Revisiting Voxopedia

I haven’t written about the alt-right’s vanity version of Wikipedia for awhile, indeed it’s been over a year. Observant readers will have noticed that it has not replaced or eclipsed Wikipedia in that time. Vox Day’s own promotional blog for Voxopedia ( ) did have a post in January 2017 but has been quiet ever since.

The encyclopedia itself still has active editors but no more than when I last looked

Despite the “dynamic forking” Voxopedia pages tend to be out of date. For example, take Barnaby Joyce (please!) until recently the deputy prime minister of Australia.

The Voxopedia article is just a snapshot of the Wikipedia page from 2016. Consequently it misses the citizenship crisis that overwhelmed Australia politics, the surprise revelation that Joyce was technically also a New Zealand citizen, the high court case that forced him to resign, the subsequent by-election which saw him returned to office, the news that he had left his wife to live with a former staffer who was having his baby, a major expenses scandal around a donor paying for his flat, a serious allegation of sexual harassment, and his resignation from cabinet and as leader of the National Party. Yes, on a global scale it is minor stuff but an encyclopedia is for looking up the stuff you didn’t already know.

Actor Robert Guillaume is alive and well on Voxopedia despite dying in October 2017 in Wikipedia: as is (for all you Swap Shop fans out there) Keith Chegwin who on Wikipedia died in December 2017. More famous people are more likely to have their deaths recorded but it is hit and miss.

The majority of pages remain as out-of-date Wikipedia pages from 2016 and the basic issue with Voxopedia remains the same: not enough editors and the editors it does have are mainly working on fringe projects. These are supplemented by one-off vanity pages (e.g. )

Of those fringe projects one editor* stands out as a self-declared ‘truther’, pushing various kinds of conspiracy theories and maintaining Voxopedia’s obsession with ‘Pizzagate’ style conspiracy theories about paedophiles. It is areas like this where the overall bufoonishness of Voxopedia takes a sinister turn. For example, this case  is treated as if the allegations were legitimate and ignores the psychological abuse that the people who made the allegations subjected children to.

In better news, Voxopedia finally decided in February this year that Stephen Hawking didn’t die in the 1980s (and replaced by an actor)  And, as of this post being written, Voxopedia even has him still being alive. The wheels of Voxopedia grind slowly but they also grind erratically.

The site is also extraordinarily slow and clunky at times. Just doing this post resulted in multiple “504 Gateway Time-out The server didn’t respond in time” errors. It’s frustrating to try and follow even a couple of links deep as pages can take an age to load or simply not load at all. I’ve looked at this page before but I can’t comment on its current state of wacky political-paranoia because I had to give up trying to get it to load.

The question is how long it will continue to stumble on in this way. Arguably, if what it does is divert money and resources from worse alt-right projects then it’s continued existence is a net good.

*[I’m not going to name Voxopedia editors – it unnecessarily puts the focus on individuals]

[Thanks to Doris Sutherland and Space Oddity for some aspects of this post]



Trouble in Pulp Paradise

This post will only make sense to the more dedicated Puppyologists as it delves into factional conflicts within the nether regions of far-right science fiction.

As a reminder here is a chart I made a while ago to help people keep track:


The lefthand (not politically) of the chart is where we are looking today.

On March 3 Jeffo Johnson (on the chart above via his ‘Appendix N’ project looking at the literature that inspired Dungeons and Dragons) wrote a post about the cultural power of conservatives: Jeffro’s argument was essentially an appeal to Tolkien to demonstrate the cultural influence of conservatives. I don’t need to spell out the problems with that as an argument and in itself, it isn’t very interesting. However, there was pushback in the comments from some random person called “Groffin”. I won’t quote it because parts of it are anti-Semitic but basically, it was pointing out that the people Jeffro was pointing at were very much dead and gone and that people weren’t reading them for any kind of conservative message anyway. Apparently, this same commentator made similar points at Vox Day’s blog also and was then banned.

