Debarkle Chapter 63: What the Evil League of Evil (and Friends) Did Next

2017 was a year in which the left was discombobulated, the centre was lost and the right was emboldened. Contrariwise, the culture war in Science Fiction had passed its zenith and right had taken its football to play different games elsewhere. Worldcon, the SFWA and science fiction literary awards would still have both internal cultural conflicts as well as ideological stoushes with the ascendant alt-right but 2015 had been the high tide of such battles. From 2017 onward, the yardstick for culture-war like conflicts within science fiction would be framed in terms of “puppies”.

In an apparent bid to make the historiography of the Debarkle easier, multiple members of 2014’s Evil League of Evil banded together to publish an anthology entitled “Forbidden Thoughts”. The title, evocative of Harlan Ellison’s never fully completed Dangerous Visions anthologies, was predicated on the idea that the last bastion of transgressive ideas in speculative fiction is reactionary conservatism. The contents included:

  • A foreword by Breitbart columnist and GamerGate figurehead Milo Yiannopoulos
  • A story by Sarah Hoyt based on the birth of Moses
  • A story by Vox Day about women soldiers
  • A story by Brad Torgersen about a world with strange genders in which there is a perhaps mythical land where there “were simply boys and girls, women and men”
  • A story by John C. Wright with a talking dog
  • “The left’s 20 rules for Racism” by Tom Kratman
  • A history of the Sad Puppies by Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen

In addition, there were stories by L. Jagi Lamplighter (John C. Wright’s wife and editor & mentor for Brian Niemeier and John Del Arroz), Puppy sympathiser Ray Blank, and an allegorical story by Nick Cole in which a spaceflight goes wrong because of the actions by characters with names close to those of John Scalzi and N.K. Jemisin. The whole thing was edited by Jason Rennie of twice Puppy nominated Sci-Phi Press and published by Superversive Press, the pro-Puppy blog associated with Rennie and Lamplighter.

Yiannopoulos’s introduction set the tone with an overt reference to Vox Day.

“The final important thing to know about SJWs is they are incapable of telling the truth. They often have dark reasons for their mendacious nature—there have been a continuous stream of cases where SJWs, held up as paragons of virtue defending women, minorities and LGBT people from the disgusting bigotry of regular fans, are actually proven to be abusers, rapists and pedophiles.”

Yiannopoulos, Milo; Kratman, Tom; Cole, Nick; Correia, Larry; Torgersen, Brad R.; Wright, John C.; Day, Vox; Lamplighter, L. Jagi; Hoyt, Sarah A.; Niemeier, Brian; Freeman, A.M. ; Oxide, Chrome; Shumak, E.J. ; Blank, Ray ; Ward, Matthew ; Young, Joshua M. ; Hallquist, David ; Oka, Pierce ; Lebak, Jane ; Zwycky, Ben. Forbidden Thoughts (p. 2). Superversive Press. Kindle Edition.

After multiple references to the 2016 Ghostbuster film, he went on to say:

“As a final promise, if the fight against SJWs in science fiction remains strong, I will write my own story for inclusion in a future volume of Forbidden Thoughts. Think about how many tears that will cause to rain down!”

ibid

Yianopoulos would not fulfil this promise.

Correia and Torgersen meanwhile portrayed the 2015 Sad Puppies 3 campaign with a metaphor mixed with Donald Trump and Animal House.

“The CHORFs lost by winning. Sort of like how Hillary Clinton was the “popular” nominee, but Donald Trump is actually going to the White House. Proof that you can do everything right—have the superior press game, the superior money game, the superior celebrity endorsements, and all the favorables anyone could desire—and still blow it.”

ibid

As for Blutarsky, John Belushi’s character from Animal House, we are reassured that “he switched parties, to the Republican side—in the wake of 9/11/2001.”

Saturday Night Live alumni aside, Forbidden Thoughts was the rooftop concert finale of the Evil League of Evil (plus guests). Politics and surprise electoral success had driven the league apart and increasingly the original members pretended that Vox Day (in particular) had never existed.

Forbidden Thoughts was something of a swan song also for Milo Yianopoulos. The book was released in January 2017 but by February things had begun to unravel for Yianopoulos. After being scheduled to speak at the prestigious Conservative Political Action Conference[1], Yianopoulos was targeted by an anti-Trump/anti-alt right conservative group called The Reagan Battalion. The group promoted a set of videos of Yiannopoulos discussing his sexuality as a gay teenager from 2016. Yiannopoulos spoke frankly about saying

“paedophilia is not a sexual attraction to somebody 13 years old, who is sexually mature”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milo_Yiannopoulos#Remarks_on_paedophilia_and_child_sexual_abuse

Unsurprisingly, these statements were not well received by a socially conservative group like CPAC. Yianopoulos had been courting controversy for over a year with college campus talks in which he singled out immigrant or transgender students for targeted harassment. In January of 2017, a speaking event he led at the University of Washington led to a protestor against the event being shot and wounded[2]. This style of controversy, as well as GamerGate and the targeted harassment on social media of Black actor Leslie Jones[3], had not harmed Yianopoulos’s reputation among Republicans. Indeed, at the start of 2017, Yianopoulos enjoyed the patronage of the wealthy right-wing donor Robert Mercer[4] and former Breitbart editor and now Trump advisor Steve Bannon.

However, Yiannopoulos’s comments on teenage sexuality undermined his growing status on the right. By the end of February, he had been pressured into resigning from Breitbart, and publisher Simon & Shuster had cancelled plans to publish his autobiographical book. Before the end of the year, revelations of Yiannopoulos’s direct ties with far-right extremists (including alt-right figure Richard Spencer)[5] led to even Mercer and Bannon[6] cutting ties with him.

