Category: Scrappy Doos

Why (some of the)* Right Hates Elsa

I’ll start with the only place this post can start – which is where it needs to finish also:

How much does the right of Science Fiction & Fantasy hate this movie and this song in particular? A *lot*, more than perhaps you may have noticed. Sure, the new Star Wars movies have received more high profile attacks, and modern superhero comics have had there own troll-fest ‘gate’ but ‘Frozen’? Frozen has worked its way like a tiny shard of ice under the skin.

To wit:

“As I’ve told my children, Let It Go is an expression of pure Crowleyian evil “http://voxday.blogspot.com.au/2017/11/let-it-go-to-hell.html

“Do you remember hearing how Disney loved the song “Let It Go” so much that they created an entire movie to go around it? Did you ever ask yourself what it was they loved so much about it?…Disney is run by literal satanists preaching Alastair Crowley’s “do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” to children.”  http://voxday.blogspot.com.au/2017/10/the-devil-that-is-disney.html

” Women and girls learning how to throw off all rules and inhibition is core to our new morality.  The song isn’t loved as a guilty pleasure;  it is loved as a bold moral declaration.  Stop trying to be a good girl and learn to worship yourself is a moral exhortation. ” https://dalrock.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/children-understand/

“The gay agenda to normalize homosexuality is woven into Disney’s movie Frozen not just as an underlying message – it is the movie.” http://wellbehavedmormonwoman.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/movie-frozen-gay-homosexual-agenda.html

“So when it comes to Frozen: Elsa telling Anna that she couldn’t marry a man she just met is a funny observation of a trope that is kind of silly if you think about it.Having that man turn out to be a sociopath that tries to kill Elsa and steal the throne, because that trope was always secretly ‘problematic,’ is subversion and spits on Disney.” http://www.superversivesf.com/2018/02/15/enchanted-parody-frozen-subversion/

“I am puzzled why the writers of Frozen wanted Hans to be the villain, for as best I can tell, they already had someone who would make the perfect villain… Elsa.” http://www.superversivesf.com/2018/01/22/frozens-fatal-flaw-or-the-unplotted-plot-twist/

“So how are things fixed? Does Elsa admit he’s right and strive to do better in the future? Does she vow never to cut loose like that again and learn to control herself?

No. She Loves Her Sister. And that’s it. Now she can control her powers. She never says that letting it go was a mistake.” http://www.superversivesf.com/2018/01/26/no-elsa-not-learn-lesson/

Note that THREE of that sample were from 2018 – this isn’t a short-lived attempt to gain attention by a cynical attack on something popular. No, indeed the Superversive articles, in particular, are by people heavily engaged with the plot of the film who seem to be trying to wrestle with what is wrong with it.

Crowley? Normalizing homosexuality? Wrong villains? Fatal plot flaws? This all from people who often claim that popularity and commercial success are the true marks of artistic quality. By that measure Frozen is high art – a Disney musical powerhouse at a time when Disney musicals were long past their peak. A film that launched a thousand lunch boxes.

The issue is not hard to diagnose. Frozen is mainly conventional Disney – in some ways even less than that. The plot is slight compared to other classic Disney films (e.g. the Lion King) and the songs (bar one) are unmemorable. Yet it does a few things and those things are interesting:

  • ‘Let It Go’ is a genuinely really good song, but it is also really well integrated into the story both emotionally, in its lyrics and in the character development of Elsa.
  • The story rejects romantic love as its central message and instead centres on the familial love of two sisters.

This being Disney, there really is zero implications about Elsa’s sexuality EXCEPT that at no point does she act out of desire for a romantic relationship with anybody of any gender. And with that we get to part of the multiple issues the right continue to have with the film.

