Debarkle Chapter 24: Dramatis Personae — Sarah Hoyt & The Mad Genius Club

I’m pausing in the midst of a raging culture war within the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America to look at a different group of people. As a group, they are very relevant to events in 2015 and beyond. For the SFWA Civil War, aside from calling it a ‘Civil War’ they had little impact but the conflict marks a point where a set of writers associated with the blog titled ‘The Mad Genius Club’ begin to assert a view point on the arguments running through US (mainly) fandom.

As with other Dramatis Personae chapters I will rely on Wikipedia for biographical details as well as author websites and bios.

The Mad Genius Club was a collective writer’s blog that was established in October 2008[1] as a place for a group of writers to share experiences and offer tips and advice to people. The initial roster of authors was Australian writer Rowena Cory Daniells, Portuguese/American writer Sarah A Hoyt, South African writer Dave Freer, American writers Laura Resnick & Louise Marley and British writer John Lambshead[2]. That roster would change gradually over the years and by 2011 several people had left and new writers Kate Paulk (an Australian living in the US) and Amanda S Green had joined[3]. 2011 also marked a shift for the blog to a new WordPress format and a new URL.

The list of people involved with Mad Genius Club continued to evolve and it is important to note it was always a site where individual bloggers expressed their own views rather than some consistent blog-wide position. Not every author associated with the blog would have endorsed the views expressed by fellow bloggers.

For the major events of the Puppy Debarkle the writers associated with Mad Genius Club (MGC from here on) relevant to events were

  • Sarah Hoyt
  • Dave Freer
  • Kate Paulk
  • Amanda Green
  • Peter Grant

Of those, the most significant were Sarah Hoyt and Dave Freer.

Sarah A Hoyt. Sarah Hoyt was born in the early 1960s and grew up in Portugal. With a talent for languages, she discovered a love for the works of Robert Heinlein at an early age. She married an American (fellow writer Daniel Hoyt) and moved to the USA but regards herself as being ‘born American’ in spirit[4]. She has said that earlier in her career, she was shy about her politics but over time she has become more outspoken and as well as writing political commentary on her blog, she posts at the conservative-libertarian sites Instapundit and PJ Media. She has been published by a number of companies including Bantam Spectra, Ace and Baen, as well as publishing independently.[5]

Dave Freer. Dave Freer was born in South Africa at the end of the 1950s. He lived there for much of his adult life including a career as an ichthyologist but moved to Tasmania in 2010. He’s published with Pyr and independently but most of his books have been published by Baen, including multiple collaborations with Eric Flint.[6]

Of the others: Kate Paulk is an Australian writer who works in software testing, who emigrated to the USA; Amanda Green is an American and writes under a number of names in various genres; Peter Grant, is another South African but one who emigrated to the USA. Grant is a gun enthusiast who met and befriended future authors Larry Correia and Marko Kloos on gun forums in the 2000’s[7].

Culture(war) Club

MGC started as a ‘no politics zone’[8] but a blog about writing naturally touched on thorny questions about sex, gender, race and so-called “political correctness”[9]. There was some criticism of the SFWA in so far as the organisation catered poorly for independent authors and was perceived as dealing clumsily during the period when major publishers were in conflict with Amazon[10].

The events around the SFWA Bulletin (see the last chapter), elicited a stronger response, although the sea change in tone was a little earlier. In chapter 22 (SFWA Civil War Part 1) I quoted Sarah Hoyt calling the culture war disputes at the time a ‘civil war’. That post’s initial issue was about criticism of author Orson Scott Card’s positions on homosexuality[11]. Hoyt’s overall position on homosexuality and gay marriage was far more progressive than Card’s but she was angry at the treatment (in her view) that Card was getting within science-fiction communities:

“BUT all that is to our purpose nothing, because the point is not whether I agree or disagree with Mr. Card or whether or not homosexuals are unable to participate in other communities because of dual loyalties.

No, the point is that as people talked more and more about what Card said, Mr. Card – who is to the left of me by some miles – became a pariah in science fiction.  No, wait there.  People attempted to make Mr. Card a pariah in science fiction… for saying that he didn’t think homosexuals could be good practitioners of their religion.”

https://accordingtohoyt.com/2013/04/13/when-the-civil-war-turns-hot/ [12]

Hoyt’s wider thesis was that publishing (and in particular science-fiction publishing) had become controlled by the left and was enforcing a conformity that was stifling the genre.

“Again, the fact that to get published we had to go through a funnel of ideologically left editors and publishers (with the obvious exception) didn’t help.

So in a way, the civil war in the field has been going on forever.  It’s only that it was a cold civil war.  The rest of us wanted to get published.  We kept our mouths shut.  If we opened them only Baen would take us, and Baen has a limited number of author slots.  (Plus some of the stuff we wanted – and by that I mean I wanted – to write is not Baen-like.) “

ibid

To this end, the new wave of self/independent publication of ebooks via Amazon was seen by Hoyt as a way for conservative and right-libertarian authors to side-step left-wing gatekeepers in traditional publishing. It also meant that authors like herself could be more free to push back against what she regarded as a censorious and controlling left.

