Tribalism is as tribalism does

I told George R. R. Martin I’d be writing this post — as a result of some of the polite dialogue we had at his LiveJournal page. His basic question to me was, “How can you, as a guy in an interracial marriage, put up with some of the racist and sexist stuff (a certain person) writes on his blog?” I thought this a valid question. How indeed? I didn’t have the space on LiveJournal to unpack all of my thoughts and feelings on the dread ism topic, so I thought I would do it here.

When I was a teenager, concepts like racism and sexism seemed easy to understand. People who are sexist, think the opposite gender are inferior human beings. People who are racist, think people of opposite ethnicities are inferior human beings. Both concepts are morally wrong. What seemed obvious, was obvious. I’d had this idea spoon-fed to me since I was old enough to go to school, so I went about my life generally trying to be the kind of guy who avoided ist stuff so as to not be guilty of the ominous ism label.

After I got married, though, the actual complexity of racism, sexism, and other, similar things, started to become clearer. Especially since nobody can quite arrive at a consensus as to what constitutes ism. There is no agreement. Simply a spectrum, from hot to cold. At the cold end you have people who give tremendous benefit of the doubt to almost any word or action. No harm, no foul. It takes a lot for such people to begin using the ist and ism labels. Conversely, at the hot end are the people who see ist and ism at the drop of a hat. Everyone and everything is freighted with ist and ism. There are none who are “clean” and all are guilty.

Perhaps ironically — for an interracially married guy — while the social drama of our era has ratcheted toward the hot, I’ve slowly found myself drifting toward the cool. Not because I think ist and ism do not exist — they do. But because I think a lot of what we label as racist and sexist is actually culturalist tribalism. Even America’s dyed-in-the-wool progressives are prone to this one. Ask a Seattle coffee house progressive what she thinks of Alabama “cracker” folk. Or ask a New York socialist atheist for his opinion on conservative Utah Mormons. You will find, often, that even the minds who proclaim themselves to be the most open and the most tolerant, have sharp limits. Because even though multiculturalism is practically an iron-clad gospel at this point, everyone can identify tribes they are distrustful of, if not openly hostile toward.

So, as I enter my fifth decade of life, I strongly suspect ethnicity is — very often — the lesser part of it. Gender too. Ethnicity and gender are flags. Markers. Identifiers. If ever some other flag or marker offsets the original, the equation changes.

One example that leaps to my mind: back when I was an NCO, I had a Small Group Leader (SGL) at one of the Army’s NCO schools who had emigrated out of central Africa, come to the U.S., and joined the U.S. military. He said that he found it very interesting, as a born African, trying to navigate among American blacks and whites alike. Based purely on how he looked, he would be treated one way — right up until he opened his mouth. At which point his accent identified him as something remarkably other than black American. Whites who had been cool to him (in the literal sense) would sometimes warm up. Blacks who had been warm, would cool down. Sometimes, even turn hostile?

Another example: depending on how my wife styles her hair, she can (and does) pass for hispanic, black, or pacific islander. Yet, growing up in Hawaii among a family of all-adopted brothers and sisters, she found herself constantly at war with the children outside her home: white kids, Japanese Hawaiian kids, and full-blooded Hawaiian kids. She experienced constant fist-fights. Brutal stuff. Up through high school. Why couldn’t she pass through all of this unscathed? What made her so different that no ethnic group — save the Chinese Hawaiians — were reliably safe for her?

Getting back to my SGL at the NCO school, something else he said struck me strongly: nobody in America really knows ethnic strife the way he saw it, because he literally witnessed portions of his family wiped out by what essentially amounted to tribal warfare. To white American eyes, there’d have been no discernible difference between the people killing each other. But the Africans themselves knew the difference, and considered it a difference worth murdering each other over.

The SGL in question therefore found 21st century American racial tension to be both familiar, and also utterly foreign. Small potatoes, compared to his experience.

So how do you overcome small-potatoes tribalism? Sometimes, by simply creating a new over-arching tribe from whole cloth.

In the U.S. military, we endure a breaking-in period known as Initial Entry Training — boot camp. It’s specifically designed to make everyone look the same, talk the same, and to a certain extent, think the same. We are thus inculcated (as opposed to acculturated) into the new “tribe” to the extent that prior ethnic, religious, lingual, and other barriers, become offset. Not erased entirely, but offset. We adopt a new tribal identity. One that can become so powerful, men and women from different parts of the country, even different parts of the world, identify so strongly with the single tribe that we find these bonds stronger than almost anything else. Sometimes, even stronger than blood or birth. We wear the uniforms, we share the experiences. We talk a certain way. Look at life through a certain lens.

We can also speak to shared hardship. In fact, there is practically no greater social glue, than to make a group of individuals all go through the same shitty thing — together.

This is usually why U.S. military veterans — any branch, any era — can almost instantly find common ground. Despite all the many things in their lives which might differentiate them.

Folks, I believe strongly that all of this is wired into us. As author and philosopher Steven Barnes consistently says: every person is built to be tribal. We can’t escape it. It’s part of who we are. If you ask Steve, he’ll say that someone is “awake” when (s)he makes a conscious effort to be aware of inherent tribal tendencies, and shape them (or even eschew them) for the sake of nobler sentiments, nobler goals, and a greater self-awareness that goes above and beyond identity.

And make no mistake: identity is at the heart of the social discussion in the 21st century. To include identity politics.

So, when the news makes noise about some racist police officer shooting an umarmed black teenager, or rapper Azealia Banks talks about how she hates white midwestern Americans, I think in the back of my mind: There it is — there is the tribalism. In Azealia’s case, she is merely using words. The cop is killing a person. But in both instances, the root of the problem goes back to tribalism. For the cop, young black teenage males represent a “tribe” of troublemakers, gangbangers, hoodlums, petty thieves, and drug dealers. All dangerous, and all untrustworthy. On the flip side, for many black Americans, white cops also represent a kind of “tribe” which is also dangerous, hair-trigger, not to be trusted, prone to never giving the benefit of the doubt, predictably suspicious, and so forth. Both “tribes” have valid historical evidence for how they feel about the other tribe.

And both tribes key on external markers, when identifying the other tribe. Flags which can be offset by contra-flags.

Consider: black teen male walking down a neighborhood street, when a white off-duty cop steps to the door. The teen is wearing low-hung blue jeans, work boots with the laces missing or untied, the top of his boxer shorts is visible, he has on a hoodie, and a baseball cap with the visor cocked at forty-five degrees. What are the off-duty white cop’s assumptions — regarding the young black male and his potential tribe?

Consider again: black teen male walking down a neighborhood street, this time dressed in a baby blue oxford shirt, pressed cotton slacks, matte-shine black business loafers, wearing glasses, and carrying a book bag. Will the same off-duty cop’s assumptions change? Yes, or no.

Now, flip it.

Black college student walking home from campus at night, sees an old white guy sitting near a lamp post, wearing a tattered U.S. Army surplus jacket, soiled pants, with a long greasy beard on his face, and long greasy hair shrouding his head, while he’s holding a paper sack with a bottle neck sticking out of it. What’s the tribal assumption, on the part of the black college student?

Try again: black college student walks home from campus, sees the same old white guy, but this time the old man’s been washed up, his beard is gone, and his hair is neatly combed and trimmed, plus he’s in a new suit with an expensive tie, and his eyes are alert and sober. Different tribal assumption, right?

See, all of us do this every day without even thinking about it. Who’s in my tribe? Are you in my tribe? And if you don’t look like you’re in my tribe, are you in a tribe that’s cool with my tribe, or un-cool with my tribe? Maybe you don’t seem to be in my tribe, until we talk about a shared interest or a shared experience — something not obvious on the surface — and we instantly discover the tribal bond? What if we think we share a tribal bond, but conversation reveals we’re on opposite ends of something? Like religion, or politics? Does the division strain or sever the tribal identification?

My SGL from NCO school became out-tribe (for some black Americans) when he talked, because his African accent contradicted his physical flag: his ethnicity. He was not “of the tribe” many black Americans thought him to be.

My wife was also not “of the tribe” when young. She didn’t fit. The way she talked, marked her as out-tribe. The way she looked, also marked her as out-tribe. There was no tribe for her. Kids being kids, they made the question it into a physical confrontation. My wife being my wife, she finished every fight they started. Dozens of times. Her childhood doesn’t have many happy memories in this regard. And to this day, there are still ways she (and we, as a couple) are deemed out-tribe.

For instance: No matter which state we’ve lived in, grocery stores are a common place to find we’re out-tribe. If there is a white family at the check-out line ahead of us, and the white clerk is chatty and cheerful with that family, as soon as my wife and I show up, the clerk goes cold. Minimal interactivity. No overt words or actions of hostility. Just . . . a palpable withdrawing. For whatever reasons, my wife and I are suddenly out-tribe. Either because the clerk is making assumptions about my wife, or making assumptions about both of us because we’re together, but we look different.

That doesn’t happen every day. But I’ve seen it happen enough to know it’s a thing. And no, I don’t think these clerks are doing it consciously. It’s tribal.

And tribalism is everywhere. It’s who we are. On every continent.

When I went to Italy with the Army, I discovered that the northern Italians often had certain feelings toward the southern Italians, and vice versa.

Soccer (football) fans in Europe and the UK are notorious for being tribal to the point of death and violence.

Hell, ask Boston Red Sox fans and New York Yankees fans about their “tribes” in the sports world.

And we are all actively working to create tribes amongst ourselves all the time. Sports, music, clothing, enthusiasms like video games and comic books and fiction. Do you love a thing? Do others love the same thing? Are you now a kind of tribe? If you love the thing enough, do you begin to speak a similar language, reference the same touchstones — a touchstone being an object or a concept or an idea that is familiar to everyone? Do you begin to create in-jokes and humor specific to the group? Do you have closeness that cuts across other differences that might separate you?

Yup. Tribalism.

Most of us in the developed West seem to pretend that we’re beyond tribalism, or that tribalism is somehow primitive.

I think it’s part of being human, and helps us to define who and what we are.

In both good ways, and bad.

Consider tribalism in Science Fiction & Fantasy: SF/F.

Moskowitz versus the Futurians? The Campbellians versus the New Wave? Worldcon versus Sad Puppies?

The Fandom (capital f) that created the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) were a tribe so dedicated to their shared enthusiasm, they formalized it. Gave it rules and expectations. An institution was born. New people coming into the institution had to be inculcated much as anyone joining a religion or the military might also be inculcated. Totems (like the Hugo awards) were erected and celebrated.

And Sad Puppies 3 came to the “tribe” in 2015, wearing baggy pants below the waist, visible boxer shorts, untied work boots, and a hat cocked at forty five degrees. Or, if you prefer, Sad Puppies 3 pulled Worldcon over on the highway: maglite aimed through Worldcon’s driver’s-side window, while Sad Puppies 3 asked for license and registration.

The reaction — especially among certain vocal members of Fandom — was less than enthused.

“The tribe! The tribe is at stake! Invaders have come! Protect the totem! Save the totem!

Now, I’ve tried to explain this before: a huge part of the deal with this whole nerd fight, is that the Hugo awards don’t just brand as “The award of the Worldcon tribe.” The Hugos (and the Worldcon tribe alike) brand the Hugo as the award for the entirety of SF/F: books, stories, movies, television, music, art, you name it. This is not just the totem of the single SF/F tribe. This is the totem of all the SF/F tribes.

But the single tribe (Worldcon) wants the exclusive right to decide how the totem gets distributed — to which tribe members, and for what kinds of work.

It’s the totem of all, but to be decided by only some.

That — right there — is the root of the conflict. Totem of of all, decided by some. Sad Puppies 3 (and to a certain extent, Sad Puppies 2 and Sad Puppies 1) made the audacious claim that the totem for all, should be decided by all. Anyone willing to pay the poll tax (Worldcon membership) should have a say. We invited everyone to the democratic process. We didn’t care who was or was not in the “tribe” of World Science Fiction Society. This is the totem of all! And the rules pretty much make it so that all can participate!

But the Worldcon tribe — or at least certain vocal members within the tribe — have gone full-retard-tribal about the affront to “their” award, and “their” convention. So it’s tribe-vs-tribe. Are you in-tribe or out-tribe? How can anyone tell? Are you “of the body” of the tribe? Were you inculcated? No? Then what the hell are you doing coming to our tribal ground and fucking with our totem? It’s ours, dammit! Not yours! Ours!!

Protestations about propriety are merely bureaucratic dressing for tribal reactionary mud-slinging.

Mud-slinging which was taken to the broader media by a few tribe-members determined to “nuke” us invaders: Sad Puppies.

But not just us alone. We were almost incidental. The partisans of the Worldcon tribe had a more serious foe in mind.

Because of all the things most frightening to the Worldcon tribe, the worst are the Visigoths of Vox Day. Not just an out-tribe, Vox and his fans represent an explicitly war-like and hostile tribe, come to seize the totem by brute means. So, some of the Worldcon tribe said, “No, we will destroy the totem first, before we let the Visigoths have it!” To which the Visigoths and their heathen king Vox replied, “If you destroy it this year, we will most certainly destroy it next year — and there is nothing you can do to stop us!”

Now, the heathen king is terrifying to the Worldcon tribe. He is a literal barbarian. He talks and walks and threatens like a barbarian. He’s not precisely the guy anyone planned on walking through the democratic door. But because the Hugo voting process is democratic, nobody can be barred for purely tribal reasons. You pay your poll tax, you get a vote. The Worldcon tribe stares at both Sad Puppies 3 and the Rabid Puppies with equal dismay.

Me? I’m not in it to destroy anything.

I just want the totem to reflect the wider influence of the big world of various tribes who all have claim to it. Because that’s where I came from. Out there. Not the “inside” Worldcon tribe. I’m from the wilderness tribes who knew nothing of conventions or Fandom (big F) in our youth. We simply liked what we liked, and we were fans — because nobody could tell us not to be fans. And I maintain — still — that there is nobody to tell us we’re not fans. So the totem is ours too. We have claim on it. It is “the most prestigious award” for everybody. And everybody agrees on this.

Either that, or change the branding, and call the Hugos, “The little award, for the little crowd at Worldcon.”

Heck, while we’re at it, stop calling it Worldcon. Any given Comic Con can boast a bigger world-wide attendance than even the Worldcons done outside North America.

And stop pretending you care about “diversity” when the Worldcon tribe reacts with extreme revulsion any time truly different people want to come have a seat at the table.

Maybe call it Legacycon, to reflect that it’s the legacy gathering of legacy fans who trace their roots back to the old days? Before SF/F went big and took over the entertainment world.

Or maybe call it Stuffycon: to reflect the hoity toity attitudes of the taste-makers who want to be sure the “wrong” kinds of fans aren’t voting in the “wrong” kinds of books, art, and stories.

Or maybe just be wholly transparent and call it White American Liberals Con — An inclusive, diverse place where everyone talks about the same things, has the same tastes, votes the same way, and looks at the world through the same pair of eyes. Whitelibbycon. With the trophy: whitelibbyrocket.

But wait, I am showing my tribal ass with these comments. See? See how that happens so fast? It’s tricksy, I tell you! Tricksy.

Because the ultimate question in a polyglot society — or a polyglot field of the arts — is whether or not you (and your tribe) can make room in your hearts and minds for the people from the other tribes. Are the other tribes really dangerous? Or are you simply worried that by letting the outside tribes mingle with the inside tribe, you will lose the authenticity and flavor that you believe makes your tribe special? How much are you willing to sacrifice to preserve your culture, versus allowing your culture to mix with others, and blend? We know these fears. They perk up every time a new wave of immigrants comes. Doesn’t matter if its Irish, German, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, or Mexican. People become very upset with the idea that the new tribe is going to wash away everything about the old tribe. Can the new tribe be assimilated? What if they won’t assimilate, what then? Is there any chance for harmony?

Think on that, oh ye purists of Worldcon.

Steve Davidson and Teresa Nielsen-Hayden talk like anti-Amnesty Republicans!

Now, I won’t speak for the heathen king or the riders of his war elephants. I will only speak for Sad Puppies 3.

Many of us were already “of the tribe”, or are at least capable of passing as tribe members when we want to. We know the lingo, we know the touchstones, we are familiar with the history. Maybe we don’t religiously attend Worldcon — maybe we don’t even do cons very much, because of travel and expenses — but this field is our field. These arts are our arts. We just want a seat at the table. And we want the totem to reflect the existence of all the many venerable pros and fans who have done every bit as much to keep this field alive — over the last three decades — as anyone in the Worldcon tribe proper.

Uncle Timmy? Kevin J. Anderson? Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show? They are entirely part of the fabric of the giant and expanding quilt of Science Fiction & Fantasy. But too many — the people who probably ought to go form Stuffycon — won’t acknowledge this.

You can’t claim your tribe is “inclusive” when you seek a laundry list of excuses to kick people (and their stuff) out of the tribe.

I’m hoping that — once the heat dies down this summer — people can be a little more “awake” in Steve Barnes’s words. A little less apt to let the tribal instinct get the better of their good intentions. And sure, maybe Larry Correia and I are guilty of it too. Certainly the out-tribe experience has created a tribalness and hostility all its own. Larry and both feel like we tried to parlay, and discovered parlay wasn’t possible. A more direct approach had to be taken. So we went to the streets and said, “Come to the democracy, one and all!”

I am sorry if the Worldcon tribe — Fandom — is unhappy. Yeah, I get it about the Visigoths. But even most of those guys aren’t bad either. They’re fans too. And the GamerGaters? Fans. Out-tribe, maybe. But fans. Don’t buy all the scary bad press. In fact, don’t buy any of the scary bad press. The other tribes love this field too. Perhaps not in precisely the same way that you do, oh tender-souled Worldcon long-timers. But then, being “awake” also means realizing that change is inevitable. If Worldcon (and the Hugos) are going to thrive, and retain relevance, the out-tribe folk are going to have to be let in the door, allowed to come to all the parties, and given a full share of the say.

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257 thoughts on “Tribalism is as tribalism does

  1. minor typo, second to last paragraph “Larry and both feel like we tried to parlay” should probably have “I” after “and”

  2. I think (just based on personal experience) that service in the military does knock down some of that tribal mentality. Not black, or white, or whatever – just blue or green, part of the team. I was able to have some brutally frank discussions about race, with some of the people that I met in the military, some of them almost surreal, from the view of the conventional social justice warriors.

    One of the cautionary memories is of the weekend in Basic when the floor polisher broke down. We would have to polish the floor in our dorm by hand, it seemed – and the six black women in my flight absolutely rebelled at that. Yes, the rest of us could understand WHY (being all children of the seventies and properly taught) and understand how deeply humiliating they would find it, getting down on hands and knees, and polishing the lino with a rag … but the d*amned floor still had to be polished … and everyone else in the flight was OK with polishing it by hand. The solution was mine, I am proud to say. I suggested that we think of it as a skating party, play music on the radios which we were allowed at that point, tie the rags around our stocking feet and scoot around on the floor that way to deliver the required polish.

  3. Celia, I don’t know if it breaks down the tribalism so much as transfers it. Military tribes are pretty strong, with each service asserting its superiority over the others until they unify against a civilian who seriously asserts that any one of them is bad. We don’t see race as much — no black or white, just different shades of green — but we treat veterans and active duty personnel differently than we treat non-military types.

  4. This gives me thoughts…

    I think the reason the “other side” tends to so often ignore/avoid discussions about “class” is because the less-privileged the groups as a whole become, the less race tends to matter. I’m speaking from my own personal experience here.

  5. Ultimately, I guess my confusion in all this is you say that a mixing of tribes is what you wanted. The goal you set out to achieve. You accuse the WorldCon tribe of not truly being diverse and accepting. Then you and rabid puppies voted in a slate that not only pushed out all other choices but had no diversity in your own choices.

    Before I get shouted down I am not talking about diversity in people. I am talking about selection. It has been the hardest thing for me to wrap my brain around. Here is our slate. Vote for this slate. Our slate will carry the day and we will teach those snooty people a lesson.

    I understand the Hugos are a popularity contest. I don’t even refute your theory on tribes because I know I have actually referred to friends that way in my world of geek. If you had actively encouraged your fans to get out the vote and still carried the day because your “tribe” just plain outvoted anyone else. I would have shook your hand and said, “well played.”

    While I am fully capable of separating rabid puppy and sad puppy. It was rabid puppy who screwed the message and in my opinion screwed both the old tribe and the sad puppy tribe. I have talked to enough sad puppy now that I tend to believe the goal was to mix it up. The rabid puppy was not content to mix it up or assimilate. It was pure take it over and burn it down mode. Their message was clear. Vote this slate and we will push them out.

    I love Science Fiction passionately. I think you do also. I think sad puppy does also. Where do we go from here? I still think the Hugo mean something. I want it to mean something. I will be happy for everyone who wins an award this year but if it just becomes a slate us vs. them it is all doomed. I want to fix this.

    So what do you see as the end game? How do the tribes go forward without letting the extremes on both sides burn down that which we love? I am certainly willing to be part of the solution. For me this isn’t about sad puppies or snooty WorldCon. It is about science fiction. If everyone stays on DEFCON 5 I think WorldCon and the Hugo are doomed.

    (sorry about the long rambling post)

  6. And we are all actively working to create tribes amongst ourselves all the time. Sports, music, clothing, enthusiasms like video games and comic books and fiction.

    I think one of the reasons the Gamer tribe reacted so badly to attempts to impose 19th-century racial and gender tribalism is that modern gaming renders most tribal markers invisible. For most people I interact with, all I know is a handle you go by, one or more avatars you use (with no relation to your real-world appearance), and your in game text and actions. And after a while, that’s all I care about. Are you an intelligent, cooperative player? Then fight beside me, or oppose me honorably!

