A comment from James May


Thanks to Kate Paulk’s comments and even despite not linking directly (Straw Puppy is still crying about that) I have had some interesting visitors. One of whom is James May (no, not THAT James May, at least I hope not) a person who frequently pops up on Puppy blogs and posts strange comments about his research into feminisim. Anyway here is what he wrote:

To a savage, technology appears to be magic. Your devotion to lesbian post-structuralist linguistic gibberish about “performative” and Spivak pronouns but without understanding those origins reveals why my researched explanations seem like a rant to you. Like a Solomons islander who builds a bamboo F4F Grumman Wildcat in the hopes it will return, your Cargo Cult mindlessly chant lesbian liberation dogma like the Yangs chanted “E Plebneesta.” Like an incantation, you hope social justice will emerge if only there are enough Leckian SF novels about the “genderblindness” and androgyny Conan the Barbarian stole from noble women during the Hyborian Age, when he forbade incest and imposed “compulsory heterosexuality.” The funniest thing about my so-called “rants” is you are in effect accusing the mostly forgotten primordial ideology you worship like Dagon of being a series of delusional rants; I agree. Reading Judith Butler is like reading the Necronomicon and then going nuts.

hmmm. I have to say that could have been much worse! Anyways let’s go through as this will take some unpacking.

  • I don’t know if this is true as such but I have observed that even supposedly civilized people can be mystified by logic.
  • I am not devoted to lesbian post-structuralist gibberish. Secondly because May tends to use ‘lesbian’ in a negative sense and I suspect he has a low opinion of post-structuralism it isn’t clear how he intends each word there to modify the other. Is he talking about a specific subset of post-structuralism that is lesbian? Does he think post-structuralism is particularly lesbian? Does he think lesbianism is particularly post-structural? The key word here is ‘gibberish’. He isn’t really saying anything with ‘lesbian post-structuralist’ other than associating with a rhetorical hand wave the world of literary criticism and the world of feminism. Naturally not all lesbians are feminists* but he likes to use the two as synonyms. Anyway, to answer what I think May is trying to say: no, wrong branch of philosophy. You are thinking of me as belonging to the Continental tradition and all that literary criticism stuff. I’m not averse to it but this is Analytic Philosophy land around these parts. Of course that does mean I am interested in questions of meaning and language but not in the same way.
  • Spivak pronouns: um, no. I use singular ‘they’. That isn’t a spivak pronoun it is an English pronoun with usage that dates back past the start of modern English and which can be found in key defining documents of modern English such as the King James Bible. Hey! I just used the Bible as a source of authority! Wonders will never cease.
  • ” but without understanding those origins reveals why my researched explanations seem like a rant to you” no it seems like a rant because your arguments do not proceed RATIONALLY. Stringing a bunch of semi-relevant stuff together with vaguely (or overtly) disparaging remarks is not an effective mode of argument. You can start by considering the GENETIC FALLACY – it has nothing to do with genetics as such it just means that simply attacking the origin of something is not a wholly logical way of demonstrating why it is false.
  • He then has a digression about cargo-cults. Yes, we all know what cargo-cults are. Thanks.
  • “Like an incantation, you hope social justice will emerge if only there are enough Leckian SF novels about the “genderblindness”” No. I believe in social engineering and the redistribution of both wealth and power. Social inequality is the underlying problem in society. Changes around gender and language will happen anyway and they rise out of an increasingly urban and technological society. It is in an environment in which women have access to cheap, safe contraception, free-at-source medical care and accessible childcare that both children and women prosper. A side-effect of the social changes that occur as a consequence is improved tolerance for people of other sexualities and gender identities. This is why people who don’t want society to change so vehemently oppose things like cheap, safe contraception, free-at-source medical care and accessible childcare. Stuff like novels etc are just the wrinkles on the surface of a volume of change.
  • However it is notable that conservatives do treat such issues as Leckie’s novels as if they really are effective magical spells! Look at May’s rants and were he puts his own efforts. It is very much like they have to desperately stop some evil ritual from being stopped before a portal to hell (or maybe Amazonian or Lesbos or Lesbos Amazonian…) opens.

