TFW Somebody Tries to Insult You and Accidentally Makes You Sound More Interesting Than You Actually Are

{Strums G, E-minor, F and C on my banjolele]* So the latest in revisionist far-right history is folk music. Despite having the word “folk” in its name, there’s this association with leftwing politics and intellectuals with beards and a whole “we hate fascists” thing going on.

And, of course, this guy:

Woody Guthrie whose guitar famously took a hard line on the alt-right of his day.

Now over at Castalia House Blog there is a paradigmatic example of how the far right likes to recast cultural history. The script goes like this: X is now leftwing and X is now not very good and that’s because X used to be rightwing and then leftists took over and made it bad. You’ve seen the story before and seen it applied premeptively by Gamergate to video games. http://www.castaliahouse.com/the-real-folk-music/

Now, we need to make a small diversion about the author. There are TWO pseudonymous Fenris’s at Castalia. One Fenris is a pseudonym for Vox Day/Theodore Beale (e.g. on Voxopedia the user called “Fenris” is Vox Day). The second Fenris is a guy who authored a book called Loki’s Child and who is apparently a record producer. Maybe both people are actually Vox but if so, he plays them as different people. This article on folk music is by the second Fenris i.e. the one who claims not to be Vox as opposed to the other Fenris who claims to be Vox. Basically Nazis etc like the whole Gotterdamerung thing of the monstorous wolf Fenris and are also into their whole stereotype of wolves as alpha-male predators. That wolves are matriachical and community minded is a whole other thing.

Where was I? Folk music. I’m far from an expert on folk music and I know many people in the Science Fiction community have much deeper connections to it than I do. However, I know enough to spot a bullshit analysis when I see it. Now, sure, like any broad expression of a culture there are left and right elements to folk music. In the case of the folk music of Britain, Ireland and North America the rightwing regressive elements include nationalism and traditionalism and religion. The leftwing elements though are pervasive with its roots in the experiences of ordinary people including the long tradition of protest music.

Irish folk music, for example, has a deep connection with the long struggle against British occupation of Ireland. Folk music from the North of England includes themes about poverty, industrialisation, social conflict and industrial accidents. Likewise, folk traditions in the US drew on the experiences of multiple immigrant communities as well the experiences of African-Americans.

As an overt expression of the labour movement both in Europe and North America, folk music played a significant role in the 19th and early 20th centuries – long before the commercial revival of folk music in the 1950s and 60s. Perhaps the most iconic example being Joe Hill https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Hill

So, I left a short comment. Basically pointing out how deep the leftwing tradition was in folk music and citing Joe Hill as an example of a pre-1940s US example.

The comment, perhaps unsurprisingly was spammed but “Fenris” explains himself thusly:

“Fenris Wulf says:

Gmail is telling me that Camestros Felapton’s post contains a suspicious link that was used to steal people’s personal information, so I spammed it.

This creature of unknown gender and species points out that leftists were involved in folk music well before 1940. This is true. But even back then, most of their songs were uncredited rewrites of older and better songs.”

🙂 “creature of unknown gender and species” is kind of cool. I’d adopt the whole thing as a moniker but it would be partly appropriating a trans identity which I can’t claim. Oh, and seriously? The actual mythological Fenris was the wolf child of Loki, a being whose very essence was fluid in terms of both species and gender (he was the father of a wolf but also the mother of Odin’s six-legged horse).

Oh and “rewrites of older and better songs” – fer goodness sake. New lyrics to old tunes was the norm for music in the English speaking world (and beyond I assume) until the 20th century – not just folk music and certainly not just leftwing folk music.

Meanwhile, as with wandered far off topic anyway, there’s trouble at the mill at Castalia House as a consequence. CH author, David Van Dyke (http://www.davidvandykeauthor.com/ ) took exception to Fenris Wulf’s post but not for its overall cluelessness:

You’re right. This has nothing to do with gaming or science fiction or anything remotely like it.

Even though I happen to agree with you, I dislike that you have co-opted this blog purely for political purposes without even the veneer of relation to its purpose. You’ve hijacked it.

Message fiction–or nonfiction–is still weak and lame when it’s a message we agree with, in an inappropriate place.

How about no more posts like this.”

I can’t work up much sympathy for David Van Dyke, he’s chosen to have his books published by a guy who promotes terrorism and the murder of children. The politics of folk music seems like an odd place to draw a line in the sand.

After being chastised by others in the thread, Van Dyke explains himself further (quoted in full at the end). He thinks that the politics might scare off the punters. Good point David but again, you are doing business with a company that is an arm of a guy who thinks it is OK to murder teenagers who are members of mainstream leftwing parties. Would he be OK with the politics just being a “subtext” if the owner/publisher/editor frequently praised ISIS or Al Qaeda?

It is a microcosm of the sad ballad of the alt-right: take the ‘stab in the back’ mythology of fascism and apply it any cultural phenomanon (Science Fiction, folk music, probably basket weaving next), meanwhile sucker in “libertarians” and “conservatives” who lap up the anti-leftism and ignore the real subtext which is violent and authoritarian ethno-nationalism with a hefty heaping of misogyny.

Perhaps I should have expanded on my original concern with the post, and explained my reasoning, since I seem to have ruffled some feathers.

In past conversations with Vox, he’s said the that the CH blog, as opposed to his personal one, should not be primarily political. Sure, Castalia is conservative, and that will color the subtext. That’s expected.

But there are a lot of people who are less conservative who nevertheless follow this blog. In fact, my own fan base, my author newsletter list of over 10K subscribers, probably run the gamut from far right to center left, because my books, broadly speaking, are written from a center right perspective with a lot of anti-tyranny libertarianism thrown in.

Because Vox and Castalia recently made a push to get authors with newsletters like mine to pitch the CH blog to their fans, by offering some free ebooks, I did it. Vox said there were more than 400 new subscriptions on the day of my newsletter pitch.

I pitched the CH blog with confidence because of what I’d seen in the past from Jeffro and others. In essence, I vouched for it to my fan base. I’m therefore invested in it even more directly than simply being a Castalia author.

Posts like this one are great in the right venue. I enjoyed the post. I disagreed with nothing except its placement here in the CH blog.

But when posts like this end up in my fan base’s inboxes, and can be viewed as inappropriate to the expected topic matter–in essence, a bait and switch that may make me look like a dupe–I want to make sure to express my viewpoint early.

Vox gives us a lot of leeway, and I appreciate that, but I’m first and foremost a businessman making a living. I’m associated with the Castalia name and so I have a stake in its brand. I’ve recommended and shared many of its posts, especially to some of my friends who are more left-leaning, specifically to try to introduce them to SFF viewpoints different from their own.

They’ll happily read things that Venn across via the commonality of SFF and geek culture. There are geeks on the left and geeks on the right. It behooves us to educate them and woo them to our viewpoints, not drive them away.

That means not having posts that are both off topic, and which appear to be directly attacking the very people we’d like to convince of our viewpoint. That double whammy is counterproductive, both to a reasonable discussion, and to maintaining good business relationships with people who put money in our pockets.

The best way to destroy your opponents is to make them your friends–or at least your customers–and keep them that way. IMO posts like this which merely play to the base, especially if more of them keep coming, risk losing customers and/or those friends who have not yet been radicalized by the extreme left.”