Jeffro then replied to this “Groffin” in another post

This still isn’t interesting. However, the comments are, including signs of some general reader pushback against poor quality works:

“I mean, I’ve read a lot of Castalia/PulpRev/Superversive stuff and paid for quite a few things and it sure looks like you’re not allowed to say meh about meh fiction because muh pulprev or whatever. Getting snarky about mediocre fiction is just replicating what mediocre SJWs do with less of their media platform and reach. Lying about numbers and traffic, same. I can see what sells because I keep up with this as I’m extremely supportive of conservative media alternatives (I use my checkbook power, as already noted). A lot of these writers aren’t very good. Some are decent, and some have real potential. I found a couple of really promising, decently selling authors via Castalia’s blog roundups of sci-fi and fantasy. But I also got burned multiple times by the promotion of crummy stuff as AH MAYYYYY ZINNNNNGGGGGG.”

At another factional spin-off blog “” there was a defence of the original “Groffin” comment and they even slapped a “gate” suffix to it – which is a thing.

Now, this piece is more interesting (not good but interesting. As well as being critical of Jeffro’s piece, it is also some of the most overt criticism I’ve seen from rightwing sources of the Sad Puppy campaigns:

“GroffinGate: Saying You Are Winning Is Not The Same Thing As Winning

I blame it on the Puppies.

The Pulp Revolution started out as a reaction against them, did you know that? What started as a movement to bring sanity and good writing back to an SFF establishment that had been increasingly obviously been co-opted by bigoted cultists degenerated into a movement that focused on appearances, gave high praise to mediocre works, and generated more clicks through defensive blog posts about how great they were than through anything they actually created.”

Here “Puppies” means the more core clique of rightwing authors that’s basically Mad Genius plus Larry Correia, rather than people who may have given support more generally.

Again in the comments, there are interesting comments from surprising sources (at least from a left perspective) about the 2015 Sad Puppy picks. This comment which appears to be from Cirsova magazine:

None of the short fiction picks back in 2015 were very good. Lou Antonelli’s was an interesting germ of an idea but the execution left something to be desired. Tuesdays With Molakesh the Destroyer was pretty twee and struck me as the sort of thing they’d’ve complained about if “an SJW SF writer” had written it. Annie Bellett’s story had the best form, but still relied on the trope of “the faceless angry dangerous white men in times of trouble” for its human conflict. Totaled was twee and boring for a Brain-in-a-Jar story; Jeffro could not have been more right about how much it paled in comparison to C.L. Moore’s No Woman Born. Turncoat managed to make a battle in outer space so matter-of-fact dull I couldn’t finish it.”

I assume this isn’t the first time comments like this have been aired by people who weren’t overtly anti-Puppy but I haven’t seen many like this before.

Superversive ‘s Anthony M is more generally defensive about whether they are an insular community in general:

Anyway, it will be interesting to see if this generates further splinters and interesting to see if there is more reader pushback against the mediocrity of a lot of what is being published in rightwing science fiction. Outside of that world, I think ti has always been obvious that there was a huge gulf between the quality of the work and how great these groups were claiming the writing was but it was hard to disentangle that from the multitude of other issues (ideological, structural and ethical).

The Russia Thing Gets More WTF

In the UK we have an attempted murder of a former Russian agent via some sort of nerve poison weapon

That action has placed Russia and the UK into a diplomatic crisis. Assuming the Russian government was responsible for the attack, it was extraordinarily blatant. At the same time, it was blatant enough to still be deniable and yet also so extreme as for make it seem almost implausible that a government would do that.

On Monday the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the attack clearly came from Russia

Today Rex Tillerson has been sacked by Donald Trump

Now Tillerson was not great – he was after all appointed by Trump – and his departure has been expected for awhile but this timing looks particularly bad. Added to this Trump has not implemented the sanctions on Russia that Congress has told him to.

So seriously what the flip is going on? It’s hard not to be paranoid in such circumstances.

Is the whole poisoning thing not what it seems and is actually a giant distraction cooked by Theresa May to draw attention from how messed up Brexit is? That seems unlikely but there are layers of cynical incompetence at play here.

Is Putin just literally trolling the UK now with attempted murder? The attack seems to be way over the top and yet didn’t actually kill the targets. The use of this nerve agent has led to a massive clean-up operation, making the attempted hit look more like a terrorist attack. Is it a ‘false flag’ or some group other than the Russian government or is it Putin demonstrating that he can get away with murder because the US won’t react?

All we can do is watch at the moment.


