Debarkle: Conclusion

Worldbuilding is an important part of all fiction, the creation of imagined reality within which characters can interact and a plot unfold. While worldbuilding has a role in all genres, it is of particular importance within science fiction and fantasy where the departure from genuine reality is expected to be more profound and overt. If you read this far into the Debarkle (and haven’t simply skipped ahead to the final chapter) I can assume you are conversant with the idea of imagined realities but I want to describe an imagined reality now not to provide a setting for a piece of narrative fiction but to help describe some real-world events. We will call this imagined reality the Unnatural Alliance.

The unnatural alliance

Imagine a world just like our world, with all the same nations and kinds of people. Superficially it is hard to spot the difference between our reality and the imagined one and indeed, many people in our reality think they are living in this imagined one.

In this imagined reality, the world is run by an unnatural alliance. The first part of the alliance we will simply call The Left. These people look and sound just like the left of our reality but instead of a disorganised and contentious spectrum of belief, the majority of The Left is only marginally different from Josef Stalin and the arguments and differences and rivalries are simply deceit designed to confuse observers.

The second part is the Ageing Establishment. This is nearly everybody in entrenched positions of power, authority or expertise, from senior politicians to college professors and scientific bodies.

The third and final part is Corrupted Corporations. This is not what the libertarians and conservatives would believe is capitalism but a strange (and incoherent) version that has become corrupted. That corruption means that while nominally capitalist and supposedly driven by profits, these corporations actually act in ways that will cost them profits. Almost any large commercial body can be somehow involved (e.g. pharmaceutical companies) but most of all the large software companies and the major media organisations are the most implicated.

Together, all three groups act in concert, with one determining the behaviour of the other. The Ageing Establishment directs the actions of The Left, The Left direct the actions of the Corrupted Corporations, and the Corrupted Corporations control The Ageing Establishment or perhaps the reverse of that. The neo-reactionaries call this The Cathedral, the overt anti-semites call it a Jewish conspiracy, while others blame it on “Cultural Marxism” or “political correctness”.

The idea that these groups that in our actual reality have competing interests or are actually ideologically opposed are all working together in this imagined reality provides a comforting explanation for an uncomfortable fact. Actual reality (physical reality but also the social reality of cultural change) keeps misbehaving and not conforming to ideological expectations. Whether this is climate change or the apparent rapid switch in popular opinion to favour marriage equality, the world that asserts itself over our imagined frameworks of it, keeps behaving in ways that run counter to the expectations of right-libertarians, social-conservatives, paleo-conservatives, right-nationalists, neo-fascists and white supremacists.

Not everybody who subscribed to this imagined reality sees it all in one piece but those who do need more conceptual glue to hold the whole thing together. They offer different underlying explanations for the corrupting influence, demonic influence for the Trad Catholics, Zionist-conspiracy for the neo-Nazis, cultural Marxism, closet communism, or a Babylonian death cult for the Qanon true believers — or reveals within reveals, that the satanism is a cover for communism or the communism is a cover for satanism for those further down the rabbit hole.

The winner of the inaugural Dragon Award for Best Horror novel, Brian Niemeier claims in the marketing blurb for his book on modern popular culture that:

“You know that the big movie studios, comic book companies, and video game publishers push an agenda. What you don’t know is that the corporations in control of your entertainment aren’t grifters or ideologues. They’re evangelists of a fanatical anti-religion.

Movie producers don’t ruin beloved film franchises for profit. Comic book writers don’t warp iconic superheroes into self-parodies to sway voters. They hate their audiences with zealous fervor. They want you demoralized, they want your kids propagandized, and they want you to pay for the privilege.”

Marketing blurb for Don’t Give Money to People Who Hate You by Brian Niemeier

Niemeier’s argument may seem particularly out there, based as it is on a view that sees feminism as witchcraft but the idea that there is a corrupting influence bent on destroying things you love is widespread. Brad R. Torgersen didn’t blame the decline of his “nutty-nugget” view of science-fiction on demonic feminist witchcraft but the difference in Torgersen’s view and Niemeier’s is in their imagined causes of the corruption. Arguably, Niemeier’s demon-fuelled perspective is more rational than Torgersen’s in so far as Niemeier offers an explanation for the apparent contradictions.