 

*[I’ve no idea what that sounds like]

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87 comments

  1. greghullender

    I’ve found David Van Dyke to be a reasonable guy every time I’ve interacted with him online. We have different opinions on a lot of things, but we seem to share a common belief that people should be treated with dignity and respect.

    As for Vox Day’s politics and their possible influence on sales, all I can say is that normally when I buy I book, I haven’t got a clue what the politics of the publisher are nor even who the publisher actually is (I push a button and it comes to my Kindle). I’m sure most of David’s fans have only a vague idea (if that) that his publisher is a shady character. At least, not until they read that blog post. 🙂

    Like

  2. supplanter

    “*[I’ve no idea what that sounds like]”

    Tested. It sounds pretty good!

    I mean, I actually did it on the piano and then in GarageBand using the acoustic guitar voices, but now I want to use it. I mean it’s a fundamentally sound sequence: I – vi – ♭VII – IV. The the Mixolydian interpretation, which I will insist is more correct than the Aeolian, “Major,” treatment of V – iii – IV – !. This is folk, or rock! The starting chord is the tonic until proven otherwise!

    I like it best if the whole thing goes:

    G – Em – F – C
    G – Em – F – F
    G – Em – F – C
    D – D – D – D

    And now you’re heading into a chorus. I also like it a lot doubled – two chords per measure.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. KasaObake

    As with basically any form of art, the people involved with it can hold a multitude of views and not actually agree with each other. One of my favourite examples is the use of Cuchulain in Irish music and poetry, being used extensively by both the Unionists and the Nationalists.

    Liked by 1 person

      • KasaObake

        If I remember correctly, he’s an important figure for the Nationalists because he’s one of the earliest mythological Celtic heroes and therefore represents Ireland and its lost history and heritage (which they were essentially rebuilding, at least in part, by reclaiming their mythologies through the arts),and the Ulster Unionists like him because of the Ulster connection, and the belief that he fought off attacks from the south.

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  4. Mark

    Fascinating. With the recent antics of del Arroz I’d been rolling around some ideas for the taxonomy of alt-marketeers (I think that’s Mike’s phrase, isn’t? Very appropriate, anyway) and then here is VanDyke carefully explaining his tactics out in public.
    What I found rather interesting was that he said his audience “run the gamut from far right to center left.” One of my fairly obvious classification ideas was that alt-marketeers primarily define themselves by opposition – in their case to the far left and/or “SJWs”* – and we see that VanDyke is happy to throw in with people provided they oppose those *outside* his acceptable spectrum, but once they display elements that might put off people *in* his spectrum, he’s suddenly complaining. Or to put it another way, he doesn’t want them to let the mask of respectability slip too far.

    (*this from their POV – people who consider US Democrats to be socialists have a badly broken political spectrum, but that’s another argument)

    Liked by 2 people

    • greghullender

      VanDyke supports himself with his writing, so his reasons for wanting to keep his audience happy seem fairly obvious to me. 🙂 I doubt his association with Castalia helps him at all, but I doubt it hurts him either. Pitching their blog to his mailing list was probably a mistake.

      I don’t see him defining himself by his opposition, though. I’m not sure precisely what his beliefs are.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. stevejwright

    ObPedant: Loki is not the mother of Odin’s six-legged horse, that would just be weird. He’s the mother of Odin’s eight-legged horse. (The source texts are not entirely consistent – they never are – but eight is the generally accepted number.)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. David VanDyke

    Thanks to the magic of Mention, this showed up in my feed. I’m always happy to engage reasonably with people who are willing to engage reasonably with me. On the other hand, everyone can be sharpshooted (sharpshot? Trolled, then) and nobody’s perfect.

    Let’s fisk a points first, just for clarity. You can agree or disagree with my reasoning, but it is reasoning.

    “Anyone who’s happy to benefit from cheating to get their work on the Hugo ballot, as Van Dyke was, doesn’t fall into the “proponent that people should be treated with dignity and respect” category for me.”

    First, I invite everyone to read that sentence carefully. The writer says, in effect, that a person that benefits from cheating–not even who’s actually cheated–is now subhuman-, unworthy to be treated with dignity and respect. This type of thinking is, unfortunately, becoming routine in our polarized neo-puritan world. Do something they see as wrong, lose your basic human rights.

    Yech. That kind of thinking is repugnant to me.

    Now, to address the nomination itself.

    I submitted a story to Jerry Pournelle in response to a call for stories for There Will Be War X. At the time, I had no knowledge about the Hugo controversy of Vox Day. Castalia House was a publisher, I’d read Pournelle since I was a sprat, so I wrote something. I never thought of it as something to compete for an award. I just wanted to get a military sci-fi story into a Pournelle anthology. I was as surprised and shocked as anyone to hear I’d been nominated and ended up a finalist, invited to Worldcon, etc.

    I’d never been to a Worldcon or to any sci-fi convention beyond a few gaming cons and a Star Trek con or two, and certainly I’d never been a guest. I’d never been involved in fandom (and still am not). I never even submitted stories to publishers before I began self-publishing. I’m just a voracious reader that became a writer with the digital revolution. So, when this landed in my lap, I didn’t even hesitate. The opportunity might never come again to meet Jerry Pournelle, Larry Niven, Jack Campbell, Chuck Gannon, GRRM, Eric Flynt, and a long list of other of my favorite authors.

    It was only after I’d been contacted, confirmed my attendance and made all my plans for Kansas City that I began to get wind of the controversy surrounding Vox Day and the two Puppy camps. By that time, I wasn’t inclined to back out. The slating from the Rabids and the suggestion lists from the Sads, while controversial, seemed to me from the outside like hardball politicking rather than cheating. In fact, they weren’t cheating in any way I can figure out, regardless of how they’re portrayed. There was no rule, written or unwritten, against what was being done. In fact, many organizations in many areas of life have done exactly that for many democratic processes (anything where there’s voting involved). Some people vote their consciences, or on merit; some vote a straight party ticket. I don’t see our political system call a straight party ticket “cheating.” It simply isn’t, even if you don’t like the process or the outcome.

    So, I went to the convention, tried to keep an open mind, learned when I was there that I had no chance of winning because many people were going to vote against my story without reading it merely because it was backed by the Rabids. (I never really expected to win anyway–hell, I was up against a Stephen King story–so this was no great disappointment).

    I have enough of a contrarian streak to think that’s hypocritical: to claim that, on the one hand that the Hugos are all about the quality of stories, but when one hardball culture warrior with an axe to grind against the establishment (as I found out later) upsets the applecart, the establishment throws their own principles under the bus and adopts the same tactics, i.e., organizing to oppose their opposition rather than read stories and vote on merit.

    So I concluded that neither side had a claim to virtue. All you have to do is look at the Requires Hate situation to realize that each side excuses its own extremists and their rhetoric (RQ, real name Benjanun Sriduangkaew, has said far worse things than Vox Day ever has, including multiple rape and death threats, and yet has not been ostracized by her supporters or the publishing establishment) https://www.dailydot.com/parsec/benjanun-sriduangkaew-revealed-to-be-troll-requires-hate-winterfox/

    Now, I’m not defending Vox or any of the offensive, hyperbolic things he’s said, but let’s get real. He’s not Hitler. There are others I’ve met, such as a certain senior editor at Tor, and a certain author with an association with Star Trek going back to Roddenberry and the original series, who have well-earned reputations as nasty, unpleasant people whose main redeeming features are that they have aligned themselves with the best liberal ideals–equality, dignity, fair treatment, color-blindness, human rights. In my personal experience with them, however, they don’t actually uphold those ideals.