When the issue with the SFWA Bulletin broke, Hoyt would lament:

“When did the two sides exchange places, again? When did the left, once upon a time the purveyor of free love, freer skin and the more pervy the better stories become the purity squad, and when did the right decide that there would be something wrong with believing in the constitution?”

https://accordingtohoyt.com/2013/06/01/give-me-that-old-time-religion/

This was followed by a longer (and I will say confused at times) defence of the Malzberg and Resnick columns, once again turning to a war metaphor to describe the situation:

“And this is the war in sf – between the increasingly irrelevant establishment trying to silence all the opinions they don’t like, and the rest of us who frankly m’dear don’t give a d*mn what they don’t want us to say. Complicated by the spiraling down of the traditional houses (thank G-d not Baen) putting everyone under stress it keeps getting nuttier and nuttier. They want to tell us what we can say and think. We want to tell them to shut up.”

https://accordingtohoyt.com/2013/06/05/that-aint-no-lady/

At The Mad Genius Club proper, Kate Paulk also had a strong opinion on the SFWA argument about the Bulletin. Paulk blamed women feminists for the issue, introducing a colourful term for their motivation:

“Here’s the problem, in a rather crass nutshell. The Interchangeable Feminists have succumbed to the feminist flavor of the Glittery Hoo Haa. Unlike the romance version where the glitter unaccountably activates when the heroine takes off her glasses (presumably blindness is sexier), the Feminist Glittery Hoo Haa is a thing of mysterious magical powers allowing the possessor to be better than everyone at everything she tries, without having to work at it. She doesn’t even have to wiggle it to get magical results. All she needs to do is let HR departments know she has one (they seem to be shy creatures in the wild, hence the Interchangeable Feminist insistence on proclaiming they have one), and she’s on a fast track to promotions without having to actually do the work involved. That’s what underlings are for.”

https://madgeniusclub.com/2013/06/06/storm_in_a_b_cup/

In Paulk’s opinion, Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg had done nothing wrong and neither had the editor Jean Rabe. Paulk concluded:

“So… Maybe instead of the witch hunt against all who offend the FGHH, we should be hunting the possessors of the FGHH and destroying the blasted things before the Hoo Haas cause any more hoo haas. Because of all the SFWA shitstorms I’ve seen, this has to be the most pathetic.”

ibid

Hoyt had further posts in june defending the Bulletin issues[13] but July would add a new dimension to their quixotic campaign against feminism.

On June 28 2013, John Scalzi turned his blog over to a guest post written by writer and artist Elise Matthesen[14]. Her post explained the steps she had to take after being sexually harassed at a convention (specifically at the feminist science fiction convention WisCon). Matthesen had been harassed by an editor at a major publishing house and her post discussed her contact with the HR and legal departments at that publisher. The issue of sexual harassment at conventions and within publishing was not a new one but Matthesen’s post would eventually have a significant impact, leading to the resignation of editor Jim Frenkel from Tor Books[15].

In some ways surprisingly and in other ways predictably, several of the Mad Genius Club members decided to fold this sexual harassment story into the wider culture war argument they had with the SFWA. The process started with an addendum to a regular post from Dave Freer, who partly blamed the harassment on the power of publishers but was also dismissive of the claims and contrasted it with ‘real’ harassment[16].

At her own blog, Sarah Hoyt followed Freer’s theme of what constituted ‘real’ harassment[17]. Her examples of what was NOT inappropriate behaviour at a convention included this anecdote:

“Some years ago, at a con, I entered the backroom of the barfly suite, where there were only a dozen guys.  They were watching a racy movie and started to turn the channel, then said, “Oh, thank G-d, it’s Sarah” and kept it on.  Was I disrespected?  Were they objectifying me by watching nudie females? Ladies, gents and dragons: Watching nudie other sex (or same, depending) is what humans do, and often one of the only pleasures when you live in interesting times.    For me to make the leap from what the guys were watching to an insult to me personally would require me to assume that I was one with the skinny little things pretending to have sex on the screen.  The only reason for commonality there would be we have similar genitals.”

https://accordingtohoyt.com/2013/07/03/what-is-harrassment/

And what constituted real harassment in Hoyt’s opinion? “Harassment is giving liars the ability – unexamined – to render someone a pariah” and in her opinion that is what had been done to Mike Resnick in the Bulletin scandal.