How it all works

The Puppy campaigns provided a microcosm of the view that sees the world as the conspiracy of an unnatural alliance. It had three elements supposedly seeking to destroy science fiction:

  • The establishment old guard of science fiction, the SMOFs, the supposedly ageing fans of Worldcons, the literati and the “snobby critics”.
  • The corrupted publishing companies, the commercial giants personified by Tor/Macmillan.
  • The left, the feminists, the RaceFailers, the politically correct, the SJWs, the supposed cancel culture mob.

All three, we were told, were working in concert to co-opt the Hugos Awards, to take over the SFWA, to undermine the commercial popularity of science-fiction. That a commercial operation with tight margins like Macmillan would be intentionally letting its employees undermine sales of books made no sense, was an issue that was skipped over for the most part by the Sad Puppies.

Likewise, that Brad Torgersen had been the beneficiary of support and encouragement from such established institutions of science fiction as the Writers of the Future Award, Analog Magazine and multiple Hugo finalist Mike Resnick was another inconvenient fact that could be ignored along with the role Jerry Pournelle played as an inspiration to both Sarah Hoyt and Vox Day.

Also, that the years up to 2014/15 and beyond had been a period of very vocal conflict between the social and commercial establishments of science fiction on the one hand and the voices of people who had been systematically marginalised in fandom (or their historical contributions erased or both) including women in general but also people of colour, disabled people, people from non-English speaking countries, lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender people, actually demonstrated that the left was very far from controlling everything.

No, it doesn’t all make sense

It is, of course, an absurdity but once accepted the absurdity of the unnatural alliance is its own proof. Why else would big pharma and public health authorities be conspiring together to bring Venezuelan-like communism to god-fearing America if it wasn’t for…well, whatever the conspiracy theory of the day is. Once somebody has accepted that this imagined reality applies in one domain (whether it be video games, science fiction, climate science or vaccines) it is not just easy but necessary to see it everywhere.

Maintaining that belief still takes effort because the unnatural alliance like any conspiracy theory offers only a superficial level of explanatory power. Because it cannot be falsified by any actual facts (any contrary information is either ignored or absorbed) any and all smaller theories about events can be equally true and can even coexist.

During and in the immediate aftermath of the Capitol Riot of January 6, 2021, right-wing spaces contained two competing narratives. Firstly that the protestors invading the building were true patriots rightly attempting to prevent a procedural coup against the United States. Second that the protests were a false flag being run by the Deep State to discredit the Stop the Steal movement. These radically different perspectives did not lead to two competing camps but rather existed together and shifted in emphasis.

In the months that followed, a third perspective arose: the riot at the Capitol was nothing more than a minor protest that had no specific objective other than for people to express discontent or, perhaps, better electoral procedures. Of course, it is entirely possible that many people caught up in the crowd that day had complex motives or lacked any true objective but this idea of the protests as being nothing more than just protests sits right alongside the belief that the election was truly stolen. It is also an idea that sits right alongside the rhetoric of “the soapbox, the jury box, the ballot box, and the cartridge box”. To believe that and to believe that Silicon Valley and the mainstream media is silencing conservatives, that courts are unfairly skewed against the right and that the elections are stolen, implies by its own logic that civil insurrection is justified. The mantra of the four boxes was far more widespread and among less radicalised people than just those who not only felt motivated to attend the rally at Washington DC that day but also to march on and enter the Capitol. There’s a paradox in these narratives because if it were actually true that a murderous authoritarian regime was mounting a coup then there would be a compelling ethical reason to physically prevent it if you could.

This brings me to a point that has come up time and again in the discussion of not just the Puppies but to this flavour of the modern right in general.

Is it sincerity, cynicism or grift?