    Much has been made of the occasional vulgar troll or griefer throwing slurs into his microphone. It’s a tactic, and a poor one; he wants a reaction to throw you off your game (much like a forum troll). Use of that tactic is an indicator of a specific sub-tribe of gamers, one that most of us prefer to avoid. Those of us that spend our time online recognize it for what it is.

  7. On military tribe/culture:

    Ringo went into this a lot in the later LFD books, and about how so much of military culture is a culture of necessity. Military systems, especially large systems like ships, planes, tanks, helicopters are engineered to tight specifications, and with as little slack as they can get away with. Things have to be done the same way, done right, the first time, every time, or bad things happen. Guns malfunction, parts get left out, propulsion systems fail, and people die.

  8. Reblogged this on The Worlds of Tarien Cole and commented:
    Well stated, and very true. And the bad part is, not all tribalism is bad. It stems from a very deep part of our psyche that recognizes that sometimes, ‘the other’ is very much out to get us. And if we aren’t on our guard, they’re likely to punish our lax attentiveness.

    That said, we jump far too easily in fandom into these camps of ‘extreme otherness.’ Where our disagreements over politics (ideological and personal) become reasons to doubt the intent of others, and pile all sorts of vitriol upon them.

    I can remember when all of us dreamed of having a BIG sci-fi/fantasy tent. Well, here we go. Can we check ideology at the door enough to keep it a big tent? I would like to think so. Note, I’m not saying don’t read or write anything ideological. I’m just saying I would love it if we didn’t go down the road of so-called ‘lit-fic’ which has become nothing BUT ideological shilling at the expense of all pretense of story. Because the tent will get very small then. No matter ‘whose’ ideology wins the shouting war.

  9. Honestly, it’s a great article…

    The weird thing is, in a tribal scenario Gamergate is the exact opposite from the Sad Puppies.

    From a tribal perspective it is gamergate that used to be the local tribe, while its detractors are the mistrusted outsider. Certainly according to the anti-gamergate narrative.

    In the Sad Puppies case it is the opposite; there it is Worldcon which is the entrenched tribe and the Sad Puppies are the outsiders trying to enter/merge with the Worldcon tribe as you explained.

    It almost seems as if the dynamics are exactly inverse.
    The difference here is ideological. Both GG and Sad Puppies share a similar ideology, and both aGG and Worldcon share a similar ideology.

    It is also the accusations that seem inversed as well:

    anti-GG: We want to be included in gaming
    GG: Join and abide by our rules or do your own thing, but don’t burn the village down.
    Sad Puppies: We want to be included in the Hugos
    Worldcon: Join and abide by our rules or do your own thing, but don’t burn the village down.

    So we end up with two overarching tribes where the one side includes GG and Sadpuppies and the other anti-gg, sjw or (whatever label one prefers) and Worldcon, and everybody wants to have the shiny totem of the other tribe.

    I’ll grant you, it’s a little simplified, but damn…

    It’s pretty crazy 🙂

  10. “Hello?”

    “WorldCon?”

    “Yes?”

    “What time’s the parade this year?”

    “We don’t have a parade.”

    “Well, who’s in the parade this year?”

    etc.

  11. The key thing is that we should all be subtribes of the overall tribe of “Science Fiction Fans”

    If the Hugos are the top award in this large tribe, then ALL the different subtribes (worldcon-type fans, SP-type fans, etc) should have a say in them.

    If the Hugos are really just the award of worldcon-type fans, then they really aren’t the top award for the overall tribe of “all science fiction fans”

    The hugos have been marketed as the award for all fans, but controlled by one sub-tribe. For a long while this worked, while people were occasionally dissapointed with the winners, a large percentage of the winners were liked by the vast majority of the larger tribe.

    As the overall size of the larger tribe has grown, it seems that this one sub-tribe is not doing as good a job of selecting winners that survive the test of time and appeal across other sub-tribes.

    At this point, either the hugos are going to suffer a significant reputation hit as they shift from being the top award of the large tribe to being the award of this small sub-tribe, or the sub-tribe is going to have to find a way to accomodate the interests of the other sub-tribes.

    grow or turn your back on growth.

    As someone said above, “Veterens” are one tribe, but within that tribe there are subtribes (“Army”, “Navy”, “Air Force”) and within those sub-tribes there are smaller ones (“Marines”) and within those, smaller ones (“Marine Aviation”), etc all the way down to the squad level. But the smaller groups unite against issues from “outside” what they have in common.

    The question in the case of the Hugos is which dimention of tribelism is going to win “sci-fi fans vs the outside world” or “SJW vs the less enlightened”. If the hugos are for all sci-fi fans, then they need to be able to deal with writers who are not part of the current worldcon-type subtribe.

  12. Reminds me of a tribute to the Navaho Code Talkers… national level politicians and speeches and transmitted on national television. I don’t remember how long ago it was but it was after my service at least or I wouldn’t probably have noticed what happened during it. Politician after politician got up and talked about how these Navaho men had put so much on the line for a nation that didn’t treat Native Americans well. Not an unimportant point to make but… eventually… the highest ranking enlisted Marine got up to speak. A black man, as it were. Every word he said made clear that the men he spoke of were Marines. Wholly. They were an inspiration because they were Marines. They were part of a proud tradition, role models, people to aspire to, part of the culture, looking down at every Marine who entered service after them saying, “Can you live up to ME? Can you?”

    For the politicians it was still us and them, no matter how much admiration was involved. To the Marine they were the same body.

  13. Reblogged this on The Arts Mechanical and commented:
    Having spent my life being the scapegoat of tribe after tribe, I’m not going to give this one up. The Hugos belong to all fans who pay the tax, not just a select few.

  14. “Every word he said made clear that the men he spoke of were Marines. Wholly…. “Can you live up to ME? Can you?””

    Awesome. Thanks for the story, and semper fi.

  15. Brad, do you ever read any Jack Donovan? He talks about tribalism a lot, and makes no bones about being loyal to his perceived tribe over others. I have seen him labelled a homophobe, which makes no sense because he is, in his words (he hates “gay culture”) an androphile.

  16. Hey Brad,

    I just wanted to say a few things. I’m new to your page and, TBH, I have not read any of your books. I have, however, spent a lot of the last week researching, reading, etc. the many various blogs, websites, and so on that have dealt with the Hugos and the sad puppies. I’ve also read hundreds and hundreds of the comments on those message boards.

    I’ve really spent a lot of time thinking about my own personal issues. At many of the websites, I have seen a lot of angry bile and insults, from the poster or the comment thread. I do want to say that your page is one of a couple that I think has tried really hard to stay away from that, both you personally and most of your commenters who I’m guessing are active participants here. So, I feel pretty safe posting here.

    I really appreciate your point of view. In all honesty, I definitely tend to run pretty liberal on the political spectrum, especially socially. However, I also am someone who tries to stay away from calling foul at the “other side” too much, something I think both “sides” do in all honesty. I believe in fair and open discourse, even with those who vastly disagree. Maybe it stems from the fact that the majority of my family is very opposite of me, politically, religiously, etc. Yet, we are very close and, while we can have civil debates, we don’t hate each other or get mad and angry. I wish more people were able to do this, and I am glad to see that you and others are able to have that civil discourse as well. For the most part, I have been pretty impressed with the way you, Larry, and GRRM have been able to speak to each other. And, as I said, most of the posters on your blog have been civil as well.

    So in terms of where I stand, opinion wise, on this whole issue is… on both sides. Gasp! Is it possible? I really wanted to explore all sides before coming to a kneejerk reaction. While I don’t really feel that the conspiracy is as… vast as some puppies have claimed, I have seen the merits of their argument that the Hugos and Worldcon should be more inclusive. I have no specific claims of how to make the happen because when limited to 5 nominees even the effort to make it more inclusive is going to keep someone else off and then they might cry foul and so on…. so how do you actually do it? That seems a tough question. I would like the Hugos to reflect the novels and books of more traditional, fun sci fi/fantasy, like you want, but I also think there’s room for some of the more “new” writings that might be more liberal, or preachy about tolerance, and so on. Because… guess what… I enjoy both! And I think many people do.

    I think you really hit the nail on the head about tribalism. While I don’t feel tribalism in general about everyone different from me politically, I have felt very strong fear and vile about… that other guy, you know, the one who you won’t (and shouldn’t) unperson. 🙂 I have spent a lot of time on his blog and, to be frank, it terrifies me. It made me feel sick yet I couldn’t stop reading. I began going through his historical archives and a lot of his views on suffrage and marital relationships, in particular, made me feel nauseous. And what is the kneejerk reaction when someone like that makes us so sick… ban them, shun them, etc. And I think that is why GRRM asks you that question. Because He Who Should Not be Named isn’t just the “other side”, but someone who openly espouses, IMO, horrible, horrible views. I know he says that he doesn’t, but I can’t help but define his statements as misogynistic and racist.

    Yet, the more I’ve thought about it, and read your words, I guess if you truly are going to be inclusive, that voice has the right to be heard as well, no matter how much it may scare or bother us. I personally believe that if we were to stop shouting about him as much or shouting at him and just back off and let him come and do what he wants, he actually would, in a way, “lose” some of his power.

    Anyways, thanks for taking the time to read.

  17. And stop pretending you care about “diversity” when the Worldcon tribe reacts with extreme revulsion any time truly different people want to come have a seat at the table.

    Bolded and italicized for Truth.

  18. I have felt very strong fear and vile about… that other guy, you know, the one who you won’t (and shouldn’t) unperson

    Take a step back. Look at the emotions you feel. You say “I know he says that he doesn’t, but I can’t help but define his statements as misogynistic and racist.“; I can certainly understand calling his views vile, but what there makes you fear him? People keep throwing out ‘fear’ and ‘hate’ with regards to VD. Regardless of what you think of his views, what is it that makes you fear him? I know a number of stubborn crotchety opinionated folks of all political persuasion that don’t care that their views are regarded as vile by many, but I don’t truly fear any of them.

    I think it’s especially true with regards to John C. Wright, who came in for a lot of abuse in other recent threads. People keep seeing this ‘fear’ and ‘hate’ from him towards them. Perhaps it’s my Catholicism, but he strikes me as a textbook ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ sort of person. I don’t especially see any group directed anger from him; perhaps a little anger directed towards specific individuals, but that’s expected from any fallible human in a politically charged environment when they’re taking attacks.

  19. For a bunch of folks who continually avow that they were always “the nerdy kids,” “the kids who were always picked last during recess,” “the kids who got beat up for their lunch money two, three times per week, every week,” etcetera, etcetera… the CHORF tribe certainly does know how to get its bully on at Warp Factor Nine, doesn’t it?

    (… while, simultaneously — and without even so much as a scintilla of intentional irony or baseline self-awareness — demanding “safe spaces” and race- or gender-specific territories and duchies duly carved out for them at each and every convention; the better that they might never have to see, hear or otherwise encounter any single notion or individual capable of “micro-aggressing” or “triggering” them!)

    “Fans are SLANS.” Shyeah, right.

  20. Thanks for the reply Civilis.

    When I said fear, I was trying to be more general of all of us on the left “side” but I’ll try to be more clear. I guess I fear the fact that such… Nasty sentiments still exist in this day and age. It’s hard for me to comprehend. It’s not just his views… It’s the very insulting terminology he uses. And again, this is from actually reading years worth of his posts. The comparisons to training a wife like an animal, insulting the physical features of women he deems unattractive, he is a very mean, cruel person and I feel fear that those mindsets and hateful way of speaking still exists. He also seems to feel pride in his hateful words.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve also spent a lot of time reading Wright’s blog. Like I said, I was determined to do my research and not just repeat what others have said. In terms of Wright, I actually agree with you. While I obviously don’t agree with a lot of his views, I didn’t find him to be purposely mean at all. As you said, hate the sin, love the sinner. I have actually seen that Christian mindset in him, Brad, and others. Nothing about VD comes off as Christian. He is mean to people, plain and simple. Nothing to do with just disagreeing, he goes out of his way to call people fat, ugly women look like a tranny, and way too many other numerous comments. It actually emotionally hurt reading many of his blogs. I never felt that way reading Brad, Larry, or Wright, even if I didn’t agree with their view.

  21. T.c., think of Vox Popoli (Vox Day’s blog) as a “safe space” for people who are sick and tired of being bullied for their opinions (or their factual observations) by the “social” “justice” left.

  22. Brad:

    First, consider this. Imagine some straight-out-of-OCS 2nd LT marches into your shop, still wearing his OCS high-and-tight, and says, “you idiots, we’re changing this, that and the other thing.” Is your reaction “thank you, young sir, for enlightening me,” or something less printable? I think, based on your police example, you are finally grasping that point.

    Second, regarding the “make room in your hearts for other tribes.” I like Marko Kloos (see here) as does IO9, and I like Chuck Gannon. Actually, so do the Nebula voters – he’s on their short-list. Ditto Linda Nagata, another milSF self-published writer.

    You seem to think you’re in another tribe. I’m not seeing that. I’m seeing that there’s a tribe in Worldcon that likes some of the same stuff you do. Maybe it didn’t win the past couple of years (there can be only one, as Highlander says) but it’s still part of the tribe.

  23. And they should have every right to have a forum to speak that way. I’m not advocating it for it not being allowed. Free speech is free speech. Im just trying to point out why I have such a problem with VD and many commenters on his site. Much of what he and they say is very, very hateful and I found it shocking. To a degree I did not see with other puppies. But, it’s their right and I have the ability to not visit his site, so I have no real, actual complaint. I was just speaking of my perceptions. Personally, I can’t understand why anyone would say the things he does or why anyone would want to associate with him, but that is their right and freedom of choice. FWIW, I have problems with people who are just as extreme on the other side of the spectrum. I too get very annoyed when extreme leftists lump all religious people and conservatives as homophobic racists, because it isn’t true. And while I don’t full agree with the puppy complaint, I was disgusted at the horrible journalism that was popping up everywhere against them.

    One question, Brad, or whoever, as I said, I’ve come around to the idea that the Hugos need to be more welcoming and inclusive to your “side” but I want to make sure that you don’t advocate doing the opposite and eliminating all “message fiction”. Thanks for taking the time to consider.

    And everyone – thanks for the respectful dialogue.

  24. One thing not covered in your well reasoned post is the fact that the Sad Puppies and to a lesser extent, Gamergate have another tribe in common. There is a strong veteran influence running through both tribes. With GG it is probably less actual veterans but still heavily influenced by the Veteran tribe. Not that vets dominate either tribe but that even the non vets feel something akin to being allied tribes. The Worldcon Tribe has a preponderance of those who spit upon the ground veterans walk on. This does heavily affect emotions from both sides

  25. “Diversity” last year at both the Hugos and Nebulas was one species in the lake that had eaten all the others. It made their comments they were fighting the good fight and still had to hold the line and had a long way to go all the more hysterical. What’s further than 100%?

  26. @Grey Area (@NoGravitasHere)
    My understanding of the point you are making: given the parallels between the two situations, how can someone support (or oppose) both Sad Puppies(SP) and GamerGate(GG) at the same time and be consistent in their principles? If so, it is a point well made. I would also add to the list Meredith Patterson’s defense of Hacker Culture (HC) (http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6642).

    The challenge for those who would support or oppose SP, GG, and HC (I find that people who support HC also support the other two movements) is then to come up with a non-arbitrary rationale that links all movements. But the challenge is even greater than that, because, as Arnold Kling puts it (http://www.amazon.com/Three-Languages-Politics-Arnold-Kling-ebook/dp/B00CCGF81Q) the very language we use to justify our actions is often insular (I prefer “insular” to “tribal” because I feel it is a less baggage laden word). That is, our justifications often sound a lot better in our heads or to our peers than they do to our opponents, and we interpret their lack of understanding as stupidity or malevolence. The truth is, there is no universal language, no “Language of the Birds” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_of_the_birds). We simply need to get good at translating.

    So how do I – as someone currently who supports the insular GG and HC, yet also supports the “cosmopolitan” (if you will) SP – defend my position? I would say, after reviewing the arguments on both sides of the SP debate, that the main beef is that the WorldCon folks were dishonest about their insularity, and more importantly about the insularity of how the Hugos were awarded. Gamers and Hackers, on the other hand, have been more honest about what their values are and why those values define their tribe.

    There are, of course, other objections. One being that there have been winners is recent years which have either put political messages ahead of story telling (i.e. propaganda), or which are arguably not even stories at all. If the Hugos are really about the best speculative fiction stories, then it seems that propaganda pieces which lack a good story (or which lack a story altogether) should be excluded. Since the last Hugo nominee I read was _The Algebraist_ by Banks, which garnered its nomination in 2005, I don’t feel qualified to comment. (Although I will say I thought it was a fantastic book, but I don’t think admitting that undermines the SP position one bit).

    The last objection is one of basic civility. That is, those who oppose SP, GG, and HC a) are much more inclined to use libel, doxing, kafkatraps, bulverism, mob tatics, etc.; and b) are much more likely to be successful in unjustly destroying the reputation of their opponents. Certainly there are reasonable people on the Left (George R.R. Martin, Martin Fowler, Scott Alexander, etc.) but while they are not responsible for the actions of “SJWs”, they are also not in control of them, and thus the victims of SJW attacks need to be prepared to defend themselves.

    Of course, we have our own barbarians. The point is that our barbarian isn’t as likely to actually ruin someone’s career. It doesn’t matter how reasonable my liberal friends are (and they are, even if they are “extreme” in their views) if I am in genuine danger of having a Twitter mob ruin any chance of me ever getting a job in my field again. (To put it in another context, while the CEO Mozilla may be fired for opposing gay-rights, the CEOs of Apple and Salesforce will never be fired for opposing religious freedom. My point is not who is right, but who has the real power).

    Now, of course, WoldCon folks have come out about their insularity. The question is, what is the fate of the Hugos? Will WorldCon culture adjust its stewardship (though not necessarily the rules) of the Hugos to try and maintain the reputation of representing the best of all of Speculative Fiction? Or are we on the verge a fundamental break in the genre? If so, what will be the dividing line? Will it be politics? Or will it be “literary” (and elitist) versus “genre” (and populist) speculative fiction (http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6085)?

  27. I guess I fear the fact that such… Nasty sentiments still exist in this day and age. It’s hard for me to comprehend.

    One of the issues with trying to communicate is that different people use different emotions in different ways, and our ways make sense for us. For me, I take ‘fear’ to mean that emotionally, whatever it is represents a notable threat, and I understand the desire to want to not have to fear someone that poses a threat. I generally don’t feel fear of most blowhards on the internet, though I understand there may be certain history where it may be applicable in this case. There’s a difference between vile words and threats, and I think if we were to go around policing ‘vile words’ or ‘insulting terminology’ or ‘meanness’ we’d be at it all day and end up policing each other.

    Due to my history, I try really hard to be diplomatic, but I know a few stubborn opinionated folks that have gotten to the point where they don’t care about other people’s opinions or trying to be diplomatic, they say what they think. and I can at some level understand that even as I cringe.

  28. This is a really good post, Brad.

    Sadly, the opposition will glance at the byline and dismiss it as “hate speech”.

    Their loss.

  29. This article takes me back almost 60 years to what was my first experience with Tribalism, I have read that we get our basic cultural matrix before the age of 5. I remember getting some of mine as a toddler crawling around the feet of my Father and his friends all Career Navy and this would have been less than 10 years after the end of WW2. My basic concept of the Structure of the Universe went something like— Navy/Marines, Army, Air Force. Snakes, Rats, Spiders, Creepy Crawly Things, Things That Went Bump In The Night and WAY at the Bottom was something that I was not very sure about but I KNEW it was REALLY BAD and that was something called
    CIVILIANS

  30. Sometimes I just think I’m banging my head against a wall. There is no “challenge” to finding a “non-arbitrary rationale that links all (3) movements.”

    Not unless it’s a challenge to find the pyramids when you’re standing in front of them.

  31. Hello, it’s me. Markku, the other moderator at Vox Popoli. Why are we there? Very simple. When I originally came there, it felt like the home I didn’t know I had. The one place where you could be just ROWDY. No passive-aggression necessary, you could be just plain aggressive. You could say exactly what you thought. And the others would get back to you with same gusto. But you would never be CENSORED just for being aggressive. It was a band of roughnecks.

    Now, I completely understand that it is not for every temperament. Perhaps not even most temperaments. But it is for mine. It was obvious almost immediately. So, I made it my virtual home.

    If you feel at all queasy about such a place, do not come. You’ll only end up with hurt feelings.

  32. As identity politics has become predominant, I have found myself feeling more and more universally “out-tribe”, as I can’t bring myself to identify with any group in particular. This rootless existence is an uncomfortable one in our world. It’s gotten to the point that I feel I don’t really belong amongst friends and family.

    John Donne said no man is an island, but that’s where where heading. We slice the tribal gradations so finely that one day each one of us will be a tribe of one, separated from the rest by a sea of sociopolitical markers.

  33. Just remember, Shaun Duke and Arthur Chu point out that just because you’re a gay couple doesn’t mean you’re not homophobic.

  34. James,

    If you are not ideologically pure in compliance with party policy you are badthink.

  35. Marrku,

    You are absolutely correct. As I said, VD has every right to have that forum for anyone, I fully acknowledge no one has forced me to read. I went there initially to see his words for myself, not to just read what others said he said. I doubt I will read posts there much longer now that I feel I did my due diligence in research.

  36. “Due to my history, I try really hard to be diplomatic, but I know a few stubborn opinionated folks that have gotten to the point where they don’t care about other people’s opinions or trying to be diplomatic, they say what they think. and I can at some level understand that even as I cringe.”