Back at MGC, Amanda Green was also angry about the situation, saying that while she condemned sexual harassment she thought that there was “also no excuse for this snowballing trial by social media”[18]. Kate Paulk also folded this new issue into her previous SFWA theme:

“Now it’s possible that the Fainting Feminist Hoo Haas are such pathetic specimens that they think any kind of compliment is “harassment”. I don’t know. All I can say is that I haven’t been harassed at any cons, and I have it on good authority that I’m not so ugly that would explain the discrepancy.”

https://madgeniusclub.com/2013/07/04/matters-of-perspective/

In 2013, the irony of the denizens of Mad Genius Club rushing to even a half-hearted defence of a Tor editor would not have been apparent, although even then they would normally be expected to side with authors over people with positions of authority in major publishers.

By August, Vox Day had been expelled from the SFWA[19] and this prompted a continuation of the antipathy towards the organisation at MGC. Kate Paulk expressed confusion as to why Day had been expelled saying that it had “something to do with the SFWA Twitter account” and defended Day by seeing that he was only stating his opinions. Paulk also referenced an earlier scandal:

“Considering that a leading light of the industry can publicly grope a female author at an awards banquet and not even get a mild, “that was bad form” from the organization formerly known as SFWA, it’s clear that the real reason for Mr Beale’s eviction was his outspoken personal views.”

https://madgeniusclub.com/2013/08/15/the-organization-formerly-known-as-sfwa/

Paulk’s comment was in reference to an incident in the 2006 Hugo Award ceremony when in an apparent ‘joke’ Harlan Ellison grabbed Connie Willis’s breast on stage. The ensuing controversy did lead to some action by the SFWA but not directed at Ellison. In 2013 Mike Glyer had also discussed the precedent around the incident in relation to Beale’s expulsion as it had led to a censure of a SFWA member:

“n 2006, after Harlan Ellison groped Connie Willis onstage during the Hugo Awards ceremony, Moles became upset with colleagues he felt were defending Ellison in a private SFWA newsgroup. He made some of their comments public on his blog…Some members attempted to get Moles expelled from SFWA. He was censured instead.”

http://file770.com/sfwa-discipline/ [20]

Paulk citing the Ellison incident was highly disingenuous, after all Paulk and other members of the MGC had been criticising the current (2013) leadership of the SFWA for their moves to push back against sexist and harassing behaviour in a change from the previous approach.

Paulk went on to compare the SFWA to Nazis:

“So, since Mr Beale has been ejected from the Disorganization Formerly Known As SFWA for what amounts to thought crime, it’s obvious to me that the group needs a new name. When I suggested this to Sarah, she suggested the Selective Science Fiction Writers Association, SS for short. And gosh, wouldn’t you know it, that particular acronym would work remarkably well with what the group leadership seems to think. Just replace “jew” with “conservative” and they’re set.”

https://madgeniusclub.com/2013/08/15/the-organization-formerly-known-as-sfwa/ [21]

When the SFWA gave Vox Day a copyright-takedown notice because he had republished their report on him, Kate Paulk was once again incensed saying the SFWA was trying to “make the terms of their expulsion vanish down the Internet memory hole by that item most beloved of corrupt media executives, the DMCA takedown”[22].

2013 marked a shift in the content at Mad Genius Club. While much of the material was still orientated around the problems of being a writer, events surrounding the SFWA had led to multiple posts taking an anti-feminist position. This would continue into 2014 and beyond.

Next Time: The SFWA Civil War Part 3 takes us into 2014, a year when the anti-feminist backlash would take on new forms


Footnotes

61 thoughts on “Debarkle Chapter 24: Dramatis Personae — Sarah Hoyt & The Mad Genius Club

  1. “whether or not homosexuals are unable to participate in other communities because of dual loyalties.”
    Huh? This sounds like Jews being incapable of being loyal because of their “globalist” and “rootless cosmopolitan” nature but I’m guessing that’s not it?
    The Kate Paulk thing was … nowhere near as clever as she must have thought it was.
    I will agree with them that Ellison deserved to be slapped down harder. That is not an excuse for not slapping down anyone else.
    And once again we have the right-wing’s martyrdom fantasies about being the Jews under the boot of the SS.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And that’s nothing resembling the truth of what Card has said and done on the topic of LGBT. He wants us erased, made illegal and preferably killed out of hand. He worked long and hard to accomplish his gals, and when he and his lost, he tried to retroactively make his actions only an opinion.

      It seems that Cons love their lies, even when they’re as old and dried out as their lies about gay people are.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. “The Kate Paulk thing was … nowhere near as clever as she must have thought it was.”

      Evergreen statement. Also applies to Freer, Hoyt, Torgersen, Correia, Teddy Beale, Wright…

      Liked by 2 people

  2. It should be noted that, of all the people associated with the Puppies, Hoyt has most claim to be an actual, literal fascist. She has publicly declared her nostalgia for and allegiance to the Estado Novo, and taken advantage of the ignorance of Americans about European history to depict its fall as a horrific Red Terror.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Yes, democracy is such a terrible thing she had to flee to… a country that prides itself on democracy and enjoy freedom of speech and a good standard of living.