*[This is based on the Camestros Felapton axiom of human categories – 1. not everybody in A is also in B unless A and B are perfect synonyms]


31 responses to “A comment from James May”

  1. Well, I didn’t know Spivak pronouns were called Spivak pronouns, so I learned something today. I do wonder if he forgot who the Yangs were meant to represent in that episode though. (An episode which was message fiction at its finest, incidentally)


  2. LOL Thanks for the confirmation. Plus you threw in a noble pedophile defender to make sure. What are your pronouns?


  3. I made a satirical comment referring to the fact you and your social justice movement in SFF are unaware of the nature or origins of the very ideology you promote. Your fisk confirmed that. Read Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble or Jagger Gill’s critique of it and learn why these people push pronouns. You’re a Yang muttering “E Plebneesta,” just deal with it. Your fisk was laughably off the mark. You are an unconscious member of a Cargo Cult.

    And being against a lesbian supremacist ideology is no more being against lesbians than being against the KKK means one is against whites. If you have an honest argument to make you’d think you could make it without resorting to the usual SocJusSpeak that I myself am a bigot. The conclusion is that none of your arguments have merit or are honest because I have yet to see them.

    The con game is always the same:

    An extremely specific anti-male, anti-white, anti-heterosexual ideology makes inflammatory comments.
Members of targeted group push back.
Pushback is proof we hate women, are MRAs, homophobes and racists.

    When it comes to group defamation the 30 morons knocked out of the Hugo nominations alone are a cornucopia of racist quotes, aside from a hundred other editors, publishers, award nominees, serial convention panelists, bloggers and hate Tweeters I could name. The Puppies? Well… you just keep repeating quotes from two people and call them “Puppies.” Why is that a surprise when all straight white men default to oppressive bigots anyway, confessors to privilege like you aside. Of course you’d have to be a non-Yang and actually understand what equal protection means and have a settled definition of group defamation instead of the nonsense about power/privilege and only on Thursdays.

    Only a feral bigot and an uncivilized liar would say non-whites can’t be racists or women can’t be sexists. We know what it would be called if I said “Homo peeeeoooople” in exasperation or used the term “homo scum.” Yet Alex “binary girl” McFarlane, the very lesbian feminist who signal boosted Ancillary Justice at TorCom has used “cis peeeeeoooople” and “cis scum” on Twitter. But don’t let Brad Torgersen joke about Scalzi wearing dresses. Your double standards are sick.

    By the way, my pronouns are “cis” and “scum.”


  4. “I made a satirical comment referring to the fact you and your social justice movement in SFF are unaware of the nature or origins of the very ideology you promote. Your fisk confirmed that. ”
    The ideology I promote is democratic socialism with a Popperian twist. I am very well aware of the nature and history of that ideology.

    “You are an unconscious member of a Cargo Cult.”
    OK, first we need go back to basics and the foundational documents. In this case The Hunting of the Snark.
    Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
    That alone should encourage the crew.
    Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
    What I tell you three times is true.
    Dodgson is of course satirising a common fallacy in argument – simply repeating oneself does not actually make what you say anymore true.
    It is notable that both you and Paulk do not respond to the substance of what I say but instead either declare that they already refuted what I said or reassert what they said without any engagement.

    “And being against a lesbian supremacist ideology is no more being against lesbians than being against the KKK means one is against whites.”

    Except you didn’t say ‘lesbian supremacist’ you said ‘lesbian post-structuralist’. Now if that was an auto-correct error then fair enough – your comment makes more sense – but my comment was about what you could possibly be trying to say when you talked about ‘lesbian post-structuralist’.
    As for the second part – sure being against misogyny doesn’t necessarily mean one is against men.

    “An extremely specific anti-male, anti-white, anti-heterosexual ideology makes inflammatory comments.
Members of targeted group push back”

    Nope. There certainly exist people who take extreme positions that it would be reasonable to call ‘anti-male’ or ‘anti-white’ etc. What you do is attack all and sundry *as if* your target held a position that they don’t. It is just a strawman fallacy. Not every feminist is a radical separatist feminist and not every radical separatist feminist holds exactly the same views. And more relevantly the net actual personal risk to men from even the most extreme feminist is *TINY* in comparison to the very real risks women face everyday.

