Debarkle Chapter 47: August Part 1

Sasquan, the 2015 Worldcon, had received a record-breaking number of votes for the Hugo finalists[1]. Whatever else the Puppy campaigns had done, they had led to a substantial number of people voting in the Hugo Awards. In early August nobody except the people counting the votes knew how the majority of voters had voted. On the last day of July, Nicholas Whyte updated his round-up of how multiple bloggers had stated they had voted. He observed:

“This final snapshot doesn’t change the picture much; the three front-runners for Best Novel remain close to each other, and No Award remains in front in the other categories.”

If the pattern of voting among these bloggers was reflected in the final voting then ‘no award’ was going to win several categories. Ambitiously, Jim C Hines made multiple predictions of how events would play out[2].

For others, early August was a time of retrospectives including posts from Sarah Hoyt[3], John Scalzi[4] and long-standing Worldcon member Chris M. Barkley. Barkley was direct about his opinion of the Puppy campaigns:

“I consider what Brad Torgenson, Larry Corriea and Theodore Beale have collectively done, is a direct attack on what fans, writers, editors, publishers and literature itself. And I consider this attack on fandom and the Hugos is a personal attack against me.”

Barkley was less keen on using ‘no award’ as a response though:

“I repudiate the No Award movement and those that support it. I believe that a No Award given in any category damages the prestige and reputation of the awards. I will vote No award above a nominee in a category ONLY if I can determine if it is warranted by my personal standards and taste, NOT because it was part of a knee jerk reaction to what has happened or for any other political concern. Those who do so blindly, without any consideration of the work itself, are, in my opinion, NOT ethical votes. (And I can report that I cast at least one vote for a nominee in all of the fiction categories.)”


Among the retrospectives was a podcast/live-stream by the Superversive SF blog on August 1. The show was a round-table discussion of the events around the 2015 Hugo Awards presented by Jason Rennie of Sci-Phi Magazine and podcast (a Puppy nominee for Best Fancast), John C Wright, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Brian Niemeier and Lou Antonelli among others. Rennie kicked off the discussion saying that he had “never been involved in anything this entertaining before”[5]. Wright and Lamplighter pointed out that this was the first time they had voted in the Hugo Awards despite having gone to Worldcon before because they hadn’t understood the voting process previously[6]. Lamplighter also suggested that it was unlikely that “no award” would win Best Novel because of the range of works on the ballot[7]. Later, the discussion turned toward Worldcon guest of Honour novelist and screenwriter David Gerrold who had been consistently critical of the Puppy campaigns. It was at this point that events took another twist. Hugo finalist Lou Antonelli had this to say:

“I really didn’t know much about [Gerrold] before the Hugo nominations came out. Following his discourse and his level of discourse as a result, I personally wrote a letter addressed to the police chief in Spokane and said I thought the man was insane and a public danger and needs to be watched when the convention’s going on, and I mean it. I attached my business card. I said this guy’s inciting to violence. Somebody—a weak-minded might attack somebody because of his relentless strength of abuse. I think, honestly, I think he belongs in a secure psychiatric facility.”

1:00:28 transcript by Jim C Hines

The other guests did not react strongly to Antonelli’s comment and he didn’t elaborate on why he felt the need to contact the police department of Spokane (where Worldcon was being held). However, the following day he elaborated on what he saw as a commercial threat from the critics of the Puppy campaigns:

“Some of the most vocal people in the Puppy Kicker camp should hope there is not a sweep of No Awards because they crossed the line in attacking some authors into that’s called “exaction” under organized crime statutes. They threatened someone’s income or livelihood. It’s not extortion because no physical threat was employed, but when people say certain authors will never get published again, or that they will have to use a pen name in the future, they are committing exaction. Certain editors at Tor books – and one of the MCs at the Hugo ceremony – are guilty of this.

Of course,if the No Award threat fizzles, there’d be no cause for action in a court, but if an author – especially one who had a contract with Tor – loses out to No Award, they could sue for damages. That’s probably the real reason Tom Doherty wrote the response he did to the hateful bilge sputtered by Irene Gallo about the Sad Puppies. His lawyers advised that he’d better distance Tor the company from its editors in case an exaction complaint is filed after the Hugo results are announced.”

Antonelli didn’t name Gerrold specifically but “MCs at the Hugo ceremony” was probably intended to refer to Gerrold. The idea that Gerrold had “threatened” the livelihood of authors connected to the Puppy campaigns had become a truism on Puppy-supportive blogs and it had its roots in comments Gerrold had made on Facebook in April (see chapter 41). Gerrold had discussed how the campaign had likely damaged the reputation of Brad Torgersen:

“But the one thing that is growing more and more likely … the architects of this squabble will have indelibly damaged themselves in the eyes of the SF community. There are invitations and acknowledgments that will never be offered — not because it’s a blacklist, but because nobody wants to hang out with assholes.”