Or can it be all three at the same time? I don’t know. I can’t tell if Vox Day, for example, ever truly believed in Qanon or whether he recognised it as a “morale-boosting LARP” from the start. I don’t know which of the many contradictory stories Larry Corriea or Brad Torgersen have given for their motives for the Sad Puppy campaigns is actually the one they believe. The simplest explanation is that they believe all of them.

Back in 2015, I attempted to rationalise the Sad Puppy viewpoint of the Hugo Awards with a less ideological lens:

1. They see writing primarily as a business. e.g. Brad Torgersen: “And since I am an entrepreneur — all commercial writers are, when you get right down to it”

2. They see mutual aid between fellow authors as an important service

3. They regard awards in themselves as subjective and of no intrinsic value but…

4. Also see them as mean of promotion of businesses and…

5. As a mark of inclusion

https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2015/07/10/the-unified-puppy-theory/

This “Unified Puppy Theory”, saw the Sad Puppies perspective as a commercial one that could only see the Hugo Awards in commercial terms. The ideological dimension married with this as a way of rationalising why the Hugo Awards did not actually operate in this way. In the terms I’ve used in this essay, the Hugo Awards themselves were a corrupted corporation — a commercial venture that should be helping authors like the members of the Mad Genius Club promote their books but which was failing to do so because of the corrupting influence of the left.

More broadly, the world of self-publishing that arose with online bookshops and ebook readers, created a commercial opportunity for people to create a secondary income from selling books — or at least believe that there was such an opportunity. The tantalising idea that self-publishing might not just provide extra income but maybe even a livelihood was amplified by the fantasy that a break-out success might lead to significant wealth. There are far worse improbable get-rich-quick schemes than writing books and although the field is replete with scams and predatory companies, it remains a less exploitative option than multi-level marketing schemes (admittedly a low bar).

In the politically non-partisan 20booksto50K group, this idea of the promise of moderate success (a stable small income that would be enough to live on if you had a low cost of living) carries with it elements of America’s long tradition of self-help. Work hard and apply the right discipline, tactics and strategy and you can make money. In the more politically partisan Mad Genius Club, the promise of independent publishing would also be seen as a way of side-stepping the dead hand of moribund big publishing and connecting directly with a vast readership eager to read books free of “political correctness”.

It isn’t hard to see that for many, even writers like Sarah Hoyt and Dave Freer who had at least some success as mid-list traditional published writers, independent publishing in a crowded field where consumers have a vast range of choices for their leisure time beyond reading, was not going to lead to great success. In the end, capitalism sucks for most and rewards a few because it is a money funnel but if you believe capitalism is a moral algorithm that rewards hard work, grit and determination without regard to social standing there is a cruel lesson to be learned. Or not learned…but avoided and rationalised away.

John C. Wright, Vox Day, Sarah Hoyt and Larry Correia have each described themselves at some point as having been libertarians. Both Day and Wright have since changed how they describe themselves but I think it is reasonable to say that whatever their wider ideological stances were both they and Brad Torgersen believed that America should be a place where working hard to profit yourself is a moral virtue and one that a functioning society should reward based on your innate talents. Wright might see the hand of God in that and Day might believe those innate talents are genetically determined and lacking in women but the basic tenet is there. It’s not an ideal I share[1] but neither is it a particularly radical idea.

That the world has not well rewarded the hard work of Wright, Hoyt, or Freer adds an implication to this perspective that something must be amiss with the world. That the world has not recognised and celebrated the innate talent (as they see it) of Vox Day and Larry Correia is another point against the world working as it should.

The world, according to Vox Day, is fallen and Satan is the (lowercase) god of the world. In a world of lies, lies in the service of a higher truth are not lies. Day’s mental model of reality is not one shared by Larry Correia but it provides a readily understandable answer to the question of sincerity, cynicism or grift. In a broken, corrupted world there isn’t a distinction, they are morally the same if (as Day believes) he is in a system controlled by a “Luciferian cult”. The rest of the Evil League of Evil have less melodramatic beliefs about reality but the ethical logic remains the same. Truth has become unmoored and the world is not as it should be.