    Civilis… due to my ethnicity (gasp) I grew up conditioned (because what this is is culture) to reflexively and compulsively be polite and to be what tends to be called a “peace maker”. As I get older I realize that this causes problems because I never ever just blurt out “WTF?” when someone is insulting or mean or inappropriate. I endure, smile, let it pass, hold my tongue, sit on my hands, grin and bear it and I don’t make waves. The “diplomacy” and need to see another point of view is in my bones.

    But here’s the thing about diplomacy. If it’s perceived as one sided, ie., I don’t bring my politics to the con with me because I think that the big three (politics, religion and… money? I forget) are impolite subjects when in mixed company and I’m all busy being diplomatic and polite and have left my politics at home and my religion on the down low and left my money at the registration desk… and what I get as thanks for this is rants by panelists about the evils of religious faith and George Bush… well, dangit. What happened to those Rules for Polite Behavior and why am I the only one that’s supposed to follow them?

    Political rants and anti-religion rants on panels (and look, if someone gets up there and starts in on Barack Obama or Islam or atheists I’ll denounce them, too) subject the *audience* to an extremely uncomfortable social place where one has to decide to sit there and *take* it, and lend credence to the idea of the panelists that everyone does agree with them, or create a public scene.

    I *think* I’m to the point now where I’d find the courage to stand up and leave. I haven’t reached the point of being an *ss in public, standing up in the audience, and calling panelists out on their inappropriate behavior. I’m not their MOTHER for pities sake.

  37. Good news. Kowal says Brad’s “probably no more racist than I am. I say that knowing that I have fucking racism woven into the fibre of my being because I live in America and it is part of the fabric of our society.”

    Brad, you’re a racist.

    One time Kowal wrote “here are some ways in which I have discovered that I am racist. It shames me… I had food delivered and the Latino delivery guy spoke perfect English. I was stunned.”

    Hahaha. Man, that just fucking absolutely slays me.

    Why in the world does anyone talk to that completely daffy woman? How in the fuck does she know what 320 million people are doing, especially given the median birthdate is around 1975? Are they all fainting at pizza delivery guys?

  38. What you describe as Tribalism I referred to as discrimination. Discrimination isn’t necessarily a bad thing, we do it every day. We walk down one side of the street because we don’t feel safe on the other, we go to Caribou because we find the clientele more to our liking than at Starbucks, etc. Tribalism probably works better because it doesn’t have the emotional baggage.

  39. Worldcon wanting a more diverse and larger membership while getting Sad Puppies and Vox reminds me of something Tad Williams wrote in one of the Memory,Sorrow and Thorn books about hunting for magic; It was something to the effect of the smart hunter/sorcerer does research and then goes out to find what he wants, whereas others simply open the door and let whatever in. And if it’s not an agreeable sort of thing, closing the door does no good once it’s inside with you.

  40. Correction to boballab’s correction of Stg58/Animal Mother: Though it’s true that “The Marines have been and still still are part of the Department of the Navy and answer to the Secretary of the Navy”, that’s the civilian leadership. The Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Army all have equal representation on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, so from the military perspective, they’re all peers.

    Which, of course, doesn’t change the fact that the Marines are peerless. Semper fi.

  41. I hope next year, when your little group here is outvoted, and ZERO of the self-published, hackneyed works you want to nominate make the ballot — I hope next year, you’ll have this same dedication to “democracy.”

    The only reason your nominees made the ballot this year is because the entire SF/F community didn’t nominate. They were asleep. The WHOLE community was asleep, not just Worldcon folks. Indeed, the only people awake were you and Vox’s little group of eleves. A few people who visit the blogs of three largely unknown authors. You don’t represent anyone here except that small little group.

    Next year, you’ll see what the WHOLE SF/F community wants. And I think you’ll see that you and your elves are on the outside. You’ll see that most SF/F fans — in and out of Worldcon — don’t enjoy the hackneyed works you nominate (Jim Butcher being the one and sole exception… even a broken clock is right twice a day). You will understand that it is your tastes which are far off the mainstream, you who are out of touch. You won’t be such a fan of democracy next year. You won’t be accusing other people of not being able to handle inclusiveness. I guarantee it.

    In fact, we won’t even have to wait. We’ll see how many of your noms win anything this year. Worldcon has more members this year than every before. More SF/F fans are joining than ever, including many, many who’ve never had a membership before. “Democracy” will be in action. We’ll see if anyone’s tastes allign with yours. Spoiler: they won’t. Because what you guys nominated was 90% trash.

  42. “One time Kowal wrote “here are some ways in which I have discovered that I am racist. It shames me… I had food delivered and the Latino delivery guy spoke perfect English. I was stunned.””

    Not picking on Kowal here, I’ll take her word for it but… the fact is, that this is a *class* signifier, not a *race* signifier. I mean… who hasn’t actually worked in *labor* with people who don’t speak English? I’ve worked in the real world with real people and it’s stupid to view any of them as representative of people who look like them. I’m not slightly surprised when anyone of any ethnicity has perfect English. Nor am I surprised if they don’t. This is freaking AMERICA. I’m sure that this can be twisted so that somehow my NOT being surprised when the Latino delivery guy has perfect English makes me a racist too. (After all, the point is to make people be wrong, not to solve anything.) This is a *class* issue. No working class person is *surprised* when the Hispanic lady isn’t the domestic help. Dear freaking DOG is that dumb.

    It’s also got *nothing* to do with being *white*. It has to do with what class one grew up in and what social expectations one grew up with. Class. Not race.

  43. Hey Parker, if the Sad Puppies continue to successfully nominate a diverse slate of stories and get them on the ballot, will you be just as happy about democracy in action? Or will you pout because SFF fandom is broader than and different from what you thought?

  44. Chris Gerrib:
    “Imagine some straight-out-of-OCS 2nd LT marches into your shop, still wearing his OCS high-and-tight, and says, ‘you idiots, we’re changing this, that and the other thing.'”
    You have made a fundamental error here–you are trying to equate one group (non-Puppies, or NP) with the seasoned, experienced NCOs who know what they are doing, and the other group (Sad Puppies, or SP) with the wet-behind-the-ears shiny ringed West Point Grad.
    It’s the TruFan or nonTruFan argument all over again. The current NPs are not the experts to whom all others should defer, nor are they the arbiters for Hugo quality. The SPs’ argument is that the self-proclaimed experts are no such thing, and the Hugos are not exclusively theirs (unless they decide to change the award or the rules to make it so.)

  45. Aw… Parker is being adorable.

    Clue Parker… if next years Hugo nominations explode by a factor of 10 the people you are saying “neener neener” to will be happy. Happy because there will be that many more eyes sorting through the hundreds of novels published and talking about which ones were particularly good, which were ground breaking, and which were fun. Popular authors with huge fan bases won’t be passed over for more literary but barely read novels. If a literary novel wins it will be more likely to truly represent something amazing. There will be a far smaller chance of the post nomination regrets because something great slipped your mind when you voted, when someone says, once it’s too late, but what about *that* novel? Whoever Digs Time Lords may never win again. (Doesn’t matter that they did win, but more than once?)

    But go ahead with your self-congratulations as you attack the straw pile that you yourself constructed. Because it’s always sort of touching to see someone so proud of herself.

  46. Gee whiz, Parker Snout, one might think you are upset about something.
    I am curious to know by what metric you think that “the entire SF/F community” is on your side.
    Here are a few possibilities:
    (1) Is it because “your” books sell so well these past 10 years, and “that kind” of SF/F is rocketing up the charts by all those people in the “entire SF/F community” who buy “your” books?
    (2) Do you just “feel” that way because of groupthink? All the ‘right’ people think your way?
    (3) Is it the discussion of “your tribe,” in their cloisters, wherein they think that they are the world, and indeed they are the majority in their tribal fortresses?
    Or perhaps you have some other method of knowing who is on the inevitable, progressive side as we march into the future?

  47. @CeliaHayes – That’s a scene right out of Pat Frank’s ALAS, BABYLON. Have you read it?

  48. I have fucking racism woven into the fibre of my being

    No one’s doubting your word, Mary.

  49. @lliamander:

    There are, of course, other objections. One being that there have been winners is recent years which have either put political messages ahead of story telling (i.e. propaganda), or which are arguably not even stories at all. If the Hugos are really about the best speculative fiction stories, then it seems that propaganda pieces which lack a good story (or which lack a story altogether) should be excluded.

    The last objection is one of basic civility. That is, those who oppose SP, GG, and HC a) are much more inclined to use libel, doxing, kafkatraps, bulverism, mob tatics, etc.; and b) are much more likely to be successful in unjustly destroying the reputation of their opponents.

    Very, very, well said!

  50. One time Kowal wrote “here are some ways in which I have discovered that I am racist. It shames me… I had food delivered and the Latino delivery guy spoke perfect English. I was stunned.”

    It’s an unquestioned (and unquestionable) catechism, within the intellectually narrowed ranks of the CHORFic cloister:

    1.) “I, a SJW dogged and true, am nonetheless a thoroughgoing racist.”

    2.) “Therefore, all other people must also be thoroughgoing racists.”

    The fact that #1 in no way, shape or form supports #2, on any level, never gives them even so much as a momentary pause, as they galumph onward, ever onward in their studiedly solipsistic way.

  51. just for the record – you know the reason it’s called “worldcon” is because the first one was held on the site of the world’s fair in new york, yes?

  52. “In fact, we won’t even have to wait. We’ll see how many of your noms win anything this year. Worldcon has more members this year than every before. More SF/F fans are joining than ever, including many, many who’ve never had a membership before. “Democracy” will be in action. We’ll see if anyone’s tastes allign with yours. Spoiler: they won’t. Because what you guys nominated was 90% trash.”

    I’ve never had a Worldcon membership until this year. My husband and I bought two supporting memberships after reading the news coverage (mostly inaccurate, it turns out) about Sad Puppies 3.

    Until Sad Puppies 3, I believed the Hugo awards were decided by tens of thousands of rosy-cheeked book-lovers. Now I know that a massive 852 people nominated the finalists for ‘Best Story’ last year, which may explain why the winner (and runner-up) were mediocre literary fiction.

    “Indeed, the only people awake were you and Vox’s little group of eleves. A few people who visit the blogs of three largely unknown authors.”

    Largely unknown? You are kidding me? Larry Correia is a NY Times best-selling author. I’m going to bet (as I bet he’s betting) who would win a popularity contest with Worldcon.

    Actually, it’s even worse than that. I’m posting here because this blog, Larry Correia’s and George R. R. Martin’s blogs are the only blogspaces where I feel safe to post without getting monstered. And I’m a woman.

    Needless to say, I’m not interested in joining the ‘fandom’ when I (eventually, cross fingers) finish my SF novel. To an outsider, it seems a very toxic place.

  53. I can agree with Kowal on this: she’s definitely racist. I disagree with the rest of her statement. But that might just be because I grew up working in construction in the Colorado Springs area. It’s hard to be surprised by much of anything when the people for whom you’re doing the work run the gamut of ethnicities and nationalities and personalities and ages and… Everything, really.

    In that bastion of conservatism. It really says a lot.

  54. “How can you, as a guy in an interracial marriage, put up with some of the racist and sexist stuff (a certain person) writes on his blog?”

    I hadn’t realized that you were supposed to be responsible for what VD does or says, or that you “put up with” anything from him.

    You should have simply told Martin to expeditiously attempt aerial fornication with a rotationally transiting toroidal pastry.

  55. @James,

    Perhaps I should clarify. By non-arbirtrary, I mean criteria that would not be considered arbitrary by opponents of the SP campaign. Gray Area’s comment was that, from a greatly simplified perspective, the people who supported SP and GG were being insular in some cases and not in others. Without reference to any other reason, the differing level of insularity seems arbitrary. From the perspective of SJWs, it would appear that the level of insularity we show is whatever best serves the Kyriarchy (no joke, I personally *know* people like this). For the reasonable liberals and the undecided we should put out the effort (Brad, Larry, and John certainly have) to maintain a clear, consistent message that has a chance of being persuasive.

    Language is a very tribal thing, is it silly to think that arguments which make perfect sense to those who support SP may not make sense to those who oppose it? Is it silly to want to bridge the gap to those on the other side who are reasonable, but don’t share all of our assumptions?

    The main critique that SP has of WorldCon cannot be merely that the people of WorldCon (“Trufans” as it were) were being insular, cliquish or tribal. After all, as our host as pointed out, being insular is not in itself bad, and if you are like me then you support the gamers of GG and the hackers of HC being insular in their own way.

    So, we should emphasize that the problem with WorldCon is not that it was tribal (the world is big enough, after all, for us to all have our own little corner where we can play by ourselves) it is that WorldCon was not honest and forthright about the fact that they are a tribe, and instead presumed to speak for all of fandom when they handed out the Hugos.

    They have also failed to give a defense for their insularity; at least, one as logical and well-written as Meredith Patterson’s. (Please share with me if you find a really good defense of WorldCon).

    That is why people who support SP, GG, and HC are non-insular in the one and insular in the others. Is there a problem with me wanting to explain this?

    “Not unless it’s a challenge to find the pyramids when you’re standing in front of them.”

    Honestly curious, what rationale do you think underlies SP, GG, and HC? Could you articulate it in a way that would be persuasive to someone who was on the fence about SP?

  56. More people voting is a good thing. Some puppy noms will get put down, some anti- puppy noms will get put down. . . . And works most of us never knew about will star. Guess what? Puppy Power Advocates will cheer. Those who have sour grapes will be exposed.
    Never mind. Puppies will gladly give you make up hugs.
    Puppies may be sad, but we do have a sense of humour.

  57. Are the Marines their own service? Yes
    Do the Marines belong administratively to the U.S. Navy? Yes
    Are Marines or ex-Marines fun to tweak about the inherent conflict in those two concepts? Absolutely!

    My favorite: The U.S. Marine Corps is my second favorite U.S. Navy Corps. I wouldn’t be able to do my job or survive without the chops in the Supply Corps…

    And great post, Brad

  58. “Brad Torgersen knows far more about interracial marriage than Mary [Robinette Kowal] ever can.”

    Will Shetterly

    … annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd: BOOM.

    😉

  59. Well, Iilamander, ask yourself what single factor needs to be taken away to have GG, SP and HC not exist. It’s possible none would exist taking the voices of just 3 women away. 3 women whose rhetoric is so interchangeable you could put up quotes where you could instantly recognize what they are but not who they are.

  60. Your lengthy posting on Tribalism (in and out of the genre community) Brad is a red herring. You don’t bother to get to grips with what the controversy over Vox Day is all about, namely his anti-black racism, never mind his misogyny. You try slip out of it by saying in so many words, ‘well what some consider racism or prejudice is not always so, often just tribalism and simplistic stereotypes blabla. Depends on context, things are more nuanced and complex in the real world blabla.’
    Straw man Brad, that’s what your whole post is. All of it. There are actual standards for prejudice that have nothing to do with SJW moral relativism, and their own brands of bigotry. If we pretend no standards, then we are left with the kind of cultural and moral relativism that so suffuses the SJW crowd.

    There are standards and whilst some of the lines are certainly blurred, there are lines. There are absolutes when it comes to bigotry of all stripes and persuasions.

    You think white people are superior to black people, or Asians superior to whites or vice versa, then that is plain bigotry. It’s not nuanced or complex or debatable. And Vox Day considers whites superior to blacks on the genetic and intelligence level, and justifies his racism by appealing to racist or prejudicial pseudo-scientific blather of the Nicholas Wade variety. Naturally to Vox Day and those like-minded, such pseudo-science is science. One can write a book on all that is wrong with Wade’s pseudo-scientific posturing, and the stupidity of IQ testing and its meaninglessness and absurdity (see the late S Jay Gould’s ‘The mismeasure of man’ for one). Torgersen mentions none of this. Namely what Vox Day’s racism is all about. You Mr. Torgersen don’t quote any of his remarks on blacks/African-Americans, when that is the beef, that is the heart of the matter. Beale does not hide his belief on the innate inferiority of people with black African genes and ancestry, he is open about it, and appeals to science. Well he has to, what else can he appeal to? The Nazis also appealed to science, when justifying their belief in the innate inferiority of Jews, Roma, and blacks for that matter. Many scientists and doctors especially, supported the Nazis and are complicit in their mass murder.

    I’m not saying Torgersen is bigoted, I’m saying Vox Day is. And you continue to evade it, deflect it, ignore it Brad. That’s the thing. Going on about the bullying, lying and yes bigoted SJW crowd is just a transparent evasion. Fact that you are married to an African-American woman is not your get out of jail free card. Fact is it is neither here nor there. And frankly it can easily be used as a smokescreen. Smoke and mirrors distracting from Vox Day’s undeniable prejudice.

    Nowhere do you Brad, and as far as I can see, nobody in the comments neither, actually bothers to quote Vox Day on the subject of blacks/African-Americans. It’s standard reactionary bilge from Beale. And yes bigoted bilge. Maybe that’s why you don’t bother acknowledging what Beale actually writes here? You haven’t addressed Martin at all (and I don’t share Martin’s politics, and Martin is full of it because he ignores the transparent bigotry of his fellow left-wing progressives. And just in the genre community alone. However that’s not the point) because you haven’t addressed the Beale/Vox Day issue at all.

    Talking about tribalism, and army comradeship and camaraderie, no matter the background of its soldiers, and how all people all over the world stereotype others, does not address the fact that Vox Day believes that white people and Asians (and clearly Hispanics, since Beale is one, at least in part) are superior to black people, and he believes this inferiority of blacks is innate, genetic. Vox doesn’t hide that he believes it neither. He is proud and open about it. This is prejudices plain and simple. This is KKK logic, it is yes gasp the logic of Nazi ‘science’, the logic of social Darwinism. The lines are not blurred here, there is an indisputable line when it comes to prejudice and Beale crosses it as much as any Social Justice Warrior can or does.

  61. the controversy over Vox Day is

    … absolutely irrelevant to any informed, rational discussion of Sad (as opposed to Rabid) Puppies. The increasingly apoplectic attempts of the CHORFs to somehow, somewhichway shoehorn him into their shrill, hysterical attempts to discredit/disqualify SP aren’t simply nonsensical; they are, quite literally, a non-starter. Learn a new thing.

    Nowhere do you Brad, and as far as I can see, nobody in the comments neither, actually bothers to quote Vox Day on the subject of blacks/African-Americans.

    Nor are we obliged to do so. There is already an established site for the discussion and debate of such; take it there, or else learn to do without.

  62. You can bet your life everyone who’s anti-Puppy is going to stick up for the woman who refuses to give out awards if someone she doesn’t like might win.

  63. This is a good post. But there are some more important points to be made, I think.

    Some tribes, you join voluntarily. Some tribes, you’re practically press-ganged into by the members. Some tribes demand a lot of conformity, others are built on nebulous things like a mystical fellowship, or a holy union with mankind or God or something – that can tolerate a lot of diversity on other points.

    Some tribes you are grouped into by virtue of something outside of your control. Yeah, you can offset the assumptions associated with “black” by defying the assumptions in other ways. Just like that family pic of yours is an antidote to certain assumptions about a Mormon from Utah. But that doesn’t change the fact that sometimes these assumptions are deeply unjust, something we should fight against. There really should be limits on what you’re allowed to assume, allowed to act on, when you base it on immutable (e.g race) or very rigid (e.g. religious background) characteristics.

    If a shop owner decided to deny Roma entry to his shop, because “they shoplift like crazy”, I would oppose that (and outright ban it if I could, boycott if I couldn’t). Not because Roma are always pleasant and nice. Not because they’re an oppressed historical class, although they are. I’d be angry because the shop owner is refusing to treat people as individuals, viewing them instead as representatives for their tribe. Even if it was true that Roma were grossly overrepresented in the shoplifting statistics, for the sake of justice towards those Roma who do NOT shoplift, they must be treated as individuals.

    Because I base my opposition to racism on this, I don’t need to deny crime statistics, or other proof of a group’s badness. I don’t need to make excuses for any group’s bad acts either.

    The problem with SJWs is that they have to. For them, it’s not for the sake of minority individuals you oppose racism, or sexism, or homophobia and what not. Oh no, those can even be written off on occasion! It’s the tribe itself, the identity itself that matters, that needs protection.

    Some tribes exist for their members’ sake. Some think the members exist for the tribe’s sake. That’s maybe the most important difference of all.

  64. Lawrence, you have just posted a dissenting opinion, and you haven’t pulled any punches. It will not be deleted and nor will you be banned or hounded out of anything. There have been other persistent examples of this. There is your communal pushback against Day. It is allowed. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

    Try doing that among our feminist asshats – especially if you are persistent – at the sites of Scalzi, Hines, TorCom, and many others and see how long you last. You’ll notice there is none of that; dissent is not allowed. Not only do they not allow it but they are all on the same ideological page when it comes to “white privilege,” “gendered” and “ableist” slurs and “rape culture.” That is guilt by ideological association, not just association, which to me are two different things.

    I don’t feel I should have to explain the other members of a boat I have been thrown into by virtue of being straight, white and male. That is not a club I have created but one I have been made a member of. There will for sure be strange bedfellows in Sad Puppies. It is not an ideological club and you are proof of that. You need only note the difference between your post and the post that will never be in feminist-land.