      Fascist Fangirl.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I remember when I first read some of Hoyt’s complaints about the terrible Communists, I thought, “But wait a minute, I thought the dictatorship in Portugal was fascist, not Communist. Did I get it wrong all those years?”

        Because at least in Germany, Franco got much more attention than Salazar. Never mind that I was about one year old during the carnation revolution, so I have no firsthand memories of it. And indeed, I sometimes have to remind myself that Portugal and Spain, which I think of as democratic EU countries that are popular holiday destinations, were dictatorships in my lifetime and that Spain actually garrotted people in my lifetime.

        So I asked someone who had actually visited Portugal during the Salazar years and he said, “Of course, it was a rightwing dictatorship. Why would you think otherwise?”

        Liked by 3 people

  3. I’m pausing in the midst of a raging culture war within the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America to look at a different group of people.

    For a moment there I thought you were referring to the past two days over at File 770.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Huh. I’d never realized that Lambshead had been a member of the MGC at the beginning. I tend to like his stuff, notwithstanding the sometimes retrograde treatments of gender, etc. At least a lot of the time his female characters tend to have a fair amount of agency. He doesn’t publish much, though.

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  5. It was a great moment when Hoyt came unglued after being quoted in the roundup titled “The Hydrophobia That Falls On You From Nowhere” because she misread the H-word and complained to everyone she had been accused of homophobia.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mike Glyer: It was a great moment when Hoyt came unglued after being quoted in the roundup titled “The Hydrophobia That Falls On You From Nowhere” because she misread the H-word and complained to everyone she had been accused of homophobia.

      The most hilarious part of that was that she wasn’t even the first item in that Scroll. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s good, because it will sound better when you explain you had a consonant movement than it will the alternative.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Authors in the oughts were encouraged to do group blogs or set up group websites that linked to their blogs in order to attract more traffic than they might do with just their own blog, so MGC’s set-up was fairly common. Most of these group blogs fell apart by 2010.

    As we know, Card was not just some SFF author making a religious argument that gays couldn’t be real Christians (no matter their sect) unless they refrained from gay sex (because he was self-appointedly in charge of all Christianity.) He was a political activist working on secular legislation in the U.S. to curtail or continue to block gay civil rights, including putting gay people at risk for imprisonment, losing their kids, unable to get medical treatment, kicking them out of the military, etc. And the big one was of course blocking marriage equality which also gave gay people legal status to be openly gay citizens and have financial relationship partnerships with all legal rights therein, and not be imprisoned and treated as secondary citizens concerning those rights. Card’s political activism seeking to repress the legal rights of gay people would eventually extend internationally to helping Uganda construct a law that would execute people for being gay.

    As such, gay and other queer authors weren’t simply disagreeing with Card about religious beliefs; they were struggling for their civil rights and right to live at all in society, as well as participate equally in the economy and specifically in the publishing industry. They were scared of the discrimination and antagonism that Card was trying to keep standard in the society and in SFF publishing. Hoyt expresses worry about Card being made a pariah by supposedly powerful queer authors. In reality, queer authors had very little chance of publication, were limited to a small amount of slots, ghettoized as a small niche and facing regular, open, hostile discrimination from authors like Card, a powerful bestseller.

    Hoyt wasn’t worried about Card’s attempts to silence and discriminate against gay authors, only that gay authors might be able to assert their secular civil rights in the face of Card’s arguments and actions against them. It’s only in the last decade that gay SFF authors started to make substantial headway in getting more mainstream opportunities and only in the last five or six years (not coincidentally with marriage equality in the U.S. being legalized,) that they’ve really been able to be seen as equal authors, not a marginalized niche, and get better, though not yet equal, opportunities. The Puppies were okay with queer authors being silenced and legally discriminated against. They were not okay that those who wanted to silence queer authors, limit their opportunities and keep them legally discriminated against might be criticized or contradicted.

    Card’s bigoted ideas were rejected by many in SFF publishing. To Hoyt and the other MGC ladies, authoritarians who thus sees Card as an ally, this is a crime and tyranny. Only authoritarians urging discrimination and the silencing of marginalized people’s right to speak should get to speak and only their views should be accepted. It was the same with Beale. His ejection from the SFWA was mainly for breaking the rules of the organization by using the official account and exposing SFWA to liability. But for the MGC ladies, Beale is an authoritarian and so should get to break the rules without consequence or it’s tyranny. And the nature of his verbal attack they simply dismiss as unimportant.

    But Beale’s attack on Jemisin was to assert that she was inferior because she was a black woman and that she should therefore shut up. Beale wanted Jemisin silenced and declared that she had no right to criticize him and talk about racism as an inferior black person. The MGC supported Beale’s efforts to silence Jemisin’s speech on racist grounds. Because they agree with that idea. They didn’t worry about Jemisin being made a pariah, being silenced because she dared to criticize a white man who spouted racism towards authors of color. They were upset that Beale’s bigoted ideas about Jemisin and his demand that she shut up were being rejected by others.

