or you were not the nominee with the most name recognition.
In all of these above ways, there is a vast chasm between me and the Puppies, and it appears to be more unbridgeable every time they open their mouths (or, rather, sit at their keyboards) to issue yet another statement justifying their behavior. They and I are very MUCH in “us” and “them” positions.
April 26, 2015 @ 8:39 pm
This needs a ‘Like’ button.
April 26, 2015 @ 8:46 pm
I had a similar discussion once regarding “whitesplain” and “mansplain”. My view is that, sure, there’s problems with the words, but at this point in time they’re the best, if not only, words we have to sum up the phenomenon.
So I can see how being called racist might hurt and sound like a person is being described as equivalent to a Klansman, I just don’t know how else to tell them they said something problematic.
April 26, 2015 @ 11:28 pm
Please don’t describe all the Puppies as “Theodore Beale and people who shared his views.” Correa himself has compared Beale to Stalin in terms of awfulness. At most, you can say they share Beale’s view that certain good books aren’t winning Hugos, just like Roosevelt shared Stalin’s view that Hitler should be defeated.
April 26, 2015 @ 11:38 pm
“So, given that linguistic disconnect, how would you suggest someone point out another person’s racist assumption/comment/behavior/etc?”
I’m still thinking about this myself, but in hopes that it’ll help…
I’m a member of a web forum where overt racism, and false accusations of racism (whether overt or covert), are both ban-worthy offenses. One usual response to covert racism, therefore, is not to say “you’re racist!” but to explain how and why the comment is wrong, and to question whether the person has been misled by prejudice or stereotypes. Sometimes it happens politely; more often it doesn’t. But it gets across the message that this comment is dangerously wrong without overly impugning the person’s character.
This method can’t be reduced to a neat formula, or to a phrase short enough to fit in a tweet. In some ways, that’s probably a good thing. But, at least in the context of this forum, and in my mind, it seems to work fairly well.
April 26, 2015 @ 11:45 pm
I have to ask, who is Hitler in this analogy?
April 26, 2015 @ 11:50 pm
I don’t know; ask Correa? I’m repeating his analogy from two weeks ago.
April 27, 2015 @ 12:24 am
Yeah, I know where it came from. Just wondering what your interpretation was.
April 27, 2015 @ 1:05 am
My guess is that he didn’t pursue it that far. If I made an analogy in those words, I’d just be trying to say “We’re working together,” without necessarily adding “against X.” Just a guess, though.
April 27, 2015 @ 1:40 am
April 27, 2015 @ 1:50 am
I’m inclined to think that Correia and Torgersen should be banned from analogies. I’ve yet to see them make one that’s not ripe for criticism….
April 27, 2015 @ 6:10 am
Vox Day has been trying to polarize SF for several years now with his “blue” vs “pink” dichotomy. Blue is manly old-fashioned SF like Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein used to write – in Day’s mind, SF written for and by men. Pink was”necrobestial romance” written by women and for women. He tried to claim that pink SF was PC and that publishing houses (Tor) were ignoring blue SF in its favor, leaving manly men and boys nothing to read. This was part of his women ruin everything rant.
Taking it a step further into the whole puppies thing was a natural progression for someone who thrives on strife. The point I’m making is that this is not something new Day did with the Hugos last year & this – this is something he has been working on for several years. He is very happy to have picked up Correa, Torgerson and Wright – they have lent him legitimacy – real mainstream authors on his side! So who is Stalin and who is FDR becomes an interesting question.
April 27, 2015 @ 6:51 am
Sounds more like Gepetto and Pinocchio.
Jim C. Hines
April 27, 2015 @ 8:11 am
Evan – Who determines whether an accusation of racism is “false”?
April 27, 2015 @ 1:37 pm
Jim, I really enjoy the books of yours I’ve read, despite disagreeing with you personally on some issues you are vocal about. I like the stories. Your views are your own. I bought your books because they were good. The vast majority of ‘puppy sympathizers’ I’ve spoken to feel the classification of the author should be irrelevant. The only question that should matter is, “Is the book good?” What most puppies feel is that, over the last several years, a three-star book that expresses a non-traditional view on sex/race/orientation/etc., or is written by an author with that view (they tend to go together) always seems to get the nod over an equal or even better book with more historically mainstream values. Not that the books weren’t decent, but rather the worldview is what put it in the conversation. Change the protagonist from a bisexual black woman to a white male and suddenly the book is just average. That is the thing I find irritating. I may thoroughly enjoy said book, but the authors background or the non-standard nature of the character shouldn’t be the reason its entrance in the conversation. What is the BEST STORY! That is what should trump all.