In context, Gerrold’s comment was an observation rather than a threat but it had become part of a list of grievances among supporters of the Puppy campaigns.

Antonelli’s comments were not initially noted and it would take a few days before the wider community of fans became aware of them. File 770 carried a report on Antonelli’s comment and Jim C Hines published a transcript (quoted above) on his own Facebook page. Antonelli offered a full apology on Hines’s Facebook page saying:

“Thanks for your polite request for an explanation. I’ve thought about what to say, which is painful to admit.It’s become public that on July 1st I wrote a letter to the chief of the Spokane Police Department expressing some concerns over potential security issues at the upcoming Sasquan.I’m sorry for what I did. Without looking at the big picture I reacted in a manner that I thought I was being treated. It was stupid and wrong. My subsequent participation on a podcast was also a mistake because the environment further fueled my fear and I lashed out again.I’m sorry I bothered the Spokane PD. They probably are ready to throw the butterfly net over ME when I enter the city. And I’m sorry and apologize to David Gerrold. He probably understands why I did what I did better than I do.I need to ponder the hurt I have caused. To give me time to think, after Sasquan I am taking a half-year hiatus from attending any conventions and/or submitting any fiction.I think I’ve become my own crazy uncle…”

Lou Antonelli, Facebook comment

David Gerrold stated the he believed Antonelli’s apology was sincere[8] and also asked people to now steer away from negativity

“But here’s my request. If you, the person reading this, are seeing those kinds of negative messages, then I invite and encourage you to please make a serious effort to steer those conversations away from further personal attacks. It doesn’t matter what side anyone is on anymore. Further attacks serve no one, they hurt all of us. I want people to come to Sasquan to have a good time. Let’s have it be an opportunity for healing and celebration. It doesn’t matter anymore which “side” you think you’re on — we’re all science fiction fans, this community belongs to all of us, and it’s time to start rebuilding it as a place where it’s fun for all of us. Please.”

David Gerrold quoted here

Unsurprisingly, Vox Day’s attitude to these events was more combative, stating that “All SJW tactics are legitimate when used against them.”[9] However, the broader appetite for further conflict was not at Day’s level but events escalated regardless. Between Antonelli’s original statement and his later apology, the editor of Lakeside Circus magazine Carrie Cuinn had written to Antonelli, withdrawing an offer of publishing one of his stories.

“I had previously planned to published a story by Mr. Antonelli in an upcoming issue of Lakeside Circus. After hearing his statement of his actions, I contacted him and withdrew the offer. (And another email asking how he wanted the kill fee sent to him.) After that, Mr. Antonelli apologized to Mr. Gerrold, who choose to accept it, and I thought the matter was settled.”

After his apology, Antonelli chose then to post Cuinn’s letter on his Facebook page, ostensibly to show people the consequences of making bad choices but without explaining the letter had been sent before his apology. Antonelli also included Cuinn’s name, title and name of the magazine. As a consequence Cuinn was then subject to abusive emails.

Despite the further issues with Antonelli’s actions, the executive committee of Sasquan chose not to ban Antonelli from attending the convention after further apologies from Antonelli and a request from David Gerrold not to ban him[10]. This itself caused its own controversy, as the initial communication did not mention Carrie Cuinn. It was later clarified that Cuinn had been consulted[11] but the decision lead the Events Deputy Division Head/Co-Director of the Hugo Ceremony to resign in protest at allowing Antonelli to still attend[12].

After months of conflict, the controversy around Antonelli’s actions only added to the fears that the bad-blood from the Puppy campaigns would lead to physical confrontations at Sasquan. Whether those fears were justified or not, one person certainly was not going to be turning up in person.

“I turned my back on your freakish community and everything it stood for as soon as I had the opportunity to see it clearly for myself at Minicon in 1997. I dutifully did my panels and never went to another SF convention or attended another SF-related event ever again. I don’t associate with losers, child molesters, or creepy rape enthusiasts, and SF fandom consists of little else. I never submitted a short story to a science fiction magazine or submitted a novel to a science fiction publishing house because I didn’t have any professional respect for most of the community’s incompetent institutions.” [13]

These comments were from a post where Day responded to Chris Barkley’s summation of the event of 2015. As the self-appointed supervillain of the story, Day went onto explain his motivation for his ongoing campaign against “SJWs” and fandom.

“All the SF community had to do was leave me alone and I would have left it alone. I did so, more or less, for 16 years. You didn’t. For over ten years I was repeatedly attacked, unprovoked, by various members of your weird little community. I ignored most of their repeated jabs, their libels, their false accusations, their nasty insinuations, and their insults. Out of sheer contempt, I ignored most of their attempts to obtain my attention. But when John Scalzi, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, N.K. Jemisin, and Steven Gould, among others, made an attempt to publicly destroy my reputation, I decided I would not ignore it any longer.”


