Faking Shared History

 

A longish post on Debarkle history today. Too many elements for me to resist – in particular, an overlap between the nature of truth, belief, memory, knowledge and ethics. Also, can a genuinely held belief still be a lie?

One reason I decided to keep a timeline of quotes and events in the Puppy Debarkle was that I suspected that quite rapidly people would start distorting events – indeed it had already begun early in the conflict. I didn’t assume having a timeline would stop that process but I did think it would help me not add to the process. It is easy to confuse cause and effect around events that occur in close proximity and it is easy to conflate somebody saying something that IMPLIES X with that person directly saying X. Worse, such error compound themselves as people come to believe the revised version of what was said in a revised order in which it was said.

There are a few things I would still like to unravel and find the ‘real’ story for as a version still gets repeated in Puppy circles. Some though are lost for all time… [more after the fold]

A oft-discussed example is Larry Correia’s claim that a “European snob reviewer” or a “British blogger” (obviously those two aren’t exclusive) said either “If Larry Correia wins the Campbell, it will END WRITING FOREVER.” (here)  or “if Larry Correia wins the Campbell it will end literature forever” (here) or “it will end literature forever” (here) (a hybrid version using ‘literature’ from the first version but in all caps like the first version appears in Vox Day’s SJWs Always Lie). Searches for these terms, in full or just from ‘it will…’, take you nowhere but Larry’s blog or people quoting Larry. He made no mention of the quote at the time it was alleged to be made and if it was ever said, it has long since vanished from the net. Nicholas Whyte has speculated that his review of the Campbell nominees in 2011 might be the source of Larry’s “quote”:

” To an extent the John W. Campbell Award is about the future of the genre; books like this take us way back to the past, with the incidentals slightly jazzed up for the twenty-first century, and I think it would be embarrassing for the genre if Correia won on the basis of this.”

I can see how Larry Correia may have misremembered this and quoted it incorrectly but even as a paraphrase rather than a direct quote there is a huge gulf between embarrassing for a genre to the END of either literature or writing. Perhaps somebody, somewhere actually did use one of those phrases, perhaps TWO people did (one a European snob and the other a British blogger)? Who knows. Hyperbole and misremembering by Larry is a far, far more likely explanation.

Hyperbole can be fun of course (TREMENDOUS fun) and it can add excitement to writing but when that hyperbole is requoted in earnest and then deeply believed there is an issue. The awful European snob attacking Larry in a panic about him destroying literature became enshrined in Puppy mythology.

Here is a more recent example. In a piece primarily discussing his view on Catholicism, John C Wright defends the reputation of Pope Francis. Many on the right dislike the current Pope but Wright feels the Pope’s apparent leftwing positions are actually media distortions. What has that got to do with Sad Puppies, I hear you ask. Well Wright has also experienced media distortions, or so he claims:

“there was a kerfuffle over the Hugo Awards where I was nominated for six awards, the highest honor SF fans bestow. But because I am a Christian and a conservative, I was libeled to an infinite degree by international newspapers, including the Guardian in Britain, claiming I was a neo-Nazi, a sexist, a homophobe, that I had bought votes and was stuffing ballots and on and on. ” http://www.scifiwright.com/2018/05/three-questions-about-catholics/

The space of all “international newspapers” is quite large but Wright names one (The Guardian) and it was also the newspaper (as opposed to ‘zine or blog) that covered the 2015 Hugo Kerfuffle in most detail. It is safe to say that if you can’t find Wright being called those things in the Guardian then he probably wasn’t called those things in any organ that could reasonably be called a newspaper – but not entirely impossible. Suffice to say Wright doesn’t give links, nor can I find any links on his site where he directly points to a newspaper calling him a neo-Nazi.

A Google search of “John C Wright” targetted at The Guardian produces lots of links but it is a manageable number:

Some of those only mention Wright in the comments. One of them (https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/aug/26/george-rr-martin-relieved-after-sad-puppies-hugo-awards-defeat ) does describe Wright’s views as ‘homophobic’:

“But on Saturday, members of the World Science Fiction Society rejected the finalists for the Hugos in an unprecedented five categories, voting for “No Award” rather than any of the nominees backed by the Puppies, which had included work by John C Wright, an author known for his homophobic views.”