That said, Vox Day is a giant toolbag, and every puppy I know agrees.
April 27, 2015 @ 3:37 pm
On that forum, the forum moderators. The obvious problems apply, and they’d get even worse outside a specific forum with vaguely-respected moderators. But the general method of responding without saying “RACIST!!!” might be worth encouraging elsewhere.
April 27, 2015 @ 3:46 pm
I find it strange, frightening, and wonderful that I came to the comments section to say pretty much the same thing. With the same name….
Craig Laurance Gidney
April 27, 2015 @ 4:34 pm
If the puppies think VD is a “giant toolbar”, then why did they collaborate with him?
Here’s some real talk: as a POC, I despise racism both on the micro and macro levels. VD is the sheets and torches kind of racist, but the other puppies use dogwhistle language (i.e., “affirmative action fiction”) that’s equally disturbing.
Implicit in this statement is that the white straight male is “neutral” or default, and black or bisexual characters are “special interest” and will rob the story of quality.
It’s not VD style racism, but rather, an insidious institution style of racism. Both are bad. That’s why there’s a continuum of racist subtext in the puppy movement, not a stark divide.
April 27, 2015 @ 4:38 pm
Hm. I’ve never seen the phrase “necrobestial romance” before. I must admit…. I LOVE IT! It makes me want to write one!
RE Correia, Torgersen, and Wright lending legitimacy to Vox Day…. I think the reverse has occurred in equal-or-greater measure, their association with him damaging their legitimacy. They’ve certainly helped that wagon roll downhill with their own behavior, but they’ve nonetheless become so closely associated with VD’s persona, in media portrayals and in the general view of much of the sf/f community, that I think John Scalzi phrased it perfectly when he said they have “beclowned” themselves with his company. Their recent attempts to distance their images from his have been too-little-too-late, but the fact that they have felt compelled to try suggests that they may recognize how their involvement with him (whether it is reality, as many believe, or merely perception, as they have recently tried to claim) affects them.
April 27, 2015 @ 4:51 pm
“Implicit in this statement is that the white straight male is “neutral” or default, and black or bisexual characters are “special interest” and will rob the story of quality.”
I found that implicit in the Puppy book covers discussion that I read, which gave me the impression that they want book packaging to warn “normal people” (i.e. them) when books contain protagonists or author-backed characters who are NOT “normal,” i.e. very similar to the Puppies or their Mary Sue images.
April 27, 2015 @ 6:16 pm
Today’s Dilbert pretty much nails this topic.
April 27, 2015 @ 7:26 pm
I’m sorry, I’m not picking on you, but I find this kinda funny. Seems like one of the things Puppies object to is things being ‘too PC’ in their view. I had one guy say it was a bad thing if everyone feels they have to walk on eggshells…
… so the udea that we have to walk on eggshells to avoid saying ‘racist’ and offending people might be ironic.
April 27, 2015 @ 7:27 pm
Damn phone keyboard.
April 27, 2015 @ 7:29 pm
RE: necrobestial romance, if you add in some light BDSM to draw the 50 Shades crowd, you just end up flogging a dead horse.
April 27, 2015 @ 8:56 pm
What you are objecting to is an old political strategy called factionalism–creating a trible (er, tribal) group so as to control an institution. In many respects, radical right politics in the USA since the 1980s has been one long exercise in factionalism, and has now reached its end in a deadlocked Federal government.
Theodore Beale (Vox Day) was born into the radical right. His father is Robert Beale, a “sovereign citizen” who was charged with tax evasion and then charged with threatening the judge in the case. Robert Beale is currently serving an 11 year sentence. The son seems to have brought this strategy to the Hugo Awards.
April 27, 2015 @ 9:12 pm
Thank you for writing this post, Jim. The Us vs Them and points scoring thing overtaking what the Hugos should be is exactly why I withdrew.