Nor was Day finished but rather, 2015 was just a beginning:

“So, you’ve got my attention now. And you should have known better to draw the contemptuous eye of the Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil upon you. Because the Rabid Puppies, and the Dread Ilk, and the Ilk, and worst of all, my 391 397 Vile Faceless Minions, are coming for you. Not just this year, not just next year, but always and forever until you are gone. By all means, cry more about how much we hurt you; the VFM like nothing better than the taste of your tears.

The Sad Puppies want to fix what the SJWs have done to the detriment of science fiction over the last three decades. I respect that, although I think it makes more sense to demolish a building and build anew rather than attempt to shore up a termite-infested structure. But Rabid Puppies are not Sad Puppies. We want nothing more than to crush SJW bones, drink SJW blood, and leave a smoking hole where every SJW institution used to be.”


Day went on to describe everybody who may have followed the No Award strategy as “unwitting minions” of his.

Day was bullish about his campaign against the so-called SJWs and he had reason to feel that the tide was turning in the culture war. Day had several rhetorical tactics he used against accusations of racism and misogyny:

  • never apologise or back down
  • use obfuscations of his position
  • use verbally aggressive rejoinders and counter-accusations (such as accusing people of being pedophiles).

On the national political stage, somebody else was following a similar strategy and Day was delighted. When businessman and candidate for the Republican Party Presidential nomination Donald Trump responded assertively to accusations of sexism from Fox News host Megyn Kelly, Day was effusive in his praise for how Trump handled himself:

“This is how you handle it when someone calls you sexist, misogynist, or whatever other label they seek to use to discredit, disqualify, or distract you:”

The term “SJW” or social justice warrior had been current for several years but the general understanding of the term was of overtly left-wing people with a particular concern for issues around sexism, racism, homophobia and other societal-wide systemic prejudices (e.g. prejudices against the disabled). Day was defining the term more broadly to include even mainstream conservatives:

“Megyn, YOU are a part of the big problem the USA has. Every SJW, every self-appointed thought policeman is a part of the problem. And it is time to start making sure that every time they try to play thought police, we cram that concept right down their throats.

“The big problem this country has is being politically correct.” It’s certainly one big problem that gets in the way of discussing any of the actual issues that matter.

It was good to see Trump put Kelly in her place. I have never understood the conservative affection for her. She’s a feminist, she’s PC, and she’s pro-immigration, ergo she is on the other side.”


Day had for years presented himself as a dedicated enemy of the left. This stance had enabled him to make broad alliances with people who would otherwise disavow some of Day’s more extreme positions (such as his statements on marital rape, or his support for terrorist murderer Anders Brevik[14]). However, Day’s long term political frustrations were not directly with the left but with mainstream conservatism and the establishment of the Republican Party. For Day, conservatives had been repeatedly conceding ground on issues such as immigration, race relations, LGBTQI-rights and (of course) gender equality. Using “SJW” to refer to a Fox News host though was a stretch even for Day but he had another term to play with.

Over recent months, Day had begun to pepper his posts with a new term “Cuckservative”. The term was also being pushed by his allies Milo Yiannopoulos at Breitbart and self-styled investigative journalist and self-help guru Mike Cernovich.

In July Yiannopoulos explained the term at Breitbart after its use had been noticed in national media:

“Thus, “cuckservative” can mean many things. It could mean conservatives who are afraid of social exclusion and kowtow to the liberal media establishment. It could mean conservatives who play the left’s game of identity politics, accusing their internal opponents, such as Donald Trump, of being racist or sexist or rapey for spurious or opportunistic reasons.

Another popular use of the term is as a reference to conservatives who “virtue signal” with meaningless platitudes to suck up to places like MSNBC. Or it could just mean Lindsey Graham, Karl Rove, or, yes, Jeb Bush.

Mike Cernovich, a lawyer and blogger who has used the hashtag enthusiastically, describes what it means to him: “A cuckservative is a Republican who enjoys watching his friends on the right, and indeed his entire country, get screwed by the radical left.”

The use of “cuck” as an insult had already become entrenched at the infamous image-boards 4Chan and 8Chan and was derived from the term “cuckold” both in its original meaning for a man whose wife is being unfaithful but also for a sub-genre of pornography in which a husband watches another man have sex with his partner and specifically where the other man is Black.

By August of 2015, the Southern Poverty Law Centre was describing the origin of the term and how its usage was a common connection between the 4chan, GamerGate, and overt White Supremacists:

“The origins of the term are unclear. Its first known usage was in a tweet from @Drunknsage, a veteran of last year’s GamerGate controversy. On January 14, 2015, he tweeted at two users, “I’ve been over using that insult lately c—lord, c—servative, democ— c— sucker, list goes on.” The term even has its own hashtag, #c—servative, often used for ultra right conservatives to attack the Republican candidates as being weak or ineffective.

What is certain is that it fermented in the racist depths of the Internet, a rung below even Reddit’s recently deceased /r/CoonTown, on sites like My Posting Career, The Right Stuff, and 4chan’s /pol/, before seeping into civilized discourse.”

