I’d Rather Like Men Than To Be a Sad Puppy

And to be clear, it wouldn’t be anything close to a difficult choice.

And now to cleanse your eyeballs of rank homophobic stupidity, here are some happy puppies. Enjoy them.

Update: Torgersen attempts an apology; I discuss it in the first comment in the comment thread.

195 thoughts on “I’d Rather Like Men Than To Be a Sad Puppy

  1. Note that rather a bit later, Torgersen posted this:

    If for some reason you can’t see the image, the text is him apologizing to the people on his Facebook thread (and then also me) for insinuating about my sexuality, i.e., suggesting that I’m gay.

    One, again, even though the insinuation that I’m gay was intended to be an insult, I don’t find it insulting to be called gay. There’s not a thing wrong with being gay. It’s just incorrect to call me gay, as it would be to call me left-handed (which is a thing they used to try to force people out of being, incidentally).

    Two, the apology is for insinuating about my sexuality, but apparently not for suggesting that there is anything at all wrong with being gay. Which is to say Torgersen appears to be apologizing for the not offensive thing (insinuating regarding my sexuality), and not about the actual offensive thing: The homophobia that asserts that being gay is such a shameful thing that implying that I am so is an insult that rates an apology. Allowing that “even Scalzi” doesn’t deserve to be called gay does appear to apply that to Torgersen, being gay is a real problem. There’s a lot left unexamined, here.

    Three, I think it’s interesting that when Torgersen thought to apologize, he thought to apologize first not to the person to whom he had directed his intended insult, but to the people to whom he offered the insult as snark, at least one of whom felt more than happy to continue the attempted insult (by offering up a picture of Wil Wheaton as my “wife,” because hur hur me and Wil are totally gay together). Apology by way of dependent clause is a curious way to go.

    I accept Torgersen’s apology for attempting to belittle me, even if I was not in the least bit belittled; in this case it was not the specific insult, but rather that the insult was attempted at all. I do think Torgersen’s apology should be more properly offered to people who are gay, whose existence, and the fact of who they love, apparently so discomfits Torgersen that he uses who they are as a way to suggest that I am someone less than worthy of respect as a human being. I’m not gay, but if I were, I would be absolutely proud to be so, and Torgersen would still have no excuse for thinking of me as something less than equal for it.

    It’s my wish that, in return for accepting his apology, Torgersen might take some time to examine what in his own thinking caused him to offer his attempt at an insult. I’m not asking it as a requirement for accepting the apology; it’s just a hope. As I said before, the Sad Puppies seem to be carrying around a lot of fear and anger, Torgersen no less than any of the rest of them. Some time looking inward, and possibly examining the roots of that fear and anger, might do him some good.

    Aside from this: Comments open. Obviously Mallet is out. Behave yourselves, please.

  2. Poor, poor Puppies: always so wrong they cain’t never be right. ‘o)

  3. As a strict off the topic aside, please, tell us about the happy puppies. I recognize Daisy, but not the PUPPY in the foreground nor the puppy in trail.

    But it is clear there are many happy puppies there and quite probably a number of happy people, because who can’t be happy around all the dogs going dog dog DOG! dog dog dog! woof!

  4. Erik:

    The two Shih Tzus are my mother-in-law’s dogs. The one closest to the camera is Roscoe; the one furthest is Roxy. They’re freakin’ adorable.

  5. I must say, the universe seems to have handed John Scalzi self-appointed adversaries who are both remarkably and ineffectually villainous and remarkably and ridiculously clown-like.

    The only hypothesis consistent with the evidence is that John Scalzi is actually a Mary Sue…

    Brad DeLong

  6. It was a grade-school insult and a middle-school apology, and one that says far more about the insulter than the insultee. As always, by contrast, you’re a goddamn granite pillar of chillness. I do hope the whole incident causes Torgersen to reflect on what’s really driving his anger, though.

  7. I think that I would rather stay away from anything Facebook (I deleted my account years ago) in general and Torgersen in particular. Because once again I’m reminded of the rampant homophobia of this country, which is equaled only by this country’s rampant racism. Highly destructive all the way around, highly self-perpetuating…

  8. John, I’m sorry, I love your books, and I’ve read Whatever for years, but your obsession with the sad puppies is worrisome to me. I feel Whatever has changed in the past few months, and not in a good way. Please come back to the good side and ignore the haters.

  9. So his apology says that not only is being gay an insult, it is a TERRIBLE insult, one that is so heinous he must apologize for whipping out (snortgiggle) that level of vicious wordfighting. That is how bad it is to be gay.

