Tag Archives: Discussion

All Foam No Bite

I started Hugo finalist blogging the day before yesterday, and on Twitter, some Rabid Puppy dudes offered their though-out perspectives. As always, their rhetoric was entertaining.

Discussing my take on Daniel Eness’s factually challenged article would have been at least interesting, if nothing else, but the Beale Bros weren’t up to it. Daniel Eness (aka XDPaul) himself also chimed in with the customary insults.

I did feel a bit bad for the Campbell-nominated fantasy author Sebastien de Castell who had thrown a couple of nice and neutral comments in earlier. He got tagged in a load of uncoherent pedophile tweets in the process.

Eness kept on doubling down on his silly accusations (which is odd because I thought that according to Beale’s rules that was what SJWs are supposed to be doing but what the hell):

Facts are nice, but you can’t invent your own.

Here’s the thing: if there is a single Rabid Puppy supporter out there who seriously thinks that Eness’s essay has any merit, I’ll happily discuss it with them. It will take some convincing to make me believe that the smear piece wasn’t written out of sheer spite, but I promise to listen to anybody who can articulate their opinions a bit better than the two social injustice warriors above.

So: please comment.

In Beale’s blog, it was suggested that people should read Spacefaring, Extradimensional Happy Kittens through Wayback Machine so that I won’t profit from my lies:

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I can assure you that even though profits would be nice, I’m most certainly not seeing any, so you can safely read this page.


Update 10/5/2016:

I came across some more meta discussion about me on Beale’s blog. Even though a spectator voices some doubts, Daniel Eness is quite adamant that he managed to slaughter me on Twitter.

Pity poor me. This is hilarious.

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Update 11/5/2016:

More discussion has taken place in Vox Popoli. I’ll screencap it below, because — at last — Daniel Eness and Lett Guo are even trying to offer something to back up their horror story.

I do have to give it to them: I honestly thought they were trolling on purpose, but after reading their back-and-forth with other popolists and author Sebastien de Castell, I’m beginning to realize that they actually believe what they are saying, at least some of it.

And that is baffling. I have no words, really.

But here’s the exchange:

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After some commenters suggested that de Castell wasn’t taking the Rabid Puppies’ side but was actually making fun of them, the author showed up to clarify that he didn’t wish to do either:

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The most interesting part begins here.

In their replies to de Castell, Lett Gou (whose name in Twitter is Lett Guo) and Eness try to describe what Rabid Puppies are up to:

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That’s quite a story:

Science fiction community has been secretly covering up a mass-scale pedophilia problem for decades. If that was true, I guess even Larry Correia (who kicked off his first Sad Puppies campaign actually in 2013) and Brad R. Torgersen are complicit, because they didn’t call their opponents out on it.

Fortunately, the facts don’t add up. Walter Breen was banned from conventions already in the 60s, when molesting children wasn’t taken as seriously as it is today. Of course, it horrible that, with the help of Marion Zimmer Bradley, he could go on abusing his own children as long as he did.

The question I have asked Lett Gou/Guo and Eness on Twitter (which they keep dodging) is this: Is there a single individual in the science fiction fandom who, in 2016, thinks Breen shouldn’t have been locked away decades ago? I’m still waiting for an answer.

Yes, the crimes these people have committed are hideous. Exploiting them in order to smear your fan-political opponents is just as hideous.

Now, let’s give the author of “Space Space as Rape Room” the final word:

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Here, Eness rehashes the talking points of his article, most of which don’t hold water.

Samuel R. Delany has never said that abuse is acceptable, and neither have Ellison, McCaffrey or others who defended Ed Kramer (or considered his treatment before the trial unacceptable).

Looking back, we of course now know that Nancy Collins was right about Kramer all along. The funny thing is, I’m pretty sure Collins is — according to Beale’s terminology — “an SJW”. And who remembers what — according to Beale — SJWs always do?

Yeah, and this:

I am serious in that I suspect Spacefaring Kitten is a possible past victim of child molestation or a current abuser or possibly both.