Amazon Purging Reviews Again

Timothy’s favourite author Declan Finn has had a large number of his reviews (i..e.ones written by him) deleted from Amazon: He also notes that others in the “Conservative Libertarian Fiction Alliance” has suffered from a similar issue. Perhaps not without reason for once, he suspects political interference.

However, the answer seems to be simpler than that. This post from 2016 explains some of the housekeeping Amazon does with reviews:

“Since then, Amazon have gone through phases where they ramp up their culling of “inappropriate” reviews.  Their review policy states that reviews written by anyone with a personal relationship to the author are inappropriate.  So reviews by my mother or my sister-in-law should be rightfully deleted.

But lately, Amazon have applied that “relationship” ruling to anyone who appears to know the author in any familiar way at all, including being friends with them on social networks like Facebook.”

It’s easy to see how the ecosystem of authors around Superversive and the CLFA may fall afoul of Amazon as a consequence. The mutual support aspect of these groups of writers includes promoting each other’s books. Putting their politics aside and the question of gaming awards aside, this seems unfair on balance – they like each other’s books because they are writing the kinds of books they like.

However, they are all stuck within Amazon and have little choice but to live with Amazon’s arbitrary enforcement policies. In this case, Amazon doesn’t want reviews to be a form of cheerleading or mutual encouragement but rather a piece of advice to prospective buyers.


Review: Jessica Jones Season 2

A general observation of the gritty ‘street’ Marvel Netflix series has been that even the best of them have meandered in the middle despite strong openings and finales. The second season of Jessica Jones seems to have done the opposite.

The story really didn’t feel like it found its feet until episode 8 and even then headed into false ends. Individual performances remain excellent but the story was unsure what to do with the ensemble of characters that it has. Perhaps this unfair – season 1 had its meandering aspects as well but the sinister presence of Killgrave (David Tennant’s mind controlling villain) lent a tension to every episode whether he was in it or not.

Season 2 has avoided having a ‘big bad’ at all and in principle I like that. The actual conflicts Jessica has to face are interesting ones and not every superhero story needs a super villain orchestrating everything. Its just that I didn’t feel they managed to make this season work without one.

Instead we get something closer to an origin story – complete with tragic deaths as character motivation. An extra tragic death in Jessica’s backstory is added and then seemingly forgotten.

Hard to say more without spoilers. Still worth watching but it never gets to the heights of season 1.

Reading Peterson 12 – The End of Peterson & the Last Lobster

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12,…


Jordan B Lobsterson

“What if it was the case that the world revealed whatever goodness it contains in precise proportion to your desire for the best? What if the more your conception of the best has been elevated, expanded and rendered sophisticated the more possibility and benefit you could perceive? This doesn’t mean that you can have what you want merely by wishing it, or that everything is interpretation, or that there is no reality. The world is still there, with its structures and limits. As you move along with it, it cooperates or objects. But you can dance with it, if your aim is to dance— and maybe you can even lead, if you have enough skill and enough grace. This is not theology. It’s not mysticism. It’s empirical knowledge. There is nothing magical here— or nothing more than the already-present magic of consciousness. We only see what we aim at. The rest of the world (and that’s most of it) is hidden. If we start aiming at something different— something like “I want my life to be better”— our minds will start presenting us with new information, derived from the previously hidden world, to aid us in that pursuit. Then we can put that information to use and move, and act, and observe, and improve. And, after doing so, after improving, we might pursue something different, or higher— something like, “I want whatever might be better than just my life being better.” And then we enter a more elevated and more complete reality.’ – Peterson, Jordan B.. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (pp. 100-101). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.

Jordan B Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life does try to separate itself from its antecedents such as Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking by asserting that it is grounded in empirical knowledge. When Peterson suggest you re-visualise your life (or as alt-right conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich would say ‘change your mindset’) he does so by claiming our perception is shaped by our attitude – which is vague enough to be undisprovable. To change you have to want to change and to convince yourself and other therapist cliches. As is common in this genre, the advice is not terrible when boiled down to these nuggets.

Take a step back though and we can see that nasty side.


The Shape of Water – 2017

A common perception of society and human nature runs through social-Darwinism, post-war US pro-capitalism, Randian libertarianism and fascism. That perception does not mean that all these things are the same – libertarianism isn’t fascism – just that there’s a shared assumption about the world. This is that the strong lead and the weak follow. The view is both descriptive and normative. The assumption is that is the natural order of things, that we can’t avoid it – yet it is also assumed that a society might try to avoid this and do something different. Any attempt to do so is seen as a violation of the natural order which must be resisted.