    As for Vox Day, the standard is the same as for SJWs. Were our crazy feminists fringe outliers, nobody would care. There would be no feminist lake representing hate speech at both last year’s Nebulas and Hugos. There is little point in quoting outliers as if they are an institution. Put 70 Day’s into the SFWA including the past two presidents and let him be multiplied across the entire institutional spectrum of core SFF and then there will be something to write about. No one writes about K. Tempest Bradford or N. K. Jemisin in isolation but because their views are the default orthodoxy of the entire core SFF community. Turn them into two people who’s views are isolated and can be pushed back against – as you are doing now with Day – and who cares? Let two people cry about not rewarding white authors and you’ll see nothing. Let the entire shit of an SJW community call for minimizing the footprint of white male authors and what you get is last year’s awards, together with te deums on Twitter about No Mas Hombres Blancos from Kowal and Patel, by an amazing coincidence the same two people who relentlessly work to minimize the footprint of white male authors.

    This difference between institution and outlier is the crucial distinction our gender feminist ideology refuses to acknowledge. They turn no Jim Crow into the New Jim Crow, multiply Day into an army and turn mistaken racial identities into “institutional racism.”

    I don’t see this as a pedantic argument, apologist, or an escape clause but the difference between having the institutional power to collude, discriminate and cast out and not. Without acknowledging this difference, we would be tracking down every last racist by organizing hysterically over-manned barriers against two people, which is exactly what SJWs do. There’s the goofy neighbor down the block and then there’s Jim Crow. Treating one like the other is insane. You will never eradicate racism but you must eradicate institutional racism. I do not need to call out the goofy neighbor down the block unless I ideologically align myself with him, especially if I’ve been thrown into that block just because I resemble the guy. Then it’s just a block, not a bloc.

    I share America with many people. Must I denounce all the bad one’s I have nothing to do with before I can go to Europe? You’ll notice Atlas Shrugs was banned from entering the U.K., not Americans. Had I shared their ideology I would’ve been banned as well.

    Should all of Sad Puppies then be banned? Despite the SJW yowling, what exactly is our shared political platform? What is our shared ideology? Where are our shared demonization theories about a race or sex we are all on the same page with together with a shared faux academic language? Near as I can tell, our shared ideology is white privilege, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia and woman-hatred without a shred of proof. Or in other words the same ideology as the entirety of SFF 1912 to 1970, which is to say, none.

  65. @Lawerence

    VD isn’t here. You know where to find him.

    As to your assertion that anyone is tainted with racial bigotry by refusing to denounce VD:

    You said: There are standards and whilst some of the lines are certainly blurred, there are lines. There are absolutes when it comes to bigotry of all stripes and persuasions.

    In the name of kindness and charity, I beg you to reconsider setting up this sort of absolution in your mind. Bigotry of one stripe is too persuasive throughout humanity for a person to cut out all bigots, and attempts to do so end up with integrity being compromised sooner rather than later.

    You think white people are superior to black people, or Asians superior to whites or vice versa, then that is plain bigotry. It’s not nuanced or complex or debatable. And Vox Day considers whites superior to blacks on the genetic and intelligence level, and justifies his racism by appealing to racist or prejudicial pseudo-scientific blather of the Nicholas Wade variety.

    This is the unfortunate result of people assuming that a greater helping of intelligence, or physical strength, or height, or melanin, or singing voice, or the writer’s gift, or any other sort of trait confirms a greater helping of human virtue on the person possessing those traits. This makes people concerned that if a group of people were shown to be shorter, or have myopia, or are tone deaf, or less intelligent, that others will assume that those people are then less human, and thus not due all the respect and human rights that tall, farsighted brilliant people who sing wonderfully enjoy.

    It is true that some people think that way, but this is a bad way to think. For starters, it ignores both scientific data and the general principles of evolutionary change.

    Because just as things such as height, weight, musical ability, social grace, mental illnesses, lactose tolerance, skin color and tendency towards genetic diseases vary considerably across individuals – and less so across groups of related people – so does intelligence.

    My advice for you would to quit getting hung up over the body of evidence that some racial groups are more intelligent than others, and start 1) acknowledging the humanity of all people and 2) appreciating your fellow humans for their specific gifts and virtues.

    In fact, that might be a way in with VD – tell him he’s not granting the basic respect due to every person to some people. Then you can get into a debate about what the basic respect all people are due consists of, and you might actually get somewhere with him.

  66. I commend you for not giving 39 lashes to appease the mob and not giving up Vox Day.

    I do think you show Martin too much respect, as he has shown his calls for “reasonable debate” to be a sham and a lie, but your response has given no ground without getting overly emotional, and that is impressive.

  67. I’m staying out of the Hugo issue, but I found your comments on tribalism interesting – some while back there was an article in one of the UK papers by a young black British journalist who went to the Southern states of the US to trace some family members. Because he is a Christian, he went to the nearest church on Sunday – can’t remember where it was, but it was a small southern town. He arrived late and the church was full: he met a sea of hostile white faces. No-one said anything, the service progressed, but at the end the pastor came up and, politely but tensely, asked him why he’d come. And he said, well, I’m from London and looking into my family history.

    At this point everyone burst into huge relieved smiles and said “OH, you’re ENGLISH!” and he was invited to dinners, suppers, BBQs, you name it. AFAIK he accepted, but it freaked him out.

    And a friend who used to waitress in S Africa was told to serve whites, and black or Indian people with British American accents, first. It weirded her out, too, because it wasn’t solely about colour and I think this lends some brief anecdotal support to your tribalism argument.

  68. But here’s the thing about diplomacy. If it’s perceived as one sided, ie., I don’t bring my politics to the con with me because I think that the big three (politics, religion and… money? I forget) are impolite subjects when in mixed company and I’m all busy being diplomatic and polite and have left my politics at home and my religion on the down low and left my money at the registration desk… and what I get as thanks for this is rants by panelists about the evils of religious faith and George Bush… well, dangit. What happened to those Rules for Polite Behavior and why am I the only one that’s supposed to follow them?

    Exactly. Inside, I hate sitting there and listening to people go off rants against the rules of decorum and feeling unable to respond because of the rules, rules which are never enforced. Increasingly, I’ve started speaking up. When I like the audience, it’s been ‘this isn’t the place for politics’. When I don’t care about the audience, it’s a no-holds-barred counterattack.

    One of the reasons I like the crotchety stubborn friends I have is that they give me someone to vent to, someone I feel I can let my emotions out in front of without feeling like I’m breaking the rules.

  69. It’s too bad Connie Willis won’t agree to be a presenter this year. I like her. I think it is a bit unfair that she repeatedly puts Brad and Vox Day in the same boat in her blog comments, but at this point I suppose Brad primarily has himself to blame for the misperception among so many people.

  70. It’s too bad Connie Willis won’t agree to be a presenter this year. I like her. I think it is a bit unfair that she repeatedly puts Brad and Vox Day in the same boat in her blog comments, but at this point I suppose Brad primarily has himself to blame for the misperception among so many people.

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. Brad’s to blame? Not the people spreading the misconception? Not the people writing the obviously unresearched stories?

    I’m going to ask here: “What happened to those Rules for Polite Behavior and why [are we] the only [ones that are] supposed to follow them?” When is it fair to blame someone for misperceptions about their views?

    Come up with a rule that’s as objective as possible. The do a sanity check on it: if the rule can be applied as written by someone on the other side in cases where you think it obviously shouldn’t apply, it’s not as objective as possible.

  71. At this point everyone burst into huge relieved smiles and said “OH, you’re ENGLISH!” and he was invited to dinners, suppers, BBQs, you name it. AFAIK he accepted, but it freaked him out.

    There’s a tendency to see the prejudice we expect to see (and may be looking for), especially when all we have is an anecdote.

    The local priest repeatedly told a story at mass about a minister that attended his own church disguised as a hobo and was avoided by members of the congregation because he looked poor. Then, at the end of the service, he revealed himself to teach the congregation a lesson about not ignoring the poor in your midst. It’s a fine moral lesson, but the scientific part of my brain is going “wait a second! That’s confirmation bias!” If he had attended the service in a clown costume, he would probably gotten the same response. I would hypothesize that anyone that looked significantly different than the norm for a church would end up avoided out of natural cautiousness. I would guess he could have showed up in a stereotypical Uncle Pennybags Billionaire outfit and would have been avoided just because he stood out as weird. But the minister isn’t conducting a scientific experiment, he’s trying to teach a lesson, so he finds the prejudice he’s looking for, and the priest repeating the story is doing the exact same thing.

  72. “hackneyed works you nominate”

    Guardians of the Galaxy and Interstellar were hackneyed? Really?

  73. The local priest repeatedly told a story at mass about a minister that attended his own church disguised as a hobo and was avoided by members of the congregation because he looked poor. Then, at the end of the service, he revealed himself to teach the congregation a lesson about not ignoring the poor in your midst. It’s a fine moral lesson, but the scientific part of my brain is going “wait a second! That’s confirmation bias!”

    I kinda disagree on the “fine moral lesson” part – in that yes, it showed up the hypocrisy of the congregation, which, okay, we all could use a little of that. (Sometimes a lot.)

    But in the practical sense – anyone who has dealt with people who are long term homeless knows that the percentage of people with mental illness is quite high. Most in that group are not “dangerous” – they engage in unpredictable loud abrasive behavior and speech, but if approached the right way by people they know will respond to calm conversation. But it can be very distressing if one isn’t familiar with that particular person’s outbursts and range of expression, and there are some who are actually dangerous.

    Dressing up like a strange hobo and getting bent out of shape because the little old church ladies were cautious around you is a bit of an ass move.

  74. “Kent18 says:
    April 14, 2015 at 11:13 pm
    Parker Snout says:

    [::foot stamp::]:

    [::foot stamp::]

    [::foot stamp::]”

    First laugh of the day. 🙂

  75. Dressing up like a strange hobo and getting bent out of shape because the little old church ladies were cautious around you is a bit of an ass move.

    Again, my natural desire to be charitable rears its ugly head. Because this is partially a story about a story, I have no idea when the original lesson was planned; today, when I look at someone that looks like a classic hobo I am more likely to think ‘clown’ than ‘poor’. The priest telling the story was, while within the bounds of Catholic theology, more liberal than I was, but if I pick and choose my fights, a church (or synagogue, or mosque, or temple) is one of the last places I’d pick a fight. Being nice to poor people is a virtue, even if in some cases that niceness may more properly extend to ‘get them professional help’ than ‘give them charity’.

    My point still stands. People looking for racism because they are convinced it is everywhere are going to find ‘racism’ when what they are looking at is classism, or tribalism, or just plain ‘asshole’. People looking for hatred are going to find ‘hatred’ when it’s bigotry or, again, just plain ‘asshole’. The reason I responded to T.C.’s comment was because ‘fear’ and ‘hatred’ are, for many people, justifiers for otherwise bad behaviors. If you truly fear someone because you feel they are a threat, it’s a lot easier to justify a negative active response than if they are merely an stubborn old bigot. If you feel someone hates you, for many it’s justifiable to return the hatred.

  76. Choosing to bring another tribe into yours and accept them as family is one thing, expecting them to reciprocate is quite another. Often we choose tribes because living with the other is truly incompatible. I’ve spent time on forums where there are SJWs mixed in with everything else, and they just bring everything down to the lowest common denominator. I think Sad Puppies is useful for exposing them for what they are, but I don’t foresee any compatible future where we mutually respect each other and each receive equitable amounts of awards.

  77. “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Brad’s to blame?”

    Of course. He shouldn’t have been in that part of town dressed like that.

    Hypocrisy, thy name is SJW.

  78. And, inevitably, Arthur Chu:

    “Arthur Chu ‏@arthur_affect · 11h11 hours ago
    In which Brad Torgersen compares people’s dislike of #SadPuppies to racist cops’ reaction to black teens in hoodies”

  79. The priest telling the story was, while within the bounds of Catholic theology, more liberal than I was, but if I pick and choose my fights, a church (or synagogue, or mosque, or temple) is one of the last places I’d pick a fight. Being nice to poor people is a virtue, even if in some cases that niceness may more properly extend to ‘get them professional help’ than ‘give them charity’.

    Agreed – my actual experience with homeless intervention is rooted in a Catholic Worker Program – or, as I said, out of earshot of my fellow volunteers – “the pinko-huggy group.” We did a lot of outreach into the impoverished groups, and it was. not. easy. Nor particularly “safe.” I have a lot of respect for the volunteers who are in that field.

    We had some fights, but mostly over people outside the group making knee-jerk anti-Republican or other proto-hippy remarks. Eventually, I learned to breathe once (or twenty times) before taking offense, and my fellow volunteers respected my work ethic enough to shut down new comers who were trying to be asses.

    ‘fear’ and ‘hatred’ are, for many people, justifiers for otherwise bad behaviors. If you truly fear someone because you feel they are a threat, it’s a lot easier to justify a negative active response than if they are merely an stubborn old bigot. If you feel someone hates you, for many it’s justifiable to return the hatred.

    Yes. This. And we can’t be reasoned out of fear, and hate is something very difficult to let go of – particularly when I’ve convinced yourself that I’m just returning the favor.

    Passing laws doesn’t stop people from hating or fearing, either – the best we can hope for is a better stick to beat people with when they act on their emotion, or (and generally, our credit, this seems to be the American choice) to make them go away and hate or fear elsewhere.

    If what we want to do is actually change peoples minds about what (or who) is hate worthy or actually fearful…well, that’s a bigger hill. Much bigger.

    But hey. We put a man on the moon. I am optimistic.

  80. One of the problems of getting involved in a writers’ fight (or even viewing said fight) is that you wind up doing an awful lot of READING. I don’t think I’ve done this much reading since college (and maybe not even then, which might explain my grades.)

    You nailed it with this post, Brad. This is the crux of the whole “ism” and “ist” problem. Can we get you to run for President? Naw, you’re probably too smart to do that. Well done, sir!

  81. @Tom –

    This is what happens when a fight breaks out between two groups of people, both of whom buy pixels by the kiloton.

  82. I think Sad Puppies is useful for exposing them for what they are, but I don’t foresee any compatible future where we mutually respect each other and each receive equitable amounts of awards.

    To reach into the Big Bag O’ Analogies, take the Hugo awards to be the Olympics during the Cold War. Both the West and the Soviet Bloc want awards during the games. It may happen that one does better this Olympiad; all that means is the other side steps up its game for the next. Who benefits? The sports fans, who see better and better athletes. Games where one side stays home (or is prevented from attending) are boring for the fans and not something the winners can truly brag about, after all they won without any real opposition.

  83. “Arthur Chu”

    He’s a rich Asian kid who went to Swarthmore.

    It’s a real Boyz n the Hood story. Ice Cube will play him in the biopic.

  84. “Larry and both feel like we tried to parlay, and discovered parlay wasn’t possible.”

    That’s what Rabid Puppies have been saying. Even Parker Snout (above, of the in-tribe) seems to agree.

  85. Arthur Chu: King of Internet Hysteria and Intellectual Dishonesty. Master of Third Helpings.

  86. Pingback: The -ism to end all -isms

  87. “I guess if you truly are going to be inclusive, that voice has the right to be heard as well, no matter how much it may scare or bother us.”

    Yes!

  88. That’s it Brad…I’m buying another of your books as a way of rewarding you for this insightful & meaningful post.

  89. Here’s a definition of “safe-space” from the laugh riot called “Geek Feminism Wiki:”

    “Safe space is a term for an area or forum where either a marginalized group are not supposed to face standard mainstream stereotypes and marginalization, or in which a shared political or social viewpoint is required to participate in the space. For example, a feminist safe space would not allow free expression of anti-feminist viewpoints, and would typically also prevent concern trolling and continual Feminism 101 discussions in favour of feminist discussion among feminists. Safe spaces may require trigger warnings and restrict content that might hurt people who have strong reactions to depictions of abuse or harm or mental illness triggers.”

    I declare WorldCon and the SFWA to be safe-spaces.

    How long would it take to change WorldCon rules so that clapping is replaced with “feminist jazz hands”?

    Let’s get a petition going for that one.

    “I was supposed to be safe at the Hugos.” – Seanan McGuire

    Nope, they’re dangerous, with clapping and the whole nine yards.

  90. “I was supposed to be safe at the Hugos.” – Seanan McGuire

    No, poppet. The only way to ensure perfect safety is to crawl beneath the covers, in a completely darkened room… take shallow breaths… and think only of Paddington Bear.

  91. mar·gin·al·ize
    ˈmärjənəˌlīz/
    verb
    treat (a person, group, or concept) as insignificant or peripheral.

    Safe space is a term for an area or forum where either a marginalized group are not supposed to face standard mainstream stereotypes and marginalization

    What would the reaction be if we asked for a non-SJW safe space at the next convention?

  92. In the post-Civil War era the KKK declared themselves “marginalized” and then organized “safe-spaces.”

  93. As much as I don’t want to blow my own horn here (being a unicorn, that’s actually kind of difficult), I think I might well be the LEAST tribal person with a WorldCon registration at this point.

    Nor is that a claim I make lightly.

    What, for example, is my ethnicity? I was adopted by a middle-class Scots-Irish family with no particular grounding in their own ethnic roots (not that I got much opportunity to experience any of that, the reasons for which I’ll get to in a bit). My biological parents are, thanks to the State of California, known only to me as John and Mary Doe.

    What is the core of my upbringing? My adoptive parents divorced when I was six, and thanks to California law, my adoptive father had no rights beyond visitation. But my adoptive mother, with no substantial income of her own, could not raise all four of the children whose sole custody she was granted. Did the State grant custody of any of us to the father?

    Of course not. I, the adoptee, was sent to the group home system.

    From ages six to sixteen, I lived in what usually amounted to minimum-security prison with a vast variety of fellow inmates. I had over fifteen separate sets of parents, all with their own takes on how to raise children. A wide spectrum of philosophies and religions washed over me from year to year, sometimes from month to month. The evangelists liked to beat truth from you with a switch made from riverside reeds, while the atheists would bend you over at ninety degrees with knees locked in place for two hours because you had been “aggressive” in your speech. One set of parents threatened me, alternately, with baseball bat (I can still remember how it slammed into the bed, over and over) and car batteries (“it’s a truth detector”).

    When I read of what happened in Abu Gharib, I wondered what all the fuss was about — I’d been through most of that myself, courtesy of the State of California and its child-care systems. With religious re-indoctrination thrown in every time the parents changed; I’ve been baptized three different times “just in case”.

    Nor was I raised with white kids being so much of a majority as they are in the rest of American society, neither was there any segregation. The only colors that meant anything to me, in a tribal sense, were blue and red: one large collection of homes, hosting over fifty kids in total, managed to brew its own chapters of Crips and Bloods. Neither of which, incidentally, seemed to care much if their members were Black, Latino, Asian, Native American or White. Mostly they just feuded in order to have something to fight about.

    Because of my constant and almost random exposure to different people, cultures, and beliefs, I began to call bullshit on most of the stupid things they were fighting over. I saw how they differed from one another, each insisting the other was wrong. Their views were incompatible, but none had proof that their way was the right one. All they had were beliefs… beliefs that they were better than Groups X, Y and Z. Because reasons. Question those reasons long enough, and you got a beating. Didn’t matter if they were religious or not, you’re a kid and you’d better know your place or it’ll be smacked into you.

    My “tribe”, as a result, isn’t one of race, gender, religion, ethnicity, any of that crap. That would be stupid.

    So what WAS the core of my upbringing, the development of my morals?

    The Young Adult section of my local libraries. They presented me with whole worlds where conflicts arose of every sort; moral, political, social, personal. I didn’t learn right or wrong from the Bible, or at the feet of wizened family elders; I learned it from Tolkien, Bradbury, Asimov, Donaldson, McCaffrey.

    You think you’re for “social justice”? I’ve looked into what that encompasses: just another set of bullies with a rationale for being sexist, racist, and repressive. You’ve made yourselves into people worth fighting. When challenged in a public space, I’ve seen some of you ACTUALLY assault people you disagree with, while at the same time you treat disagreement as though it were itself an assault. You actively campaign for pre-school-like comfort zones where you can “recover from the trauma” of being exposed to ideas you find offensive… at COLLEGES.

    You’re not Justice.

    Justice is MY tribe. And you’re not of my tribe.

  94. George RR Martin asked you a simple question: how can you associate with Vox Day who is an out-and-out racist when you are in an interracial marriage. Nothing in your lengthy write up comes close to answering that question.

    Racism and tribalism are not the same thing.

  95. You think you’re for “social justice”? I’ve looked into what that encompasses: just another set of bullies with a rationale for being sexist, racist, and repressive. You’ve made yourselves into people worth fighting. When challenged in a public space, I’ve seen some of you ACTUALLY assault people you disagree with, while at the same time you treat disagreement as though it were itself an assault. You actively campaign for pre-school-like comfort zones where you can “recover from the trauma” of being exposed to ideas you find offensive… at COLLEGES.

    You’re not Justice.

    Justice is MY tribe. And you’re not of my tribe.

    Do you have a newsletter? Because I’m thinking of subscribing. 😉

  96. George RR Martin asked you a simple question

    Simple, straightforward answer:

    Brad Torgersen was this year’s guiding force behind S-A-D Puppies.

    Vox Day was the individual responsible for R-A-B-I-D Puppies.

    Sad Puppies =/= Rabid Puppies.

    Brad Torgersen =/= Vox Day.

    George R.R.Martin is, apparently, flatly incapable of grasping any/all of this, not even with both hands. Neither, evidently, are you.

    That’s incredible. That’s laughable. That’s a goddamned shame.

    What it demonstrably isn’t, however, is Brad Torgersen’s problem.

    You’re welcome.

  97. “George RR Martin asked you a simple question: how can you associate with Vox Day”

    I don’t associate with Vox Day. Never met the guy, never read anything by him.

    But let’s apply this same logic: are you a member of the Democratic Party? Are you aware that several Democrat Congresscritters are avowed “9/11 Truthers”? How can you associate, then, with people who believe the Trade Center towers were brought down with timed explosives?

