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"there is no neutrality when bigotry is the status quo"
August 17, 2013 2:08 PM   Subscribe

"So lately I haven’t talked about how infuriating it’s been to be told I was “asking for it” — “it” being Mr. Beale’s racist, sexist abuse and that of his commentariat. (What was I wearing? My skin.) I’ve watched ostensibly reasonable people ask whether it’s racist to call an entire group of people savages — no, really — and I haven’t talked about how nauseating that was. I’ve seen fellow SFWA members suggest that there must be room in the organization for white supremacy, misogyny, homophobia, and other forms of bigotry — because of course some members’ right to be assholes should trump all members’ right to operate in professional spaces free of harassment, intimidation, and abuse." -- Fantasy writer N. K. Jemisin comments on the recent sexism/racism crisis in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and her own role in the controversy. (previously).

A short recap: This particular controversy started with N. K. Jemisin's guest of honour speech at Continuum, an Austrialian sf con. She attacked for it by Theodore Bale (aka Vox Day), who called her uncivilised and a savage. This provoked a lot of protest and there were calls to expel Bale from the SFWA, of which he, like Jemisin herself was a member.

Last wednesday Bale was indeed expelled, though the press release the SFWA put out about it neither mentioned him nor the reasons for expulsion. Bale himself was less reticent (memetic prophylactic recommended).
posted by MartinWisse (88 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite

 
Last wednesday Beale was indeed expelled, though

Finally. Still, they did it.
posted by Artw at 2:12 PM on August 17, 2013 [13 favorites]


/wonders idly if Jerry Pournelle has exploded on the special secret sci-fi misogynists board yet.
posted by Artw at 2:13 PM on August 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ugh, that guy. I almost want to say MeFi should have a policy to not link to his site, kind of like Stormfront.
posted by infinitewindow at 2:20 PM on August 17, 2013 [14 favorites]


There's basically two kinds of misanthropes. The self-hating misanthrope ultimately hates himself, and hates everybody else for embodying the same failures, flaws, and weaknesses he sees in himself. The narcissistic misanthrope loves himself to the exclusion of all else, and hates everybody else for not being him. Vox Day is one of the purest examples of the latter type- literally any way in which you deviate from being Ted Beale is a reason to hate you.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:20 PM on August 17, 2013 [12 favorites]


Octavia Butler would approve.
posted by childofTethys at 2:23 PM on August 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


SFWA Sends a Message of Professionalism
posted by Artw at 2:26 PM on August 17, 2013


It's nice that the SFWA expelled Beale, but it's barely a start. I know it will take longer to, for instance, figure out what to do with the Bulletin, and perhaps internally there's information about what's happening, but it also risks being "leave it alone until people forget".

Don't miss the post explaining how Jemisin is totally racist just like Beale. (Comments are readable.)
posted by jeather at 2:33 PM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've been somewhat following this vile, loathsome creature's feud with MeFi's own JScalzi for a while. When Beale was expelled, John did this.
posted by Ber at 2:33 PM on August 17, 2013 [11 favorites]


Ted Beale (“Vox Day”) Expelled from SFWA - Will this expulsion qualify Beale for the Discoveroids’ list of creationist martyrs who have been Expelled? Probably not. But Vox has nothing to worry about. Although he’s out of SFWA, he’ll always have WorldNetDaily in his résumé.

Oh, and apparently in addition to not believing in evolution he apparently doesn't believe in rape. Charming guy.
posted by Artw at 2:38 PM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I’m Rejoining SFWA
posted by Artw at 2:40 PM on August 17, 2013


Don't miss the post explaining

Ugh, Shitterly. The bloke who put class in classless, always on hand to mansplain and whitesplain women and people of colour why their piddlin little problems should be left until the revolution has happened.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:00 PM on August 17, 2013 [14 favorites]


Oh, this bit of her letter is great:`

You don’t negotiate with a certain kind of terrorist unless you want to encourage more of the same, and you don’t pay the compliment of reasoned, adult discourse to a certain kind of bigot for the same reason.
posted by emjaybee at 3:01 PM on August 17, 2013 [11 favorites]


I couldn't resist reading the 'FAQ' on his site. Apparently, "Did you really choose a subtle-as-a-brick play on 'voice of God' as your pseudonym?" is not Frequently Asked, but "What's your I.Q.?" ('genius', predictably) and "Why do you prefer .40 cal ammunition?" are. Which suggests to me that only his intimates ask him any questions at all -- everyone else just backs carefully away.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:13 PM on August 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


and you don’t pay the compliment of reasoned, adult discourse to a certain kind of bigot for the same reason.