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Hugogeddon 2015 Debriefing

WordPress is generous with all kinds of interesting figures, and I guess there’s something interesting there to look at now that the Hugo voting has ended and everybody is in waiting mode.

I started blogging here when I began looking for things to nominate for the Hugos five months ago. During this Hugo season, the WordPress stats tell me, I’ve written 52 blog posts that have been viewed a little over 18,000 times. I have no idea how good or measly figure that is for a project like this, but I’m of course grateful for every reader and visitor.

In addition, I guess there were plenty of people who only read the bits that were quoted in File770 Puppygate roundups. In his web fanzine, Mike Glyer followed the Hugo mess and quoted extensively from all sides of the discussion. Many of my posts were featured there, and it seems that I even got my own tag on File770 (how great is that). According to the WP stats, File 770 is the place which sent most traffic in my blog, and as a matter of fact, the ten next largest traffic sources combined generated less traffic than Mike Glyer alone. In case you happen to read this, Mike, my hat’s eternally off.

This being the internet, the most read posts seem to be those in which I was being snarky and judgmental. The more enthusiastic ramblings didn’t draw people’s attention the same way which is something one would expect, I guess. In contrast, one thing I wasn’t expecting was that the most clicked links were those leading to Jeffro Johnson’s blog. Who would have thought?

One consequence of being occasionally snarky and judgmental is that some people get angry with you. This is what author Brad R. Torgersen, the Chief Sad Puppyteer of this year’s Hugo mess, opined about me:

I suspect the furball has no solutions, merely complaints. If we actually do get back to the moon before the middle of the century, spacefaringkitten is the kind of sad-sack who will find an excuse to whine about it.

It sounds so cool that I had to integrate it into the blog’s subtitle.

Another disgruntled customer was writer R.K. Modena who — I realized only yesterday — was asking around in Twitter if anybody involved with #GamerGate would recognize my writing style and tell her who I was. What she would have done with the information, I have no idea. Sent me a head of a horse, perhaps?

Kitten/Puppy Dialogues (on America)

I got another angry response from another Puppy supporter — or I believe he is a Puppy supporter, because he writes about “your side” which is “losing”. Couple of points made me smile wryly, so I share the whole thing here.

Originally, this is a response to my rather unenthusiastic review of the movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier by somebody called Lord Darque.

Feel free not to allow this to actually show on your blog. I would hate to disrupt your safe space as this is just intended for you.

Oh, I don’t really mind people attacking me and my arguments when they have something interesting to say and/or when they do it nicely.

But holy fuck are you annoying. Its funny when you first appeared on Brad’s blog I thought that maybe you had a couple of IQ points. I thought even though you were firmly on the other side of the fence you were maybe someone who could be reasoned with.

You try very hard to miss the part about being nice here, but let’s go on. Maybe you should reconsider your stance that people who disagree with you politically or aesthetically do so because they are less intelligent, though.

But I get it now. You are just filled with hate. Did some man treat you badly? Some scum convince you that all men must be put down for the good of all? I am sorry about that. But he was one guy not all men.

Well, here we have some hasty conclusions, I have to say. In my opinion, Captain America is a boring, one-dimensional (well, I did claim he is zero-dimensional, but I’m not sure if that’s possible) character. Therefore, you seem to think, I also want all men put down. There’s a logical leap I don’t quite follow. I also don’t think you should do too hasty conclusions about what my gender is, because you know nothing about it.

But let’s dissect your statement a bit further.

What I’m actually disliking here is a Hugo finalist that was not on either of the two Puppy slates you’re probably promoting. In fact, I believe Captain America: The Winter Soldier was plugged by some actual, outspoken feminists, such as the smart and wonderful Book Smugglers Ana and Thea. For the record, I don’t think they are in league with the imperialist patriarchy there. Rather, they and I have a somewhat different taste as far as superhero movies are concerned.

I have every reason to believe that the Puppy-supported Hugo finalists Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy and Interstellar will all be better, even though I haven’t seen the first two of them yet. What I know of them so far seems promising. A Puppy supporter criticizing me for this seems odd.

Are you sure you aren’t an undercover Kitten on some shady false flag operation? I mean, putting all men down? What is that I don’t even.

