Debarkle Chapter 67: Vox and Q

Starting in 2017 and spreading through the alt-right in 2018 and then further beyond in subsequent years, the compendium of conspiracy theories known as Qanon has become so complex that an adequate account is beyond the scope of this project. For those looking for a more detailed account of the key figures instrumental in propagating the Qanon conspiracy theory, the HBO documentary “Q: Into the Storm” by Cullen Hoback[1] is worth watching. For information on the broader movement, its influences and variations, the entertaining Qanon Anonymous podcast[2] has been covering the phenomenon since April 2018.

The precipitating element of the conspiracy theory was a series of enigmatic and anonymous postings on imageboards (first 4Chan and later 8Chan) by a supposed intelligence agency insider who used the codename “Q”. The content of these posts was both very thin and very cryptic, with much of the surrounding lore and beliefs being constructed by fans of the theory. “Fans” is, I believe, the correct term to use here as the Qanon movement resembled fannish culture in multiple ways including the importance of fan theories, and often anarchic (even if ideologically reactionary) decentralised structure as a movement and the shared social experience of participants. Where Qanon differs from more conventional fandoms was the extent to which its participants do not believe they are dealing with fiction.

Continue reading “Debarkle Chapter 67: Vox and Q”

Debarkle Volume 2: The eBook!

The collected ebook edition of the second volume of Debarkle is now available. https://books2read.com/u/bxayov

Volume 2 covers the chaos of the 2015 Sad Puppy/Rabid Puppy sweep of the Hugo nominations through to the decline of both campaigns in 2016 and 2017. It is available from Books2Read (the offshoot of Draft2Digital) and is also being distributed to a range of other online bookstores including:

Can you be both a polytheist and monotheist at the same time?

Alternative title: how deeply buried in layers of nonsense am I right now?

So, the previous Debarkle chapter was Comicsgate, the next one is Qanon and specifically Vox Day’s promotion of Qanon because Qanon itself is too big a topic. Unfortunately, before getting onto how the two forms of toxic nonsense (Comicsgate and Qanon) meet up, I’ve got sidetracked into Vox Day’s theology. This is mainly to show how Day’s pre-existing (and I don’t doubt sincerely held) religious beliefs tied directly to his Qanon beliefs.

Anyway…I described Day’s beliefs as “polytheistic” because he literally does believe there are multiple gods. But then…I don’t like to misrepresent people and calling an avowed Christian “polytheistic” isn’t a neutral description — it is the sort of insult that warring Christian denominations hurl at each other to attempt to delegitimise them. So, I thought I’d better check to see if Day describes himself as a monotheist…and also how he does that given he does quite literally believe there is more than one god.

Luckily for me (but not for you dear readers who came here for either fan history or cat ramblings) there are a couple of posts where he explains himself. It all comes down to the conventions of proper nouns.

The first is in response to a basic atheist argument that presents atheism as just the natural next step for a monotheist who has already accepted that a range of gods do not exist:

“I’ve noticed that those who are taking exception to my point are very free with confusing the concept of god and God. But the atheist quote refers only to gods, and as I have demonstrated, the Bible refers to many sorts of gods who are not God, from false gods made by man to the mighty gods of the assembly to the evil god of this world.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20160112215906/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2005/11/mailvox-some-christians-dont.html

Lower case-g gods and upper case-g God.

In the next, he explains himself a bit further by explaining what he means by “gods”

1. god = a powerful supernatural being that is capable of interacting with the natural realm and is worshipped by humans or other supernatural beings. Examples: Satan, Moloch, Quetzalcoatl etc.
2. God = the Creator God of the Bible. Also known as Yahweh, Jehovah, the Lord God of Israel and numerous other appellations. At war with some of the aforementioned gods, worshipped by others.
3. false god = an imaginary being that may or may not be worshipped by human beings; while it may have a natural manifestation, it has no supernatural existence. Examples: The Great Spaghetti Monster, wooden idols, Shub-Niggurath, thunder.
4. mythical god = a being of historical legend which may or may not exist on the supernatural level. It is either a god or a false god, but as they are unworshipped and are not known to manifest today it is difficult to have an opinion on their existence. Examples: Zeus, Tyr, Morrigan.

