The Tor Mess
ETA: Could folks weighing in on what is or isn’t libel please also include your legal background and experience? It’s far too easy to play lawyer on the internet…
So half of my social media today is pissed off about the Tor thing, and the other half is saying, “Wait, what Tor thing?”
SHORT VERSION: A comment Tor’s art director made a month ago led to complaints and calls for boycott, which led to an apology from Tom Doherty, which managed to piss off pretty much everyone on all sides.
SHORTER VERSION: Theodore Beale has been jerking people around again.
LONGER VERSION: Mr. Beale is, among other things, the head of the Rabid Puppies Hugo Slate, which he stacked with himself and authors from the small Finland-based press he founded last year. He also seems to have a serious hate-on for Tor Books, as well as one of Tor’s NYT bestselling and Hugo award-winning authors, John Scalzi.
Seven Months Ago: Late last year, Beale was trying (and failing) to stir up GamerGate to boycott Tor Books and John Scalzi in particular:
“[P]erhaps #GamerGaters also need to let @torbooks and @pnh know that they will no longer be buying books from Tor Books as a result of John Scalzi’s oft-professed antipathy for genuine gamers concerned about the politicization and corruption of the games media.” (From Reddit: Pro-GG author Vox Day suggests an operation to boycott John Scalzi)
Commenters on that thread basically pointed, laughed, and got on with their lives.
This is one of many examples of Beale’s crusade against John Scalzi (whom he prefers to call “McRapey”), Patrick Nielsen Hayden (Editor at Tor), Patrick’s wife Teresa (whom Beale refers to as “the Toad of Tor”), and Tor Books in general.
May 11: Irene Gallo, creative director of Tor Books and associate publisher of Tor.com, referenced the Sad and Rabid Puppy campaigns in a comment on her personal Facebook page, after posting about publishing Kameron Hurley’s The Geek Feminist Revolution on Tor.com. When asked what the puppies were all about, she replied:
“There are two extreme right-wing to neo-nazi groups, called the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies respectively, that are calling for the end of social justice in science fiction and fantasy. They are unrepentantly racist, misogynist, and homophobic. A noisy few but they’ve been able to gather some Gamergate folks around them and elect a slate of bad-to-reprehensible works on this year’s Hugo ballot.” (Source)
A short time later, Mister Beale became aware of Gallo’s comment and took a screenshot.
June 6: Beale posted his screenshot on Twitter, saying:
“The Creative Director at Tor Books libels #SadPuppies, Rabid Puppies, and #Gamergate on Facebook.”
He also took to his blog, saying, “this is libelous behavior we will be obliged to bring to the attention of the management at Pan Macmillan.” (Source)
Beale’s faux outrage was picked up and amplified by his commenters and folks like Sad and Rabid Puppy Hugo nominee Cedar Sanderson, among others.
But why did Beale wait almost a month to post this screenshot? He says on File770:
“I’ve held onto this since I had the screencap, which as you correctly note was made several weeks ago. As for the ‘sinister plotting’, I have long been in the habit of never using all of my ammunition at once, or pointing-and-shrieking for its own sake. I am a patient man and I didn’t strike back at TNH, PNH, or even John Scalzi right away either.” (Source)
He confirms this was part of his longer term plan to attack Tor, but doesn’t say why June 6 was the target date. However, a number of people have noted that June 6 was also the day the Nebula Awards were announced. The Nebulas are given out each year by SFWA … the organization that kicked Beale out almost exactly two years ago for racist comments about another author, among other things.
In other words, by posting his screenshot on June 6 and riling up his supporters, he had an opportunity to both attack Tor and try to overshadow one of SFWA’s biggest annual events at the same time. This is speculation, but seems consistent with Beale’s long-term grudges and his stated perception of himself as fighting a long term war against … I dunno. Pink gamma bunnies or something.
June 8: Tom Doherty posted a long apology at Tor.com, saying in part:
“Last month, Irene Gallo, a member of Tor’s staff, posted comments about two groups of science fiction writers, Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies, and about the quality of some of the 2015 Hugo Award nominees, on her personal Facebook page. Ms. Gallo is identified on her page as working for Tor. She did not make it clear that her comments were hers alone. They do not reflect Tor’s views or mine. She has since clarified that her personal views are just that and apologized to anyone her comments may have hurt or offended.”
A number of people felt Doherty had thrown Gallo under the bus in an attempt to appease Beale and his followers. Responses from Kameron Hurley, Chuck Wendig, and many more criticized Doherty for publicly dressing-down Gallo, pointing out that Tor had offered no such public response or apology when a Tor employee publicly described a Tor author as “phony,” “arrogant,” and “incompetent.” Likewise, there was no public statement when it became known that Tor had been employing a serial sexual harasser for years.
Others complained that Tor didn’t also rebuke people like John C. Wright for his homophobic and bigoted remarks. However, it should be pointed out that an author like Wright is not the equivalent of an employee like Gallo.
People on the pro-puppy side of things were angry that Doherty hadn’t gone further, and continued to call for Gallo to be fired.
Today: The apology thread at Tor.com has almost 500 comments. People on all sides are expressing anger at Tor and Tom Doherty, and some folks are still talking about a boycott…
…which would seem to be exactly what Beale wanted when he posted that screenshot and released the rabid hounds.
I mean, come on. You don’t think the man who routinely calls John Scalzi a rapist gives a damn about “libel,” do you? Gallo’s comment was a weapon he could use to try to damage Tor Books. And right now, in the heat of anger and argument, it looks like he succeeded.
Realistically though, I can’t imagine this boycott will be any more successful than his last effort. And most of the internet will probably have moved on by the end of the week.
My Own Thoughts/Opinions:
- Beale is an asshole. I find it annoying when people dance to his tune. But I don’t see him having any long-term impact here.
- Gallo has every right to express her opinions, especially on her personal Facebook page. Doing so in the context of a comment promoting a Tor.com release? Yeah, I think that was a mistake. One for which she’s apologized.
- Doherty publicly chastising Gallo? I think that was a bigger mistake, and escalated the situation in nasty (and predictable) ways.
- Isn’t truth a defense against libel? Rabid Puppies was founded by a man who believes “the reason women shouldn’t vote in a representative democracy is they are significantly inclined to vote for whomever they would rather f***” (Source), and his champion author describes homosexuality as “perversion,” a “dark path” he compares to alcoholism (Source). Brad Torgersen, the head Sad Puppy, dismisses previous award-winning and nominated work as “affirmative action” fiction (Source), and spews things like, “Fuck you all. The forces of the progressive pink and poofy Xerxes were met at the Hugo Hot Gates, and repelled by a few brave dudes and dudettes with the stones to stand up to your bullshit.” (Source) Obviously, not every nominee and puppy supporter is an unapologetic bigot. But as a generalization based on things the highest-profile puppies have said? I think Beale would have a hard time winning that libel case of his.