If Yiannopoulos spent 2017 being abandoned by former allies, he was not to be abandoned by the erstwhile Evil League of Evil aka the Puppies (Sad & Rabid). As the controversy around Yiannopoulos statements about sex and children grew in February, Vox Day rallied to his defence calling it an “operation to destroy Milo”[7]. Day, along with his allies Mike Cernovich and Stefan Molyneaux, framed the issue as the scandal actually being because Yiannopoulos was a crusader against paedophilia rather than an apologist for it.

“I think Stefan is probably right to see this as the most significant aspect of the whole situation, and that Milo has the opportunity to transform what has been a terrible time for him into his finest moment if he is willing and able to do what so many before him have not, and name the names of those who have been, and probably still are, preying on young men and boys today.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20210808103451/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2017/02/a-sympathetic-call.html

Naturally, this reversal of events never actually took place.

John C. Wright, also believed that Yiannopoulos would be vindicated.

“The libels against Milo Yiannopoulos continue, but the still, small voice of truth is speaking also. Those who were deceived innocently at first now have no excuse. Within hours, an unedited version of the year-old conversation used to libel Milo was available, as were leaks from the press revealing that the attack was deliberate, coordinated, and duplicitous.

If any man looks at the evidence, pro and con, and decides Milo is secretly an advocate for pedophilia rather than a victim of it and a public crusader whose work has put three pedophiles behind bars, I will not argue the point. At least he looked at the evidence. A man who condemns, sight unseen, a fellow human soul, taking the word of the Fake New media as gospel, that man has let partisanship overmaster his conscience and common sense.”

https://www.scifiwright.com/2017/02/milo-and-the-bookstore/

Wright followed up this plea in defence of Yiannopoulos with a plug for the book Forbidden Thoughts. The longer version of the video did show the longer argument Yiannopoulos had advanced but the gist of his comments was not substantially different viewed in the wider context. That Yiannopoulos’s comments were taken in the worst way possible by right-wing audiences should have been little surprise to both Wright and Day given their extensive campaign to link homosexuality with paedophilia. That a lack of subtlety and moral panic would be applied by conservatives to one of their allies took them by surprise.

At Sarah Hoyt’s blog, Kate Paulk announced “Je Suis Milo” and condemned those attacking Yiannopoulos.

“The diseased flaccid dicks who created this piece of rancid shit to smear the man are at least openly evil. The tight-assed moralists standing back-to-back with the people who should be their worst enemy are just as eager to control everyone else as the openly statist fuckwit throwing metaphorical (and sometimes literal) turd grenades. They think because they call themselves “conservative” it makes them good and righteous and proper, and all the while they’re arm in arm with Satan – who is happier than a pig in mud.”

https://accordingtohoyt.com/2017/02/24/je-suis-milo-yanno-by-kate-paulk/

At Mad Genius Club, Dave Freer also rallied to Yiannopoulos’s defence.

“It’s a common feature of modern journalism: take elements that are obviously plainly true, leave out the bits that would spoil the spin you want to put on the individuals, and apply bias particularly in ways at least some of your audience are likely to want to believe. The attack on Milo Yanniopolous was a masterclass in this. It is long-term destructive if you’re supposedly writing fact, not fiction, but it is very useful for suspending disbelief in fiction. If you’re writing fiction and want to suspend disbelief it’s particularly instructive to see how the background was crafted.

It was no use having its source as a left wing website: the left has been trying to ‘normalize’ pre-pubescent paedophilia for generations, let alone post-pubescent sex. In sf – Delany has been a darling of theirs, the activities of Breen were well-known, and they tried to whitewash Marion Zimmer Bradley back into favor. They love Polanski and adore Dunham. It’s the right and center who regard it with disgust. A left-source of the carefully selectively edited material would have been treated with the disdain that the left wing would have treated right wing evidence of Hillary Clinton breaking security regulations or laughing at getting a rapist to walk free. So: they faked a right wing site… And of course there are parts of the US right (I believe that neo-Nazi fellow was delighted by it) eager to believe the worst of a flamboyant homosexual, from that sort of source.”

https://madgeniusclub.com/2017/02/27/the-illusion-of-reality/

Sarah Hoyt went further, warning her readers that “If they take Milo down, you’re next” and followed that with her own musings about the age of consent.

“This is where Milo got into overthinking, when he started discussing how strictly speaking pedophiles are attracted to those people who haven’t undergone puberty (or are undergoing puberty.)  He’s absolutely right, but he was perhaps over-intellectualizing.  The truth is that laws of consent usually slice the do no harm/prevent harm very finely indeed, and are set when most of the population of the country can be assumed to have passed through and undergone puberty.

For instance the age of consent in Portugal is 14.  By 11 I had undergone menarche.  My best friend, OTOH, didn’t go through it till 16.  However hers was very late, and doctors were involved.  Most people got it at 12. So 14 seems like a fairly safe age of consent. You’re not going to prevent people who go through it earlier from having sex (OTOH I found an interest in physics and electronics prevented me pretty effectively till much, much older.)  But you want to discourage outright predators.  So 14 is about right for Portugal.