    I wonder how he manages to get on the internet from back there in 1950.

  10. I may apologize too damn much, but there are a hell of a lot of people in the genresphere, if not the world, who have never learned *how* to apologize.

  11. The pups want to portray themselves as fight the SJW conspiracy against straight, white, males. But this tweet seems to make abundantly clear that the pups are just a bunch of redneck bigots.

    we seem to be approaching maximum pup derpitude. Hurr hurrr, Scalzi’s gay, hurrr derp!

  12. All the other shit he’s said, but he thinks he may have gone too far by implying you prefer to have sex with men?? I can’t comprehend this.

    Also, my son is showing signs of left-handedness. I hope he knows I love him no matter how funny he looks when he’s writing.

  13. The Sad Puppies have gone to “extremes” (of wordsmithing gymnastics) to prove to us all that they are not the same as the Rabid Puppies.

    And then the Saddest Puppy of them all posts that. Tell me again how you’re not Rabid, oh Sad Puppies?

  14. Another baffling thing to me is “a month of this fracas has worn my manners down to a nub,” as though Sad Puppies were something that happened to him, like a hurricane or a serious illness, and therefore should be counted as mitigating circumstances for his rudeness. “I spray painted graffiti on the side of a library, and everyone’s reactions to it have really been bringing me down, so forgive me if I’m a little snappish.”

  15. It’s sad that he assumes that suggesting someone is gay is an insult and that his friends/followers deserve an apology for the fact he mentioned it.

    (also -do you have a typo “Torgersen no less than any of the rest of him.” – should that be “them” at the end?)

  16. John — Thanks. You my fully agreement on their freaking adorableness. And I’ll bet there was much dog sleep that evening.

    We now return you to our latest SP WTFuckery, already in progress.

  17. traingeek:

    It’s not me who has an obsession with them, I should say.

    That noted, you might be best off avoiding the site until August, because this is something I’ll talk about when I feel like it. Otherwise, I’ve generally mentioned when I’m engaged in Hugo-related neepery; just avoid those entries. No one’s forcing you to read them.

    Margomusing:

    Fixed!

  18. Dear sir,
    I’MA GONNA SHIT ON YOUR PARADE!
    Followed shortly by (in outraged tones)
    “Why is everyone showing pictures of my naked hairy fat ass? ”

    The constant parade of rudeness and ignorance, petulant pouts and monumental butt hurt…

    Well. Soap opera choices make soap opera lives. They could use more soap down there.

  19. Nice to see Voltaire’s prayer was granted in your case, John.

    This is like watching someone trip over a garden rake and fall into the compost pile. I hope he doesn’t stumble blindly into the fence when he gets up.

  20. What is interesting to me is that his insult is rapidly becoming archaic and he doesn’t realize it. It is like someone taunting another person as “four eyes” for wearing glasses. It is yesterday’s childish taunt, something that dates a person.

  21. I have seen some comments here and on Twitter suggesting that Scalzi needs to reign it in with all the SP commentary. But why? He didn’t create this disturbance in the force. He seems to have found himself the target of a lot of anger from the SP/RP side. Why should SCALZI be the one to pipe down? The entire Hugo debacle has been covered on websites I read that have never spent much (if any) time on the SFF world. It’s rather high profile, and the SP/RPs keep on talking. Why shouldn’t Scalzi and anyone else who has opinions continue to share those opinions? It feels a bit like the kid in school who’s always getting picked on being advised to just ignore them and they’ll go away. Everyone knows they never do.

  22. Gotta say: I don’t see how sexual orientation has any bearing on the quality of fiction an author puts out–and quality fiction from an embattled minority is reportedly what Sad Puppies was about. Or so I was told by its defenders. They can’t have their cake and eat it too: either one’s personal politics and personal inclinations–such as sexuality–are or are not subject to scrutiny and use as grounds for exclusion from a community.

    What this suggests to me–at the risk of being Captain Obvious–is that a conservative cabal instead of a supposed SJW cabal would not raise an outcry from Sad Puppies–which is, well, sad.

  23. “a month of this fracas has worn my manners down to a nub,”

    and we’re back to the standard puppy howl: SOMEONE DID THIS TO ME!!!!!

  24. Traingeek, John has lots of interesting and other parts of his life, but the Sad and Rabid Puppies have put him in their crosshairs and are engaging in a steady drumbeat of constant internet harassment and insult. They have made him their boogeyman and rallying cry and symbol of all they hate hate hate.