    Guilt-by-association is ludicrous on its face, as is taking the worst example you can find of a person “on the other side” and asserting guilt to the whole if that person is not “disavowed”. Would you not, in fact, simply find another “Vox Day” to point at, make the same demand, and insist the whole while that the entire movement is “tainted” UNTIL that happens? And again, and again, and by the way have you disavowed Congressman Dennis Kucinich yet? No? You lunatic nutbar crazy, then, just like the entire non-disavowing portion of the Party.

    I would be a moron if I took any such argument seriously, regardless of the group in question.

  98. George RR Martin asked you a simple question: how can you associate with Vox Day who is an out-and-out racist when you are in an interracial marriage. Nothing in your lengthy write up comes close to answering that question.

    This has been answered, repeatedly, above. But I understand it’s a long post, and some people here might not be big on reading…

    As for me, he’s racist. Some of what he’s said seems vile; nobody seems willing to actually argue the details in context with him, which has been recommended several times. Furthermore, lots of people are racists and say vile things. (James May has quite the collection.) Unless he’s a threat and you have reason to fear him, why does it matter? If he’s being a jerk on the internet and isn’t trolling your site, make a decision to either leave him alone or put up with him.

    I don’t think it’s a good way to handle things, but if you’re going to advocate us unpersoning someone, come up with an objective set of standards for when it’s proper to unperson someone, and then let us here take a whack at seeing how many people we would be able to force the SJW side to unperson in order to get VD unpersoned.

  99. @ Patricia –

    Hey, welcome in. Cookies are over there on the sideboard. Oh, I see you brought your sidearm and your asbestos undies, good, good. (We do have loaner sets for visitors, if you need them. Please tell your friends.)

    George RR Martin asked you a simple question: how can you associate with Vox Day who is an out-and-out racist when you are in an interracial marriage. Nothing in your lengthy write up comes close to answering that question.

    (I am not Brad or VD.)

    Well, for starters, it’s not a simple question, unless one resorts to the cheapest, least charitable, and most selfish of answers, “Why, I never associate with bigots of any stripe! How dare you, man!”

    For real people in relationships with other real people, it’s a complex multilayered question that people have been asking themselves for, oh, ever. A proper answer would reflect that.

    One thing which Brad does not go into is the whole concept of shunning and revoking the humanity of people – of casting people out for breaking the laws of the group. Now, this old fangirl is getting older ever day, but I actually remember when shunning people you disagreed with was looked down on, and in cultural terms was seen as a barrier to greater equality, human rights, and (in particular) women’s equality. One wasn’t supposed to refuse to associate with people who had children outside of wedlock, f’zample, or people who divorced.

    In many religious communities, it is considered quite a virtue to be welcoming to all, and to hold no grudges, and to attempt to extend to each other friendship, despite the great number of failings which we are all subject to. In the same note, forgiveness, especially when unasked for, is considered exceptionally good.

    Again, I’m not speaking for Brad. His reasons are his own, and while most of us urge our own morality onto others (because it’s the best one, if it wasn’t the best we knew, why were we following it?) there is a great deal of room for different opinions. But if you really have not encountered anyone who could explain these concepts to you – whether or not they hold to these principles themselves – you might want to consider expanding your social circle.

  100. Patricia doesn’t grok (and perhaps is incapable of grokking) that the Stalin/Alinsky playbook isn’t working any more.

    I think this is what they call “being stuck on stupid”.

  101. To Whom It May Concern:

    The more I read about the current Hugo Awards situation, the more I think the Wizard of Oz might have been right — “Pay no attention to the man behind that curtain!”

    I enjoy *reading* good science fiction and fantasy fiction, but knowing more about the people who write it largely lessens that joy.

    Today’s writers seem to think their job is to become notable for themselves, their personalities and, I don’t know, home-life? Whether they enjoy being dog owners or making their own craft cheese?

    Speaking as a *reader*? I could not give less of a damn about any of that.

    It’s the writing. Not the process but the finished product that matters to me.

    I’m not even comfortable being aware that some individual human was somehow involved.

    I want the big magic trick. Not the little guy who made it up.

    So, if you’d like some advice from one of your readers? Get back behind the curtain to do your work. And to do your pathetic petty squabbling.

    Thanks very much for your time.

    With respects,

    – FLW

  102. Is there an upside in terms of pulling more people into the light and positively differentiating ourselves from the racist and sexists pricks that inhabit ML and related boards, and who practice banning (and it’s variations) by giving the same suspects a persistent license to sealion and derail here?

    When I see the same names pop up with the same baloney I wonder.

  103. So many pinched, red-faced SJWs, all practically champing at the proverbial bit to splutter and stammer their damp disapproval of Vox Day here, where he isn’t… but, every last one of them evidently (and inexplicably) incapable of doing so here, where he IS.

    I’ve known more courageous schnauzers.

  104. All right, let’s take Mr. Snout at least a little bit seriously:

    Next year, you’ll see what the WHOLE SF/F community wants. And I think you’ll see that you and your elves are on the outside.

    First sentence, just not true. Even if the appropriate committee got Amazon to mail a SASE (or email a link to a webform) to every single person who bought science fiction or fantasy in 2014 or 2015, to encourage them to nominate and vote, the response rate wouldn’t come close to being the “WHOLE SF/F community”. It’s all sampling.

    Sasquan has announced they now have 7,000 members signed up, which is about where Loncon was in mid-April, too. Loncon hit 10,826, of which supporting members were fewer than 3,000. How many will Sasquan get? How many of them will vote for *any* of the Hugos? At Loncon, almost exactly one-third of all members (including supporting members) cast valid ballots. How many will at Sasquan?

    Sasquan had 2122 nominating forms cast, Loncon had 1923. So 200 more nominations turned out into a rout for the Torlings. In both cases, about 300 valid ballots did not include a Best Novel nominee; I’d guess those ballots did include TV/movie nominations, and represent the people who get their science fiction on a larger screen.

    But let’s imagine that somehow, MidAmeriCon gets 5,000 nomination forms, and 10,000 Hugo ballots. Would that leave “you and your elves” on the outside? Maybe, if most of those new members were recruited by Scalzi and Stross and PNH and Kowal and Bradford and Jemisin. It might result in a sweep of the Hugos by John C. Wright if the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies do most of the recruiting.

    Which is more likely? Definitely not that the SJWs and Torlings will swamp the proceedings. It’s a standard Marxist tactic for the “vanguard” to claim that it represents the true wishes of the entire community, but pretty much every single time the Marxists’ claim has been put to an honest, fair vote, they’ve lost.

  105. Let them “sealion”. That’s at least polite conversation, a step up from the usual vilifications.

    I should take issue with the term itself, however, as even Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia’s founder) took the side of #GamerGate against SJWs using it as a slur. Specifically, he noted that when someone is accused of a heinous thing, it is meritorious to respond politely with requests of supporting evidence. After being shown the now-classic “Sea Lion Comic”, he came down solidly on the Sea Lion’s side for that reason.

    Too bad Wikipedia itself tolerates no requests for evidence when someone in a news article baldly asserts such slurs. The article itself is considered the evidence, on theory that the slur has been investigated properly by the “reliable source”.

    “Social Justice Warriors” rely on suppressing the Sea Lion in exactly the same way, to convince others that their subjective opinion is identical to objective truth. But when both sides are politely requesting and requiring evidence of one another, SJWs lose… and that’s why they despise the noble oceangoing mammal so very much.

  106. “Definitely not that the SJWs and Torlings will swamp the proceedings.”

    Given that they’ve been running the show for a while now and the outcome has been a decline in wcon membership (and, much more troubling, SF readership) every year until the SPs got involved, I think this person’s prediction of a Groundswell! of OUTRAGE! can be safely ignored.

  107. Mr Torgersen, how is this possible? You write this marvellously insightful and extremely well-written piece on tribalism versus racism. You outline at length, and with many convincing examples, the ways in which human nature’s built-in urge to form tribes is at the root of much of what is considered racism, sexism, and many other isms.

    You make a convincing case that what’s seen as racism, sexism etc. is often of much narrower focus, and should more accuratly be called tribism: not necessarily about the other’s race or gender per se, but about race and gender as observable clues the other’s membership of a tribe perceived as different, and therefore by default hostile to one’s own; unwelcome.

    You conclude—and I find it all but impossible to find fault with your argument—that in a polyglot society (or field of arts), the ultimate question is whether or not you (and your tribe) can make room in your hearts and minds for the people from the other tribes; that people of any tribe need to be more “awake” to their own tribal instincts and prejudices.

    Can we have an Amen to that?

    Then, halfway through this piece, you slide into one of the biggest and most popular fallacies in the field of reasoning: you try to use your erudite views on tribalism to explain and underpin your Sad Puppies campaign, on which said views, of course, have no bearing whatsoever.

    A reasonable, well-reasoned, balanced, and sensible view on one issue does not automatically argue in support of an unethical, hostile, and counterproductive action, just because they happen to touch on the same domain of social psychology.

  108. Floris: the central problem with your argument is the assumption that Sad Puppies is unethical, hostile, or counterproductive.

    It is certainly not unethical, no more so than past Hugo proceedings.

    It is certainly not hostile, no more so than past Hugo proceedings have been hostile to the sort of persons nominated this year on the SP slate.

    Nor is it any more counterproductive than the sorts of past Hugo proceedings which resulted in the nod going to fantasy musings about how to go about murdering violent bigots via saurian transmogrification.

    In short, it’s another Hugo awards. Just with a more diverse set of ideologies in representation. I’m sorry if you believe, like many others seem to, that an author’s ideas should be trumped by their skin color, gender, or sexual orientation.

  109. Then, halfway through this piece, you slide into one of the biggest and most popular fallacies in the field of reasoning: you try to use your erudite views on tribalism to explain and underpin your Sad Puppies campaign, on which said views, of course, have no bearing whatsoever.

    If tribalism has no bearing on the Sad Puppies campaign, then why are so many of the attacks on the Sad Puppies campaign and those that support it tribalist arguments? Surely you couldn’t have missed all the calls of ‘misogynist’ or ‘racist’ being thrown about.

    Also, when you call the Sad Puppies campaign “unethical, hostile, and counterproductive”, you don’t seem to present any arguments for unethical or counterproductive. I’ll accept that it can be called ‘hostile’ as a subjective opinion. Can you cite for me what ethical standards it violates, and how it is counterproductive to its goals?

  110. Patricia — George RR Martin asked you a simple question: how can you associate with Vox Day who is an out-and-out racist when you are in an interracial marriage. Nothing in your lengthy write up comes close to answering that question. Well, ma’am, the same way I associate with you; how do you stop beating your significant others?

    Yes, the USMC is a Department of the Navy: the Mens’ Department.

    I suspect that Tribe is one of the deep, deep Jungian Archetypes. Everyone has them, and either make peace with them, or cope with their outbursts. It seems to me that much of the psychological progection we see in this squabble is Jungian Shadows screaming about being ignored.

    Not so lean, still bleed Green;
    Just as mean, still Marine!

    Semper Fi !

  111. Yet, growing up in Hawaii among a family of all-adopted brothers and sisters, she found herself constantly at war with the children outside her home: white kids, Japanese Hawaiian kids, and full-blooded Hawaiian kids. She experienced constant fist-fights. Brutal stuff. Up through high school. Why couldn’t she pass through all of this unscathed? What made her so different that no ethnic group — save the Chinese Hawaiians — were reliably safe for her?

    Oh. That’s just Hawaii. Everyone hates everyone there.

  112. What I find interesting about this is that nothing has changed in the attitudes. There is no give in the GenFem side for the simple reason they are a union of racists and naive idiots. Had they possessed any awareness they wouldn’t be GenFems in the first place. That’s why I always saw this as a prank. I knew these intersectional drones would react the same way as having their car shrink-wrapped.

    However what has changed is the mechanism whereby new or outside voices are being exposed to both sides. In my opinion that has accelerated an already ongoing process that has been the result of the recent pushback. It’s pretty clear to me which side is going to suffer sales and which side is going to find them enhanced.

    Americans are natural eccentrics and some hard partiers. Take one look at the iceberg factory which emceed last year’s Hugo’s and tell me which you’d rather party with or read. Unless you like taking long naps and generally wasting time til you die, the answer is obvious. Remember, this is the EXACT same culture of feminism as the U. K. NUS Conference which recently called for “feminist jazz hands” to replace applause. Intersectional gender feminism is an insane and feral ideology.

    Don’t quit your day jobs SJWs. Your goal of turning core SFF into the snooze fest of boring gender feminism called the Tiptree Awards draws ever closer. I’ll give you a hint: no one is excited by boredom and preaching.

    Besides that, only a human being with the soul of a pig would conjecture hypotheticals about the odds Brad is a racist with a non-white wife, so you got that going for your fiction.

  113. Don’t mind me; I’m sitting here enjoying a plate of Schadenfreude watching Salon’s Attack SJWs go after GRRM for ‘TV’s Epidemic of Violence Against Women’.

  114. I still want to see them explain “associating with” the various horribles within the ranks of various groups THEY are affiliated to.

    But I suppose it’s hard to be the preacher on the stump, giving a sermon on infidelity, while one’s illicit love-interest waits patiently in the pews for another roll in the hay afterwards.

  115. It really should be pointed out that people are withdrawing their nominations solely because they’re being harassed for having wrongfans vote for them.

  116. Since Kowal is, by her own admission, a racist then why aren’t there any calls for her unpersoning?
    Hey anti-sad-puppies people! Disavow Kowal immediately! Not doing so is condoning racism!

  117. Floris – “A reasonable, well-reasoned, balanced, and sensible view on one issue does not automatically argue in support of an unethical, hostile, and counterproductive action, just because they happen to touch on the same domain of social psychology.”

    And yet others will argue the unethical behavior was already present (and was what SP1 and SP2 were testing the edges of), the hostility plainly evident in the response to SP1-3 and many comments and individuals long before them, and that taking NO action would be counterproductive to the quality of Hugos.

    At least as publicly assumed.

  118. Thank you for this post Brad. You have just gained a new reader of your books and this blog.

    There is something not quite right with the whole Hugos controversy. It is more than just a little group of intelligent, imaginative people arguing with considerable passion about the order of little black squiggles on paper.

    I have read that people are pretty much people, all around the world. Apparently we all want very similar things, no matter where we live. Shelter, food, water, safety and to be surrounded by family & friends. And to have the freedom to do what we want as long as we are not impacting anyone else.

    From my personal viewpoint, I have watched this storm in a teacup with interest. I have been thoroughly amused because it is a microcosm of our society. I am tired of seeing “equity groups” being given preferential treatment in the work place, based solely on meeting criteria on a checklist. The HR dept says we should have more [insert group here] so we can proudly write articles in the media that we are fully buzz-word compliant.

    That’s how the Hugos appear to me as a reader; a self-appointed HR dept telling me that I must have more [insert group here] in my SF reading list.

    The golden rule is that he who has the gold, makes the rules. Outside of the workplace, I have the gold. I am the HR dept.

    Thank you for your application for my reading list. I received a large number of applications from experienced, highly qualified authors. The standard was extremely high. On this occasion your application to cram [insert message here] has been unsuccessful.

    Safe deployment for yourself and your comrades Brad.

  119. This kind of kills SP. What writers will want to subject themselves to so much abuse in the future?

  120. Seriously, behold the sublime wonder of SJW dogma on racism in America.

    1) Kowal is racist, but she is good, we know this because she tells us so. Therefore she is not responsible for her racism, Amerikka made her that way. Amerikka bad, Kowal good. Even though she is still a racist.

    2) Cause everybody is racist, that is guilty, but if we perform certain acts of contrition then are guilt will be forgiven. Hmmm, that seems to remind me of something. Something with religious connotations? Nah, that can’t be it.

    It’s totalitarianism in action. Make everyone guilty of some crime, but as long as they tow the line we won’t make an issue of it. In fact, if you tow the line your guilt will be treated as if you had been victimized.

    That’s it, Kowal is as much a victim as the Hispanic she micro-aggressed.

  121. Tribes are for savages and stupid people, Brad. I admire your attempts to douse the flames even as others pour gas on the coals. Like you and your wife I’m an outsider that enjoys people-watching…and I am absolutely delighted at watching two obnoxious tribes of stupid people fighting to the death! You should take your common sense, stand aside – and let Darwin do his job, LOL.

    As a passing stranger to these two tribes it appears to me that Vox Day is learning a hard lesson the hard way as I once did: the only way to engage with a tribe of savages and idiots is to sink to their level – and in effect, become one yourself. Even now, otherwise respectable authors that might have agreed with him are now bailing out and walking away in disgust.

    As a former fan – I would like to ask you (the SF writers) – to take your Hugo and shove it! I want stories I can read and enjoy. I don’t want to be preached at by socialists, queers, or feminists. Nor do I want to be brow beaten by self proclaimed intellectuals battling these culture warriors. I want to read a story that can stand against works by Heinlein, Asimov and the greats…and I am not seeing anyone produce work like that lately.

    Just my two bits, your mileage may vary.

  122. “In their dreams.”

    Well, at least the strategy will have to be rethought. Perhaps only combative writers?

  123. “Because of all the things most frightening to the Worldcon tribe, the worst are the Visigoths of Vox Day. Not just an out-tribe, Vox and his fans represent an explicitly war-like and hostile tribe, come to seize the totem by brute means.”

    The problem with your reasoning here is the assumption that Vox Day and his Visigoths just wanted the totem. What he really wants is to burn the whole thing down and rebuild it in the image that he and his Visigoths like. THAT’S the problem I have with him. If it was just a beef about the selection process, I wouldn’t give a flying fig.

  124. an unethical, hostile, and counterproductive action

    Offered up without any supporting evidence whatsoever? We call that argument by assertion, back where I come from.

    Speaking of “one of the biggest and most popular fallacies in the field of reasoning” and suchlike, I mean.

  125. So many pinched, red-faced SJWs, all practically champing at the proverbial bit to splutter and stammer their damp disapproval of Vox Day here, where he isn’t… but, every last one of them evidently (and inexplicably) incapable of doing so here, where he IS.

    A couple of brave souls have gone over there. They are being gently chewed on by the Dread Ilk. Vox himself hasn’t even deigned to notice them.

  126. Pingback: Missing Puppy Formation 4/15 | File 770

  127. The problem with your reasoning here is the assumption that Vox Day and his Visigoths just wanted the totem. What he really wants is to burn the whole thing down and rebuild it in the image that he and his Visigoths like. THAT’S the problem I have with him.

    I have to admit, it’s getting tougher and tougher to summon the energy to care if he was able burn it down.

    If the SJ jihad keeps up for another 3+ months, I would even be sorely tempted to chip in a few bucks for gas.

    That’s the problem with conflict where radicals on one side are enabled: It empowers the radicals on the other side. And Vox is a teddy bear compared to some people.

  128. Nice to see that the forces of tolerance got a gay woman off the ballot to punish the people who voted for her.

  129. Nice to see that the forces of tolerance got a gay woman off the ballot to punish the people who voted for her.

    “Because DIVERSITY!!!”

  130. Alex says:
    April 15, 2015 at 3:47 pm
    “Can we please refer to the “anti-Sad Puppies people” as “Puppy haters”?”

    Where’s the ‘like’ button?

    Parker Snout says:
    April 14, 2015 at 10:37 pm
    “I hope next year, when your little group here is outvoted, and ZERO of the self-published, hackneyed works you want to nominate make the ballot — I hope next year, you’ll have this same dedication to “democracy.””

    Self-published?

    Jim Butcher’s Skin Game debuted at #1 on the NYT bestseller hardcover list. It stayed on the list for weeks, long after the pre-order bump was over. On Amazon, he’s the #71 author over all genres, and #7 in sci-fi and fantasy — right between Sanderson and Tolkein.

    You may feel about his work the way I’d feel if one of the top semi-pornographic paranormal romances took a Hugo nomination — but calling it self-published is just silly.

  131. It’s funny. I think rather poorly of Vox. I think he is a shit stirrer and most of the time an ass. I am getting to the point where I am thinking about standing with him, his opponents suck worse. The enemy of my enemy

  132. Puppy Haters: reducing diversity in the Hugo Awards through harassment, one author at a time.

  133. @Sasha Prochenko. EW ML They forced two liberal writers including a gay woman to bow out by attacfking her. If you stand with the SJWs Chu Temoest and the rest?
    The you are a worse racist and bigot than he is

  134. Because whereas HE merely says nasty things, his opposition DOES nasty things.

    * His threat to torch the Hugos next year is a direct response to the opposition threatening to do so THIS year.

    * Two nominees have been pestered — harassed, actually — into withdrawing, on basis of rampant “guilt-by-association” claims.

    * No less than GRRM equates merely being ignored at WorldCon, to being actively slandered as a racist by a whisper campaign.

    Yeah. Vox Day’s opposition is most definitely more toxic to the Hugos than he is.

  135. Yes, your words are the words of a complete and utter idiot. Also a racist bigot apparently.

  136. How in the fuck are his opponents worse?

    Some of them troll and trawl from site to site, stalking and terrorizing married Asian women.

  137. Thank you for confirming guilt-by-association tactics. We’ve already made clear we knew that, but it’s nice to see the opposition openly embracing their misdeeds without trying to rationalize it.

  138. If by “brave souls” you mean “trolls”, yeah.

    Well, yes. Obviously. ^_^

  139. What Sasha Prochenko (aka Clamps, aka Yamamanama) is really saying is: “Please ban me again.”

  140. Oooooh, THAT idiot. I feel refreshed, somehow. Possibly because the reputation appears to be wildly overrated. That was strictly kiddie-school “I know you are but what am I” material being dished out. -XD

  141. Seriously, if Yams is with the opposition? We have the moral high ground completely sewn up, Vox and all.

  142. “A couple of brave souls have gone over there. They are being gently chewed on by the Dread Ilk. Vox himself hasn’t even deigned to notice them.”