Where next?

This project followed the origins of fandom to the social, economic and technological change of the early 21st century to chart the dynamics of a small culture war that mirrored a larger conflict in American and world culture. Culture wars do not end in clear victories or even definitive ends. The toxic connections between fringe sections of the internet such as 8Kun and the radicalising algorithms of social media giants such as Facebook still exist. The tide of political rhetoric against immigration is still strong and strongest in those nations that oppose action on climate change as if anticipating the inevitable future movements of peoples that a warmer world will produce. The tactics used to demonise gay people have shifted to transgender people and new waves of racist nationalist movements still push back against the human rights of the majority of human beings.

What remains true is that people can act together to support the rights and voices of everybody in their community. Doing so can be contentious and supporting the right of people to be heard may even be portrayed as an attack on “free speech”. Mutual trust and investment in the well being of others is not persecution nor is it socialism or communism or political correctness but just the recognition of everybody’s humanity. If there can’t be consensus on the recognition of the humanity of each of us in a community then there can’t really be a community. It is not just a fair demand to make of people but a necessary one.

Next and Final Time: Afterword…Dramatis Personae


Footnotes

  • [1] I don’t see ethical value in hard work. I place moral value in laziness. There are two reasons for working hard 1. when you have to accomplish other goals and 2. when it is fun in itself such as adding a gratuitous footnote at the end of a year long project.

53 thoughts on “Debarkle: Conclusion

  1. “Arguably, Niemeier’s demon-fuelled perspective is more rational than Torgersen’s in so far as Niemeier offers an explanation for the apparent contradictions.”

    Whew! — It’s time to reel you back from the precipice when you put the word “rational” in the middle of a sentence between those two names! Hang on, we’re coming!

    Liked by 7 people

  2. “That the world does has not well rewarded the hard work”

    That “does” doesn’t seem to belong there.

    Like

  3. “the overt anti-semites call it a Jewish conspiracy”
    Not strictly a tyop but there’s a general desire to remove the hyphen in that word (the IHRA notes that it otherwise leads to the conclusion that there is such a thing as “Semitism” which is not helpful.)

    In passing, that was a fantastic conclusion to an excellent piece of work. Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. As a side note, the word was coined in German where there’s no such orthographic distinction, it was just a regular compound word and since no “anti” words would have a hyphen anyway, it still could be read as either “being against the ideology of Semitism” or “the ideology of being against ‘Semites'” according to one’s inclination. In one of its first usages, it was the latter and it was actually mocking that whole conceptual framing, just as one might refer to David Icke’s thing about lizard people as “antireptilianism” without meaning to imply that lizard people are a thing. But pretty soon after that, the bigots non-ironically started going on about both Semitism and Antisemitism.

      And then English-speakers borrowed it and couldn’t decide what to do because there’s never been much logic to the use or non-use of hyphens at all, it’s an editorial whim. But English is so loosey-goosey that connotations become very subtle; for me, omitting the hyphen feels right and I’m not sure if it feels right because of what the hyphen would imply, or because omitting it is what Arendt preferred, or just because omitting it makes the word look vaguely sillier and more awkward to me and thereby conveys an appropriate disrespect for it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. And Camestros wept, seeing as he had no more words to typo.

    I wasn’t sure how all this was going to tie together in the end. Now it seems inevitable that it end this way… which is about the best a conclusion can aim for.

    Now… should this go under best fan writer or best related work?

    Liked by 5 people

  5. You have done epic research and analysis for this project, and quite a few of the essays (the ones that view a broader subject than just the Puppies & their associates) deserve a larger audience than the sf/f community. These essays are an impressive body of work.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. Yeah, for me it’s up there with Neoreaction A Basilisk as a piece of work that reflects far more widely than the ostensible subject matter.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m not sure how you could work it in, but you ought to think hard about how much the RWNJ went even crazier between 2008-2016 just because a frighteningly qualified guy who happens to be half-Black got to be President of the US.

    That’s a major, MAJOR, you probably couldn’t overstate it enough, reason.

