Reading Vox Day so you don’t have to part…I’ve lost count

I had wondered if extreme nationalist Vox Day had given up writing political pamphlets but yet another popped up the other day. It was sort of out of the blue, so either he’s been promoting things less or I’ve been paying less attention and probably the latter.

Entitled Corporate Cancer: How to Work Miracles and Save Millions by Curing Your Company it is primarily a rehash of his tow earlier “SJW” books. It’s the same thesis (vaguely defined social justice warriors are somehow out to get you) structured in a similar way but using mainly examples from businesses rather than church groups or publishing.

It purports to demonstrate that social justice will cost a company lots of money but you won’t be surprised to discover that the criteria for ‘social justice’ is very flexible as is the harm done to the companies. He leads with the latest Star Wars films (which he hasn’t watched and which he only has a second hand grasp of) and the fact that they didn’t make as huge a profit for the hugely profitable Disney company as Disney wanted. It is just a rehash of the tired grievance from past years and poor example for his thesis. The claim is that Disney s ‘converged’ a fatal stage of commitment to social justice that destroys a company (or perhaps turns it into a company dependent on government grants or something – the goalposts shift). Day manages to be wrong about both things: Disney is a cynical money grabbing corporation whose commitment to any kind of progressive values is superficial and also it manifestly isn’t going bankrupt any time soon.

Later “examples” are similarly dis-attached. Google is given as an example but again it manifestly isn’t collapsing financial. Apple’s lack of direction post Steve Jobs is also given but here Day neither shows in what way Apple has become more social-justicey recently nor how that connects to Day’s gripe about dongles.

The villain of Day’s previous polemic was nice ladies who help out at church groups. In this one he focuses on HR departments, which are also a recurring bête-noir for Day. Note that as far as I’m aware Day’s multiple career choices have not included a job in a moderate sized corporation with a HR department but he projects a deep grudge against a stereotypical HR team. That HR-phobia becomes easier to understand when you recall that Day’s target audience is disaffected men who feel they have low social status. The thrust is to persuade some confused, somewhat lost person that their troubles at work are due to a vast “SJW” enemy that bizarrely appears in the form of modern corporate capitalism. So if the reader is feeling picked on because of lateness or poor work performance or poor relations with colleagues or bad personal hygiene etc they can rationalise the involvement of HR as political persecution.

Cults, crank self-help groups and crypto-fascist organisations (in so far as those three things are different) have always preyed on the disaffected and the lost. The disdain Day frequently shows to “gammas” is part of that strategy: fuelling insecurity by citing issues that people can see within themselves and then violently reject. Self-hatred is both a powerful drug and a sinister recruitment sergeant.

When looking at the chapter headings I was close to deciding not to bother reviewing the book. The main motive was for completeness having trudged through the previous related volumes. Not to bother probably would have been the right decision: there is nothing new here and I would imagine even Day’s fans would find this book repetitive.

However, what tipped the balance was a something that I was curious about and the chapter headings implied that Day had some revelations to make about a story I’d been following. I’ll spoil the surprise and reveal in advance that he doesn’t but let me explain the background.

About a year ago Day had a crowd-funding campaign suspended in an unusual manner. I covered it here and and File 770 covered it here http://file770.com/after-bleeding-cool-interviews-vox-day-indiegogo-axes-latest-alt-hero-comic-campaign/ and Day cites the File 770 article as background (i.e. he accepts it as being factually correct). As a whole bunch of things were going on at the same time (a NPR podcast, a Bleeding Cool interview, a crowdfunding campaign finalising), Day claims these were all connected. However, we have little background on the circumstances of Indiegogo suspending Day’s crowdfunding campaign other than from Day himself. Day is far from being the most blatantly dishonest person in Puppydom but he is not a reliable narrator either.

We do know that Day threatened Indiegogo with legal action but I’ve seen many examples before of Day doing so but without any public conclusion – which could, of course mean anything. Day had suggested on his blog the matter had come to some sort of end but of what kind was unclear.

However, in a recent twist, Day’s publishing company had started a new crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in the last few weeks. Did that mean everything was resolved between Day and the crowdfunding platform? Maybe or not quite. The new campaign (which I believe has just ended or is about to end) was to reprint 1910 ‘junior classics’ in what appears to be an attempt by Day to capture the money of far-right Baby Boomer grandparents.