https://web.archive.org/web/20160112215905/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2005/11/mailvox-deitic-definitions.html

So, yes, he believes that beings of type 1 exist (i.e. n[gods]>1). However…

“Interestingly enough, it is difficult to condemn the atheist too harshly for his inability to understand the difference between belief and worship, especially given that in this case it appears to be built around the concept of monotheism. My two favorite online dictionaries give two similar, but significantly different definitions:

Oxford Online: Monotheism – the belief that there is a single god.
Dictionary.com: Monotheism – The doctrine or belief that there is only one God.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20160112215905/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2005/11/mailvox-deitic-definitions.html

So Day is a “monotheist” because he believes there is only one being with the proper name “God”. However, that doesn’t answer my question: is Vox Day a polytheist? For that, we have to look at what the definition of a polytheist is and to avoid being accused of dictionary definition shopping, I’ll rely on Dictionary.com:

“the doctrine of or belief in more than one god or in many gods.”

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/polytheism

Lower case-g “god” and even if I did go dictionary shopping, I’d be unlikely to find a definition that asserted that polytheism was the belief in more than one upper case-G “God”. So if we grant Day the two dictionary.com definitions, he is reasonably both a monotheist and polytheist and all before breakfast.

A better word to clarify matters is monolatry: the worship of one god. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monolatry

To cut a long story short, I removed the word “polytheist” because it would require unpacking and used “multiple gods” instead because I’m not the theology police.

I too can use calendars

It is October 11 2021 or at least it is in Sydney, Australia as I write this. Why is that relevant? Well cast your minds back to 2019 and one of my moments of literary masochism: https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2019/11/15/reading-vox-day-so-you-dont-have-to-part-ive-lost-count/

This didn’t come up in the last chapter of Debarkle because it is about Vox Day’s attempt to cash in on both Comicsgate and Qanon simultaneously, so I’m saving it for the next chapter and also because October 11 2021 is when Day claimed he would reveal whatever stunning victory he won over crowdfunding site Indiegogo. Meanwhile, it isn’t quite October 11 in the rest of the world but I’m waiting for what I am sure will be very anti-climatic news.

Ebook coming soon

The collected ebook version of Debarkle will have its second volume available soon. If you want a kerfuff by kerfuff history of a kerfuffle in one handy ebook the here you go. The font choice does make it look like it is Volume Z though.

Susan’s Salon: 2021 October 10/11

📺

Please use the comment section to just chat about whatever you want. Susan’s Salon is posted early Monday (Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Whatever Standard Time, which is still Sunday in most other countries). It’s fine to be sad, worried, vaccinated, unvaccinated-yet, angry or maybe even happy (or all of those things at once).

Please feel free to post what you like (either troubling news or pleasant distractions) in the comments for this open thread. [However, no cranky conflicts between each other in the comments.] Links, videos, cat pictures 🐈 etc are fine! Whatever you like and be nice to one another 😇

Review: Foundation Episode 4

Well, we are still on chapter 2 but given they want a multi-series show out of three thin books, that is maybe not a surprise. What is becoming clear is what this show is. It is a show set in the Foundation “universe” if we can imagine such a thing if Asimov’s patchwork of fix-em-up novels and later career sequels/prequels had actually been an act of epic fantasy style worldbuilding. I think that helps answer a question Cora raised in her review of Episode 3:

“Therefore, I wonder why the screenplay is falling over its own feet to tell us how very special Salvor Hardin is. It seems as if every second line in the Terminus scenes is “She’s different”, “She’s special” and the like. For Salvor is the only one who can approach the Time Vault without succumbing to nosebleeds and fainting spells. And once, as a child, she even claimed that the Vault was calling to her. In the series, Salvor is special the way Gaal was/is special, even though neither of them was special in the books. Book Salvor and Book Gaal are very intelligent and shrewd people, but special they’re not.”

http://corabuhlert.com/2021/10/03/foundation-meets-the-mathematicians-ghost/

Episode 4 gives some of this away but I’ll add a fold for spoilers.

