Domain Query: A VFM's response, Pt. 2

Now that's my kind of crazy cat lady
As promised, this is the second part of my response to a number of statements made by a commenter going by a couple of different handles to my original post about Irene Gallo's highly intemperate remarks.

Fair warning: you may want to get yourself a large measure of Scotch. And get me one while you're at it, this was thirsty work.

What Is Seen, and What Is Not Seen

First, so that everyone is perfectly clear about where all of this started, let us (yet again) go over exactly what one Irene Gallo, Creative Director at Tor Books and Tor Online, said on her public Facebook page:

So, here's what she said:
  • The Sad Puppies are an extreme right-wing group;
  • The Rabid Puppies are neo-Nazis;
  • Both groups are full of RSHDs (racist sexist homophobic dipsh*ts, to quote the Chief Gamma Rabbit);
  • We Puppies, regardless of whether we're of the Sad or Rabid variety, are "a noisy few" and by implication not worth bothering about;
  • Yet somehow we've also managed to gather a bunch of Gamergate folks around us to get "a slate of bad-to-reprehensible works" nominated for Hugo Awards
I didn't spend much time picking apart these statements at the time because it was patently obvious that her allegations were idiotic.

For instance, conflating "extreme right-wing" and "neo-nazi" into a single set of insults is not only stupid, it is historically inaccurate; as anyone with half a brain could figure out from simple historical investigation, the Nazis and all other fascist movements were ideologically left-wing. And yes, I know, I'm being a nitnoid. Doesn't change the facts.

However, in order to lay the foundations for what is to follow, let us briefly go through each of Ms. Gallo's allegations.

Are the Sad Puppies full of extreme right-wingers? Take a look at the SP3 slate for the Hugos for 2015. The slate features Marko Kloos (Euro-liberal), Michael Z. Williamson (libertarian), John C. Wright (conservative), LTC Tom Kratman (military conservative minarchical timocrat, as he himself would say), Larry Correia (conservative), and Eric S. Raymond (libertarian). There are numerous other authors in that slate whose political views I neither know nor care about- and nor should anyone else. All that matters is whether or not those writers are good at what they do.

If this is an "extreme right-wing" slate, then the Moon is made of green cheese.

The notion that both slates are also full of RSHDs again fails the smell test. The Puppies- both slates- were supported by people from across the ideological spectrum. If even Eric Flint, a lifelong socialist and atheist whose views on politics and economics I find literally insane, is willing to admit that there is a major disconnect between what sci-fi fans like and what actually gets nominated for a Hugo Award these days, then clearly we've got a problem:
What has become equally obvious, to anyone willing to look at the situation objectively, is that a third of a century later the situation has become transformed. Today, there are is only one author left who can regularly maintain the bridge between popular appeal and critical acclaim. That author is Neil Gaiman. And there are no more than a handful of others who can manage it on occasion. Perhaps the most prominent in that small group are Lois McMaster Bujold, Ursula LeGuin and George R.R. Martin. 
Once you get beyond that very small number of authors, the field diverges rapidly. That handful aside, there is no longer any great overlap between those fantasy and science fiction authors whom the mass audience considers the field’s most important writers—judging by sales, at any rate—and those who are acclaimed by the small groups of people who hand out awards. 
Both of the major awards, the Hugo and the Nebula, are simple popularity contests with absolutely no requirement—or even expectation, any longer—that the voters will have read all or even most of the nominees. In the old days, that wasn’t much of a problem because you could expect that most voters were at least reasonably familiar with the authors and works under consideration. But today that’s not true at all. People routinely vote for “best novel” or “best short story” when all they’ve read is one or two of the nominees, and in many cases, have never read anything by many of the other authors nominated—not to mention being completely ignorant of other authors who never got nominated in the first place.
The Puppies came along and changed all of that. For the first time in a very long while, books that were both popular with the book-buying public and actually damn good reads were getting nominated. This, after all, was the original point of the Hugo Awards; this is why the award used to go to writers like Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Kim Stanley Robinson.

RSHD Syndrome

Having thus summarily dispensed with Ms. Gallo's remarks, which were inaccurate, openly libelous, and clearly insulting to actual Tor authors such as John C. Wright and Kevin J. Anderson, we move on to what Steven Schwarz/imnotandrei had to say about the slates.