Nazis do get a mention in one article: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jul/20/george-rr-martin-hugo-awards-vote-game-of-thrones-science-fiction

[George R R Martin] ““Who are all these new supporting members? Are they trufans rallying to the defense of one of our field’s oldest and most cherished institutions?” he asked. “Are these the neo-Nazis and rightwing reactionaries we have been warned of? The truth is … no one knows … All I know for sure is that every vote will count … Let this be fandom’s finest hour. Vote.”

Naturally, The Guardian does not call Wright a Nazi – it doesn’t even call Vox Day a Nazi – because surprisingly newspapers have some standards and a legal department. The Guardian DID imply that Wright is homophobic but his views on homosexuality are a matter of record and yup, those views are pretty extreme. I can’t find anywhere a claim that Wright was stuffing ballot boxes or had bought votes. Maybe I haven’t looked far enough or in enough places?

There’s the rub. It can be hard to prove something didn’t happen when the space where it might have happened is vague enough. In this case, I can be more confident that Wright is just bullshitting. If a genuine international newspaper had made those claims about him Wright wouldn’t have only just got around to vaguely alluding to it. It is safe to say that while a newspaper did imply he was a homophobe (because there is repeated and direct evidence of anti-gay thinks he was written) newspapers did not make those other claims about Wright. Instead, he has conflated a whole bunch of things – people calling Rabod Puppies neo-nazis on blogs or Facebook, Wright then applying that general claim to himself specifically and then him conflating that with newspaper coverage he didn’t like.

Two other pieces of Puppy-lore have also migrated over time.

The first, I think, started out as a joke within Puppy circles. This is the claim that critics of the Sad Puppies claimed that Sarah Hoyt was a Mormon and a male. Early instances of Puppies saying this are generally humorous. However, over time this claim has been added to the list of grievances of the remaining Sad Puppy rump. As a claim, it is both vague and plausible that somebody somewhere referred to the Sad Puppy leadership as “Mormon men” or something similar. In context, it may have been a reference to specifically Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen or it may have been more encompassing. Unfortunately, it is another case where nobody was ever directly quoted by the Sad Puppies as saying this (at least that I can find). I’d love to find the original quote that started this nugget of grievance but I can’t. Yet it seems plausible enough that somebody early in 2015 may well have mistakenly assumed that Sad Puppies was ALL Mormon men or made a statement that could have been read that way.

The second one was revived the other day by Larry Correia:

‘When the Guardian crowd sourced their witch hunt, they got a bunch of people to comb through everything I’d ever written, and they were dredging up everything. Literally the very best thing they could come up with was my voluntarily teaching self-defense to women was “victim blaming”.’ http://monsterhunternation.com/2018/05/15/statement-concerning-my-being-disinvited-as-the-guest-of-honor-for-origins-game-fair/#comment-89899

This at least does have a genuine starting point. On Twitter, then Guadian columnist and Larry Correia bête noire, Damien Walter posted:

[If it doesn’t embed: “Can anyone help identify times Larry Correia has “responded poorly” to diversity in genre? http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2014/may/30/science-fiction-real-life-war-worlds#comment-36357742 … Seriously. “]

To Walter’s request, people did mention the fact that he cites training women in self-defence as a reason that his arguments on sexual violence are not problematic. However, people also mentioned his reaction to Campbell winners and his reaction to Alex Dally MacFarlane’s essay on the default use of binary genders in science-fiction. The thread on Twitter shows me 22 replies of which many are from Larry’s supporters.

But the tale grew in the telling. From one occasional Guardian columnist to The Guadian. From maybe three or four people replying to the Tweet, to it becoming a bunch of people. From people offering what immediately came to mind,  to it ‘comb through everything I’d ever written’. And from three examples (quickly found) it becomes one example (that was found only after much searching). And, of course, the basic thrust of the query is changed.