(On the other hand providing that reasoning for third parties, or at least providing a trail to an accessible source of that reasoning, is often incredibly helpful. I'm thinking of teens in particular here, but really for anyone un/miseducated and curious.)
posted by tychotesla at 3:16 PM on August 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


/wonders idly if Jerry Pournelle has exploded on the special secret sci-fi misogynists board yet.

Some of the people from that board are up on their Facebook soapboxes moaning about evil libruls who are too PC to understand complements on bodacious tatas and the like.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:17 PM on August 17, 2013


Of course they are, they love martyrs.

You can't even call SFWA all that proactive - he trolled the shit out of them, repeatedly, in indefensible ways. Even outside of being a shitty little bigot he gave them no chocie but to expell him. And still, the moaning will come...
posted by Artw at 3:19 PM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I had never heard of this Beale guy until today, and I am very sorry I clicked on that link and gave him another pageview.

How could one person be so obnoxiously wrong about everything?
posted by Alonzo T. Calm at 3:22 PM on August 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


My favorite thing about him is that he's basically an internet troll with a few self published books but he questions the professional writing credentials of Nebula winners.
posted by Artw at 3:25 PM on August 17, 2013 [13 favorites]


Generally, in many fan disputes I feel that people simply overreact.

After reading Ted Beale's rant, I want to wash my ears out. If it wouldn't cost honest booksellers, I'd honestly destroy his books on the shelf.

In some sense, I'd ignored this whole undercurrent, because many classic SF writers had rather reactionary political viewpoints but were extremely decent humans in person - Robert Heinlein being a good example here. I would like to try to be able to separate people's political beliefs from the rest of their being.

But, well, there's a point where you can't do that and that point was reached almost instantly in this dialog.

Frankly, Beale is doing his opponents a favor. He could have said much the same thing using weasel words and still stayed in the organization and even helped the calcification of the group. As it is, his bluntness forced action, and set an example.

Makes me happy that Mefi's own has been on the other side of this.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:30 PM on August 17, 2013 [8 favorites]


> Don't miss the post explaining

Actually, DO miss it. The guy does not devote even one single sentence to support putting Ms. Jemisin in the position he ascribes to her. Not one citation, reference or even fragment of a quote. Nothing.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:31 PM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've repeatedly seen authors embroiled in this privileging something that doesn't exist -- the right to speak without response -- over something that is widely acknowledged as a goal of professional organizations: to create an inclusive place where professionals can meet with a presumption that their position in their profession and their organization is not going to be undermined by bigotry.

I mean, it seems to me the decision came down to "will this organization be a passive supporter of abusive behavior that is liable to alienate a percentage of our membership" or "will we actually do what we claim the purpose of our organization is?"

Surprised it took so long, but I'm glad they're leaning in the direction of actually being a professional organization, instead of a clubhouse for writers to engage in knee-jerk defenses of privilege.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:44 PM on August 17, 2013 [14 favorites]


If it wouldn't cost honest booksellers, I'd honestly destroy his books on the shelf.

I don't think bookstores have ever actually carried Beale's novels. They're like self-published PoD or something. I think?
posted by Justinian at 3:56 PM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ugh, Shitterly. The bloke who put class in classless, always on hand to mansplain and whitesplain women and people of colour why their piddlin little problems should be left until the revolution has happened.

Heh. At least he's not a mefi's own anymore.

Good on the SFWA, though they still have a lot of work to do.
posted by rtha at 4:04 PM on August 17, 2013


I've worked in bookstores off and on since 2002, and have never actually seen a Vox Day book for sale.
posted by drezdn at 4:05 PM on August 17, 2013


Holy fuck. That Vox Day thing is astonishingly vile.

