Debarkle Chapter 17: Vox Day’s Gamma Game

[Content warning: this chapter discusses some extreme political views that were expressly anti-women and also themes around sexual assault. In general, I’ll avoid direct links to extremist sites and use links to critics, in particular Rational Wiki and David Futrelle’s ‘We Hunted The Mammoth’ ]

By 2010, Vox Day had experimented with a number of different roles including being a musician, running a video game company, being a columnist/pundit and writing Christian fantasy novels[1]. A new decade would take him into a new sphere: the world of Pick-Up Artistry.

As discussed in earlier chapters, Day had for some time been overtly anti-feminist and pushed an ideological stance that argued directly against votes for women. However, this kind of overtly ideological misogyny was just one of a number of different forms of online misogyny. Others included:

  • a long running “Men’s Rights” movement which promulgated the idea that men were being discriminated against by things such as equal pay legislation or in divorce courts and custody battles.
  • “involuntary celibate” or “incel” online communities of disaffected men who believed they were being denied access to sex.
  • misogyny within other male-orientated online spaces including bodybuilding and martial arts.
  • communities offering dating advice for men and specifically the field of “pick-up artistry” (PUA) i.e. advice and tips on how to persuade women to have sex.[2]

In 2008, Day began to feature posts from the blog “Chateau Heartiste”[3] run by a blogger known as Roissy (aka ‘Roissy in DC’)[4]. Among the many ideas current within these spaces was the quasi-scientific idea of ‘alpha males’[5] and sexual hierarchies. In the context of these PUA spaces, the idea was (heterosexual) men who project the attitudes and appearance of alpha-males would be perceived as more attractive. Roissy’s pick-up advice was to be bold and assertive like an ‘alpha’ rather than weak like a ‘beta’. Day thought he could improve upon this simple (if confused) classification.

In January 2010 in response to a post by Roissy, Day presented on his blog are more complex “sexual-social hierarchy”.

“I’m not claiming that this hierarchy is science or incontrovertible fact, it’s merely the lens through which I tend to view the current sexual-social hierarchy. I think it is a little more broadly useful from a theoretical perspective than the Game construct, even if it is less immediately applicable from a tactical point of view.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20100202105039/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2010/01/roissy-and-limits-of-game.html

In Day’s scheme there were Alphas (natural leaders), Betas (natural lieutenants), Deltas (most men), Gammas (a nerd stereotype), Lambdas (gay men), Omegas (wholly socially dysfunctional men) and also Sigmas. This additional category was one Day had carved out for himself — like Alphas but “lone wolf” types who are just too cool to get involved with the whole thing. It was, of course, nonsense — sociology based on watching American high-school shows[6] and regarding character cliches as deep truths about human behaviour.

In 2011, Day began a new spin-off blog project dedicated to what pick-up artists call “Game” i.e. the strategies and techniques for picking up women. Despite the common theme of misogyny, it was still an odd choice for Day given his overt Christian beliefs, his apparent long-term and happy marriage and his traditionalist morals. It is reasonable to assume (although hard to establish) that this new blog (entitled “Alpha Game”) was an attempt to draw in people from the already right-leaning PUA communities.

Day led off with a revised version of his renamed “socio-sexual hierarchy” and in general, his own posts on the blog would revolve around showing how his hierarchy applied in different circumstances or more general anti-feminism and misogyny. For more specific PUA tips (including complex flow charts on how to chat-up women), other bloggers would write posts. The blog content would often be highly disturbing, particularly when related to questions of consent and the topic of rape. Other times, the posts would be more cringe inducing descriptions of supposedly effective techniques. Some posts managed to be unintentionally disturbing in a whole other ways such as this account by Day that starts by a swimming pool:

“I was sitting by myself near the side of the pool the other day, safely ensconced in shadows. Everyone in my party was otherwise occupied, sliding down the water slide or splashing about in the pool. Seeing I was apparently unaccompanied, a pretty little blonde wearing a red bikini approached me, drawn insensibly to my masculine presence. I nodded to her and she was so forward as to sit down next to me, before addressing me in French.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20111201013042/https://alphagameplan.blogspot.com/2011/06/effortless-appeal.html

The ‘twist’ in the story (I assume meant to parody some of the accounts on the blog as well as make a point about jealousy) is that the ‘blonde’ is a three-year old and the encounter is wholly innocent[7].