    The MGC women would not be able to get graduate degrees, work in software or have writing careers without past feminist efforts over decades. But marginalized people who take up authoritarianism to try to be accepted or retain other forms of dominance always argue that civil rights are fine now and marginalized people should now shut up and stop talking about discrimination, that they’ve gone too far and are clearly being sneaky and stealing power. Hoyt’s story about walking into a convention suite is a classic example. Instead of watching a “racy” movie in the privacy of their hotel rooms, the men she interrupted were being unprofessional and breaking the rules watching it in a public room at the convention. Once again, those who are dominant/authoritarians get to break the rules and make others uncomfortable so that they themselves can be comfortable and dominant in the public space. Hoyt is the “cool girl” who knows her place which is to be silent and affable to the men doing what they want to do, not cause them any trouble, not criticize them. She’s going along to get along because their rule breaking didn’t bother her and she demands that other women not be bothered either — be silent and not have free speech because they’re the women.

    And this was the basic argument of the Puppies — that it was better back in the past when they could be more openly bigoted and not be challenged by marginalized people who were back then even more marginalized, and that if that could not be imposed, then it was a tyrannical reign of uppity underlings. The Puppies’ arguments, while they did endlessly shift in justification in that blob-like way authoritarians do, were all about dismissing bigoted discrimination as a hoax while calling for more of it. Unless marginalized authors were being repressed and Puppies’ speech made untouchable from criticism, it was apparently difficult for the Puppies to have careers, find books to read and get the awards.

    The MGC dismissal of a long time serial harasser as no big deal is that basic idea. Matthesen being groped and harassed by Frenkel occurred in front of a bunch of people in a public space, but they dismiss it as her not being the submissive “cool girl,” of lying, and that she’s one over-sensitive complainer who should again be silent. But after the public incident, tons of other incidents came to light of Frenkel’s similar behavior which had been ignored or censored but garnered him a second chance which he then abused. He regularly discriminated against women and also threatened women authors’ careers. Tor should have fired him some time ago. But faced with the public exposure of Frenkel’s long time behavior leading up to the current incident, they finally did as he was a legal liability. This is unacceptable to people like the Puppies because it means the marginalized (women) can speak up and that a man who can dominate women through harassment and assault — break the rules, violate others’ civil rights — is being held accountable by those they declare pushy poseurs.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I don’t have a neat quote but the impression I got from some of the other women’s posts at MGC (ie not Hoyt or Paulk) was that all this feminism was giving women authors a bad name and that people would stop buying their books because people might thing they were feminists. Really sort of disturbing in ways Hoyts more overt ideology wasn’t.

      OSC – It’s weird how he flits in and out of this without ever being the real topic. I keep thinking I have to write more about his role here but…he never really had a role, he just was awful in a weird and upsetting way.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I suppose this might have been his path anyway, however, it always looked to me like these culture warrior impulses became dominant after his son died. Did that alter his character? Or was he headed that direction all along?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I don’t know but I think he would be an interesting person to talk to and figure out. He veers so sharply from quite compassionate insights into inconsistent bigotry that doesn’t add up to a whole.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. I’d expect that Card’s racism comes from his Mormon upbringing. The LDS had some major racial discrimination baked into the Church until 1978. And you can bet that the feelings didn’t go away when the rules changed.

        Card’s apparent obsession with homosexuality seems different – I get the impression that he protests too much. In my opinion he likely experiences same-sex attraction as a dangerous temptation that he has to fight.

        Liked by 4 people

      4. Awhile back, someone pointed out how many of OSC’s works indicate Daddy Issues — which hadn’t occurred to me, but after they said so, I realized it was true.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Reading homophobe ranting I’m often reminded of Lincoln’s observation that nobody needs to worry about interracial marriage unless they’re terrified of their own urge to cross the color line.

        Like

      6. Ah! That makes sense.
        I’d been in two minds whether to have Cedar Sanderson as one of the main ‘puppy’ MGC writers but when I checked the links I had already, she didn’t really feature (and I think overall she was somebody trying to be reasonable). So when I went looking again, I wouldn’t have been looking for her posts.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I think you could view Card as a precursor. He was a bestselling author with his own discussion forum community of fandom, etc. And he got a lot of non-category media attention for being a bestselling author working with NOM and pushing the idea that gay people were not really human if they had gay sex and were uppity about their civil rights. And that widespread attention began to hurt his career, especially when NOM was investigated for campaign finance violations and the whole thing with Uganda. So he stepped back from it.

        So for the Puppies’ ideology, Card had been defeated by powerful queer people in SFF fandom and society, rather than he’d been a repressive activist with a dodgy lobbying group that tried to get gay people murdered and jailed, which people rejected. And it also contributed to the idea that there was a large fanbase and author base who supported Card and their ideology and who would rally against those powerful queer people who were rigging the awards, etc.