Do I mean girls of 14 (or boys for that matter) know what they’re doing?  No.  But I also don’t think they know what they’re doing at 18.  Left to me, I’d set the age of consent at thirty, and human population would plummet.”

https://accordingtohoyt.com/2017/02/22/if-they-take-milo-down-youre-next/

The age of consent issue also got Brad Torgersen musing on the question. Citing the example of Calvin Graham[8] who had enlisted in the US Navy at age 12 after Pearl Harbour, Torgersen considered what is the right age for “Working? Driving? Voting? Drinking? Getting laid?”.

“It seems to me we’ve never quite figured out (as a society) what we’re comfortable with. Especially regarding the last two items.Besides, biological age doesn’t always correlate to emotional age. I think all of us know people in our circles, or within the family, who are way more emotionally mature (or way less emotionally mature) than their biological age would seem to suggest.”

https://www.facebook.com/brad.torgersen/posts/1800805023279056

The Forbidden Thoughts anthology would also be promoted by Jon Del Arroz later in 2017 as part of a bizarre campaign.

In 2017, Wisconsin science fiction & fantasy convention Odyssey Con unwisely included former Tor editor James Frenkel in the position of Guest Liasion for the con. Frenkel was the subject of serious sexual harassment complaints in 2013[9]. As a consequence Frenkel left Tor and was also banned from WisCon, another notable Wisconsin convention. Author Monica Valentinelli had been invited as a Guest of Honour for the 2017 Odyssey Con and when discovering Frenkel’s involvement had informed the organisers that she had in the past “several uncomfortable interactions with this individual and I did not feel safe around him”[10]. Frenkel was removed as her point of contact for the convention but as the date for the convention approached Valentinelli learned that Frenkel was not only still involved but they were scheduled together for some events. Raising her concerns again with the con but found their response to be dismissive. Not feeling safe in attending, Valentinelli withdrew. In the ensuing mishandling of the convention’s response, other notable authors withdrew from the convention as well[11].

Eager to exploit an opportunity for a book promotion, Jon Del Arroz announced his own response to the events.

“A couple of weeks ago, an invited headlining guest flaked on a convention, OdysseyCon. No notice was given, no accommodations were asked for, simply bailing two weeks before it happened, leaving the fans without an honored guest. The Con responded professionally and nicely, trying to work things out as much as possible, but that wasn’t enough for this person who took to social media, and got a cabal of angry virtue signallers to start swearing, berating and attacking anyone they could.

The people who are left in the dust are fans, innocent folk who just wanted to spend a weekend hanging out, playing games, talking science fiction, listening to some authors speak and having a good time in fellowship. None of these virtue signallers thought or cared about the fans. It’s frankly shameful and unprofessional.”

https://delarroz.com/2017/04/25/authors-who-care-about-fans-and-readers/

Del Arroz avoided discussing the reason why Valentinelli had withdrawn but offered instead a book bundle for attending members of OdysseyCon. The bundle included the Forbidden Thoughts anthology (“featuring incredible stories by Baen Books authors Sarah Hoyt, Larry Correia, Brad Torgersen and more!”) as well as works by Nick Cole, Sarah Hoyt, Declan Finn, John C. Wright, L. Jagi Lamplighter, as well as less notable authors eager for the associated publicity.

Del Arroz’s April 25 post promoting the book bundle was followed the next day with his Dragon Award recommendations. Of the novel categories, all but two were authors from the bundle and the first exception was Vox Day’s A Sea of Skulls [12]. Del Arroz’s picks were then given a further signal boost by Vox Day who linked to them from his blog.

When the Dragon Award finalists were announced, seven works that were either in the bundle or recommended in Del Arroz’s Dragon Award picks were finalists, along with other works suggested by Vox Day or by people connected with the Superversive SF blog[13]. The capacity for multiple right-wing groups or figures to influence the Dragon Award finalists appeared to be significant.

Gaining nominations was one thing but winning was another. Brian Niemeier, who had improbably won the inaugural Dragon Award for Best Horror in 2016 with a space opera novel, hoped to frame the final vote as a culture war. Among the finalists in 2017 was John Scalzi and Niemeier was keen to present his book as the only way to prevent the “SJWs” from winning.

“But we can’t rest on our laurels. The Dragons are an open contest, and that openness brings with it the risk of dirty tricks–like the CHORFs pulled when they shelled out tens of thousands of dollars to stuff the ballot box at the Hugos under the guise of “scholarships”. That’s why we have to stay focused and present a united front to keep the entryists from gaining a foothold. As indies, our greatest advantage is also our greatest drawback. It’s nigh impossible to get a small group of us to agree on pizza toppings, never mind which books to support. But the SF SJWs are a fun-destroying monolith, and they’ve declared their intention to overrun the Dragon Awards. We who prize fun science fiction over nagging civics lectures must hang together or hang separately.”

https://brianniemeier.com/2017/08/2017-dragon-award-finalist-secret-kings/

Niemeier’s call to action for a new culture war had not anticipated that the other side might not be very interested in fighting. John Scalzi promptly withdrew his book from consideration.

