I’m taking a break on my Prophet Thomas series to point out something that popped into my mind recently with all of the unpleasantness surrounding mass shootings, terror attacks and Muslims.
I had been trying to read Larry Correia’s Guns and Vultures for almost a week, but, so many people were linking to it that today was the first day that it hasn’t given me the 503 no-go, yo. (The link was handily provided by Glenn, who may yet overload the server again.)
Every member of the gun culture watches these things unfold and thinks, hell, here we go again. Want to know something sad? I promise at most of the gun stores around America the news was on, and everybody in there was listening, thinking some variation of please don’t be somebody the news can somehow make out to be like me… Even though the vast majority of the time the shooter isn’t one of us, has nothing to do with us, and in fact, people like us are the last line of defense against them, it doesn’t matter. We know we’re going to get blamed.
Then they’ll attack us, hound us, insult us, legislate against us, and if they can, disarm us in more ways and places… So we can be even more incapable of defending ourselves the next time somebody who isn’t us does something evil. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Then they revealed who the shooters were.
Immediately the same exact people who’d just been screeching about evil Tea Party, racist, hate monger, right wing, ciswhitehetero male phantoms, began urging calm, saying don’t jump to conclusions. It isn’t fair to tar the big group because of the actions of a few. Watch out for that hateful rhetoric, because you might inflame people.
Correia hits dead upon the topic that had entered my consciousness: the Left’s main foundation is extremism. To Leftists, moderation is never considered a virtue–unless it’s moderation in calling out evil. Then they yap, yap, yap and you, non-Leftist, are to shutyourhole. Or else.
If you are a regular reader at DaTechGuyBlog You might be surprised to see a 3rd piece on the Hugo Awards, Sad Puppies controversy in two days here. I suspect most of my readers have never heard of the Hugo award, are unfamiliar with the books that are nominated and would conclude with upon examination that Hugo Award winners are:
simply the favorite of the subset of readers who happened to buy memberships to any given year’s World Science Fiction Convention.
But if they want to understand why the entire Sad Puppies business should be of interest to them, let me give them a historical political parallel, Lyndon Johnson and the Little Congress.
Created to provide a forum for public-speaking experience and increased knowledge of parliamentary procedures for congressional staff, the Little Congress modeled itself after the House of Representatives
While over the years it had become primarily a social club a young secretary to Texas congressman Kleberg decided to turn it into a tool for his own purposes.
On April 27th 1933 Lyndon Bains Johnson was elected to the speakership of the little congress securing his election through ahem interesting means and quickly transformed the organization as a power base, promoting himself to media, to senior members of congress building a political machine whereby one did not advance unless they were a Johnson man and opposition to him resulted in retaliation.
For two years people put up with this until a 20 year old James Coleman when discovering that the only way he could advance was “knuckling under” to Johnson decided to fight back and discovered that there were plenty of people who were not happy at what the organization had become. As Robert A Caro put it in his book The Years of Lyndon Johnson the Path to Power: “Rounding up support for his attempt to defeat Johnson proved unexpectedly easy.” and while Johnson was running a surrogate for speaker (as the office was term limited) the outcry was directed against him:
Pointing to Johnson, who was sitting silently in a corner Croslin shouted: “That’s the man we’re going to defeat. He’s been boss too long, we’re not going to be bossed!”
Lo and behold when the ballots were counted (this time in the open checked against membership lists) LBJ found himself and his machine defeated and just as quickly as the organization had been politicised it went back to being what it was before the Johnson years.
This is exactly what has happened with the Hugo awards. For years it was simply a group of science fiction fans who were voting for their favorite books and the like until the Social Justice warriors saw it as a means to advance their agenda: Consider this from Larry Corriea:
For years authors have complained about the biased state of the Hugos, the politicking, and the games you needed to play in order to be considered. Most of the grumbling was in private, behind closed doors, and there wasn’t a green room at any con in the country where you couldn’t find authors complaining about the sorry state of things.
But nobody did anything.
Then some cliques started manipulating this small, easily manipulated system. When 40 or 80 nominations was all it took to sway the most prestigious award in the industry, a few whisper campaigns and calling in favors was all it took to secure a spot. Again, many honest WorldCon fans were offended by this behavior. But nobody did anything.
