Targets of Opportunism

Out there in the stupidosphere comes the suggestion that the reason that I write articles like this, or do things like this, is because I am a stone-cold opportunist who doesn’t really believe in these things, but says and does them to get ahead in science fiction, a genre apparently positively overrun by feminists and cowering males. My master plan is apparently to get in good with all the wimmins, reap all the awardz, and then profit! Or something.

(No, I’m not going to link to the blog post in question, because it is in the stupidosphere. You can probably find it if you make the effort. But why would you? Now, then -)

Points:

1. Well, you heard it here first, straight white gentlemen: The way to win all the things and sell all the books in science fiction and fantasy is to acknowledge your own stacked set of privilege conditions and to publicly sign on to the idea that all people regardless of race, sex, gender identification or physical ability should be able to enjoy a convention or gathering without fear of harassment or marginalization. Yes, with those two simple steps, a Hugo and a New York Times best seller slot will be yours. Who knew it would be so simple? Besides me, apparently?

2. Mind you, if the Feminist Diversity Cabal™ were actually running all the skiffy things, there would be the question of why it would need (or reward) me for anything at all. I think the answer, implicit in the assumption that I’m am doing and saying these things for coldly opportunistic reasons, is that I have craftily realized one of two things: One, the Feminist Diversity Cabal™ secretly craves recognition from straight white men and wishes to reward them for even the slightest of notice; Two, the Feminist Diversity Cabal™ needs a willing patsy to lull the Straight White Men of science fiction and fantasy into a state of complacent quiescence until The Night Of The Castrating Knives (i.e., The Hugo Awards Ceremony, 2014).

Or, hell, Three: Both! Then I will be king! Of the Feminist Diversity Cabal™! Insert maniacal laugh here!

Truly, I have been playing a very long game with this insidious, opportunistic plan of mine.

3. And, you know, it’s worked! For I now have a Hugo! And best sellers! And such! Thus, having achieved all the things I can finally TOSS OFF MY CLOAK OF LATTER DAY ALAN ALDA-NESS AND REVEAL MYSELF AS WHO I TRULY AM, THE ALPHA OF ALL ALPHAS. COMMENCE WITH THE SANDWICHINATION ALL YOU LESSER BEINGS –

Oh, wait, I haven’t won a Nebula yet.

4. So, uuuuuuuh, forget point three.

Go diversity!

5. Now, there is an alternate theory for why I do what I do. It involves a scenario in which I actually believe in what I do and say rather than being a Cat-Stroking Bond Villain for Feminism. But that’s not fun, nor does it feed into the “I am a complete asshole and therefore cannot conceive of others not being a complete asshole, especially people I don’t like” mindset of the stupidosphere. So never mind that.

6. Here is the one thing this dipshit in the stupidosphere was correct about: I am, in fact, all about taking advantage of opportunities. As it happens, I have many opportunities, due to my place in the world, to speak and act on things that are important to me. I also have the will to take the opportunities when they come up. And in the last year, events have conspired to give me even more opportunities to do so. So, guess what? I’m going to take them.

What will I do with those opportunities? Well, I will say this: I can pretty much guarantee the stupidosphere won’t like it.

Insert maniacal laugh here.

139 thoughts on “Targets of Opportunism

  1. Of course what makes this plan so brilliant is the way that you can use your scheme to tap into the vast amount of money that awaits writers of written SF. You can’t swing a cat at a convention party without hitting an SF author wearing enormous gold jewelry or perhaps carrying around a full-sized Hugo replica made of solid gold.

  2. All this time I’ve thought you’ve become a bestselling author and award winner because you are a very talented writer who writes very enjoyable books. I guess I was wrong. Gosh is my face red.

  3. I gather yon stupidospherian hasn’t figured out yet that if you really are that crafty and ruthless, he’s doomed anyway, and denouncing you will only bring on his crushing defeat and humiliation more quickly?

    Oh well. It’s fun to watch.

  4. Well, your wife did bring you pie and icecream, so you obviously keep her in the kitchen and, like, oppress her and stuff. Because why would she do that otherwise?

    Personally, I think your plan is simpler:
    1) Try to be a decent human being
    2) Write good books
    3) Profit!!

  5. Back when I started reading science fiction, several decades ago, I assumed that the men authors were like you, and like the men I saw on Star Trek. Well, okay, it often fell short of the mark. Sometimes far short. But it was obvious they were trying to present a new model of women and men working side by side. 40+ years on, I choose to believe that the stupidosphere is a very small, vanishingly small, minority that will soon go the way of the dodo.

  6. Since fashion matters to maniacal overachievers, are you going with the traditional blofeldian Nehru jacket, or that whole 1930s military look w/Sam Browne belt so popular in darker Shakespeare movies?

  7. You mean the ‘win’ button is actually to write well and not be a dick to people unless absolutely necessary? Oh, the existential horror!