Continue reading “Review: Foundation Episode 4”

Debarkle Chapter 66: The Rise and Self Destruction of Comicsgate

[Content warning for bullying and misogyny]

GamerGate (see chapter 28) and the Puppy campaigns had each chosen their own mode of popular culture to stage a revolt against the perceived incursion of more modern ideas. The offending ideas were not just social/political but also aesthetic or a combination of both — particularly regarding how women were represented. While both GamerGate and the Puppy campaigns included women supporters, both campaigns highlighted feminism as one of the social movements they were pushing back on and also portrayed the respective domains as places naturally suited for the enjoyment of young men.

Among the alt-right (see chapter 57) both of these campaigns were part of a broader pushback against the inclusion of women, a greater range of ethnic groups and LGBTQI people in popular culture both as characters and as creators. This pushback was tied to a politically paranoid belief that sinister forces were attempting to wipe out white people as a group and hence the increased representation in popular culture (from movies to TV adverts) of people other than manly looking cis-het English-speaking Christian white men was regarded as confirmation of a genocidal plot. This overarching idea allowed the alt-right to connect in their rhetoric everything from their opposition to immigration and movements like Black Lives Matter with their support for Donald Trump, and of course to the ongoing struggle over popular culture.

GamerGate had framed itself as a consumer uprising, the Puppy campaigns would adopt similar rhetoric but were predominantly campaigns by content creators (i.e. authors). Even the more GamerGate aspects of the Puppy campaigns (eg the Tor Boycott – see chapter 43) was still led primarily by aspiring authors. However, a more general reactionary consumer revolt tactic was adopted on the right across a broader range of popular culture. In the aftermath of GamerGate, this had included a coordinated campaign against the women-led reboot of the Ghostbuster’s franchise. The targeted harassment of actor Leslie Jones led to Milo Yiannopoulos being permanently banned from Twitter[1].

Other alt-right backlashes in popular culture included campaigns against Rian Johnson’s Star War’s sequel The Last Jedi[2] in 2017. In 2018 former GamerGate and Puppy supporter Brian Niemeier was one of many on the right who was outraged by Netflix commissioning a re-boot of 1980’s kid’s cartoon She-Ra but with more body-positive character designs. Niemeier saw the move as a sadistic mental game by the media company.

“What follows is crucial. In fact, it’s the whole point. The converged corporation fans initial murmurs of normie dissatisfaction into a full-fledged backlash. Conveniently, the company will have hired a race hustler masquerading as a writer or a LOOK AT ME!!! LGBTQ+ mascot to headline the project. Those who complained have unwittingly stepped into a kafkatrap wherein the production’s SJW fellow travelers in the media can snipe at normal people with their victims caught in a crossfire.”

https://brianniemeier.com/2018/07/the-sjw-turkey-shoot/

Even cute Disney musicals got dragged into the culture war with, belatedly, the song “Let It Go” from the 2013 film Frozen being identified as subversively feminist in 2017 by popular right-wing self-help guru of the time Jordan Peterson calling the film “propagandistic”[3] while Vox Day saw Satan and the collapse of civilisation in the song.

“Disney is run by literal satanists preaching Alastair Crowley’s “do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” to children. They are one of the primary engine’s of the West’s degeneracy and decline. It is not an accident that everything they touch, in every industry, turns into morally radioactive slime.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20171027230425/http://voxday.blogspot.com.au/2017/10/the-devil-that-is-disney.html

However, histrionics about catchy show tunes lacked the same mobilising influence as GamerGate and the Puppy campaigns had. Attempts to derail huge franchises backed by marketing might of the increasingly dominant Disney corporation proved to be largely fruitless.

