The Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance has pinged twice on my radar over the past few days. The first was in connection to the loss of reviews on Amazon by some rightwing authors (see here) and the second was the release of their nominees for their “Book of the Year Award 2018“. The ten nominees are mainly the usual set of names (e.g. JCW, Lamplighter, JDA, Paolinelli) and in a departure from previous years a non-fiction book, Moria Greyland’s The Last Closet.
I’m mindful that the announcement of the CLFA’s nominees was very close but just before the Hugo nomination date but I don’t think their list was intended to be a stealth slate and I doubt it could function that way. Still, both events made me realise that the CLFA has been a grouping I haven’t discussed much when looking at the righthand side of science fiction writing.
While the CLFA has a website (https://conservativelibertarianfictionalliance.com/ ) it functions primarily as a closed Facebook group. Not exclusively SFF, the previous nominees for their awards have been mainly either SFF books or non-SFF by SFF authors (e.g. Sad Pup/Mad Genius/Castalia House author Peter Grant’s Western novel won in 2017).
So, in some ways, the CLFA just looks like the same groups of people we keep encountering. However, in other ways, it has operated differently. Here’s a chart of how the group has grown over time:
Unlike some of the other similar charts I made looking at growth trends, this looks like steady, sustainable growth. Now, it’s a closed group so I’ve no either whether it is particularly active or a ghost town but it does keep attracting members and doesn’t seem to be losing them. Possibly this is because of (rather than in spite of) it’s low profile overall. While many of its members are famed for outrage marketing, the group itself has tended not to assert itself as a thing. Consequently, its membership includes people across the many factions in right-leaning SFF.
While I was on the topic of closed Facebook groups, I thought I would see how the loudly announced “Science Fiction and Fantasy Creators Guild” was getting on. Their main website doesn’t seem to have been updated since mid-February (https://sffcguild.com/blog/ ) but they’ve gained an interim President – Doug Irvin, who occasionally guest posts at Sarah Hoyt’s blog. Their main action has been another closed Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/726470947555061/ ) At 160+ members it has a long way to go before it reaches the same scale as the CLFA (1750+ members).
Of the members of SFFCG, about 65% are also members of the CLFA (reversing that, only about 6% of the CLFA are also members of the SFFCG).
The growth seems to have reached a plateau for the time being. Most of the growth was in late January after the fumbled announcement of the group.
Anyway…that’s it. No punchline just some numbers 🙂
Here’s a thing which is in turns wrong, absurd, despicable and then absurd again.
The Daily Beast in late February carried an article on three Instagram ‘stars’ – the sisters have an apparently innocuous enough degree of celebrity from their lifestyle posts on Instagram. What the Daily Beast went on to reveal was that these young women are the daughters or far-right anti-Muslim figure Pamela Geller.
I’m not going to link to the post. I think it is simply shitty journalism. There’s no obvious news there. There’s no indication that any of the women are somehow sneaking in their mother’s views into lifestyle posts. The connection is simply that they are the children of somebody appalling. It’s at best gossip and at worst a way of harassing somebody’s family because of their views. I’ve zero sympathies for Geller but that doesn’t mean such tactics are smart of acceptable because aside from anything else it makes everybody’s lives shittier.
Enter well-known internet-troll Milo Yianopoulos – he is claiming this a plot by The Daily Beast to send ISIS against Geller’s daughters. Which is hyperbole – The Beast’s actions were careless and unethical IMHO but not some ISIS plot. Bloviating science-fiction author John C Wright has got all agitated as a consequence:
Milo asks, and with considerable justice, why there is not a million man march on the offices of the Daily Beast, in strength and numbers and determination needed strike the fear of God into their hearts. http://www.scifiwright.com/2018/03/sell-your-cloak-buy-a-sword-2/
And later in the comments:
That is why we need a mob to storm the offices of the Daily Beast, and, without technically breaking the law, paralyze their daily operation.
Gosh. No sign as yet that JCW has attempted to storm the offices of The Daily Beast. As far as I can tell from his tone, he wants other people to go and do it form him. For a legal scholar, he doesn’t seem to have thought through either how he could ‘storm’ an office and ‘paralyze their daily operation’ without legal consequence. It just sounds good to him and in reality, we know JCW isn’t going to do anything. But some far-right extremist might and JCW here is showing the kind of behaviour he is condemning above – pointing out targets to an audience whose fringes contains people willing to use deadly violence.
Far-right extremist in the US have killed more people in the US than ISIS. A fact that people like JCW won’t engage with.
Meanwhile, perhaps JCW needs to talk to some of his fellow puppies – they explained to us all a few weeks ago how connecting online identities with real people isn’t actually doxxing and supposedly quite reasonable behaviour and not at all irresponsible even if those people have upset extermists with openly violent views. Hmmmm.
I’m mainly just curious how such things work but I picked on data from a Go Fund Me campaign that I know people might be morbidly curious about.
The site gives a list of donations made with the amount and how many days ago the donation was made. Doing some minor spreadsheet wrangling, it is fairly easy to turn this into graphable data. The only departure from literal truth is I used the order in which the donations are listed to spread out the data points more evenly across each day of the campaign – so the smooth growth within each day is just to make the graph easier on the eye (the raw data would just give a big vertical chunk of points).
Compared with the fundraising goal the graph looks like this:
If we assume a growth rate of $20 every three days than this campaign should reach its target in about 1317 days or about three and a half years. Of course, events may change that.
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.
“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 🙂 ]
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.
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.
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.
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.]