    Seriously, if you go over and look at their sites it’s Scalzi This and Scalzi That and Grr Scalzi all day long.

    He’s not obsessed with them, they are obsessed with him.

    John Scalzi has a small group of persistent internet stalkers.

    Looking at it that way, I think it’s understandable that he has to deal with the Puppy nonsense more frequently than his friends would like.

  25. It appears that one party does not realize that the other party is rubber, while he is in fact glue, so that what the first party says of the second bounces back and sticks to you.

  26. Wow…

    Just… wow.

    The fact that this is even considered fair game for an insult says more about the Sad Puppies than almost anything else. Talk about a bunch of neanderthals still stuck in the past and who are too afraid to venture into the future.

    Ironic for a bunch of punks who claim to be thinking about the future – obviously they’d be more comfortable in the past where women are barefoot and pregnant feeding them baloney sandwiches.

    So sad. So frakking sad and pathetic.

  27. Please, please, please, please stop with the “put down” rhetoric about the puppies, and the “you know what has to be done about rabid animals” and “take the dog out behind the barn.”

    It’s vicious and horrible. The puppies and how they’ve acted toward me and others sucks. But good lord, let’s keep threats of violence, however unserious, out of it. Please.

  28. Is it yet known whether the first party’s mother was an astronaut?

    … never understood that one before, but thank you urban dictionary.

  29. Which is to say Torgersen appears to be apologizing for the not offensive thing (insinuating regarding my sexuality), and not about the actual offensive thing: The homophobia that asserts that being gay is such a shameful thing that implying that I am so is an insult that rates an apology.

    Well, yes – your point is so far out of their mindset that they have to sit down and laborously translate it before they can figure out what you’re saying. That being gay is shameful – “punching low like that” – is so much a given in their world that they literally cannot see the arbitrary nature of that premise.

    And my guess is that the chatter that Scalzi needs to rein it in is the dim apprehension by the SP side that the continuing argument makes them look like clowns.

  30. I’ve seen the “seriously, you need to stop obsessing about this puppy thing/blog’s getting boring/think of the fans” kvetching on GRRM’s Not a blog as well. It’s standard fare concern trolling.

  31. insinuating about Scalzi’s sexuality is literally

    homophobia.

    the word you’re furiously avoid there, Brad, is homophobia

  32. What is it about the true nature of ad hominem attacks that seems to elude these people? The question that comes up for me EVERY SINGLE TIME is “What grade are you in?”
    If the best response you can offer in regards to someone you don’t agree with is “he’s (insert juvenile label here)” then maybe your ideas and opinions aren’t really defensible. Maybe there’s an element of snobbery on my part here, but I didn’t spend the better part of my life reading and writing, pondering the nature of truth and the meaning of life to be dragged bag into grade school by irrelevant drivel.
    There’s an old adage, probably Twain, which amounts to “Dogs should stay off the furniture unless they can hold their own in conversation.” Seems apt.

    I wholeheartedly agree with the earlier comment that the insult says more about the person delivering it than who it was directed at.

  33. I appreciate the reply and follow-up comments. I have been mostly following the issue here and not going out searching for the other/dark side’s posts. There’s plenty on the Internet to make me mad without going out of my way to find it.

    I apologize if I came across as wanting to tell you what to talk about, John. I was concerned about you, that’s all. Of course you can talk about whatever you like – it’s your blog. I will cheerfully skip on past the neepery and enjoy the good parts, as always.

    Thanks again for responding, much appreciated.

  34. Sherylnantus:

    Brad is my age. It’s about worldview and politics, not age.

    Also, they have a vision of the future and that’s what this is about. And of course that’s why SF is always political; it’s about how the future can be imagined.

    They imagine it very differently than I do. And they don’t appreciate my holding those views; they’re threatening. Which to be fair, my views are threatening to conservatism that involves e.g. Homophobia, and their views are likewise hostile to me and others like John who oppose it. However, their attempt to reframe their own fiction and future worldview as apolitical is where the problem enters.

    But don’t assume these attitudes are looking back. They’re looking forward. Just not to the forward I want.

    Moving on, to points already made by many but which I wish to repeat anyway:

    Acknowledging all SF is political, johns is relatively less so than a lot of it, and certainly less than some of brads short stories (such as last year’s “message fic” about the dangers of atheism). This is about johns personal politics, and at least 30% about SFWA politics specifically. And eminently stupid.