  • Both Elsa and Anna reject a story line (and hence a role) of a princess finding the love of a prince. This element is strongest with Anna rather than Elsa. Anna does fall in love with a prince and while that helps drive the plot, this does not lead to the normal resolution because…
  • ..the prince is actually a shit bag. I’m surprised there are fewer rightwingers complaining that the film is ‘anti-man’. I guess because it is a reasonable point that at least some men are shitbags and it is a sibling’s duty to point that out.
  • Elsa overtly and very musically rejects not so much romantic love etc but ALL societal expectations of her and goes off and does her own thing. Now, the film’s ‘message’ is really quite reactionary in so far as it shows the CONSEQUENCE of this as throwing the whole kingdom into eternal winter but…
  • …instead of rejecting her descion to be independent, Elsa treats the whole eternal winter more as a technical problem to be solved.

Are the lyrics to ‘Let It Go’ amoral? Sure – the right ALMOST has a point there. Elsa, in frustration, rejects all of society so that she can act in anyway she likes. I mean, that does sound familiar – not so much ‘Crowley’ but the whole strain of ‘positive thinking’ self-help radical individualism that is peddled by multiple strands of the Alt-Right. The lyrics could *almost* be an anthem for some sections of the Alt-Right, except…

…except that it is a woman singing them and a woman rejecting not people expecting a basic level of decency & compassion but rather a mass of expectations that are literally crushing her ability to do what she is good at. And Elsa does ‘learn her lesson’ in this regard by realising that she SHOULD be allowed to be herself and make bridges and mountain top ice palaces but not at the expense of cutting herself off from her society and family.

Put another way – I think maybe ‘Let It Go’ struck a chord with these guys a bit. It caused a tiny twinge of recognition of their own feelings in a quite different character, to the extent that years later they still can’t (ahem) let it go. Yet, at the same time, the SAME message expressed their deepest fear – women following their own dreams for their own motives independent of societal expectations for the role of women.

To finish, here’s that song again but a version where Disney cut together all the multiple language versions:

*[I’ve had some concerned people on the right express concern for the sweeping headline. Not All Rightists hate Elsa and some find her quite charming 🙂 ]

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The Scrappy Dappy Club?

For those waiting on the next exciting antic from the rightwing zone of science fiction, let me present the “Science Fiction and Fantasy Creators Guild”. It has a website https://sffcguild.com  and a founding member Richard Paolinelli.

I assume the new guild will be so popular that the SFWA will fade into obscurity or that’s what is being imagined. Good luck to it I suppose.

Hines Collates

When Jim C Hines collates events together to show the whole picture, he does it very well: http://www.jimchines.com/2018/01/jon-del-arroz/

In response to some of the defences of Jon Del Arroz’s behaviour, Jim C Hines has collated a long list of the various examples that have been talked about – with screenshots. I’ve watched most of these occur at the time but seeing it all in one place does demonstrate the scale at which Jon has been following this tactic online.

It is worth noting that most of these events took place last year, which amounts to an awful lot of noise generated in a short time.

Mad Genius and Jon

The Jon Del Arroz publicity tour via self-fueled controversy continues at Mad Genius Club. Disappointingly it isn’t Dave Freer writing but Jason Cordova. However, what is really interesting is how unwittingly condemning of Jon the piece is.

The piece is a more serious than I would have expected attempt to describe a sequence of events leading up to Jon having his Worldcon membership downgraded to supporting. I’ll be quoting snippets, so it is important to read the whole thing to see the context of those snippets: https://madgeniusclub.com/2018/01/05/stir-the-pot/

What is revealing is how many occasions Jason has to refer to ‘claims’ Jon made. I think Jason is actually trying to write something fair-mindedly but in doing so he inadvertently lays out a pattern of behaviour. There are two questions that arise

  • What evidence there is behind the many claims?
  • What patterns of behaviour does Jason ascribe to Jon?

In the fifth paragraph Jason describes Jon like this:

“Now, Jon is… pushy, since he plays the same game that most of those who sought to discredit and destroy the Sad Puppies played. He understands how their minds work and pretty much goes right back at them with vigor, cheer, and sometimes even breathless exclamation!”