There were some oddities about the campaign though. It was clear that Indiegogo were aware it was one of Day’s companies running the campaign but rather than “Castalia” or “Arkhaven”, the group listed was “Redacted Press” based in “San Francisco, United States”. A second oddity was that the campaign was only accessible via a direct link. A search for the campaign on Indiegogo’s platform for either ‘Junior Classics’ or ‘Redacted Press’ do not lead to the campaign. The only way to get to it was via a link provided by Day. Why? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Day has two chapters on the issue in the book and curiosity got the better of me. The first of the two (Chapter 8) gave the background and the story that I already knew up to the start of an arbitration process. The next chapter, entitled Chapter 9: Indiegogo Case Study: The Arbitration Process and Outcome offered the missing section. However the contents of the chapter read:

“[REDACTED UNTIL OCTOBER 11, 2021] The parties to the arbitrations have come to a resolution on the matter. The arbitrations have been terminated. We will not be making any further statement about it. Please do not ask questions or probe for details about the resolution of the matter.”

Well, I guess the joke is on me and I must concede that I got played.

In the end even the new bit in the book was nothing new.


33 thoughts on “Reading Vox Day so you don’t have to part…I’ve lost count

      1. Star Wars isn’t making Disney as much money as they would like? What, like a couple billion per film? Not even counting money made from merchandising. Shit dude, I’d love to fail that badly.

        Next up: Super Smash Bros Ultimate has failed utterly as it took almost a year to sell over 15 million copies.

        Re Apple: lack of compatibility is a major reason why I don’t use Apple products. That seems to be changing a little as my brother’s new Macbook will charge via USB-C, though it seems that he requires two separate chargers for his Mac and his iPhone. I don’t really get why people continue to use Apple as their products mostly just seem inconvenient and weirdly limited. (Meanwhile, my Huawei laptop’s charger will connect to and charge my LG phone, my laptop and my Switch, as well as connect up to my external SSD).

        Like

      2. If Apple works for you then fair enough (gripes about connectors aside). I’m slowly going through this too, since some companies (looking at you in particular Amazon!) are slow to switch over to usb-c, so now I have micro-usb to usb-c connectors, and adapters for the old style rectangular usb connectors so everything’s still kinda sorta backwards compatible with a bit of effort. It’s a pain to travel with all these bits and pieces though.

        Like

      3. Windows really seems to struggle with wireless networking like that to be honest. I know that in theory my laptop is capable of it but I’ve never really got it working satisfactorily. (Not that I’ve put a lot of effort into it really)

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      4. When USB first came, I never had enough cables and I hoarded cables whenever I could lay may hands on them. Then I finally felt I had enough – whenever and wherever I needed a USB cable, I had one available. And *boom* the tech world introduced mini-USB.

        For a few years, I never had enough mini-USB cables. I bought new ones, I hoarded the cables I could lay may hands on in various places, etc. Then I finally started to have enough mini-USB cables. And *boom* the tech world started the shift to micro-USB.

        For a few years, I never had a micro-USB cable around when I needed one. I bought new ones, I hoarded the cables I could lay may hands on in various places, and so on. And when I had enough that I no longer had to hunt down a cable when I needed one, the tech companies started with USB-C.

        Now I’m certain that if I buy one or two more USB-C cables – just to make sure that I’ll always have a spare one near at hand – the universe will decide it’s time to phase out USB-C.

        (And I should probably send a few kilograms of USB-B, mini-USB and micro-USB cables to recycling.)

        Liked by 3 people

  1. I have one (very affordable) charger that charges my Macbook Pro, my iPad Pro, my iPhone, and my Apple Watch, all at the same time. I can use the same cable for the Macbook Pro as the iPad…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I forgot to mention that all of my Apple devices, except the 10 year+ Pro tower (which still runs the latest version of my layout, word processing, and image editing software) can all be plugged into the charger that came with my Macbook Pro and be charged… and technically I can charge the Macbook Pro with the charger that came with the iPad Pro… it’s just that it’s output is less than the typical drain with my usual processes, but if I’m not using it, the iPad Pro charge will charge the laptop battery… so… …

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s truly amazing how they keep pretending that first off Star Wars is make or break for Disney, second that earnings on the SW movies didn’t meet projections and so failed (which isn’t true even for Solo,) and third that it’s the movies’ initial box office that’s important and not the billions of money in merchandising including Disney’s incredibly profitable theme parks now infused with Galaxy’s Edge. Star Wars is a continual billion dollar generating franchise even if they never made another movie from it again. But every time they do, that’s another billion minimum on merchandising from it. And that’s just one part of one arrow in Disney’s quiver. They’ve become the Godzilla of Hollywood. They had high costs this year because they bought Fox and absorbed Fox’s debt and all the investment in the streaming services, but that’s basically a blip in their increased revenues and Disney Plus pulled in 10 million subscribers in two days.