    Taking a step back, everyone does business with the unsavory in this world. It’s unavoidable. If you buy products made in China, there’s a fair chance some of them were made with slave labor from political prisoners. If you buy avocados, odds are they come from one certain region of Mexico that is controlled by a criminal cartel, who also use slave labor. If you buy American farm produce, odds are it’s picked by migrant farm workers working in deplorable conditions. If you work for the Department of Defense or any of its contractors–which includes firms like Boeing and General Motors and a host of others, you have benefited from billions of dollars of sales to the Saudi regime whose particular ultra-orthodox form of religion is an embodiment of racism, misogyny and support for terrorism. There’s a good case to be made that Wal-Mart and Amazon have destroyed millions of good jobs, but I bet plenty of my friends on the left–and I do have them–don’t boycott those corporations, or Chinese products, or Mexican avocados, or American farm produce.

    Closer to home, Penguin Random House bought and ran Author Solutions, a barely legal scam publisher that has ripped off thousands of authors, for a while before bad publicity forced them to divest. How many authors out there have sold a book to PRH? How many readers and bloggers have bought their books?

    So when Castalia House offered a deal to publish a few of my books in print only (I hold all other rights except print copies), I gave it a try. I’d followed the Castalia blog for a while and I talked with Vox about how he handled the publishing vs. his own inflammatory culture-war blog. He promised, and has generally kept that promise, to keep the two things separate. When they’re not kept separate, I tend to object.

    “Unfortunately, he seems to have hitched his wagon to Castalia house since then.”

    Nah, no hitching here. As I said above, I’ve sold the print-only rights for 5 out of 27 novels so far to Castalia, mostly as an experiment. It’s been mostly a wash–some benefit, some downside. Other than that, I’m wholly indie and I make my living from self-publishing, and that’s mostly ebook money. Castalia is, by my calculations, less than 0.1 percent (one one-thousanth) of my business and sales, so I’m in no way beholden to them, nor do they have any particular influence over me, other than that fact that I agree with much of the PulpRev and Appendix N viewpoints on SFF.

    As usual, though, as a centrist and a moderate, I’m being attacked from both sides. The ultra-right folks start yelling “traitor!” and the ultra-left folks start yelling “insufficiently virtuous!” Guess what: I reject both extremes. That doesn’t mean I have to reject every person I disagree with, even those who’ve offended me. I write books, I entertain, I make a living. I have friends across the spectrum of socio-political thought. I try to respect everyone, though I sometimes fail. That doesn’t mean I respect everyone’s opinion or behavior, and I occasionally speak up about it. Sometimes I speak up behind the scenes, and frankly, I think I’ve done a little bit of good in moderating some extreme opinions I’ve encountered. But I ain’t perfect. And if you really want to know what I believe, read my books. It’s all there, though even that’s evolving over time. I continue to learn, as we all should.

    That’s pretty much it.

    I’ll leave you with a favorite quote of mine, from Ronald Reagan, who at the time people thought was a far-right guy, but whom history has proven was very centrist by today’s standards:

    “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally – not a 20 percent traitor.”

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    • camestrosfelapton

      Hi David,
      Thanks for dropping by and giving a considered response.

      The rights and wrongs of the Puppy Kerfuffle have been gone over many times here and elsewhere. You’ll find very few here who voted against Puppy nominees WITHOUT reading but many who voted against on principle and saw the actions of the Rabids in particular as morally wrong.

      You also point at people from the left who ostensibly behaved poorly. Except that I have noted that. Again the ‘Requires Hate’ issue has been hashed out many times.

      My issue with Vox Day and Castalia House is not primarily their attempt to game the Hugo’s or Vox’s combative internet argument tactics. It is true that there are unpleasant and unkind people of all ideologies and none.

      My issue is that Vox wants me and my kind dead.

      That does not leave much room for compromise. Nor does it reassure me if somebody takes the moderate position between [ok to use terrorism against the mainstream left including shooting children] and [NOT ok to use terrorism against the mainstream left including shooting children].

      For example I’m sure you don’t support ISIS. Would you do business with a company that openly praised ISIS and regarded their murderous acts as right and necessary? I doubt it – indeed I think many people would see the question as insulting.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark

        I was going to say the same – and it’s not to David’s credit that his first move was to rewrite JJs point to enable him to play the victim and ignore the substantive point.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Lurkertype

      So you signed up with a publisher without doing even cursory due diligence? That’s bad business, regardless of politics. One Google search would have informed you about the kerfuffle and Teddy’s poisonous ideology. Same as the people who didn’t do one Google search on Author Solutions did bad business. Businessmen should know their market.

      And yes, considering Teddy Boy (look up that term too) thinks it’s swell to murder children of a different political bent, that 51% of the population of the world shouldn’t be allowed to vote, and that black people are literally sub-human, quite a number of people refuse to give him money. You also get the “benefit” of being nominated as a package deal with “Let’s beat the queers with tire irons and use canes on elderly senile men” John C. Wright.

      You could sell print editions yourself, and people wouldn’t mind giving money to you, as an individual of moderate temperament. But that .1% is reducing your income by a much larger amount. Not all publicity is good publicity.

      “Hey, David van Dyke’s bottled water is *only* .1% poison specifically tailored to you and your kind! His marketing via awards is only a bit venal with the same acidic poison! He didn’t bother finding out about the poison before he started using this bottling company! Mmm, mmm, must be great!”

      We may not be able to avoid purchasing Chinese products (thanks to US companies’ decades of outsourcing), but we can still choose who to buy our independent books from. And for a lot of fen, that ain’t Castalia.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mark

      As requested by CF, I won’t be re-litigating the whole kerfluffle, but on “organizing to oppose their opposition rather than read stories and vote on merit” I will point out the following – I personally did not organise or join any organising to oppose slates, I did that all on my lonesome. I read (well, started to read) each and every story even if they were terrible, and voted on merit. There is plenty of evidence in the form of reviews and comments that plenty of other people did exactly the same – they read. You are just repeating a canard from the side you claim not to really be a part of – can you think why people might be sceptical of that?

      I’ll give you a challenge – name a nominated story from the past few years and I’ll discuss it with you. Others probably will as well. If my google-fu is up to scratch I’ll try and find some contemporaneous comments of mine as well to show I’d read it at the time. You can make your case that it wasn’t rejected on merit.

      Liked by 1 person

      • greghullender

        What about his own 2015 Novelette, “What Price, Humanity?

        I also really liked The Builders, by Daniel Polansky, but it also got voted under No Award.

        There are a couple of other puppy nominations in 2015 and 2016 that probably weren’t award-worthy, but they didn’t really deserve to be under No Award.

        I’m not surprised at the outcome, given the circumstances (and given how bad 2014 was), but it did undermine the claim that our side voted solely on the quality of the works. Given how these works ended up on the ballot (two years in a row), that was just asking too much of people.