I'm used to seeing this sort of shitstorm over remarks that are merely problematic or ignorant or insenstive or whatever. (And to be clear, remarks like that sometimes do deserve a shitstorm!) So I was expecting to find more of that sort of thing here — and even still, to probably come to the conclusion that the guy was an asshole and deserved to be booted from the organization, because people who make a habit of going around saying problematic, ignorant, insensitive things all the damn time are a real problem and sometimes you've gotta do something.

But oh man. This guy. That shit was horrifying. That went beyond ignorant, beyond insensitive, even well beyond abusive. I have read Stormfront posts and heard speeches at KKK rallies that were subtler, gentler and less menacing.

Does anyone understand why it took more than two months — and by the sounds of it, a whole lot of debate and discussion — to get the guy kicked out of the organization? I'm not going to say I'm "shocked" or "startled" it took that long or whatever, because those words are so often used in hyperbole that they don't really work well here. I mean, I genuinely just don't understand what went wrong. How was there even any debate? What am I missing?
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 4:18 PM on August 17, 2013 [10 favorites]


The comments in that "I'm Rejoining SFWA" link include one from Kenton Kilgore that starts a mini-thread worth reading. He links his post "No Way to the SFWA" about how the SFWA's membership rules have so far failed to adapt to the new realities of self-publishing, which sparks a Canadian writer, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, to note SFWA's publications are far less useful to new authors than publications from other organizations on issues like contracts, taxes, using Kickstarter, etc:

I talked about this previously here: http://silviamoreno-garcia.com/blog/2013/06/future-of-the-bulletin/

Basically, I get other publications from other organizations and they are more useful. Writers Union of Canada has these little booklets called “Help Yourself to a Better Contract” or “Income Tax Guide for Writers.” Some of that technical stuff, some more interviews with agents and editors and publishers, some more ‘soft’ but intelligent coverage of spec (The State of Book Covers 2013, for example). There are many pertinent issues to writers nowadays, such as How Do You Run a Successful Kickstarter And Should You? that are not being explored. A bit more Publisher’s Weekly, a bit less fannish in short.


That 2nd link is worth reading, Moreno-Garcia is pretty thoughtful about what a *good* SFWA bulletin would regularly include.
posted by mediareport at 4:20 PM on August 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


What am I missing?

You're missing that SFWA had never before kicked anyone out of the organization. It's usually a lot harder and more time consuming to kick someone out for the first time than to kick out another in a string of people.
posted by Justinian at 4:30 PM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Stanislaw Lem was expelled from the SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America) in 1976. If they were capable of throwing out a towering figure in the history of sci fi, they should have had no trouble tossing out a vile little racist.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:40 PM on August 17, 2013 [8 favorites]


To be honest, Lem was never actually eligible to be a member.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:43 PM on August 17, 2013


Only semi-related, but I started reading around on Silvia Moreno-Garcia's blog and found this awesome post comparing V.C. Andrews to Lovecraft.
posted by emjaybee at 4:50 PM on August 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


To be honest, Lem was never actually eligible to be a member.

Sure he was. They had a category for writers who were ineligible for regular membership but would be welcomed as members anyway: Honorary membership. He was granted one of those.

Then, when he was published in America, he became eligible for regular membership, and the SFWA rescinded his honorary membership, which was widely seen as a rebuke of Lem due to his criticisms of American sci fi, and many authors, including Ursula K Le Guin, protested this.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:52 PM on August 17, 2013 [9 favorites]


Bruce Sterling on Lem and American SF.
posted by Artw at 5:07 PM on August 17, 2013 [12 favorites]


Protip: Substituting naughty words for syllables in people's names just makes you look like a 4th-grade bully.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 5:29 PM on August 17, 2013


And in the end, the furore over Lem's views may have been based on a gross misrepresentation of them which no-one bothered to check. (Scroll down to the third section, "Darko Suvin. What Lem Actually Wrote").