While “SJWs” were the imagined enemy of GamerGate and the Puppy campaigns, Day did not regard the “cuckservatives” as a new battle, rather they were two sides of one coin for him:

“It’s increasingly clear that the cuckservatives are the SJWs of the Right, being the self-appointed speech police:”

The implication being that the broad coalition of people who believed they had been fighting a culture war against creeping political correctness in such arenas as video games or science fiction books, should now turn their energies towards fighting the more moderate sections of conservatism.

What’s more, Day was ready to codify his strategy and had his own publishing house to help him. On August 15 Day announced the cover and publication date of his new book of political essays.

“As I mentioned previously, SJWS ALWAYS LIE: Taking Down the Thought Police will be released on August 27, 2015, the first anniversary of #GamerGate. I thought those of you looking forward to the book might be interested in seeing yet another excellent cover by JartStar.”

Day promised that there would be chapters on GamerGate and on the Hugo Awards. The release date would also be just a few days after the announcement of the Hugo Awards. Whatever the outcome of the vote, Day would be ready to roll onto his next campaign.

Meanwhile, fans from across the US and beyond had begun to head towards Spokane, Washington. Ominously, the state was in the grip of a massive wildfire season. As the start of Worldcon 2015 approached on 19 August, smoke and fire were heading towards Spokane[15].

Next Time: August Part 2



98 responses to “Debarkle Chapter 47: August Part 1”

  1. I give you the Puppies:

    Fans of Star Trek who never noticed its strong message of inclusiveness.
    Fans of Star Wars, who never noticed a princess who grabs a gun and rescues herself.
    Fans of Marvel who missed the subtle signs of Hitler punching
    Fans of Alien and Doctor Who who never noticed the anti-corporate message

    Liked by 6 people

    • And a couple who consider themselves smrt writers who couldn’t figure out how to rank stuff from 1-5, or even just vote for 1.

      It’s not like the old days when you had to go out and buy all the magazines and the books and then come up with an envelope and a stamp and then decide after you’d mailed it that you should have ranked things in a different order, doing it only one time for all categories.

      THAT was… still not that hard.

      Liked by 3 people

      • And they wonder why things they like aren’t getting nominated and winning Hugos. Maybe because you and others who like those sort of things aren’t participating?!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Several people in the Sasquan leadership came out of LA fandom and (like me, for that matter) valued David Gerrold’s views about ethical decisions. Gerrold didn’t want Antonelli banned. And Gerrold has been Antonelli’s target, so it seemed to be important how he felt about it.

    Not only in hindsight, but in terms of how Codes of Conduct ought to be administered, that was the wrong decision. But those personal relationships carried a lot of weight here.

    Liked by 6 people

    • In a community where personal relationships have always been very important, I suspect we can expect a continuing tension between deferring to people like Gerrold who have earned trust over decades and decisions made on the basis of a Code of Conduct independent of those relationships.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t get it at the beginning, because I was to much thinking of the German police, where such a letter would have no consequences, but after I learned more, it was a moment of absolute shock.
      Gerrold shouldn’t have had the decision, because it moved him in a very unconfortable situation.
      Antonelli seems to have those moments were he reacts completly out of anger. We are lucky that (as far as I know at last) he was not competent enough to hurt someone.
      Another point for me is that none of the other people on the podcast were shocked. Were is your humanity, people (okay from the names perhaps not shocking).
      Perhaps not all Hugonominees would have damaged the Hugos when they had won, but I still think the no awards for (nearly) all the slatenominees were for the Hugos the better way.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Yeah, same here. Antonelli was so obviously unhinged and the police probably gets several messages and letters by similarly disturbed individuals every week. And the German police likely wouldn’t have taken the letter seriously or would have decided after a very cursory examination that Antonelli was an obvious crank and the matter was not worth following up on..

        However, the US police is a lot more trigger-happy, so there was a genuine danger to Worldcon attendees. Though the Spokane police department could probably still tell that Antonelli was unhinged.


    • Mike Glyer: Several people in the Sasquan leadership came out of LA fandom and (like me, for that matter) valued David Gerrold’s views about ethical decisions [emphasis mine]… Not only in hindsight, but in terms of how Codes of Conduct ought to be administered, that was the wrong decision.

      Please don’t try to ennoble what they did. Their Guest of Honor was a Famous Author, and they wanted to please him, so they let him make their Code of Conduct decisions for them.

      It wasn’t the wrong decision “in hindsight”. It was the wrong decision at the time, and there were a whole lot of Sasquan members, including me, pointing that out and being ignored. Antonelli didn’t just put Gerrold at risk, he put all Sasquan members at risk from escalated police action, and that the concom spoke with the SPD to de-escalate was irrelevant. What was especially horrifying was turning around in a restaurant and suddenly realizing that I was 3 feet away from Psycho Stalker Dude With A Serious Anger Management Problem.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Don’t you dare lecture me (1) based on a misreading of what I wrote — I said it was also the wrong decision at the time, and (2) your own made-up narrative that they were overawed by the GoH rather than paying heed to the ethical opinion of someone they had been engaged with for decades.