    “Well… you just keep repeating quotes from two people and call them “Puppies.””
    I quote people directly relevant to a situation i.e. I quoted Brad Torgersen because he led Sad Puppies 3. Whether he liked it or not he is unambiguously a spokesperson for Sad Puppies 3. I quote Kate Paulk because firstly I was responding to a piece she actually wrote and because she is one of the two people coordinating Sad Puppies 4.
    Lesson number 2: RELEVANCE. You tend to quote whoever you think said something that outraged you. You don’t connect them to the argument you are trying to make except in the vaguest sense. An argument needs to have structure – even an argument that is primarily rhetorical. I hate to say this but…look at how Vox Day *structures* what he writes. Even when he uses fallacious reasoning (which is frequent) he uses it as part of a structured argument.
    Currently you just load a blunderbuss with what you found in your quote mine and generic put downs and hope that something hits.

    “Of course you’d have to be a non-Yang”
    [sigh] even your metaphors are confused. In the Yang-Khom scheme you should be smearing me as a Khom not a Yang for goodness sake. Remember the Yangs were the ones who just turned the original principles of the USA into a cargo cult in which they just mouthed the garbled version of America’s foundational documents as if they were magical documents RATHER than considering the underlying meaning. The Khoms just got on with shit and were supposed to be some sort of degenerated communists.
    In that scenario I’m Doctor Who’s robot dog K9 wandering around wondering how it go into the wrong TV show and looking for Sarah-Jane. If you are going to fail badly at a SF-TV show metaphor that is the way to do it rather than invoke imagery that makes it sound like Star Trek anticipated the modern GOP decades ago.

    “Only a feral bigot and an uncivilized liar would say non-whites can’t be racists or women can’t be sexists.”
    Or somebody mistaken. As it happens I am quite sure that non-whites can be racists and women can be sexist – in particular the latter as there are many examples. Actually I think most feminists would agree that women can be sexists. But what I think you mean is whether women can be sexist TOWARDS men (what some might call ‘reverse sexism’). Meh, you can get into a semantic argument about that I guess but it would be dull.

    Now is the time to scroll upwards. What is my ideology again? I’m a democratic socialist. I believe in social engineering and the idea that we can fix societal wide problems. Systematic sexual inequality is the problem and by any measure it is highly assymetrical BUT men are losers to as a consequence. A world of entrenched sexual inequality is a shitty world for women but it isn’t a great one for men either. Yes men get privileges in such a world but it is rather like the way high ranking party commisars in Stalinist USSR had greater privileges (and held on tight to them in the face of social change just like the MRAs do). Those privileges are actually a shitty deal – you get to be the more privileged in a society that is messed up. No thanks. My meat robot doesn’t want to play the which-man-gets-to-be-the-alpha-male top dog bollocks and a society with greater male-female equality and REDUCED emphasis on gender roles is a society in which a *MAN* has more freedom of action than otherwise.

    ” We know what it would be called if I said “Homo peeeeoooople” in exasperation or used the term “homo scum.” ”
    Yes, because gay and lesbian people are, sadly, in the situation where physical attacks and active social suppression are still things they have to contend with.

    The danger that you will find yourself beaten up by radical feminist is TINY to non-existent. It simply isn’t a problem in anything like the scale that lesbians face, that gay men face, that people of minority non-privileged ethnicities face, that trans people face, that even women from otherwise privileged backgrounds face.

    Would you like to live in a world in which people will react nonchalantly to you using the terms you use above? Then what you need to aim for is a world in which homosexuality (to use your example) is such a safe and secure choice in society that people would just look at your words in puzzlement and assume you are play-acting as a character from a historical novel.

    What you are trying to do is pretend that all that matters is whether somebody uses mean words. Imagine we are in 1930’s Russia and consider this statement:
    “Kulaks are liars”
    There simply isn’t a counter-statement that has the same awfulness as that one. It is very much an extreme example of language behind which there is a disparity in social and political power. That isn’t because of some magical notion of language but simply from a practical understanding of how society, political power and economics work.