The simple fact that you cannot understand Captain America says it all. He stands for everything the USA was founded on. All those quaint ideals that people have lost sight of. The things people like you claim to stand for but really don’t.

He stands for the idea that everyone deserves to be respected. He sacrificed his chance at the life everyone takes for granted in order to make sure the way of life the USA represents would continue.

In my history books, the idea USA was founded on was not having to pay taxes for the British. Captain America, on the other hand, was a patriotic superhero developed during World War II in order to tap into the wartime zeitgeist. It was Timely’s (Marvel’s predecessor) most popular character during the war, so I guess they did a pretty good job with it.

But it’s always interesting to think what superheroes do stand for. At the end of the day, they are people who take the law into their own hands, operating outside all political and democratic control. I have a hard time seeing them as embodiments of any high ideals, really. I mean, haven’t you read Watchmen? One can certainly make the argument that there are some fascistic undertones inherent in the superhero genre if you really want to draw the Nazi card out of your sleeve.

Let me tell you about the future. Your side has lost and will continue to do so. You should root for the Nazis because you have a lot in common with them.

I’ve made my own predictions about how this culture war is going to end — as a matter of fact, I believe it has ended already. I suggest we just go ahead and vote on the Hugos according to our own personal judgement so that we can get finished with it. Afterwards, we can hopefully drop the talk about different sides and the culture war rhetoric and go back to being enthusiastic fans who are fanatic about the things we like.

Kitten/Puppy Dialogues (on Pizza)

In the comments to the last Wednesday’s post titled Answering Peter Grant, a Puppy supporter called Xephon has been vocally criticizing me for several things I’ve said. The arguments in his/her first few short comments made little sense to me, so I thought the discussion was going nowhere, but then this lengthy account landed on the comment section.

I’m still unconvinced, but Xephon brings up some points I want to respond to, and because this is going to take up some space, I’ll rather do it in a new post.

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What I’m complaining about is that I made it clear in my first comment that I neither support Beale nor would consider any criticism directed against him to be excessive, and yet you mention him in every comment, insistent on drawing connections between him and everyone who is on the SP slate or supports what they are doing. He is nothing more than a bandwagon-jumper who has seized the reins for his own gain.

I can’t argue with your assessment of Beale, there. However, the reason he is mentioned when discussing Gallogate and Tor boycott is very simple: he orchestrated it (for his own gain, of course). He released the screen capture of Gallo’s comment a month after it was posted, manufactured the outrage and managed to get Peter Grant and others on board. That was his scheme and — if his goal was to get more visibility in the Puppy movement — it worked.

The sickening truth is that the anti-Puppies need Beale more than the Puppies do. He’s done nothing for my side except stir an increasingly rancid pot. Those of us who have distanced ourselves have learned that we are wasting our time, because all we hear from the other side is, “because Vox Day”. You need him to be your bogeyman, the focal point for your opposition. If he didn’t exist, someone would have invented him.

One of the funnies recent developments in the discussion around Hugos is that the second you mention Theodore Beale/Vox Day, somebody charges in and accuses you of “because Vox Day” fallacy. It sure is an interesting variant of “playing the ‘Playing the Hitler Card’ card”. Let me state once again that Beale’s Rabid Puppies slate swept the Hugo ballot. Your demand that everything related to him should be removed from the Hugo discussions does feel a bit odd — especially when we’re talking about his boycotts and other schemes.

Another thing I’d like to state again is that all Sad Puppies don’t buy into Day’s bigoted lunacy and I’ve never suggested that they do. Many other people have said exactly the same thing, but all I’m seeing is the sea of “Playing the Hitler Vox Day Card” cards.

A week before the Hugo nominations were announced, a pizza parlor in Indiana came under attack when the 62-year-old wife of the owner told a reporter her husband’s business wouldn’t cater a gay wedding.