Roissy (sometimes named for his blog Chateau Heartiste) himself promoted a range of disturbing views on women including appearance, making them feel insecure, opposition to contraception, “ephebophilia”, as well as promoting racism and opposition to women’s suffrage[8]. For Day, the emphasis on ‘Game’ was a pillar to his overtly ideological misogyny. He regarded the very fate of Western Civilisation to be at the mercy of women’s libido:

“The logic is impeccable. Consider:
1. IF women are permitted to have sex with whomever they please.
2. AND women show an observable preference to have sex with men who do not exhibit civilization-building or civilization-maintaining behaviors.
3. THEN men will increasingly cease to engage in civilization-building or civilization-maintaining behaviors.
After that, it’s just a matter of time before the civilization collapses and it’s back to the barbarism of mud huts, rape, and pillage. Or, alternatively, preventative action is taken regarding points (1) and (2). Which one is more feasible? Women often like to angrily demand of men of sufficient foresight if they want to control women’s sexuality. That’s the wrong and irrelevant question. The correct one is: do you like electricity, a reliable food supply, and the ability to live peaceably without having to shoot strangers on sight?”

https://web.archive.org/web/20170923042123/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2012/03/roissy-tells-murray-to-man-up.html

Aside from criticising Charles “Bell Curve” Murray for not being racist enough, the central aspect of Roissy’s views that attracted Day was this idea of ‘Game’ (in the PUA sense) as a kind of rules-lawyering or psychological hack or weapon in Day’s political conflict with women. At his main blog he would quote Roissy approvingly:

That women’s behavior can be so analyzed means that women’s actions can be predicted, and subsequently that men with this knowledge can tailor their behavior to get the most out of their interactions with women. Knowledge is a powerful thing, and knowing what’s up does, in fact, shift the balance of sexual power in men’s direction by removing the inscrutability and whimsy that has been the prerogative of women since time immemorial. Game means that it is no longer simply a matter of dumb luck when men get sex and love.

Day quoting Roissy https://web.archive.org/web/20160113182630/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2011/03/patient-explanation.html

And would go on to say:

“Game is no more limited to use by pick-up artists in night clubs than a screwdriver is limited to use by murderers in stabbing someone to death. Unless you seriously wish to deny that a) female behavior falls into patterns and is predictable to some degree, or b) knowledge of those patterns can be useful to men in a variety of applications, logic dictates that Game will be of use to nearly every man on the planet.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20160113182630/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2011/03/patient-explanation.html

Day even applied this notion in his fiction. His 2012 epic fantasy (Romans meet elves & orcs) Throne of Bones[9] was also intended to demonstrate his stance that the unfettered sexuality of women would lead to social collapse:

“In Selenoth, human women have even less power over the world and themselves than they do in Westeros. This is because in Roman society, women had one primary role, which was to produce heirs for the noble families and soldiers for the legions. And they benefited greatly from being kept to that role, since Rome became vastly wealthy and featured lifespans that were not again witnessed until the last 50 years of the modern scientific era. By contrast, elven women have considerable autonomy and their societies are demographically dying as a result. Their long lives and powerful magic help mitigate this, to a degree, but the historical trend is readily apparent to Man and Elf alike.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20121211082412/http://alphagameplan.blogspot.com/2012/12/its-not-historical-if-its-not-sexist.html

Day goes on to claim that sexism isn’t cultural but a kind of logical inevitability, almost (but never quite) grasping the idea that economic and social conditions impact culture.

I’ll pause here for a moment to touch on a deeper issue about ideological racism and sexism. There are two fallacies that will come into play when looking at political extremism. The first is one I associate with libertarianism which is that all political extremism is indistinguishable or can be judged primarily by the outcomes of regimes based on extreme ideologies (e.g. comparing body counts for Stalin versus Hitler). The second is similar but one I associate with liberalism and is rooted in the Whig view of history as remorselessly progressive[10], which sees extreme views as objectionable but essentially harmless. For example, in Chapter 8[11] Day’s expressed views on women were seen as appalling but essentially laughable — after all, in modern America, nobody was going to successfully turn back the clock on women’s suffrage. Drawing a false equivalence or dismissing some extremism as objectionable crankery runs the very real danger of ignoring the immediate harm and danger within the views — the harm that occurs within the existing social and political structures.

Day’s cranky positions on women not cutting their hair[12] might be dismissed as a kind of historical throwback but they were part and parcel of views that portrayed women as the main cause of sexual violence and which portrayed women as people who habitually lied about sexual violence. As early as 2008, Day was saying:

“I don’t think it has occurred to many young women that the not uncommon act of saying one thing and doing another not only has the potential to turn would-be Nice Guys into Sexual Predators as is described in the linked article, it not infrequently has the effect of teaching young men to ignore absolutely everything that comes out of a woman’s mouth.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20160112232137/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2008/11/circle-of-bitterness.html

And by 2010 was saying on his own blog:

“And what did you expect the male reaction would be to the feminist attempt to transform every form of sex that falls short of explicit written consent confirmed by ex post facto notarization by a third party into rape anyway? If rape has become a joke to men; it is only because women, specifically feminist women, have made it so. For example, it would take a heart of stone not to find vast amusement in Amynda’s tale of her terrifying “near-rape” experience that involved neither rape nor actual sex.