        Liked by 2 people

        • To me, saying that it was wrong “in hindsight” implies that people didn’t realize it was wrong at the time it occurred.


          • Bear in mind you’re not addressing something they said, but what I said. I’m the one saying it was both a wrong decision in hindsight — obviously, because Lou Antonelli promptly gave the lie to his apology — and at the time, because it was a maladministration of the Code of Conduct per se, where the safety of convention attendees as a whole needed to be considered, not just whether Antonelli’s specific target felt safe or was willing to run the risk of Lou being around.

            However, despite that, these conrunners were focused on figuring out what was the right thing to do, and David Gerrold, while a complicated human being, also frequently writes about ethical issues in the field, and is respected and listened to by those who have known him best.

            I don’t always agree with him — like with the asterisks — but he has a passion for the sff field that causes me to at least listen to him. I would not be surprised if I would have joined in making the same wrong decision Sasquan did, for that reason. That only means the decision was wrong, not that it was made for immoral reasons.


            • Mike Glyer: That only means the decision was wrong, not that it was made for immoral reasons.

              We’re not going to agree on this, so this is all I will say: Any Worldcon concom decision which takes into account only the best interests of its Guest of Honor, and not the best interests of all of its members, is an immoral one.


              • This is just a word salad. It was not in David Gerrold’s “best interests” to have Lou Antonelli there. I can’t even imagine how that phrase came to your mind.


                • Of course it was. Gerrold wanted to be the generous and forgiving person who interceded for an idiot who’d tried to get him into trouble with the police, to allow the idiot to attend a Hugo ceremony as a finalist. And the Sasquan concom let him have what he wanted.


                  • No, self-aggrandizement was not at the bottom of this. Unfortunately, you’re not really interested in knowing what was, so I’ll stop looking for ways to communicate that to you.


                    • I don’t think it was about self-aggrandizement. I think Gerrold genuinely wanted to be forgiving and generous and let bygones be bygones. I can’t find it right now, but he made a statement that he thought it was important for CUL to be able to attend the Hugo ceremony because he was a finalist, and he asked the Sasquan concom to allow it. So they did.

                      The problem is that the only person for whom Gerrold had the right to accept CUL’s apology and grant forgiveness was Gerrold himself. He did not have the right to grant that on behalf of all the other members of Sasquan, but the concom did what he wanted, anyway.


      • Speaking for myself I don’t see how it is possible to construe “not only in hindsight, but X” as a statement that it was “in hindsight” instead of X. Mike’s point seemed clear to me.


      • I have to say I hate the term “CUL”. It makes him seem rascally and endearing rather than the vile piece of shit that he actually is.


        • That’s true. I used it earlier because I was too lazy to scroll up and check the spelling of Antonelli. 😛

          I didn’t realize until I read it here (or I had forgotten) that the name was from his own comment.

          Liked by 1 person

    • And I will note that, to this day, Gerrold has never even acknowledged, much less apologized for, the wrong he did to Sasquan members by short-circuiting the Code of Conduct rules to suit his own desires.


      • Well, he’s been busy taking umbrage at people (like me) who think his other idea — fundraising with the asterisks — was horseshit.


  3. Tyop Patorl!

    “apologies from Antonelli and a request from David Gerrold not to ben him”

    Maybe he might calm down if he was now Ben Antonelli, but I assume you meant ban? 😉

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Tyop Patrol reporting for duty!

    >John Scalzi[4] long-standing Worldcon member Chris M. Barkley.
    Scalzi, and long-standing (or without the comma if you insist!)

    >The other guest did not react strongly

    >in a post on his own blog the following day elaborated
    day, he elaborated (or remove “in”)

    >Between, Antonelli’s original statement and
    no need for a comma here

    >a request from David Gerrold not to ben him
    ban him

    >terrorist murder Anders Brevik

    >LGBTQI-rights and (or course) gender
    of course

    >Yiannopoulos explain the term

    >watches another man had sex with
    man have

    You need a [15] in the text for your wildfires footnote.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good catches all.

      About the transition sentence to Antonella’s Antics: “ However, the broader appetite for further conflict was not at Day’s level but events escalated regardless.”
      How about something a little simpler? “ However, more people than Day had an appetite for further conflict, and events escalated.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was going to go with your suggestion but in context I think it can read like it was Cuinn who is the “more people” rather than the people who harassed her and I don’t want to imply that.


    • One can practically see the declaration that the grapes were of course sour in Beale’s vomitous discourse.