As time went on, it got increasingly absurd and political. Some once beloved and award winning authors were shunned for their politics, never to be seen at the Hugos again. Editors and companies related to those shunned authors discovered that they too were shunned by relation, regardless of their politics. Campaigns became more public, with “award pimpage” becoming the norm. And the long time SMOFs who took pride in this award were offended. But nobody did anything.
Well the Sad Puppies Crowd finally got sick of it and decided to do something about it and now the people who used the Awards as their own little fiefdom are outraged.
Why does this matter? Well Andrew Breitbart said over and over that culture is upstream of politics and if you want to defeat these people you need to win the culture wars.
You may not want to fight the culture war but the other side’s culture warriors still want to fight you. I’ll give Larry the last word:
You want to know why we’re here now, loud, annoying you, upsetting your apple cart? Read those articles. Look at the bylines by culture warriors who all share the same set of politics. You say that you don’t like how we made the awards political. Newsflash, they have been for a long time, only you wouldn’t know it because my side didn’t bother to take the field. Now we’re here, taking ground they think they own, and those culture warriors don’t give a shit about you, the authors you love, the books you read, or the future of your culture. They think they own you like they own every other group, and they’ll lie, slander, threaten, coerce, defame, sabotage, and hate anyone who stands up to them.
The Hugo Awards have been at the centre of a furore after two campaigns successfully prevented female authors and authors of colour from being proportionally nominated. Some people are comparing the controversy to GamerGate, which in 2014 saw coordinated misogynist attacks aimed at people who spoke out about sexism in the gaming industry.
By putting forward a slate of predominantly American nominees, the campaign organisers have been able to lever the votes of a minority of non-attending members to “hack” the voting process and dominate the award nominations. Remarkably, this is all within the rules of the Hugos, and the moral defence put forward by campaign organisers for what many people would consider cheating is their belief that block voting is common in the award-giving process.
The Hugos and Worldcon have always been – much like the baseball World Series – a world event in name only. Hugo winners have been overwhelmingly from the US, with almost no non-anglophone works even considered for the awards. But over the past decade or so, the Hugos and Worldcon have become much more diverse and interesting, with many more women, writers of colour and international voices among nominees and winners. It’s that diversity which has been lost in this orchestrated backlash.
The new slate of Hugo Awards nominees were just announced, and you can read the list at the link. Suffice to say, the nominees in pretty much every category (other than Best Novel) come pretty much exclusively from a fan campaign called Sad Puppies, organized by Brad R. Torgersen and Larry Correia. Last year, Correia organized a campaign which successfully placed one item in each category on the Hugo slate — so this year, they decided to go further. As John Scalzi has pointed out, this was not against the spirit or the letter of the Hugo Awards rules.
The Hugo Awards are voted on by fans, and anyone who purchases a supporting membership at Worldcon can nominate two years in a row. (And typically, it doesn’t take that many votes to nominate something successfully.) To Torgersen and Correia, this meant that a “rarefied, insular” group of writers were promoting their agenda by nominating works by women and people of color. To the rest of us, it looked as though science fiction and fantasy were finally catching up to reality — the best stories aren’t only the ones told by straight white men.
The 2015 Hugo Award nominees have been announced, and there are some strong titles in contention for Best Novel, including books by Ann Leckie, Marko Kloos, and Jim Butcher. However, that doesn’t seem to be what people are talking about, which is probably causing some consternation in the Kloos household, where conversation is usually relegated to arguing over the best pronunciation of their last name. No, this year’s crop of nominees is notable for being overwhelmingly dominated by a group of white guys who formed an organized backlash to the growing inclusion of women and people of color in last year’s awards.
It seems eternally worth stating, as there’s no end of people who don’t seem to understand this, that welcoming women, people of color, and LGBTQ people into an industry does not mean there’s some sort of secret conspiracy against conservative straight white dudes. It means people value a progression towards allowing more voices in a conversation. In trying to combat an imagined liberal conspiracy that puts politics ahead of good work, the Sad Puppies have achieved an actual conspiracy that does exactly this. Good job.
I submit that most of the people who wrote the articles above will not update theirs with Entertainment Weekly retraction. They will never note Brad Torgersen or his letter:
Firstly, the SAD PUPPIES slate cited in the article, included both women and non-caucasians.