It is simply absurd to pretend that no doesn’t often mean yes. There is an abundance of evidence proving otherwise. And there’s a word for men who take women at their collective word with regards to matters of sex, romance, and love. The word is “lonely”. Or, if you prefer, “loser”. Women aren’t particularly attracted to nice men who treat them well, they’re primarily attracted to bastards who don’t give a damn about them, who simply want to nail them and nail them hard.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20160113180216/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2010/01/mailvox-in-fairness-you-do-prefer-bad.html

Day would actively promote the idea that women had essentially alien thinking[13] and that most claims of rape were untrue[14] as well as claiming that in general women respond in a “sexually positive manner” to violent male dominance[15]. Day and Day’s AlphaGame blog would repeatedly portray men as blameless victims of false accusations of sexual and physical assault, while portraying women as duplicitous and manipulative people who have to be dominated and manipulated both for a man’s own self worth and for the sake of civilisation.

Day’s gender-essentialism dovetailed with his racial essentialism mixing America’s old fears of miscegenation with modern internet culture. His socio-sexual hierarchy also led him to his trademark insult: “gamma” i.e. a weak, insufficiently masculine man who is easily dominated by women and other men but who (as a consequence) is resentful and whiny (Day, once again, substituting a lazy character cliche for a psychological theory). Added to “gamma” was Day’s interest in the out-dated “r/K” biological model of animal reproductive strategy. In Day’s version, some men are wolves (linking back to the discredited notion of alpha-male wolves) and some men are rabbits (in various ways inferior).

Meanwhile, Day was still pushing forward with his role as a presence within the science-fiction & fantasy writing community. John Scalzi’s blog remained a very popular site and many established and would-be authors (as well as fans in general) would comment on posts. Frequently, the comment sections would be much longer and more involved discussions than the posts themselves — particularly as Scalzi was busy with an active writing career and as President of the SFWA. With lengthy comment threads needing active moderation, Scalzi would often have to deploy the metaphorical “ban hammer” and with Vox Day often posting provocative comments, Scalzi was forced to deal with him.

Day was also finding allies within the SFWA. John Scalzi and the Vice-President Mary Robinette Kowal were pressing forward with structural reforms as well as looking at issues such as institutional sexism. We’ll look at this in more detail in later chapters but for the moment what is relevant is that Day’s extreme views were seen by some as an anti-feminist bulwark against encroaching ‘political correctness’. Day was gaining attention as well as some kudos by baiting John Scalzi on Scalzi’s own blog.

In October 2012 John Scalzi wrote a powerfully disturbing post entitled “A Fan Letter to Certain Conservative Politicians”[17] which was written from the perspective of a rapist who was celebrating the rhetoric and policies of some Republican politicians. Scalzi would later explain his thinking behind the post:

“The predicate cause, I think clearly to most people who are following politics these days, was Indiana senatorial candidate Richard Mourdoch opening his mouth wide enough to stuff in everything below his belt regarding abortion and rape during his debate the other night. It was the cherry on top of a whole summer of general stupidity regarding rape emanating from (as I delicately put it) certain conservative candidates, and I’d pretty much had enough of it at this point.”

https://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/10/28/a-few-process-notes-on-fan-letter/

Scalzi deploying irony and satire to criticise conservative attitudes towards sexual violence inevitably drew a reaction from Vox Day. However, the use of satire appears to have cause some confusion for Day with him initially appearing to take Scalzi literally. The subsequent amendments to Day’s response as people explained Scalzi’s post to him were captured by another blogger Joe McKen:

“Yes, it appears that ol’ Vox found it perfectly unexceptional that a minor celebrity and a prominent icon in the sci-fi realm would out and announce his love of sexual assault on his well-trafficked website. Methinks Mensa needs to reconsider its membership criteria. But after having the eye-searingly obvious pointed out to him by some commenters, Vox rushed to revamp his post about half-a-dozen times (according to the number of times I refreshed my browser to see it had again changed)”

http://preliatorcausa.blogspot.com/2012/10/27-vox-day-co-dont-get-satire-or-basic-decency-3892.html