    I’m sorry they’re obsessed with you, John. (Though if it has to be someone, I’m glad it’s someone with your fortitude, resilience, and humor.)

  35. To Rachel: And that makes it all the more terrifying. I’m an old broad of 51 but when I was younger dreamed of a brighter, better future and loved the authors who gave that to me and sparked my imagination.

    That there are men out there who want to deny that for this generation and future ones because their imagination consists of only straight white men is horrifying, IMO.

  36. Traingeek:

    No worries. As a general comment, do remember that the blog is not actually an accurate representation of my life. On a hour-by-hour basis, I’m thinking very little about the Puppies, sad or otherwise.

    Rachel:

    Thank you. I do tend to think that the more time they spend on me, the less they have to focus on others less used to dealing with such nonsense, although this may be a thought in vain.

  37. I just realized that I used “reign” instead of “rein.” On the blog of a beloved author who is very good with words. I feel as mortified as Torgersen should feel but evidently doesn’t.

  38. I’m sure it’s been quoted here before: “I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: ‘O Lord make my enemies ridiculous.’ And God granted it.” – Voltaire

  39. As a gay man and a former left-hander who was forced by the nuns in my pre-kindergarten to use my right hand, I can say that I love a lot better than I can do cursive.

  40. My first thought was, “Is he in high or what?” Then I realized that in many high schools these days — including my old small-rural-town school fer cryin’ out loud — the kids would be more aware than that.

    Thank you SJWs!

  41. I know why Mr. Torgensen called it “literally below the belt”; but aren’t below the belt attacks banned because they hurt like hell and/or are likely to cause permanent damages? The metaphor is clearly not working here.

  42. In addition to what everyone else has said:

    I really doubt that anyone who a) expresses the views Torgersen and Correia have, and b) allies with VD, Wright, and GamerGate can honestly claim to “like” women.

  43. In college I had a professor accuse me of calling her gay in a paper. Which I had, because I had honestly thought she was so and had said so in class.

    The context of the quote was a long paragraph about how I was gay though, and the effect that had on my perception of class discussion. In the end the school basically was forced to say that I had done nothing wrong because “gay” wasn’t an insult, and the context of the paper clearly established that I was calling myself gay first.

    I was told that the head of the department had a conversation with her about accusing gay students of using “gay” as harassing language.

  44. Ignoring inequality doesn’t make it go away. It only perpetuates it. Preach on.

  45. I think that sometimes it’s hard for a lot of people, especially for those on the left or more progressive end of the ideological spectrum, to recognize that there is a lot more diversity of opinion/worldview out there than they are comfortable with. Living in a bubble of people who agree with you creates a self-contained ecosystem of bias confirmation.

    Good example is here with BT and JS. “It is known” that gay marriage is going to happen, the arc of justice, etc etc.

    In honor of Brad, I am going to choose something closer to home for him. Consider, that in the US today, 13% of people disapprove of interracial dating/marriage. The first mistake is thinking “well, it’s only old people”. It’s mostly old people. But even among young adults, it’s not universal. Close to 1 out of 20 disapprove. When you go to a big (read: small) con, with say ~5000 guests, even if they skew young, there are two possibilities: one is that ~250+ disapprove of your marriage. The other possibility is that there are fewer people who think that, and the con skews towards people who hold the opposing ideology/worldview.

    That’s what came to mind when I saw BT’s taunt. Compared to interracial marriage, there are mountains more people for whom being called ‘gay’ is a real insult.

    I think it would be really helpful for the SF/F authors who feel strongly about it to make a really strong, really positive statement, along the lines of, if you believe “X” thing that I strongly disagree with, you shouldn’t buy my books or support my work.

  46. I do feel sorry for Torgersen. I feel even sorrier for the objects of his abuse, and for the people he has set up as pawns and then sacrificed… but Torgersen’s sense of wounded entitlement is so oversized and supercharged, it’s ready to put on a cape and fight crime. And he’s surrounded himself by people who are inflaming that sense. And those people, I suspect, are cheering him on not because they like him as a writer or as a person, but because they see his enemies as their own.

    It must be very painful to live under such a burden, because it will never be appeased. I mean, suppose after all this foofaraw, Torgersen did get a Hugo. He’d just gaze enviously at all the less-deserving writers who have won two Hugos, or a Hugo and a Nebula, or whose books have bigger sales figures than his own, or whatever.

  47. Post-“fracas” Mr. Torgersen seems to be forgetting the old adage, “lie down with dogs (or puppies), wake up with fleas.”