The more tolerant libertarian may see this order as being simply the mechanics of the market in operation – they may see themselves as not approving of this state of affairs but simply acknowledging it as an empirical fact. If men get paid more than women, if poor people have worse health outcomes if some ethnic group is under-achieving educationally then the evidence that shows this shows that it must be inevitable. The fascist on the other hand greets the inequity with more enthusiasm.

A nineteenth-century conservative might see these inequities as God’s divine order:

The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them high and lowly,
And ordered their estate.
– All Things Bright and Beautiful in Mrs Cecil Alexander’s Hymns for Little Children 1848

A related strand of thinking overlays character on top of this hierarchy. While god has ordered our estate, god has also granted us gifts. Work hard and you can progress is the offer.

Norman Vincent Peale secularised this strand of theological inspired ideology within a secular framework and within mainstream political thinking for post-war America. Taking his own theological stance (tempered by US Protestantism and Calvinism) he mixed in ideas from psychoanalysis, Freud and Jung along with the political attitudes common among the managerial classes of 1950s New York.



Jessica Jones, Season 2 – 2018


12 Rules for Life is simply this same cocktail. The extra ingredient Peterson adds is an anti-‘political correctness’ stance and fear of ‘cultural Marxism’. The essence is the same though:

  • The world is a competitive hierarchy and you can’t/shouldn’t change that
  • But you can change your position in the hierarchy

Only the individual can change and if society changes then this upsets the supposed natural order.



Dana Loesch advertising ‘Superbeets’ 2015


Peterson doesn’t get into guns and only talks about health in vague terms but similar principles can find there way into fitness and wellness culture and gun culture. The emphasis away from the collective or institutional action to change the environment we are in (health systems, crime) to personal action. In each case, how an individual can buy something to get some kind of personal advantage over everybody else.

Accept these concepts in one area and you are primed for them in other areas. The message might not be misogynistic or racist in its first form but the skewed logic leads in that direction. If inequity is just the way the world is then whole classes of people must be poorer because of who they are. If trying to change these inequities is against the natural order than anybody advocating for change is an agent of chaos. If male members of some hegemonic ethnic group or nation keep winning in the game of existence then that is because they are supposed to be winning (either by God’s will or by some natural order or psychic fate) – but if they STOP winning (or don’t win as much) then this must be a breach of the rules.

12 Rules for Life is a series of poorly structured arguments built around this hard to describe quasi-ideology. Each chapter offers a rule for a better life but the content of the chapter often roams off into other points. The advice may be helpful or at worst innocuous but it is the attendant view of the world that is poisonous. There is not a view based on ’empirical knowledge’, when Peterson resorts to objective evidence it is only weakly related to his argument. His prefered mode of argument are appeals to myths and archetypes but even here there is little indication that Peterson has stress-tested his ideas against contrary evidence.

By the end of the book, the cherries have been picked, the arches typed and the anecdotes have been rambled. If the book is evidence of Peterson’s academic ability then I am concerned, if it is evidence of his abilities as a therapist then I am concerned and if it is evidence for his inner-life then I am concerned.

This discussion of how he reacts to cats is revealing:

“When you meet a cat on a street, many things can happen. If I see a cat at a distance, for example, the evil part of me wants to startle it with a loud pfft! sound— front teeth over bottom lip. That will make a nervous cat puff up its fur and stand sideways so it looks larger. Maybe I shouldn’t laugh at cats, but it’s hard to resist. The fact that they can be startled is one of the best things about them (along with the fact that they are instantly disgruntled and embarrassed by their overreaction). But when I have myself under proper control, I’ll bend down, and call the cat over, so I can pet it.” – Peterson, Jordan B.. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (p. 352). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.

I don’t know about others but I don’t have to be under ‘proper control’ to want to pet a cat. I wish Peterson had put this insight in Chapter 1 – it would have changed the book for me. It would have become a character study – an insight into a man with his own demons, attempting to understand himself but prone to extrapolate his own demons onto the rest of humanity.

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote for Chaos is not a book I can recommend anybody read. there are better sources for advice and there are clearer essays on modern rightwing politics.