        In other words, Card is the tale of the great betrayal by the SJW hordes, the great man brought down by the uppities. So they invoke him a lot.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Card was not just some SFF author making a religious argument that gays couldn’t be real Christians (no matter their sect) unless they refrained from gay sex (because he was self-appointedly in charge of all Christianity.)

      Side note, but this is mildly ironic considering a lot of Christians do not consider Mormons to be Christians (not on moral grounds, but because their doctrine of the Trinity is completely different to the traditional Christian understanding). Which tends to cause offence, and yet, there he goes doing the same thing.

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      1. Correia cited LDS history with government law on marriage (without saying what the issue was i.e polygamy) as a reason for the LDS to be *against* gay marriage. Which seems backwards – the LDS wants a narrow definition of marriage because they were forced to accept a narrow definition in the past

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Though the US government forcing them to give up polygamy seems to be a sore point with many Mormons even all these decades later.

        I remember Brad Torgersen, back when he was still semi-reasonable, asking someplace (maybe Whatever or Jay Lake’s blog) how the defenders of marriage equality would feel if after same-sex marriage polygamy were legalised next. And then he was utterly shocked when the responses were, “Well, as long as everybody involved is a consenting adult, why not? After all, it’s not our business how other people organise their lives.”

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      3. Cora: “And then he was utterly shocked when the responses were, “Well, as long as everybody involved is a consenting adult, why not? After all, it’s not our business how other people organise their lives.””

        The U.S. doesn’t allow polygamous marriage because it’s way too complicated tax-wise (marriage is a secular, financial business partnership) and because polygamy has been used in the U.S. mainly to traffic whole circles of young girls and so would have to be very heavily regulated. Right now teenage girls are still being regularly, legally trafficked in non-polygamous marriages because child marriage is legal in a majority of states. You can marry off a girl of 12, with “parental consent,” to an adult man in numerous states and so families essentially sell off their children to men. (I.e., we do not have equal legal rights for women and girls in the U.S.)

        But, given our democracy ideals, it’s not inconceivable that later on they’d find a workable, taxable, legal way to have polygamous marriages of three-four people who are consenting adults (not teens or tweens.) And most progressives aren’t ruling out the idea. Which is why the authoritarian homophobes switched to claiming that people would then be allowed to marry their non-consenting, non-human pets if same-sex marriage was legally recognized.

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    3. I’ve got to say that I find Hoyt’s account of her cool interaction with a bunch of guys at a con rather bewildering. First of all, what’s a ‘racy’ movie when it comes home and takes its shoes off? Hard core porn? What back in the day they used to call soft-core porn? Baywatch or Three’s Company? From the first bit, I thought she was talking about something that maybe had some bare breasts or other nudity. But then she segues into discussing ‘nudie other sex’. What the fuck is that? I’m 64 and I watched some porn back in the day, but I don’t believe I’ve *ever* seen nudie other sex. And her last sentence sure makes it sound as if the ‘guys’ were watching some form of porn in a public room, as Kat says. To just say ‘racy’ is disingenuous, as is typical with Hoyt.

      To restate Kat’s point, this demonstrates the Pups’ (and other right-wing shits) basic MO. Minimize then criticize. Oh, it wasn’t that bad. Oh, he really didn’t mean it the way it sounds. Oh, she wasn’t really harassed; after all, he stopped after she told him to stop 4 or 5 times. Oh, they’re blowing this whole COVID thing out of perspective; probably only 500 people will die from it.

      And then inevitably they point out that the people who are really hurt are the ones doing the bad thing. Those guys were just having fun watching a racy movie. Now you’ve shut down their fun. Vox is a martyr to cancel culture. Arresting people who broke into the capital only suppresses free speech. White people are the most discriminated against group in this country. Reverse racism is a thing.

      There are times my brain just hurts.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I think “other sex” simply means “opposite sex” (that is, opposite to the men watching), since she then contrasts that with “same sex”. A film with female nudity. But then she adds “pretending to have sex”, so porn of some sort.

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      2. I can’t tell either whether Hoyt was exaggerating the salaciousness of what these guys were watching (eg was it just a mainstream movie with a sex scene, or was it pornographic?) or minimizing it. It’s such a weird example.

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      3. Feminism — the idea of equality — supports sex work and making consenting, adult sex work legal and regulated. But that also means that feminism involves criticism and activism against sex workers being exploited. And it doesn’t meant that there won’t be analysis and criticism about sexual imagery in pop culture in regards to how women are viewed and treated and its effects on the larger society. And the reality is that porn is often used as a weapon to establish dominance and status and to harass.

        In particular, men will use porn in the workplace to test boundaries and to establish dominance and status over others, particularly women. They get to be unprofessional and break the rules, thus they are powerful and dominant and do what they want, specifically over women who are shown through the porn that their main worth is sexual appeal and they are secondary to men and men’s behavior in the workplace.