- Everything I’ve seen of Gallo’s work has been amazing. She is damn good at what she does. Tor would be incredibly stupid to let her slip away, and while I can’t see the future, I don’t imagine they’re going to do so.
- Beale wants to foment hatred toward Tor. I’m disinclined to acquiesce to his request.
June 10, 2015 @ 8:19 pm
Oh THAT’S what’s going on. I keep getting sideways references to it, and not quite knowing what everyone’s talking about.
June 10, 2015 @ 8:20 pm
I really feel like Tor’s biggest mistake here was leaving that comment thread open. It was bad enough throwing Gallo under the bus, but leaving that post open was just chumming the waters.
Jim C. Hines
June 10, 2015 @ 8:23 pm
Oh God, yes.
Paul Weimer (@princejvstin)
June 10, 2015 @ 8:25 pm
Yeah, it was just asking for trouble, and trouble is what we got.
Mr. Beale acts like the entity in the Star Trek episode “Day of the Dove”, fomenting hatred between the Enterprise crew and the Klingons, for his own pleasure and purposes. A “Bakunin”.
June 10, 2015 @ 8:28 pm
I think the thing that would make Teddy maddest is if Irene Gallo not only kept her job but got a raise. Maybe we could all PayPal her a buck or two.
And Widdle Bwad pounding his chest about how macho and anti-pink his side is is super-ironic*, considering the sexual practices of the Spartan Army, IYKWIM. And also how very, very homoerotic “300” was. I’ve seen fewer oiled up guys in leather loincloths in the San Francisco Pride Parade!
(Honestly, the parade is just downright DULL these days, all full of guys in chinos with their children, cops, firefighters, bank employees… so few drag queens and leathermen.)
*That, and the tiny little facts that a) the brave, brave Spartans sent their unarmed slaves in first, after the slaves had done all the prelim work, carrying all the armor and supplies (apply Teddy and Brad analogy here), b) they all died fairly uselessly, and c) it was actually the Athenian navy that beat the Persians. Ya know. The Athenians, who had philosophy and invented democracy. And fought smartly enough to go home safe, despite the fact that they were amateur citizen-soldiers; draftees, not pros. Who would you rather be?
June 10, 2015 @ 8:29 pm
Matters of public policy like that should NEVER have open comments.
June 10, 2015 @ 8:32 pm
I’m ticked with Doherty’s action, but I’m not boycotting Tor. IF he’s stupid enough to fire Gallo, THEN I would boycott. I don’t think he’s THAT stupid.
I can see why this situation has you brushing up on the Pirates’ Code. I don’t think this will play out the way the canids think it will.
June 10, 2015 @ 8:32 pm
Well, puppydum is so horrified that it needs thousands upon thousands of people reassuring them that no puppies were injured in the mad dash to align themselves with VD. These are profoundly sensitive people, which is why they get hysterical when someone expects them to explain what they wanted…
June 10, 2015 @ 8:35 pm
Oh good. I wasn’t alone in noticing what a horrible idea that was.
Thread’s still open, btw.
June 10, 2015 @ 8:45 pm
And still getting longer and longer. I bowed out early, MKR made her brilliant post and frankly I don’t like spending time in Puppy echo chambers. It makes my brains bleed.
I can’t imagine what’s possessing them to not close it at this point.
June 10, 2015 @ 8:49 pm
Bonus point for effective use of a Barbosa quote.
June 10, 2015 @ 8:52 pm
Excellent summary, Jim.
June 10, 2015 @ 8:53 pm
Agreed. Leaving the comments thread open on a formal public retraction/apology/whatever that was presumably issued to minimize or eliminate corporate liability or exposure… seems like a bad decision.
June 10, 2015 @ 8:53 pm
Good recap, Jim.
June 10, 2015 @ 9:03 pm
And they have just closed the thread. (Close to 500 comments there in the end.)
June 10, 2015 @ 9:05 pm
I agree with you on all of this. I want to talk about one thing and only one thing. I’m stating this because so many commenters like to conflate arguments into other things and try to steer them to their own agendas.
“Isn’t truth a defense against libel?”
Fact is a defense. “Truth” is something else.
Irene’s statement is her opinion. It’s not fact. Because one member of RP might be what she claims does not exonerate her from her claims, which are clearly all inclusive. Basically, for her statements to not libel, she’d have to prove that, as she claims, all SP and RP supporters are Neo-Nazi, misogynist, racists. Good luck on that.
So, no, what you are claiming is not a defense against libel.
However, on the flip side, you do have to prove harm for defamation of character type cases. It’s often difficult to prove harm. Gallo’s comment is no exception, as the broad, all inclusive manner in which she made the claim didn’t really single anyone out, which makes it further difficult to prove her comment could cause personal harm. SP and RP also are a bit more liquid in terms of being a group or entity in any sort of legal sense. They’re not a business. They’re more similar to being a group of Steampunk fans or Mystery buffs. There’s no group entity that can claim to have been harmed by such a broad comment. (Ironically, the broad, all inclusive nature of her comment is what most people, who took offense, took offense with. Not saying they weren’t insensitive, just saying that because her claims were so broad proof of damages because much more difficult).
(Although, I could see cases and cause if an individual lost a job with Tor because they support SP and RP, but you’d have to prove it was specifically because of this comment or similar comments–which, in reality, seems unlikely. You’d have to prove Gallo dropped you from a work because she found out you were a SP / RP supporter and falsely believes this hate she’s spreading. And then that would also have to affect your ability to get future work. Pretty clear Tor works with so-called (in Gallo’s words) “Neo-Nazis” as she has worked with the likes of John C. Wright, and Tor continues to publish them, as well. This is evidence that her statements are largely ill thought out and bullshit, and also could provide evidence of libel, as well. Proof of inaccuracy, but not harm).
But again, the real question is it worth legal action? Is it worth anyone’s time? Who was hurt?
Her comment was small taters. She was called out on it. She apologized. Good for her. Tom Doherty made a statement distancing the company from her comments. And also pointing out that they print SP and RP works. Good for him.
Agree with you whole-heartedly on the rest, Jim.
I bring this up, mainly because our modern internet blogging journalism (imho) tends to favor click-bait stories and sensationlism, which often results in libel worthy character assassinations. Often, these articles will amend and change these claims on the fly (with no apology) and a brief note that previous claims were inaccurate. But the damage has been done, the site has gotten its hits, and it is still libelous and shady journalism.
In the past, it used to be, get your facts together SO YOU DON’T MAKE LIBELOUS claims. In the digital era, with on the fly editing, many “news” organizations seem to have forgotten this.
(I’m not applying the last few paragraphs to Gallo, as a “news organization.” I’m just stating this as my personal opinion as to why it’s important people think about libel in a serious sense, rather than an, “Oh shit, I’m being sued for libel” after the fact sense). We like sensationlism and respond to it. It generates views and clicks.