Here is what he wrote in response to my dismissal of Ms. Gallo's remarks that "[the Puppies] are unrepentantly racist, misogynist, and homophobic":
Let's see -- if we apply that to people who are Puppy leaders -- the ELoE, as they describe themselves (facetiously, obviously) -- 
Mr. Correia -- I lack enough evidence at the moment to say, but could go digging. 
Mr. Torgerson -- at least 1 out of three, and I would be utterly unsurprised by 2 or 3 out of three. Indeed, since he has argued that most of the recent winners of the Hugos were "affirmative action" votes, implying they couldn't have won on their own merits, this could easily bring us to 3 of 3. 
Mr. Beale -- 3 of 3. 
Mr. Wright -- 3 of 3 
Mr. Kratman -- at least 2 of 3 
By the standards of evidence established by Mr. "SJWs always lie" Beale, and Mr. "affirmative action Hugos" Torgerson, that statement certainly holds up.
Since SJWs love to twist words and slant meanings, let's be clear about a few definitions.

It is not racist to argue that there are clear genetic and cultural differences between races, and that those differences lead to clearly disparate social, economic, and political outcomes. Nor is it racist to argue that those observable differences clearly mark the outcomes of one race as being superior to another. These are simply observations, not value statements.

It is not misogynistic to argue that men and women are different, have different preferences, and value different things in life. Again, these are observations. They are not value statements. Nor is it misogynistic to argue that feminism has been nothing short of a disaster for women in general- we can see the evidence of that all around us in the present day.

As for homophobia, I simply quote Jonathan I. Katz on the subject:
Homophobia is the moral judgement that homosexual behavior (most of the arguments in this essay refer specifically to male homosexual behavior) is wrong. Homophobia is not like ethnic, racial or religious prejudice, which deny the intrinsic moral rights and value of other people. Rather, it is a moral judgement upon acts engaged in by choice. 
Now, to the actual authors mentioned above.

Larry Correia is Portuguese, a Mormon, and a happily married father who has trained hundreds, if not thousands, of people from all races and backgrounds in firearms and self-defence. Before he retired from his accounting job for a military contractor, he worked for a female boss who he respected highly. The evidence that he is a racist or a misogynist is, quite simply, zero.

Brad Torgersen- that's the correct spelling of his name, by the way- is happily married to a black woman and is the father of a little girl. Everyone who has ever met him has nothing but nice things to say about him- including self-proclaimed SJW (the hardcore commie kind, not the idiot-liberal vegan microaggression-fearing college hippie kind) Eric Flint.

Again, the evidence that Mr. Torgersen is a racist or a misogynist is zero.

Vox Day is the most controversial out of all of the authors listed above. He has certainly written things in the past that have offended and angered people, of both genders, across all races. The reason for this is that very few people can handle his ultra-logical, no-BS way of analysing things. Interestingly, I have no problem with what he writes on the subject of race- and like him, I am of mixed race and ethnicity.

If anyone should be offended by what he has to say about race and ethnicity, it should be one of the "little brown brothers" that liberals claim to love so much. I am one of those "little brown brothers", and I'm not bothered in the least by what he says.

The absolute worst you could say about Vox Day, upon fair examination of his record- and I have been reading what he writes for the better part of a decade- is that he pisses people off.

And, quite frankly, if you get hacked off by what he says and writes, that's your problem, not his.

That is not sufficient to brand him a racist or a sexist. If his actions are to speak for him, then his Rabid Puppies slate exonerates him of all such charges completely. That slate includes a number of women, non-white authors, and nominees from across the ideological spectrum.

About the absolute worst you can say about him is that he argues that racial differences exist and are real; that racial subgroups have inherent genetic differences; and that human beings generally prefer homogeneity to heterogeneity.

What, exactly, is racist or sexist about any of that?

John C. Wright's views on matters of race, the proper role of women in society, and homosexuality are a matter of public record. The man- whose talents as a writer are in my opinion beyond measure- is married to a woman of Jewish descent and has plainly stated that the correct Catholic position with respect to those who hate you and call you horrible names is one of love, of prayer, and of faith that such lost souls will one day find their way back to the Lord. Once again, neither racist nor sexist.