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      • camestrosfelapton

        Naturally I can’t speak for everybody but I did go into detail about my voting approach for 2015 & 2016. I’m sure others had their own approaches but it certainly wasn’t as simple as put all puppy nominees below No Award without reading them.

        Liked by 1 person

      • stevejwright

        As someone who recently devoted actual time and energy to reviewing “Alien Stripper Boned from Behind by the T-Rex”, I take issue with the idea that I might condemn things without reading them. (I’ve read all John C. Wright’s nominated entries, too. I paid my dues, man, I paid my dues.)

        A minor correction, Greg, if I may? The Builders came last in the voting, but finished above “No Award”. Which was where I put it myself. I didn’t like it all that much, but I decided it was a legitimate nominee. I didn’t feel the same way about “What Price Humanity?” – granted, it might have been the best of the direct Puppy-affiliate nominees, but that didn’t make it award-worthy in my eyes. (I realize some people liked it more than I did. To each their own, is all I can say to that.)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mark

        Greg, I think his own story would be a bit awkward for all concerned, and he can hardly objectively argue his own merits after all.
        As Steve points out, The Builders did quite badly but didn’t get NA. I know quite a few people liked the Builders but for me it was 45% set up (soooo many characters…..) and 45% resolution (soooo many final scenes) with maybe 10% of plot in the middle. I thought last was a fair result for it.
        If you do want to consider What Price Humanity, then you could look at how it did better in voting than the execrable Flashpoint Titan. That clearly indicates people had read them both and had Opinions.

        Liked by 2 people

    • JJ

      Let’s fisk a points first, just for clarity. You can agree or disagree with my reasoning, but it is reasoning.

      “Anyone who’s happy to benefit from cheating to get their work on the Hugo ballot, as Van Dyke was, doesn’t fall into the “proponent that people should be treated with dignity and respect” category for me.”

      First, I invite everyone to read that sentence carefully. The writer says, in effect, that a person that benefits from cheating–not even who’s actually cheated–is now subhuman-, unworthy to be treated with dignity and respect. This type of thinking is, unfortunately, becoming routine in our polarized neo-puritan world. Do something they see as wrong, lose your basic human rights.

      Thank you for your very creative attempt at interpreting my words. However, as you are an author, I would expect you to have a bit better understanding of what language means. (Try looking up the definition of the word “proponent”.)

      I did not say that anyone who’s benefited from cheating “is now subhuman-, unworthy to be treated with dignity and respect”. I said that they were not likely to be an advocate of people being treated with dignity and respect — because a cheater is inherently showing disrespect to those being cheated (in this case, the Hugo Awards and its voters).

      But the fact that you tried to put that sort of spin on my words tells me something about you, and what it says is not good.

      And since you use Mention to ego-Google yourself, you would have known that you were on the Rabid Puppies’ slate (something which was posted on numerous Puppy blogs) on March 21, long before your comment on April 26, 2 weeks before the Finalists were even announced, and before you would have booked tickets to go to Worldcon. So I find your claim more than a little unbelievable.

      Also, when your justification for being willing to benefit from having your work appear on the Hugo ballot through cheating is “but it wasn’t against the rules!”, and then you quote a number of other instances of legal but unethical behavior as further justification, it makes you look as though you are defending unethical behavior as being something which is acceptable.

      A great many people read the Puppy stories, and posted reviews and comments explaining why those stories were not worthy of being on the ballot. I read your story. I voted it below No Award. It wasn’t horrible, but I didn’t think that it was near good enough to be on the Hugo ballot. I also read The Builders and found it acceptable but unremarkable, and it also went under No Award. I’ve loved every Neal Stephenson book I’ve read, but I No Awarded Seveneves, which was not a Puppy candidate. I also voted Thomas Olde Heuvelt’s winning story under No Award. It was terrible. And you can see my comments to this effect on File 770 from a year ago if you bother to look.

      Your claim that “both sides are equally tainted” is blatantly false, and your attempt to paint the Hugo voters as aggressors, rather than the victims of a vicious hate campaign, make it pretty clear where you stand politically.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Aaron

      The writer says, in effect, that a person that benefits from cheating–not even who’s actually cheated–is now subhuman-, unworthy to be treated with dignity and respect.

      You knowingly accepted the benefits of cheating. That is the same as cheating. The honorable thing to have done would have been to decline or withdraw the nomination. Your attempts to evade responsibility for your own actions are very telling.

      It was only after I’d been contacted, confirmed my attendance and made all my plans for Kansas City that I began to get wind of the controversy surrounding Vox Day and the two Puppy camps. By that time, I wasn’t inclined to back out.

      So now we know the cost of your integrity: A plane ticket and the inconvenience of cancelling hotel reservations. Actually, it isn’t even that – you could have gone to Worldcon without being a Hugo finalist. This excuse – that you had already made travel plans – amounts to nothing. It is a rationalization and nothing more. Absolutely nothing prevented you from doing the honorable thing except that you were comfortable with cheating.

      The slating from the Rabids and the suggestion lists from the Sads, while controversial, seemed to me from the outside like hardball politicking rather than cheating. In fact, they weren’t cheating in any way I can figure out, regardless of how they’re portrayed. There was no rule, written or unwritten, against what was being done.

      This is an outright lie. There was, in fact, a very strong and long-held unwritten rule against what was done. Every previous time a group got together to bloc-vote works onto the ballot, the Hugo voting members had regarded this as a violation of the unwritten rules of the award. Every previous time something had gotten gamed onto the ballot, the Hugo voters had responded by placing that work behind “no award”. The notion that this was not against the accepted community norms is simply false. You are lying when you claim there “was no rule”. In addition to being a cheat, you are a liar.

      I have enough of a contrarian streak to think that’s hypocritical: to claim that, on the one hand that the Hugos are all about the quality of stories, but when one hardball culture warrior with an axe to grind against the establishment (as I found out later) upsets the applecart, the establishment throws their own principles under the bus and adopts the same tactics, i.e., organizing to oppose their opposition rather than read stories and vote on merit.

      This is another lie. The one thing that is consistent across all Puppy and Puppy-adjacent types is that you are all liars. You are conforming to that stereotype quite nicely at this point.

      Taking a step back, everyone does business with the unsavory in this world. It’s unavoidable. If you buy products made in China, there’s a fair chance some of them were made with slave labor from political prisoners.

      And if someone had gone out and signed a contract with an organization that used slave labor, I’d think less of them. Your attempt at drawing an equivalence is incredibly disingenuous. You signed a contract and went into business with someone who praises mass murderers, calls for women to be denied the franchise, and speaks approvingly of throwing acid on the faces of young women to keep them in line. You aren’t merely buying a product that was in the stream of commerce as the result of unethical practices, you are actively engaged in a business relationship with scum, and you are trying to rationalize it away. You are doing the liar’s dance: Dodge, weave, evade, deflect, dissemble, and lie.

      I could go on, but your post is riddled with lie after lie, so why bother? You don’t deserve to be treated with dignity and respect because you threw that away by being willing to benefit from cheating and then trying to lie your way out of people pointing out the consequences of your actions.

      Liked by 1 person

      • JJ

        Aaron: . There was, in fact, a very strong and long-held unwritten rule against what was done.

        Even so, it wouldn’t have mattered if there hadn’t been one. One of the consistent Puppy claims, a canard which VanDyke has repeated here, is that legal = not cheating, and cheating = against the rules. But in fact, the definition of cheating is not what is illegal or what violates the rules, but “to act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage”.

