Sorry, but yes you did co-opt the Sad Puppies…

Comics love nothing more than a crossover event! In a rambling post about the schmozzle that was (comicsgatecomics^comicsgate^gate)! Vox Day is very keen to set the record straight about previous culture-wars hijackings:

“I would, however, like to correct one common misapprehension: I never co-opted Sad Puppies. To the contrary, I was the architect of the Sad Puppies most notorious success and at no point in time was there ever any conflict between the Sad Puppies and me. If you look more closely, you’ll notice that none of the four leaders of the Sad Puppies, from Larry to Kate, have ever made a single accusation on that score. I don’t intend to say any more than that, except to reiterate an absolute fact: I did not co-opt Sad Puppies and anyone who claims I did in any way, shape, or form is wrong.” [link for reference, I don’t recommend following it]

Hmmm, no I think it is safe to say that Vox Day really did co-opt the Sad Puppy campaign. Let me count the ways:

  • He used Brad Torgersen’s cobbled together slate to form his own slate.
  • He used the name “Rabid Puppies” to sow confusion between the two campaigns
  • He commissioned a logo for his campaign from the same artist as the logo for the Sad Puppies campaign
  • He manipulated the Sad Puppies into the spectacular own goal of the Tor boycott
  • He mounted a vote stacking campaigns to help ensure that the Sad Puppy nominees swept whole categories…
  • …and then left the Sad Puppies to defend the outcome

To be honest, I’m a little surprised Vox isn’t boasting about it. He very much wants people to believe that he is a master strategist of Batman like proportions and their are very few actual examples of him actually doing anything particularly clever. Yet the manipulation of the Sad Puppies is the one obvious and genuine example – he played them like a fiddle. Yes, they were easy and very gullible targets but still, Vox has no reason for false modesty in this one (and very limited) regard.

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32 responses to “Sorry, but yes you did co-opt the Sad Puppies…”

  1. It seems to me what he’s saying here is that he didn’t come in to the Puppy slating as an outsider: the Sad Puppy leaders were collaborating with him deliberately. Several things said by Correia, Torgersen, and Hoyt after-the-fact alluded to this: “You should be thanking LC: VD wanted to ‘burn the Hugos down’ and LC talked him out of it”, VD was named as one of the members of the ELOE, BT posted a slate which very obviously left an open 5th slot in both Long Form and Short Form Editor for VD to add himself in, VD had been told who was doing the logo so he could arrange for his own version of it with the same artist well in advance of the announcement (RP was announced approx. 5 hours after SP), etc.

    Which is why the Sad Puppy leaders very deliberately refused to ever distance themselves from VD or condemn his campaign; it was a joint effort with him. They just didn’t expect his mindless minions to show up in such numbers that their own campaign would be overshadowed in the way that it was, and they weren’t expecting to feel the full force of the wrath of all of the Worldcon members at having their awards ballot so completely filled with works chosen by people who had never been to Worldcon and didn’t give a shit about Worldcon.

    VD is just denying that It was a hostile takeover. Yes, he did co-opt the Sad Puppies campaign, but it was at the invitation of, and with the cooperation of, the SP leaders.

    Liked by 6 people

      • “Oh give me a home,
        where the lebensraum roams,
        and the elk and the alt-alopes play…
        Where seldom is heard
        An good-faith-ening word
        And the skies keep on falling all day”

        Liked by 5 people

      • More like the French Directorate. For all we know, Brad started from Vox’s list, and Vox split off when Brad deleted some of the excess Castalia House nominees. If you remember, Brad started by trying to get nominees from the public (having no conception of how hard it is to make that work) and, when that failed, abruptly came out of this utterly different list. It’s easy to believe that he and Larry and Vox Day corresponded, that Vox offered his list, and the other two tweaked it.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Even if that’s what he meant, Teddy’s incapability at writing clear, understandable prose is what’s confusing. All that blah blah obscures his meaning.

      Honestly, Teddy oughta be bragging pointedly about having made the Sads his bitch. It’s the one thing he’s done even halfway competently, that he could legitimately claim as a victory, instead of his usual failures he pretends are successes (burning down the Hugos, Voxipedia, Tor boycott, alt-comics, two chapter fives, hoping Senpai Scalzi will notice him… have I left any of his failed schemes out?).