We can’t know Day’s internal state of mind but he would then post about (to varying degrees) John Scalzi on October 28, November 19, November 23 (twice – at Vox Populi and at Alpha Game), November 27, December 10 (again twice – at Vox Populi and at Alpha Game), December 13 and so on. The complaints were numerous about Scalzi being a “gamma” (or in Roissy’s scheme a “Beta”) about the relative web traffic, about Scalzi’s work being derivative or mediocre, about “rabbit people”. As we will see, this carried on for long after 2012, revealing in itself the dangers of declaring one man a “gamma” whilst placing yourself near or at the top of a hierarchy of masculinity and then finding yourself with an apparent idée fixe[18] on the supposed “gamma”.

December would bring a different explanation (or outcome, depending on how we see cause and effect in these events) for Day’s frequent Scalzi-themed posts.

“Yesterday, I sent a notice to the SFWA’s head of the election committee, announcing that I am running for the office of president of the organization.  It is highly unlikely that I will win, of course, but I would like to be able to say that I at least attempted to do my part to salvage an organization that is speeding rapidly into irrelevance.

One reason I am running is to restore the independence of what appears to have become a captive house award that Tor Books authors give themselves on an annual basis.  This may not be the case, but the statistical evidence suggests that there has been considerable corruption in the awards process in the past and that the 2010 rules changes have actually made the problem worse.

The other reason can be seen in these two quotes by its current president, the Tor Books author John Scalzi.  He condemned himself in the very words with which he criticized his predecessor, Michael Capobianco back in 2007.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20130103033420/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2012/12/a-candidacy-is-announced.html

Was the feud simply a means to get attention for a Presidential bid or was the Presidential bid just an extension of Day’s increasingly one sided feud? It is hard to tell but among the reasons Day cited for running was that John Scalzi moderates his own personal blog:

“Scalzi is also a fascist ideologue who actively attempts to shut down all debate he personally finds distressing at every opportunity.  Consider the way in which he proudly declared that in 2012, he managed to avoid permitting anyone to present facts or arguments that might have disturbed the tender sensitivities of the rabbity readers at Whatever.”

ibid[19]

Of the twelve paragraphs in Day’s post, nine were either about, referred to or were quotes from John Scalzi. So whatever Day’s actual motives his post had many of the features of a personal grudge. However, Day also presented a kind of ideological call to arms:

“Now, it should be made clear that John Scalzi is not the problem with the SFWA, he is merely one of the symptoms of the ideological disease that has been gradually killing science fiction and fantasy in the print world for the last thirty years. Thanks to technology, SF/F will survive, but not in its traditional form if its self-appointed gatekeepers continue to stress mediocrity and ideological conformity over the dangerous new visions that once characterized it.”

ibid

Day had appointed himself the champion to fight the left and save science fiction. It was a declaration of a war that would last nearly five years.

Next Time: America goes to the polls again and this time Obama must fight Mitt Romney


Footnote

73 thoughts on “Debarkle Chapter 17: Vox Day’s Gamma Game

  1. Originally, this was going to be more a back-and-forth between John Scalzi and Day. Some of that material will appear in later chapters and the intent was always to introduce a starting point for both the subsequent SFWA fight and the on-going Day rants about Scalzi and Scalzi’s deft put-downs. They’ll be seasoning in later chapters.

    As with some earlier topics, I’ve not included some appalling things Day has said in this chapter. Some will appear later when timing or topic is appropriate. Limiting what I quote from Day to specific times is intended to show what a reader AT THAT TIME could reasonably conclude about Day and his views. I think that’s important when it comes to the SP2 slate. In short, Day said worse things since but even by 2014, what he was saying was appalling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think probably Cam should ask her permission before using it, but agree it is a fabulous quote.

      Also, I think the facts in the link Stefan had should be worked in either parenthetically or footnotedly wherever the word “wolf” is mentioned. At least this time, if not every time. As in “[x] See footnote [y] of chapter 17. Again.”

      But it has to be mentioned at least once, to show how far off Teddy and his dead elk are from reality. Particularly since he/they claim it’s all to do with biology.

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  2. Have I missed something, or shouldn’t this be Chapter 17?