    When the most intelligent thing that someone can manage to express is to say “Fuck You,” you know you’re not exactly dealing with whiz kids. We’re used to it.

  143. Brad, this is very interesting, and I think you’re on to something. I still am very upset that you’re having to deal with all of the nonsense that you’ve seen. I don’t understand why anyone — whether traditionally published (the so-called SJWs; I don’t like that term much, so I’d rather go with “traditionalists” as my own idiosyncracy), Martian, you name it — would allow himself/herself to get this upset over, of all things, an award.

    Awards are nice, sure. But they’re very minor in the cosmic scheme of things.

    That said, I always thought SF&F was about _inclusion_. And the Sad Puppies movement, to me, seems to echo that sentiment. The SPs want a seat at the table, and despite the attempted narrative frame that suggests the SPs are just grumpy old white men, the SP slate put up people of all creeds, religions, colors, and sexual identities. Because it was all about the story, and these were the people who either told the stories themselves, or helped facilitate those stories to be told (as in the editing category).

    Brad, I’ll tell you what. I can’t call myself a Sad Puppy. But I sure as Hell cannot identify with the traditionalists, who seem to be behaving in a way that’s indicative of mob or herd-like behavior. They aren’t thinking rationally; they’re merely reacting. And you can’t talk with a mob; you can’t reason with a mob; you can’t do anything with them, except hope they’ll disperse and then realize, “Oh, my goodness, what have I done?”

    All I know is, people should read the slate of nominees and then vote their consciences after reading and thinking about it. That’s it. (That’s what people should do every year, for that matter.)

    For you and your family, I wish you very well. You are a person of honor, integrity, and character, and you don’t deserve to be treated as anything less. (Besides, people who disagree — especially writers, for goodness sake! — should be able to do so civilly. That many of these traditionalists cannot do so is the primary indicator that they have possibly not realized that they are caught up in a mob. Because the ones who clearly _are_ thinking for themselves, like Mary Robinette Kowal and GRRM, at least can make cogent arguments and know full well that SPs are different from RPs. I admire them for thinking for themselves, and for not wanting to throw the baby out with the bathwater.)

  144. Two nominees have been pestered — harassed, actually — into withdrawing, on basis of rampant “guilt-by-association” claims.

    Exactly. And Floris, do you honestly think tribalism is irrelevant, when two people had to withdraw because they were liked by the wrong people?

  145. Floris: the central problem with your argument is the assumption that Sad Puppies is unethical, hostile, or counterproductive.

    It is certainly not unethical, no more so than past Hugo proceedings.

    It is certainly not hostile, no more so than past Hugo proceedings have been hostile to the sort of persons nominated this year on the SP slate.

    Nor is it any more counterproductive than the sorts of past Hugo proceedings which resulted in the nod going to fantasy musings about how to go about murdering violent bigots via saurian transmogrification.

    Calbeck, “they did it first” is playground-level logic.

    That said, I’ve not been involved in, a party to, or even aware of, these past Hugo proceedings you’re referring to. But my claim that slate voting is unethical applies to all instances, from whatever side (or rather: tribe) they originated.

    As I’ve argued elsewhere, I personally know authors who encourage their fans to buy Supporting Memberships for the sole reason of voting them onto the ballot, and while that is less visible, and of smaller scale, it’s precisely as unethical as the Puppies effort. It’s less hostile, because it doesn’t use us-vs-them rhetoric, but purely selfish motives. And it isn’t counterproductive, because the invisibility all but ensures that it works. It’s still unethical though.

    And as I’ve also argued elsewhere, the Puppies do expose in the most visible way the central flaw in the Hugo system, which makes self-promotion and slate voting possible, and for that, if nothing else, the Sad Puppies deserve appreciation.

    I’m sorry if you believe, like many others seem to, that an author’s ideas should be trumped by their skin color, gender, or sexual orientation.

    This is putting words in my mouth (or even thoughts in my head). Check my comment, Calbeck, and everything else I’ve said on this matter, and you’ll notice that I’ve not come down on either side as far as politics are concerned. Just because I argue against the Sad Puppies method does not mean I’m a card-carrying member of any of the tribes.

  146. If tribalism has no bearing on the Sad Puppies campaign, then why are so many of the attacks on the Sad Puppies campaign and those that support it tribalist arguments? Surely you couldn’t have missed all the calls of ‘misogynist’ or ‘racist’ being thrown about.

    Tribalism as sociopsychological theory is applicable to the entire kerfuffle, as I’ve explicitly written in my original comment. My argument is that tribalism, however well-argued–and Mr. Torgersen does a marvellous job there–is not a justification for the Puppies campaign. Tribalism is an interesting academic exercise in describing what has happened, and is happening. But as far as I’ve understood Sad Puppies, its purpose is not to demonstrate the mechanisms of tribalism, but to create a more inclusive Hugo ballot.

    Also, I don’t believe that name-calling from either side can ever be an argument in support of anything at all.

    Also, when you call the Sad Puppies campaign “unethical, hostile, and counterproductive”, you don’t seem to present any arguments for unethical or counterproductive. I’ll accept that it can be called ‘hostile’ as a subjective opinion. Can you cite for me what ethical standards it violates, and how it is counterproductive to its goals?

    I consider the Sad Puppies slate voting action unethical, because while it adheres to the letter of the Hugo rules, it violates the spirit of those rules. (If it had violated the letter, I would have used the word “illegal”.) The (naive and flawed) rules, as I understand them, are intended to allow every interested individual to vote for what they personally consider the most deserving works. Putting forward a slate, and encouraging a large group of people to vote for that slate while disregarding what they themselves may feel to be the most deserving works, is hijacking the system to further a political agenda. And while tribals on all sides may have gone to great lengths to try and make them, the Hugos are not, in the core, were never intended to be, and should not be used as a political instrument.

    The Sad Puppies action is hostile, in my opinion, not necessarily as a subjective opinion, but as a conclusion from the us-vs-them rhetoric, the explicit choice made to regard WorldCon and Fandom as a hostile tribe, and the design of the slate vote as a concerted, and at least partically politically motivated, attack.

    Like I said before, and elsewhere, it seems to me that the Sad Puppies intentions were and are laudable, in the sense that they want to broaden Hugo voting and Hugo support beyond what they perceive as a left-skewed clique. But that objective would have been much better served by an effort only slightly different in its approach: to advertise the possibility of Supporting Membership voting without advancing a very limited slate of nominees.

    The voting system is by its very nature inclusive, to anyone with $40 to spare. Any fan feeling excluded can include theirselves by shelling out their bucks and voting. And if there is indeed a difference between the type of works appearing on the slate over the last years, and the type of works appreciated by the fans outside “Fandom” and WorldCon, anyone at all can cast their vote to reflect that fact. To fix the flawed Hugo system, all that is needed is that more of fandom becomes aware of the system, and more fans take the trouble to cast their vote. (As a leftie European, I also feel the price needs to be dramatically reduced.) If enough fans care about the Hugos enough to cast their vote, the ballot will change to reflect that. And if not enough fans care, then there is still no problem, because if they don’t care, what’s all the fuss about?

    Which brings me to “counterproductive”. Getting more fans to vote, through making them aware that they can vote, would directly further Sad Puppies stated objectives, would broaden both the scope and the appeal of both Hugos and WorldCon, and could ultimately change the general nature of the works on the ballot. If the perceived current skewedness to the liberal left is indeed an issue, more votes will reflect the tastes of more fans, and will result in the Hugos becoming a better reflection of what all of fandom (not “Fandom”) likes.

    But the current approach sics the tribal warriors on each other, increases hostility, widens the gap, polarizes the differences, and achieves the opposite effect. That’s what I ultimately mean by my assertion that the reasoned article on tribalism has no bearing on the Sad Puppies kerfuffle: someone as erudite and reasonable as the person who wrote that piece, with such depth of insight into tribal processes, must have known with almost absolute certainty what effect he would achieve with the Sad Puppies slate. Hence, the tribalism piece is a perfect argument against the Sad Puppies slate, and in favor of a more moderate approach, if the stated objective of Sad Puppies is its true objective.

  147. And yet others will argue the unethical behavior was already present (and was what SP1 and SP2 were testing the edges of), the hostility plainly evident in the response to SP1-3 and many comments and individuals long before them, and that taking NO action would be counterproductive to the quality of Hugos.

    See my previous responses re playground logic, and an alternative, much more productive option for action, given that the Hugo system is flawed and change would be a good thing.

  148. Offered up without any supporting evidence whatsoever? We call that argument by assertion, back where I come from.

    Fair enough. I’d excluded my arguments for that choice of words, but have remedied that in my previous responses.

  149. And Floris, do you honestly think tribalism is irrelevant, when two people had to withdraw because they were liked by the wrong people?

    See my previous replies. And as I understand their reasons, people are withdrawing because they don’t want their nominations to be the chips in a political game of us-vs-them.

  150. “And as I understand their reasons, people are withdrawing because they don’t want their nominations to be the chips in a political game of us-vs-them.”

    You no doubt also believe that the Cheka’s victims were actually guilty, based on their signed confessions.

  151. Talking about tribalism, and army comradeship and camaraderie, no matter the background of its soldiers, and how all people all over the world stereotype others, does not address the fact that Vox Day believes that white people and Asians (and clearly Hispanics, since Beale is one, at least in part) are superior to black people, and he believes this inferiority of blacks is innate, genetic.

    Correction: I don’t have any reason to believe any one human population sub-group is intrinsically superior to any other population sub-group. That being said, both science and logic quite clearly indicate that no two population sub-groups are identical, and therefore every population sub-group is either superior or inferior to another sub-group on the basis of any chosen metric.

    It makes no more difference that you like or dislike this fact than if you disapprove of the speed of light or the rate of Earth gravity.

    I assert that an unborn female black child with a missing chromosome and an inclination to homosexuality is equal in human value and human dignity and unalienable, God-given rights to a straight white male in the prime of his life and a +4 SD IQ. How many of my dishonest critics will do the same?

    That doesn’t mean that I think it is wise to ask that particular child, when she is grown, to design the next plane on which I intend to fly. Or even to work in the air traffic control tower.

    I deal in reality as determined by history, science, and logic. And I care no more about what an equalitarian fantasist thinks about me or anything else than I do about the mentally deranged babbling in the psych ward. The world is as it is, not as we might wish it to be. If you can’t understand that, then I am among the least of your problems.

  152. And as I understand their reasons, people are withdrawing because they don’t want their nominations to be the chips in a political game of us-vs-them.

    You no doubt also believe that the Cheka’s victims were actually guilty, based on their signed confessions.

    As a matter of fact, I believe what Annie Bellet herself is saying to explain her withdrawal, and have all but paraphrased her blog post to that effect. And the disqualifications announced earlier this week were based on established eligibility rules and objective, verifiable fact.

    Also, any comparison of this kerfuffle to the Soviet Union and Cheka is so disproportionate it’s almost satire.

  153. @ Floris M. Kleijne –

    Having read over your responses here, I think there’s a lot of agreement (and I hope that others can also see that, so we can avoid arguing past each other.)

    In agreement: Hugo nominations represented the preferences of a small group of people with similar tastes, and thus do not represent the broader feeling of what is “best in sff” among fandom. The best way to remedy this is to get more people involved.

    In disagreement: That promoting a list of works to consider for this year was a good idea.

    (Pros: it got people excited and reminded them that there were works of the sort they liked that could be nominated, and it did get new faces (and a wide variety of stuff/authors) on the plate. Cons: the SP slates were largely ignored – as they were for the last two years by people who didn’t fancy those sorts of works, so the popularity of the slates took everyone (else) by surprise, resulting in a rout that has people very upset and unhappy – the depths of the unhappiness taking the SPs by surprise as well.)

    I myself would be much more sympathetic to the idea that the SP campaign was in any way unfair if the two previous, much more low key efforts had not also met with distain and sneers.

    In partial disagreement: what to do next.

    (Am I right on these points?)

    What are your suggestions for what to do next?

  154. Putting forward a slate, and encouraging a large group of people to vote for that slate while disregarding what they themselves may feel to be the most deserving works, is hijacking the system to further a political agenda.

    Isn’t this contradicted by all the ‘read everything and vote for the best’ and ‘please suggest other good works so we could read them’ arguments from the organizers and supporters? I have seen nothing from the Sad Puppies campaign that could even remotely be suggested as doing what you are alleging them to have done. There has been some evidence presented that the unrelated Rabid Puppies group have approached this tactic, which may be responsible for the confusion.

    But the current approach sics the tribal warriors on each other, increases hostility, widens the gap, polarizes the differences, and achieves the opposite effect.

    My understanding is that the Sad Puppies campaign has many goals, and achieving those goals requires tradeoffs. One could argue that exposing just how politically polarized the current system is achieves one of those objectives, even if it increases hostility. Furthermore, exposing the hostility both strengthens the Sad Puppies case and wins them allies in opening up the Hugos. The hostility has been there; pretending it doesn’t exist and tiptoeing around the sensibilities of those already angry doesn’t make it any easier to get rid of it.

    And as I understand their reasons, people are withdrawing because they don’t want their nominations to be the chips in a political game of us-vs-them.

    The blame for this is entirely on those that have made this us-vs-them. Puppy haters could have said ‘even a stopped clock is right twice a day’ and moved on. Or they could have evaluated all the books on their merits.

  155. (Am I right on these points?)

    What are your suggestions for what to do next?

    Keranih, what an excellent response, and equally excellent question.

    Yes, you are right on these points. As I’ve not been aware of SP slates the previous years (I visited my first ever Con in London last year, and was previously unaware how Hugos are awarded in the first place), I can’t agree or disagree with you on the efficacy or reception of SP1 and SP2. But that’s beside the point. The real point, now, is the answer to your second question.

    What to do next?

    For this year, I think it’s essential that every fan owning the right to vote does so in agreement with his or her own conscience. But to me, the most reasonable and fair way to go about that is to accept the final ballot as valid and legitimate–as it in fact is in the letter of the rules–and judge the nominated works on merit only (which I argued in an earlier blog post this week).

    Also, I think it’s a very good idea if the exposure the Hugos are currently getting is turned into something positive, in the sense that it’s getting more fans involved or at least interested in the Hugos and the voting. It would be optimal if all involved Tribes would switch their rhetorical tactics into pointing out that yes, this is the final ballot, and yes, anyone who wants to spend $40 gets to vote, so yes, let’s quit this pointless bickering and start voting. Individually.

    To get to that point, I think it’s essential that all Tribes acknowledge their own responsibility for the whole fracas, tone down their rhetoric, and enter a dialogue about the things that they do see as positive in the other. Find common ground, explore the similarities in their opinions and objectives, and work from there. A bit like you and I are doing, assuming for the sake of argument that you’re more of a Puppies fan, and simplifying matters by sticking myself in the WorldCon tribe (both of which are probably major simplifications, if not errors). There are clearly Tribes in specfic fandom that reflect the socio-political Tribes in the world at large, but I expect that bottom-line, fans have more in common than these bickering sub-Tribes think, and that the tribe of specfic fans has more to unite than to divide them.

    And looking further into the future, I think two changes are needed: one, that knowledge about the Hugo voting system is disseminated much more widely, and encouraging all fans to vote becomes the default in all Tribes; and two, that the price of a Supporting Membership is brought down to a level that is affordable for all but the most derelict fans. Forty bucks is a real amount of money, that some people have to live on for a week; $5 can be taken out of even the most tight budget once a year.

  156. @ Floris

    This: There are clearly Tribes in specfic fandom that reflect the socio-political Tribes in the world at large, but I expect that bottom-line, fans have more in common than these bickering sub-Tribes think, and that the tribe of specfic fans has more to unite than to divide them.

    Yes, yes, yes, this – Fans are My People. I reserve the right to be very cranky at other Fans, but still. Team Fandom!

    More, later, after I digest what you’ve suggested here.

  157. Putting forward a slate, and encouraging a large group of people to vote for that slate while disregarding what they themselves may feel to be the most deserving works, is hijacking the system to further a political agenda.

    Isn’t this contradicted by all the ‘read everything and vote for the best’ and ‘please suggest other good works so we could read them’ arguments from the organizers and supporters? I have seen nothing from the Sad Puppies campaign that could even remotely be suggested as doing what you are alleging them to have done. There has been some evidence presented that the unrelated Rabid Puppies group have approached this tactic, which may be responsible for the confusion.

    That may very well be. I’ve seen Brad Torgersen’s SP3 post quoted as asking voters to put it on their ballots as is, and Vox Day’s RP post as “this is just a rec”, but if the opposite is true–as it seems to be from the version of the SP3 post currently online–I stand corrected. The matter has been horribly confused by the sweeping success of RP, which makes it impossible to determine what effect SP3 would have had on the ballot on its own.

    But the current approach sics the tribal warriors on each other, increases hostility, widens the gap, polarizes the differences, and achieves the opposite effect.

    My understanding is that the Sad Puppies campaign has many goals, and achieving those goals requires tradeoffs. One could argue that exposing just how politically polarized the current system is achieves one of those objectives, even if it increases hostility. Furthermore, exposing the hostility both strengthens the Sad Puppies case and wins them allies in opening up the Hugos. The hostility has been there; pretending it doesn’t exist and tiptoeing around the sensibilities of those already angry doesn’t make it any easier to get rid of it.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on this.

    And as I understand their reasons, people are withdrawing because they don’t want their nominations to be the chips in a political game of us-vs-them.

    The blame for this is entirely on those that have made this us-vs-them. Puppy haters could have said ‘even a stopped clock is right twice a day’ and moved on. Or they could have evaluated all the books on their merits.

    It’s not a matter of blame; I was trying to correct a statement about the reasons for withdrawal. That said, I’m teaching my kids that you can’t have an argument by yourself; both parties contribute. The WorldCon Tribe cannot, in that view, bear sole responsibility for the polarization.

  158. To get to that point, I think it’s essential that all Tribes acknowledge their own responsibility for the whole fracas, tone down their rhetoric, and enter a dialogue about the things that they do see as positive in the other. Find common ground, explore the similarities in their opinions and objectives, and work from there.

    I think you are right in general as to what’s best for fandom.

    The big question is, what to do if one side doesn’t stand down, and instead doubles down? Your logic would make sense, but it also induces the perverse incentive that if one side backs down and the other doesn’t, the side that doesn’t back down wins.

  159. Pingback: Two tribes and an alien invasion | Neoreactive

  160. The big question is, what to do if one side doesn’t stand down, and instead doubles down? Your logic would make sense, but it also induces the perverse incentive that if one side backs down and the other doesn’t, the side that doesn’t back down wins.

    That right there is Darwinism (or opportunism, which are basically the same thing under different names) at work. The answer, I expect, lies in the power of numbers. If enough people care enough to get involved–by which I mean invested–by which I mean willing to pay $$ for the right to vote–the majority will win through sheer sample size.

    Which brings us back to getting as many fans involved as possible.

  161. What are your suggestions for what to do next?

    Additionally, I expect the Hugos would benefit from extending voting rights to other specfic Cons. (Suggestion stolen from the Hugo thread at my online writers group Codex.)

  162. It’s not a matter of blame; I was trying to correct a statement about the reasons for withdrawal. That said, I’m teaching my kids that you can’t have an argument by yourself; both parties contribute. The WorldCon Tribe cannot, in that view, bear sole responsibility for the polarization.

    I apologize, I usually try to stay away from the ‘blame’ formulation. It’s certainly not a productive way to try to discuss things, and doesn’t help matters.

    The issue is certainly complicated because each ‘side’ is a loose coalition with similar but not identical goals. Furthermore, not all of the goals of either side are directly concerned with the fate of SF/F. Because some of the goals are mutually exclusive, it is not possible to satisfy everyone or come up with a solution that everyone will be happy with.

    The answer, I expect, lies in the power of numbers.

    I’d like to believe you are correct, but the Hugo decision making process looks like it will be vulnerable to manipulation in anything other than an ideal situation. More voters does make it slightly harder, but the number of organized voters needed to affect the nomination process is disproportionately small compared to the number of overall voters given the large pool of works qualified for nomination. Making it so that individuals can not nominate the full number of works that go into final consideration would make it at least harder for slate voting to dominate a category. If all Hugo voters were willing to read and consider all nominated works based on their merits, the Hugo system would work, but then again, just about any system would work in that case.

    The other problem is that getting more people of different tastes into the Hugos will take time, and it’s much faster to add committed partisans than open-minded voters.

  163. Pingback: Morning coffee 2015-04-16 – Tribalism and death of dialogue | Mangy Dog

  164. “Also, any comparison of this kerfuffle to the Soviet Union and Cheka is so disproportionate it’s almost satire.”

    If you imagine for one minute that these people wouldn’t happily send others to death camps, if they were permitted, you’re utterly ignorant of the way that type of mind works.

    That aside, you’re simply trying to dodge the issue here, Florian.

    The one author more or less said that ugly email was a factor. Who do you imagine was sending her this unpleasant email? The people who put her on the ballot? I think not.

  165. The argument that “in a tribal scenario Gamergate is the exact opposite from the Sad Puppies” is inaccurate. In both cases, we have a small clique capturing the levers of power- either the Hugos or the games journalism outlets- and using them to promote their own friends, colleagues, or ideological bedfellows. Gone Home was a point-and-click adventure without a real puzzle, currently sitting on an 86 Metacritic score (two points above Fallout: New Vegas) because it tickled the ideological love-button of the journalists who played it. Depression Quest was a basic text adventure that received positive press (if not reviews) from journalists whom the developer just happened to subsequently sleep with. And “If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love” is… well, frankly, I’m not sure what it is, but I’m fairly certain it’s the literary equivalent of the games I mentioned.