What is clear is that he was not kicked out of the SFWA, but rather had his honorary membership withdrawn when he became eligible for a regular membership.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:41 PM on August 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


All this battling must really cut into the writing of science fiction.
posted by cccorlew at 5:50 PM on August 17, 2013


And: Oh, John Ringo, really?
[previously]
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:54 PM on August 17, 2013


the furore over Lem's views may have been based on a gross misrepresentation of them which no-one bothered to check

Yeah, the translation issues (read: horrible, sensationalist translations of relatively reasonable things Lem wrote) are a big part of the reason Lem's sharp criticism of the genre was received so poorly in the English-speaking world in the mid-70s. The eight examples in George_Spiggott's link are pretty convincing, I think, in pointing out how Lem's words were twisted and exaggerated in a way almost guaranteed to inflame sentiment against him. Here's the first example:

1A. LEM'S TITLE. SF, or Phantasy Come to Grief.

1B. ATLAS TITLE. Looking down on Science Fiction: A Novelist's Choice for the World's Worst Writing.

1C. COMMENT. The Atlas title is offensive, and the subtitle is an affirmation that Lem nowhere makes.


The other examples make the case as well. Anyway, this has little to do with the current mess but it's probably important to keep the history straight.
posted by mediareport at 5:55 PM on August 17, 2013


Yeah, having an honorary membership withdrawn when someone becomes eligible for a regular membership isn't the same as expelling a member. The point I was making (which I think is valid) is that expelling someone for the first time in an organization's 50 year history is going to be a more drawn out process than expelling the tenth person. Because of the unprecedented nature.
posted by Justinian at 6:31 PM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Haha John Ringo with comments by Tom Kratman. Oh, Baen.

And yet they have published most of Bujold's work...
posted by Justinian at 6:36 PM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I feel like getting bogged down in the details of the Lem case misses the point. He was a member, they didn't like things he had to say, and they created the circumstances where he wasn't a member anymore. Whatever the specific details of the event, it's how he took it, and it's how a lot of members interpreted it.

And this was over him criticizing the quality of other writer's work, sort of. He never claimed another member was less than human. And I agree it is harder to expel a regular member than simply to revoke an honorary membership, as it is a new circumstance. But Vox Day has been a racist for years.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:57 PM on August 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm in no way claiming VD shouldn't have been expelled, I was just explaining to someone whose username is too long for me to remember why it took so long to expel him.
posted by Justinian at 7:24 PM on August 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Haha John Ringo with comments by Tom Kratman. Oh, Baen.

And yet they have published most of Bujold's work...


IRRELEVANT!!!!

(seriously, this is my new thing thanks to John Ringo. I am going to have a dinner party at my house and wait until someone is most of the way through a really interesting story. I will suddenly shout IRRELEVANT!!! and open up my refrigerator to reveal it is full of ammo boxes. Everyone will go home hungry).
posted by selfnoise at 7:24 PM on August 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


Does anyone understand why it took more than two months

Because sometimes it takes a while to clear up a bad case of VD.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:53 PM on August 17, 2013 [16 favorites]


Which suggests to me that only his intimates ask him any questions at all -- everyone else just backs carefully away.

I liked the allusion there, intended or not, that these are all just transcriptions of private conversations he's had with his own penis.
posted by mhoye at 8:10 PM on August 17, 2013 [8 favorites]


he's basically an internet troll with a few self published books but he questions the professional writing credentials of Nebula winners.

A solidly profitable business plan. He's probably rolling in sympathy dollars from his equally loathsome but less intelligent fans.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:19 PM on August 17, 2013


I'm totally digging the way the old guard of the SF writing community don't seem actually want to be a part of the future. "What do you mean, no hot, subservient space-chicks? No big phallic-symbol rocketships and white-flight moonbases? Fuck it, I'm out!"
posted by mhoye at 8:39 PM on August 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I first heard of VD aka Beale years ago via an excerpt of a "men's rights" rant of his that turned up on some political blog, can't remember which one. It was obvious within about two sentences that he's a nasty character, and nothing I've seen from or about him in the intervening years has contradicted that initial impression. To the SFWA, I say "better late than never."
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 8:58 PM on August 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I grew up in the SF con/skeptic community. There is an undercurrent in this subculture of the worship of pure logic, and the denigration of emotion. While logic is seen as masculine, emotion is seen as feminine. My experience as part of this community was that conventionally attractive women who espoused logic were accepted--and that acceptance had to do with being considered sexually appealing.