LTC Tom Kratman is not a man afraid to tackle controversial subjects. To call him a "misogynist", however, is to ignore the fact that this is a man who has given very deep thought to the proper role of women in the military, and went so far as to write a full (and most excellent) novel outlining what an all-female military unit might look like. He is the only writer I have ever seen, in more than 20 years of reading science fiction, who has managed to realistically depict what such a unit might look like. LTC Kratman is married to a woman of Hispanic origin.

Now I ask you- do these men sound like racists or misogynists to you?

And now we come to the third, and most problematic, charge: homophobia. Unlike the first two slurs, which are leveled against people who supposedly judge people on intrinsic characteristics rather than the content of their character, homophobia is a moral judgement leveled against a voluntary choice.

Of the writers above, Vox Day and John C. Wright have certainly been vocal in voicing their dislike of homogamy- as, for that matter, have I. (I do not know about Mr. Torgersen's or LTC Kratman's or Mr. Correia's views about homosexuality. Nor, to be honest, do I care.)

Have the writers above ever called for homosexuals to be harmed because of their deviant behaviour? Those that have written on the subject have simply argued that the use of government force to legalise such perversion is dangerous, counterproductive (to say the least), and totally inimical to human freedom. In this, they are quite correct, as historical and current example has shown.

They are not calling for gays to be stoned in public, or to be thrown off rooftops, or hung from construction cranes. Yet for the "crime" of arguing that what happens between consenting individuals behind closed doors should stay behind closed doors, they are labeled "homophobes".

And Vox Day, for one, has no apparent problems with allying with a flamboyant and open conservative homosexual in order to fight back against the SJWs and anti-Gamergaters who have done so much to lower the discourse of the past year.

Rule 1: SJWs ALWAYS Lie. And Steven Schwarz/imnotandrei is lying out his ass when he calls men of honour and courage racists, sexists, and homophobes.

Fascism and Socialism and All Manner of Horrid Things!

Steven Schwarz/imnotandrei then proceeds to try to point out how no good, very bad, horrible, double-plus-ungood LTC Tom Kratman is by accusing him of supporting the pre-emptive killing of socialists, quoting a comment from one of his EveryJoe columns:
Tom Kratman: "It is never wrong to kill a socialist when socialism gets close to the levers of power; it is always an act of legitimate self defense."
He conveniently forgot to point out one rather crucial fact: that comment of Mr. Kratman's was part of a dialogue that he started.

Moreover, he kind of sort of left out the rest of what LTC Kratman said:

Is LTC Kratman's position "extreme"?

Not if you actually know anything about socialism (as opposed to social democracy- there is a very clear difference).

Socialism is a horrible enough ideology to begin with- it makes absolutely no sense on any logical or empirical grounds- but when it gets a hold of the levers of power, it quickly proceeds to kill anyone it needs to in order to consolidate that power.

Given this fact- and it is a fact- is it any surprise that LTC Kratman supports the pre-emptive killing of true socialists as an act of legitimate self-defence?

If you disagree, I suggest you take up the conversation with the ghosts of the 6 million killed in the Ukrainian famine by Stalin, the hundreds of thousands killed in KGB purges or in the Gulag Archipelago, the 20-50 million (no one really knows the true number) starved to death by the Great Leap Forward under Mao, the 3 million slaughtered under the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the...

Well, you get the idea.

Steven Schwarz then goes on to argue:
If you dig around further you will find him vigorously defending Italian Fascism.
That is a bald-faced lie.

Here is LTC Kratman's "vigourous defence" of Italian Fascism over at Vox Day's place:

And here is LTC Kratman's "vigourous defence" of Italian Fascism at EveryJoe:

Finally- and I know I'm flogging a dead horse here- these are LTC Kratman's own words on the subject, which he graciously added as a comment to my own write-up earlier:
My "vigorous defense of Italian fascism" was to point out that, while communism, as with all forms of leftism, believes in the mutability of man and the primacy of what they allege to be reason, fascism, as near as I can tell, is based on the presumption that man is primarily an emotional creature, not a reasoning one, and that all the symbols, the parades, the music, etc., is an attempt to harness that emotional nature to increase harmony, productivity, and security.
If all of that is what passes as a "vigourous defence" of Italian fascism, then I'm a one-eyed peg-legged werewolf.