      I do think he’s incorrect that the Sads’ leaders have never said there was a conflict. They didn’t at first, when it was all hail fellows well met, but I believe Sads have subsequently (since Sasquan) made a few feeble protests about it. Unfortunately for them, we can all see the words they said about inviting him in to begin with.


  2. I think there is a simple reason why Vox is now not claiming to have co-opted the puppies, and that is that his campaign failed.
    despite what the sad puppies say, the Hugo awards continue on as normal as if nothing had ever happened and as for the Dragons, which vox day never claimed to be a part of anyway, they’re not as well recognised and easily gained.
    I think many of Vox fans don’t particularly care about science fiction books per se, and they want something tangible to point at to show how powerful they are and they just can’t do that with the Hugo awards.
    perhaps he no longer wants to be associated with a campaign that has very little to show for it, and it also gives him an out because he can later claim that he had nothing to do with it if he needs to.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Arguably, the Hugos got even more SJW/PC thanks to the influx of people who joined to counter the Puppies and stuck around. Pups had such a cow over “If You Were a Dinosaur” (not even gay), they must have had apoplexy over “Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time” (trans vampire!) and of course over Nora’s well-deserved hat trick. And Scalzi’s latest nomination.

      Me personally, I’ve been voting for the Hugos since 1981, so Pups are merely an annoying pothole on the road to good reading.

      All the extra people who stuck around and are buying supporting memberships to vote are helping each separate Worldcon a lot with their moneys.

      So it’s not only a failure, but the complete opposite of what they wanted. Shot themselves in the foot AND a backfire. Practically cartoonish a la Coyote and Acme products. Meep-meep.


  3. How much of an own goal was the Tor boycott for the Sad Puppies, though? It was certainly stupid, pointless and ineffective but I’m not convinced it hurt any of the Sad Puppy leaders. As far as I know* none of them have worked with Tor and aren’t likely to leave the safe confines of Baen or self-publishing anyway.

    The person hurt the most by the Tor boycott was John Wright, who was a Rabid Puppy. I can’t believe Beale got him to essentially fight against his own back catalog.

    *To be fair, I hadn’t paid much attention to which publishers publish which authors until the last couple of years. Which means I probably missed somebody’s long history with Tor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I interpreted ‘own goal’ in the sense of ‘the Tor “boycott” that actually increased Tor sales” ‘. I’m not 100% sure that’s the case, but my suspicion is that the number of people who bought a Tor book in response to the boycott announcement far outweighed the boycotters. That’s driven in part by my impression that most of the people who might have taken part in the boycott read very little SFF anyway.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Aside from relying on a somewhat arbitrary distinction between Sad and Rabid Puppies, I’d forgotten about Anderson and was thinking of Wright as purely a Rapid Puppy since he was also published by Castalia House. Looking at the original Sad Puppies slate from 2015, though, Wright had two entries (novella and related works), and a number of the other entries were published by Castalia House.

        Wright definitely came out of that the worst, though. I think a better metaphor would be shooting one’s foot off, as of course all real Americans have guns and don’t understand how the concept of a “goal” fits in with the all-American sport of football anyway.

        Liked by 2 people

      • All Americans learn to play soccer in their youth. They just outgrow it.

        However, hockey also has own goals, sometimes basketball does, and football has the equivalent, it’s called a “safety”. Pretty amusing when some guy runs the whole length of the field in the wrong direction and his own team is following, trying to stop him.

        Admitting they shot themselves in the foot would mean they’re terrible with guns, so Larry’s never going to do that since it’d ruin his self-image as he sits up there as the tinpot god of gun mountain. Even though he (and JCW) basically took a belt-fed machine gun to their own tootsies.

        Teddy’s simply supporting the Monopuppist view here.

        Liked by 2 people

      • “I think a better metaphor would be shooting one’s foot off, as of course all real Americans have guns and don’t understand how the concept of a “goal” fits in with the all-American sport of football anyway.”

        I suggest we compromise and just say he shot his balls off.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Well, JCW really did shoot himself in the foot with the Tor boycott, because asking your fans to boycott your own publisher and pirate your own books and calling your editors insulting names is about the dumbest move an author can make.