      Liked by 2 people

    • And Republican family-values Senators never get caught soliciting sex in the men’s room, and family-values pastors never get caught with a male hooker and a quantity of meth, and…

      Liked by 2 people

    • To be fair to Teddy, he doesn’t literally associate with them. He’s not rich and/or important enough to move in their circles. He only follows them slavishly and wishes he could hang with them. *

      However (takes a gander at M-W and Oxford), there’s that one pesky definition that fits him perfectly. He sure tries to make sure he’s mentally associated with all of the above.

      * Which is doubly hard since one of them really hates to leave his cozy fief in Florida, and Teddy’s afraid to come back to the US what with that whole “Federal crime” thing he was into with his daddy.**

      ** Yet their daddies did/will never love and respect them. Poor little snowflakes and their hurt fee-fees. Sad!

      Liked by 1 person

      • He does associate with the MRAs and PUAs, of course.But apparently that doesn’t count as being a ‘creepy rape enthusiast” in Ted’s book.

        Liked by 3 people

      • @Space Oddity: Of course not. Men plotting incessantly about how to have sex with women who don’t want to have sex with them aren’t “creepy rape enthusiasts” to Teddy. They’re his buddies, they can’t be bad, right?


  5. I haven’t been commenting on typos because so many others are spotting them, but here’s a sentence that has no typos yet seems a bit garbled— specifically the phrase starting with “to use”:

    “Day’s rhetorical tactics against accusations of racism and misogyny were never to apologise or back down but to use both obfuscations of his position with verbally aggressive rejoinders.”

    1. What does “both obfuscations of his position” refer to? The “both” implies that it’s a pair of things, and I see “racism and misogyny” earlier, but how can racism and misogyny be “obfuscations of his position”? If you meant that they are inaccurate descriptions of Beale’s beliefs, I would disagree, but even then, “obfuscate” normally means muddling of a message by the person responsible for the message— not by others criticizing them. And the “both” would also sound odd because grammatically it would have to refer to “accusations”, which are of an indeterminate number even if there are two kinds of them.

    2. It looks like “use” was meant to be something more like “fight” or “deflect” or “rebut”. I mean, you can’t “use X with verbally aggressive rejoinders” if X is something someone else said.

    3. “Verbally aggressive rejoinders” seems like a vague and/or redundant way to describe Beale’s “tactics”, such as they are. I mean, he’s been aggressive all the time, and nearly all of the interactions in this whole story have been verbal, and if “use” is replaced by some more appropriate verb that connotes a response then “rejoinders” also becomes redundant. If the point here is simply that, like Trump, he never apologized or backed down, then I’d frame the sentence so as to make that more clearly its focus.

    In other words, I would consider replacing everything from “but” on with either (a) nothing, or (b) something simple like “but to respond with more aggression.”

    However (and here I’m wandering even further afield from copyediting), I’m also not 100% sure about the underlying point. That is, given the fact that Donald Trump responded to accusations of racism by saying they were unfair, instead of by apologizing… is that really “reason to feel that the tide was turning in the culture war”? That’s a type of asshole that was not new on the right, and this behavior was entirely consistent with Trump’s existing persona and career; the fact that Trump had made it this far as a candidate was certainly a sign of something, but his use of this kind of rhetoric in itself didn’t indicate whether “the tide was turning”, it just indicated that the people who were pursuing this “culture war” were assholes, of a type that was congenial to Beale.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry, more about the Trump thing, regardless of whether you think I’m off-base with the above:

      1. “When businessman and candidate for the Republican Party Presidential nomination responded assertively…” — it looks like Trump’s name was omitted, probably before “responded”.

      2. It would probably make your point a bit clearer if you described Trump’s statements more specifically than being “assertive.” There were two parts to the Trump/Kelly exchange you’re referring to:

      In the first, face to face during the debate, he was a smug jerk but not aggressive to any surprising degree (first trying to blow the whole question off by pretending it was “only” about Rosie O’Donnell, then saying he didn’t like being PC and people should know he’s only joking when he says that stuff)— which is roughly analogous to how Beale sounds during his fake-polite moments, but it’s weak tea compared to what people had been hearing from the Rush Limbaughs of the right for decades. It’s also pretty much the only thing someone in Trump’s position could possibly have said (I mean, unless a miracle occurred and he had a moral epiphany)— neither apologizing nor trying to pretend he didn’t say the 10,000 shitty things he said would have been at all convincing.

      The second part was what actually got people’s attention, and was more characteristic of Beale with the mask off, or his fans: in a follow-up interview with Don Lemon, Trump mocked Kelly and said “there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever”. That was much more clearly beyond the pale in US mainstream political discourse up to that point, and if your point was that Beale heard that and thought “if a US major-party candidate can just flat-out talk like Rush Limbaugh or a 4chan troll, maybe the world is my oyster after all”, then you probably want to indicate that more clearly.

      Liked by 2 people

    • This sentence puzzled me too. I think it should have been something like “…use both obfuscations of his position *and* verbally aggressive rejoinders” — though obviously I haven’t put the amount of thought into this that you did. Now that I think of it, “use” could be “deploy,” maybe.