June 10, 2015 @ 9:09 pm
Jim C. Hines
June 10, 2015 @ 9:13 pm
I’m not even close to being a lawyer, so I have no problem believing my understanding was incorrect. That said, there seems to be a fair amount of argument on this point. Do you mind if I ask your background when it comes to libel law?
June 10, 2015 @ 9:34 pm
I agree mostly with you, except that Tom Doherty’s action in my estimation stands somewhat apart from my (very large) desire to spite Beale. It is exactly the sort of shitty behavior toward female employees that needs to be countered by dragging it out into the public eye and not supported economically.
June 10, 2015 @ 11:19 pm
I had been under the impression that “obviously a statement of opinion” was generally immune to defamation claims because it was by definition not factually false.
June 10, 2015 @ 11:42 pm
June 11, 2015 @ 12:05 am
Re Libel & defamation: the burden is on the plaintiff, not the defendant, to prove the statements are false. And, truth is considered to be an affirmative defense to defamation.
June 11, 2015 @ 12:09 am
I believe you are correct, and a term like “extreme right wing” in particular is so vague and subjective that it’s clearly a matter of where one is standing. According to some people, Obama is a socialist, but that doesn’t mean their understanding of the term meshes with that of economists or political scientists.
I suppose “Nazi” could be said to be a more demonstrably false statement, since there are actual political groups that lay claim to that name, and I doubt most of the puppies are actual members of these organizations. But if everyone could sue for libel when someone referred to supporters of a given cause “Nazis,” then a lot of liberals and feminists would be able to do so as well. Heck, I’ve been called a Nazi, at least by association (as in someone ranting on the web that feminists are Nazis). I guess I should have taken a screenie and tried to get them in trouble with their boss.
Except no one would care if I (or most people) did this. I’m still trying to figure out why everyone does care what a certain RP thinks and says. I never heard of him as an author, game designer, or political force until I joined some online writing communities.
June 11, 2015 @ 12:13 am
Does people actually believe that someone is expressing anything other than their own opinions on their own page? I mean, anyone who is not a hatemongering canid with a gift for taking offense. I don’t even see the problem with her mentioning a book she worked on in the same space as her opinion *because* it’s her space.
June 11, 2015 @ 12:19 am
Actually, if I remember my Puppy trading cards correctly, there is…if not proof, then at least compelling evidence that supports the neo-nazi/fascist description of one of the group leaders. I think almost everything that she said about the Puppies can be supported with their own words & pictures. (I’m not sure about the description of the slates, but at the least that sentiment is not original to her either.)
June 11, 2015 @ 12:24 am
True or not, the reaction is ridiculous from someone who frequently accuses at least one of his fellow writers of being a rapist.
June 11, 2015 @ 12:33 am
I’m no legal expert, but on the topic of libel and liability it strikes me there’s a possible interpretation that’s not been raised to date. Gallo said: “There are two extreme right-wing to neo-nazi groups…” You could argue that she never definitively stated that either group was actually neo-nazi, but rather that they were somewhere on the scale between extreme right-wing and neo-nazi. While the neo-nazi label is, from what I gather, debatable there can be little dispute that the sad/rabid puppies collective supports some extreme right-wing views.
Yes, it’s all semantics – but then semantics seems to be one of the key weapons in this type of grievance politics.
June 11, 2015 @ 12:48 am
I don’t know, but I’m glad I’ve never posted my place of work on my social media profiles. Lots of people do, but when I first joined FB and so on, I started to think–hmm, what if I say something in passing that has some connection (whether vague or more overt) with political issues germane to my workplace, and someone wants to make my life a living hell because they’re a complete jerk? Chances are, I’m not cool or important enough for someone to want to do that, but you never know.
June 11, 2015 @ 12:55 am
I think the thing which worries me most about all of this is it reminds me of something which happened here in Australia back in late April. Scott McIntyre, a sports journalist with one of our minor television networks (SBS – the Special Broadcasting Service which was originally oriented at “ethnic” broadcasting) was sacked from his job because he tweeted some comments on his private account which aroused the ire of a few blowhards (including our Minister for Communications). Essentially, the tweets in question ran contrary to the government line on ANZAC day and the ANZACs; instead of glorifying the various wars Australia had been involved in (and still is involved in) Mr McIntyre called into question whether our troops were universally saints. For which he was sacked. (He’s now suing SBS under the Fair Work Act – political expression is something you’re not supposed to be able to be sacked for here in Australia).
The Gallo/TOR affair here is another example where what an employee says in their private capacity is being used in an attempt to get them publicly sacked.
It points to a larger problem in this interconnected world: if you’re going to express opinions which aren’t considered politically appropriate by authoritarian types, you can expect them to attempt to use those opinions to, for example, have your employment terminated. Certainly adds a new terror to speaking out online.
June 11, 2015 @ 1:32 am
#4: Yeah, my first thought was “It’s not libel if it’s true, dude.”
#6: “I am disinclined to acquiesce to his request.” Where do I know this from??? I know this.
June 11, 2015 @ 1:53 am
it’s said by Captain Barbossa in Pirates of the Caribbean and is always useful in conversation.
Tor should not have thrown Gallo under the bus…
June 11, 2015 @ 2:39 am
I don’t think any legal action against her would stand a chance of a snow flake in hell. She says “There are two extreme right-wing to neo-nazi groups” which is quite different from saying “They are all neo-nazis.” So all she would have to prove (worst case) that some of both groups deserve to be labeled “neo nazi”. I think that is a slam dunk. The puppies have delivered a lot of materiel to work on ;-). Calling the remaining rest “extreme right wing” is AFAIK a legal opinion.
But I think that is only a side show in this issue.
This case highlights a something I see becoming more and more problematic. Companies want employees to publicly identify with them on social media but censure them if this seems to backfire. That is IMHO unfair and threatening free speech.
June 11, 2015 @ 2:40 am
Imps of the perverse have been around for a long time. But now instead of a mean comment that is forgotten, the divas of mean art spread the damage much further and deeper. Deliberately hurting because you think it’s art is a torturer who thinks they have the jester’s immunity. I can’t say I care for Mr Scalzi’s writing, but there is no way I would buy a book from someone who not just a jerk in private, but enjoys spreading it around the fields every spring.
June 11, 2015 @ 4:21 am
I don’t really appreciate being told that I am “dancing to VD’s tune” by deciding that I have better uses for my money than to give it to a company that kowtows to bigots. Tor disgusts me right now. Maybe that’ll pass; maybe it won’t. But either way, it’s not my doing, and I’m not being evil or stupid for acting on that feeling.
Also, for all that this clusterfuck was what VD intended, let’s not ignore the fact that Doherty and Tor are the people who chose to act the way they did – in particular, Doherty repeated a lot of Puppy talking points that have been thoroughly debunked in the last two and a half months, which makes him look, at best, clueless, and at worst, like a sympathizer. If Tor and Doherty wanted to, there are a lot of things they could do to fix the situation – remove those passages from Doherty’s statements, close the comments, make another statement, acknowledge any of the criticisms that have been raised in the last three days. They’re choosing not to, and to me that says that I matter less to them as a customer than a bigot and hate-monger like Vox Day. Excuse me for acting on that impression.