Among the many areas in this sporadic cultural campaign was superhero comic books. This front in the culture war was initially just part of the same unfocused complaints about the improved representation of women and other groups in modern comics. Most notable of these incidents was the far-right online harassment campaign that sprung up in 2016 objecting to the cover of a Marvel comic featuring the character Mockingbird in a t-shirt that read “Ask me about my feminist agenda”[4]. The writer of the comic, Chelsea Cain, was subject to a wave of harassment on social media[5]. In 2017 an otherwise unremarkable photograph of women staff at Marvel drinking milkshakes became the focus of another social media harassment campaign.

“According to a vocal contingent online, Antos and the Marvel Milkshake Crew were “fake geek girls,” “social justice warriors,” and “tumblr-virtue signalers,” the sort of people who were ruining the comics industry by their very presence. “The creepiest collection of stereotypical SJWs [“social justice warriors”] anyone could possibly imagine,” one user tweeted. Musings on Antos’ sexual availability led another to write, “Better have her sign a consent form, she looks like the ‘false rape charge’ type.””

https://www.thedailybeast.com/comicsgate-how-an-anti-diversity-harassment-campaign-in-comics-got-uglyand-profitable

Central to that campaign was a YouTuber and comic book writer/reviewer Richard C. Meyer, who had been using his channel (entitled “Diversity & Comics”) to promulgate the idea that feminism and diversity were undermining comics. Not all of Meyer’s anti-diversity rhetoric was public and his more extreme comments were contained in a private channel for more dedicated fans of his videos.

“In a private YouTube video called “The Dark Roast,” originally posted in November 2017 and obtained by The Daily Beast, Meyer called one Marvel editor a “cum-dumpster,” accused various female writers of “sucking their way into the industry,” and mused which famous creators were pedophiles or had psychological problems. “The Dark Roast is where I get to say stuff like ‘Dan Slott looks like a pedophile,’” he says in the recording. “I don’t have to dance around, I don’t have to say ‘parody’ or wink-wink.””

ibid

Meyer was one of the two central figures in Comicsgate but before we get to the second figure, we need to look at the other dimension of Comicsgate and encounter some more familiar faces.

Comics, as an industry, had many features in common with both the book publishing world of the Puppy campaigns and the quite different world of video games. Technological change and shifts in consumer habits had meant that the dominant publishers of superhero comic books (Marvel and DC) were dealing with a changing market. Fewer people were buying individual comics from speciality comic book stores and instead of buying comics digitally or in collections/graphic novel formats. In addition, Japanese manga had become increasingly available to Western audiences since the 1990s. As with book publishing, people hadn’t stopped reading but the market had become less predictable and consumer choice had increased significantly[6].

Not unlike video games, the comic book industry had also had a long history of difficult and often exploitative relationships not just with fans but also with the key people producing the creative work. In the new century, the value of the intellectual property of many classic superheroes had come to far exceed that of the sales of comic books — especially for Marvel (now owned by Disney) whose superhero movies were becoming must-see blockbuster films.

Digital tools and digital publishing also had reduced some of the barriers to the creation of independent comics. However, comics remained more complex and expensive to produce than written word books and required more collaboration between individuals. As with independently produced novels, aspiring comic book creators taking an independent path faced the issue of how to stand out in a busy market.

The twenty-first century had brought many internet-based innovations but one of particular pertinence to this chapter was the rise of crowdfunding sites. Some of these sites, like GoFundMe[7], were focused on personal causes or charitable giving, others such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo were intended to help people fund specific projects[8]. The Kickstarter model was well suited to projects such as comics and graphic novels. The time and cost of writing and illustrating a comic involves significant risk for the people involved and being paid in advance of the work had obvious advantages by demonstrating that there was a paying audience for the proposed work.

Inevitably tying the culture war to crowdfunding comic books was a step that somebody was going to take.

Although it was not obvious in March 2017, the shine was coming off Vox Day’s Castalia House publishing project. When the Rabid Puppies campaigns finally ran out of steam, Day’s enthusiasm for publishing new science fiction novels would also wane sharply. Provoked by an article in The Federalist by Jon Del Arroz jumping on the trend of attacking diversity in comics, Day asked his followers if they’d be interested in crowdfunding a line of comics from Castalia.