Without even realizing it, I tried to warp myself into that role for years. It culminated in a relationship with someone whose views were on the MRA spectrum, who became abusive--which does seem a logical outgrowth of such a mindset.

Also, I was creeped on by older men at every convention, and even at the Clarion SF Writers' Workshop I attended. I no longer am part of this community, nor do I have any desire to be. And I'm disheartened to know that this kind of crap is still going on years later, even more virulently. This "VD" person is aptly initialed because he certainly seems a social disease.
posted by xenophile at 9:13 PM on August 17, 2013 [11 favorites]


N.K. Jemisin is my fucking hero. Her political writing is great and Dreamblood is fantastic. (I haven't picked up Hundred Thousand Kingdoms yet because I'm waiting for all three to come out on audio so I can spend a week in bliss with them.)
posted by NoraReed at 9:22 PM on August 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


How could one person be so obnoxiously wrong about everything?

A butt-ton of narcissism helps.

Read his response letter, I'd love to see a psychiatrist's take on that thing.
posted by Fuka at 9:46 PM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've hovered around this thread for hours today, starting and thinking better of about a dozen different responses. But they all boil down to the same thing, so tl;dr: fuck that guy. Right in the ear. Beale/Vox Day is, without a doubt, the single most unpleasant person I have ever interacted with, online or off, and he's had this coming for a long time. I would say he's had professional consequences coming, but, well, he's not really a professional, is he? Not only is he a vanity-press hack, it looks like he only ever had the WND job because his daddy (a real piece of work himself) was a board member.

...okay, one last thing:
Beale holds the design patent[15] for WarMouse, a computer mouse with 18 buttons, a scroll wheel, a thumb-operated joystick, and 512k of memory
WARMOUSE
posted by Merzbau at 11:25 PM on August 17, 2013 [9 favorites]


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by Dysk at 12:28 AM on August 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Vox Day? What is this unholiday of a name?
posted by oceanjesse at 12:51 AM on August 18, 2013


and 512k of memory

It's all any mouse user will ever need.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:52 AM on August 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Jemisin is one of my favorite fantasy writers.

Incidentally, I was unfamiliar with Steven Gould (who has succeeded Scalzi as President of the SFWA) until last winter when something, maybe a post on Tor.com, turned me on to Jumper. Those three books are lots of fun, and so is his parallel universe book, Wildside. Also, he's in that surprisingly large ABQ/Santa Fe/Taos SFF writer community.

Bale is thoroughly noxious, but ultimately more an object of mockery than anything else. I'm more concerned with people like Ringo and his little cluster of fellow nuts at Baen.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:57 AM on August 18, 2013


So as someone who's only peripherally been following the ongoing saga that is the SWFA:

It seems like there have been a lot of these eruptions and I'd had the impression that there were systemic problems within the organization, or even within the genre itself -- there was that thread not too long ago where I learned that every writer my preteen self liked was apparently a sexist jerk for example...

...but now that I think back on all these it seems like every time, the one person who's making all the indefensibly horrible statements is the same guy. Has this all basically been just about Vox Day all along?
posted by ook at 4:37 AM on August 18, 2013


Now there are two (etc) asked, Does anyone understand why it took more than two months — and by the sounds of it, a whole lot of debate and discussion — to get the guy kicked out of the organization?

I am not an SFWA board member. (I'm a life member of the organization.)

I suspect it took time to expel Beale for three reasons:

a) Time taken to discuss him and decide expulsion was the right course of action (probably about 30 seconds, knowing various members of the BoD);

b) Time taken to determine the correct procedure for expelling him — probably quite a bit longer, because SFWA, in all its preceding half-century-plus of existence, has only once ever expelled a member before (and used a procedural loophole that was inapplicable in Beale's case, and caused a major internal rift in so doing because quite a lot of people thought that expelling Stanislaw Lem was the Wrong Thing To Do);

c) Time taken to consult lawyers and ensure that the procedure wouldn't give Beale an opportunity to sue the organization into a smoking hole in the ground. (Which I'm willing to bet accounted for the majority of the time.)