“The reason is simple: Some other finalists are trying to use the book and me as a prop, to advance a manufactured “us vs. them” vote-pumping narrative based on ideology or whatever. And I just… can’t. I don’t have the interest and I’m on a deadline, and this bullshit is even more stale and stupid now than it was the several other times it was attempted recently, with regard to genre awards

My plan was to ignore it, but on further reflection (and further evidence that this nonsense was going to continue through the finalist voting period), I decided this was the better course. To the extent this bullshit manufactured narrative is centered on me, well, now it’s not, as far as these awards are concerned. I’m delighted to be able to chop it off at the knees by removing myself from consideration. I wish the progenitors of this narrative luck; now they will have to compete with the other finalists on the basis of the quality of their work instead. They’re going to need all the help they can get with that.”

https://whatever.scalzi.com/2017/08/07/withdrawing-from-the-dragon-awards-2017/

Other authors followed suit including Alison Littlewood. Unbeknownst to her, her book the Hidden People had been included in Vox Day’s slate in the Best Horror category. She requested that her book be withdrawn from the award. To her surprise, Dragon Con said no in a letter to her from Pat Henry – the Dragon Con President

“Good morning Ms. Littlewood,
While I appreciate your sense of fair play, I must decline your request to remove The Hidden People from the Dragon Award Nominations. We are aware of the rabid puppies and justice warriors efforts to effect the voting and we go through a number of steps to avoid ballot stuffing or other vote rigging behaviors.  While we didn’t start the Dragon Awards to foil these two groups, we believe that as we add voters, they will become irrelevant in the our awards.

We believe the “people’s choice” approach is a better way to recognize authors and their works.  The Dragon Awards ballot – which consists of works nominated by fans – is a broad representation of the best science fiction and fantasy literature available today.  With 53 novels listed, there is actually something for everybody on this ballot.     

The original purpose of the Dragon Awards was not so much as awards but as a quality reading list.  The cost of reading current material has been rising steadily for years.  Library budgets are not adequate to have all, or even a decent collection of  the type of materials that Dragon Con fans enjoy.

Pat Henry in a letter to Alison Littlewood, quoted on her blog http://www.alisonlittlewood.co.uk/news-blog/another-statement-regarding-the-dragon-awards/

N.K. Jemisin also asked for her novel The Obelisk Gate to be withdrawn as well. The Dragon Award already had something of a legitimacy problem and with big-name authors treating a finalist spot as negative marketing, their response to Littlewood was devastatingly bad PR.

The Dragon Awards officially shifted their position saying:

“And then, over the last couple of days, we got an earful from our fans and others. The issue also caused a second author to ask us to remove her book from the ballot as well. We’ve reconsidered and changed our mind. This is what’s happening next.

We have removed The Hidden People, by Ms. Littlewood, and The Obelisk Gate, by N.K. Jemisin, from the 2017 Dragon Awards ballot and we will re-issue ballots to those people who voted for these two books. We believe that fans who voted in the Horror and Apocalyptic categories should have a second chance to vote. No new titles will be added to the ballot.”

https://www.dragoncon.org/awards/a-new-day-and-a-fresh-perspective/

John Scalzi withdrew his own withdrawal in a gesture of rapprochment with the convention.

“the folks at the Dragon Awards suggested they were willing to put in some work to listen and learn, and the honoring of Ms. Littlewood’s withdrawal request and their commitment to rethink aspects of their process was a good first step. Enough that I was willing to reconsider withdrawing from the ballot.”

https://whatever.scalzi.com/2017/08/10/update-on-the-dragon-awards-and-me/

What remained mysterious was Pat Henry’s statement that “justice warriors” had attempted to affect the voting. With no obvious campaign from the left towards the Dragon Awards, people were puzzled by the claim until a group of Dragon Con fans calling themselves “The Red Panda Fraction” revealed themselves on Twitter[14].

The Dragon Awards were both a child of and a victim of culture wars within fandom but they were also a marker in the diminishing returns of the strategy of using right-wing fueled outrage to boost sales of books. GamerGate had petered out into irrelevance, the Sad Puppies had been defeated by the triple alliance of voting reform, apathy and internal infighting. There was though another arena that shared many of the features of both video games and science fiction fandom and it was an arena that Jon Del Arroz was already familiar with.

Del Arroz had scored a gig as a “journalist” at right-wing news outlet The Federalist and in April 2017 he launched into the newest front in the culture war: comics.

“I ran a Twitter search again, this time to investigate Marvel’s religious leanings. Marvel has writers who profess to be atheist, Jewish, and they even have a Muslim writer. Most writers, eager to speak out on their left-wing politics, don’t talk about their religion at all.

I did find one oddity: out of the entire group, I did not find one writer that openly professed Christianity. On the contrary, many of the writers made comments mocking Christians or the Bible. It begs the question: does Marvel hold a latent religious intolerance toward Christians? Based on this research, it would appear so. I reached out to the Marvel writers listed above and Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief, Axel Alonso, but they declined to comment.”

https://thefederalist.com/2017/04/12/forcing-political-correctness-employees-characters-killing-marvel-comics/

This was not the first salvo in the wildly shambolic third attempt at a fandom specific culture (the first two being GamerGate and the Puppies) but it was a point at which attention shifted from one arena to another. The conflict known as Comicsgate will have to wait until another chapter but it managed a level of farcical toxicity that its predecessors, even at their most incompetent moments, couldn’t rival.

Fandom culture wars had always been a side-show to more mainstream politics but in 2017 they struggled not just with relevance but also in terms of outrage. National and international politics had taken a turn for the weird and dangerous in a way that both paralleled and exceeded the Puppy conflict. This was the Trump years and normal had taken a holiday.

Next time: Trump Year One


Footnotes

110 thoughts on “Debarkle Chapter 63: What the Evil League of Evil (and Friends) Did Next

  1. Puppy sympathiser Ray Blank

    Ah yes, that’s the dude (pen name of Eric Priezkalns) who proposed holding a Worldcon in Qatar, even though no fan from Qatar had ever attended Worldcon, and no fan groups in Qatar had ever shown any interest in bidding to hold Worldcon there. 🙄

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I had the same reaction while reading it, Ray Blank, the Qatarguy.