    Like, I would for once in ever accept the /BLINK tag.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Another factor is after 2004, the Republicans had started declaring their own ‘end of history’ myth, and viewing themselves as the permanent party of government. That getting shattered caused some extraordinarily unpleasant people to get more unpleasant.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I believe that’s also part of why they hated Clinton so much. After the Reagan years they were convinced everything that supposedly went wrong since the 1950s was going to be rolled back. Then Clinton won, breaking 12 years of Republican presidents, and dashed their dreams.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. A brace of typos:

    “…the difference in Torgersen’s view and Niemeier’s is in what they imagine causes of the corruption they both perceive to be.” Not sure what this is saying. Possibly “the difference … is in what they imagine are the causes of the corruption they both perceive.”

    “In the months that followed, a third perspective arose: the riot at the capitol…” Cap. Capitol

    I had a weird thought about all this: What if Tucker Carlson and the rest of the Fox News idiots were actually broadcasting from a parallel universe? A universe where trump is a brilliant leader, where the election was really stolen, where vaccines aren’t as safe as they are in our universe? But that would mean that Carlson’s vile views are true as well, and my suspension of disbelief collapsed.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I find it a bit funny that Torgersen on the one hand calls himself “blue collar”, on the other hand sees himself as an “entrepeneur”. Where I come from, they are mostly seen as opposites.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. A sexist homophobic Republican who pals around with a sexist Nazi is in HR?

        This is my surprised face.

        He just calls himself “blue collar” so he can feel more Manly and assuage his feelings of inferiority at not having graduated from college (his religion is VERY big on that for men). Completely ignoring that plenty of blue collar men have, and plenty of white collar men haven’t — particularly in the computer/tech business.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. He just calls himself “blue collar” so he can feel more Manly and assuage his feelings of inferiority at not having graduated from college

          Baseless speculation, unless you can come up with some cites. Torgersen says a lot of things that make himself look bad; no one needs to start making up stuff for this.

          Like

          1. With all the whining, denigration, and sneering that BT does about people with university degrees, I’ve always believed that it’s due to an inferiority complex about not having one himself. I don’t think that’s a stretch.

            Liked by 2 people

          2. I’m a little confused by the idea that such a sentence could be anything other than clearly and deliberately speculative mockery. I mean, there is never going to be a citation for Torgersen admitting that he does this to assuage his feelings of inferiority, etc., because that’s not the kind of thing anyone ever says about themselves. Any citation would have to be to someone else making the same guess about him.

            Liked by 1 person

        2. A sexist homophobic Republican who pals around with a sexist Nazi is in HR?
          But it’s HR in the Army. Who do you think helps to hide all the Nazis in the US military?

          Like

          1. ‘Xactly my point.

            HR as a field tends to run fascistic; military HR even more so. Hiding Nazis, making excuses for higher ranks, covering up sexual assault and war crimes, etc.

            Civilian HR does all that except the war crime hiding.

            Liked by 1 person

      2. According to Torgersen himself, and I base this on what he has claimed to me, he is a US military reservist who is out on deployment every time he gets asked a difficult question.
        He has never in several FB threads I have seen him in given even a hint that he has any other work than US military reservist (I think it is navy, but he has been mostly deployed for years, according to what he is saying), and author.
        I have never seen him mention any other kind of employment he has apart from military and author.
        The lack of Torgesrsen being anything but an author and military includes talking to people who has had dinners with him due to family members being LDS members.

        A caveat here is that I have not bothered to delve deeply enough into what Torgersen has said yto know everything he hs said in public I just base my statements on what he has said to defend himself on criticism, including directly to me.

        Like

    1. There is a really tortured route to go from “entrepeneur” to “blue collar” in Sweden. It takes the route through the Swedish word “entrepenad”, which roughly corresponds to “contractor” in English. But, yeah, Torgerbrad never oozed blue-collar to me.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. All I know is that it’s a lot easier to be any kind of “entrepeneur” when you have a basic income (even if it only partially covers your expenses) as a reservist and don’t have to worry about health insurance for you and your family.

