Truly amazing and detailed takedown by Philip Sandifer.
I knew Beale/Vox Day was an odious troll. I didn’t know he also actively identified as a Christian dominionist. Sandifer takes all the nasty little Day soundbytes and crystallizes them into one solid narrative that (a-har) sheds light on, a) exactly how awful Day really is (yes, it’s worse than you already thought), b) his agenda and how it relates to SFF and the Hugos, and c) exactly how fucked up it was for Brad Torgersen (for Torgersen and for the rest of us) to throw in with Day and his Rabids.
I’ve mentioned before that the ideological differences between the Sad and Rabid Puppies isn’t all that important to get a 101 on what happened to the Hugos this year. I still stand by that, mostly because I think the Sads knew exactly what the Rabids were and would do, but just assumed no-one would notice. They made their beds, in other words, and can now live with the fleas.
Either way, 101 courses don’t make degrees, and Sandifer is here to bring out the 200- and 300-level material. His post not only does nothing whatsoever to exonerate the Sads for their associations, but it points out that, if the Sads represent “moderate” SFF conservatives, then they effectively lost. Big time; the 2015 Hugo nominees came, for the most part, from the Rabids, not the Sads. Where Sads got nominated, it was just because they had overlap with the Rabid slate.
If the Sads were about attempting to get more exposure for conservative writers, and the Rabids were about saying “fuck you” to SJWs… well then. I think we can now definitively tell which rationale has more support behind it.
Oh, and one more thing. Sandifer says at one point:
I nevertheless want to make it explicit what I am suggesting: if you got John C. Wright drunk at the bar, you could get him to admit that he thinks transhumanism and black people are ugly for the same reason. And if you couldn’t get John C. Wright to say it, you sure as hell could get Theodore Beale to.
This is talking about Rabid nominee John C. Wright’s essay collection Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth, which is tl;dr far-right Christian whinging about too much ungodliness in SFF. But what this highlights to me is an attitude I’ve been getting increasingly pissed off with over the last few days of Hugos fallout. It’s the thing the Puppies built their slate on, and it’s the thing I facepalmed over Jim Butcher saying the other day. It’s even an attitude I’ve seen from otherwise ostensibly anti-Puppy types like George R.R. Martin.1
The argument is, essentially, that the Puppy reaction is due to progressives not just “politicizing” the Hugos,2 but doing it in a mean way that makes conservatives feel sad. Why are you so mean progressives? No one will like you if you’re mean. Why can’t we all just get along like Back In The Old Days When GRRM Was A Lad? Why is the Internet so toxic? God I’m just getting so sick of both sides on this issue! Why is no-one being reasonable?
Sound familiar? Heard this one before?
If you have now or have ever felt the need to make or agree with this argument–particularly if you consider yourself at least a nominal progressive/leftist/moderate/whatever–I want you to go and read Sandifer’s post. I want you to go and read it, and I want you to imagine you yourself are a woman in SFF, or a person of colour, or someone who identifies as queer. (Hell, you might not even have to “imagine” at all.) I want you to go and read the opinions of Day and his ilk, and I want you to come back and tell me what the “reasonable” and “not mean” and “non-toxic” response is to someone who not just denies that you are human but who believes this means you are an acceptable target for violence, and who actively works to enforce these views via social and political institutions. (Yes, even “trivial” ones like the Hugo Awards.) Then I want you to think about people like Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen who, while they might themselves not espouse such extreme views, do certainly seem happy to stand next to people who do.
I want you to think about all that. Really imagine it hard. I mean, we’re talking about SFF here, right? If you can imagine dragons and robots or whatever I’m sure you can imagine this. After all, I have to imagine it every single fucking day. So do most other women I know. Plus most people of colour, most queer people… most anyone who isn’t part of the SWARM. We live daily in a world that has, for most of its history–and certainly all of our lifetimes–been dominated by people like Wright and Day who see us as sub-human.
I want you to tell us what the “not mean” response is to that, particularly when we trip over it in our fucking hobby that we pursue when we’re trying to fucking relax and forget about just how fucking awful the Really Real World can be.
Please. Tell me.