I should clarify though that when I say I didn’t do it because of pressure from either “side” I am not saying there wasn’t pressure (I had plenty of messages on all sides telling me to hang tough, that my story was amazing, that I shouldn’t decline just because of who might have voted for me, etc, and messages saying I should be ashamed of myself, that I’d stolen the nomination from a real writer who actually deserved it, etc). I’m saying I made my decision for many other reasons. It’s one reason I took nearly two weeks to withdraw, because it was a very tough decision and I wanted to make sure I was doing it because it was right for me, for my own reasons, and not because of what people around me were saying was right or wrong. Because I wanted to make sure my withdrawal was for me and that it could be something I felt comfortable with instead of just a reaction to other people’s pain.
Hope that clarifies.
April 27, 2015 @ 9:27 pm
That is not what I said, nor what I implied. The fact you SAW that is part of the issue here. I said what the adjectives shouldn’t mattter, but rather which story is better. I’m also incredibly annoyed that every woman in fantasy is beautiful and every man is a member of the chippendales. But simply NOT doing that doesn’t make a book great. An average book doesn’t become extraordinary by throwing in underrepresented character traits. And it’s a disservice to truly great books where the difference is a strength to award medals based on trying real hard to be different.
Craig Laurance Gidney
April 27, 2015 @ 9:49 pm
Conversely, an “average” book doesn’t become better by ignoring diversity, either.
Here’s the thing: in contemporary (as in, published in 2015) fiction, there has to be a reason why the invented world as all white straight dudes. If it’s not addressed in some way, I can’t suspend my disbelief. Also, people with “underrepresented character traits” can add depth to the story. I cut my teeth on the pulpy adventure fiction of Andre Norton. She peopled her tales with all kind of ethnic diversity—and wrote exciting stories. Diverse cast =/= message fiction nor is it distracting. Unless you have a problem with diversity.
April 27, 2015 @ 10:02 pm
and saying that people only vote for a book because it’s different or diverse is, in the view of those people, doing disservice to a book they consider great.
April 27, 2015 @ 10:04 pm
Well said. I hope your next nomination is a happier occasion for you.
April 27, 2015 @ 10:10 pm
And how do you know the people voting for such a book did not consider it the BEST STORY?
Sure, they might like that it has a bisexual black woman as a main character (in part because that is, historically, so rare), but that doesn’t necessarily trump the prose, the storytelling, etc. Why is it so strange that they might genuinely like the book?
April 27, 2015 @ 10:11 pm
Also, please explain what you meant by ‘non-standard character’, if Craig misinterpreted you so badly.
April 28, 2015 @ 1:05 am
April 28, 2015 @ 1:56 am
Thank yew, thank yew. *bows* I’ll be here until Jim feeds me to the goblins. Try the stew!
On second thoughts, don’t try the stew…
April 28, 2015 @ 3:06 am
On the issue of Disenfranchisement, I was watching the discussion at Making Light as they proposed all kinds of mathematical formulas to try to automatically detect slate voting and figure out whose votes should have a multiplier applied to them to reduce them. This struck me as a bad approach. If for no other reason than it would be ridiculously complicated for the Hugo administrators. but I also thought it was ripe for false positives.
I came up with a proposal that would harness the whole of the Hugo electorate to sort out the results. Since 90% of them feel disenfranchised because it takes a mere 10% of the vote to take the ballot, a lot of fans feel they have no input on the finalists. That tends to reduce their interest in the process, and we end up with a tiny electorate easily dominated by slates (public and private).
Thus, I proposed two-round Nominations. https://drmauser.wordpress.com/2015/04/16/so-you-want-to-fix-the-hugos/
And a slipped in a fix for the question of “Which episode of Dr. Who wins this year?”
April 28, 2015 @ 10:13 am
That’s the thing…I think the 50 or 60 people who were voting for each Hugo nominee DID think they were the best story. I’m not suggesting they voted for books they didn’t like. I’m saying 50 or 60 people determining the “Best Book/Short Story/etc of the Year” via the “Most Prestigious Award for Science Fiction/Fantasy” is easily going to favor certain types of fiction when the majority of that group shares a worldview. I don’t think anyone believes previous voters were intentionally voting for things they didn’t like. Only that the tiny sample size wasn’t representative of what the award signified. More people involved means a higher likelihood no one group – whoever it is – can dominate. All you have to do is look around at what has happened. Regardless of your opinion on their method, SP3 certainly got more eyes on the Hugo, and more people engaged in the process, on BOTH sides of the issue.