        But as far as I recall, KJA never actively got involved in the puppy campaign and never supported the Tor boycott. The extent of his involvement was that he got onto the Hugo ballot via the puppy slate and did not withdraw. The Tor boycott hurt him insofar that the puppies boycotting Tor were probably more likely to buy his books than other Tor readers, so he might actually have lost sales. But then the same applies to David Weber or Orson Scott Card, who are also Tor authors puppies like, but who never were involved in the puppy campaigns at all.


        • Cora: as far as I recall, KJA never actively got involved in the puppy campaign and never supported the Tor boycott. The extent of his involvement was that he got onto the Hugo ballot via the puppy slate and did not withdraw. The Tor boycott hurt him insofar that the puppies boycotting Tor were probably more likely to buy his books than other Tor readers, so he might actually have lost sales

          My impression is that KJA is a decent enough guy, who might have sympathized with the Puppy’s stated goals while being less than thrilled with the execution. The biggest harm done to KJA by being cheated onto the ballot by the Puppies and his own choice to not withdraw, I think, is that a whole lot of people like me who forced themselves to suffer through some or all of that deadly-dull book is that we’ll likely never pick up a KJA book on our own volition again. Which is too bad for him — though I suspect, given his own admission about how he churns out books according to a formula, that they are what would be considered workmanlike rather than inspired or innovative, so I’m not going to feel bad about not ever reading any more of his books.


      • A safety doesn’t have quite the same connotations or importance as an own goal, though. It’s only two points, and while it’s generally the result of incompetence taking a safety can be used strategically (by allowing a team to kick freely from its 20 in exchange for two points) or to prevent a larger disaster (i.e., a defensive touchdown). A defensive touchdown is probably closer, but can still be the result of a great play by the defense.

        Since the end of the draft there aren’t many scenarios where you shoot yourself in the foot that don’t involve incompetence.

        I do like Greg’s compromise, though.


    • I’ve also never heard a single bad word about KJA. I have read some of his media tie-in novels 20+ years ago and even shared a TOC with him once (and with David Gerrold). But goodness, his Hugo nominated novel was dull and also very long. A few months later, I saw a physical copy on a bookstore shelf and it was a doorstopper. And I thought, “Oh, so that book didn’t just feel endless, it actually was endless as well.”


      • He won a Dragon for that book he wrote with Hoyt. Between that and not withdrawing that piece of crap that got on the ballot, he’s certainly Puppy-sympathetic as well as a hack. (He admits he’s a hack, so that’s not an insult)


  4. I didn’t co-opt, I was the architect — so he was in charge but he didn’t take charge. You’ve got to love the linguistic double-speak. You can co-opt something from others without going against those others’ will. To co-opt is to assimilate, take over, or win over a larger or established group. LC had set up the organization of the Sad Puppies, invited Beale in and Beale then took over to “architect” the Sad Puppy campaign. The only reason he created the Rabid Puppies was so that the Sad Puppies could claim that Beale led a separate group, since Beale’s presence in SP2 had gotten a very upset reaction from many people, including some of the authors they tried to slate and have on their side.

    We know that once LC brought Beale in as a nominee on SP2, Beale offered LC Gamergate voters to make the slate work, to their public delight — thus co-opting the Sad Puppies by replacing their small group of potential voters with his organized gamer group, who became essential to make any campaign work. We know that the Sad Puppies jokingly referred to their leadership group as the League of Evil and that Beale was openly part of that “league” council, crafting the Sad Puppy agenda for both SP2 and SP3. We know that the two nominee slates for SP3 and RP1 were almost identical and therefore logically had to be shared in assemblage, clearly to maximize votes, which meant that the SP3 slate was dominated by the Rabid Puppies.

    We also know that the few nominees on the Sad Puppies 3 slate who were not on the RP1 slate did not get any Hugo nominations and that some nominees on the RP1 slate who were not on the SP3 slate did get nominations, meaning that Beale’s critical Gamergate voters only voted for the RP1 slate. Which means that Beale again co-opted the Sad Puppy movement. Instead of Beale bringing in Gamergate slate voters for Sad Puppies, as he’d boasted of doing during SP2, he only brought in voters for his own group. Thus, he wasn’t the architect of SP3’s “victory;” he was the architect of RP1’s victory — his own. He co-opted the Sad Puppy presumed glory.