      Liked by 3 people

    3. I guess you could call an independent plumber, carpenter or painter a blue collar entrepreneur, but that’s not what Torgersen does. He’s white collar – not that there’s anything wrong with that.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Sort of – I mean business owner isn’t the same as entrepreneur. In the indie book author space I’d see Martelle, Chris Kennedy etc as the entrepreneurs, whereas Correia is running a successful business. He makes lots of money but he’s not scaling up the size of his output as a result.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. On the superinfo highway, Samsung in my hand
    I reached a pretty strange corner of Internet land
    The blog in my browser was really quite a sight
    My head was heavy and my eyes got sore as I scrolled through the night
    The owner had a candle, a book and a bell
    He said “if you buy all my books, it’ll save you from hell”
    His articles were all written to show us the way
    There were voices in the comments box, thought I heard them say…

    Welcome to the blog of Brian Niemeier
    Such a crazy dude, such a crazy dude, in a crazy mood
    Repetitive rants at the blog of Brian Niemeier
    No matter what’s real, however you feel, he’ll have a spiel

    His mind is just a bit twisted, his paranoia still grows
    Dudes who own Funkos are his existential foes
    He speaks of demons that try to get in your head
    Some make you transgender, some buzz by your bed
    He once played Nintendo when he was eleven
    But says “we haven’t had that spirit here since 1997”
    And still those voices are moaning from down below
    No matter what he posts, those guys will go…

    Welcome to the blog of Brian Niemeier
    Yadayada death cult, yadayada pop cult, until you bolt
    Self-promo ahoy at the blog of Brian Niemeier
    If you’ll have a look he’ll find a hook to plug his book

    Satanists run preschools, snipers guard drag queens
    He has bad memories of high school where the girls were so mean
    His friends never mention how Rob Kroese broke the witch test
    They try to lose themselves in manga but they just can’t stand the breasts
    Last thing I remember, I was scrambling to hit “back”
    Before I read another excerpt from Chad Ripperger’s cack
    “Hold on” said Niemeier, “don’t tell me you’re bored…
    You haven’t even looked at my shiny Dragon Award!”

    Liked by 13 people

      1. My favorite line was “Dudes who own Funkos are his existential foes”.

        It’s LOL, it scans, and it’s quite well-written.

        (she said, looking at the shelf with Funko Baby Yoda, Funko Fourth Doctor, and Funko 1976 Elton John)

        Liked by 3 people

  10. “Reality, actual physical reality but also the social reality of cultural change, keeps misbehaving and not conforming to ideological expectations.”
    Yep. Democrats are not putting them on concentration camps, gay marriage is not destroying straight marriage, covid is real, etc. And the constant shrieks of “we didn’t ask for any of these cultural changes!” — cry me a river, snowflake. I didn’t ask for a culture where one of our major political parties is trying to undo every step towards equality made in my lifetime. Or where we’re so hands-off with guns that the only way to protect kids from shooters is to train them to duck and hide.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Excellent summation!

    With all the effort they have to put into supporting this rickety tower of fantasies (in order to protect themselves from the realization that they might be wrong about some things) no wonder the puppies’ writing sounds so sweaty and wild-eyed.

    The one major tyop was caught above, but suggest you go over this section and insert a lot of commas and en dashes (not together!), to mark the numerous parenthetical phrases. You don’t write simple sentences, so readers may need more punctuation for guidance than this draft gives them.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Haven’t commented much recently as life stuff has got in the way, but just had to add my applause for what is a genuinely major work at its conclusion.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Well that was quite a finale, well done.

    “Or can it be all three at the same time?” Yes. It’s identity and the shifting is to prevent erasure and loss of advantage of that identity, to achieve secure object permanence which can never actually be achieved. We grow up in cultures that run on social mythos that some groups of people are human — good, meritorious, righteous, honest, chosen, deserving and natural leaders (the worthy) and other groups of people are sub-human — bad, lazy, dishonest, inferior, limited and threatening (the unworthy.) That hierarchy is used to justify everything both sincerely — you really are good, meritorious, etc. and others not like you are not — and with cynicism and greedy grifting — you should do whatever you need to preserve the good, meritorious chosen and their rewards, including for yourself, because you deserve it and the inferiors are there to be exploited.