I imagine there will be several “No Awards” this year, especially in the All Puppy categories. That will be unfortunate, as there are good (and less good) stories there. But I also imagine NEXT YEAR a lot more eyes will be on and hands involved in the nomination process, and we will have a selection of works that is better than ever. That is my hope, at least.
April 28, 2015 @ 11:11 am
That second paragraph is not helpful. What TB’s father did is not relevant to a judgement of TB’s character – look at his own words and actions for that.
Eric James Stone
April 28, 2015 @ 11:31 am
“So, given that linguistic disconnect, how would you suggest someone point out another person’s racist assumption/comment/behavior/etc?”
I’ve thought about it a bit, and what I came up with is somewhat similar to what Evan Þ described in his comment (Apr 27, 2015 @ 15:37:26).
I’m going to assume that the “pointing out” is intended to help the other person understand why their assumption/comment/behavior/etc. (from here on, I’ll just use “comment” in order to simplify) is problematic, rather than to let others see one’s righteous indignation.
First, I would suggest that you not call the person a racist. That could be seen as a personal attack, and it’s unlikely to make them more receptive to any explanation you might offer.
Second, I would suggest that you not label the comment “racist”, because it’s such a charged word.
So, what should you say? I think there are various approaches that can work, and that it depends a bit on whether you think the bias in the comment is conscious or unconscious. But the basic approach is (1) signal that you think something was inappropriate about the comment, (2) explain why, using specifics with regard to what stereotype is being applied to which racial/ethnic group, and (3) give them an out by allowing them to deny that they believe the stereotype.
For example, if you think there was unconscious bias at work, you might say, “I doubt you meant it this way, but that comment could be taken to mean that all Mexicans are lazy. You might want to clarify that’s not what you meant.” Hopefully, the person will take the out (“Oh, yeah, of course I didn’t mean it that way.”), and hopefully they’ll think a little more carefully in the future.
If you think the bias is more of the conscious variety (e.g., a racist joke), you might say, “Hey, I found that comment offensive because it implies blacks in general are stupid. You don’t really believe that, do you?” Again, you’re giving them an out by giving them the chance to deny the stereotype.
And if they don’t take advantage of the out you’ve given them, and they affirm that they meant the stereotype, then I guess at that point the gloves are off and you can call them a racist.
April 28, 2015 @ 3:07 pm
Yeah, from the sound of it the small nominating pool has been an issue for a while anyways. And yes, hopefully more people will get involved.
Sorry, it’s just that there has been some talk from the Puppies, particularly Brad and Larry, which seems to suggest that books win not because people think they’re good, but because the book meets some sort of ‘SJW checklist’. There’s one fuy who’s been trolling Scalzi recently who mocked him by saying one of his books obviously needed more marks on the checklist or it would have won.
Jim C. Hines
April 28, 2015 @ 5:06 pm
I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for you and everyone else who’s had to struggle with this and come to their own decision. I’m glad you took the time you needed to figure it out, and to make the choice that was right for you.
April 28, 2015 @ 8:18 pm
Probably not the same discussion, but I did see a comment on one of Scalzi’s threads that said something about ‘put the puppies to sleep’.
April 28, 2015 @ 9:58 pm
These things are not so easily separated. The father was on the board of WorldNetDaily, the radical right crank web site, for two years. The son was for a decade a commentator on WND under the name Vox Day. So he learned conspiracy theories and radical-right political tactics at his father’s knee. The son is now, according to Charlie Stross, a tax exile, and apparently all his brothers and sisters are as well; at least they have left the USA. No-one seems to know if they are sheltering Robert Beale’s ill-gotten gains, or just cranks.
April 29, 2015 @ 2:50 am
April 29, 2015 @ 9:06 am
just for the record ..this fan could have easily voted a Hugo for your short story “Goodnight Stars” … so I was sorry to see you withdraw but applaud and understand why you have done so.
April 29, 2015 @ 1:42 pm
For what it’s worth, I was sad to see that the comments were closed on your website because I wanted to offer my sympathies on what had to have been a difficult decision. No matter how you chose, there were undoubtedly people who would claim you did the wrong thing, but you decided to walk away from one of the most prestigious awards in the field on top of that pressure. That can’t have been easy, and I admire your courage. I only hope that if I’m ever in your position, I can behave with the same grace and determination.