Moreover, Steven Schwarz/imnotandrei makes a very elementary and very foolish mistake in attempting to separate out socialism from fascism. The two are tightly related, and always have been- read Alan Bullock's magisterial doorstopper Hitler & Stalin: Parallel Lives and you'll know what I'm talking about.

LTC Kratman's understanding and knowledge of fascism is assuredly far greater than mine. (It annoys me a bit to admit that his understanding of Starship Troopers is also probably greater than mine, which is saying something considering I just finished re-reading it for like the seventh time.) So I can tell you based on my own studies into the subject that he is right about the use of symbolism to appeal to human emotions under fascist rule.

And all of that brings us to...

Rule 2: SJWs ALWAYS double down. Steven Schwarz made assertions that are easily analysed and just as easily disproven for the lies that they are. But instead of backing down and admitting that he was wrong, or at least confining his silliness to his comments over at EveryJoe, he brought them here- where they were even more easily disproven, by someone who has actually done a bit of reading into both socialism and fascism, and has some idea about the common ideological roots that they share.

Not, in my opinion, a particularly wise move.

Distraction, Disruption, Diversion

Finally, after much faffing about, we get to the last of Steven Schwarz's points.

On the subject of fake reviews posted at Amazon for works by Vox Day, John C. Wright, and LTC Tom Kratman:
The complaint has been levied not only at people posting so-called "fake" reviews (indeed, the person most often blamed for that specifically said "read the works, and then, if you feel like it, review them.) but people posting honest reviews that are simply bad.  
Indeed, it does not seem to have occurred to people that forcing them (by saying, in effect, to honorably vote for the Hugos, you have) to read works, they should expect that they won't get the same level of "Oooh, wow!" praise from people who picked up the work coming from other people who liked it.

The first paragraph is an outright lie.

I won't pretend that reviews don't matter. They do, which is why I always encourage those who have read the book, and liked it, to take the time to post reviews on Amazon. But I'm not sure that the fake ones don't help more than they harm, because a cluster of one-star reviews not only increase the overall number of reviews, but indicate that the author is, at the very least, capable of inspiring genuine passion.
-- "Of Pharyngulans and Fake Reviews", August 15, 2013
I've reported it for abuse and inappropriate content as a fake review from someone who is not a verified purchase and has not read the book, and I encourage you to do the same. Please be aware, prospective fake reviewers, if you lie about us, we will not hesitate to tell the truth about you. 
I am also encouraging Amazon to consider cancelling the accounts of reviewers who post fake reviews. Retroactively. It's an area they are looking into because their review system is very important to them, so keep that in mind when you are tempted to post a fake review. Note that Ms Thomases appears to be responding to this call by Glenn Hauman to post fake reviews of Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies works and thereby lower their average ratings.
-- "John C. Wright work disqualified", April 14, 2015
Vox's problem is very clearly with those who post fake reviews, not with those who have legitimately read a work and then disliked it. Quite apart from the fact that fake reviews rarely work to actually destroy a work's profitability, resorting to fake reviews is a cowardly and underhanded tactic- i.e. the exact sort of thing that a rabbit would resort to.

Those who have legitimately read the works and found them lacking are merely being honest and are holding the author of such a work to a high standard, as is their right as paying customers.

As for the second paragraph above, it doesn't make the slightest damn bit of sense. At what point did anyone, whether he is named Vox Day or Larry Correia or anyone else, in the Puppy camps force anybody else to vote a specific way for the Hugos in 2015?

An Unapologetic Apology

Next, we move on to Steven Schwarz's take on Irene Gallo's "apology" for her comments. Here is what Irene Gallo actually said:

"I painted too broad a brush and hurt some individuals... I apologise to anyone hurt by my comments." Well, as Jason Fleming points out above, she apologises for hurting people's feeeeeeelings, but not for what she actually said. Nor did she retract her statement.

My feelings were not hurt by Ms. Gallo calling me, and people like me, "neo-nazis". I find the reductio ad hitlerum to be more than a little amusing. Such insults are little more than childish name-calling and suggest a severe lack of imagination on the part of the stone-thrower. I mean, if you're going to insult a man, learn from the masters- there is nothing quite like calling someone "a rectum-faced pygmy", or a "pregnant, baboon-bellied space beatnik", or, my personal favourite, "a pretentious pus-filled polyp on the anus of humanity". (Technically I'm not sure that last one actually originated from White Dwarf.)