  8. Thanks for the chuckle. As a teacher I have to point out that things are a’changing…. Girls are becoming a lot more successful in school, all the way through college. This will have a major impact on privilege. In fact, there are signs it is already happening. Some researchers are now saying it is the boys we need to be targeting and giving extra support to.

    This does not mean things are fair in the workplace for women currently, but things are changing.

  9. The “Feminist Diversity Cabal” phrase reminded me of the “Hugo Winners Cabal” that some people complained about back in the 1980′s.

    (The complaint back then was that people like GRRM and company were winning all the Hugos because they kept on writing good stories, the bastards. And they were popular and well-liked, double-damn the bastards!)

    And then I realized: “OMG, Scalzi’s a member of BOTH!”

  10. One of the real problems I have with the S-Sphere getting Scalzi & other talented writers, going is this: Somewhere in points 1-4, there is a short story I now really want to read, about a science fiction writing evil genius and his plan to take over the world. It’s like story shrapnel.

  11. There are those that will cast doubt upon any action taken that might benefit someone other than the person taking the action. It is the classic Anne Rand “Fark You, I Got Mine” school of selfishness. These folks can not believe that anyone would act in any other way than out of pure self interest.

    The fact that people do makes them uncomfortable, as it highlights just what a pack of assholes they really are. Which is why they attack it every chance they get.

  12. Of course, there is the fact that a few decades ago a guy with the last name Scalzi would be considered not white and some kind of predatory male, such as men of color are now (and have been for I don’t know, millenia?).

    So there is a really deep Back In Time Game where you actually made it whiter than white to have an Italian name and then on top of that you become a dude rather than a Lothario running kisses up and down the arms of stupid white women (or maybe Gigolo would be a better name), and then you did some kind of double Future Flip to invade the Feminists’ Diversity Cabal, pretending you really cared about them, when all you really wanted was that Nebula!

    So foiled again, ha ha.

    Sin calzi, so there

  13. There’s a sick elegance to their theory, as it explains why talent couldn’t possibly explain your success while simultaneously justifying why their “talents” aren’t rewarded AND allowing them to stake ground as iconoclasts who don’t need acknowledgement by the unjust mainstream! It’s like three level chess less two levels, played with identical pieces.

  14. So I tracked down this brave truth teller who exposed your nefarious plans for all to see, and he wasn’t even concerned with you. That’s right, he blew your cover merely as a sidelight to going after his real target: Jim C. Hines!

    Of course the stuff he wrote about Jim made as much sense as the stuff he wrote about you, which is to say none. I’d like to say I’m amazed at the pop psychology nonsense people brew up as motivation for decent behavior, instead of simply saying, “Wow, that person goes out of his way not to be an asshole.” I’d like to, but I can’t, since I have too much experience with people in general and on the Internet in particular.

  15. The alleged “Feminist Diversity Cabal” doesn’t even give out cookies, much less door prizes.

    Keep on rockin’ the egalitarianism, JS.

  16. While I haven’t looked up this particular hit piece, I am occasionally driven to dip my toes into the Stupidosphere to try and understand what the hell is wrong with them, anyway? It doesn’t last long, usually I get a headache from all the circular logic and projection going on, but there is one rather distinct trend in pretty much all of it.

    Everything I see from these alphabitophiles boils down to “what’s in it for me?” That’s the lens they see the entire world through. Any action by any person has got to rooted in self-interest. I wonder if they can even say “altruism” with a straight face.

  17. “Stupidsphere”? Isn’t that the locale of Matthew Hughes stories concerning Henghis Hapthorn? I don’t envy Henghis at all in his role dealing with stupid people in the stupidsphere.

  18. Possibly, it is all a plot by Ghlaghghee to transform you into a cat stroking villain. Villain’s clearly are the best at that.
    From yesterday, we clearly see that Zeus is the enforcer in this picture.

  19. I just want to say that I think “stupidosphere” is the most perfectly descriptive term I’ve run across in recent memory. Thank you for adding it to my vocabulary. Next, since clearly you’re in a position of conquest, the Oxford English Dictionary!

  20. Dennis Higbee:

    “I’m amazed at the pop psychology nonsense people brew up as motivation for decent behavior, instead of simply saying, ‘Wow, that person goes out of his way not to be an asshole.’”

    As noted, when you’re an asshole, you can’t imagine other people not also being assholes. Thus the weird rationalizations.

  21. Night of Castrating Knives is the name of my next band. Thanks for that.

    I’m not even going to look for the source piece, this time. The stupid gives me a headache and I have things to do, today.

  22. Unfortunately, from some of the stuff showing up on them thar Intarweebs the last couple of days, the stupidosphere appears to be growing in size. I won’t run the risk of getting Malleted by “going there” and moving things off topic, but sometimes I have to turn the computer off and pick up a book to read.

  23. Not acting like an overprivileged jerk towards people who don’t share your sex or your ethnicity means a person is pandering to the “Feminist Cabal?” Wow. I see someone mistakenly believes their special snowflakeness got seriously melted.