That it took so long is regrettable, but much less regrettable than it would have been if they'd given a troll an opportunity to sue a writers' organization into bankruptcy and line his own pocket in the process.

More to the point, it also draws a line in the sand—and suggests that any future crossing of that line may be responded to much faster.
posted by cstross at 5:25 AM on August 18, 2013 [33 favorites]


I'd have thought expelling Stanislav Lem was the wrong thing to do. Why did they do that?
posted by Grangousier at 5:38 AM on August 18, 2013


Huh. I see. Well, that's not a good precedent for anything, is it?
posted by Grangousier at 5:46 AM on August 18, 2013


...but now that I think back on all these it seems like every time, the one person who's making all the indefensibly horrible statements is the same guy. Has this all basically been just about Vox Day all along?

No, but he has been quite vocal and extra assholey. The original problems are described in a previous post, which were basically about how th SFWA in one of its professional publications gave room for a couple of sexist old goats to talk about lady writers and how well they looked in bikini.

So there's both a systemic problem (part of the membership is racist and sexist to some degree and inappropriately has gotten space to air this racism/sexism) and a personal one (VD being a racist asshole). The latter was easier to fix than the former.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:32 AM on August 18, 2013


Will Shetterly asks "a simple question for N. K. Jemisin and Vox Day—and any anti-racist or scientific sub-speciesist who wishes to answer"
VD answers.
posted by 445supermag at 6:41 AM on August 18, 2013


The systemic problem with SFWA is aggravated by the fact that authors tend to be old. It's a rare novelist who sells their first book before their early thirties, and the median age seems to be fifty-something. Yes, SFWA includes short story writers; they don't seem to skew notably younger, though. And it includes a bunch of old folks who retain membership through inertia.

Expecting an organization where the average age is around fifty (and a number of the oldsters are still fighting the cold war) to instantly and unanimously come around the social and political norms of Generation Y is a little bit optimistic. Nevertheless: progress happens (eventually).
posted by cstross at 6:42 AM on August 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


Plus the Mindeater.
posted by Artw at 6:48 AM on August 18, 2013


Will Shetterly asks "a simple question for N. K. Jemisin and Vox Day—and any anti-racist or scientific sub-speciesist who wishes to answer"

"Beale: You have some weird-sounding theories, let me know about them and express them to a wider audience. NK Jemisin: Your statement is about challenging status quos, but why do you hate white people, and how exactly would you kill them given the chance?"
posted by zombieflanders at 6:53 AM on August 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


I always thought that Vox Day (whom I heard of first on liberal blogs covering his antics at WorldNetDaily) had an extremely thin grasp on the difference between politics and fiction, or between reality and satire. In fewer words, he was batshit insane.
posted by bad grammar at 7:05 AM on August 18, 2013


zombieflanders - Since Shetterly's own answer to the question is "We need to convert to a socialist society", I kind of doubt he is a VD fanboy.
posted by 445supermag at 7:32 AM on August 18, 2013


Since Shetterly's own answer to the question is "We need to convert to a socialist society", I kind of doubt he is a VD fanboy.

That doesn't mean that he's approaching the situation with false equivalency and a problematic combination of naivete and lack of perspective. See his other post linked upthread as to where his mindset is.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:39 AM on August 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


If you think that's an accurate summation of Shetterly's question, you have reading comprehension problems that won't be solved with sci-fi novels.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:43 AM on August 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's pointless trying to pay attention to Shitterly, as his answer is always that racism and sexism aren't important because class war and faaart.
posted by MartinWisse at 7:50 AM on August 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


It appears people are noticing that Orson Scott Card is insanely racist as well as a massive homophobe.
posted by Artw at 7:59 AM on August 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wow, not only is Shetterly still an asshole, he's still that asshole.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:59 AM on August 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yeah, that Shetterly thing read like pretty serious strawmanning of both of their positions.