Glossing over the absurdity of having a pizza parlor cater a wedding, the wave of hatred directed against this business was horrific. Its website was hacked and filled with porn. The owner and employees were harassed by phone, mail and in person to the point where they had to close the business. A HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER tried to mobilize a mob to burn the place down – fortunately the school board she worked for found out about before she got too far. The owners and several employees had to move out of their homes. A family lost its livelihood and twelve people lost their jobs.

All that over one comment.

One. Comment.

That’s a disheartening story. Too bad you missed the happy ending: they raised nearly a million dollars and re-opened. Nobody lost their livelihood over one comment.

What’s this story’s relevance to the Hugos, then? Irene Gallo made one single comment on Facebook (as the pizza parlor people did) and Beale gets his minions as well as many onlookers calling for a Tor Books boycott (as the anti-pizza people did). In the end, luckily, that amounts to nothing. Tor Books gets overwhelming support and can keep on serving their tasty pizzas.

(To be fair, I can’t say that I support a law that allows discrimination based of religious beliefs, but I don’t live in Indiana, so my support doesn’t matter one way or the other.)

When the Hugo nominees were announced and the first wave of hatred against the Sad Puppies started, it all seemed like deja vu to me. I’d bet money Beale noted it too, realized how easily enraged people of a certain political persuasion could be, and exploited it. He wanted to strike back as WSFS for kicking him out and the people who hated him happily played along and continue to do so. They actually managed to make a vile, toxic egomaniac look like a victim.

I can’t say that I agree with you. Calling vile, toxic egomaniacs on their vile toxicity is a reasonable thing to do, and everybody who really mistakes this particular egomaniac for a victim has some serious issues with reading comprehension.

Look, if you’re opposed to slate voting, Sasquan’s website had documented a proposal to change the nomination process. A nominating voter can only nominate four choices per category and the shortlist will have six nominees per category. This sounds to me like a sensible method to prevent a sweep in any category. Forget Beale and put your support behind that. But I guarantee, human nature being what it is, if the SP/RP nominees have any success in this year’s Hugos, then next year, EVERYBODY will be using slates – including a lot of people who have spent the last two months working themselves into a froth about how they “ruined” the Hugos. I’m working on getting more people involved in nominating and voting. The larger the voting pool, the more difficult it will be to “game”. That is the part of the Sad Puppies’ goal that I support.

I am opposed to slate voting and there is indeed a rule change proposal I’m supporting — E Pluribus Hugo. That makes sure everybody’s nominations are taken into account and small minorities (whether they’re Puppies or somebody else) can’t make sweeps by voting tactically anymore. The thing I’d really like to see is some more reasonable Puppies supporting that, too, so how about helping us out a little here? It’s a fair system, after all, and I thought fairness was what you wanted.

The “4 and 6” proposal would simply mean that a small but organized bloc of tactical voters could take two thirds of the slate instead of 100%, and I’m afraid that’s not enough for me. Furthermore, in that system, two competing slates of, say, 20% of voters each would easily take the whole ballot, leaving 60% with nothing, because the votes are distributed among such a vast number of works. E Pluribus Hugo is clearly the best way to go.

puppybite2Given the outrage that gaming the system caused this year, I think it’s very unlikely that there will be any Happy Kittens slates in 2016. If there were, very few authors would allow their works to be on a slate, in case they’re given the chance to refuse. Hopefully, Sad Puppies 4 will run into the same sort of problems and the slatemakers are forced to abandon it or feature only the most militant right-wingers.

Reaching out to more voters, decreasing the supporting membership fee and making the system less byzantine with confusing categories are things I think WSFS and Worldcons should be doing, so we’re in agreement there.

Kittens Will Prevail

The culture war in science fiction and fantasy fandom is practically over before it even began — and it sure was the lamest war ever. The thing that has been clear for everybody except the Sad Kennelkeepers is that an overwhelming majority of SFF fans, authors and editors are and have always been liberal, in the broad sense of the word.

Yes, a huge part of fandom consists of unpolitical SFF enthusiasts who may from time to time sneer at pro-diversity people who suggest things they find a bit hardline, such as not reading books by straight white males for a year or something, but they’re still open-minded and tolerant. And sure, there are political conservatives in SFF too, but very few of them are interested in really taking any part in the culture war project lead by Larry Correia, Brad R. Torgersen and Vox Day/Theodore Beale, because they’re aficionados first and political activists second or third (and they, too, are mostly open-minded and tolerant). Importing the culture war dynamic somewhere where the other side is missing is not going to end well.