    This is why I find your cargo-cult comments so unintentionally ironic. You focus only on the words, as if they had magic power. What you refuse to do is to look at the underlying reality – the mechanisms that enforce inequality in our society. This is what matters.

    Wow, I wrote lots!


  5. Amazing coincidence!!! At the 2014 Nebulas an emcee who is a lesbian dressed like a man announces the best SF novel as Ancillary Justice. It was promoted as French Queer Theory from day one by the self-proclaimed “genderqueer” Hugo-nominated Foz Meadows and by lesbian feminists Alex MacFarlane and Liz Bourke at TorCom.

    The emcee is co-author of a short story which is also nominated called “Tarzan in Intersectional Jim Crow-Land”

    Another nominee is the co-founder of the Tiptree Award.

    “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” wins. It is written by a lesbian feminist and is about how straight white men persecute the genderbending and non-whites.

    Vylar Kaftan’s intersectional revenge fantasy “The Weight of the Sunrise” wins.

    Aliette de Bodard wins, the woman who declared HBO’s Game of Thrones is “geared to white patriarchy.”

    Lesbian Nalo Hopkinson wins.

    Hild is nominated because it was written by a lesbian feminist about a lesbian and has no SFF content. Just the lesbians.

    Mary Kowal happily proclaims no men won. Genderbending Grandmaster Delany doesn’t count.

    All just a coincidence. Move along. Nothing to see here. The hateful rhetoric these people generate by the bucketful I’m sure is just an ironic prank. It’s just an anti-white, man-hating cult of lesbian-worship, Jake.

    There is no substance in what you said about Paulk’s piece because you are uneducated about the fundamental subject matter. And I did not mean the “Kohms.” The Yangs don’t understand the flag and chant they worship. Neither do you. Stop pretending you are neutral on this. You have chosen a side and it is one you don’t even understand. I have understood it for you.


    • I don’t chant or worship a flag and I’m OVERTLY saying I am not neutral! How on earth did you get ‘pretending you are neutral’ from anything I said! I am absolutely on the opposite side from you and very, very much in favour of social equality along multiple axes.
      But ‘whatevs’ as the young people say. Please don’t let me interrupt your chanting…


    • “There is no substance in what you said about Paulk’s piece because you are uneducated about the fundamental subject matter.”
      Now think about that for a minute. You don’t actually refute any of the points I made about Paulk’s piece but instead claim that I must be wrong because you think I don’t understand your views on the origin of feminism etc.
      Now seriously, are you saying you CAN’T see the logical error you are making there? I mean, you are obviously literate so it is well within you cognitive ability to spot where you are going wrong.


  6. First of all, these are not MY views on feminism. My so-called “research into feminism” has only one single source: reading the writings of Scalzi, Hurley, Jemisin, Hines, Kowal, Elliott, etc., etc., etc. They are the ones who exposed ME to rape culture, white male privilege, the Bechdel Test, the male gaze, intersectionalism, pronoun gibberish, misogyny, patriarchy, etc., etc., etc. It is they who pointed me to Audre Lorde, Donna Harraway, Judith Butler, etc., etc., etc. I knew absolutely nothing about his cult before I read them. If you want to point a finger at an unholy, perverse and bizarre obsession, point it there. My interest is solely in understanding why these incredible idiots target me for waking up in the morning and pasting the East India Company on my ass.

    As for fisking your post, there is nothing to fisk. It is fundamentally based on the idea anyone who pushes back against this ratty cult defaults to MRAs, white supremacists, homophobes, transphobes, racists, right wing reactionaries, Fox News-watching admirers of Rush Limbaugh, etc., etc., etc. You maintain there is some institutional presence of those things yet keep multiplying 2 or 3 people into a hall of mirrors.