        If the women are submissive or jocular and don’t object — suck up the discrimination — then the men will escalate to further show their dominance and harass and control the woman, blocking her ability to do her job and advance her career while letting her pretend to be the “cool girl”. They have had their hierarchy bigotry confirmed as just and good and in control. If the woman complains instead, she is condemned as oversensitive, uppity, puritan, etc. and this is used as justification to further harass, control and block her. If she makes an official complaint and the company culture/HR policy is to avoid the problem and let the men control things, then she faces retaliation, discrimination and being fired. (A similar situation happens at conventions.) If the company culture actually does anything about it, the men escalate their harassment in other ways and declare that they are being repressed because they were not treated as dominant and not allowed to keep discriminating against the woman and control her behavior without consequence.

        This has been a favorite strategy in the tech industry where women were and are pushed out of the most lucrative, high status areas and only make up about 12% of the executive level. If a woman is able to work in those areas, many of them have run into guys sharing with other guys or trying to make them look at porn to assert status and harass the women, get them out of the field, block their careers. More recently, Rep. Matt Gaetz was revealed to be showing nude photos of women while bragging about sleeping with them to his colleagues and staff on the House floor. It’s unprofessional, breaking the rules and a national security breach to boot. And it’s an assertion of dominant status, especially towards women — they are lesser, supplicant and have to suck up naked women photos in their workplace shown about by a powerful man.

        This is what the other women at MGC are afraid of in those comments about book sales. They think that submission and silencing their own free speech, letting the men discriminate against them and retain status and dominance, might help them escape worse discrimination or get a special status. But any of the choices increases harassment, dominance, and discriminatory behavior that harms women’s careers. Because the purpose of the dominance is to assert that women don’t have any choices. They’re to be secondary, controlled by guys and whatever guys want to do or allow. And to maintain that, men continually have to assert their dominant status and power over women, non-binary people and often other men. When you don’t go along with the bigot myths, with that declaration of righteous status, you are unreasonable, illegitimate and threatening.

        Hoyt and Beale essentially pursue two strategies. Hoyt’s is to declare that the words and behavior don’t cause any real harm and discrimination of the marginalized and that objectors are exaggerating or lying about it and should shut up. Beale’s is to declare the marginalized to be either innately (Jemisin) or voluntarily (Scalzi) inferior and need to be controlled and silenced by the superior righteous. The Puppies used both tactics during their campaigns.

        The former strategy that Hoyt likes a lot is also often accidentally employed by people who aren’t authoritarian but are simply used to people in a dominant group being able to behave however they want and don’t understand why others are angry and calling for change. Getting SMORFs to accede to having convention codes of conduct instead of them deciding what is and what isn’t okay and harmless, takes a large amount of work because the familiar, operative bigoted hierarchy is getting challenged. And they tend to view that as being a personal challenge to their character and status (white fragility, toxic masculinity, etc.)

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Change the comma after “disingenuous” to a semicolon?

    Hmm, Hoyt’s MGC writing was better before the puppies. Sad case of internalized misogyny: being proud that she’s accepted as “one of the guys”.

    But I need some help with Paulk’s para about the “hoo haas”. I read it twice, and even read the whole post, and still don’t get the reasoning. Is she merely recycling the old argument that feminists’ uteruses drive them crazy? Saying that feminists demand special treatment because they have uteruses? Something else?

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    1. Paulk mentions the origins of the term in the romance genre, but her description is not the way I understand it was/is used. Specifically, I’ve always thought that it referred to a certain species of romance story in which the male love interest is cured of being an asshole by having sex with the female love interest (or more generally by her falling in love with him). In other words, she fixes him with her magical/glittery hoo haa (and urgh do I hate that term).
      Regardless Paulk seems to be suggesting that feminists want women to get special treatment by virtue of being women.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a standard argument among antifeminists. Women have no skills and no accomplishments but they either delude themselves their “clown college degrees” amount to real learning and shriek about discrimination if they don’t get the job they want. We should go back to the good old meritocratic days when WASP men were always picked first for everything!
        Depending on the era and the circumstances the problem is “affirmative action” or “the employer wants to show they’re woke” or “who did she blow to get that job?” or simply “she has no right to take a man’s job!”

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I think you’re right. Gee, the puppies tend to be sloppy writers. Almost like their aim is to perform outrage rather than convince those who might disagree.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yup, “glittery hoo-haa” is a romance term for the cliché of a woman who is so wonderful that the worst arseholes and philanderers fall madly in love with her and become good people after having sex with her. And of course, she’s a virgin, too.

        Paulk probably heard the term somewhere and completely misunderstood it.