        And what the Puppies did was to provide an unfair advantage to works which could not have made it onto the Hugo ballot based solely on their own merit.

        Which is why complaints that people who voted Puppy works below No Award without reading them behaved as “equally bad” as the cheaters (another canard VanDyke has repeated here) are untrue, and why doing so was a perfectly legitimate choice for those who chose that response. Ensuring that works which had only gotten onto the ballot through cheating did not receive an award was an entirely valid response from those who were unhappy about the violation of the integrity of the award.

        I realize that the cheaters thought that they should be able to force people to read their works. But in reality, it was perfectly within reason for voters to choose not to be strong-armed into reading works cheated onto the ballot — works which ended up ranging from unexceptional to mediocre to execrable, anyway.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. David VanDyke

    I’m sure there are many across the spectrum that actually did read all the stories. I myself only voted in categories and for stories I actually read. Several categories I declined to vote. But we know from both sides’ statements that some did not hold themselves to the standards. I had people tell me pointedly that they did deliberately not read my story only because if its recommendation source, and others who simply said “I voted Vox’s recommendations.” Both are equally bad.

    Note, I’m not accusing any individual here; I’m only saying it seems to me that the sides as a whole were, broadly speaking, equally tainted. I know those who are firmly rooted in a side will never quite believe that, because they’re invested in their tribalist worldview, to hate “the other” for, they believe, perfectly valid reasons. “They hate me so I am justified in demonizing them.” Meh. No.

    “For example I’m sure you don’t support ISIS. Would you do business with a company that openly praised ISIS and regarded their murderous acts as right and necessary? I doubt it – indeed I think many people would see the question as insulting.”

    No person with any goodwill supports ISIS, but that’s Nazification by another name, the fallacy of equating blowhards with murderers. Nazifying everything from Clinton to Obama to Trump to (insert person you don’t like here) is a problem, not a solution. People like Vox thrive on controversy, which is one reason I’ve always kept my distance from his sociopolitical opinions, even while maintaining a polite business relation.

    But he’s just a guy with a blog and a following. At the risk of sounding like I’m defending him, which I’m not–I’m just trying to take a dispassionate view– he’s only getting the attention he does because he’s mucking about in a pond we’re interested in–SFF, geekdom, publishing, gaming, etc. and because he’s an easy target. I’ve told him he brings it on himself, and he knows that–but he revels in it. If there’s a parallel with ISIS at all, it’s that all publicity is good publicity, from their point of view. The very fact that people are lining up to oppose them makes them happy. It validates them. That’s why excoriation never works. In the cases of genuine terrorists, rather than social media nest-stirrers, we have the option to kill them. Absent that option, and on social media and in blogs, screaming at each other will never change one heart or mind. If you think Vox and people like him (and there are many) is a social media terrorist, then consider: what’s a terrorist’s goal? It’s to get you defeat yourself by overreacting.

    “Hey, David van Dyke’s bottled water is *only* .1% poison specifically tailored to you and your kind! His marketing via awards is only a bit venal with the same acidic poison! He didn’t bother finding out about the poison before he started using this bottling company! Mmm, mmm, must be great!”

    So, you’re excoriating me for not doing my due diligence, but you can’t even get my name correct as printed on the paqe in front of you. Pot, meet kettle.

    Petty? Perhaps, but also evidence of hypocrisy, and of exactly what I’m taking about–substituting ill-thought snark, sarcasm and contempt for discussion. And the problem is, the more a reasonable person tries to explain, the easier it is for the trolls to twist, to take out of context, and to paint someone as something he isn’t. *Shrug.* But I don’t like bullies who try to beat me into doing what they wish. Their means do not justify their ends, no matter how righteous those ends.

    As far as the substance of the quote, Castalia didn’t alter one word of my text, so there’s no poison. If you want to play guilt by association, I invite you to drop your iPhone right now and crush it underfoot, toss your athletic shoes into the trash and never fill up at with gas supplied by Exxon or BP–because some corporations have genuinely caused deaths and put billions in the pockets of dictators and toturers. For everyone who self-righteously wants to tilt at Black Knights–or windmills–I invite you to remove the log in your own eyes before looking for specks in others’.

    Mark Twain famously said, “Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits. Fanatics will never learn that, though it be written in letters of gold across the sky.” Today’s fanatics, from both (all) sides want to reform everyone else’s bad habits, but not their own. It feels great to hate the haters, doesn’t it? Stone those heretics!

    Like

    • camestrosfelapton

      I’m equating those who celebrate murder with those who celebrate murder. What ever name we call Vox’s ideology, he unequivocally praised men like Brevik who pursue Vox’s nationalism with violence.

      I believe you are falling for the opposite fallacy of what you call “Nazification” – ignoring violent pro-terrorist and anti-freedom views so as to appear open minded and tolerant of ideas from one side of the spectrum. That is what concerns me – the degree that moderates and centrist end up as shields for violent authoritarians.

      Liked by 1 person

    • camestrosfelapton

      “Guilt by association”
      Nope – in 2016 I did take a strong line on Castalia House nominees. That was not ‘guilt by association’ but the inescapable connection between the work and the publisher. I did not treat Rabid nominees not published by Castalia in the same way.

      Liked by 2 people

    • KasaObake

      So here’s the thing: Ted’s little vanity project is pretty much inextricably tied up in his far-right views. He uses Castalia to publish and promote his own far-right spewings, as well as that of his friends like Mike Cernovich. He also has no qualms about dragging the authors who write for him into his silly little wargames – the rabid puppies is a prime example. So if you extracted that promise prior to that whole kerfuffle, then he smashed it with a sledgehammer and did a tap dance on the shards. If you extracted it afterwards, both you and he should’ve known that a promise he’s incapable of keeping is worth precisely fuck all.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Lurkertype

      So a minor spelling error (which you made yourself, with “paqe”) is now the equal of a man who considers the majority of humanity to not be fully human, and praises a terrorist who murdered dozens of children for their entirely peaceful and legal political positions, along with setting off a car bomb? (But it’s okay because Breivik isn’t a Muslim?)

      Riiiiiight. That’s rational.

      As KasaObake said, you extracted a promise that only you ever had any intention of good faith in. Why are you letting him make money off your hard work? Someone who solemnly promised you something and then did the opposite? I don’t enrich people who break promises to me — which is something I learned from my dad. He spent years of his life being shot at by Nazis and NK/Chinese troops, and was buried with bits of a Nazi landmine in his leg. He knew evil.

      Wouldn’t it be easier to admit “Hey, maybe this guy is dishonest, and isn’t who I want representing me” rather than going around simultaneously Pollyanna-ish and making excuses for what he is?

      Again: you have an almost infinite choice in publishing. Why are you enriching and defending someone who lied right to your face? Skip the rhetoric about China, Saudi Arabia, etc. Why are you doing something that’s completely under your control which ought to be anathema to your code of honor? It’s a simple question. I’m honestly confused. Why?

      P.S. I also voted Heuvelt below NA every time he appeared on the ballot. He’s a horrible writer, and I condemn whoever his voting bloc is for repeatedly getting him on the ballot as well. But at least he doesn’t praise murdering terrorists.