    I mean, I wouldn’t blame the part of your brain that deals with numbers and logic for going on strike when dealing with the source material here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 1. the part of my brain that deals with numbers is distinct from the part that deals with logic and mathematics
      2. I just messed up the numbering – actually I messed it up twice because I initially forgot to put the chapter number on altogether and then fixed it hurriedly

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  3. I’ve long had the impression that Day’s one-sided feud with Scalzi started with a woefully unsuccessful attempt to troll the comments at Making Light, well before 2010. I don’t know how easy it would be to track down a reference, though – or if you’ve covered that elsewhere?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well, I was trying to read this chapter, but my eyes just kept glazing over at every new rambling from Beale. I do hope I’m not missing something I’m expected to know for the following chapters.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Scalzi really, really gets under his and all Puppies for being a white male of a certain age being really successful writing SF whereas they will never, never be even marginally successful doing so so. (Larry being the exception. Occasionally.) That he’s liberal only makes it worse. Much worse.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. As regards his two ambitions for A Throne of Bones, allow me to state he failed on both counts. I’ve actually done a readthrough of all his Selenoth fiction on a prominent bboard (having acquired the entire series for free thanks to his useless attempt to game Kindle’s bestseller’s lists). It is all kinds of awful in every conceivable way, and only gets worse with each book. It’s wretched on a craft level, wretched politically, wretched spiritually–just wretched. And if I repeat myself, well, so does Beale. Indeed, as I wound quite fond of saying in my readthrough, one of his calling cards is dull repetition. Dull repetition.

    Oh, and in a grand example of the biggest flaw of TVtropes, his fans have done a page there for the series that counts close to gaslighting wherein they try to pretend the books are good and that their politics aren’t as awful as they are.

    Like

    1. I stopped after book one (which would be one book too late, then.) But I have to agree, the main problem with “A Throne of Bones” is that it’s deathly dull, drably and wretchedly written. There are some very nasty sociopolitical ideas in it, if you think about it, but one tiny benefit of the brain-numbing tedium of Beale’s prose is that it’s very hard to think about it… it just doesn’t feel worth making the effort.

      It’s important, I think, to bear this in mind when considering the Puppy claims to be interested mainly in good, old-fashioned story telling – the discrepancy between “good storytelling” and “Puppy output” is very, very clear, and rarely clearer than in Beale’s case. And it illustrates, in my opinion, the sense of sheer *entitlement* behind the Puppies. Beale quite clearly feels he is due all the plaudits and awards that (for example) George R.R. Martin was getting… but he’s not prepared to put in any of the effort that Martin did. Most of the problems with Beale’s writing are *fixable* – you read widely and note how other writers have handled things, you sit down and work with a critique group or an editor, you work at *developing* your writing skills – because they are learned skills, for the most part, and they can *be* developed. If you put in the time and the effort. Which Beale is quite clearly unwilling to do.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Well put. One of the remarkable things about reading the series from its beginnings–Book 1 is proceeded by a group of short stories and novellas that are collected in “Book 0”–is it shows the continued decline of Beale as a writer. The early short fiction is bad–sometimes, very bad–but sometimes shows some raw potential. The first book proper in the series is a misshapen mess made worse by Beale’s throwing cliched subplots that have nothing really to do with the main story. The second book is an incomplete misshapen mess that sees him almost abandon the only parts of the story that showed any potential to focus on the most cliched ideas in the last book, while putting his objectionable politics front and center. He does try and imitate other authors, but in almost cargo-cultish manner, assembling the raw form of things he’s read elsewhere, while not understanding how it all works. With no real ability to accept and learn from honest criticism, Beale’s not only stagnating as a writer, he’s rotting.

        Oh, yes, about something you noted in your reviews–he does finally attempt to write an action scene with sentence fragments in the second book. It’s quite awful, really.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. There was also the early Beale that had the angel in it. Someone did a reading of it and Beale thought it was unfair that the person reviewed that book instead of A Throne of Bones.
      My opion (I have only read the two readings) is that the early Beale does sound less awful than A Throne of Bones.
      And a lot of stuff is fixable, but it would a) need Beale to agree that it should be fixed, but I don’t think his ego would allow it b) someone thinking it there was somethink in it, that it interesting enough that the work is worth it.
      What I don’t understand is that there are people who are fans of his and some who call himself his minions, for this?
      Sometimes I ask myself, should I feel sorry for them that the read stuff that is that bad.

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  6. How long has Red-Blooded-‘Merican Teddy been living in Commie Europe, anyway?

    I guess as he’s been married for quite a while and has children by only his wife, he’s not much of a PUA, or alpha, or xi, or whatever bullshit he’s spouting here. Looking pretty darn gamma, Teddy.

    Of course, being so fixated on another, more successful man looks kinda… lambda.

    I am the proud owner of a Gamma Rabbit t-shirt, BTW. It’s comfy.

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  7. The PUAs are deeply pro-rape and the scam artists who would milk them would openly brag about raping women, they like to make date rape drugs jokes, etc. They were the first really easily scammable group of what would eventually be termed the alt right.