  7. And please stop acting like this started last year. No one made Scalzi write his dizzy post about white privilege in 2012. No one made Saladin Ahmed write his dizzy post at Salon the previous month where he asserted GRR Martin is a racist “xenophobe.” No one made the two ditzes at io9 write a post called “When Will White People Stop Making Moves Like Avatar?”, as if Cameron is all white people. That’s in frickin’ 2009; both Day and Wright were still members of the SFWA. No one made these rats write all the “Dear White People…” posts I’ve seen. No one made Rachel Acks falsely claim a Moses movie in Egypt had racist casting when in fact Egyptians look just like those actors and not the two black guards Acks pointed to. No one made the SFWA make themselves a Frank Frazetta-free zone cuz Red Sonja. No one has made these people lie about global colonialism and slavery. No one has made Lightspeed review-censor white men. There is no truth to Jemisin’s claim that SFF fandom is “racist as fuck” or that anyone “strangled” her career by giving her 4 Nebula nods. No one has suppressed Russ’s writing. She was published before she was out of college. No one has forced these sick people to obsessively repeat racist and supremacist lies which target white straight males. One moron at 770 just now claimed the Constitution isn’t fit to solve our problems. That’s in keeping with this cult’s throwing down of equal protection and due process with asshattery about “#JustListen.” Everything this cult has said about SFF is an easily proven lie. There were more ideological bigots at the 2014 Nebulas than the entire Golden Age of SF.


    • I don’t think ‘this’ started last year if by ‘this’ you mean the Puppy business (hard to tell quite what you mean). In the timeline to Puppy Kerfuffle (link below the masthead of this blog) I go several years before hand.
      I need to repeat my helpful advice from before – structure your argument. You want to make all your points at once and hence it comes out as this splurge of points that don’t connect with the arguments made. How does anything you just said REFUTE what *I* just said.

      As for the ‘constitution’ (presumably your Yang US Constitution?) I note that people expressing concerns about it is a bipartisan practice. Why only the other Mr Vox Day was expressing a desire for ‘strictly limiting, if not banning outright, the exercise of all non-Christian religions in Christendom’. (Whatever floats his boat and/or donkey I suppose).

      Liked by 1 person

  8. You’re doing it again. It’s one thing to talk about changes to the Constitution. It’s another for Saladin Ahmed and Daniel Jose Older to question why they should respect a Constitution made by whites. I think the actual quote Ahmed uses is most white men have “cockroaches for hearts.” #JustListen is gutting due process and #JustListen is worshipped by the social justice community without dissent. That is different from one person like Vox Day who you have once again blown up to 200 people. I noticed that is a habit at 770. Some unsourced unquoted person may have thought Ann Leckie was published by Tor. At 770 that became “Puppies” believe that and made it to Twitter as fact. How does one get that stupid and dishonest? Maintaining group defamation is a question of power structures is also gutting our Constitution’s equal protection. I have not ceded any rights because some mental case thinks I have white privilege. The Title IX kangaroo courts to handle rape allegations at colleges extorted by the Dept. of Education also deny basic due process and the right to legal representation. Once again, this is widely support without dissent by the social justice crowd. That has been brought about by the fake rape culture presented by people like Jim Hines who to this day has never recanted his fake 1 in 5 rape statistics our own Dept. of Justice says is scores of times less frequent than that. Prominent feminists like Zerlina Maxwell and Jessica Valenti are on record as saying it’s okay to get it wrong sometimes because rape culture and that as “opinion” writers they are not obligated to dig for the truth. Every social justice blog in SFF must feel the same way. They cry out of one side of their mouths and then today at 770 some moron celebrates a woman who wished L. Correia and his supporters should die in a fire and again, her support in the social justice SFF community is without dissent. Such bigots are routinely supported there and even praised. Who in their right mind would support a thing like UnKKKany or Luhrs and her daffy Pilgrim? The co-creator of WisCon’s moronic racially segregated “safer-space” is on record as saying she doesn’t care which whites are guilty of racism, and on and on and on.

    This cult hates men, whites and heterosexuals and every excuse they use to buttress that hostility is a lie the same way demonization myths about Jews and blacks are a lie.


    • Specifically changes to the constitution to abolish freedom of religion. A point which you jumped over and then went off on the same tangent of lumping in everybody who ever said anything you disagreed with in together and then complaining about “group defamation”.
      Nor did I blow up Vox Day into 200 people. You mentioned one person at File 770 talking about (I assume) the US Constitution and I mentioned the leader of Rabid Puppies describing abolishing freedom of religion.