Rajnar Vajra Larry Correia Annie Bellet Kary English Toni Weisskopf Ann Sowards Megan Gray Sheila Gilbert Jennifer Brozek Cedar Sanderson Amanda Green
And they certainly won’t ever cite Larry Correia’s Epic fisking of EW here
Here is an interesting one for you moderates, SMOFs, and fence sitters to ponder on. Why is it that our own words and actions aren’t to be believed, but anything the other side says about us, no matter how outlandish, is to be accepted?
Over the years I’ve done Sad Puppies, do you know how many fannish blogs, fanzines, and podcasts interviewed me, the guy who started the campaign, about the goals of Sad Puppies?
I can’t think of single one. You’d think with the most controversial thing to happen to the Hugos in forever, somebody would actually want to sit down and interview us and get our side of the story, but nada, zip. Sure, lots of people wrote about it, but it was pretty obvious these fannish journalists didn’t read what I actually wrote, and instead they critiqued Straw Larry, or they quoted other bloggers quoting Straw Larry.
Nope for the readers of those sites the libelous claims from Entertainment Weekly that those pieces were based on will be forever true, the retraction never noted and the “facts” forever established in their minds.
That’s considered a feature BTW not a bug.
Closing thought let me point out to Larry & Brad that if you think you’ve already got a winner in a libel suit in the US, any moves against sites in UK and other such countries with much lower standards for libel, should be a cakewalk.
Most of them said our slate was exclusively white, straight, and male (not true)
Most of them said that last year was a big win for diversity (I believe last years winners were all white and one Asian).
Most of them said our slate was exclusively right wing (not true, in fact the majority skew left, we have socialists, liberals, moderates, libertarians, conservatives, and question marks. To the best of my knowledge, I believe that last year’s “diverse” winners all espoused the same social justice politics).
But there is no bias in this perfectly functioning system. My side said that political narrative trumped reality in this business. Believe me yet?
Tomorrow on DaTechGuy on DaRadio we have two interesting topics
in the 11 AM hour author Larry Correia will be joining us to talk about his Monster Hunter books but we will certanly be talking about his spectacular piece An Opinion on Gun Control the best treatment on the subject I’ve read.
Before that we will be talking yet another Mass Senate Race with Tom Lavin. Will we be seeing Scott Brown vs Ed Markey and who will be named as the place holder when Sen Kerry is confirmed?
Those questions and more will be answered on DaTechGuy on DaRadio Saturday 10 AM till Noon on WCRN AM 830
And if you want to ask question call us at 508-438-0965 or 888-9-FEDORA
If you are outside our 50,000 Watt Range you have a lot of streaming options.
You can listen live using the three different links for the WCRN live stream
The NRA is going to go forward advancing its plan no matter what anyone in the government says. There is only one question remaining, will the Republicans act quickly to back the NRA program & keep it private or will the Democrats co-opt it into a giant public tax and spending machine?
Either way if the kids end up safe I don’t think the country will care.
The political risks/rewards are real, the question is who will take them?
No. Hear me out. The single best way to respond to a mass shooter is with an immediate, violent response. The vast majority of the time, as soon as a mass shooter meets serious resistance, it bursts their fantasy world bubble. Then they kill themselves or surrender. This has happened over and over again.
Paging Cynthia Yockey
The average number of people shot in a mass shooting event when the shooter is stopped by law enforcement: 14. The average number of people shot in a mass shooting event when the shooter is stopped by civilians: 2.5. The reason is simple. The armed civilians are there when it started.
As for Gun Free Zones:
Gun Free Zones are hunting preserves for innocent people. Period.
Think about it. You are a violent, homicidal madman, looking to make a statement and hoping to go from disaffected loser to most famous person in the world. The best way to accomplish your goals is to kill a whole bunch of people. So where’s the best place to go shoot all these people? Obviously, it is someplace where nobody can shoot back.
This is so obvious it’s embarrassing that anyone has to say it aloud.
But my favorite is where he takes apart the media myths that have been perpetuated by the partisan & uninformed which usually are one and the same:
Gun and magazine sales skyrocket every time a democrat politician starts to vulture in on a tragedy. I don’t know if many of you realize this, but Barack Obama is personally responsible for more gun sales, and especially first time gun purchases, than anyone in history. When I owned my gun store, we had a picture of him on the wall and a caption beneath it which said SALESMAN OF THE YEAR.