      Some generel thoughts
      The defence of Milo Yiannopoulos is the second example that the brave crusaders against paedophilia defended someone who is acused of this. (Sorry to remind you, of a certain fan artist nominee who drew explicit underage characters)
      The book bundle sounds like getting it for free, would be overpaying.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. We should have called him Qatarzan, but we were being polite. And it might not be Qatar’s fault, so why pick on them.

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          1. goddammit, I’ve had this earworm in my head for a couple of days now… was forced to order the David Gates Songbook CD off eBay! (got a good deal for $7.50 including shipping) 😀

            Liked by 1 person

  2. “Red Panda” is mentioned in the text, but there is absolutely no explanation what they are or what they have done. It is just confusing. Also, they are called “a group of Dragon Con fans” which we have no idea if it is true. Every time I have seen the name, it seems to be have been one single person behind its use.

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    1. We don’t do much now except for putting together an eligibility spreadsheet for the Dragon Awards nominees each year. We did argue for contesting the Dragon Awards instead of ignoring them after 2017.

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      1. I was thinking more about the text which is about 2017. There is absolutely no explanation of what the “Red Panda Group” is supposed to have done to be counted as a special side in the debarcle.

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        1. We are aware of the rabid puppies and justice warriors efforts to effect the voting

          This was a pathetic attempt at both-sidesism; there were no “justice warriors” attempting to sway the Dragon votes, it was all Puppies (and the vast majority of them were Sads, not Rabids) and self-published authors. But of course the Dragon Awards administrators weren’t going to say that, because they didn’t want the Sad Puppies and self-pubbers getting pissed off at them.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. What should be said is that in the whole discusion the Red Panda Fraction is kind of a red herring. The got only activ after the statment.
            Also anyone talking seriously about SJW is making it clear that he is one the side of the puppys. (And it is quite a move to deny someone the right to not be part of your award)

            Liked by 1 person

          2. This is of course true. It is just that the text doesn’t offer any information about this. We don’t know what they have done and rhus can’t judge if they are sinister or benevolent. That I as a person know this doesn’t mean that someone new to the text does.

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    2. We had 2 other persons mentioned (I am not sure if one of them did comment here or both) that are a part of the Red Panda Fraction. They selfidentify as a group. The account Red Panda is (I think) use by one person but I think calling the Fraction “a group of Dragon Con fans” is from the knowledge we have not wrong.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. Nitpick: 3. The Person behind the account, Rad Sonja and the Person who posted whit their real name here.
          It is a seldidentification that they are a group. Do we have reason to desbelieve it? I mean with the puppies I would disbelieve everythink (or are at last skeptical) they say but other people I believe more.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2017/09/02/a-comment-from-the-red-pandas/

              (most comments from people asociated with them make this clear that the are think themselves as a group we got 3 names in there) also https://womenwriteaboutcomics.com/2017/09/2017-dragon-awards/ as a link to name another person who sees them as a group and is trustworthy.
              Also there own website.
              In the text from Cam no it is not clear, but is it really questionable that they RPF is a group? I give you that there could be more in the text what they did 2017, but I don’t think group of fans interested in Dragon Con has ever been questioned.

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  3. “ A forward by … Milo Yiannopoulos” – replace “forward” with “foreword”.
    Very kind of you to read all the puppy piffle. Every time I try it, I feel dumber than when I started.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “…they even have a Muslim writer”

    I’m sorry, this cracks me up. O no, not a MUSLIM writer!!

    Surprised that JD can’t use “begging the question” correctly, given that it’s his major rhetorical move.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Del Arroz avoided discussing the reason why Valentilli had withdrawn should probably be Del Arroz avoided discussing the reason why Valentinelli had withdrawn

    the first tow being GamerGate shoudl probably be the first two being GamerGate

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  6. Typo patrol:

    names close to those of John Scalzi and N.K.Jemisin.

    Need a space after “N.K.”

    Correia and Torgersen meanwhile compared the 2015 Sad Puppies 3 campaign to a metaphor mixed with Donald Trump and Animal House.

    I haven’t looked at the original, but I suspect that they didn’t actually compare the campaign to a metaphor? Perhaps something like, “they discussed…employing a metaphor that mixed Donald Trump and Animal House“?

    we are reassured that he “he switched parties,

    Only needs one “he”.

    the controversy around Yiannopoulus statements about sex and children grew

    Yiannopoulos. (You do a good job of mostly getting this right.)

    the reason why Valentilli had withdrawn

    s/b Valentinelli

    Of the novel categories, all but two was an author from the bundle

    The singular “was” rings oddly with the plural subject “all but two”.

    N.K.Jemisin also asked

    Again, “N.K. Jemisin”

    their response to Littlewood was devestatingly bad PR.

    s/b devastatingly

    “justice warriors” had attempted to effect the voting.

    s/b affect

    the first tow being GamerGate

    s/b two

    that its predecsors, even

    s/b predecessors

    Liked by 2 people

  7. As far as the age-of-consent discussion goes, you might want to mention that the far-right has been obsessive in trying to tar main-stream fandom with accusations of pedophilia, constantly dredging up 50-year-old stories about Walter Breen as though that had any relevance to modern fandom. And yet when one of their own suggests that sex with 13-year-olds is okay, they join ranks to defend him.

    I’m dumbfounded that even John Wright defended him–a man who had declared that all straight men wanted to take up crowbars and kill gay men. It really underscores how unprincipled these people are: they don’t even have any bad principles!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. As aluded above it was not only the general far-right, Beale and his cronies did right that carusel quite a bit as long as it was good to drow dirt at Scalzi.
      And this was Beales second defense of some real shit.
      We see here that the defend one of their own no matter what because he is of their tribe. Next exibit Trump.
      What I don’t like in this chapter is the point that the conservative groups did turn against Yiannopoulos because they were conservative. This was a dealbreaker not only for the right. It was a even they have standards sure.