[The comment section to Damien Walter’s post there is worth a read for Puppyologists but not for anybody else 🙂 https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2014/may/30/science-fiction-real-life-war-worlds but it is the jumping off point for the tweet.]

I’m not sure Larry’s evolved version of the truth is too terrible a distortion. It’s not unnatural for stories to change in the telling. It’s wandered away from the truth but it is sufficiently close to the truth that, with a bit of searching, the actual truth can be found.

However, this evolution from fact to tall-tale becomes pernicious when such tales are used as the bedrock of grievances that groups hold on too tightly over years. An embellished story about the time you rescued a kitten does nobody any harm but a tall-tale about how not just you but your in-group were maligned and wronged gains more weight as time passes.

A common theme in the pre-history of the Sad Puppies is lingering grievances that become detached in time and from specific events. Jim Baen not being honoured with a posthumous Hugo for Best Editor, John Ringo being (apparently) deemed ineligible for a Campbell in 2001* (and not even making the list for Live Free or Die in 2013**), heck wooden asterisks have become elevated to something akin to a physical assault.

The tall-tale grievance by becoming detached from details, context and even time (these things just happen in a vague past) carries more emotional weight than actual events. As such they are far more powerful than facts.

But are they lies? It has been common (and something I say myself) to distinguish between incorrect statements a person believes to be true and incorrect statements a person knows to be false. It is this second category that we prefer to call ‘lies’. After all, we all make mistakes and we have all been misinformed. To speak a falsehood honestly is not a lie we might assume but what is ‘honestly’ here? In defamation law (not a lawyer) a different standard can apply which is a disregard for the truth i.e. statements made where the speaker/writer simply doesn’t care what is true or not. Yet this doesn’t cover the issue here.

Instead, we have a different kind of dishonesty. You can follow what people say in these cases and see how they make a concerted effort to convince themselves of falsehoods by taking small steps away from the truth and investing in those steps great emotional weight. What was ambiguous is taken as a given reading being true. A paraphrasing that is possibly misleading is then taken as a quote. The quote is requoted over and over and in turn, the worst reading of that quote is taken as truth. Eventually, a new quote floats free of time, context and authorship. They said this, even though nobody ever did.

Is this an issue restricted to only Sad Puppies or one side of politics? Obviously not. We need narratives and emotional connections to help us both form and recollect our memories. These are powerful cognitive biases in play that we are all susceptible to but this why we need to be self-sceptical and self-correcting.

*[I only know the Ringo side of that story. I don’t know what the actual facts are and given the theme of this post, one side of the story is definitely insufficient.]
**[Likewise. This seems to be a nugget of resentment from which claims of nefarious things being done by admins to nomination tallies comes from.]

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37 comments

  1. Mike Glyer

    Hey, Damien G. Walter! These days he has a large FB Sci-Fi group where he likes to seed clickbaity anti-U.S. remarks to steer traffic to his Medium articles and Patreon. I called him on it and he kicked me out of the group. I was tempted to complain, however, I noticed once I stopped reading his posts the pain ended immediately. He cured me quicker than House.

    Liked by 6 people

    • camestrosfelapton

      LOL.
      I don’t want to malign the man as I don’t know him and I really only know of him 2nd hand due to Larry C & the Pups but…I just don’t like what he writes very much.

      Also, Facebook, I never made much use of it but even so my life still improved when the Pups got my account closed!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Lurkertype

    I think they’ve been lying to themselves, which led to their… erm… counter-factual beliefs.

    GRRM’s quote in particular didn’t call anyone a Nazi; he just wondered if someone in the anonymous mass of new voters was. He also wondered if they were trufen. And then he said “no one knows”. No names mentioned, and it was about the voters, not nominees.

    But, since the error of their ways has been shown extensively, with links to what they said and what others (you know, THEM) said, and they keep doubling down on it… aren’t they lying since they know the things they claimed are untrue. Or do they just go “La la la I can’t HEAR you!” when threatened with facts?