  24. And somehow my Google-fu is poor enough that I couldn’t find it. Even starting with the blog of the most likely writer, with initials fitting for those who advocate game, I failed. On the upside, Googling ‘scalzi’ within his site turned up a post that started “Call me Cismale.” It obviously went off the rails after that, but giving credit where credit is due, that’s pretty funny.

  25. Let’s see….opportunities. Why, yes, you SHOULD take advantage of those opportunities. That isn’t the question. It’s what you do WITH those opportunities that matter most, at least, to yourself.
    As for going to another SF Con, after WorldCon in Chicago in 2012, never again. I will not allow myself to become marginalized by some egotistic jerk who thinks because he knows this or that he’s entitled to belittle me in front of everyone else in the circle. Screw him. I just won’t waste my money going to another one, as much as the rest of the Con was kind of fun, it’s that one bad experience that did it in for me. I went to have fun, not to make fun of anyone else – too bad this guy didn’t have the same mindset.

  26. As a female fan of your work who can’t evaluate the books I like, but who is instead apparently being MAN-ipulated by your evil genius, I have a request. Can we have t-shirts?

  27. “Two, the Feminist Diversity Cabal™ needs a willing patsy to lull the Straight White Men of science fiction and fantasy into a state of complacent quiescence until The Night Of The Castrating Knives (i.e., The Hugo Awards Ceremony, 2014).”

    Dammit! They’re on to us! Sisters, we need to convene at the Secret Womb of the Wombyn and come up with Plan B.

  28. Would that there be an analog for the Dunning-Kroger Effect vis-a-vis privilege to describe the knaves who trouble you.

  29. Found him! It wasn’t hard — I just typed {hines scalzi opportunist feminists} into Google, and there he was, being stupidospherian so hard you’d think it was his day job.

    Then I typed his name into Amazon: whoa! Nine or ten nonfiction books, one novel, and one short story collection, all published by his vanity imprint; one additional novel published digital-only via Amazon Create Space. Amazon sales rankings in the “interstellar distances measured in furlongs” range. Reviews all have four or five stars, and aren’t convincing. And his frontmatter is just awful. He has no idea what he’s doing.

    No wonder this guy has it in for Hines, and Scalzi, and whoever he imagines is running the book business. This much failure would be crushing if it wasn’t someone else’s fault.

  30. @Xana: Why bother? The stupidosphere is so busy fighting over the role of “alpha” that they’ll never even see the Knives. As demonstrated… it’s sad, really.

  31. @ Sharon: “40+ years on, I choose to believe that the stupidosphere is a very small, vanishingly small, minority that will soon go the way of the dodo.”

    You mean hunted to extinction by sailors? Hmmm.

    (ObYesYesIKnow: That’s an oversimplified explanation of what happened.)

  32. The Night of Castrating Knives should lead to some wonderful versions of the 2014 Hugo Award itself. The Rocket Hugo Awards are sort of Phallic, Yet the tail fins just scream knives. Some weird form of auto-castration? Something sort of Iron Throne-ish? Maybe something Sweeney Todd like or Jack the Ripper influenced for Loncon 3? The after party should be… interesting.

  33. I personally find the most irritating thing about the Stupidosphere is this insistence on mapping bad motives to their opponents. In the Stupidosphere, one can’t simply have made an incorrect decision; no, one must be as evil as a cat-stroking Bond villain. I suspect that failure to understand those not “One Of Us” manifests itself in other ways, including the writing of fiction.

    Now, if I could just figure out how our latest denizen of the Stupidosphere seems to have a website design rejected in 2001, my day would be complete.

  34. “Cat-Stroking Bond Villain for Feminism” is a great concept. A picture of you sitting at your desk, with a well-bloodied Zeus in your lap, came to mind. Made me snort coffee on the keyboard. Well done.

  35. Excellent choice on the lack of link: no Google PageRank for you, stupidospehre!

    (The irony is, if the stupidospehre continues to link to Scalzi’s and Hines’ posts, what little PageRank they have will slowly trickle out… it must be another dastardly plot of the Feminist Diversity Cabal!)

  36. “The alleged “Feminist Diversity Cabal” doesn’t even give out cookies, much less door prizes.”
    Maybe not but come visit Ireland and I’ll make sure you get cookies..

  37. I thought all the denizens of the stupidosphere were busy defending the constitutional rights of the duck decoy asswipe whose constitutional rights weren’t being violated. I had no idea they could multitask. I find this quite disturbing and will note it in my next report to the Diversity Cabal.

  38. So I found this guy on the Intraweebs, and he’s yet another supercilious pseudointellectual self-obsessed braying jackass.

    As much as I love Our Host’s snark, is calling out these numbskulls really worth His time? Because this particular jackass was just pathetic.

    Also, I second the petition for a picture of Our Host stroking Ghlaghghee in a Blofield coat.

  39. In my long-ago youth, I used to criticize people who, in my estimation, did the right things for the wrong reasons. But I eventually realized that it was the behavior I cared about, not the motivation. Continue your quest for world domination through good works, Mr. Scalzi. Godspeed.