      • Ah, that sounds much more likely, yes. I was looking backward from the “both” instead of forward, and clearly overthought it.


      • Yeah, sorry Cam, that means most of my post about that sentence was a waste of space— although I still feel like overall the sentence is a bit roundabout and repetitive (at the least I would condense “verbally aggressive rejoinders” to “verbal aggression”), and it’s still unclear to me whether you are endorsing the idea that Trump’s similar behavior was a meaningful sign of improved prospects for the “culture war”, or if it’s just “reason to believe” in the sense that Beale always claims every other instance of crappy behavior in the world is a sign of support for himself.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for this. I’ve turned it into a list because I think it is important to identify how Day responds. The never apologise is the obvious one. The obfuscations refers to things like the “not equally homo sapiens” or the verbal dodging on his statement about the ‘rational’ choice of the Taliban throwing acid at women. He says a thing that looks superficially like he is saying X but when you examine it, he isn’t quite saying X but saying something adjacent to X but if you examine that further in the full context of his other positions then really, he is saying X. The point is to give the Torgersens of the world a way of saying that Vox is bad but not as bad as his critics make out etc. The third part is to counter attack


  6. “I never submitted a short story to a science fiction magazine or submitted a novel to a science fiction publishing house” <– was that simply a plain old lie, or did he state some rationale for why Pocket Books wasn't a "science fiction publishing house" because they also published other kinds of books?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, is VD saying that an editor from Pocket Books mugged him in a dark alley and took 3 novel manuscripts away from him and published them without his permission?

      Liked by 2 people

    • I think he is saying that he never did those things after he attended Minicon, but like all of Beale’s writing, he is nigh-incoherent in his blog-diatribe so it is difficult to say for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

    • And how was he a member of SFWA otherwise? Does he think getting kicked out was like an annulment? (Unless he was an Associate Member)


      • In 2014, commenters on Beale’s Blog were peddling the Idea that SFWA was a front organization vor child traffickers (and were encouraged to do so by Beale). By that time, they all had conveniently forgotten that Beale himself had been a member and even tried to become president of SFWA.

        Liked by 2 people

      • What is it with pedophilia allegations and the far right? Couldn’t they come up with a different preposterous scenario once in a while, e.g. SFWA is a moneylaundering front for the mafia, peddles drugs for the Sinaloa cartel or is a KGB psy-ops operation?

        Liked by 2 people

      • Like Fred Clark’s example of letters to the editor whenever there’s a kitten abuse story in the news (obviously extremely evil but from the tone of the letters you’d think someone had been defending it), pedophilia accusations cause the maximum amount of outrage.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t know what legal concept Antonelli was trying to get at with his whole “exaction” line, but what he described is not exaction, or even close to it.

    An exaction, in U.S. property law, is a condition imposed upon real property that requires someone developing that property to mitigate the anticipated negative impacts of that development.

    The term is sometimes used to be synonymous with extortion, but a lawyer would just call that act extortion and not refer to it as exaction.

    Liked by 3 people

    • It’s very much the kind of usage that one would expect from an Internet crank who just did 30 seconds of research and picked the word that sounded least familiar, on the theory that that was more likely to either 1. be the correct term of art or 2. impress others who don’t know anything.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Seems more like a right wing crank trying to find an excuse to declare something he disliked illegal. And to justify his persecution fantasies. Bogus legal theories seem to be a thing on the Right – consider the various attempts to steal the Presidential election.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Paul: he’s both of course. I’m not sure why you think my comment contradicts yours. It is true that bogus legal theories are a thing on the right, and (IMO) it’s also true that someone looking to promote a bogus theory of any kind will tend to seize on words or phrases that they find through casual research that are less widely known than other words or phrases— in this case “exaction” rather than “extortion”— for the reasons I stated. If he had instead said “opining that someone will make themselves unpopular is called ‘extortion’”, readers would be more likely to think “Er, wait, I’ve heard of extortion, I’m not sure that is it.”

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Because the Rabid Puppies, and the Dread Ilk, and the Ilk, and worst of all, my 391 397 Vile Faceless Minions, are coming for you. Not just this year, not just next year, but always and forever until you are gone.

    Laughable at the time, in retrospect even more so. Of course, if there’s one thing that is obvious from looking at Beale’s history, it’s that he has no staying power: how many times has he fired up some vast project and kept with it for a year or two, and then lost interest and moved on to something else?

    When 2017 rolls ’round, do be sure to quote Seth Gordon describing Beale as “throwing in the sacred towel of victory and marching triumphantly out of the ring.”

    Liked by 3 people

    • Remember how Castalia House was going to take on Amazon/Tor Books etc? That one is my favourite.

      Actually, maybe my favourite one is his wiki clone that was going to surpass actual Wikipedia.