“Is this something where a Kickstarter would make sense? I don’t like the idea of relying solely upon the Dread Ilk for this, as you are already supporting more vital projects such as Gab, Infogalactic, and Castalia House. Those are strategic projects of general interest, whereas something like this is more specific to a single converged market. My thought is that it would be interesting to subvert the current superhero genre with a group of nationalist superheroes who are totally opposed to the evil would-be rulers of the world; they’d be seen as villains, of course, by those who romanticized saving the UN every Saturday morning in the 1970s and 80s.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20170401023420/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2017/03/diversity-in-comics.html

Day had already had some work done illustrating his Quantum Mortis science fiction novel and while Castalia House’s back catalogue wasn’t huge, there was a variety of works he could adapt. Day was already using his many followers for more direct crowdfunding of his various projects (such as his alternate version of Wikipedia).

After considering the mainstream crowdfunding site Kickstarter, Day was faced with a dilemma. He wanted the campaign to be overtly controversial with some of the initial artwork featuring a vigilante hunting down an illegal immigrant who was a child rapist. By 2017, large tech companies had belatedly begun to become far warier of providing material support for the far-right and Day believed that Kickstarter would cave to the inevitable backlash to his campaign. Not that Day didn’t want a backlash (he hoped to provoke one) but he did not want a backlash of sufficient strength that it would derail the funding of the campaign.

In the end, Day used a new (and short-lived) crowdfunding site called Freestartr, the creation of a right-wing activist/entrepreneur Charles C. Johnson[9]. Freestartr was also used by Richard Spencer to crowdfund some of his legal fees in the wake of the disastrous Unite the Right rally[10]. The lowest level pledge for the project was at $10 and was named “Pull the Trigger”:

“This is for those who could not care less about comics, but enjoy tormenting SJWs and would enjoy the privilege of triggering them by being able to say “yeah, I did that.” We will send you a special digital portrait of Rebel, in her Alt★Hero outfit, blowing a kiss and saying “You’re welcome!” that you can send to people crying about it on social media.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20170929184914/https://freestartr.com/project/althero/

Your ten dollars would earn you a picture of “Rebel”, one of Day’s superhero characters — a young woman from the US South whose costume incorporated the design of a Confederate flag.

Day’s campaign was a success raising $34,735, although nearly a third of that amount was from just three donors[11]. Freestartr as an overall project would be less successful due to being cut off by payment processing companies PayPal and Stripe in 2018[12].

The campaign resulted in Castalia gaining a new imprint called Arkhaven Comics and Day had a new channel to bring his combination of the culture war and commercial venture to the world.

This takes us to the fourth figure in the world of Comicsgate: Ethan Van Sciver[13]. A comic book artist who had had some success with DC and Marvel. Van Sciver had also notably provided the illustrations in 2017 for the highly popular right-wing self-help book 12 Rules for Life by Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson. Van Sciver’s YouTube channel Comic increasingly became the centre of Comicsgate activity, with his focus shifting from advice on illustrating comics to culture-war rhetoric and promoting figures such as Vox Day and Richard C. Meyer, and like Meyer adopted the anti-SJW rhetoric of Vox Day[14].

Both Meyer and Van Sciver took the culture war boost into crowdfunding their own comics projects in 2018. Meyer’s Jawbreakers—Lost Souls comic was announced as a Kickstarter project near the start of the year but his connection with the ongoing social media harassment of other figures in comics led to some comic book stores announcing that they would not stock the comic once it was released. These announcements led to new rounds of harassment:

“On the early morning of Friday, May 11th Meyer agreed with a fan’s joke about breaking the legs of those at the stores who refused to carry Jawbreakers, rallying his “army” around his cause. Shortly thereafter that morning, Variant Edition Culture & Comics was broken into, the glass was smashed through in the front of the store, and money was stolen from the register. There are strong suspicions from the shop’s owner and the local community that this was no coincidence. That afternoon despite the problematic violence, Meyer’s “army” continued to threaten Big Bang with unknown “consequences”.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20180930081423/https://womenwriteaboutcomics.com/2018/05/previously-on-comics-comicsgate-gets-aggressive-and-other-news/

The subsequent storm led the publisher Antarctic Press to withdraw their plans to publish Jawbreakers with Meyer. In retaliation, Meyer started legal action against Antarctic Press and announced his own publishing company to produce the comic. Antarctic’s action was then characterised by Comicsgate supporters as further evidence of leftwing censorship.