  48. The thing about homophobia is you know it’s bad when even redneck comedians make fun of homophobes. The concept of a “man” is clearly defined by John Wayne, Theodore Roosevelt and Rambo and anything that is not that is less than. (Let’s ponder for a minute some of these puppies trying to actually live up to those fictional standards) Calling another man “gay” is an act of juvenile bullying, nothing more. The whole concept of masculinity is defined by a made up construct, and that these men can only aspire to that concept, never really achieve it, is lost on them.

    Side note: The notion that SF should fit in a box built on pulp magazines and 4-color comics is as absurd as saying movies should only be in black and white, have text boxes for dialogue and be scored by a piano player.

  49. dh:

    Your first paragraph here is full of irony.

    Otherwise, I’m not entirely sure I’m getting your point, here. Bear in mind that I’m perfectly aware there are people for whom being called gay is an insult. However, I am not one of them, and the fact that people exist for whom it is an insult doesn’t make the attempt less intrinsically homophobic.

  50. As well as being the worst insult they can come up with their mindset, I suspect there’s a bit of wishful thinking on their part.

    If Scalzi is gay, he’s not busy disproving their whines about how straight white men, who write cracking good stories, can’t win Hugo’s.

  51. Dh:

    The surprise isn’t that there are people who disagree withprogressive notions. I mean, it’s hard to be queer and not be aware of the strong, cultural pushback.

    The issue, for me at least, is that it has been repeatedly stated that puppies are out for good stories without politics *in* them and that they are not opposed to writers on varying axes of marginality as long as they also write fiction that fits in the puppy box. To continue that argument while insulting an author you clash with over the issue for being gay is massively hypocritical in that framework.

    Also I’m not surprised by it, and I doubt if john is, though he’d know better than I. However, pointing out the hipocrisy and taking a strong opposite stand is still useful and necessary for various reasons including supporting queer members of the community.

  52. I looked up Torgeson’s bio, and was surprised to see he’s only half a decade older than me. I mean, as I understand it, this is the “Heinlein 4ever” crowd (a sentiment I happily sympathize with). But Heinlein had figured out that it was perfectly awesome to be gay at LEAST eight years before Torgeson was even born!

  53. Brad really needs to drag his insults into the 21st century, for instance, “Correia only eats locally-sourced fruits and vegetables. We’re not sure about Scalzi, on that count, if you know what I mean.” THAT’S an insult that leaves a mark, at least here in Oregon.

  54. It apparently didn’t occur to Torgensen that London, England is not exactly the epicentre of concerns about the dangers of atheism.

    Voters who regard atheism as perfectly normal are exceedingly unlikely to vote for someone banging on about the awful consequences of atheism; it’s completely contrary to their life experience.

    Torgensen can’t seem to grasp that fact, just as he doesn’t realise that describing someone as gay is not an insult. Instead he has persuaded himself that his failure last year was due to a conspiracy based in the US which managed to undermine the profound religious beliefs of those people in London, England who would obviously have voted for him if they hadn’t been subverted.

    I’m not sure how we could ever get him to understand that there are countries where the large majority of the population simply don’t care about their neighbours religious beliefs, just as they don’t care about their neighbours sexual orientation.

    Things change; when civil partnerships were introduced over a decade ago there were apocalyptic warnings about the death of the family, etc. etc.etc.; none of those warnings proved to be true. That is why it was possible to get the legislation for same sex marriage enacted; once people got used to the idea they started regarding it as perfectly normal, and at that point it became a civil rights issue.

    I doubt that Torgensen will ever manage to wrap his head around that idea, but his work was never going to be respected by a community of people who knew perfectly well from their own experience that godless gays were perfectly ordinary people.

    Of course some of the godless gays are idiots, just as some of the religious straights are idiots, but that’s part of being ordinary…

  55. Damn it! I’d apply to be manwife for both of you (Scalzi and Wheaton) any day of the week!
    And i’m married to a beautiful woman who can put her tongue on the tip of her nose!

  56. JS, I think it’s not true that the right-of-center folks are well aware that they are a deep, deep, deep minority in the genre and in fandom and in many (most?) fan spaces. This is the opposite of how the genre started, so maybe that’s the irony?

    I think the point is, in Brad’s spaces, being called gay is an insult, and for a lot of your readers and for the slices of fandom that you and a lot of your readers inhabit, it seems strange it would be.