    Both Gamergate and the Sad Puppies are rejecting the right of these cliques to determine what is and isn’t part of their respective fandoms. It’s not Gamergate which announces that “gamers are dead”; it’s not the Sad Puppies who are telling fans of message fiction to create their own awards. The only reason they appear to manifest differently at the moment is because the Sad Puppies are fighting with the clique for control of the Hugos- by definition, a zero-sum game- whereas Gamergate is fighting not to be driven out of its own fandom.

  166. Who do you imagine was sending her this unpleasant email? The people who put her on the ballot? I think not.

    Actually, Doctor Locketopus, I strongly believe that all sides in this issue are guilty of ugly-email-sending, name-calling, discussion-murking and other unproductive tactics. Pointing out that in one case, one side is probably guilty, scores no points one way or the other.

    That said, let’s agree to disagree, because all I can usefully reply to your death camp comment is a repeat of my disproportionate satire response. We seem to be conducting different discussions, possibly on different planets even.

  167. But the Hugo decision making process looks like it will be vulnerable to manipulation in anything other than an ideal situation. More voters does make it slightly harder, but the number of organized voters needed to affect the nomination process is disproportionately small compared to the number of overall voters given the large pool of works qualified for nomination.

    If the effect would be only in numbers, I’d be inclined to agree, but it’s not. Increasing the fandom involvement not only makes gaming the vote harder, I would hope it also takes away a lot of the motivation to game, at least for tribal reasons.

  168. I strongly believe that all sides in this issue are guilty of ugly-email-sending, name-calling, discussion-murking and other unproductive tactics. Pointing out that in one case, one side is probably guilty, scores no points one way or the other.

    It’s one thing to deal with children as a parent by saying “it takes two to fight” and punishing both of them equally. It’s quite different to apply that to larger, more serious fights. Perhaps the bully doesn’t care that he’s getting detention, and knowing that the victim is also going to get detention just means the victim is hurt more. Perhaps the victim knows he’s going to get detention for fighting if he does nothing, so he may as well fight back against the bully. Either way, if what you’re after is having both sides back down, your effort to be neutral may be counterproductive.

    I encourage anyone to step back and actually look at all sides of this issue and compare what is being said and why. Read Larry Correria at http://monsterhunternation.com/2015/04/15/well-this-sucks-2/ and read the uncensored comments. I’m on one side because I think that side has the better arguments, and it shows that they are willing to openly and civilly debate their opponents (rather than censor them) and chastise their own side when it comes to bad behavior. I have not seen that in any amount from the other side, but I am always open to evidence otherwise.

  169. “Pointing out that in one case, one side is probably guilty, scores no points one way or the other.”

    Except that the “one case” happens to be the one that was under discussion, but do keep spinning and backpedaling.

    “That said, let’s agree to disagree”

    Let’s not.

  170. Ahhhh. north and south Italian. You won’t find them in any bookstore in America but the books by Nino Culotta were wonderful.
    They’re a Weird Mob
    Cop This Lot
    Gone Fishin

    He knew how to write.

  171. You lost me at the Hugo awards because I’m out of the loop on the whole thing, but I really loved what you wrote about tribes.

  172. It does me no harm to say “yes, there are probably idiots who say they are on the same side as me who are hate mailing the other side and various nominees, and that’s wrong and it should stop.” (I actually do believe we have a few idiots who are doing this. I would be shocked if we don’t.)

    We are allowed to state we don’t hold with someone else’s behavior.

    I think that we need to get the hell *past* the assignment of blame and start working on fixes. Today would be good. Yesterday would have been better. I’ll settle for this afternoon, for getting started.

    (This divide did not happen because of the actions of one person, of the fall out from one conversation, or from the events of one year. It’s going to take quite a while to fix, and the road is gonna stay rocky for a while. Lets not go looking for rocks, k?)

  173. Floris, go find what I said about diplomacy and what happens when diplomacy is only required of one side. Your children can live a long and conflict free life by never so much as asking to join a game. They can live a conflict free life by conforming to their peers. They can have a long and conflict free life by looking the other way when injustice occurs. They can avoid conflict by never questioning the prevailing wisdom. They can stay in a group’s good graces by dutifully turning on whomever is “out” on any given day.

    Tell your kids whatever you want, but how dare you tell anyone else not to fight back?

    One side of this and not the other has demonstrated that they do not believe in sorting fans or authors by their politics. The other proves that they do.

    You say that SP has more in common with “traditionalists” than not. Well, maybe you ought to go tell them that.

  174. Also the one case certainly matters. The people who nominated books and stories of people who are ideologically diverse could have been met with “maybe there is room for us all after all. Maybe we should have believed what you actually said.” The ugliness and attempts to destroy the value of the award by making it clear that should one of these authors win that they’ll face eternal disapproval from *ttheir* tribe is disgusting and no I will not appease the bullies. They could have read the book, read the story, and been happy for their tribe member. They freely chose otherwise.

    Who is worse? The person who thinks bad things or the person who does bad things? The question is no more complicated than that.

  175. ” But because I think a lot of what we label as racist and sexist is actually culturalist tribalism.”.
    I said much the same thing more than a year ago.

  176. The people who nominated books and stories of people who are ideologically diverse could have been met with “maybe there is room for us all after all. Maybe we should have believed what you actually said.” The ugliness and attempts to destroy the value of the award by making it clear that should one of these authors win that they’ll face eternal disapproval from *ttheir* tribe is disgusting and no I will not appease the bullies. They could have read the book, read the story, and been happy for their tribe member. They freely chose otherwise.

    Julie, we agree.

  177. Well, at least the strategy will have to be rethought. Perhaps only combative writers?

    That is certainly possible. I strongly doubt that the same will be true of the Rabid Puppies approach next year. Unlike the entrenched squatters who have been sitting in the Hugos since the 80s, the engineers of the Rabid Puppies have shown every indication of having a shorter and much more efficient OODA loop relative to the SJWs.

    I’m of course hesitant to crow over a victory too soon, but I personally believe that the Reconquista of the Hugos from the squatters who have occupied them for the last several years has probably reached the tipping point of inevitability at this point. And it’s amusing to see the SJWs taking actions that actually accelerate that process.

  178. @ Floris –

    Back to your earlier post about what to do next…

    1) Everyone vote on the merits this year, and encourage others to do the same. I entirely agree. In particular, I hold that outside outright rule breaking that attempts to invalidate nominees based on fannish disgruntlement is setting a very bad prescient such that any vote with which a vocal group disagrees is subject to being over ruled. Not good.

    2) More voting = good. Again, agree entirely.

    3) (skip and come back to this)

    4)1 – More exposure for Fandom as a whole – Agreed – but I note this is going to be a major hurdle for some people. There are some people who feel the Hugos represent that section of fandom that “goes to cons” and even more specifically “goes to book cons/Worldcon.” I don’t agree this holds with the PR that WC/WSFS puts out re: the Hugos…but that doesn’t mean people who have been involved in and voting for the Hugos for years don’t feel this way. Their concerns need to be addressed.

    4)2 – Cheaper memberships – I would like to point out that Sad Puppy Mad Mike Williamson is probably the first to promote this idea. 🙂 (No, not all the good ideas are ours, but we do have some.) OTOH, I have seen some pushback that there is a non-negliable cost associated with setting up the distance website, prepping the nomination packet, etc. I agree with the sentiment, but hold that the economics of it would have to drive whether or not we do this.

    4)3 – Partnership memberships with other cons – I myself see no downsides to this (aside from 4.1 above) and would appreciate it, because to the extent I have one, my “hometown” con is Dragon*con, and I’m not likely to give up on that in order to haul all the way to whereever Worldcon is. But others would likely have better, more informed opinions.

    Back to 3): To get to that point, I think it’s essential that all Tribes acknowledge their own responsibility for the whole fracas, tone down their rhetoric, and enter a dialogue about the things that they do see as positive in the other.

    Yes. And I say again – we didn’t get to this level of vitriol overnight. We’re not going to fix it tonight. But we do need to start, and we need to acknowledge up front that it is going to be a long process with compromise, hurt feelings, and stop, I am too pissed off to talk to you any more right now from both (all? yes, ALL) sides. We need to be willing to invest the time and be willing to accept temporary deadlocks in order to get to the best solution.

  179. “Sad Puppies 3 (and to a certain extent, Sad Puppies 2 and Sad Puppies 1) made the audacious claim that the totem for all, should be decided by all.”

    No. Sad Puppies made the claim that the totem for all should be decided by them, by your tribe, by you. The above quoted claim would have credence if you implored your tribe to buy WorldCon memberships and nominate WHATEVER THEY READ THAT THEY LOVED. Instead you put up a slate, and gamed the system. (“But it wasn’t against the rules”! No, not yet. Don’t forget the difference between legal and ethical.) Due to the idiosyncrasies of the Hugo nominating system, a relatively small number of your tribe (and I suspect it was actually more of Beale’s sycophants than SPs) was able to get your chosen slate to push off 85% of everybody else. I suspect that none of this would have happened if you had merely encouraged your readers and fellow travelers to nominate WHAT THEY READ THAT THEY LOVED without putting forth a specific chosen slate, because that’s how you encourage inclusiveness and diversity, not by engineering a takeover.

    Your failure, indeed your refusal, to realize and acknowledge this is the crux of the problem. You pushed out almost everyone else. Also, authors who are wholly deserving of consideration for a Hugo are withdrawing their nominations not because they’re “being bullied,” but because they want nothing to do with you. Also, in a big way, they want nothing to do with Theodore Beale. No matter how many times you say “WE ARE NOT VOX!” you’re kind of stuck with him, aren’t you? By virtue of your including him in your tribe no matter how many times you deny him, you are tainted by his presence and his actions, no matter how noble you may have thought and truly believed your initial efforts were. You say you don’t want to destroy the Hugo Awards and I believe you. But he does, and he’s a problem for you too.

    It’s probably a foregone conclusion at this point that the Hugo rules will be changed to prevent voting slates from taking over the nominations as soon as the rules are allowed to take effect. If you want to encourage more diversity, then encourage more people who feel as you do to truly become more involved, and to nominate and vote for what they read and what they loved.

  180. Sean Clancy; you are either really stupid or really dishonest. It is YOUR refusal to realize and acknowledge that what you accuse the Puppies of doing THIS YEAR is what your “tribe” has been doing to the Hugos since the 80s.

    Now that you got a black eye ONCE, you’re crying like an entitled brat and trying to re-engineer the system to make sure that you will continue to do exactly what you’re blaming the Puppies for doing. Because it’s only bad if people in the OTHER tribe do it, it’s OF COURSE perfectly reasonable when WE do it. Plus, you only recognize one tribe, the “Not Us” tribe.

    To top all that off, you don’t realize that the more you very transparently do that, the more you PROVE THE PUPPIES WERE RIGHT ALL ALONG. YOU are the ones who took over the Hugos and ran them into the ground years ago, and now YOU are the ones who are threatening to desecrate the corpse if you don’t get to have your way with them into perpetuity, and YOU are the ones who are carrying on like shrieking harpies and making preposterous false and insulting and absurd false equivalencies about ethics and morality.

    You are continually behind. The more you attempt to hang on to your corrupt grip on the Hugos, the more you shoot yourselves in the foot. We’re already at the point where the best case end game for you is that you manage to keep hold of the awards, by simply seizing them and changing the rules so that they no longer even have the false appearance of being a democratically chosen award by the fans that they will have become such a toxic albatross around your neck that nobody will ever actually want one.

    Then again, that’s not such a far cry from where they already are anyway.

  181. Yes. And I say again – we didn’t get to this level of vitriol overnight. We’re not going to fix it tonight. But we do need to start, and we need to acknowledge up front that it is going to be a long process with compromise, hurt feelings, and stop, I am too pissed off to talk to you any more right now from both (all? yes, ALL) sides. We need to be willing to invest the time and be willing to accept temporary deadlocks in order to get to the best solution.

    On that note, keranih, I’m going to cease debating these issues here, and instead, with your permission, re-issue our conclusions as my final blog post on the matter (crediting you, of course).

  182. Keranih, let me know if you want to be credited by name, and if so, by what name. I’d also like to give you a peek at the post before I throw it out into the world. I’d rather not post my contact info here, but you can reach me through my website or through Twitter (@florismk).

  183. Speaking of tribes: a few months ago Brad’s name came up on Whatever (can’t remember why) and I noted that Brad was generally civil and would be probably be welcome to comment anytime. John immediately chimed in to agree that Brad would always be welcome, based on past performance. I also said that I can see why rational people don’t spend a huge amount of time arguing with people, right or wrong, they are probably not going to convince I know it will shock you to learn that many other people there were not so charitable to Mr. Torgersen.

    Of course, that was before the current kerfuffle; so I don’t know what Scalzi would say today. But I still wish you smooth sailing and that someone, somewhere will pray to St. Jude for the SPs. I never saw any grand problem with your tactics. That said, VD and his RPs may have burned the house down; so maybe it’s going to be hard for anyone to live in it. And scavenging for resources always brings out the best in people 🙂

  184. bobalib and others:

    It is true the Marines are part of the Department of the Navy. Specifically, the Marines are the Men’s Department.

  185. Well, Sean makes it pretty clear. It doesn’t matter what SP do, it will be wrong. Last year there was just a couple of off-script nominees and it was the Armageddon of World Con, so just voting in a couple of fan favorites will still be wrong. Doing it different now will make no difference. Making a real effort to nominate an ideologically diverse slate as was done this year is meaningless. It’s wrong. All the demands to disavow Vox were lies. There’s no point in disavowing him because he can’t be disavowed. In effect, all the oh so moderate suggestions about what ought to be done to avoid bad feeling… we’re done, one time or another. There was still bad feeling.

    The thing really is… “get really involved and nominate who you love in the future” means…. if you blend in so well that no one NOTICES YOU… then you’ll be welcome. But it sure makes Sean sound like a reasonable guy.

    Because you know what happens if everyone just quietly votes for their favorite and some stinky bad-author get’s his non-literature bad-think urban fantasy monster fest space opera colonial apologist best seller novel in there?

    Yeah… another Armageddon of World Con.

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  187. “Both Gamergate and the Sad Puppies are rejecting the right of these cliques to determine what is and isn’t part of their respective fandoms….The only reason they appear to manifest differently at the moment is because the Sad Puppies are fighting with the clique for control of the Hugos- by definition, a zero-sum game- whereas Gamergate is fighting not to be driven out of its own fandom.”

    @Sterling,
    Fair point. You might say that in all of the cases I mentioned (Sad Puppies, GamerGate, and the ongoing conflict over Hacker culture) are examples of sub-cultures attempting to defend their values and associations against sanctimonious fools. Of course, it is not a given that a sub-culture has a right to exist, or that its values are noble, but it has been my perception that in all three of these cases there have been very well-reasoned defenses against the SJW cultural imperialism. Your mentioning of GamerGaters fighting not to be driven out of their fandom is quite reminicient of this piece by Meredith Patterson (https://medium.com/@maradydd/when-nerds-collide-31895b01e68c).

    I know not everyone here is a conservative, but in these sorts of situations my mind keeps coming back to one of the canons of conservative thought by Russell Kirk:
    “Affection for the proliferating variety and mystery of human existence, as opposed to the narrowing uniformity, egalitarianism, and utilitarian aims of most radical systems.”

  188. Christopher M. Chupik said: “This is a really good post, Brad. Sadly, the opposition will glance at the byline and dismiss it as “hate speech”. Their loss.”

    Oh, the irony. I’m a Puppy Kicker, as in, I paid $40 to vote the anti-puppy slate. I’m reading a bit of Corriera and Torgersen as “due diligence”, checking my pre-conceptions against multiple direct observations.

    Torgersen wrote a good essay, and the “Defend the Totem!” imagery seems a valid analogy from what I’ve seen on GRR Martin’s site. Torgersen and Corriera have this much right: Worldcon cannot stay intentionally small and tribal, and simultaneously maintain a valid claim that their totem is the Big Totem of Fandom. Not fair, not consistent.

    I’ve already advised Mr. Torgersen to go to hell, for defining SFF (in his Nutty Nuggets essay) in terms which exclude, among others, Heinlein, Le Guin, Asimov and Clarke. (Those authors wrote heavily message-driven stories, some of which lacked the essential Nutty Nugget flavor, “protagonist excels at violence and consequently gets rewarded with sex”.) But one can be immature about the parameters of SFF, and still make accurate observations about human nature.

    And then along comes Mr. Chupik, who reads an essay on tribalism, and then immediately, pre-emptively dismisses the possibility that ANYONE in THE OTHER TRIBE could READ FOR MEANING.

    Well, the *principles* of Torgersen’s essay appear to have slid through Mr. Chupik’s mind without making any impression on the contents, but he sure gives us a *demonstration* of knee-jerk tribal loyalty. Mr. Chupik, if you ever need an even simpler way of patting yourself and Torgersen and your whole tribe on the back, *but not anyone else*, you can always fall back on this: “SAD PUPPIES GOOD! SJWS BAD! SAD PUPPIES GOOD! SJWS BAD!”

    If you need to simplify it yet further: Sad Puppies have four legs, and SJWs have two.

    I assume you won’t catch the reference to Orwell’s “Animal Farm”. Orwell was a liberal, a Social Justice Warrior (literally, in the Spanish Civil War). Therefore, your tribal loyalty requires you to pre-emptively dismiss his work as boring message-heavy self-hating-white-male junk.

  189. Well Riley, I am not Chris Chupik but I will try to politely address some of your concerns
    Your first concern is that he dismissed the puppy haters as people who would not read the post but would dismiss it as hate speech. He forgot those who would skim til offended. He also feels that the number who would read with an open mind would be limited. This is true whether you are a Sad Puppy or a Puppy Hater. It is a human thing. All of us bring our preconceived notions to any work. Very few are unable to read something without that view coloring our reading, in worst case scenarios it absolutely warps it into something the author cannot recognize.

    As for your feelings about what the Nutty Nuggets post said, I would suggest rereading it because you obviously didn’t understand it. The argument wasn’t that there shouldn’t be message , no was it your assertion that stories should be protagonist is thug. The assertion in the post was that message should be wrapped in an actual story, well crafted enough to enjoy. And having a message was not enough to be worthy of being called a story.
    Not on Animal Farm and 1984, they were warnings, not instruction manuals

  190. Curtis@10:56
    Culotta , heh, I thought I was the only one who had read his stuff here in the States… back in jr. college in the early ’60’s.

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  192. The first part of that essay was not well written and fascinating, thank you. I think I’m going to send that to my little girl.

    But the thing is, I’m not sure if was in any way an answer to the question GRRM was asking. Unless the part about NYC hipsters looking down on UT Mormons was it? Please correct me if I’m wrong (not written in a snarky tone of voice, I promise) but it appears you are saying ‘both sides do it, so it’s okay’. We’re you aiming somewhere else?

  193. “Steve Davidson and Teresa Nielsen-Hayden talk like anti-Amnesty Republicans!”

    Perhaps those Republicans who argue in scare quotes on grandstands, but those who are against amnesty because they want to maintain rule of law are rather more like Sad Puppies, hoping that rules apply equally to everyone.

    Of course, it’s easy to lump them together if you’re coming from the view that those pesky Republicans are all eeeeevil racist meanies. *Of course* they are all wrongthinking jerks, why bother actually understanding the arguments? More tribalism, then. 🙂

    Great article, Mr. Torgersen. I’ll be spreading it around. I have interests in GamerGate and Science Fiction, and it seems that’s the place to start, but really, this is good anywhere.

  194. sanfordbegley says: “Well Riley, I am not Chris Chupik but I will try to politely address some of your concerns”
    Thank you! (Perhaps it would be more flattering to take your decency for granted, but these days and these venues, any decency merits a tip of the hat.)

    “Your first concern is that he dismissed the puppy haters as people who would not read the post but would dismiss it as hate speech. He forgot those who would skim til offended.”
    Insofar as he dismissed every puppy-hater who *isn’t* willing to find out what Sad Puppies say in their own words, then he’s absolutely right to dismiss them. (And they won’t ever know, anyways.)
    Insofar as he dismisses those who ONLY skim until offended, well, that’s reasonable too. I didn’t stop reading when I hit his comment; I noted it, kept reading, then returned to comment on it.

    Insofar as he dismisses those puppy-haters who read, who ponder, who learn, and who might even build usefully on Torgersen’s work, then he’s demonstrating the *worst* of what Torgersen describes, rather than *learning* from what Torgersen is saying. He might as well assert that liberal geneticists will never make use of a sequence which conservative geneticists have isolated. He’s bleating like the sheep on Animal Farm: us good, them bad!

    “He also feels that the number who would read with an open mind would be limited.” Well, yes, it’s limited. There’s an limit of seven billion, assuming only humans are pro-puppy or anti-puppy. There’s a likely limit of around a thousand, taking full and supporting Worldcon memberships as a rough estimate of the number of interested humans. The actual number might be on the order of a hundred. He’s saying zero. There’s a significant difference between zero and nonzero.

    “As for your feelings about what the Nutty Nuggets post said (snip)… The assertion in the post was that message should be wrapped in an actual story, well crafted enough to enjoy. And having a message was not enough to be worthy of being called a story.”
    That’s one of many assertions in the Nutty Nuggets essay. It wasn’t the only one. (There are numbers other than one and zero!) The essay also asserted that when a book has a space ship on the cover, the story should include daring, broad-chested men and buxom women. Thus, “2001” does not qualify. It has a space ship on the cover, and a space ship in the story, and it has a pointed message (much blunter in the book than in the movie), and also a decently-written story… but it does not match Torgersen’s lengthy descriptions of Nutty Nuggets.