In the seventh paragraph we get this:

“Jon is local to Worldcon (he lives in the Bay Area) and was on the fence about going to the convention after claiming to have been doxxed (along with his children) by certain unidentified individuals. I remember Jon talking about this either at or shortly after Libertycon 30. At the time I didn’t really know what to think. I doubted that he would lie about something that could be so easily disapproved, but I also had a hard time believing that people who claimed to be on the side of good and equality would doxx one of the few male Hispanic authors out there in the SF&F community. I was in a quandary — someone was lying, but who?”

Jason doesn’t say who the other potentially lying party might be – only Jon is making a claim here. Nor is it purely a choice between Jon lying or not lying – he may be exaggerating for effect or have honest fears/perception of events that don’t entirely match the facts. I can’t find the orig

In the ninth paragraph:

“Here he repeats his claim that his family has been doxxed in the past, and identifies them as members of the SFWA.”

Yet according to Jason, Jon didn’t actually know who (if anybody) had attempted to “doxx” him [it is unclear in what sense Jon means “doxx” here]. So, Jason actually can draw a conclusion here based on the evidence he actually has – Jon is not being entirely truthful. Even assuming the basic “doxx” claim is correct, the claim that SFWA members were responsible is apparently baseless.

In the tenth paragraph, we get the supposed email exchange from Mike Glyer. As it appears, the exchange is innocuous enough (as Jason concedes) yet the “Goodbye Jon” is apparently from a different exchange.

In the eleventh we get this:

“Allegedly members of File 770 lost their collective minds over his joining, but I have yet to find evidence of this. Perhaps it happened and then was later deleted? Or it could have been other comments taken out of hand? At this point of the game, who knows?”

Well, no seriously. At this point in the game even in Jason Cordova’s DEFENCE of Jon, you have a whole set of claims from Jon some with minimal evidence and many with zero. It is actually quite easy at this point to spot that SOMEBODY – one person in particular – keeps making wild claims about specific people doing things for which there is no or limited evidence.

File 770 commenters (if there is a ‘membership’ I haven’t been invited!) did not lose their collective mind and as Jason Cordova notes there is no evidence that they did. A rational person should now (assuming they had any doubt) know the answer to the question as to who is not telling the truth. But no, Jason offers the possibility of a cover-up, i.e. Filee770 ‘members’ losing their collective minds then covering up that they lost their collective minds because…well, he doesn’t offer any reason why they would do either of those things.

In the twelfth paragraph, Jason discusses Jon discussing on Twitter his issues with the conventions code of conduct.

In the thirteenth paragraph, Jason says this about Jon:

“Now, quite a few people would immediately point out that Jon is a dick at times and knows how to push the right buttons. He stirs the pot and some people simply don’t like him. I’ve attended enough conventions as a pro and as a fan to understand that if someone you know has a decent following, is known for stirring the pot, and is planning on attending, you keep an eye out for any concerns they might have so that you can nip any potential problems in the bud and take away any potential ammunition they might try to use to discredit your convention.”

In the fourteenth paragraph, Jason gets to the “banning”.

“His right to attend the convention was banned after it was stated that he had made comments on his personal blog about walking into a hostile environment and expecting problems at Worldcon.

jondelarroz4

Now, this accusation is somewhat troubling, because I scoured Jon’s site while writing this and I cannot see any indication that this is the case.”

Troubling? He couldn’t find examples in Jon’s blog but he had already found examples of something very similar on Jon’s Twitter and had literally already described Jon as  “a dick” who “knows how to push the right buttons” and “pushy” and as playing “the same game that most of those who sought to discredit and destroy the Sad Puppies “. At worst Jason’s complaint could be that Worldcon should have said “Twitter” rather than “blog” but…

..in fact, Jason can’t have scoured Jon’s blog very well because it is trivial to find an example:

“This is exactly why I have to wear a body cam to go to the con to begin with, some of these folk will almost certainly try to frame me for a crime, and I will have evidence to the contrary. Worldcon needs to step it up and make sure I’m protected from these crazies so my friends and fans can have fun.” http://delarroz.com/?p=1912

That easily meets the criteria of

  • Being on Jon’s blog
  • Jon claiming that Worldcon would be a hostile environment.