      Like

    • Mark

      “I’m sure there are many across the spectrum that actually did read all the stories. I myself only voted in categories and for stories I actually read. Several categories I declined to vote. But we know from both sides’ statements that some did not hold themselves to the standards. I had people tell me pointedly that they did deliberately not read my story only because if its recommendation source, and others who simply said “I voted Vox’s recommendations.” Both are equally bad.

      Note, I’m not accusing any individual here; I’m only saying it seems to me that the sides as a whole were, broadly speaking, equally tainted. ”

      So, I take it you don’t want to have a substantive conversation about the merits of works, and therefore about the merits of your actual argument. When someone is handed an solid opportunity to defend their points with evidence and dances away, there’s a fair assumption that can be made.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Aaron

      But we know from both sides’ statements that some did not hold themselves to the standards. I had people tell me pointedly that they did deliberately not read my story only because if its recommendation source, and others who simply said “I voted Vox’s recommendations.” Both are equally bad.

      No, in fact they are not equally bad. Most of the people who did not read the slated works in 2016 did so because they had read the slated works in 2015, and the slated works in 2015 were all pretty much uniformly mediocre to miserable. What you are hearing from people who voted against the slated works in 2016 was the voice of experience. Those voters knew what kinds of works the various Pup factions were promoting, because they had direct experience with the Pup slates already. They didn’t need to consume more of John C. Wright’s shit to know it was shit. They didn’t need to read the Castalia House garbage to know it was garbage. They’d already had a sample of the kind of shit Beale promotes, and once you’ve tasted that kind of excrement once, you don’t need to taste it again.

      Note, I’m not accusing any individual here; I’m only saying it seems to me that the sides as a whole were, broadly speaking, equally tainted.

      Sorry, no. Once again, you’re lying. These attempts by you Pup apologists to try to rewrite history would be funny if they weren’t so very sad and pathetic.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. David VanDyke

    “That is what concerns me – the degree that moderates and centrist(s) end up as shields for violent authoritarians.”

    I understand those concerns, and I speak out, usually in private to the individual involved, when I disagree with what they’ve said–and the more outrageous the statement, the more likely I am to keep my feedback private (with the exception of things addressed directly to me). I think that’s the best way to actually influence people.

    I know it feels good for people to publicly attack those they disagree with, and even better to attack those who hold outrageous views (or who appear to, because sometimes it’s mere trolling). People think it shows moral courage.

    Personally, I think it shows no moral courage to hunker down on one side of an ideological battlefield and lob shells at the other side. What takes courage is to stand in the middle and try to remain cordial with all the various tribes.

    But tribalists of all types, be they left or right or neither, always put their tribe first and demonize the other tribe. They all claim their tribe is the right one, and eventually they start claiming might makes right, and winning “by any means necessary” is the ultimate goal. They’re usually completely blind to the fact that they are just as bad as the other side, convinced they are the righteous ones.

    The simple solution is to say “F— all of you guys.” The harder road is to say “I’m happy to talk with anyone that talks to me–even people that want to kill me–in the cause of peace.” Because I’ve actually met those people, and have been bombed and shot at by those people when I was deployed to Iraq. And I was still willing to talk to them, though not naively. In Iraq, one week, the Baathists were our friends; the next week, they were our enemies. The same with the Shiities, the followers of Al Sadr, the Sunni “Awakening” groups, the tribal sheiks, and so on. And we did business with them, sometimes for objectives, sometimes just for goodwill and because we were trying to be evenhanded. And I sat in meetings with general officers and politicians, many of whom wanted to take hardline positions and bomb everybody back to the stone age, all for supposedly wonderfully moral reasons. But guess what? It doesn’t work. It never works. The Marines, God bless them, lost a lot of good Americans securing Fallujah, when smarter diplomacy by centrists and moderates might have made for a better future for all concerned.

    But, mostly, the hardliners dominate the conversation–in real life politics as well as this tempest-in-a-teacup that we’re discussing today–because everything’s simpler when you just say “them bad, us good.”

    Like

    • camestrosfelapton

      I believe I’ve more than demonstrated my willingness to talk – even to Vox.

      Let me offer a comparison. Do you recall the recent bombing at the Ariane Grande concert in Manchester by an Islamic pro-ISIS extremist? If Vox had praised that bomber, how would you respond?

      Liked by 1 person

      • David VanDyke

        The question is a non-sequitur, because he wouldn’t praise ISIS or any Muslim-inspired terrorism.

        Let me reframe, though, a much more reasonable hypothetical. Let’s say he praised the Orlando nightclub shooters because they apparently targeted gays. I don’t think he would, because I’ve actually had a conversation about stories he’s published, stories with openly gay protagonists. Seems like an unlikely thing for a supposed gay-hater to do, but he did it, specifically Christopher G. Nuttall: “A Piece of Cake” in Castalia’s “Riding the Red Horse. In fact, here’s his announcement of Nutall, who includes a diverse lineup of characters and some have called left-leaning, as a Castalia author: https://voxday.blogspot.com/2014/09/announcing-castalia-associates.html

        When I asked him about it, because I was curious to get his take on the issue and I’d seen some accusations from his enemies about his stance on gays–he in essence shrugged and said it was a good story, and it wasn’t any big deal to him. Wow, what an extremist.

        So, actually, that hypothetical doesn’t hold up either. Hmmm.

        So this hypothetical question has no more merit than me asking you, “what if you praised ISIS?” Because anyone who does is at best sadly mistaken and informed, and at worst is a terrorist sympathizer. But I’ve had conversations with college students today that have said things like “all white people should be killed because they’re perpetuating a white supremacy in the U.S.,” because they’ve swallowed a line of BS as big as any Aryan Nation or ISIS crock of crap ever was.

        I repudiate any calls to violence against any group, anything that’s specifically criminal. But I support the principle of free speech and free association above all, even if the speech is highly offensive, and I choose whom to associate with. I’ve dealt with some seriously tin-hat freaky and psychotically scary people in thirty years of military and government service. Castalia is barely a blip when I compare it to sitting down and drinking tea with sectarian insurgents who just last week may have been shooting at Americans–at me, for all I know.

        So, at the end of the day, no, there’s no way to answer a “when did you stop beating your wife” style gotcha question. Everyone has to decide for himself at what point they disassociate themselves from someone who says offensive things to other people.Trying to decide for me is just as bad as me trying to decide for you.

        Like

      • camestrosfelapton

        He has praised Anders Breivik, a terrorist mass murderer who murdered teenagers in Norway. You are right Vox wouldn’t praise such a killer if they were a muslim but he would if they were a (nominally) a Christian [I don’t think Breivik is representative of Christianity in general]
        I don’t see how that is ethically any different than praising the Manchester bomber.
        How about you?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mark

        ” Nutall, who includes a diverse lineup of characters and some have called left-leaning”

        Would *you* describe Nuttall as left-leaning? Because you’d be wrong.