    They just all sound so completely out of touch.

    My daughter uses a Mac because she needs it for its abilities with graphics/videos/etc. A lot of younger folks use them because of stuff they are doing. But yes, replacement cords for their stuff are incredibly expensive; it’s a scam.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Really, for years, Disney was (and to a lesser extent still is) primarily a merchandising company that occasionally made new movies so they’d have more things to merchandise. That was one of the things that led to Eisner being hired in the first place, was Disney’s stagnation because the merch was more important than doing anything new.

      For Star Wars… no kidding. I mean, when The Phantom Menace came out, PepsiCo/Yum Brands literally spent a billion dollars on tie-ins by itself. This was not only for the branded Pepsi cans, but for the massive collect and trade game that ran across the primary Yum Brands locations: KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut.

      And I liked Solo, even if it seemed like they deliberately botched the release. Sometimes it’s nice to see something a little more ‘ground level’, and the writers had lots of fun playing with things we knew had to happen, like the bet over the Millenium Falcon…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. @camestrosfelapton:
        Hmm, I hadn’t thought of it that way before, but I can see your point. Amongst other things, Solo was a ‘safe’ movie, playing with audience expectations in the short term but not the long term. It was a well done ‘safe’ movie, but still didn’t really push any boundaries the way The Last Jedi did.

        The Last Jedi had a much longer reach, including adding a bit of meta-commentary on the power of stories, and rather bluntly subverting some of the aspects it borrowed from the obvious parallels with The Empire Strikes Back. How well it achieved that reach is very definitely arguable (in my opinion, parts of it relied a bit too hard on lack of communication and idiot plot, and it could have been tightened up in spots), but it was trying to be something more in a way that The Force Awakens didn’t even try.

        I like them both, albeit for different reasons.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Cam: “They also have to ignore how huge Marvel films were.”

      And there again, it’s not the films and their 600M-1Bil takes; it’s the merchandising, which has been going on for like seventeen years on the Avengerverse alone. Plus the Marvel franchise has long been scattered. The Marvel heroes were found at Universal theme parks because of licensing deals, animated cartoons, etc. Sony deals, Fox deals now under one umbrella, and all of it comes with tie-in temporary merchandise and longer term merchandise from bed sheets to stickers. And the games, my word.

      Disney bought ABC/ESPN and that was a real problem for them for awhile because ESPN was tanking and costing a lot of money, dragging ABC down with it and Disney’s stock price consequently for a few years. But over the long term it has paid off. ESPN is bringing in cash and ESPN streaming has been a growing success. Estimates for Disney’s earnings tend to be wildly overvalued so yeah, they often don’t quite meet “estimates”, but that doesn’t change the fact that their earnings are huge and growing, to the point where their monopoly in film/tv has started to concern many folks.

      And with Disney’s streaming services, they’re bringing seven decades of material they have, letting people binge on them, as well as new content. And with every successful nostalgia binge or discovery of old stuff by younger folk, there’s a whole new wave of merchandising they can do for each show/movie. Already the Mandalorian has produced the potential for several lines of toys, plus just the t-shirt money.

      The side movies like Solo and Rogue One were supposed to be smaller movies that served as placeholders and do about 400-600M in box office. Rogue One blew that out of the water with all their SJW-ness to a billion plus box office. That set an unrealistic benchmark for people about Solo, a film that had run into production problems which ballooned the budget. Then Disney decided to move it to the crowded summer instead of the Christmas slot so as not to be a problem with their big launch of Mary Poppins Returns, and that was of course a disaster and badly marketed. Add in foreign distribution problems and they ended up with a film that almost did the original expected box office but didn’t make much profit. (Personally, while I find Alden Ehrenreich to be a perfectly fine actor who did a nice job, I feel they made the mistake of not wanting to be “matchy-matchy” in not hiring Anthony Ingruber, who did/does an astonishing impression of Ford in Age of Adaline. They could have easily made another 100mil off of him because people would have been freaked out and spread word, getting more viewers.) But in merchandising, Solo is still a bonanza, so Disney’s not particularly worried about it.