Jon Del Arroz used his column in the prominent far-right web magazine The Federalist to frame the conflict over Jawbreakers as a battle for freedom of expression.

“Their backtracking had big implications for Meyer and his team, as the book would no longer be distributed to comic book stores. But there was little they could do about it. Antarctic Press was hit by a storm of industry professionals colluding to try to force conservative-authored competition out of the business, which was followed by several retailers threatening to drop all Antarctic Press books from their shelves if the publisher produced Meyer’s book. The precedent set is disturbing, but this kind of anti-conservative discrimination has been festering in the comics world for a long time.”

https://thefederalist.com/2018/05/15/mob-attempts-strangle-youtubers-breakout-success-upon-ditching-sjw-infested-comics/

According to Del Arroz, Comicsgate was an anti-harassment campaign, pushing back against leftwing hate directed at conservatives within the comics industry.

With figures like Meyer and Van Sciver publishing their own comics using crowdfunding but also facing issues with potential boycotts from publishers, distributors and comic shops, Vox Day saw an opportunity. Day had already established a second comics imprint Dark Legion, intended for more creator-owned projects to complement his Arkhaven comics. Day himself regarded the broader Comicsgate campaign less like GamerGate and more like the Sad Puppy campaign to the extent of overtly stating that “Comicsgate is Sad Puppies”[15] and prior to that describing Meyer and Van Sciver as “moderates”. This was both dismissive and also a way for Day to support Van Sciver’s claims that the Comicsgate campaign was somehow an apolitical consumer backlash against forced diversity. However, Day also recognised that “Comicsgate” as a brand name was attracting the attention of a large potential market for Arkhaven and Castalia House.

In September 2018 Vox Day staged a very small comic book coup d’etat.

Day announced the third imprint for his line of comics and registered the name in systems for the distribution of comics[16]. The name chosen was Comicsgate Comics.

“Theodore “Vox Day” Beale, the Nazi-quoting nationalist most famous for gaming the Hugo Awards with bloc voting campaigns, has appropriated the “ComicsGate” name for a new comics publishing company. But adherents of the ComicsGate movement, though sharing his distate for diversity, are far from pleased.”

https://boingboing.net/2018/09/04/alt-right-publisher-founds-com.html

Day’s move to apparently control the term “Comicsgate” led to a furious backlash from Ethan Van Sciver. Day attempted to explain that he was not seeking to control the term but rather help creative people who wanted to support Comicsgate.

“Arkhaven is for the original material that we create. Dark Legion is what other creators bring to us for publishing. ComicsGate is similar to Dark Legion, but it is specifically for creators and fans who wish to make public their support for ComicsGate. We don’t claim to define ComicsGate, we don’t claim to be the official publisher of ComicsGate, and there will certainly be ComicsGaters who will utilize other publishers and distribution channels, this is merely our way of offering our structural support for the people and philosophy of ComicsGate.”

https://boundingintocomics.com/2018/09/03/exclusive-vox-day-announces-new-comicsgate-imprint/

Day, Meyer and Van Sciver had already established social media followings of people involved in notable anti-SJW campaigns. The subsequent fight over the name “Comicsgate” was exactly as toxic as you would imagine setting warring armies of trolls against each other would be.

Caught in the middle was Jon Del Arroz. Arroz had used his social media presence and his platform on The Federalist to boost Van Sciver, Meyer and the Comicsgate hashtag. He also had allied himself with Vox Day and had books published via Castalia and comics distributed by Arkhaven including a forthcoming adaptation of MilSF writer Richard Fox’s Ember War series.