    Oh, and I insist on stu-PID-o-sphere.

  40. “Maybe not but come visit Ireland and I’ll make sure you get cookies..”

    I’ll be there in May. Please have some macaroons prepared for me, and waiting at the international terminal in Dublin.

  41. There is a Feminist Diversity Cabal and no one told me? I’m clearly not working my Brown Person Misandry Magic hard enough.

    ““Cat-Stroking Bond Villains for Feminism” needs to become an Internet Thing right away please.” SECONDED!

  42. Come to WisCon next May, for more than a flying visit, and the Secret Feminist Cabal will *sell* you cookies. Home-baked. $1 a plate, with proceeds to the Tiptree Award (slogan: world domination through bake sales). Saturday, from noon until we run out. Yum.

  43. These things bring you joy. Those people are Teh Stoopid.

    I favor stu-PID-o-sphere as the pronunciation.

  44. John, did you get a piece of the pie?

    http://freebeacon.com/the-top-100-examples-of-government-waste/

    The National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) spent nearly $1 million to promote romance novels, including a $616,000 documentary “Love Between the Covers,” a website, and a traveling exhibit.

    The $914,000 grant was meant to “explore the fascinating, often contradictory origins and influences of popular romance as told in novels, films, comics, advice books, songs, and Internet fan fiction, taking a global perspective—while looking back across time as far as the ancient Greeks.”

    The website recently asked if Edward from the Twilight series was “romantic or controlling?”

  45. On stu-PID-o-sphere vs STOO-pid-osphere? I think the “pid” should be lower case because that’s how the pronunciation thing for “piddle” is at Google and? It mustn’t be “STOO” because that makes me want to braise some chunks of beef while chopping up veggies.

  46. Mr. Scalzi, I am astonished by the naïveté of both your fans and detractors. It should be obvious to all that you cleverly manipulated the Stupidosphere into plumbing new depths of idiocy just so you could offer your fans another brilliantly endearing rant as a holiday treat.

  47. Since I’m not particularly inclined to read this guy’s screed myself, I’ll take it as described herein. But does it seem to anyone else that he’s really channeling the plot of the classic bad 60′s comedy In Like Flint, starring James Coburn? I mean, I watched that flick a zillion times on Saturday afternoons in the early and mid 70s, but I never knew anyone who took it SERIOUSLY. Even those who watched it after smoking lots of bad Mexican weed and chugging Pringles.

  48. Scalzi claims not to be a cat-stroking Bond villain – but I think we all know the truth. We know he has cats (or vice-versa; whatever), but he nonetheless tries to deny that he strokes them. If he can lie in such an obviously falsifiable claim, in what other ways is he attempting to deceive us? Does the Mallet actually not love those it Corrects?

  49. Jeehoozus, I enjoyed that particular rant way too much.

    My inner nagging editor, however, sort of prefers “imbecilosphere.”

    Fuzznose, science fiction conventions, like writer’s workshops, retsina, tight pink pants, and nude rollerskating, are not for everyone. I manage to do without most of that list, myself.

  50. @ Edward Brennan — You have to find the hidden button, and the secret activation sequence. Then the entire statue transforms into the high-speed airborne Knight of Castrating Knives drone and sets out on its Mission of Emasculating Mayhem!

  51. You’ll never be king of all the alphas without a big, honking flaming sword, in order to prove you are not overcompensating.

  52. You know what the world desperately needs?

    John Scalzi, agent 014 (because James Bond’s a half-wit). With Mrs. Scalzi as the obligatory sexy Russian, and someone who looks like RSHD as the ridiculously hammy villain.

    And Mr. Scalzi (agent 014) saves the day by exploiting every single stupid move that the villain makes, and then snarks about it at said villain while trucking him off to serve time.

    That would be a kickass movie.

  53. I spent about thirty seconds looking for whatever inspired this, and then I gave up because you’re already hogging all the Google results for “john scalzi opportunist” and variants. Thanks a lot.

    I did notice that there is a Google Instant for “scalzi mangina”. You’re moving up!

  54. As a heads up to everyone, this is exactly the sort of thread that sprouts troll if left unattended overnight, so I’ll be turning it off whilst I sleep and turning it back on in the morning. Expect closure within the half hour.

    Update, 10:42pm: And here we go. Night all, see you tomorrow morning.
    Update, 7:35am, 12/20: And comments are open again.

  55. As the Division Head of Events for Loncon 3, and therefore in charge of the Hugo Ceremony in 2014, I am distressed to learn that one of my minions apparently leaked our plan (i.e. The Night Of The Castrating Knives) to you. Now I have to go find the mole, return all the knives we bought, and then come up with a new theme for the ceremony…

  56. It’s only a matter of time until we see a fundraiser (for some cause that will induce a spontaneous meltdown in the stupidosphere) whose goal will be a picture of Our Gracious Host in a nehru jacket and fuzzy bunny slippers (fake dueling scar optional), stroking one of his cats (bacon and Scotch tape optional).