      But more importantly, Star Wars is just one piece of the whole. Disney is racking in billions in box office just live actioning/reanimating its animated classics, with again tons of merchandising. If Disney lost Star Wars and Marvel tomorrow, it would still be fine. But while it has Star Wars, it’s doing tons of t.v. shows, games, movies, animated movies, theme park worlds, merchandising, books, comics, music, cruises, ice shows, etc., off of it. The idea that Star Wars is reliant on a small slice of twenty-something white men in North America whose distress at a woman main character makes them throw tantrums is ludicrous.

      But if they whine online, they can get some generalized media coverage and that supposedly is going to turn into corporate gigs, I guess is the plan. Except that the HR departments are supposedly corrupted, (even though the HR departments are one of the main sources of active bigotry in corporations,) so it’s essentially again the underwear gnomes.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s kind of amusing how Beale’s rants about “gamma males pretending to be Secret Kings’ do somewhat explain his rants about wealthy companies actually being destroyed by being “converged” by “SJWs”.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s weird to me how the alt-right hates HR departments because in my experience they protect the company *against* the employees. If that means protect senior management against sexual harassment complaints, that’s what they do. When the problem gets big enough, they separate *one* senior manager to dump all the blame onto, fire him/her, and thereby avoid the company being held responsible for their ‘company culture.’

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  5. Turning to Beale’s “Junior Classics”, the best part of it all is that the entire series that he is reprinting is at Project Gutenberg, so his plan is to have people pay him for something that is available for free.

    Well, I’ve no doubt his hardcover versions will be up to his usual standards.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. His cash cows don’t care if his stuff is available for free. They want to pay for it to show that there’s a demand for it, that Beale and his ilk are more powerful and popular than the libs and SJWs and their fans are the real, true, powerful fans. (See Comicsgate crowdfunding.)

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I think folks on the right, particularly the followers as opposed to the leaders are starting to realise that their so-called boycotts really aren’t working particularly well, and they’ve been lied to, the belief that most people actually agree with them but are secretly hiding it just doesn’t stand up to reality.
    I saw it as well with the Gillette advert last year, a lot of the commentary on the right was how Gilette had essentially committed suicide and that all their customers would abandon them and move to other companies and how they would boycott gilette ultimately causing it to collapse, and this would demonstrate that people hate social justice but that doesn’t seem to have happened.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I do not believe this. Around 20 years ago, I used to have an expression called “the three weeks rule”. Thats how long time it used to take between a newspaper stating one thing, just to suddenly state the absolute opposite as if they had thought the same thing all the time. And no one really paid attention.

      It was kind of fun. I had one favourite islamist in Iraq that was killed around six times, apart from serving time in prison at the same time and also having left the country. And everytime he was killed again, the previous news were forgotten. A politician could support a military coup, a few months later proclaim that they had always been against it, then again being at a meeting presided by the coupleader and so on. The important thing was to go through the movements when needed. And it worked. No one cared about what someone said three weeks ago.

      What has happened the last 5-10 years is that social media has become arenas for political mobilization more than a place for discussing, sharing information and asking for help in the usual small cliques of interest groups. It is no longer interesting what is true, what is interesting is to mobilize. It doesn’t matter if the boycott worked or not. It mobilized some people. Perhaps the next one will mobilize more. If that fails, perhaps the one after that. And so on. There’s no special reason to remember that failed boycott when you instead can remember Al Franken being removed or see the downfall of Harvey Weinstein as a victory over liberals (and then see Weinsteins public appearances also as a victory over liberals).

      There are a lot of people with a lot of time and a lot of anger about society and other people. Truth and falsehood is not interesting for them other than in a general sense, in a vague direction. They mostly want to punish people they feel slighted by or make others more scared about the opinions they voice. If they can make *one* person scared and more quiet, it will give them a sense of power. That is good enough.

      There’s a lot of people on social media with no power outside Twitter. They will take the power and the the likes from there fellows where they can get it. If people do not agree with them and they do not get the love they feel they deserve, hate is another way of being acknowledged as having influence and importance.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Gillette’s sales were fine and they found the campaign to be a success. Their goal was to attract younger consumers and page impressions and they got both. The boomers have shrunk in size as they’ve aged — and have less need to shave/groom, same with the Silents. Gen X is smaller. The Millenials are nearly as large a group as the boomers and they are overtaking them in size as we speak. And Generation Z is already bigger than the boomers. Gillette doesn’t want to be seen as the brand of old, out-dated men clinging to sexist traditions and macho identities that were tired back in the 1960’s. Not that the company and the populace don’t still have a lot of those out-dated attitudes in their lives, but the more obvious ones it makes marketing sense to drop in the marketplace as equality increases in the cultures to which they sell.