    RS, I don’t think the puppy[ies] platform such as it is refuses to consider works with politics in them. There is a strong demand for the ideology to be done well, as in, integral to the story and not done clumsily. The Best Novel slate recommendations support this, in my opinion. There is also strong call for works with “other” ideologies to be considered on equal footing. In this case, “other”, is actually, “retro” ideologies.

    I think that Brad has been perfectly happy in the past and recently to say, if you don’t support my relationship, don’t support my works.

    I think it would be good for SF/F and the world for JS to say the same thing in this case about gay rights. Will, you JS?

  57. @ Dave: Love it!

    “Correia composts all of his paper and food scraps. We’re not sure about Scalzi, on that count, if you know what I mean.” WHOA BURN!

  58. Patrick Cleary, your comment made me snort/laugh loud enough to wake my daughter in the next room. The daughter who slept through the freakin’ smoke alarm a few months back….
    Cheers!

  59. I’m both laughing at this and a strange combination of sad and angry. Laughing because Torgersen’s clearly not comfortable with or confident in his masculinity and sexuality if he thinks that calling someone gay is an insult. Sad and angry because there are apparently still people who believe that being gay is bad.

    F*** that noise. I’m going to go watch some Xena and read Bashir/Garak fanfics (it’s effectively canon, y’all). Because FU homophobes.

  60. The heads of the Puppies, of both Sad and Rabid varieties, appear to have a really weird fixation on you in general. Vox dropped a comment on File770 that he hopes you lead a slate against him for a full on battle between the two of you next year.

    Looking back though it appears you hosted Torgerson on your blog kindly, once defended Vox as a judge, and I’ve only seen you say things against Correia when he initiates by antagonizing you first.

    Considering that all of the have avoided backing up their claims with any kind of supporting evidence, and that their slates appear to be mostly self serving by putting friends or financial interests on them, and that they name drop you constantly, is this some sort of weird long troll against you that they’re dragging the rest of Worldcon through? If so what the hell, you appear to have treated them fairly in the past until they proved otherwise undeserving of it, why are the so obsessed over you out of any of the other numerous authors?

    If imitation is supposed to be the sincerest form of flattery, this seems like the weirdest insincere form of it.

  61. dh @10:32: Um, maybe I’m misunderstanding you here (and if I am, my sincere apologies), but isn’t that what Scalzi essentially just did? Well, not the “if you don’t support my relationship” bit, since that’s obviously not relevant, but isn’t the point of the whole post about calling someone out on at least latent homophobia? And Scalzi has said, more than once in the past, that he is completely indifferent to people who claim they are going to stop buying/reading his books because of his politics . . . so, what’s your point, then?

  62. dh:

    It’s long been my position that if I offend people enough that they no longer wish to purchase my work (for whatever reason), then they should, indeed, not buy my work. It’s also long been my position that I’m not obliged to care what they think, or do.

    whipt:

    “Vox dropped a comment on File770 that he hopes you lead a slate against him for a full on battle between the two of you next year.”

    I’m sure he does, because he wants this to be about him, and he wants me to be part of making it about him. He is destined to be disappointed.

  63. I think it would be good for SF/F and the world for JS to say the same thing in this case about gay rights. Will, you JS?

    Worse attempt at a “gotchya” I’ve seen in a while.

  64. JS–

    That’s awesome.

    Mary–

    It’s one thing to say “don’t care”, it’s another thing saying, “you are not welcome to be my fan”. JS has called out BT for his homophobic remarks, but it leaves the door open for “those people” (like BT) to still be in big tent of fandom. There are racists, climate change deniers, gay bashers, etc and all manner of people with unusual opinions and views that are fans.

  65. Fishy–

    Hardly a gotcha, there are a places where this is happening. A good example is that some game publishers have started adding terms of service that prohibit you from playing if you are associated with GamerGate. Obviously there is no terms of service on buying a book, but I was hoping that the ranks of authors are progressive enough to make a stand (that would probably end up being pretty popular).

    It’s just like the convention code of conduct. JS was a leader there, and a year or two later it’s pretty universal.

  66. Rachel said: “Please, please, please, please stop with the “put down” rhetoric about the puppies, and the “you know what has to be done about rabid animals” and “take the dog out behind the barn.”

    It’s vicious and horrible. The puppies and how they’ve acted toward me and others sucks. But good lord, let’s keep threats of violence, however unserious, out of it. Please.”

    I note that John agrees. But is it OK to say that Sad/Rabid Puppies are not house broken?