    All that’s missing now is the Cause. (And the Nehru jacket.)

    (And maybe the fuzzy bunny slippers.)

  57. I think it would be very much to the advantage of everyone if we spread the word far and wide that writing well-thought-out pieces that support and advance the causes of women (and gay people and transgender people and poor people and people of color and disabled people) is the quickest and easiest route to riches and success. Please, let the market flood with cynics who carefully take the time to understand their privilege and write passionately in support of those who don’t share in it! If their voices are so loud and pervasive and convincing, perhaps there soon won’t be a market for hateful, stupid nonsense…

  58. And you need to think of a better insult to come up than stupid to describe people that disagree with you. You take way too much pride in how intelligent you presumably are.

  59. “Dammit! They’re on to us! Sisters, we need to convene at the Secret Womb of the Wombyn and come up with Plan B.”

    Okay, but someone else has to be in charge of snacks this time. Nobody even touched my finger sandwiches at the late meeting. (Made from Gamma male fingers of course)

  60. Clearly you need to invest in an Egg Shaped Rotating Chair Pod. You can dress up all you want, have a dozen fluffy white cats to stroke, and be drinking the finest wines in the world from a crystal skull. But you won’t have any air of authority doing it on an office swivel chair.

    Please find enclosed a copy of the Villain Lair Supplies catalogue. We regret to inform our customers that Jacobs Ladders and Tesla Spires have been recalled due to causing interference with iPhones, and also the fire hazards and the complaints from the henchman’s union.

  61. Chris Smith:

    There are lots of people who disagree with me who are not stupid. This particular fellow, however, is not one of them, which is why he’s part of the stupidosphere.

    Likewise, how intelligent I am and how stupid this fellow is are two separate and independent things; it’s not a zero-sum game. That said, yeah, I’m pretty smart.

  62. I guess it’s kind of off-topic. [Additional off-topicness is deleted. You may e-mail me if you like, Chris. -- JS]

  63. Damn it, Jay Blanc, now I want one of those chair pods for my Evil Lair!

    Hang on, Miss Pipsqueak demands that I pet her.

    Minions, do the litter box and get me a rocket so I can use my doomsday device in SPAAAAAAAACE!!!!!

  64. I’m going to hold out for “STOO-pid-o-sphere”, mainly because it allows one to hold the “OO” for as long as necessary to drive home the magnitude of the failure. A minor glitch (such as the one engendered our host’s post)? “Stoopidosphere”. A major failure (such as a typical meeting of Congress)? “Stoo-oo-oo-pidosphere”

    As necessary, you can also imagine the drawn-out “oo” with an echo for added emphasis.

  65. So the “I enjoy pie.” comment on your profile has long been a ruse to latch onto that key ‘bakers and pie-eaters’ demographic of scifi readers? Truly, my image of you as a talented writer of interesting prose and a purveyor of intelligent opinions is forever shattered. I may have to drown my sorrows in slices of pumpkin, apple, and french silk while re-reading The God Engines, Redshirts, and Fuzzy Nation while I wait for my X-mas copy of The Human Division to arrive. :)

  66. Looks like certain people just can’t get it. You don’t call them stupid because they disagree with you, you call them stupid because they are, and then they prove it by completely missing the point. Years ago, the same people would be complaining that all SF was run by a secret group that only allowed their friends to prosper.

    Another great one. If blogs are really dying, I hope this is the last one to go

  67. jonesnori/Lenore Jones has the truth of it. The Secret Feminist Cabal will, in fact, sell you cookies (and other delicious baked goods) at the Tiptree Bake Sale.

  68. Not really on-message, but for a long time I thought John Wyndham was a woman; consistently strong female characters, in the ’50s & ’60s. For me, that made his stuff more real, somehow. Like the blog, John. (please mallet this if it’s too off-topic ; just making the point that non-sexist sff has been out there for a while.)

  69. John,

    While I almost always enjoy your flavor in responses to these negative people, I sometimes wonder why you bother. It just doesn’t seem to me to be a valuable exercise in terms of your own brand. I feel like your readers are unlikely to stumble across those blogs and their readers are just as unlikely to be swayed by your responses. Given that there appear to be more negative blog posts about you than you respond to, I’m curious what the catalyst is that gives you a desire to respond when you choose to.

  70. @ This Looks Fun
    This question has occurred to me, as well: how does he choose? I do generally enjoy it, however, when Scalzi takes the time to flex his rhetorical muscles. ‘o)

  71. This Looks Fun: Oh come on, seriously. You are not going to do the concern troll why should we bother to talk about women’s civil rights efforts on the Internet if there’s no pay-off bit, are you? The catalyst is that when he feels like writing about it, he does. These guys never stop yammering about how equal rights issues are just about making them feel guilty, and talking about women like they are a combo of cattle and scary monsters, so he can pretty much pick one at random.