For the first time, Day found himself facing substantial opposition from people marginally to the left of him in anti-SJW right. Portrayed as a grifter and a carpet-bagger, new-found critics of Day discovered (as if they were new) some of Day’s more extreme views, including Day’s endorsement of the political mass murderer and child-killer Anders Brevik.

Right-wing anti-SJW comic review site Bounding Into Comics made a call for peace.

“On September 3rd, 2018, Alt-Hero publisher Vox Day announced his prospective Comicsgate imprint right here on Bounding Into Comics, and it would be an insult to diarrhea to say that the Comicsgate community understandably lost their crap in response. Whether Vox Day was trying to do something he deemed to be positive for the movement, or he was just trying to co-opt it a la Sad Puppies…or both, is mostly irrelevant; the fallout from his move was quite real, particularly when it came to author and occasional BIC contributor Jon Del Arroz.”

https://boundingintocomics.com/2018/09/22/lets-not-turn-comicsgate-into-dramagate/

Under pressure, Day had abandoned the idea of a Comicsgate imprint and also wanted an end to the infighting but also did not want to concede defeat. He even took issue with how Bounding Into Comics described his relationship with the Sad Puppies.

“I would, however, like to correct one common misapprehension: I never co-opted Sad Puppies. To the contrary, I was the architect of the Sad Puppies most notorious success and at no point in time was there ever any conflict between the Sad Puppies and me. If you look more closely, you’ll notice that none of the four leaders of the Sad Puppies, from Larry to Kate, have ever made a single accusation on that score. I don’t intend to say any more than that, except to reiterate an absolute fact: I did not co-opt Sad Puppies and anyone who claims I did in any way, shape, or form is wrong.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20210808092457/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2018/09/dramagate.html

Day did not give up on his plans for Arkhaven but his attempt to involve himself more directly in Comicsgate had seriously backfired. More generally, Day had narrowed the field of support that he had in the online right. His feuds with figures such as Richard Spencer and Andrew Anglin (people willing to adopt the more overt trappings of Nazism) had earned him enemies to his marginal right and now the Comicsgate infighting had earned him enemies to his marginal-left (i.e. people who had embraced his anti-SJW rhetoric but were warier of being seen as white nationalist extremists).

Jon Del Arroz had also found himself on the less fun side of a right-wing social media harassment campaign. By November 2018 he was declaring that Comicsgate was dead and that it was a failed movement[17]. Del Arroz also now conceded a point that many critics of Comicsgate had already observed: a lot of what was being produced by Comicsgate crowdfunded campaigns were either low quality or late or both.

“It divided the audience, made everyone angry. There was no more to it than that. It didn’t help people sell books. A lot of small time creators who were not seeing the indiegogo returns as the bigger names got angry. They were promised a new day in comics, it didn’t come. Books started to fail in their goal, and all because the youtube crowd moved from trying to help everyone and lift all boats… to trying to protect their increasingly shrinking corner of fandom”

https://web.archive.org/web/20190125170831/http://delarroz.com/2018/11/16/a-failed-movement-in-three-acts/

When Del Arroz was more openly criticised by Ethan Van Sciver, Del Arroz struck back making another point that critics of Day, Van Sciver and Del Arroz would find familiar.

“Many of these guys do not, however. They’re stuck. This youtube money was never going to last forever. The whole premise was based on outrage, not actual products, and so these guys have to perpetually stoke outrage — at Vox Day, at me, at Miss Sashi, at smaller creators (Ethan dedicated several shows to attacking a guy who had an indiegogo with less than 20 backers because he spoke ill of EVS), at fans even — who I won’t name to protect them. They’re using the same tactics as the pros at Marvel/DC that they were originally mocking to get big.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20200808145306/https://delarroz.com/2018/11/13/two-face-finally-came-for-me/

Outrage marketing had found its limits.

Despite this, Comicsgate would continue to rumble on in subsequent years. Del Arroz still continued to crowdfund comics and Vox Day continued to push his Arkhaven line. Culture wars do not have neat or definitive ends.


Footnotes