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    2. Greg: I’m reminded of the comment Hannah Arendt made about Martin Heidigger, with whom she was involved when she was very young: he didn’t have a bad character, in fact, he had none at all.

      Liked by 2 people

          1. First Law of Hols!

            The embarrassing thing is that I’m most of the way through Wolfram Eilenberger’s excellent Time of the Magicians, a sort of collective philosophical biography of Wittgenstein, Cassirer, Benjamin, and Heidegger, so I really have no excuse.

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    3. Similarly, racism by some liberal a century ago (Woodrow Wilson comes up a lot) is PROOF that liberals are the real racist, pay no attention to current Republican activities. And yes, for Wright that’s a gobsmacking swerve.
      “That a lack of subtlety and moral panic would be applied by conservatives to one of their allies took them by surprise.” Nobody ever expects the leopard to eat their own face.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. (In my defense re: twice – it’s actually not a terrible book, from a plot and worldbuilding point of view. And the prose is actually fairly clean and readable. If it weren’t for the heavy skeeze element, I’d be interested in reading the rest of the series.)

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    4. On this subject, they really don’t care about facts or logic or anything other than partisan affiliation. If Yiannopoulos were groping children on live TV, the most important factor would be whether he was still considered a valuable asset to their side or not. Eventually, he wasn’t.

      It helps that they’re also able to effortlessly convince themselves of ridiculous ideas of what The Enemy’s horrible opinions are, so that by contrast their own position can’t be that bad. “They love Polanski and adore Dunham” is a lovely example, combining as it does two utterly absurd factual statements (if loving Roman Polanski, as opposed to some of his movies, and adoring Lena Dunham on either a personal or an artistic level, are majority positions among left-leaning science fiction fans, I’ll eat my hat) with one extremely dishonest rhetorical move (even if one did “adore” Dunham— and I personally do like a lot of her work, though I can totally understand feeling otherwise— that would in no way be an endorsement of pedophilia, since what they are talking about is Dunham’s confession in a memoir that she fooled around with her little sister when they were both prepubescent children).

      If this shit is still going on 50 years from now, I fully expect that they will have concocted a narrative in which Worldcon was literally a cult that worshiped both Lena Dunham and Milo Yiannopoulos.

      Liked by 2 people

    5. And of course they speak approvingly of marrying very young women so they can mold them to be what they want, and are perfectly fine with allowing young women to marry with parental permission/orders in states that allow it.

      The age of marriage for girls with parental permission is as low as 12 in some states, 14 in others.

      Meanwhile, while they clutch their pearls about Breen — who’s been dead longer than some of them have been alive — they’re fine with Milo, Roy Moore, Matt Gaetz, etc.

      For them, it’s not who you molest, but how you vote that matters.

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        1. Declan “Committing An International Crime During A Worldwide Plague” Finn.

          Never forget.

          Both law-breaking and surpassingly stupid.

          Declan “Both law-breaking and surpassingly stupid” Finn.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. I did not know the JDA – Lamplighter connection but in hindsight the similarities between JDA and JCW’s self-inflated hyperboles make sense. (While the Puppy Kerfuffle got me back into fandom after drifting around a bit, I never did encounter him until the hydra’s comicsgate head appeared.)

    Liked by 2 people

          1. It was so heartbreaking a few years ago to read her bragging about how she was controlling what their 21-year-old adopted daughter was allowed to read. Their kids are going to be some seriously screwed-up adults. 😦

            Liked by 2 people

  9. That a lack of subtlety and moral panic would be applied by conservatives to one of their allies took them by surprise.

    Because Wright and Day are both extremely stupid.

    So 14 seems like a fairly safe age of consent.

    You know, I’m pretty sure that I haven’t been interested in 14 year-old girls since I was a 14 year-old boy. But then, unlike Hoyt, I’m not trying to justify adults sexually preying on adolescents.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’ve been told that 14 is the de facto age of consent even in the US because offenses with kids older than that generally don’t get prosecuted. This is partly because the penalties are much higher below that age, making it more worthwhile to prosecute, and partly because they want a really big age gap to avoid the “well, she/he looked old enough” defense. That is, someone might get a jury to buy the argument that “she was 17, but she looked and acted like she was 21” but no one is going to try to argue that a 13-year-old looked 18.

      I also remember being told (this was in Florida in the 1980s) was that for ages 14 and 15, they only prosecute if there’s a complaint from the child or the family, and for 16 and 17 they only prosecute if there’s another crime involved. The reason (supposedly) was that the police are busy and don’t like to waste time on things that are likely to get dismissed or end up with just a slap on the wrist. (This was part of a longer discussion about how offenses committed by gay men got much harsher punishment than those committed by straight men.)

      Caveat: It’s been a long time, different US States are different, and my recollection might be faulty.

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      1. In North Carolina, they just raised the age of consent for marriage to sixteen this year.
        There was a notorious case a couple of years back where police found a 17-year-old with nude photos of himself from when he was sixteen (he’d taken them to sext his girlfriend). They busted him for having underage sexually explicit photos, but at 17 he could and was legally charged as an adult. After the story got media attention, they backed off, IIRC.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. 14 is the age of consent in many/most European countries, with caveats that relationships between teachers and students as well as sex work, nude photos, explicit scenes in movies, etc… are still illegal for people under 18.