    • ” think the actual quote Ahmed uses is most white men have “cockroaches for hearts.””

      Nope the quote you are after is ‘The law is made by rich, selfish, shitty people – mostly white, mostly men – with cockroaches for hearts. Fuck their ‘rule of law.” which is very much not the sentiment you just ascribed to him. Expressing contempt for America’s lawmakers is an almost bipartisan activity.

      Now I’m betting you won’t engage with this reply and instead head off on yet another tangent.


    • “Some unsourced unquoted person may have thought Ann Leckie was published by Tor.” That was Brad Torgersen, using it as one of his examples of why it was okay to slate the Hugos. It’s strange that you say “may” given that you were in the conversation in question and presumably saw the comment.
      I have noticed that you fetishise quotes, presumably because you have your massive list culled from twitter. (It makes an interesting contrast with the views of various MGC authors that quoting them is bad.) Where you fall down is making your quotes actually support your argument – you simply present them as knock-out blows without analysis, and when their context and accuracy is checked they frequently fall apart, as with the Saladin Ahmed quote above. May I suggest taking a quality-not-quantity approach to these things?

      “Every social justice blog in SFF must feel the same way.” Having had a half a point earlier about taking what one person says an applying it to a group, you then say this?


      • Just to transform it into a fully sourced quote: “And a raft of awards nobody in the wider world knows or cares about, proves . . . what, again? That Nielsen-Hayden is good at engineering wins for his house’s books? We already knew that.”
        Patrick Nielsen Hayden is a senior editor at Tor, and a typical target for claims of a pro-Tor bias in the Hugos. Ann Leckie is published by Orbit. (http://wombat-socho.livejournal.com/1399499.html?thread=2262731#t2262731)

        And, oh what’s this in the replies? It’s James May (In his G+ identity of Fail Burton) posting a comment that shows he was aware of Brad’s post. So, what was your reason for using “may”, May?


      • And so Brad magically becomes “Puppies”? And fetishise quotes is exactly the Orwellian madness I have come to expect from a cult which throws down law, rules, and due process. Guess who else fetishizes quotes? Courtrooms. And for your information, I am the one who has presented that full Ahmed quote in essays and comments. I simply didn’t take the trouble to look it up in full since it’s anti-white context doesn’t change one bit, nor do the scores of other anti-white comments I’ve fetishized from Ahmed’s reversed out Stormfront Twitter feed which supports that context. The only thing that has fallen apart is our genre due to your fetish for politicized lesbianism and it’s racist intersectionalism.


      • “And so Brad magically becomes “Puppies”?”
        I would accept this point if a comment was made by Joe Q Pup and seen to be disagreed with by other puppies.
        However…Brad Torgersen was the SP3 leader, man in charge of choosing slate members, and most prominent spokesman. He frequently gave justifications for why SP3 was necessary that were adopted as correct by the vast majority of active SP adherents. When he can’t even keep his conspiracy theories straight he rightly comes in for derision, and the movement that accepts him as speaking for them comes in for derision by association.

        (Courtrooms tend to expect full and accurate information, provided in context; a clear misrepresentation like the one you tried wouldn’t go down well)


  9. Well, Camestros, you certainly have more patience than I do. I’d have banned James May’s idiotic ass first rattle out of the box.


  10. Everything in that comment was true. And now you’ve crossed my line: transparent ruses to delete comments. I do not comment anywhere where my comments are deleted. Bye forever.


    • I do hope my reasons for deleting your comment were clear. I think I’ve allowed you a lot of latitude and an opportunity to express your views to people who might not otherwise reader. I hope you sort out whatever it is that is bugging you and find a way of expressing it with clarity at some point. I suspect that if you focused on clarifying your ideas it would actually resolve some of the toxicity in your comments.


  11. Well! What’d I miss?

    “I do not comment anywhere where my comments are deleted. Bye forever.”

    Heh. Looks like you solved that little problem.


    • I decided that it probably would not be helpful in furthering civil debate 🙂 . If you would like a copy (as it was addressed to you) then email me at my name (no caps, both names together as a single word) at Outlook.
      I think deleting it actually did him a favor. It wasn’t going to help his reputation much.


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