    The media got wind of the involvement of Gamergaters in the Hugo campaigns and so covered them. Which then found the Sad Puppy leaders stuck with being lumped in with Beale and the Rabid Puppies, of being considered simply a Gamergate offshoot and being considered toxic bigots in that media coverage. So the Sad Puppies were co-opted by the Rabid Puppies and Beale once again. The Sad Puppies attempted to distance themselves from Beale and his group, which was then co-opted by Beale again by getting several of their members, including Wright, to attack Tor on various dust-ups and declare a boycott that Beale wanted. And finally, to further separate from the Rabid Puppies and Gamergate and the negative media coverage, Sad Puppies declared that they would make SP4 simply a recommendation list. Beale and his Rabid Puppies/Gamergaters ignored the whole thing, which caused it to wither into dust. Instead, the focus was on the remaining influences the Rabid Puppies managed to get in on the Hugo nominees as RP2.

    And lastly, when the Sad Puppies are brought up in the media currently in conjunction with Comicsgate and how it is the next in the line of movements started with Gamergate and Sad Puppies, nobody brings up BT or KP or SH and LC barely gets a nod. Instead, it’s the Sad Puppies and Vox Day. He co-opted it as his movement even as he effectively buried it under the guise of just helping it out. And he got a real nice launch onto a bigger platform for his previously not even known publishing house out of the whole thing.

    I suspect that Beale’s attempt to sort of distance himself from Sad Puppies while also claiming credit as the architect for their campaign is part of him trying to move up the ladder in the right o’sphere, currently through Comicsgate, and wanting to be seen as a bigger conservative player, not just limited to Sad Puppies but also part of Sad Puppies. That a lot of the Comicsgate folk see him as toxic to their attempts at a movement indicates that the Puppies stuff might have caused some problems now that he’s trying to brand himself as a comics savior.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Well yeah, but it was Beale who had contacts with the actual Gaters through Breibart connections and could at least get a few of them to show up for a book award. So LC became less important in his own movement. And when the media coverage happened, LC was credited as the starter of the movement and then essentially just Beale’s sidekick. Beale’s involvement with Gamergate was slight but documented and so that was really all the media was interested in, and they made his role in Gamergate look bigger. Which as your other post notes, LC wasn’t happy about. He slowly withdrew himself more and more from the Sad Puppies once he had his Hugo nomination, which again led to Beale being seen as the leader of both the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies as one movement to most folk and most media. This was mainly due to Beale’s success in getting his own publishing house’s people into the Hugo nominations, which wasn’t much help to the rest of the Puppies. And it’s why most of the come latelys to the Pups went with Beale, his publishing house and his blog, rather than just sticking to the Sad Puppies.

        Scriver and some of the other boys who have been profiting from Comicsgate for the last year, doing big crowdfunding for their expensive comic books while harassing and stalking the usual groups, were okay with letting Beale be at the fringe of it. But once he tried to co-opt the Comicsgate brand for himself, they suddenly decided that he was a toxic person and a dastardly plot. They saw what happened to LC, and since there’s actual sizable money involved with Comicsgate, unlike the Sad Puppies, no way were they going to let Beale put himself in charge of the name.

        So Beale’s I didn’t co-opt and lead the Sad Puppies dance may be part of trying to reassure Comicsgate leaders he’s not really trying to horn in on their money-making scheme with his own and that he can actually help them out if he’s involved. It’s the same bribe that he offered LC and BT for the Sad Puppies. But the comics area is different and even before Beale announced he was using Comicsgate as a brand, several major pros and editors have finally come out declaring they see Comicsgate as a hate group, they are against it, they don’t like how it’s treated their friends, they are for diversity and inclusion in comics, etc. This has put a lot of the players on the defensive and so they don’t really want Beale associated with the brand in any major way. Especially when said “brand” started by them getting furious that woman employees of Marvel existed and posted a milkshake photo celebrating a famous woman comic pro, causing them to be harassed by the Comicsgators for ages. Like Gamergate, it’s not a great origins story, and Beale’s involvement brings up that issue anew, especially with any media coverage.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh there is plenty of blame to go around. But Beale had more contacts because of his association with the Breibart. He brought in gamers — but they didn’t vote for the Sad Puppy list #3. If they did, then nominees on the Sad Puppy list that weren’t on the Rabid list would have gotten on the Hugo board, etc. It was pretty clear where the votes were going. And LC was not happy that he was tied to Beale in the media.

        Liked by 1 person

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