    I hope that Torgersen was exaggerating for effect. (I also hope he ponders and clarifies his position.) Heinlein’s “They” is a gem, and includes no action. Terry Bison’s “They’re Made of Meat”, likewise, just an explanation and a decision. If Torgersen can’t understand how some SFF fans absolutely love those short stories, then that’s his loss.

    ***

    Maximillian says: “Please correct me if I’m wrong (not written in a snarky tone of voice, I promise) but it appears you are saying ‘both sides do it, so it’s okay’. We’re you aiming somewhere else?”

    Torgersen can speak to that with more authority than I can, but for the moment: I saw aim somewhere else. I saw him encourage the Steve Barnes approach. If I understand correctly, he and Barnes say: don’t just blindly follow tribal urges; recognize them, understand them, and where appropriate, claim them, and consciously edit them. Torgersen mentioned how his wife can and does “pass” differently, just by changing hairstyle. Thus, she can make conscious choices about what tribal signals she sends, and she can make conscious, rational, moral decisions about what extent she identifies with each of the “available” tribes. (Not so, Mr. Torgersen?)

    The armed forces hammer their recruits through a tribal template. Those members not bright enough to recognize the process, will still be changed, enough that they fire at the designated target, rather than at each other. The brighter ones recognize this process and can name it – “black, white, whatever, we’re all (olive) green in this unit.” The brightest ones understand the process at a structural level, and make conscious, rational, moral decisions. See also, the banter in this thread about the relationship between Navy and Marines; they are allied-but-rival tribes. A jarhead might call a Navy man a “squid” while on base, and yet risk his life for that squid when the chips are down.

    The protagonists of Heinlein’s “Space Cadet” and “Starship Troopers” take this process into explicit, conscious consideration. Juan Rico identifies as a Grunt, a tribe which grumbles as it follows the orders of the Officer tribe. He thinks through the implications of citizenship, he recognizes that he can better serve his nation by entering OCS, and he *intentionally changes his tribal identity*. There’s a brief passage in which he’s told that a cadet isn’t an Army soldier; he finds this deeply disconcerting, until his OCS instructor explains that if he dies as a cadet, his old “tribe” will reclaim him, and he’ll be buried as a member of the Roughnecks. The structure is being explained to him, and yet Heinlein makes sure that the reader gets a reminder of just how emotionally deep his tribal identity goes. A few pages away, there’s mention of a bar brawl between Army and Navy; two allied-but-rival tribes, blowing off steam in a ritual, intentionally non-lethal combat. (It’s fairly clear that the Army side could have escalated to lethal unarmed combat, but they don’t, because Army and Navy are rivals, not enemies.)

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  198. One time Kowal wrote “here are some ways in which I have discovered that I am racist. It shames me… I had food delivered and the Latino delivery guy spoke perfect English. I was stunned.”

    That doesn’t make someone a racist for God’s sake! That just makes you a pseudo-intellectual that REALLY needs to get out more.

    Now the realization that one has led an overly sheltered life isn’t as “exciting” as the self-revelation that one is “racist”; but it is much more accurate. It’s also a lot better for society as a whole. Expanding one’s social circle is much better than accusing everyone of racism at the drop of a hat.

    I have a friend. His 12-year-old daughter is very bright, goes to an excellent school, and is well educated. She came home from school one day and said “Did you know that Martin Luther King was really, really racist?” Well after my friend picked his jaw up off the floor, he asked his daughter a few questions. The kids had seen Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in class, and Dr. King used the words “Negro” and “Colored”. To the kids, that was literally the textbook definition of a racist. Given that they have grown up seeing celebrity after celebrity having their careers destroyed for using the wrong word, this makes perfect sense. The kids have seen so many CNN stories about “____ suspended for racist remark”, it’s really not surprising.

    Problem is, this does a huge dishonor to the victims of REAL racism, people like the SGL at Brad’s NCO school, and his dead relatives. The kids have no idea of how noxious and evil racism really is.

    Racism, REAL racism is a hateful, brutal, evil, literally murderous thing. It is a spirit that takes a unique, valuable human being and says to it “You are a lesser being. You do not have the rights of a Human, because you are not a Human. You are an Untermensch. You have no right to respect, to freedom, to decent treatment, to life. Generations of people have worked, and suffered, and sometimes died in order to stamp it out. Even more generations have suffered as victims of racism. To take such an evil and hateful thing and “water it down” to a simple vocabulary error, is an offense to all those who have fought, or suffered at the hands of, real racist.

  199. Brad, I must thank you for this post. You helped me understand the torment I was subject to as a child and even as an adult. I wasn’t a member of their tribe(s). What I learned here will shape the rewriting of my book.

    I do hope the Hugo issue is resolved. Their choices have become so bad, trying new SF/F without a recommendation from someone I trust (previously one of my favourite adventures), too often results in a political treatise set in the stars instead of a good book.

    Drusilla Barron
    http://lovedasif.com

  200. Racism, REAL racism is a hateful, brutal, evil, literally murderous thing. It is a spirit that takes a unique, valuable human being and says to it “You are a lesser being. You do not have the rights of a Human, because you are not a Human. You are an Untermensch. You have no right to respect, to freedom, to decent treatment, to life. Generations of people have worked, and suffered, and sometimes died in order to stamp it out. Even more generations have suffered as victims of racism. To take such an evil and hateful thing and “water it down” to a simple vocabulary error, is an offense to all those who have fought, or suffered at the hands of, real racist.

    “Evil begins when you begin to treat people as things.” – Sir Terry Pratchett

    Treating people as other than individuals (of which true racism is a subset) is, in the end, always going to end up at hateful, brutal evil.

    “because one man is always the dead – and two million is always just a statistic” – quote often mistakenly attributed to Josef Stalin

  201. Reblogged this on Bill Peschel and commented:
    I try not to get political on this site, and I don’t think I cross the line here, but I want to share Brad R. Torgersen’s thoughts on the differences between racism and tribalism, and his experiences in an interracial marriage. It dovetails neatly with my experiences and thoughts on the subject.

    As he says, we are all members of tribes. Some are self-created, and some are products of genetics and culture. Recognizing that they exist can help us understand why we react in certain social situations, why we shy away from some people and become attracted to others. If we can add to this a little understanding and forgiveness, that would go a long way to defusing problems before they become worse.

  202. Brad Togerson:

    What does tribal “belonging” imply about “diversity”
    If you look around the world at those nations whose political borders were created willy-nilly as a result of colonialism ( e.g. in Africa, the Mid East) or as a result of war (e.g., Belgium, Canada, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Czechoslovakia, etc)., you will see that “diversty” ultimately leads to conflict, or at best, a sort of resentful tolerance. (Just ask Western Canadians what they think of the Quebecois, or ask the Flemish of N.Belgium what they think of the French Belgians in S.Belgium).
    Sometimes a breakup is peaceful as we saw when the Czech Republic and Slovakia split. Sometimes it is not (e.g., Yugoslavia).

    Here in the USA when assimilation of immigrants was a given, tribal affiliations became subordinate to their new tribe – Americans. And these immigrants welcomed membership into this new tribe.

    This is no longer the case. Assimilation today is a dirty word, on par with genocide and imperialism.

    As more and more immigrants from Central America and Mexico cross into the USA – with no desire to assimilate and at best, totally ignorant of our founding documents or more likely, contempt for traditional American values and customs, we can expect that much of the SW USA will separate from the USA.
    And when millions of these hispanics desire to do this, there is absolutely nothing that anyone can do about it. Think about it; if hispanics become the majority of voters in AZ, NM, TX and CA., and they vote to make Spanish the official tongue and they vote to make Mexican Independence Day an official state holiday , and the vote pro-Mexican hispanics into the US Senate, etc., this WILL lead to chaos, if not outright violence.

    If assimilation does not occur (and it will not) , then the USA, at best, will resemble Canada or Belgium, or at worst, we will reprise the Yugoslav experience.

    If anybody wonders why liberal progressives (i.e., socialists, communists) want open borders, consider their attitudes about capitalism, the history of the USA, and our political and economic system. Recall that these same progressives had/have a VERY warm spot in their hearts for the USSR , Cuba and present day Venezuela.

  203. Mr. Correira is right. You really are a nice guy that wants to redeem.

    It’s refreshing…especially since you’re discussing those lily-livered liberal hypocrites.

  204. JohnTyler says: “Here in the USA when assimilation of immigrants was a given, tribal affiliations became subordinate to their new tribe – Americans. And these immigrants welcomed membership into this new tribe.”

    Nope. You’re referring to a Golden Era of Days Past which never existed. The world may have seemed simpler, better and more comfortable when you were young, but that’s because you were young, not because it was a better place for everyone.

    There were immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries who worked hard to learn English, and to understand the Constitution; there are some now. There were also immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries who knew they would never be welcome in “polite society” no matter what they learned, and who learned just enough English to work in the mines and on the railroads. There were immigrants at Ellis Island who bit their tongue when the guards gave them an English-phoneme-compatible name, not because they welcomed membership in their new tribe, not because they were happy to lose their ancestral family name, but because that was the only option which allowed survival. I grudgingly go along with how most Anglophones mangle the spelling and pronunciation of my family name, because they don’t know any better and I can’t teach every one of them.

    Those are historical facts. There’s a kind of conservative who doesn’t care about historical facts which aren’t conveniently aligned with the moral superiority of the English-descended population. Are you one of those? Which matters more, “morning again in America” or hard facts?

    There’s another kind of conservative who faces facts, and who retains conservative principles and loyalties, but gains a complex, non-white-washed worldview. Torgersen is one of them (see above article, and how your kind of people react to his wife). AFAIK, Correia is one of those. (Not that he has a lot of choice, given his Portuguese background.) Heinlein was one of those. (See: Juan Rico, of the Mobile Infantry.) Vox Day is not.

    Of all immigrants, from various continents, you make a sweeping generalization about those from south of the Rio Grande. You’re ignoring the historical reality that there were lots of Spanish-speakers in Texas and in California when English-speakers conquered those territories. I’m not objecting to the conquest itself; vae victis. I’m pointing out the difference between a Spanish-speaker who comes to the border and asks “may I please enter your nation”, and a Spanish-speaker who wakes up to find that the border has changed and new overlords have arrived. The Saxons, in the years after 1066, didn’t joyfully assimilate into Norman culture; Norman conquerors and Saxon subjects ended up with a mixed language; why do you expect anything to happen differently, this time around?

  205. What are the off-duty white cop’s assumptions — regarding the young black male and his potential tribe?

    ITYM “inferences”. The cop sees signals (data), and makes inferences about the data represents. The inferences are based on his previous experience with people putting out those signals.

  206. A further thought on JohnTyler’s post:
    ” if hispanics become the majority of voters in AZ, NM, TX and CA., and they vote to make Spanish the official tongue and they vote to make Mexican Independence Day an official state holiday , and the vote pro-Mexican hispanics into the US Senate, etc., this WILL lead to chaos, if not outright violence.”

    There is, unfortunately, a precedent for that. There is a set of American states, which put the flag of another nation on their state capitols, and which celebrate the holidays of that nation, and which also practice chronic, ongoing racial/tribal violence. Confederate Memorial Day is a state holiday in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina and of course Texas. The Confederate flag is a declaration of armed insurrection, and yet the other states allow entry of vehicles which bear that flag on their license plates. Those states have often voted white supremacists into the US Senate; and that also has resulted in chaos, and outright violence, even resulting in the deployment of the 101st Airborne in the 1950s against a renewed outbreak of open insurrection. Alas, treason trials did not follow. They should have, followed by hangings.

  207. calbeck says: “Seriously, if Yams is with the opposition? We have the moral high ground completely sewn up, Vox and all.”

    Correia has made an analogy with the alliance between Churchill, FDR and Stalin; that doesn’t mean that the moral bar of Stalin is the highest bar to which you should aspire.

    The presence of evil on one side, does not prove the presence of good on the other. There’s a difference between “we’re not the lowest” and “we’re above the Plimsoll line”.

  208. Riley says:
    April 18, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    You’re ignoring the historical reality that there were lots of Spanish-speakers in Texas and in California when English-speakers conquered those territories.

    Not really. The “Mexican” populations of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California were very small. In 1850, after the Gold Rush, California had 92,597 residents of whom 62,575 were born out of state. That leaves only 31,000 possible Californios. There were 61,547 people in New Mexico; nearly all these would have been Mexican.

    Texas is more complex; it had 212,592 people, of whom 92,828 were born out of state, and 17,690 were born “outside the U.S.” It’s not clear whether the latter number includes people born in territory subsequently acquired by the U.S. However, there were several U.S. Senators and Representatives from Louisiana, Texas, and California who were born there before U.S. acquisition. They had to be citizens, but were never “naturalized”; so they had to be considered retroactively “born in the U.S.A.” Thus those 17,690 would be immigrants, nearly all from Europe (e.g. the Germans of the Adelsverein colony). That leaves about 93,000 possible Tejanos – and since Texas had been predominantly Anglo since before the 1836 revolution, a lot of native-born Texans were Anglo.

    Adding all three groups together, there were at most 160,000 Mexicans in the area which the U.S. acquired – a very small number for that vast expanse (948,000 sq mi). By 1860, Texas and California had 984,000 people, and the Mormons were filling up Utah.

    There’s no real connection between this handful of hispanophones at the time of annexation and the millions of recent immigrants.

  209. And a good few of the Texas Hispanics (or Tejanos) were inclined to be on the Federalista side of the Federalista-Centralista confict … which basically was about the first in the ongoing series of Mexican civil wars after Mexico achieved independence from Spain. Short version – the fight was between those who (Federalists) who wanted to have something very like the United States, with a small federal establishment and more or less independent states, and those (Centralists) who wanted an authoritative, top-down centralized rule from Mexico City. When General Lopez de Santa Anna turned and declared himself essential dictator (abrogating the 1824 Constitution) a good few of the Mexican states rebelled. Texas was the only one who managed to make it stick.
    The German Adelsverein immigrants added about 8,000 to the Republic of Texas in the late 1840s – filling up counties which had essentially been empty. The thing which kept Mexico from settling Texas in any strength – was sheer distance, and that the various native Indian tribes were extremely hostile.
    It’s all kind of nuanced and complicated – and I’ve gone into it in my books about early Texas – including the Adelsverein Trilogy.

  210. Rich Rostrom says: “Not really. The “Mexican” populations of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California were very small… (snip) Texas is more complex…”

    CeliaHayes says: “It’s all kind of nuanced and complicated…”

    Your statements so far indicate a detailed understanding of the overall history. I’d rather learn from you than entrench.

    Does your knowledge and understanding of the situation lead you to share JohnTyler’s prediction that “much of the SW USA will separate from the USA”?

    I live in California, near San Francisco. I find a Spanish-speaking “take-over” implausible. There might be enough demographic change that we go even more officially multi-lingual, but state law (and Apple Macintosh documentation) is still gonna be written in English and then translated into Spanish. Signs written in Spanish may appear more often, on roadsides and so forth, *supplementing* signs in English, but they won’t *supplant* signs in English.

    English is my first language. I speak enough Spanish to communicate with my Spanish-first-language neighbors. (Though sometimes their English is more useful than my Spanish.) I neither fear nor hate them. Should I?

  211. Thanks, Riley – if you have a taste for historical fiction with a lot of research underlying the story, then look at The Adelsverein Trilogy – I’m on Amazon and it’s also available as a Kindle edition. That covers the German settlement in some detail. Two local historical museums in New Braunfels and Fredericksburg also stock them – and I’ve done talks to historical groups as well. Daughter of Texas goes into the situation in Texas which led up to the war for Independence. Stephen Harrigan in Gates of the Alamo also deals very extensively with the Federalista-Centralista situation as well.

  212. So noted. My favorite story on the general issue addressed by the Federalistas and Centralistas is old-school: “No Truce with Kings” by Poul Anderson. It’s heavy-handed message fiction, wrapped in an excellent story with bad-ass heroes!

    A more general version of my question about my Spanish-speaking neighbors:
    Are tribes generally intent on supplanting, dominating or destroying other tribes?
    We notice, when that happens; it demands our attention, and rightly so. But which is more common: aggression, or variations on this: “you stay on our side of the river, we’ll stay on ours, let’s meet every full moon to trade clay for wood, and let’s team up if wolves attack either of our herds.” Do most Navy squids actually hate leathernecks, or is that more tongue-in-cheek? IMO, when that rivalry turns to actual hatred and inter-service sabotage, then things have gone badly wrong.

    JohnTyler describes immigrants from south of the Rio Grande as “at best, totally ignorant of our founding documents or more likely, contempt for traditional American values and customs”. If so, then my distant cousin Juan Diego Perez Vargas is an exception; he came from Jalisco to the US to learn advanced architecture methods, and he understands that those methods are part of a cultural package deal. Do tribes, more often than not, hold contempt for the ways of other tribes? Or is that perhaps how JohnTyler sees all other tribes, and thus how he expects other tribes to see his?

  213. Grateful for the perceptive and informative somewhat roaming musings . Granted, tribalism .i.e the biases and behavior attitudes toward our own ever changing group/ groups, we belong to; -pride of its exclusivity , specialness, uniqueness ,blessing by our special and true deity-versus our attitudes towards the adjoining -itself ever-changing- enemy tribe , perceived as evil, perfidious , untrustworthy and which is believing in false deity, is a fact. Granted that tribalism is hard wired in our brain from our evolutionary past .Granted that it is useful for the cohesiveness of our own tribe, fostering cooperation and harmony of its members for the success of collective efforts ,- social animals as we are-! .Granted that tribalism is augmented by the rules and promptings of our institutions.
    Granted that it is manipulated and guided by the self serving for maintaining power ,chieftains ,using powerful slogans resonating well with the tribe’s members ( Where often ideology tramps self-survival like ;”detonate taped bomb taped in your body, kill enemy we will then call, you martyr” !). Granted that is aided and a-baited by powerful for profit interests (War industry, minor chieftains/functionaries/politicos ,religious leaders ). The conundrum it raises is this ; How we can deal with its destructive part , fast becoming perilous and in a collision cource with modernity ? As we continue to behave as if we still are a small band in the Savannah ,throwing rocks and spears at the adjoining small group ,instead of the possible cluster bombs and A-ones.And an additional question ; How we quickly we can get rid or , modify these attitudes in order and collectively be able , and again right -quick ,to address problems we ourselves have created ?like global warming, destruction of biodiversity, lopsited distribution of wealth and resources . overpopulation and others ?
    Any advise and helpful comments will be appreciated . A clue ; none of the above are embedded in cement ; The swiss had not a war for several centuries ..

  214. Mr. T.
    This post is just great. After reading it, and the last several days of other posts/comments/etc exploding around the dubyadubyaInterWebZ regarding SP3G8, this seems an even more accurate appraisal of the situation. Good Stuff Here.
    Also getting a great list of new writers to sample!

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  216. That said, I always thought SF&F was about _inclusion_. – Barb Caffrey

    Well, there’s your mistake. It’s not about “inclusion”. Nor is it about “diversity”. Nor is it about “exclusion.” It’s understandable that you might think it’s about inclusion, what with all the falderol about inclusion during the New Wave and such.

    Science Fiction and Fantasy are about, well, “what if”. Anybody who tries to make it about more than that is treading on risking ground, because its very difficult to make it about more, without losing the “what if”.

    THAT’S what Sad Puppies is about. Not about inclusion or exclusion or diversity (IED), but about how those attempting to pursue IED are blowing the hell out of things and making it so nobody wants to travel the road to the stars or the trail to Chimera Keep.

  217. The swiss had not a war for several centuries . – Nicholas P.
    They have done so not because they have set tribalism aside, but because they have formed their own hedgehog tribe. A delicate balance of tribal interests, both within the Swiss tribe and relative to the surrounding tribes, has been maintained.

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  219. I realize that no one is going to go back here to see this but… They took up a collection and sent money and stuff from Albuquerque to the New England revolutionaries… ie., George Washington. So certainly it was settled here, and there was a city here, before the United States even existed or had gained independence from England. Now, when I’ve heard it, this was presented as ideological for the cause (I think there was also funds and assistence sent to New England from Cuba?) but mostly I think it had to do with poking England and her policy of supporting privateers raiding on Spain in the eye.

  220. I’ve been reading SFF for fifty years, from Asimov and Zelazny to Willis and Abercrombie. The authors who got me started – more Clarke than Ellison – are all gone, so I have had to pick up others along the way. “Nebula winner” and “Hugo winner” were a means of meeting new names.
    Some years ago, I noticed that the awards had become more Ellison than Clarke, and I had to find a different method. Thank God for Amazon!
    Quite a few years ago, a “free ebooks” search – it might have still been Alta Vista – took me to the Baen Free Library. I read everything there, and ended up buying a couple hundred books from Baen authors. For a while, I chatted on the Bar, before I was banned for not being a Rambo/Ringo wannabe. (It’s interesting that Larry Correia uses “Barflies” without explanation, while George R R Martin doesn’t recognize the word.)
    The Bar is a tribe, as Brad uses the word. And the whole Sad Puppies movement is a paranoid tribal reflex. It reminds me of fundamentalist Christians wailing about being persecuted, while riding roughshod on everyone around them. The Sad Puppy balloting reminds me of Red Map. Perfectly legal… but toxic for the institution in which it operates. (Correia recognizes the fact, and comes close to relishing it.)
    Sad…..

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