June 11, 2015 @ 7:50 am
I’d say that Beale and Torgersen have put themselves out there enough to count as public figures. In which case libel requires actual malice, which is a real hard standard to prove. I just see a slight exaggeration caused by being riled up, not a planned attempt to harm Beale and Torgersen, like is required under NY Times v. Sullivan.
D. D. Webb
June 11, 2015 @ 8:15 am
I might be suffering from confirmation bias or a lack of reputable sources, here, as this blog is my chief source of info on things going on in the speculative fiction community… But does it seem to anyone else like this kind of rubbish is a too-big portion of what goes on in the community? Honestly these regular patches of rhubarb, usually sowed by some manner of bigot who stepped right out of a wormhole from 1938, are a big part of the reason I haven’t looked into joining SFWA. If I wanna be yelled at by idiots I can just go to my day job.
June 11, 2015 @ 8:33 am
This is exactly what my thoughts on the matter are, only more eloquently said than I can manage right now. Though I personally find the idea of fixing hings by removing part of a post distasteful because it undermines discussion and pretends that the bad parts never happened.
Stephen A. Watkins
June 11, 2015 @ 8:42 am
Count me among those who are extremely disappointed by Doherty’s rash (and, frankly, unprofessional) public apology to the Puppy Parties: especially with the way he worded his reference to the Puppy Parties, which make them sound like supportive apologetics that cast him as being in favor of the Puppy Partisans. It makes the whole thing look like he has indeed thrown Gallo under the bus. In that respect, I stand with Gallo – and I think you’re right: she won’t be fired. It’s pretty clear from the record that even if what Gallo said is not entirely demonstrably true (with respect solely to the “neo-nazi” label), it is a very easy conclusion to reach from the available evidence (and indeed does seem to be an accurate assessment of Mr. Beale’s political philosophy).
That said… I’m not boycotting Tor and I think boycotting Tor over Doherty’s ill-advised statement is a bit premature and unproductive – but I also totally understand the sentiment that is leading many to enter into such a boycott. I was initially very angry after reading Doherty’s statement – honestly still am. But if he’s receiving threats of boycotts from two directions, he has nowhere to go, which will just lead to him doubling-down and making the situation worse. If there’s a an extension of good will from one direction, an honorably out, a high road, I think Tor will take it.
Ideally, I’d like to see Doherty issue a clarification of continued support for Ms. Gallo. Even more ideally, a public rebuke of the misogyny, racism, and homophobia exhibited by so many of the self-professed Puppy supporters. No, the author-publisher relationship is not the same as the editor-publisher relationship, but just the same it would be nice for a clarification that certain views expressed by Tor-published authors are not the views of Tor either, while they’re at it.
At any rate… I don’t feel particularly empowered to do anything about this in either way, at the moment. I feel like there’s nothing I can do but sit back and watch how it plays out and hope for the best.
June 11, 2015 @ 8:55 am
I don’t usually pay attention to the personal beliefs of an author or publishing company when deciding what books to read. Or I didn’t used to. But after all of the seriously horrifically bad behavior lately I’ve started to compile a list to avoid. Guess who’s on that list? The people screaming the loudest about “social justice warriors” and complaining that the SF field now includes groups of people they don’t like.
I doubt their works are going to appeal to me, as a female reader, anyway. I am heartily sick of women as the “hero’s reward.” No, thanks, guys, I can rescue myself!
June 11, 2015 @ 9:01 am
As a fellow Aussie it really appalled me that he was sacked under pressure from some of the biggest troglodytes and bigots we have (esp those from Murdoch press) people like Bolt for gods sake!
June 11, 2015 @ 9:06 am
Thank you Jim for reminding me that he’d tried this before against Tor. Its a pretty bad look for one publishing house to be calling for boycotts against another but let’s face it Castilla is no more a publisher than Rush Limbaugh.
June 11, 2015 @ 9:33 am
No. This is wrong. You can’t play it both ways. You can’t say that being a racist, sexist, misogynist is a matter of opinion, AND that in order to get out of a libel claim that Gallo would have to prove that they are factually racist, sexist, misogynists.
If it’s a matter of opinion that some Puppies are racist, sexist, and misogynist, there is no libel claim, because she is clearly stating an opinion. If a reasonable observer would believe that Gallo was stating an opinion about the Puppies, and not stating a fact, then the statement is not defamatory, period.
The second question, then, becomes: if a reasonable observer would believe that Gallo was stating a fact about the Puppies, then truth is a defense. (I have never seen a court make a distinction between “facts” and “truth”, and the defense is stated as “truth”–so honestly, I’m not sure what you’re banging on about with that.)
Gallo’s statement, that the Sad/Rabid Puppies are extreme right-wing/neo-nazi groups, is substantially true as understood by defamation law. If I said that Republicans oppose same-sex marriage, an individual Republican who supported same-sex marriage couldn’t sue me. Yeah, I spoke generally–but everyone understands that my statement isn’t meant to say that everyone who aligns with the group is in lockstep, and it’s substantially true that every major candidate for office opposes same-sex marriage rights. Defamation law is not nearly as nitpicky as you seem to claim.
Ditto for the Puppies. Nobody in their right mind imagines upon reading Gallo’s statement that she has done a comprehensive study of all people identifying as Puppies and placed them on a scale of political beliefs. The statement is understood to mean that the people running the Puppies platforms are hostile to certain beliefs, and that is something that can be proven as true with about ten seconds of Google.
I don’t get the impression from your post that you have any training in defamation law aside from Wikipedia.
June 11, 2015 @ 10:30 am
Before you flail too much, remember that three days really isn’t always long enough for a final, considered response. It feels like it in internet time, especially if you’re actively watching the reactions and demands evolve.
Still, since it’s also been suggested that one reason Doherty’s initial response was so offensive is that it was done in too much haste, maybe we should give the whole thing a bit more time before making final statements.
June 11, 2015 @ 10:37 am
Well, in SFWA, you’d be safe from Beale at least… though I have heard they have a patch of nasty reactionaries, otherwise.
I think these patches are disproportionately loud. People with extreme views on both ends of the spectrum tend to be, and because an immoderate platform gets much more news attention than “Well, I believe X but let’s live and let live, ok?”. This is also why I constantly have to affirm that when i say I’m a feminist, I don’t mean (Take exaggerated extreme man-hating view).
(and rhubarb is tasty! don’t demean rhubarb.)
Stephen A. Watkins
June 11, 2015 @ 11:24 am
I’ll second this. A few days is forever in internet time but barely a blink in corporate time. I’m still hopeful for a more measured response, and I don’t think it’s terribly unlikely we’ll see one just because we haven’t seen it yet.