    I suspect the latter; Mike is always being castigated by them for the terrible crime of accurately quoting them. But one can always tell they’ve read the rebuttals by their replies to same. So they’ve seen the proof/truth over and over and still don’t speak it.

    So, since they’re still saying all these things which have been repeatedly proven untrue — that would seem to be the definition of lying. They know full well these particular points are false, yet they keep saying they’re true. That’s lying.

    (For the record I don’t think JCW is a Nazi; I do KNOW he’s a homophobe.)

    ISTR that “bearing false witness” is in the Top 10 List of Things Thou Shalt Do/Not Do, according to a supreme deity we’re all familiar with. Whom most of the Pups claim to worship, and Who is certainly recorded as smiting or afflicting those who don’t follow this list.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Kendall

      Agreed, and sometimes “disregard for the truth” – willful disregard or even disdain for the truth! – is an accurate description. Refusing to acknowledge evidence, blocking anyone who points out the fallacies, etc. What are these but disregard for or avoidance of the truth?

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Regular Commenter

    Coincidentally, I have been thinking of these very same intertwined issues all day today. I am in San Antonio TX and went to both the Alamo and the Briscoe Museum of Western Art. Both places are structured around truths that are untrue.

    In the case of the Briscoe, the view of the past that is animates the entire place is the story of unpopulated wide open spaces, big dreams, big risks, technology (pumps, windmills, railways) sitting unobtrusively on the land which it is in no way damaging, and the happy coexistence of the people who in some unspoken way came to occupy the same place. They have proudly framed a land grant that was given to a Comanche (ummmm, wasn’t it their land in the first place?). They have many paintings of Comanche and Apache warriors on horseback, always alone, noble, and never ever resisting. In a short video clip, a prominent local artist says of this area, the American West, that “there has never been anywhere in the history of the world that has inspired artists and the mind as much as this place has.” Oh. OK.

    From there, I ambled sweatily over to the Alamo, which is described in all solemnity as a “shrine” and has posted a list of the “Rules of Reverence” to be followed once inside (no drinks, hats, cell phones or photos “out of respect to the martyrs”). The nature of the events themselves are weirdly conflated and neutered — recognition that there were Spaniards, Mexicans, Texans and Americans, and they were fighting over “liberty”. There is no recognition at all that the settlers from the US were breaking the terms of their immigration contracts with the Mexican government and that they were an illegal breakaway fringe group that the Mexicans had every right to move up and contain. ¡Ay, qué cosa!

    In both places, the linkage between guns, freedom, liberty, existence, masculinity and hyberbole was very apparent. The art museum had more weapons on display (holsters, pistols, long guns, knives, spears, lances, etc) than what one might typically expect in an art context (I recognize the craft that can be involved). Let’s just say you never want to be on the receiving end of a Bowie knife. Holy sh*t. And the Alamo gift shop had so many firearm related things it was hard to comprehend. For example, if I wanted, I could have bought a bullet casing pen holder for my desk. Instead, I settled for the pistol-shaped fried egg mold.

    All day I was thinking about remembering and forgetting and actively forgetting. How one group’s home truth is another group’s enduring erasure. How a tale told often enough and insistently enough takes on its own power. And how difficult (and viscerally , existentally, mortally threatening) it can be to have that self-image challenged. The Alamo Experience — located in the basement of a mall filled with chain stores — had epigraphs painted all over the walls about how Texas is God’s country, how minds and dreams are bigger here, how people can light out West and be anything they want to be. There was one quote from Walt Whitman that said “What is any Nation after all — and what is any human being — but a struggle between conflicting, and opposing paradoxical elements and they themselves and their most violent contests, important parts of that One Identity, and of its Development?” (1875). I wonder whether Jordan Peterson has read Leaves of Grass….. or what Whitman would make of lobsters and hierarchies….

    I guess what I am trying to say is that the kerpupple/ debarkle is a small and grubby microcosm of this much bigger and more dangerous phenomenon. Here in the US the film industry had Ben Affleck save the Iranian hostages not the Canadian Embassy staff, and in U-571 had Americans capture the Enigma machine, not the British. Too many little things with this sort of message and they become a Big Truth.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Cora

      This distortion of history is something we see all the time and often it starts quite soon after the event.