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      4. Jude Devereaux wrote a blistering article about romances where the female lead is the center of everyone’s universe: her servants adore her, the leading male thinks she’s a goddess, all the other men want her and the women hate her. Because she’s just that awesome.
        I’ve also seen mystery and specfic novels that try to convince me the protagonist is some kind of iconic demigod. They rarely succeed.

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      5. Frasersherman says: “Depending on the era and the circumstances the problem is “affirmative action” or “the employer wants to show they’re woke” or “who did she blow to get that job?”

        See also Hoyt’s charming habit of constantly calling the current VP a whore.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. A Priest, a Rabbi and a Feminist walk into a bar.
    The Priest says ‘monolithic cultural and social institutions tend to lead to authoritarianism”, the Rabbi says “individual sexual and gender orientation should not be enforceable by society” and the Feminist says “Why did you think I was a woman?” {h/t Alice Fraser}

    Liked by 2 people

  9. People attempted to make Mr. Card a pariah in science fiction… for saying that he didn’t think homosexuals could be good practitioners of their religion.

    It’s probably worth noting that the actual objection (or at least, in my view, the strongest) to Card’s “Hypocrites of Homosexuality” was this line:

    Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books, not to be indiscriminately enforced against anyone who happens to be caught violating them, but to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society’s regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society.

    It’s not because he said gay people couldn’t be Mormons; it’s because he said gay people couldn’t be equal citizens and that the laws should be selectively enforced for the purpose of terrorizing gay people who speak up. Our strategy for getting equality was precisely to come out of the closet and let people see we weren’t the monsters people like Card kept saying we were. Specifically targeting anyone who was openly gay would strike directly at the heart of our effort. It was deeply threatening, and clearly meant to be so.

    He has partially backed away from this quote, but only partially. Even to this day, I’m pretty sure he still believes that gay people “cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens.” He just acknowledges that his side has lost this fight—for now, at least—and that he’s personally done fighting it.

    Hoyt’s defense of Card is part and parcel of the sort of dishonesty that characterized both the Puppies and the larger alt-Right movement, finding its ultimate expression in the incomprehensible lies of Donald Trump.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. John C. Wright was just as bad, describing Card as making the “mildest imaginable opposition” to gay rights. As Foz Meadows said, if Wright really believed the PC Police were targeting Card for an innocuous statement, why did he feel it necessary to soft-pedal Card’s statements?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I just marvel that we’ve made so much progress that someone like Wright feels compelled to do something like that. Not that long ago, people like him were writing that God wants all gays killed, and that if it doesn’t happen, God will destroy America. They’d have condemned Card for being too soft. (Card says he actually did get that criticism from other Mormons at the time.)

        Of course Wright did say he wanted to kill gay men with a tire iron, but I don’t think he said God wanted him to do that. I got the impression it was just something he’d like to do on his own in his spare time. If he had the money to afford to buy a tire iron, that is.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Well, considering that John C. Wright wanted to bear gay people to death with tire irons, I guess he considers the fact that Card only wants to lock a few of them up to scare the others into submission as mild opposition.

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    2. Yeah, it’s always a minimisation of an extreme belief so that they can claim it is was just the usual part of acceptable discourse (as opposed to, say, a code of conduct which is somehow the same as genocide etc)

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    3. Remember, if it weren’t for hypocrisy, Conservatives and homophobes (but that’s redundant) wouldn’t have any values at all.

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    4. Card doesn’t want us dead. He wants us scared and in the closet. I think this actually explains what looks like a change in his attitude. Back in the 1980s, he seemed to write compassionately about queer characters (or characters that were symbolically queer, by 70s literary symbolism.) It was OBVIOUS that homosexuality meant being an isolated misfit; but he could sympathize with the tragedy of an isolated misfit. I didn’t think he queer, himself, but I thought he might have a closeted friend or brother who confided in him.

      Now we’re not talking about “the love that dare not speak its name.” Not even in Utah. We are trying for full mainstream acceptance, not pity slipped under the door of the closet. That’s really threatening to him, because his idea of “family values” includes community enforcement. Men are supposed to do masculine stuff and marry women; if they don’t, they are sad misfits.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. @Adrian —

        “Card doesn’t want us dead. He wants us scared and in the closet.[….]Men are supposed to do masculine stuff and marry women; if they don’t, they are sad misfits.”

        I haven’t followed this whole thread, so this may have already been mentioned —

        This is the thing with Card’s fiction. He had multiple sympathetic gay characters scattered throughout his works — but he never allowed them to live a happy gay life. Either they were doomed to tragedy (as in Songmaster, where even one gay sexual encounter doomed the MC to never being able to have any type of sex again due to handwavium), or they made a decision to live a heteronormative life despite their homosexual desires (as in both the Homecoming and Enderverse series, IIRC) and were depicted as happy to have done that. It’s very collectivist, enforcing norms and the community over the individual, as a lot of Mormon culture does — which always seems very ironic to me, given how much conservatives hate socialism and communism.

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