Stephen A. Watkins
June 11, 2015 @ 11:49 am
Oops… this belonged in response to your response to Abigail, not to D.D. Webb.
That said, I also wish to say that I think Abigail’s reasoning and anger are, IMO, perfectly rational and understandable, and while I won’t likewise be boycotting, I fully respect and support her intent (and of those like her) to do so. I’m just hopeful the situation can be resolved on a better note before that becomes truly necessary.
June 11, 2015 @ 1:04 pm
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Limbaugh is, in fact, a publisher. I was browsing the periodicals section of my local library the other week, and came across The Limbaugh Letter, which appears to be some odd combination of a vanity press PR thing, and a set of screeds against all that’s evil on the American left, apparently featuring cover illustrations of Rush looking heroic in a variety of costumes.
If you google it, you can find the latest cover, which is umm…striking. But it does have paid subscribers, including my library.
June 11, 2015 @ 3:14 pm
Boycotting Tor means boycotting authors. Honestly, authors deserve every penny they can get–remember, ONLY 8% of the paperback cover price goes to the author–so why should they be caught in this mess?
Buy whatever books you want to read, regardless of publisher. Just READ.
June 11, 2015 @ 3:38 pm
That’s my thought as well. The founder and chief of Tor Books (which is owned my McMillan anyway) may be an asshole, and having been prodded by VD until he throw his editor under the bus doesn’t make him any less of an asshole, but I don’t see why one would take it out on the hundreds of authors Tor and its imprints publishes. They don’t have anything to do with the founder of their publisher’s opinions, and losing sales will hurt them a lot more than it hurts him.
June 11, 2015 @ 5:24 pm
“Beale is an asshole. I find it annoying when people dance to his tune. But I don’t see him having any long-term impact here.”
From what I have read on his blog, I am inclined to agree. That said, some of his views seem so ridiculous and extreme that I question whether he truly believes them, or if he is just trying to be a troll. Unfortunately, I find the term “asshole” to be a rather appropriate one for Gallo as well. What she wrote was completely inappropriate and, frankly, rather stupid. Beale, as much as he may disgust me, is not responsible for Gallo’s poor behavior.
“Gallo has every right to express her opinions, especially on her personal Facebook page. ”
She most certainly does. However, that does not mean she is free from any consequences of the things she may say. Other people have every right to respond to what she says and to disagree with her. Especially when she misuses a term like “Neo-Nazi” and/or says untrue things about a group of people.
“Doing so in the context of a comment promoting a Tor.com release? Yeah, I think that was a mistake. One for which she’s apologized.”
It was definitely a mistake, and completely unprofessional. An apology was definitely warranted. She is a grown woman, and should be able to deal with the consequences of her mistakes (though the immaturity of her statements do make me wonder otherwise).
“Doherty publicly chastising Gallo? I think that was a bigger mistake, and escalated the situation in nasty (and predictable) ways.”
I disagree completely. Doherty did the right thing here. It’s not his fault that Gallo decided to make a fool out of herself. Did it escalate the situation? Perhaps, but I don’t blame people for being offended by somebody inaccurately referring to them a Neo-Nazi or a bigot.
“Obviously, not every nominee and puppy supporter is an unapologetic bigot”
I would go a step further a speculate that a vast majority of them are not “unapologetic bigots”. In fact, the only person I have seen who truly fits that description is Beale. I have not seen anything bigoted while lurking at Larry Correia’s or Brad Torgersen’s sites.
Jim C. Hines
June 11, 2015 @ 5:29 pm
“I have not seen anything bigoted while lurking at Larry Correia’s or Brad Torgersen’s sites.”
I have, and have referenced several examples. That said, people are naturally going to have different opinions on this stuff.
June 11, 2015 @ 5:31 pm
The weirdest thing about it, which I’ve also mentioned elsewhere, is Tor.com has a long-standing habit of closing comments on threads that are likely to be controversial, such as when it posted comments from John Sargent aimed at Tor authors, artists, partners, etc. (but NOT readers) during the agency pricing kerfuffle.
Surely I can’t be the only one who believes the fact that it didn’t close them on this post was intentional. Could it be that it’s an act of passive protest against Tor’s corporate overlords (to whom Puppies members urged their followers write) demanding Doherty post a conciliatory statement? A way of showing them, “See what a mistake you’re making me make, here?”
I think it’s my new headcanon, either way.
Shauna Aura Knight
June 11, 2015 @ 5:36 pm
Thanks for posting this, and your other posts on related topics, particularly the “How to report sexual harassment” piece. I have actually been fighting a bit of this battle within the Pagan/earth-centered community. We are theoretically sex positive, but it’s become a bit more sex pressuring, and thus, harassment (and other issues) get excused as people just being sexually free, and if you have a problem with it, you’re a prude and haven’t worked on your sexual issues impressed on you by the dominant culture.
Only recently do any of the larger Pagan conventions and festivals even have harassment policies, much less a formal process to report such harassment. I and others have been keeping our eye on the SF/F and related conventions and community to try and learn the lessons we can from this so that we can do a better job in our own groups and events.
But, we have some of the same problems. When I, and other activists, speak up about harassment, racism, and other bigotry, we become the lightning rod much as Irene Gallo did. So I wish her all the support that I can–and everyone else who has had the courage to speak out. Misogyny, racism, transphobia, and other discrimination has no place. Not in the Pagan community, not in SFF fandom, not in the geek/tech field, and not in the broader world around us.
June 11, 2015 @ 5:58 pm
Plus, the only reason the Spartans were there was because the Athenians had vetoed the Spartans original plan, which was pretty much “Let’s wait and see how many Persians are left after they’ve destroyed Athens”.
Have you seen the “Honest Movie Trailers” parody of the “300” trailer? It’s absolutely hilarious.
June 11, 2015 @ 6:57 pm
Thank you for correcting me. That is horrifically non surprising.
June 11, 2015 @ 7:55 pm
You haven’t spent very much time there, I would guess?
When Brad sniggeringly tries to suggest that Scalzi might be gay, that’s bigoted. It’s bigoted because it suggests there is something wrong with being gay. Try picturing Brad sniggeringly suggesting that Scalzi might have a touch of Black or Jewish ancestry. Does that help?
When Larry screams that worldcon voters pick Hugo winners on the basis of their race, gender or sexual orientation, that’s bigoted. It’s bigoted because he’s claiming that the women and minority authors who won couldn’t have won because the voters just liked their stories best.
The Puppies routinely inaccurately refer to the rest of us as Nazis. If you haven’t seen people being called feminazi at Brad’s blog, you don’t read there much. Watch particularly for comments by regulars TL Knighton and James May, though you might do well to watch for T0m K@rtm@n as well. (You’ll be able to figure out who he is, but he ego surfs and comes in to troll where he is mentioned, so in deference to our host, who may not be interested in such, I don’t write him out properly in full.). Of course, they much prefer to inaccurately refer to us as Communists, when they’re not calling us Stalinists, which you will regularly see at Puppy blog Mad Genius Club–Kate Palk is particularly prone to this.