      For example, here in Germany, the former German Democratic Republic has been reduced to all Stasi all the time. Which is a part of the truth, which has been exaggerated into the whole, at least partly pushed by films and TV shows. I’m from West Germany, but I actually experienced the former East Germany during regular family visits in the 1980s, the last of them barely a month before the fall of the Wall. And while the Stasi was certainly always in the background somewhere and you did have the constant feeling of being watched, part of this was simply because as a person from the West you very much stood out as the other. Didn’t matter if you didn’t want to stand out, you did. And I tended to escape the confines of my great-aunt’s parlour and roam the streets, so I got more of it than my parents did. Most people stared and a few made contact and asked questions. Since I was a teenager, it was mostly about music, fashion and the like. And yes, I strongly suspect that some of the people I met back then, which included an East German stand-up comedian and an East German prison guard, who scared me so much that I have been writing him into my stories as evil guard ever since, were probably Stasi informants, though I’d have to request my or more likely my parents’ file to be certain. I’m not angry at them, because I didn’t have to live there.

      So when the “all Stasi all the time” films, TV shows and books started to come out, I found these blatant distortions both troubling and infuriating, because did they think we were stupid? If even I could tell how distorted those films and TV shows were, then actual East Germans would know even better.

      It’s also interesting how quickly attitudes shifted. For the first ten years or so, there was very little attention paid to former East Germany in film, TV and literature. By the late 1990s, we started getting mostly movies that took a usually humorous and often fond look back at life in former East Germany. These were often exaggerated for humor, but there was a kernel of truth in them, a kernel of “Yeah, that’s what it was like.” The movie “Goodbye, Lenin”, released in 2003, is the best example, though there were others. Then, only three years later, in 2006 “The Lives of Others” came out, which is the epitome of the “all Stasi all the time” attitude. Ironically, it was made by a West German director about my age who also only knew the GDR from family visits and apparently had a very different take away from everything or maybe very different experiences. Though some of the novels that followed were written by actual East Germans, often writers who have moved far to the right by now. And suddenly this version of former East Germany became the sole representation of how things had been. The earlier representations also started to vanish and never show up on TV anymore, even though “Goodbye, Lenin” is actually the third highest grossing German movie of all time.

      This experience of seeing events that had happened in my lifetime blatantly distorted also made me very skeptical of any historical retellings at all

      Liked by 2 people

      • KMP

        Very interesting account, Cora, thanks.

        I can recommend Josephine Tey’s “The Daughter of Time” on a similar topic. It is a source of persistent amazement to me that the historical facts are KNOWN but that the “official” history of Richard III consistently and determinedly ignores them.

        Liked by 4 people

      • kiptw

        I had interesting conversations on a Richard III tour of the northern parts of England, years ago, with nice people who sincerely believed Tey’s account. I suggested that R3 was a man of his time and position, who probably did some bad things, partly to stay alive, partly to keep power, but who wasn’t a scenery-biting twisted villain about it. I didn’t put up any long arguments or otherwise strain our temporary friendships. The last event was a banquet, and I learned where some of their certainty came from: They had been there. Two of three women at my table were sharing their sense of having had past lives that intersected the story arc we’d been visiting and hiking through and climbing stiles to get at for the past two weeks. Made me glad I wasn’t particularly argumentative about any of it. They appreciated my jokes, anyway, like when we were looking at Bosworth Field and I was trying to imagine how they fit the thousands of soldiers into that tiny spot, and there were mysterious puffs of smoke in the valley below which I theorized might be a Stanley Steamer. (It was a tourist train’s locomotive.) Or when we were shown the ruins of Jervaulx Abbey and I asked if the chamber we were “in” was the Dorter of Time.

        Anyway, I found someone’s blog that articulates much of what I feel about Tey’s fictional detection, and even thinks it through more than I ever did, all the way to Agatha Christie’s bothersome faith in the class system.