    Beale, from all that’s come up about him, seems to have spent years flitting from one of these groups to another, one issue to another, trying to raise clout in the right wing mediasphere and pundit areas. And he’s had modest success in it, enough to have gotten some Gamergaters to come play for the Puppies and to get one of his ideas become PUA slang. So it’s not surprising that he tried to make a name for himself with the PUA and then with whatever big campaign or issue was going on.

    He did not, however, get very far in SFF with it until Larry brought him in on the Puppies. He was treated mainly as a joke once he wore out his welcome of people first trying to be fair to him and then finding out his performative bigotry. (The Gamma Rabbit charity drive was a great deal of fun on Whatever.)

    It might be of some importance here to note that when he ran for SFWA president, he wasn’t simply trying to go after Scalzi but also very pointedly N.K. Jemisin, a woman author very much on the rise. Those efforts helped lead to Jemisin’s famous convention speech that mentioned Beale’s campaign which led to Beale hijacking the official SFWA twitter account to call her a bigoted slur and get himself kicked out of SFWA. And it was his getting kicked out of SFWA over Jemisin that led Larry to bring Beale into his 2014 Puppies campaign.

    I think it’s important to note here that while obviously there is a lot of stuff with Scalzi and with some other white authors, the Puppies were very focused on being against authors of color, with a side helping of homophobia. When you drill down past all the changing rationalizations and manifestos of the Puppies (as opposed to just Larry’s I want a Hugo nomination stuff), it came down to a core of resentment that authors of color were doing slightly better in the field and getting Hugo nominations, that marginalization was lessening and this somehow meant (white) conservatives weren’t getting what they supposedly deserved. Ken Liu, Ted Chiang, Nnedi Okorafor, Victor LaValle, Alyssa Wong, Jemisin, Sofia Samatar, John Chu, P. Djeli Clark, Nalo Hopkinson, as well as white authors deemed radical like Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant, Ann Leckie and Rachel Swirsky, make up only a small percentage in lists still dominated by white men, but they were what the Puppies pointed at to declare all that was wrong with the Hugos/SFF. Scalzi was added mainly as cover and because of Beale’s personal animosity. And because he didn’t really fit the mold of what they were talking about, that did end up hurting them in trying to win conservative author and fan support.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, nobody but Teddy ever understood what Scalzi was doing on that list.

      And in concord with Teddy being 180 degrees away from reality… how’d going after NKJ work out for him as opposed to how it worked out for her?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. The funny think is Nora was a winner that did not really take part in that war. There are others I see as winners, some who participated in it, but did neither win or lose and some big losers, ak. most entusiastic puppies.
        Day is now gone from writing and publishing fiction, but I am not sure that this is a consequence of the Puppy War.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. The alpha/beta/gamma stuff makes Day sound ginormously nerdy, like he’s breaking down the D&D magic-user class into multiple sub-specialties.
    While I was aware of his loathsomeness his misogyny and rape apology show he’s even worse than I knew (though nothing about it surprises me).

    Liked by 3 people

    1. There’s also his misogynistic hatred of interracial relationships or as he calls it “coal burning”, and yes, I felt dirty just writing that, where he has suggested that woman who have such relationships get their faces scarred with acid. Because it’s all about maintaining civilization, under Beale’s definition of the word, which most of us probably would dispute as counting as… well, the real thing.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Huh. Wait. Isn’t BT’s wife in that category? Why is BT seeming to be best buds with VD? Or is this just “inconsistent puppies being inconsistent?”.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. VD overtly attacked Christian couples adopting kids from other countries even though his star author John C Wright did. Did that earn him a long-winded rebuttal from Wright? Nope.

        VD overtly objects to immigrants from Southern Europe to the USA *and* their descendants from having a say in US politics. Did that earn him a fisk from Larry Corriea? Nope.

        When Utah Republicans where sceptical about Trump in 2016, the Vox Populi comment section was full of virulent anti-Mormon comments including genocidal ones. Did that get him any kind of reaction from Larry or Brad? Nope.

        Really only Hoyt has pushed back at Day post-Puppies and that was only once he was directly attacking her BY NAME. Did the united voices of Baen authors or Sad Puppies rush to her defence and criticise Beale then? Nope.

        Day’s contempt for the right exceeds his hatred of the left and within his masculinity framework, he has a point. They just keep letting him treat them like shit and they still, to this day, will avoid (or at worse temper) criticizing him.