For people who are so free and easy with slurs themselves, Puppies have remarkably delicate feelings.
June 11, 2015 @ 8:35 pm
Your opinions in your space – especially a public space – are of interest to employers. In the workaday world of car salespersons, school teachers, Coca Cola drivers and others, the ramifications of insulting your employer’s product publically is usually termination.
Gallo made a blanket statement that affected at least one Tor author. A reprimand, even a public one, is a lighter punishment than many of us would have received in a similar situation.
carmen webster buxton
June 11, 2015 @ 9:07 pm
Well said! No surprise there.
June 11, 2015 @ 10:26 pm
What Jennifer said. I mean, really, do you have any idea how many publishers are the scum of the earth? A lot.
I’ve been writing professionally for 27 years, and I’ve dealt with people I wouldn’t leave alone in the same room with my wallet or my mother, and businesses I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see sued (indeed, some have been or are currently being sued) or indicted.
If you’re going to stop buying the books of writers who work with people or companies of questionable ethics or egregious behavior, you’ll never read again.
June 11, 2015 @ 11:47 pm
I agree. Everyone has a right to their anger.And I do find Doherty’s screed troubling, and am sympathetic to the feelings behind the boycott call, even if I tend a bit towards Roberson and (Laura) Resnick’s views below.
I guess I’ve just seen a few too many hasty reactions online that later needed to be retracted, and I figure there’s no harm in waiting a few extra days before reaching for ultimatums.
And ultimately, a declared boycott can be undone in a word if Doherty does perform a successful cranio-sacral extraction.
June 12, 2015 @ 12:26 am
Gallo’s statement is flat-out wrong with regards to Sad Puppies. And I’m talking about the leaders of the group.
I interviewed Vox Day, and he says many things that fit those descriptions: http://www.johndbrown.com/what-vox-day-believes/ However, while there is some overlap with neo-nazism, I don’t think he is totally in line with home.
However, this is NOT the case with Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen. Not even close. Not even in the same country.
I know this is not a post about Irene and her comments, but about Tom’s. You may hate what Sad Puppies has done to the Hugos and that Tom publicly reacted to Vox Day, but it’s important to be accurate distinguishing between the two.
June 12, 2015 @ 12:35 am
John… read the first sentence you quoted. She didn’t say the Sad Puppies were neo-nazis. She said they were extreme right-wing.
The Castalia of Fu Manchihuahua 6/11 | File 770
June 12, 2015 @ 12:44 am
[…] “The Tor Mess” – June 10 […]
June 12, 2015 @ 5:54 am
In case nobody has clarified it yet;
Libel is to publish a false declaration that damages a persons reputation. The key words are “publish”, “false”, each which must be shown in court.
Slander is the making of a false false spoken statement that damages some bodies reputation. In this case it must be shown that the person made the statement, that it was untrue, AND that the damage was done.
Both are types of defamation. Many people argue that social media is a form of spoken word rather than publication, but a recent case determined that it is libel to make a false statement on Facebook. It should also be noted that it is relatively easy to sue someone for defamation in Australia.
June 12, 2015 @ 8:42 am
Correia and Torgersen are probably not per se neo-nazis, true–and note that Gallo mentioned a spectrum there, so no, she’s not saying that everyone involved wanks to that scene in Apt Pupil–but extreme right-wing? Racist, misogynist, and homophobic? Yep. If not in a KKK sense, at least in the sense of the crotchety great-uncle who doesn’t see why we need all this affirmative action stuff or why gay people need “special rights”. The one who everyone at Thanksgiving tries not to end up in conversation with.
If you don’t see that as racist/misogynist/homophobic, that’s…your thing, I guess. But it’s not a definitively untrue statement.
Links: 06/12/15 — Pretty Terrible
June 12, 2015 @ 10:32 am
[…] Jim C. Hines: The Tor Mess […]
June 12, 2015 @ 11:08 am
Eric Flint, who is very much on your side of this issue Jim, had a great response (in my opinion) to the Gallo controversy:
While Eric is opposed to the Puppies philosophically, he is one of the few engaged in this debate that does so with class. THIS is how debate should be done.
Regarding Gallo, the fact is, while everyone is ‘entitled to their opinion’, it’s just a fact that people in positions of authority have a great accountability when those opinions are expressed in a public way. For a high level employee of TOR to call books PUBLISHED BY TOR “bad-to-reprehensible”, and to throw NAZI around like a punchline is in fact worthy of repercussions.
No matter how you feel about the Puppies, I just wish that people would sit down, read the books, vote their conscious, and next year be a part of the solution when nomination times comes around. I’ve read many stories I wouldn’t have otherwise in order to do that. Some have been as unenjoyable as I imagined they would be. Others have surprised me with how much I liked them, despite my preconceptions. People need to stop crying over whose fault the milk spill is, and just get down to clean it up so we can move on.
June 12, 2015 @ 12:01 pm
No matter how you feel about the Puppies, I just wish that people would sit down, read the books, vote their conscious, and next year be a part of the solution when nomination times comes around.
I simply do not understand this sentiment. A group of people completely violate the unwritten rules of SF’s most prestigious award (i.e. One should nominate things you have read based on the quality of the work, not to make some political statement because they are included in a slate) and the response is that then everyone else is just supposed to follow along and treat this year as if nothing untoward happened?
I simply do not understand how the Puppies (and their supporters) would be surprised (and apparently disappointed and enraged) when the response from many SFF fans is varied, from “Fuck no!” to “I am disinclined to acquiesce to this request.”
Stephen A. Watkins
June 12, 2015 @ 12:08 pm
and to throw NAZI around like a punchline is in fact worthy of repercussions.
Wait… somebody’s throwing around “Nazi” like it’s a punchline on the Internet?
That’s never happened before! This is unprecedented! Oh wait.
And if publicly endorsing the actual murder of innocent children isn’t a vile enough sentiment to truly earn someone a “nazi” label… then the word has virtually lost all meaning in its decades of misuse on the internet… (and therefore couldn’t possibly be seen as the basis for actual defamation).
June 12, 2015 @ 1:32 pm
So, now the assertion is those who support the puppies don’t really like the books they nominated, they are just doing what they are told? My suggestion, stated above was to READ THE STORIES. If you read them, and hate all of them, ok…vote no award. But most of the vehemence I’ve seen (on both sides of this) are coming from folks who both a) did not nominate anything themselves, and b) haven’t read the things that were nominated. Even GRRM, who is one of the most outspoke opponents of the puppies out there, is reading the stories (or as many as a guy that busy can).