In fact, Jon overtly had asked Worldcon to take steps to ensure what he claimed might occur wouldn’t occur. Worldcon did that – just not in the way he expected.

In the sixteenth paragraph Jason goes on to describe the reaction:

“Once word got out that Jon had been more or less “disinvited”, the feces struck the rotary impeller and exploded. People went onto Twitter and lauded the Worldcon’s decision, which smelled a little fishy. Why the emotional outpouring of support for a decision to ban someone who expressed concern over safety issues for friends and self?”

Smelled a little fishy? Again this is how the DEFENCE of Jon had already described him: “a dick” who “knows how to push the right buttons” and “pushy” and as playing “the same game that most of those who sought to discredit and destroy the Sad Puppies “. That’s not me describing Jon but somebody trying to write an earnest defence of him. If Jon’s allies see him that way is really, really do deeply unbelievable that others might be happy that they weren’t going to encounter him at a convention?

Now personally, I haven’t had any issues with Jon directly but that’s just me. My boundaries aren’t other people’s boundaries* and in the very, very, best most generous assessment of Jon’s online persona it would be undeniable that he does not respect other people’s online boundaries – and that would be me being more than overly generous. So no not ‘politics’ per-se, lots of people have plenty of reason to be happy not to encounter Jon in person based on assuming that in person he’d be like he is online. And again that statement is taking being generous to Jon to a FAULT. Taken less generously many people have genuine concerns about the extremity of his online behaviour.

I documented last year Jon openly boasting on alt-right social media platform ‘Gab’ about harrasing a Baen author and misusing their copyrighted materials. Persistent harrassment of others by Jon has clearly stepped beyond the “maybe it is poor social skills” line and into obvious harrassment. Nor is this particularly hidden – really if you knew nothing about Jon other than what Jason Cordova had written about him in that essay it would be possible to rationally conclude that Worldcon probably did him and them a mutual favour.

*[That isn’t a claim that I’m more tolerant or anything, just that my boundaries are different. Firstly some odd things make me uncomfortable that most people are fine with and secondly I know personally I’ve failed to spot bullies attempting to bully me in real life and AS A CONSEQUENCE failed to prevent them bullying others or been taken by surprise when their behaviour escalated. Being oblivious to bullies isn’t virtue.]

Worldcon and Jon

To complete a trio of posts on related topics. Jon del Arroz, a science fiction author whose book we’ve reviewed here has had his attending membership of the 2018 Worldcon downgraded to supporting membership. The exact reasons are presumably confidential but Worldcon has indicated that they had concerns regarding Jon and their own code of conduct. People have pointed to examples of things Jon has said he would do at Worldcon including wearing a body cam to video people causing trouble at him.

In the meantime, Jon has gained a lot of publicity as a consequence. A lengthy rant in his defence on Facebook by Larry Correia, a angsty post from Sarah Hoyt on Mad Genius Club, a sneery post by Vox Day – indeed a whole set of people who expressed how much they were finished with Worldcon back in late 2015, and then again in 2016, and then again in 2018, are once again announcing how very much they are now, once again, completely done with Worldcon.

Jon himself is happy with the boost to his sales, stating on Twitter:

“Never thought I’d get up to #6 in steampunk this week (2nd highest this book has been so far) though I’d love to see it up to #1. ”

So it would seem from the conservative & alt-right perspective the “ban” had the net effect of:

  • Preventing Jon from attending a convention that according to assorted sad, rabid and scrappy-doo puppies is a terrible con full of terrible people and a complete waste of time.
  • Boosted sales of his book.