        Liked by 4 people

      3. VD overtly objects to immigrants from Southern Europe to the USA *and* their descendants from having a say in US politics.
        The irony of someone who lives in Italy and shrieks “Aristotle!” at every opportunity espousing this view is of course completely lost on Teddy.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. I think Puppies:Teddy as Maga: Tr*mp.

        He continually goes against everything they are, but they still defend him — even more than Tr*mp, who at least tossed them a bone now and again.

        Braddles’ cheerful acquiescence to Teddy’s constant hatred for people with the skin tone of his wife and children is the most mysterious. JCW was dependent on Teddy to get published, but BT was appearing regularly in legit mags like Asimov’s and Analog. LC was probably not worried because he has his security blankie guns.

        But if I had kids, and my husband eagerly publicly supported someone who thought the children and I weren’t even human, the husband would have found himself out on the lawn with divorce papers. MAYBE he could come back in some day by recanting everything everywhere, but he’d still be sleeping on the couch.

        Fortunately, my husband is neither racist, sexist, homophobic, or an asshole.
        (Seriously. I’ve had many a single friend ask if she could clone him.)

        Liked by 3 people

      5. Cam, your reply to Ingvar is a fine summary. You should think seriously about including it in the text proper.

        Maybe Puppies: Teddy as GOP politicians: Tr*mp. They all voted not to impeach him (twice) and refuse to speak out against him even though he’s no longer in office.

        Difference being that Maga’s can vote anti-tr*mp GOP types off the gravy train, whereas Teddy can’t keep anyPuppy from self-publishing.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Outrage on the Right is again performative, showing that you’re better than those who advocate for equal civil rights and progressive policies and claiming to be unfairly attacked by them. So for the Puppies, all the stuff that Beale said that was outrageously violent and bigoted was just theater to piss people off and assert superiority — said ability then making them superior and righteous. That was in fact Larry’s stated rationale for bringing Beale in as a nomination on his Puppy slate and part of his voting bloc — that Beale had said exaggerated stuff that was just trash talk and no one should really get that upset about, that he’d been unfairly ousted from SFWA for trash talking a prominent black woman author and so should join Larry to get their revenge against those people doing well at all.

        And he had a mob that could be used both for votes for their aims and to set at and harass the white women and BIPOC authors they decided to defame. But when that mob started getting a lot of negative press from the regular media as a Gamergate offshoot and they didn’t get the backing they were hoping for from the established name, more conservative authors, they tried to create an artificial separation between them and Beale and started blaming any problems on the Rabids. Mostly they just wanted to avoid Beale’s mob being set on them instead of others. And that’s how they’ve been through the years — they’re scared of him mainly. Only if he really comes after them are they going to take any counter stance. He was able to take over the Puppies’ campaign from Brad’s control because he literally had the man power to do it.

        Liked by 2 people

      7. @lurkertype

        re: JCW depending on Beale

        As far as I remember this is self-inflicted. He was at Tor, didn’t sell too badly but got further and further entangled in the whole mess. Then Beale tried to boycott Tor. Usual grandstanding, usual outlandish claims, usual rationalizations and fake math to proof that he was winning. JCW supported Beale. Against his own publisher. Finally Wright’s editor died and Tor and Wright parted ways.

        And this is how we got here. Wright now depends on dubious enterprises like Castalia House, Superversive Press etc. and self-publishing or patreon.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. @Chris M:
        It is worse for Wright, Castalia House, Superversive Press have stopped publishing, if I remember correctly. Wright is one of the masters of selfinflicted wounds. He is one of the only persons he turned a Nomination for an award into a disaster for himself.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Yeah, Wright was actually fairly respected as a well known mid-list author. And he just decided to throw it away for Beale’s feud with people at Tor, which then left him dependent on Beale and maybe Baen Books. I guess when you are older and terrified of queer people, that makes some sort of twisted sense.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Kat Goodwin: Yeah, Wright was actually fairly respected as a well known mid-list author. And he just decided to throw it away for Beale’s feud with people at Tor

        I think there’s more to it than that. It’s my understanding, from people who read them, that JCW’s early books were actually pretty readable — but after he had his heart attack and took a hard turn into right-wing nuttery, his writing quality dropped significantly. I think it’s quite possible that he knew, by 2015, that his career at Tor was, for all intents and purposes, over. His last two books with Tor came out in 2016 and 2017, which means that they were already in the pipeline by 2015, and I suspect that he’d already been told that they wouldn’t be contracting for any further books with him after that.

        Like

    2. My question re JCW is when he started wearing the hat. Was there some sort of correlation of hat-wearing and mind-losing? Is there even (!) a possible causation relationship? I think I read his first book for Tor, and kinda went ‘meh’. I started trying to read his second book, which came out around the same time as his conversion to Catholicism, bounced off of it, and never bothered with anything else.