Isn’t it possible…just POSSIBLE…that some of the stories could be good? Maybe? I wasn’t interested in reading “If you were a Dinosaur, my love”, but I did. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either, like I expected to. Can’t we just find some silver lining and then move on? This horse is, in fact, quite dead.
June 12, 2015 @ 1:56 pm
I don’t think a libel case against Gallo could be won, though that is not a legal opinion. Since one cannot be won, instead she is tried in the court of rumor and public opinion. I have come to hate trial by internet with a passion, even for people I dislike very much. There’s no judicial process, and people get randomly trashed and harassed, sometimes deservingly, more often not. Inviting the process through trolling is something that I would like to see made a crime.
“There oughta be a law…”
June 12, 2015 @ 3:42 pm
See, conversely, this response has made me both highly disappointed in Flint and far less likely to buy his works in the future. (And I’d read the 1632 series pretty regularly.) While being nominally on “our side,” he hits all the concern-troll, tone-argument, but-maybe-if-we’re-nice-enough-the-bigots-will-see-it-our-way buttons he can. Uch.
I don’t think anyone threw “Nazi” around like a punchline. Gallo’s actual quote said that the SP’s were “extreme right wing” (true, though we can debate “extreme” in various cultures and contexts until the cows come home) and that the RPs were “neo-Nazis”, which…given the actual things Wright and Beale have said? They’ve got everything but the damn swastika.
The latter, at least, does need pointing out, and I admire Gallo for doing it. To reprimand her for that, because it might theoretically cost the company some amount of money at some point, is the act of either an asshole or a coward.
June 12, 2015 @ 3:50 pm
Not really interested in reading works foisted on me by people interested in making a (troglodytic) political statement, thanks–did enough of that in college.
If I end up reading them on their own, that’s one thing, but honestly? The fact that the various puppies approve of them makes me deeply dubious, just as I’d be wary of a blind date set up by a friend-of-a-friend who thinks the Moon landing was fake and never washes her hair.
Individual works can be quite good–I enjoyed Skin Game, I expect to enjoy Guardians, etc–just as, hell, maybe the guy is Chemtrail Girl’s surprisingly awesome cousin and finds her just as offputting as I do. But the odds are long and life is short.
June 12, 2015 @ 4:01 pm
Reprimanding her may have been reasonable, in private in Tom’s office or by private correspondence, not in the public office, much less on the tor blog. That is the cowardly action.
June 12, 2015 @ 5:21 pm
Yeah, that’s a fair point. On a legal/financial/CYA front, I can see a “look, it sets a bad precedent, so put up a damn disclaimer next time, okay?” discussion *in private*. (If I was the CEO, my stance would be “What she said, and double it,” but that’s perhaps why I’m not the CEO of anything.)
But the letter? Wow. “Pandering” is the word that comes to mind.
June 12, 2015 @ 10:36 pm
So, in short, you believe EXACTLY what they believe, ie “If those guys like it, it must be bad.”
Glad to see how enlightened we all are.
Jim C. Hines
June 12, 2015 @ 10:56 pm
“So, in short, you believe EXACTLY what they believe, ie ‘If those guys like it, it must be bad.'”
You’re oversimplifying and distorting, presumably to try to make a point. Isabel *just* said some of the individual works are quite good.
Being dubious about someone’s taste isn’t the same as “If they like it it must be bad.”
June 13, 2015 @ 12:34 am
To clarify, Beale was not kicked out of SFWA for making racist comments about another member. Members of SFWA make sexist, racist, etc. comments about each other all the time, including Beale numerous times before. What got Beale kicked out of SFWA was appropriating SFWA’s official Twitter account to make sexist and racist remarks against an author who had spoken publicly about Beale’s previous attacks on non-white SFF authors in terms of larger discrimination in the SFF field and society in general. Using SFWA accounts to harass the author was breaking numerous rules of membership and essentially a cyber criminal act that exposed SFWA to legal liability. It was for those reasons that Beale was bounced from SFWA — his actions, not his words.
Irene Gallo was not using official Tor accounts, did not commit libel, nor was engaging in online harassment. She was, as a publishing professional, however, unprofessional in that several Tor authors are involved with the puppies and so she should not be making general opinion statements about their politics (however accurate we may find those statements to be ourselves,) particularly with regards to Tor publications. Requiring an apology from her makes sense.
And in that she was discussing an official Tor publication, Doherty issuing a public apology for Tor also made sense. Because the issue here isn’t Beale and his fake threats of lawsuits; it’s Wright and other Tor authors, who can reasonably expect not to have their publisher’s staff talk about them negatively in public — which includes Facebook pages open to the public.
That being said, Doherty appears not to have made a public Tor apology to Mary Robinette Kowal when another employee was unprofessional and on the Web trashed Kowal, Tor’s author. That’s probably because in that case, which was more of an internal SFF field situation, Doherty wasn’t worried about media coverage. Which is unprofessional of Doherty, and a double standard certainly. Which is disappointing and not in keeping with Doherty’s usual demeanor. So presumably lawyers insisted.
Boycotting the authors of a publisher is a very useless form of boycotting. Instead, send emails to Tor about how you don’t think its staff policies are fair. But if you really want to help, send emails to Tor about how you would like them to stop using hyper sexualized covers on the works of female authors (those twisty spine things that Jim so beautifully illustrated,) how you would like to see more works from non-white authors and more diverse offerings from Tor in general. About how you want Tor to get its female and non-white authors on more panels at conventions. This will not harm straight white male authors, promise. It grows the field, which means more book sales for all, and it helps with the actual discrimination that does get institutionalized in SFF publishing unless folk speak up.
And when Hurley’s book comes out, buy a copy and get some more for your friends. She writes really well. And she actually knows what libel is.
June 13, 2015 @ 2:22 am
You’re making way too much sense, sir or ma’am; we’re going to have to ask you to get off the internet for a while.
Totally No Homophobe | A (W) Hendry
June 13, 2015 @ 6:28 am
[…] (the voice of the oppressed straight white male majority) then Jim Hines has a good wee overview here. If you want to read more about the whole Sad Puppy affair then I’m afraid that Google will […]
June 13, 2015 @ 8:44 am
What Jim said–thank you, Jim.
“If these guys like it, it’s more likely to be bad than if other people do,” is probably closer to my philosophy. If nothing else, even a stopped clock is right twice a day and so forth. (And honestly, I’m more entertainment/pulp and less litfic in my own tastes–if the Puppies had just been a “hey, here’s a bunch of new sf in the pulp tradition you might like!” group, I’d have been entirely behind them. But they’re not. So.)
TJ, your definition of “enlightened” isn’t one of my life goals. Especially as it doesn’t seem to include reading comprehension.
Also “ooh, you’re just like them” gets used a lot in this sort of argument–it’s the scrappy little brother of “you’re not tolerating my intolerance”–and it never works on me. I think women, LGBTA people, and people of color are people and deserve equal treatment and representation: that’s enough difference from the puppies to satisfy me, thanks.