        Like

    • ligne

      “What takes courage is to stand in the middle and try to remain cordial with all the various tribes.”

      sorry, but when one of the sides includes violent discrimination (either directly or through endorsement) towards women, Muslims, non-white people, LGBT people…..that’s not “standing in the middle”.

      at best it’s turning a blind eye to other people’s fear and suffering so you can feel all virtuous about how noble-minded and above it all you are. it’s emboldening that hatred by providing it with a veneer of moderation and respectability.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. David VanDyke

    I say Nutall is regarded by some to be left-leaning because he has actively/openly gay protagonists in his stories. Then again, I know there are gay Republicans, so it depends on your point of view, mainly as to whether one single issue that’s identified almost entirely with the left is enough to determine a “lean.” I myself don’t hold to this view, but for some, that’s all it takes. I’ve been called a lefty myself (in much worse terms) simply because some of my single-issue views are aligned with the left, and I’ve been called a right-winger (also in much worse terms) for the same reason, that I have certain single-issue views aligned with the right. Oh well. I contain multitudes, and I don’t ever vote a straight party ticket. To do so would be to forfeit my free will.

    People keep saying I’m defending Vox or his views. That shows how much they (deliberately, I suspect) misunderstand. I don’t defend him–but neither do I choose to attack him, and when I disagree with his views, I usually don’t do so in public. See posts above as to why.

    I do, however, defend his right to free speech, in the same way I’d defend even a clearly guilty, even self-confessed accused criminal’s right to a fair trial and an effective defense. If I were a lawyer, I’d even defend that guy at trial.

    But for illustration purposes, I’ll disagree with Vox in public this first, and probably the last, time. Re: Brevik, no, I don’t agree with his views. But I also don’t agree with your assessment of his views. Here’s the core of Vox’s argument:

    “While he did a terrible thing, it is far more terrible that he was put into a position where he felt the need to do it in the first place. Focus your anger, and your disgust, for those who knowingly created the untenable situation.”

    I disagree with that. But I also don’t think he’s actually approving of the deed in actuality. I think he’s making an utterly incorrect argument that Brevik wasn’t entirely responsible for his actions, that “the devil made him do it.”

    But this same argument has been advanced by many others, usually those who believe in nurture over nature, and society’s influence over personal responsibility–those who say “that poor criminal is only that way because he had a horrible childhood.”

    I reject that argument–but I don’t believe in either case the proponents of that argument approve of the criminal acts. Rather, they seek to explain those acts, and by doing so, they come dangerously close to excusing them–or the do excuse them. I don’t excuse people for their criminal acts, absent genuine mental illness.

    Again, there’s an enormous difference between defending someone or his views, and insisting on both accuracy when assessing those views, and the right of the person to express them. I suspect that in the value system of many here, the Bill of Rights is viewed as subordinate to the mores of decent society. As painful as it is sometimes, though, I believe the rights enumerated by the Bill must remain superordinate to those mores. In fact, as long as the speech is not criminal in nature–and I mean genuinely criminal under the law, not merely repugnant–I’ll gladly defend his right–and yours, and yours, and yours–to that speech.

    I think I’ve said enough on this topic for now. To those who’ve been respectful, thank you for speaking together like adults. To those whose basic mode of discussion is the indulgent sneer, you will never, ever change one heart or mind with that approach, least of all mine, and you’re part of the problem, not the solution.

    Cheers, and happy reading.

    Like

    • ligne

      I think he’s making an utterly incorrect argument that Brevik wasn’t entirely responsible for his actions, that “the devil made him do it.”

      no, he’s saying that the real monsters are the people who are letting non-Europeans live in Europe, not the terrorist who set off a car-bomb in a city centre before murdering a load of kids on holiday. that’s the “untenable situation” he’s referring to. the “devil that made [Breivik] do it” here, as you put it, are those kids and their parents.

      Liked by 1 person

    • JJ

      David VanDyke: To those who’ve been respectful, thank you for speaking together like adults. To those whose basic mode of discussion is the indulgent sneer, you will never, ever change one heart or mind with that approach, least of all mine, and you’re part of the problem, not the solution.

      Considering your deliberate, blatant dishonesty in claiming that I said something quite vile which bore no resemblance to what I actually said, this is just incredible hypocrisy on your part. If you think that your behavior here has been “respectful”, then you have a very twisted worldview indeed.

      That was a really dumb thing for you to do, too. Because when you did that, you gave up any high ground you might have ever had, and you completely destroyed whatever credibility you might have had as someone who could discuss things rationally, thoughtfully, and honestly.

      You, sir, are part of the problem. That I would never be able to change the mind of someone like you, who think that dishonesty and cheating are acceptable, comes as absolutely no surprise to me. 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

      • ligne

        almost certainly the case, unfortunately. right-wing extremists and Islamic terrorists are the best allies each could possibly hope fo—and don’t they just know it.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Johan P

      David VanDyke writes “But I also don’t think he’s actually approving of the deed in actuality. I think he’s making an utterly incorrect argument that Brevik wasn’t entirely responsible for his actions, that “the devil made him do it.””

      VD’s basic premise is that the teenagers Breivik shot were enemy combatants, and that Norway is in a war situation where killing enemy combatants is the right thing to do. This is not an “the devil made him do it”-excuse, it’s an explicit defense of Breivik’s actions as morally righteous. It is also textbook extremism – it’s a dismissal of parliamentary democracy and a support of violence as a political tool.

      Attempting to defend this as “not approving of the deed” is a clear sign of either total illiteracy, or gross dishonesty. Considering that DVD is making his living as an author, I doubt he is illiterate. Which leaves us with dishonesty.

      What I struggle to understand, though, is what DVD expect to gain with this dishonesty. He cannot actually expect anyone here to view him in a more favorable light because he comes up with a disingenuous not-a-defense of VD, can he? That pushes the needle back towards illiteracy. Or maybe stupidity combined with dishonesty. I don’t know what to think, to be honest. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      (Hmm, or maybe he expects to score points with VD by “defending” him against the evil SJW hordes? That makes some sense, I guess. Although considering how unrepentantly VD defends his own view in the comment field, I doubt he wants DVD to whitewash it.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • camestrosfelapton

        I assume he didn’t read it.
        In the past VD has praised Breivik with elements of deniability – cloaking it in apparent irony or arguing-cases or other elements to let others defend VD’s posts by saying that somehow he wasn’t *reallY* praising a mass-murderer. As time has passed VD has become more clear and unequivocal in his praise for extreme terrorism – yet the excuses for VD haven’t changed (as we can see in this comment exchange).
        If you look at the progress of VD’s position as an experiment/training of more centre-leaning rightists into what they are willing to defend, you can see him trying out stuff. He tries out something and…the moderate conservatives in his orbit still make excuses for him…so he ups it a level and…the moderate conservatives in his orbit still make excuses for him…and so on.
        Vox can even pepper his blog with overt sexual insults aimed at conservatives and they STILL nod along and defend him.
        It’s extraordinary and the longer it goes on the more contempt he expresses for conservatives and it makes no difference.