      Like

    3. At 14-15 I hadn’t had a period yet — and it wasn’t a medical problem, I was perfectly healthy and merely at the upper end of normal human variation.

      But Hoyt thinks it would have been fine for some man to have had sex with pre-pubescent me.

      Even though I was physically a child, which would have made it quite literally pedophilia.

      JCW probably wouldn’t have cared either.

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  10. JDA’s OdysseyCon book promotion is what put Richard Paolinelli on my radar. Somebody that completely missed Sad Puppies and now was trying to trot fast enough to catch the bandwagon. Or would parrot some Vox Day take on his own blog trying to attract a link and some attention from him. We’re these the kind of guys you called “Scrappy-Doos”?

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    1. Yes very much so but I didn’t want to use my own coinage here.

      Also, I avoided mentioning Mr P specifically to avoid any subsequent wailing and gnashing of teeth – although he’s one of a long list of people who fell out with JDA 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. The whole “age of consent in Portugal is 14” argument is a gross simplification of the law. As is the case in many jurisdictions, the age of consent is 14, if the other participant is also a minor. An adult having sex with a 14 year old in Portugal would likely be committing a crime (I say likely because I am not a lawyer in Portugal, but that seems to me to be the way the law is written). The actual age of consent in Portugal seems to be 16, and even then there is a special restriction that prohibits relations between 16-18 year old individuals and adults who bear some sort of responsible position with respect to them (such as educators).

    To be blunt, this sort of apologia for sex with minors is not new to the “conservative” wing of science fiction authors. Jerry Pournelle inserted a line in almost every book he wrote about how, in ancient Rome, boys were considered adults at the age of 12. In a couple of his books he set up situations in which 12ish year old boys would end up having sex with similarly aged girls. In Lucifer’s Hammer a middle-aged boy scout leader ends up in a sexual relationship with what is clearly a teenage girl scout. Promoting sex between teens seems to have been an obsession of Pournelle’s, and yet the “conservatives” never seem to criticize him for it.

    As Greg said, they are obsessed with Breen and Bradley, both of whom died literally decades ago, neither of whom have any impact on fandom any more. Contemporaries in their circle making artwork of underage characters or actually promoting pedophilia is something they will rally to defend however.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Just short from someone who lives in a country with a low age of consent(14). It means that someone under 14 can never under no curcumstances consent. It doesn’t mean that all relationships between adults and teens are not criminal. It also doesn’t mean that an adult that has a relationship with a much younger teen is not a creep and society won’t react negative to it. So there are big social consequenses, except when people are close to age.(And not more discusing it)
      Here the defenders are using it to defend stuff this is not defended under the law. The age of consent does not help Milo, because he is even in Portugal and Germany under it. Porn with people under 18 is forbidden in the whole EU. (I am not enough into that laws to know if the fact that there are drawings plays a big role in the question)
      So that is a red herring.
      Re Bradley it also helps that she was seen (from what I heared) as a feminist icon by many so left=enemy, so somethink to beat people up with and like Aaron said, safly dead.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And yet even before the whole Breendoggle came to light, MZB was considered a little off by many on the left. She was a feminist icon in part because there were so few of them at the time, not because she was particularly good at it.

        I remember a comment by Tanya Huff years ago (this was late 1980s, at WilfCon, I think, so don’t quote me on the memory) that one of her inspirations for her vastly over-powered wizard character Magdalene in some short stories was having submitted a story to an anthology Bradley was working on and being essentially told that the female protagonist was too flawed. So Huff’s response was to write a character that was more like what Bradley seemed to be going for, and do it completely over-the-top and comedic. (See her collection ‘Stealing Magic’, which involves two such characters; she did a short story ‘The Chase is On’ about a space opera version later as well. Characters like that work best in short stories.)

        Basically, where I’m going with this… if MZB were still alive today, I would not be at all surprised to find her joining J.K. Rowling on the TERF-y side of things as far as ‘feminism’ was concerned. And I would have said that even without knowing about Walter Breen.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I submitted a story to one of her anthologies once. Her criticism was brutal but 100 percent accurate.
          Which says nothing about her politics, but I’ve heard people say she’s a bad editor and that wasn’t my experience.

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        2. I don’t have that many knowledge about it. Late 1980 was perhaps after Taran but before everythink else. Even before LotR, Discworld and Mark Brandis (the last probabably unknown to almost everyone).

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            1. Cora understood it right. Those 4 are stuff that I remember towards the beginning of my Science-Fiction and Fantasy reading time. Nearly everythink was written before (and Mark Brandis never had a movieadeption, like most German SF hasn’t I don’t make the joke that a certain german series definitly hasn’t have one, that was horrible)

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        3. I don’t know that she’d be TERFie. A number of the Free Amazon fans were trans and she was supportive of them as far as I could tell. I’ve no doubt she’d be problematic in a different direction, but I don’t think it would be Rowling’s path

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          1. I will withdraw my suggestion in view of your superior knowledge of the people involved, and apologize for making such implications.

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            1. I knew the group around Baltimore. I wasn’t actually a part of it. (If I’d lived there longer I probably would have been.) Several of the women were trans, which gave me a start at Darkover Con, I had my shirt off so a couple women could draw a fake tattoo on my back, and all of a sudden, there’s a baritone voice speaking behind me. She was very nice, but lordy, she sounded like a defense linesman.