However, when a senior member of a publishing house insists on calling works by authors that I like and respect "bad to reprehensible" solely on the basis of their political affiliations, rather than their abilities as authors, well, that sort of thing greatly annoys me.

And before Mr. Schwarz tries to say that I did the exact same thing with Eric Flint above, be it noted that I do not judge Mr. Flint's quality as an author. I have never read his work. For all I know, he could be a phenomenal author. But anyone who voluntarily calls himself a socialist and a social justice warrior has more than a few screws loose up top. If said individual can divorce his politics from his work- as most right-wing authors are able to do- then all well and good, and more power to Mr. Flint. Clearly he knows what he's doing as a writer; he's the biggest-selling author that Baen Books has on its roster.

So here is what Mr. Schwarz said about Ms. Gallo's "apology":
She did apologize for painting with too broad a brush. Since her statement is true in reference to many of the leaders of the Puppy movement, there's no need to apologize beyond that.
Is Mr. Schwarz, in addition to being a proven liar, deficient in reading comprehension as well?

Ms. Gallo's statement is patently false with respect to ALL of the leaders of the Puppies movements. Her "apology" was not a retraction of any of her comments. And she did not apologise for what she said, which was plainly libelous.

Customer Service 101

At last, after a long and weary time, we come to the final comment by Mr. Schwarz:
And here we're back. While I know that authors are not the same as employees, they are often the *more* public face of the company. So, for example, should Tor drop John C. Wright, as he has certainly managed to piss off many people who buy Tor's product?
This is in reference to the statement that I made with respect to Ms. Gallo's comments. When Ms. Gallo called the works nominated by the Puppies "bad to reprehensible", she was openly insulting the works of several of Tor Books's own writers, including Kevin J. Anderson and the immeasurably talented Mr. Wright.

Now, if Tor Books wishes to drop Mr. Wright for his political views, they are perfectly entitled to do so. He turns off a lot of left-wing and atheist readers because of his staunch conservatism and devout Catholicism. If Tor Books does not want him to write for them, they are plainly within their rights to refuse to publish his work. That, after all, is the entire point of the right of free association.

However, if Mr. Wright is contracted to write for Tor Books, as he was at the time Ms. Gallo made these comments, then insulting him is not only stupid, it is utterly unprofessional. You don't insult the people who work for you if you want them to keep working for you, and you certainly don't insult your best talents. Anyone who has ever worked for a boss in his life can figure this out. Why is it that Mr. Schwarz cannot?

Once more, we are led to the inescapable reality of...

Rule 3: SJWs ALWAYS Project. At every turn, Mr. Schwarz has sought to accuse the leaders of the Puppies slates, and their supporters, of being every bit as bad as those that we fight against. His assertions are provably ridiculous, yet he insists on projecting nonetheless.

A Long Twilight Struggle

Mr. Schwarz has demonstrated every last symptom of the diseased rabbit mentality that we so loathe, and which has done so much to damage science fiction writing over the last 20 years.

This year, the Puppies went a long way toward correcting the balance. Only a few of the awards actually went to categories in which the Sad/Rabid Puppies had works nominated- most notably Best Novel. But it doesn't really matter, because as Vox Day pointed out before the awards were announced, it simply is not relevant who wins and who loses.

If the Hugo Awards went to those works nominated by him and the other Puppies, great- good works would finally win the awards. After all, can anyone claim with a straight face that Redshirts was somehow worthy of being in the same company as Starship Troopers, Dune, or Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy? Contrariwise, can anyone who has actually read the works of John C. Wright, Tom Kratman, John Ringo, Sarah A. Hoyt, or Larry Correia honestly claim that these authors do not deserve the accolades that they get?

And if the awards committee decided to give No Award to those categories in which Puppies works dominated, well, that would simply prove the entire point that the Puppies were founded to demonstrate. And that is precisely what happened.

But we still face a long road ahead. And it's going to be rather interesting to see what happens as liars like Steven Schwarz/imnotandrei are forced relentlessly backwards by the very people that they have spent so long mocking, deriding, and attempting to shout down.


Popular Posts