        Liked by 2 people

      • camestrosfelapton

        I don’t know enough about Tey’s own beliefs to back this up but when I read The Daughter of Time I didn’t take the detectives view of Dicky-3 to be the authors necessarily. That’s a good essay though.

        Like

      • PhilRM

        Kip: My all-time favorite fictional Richard III is John M. Ford’s in The Dragon Waiting. (That originally came out “all-tome” which was probably better!)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lurkertype

        Kip, I love that essay! The whole “our betters are literally better” idea is very pernicious. And anybody who knows anything knows that downstairs/backstage gossip is always the best and usually most informed. People who think of servants as mobile furniture don’t watch their tongues.

        Liked by 1 person

      • kiptw

        The article certainly goes farther than I thought about it when I read the novel. I don’t know that I thought about class much as I was reading, for instance, and most of the reading of Christie that I did was back in a more uncritical time in my life when I didn’t catch the implications of things like that. At least, by the time I read Chesterton, I was able to notice at least the worst case of racism in it, so I didn’t stay oblivious forever.

        I did have a sense that the author was stacking the deck and grabbing at straws (such a nice face!), though, which gave me the impression she was advocating for Richard, not just having her character take an uncharacteristic interest in a centuries-cold case for the fun of it.

        Liked by 1 person

    • lunarg

      Thanks for sharing your reactions, Regular Commenter. I have a similar reaction to some of the small “historical” sites in Virginia regarding the American Civil War that frankly glorify the Confederate cause.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Msb

    Sounds to me like what actually happened matters a lot less than reinforcing group membership and cohesion. This problem is not limited to puppies.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. KMP

    This is an excellent post. This sort of actual specific data-collection is yeoman’s work and tremendously valuable and thank you for having the patience for doing it.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. PhilRM

    It’s like a malignant, non-random game of telephone: events always drift to portray the Puppies’ enemies in the worst possible light.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. greghullender

    A slightly different phenomenon I’ve been seeing lately is where someone says something he/she knows is a lie solely to make the listener made. For example, someone (friend of a relative) replied to a Facebook post of mine to say that it was Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, who questioned whether President Obama was born in the US or not. Now there’s no way in the world the poster (or anyone over the age of 5) believes that, but he knew it would get people upset. (I blocked him once I saw it. No point in replying.)

    But I’ve been thinking that’s probably true of a lot of the stuff the Puppies post too. I suppose you can argue that “a lie is a lie,” but there’s something uniquely twisted about a lie that isn’t even meant to mislead–just to infuriate.

    Liked by 3 people

    • camestrosfelapton

      Yes, you can see the pieces in that bit of trolling – a mutation of a different argument about when the birth certificate questions began. The point is not just to annoy but to impose effort on the other person, who then gets embroiled in fact checking about who said what when.

      Like

  8. frasersherman

    As you say, some arguments are probably just honest misremembering. Wright I do not believe for a minute argues in good faith. Foz Meadows pointed out in a post a couple of years back how Wright in one of his political-correctness rants listed Vox Day, Orson Scott Card and others as suffering from persecution when they hadn’t said anything controversial, then proceeded to offer a scrubbed-clean version of stuff they’d said. I don’t believe for a minute he just misremembered it all.
    And as Meadows said, if he really thought they were in the right, why not just quote them accurately?
    He may be genuinely outraged about being called homophobic and sexist, much the same way hardcore racists in the US recoil from being called racist.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Lurkertype

      Yes, among right-wingers and SIW*, being accused of (bad action) is much, much worse than actually doing (bad action).

      So providing accurate quotes of what they said is the worst possible thing. That’s why they’re so down on Mike and Cam.

      Even Card doesn’t deny he said what he said when he said it. He weasel-words about it now, but no outright denial.

      *Social Injustice Warriors — “warriors” fits them even better, what with all their bellicose talk.

      Liked by 1 person

    • KMP

      John Wright … Maybe I’m naive but I tend to take people at face value and assume good faith (even if drawing from different premises than mine) at first. I’d seen a passing reference to his blog somewhere and went to read it because, hey, author communicating directly with audience. He has his email address posted very visibly, so I mailed him a question: “Hey, I found your piece on ABC, it was pretty interesting. One question I have – you made the prediction XYZ, but you only spent one sentence on it. I’m not clear on why you expect that, would it be possible for you to elaborate a little?”