Consider their latest scheme to cause damage for Happy Kittens in the SFF publishing scene: Vox Day, with the help from Peter Grant, Cedar Sanderson and other Sad Puppy figures, has been beating Puppy followers to a rage against Tor Books (which actually publishes all kinds of SFF but never mind that) for a whole week, one outraged blog post after another. The boycott has officially now started, but all they could get summoned up seem to be less than 250 tweets with the #OpTorDrop handle. In comparison, there have been more than 1,100 tweets with #TheTorYouKnow supporting Tor against this idiocy.

I think Vox Day claimed that he and Grant have made over 700 people pester Tor with angry emails demanding resignations or other measures, but his relationship with hard facts has not been too solid before, to put it mildly, so a critical attitude may be needed with that one. If only 200+ can be bothered with writing a tweet (or retweeting one), how many of them can really come up with a whole email? In order to give some perspective to those figures, the Worldcon membership is now around 9,500. Even 700 people would be an insignificant minority. Compared with the general SFF readership, it’s absolutely nothing.

Strategically, Vox Day has played well, of course. He asked people to cc him, so he can now contact the hardcore discontents directly with his next marching orders. I guess we’ll learn soon enough what they will be, but the most rational response, I think, will be not paying too much attention to his shenanigans. He is a loud but unimportant troublemaker who tries very hard to become a supervillain of note. His own “publishing house” is nowhere near being a serious player in the SFF landscape, even though he did managed to game the nominations and put some works on the ballot.

Brad R. Torgersen and Larry Correia are not doing much better in the culture war trenches. Their arguments have been repeatedly taken apart by writers like George R.R. Martin and Eric Flint, and they have failed to respond to even the simplest challenge about the premise that all their claims are built upon: where’s the list of Hugo-winning works that “foreground a left message to the extent that the story is ruined or misshaped”? Nowhere, because anybody who tries to deliver such a list will probably make a fool of him/herself. Unspecified claims with no tangible proof are much easier to throw around.

I find it inevitable that Kittens will prevail. The diversity in the genre has been slowly increasing during the past years, and there will be more of it in future SFF. What’s more, there will be more of it everywhere in the mainstream culture. It will not increase as fast as I and many others would like, but that’s the direction that the cultural shift is going to take, no question about it. What we’re seeing are the last tantrums of last hardcore conservatives who have practically lost it already. The Hugo rules will be changed, and there will be no sweeps after next year (if they bother to do it even then). John Scalzi will be rich as a Nazi (I don’t care about that myself, but it seems to be a big deal for Vox Day).

What’s the worst that can happen in the process? A few Hugo statues going to works that are not first-class SFF and/or were put on the ballot by questionable means? A few Internet trolls trolling? So what? Life goes on.

Answering Peter Grant

Sad Puppy activist Peter Grant was one of the most vocal people pushing for this week’s hatemail campaign directed at Tor. I happened to read one of his more recent posts in which he is lamenting the tension in the fandom and hopes for a more peaceful way to discuss things. (Maybe one can say that he should’ve thought about it before joining the bully campaign orchestrated by Vox Day, but better late than never.)

He says:

I’ll do my best not to stoop to name-calling, with the exception of referring to the other side as ‘social justice warriors’ or SJW’s. I do so only because I have no other name in my vocabulary to adequately or accurately describe them. If anyone can suggest a better, more acceptable alternative, I’ll be grateful.

I replied in the comments that the best alternative would be Happy Kittens. Sadly, it seems like my comment was deleted.

I’d like to rephrase my suggestion here: please drop the SJW and start using Happy Kittens if you insists on having a handle for the people who are critical of Sad Puppies. It’s not offensive. It’s kind of funny in the same way as Sad Puppies. It looks ridiculous in an angry sentence. Plenty of good reasons.

How about it, Peter?