    These people do not simply “disagree” with issues. They actively want to destroy fundamental human rights and consider civil rights efforts as petty. You get these people always, every decade of human existence. Stupid is not really sufficient as a term for that sort of viewpoint, but I like it better than manosphere, which was very unkind to men who are not vicious weasel advocates for human trafficking and voter suppression. Talking about the illogic of their positions exposes people again and again to that illogic, which offers better opportunities for civil rights.

  72. [Was going to write something about the concern troll and how Our Glorious Lord Host uses his time, couldn't say it right]

    Right, I need a giant freaking rocket…and a space laser…and a secret draining lake…I just hope the Feminist Diversity Cabal has the funds for this enterprise.

    What’s that, Miss Pipsqueak? More pets?

    *sigh*

    I really shouldn’t have genetically altered you to talk and be sentient, cat.

  73. @Kat Godwin, et al.

    Obviously, it’s not going to convert any grand wizards of card-carrying “alphas,” but there are a lot of people who don’t think about these issues much either way. I’m a white, straight male raised in the ’80s by generally leftish parents, so I wasn’t exactly going to go out and join the Aryan Nations. But gender roles or gay rights weren’t really on my radar growing up, outside of SF, that is. If it wasn’t for folks like Ursula K. LeGuin and Ken MacLeod and even Robert Heinlein, I wouldn’t have had that push to think and read and expand my circle of empathy.

    It doesn’t create converts from the stupidosphere, but posts like this can generate new allies, maybe.

  74. Wow. I was clearly misunderstood. I apologize that what was an honest question was taken as something other than such. I have worked with abused populations and enjoy John’s efforts in equality, as does my wife, who also worked with abused populations. I had no question about why he champions these causes. They are worthy of championing. My question was simply why he bothered to respond to people who are just never going to understand his response on a fundamental level.

    Also, @Kat Goodwin, I think you should re-read my post. In no place did I suggest that his efforts towards defending women’s civil rights efforts on the Internet were wasted. I suggested his efforts toward responding to his own personal detractors might be wasted. Specifically, those posts that speak out about HIM and not those that speak out against women.

    However, it’s clear I was misunderstood by a few of you and so I retract my question. John, I think you got the gist of it and I appreciated your response. If you feel it is leading down a path you don’t like, feel free to redact it.

  75. JohnD, now I’m imagining it as pronounced by Dexter, of Dexter’s Laboratory: “Stooooo-pid-o-sphere. That must be where DeeDee comes from. And maybe Mandark.”

  76. This Looks Like Fun:

    No worries. We do get a fair amount of “concern trolling” here so people are sensitive to that. As I noted in the followup, not every question along your line is meant to be trolly.

  77. Sometimes I wonder if “troll” has outlived its usefullness. I do still see lots of people who are doing what I would consider actual trolling, but more often I just see it used to shut up people if someone doesn’t like them. Since drawing the line is always going to be subjective, I have made a rule of thumb (for myself let it be emphasized): let the moderators call out trolls or ban them or restrict them or whatever. If the moderators cannot or will not fulfil that function adequately, how badly do I need to be on that thread anyway?

    That does not mean I won’t argue with people online. I just won’t call them a troll or presume to be a moderator in someone else’s house. I will disagree, mock, explain, sympathize, encourage, leave, curse, confess and/or create crytic epigrams; I just won’t take it on myself to declare that people come to their stupid opinions in bad faith.

  78. @ This Looks Like Fun:

    I ignore online trolls most of the time. Not because I think ignoring them will make them go away (we’ve seen too many examples proving that it doesn’t), but mostly because I’m a low-energy person with time management problems. So choosing not to notice–and choosing not to invest the time and energy to acknowledge, let alone engage with–ignorant, irrational, tail-chasing, bigoted, and/or vicious spew is a decision it’s usually pretty easy for me to make. I’d rather wrestle with my time management problems and invest my limited energy in things I enjoy rather than in things that make me feel like I need to scrub out my brain after reading that rubbish.

    But everyone’s way of dealing with such things is different and based on their own mileage.

  79. @Laura Resnick, that’s basically my take and your response is the summary of why I even asked what I did. I tend to ignore people that have nothing nice to say to or about me. And John does ignore a good bit of negativity directed at him. But sometimes we get gems like this post. I was wondering about the reason. However, since this curiosity appears to be a derailment of epic proportions, it’s a good idea to leave it where it’s currently at.

  80. This Looks Like Fun, I took your question as sincere. But maybe you haven’t read Whatever for long enough to have seen previous posts on why John writes what he does. This blog is not for the purpose of enhancing his so-called brand. It’s for talking about whatever (hence the name) he feels like talking about it when he feels like taking the time to write out his thoughts.

    If you’re a writer, you’ll have experienced how writing things down is one way a writer figures out what he or she thinks about something and why. And once written, if one feels one has done a fairly good job in expressing it, why not share it on the blog?

  81. I sure wish the Feminist Cabal and all its minions had as much power as these guys seem to think it has. Wow. Wouldn’t that be great….