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        4. “ MZB … was a feminist icon in part because there were so few of them at the time, not because she was particularly good at it.”
          This is important. I got off the MZB bus pretty early because the Darkover novels kept taking feminist positions and then undercutting them. And that’s way before I heard about the really skeevy stuff. Compare her work to that of Russ, Le Guin and Butler, to name only three, and she offered very little.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know what drugs you were doing when you wrote that post, but I’m pretty sure that I’m pissed off at you for not sharing with the rest of us. 🙄

      Like

  12. He wrote for The Federalist? That is an outlet that’s both morally repugnant and also stupid — they once published an article that said that in the game of love “women used to have all the cards but when faced with a royal flush, they folded.” That’s pretty much all you can do in that situation, fold. I’ve no idea what the author meant to say.
    Not the worst thing by far that they’ve published (there’s the call to stop aborting ectopic pregnancies because then doctors will have to find a better solution) but it really sticks with me.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. “Saturday Night Live”, the original cast? Who were all promiscuous (by RWNJ standards) and took truly epic amounts of illegal drugs of all sorts? Bringing anarchy to the small and big screens? Always referred to as “sick filth” by the RWNJ of the time?

    Yeah. The Puppies WISH they were that cool. I had to watch original SNL on the little black and white TV because Mom and Dad wouldn’t have it on the big color console.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As usual for the Pups, the claim about Belushi (and Blutarski) is something the Pups just pulled out of their ass. There is no evidence that would suggest it would be true, and to the extent that there is evidence, it points away from their conclusion. John Belushi’s brother Jim Belushi didn’t turn Republican after 9/11, and has supported Democratic candidates in the years that followed. To the extent that other cast members of Animal House are politically active, almost all of them supported and still support Democrats (the lone possible exception being Bruce McGill, who apparently did voiceovers for Trump campaign commercials in 2016).

      In short, there is simply no reason to believe that John Belushi, had he not died in 1982, would have become a Republican in 2001.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aaron: Bruce McGill, who apparently did voiceovers for Trump campaign commercials in 2016

        Well, that’s a disappointment. I used to like him in MacGyver. 😐

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  14. Tyop Patorl has done its usual sterling job, but there’s one that still bugs me:

    “Arroz’s picks were then given a further signal boost by Vox Day who linked to them from his blog.”

    and

    “When the Dragon Award finalists were announced, seven works that were either in the bundle or recommended in Arroz’s Dragon Award picks were finalists…”

    In both cases, Arroz s/b Del Arroz. Not Rice, but Of The Rice.

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  15. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been reading these 60+ chapters (most impressed!). This “what they did after” chapter seems a good a place as any to add a few of my reflections.

    RE: The Mad Genius Club…

    Yes, as was footnoted in that Dramatis Personae chapter, I was one of the original members. I was invited (in 2009, I think) to join a brand new blog of about half a dozen sf/f writers, to promote our work and to discuss craft and business. The other writers all seemed reasonable and civil, and all activity on the blog while I was a member was exactly as stated in the invitation. But I was very busy and soon realized I didn’t have time to do this, and so I left — probably less than 3 months after joining. Some years later… maybe 2014? — someone sent me a link to a batsh*t crazy blog essay… And I was stunned when I discovered it was on the same MGC site where I had briefly been an early member. Even more stunned to see that the whole blog was now pretty much batsh*t crazy, the contents primarily a combination of far-right wingnut politics, wailing self-pity, and irrational diatribes attacking real and imagined enemies. So things changed quite a bit there in the years after my very brief involvement.

    RE: the Puppies…

    A very, very minor football among some of them in 2015 was condemning me because of my father. In the Puppy worldview, they were advocating on behalf of my unfairly under-recognized dad by getting him on the 2015 Hugo ballot, and I was betraying my father by vocally opposing Puppydom. I think they also persuaded themselves that my dad sided with them (he didn’t, not in public and not in private), and that I was opposing his will (I wasn’t) by publicly criticizing them.

    By contrast, in my own more reality-based perspective, my father had already been nominated for 36 Hugos (and won 5) without Puppy help, so I wasn’t at all on board with their delusion that involving his name in their sh*t was helping him in some way. Moreover, they repeatedly made claims about the quality of Hugo nominees and winners declining =during the exact same years= that Pop was famously appearing regularly on the ballot and not-infrequently winning. So color me just a silly pink-shirt, but I thought it would be the very opposite of filial loyalty to side with a group/movement/mob/whatever that insistently characterized my father’s own Hugo history and the very nature of the award he respected and cherished in such a negative and dismissive way. Additionally, in their quarrels with entities and individuals in the genre, the Puppies repeatedly attacked (often with jaw-dropping viciousness) people my father respected and liked, and longtime friends he cherished and/or loved. I didn’t see how anyone supposed that siding *with* that behavior, rather than against it, could possibly be an act of loyalty toward my father.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Indeed. A semi-amusing story about how obtuse I can be:

        When I saw the batsh*t craziness at MCG that day in (I think it was?) 2014, my first reaction was, “Whoa. I’d better tell the writers at the MCG where I was once a member that there’s a batsh*t crazy blog online with the exact same name! It could be a problem for them, create the wrong impression if their readers log onto this one instead oo ontp THEIR blog! Maybe they should change the name of their blog so they don’t get confused with this batsh*t one, and… and…” And… then I noticed that two of the regular bloggers listed on the menu there were, um, two original members from when I had joined the blog in 2009.

        Boy, did MY jaw drop.

        I was STILL so confused, I looked up their individual websites and tested to links to their MGC to see if this batsh*t crazy blog was really, truly the same blog I remembered. And it was.

        I have no explanation.

        Liked by 2 people

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