I mean, Day is a horrible racist fuckwad — but given that he's a self-described libertarian, I doubt that government-enforced segregation is what he's got in mind. (Or is he a "libertarian" the way Nazis are "socialists"?)

And Jemisin is an anti-racist activist — but given that she's no idiot, I suspect there's more to her position than the worn-out Rush Limbaugh caricature that goes "Write us all fat checks with white people's money! Force all the businesses to fire their white workers and hire us instead!"
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 8:02 AM on August 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Will Shetterly asks "a simple question for N. K. Jemisin and Vox Day—and any anti-racist or scientific sub-speciesist who wishes to answer"

That's actually a great example of what the quote in the title's talking about. Here we have Vox Day, he thinks that there are subspecies of H. Sapiens out there. Who says vile, racist, misogynist things openly and repeatedly. Will Shetterly, asks him what his ideal society would be like, and then goes on to describe one that's actually in line with what the quote from Vox Day talks about. I mean, if you weren't familiar with Vox Day, or the crappy pseudoscience white supremacist you might not get the assumption of "alpha-whites" etc., but it's all pretty well connected to the quote.

On the other hand, we have a N.K. Jemisin. Who said something about social hierarchies being challenged therefore... is for Reparations? How on earth do one get from: you said, "We’re seeing growing challenges to hierarchies, to orthodoxies, to every level of “the way it’s always been done” to "If people with your beliefs were in power, what changes would there be? Reparations for all African-Americans?" Well, I just don't see it. So, I'm forced to think that there really isn't a quote about that and the whole thing is just an attempt to show how much better he is than both sides, because he's a socialist.

It's a false equivalency at it's worse, the two views aren't nearly comparable, and other than Shetterly's say so, he gives no reason to believe that she even holds the second one. In an effort to appear neutral, he's fairly representing one side, and making really weird negative assumptions on the other. That's not neutral.
posted by Gygesringtone at 8:04 AM on August 18, 2013 [17 favorites]


Dear Twelve Rabid Weasels of SFWA, please shut the fuck up. - I guess it's down to eleven now.
posted by Artw at 8:04 AM on August 18, 2013


Ah, libertarians that are capable or recognising no power structure or coercive forces other than the state, they're like people obsessed with fixing a leaking outdoor water pipe (because things are getting wet) in a fucking rainstorm.

And VD's shit about how there isn't actually that much mixing of the races because of those prudish, stuck-up, hypocritical women is as outright and obviously fallacious on its face (on many levels) as it is disgusting.
posted by Dysk at 8:08 AM on August 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The systemic problem with SFWA is aggravated by the fact that authors tend to be old.

This is an excellent point. Jemisin herself is one of the hot new young authors, and she's in her early forties.
posted by restless_nomad at 8:11 AM on August 18, 2013


I mean, Day is a horrible racist fuckwad — but given that he's a self-described libertarian, I doubt that government-enforced segregation is what he's got in mind.

Actually, Vox Day admits that will happen if he gets what he wants, just not by the FEDERAL government:
With regards to race, I would be more than content to see the U.S. federal government and other governments across the West firmly respect the right to self-determination, the right to free speech, and the right to freedom of economic association on the part of individual, as well as the political sovereignty of the several States.

This would likely lead to legal segregation in some states, most likely beginning, ironically enough, with the States where Hispanics are the majority.
So, yes, Shetterly's assumptions about if Vox Day's ideal society would have legally enforced segregation.
posted by Gygesringtone at 8:11 AM on August 18, 2013


Oh, that kind of "libertarian." "States' rights." Gross.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 8:12 AM on August 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


It appears people are noticing that Orson Scott Card is insanely racist as well as a massive homophobe.

I'm not surprised. He's been known to be a hater for a while, especially for anyone living in or near Greensboro and read his weekly screeds in the local wingnut rag. He pretty much hates anyone who's not a white Christian dude to the right of McCarthy.