  82. I so want to be invited to the Feminist Cabal. Please?

    I went to the Stupidosphere intending to give a furious tongue lashing but then realized quickly he was too stupid for the efforts. My favorite part of the idiotic article:

    “However, sexual harassment at public events is an exceptional situation–not the normal or default situation; and it should be dealt with as such. Punish it when (and if) it occurs.”

    I wouldn’t exactly call it the default. But exceptional? What the fuck? You don’t have to just be privileged to say that, but fucking blind.

    As a feminist and all around geek – I have said this before and will do so more publicly in the future – I would not have had the courage to rejoin the SF/F fandom, nor remain within it, were it not for the advocacy of Mr. Scalzi and Mr. Hines.

    For that they have my eternal gratitude, not even as a feminist, nor as a reader, but because it allows me to participate in the things I love.

  83. BWAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!!! NOW I SHALL REIGN SUPREME!!!!!

    The glorious Evil Feminist Diversity Cabal, funded by the Great and Powerful Scal’zi, may His glorious Name be praisèd, have granted me a superlaser, a satellite array, an implausible Arctic hover-base, and a rocket! I SHALL RULE THE WORLD, in the name of glorious Scal’zi and the EFDC!!!!! AND I SHALL NOT PET A SINGLE…uh…

    Yes, Pipsqueak. As you command Empress Pipsqueak, Supreme Feline Potentate and soon-to-be proxy ruler of Earth. I shall give you your pets momentarily–uh, I’m kind of in the middle of an evil rant…yes, Mistress. I shall stroke you and give you pet-pets as I pontificate.

    Um. Yes. YOU SHALL FALL BEFORE THE UNSTOPPABLE MIGHT OF SUPREME HIGH LORD INEVITABLY-FATED-FOR-GREATNESS, THE GLORIOUS EFDC, MIGHTY SCAL’ZI, AND MY GLORIOUS SPACE WARSHIP, THE “INEVITABLE WRATH OF THE INVINCIBLE SWORD OF SUPREME HIGH LORD INEVITABLY-FATED-FOR-GREATNESS!!!!!” TREMBLE BEFORE YOUR INEVITABLE MASTER–and his feline Mistress. Yes. Um. Heh.

  84. The deep concern of this weird little species with attempting to try, convict and punish you for the unforgivable crime of gender treason remains fascinating, in a Westboro Baptist kind of way.

  85. This Looks Fun: You aren’t a troll. (And I apologize to weasels also for using them as a term for stupidosphere inhabitants. Weasels are actually a noble animal.) But you were concern trolling, no matter how sincere you were being, and I’ll explain why. Every time Scalzi, or for that matter Hines or any other author, writes about these sort of topics, there’s at least one person who asks, why are you spending time talking about this, why are you wasting your time with this particular person/situation when it won’t help your career, and the people who agree with you will just nod and the people who are against your views won’t change their minds. Every. Single. Time. It’s a bingo box.

    You happened to be the person who did it this time, TLF. And instead of being stung that I pointed it out, please think about why it was the first thing to pop into your head. It’s not because you’re against equality or even don’t enjoy Scalzi’s takedown, but that doesn’t mean you don’t live in a society in which it is ingrained social policy to try to discourage people from talking about civil rights issues or talking about them in certain ways on the grounds that it’s either unpleasant or assumed to be automatically of limited use and worth. That you are parsing it as being about attacks directly at Scalzi instead of civil rights issues in general doesn’t change that it is in fact very much about civil rights issues, person by person.

    None of these discussions are of limited use and worth. Silence is death. Your wife, and perhaps yourself depending on your identity, can be, though she is supposed to have equal rights, subject to laws that turn her body over to the government and prevent her from voting if she doesn’t happen to have an original marriage certificate on her. And those laws are passed, despite their illegality, because they know not enough people will protest and talk about them, and toss off at the anti-equality crowd’s catcalls. When you talk, whether it is to like minds or not, whether it’s about sneers at yourself or general issues, it’s out there and it changes the atmosphere.

    The guys in the stupidosphere know this very well. That’s why they talk constantly, and why they try to cast equality advocacy as hollow, opportunistic, a passing trend, and not reflective of the “real” world. They know that talking from equality advocates has changed things, is changing things and they are scared of further change. It’s why Utah and New Mexico both got marriage equality this week. So why shouldn’t Scalzi do it, rather than play a game of Solitaire?

    Most of the people who read this blog don’t buy his books. The larger percentage of folks who regularly buy SFFH don’t know what a Hugo award is, nor do they visit the sites of the authors they read. The main way that fiction is sold is not advertising or author marketing but by word of mouth. Most of us therefore know that the guy in the stupidosphere is silly (and gross.) By talking about how silly it is, here and elsewhere, we continue the idea that equality is in fact ingrained social policy. Plus, sometimes there are T-shirts.

    So I’m not attacking you, and I’m not apologizing for being annoyed that you asked the why are we talking about this, maybe we should stop question. I’m hoping that if I and others keep talking about it, then people will stop asking the why are we talking about this, maybe we should stop question. We are talking about it because silence is death.