  67. Wait, are we really going to do this “better, more 21st century insult” thing? Because man, Correia makes sure to dump his change–even bills! in the tip jar for the barista. We’re not too sure about Scalzi, if you know what we mean.

  68. Correia also tries to minimize his carbon footprint. We’re not too sure about Scalzi, if you know what we mean.

  69. @dh:

    “A good example is that some game publishers have started adding terms of service that prohibit you from playing if you are associated with GamerGate.”

    Hilariously unenforceable if true. Can you point to an example?

  70. whipt,

    I am not an expert. So far as I can tell John Scalzi has generally been gentlemanlike to the persons calling themselves Puppies.

    I do believe there are historic perceived slights and long-nurtured grudges involved.

    Vox Day claimed at some point in the last month that the entire Rabid Puppies movement was his personal revenge on John Scalzi, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, and Patrick Nielsen Hayden for an incident from over ten years ago on the Nielsen Hayden’s blog where Vox Day was being discussed — and Scalzi was defending him — and VD himself charged in and began making ridiculous and aggressively stupid statements.

    Day did not come off well. The entire blog post is still online for anyone to see here:
    http://nielsenhayden.com/electrolite/archives/006122.html

  71. JS – I never imagined he’d be anything other than destined for disappointment, such is the way for people who would rather tear down than build up :)

    It just seems strange that you are such a focal point. I appreciate your levelheadedness with all of this nonsense though.

  72. I’m coming around to the opinion that Brad Torgersen is just an idiot. He writes multiple blog posts waxing indignant that the Sad Puppies are being associated with reactionary bigotry, and then he casually makes bigoted jokes on his FB page. If nothing else, it’s terrible PR.

  73. dh: “….some game publishers have started adding terms of service that prohibit you from playing if you are associated with GamerGate.”

    Really? Your source please. Seems like something that would be hard to determine, with a decentralised ideology like GG.

    Brad’s not really covered himself in glory the last day or so (well, more than normal). Over at file770, there’s been an incredibly emblematic incident where Juliette Wade describes why the circumstances in which she withdrew her presence on the SP3 slate. Brad pops up on the comments and says that she did it as she was terrified of SJW witchhunts.

    At which point Juliette wades (shaddap, it’s late here) in pretty much tells him to shut it with the whole trying to speak for her bit.

    It’s really quite illustrative of the Brad’s mindset, have a read:

    http://file770.com/?p=22293

  74. Not really sure how you would feel the need to denigrate someone who publicly admitted a “shitty move”. Attacking someone for an admittedly crappy statement does nothing to address what multiple authors see as abuse. Perhaps some convention rules are in order.

  75. I’m reminded of Correia’s weird remarks about the Campbell tiara:

    “Yes. There is a Campbell tiara… No… I don’t get why either. Though I am going to vote for Brad Torgersen to win next year, just so that when he accepts the award he can say thanks, but then say that he is a Warrant Officer in the United States Army, and Warrant Officers don’t wear tiaras.”

    The two of them seem not just to be full of gender insecurity, but to be genuinely baffled by anyone who isn’t.

  76. EGI said: “If Scalzi is gay, he’s not busy disproving their whines about how straight white men, who write cracking good stories, can’t win Hugo’s.”

    Just as a point about message driven fiction, everyone is aware that Correia writes message driven fiction, yes? I have read two of his MHI books. Owen Pitt tells the story in first person, and he is not nuanced about the political message.

  77. It seems like dh is trying to make a point. Maybe you could just say what you mean, dh?

    That always works for me.

  78. Not really sure how you would feel the need to denigrate someone who publicly admitted a “shitty move”.

    Because what he apologized for was NOT the “shitty move.”

    Really, this is obvious.

  79. Meh. I tell people that if they don’t like x where x is a trait of my fiction I expect they won’t like, whether that’s “it’s SF” “it’s literary” “it’s feminist” whatever, that they probably won’t enjoy my work. I think that’s as far as my business goes. People should read and enjoy what they want.

    For various reasons, I had to decide this year if I would nominate and recommend people whose actions I find strongly offensive and upsetting. After contemplation, I decided I would. And did, re: nomination, though not recc because I wasn’t able to finish my posts this year. I’m more interested in the story than the author, turns out, at least as an award nominator.

    Well done, non-preachy or story-distorting politics are not something I associate with the puppy work. Perhaps they should examine their blinders and consider that, to the extent they do not believe their fiction exemplifies those qualities, lots of people do t think what we like doesn’t either.