You’d think they’d be happy 🙂

There are, as far as I can tell, almost no downsides for Jon del Arrox *unless* he really, really, wanted to go to Worldcon. That seems doubtful given that Jon largely accepts much of what Vox Day and the Sad Puppies have claimed about Worldcon and the supposed Sci-Fi establishment AND given that he has been claiming that he expected Worldcon to be a hostile environment for him.

So is this some kind of own goal for Worldcon? After all, the downgrading of the membership could be seen as playing into Jon’s hands? No, just because it is a net gain for Jon Del Arroz doesn’t mean it is some kind of loss for Worldcon.

What was the net effect on Worldcon?

  • A community of people who have been claiming for half a decade that Worldcon is to very varying degrees a terrible thing, once again complain that Worldcon is a terrible thing.
  • The extent to which Jon can use their time to promote his books is now limited.

The negatives are almost zero – Vox day would be making up shit about Worldcon regardless – and the positives are avoiding a huge amount of timewasting.

It is hard to see anything wrong with a decision in which everybody benefits.

The common element between this trio of posts is that early action does the least harm to all concerned but a less obvious element is that these issues are often presented as a zero-sum game when in fact they are not – or at least are not if action is taken early enough.

  • Vox Day didn’t actually suffer because he was expelled by the SFWA and SFWA did not suffer by expelling him.
  • Jon Del Arroz has gained by being ‘banned’ by Worldcon and Worldcon has gained by banning him.
  • …and Twitter would have probably gained by closing Trump’s account years ago and Trump would have been no worse off as a consequence.

So what are they so upset about? Aside from fragile egos and conspiracy theories – nothing but then aside from fragile egos and conspiracy theories what are the right ever upset about?

SFWA and Vox

I perhaps didn’t make the theme sufficiently clear in my last post about Twitter and Trump. Consider this post a continuation of that theme.

With Twitter, they find themselves stuck because they didn’t take prompt action. Now consider the SFWA and Vox Day. For those not familiar Vox Day was expelled from the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America/Anywhere Really (to give the organisation its full and more accurate title) for a myriad of reasons but which can be summed up as ‘being a far-right troll’.

I was reminded of this bit of recent fandom history in a comment by Christopher M. Chupik at Mad Genius Club in this post: https://madgeniusclub.com/2018/01/03/listening-so-hard-that-it-hurts/#comment-104302

The mythology among the Sad Puppies is that Vox Day’s expulsion was supposed to be a career-destroying countermove by the massed forces of SJWness and hence, as Vox Day didn’t vanish in a puff of brimstone, that it was a failure. However, it is worth listing the full set of downsides to Vox Day’s expulsion that happened to the SFWA as a consequence. Here they are:

1- They had one less member but probably not because it probably stopped them losing members and hence they have more members than they would if they hadn’t.

2- They don’t have anybody to carry flaming swords should that need arise.

3- …

4- I’m just trying to get to 5 so I can have a second fifth.

5- If they had a volunteer who really hated doing positive, useful work for the organisation and really wanted to spend their time handling the fallout from some racist crypto-fascist shit-stirring that person would now find themselves underemployed, assuming they existed.

5- This joke will never get old.

So *zero* downsides for the SFWA. Sure Vox Day went on his temper-tantrum rampage at the Hugo Awards but…they’re not actually anything to do with the SFWA. Indeed the very idea of the SFWA’s expulsion somehow backfiring depends on a strong belief in a shadowy cabal who runs anything vaguely SF and not wingnuttery.

And as I’ve pointed out before, Vox Day himself recommends and follows this strategy with people who are wasting his time with pointless mental labour.

 

Sad Puppy Watch Update

For the two people still interested, Sad Puppies is slightly less dead as a thing than it was the last time I checked, but only marginally so.

For those keeping track, the Pups had lots control of the domain for the Sad Puppies 4 website a few months ago. In the meantime, somebody must have paid the webhosting bill and the old SP4 site is back up ( http://sadpuppies4.org/index.html ). However, the old post promising a Sad Puppies V has gone ( https://web.archive.org/web/20170526223835/http://sadpuppies4.org ).

Oh well.