Yesterday I posted about the Twitter exchange between sci-fi author and Baen editor Christopher Ruocchio and Nick Mamatas over the Baen anthology The Chronicles of Davids. https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2019/10/19/a-chronicle-of-outrage-marketing/
What I didn’t do is show examples of how the legitimate (and pretty mild) comments about the anthology were then leveraged. No big surprises here but I’m keen to watch this unfold because it is the sort of thing that in a years time will have transmogrified and become part of Puppy-lore i.e. that time the whole of liberal/SJW/antifa/Bernie Sanders formed a giant army to destroy the careers of every writer ever called Dave, or some such.
Bounding into Outrage
First off “Bounding into Comics”. This is a pop-culture news site that takes as its editorial premise the whole SJWs-are-destroying-everything-we-love worldview. Notably, it has been a regular shill for Vox Day’s comic book company Arkhaven. Earlier this year, the site pushed a smear campaign against the writer Alyssa Wong (see item 2 in this Pixel Scroll http://file770.com/pixel-scroll-7-31-19-yes-its-true-this-scroll-has-no-pix/ ) in a post by the site’s lead editor John F Trent.
The Bounding into Comics version of the story is here https://boundingintocomics.com/2019/10/18/outrage-group-criticizes-baen-books-for-releasing-an-anthology-by-people-named-david-due-to-lack-of-diversity/
The breathless framing of an “outrage group” sets the tone and it is downhill from there. However, the bit which I think best sums up the article is this:
Baen Books Gets Mobbed
In a bizarre turn of events, Baen Books was soon descended upon by a handful of social justice-focused users who criticized the anthology for its lack of diversity:
Oh my! Baen books gets mobbed? By who? By “a handful”. That bit is at least accurate, it is literally a handful of people quizzing the premise of the anthology. Essentially hardly anybody and in no sense a mob. It’s a minor example of point 8 in Umberto Eco’s Ur-Fascism: the enemy is both strong and weak. The SJWs are a mob and they are mobbing (i.e. it is an attack) but also they are a handful and bizarre etc etc. The terrifying mobbing of Baen book’s Twitter account includes a Brittany Speers gif and some people asking genuine questions.
Outrage Hunters International
Hey it wouldn’t be outrage marketing without our blog regular and Gamergate supporter, Larry Correia. Over on Facebook Larry too has leapt to the defence of Baen — the poor publisher currently beleaguered on twitter by a quizzical face emoji and Brittany Speers:
“I’ll do an actual blog post when I get the chance, but if you are curious what has outraged all the SJWs on Twitter this week, it is having an anthology where everything is Dave based isn’t “inclusive”. (When Baen released an all female anthology to demonstrate that women have always been in sci-fi, all the SJWs ignored it)
You should buy this book just because it will upset Nick Mamatas, and he’s a friggin idiot.”
Well “all the the SJWs on Twitter” is obviously intended to be hyperbole but on that initial Baen thread it’s maybe five people making very mild comments. Over Twitter as a whole, obviously a few more people talked about it but I follow a lot of left-leaning sci-fi accounts and social-justicey people and The Chronicles of Davids made barely a blip. I’m not sure I’d have even mentioned the Nick Mamatas Tweets except that Baen sort of falls into the remit given to me by SJW headquarters.
There’s 70+ comments to Larry’s post (apparently the flounce off Facebook and over to MeWe is happening slowly). Mind you the main comments in all places I’ve seen this discussed is 1. ‘Why Barry’ and 2. ‘Wasn’t that a Dr Seuss story?’
Of course, what we won’t see is anybody discussing Nick Mamatas’s actual point about the anthology and what he deftly terms “affirmadave action”. As for making him ‘mad’ Larry himself described that rhetorical tactic once to me:
“You can always spot the dishonest dismiss attempts because no matter how righteous your claim or how much you’ve actually been wronged, they always paint their opposition’s words as ranting, whining, You Sound Angry, so on and so forth. It’s very predictable.”
I have zero reason to think Nick Mamatas would be remotely upset if one of Larry’s followers bought the anthology.
Recursive Outrage Paradox
Of course, now I’ve talked about the talking about or when others talk about the talking about this will be cited as being further evidence of some deep SJW campaign to persecute Baen or conservatives or Daves in general. It’s not, obviously.
Back to the dilemma: ignore or discuss? Ignoring amounts to self-silencing and discussing can feed into a toxic cycle. The anthology itself is both fine and yes, also an example of how systemic bias can operate without a malicious intent. That’s really pertinent in understanding the nature of how biases operate and wow, magically doesn’t not make that assemblage of Daves horrible people AND notably I haven’t seen anybody suggesting that they are (OK at least one is but not because of the anthologising or Daveness).