Dear Twelve Rabid Weasels of SFWA, please shut the fuck up. - I guess it's down to eleven now.

I don't who the 12 are, but I think I've figured out who some of them are, and I'm pretty sure they're among those mentioned in the John Ringo Facebook link upthread.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:13 AM on August 18, 2013


...are right. the assumptions are right. I was up to late to remember to use complete
posted by Gygesringtone at 8:14 AM on August 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The systemic problem with SFWA is aggravated by the fact that authors tend to be old.

Age isn't really an excuse, though. Ursula Leguin, for example, is in her 80s, but is not a fuckwit at all. We shouldn't be expecting them to 'come round' so much as not be assholes to begin with.

(And that's 'expect' in the sense of 'require' rather than 'predict')
posted by Dysk at 8:15 AM on August 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


Oh, so he's another one of those libertarians who you can easily imagine walking around the antebellum/Jim Crow South saying, "I'm okay with this."

At least he's a little less crypto about his racism.
posted by bleep-blop at 8:15 AM on August 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Discard the idea of race, one of humanity's most foolish notions.

ok will I'm sure we'll just get right on that, let me just get this deeply ingrained social construct and toss it into the landfill here

okay, racism is over. man, why hadn't we done that sooner?
posted by NoraReed at 8:35 AM on August 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


It's pointless trying to pay attention to Shitterly, as his answer is always that racism and sexism aren't important because class war and faaart.

Remember the Civil War discussions on RASFF and RASFW? Good times. Good times.
posted by Justinian at 11:04 AM on August 18, 2013


It's pointless trying to pay attention to Shitterly, as his answer is always that racism and sexism aren't important because class war and faaart.

That's a common doctrinal/cognitive error to which some left-wing groups are excessively prone: classic worked example in progress (warning: may be triggery for rape and/or the British SWP).

The theory is that because Everything Is About Class, any attempt at dealing with sexism or racism is at best a dangerous distraction from the Real Issue (which is winning the Class War with the Capitalist Oppressors, who are indirectly responsible for kyriarchy, sex/gender/age/class discrimination of every stripe, and souring milk) and at worst treasonous behaviour in the face of a ruthless enemy who are waging war on, well, everybody else. Because of course the Workers' Paradise will be free of sexism, racism, and gender conflict because when the Workers Are United, there will be jam and clotted cream for tea every day. And the Party will sort everything out because the Central Committee in their wisdom know best about everything because something something reasons. No rapists or racists here!
posted by cstross at 11:15 AM on August 18, 2013 [15 favorites]


Remember the Civil War discussions on RASFF and RASFW? Good times. Good times

Yeah, history lessons from the man who wrote Captain Confederacy. I do miss usenet, but sometimes I'm happy I've moved on...
posted by MartinWisse at 1:06 PM on August 18, 2013


Artw: “/wonders idly if Jerry Pournelle has exploded on the special secret sci-fi misogynists board yet.”
I'm a fan of Pournelle's books (to the extent that with his approval I went through and found all the OCR scan errors/typos and inconsistencies in his The Prince anthology of the Falkenberg's Legion stories and sent them off without compensation), sometime correspondent of his, and one-time "Platinum" member of his Chaos Manor website. I had to give up reading his blog everyday as the 2008 election heated up because he started to let his politics affect his judgement. It's also possible his brain tumor and the treatment for it changed his thought processes in ways he's not fully aware of. Either way, that's around the time I started frequenting this place instead.

In any case, I still have the link for Chaos Manor on my bookmark bar even though I haven't really read the site in almost five years. So I appointed myself Ambassador to Chaos Manor and went looking for anything he might have said about this whole affair.

There is some correspondence on the matter among the entries that contain the initialism "SFWA." (At least since the change to Wordpress in 2011.) The only thing that might be of interest is an essay he wrote entitled "Randall Garrett and the Arthur Clarke Prediction about love and marriage" from 07 July in which he addresses the "leak" from the SFWA forums and why he thought the SFWA shouldn't get involved.
posted by ob1quixote at 2:24 AM on August 19, 2013


Non-expulsion version.
posted by Artw at 8:59 AM on August 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


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