  86. The post leaves me with two questions:

    1) Who’s in charge of the Feminist Diversity Cabal?

    2) How do I sign up to join it?

    (And, in a vague attempt to remain on-topic, have my recipe for “Internet Cookies”

    125g butter
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
    1 egg (45g)
    1/3 cup “internet mix” (see recipe below)
    1 cup self-raising flour

    Preheat oven to 150C
    Cream together butter, sugar and vanilla.
    Add egg, beat until well combined.
    Add “internet mix”, mix until combined.
    Add flour, mix until well combined. Put teaspoonfuls of the mixture out on baking trays.
    Bake for approx 10 – 15 minutes (or until golden brown – depending on your oven, this may take up to 20 minutes). Cool on racks until crisp.

    [Notes: the base recipe for this is infinitely variable. Just swap out the “internet mix” for chocolate chips, or chopped glace cherries, or currants, or whatever you fancy. They’re also very easy to mix up, taking about fifteen minutes plus cooking time; ideal for when you want cookies and the Feminist Diversity Cabal isn’t handing them out to you for some reason.]

    “Internet Mix”

    1/3 cup chopped peanuts
    1/3 cup flaked almonds
    1/3 cup crumbled walnuts
    1/3 cup chopped/crushed hazelnuts
    1/3 cup chopped/crushed cashews

    Combine together until well mixed.

    Why are they “Internet Cookies”? Well, they contain nuts and flakes.)

  87. @Floored : Um. Yes. YOU SHALL FALL BEFORE THE UNSTOPPABLE MIGHT OF SUPREME HIGH LORD INEVITABLY-FATED-FOR-GREATNESS, THE GLORIOUS EFDC, MIGHTY SCAL’ZI,

    Uh-huh.

  88. Yeah, I had this great image of me in an Arctic hover-base ranting about my conquest of Earth, and then being commanded by my cat to pet her.

    Sorry if nobody found it amusing. My sense of humor is still somewhat lacking–I blame my father’s genes.

  89. Pronunciation: I prefer stew-pee-doh-sphere. Has an international sound to it while incorporating D’oh. You can either put emphasis on pee or d’oh.

  90. A slight tangent here and feel free to administer the Mallet if needed, but where does one go on Reddit? The only subReddits I’ve checked out are the syfy and fantasy (the writing one proved to be rather pathetic). Am I missing something bigger where the good stuff is happening?

  91. On the “oh noes yooooo shouldn’t get on their case” concern trolling:

    WRONG. Ignoring these fuckers leads to stupidities like the Texas School Board Book Committee (or whatever), and that nauseating ‘above it all’ stance endemic to progressives. OPPOSE THEM CONSTANTLY. ENGAGE THE ENEMY, and ridicule them to their loved ones. Idiot-shaming should be POLICY, because constant maintenance is the price of a good society.

  92. Idiots are impervious to shame. As far as they’re concerned, YOU’RE the idiot.

    Cowards are better targets. Like your House and Senate reps, both state and national. Personally I watch all four of my reps very carefully and let them know when I approve and disapprove of their activities and statements. I also let them know that I have a large extended family who mostly agree with me. It helps that I have cousins who back me up with similar emails to the same reps.

    Remember the bill last year about copyright on the Internet? Remember how so many websites shut down for a day and how the resulting email surge to reps caused the bill to flip literally overnight? Group effort does have a good result. We have to do more of that kind of thing.

  93. By all means, follow your conscience & speak your mind. Just beware of falling afoul of H. L. Mencken’s rebuke to Ezra Pound:

    You made your great mistake when you abandoned the poetry business, and set up shop as a wizard in general practice. You wrote, in your day, some very good verse, and I had the pleasure, along with other literary buzzards, of calling attention to it at the time. But when you fell into the hands of those London logrollers, and began to wander through pink fogs with them, all your native common sense oozed out of you, and you set up a caterwauling for all sorts of brummagem Utopias, at first in the aesthetic region only but later in the regions of political and aesthetic baloney. Thus a competent poet was spoiled to make a tinhorn politician.

  94. Strangely enough, Ezra Pound’s reputation as a poet has largely survived his deeply misguided personal politics; and for that matter Mencken’s own reputation over the years has not survived entirely unsullied, and I say that as an immense admirer of Mencken.

    So, uh, yeah.

  95. Not to bump this unnecessarily, but I had a little non-blog conversation with This Looks Fun, and I want to put an apology here to him, because in our Whatever conversation this thread, I zeroed in on the why are we discussing this guy part and not the main thrust of his post in asking Scalzi about his criteria in responding to attacks. While my points about the why are we discussing stuff still stand and were relevant, I think, I should have tackled his post more fully and understood all his points better, with less crabbiness. Food for thought for later and he’s a good sport. Just wanted to put that in there, since the holidays and traveling kind of put everything on pause online-wise.

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