      (That might not be precisely word for word but it’s as close as I can get from memory)

      His response: “You are a liar and you are trying to trap me into saying something I don’t mean.”

      *blink*

      That was some years back, before the Puppy stuff. But it told me all I need to know about him.

      Liked by 2 people

      • frasersherman

        One writer asked Kevin Williamson (of “hang women who get abortions” fame) exactly what he thought the proper penalty was. Williamson’s answer was that he wasn’t going to answer because it was a liberal gotcha trick question! Same bullshit.

        Liked by 4 people

  9. Kat Goodwin

    To have authoritarianism, besides having eventually a military force that will enact your will with violence, you have to continually assert natural and just authority while always characterizing that authority as being under siege and wrongly characterized by ungrateful, insidious and relentless challengers. It is a difficult system of denying that oppression and unequal hierarchy is currently going on (and thus they are being victimized by haters who are seizing power and using it to declare made-up or exaggerated oppression,) while at the same time exalting that oppression and unequal hierarchy as a natural order that supports their position as high status, most deserving and common sense rulers (and thus they are the most popular, most fair, and most deserving of the unequal system.) For them, it’s not a contradiction because the two parts confirm their authority and raise the need to defend that authority against bad challengers.

    But maintaining it means constantly adjusting claims. The claims themselves are not always important. The important thing is that oppression and inequality are denied as currently existing (past existing is fine but should not be a big deal in the current era,) and at the same time, oppressive and unequal stances that favor them and give them status and hopefully money and power are logical, just and natural. They aren’t homophobic, but gays are predatory mentally ill pedophiles who should bow to their religious (authoritarian) oppressive beliefs but are instead seizing power to pursue their agenda, and using queer sexual orientation as a slur should not upset anyone (exaltation of oppression that is then non-existent behavior, an exaggeration that victimizes the user of the slur.)

    Claiming they didn’t write something on the public web or said it in a printed interview, even though it’s quite easy to show that they did, is part of the balancing act. The thing they said is the exaltation of oppression and inequality, while at the same time denying that it is going on to show those pointing it out as relentless victimizers who are mischaracterizing them to make up oppression and inequality that don’t exist. (Hey, if it’s the natural order, then it can’t be oppression and inequality, now can it?) So “people are talking about me in this way” is the denial/victimized part — doesn’t have to be specific..They are the rightful authority and that authority is not oppressive and therefore those claiming it is are lying to destroy the fabric of society, usurping rightful authority. Women are not being oppressed but they are like lobsters and should accept the natural order of being inferior and chaotic to men’s rightful order and authority (accept oppression and inequality — that doesn’t exist.)

    When something they said that exalts oppression can’t be spun if accurately challenged, they adjust. You saw that with the attack on Camestros and the Meadows — they were sure of his identity, they had evidence. The evidence was shown to be false, so then they never said that it was certain of his identity but that it might be true and anyway, Camestros and the Meadows were horrible people who persecuted them and were definitely hiding something and probably should be oppressed. When that attack created uproar and was challenged, they began drifting away, claiming that they didn’t really know what was going on and they didn’t care about it anyway, typical persecuting big deal was being made of their persecution, exaggerating and mischaracterizing them, after having called the Meadows unfit parents, etc.

    So it only becomes repeated “truthiness” if it continues to work to maintain the system. If it doesn’t, they may just change it or toss it, claiming it didn’t happen or they forget exactly what happened but it wasn’t bad behavior on their part. Trump as president is having to do this about every five seconds. They will change views if the wider social attitudes sufficiently change around them that maintaining the system of them being popular authority requires dropping the previous view in whole or part. For instance, some who thought gay marriage shouldn’t be allowed, then weren’t sure it should or should not be, then they no longer cared about it, but gay people shouldn’t keep playing the victim card about oppression and inequality that doesn’t (no longer) exist, etc. It’s cognitive dissonance dodge ball.