      A boycott against a large market trend of large demographic groups isn’t going to do much. By the by, Chick-fil-a has dropped back to a we’ll stop giving money to anti-gay groups, please stop boycotting us in favor of Popeye’s stance. They did it once before and reneged, but still it shows that the market research is telling them that younger buyers are their target and that it doesn’t pay to be seen as the old fogey brand to those younger buyers by pushing out-dated bigotries. They still show up in some commercials (I’m looking at you, KFC,) but there will, of course, be more Gillette like ads in future.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Boycott of the puppy type is never about the company or about the earnings. They are about the individual. About making much noise, forcing people to have meetings to discuss the trouble, sucking energy from people and making someone be seen as a troublemaker. That kind of action works. It quiets people. Hinders careers. Not because of a big company noticing it, but because of a middle manager getting irritated on having to spend time on it that he could have used for something else.

        I think most companies are more used to this now. It is the post-gamergate society where campaigns and mobilizations appear and disappear at a moments notice. It is a constant background noise from all directions and it can be totally unexpected what people will suddenly rally around,

        My guess is that all bigger companies today rents services that monitors known shit-stirrers on the internet and thus will be notified when a group starts with a campaign, together with getting a report about the group and how large it and its reach is. They won’t care. But a person who sees their name being spread on the internet will react differently, especially if it is the first time. A whisper game at the speed of fiber, with loose sentences from years old posts added to the stone soup. That can be really scary and make you think until next time.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well yeah, it isn’t about taking down a giant global corporation like Proctor & Gamble or a smaller one like Chik-fil-a (which apparently is trying to expand in Europe, so is pretending to stop supporting persecution of gay people to do so.) It’s about saying that they are powerful and will hurt you if you stand up for equal civil rights so that you have a culture of repression continue.

        To them, if you stand up for equal civil rights, you are a “bully” so they are justified in trying to harm you and scare you into silence.

        If you stand up for equal civil rights, you are a scheming, insincere liar, so they are justified in trying to harm you and scare you into silence.

        If you stand up for equal civil rights, you are a thief, an extremist, uncivil, mean, etc., so they are justified in trying to harm you and scare you into silence.

        If you exist in a demographic group they’ve targeted for harassment and discrimination, they are always justified in trying to harm you and scare you into silence. You are not supposed to have the idea that you can talk back to them about your rights.

        It’s a display and an identity marker. And sometimes profitable.

        Liked by 3 people

  7. Back around 1980 when I was the Media Chair for GLAAD in San Francisco, I remember negotiating with Burger King over them capitulating to a boycott by one of those homophobic “Family Values” groups. BK had quietly told them it wouldn’t run commercials on shows that had gay characters, and the anti-gay group had made a big deal out of it.

    As Media Chair, it was my job to collect information, and, in particular, give BK a chance to respond.

    The challenge was getting to the right person. The first person I got was rather unhelpful, so I told him we were thinking of holding a protest in which people with AIDS would handcuff themselves inside one of their restaurants, after which, “No one will eat at any Burger King in the Bay Area because they won’t remember which one it was.” His response is probably better imagined than described. (N.B. there’s no way the Response Chair would have ever agreed to stage a protest that catered to AIDS-phobia. This was purely a bluff on my part.)

    However, after he wound down, he put me on hold for a minute or two, and then Gary Langstaff, Senior VP of marketing at Burger King got on the line with me. He calmly explained how this had happened, and he admitted they’d never been able to measure any financial impact from the “boycott” but that this was really just to get those guys to go away; Burger King itself wasn’t really homophobic. And he asked me if that was good enough.

    I told him, no, we’d still need to do a protest because all that mattered was the public perception–not the facts.

    Man, I would have thought Burger King would do a better job of hiring people who can keep their cool! He raved for a bit and threatened legal action. I told him our lawyers were Petit and Martin in San Francisco, and that they represented us pro bono, so from our point of view, a lawsuit would be a great opportunity to get more press attention to the subject.

    He snorted. Laughed. And said, “You know, I’m always lecturing to my marketing people that perception is everything. I should listen to my own advice. Okay, let me think about it and give me a call in a couple of days.” And he gave me his direct number.

    Sure enough, they proposed a press release contradicting the fundamentalists, stating that Burger King does not discriminate in advertising based on the sexual orientation of the actors or the roles they portray. We took them up on it and declared victory.

    The moral of that story is that even in 1980, even for a cause as unpopular as gay civil rights, you could still make a difference if you played your cards right. I can’t believe it’s more difficult today.

    Liked by 1 person

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