      Liked by 2 people

      • The thing that sticks out is when he said he was going to outdo Game of Thrones. He released half of the second book in an incomplete state and that’s the last we’ve heard of it.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Beale’s projects generally collapse due to a conflation of flaws…

      A) Being poorly thought out and/or badly implemented.
      B) The enthusiasm for said project collapsing among either Beale, his followers, or both.
      C) Beale actively alienating parts of his fanbase with rude behavior, lordly pretensions and/or a crappy product.

      Honestly, I’d say this is why he’s now pretty much back to where he was before Gamergate and the Pups raised his profile.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well, “coming for you … always and forever” could technically be an accurate way of describing something that never shows up.

      Liked by 3 people

      • You remind me of an Ancient Greek verb μέλλω, which originally meant “to be destined or very likely” to do something, or to be really about to do it…but which over time came to mean “to be always going to do without ever doing”, i.e., delay or procrastinate.


    • This particular blatheration of Teddy’s makes me think of this clip:

      Yep, he’s as scary as the FBI warnings we laughed at while bootlegging videotapes in the 80s, and as scary as Don’t Copy That Floppy in the 90s.


      • If you spend any time in Banff during calving season, “Dread Elk” is a very real thing. Especially if she’s calved in your back yard.
        The fall rut’s kind of iffy too.

        Liked by 3 people

      • It always reminds me of a Clint Eastwood movie where he uses the word “ilk” and asks the not-so-bright criminal “You do know what an ilk is, don’t you?” Of course, the criminal says “A big deer?”

        Mostly everyone else called Teddy’s (many fewer than claimed) followers the “Dead Elk”.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. The term “SJW” or social justice warrior had been current for several years but the general understanding of the term was of overtly left-wing people with a particular concern for issues around sexism, racism, homophobia and other societal-wide systemic prejudices (e.g. prejudices against the disabled).

    I’m not sure if it needs to be mentioned (I think most people know what SJW means now), but the people who use the term are not, in general, admitting that they don’t want equal rights for women, blacks, gays, etc. The ones I’ve talked to, at least, insist that the term isn’t for actual activists who advocate for groups; it’s for people who do nothing but talk, ones who think pissing people off is the way to achieve social justice.

    In terms of PR, of course, it’s every bit a poor a slogan as “defund the police,” in that (whatever people say), it sure does seem to be an admission of being a bigot. These days, I think they’ve largely dropped it (I don’t think I’ve seen it at all in months) in favor of accusing people of virtue signaling. (But I don’t really have a scientific sample.)


    • That may have been what “SJW” was originally supposed to mean, but the Alt-Right have mutated the meaning deliberately to what it is today.

      And today, it’s a confession of bigotry. End of story.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. A recent article in The Atlantic, “How America Fractured into Four Parts,” seems to shed a little light on the conflict with the Puppies. The four parts are “Free,” “Smart,” “Real,” and “Just” America. One might argue that the Sad Puppies were an expression of “Free America” (the Libertarian branch) while the Rabid Puppies were from “Real America” (the White Nationalist bit). The “SJWs” that they railed against are from “Just America” but most of WorldCon is really from “Smart America.” It nicely explains why so many people read what the Puppies were complaining about and said, “who are they talking about?” And why the Sad and Rabid branches felt there really was a material difference between them.

    Perhaps I’m forcing the comparison, but I think it at least makes for an interesting lens to look at it through. Either way, it’s a great article, for anyone interesting in what’s happening here.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I always like explanation that divides things in four camps instead of two better.


      • Now I’m wondering how to divide the country into “George-America,” “Ringo-America,” “Paul-America,” and “John-America” (for a more American version, it could be “Mickey,” “Mike,” “Peter,” and “Davey” and for a more modern audience, “George,” “Jerry,” “Kramer” or “Elaine”)

        Liked by 4 people

      • Y’all, please don’t dive into the quantum physics version of this…I don’t think I could stand the strain.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t know about people, but there are two types of computer scientists:
        1. Those who start counting at 1 and
        1. Those who start counting at 0

        Liked by 2 people

  11. Typo patrol: “including posts from Sarah Hoyt[3], John Scalzi[4] long-standing Worldcon member Chris M. Barkley.” is missing an “and” after the Scalzi footnote, and preferably an Oxford comma as well (by my preferred style).

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Another typo: “and a request from David Gerrold not to ben him[10]” should be “ban him”.


  13. I had life stuff, so I’m just playing catch up. But I will say here that Antonelli’s actions show one of the most common aspects of conservative diatribes — have no idea how the laws work, make ridiculous and false claims about the law and how it will destroy their enemies, and then frantically backtrack when instead they discover that they are the ones in possible legal trouble (such as Gerrold being able to press charges for swatting on Antonelli.) We saw that again with the Trump election lawsuits disaster.

    As for the rest, the more I hear of Beale’s manifestos, the more he appears to be deeply insecure and so wanting to be seen as a shining star of right-wing movements.

    Liked by 1 person

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