    Liked by 4 people

    • camestrosfelapton

      There’s current weird pretzels of reasoning being constructed over Jordan Lobsterson’s comments ion compulsory monogamy (or whatever it was) and his attempt to claim it meant something else.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Kat Goodwin

        Yes. Lobsterson exalted oppression and unequal hierarchy, specifically enslaving women. He invoked the traditional social view of women which is part of his schtick — families sold their daughters to men as property chattel slaves for slave labor and slave raping/procreation so the men could have their own children slaves they could sell and use for slave labor, and the society and the law violently controlled women who tried to escape this enslavement. This plays well to Lobsterson’s two main audiences — theocratic authoritarians who view women as chattel property as part of their faith and the manosphere. The manosphere isn’t really interested in sex (rape) with women. They are obsessed with status and approval from other men and not looking like weak losers to other men. They blame women not being controlled and punished property for appearing weak and low status and want to control and punish them in order to feel powerful and higher in status. So suggesting that women should be enslaved for unhappy, violent men works for them.

        But, while Lobsterson specifically spends less time declaring discrimination and inequality don’t exist and more time openly declaring that they are good and natural things and so authoritarianism with discrimination should actually be restored, (and thus gets his money from those who find that message pleasing,) there has been sufficient nibbling at that hierarchy that openly declaring women should be enslaved looked bad in the media. So Lobsterson and co. went with being victimized and claiming he’d been mischaracterized, that he had not advocated authoritarian discrimination and enslavement, to balance that he’s a “mainstream” rebel having his authority challenged by the devious extremists, etc. They claimed that “enforced monogamy” was an anthropological term that meant a society that encourages (straight) monogamous marriage.

        In actuality, “enforced monogamy” is a scientific term that means societies where some people are culturally forced into relationships by other people who use coercive methods to do so — i.e. societies that enslave women and violently enforce that slavery and the view of women as property of men. Lobsterson was using it perfectly correctly the first time and no one misinterpreted it. But the wailing that he’s been victimized and unfairly painted for advocating women be violently controlled slaves or men will be violent — that will continue and they’ll use the term “enforced monogamy” with their own new definition for it for a bit to see if they can use it as a daring phrase. But if it’s not useful, they’ll toss it eventually and try something else.

        But for them, it’s not a pretzel. Both elements — exalting authoritarian oppression as fair, natural, good and denying that harmful oppression is occurring and declaring protests are just a scam of extremists trying to victimize them and claim power — must be continually pushed together. Because a key part of authoritarianism (the sense of rigid order that Lobsterson is so fond of,) is that challenging the authority is not legitimate, necessary and will be dangerous. The authoritarian oppression they want is order; the challenge that is victimizing them (the Other) is chaos. Lobsterson was explaining how to restore order — enslave the women (the chaotic, challenging threat,) and order is restored. But then he had to delegitamize any criticism he got from that idea as a chaotic challenge to his fair and natural order authority.

        Liked by 3 people

  10. Lurkertype

    While slogging through Hugo reading, I came across a word in “The Way of Kings” by Puppy favorite (although NOT a Puppy) Brandon Sanderson, that describes Pups, Scraps, etc. perfectly:

    Errorgant: means to be twice as certain as someone who is merely arrogant while possessing only one-tenth the requisite facts.

    The entire right-wing is errorgant, from Drumpf all the way down to Pups, Scraps, MGC, and Lobsterton.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Kendall

      LOL that’s a great word, @Lurkertype! That sounds like a sniglet (for those of you who remember sniglets, which autocorrect really wants me to type as ‘single’ or ‘singlet’). (Er, the Rich Hall version; one of the other definitions I see out there for sniglet makes little sense to me.)

      Liked by 2 people

      • Lurkertype

        I loved sniglets! I watched that show every week. I read the book.

        I wonder if Lobsterton delivers extended monologues every time he goes to a seafood restaurant with live crustaceans. Just standing there by the tank, declaiming rubbish.

        Like