      Bored and marginally-inquisititive minds want to know whether there’s some serious hat-linkage here or not.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I haven’t been commenting enough on this heroic endeavour, but it continues to rate highly on the Morbid Fascination Scale. Rather than offer piecemeal fixes I’d be glad to proofread the first ebook draft when it’s ready.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. First, I admire your stamina in wading through this garbage. I wouldn’t do it on a bet.

    Second, I’ve always thought that one of the minor truths in this whole thing was that, if you were going to choose an enemy to go after, you should probably pick someone who wouldn’t later become fantastically successful. I think Vox, being ridiculously self-confident, thought that Scalzi would fade away and he, Vox, would become famous and admired. Then, as Scalzi went on to triumph after triumph, we got the spectacle of Vox trying to rationalize away every success he had. The best part was when Scalzi got a huge advance from Tor books, and Vox claimed that Scalzi had made the wrong decision by accepting it. Apparently he should have gone for self-publishing instead, where he would make even more money, just like Vox was doing (though we have yet to see the money appear).

    So I guess my takeaway is that Vox’s writing is vile and repugnant, leavened by moments of unintentional humor. Or vice versa.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Particularly since Scalzi was already pretty successful. With toastmastering a Worldcon, creating the Hugo Packet, several Hugo nominations/wins (Redshirts, God Engines, Shadow War etc, Your Hate Mail… Zoe’s Tale, Last Colony, Fan Writer, Old Man’s War, Campbell-Astounding, etc etc) and I can’t be bothered to look any farther in the Hugos or at the Nebulas.

      So Teddy was basically riding Scalzi’s coat tails to get publicity for himself. If he’d fixated on a nobody, he wouldn’t have gotten any attention.

      This, like most of Teddy’s sooper geenyus plans, backfired — spectacularly in the case of the massive advance and guarantee from Tor. Which also continues to exist profitably. But I agree that Teddy trying to explain why this was a massive mistake was delightful. We should all fail so badly as to be guaranteed 10 years of work and $2.4M.

      Also, becoming internet famous for taping bacon to your cat is pretty neat.

      And this Tweet also hits some of it:

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s interesting because Scalzi really doesn’t ape Heinlein that much. Yes he writes space opera but so more writers than can be comfortably listed here and some of them are as close to playing off Heinlein as he is. Like it or not, Heinlein’s writing style *is* unique. Mercifully.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. My bad, Mr. Dailliard.

        Though Teddy’s wounds are mostly imaginary, he has a couple that are self-inflicted.

        And it’s not like he needs the money anyway, he’s living extremely comfortably as a remittance man.

        Much like the Scrappy JDA, who doesn’t need the money either. A cursory glance into the self-pwning Worldcon lawsuit documents shows he lives in a VERY expensive neighborhood, works for a feelthy-rich rentier company, and went to a top-flight and expensive university. He ain’t never missed a meal either.

        Unlike Scalzi, who probably can tell you what government cheese tastes like (and how to put it in some unholy burrito).

        Liked by 1 person

  11. @Cat:

    “It’s interesting because Scalzi really doesn’t ape Heinlein that much. Yes he writes space opera but so more writers than can be comfortably listed here and some of them are as close to playing off Heinlein as he is. Like it or not, Heinlein’s writing style *is* unique. Mercifully.”

    Scalzi is saying that he apes Heinlein’s _marketing strategy_ – Heinlein was one of the first SF writers to get an SF story published in the prestige fiction markets, he created the juveniles to break into the important children’s library market, and “Stranger” too was an attempt to break out of the SF ghetto.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What always amused me and still does is that a year or two before Beale started going on about “gamma males” the term was being used in completely the opposite way on the more feminine side of fandom, starting among genre romance fans and then moving into general het shipper fandom.

    The idea was that traditionally in romantic novels you had the ultra-manly, overly macho, somewhat misogynistic “alpha male” hero – think Mr. Rochester, but as feminist ideas became more widespread people started criticising the glorification of the “alpha” hero as promoting sexist gender stereotypes and relationship dynamics that would be disfunctional if not abusive in real life. So then there was a move to sensitive and nurturing “beta male” heroes, but after a while people started complaining that the “betas” were boring wimps.

    So the concept of the “gamma male” was then developed in this classification as the best-of-both-worlds halfway point between the two – a man who was manly without being domineering or misogynistic, and emotionally open and supportive without being a total wuss.

    Liked by 3 people

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