    This idea isn’t simply a function of conservatism (which believes in hoarding resources and power for the worthy chosen) but is pounded into everyone. Those who are liberal in belief but dominant in a social hierarchy (white, men, straight, etc.) can be just as prone to see themselves as good, naturally in charge and meritorious and be willing to repress and silence those marginalized in their society who disagree with that idea or point out its contradictions with reality. We are taught from the time we’re toddlers how to justify and defend oppression and elevated status — or at least ask for a delay in dealing with discrimination. It is our accepted normality (the idea that a fish doesn’t understand it’s in water because water is all it knows.)

    How dedicated individuals are to defending their identity as the worthy, how willing to use forms of repression including outright violence will vary, depending on their upbringing, exposures to others, life experiences, on-going cultural changes, etc. We know that college students tend to get more liberal on average not because of indoctrination but simply because they get exposed to those they’ve regarded as less worthy and find the myths weren’t true and the unworthy are as human as they are. All of that change is extremely threatening to those most invested in the identity of high status superiority, whether that comes from religion, pseudo-science eugenics, media, etc. They denounce the vocal unworthy as unreasonable, illegitimate and threatening for wanting to get rid of the hierarchy, which is something that just “happens” in a culture rather than something that is created and maintained.

    So when corporations see changing demographics and cultural mores and cautiously gear marketing towards those changes, the people they used to court grow fearful. Loss of advantage can’t happen because they are the worthy so the unworthy must have subverted those corporations and turned them unworthy. If government legislators and officials change or accept what is legal and acceptable due to protests, court cases, voter mandates and other forms of demanded cultural change towards civil rights, they then are the overly powerful, established tyrants — the unworthy. If the unworthy marginalized can get any change at all to get rid of parts of the hierarchy, then they have power that they are not supposed to have (both too strong and threatening and too weak and illegitimate.) That the vaccine against covid is good or bad depends entirely on who is giving the vaccine and thus has power, not the vaccine itself. If a Republican gets back in the White House, in the U.S. the vaccine will suddenly now be good again, “fixed” because it’s in the hands of the worthy white conservatives.

    So those who view their identity as worthy sincerely believe they have a right and a duty to lie, to rationalize and often to violently retaliate against the unworthy who are stepping out of their supposed place in society. And if it gains them additional money and power, well that’s what is supposed to happen to the worthy. If they die, at least they went out on top as the worthy. The Puppies constantly tried to come up with rationales as to why they were worthy and those they claimed their unworthy opponents were not worthy and thieves — because they sincerely believe they are the worthy. To be not is destruction, uncertainty, loss of self. They’re willing to recede some views sometimes to fit changing cultural norms when those new norms are so prevalent that not accepting them makes one the bad person in public, but they have to remain the high status worthy, beleagured by the unworthy, but unbowed and in control. They have to be the good people.

    By the time the Puppies figured out that what they were doing and that sicking Gamergaters on other authors did not make them look like good people to most of fandom and the category field, they were stuck and desperately kept coming up with ideas about how really they were the good people. And let’s face it, most people let them do stuff and tantrums because they were white (the worthy in the English language market where nearly 90% of the authors are white) and because they are also uneasy about BIPOC authors getting more opportunities in SFF, about women of all races having more voice and opportunities in SFF. And the Puppies have contented themselves with the mythos that really they were the good people and would have succeeded even more if not for the machinations of the unworthy (the unnatural alliance,) something they also promote in all their political views. They look for places where they can uphold that mythos, at least parts of it. And it’s not really a surprise because that’s the culture we live in.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. >for those so further down the rabbit hole.
    “those so far down” or just “those further down”

    >he is a system controlled by
    is in a system (although I kinda like it as is!)

    Like

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