(I also don’t try to organize entire political movements around my hurt fee-fees, but that’s mostly because I’m lazy.)
June 13, 2015 @ 11:39 am
Jim, yes I was oversimplifying to make a point. People on both sides of this want the other side to read the books they like. But neither side wants to do that. Both sides accuse each other of bad behavior. Both sides are correct in that assertion. Which is why, as I said, the horse is dead. No more kicking required. Let’s move forward.
Jim C. Hines
June 13, 2015 @ 11:45 am
TJ – Who are the “sides” in this? Despite certain claims, there is no “anti-puppy” group or side that’s equivalent to the Sad and Rabid Puppy campaigns.
I talked about the false Us vs. Them thing a little while back at http://www.jimchines.com/2015/04/choosing-sides/
June 13, 2015 @ 12:58 pm
To be accurate, there are really 3 sides: A small vocal group, lead by sad puppies (not rabid, they don’t like them either, so please stop lumping them together) who think the writers political/social beliefs and/or race/ethnicity/sexual orientation shouldn’t matter, only “is the book awesome.” Another small vocal group, championed by people like K.T. Bradford, who say it’s the primary thing that matters. Nearly everybody is in between these two groups…myself included…thinking expanding horizons is good, while at the same time telling people to “STOP READING BOOKS BY ___” is idiotic. People fall on all points of the scale between. But most the people who are doing the talking are on the extreme edges. Which is why I just wish it would end.
June 13, 2015 @ 12:58 pm
Gallo characterised the Puppies as “right wing TO Neo-Nazi.” From, to. Theodore Beale represents the Neo-Nazi end of the scale. Theodore Beale publicly supports Anders Breivik, murderer of children and many of his supporters vehemently approve this (e.g “I already see Breivik as a hero,”). I suppose you could quibble that they are some OTHER kind of far-right pro-mass-murder extremist — (Beale’s also spoken very positively of the Taliban, for example) but would the distinction be particularly helpful?
You have perhaps missed John C Wright’s claim that the instinctive reaction of men to “fags” is to wish to beat them to death with tire-irons.
June 13, 2015 @ 4:35 pm
Since we’ve reached the no-reply point above:
*Sigh*. Again, once more, for the record, because reading comprehension: K.T. Bradford has never said that nobody should ever read white cis male authors. She challenged people to spend a year not reading them, in the same way that other people issue challenges to run a marathon or pour ice over your head. It was “hey, maybe spend a year reading not-this and see how your horizons expand,” not, as the shorts-in-a-wad crowd reacting to it seems to think, “nobody should ever read these books because they’re awful.”
I have never, in fact, read any comment that says people should not read a particular book or author because of this or any political stance. I’ve seen, and made, comments to the effect that *I* won’t read XYZ now that I know the author’s a dick*, and I’ve probably, if asked for a recommendation, said something along the lines of “ugh, Orphans of Chaos is creepy where it’s not boring, and also the author’s a dick, so you know.”
But “You shouldn’t read this book because the author’s politics are awful?” No. I’ve never seen that.** Citation needed.
And no, I will not stop lumping the SPs and RPs together: the former were happy enough to work with the latter at least until called on it. Aptly enough, there’s something about lying down with dogs and getting up with fleas.
As for “oh we just want awesome fiction that’s all”, I’ve seen several quotes from the SP brigade that indicate otherwise, or at least that they seem to view “awesome fiction” and “anything but straight white guys being heroes” as incompatible.
*And ninety percent of the time, politics do seep into writing. We write what we perceive: I have no real desire to read a book where all the women “just so happen” to fall into the madonna/whore binary, or where gay people “just so happen” to not exist, at best.
June 13, 2015 @ 10:46 pm
Have you read Flint’s next post, where he basically tears Brad Torgersen apart? He’s not being a concern troll or apologist to think Gallo’s words were inappropriate (I did, too, but I also think her apology exactly right. And his commentary is from pre-apology), and he’s definitely not pretending about his “side”.
June 13, 2015 @ 10:55 pm
A lot of people have, in fact, taken up the challenge of reading them, even people who plan to no award slated works — in case there’s someone worth watching for to give a legit nomination in a future year.
With a very few exceptions, the results have not been pretty. the stories have not held up. And the result was not greater peace and understanding, it was, “not only did you act dishonourably in how you got these stores onto the ballot, you didn’t even give us the rip-roaring action you said you wanted to see win. You didn’t even bother to offer decent stories we’d *regret* having to ‘no award’…”
June 14, 2015 @ 12:24 am
I’ve not, and I’m glad to know there is one–thank you!
June 14, 2015 @ 12:43 am
(Wish I could edit comments, apologies to Jim for excessive posting.)
That? Was amazing. Go Flint.
The book of diversity (Cliff’s Notes edition) | Justin Cawthorne (dot) com
June 16, 2015 @ 1:04 am
[…] Some carefully honed thoughts about diversity inspired by the recent Tor books kerfuffle. […]
Thoughts on toxic bigotry – angelahighland.com
June 18, 2015 @ 1:55 pm
[…] additional commentary about why this boycott is doomed to fail, and me, I feel some solidarity with Mr. Hines: “I’m disinclined to acquiesce to his […]
The weekly web ramble (6/19)
June 19, 2015 @ 5:43 pm
[…] – Jim C. Hines weighs in on the Tor mess […]
June 21, 2015 @ 5:02 am
Well – I just bought Lock In (Scalzi) for my kindle ($12) and picked up the audio book for $4.50 as the Whispersync special. This is a professionally dramatized reading of the book. And one can go back from and forth from the Audiobook to the Kindle and the syncing will keep your place. It’s on sale – it’s a good deal – it’s a good time.
So that’s my contribution to the anti-boycott. Tom Doherty screwed up when he issued the first apology. There was nothing to apologize for.
This is a tiny loud faction that means nothing and I am talking all the puppies. There isn’t much daylight between them (Correia’s statements to the contrary) and they are all looking to boycott. So let them. Scalzi is never worried and with good reason. If there is any effect, I expect it to be slightly positive.
And at Worldcom introduce the pups to your friend – Noah Ward. BTW – seems like everyone at Worldcom should wear comfortable shoes. I am thinking … Hush, Puppies. It is such a nice phrase.
June 21, 2015 @ 5:11 am
Not just Tor – pups want to boycott McMillan. It’s laughable.
Michael Z. Williamson
June 29, 2015 @ 2:02 am
“I’m sorry you’re upset I called you a Nazi” is not an apology. But I am unsurprised a fascist like yourself is unable to comprehend English at an adult level.
Oh, sorry you’re upset by that. That should make it all better.
Jim C. Hines
June 29, 2015 @ 8:02 am
Ah, Mike. Was cracking jokes about hate crimes not getting you enough attention?
I’m afraid I don’t have a lot of time to waste on your trolling. Best of luck getting folks to pay more attention to you elsewhere, though.