        In short you can take some sort of anti-left statement e.g. “Feminism has gone to far…” and then append any garbage proposition after it and a hefty chunk of the right will nod along in agreement. You could probably get them to agree to build a 80 foot statue of Stalin next to the Lincoln Memorial, so long as you started your argument with “SJWs are such bullies…”

        Liked by 1 person

    • Mark

      As he’s wandered off I wasn’t going to bother with DVD’s bizarre argument re Nuttall being left-wing because the existence of gay people is an inherently left-wing position (!), but I stumbled across the following comment in a Baen forum thread about writers you read despite their politics:
      “Chris Nuttall is an author that leaves me entirely confused sometimes. He has written some extremely good stuff and then written what I thought was just down right terrible. When he includes Gay characters in his books, I always shake my head. I see absolutely no reason plot wise for them to be gay. It is almost to me that he includes gay characters because he feels he has to for some strange reason, like he has a requirement from his publisher that he must include gay characters in his work. And to be completely honest after over 30 years in uniform, I fail to see why a gay character must be included in a Military SF book. Dealt with gays in the ranks more than a few times, and those were some the biggest cluster f**ks I ever dealt with. No matter what the author comes up with I have never been able to see any compelling reason for gays in the military.”
      So despite it being a ridiculous position, it seems likely that DVD has seen people express it. Of course, you’d hope he had the critical thinking skills to reject it, but unfortunately it seems not…

      Like

  10. ligne

    “I don’t defend him–but neither do I choose to attack him, and when I disagree with his views, I usually don’t do so in public.”

    given quite how disgusting his views are…maybe you should? and if you don’t speak out when someone you’re publicly associated with expresses such disgusting views, then maybe you shouldn’t get all uptight when people assume you’re completely comfortable with them?

    again, at best it shows you simply don’t give a shit about the safety of the people he’s targeting.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Mark

    Well, DVD wasn’t a very impressive visitor, was he? I was hoping for something more sophisticated than Reddit argumentation 101. And – of course – the very last thing he actually wanted to talk about was stories. Very sad to see in an author.
    Anyway, interesting grist for the mill on the subject of the new alt-marketing strategy. This move appears to be along the lines of “go argue with those you claim to be your opponents” where the aim is to impress your supporters rather than having a meaningful discussion, ala recent del Arroz tactics.

    Liked by 1 person

    • JJ

      The old adage “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a Puppy and a cheater, than to open it and remove all doubt” comes to mind.

      Liked by 1 person

    • greghullender

      I think you and I were the only ones who wanted to talk about stories; everyone else wanted to talk about Vox Day.

      I wonder if it’s objectively true that Vox Day is more interesting than any story he’s ever nominated for anything? 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Lurkertype

        I wanted to know why someone with such a self-professed code of honor was giving a percentage of his earnings to someone who doesn’t uphold deals in good faith.

        Also how someone who’s supposedly such a savvy businessman couldn’t do a Google (or even a Bing) to find out about the firm he was about to sign a contract with.

        Notice he didn’t even TRY to give an answer to either of those.

        I can only conclude ego-boo is more important to him than honor, honesty, or business competence. Sad!

        Like

      • JJ

        lurkertype: Notice he didn’t even TRY to give an answer to either of those.

        Nor did he attempt to explain why he had deliberately tried to twist my words into something they most definitely were not (much less actually apologize for doing so).

        Nor did he engage with my pointing out why his claim that he didn’t realize he was on the Puppy Slate before the Finalists were announced was utterly unbelievable.

        And yet he had the nerve to claim that Hugo voters were obligated to give his work a fair reading and were “equally bad” for not doing so, despite the fact that his work was cheated onto the ballot, rather than getting there on its own merits.

        If this is what his “code of honor” considers honorable… then I’d say he’ll fit right in with the rest of the Puppies. 😐

        Liked by 1 person

      • greghullender

        Are you saying there’s evidence that Castalia house has cheated authors out of their royalties? They don’t show up on “Writer Beware” or anything like that.

        Like

    • Aaron

      I think DVD thought he was being all reasonable and even-handed, but what he’s really done is paint himself with shit and claim that it is perfume. I don’t think DVD realizes just how awful he made himself look with his weak-tea rationalizations and continuous evasiveness.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jenora Feuer

        One of the classic tactics: say uncivil things in a calm and ‘civil’ manner, then act as if it’s the other person’s fault for being ‘uncivil’ when they respond to your words rather than your tone.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lurkertype

        The “tone argument” — classic tool of a) people who like the status quo, no matter how oppressive it is and/or b) people who really don’t have a decent counter-argument.

        Like

    • Lurkertype

      Throwing insults at your self-declared “opponents” to suck up to your tribe is much, MUCH easier than cogent discussion.

      Kinda reminds me of all the research that’s come out about the conservative amygdala, how priming with emotion instead of reason makes people respond more right-wingly, how conservatives prefer the simple black/white good/evil dichotomy because it takes less brain power. All that.

      BTW, the Tories of Britain have a number of gay MPs and are supportive of gay marriage and all that. It’s only in extremely religious countries (like the US, Saudi Arabia, bits of South America) that not caring if people are gay is a left-wing idea. Most of Europe doesn’t care — at the recent summit, the PM of Luxembourg brought his husband. Iceland had a married lesbian PM.

      Like

      • ligne

        “the Tories of Britain have a number of gay MPs and are supportive of gay marriage and all that.”

        that’s true, though only up to a point. the (pre-2016) leadership and libertarian wing of the party were reasonably supportive, though were also quite happy to implement policies — such as cutting housing benefits for teenagers — that disproportionately harm LGBT people. about half their MPs voted against marriage equality. they’re now trying to shore up their power with the help of the virulently homophobic DUP.

        which makes the recent talking point of “Labour support homophobes”…interesting?

        Like

      • supplanter

        Yes! When I was hanging around File 770 there was another regular from Britain who was very smug about how “Our conservatives are your socialists lol and they are more committed to an expansive safety net and human rights than your Greens etc.” and I was like, “I…don’t think it’s the 70s any more, or even the 90s.” The signal feature of politics for the last decade has been the convergence of USA-style conservatism with the European-style Right: ours have gotten more openly blood-and-soiled; the British and continental Right have done as much as they can get away with to redistribute wealth upward and gut safety nets. And the trends continue. There’s no reason to think Americanized Killer Tories are as no-liberal as they’re ever going to get, or that American Republicans won’t get even more revanchist culturally.

        Honestly the DUP sound a lot like the US GOP’s so-called “Freedom Caucus” in terms of their Dominionism.

        Like

      • Lurkertype

        ligne: True, and bleh to the DUP and all their positions. But, my point is, it is possible to be a Tory and not be fussed about gay people getting married and doing heroic things. Not caring about gayness doesn’t make you liberal these days, which is what DVD was trying to hang some of his argument on.

        Like

  12. Kat Goodwin

    “If you look at the progress of VD’s position as an experiment/training of more centre-leaning rightists into what they are willing to defend, you can see him trying out stuff. He tries out something and…the moderate conservatives in his orbit still make excuses for him…so he ups it a level and…the moderate conservatives in his orbit still make excuses for him…and so on.”

    There’s an old saying, goes along the lines of lying down with dogs and getting up with fleas. A lot of people think they can work with and profit off of far right extremists and violent authoritarians while denying that those partners are extreme or violent and pretending that even if those partners are, it has nothing to do with them, so don’t bother them about it. It’s how Beale took over the Sad Puppies, and the far right took over the U.S. Republican party. Such complaints are not a free speech issue but an unwarranted demand not to judge them on what they ignore, go along with or defend. But free speech means that people can in fact judge them on just those very things, as they judge others.

    If it was worrisome to this guy that lying about the history of folk music might scare people off, perhaps he might consider what working with and supporting someone who promotes violent repression and online harassment as a business and political model might eventually do to his work. That’s got very little to do with civil rights advocates.

    Liked by 1 person

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