  80. Wouldn’t it be easier to make Scalzi an insult? The Scalzi in their heads is already the biggest bogeyman.

    “Correia isn’t a Scalzi. We’re not sure about Scalzi, on that count, if you know what I mean.”
    “Don’t read that author, they write like on of us, but could be a hidden Scalzi.”
    “Why’d you write it like that, that’s so Scalzi?”

  81. Be careful not to mislabel Rabid Puppies. There are the militant ‘Homosexuals Unacceptable’ Rabid Puppies, who rail against gays, and there are the less noisy ‘Deviancy Effaced’ Rabid Puppies, who just want them to never talk about it. One should not confuse the HURPs with the DERPs.

  82. I am a failed writer, I just do not have whatever gift or talent or drive to write the stories I have in my head. That makes me sad because I enjoy those stories. I suppose it could also make me bitter, angry and resentful of people who do have the ability. I suppose I could also continue to write and then become angry, bitter and resentful of people who have a greater level of success or recognition than I had. That would make me a sad puppy, if the psychosis were bad enough it might even make me rabid. I’m OK with the tiny success I have had and hold no ill will toward anyone that has had more. That would be pointless.

  83. Stephen–

    I will dig into Steam later (when, err, it’s not the middle of a work day) and post a few examples. The big change recently is that Steam has started to allow the game developers to ban players directly, on their own, which has done a lot to give game developers the ability to reign in who uses their products on the platform. It would be like Tor allowing JS to ban certain people from buying his books. A very small technical change, a very big ideological change.

    delegar–

    I think it was pretty clear. But, thinking it through even more. Some “other” authors have made a strong case for: “if you don’t agree with me, don’t buy my books”. It’s not common on the left/liberal/progressive side. JS has previously been a leader on conduct policies at con’s, which are now basically universal. It would be amazing if JS was a leader on this type of thing as well. BT’s post would be a good opportunity to “say, if you are a homophobe, you are not welcome to be my fan”. He mentioned up above that he has a more passive opinion, which is roughly, homophobe are welcome to be my fans, so long as my works don’t offend you so much that you don’t want to read my books, which case, piss off, I don’t care to hear your complaints [again, rough translation].

  84. Wild Bill: “everyone is aware that Correia writes message driven fiction, yes? I have read two of his MHI books. Owen Pitt tells the story in first person, and he is not nuanced about the political message.”

    Also The Grimnoir Chronicles trilogy is more or less X-Men in 1930s with more violence. With at least more obvious of X-Men-related politics and metaphors intact. So yeah.

  85. dh: Okay. Thanks.

    That seems an odd stance for anyone to take, by the way — if you don’t like me (politically) I don’t want you to read me: as in, I *forbid* you to read me.

    Which is different from saying, if you don’t like who I am, feel free not to read my books. Who could really argue with that position? No one can actually force anyone to read someone’s books, after all — not even in high school.

    And v.v. How is anyone going to STOP anyone from reading someone’s works? I don’t especially want to read Torgersen’s works, since what little I’ve read of his writing doesn’t appeal to me, but if I did want to read it, how would he go about stopping me from doing so?

  86. @dh:

    JS has previously been a leader on conduct policies at con’s, which are now basically universal. It would be amazing if JS was a leader on this type of thing as well. BT’s post would be a good opportunity to “say, if you are a homophobe, you are not welcome to be my fan”.

    It would, indeed, be amazing. I would certainly be amazed, given how Scalzi rolls.

  87. You can’t really stop people, because that’s their behavior. But you can make it clear that their presence is not welcome.

    It’s exactly akin to racism in the US mid 20th century. There became, in a short point of time, a tipping point where everything and everyplace was unwelcome to racists.

  88. Obviously homophobia is wrong, but I found something else problematic about the comment. Scalzi gushes rather frequently about his wife. To ‘not be certain’ about his liking girls would require both a complete disregard for fact-checking and an alarming lack of deductive reasoning skills.

    While these are traits that have been demonstrated by some Sad Puppies, more likely BT simply relied on willful ignorance for the sake of a cheap joke.

    However, if you ask me (and no one did) a joke that requires you to a) deliberately make yourself look ignorant or lazy, or b) apologize is not cheap at all. It costs a fortune in public perception.

  89. Clarification request: did BT actually send his attempted apology to our host, or did he post it on the assumption that someone would forward the link?

    My personal opinion is that the latter doesn’t count as an apology.

  90. dh: So you would stop people from reading books because of their (mistaken) political beliefs?

    How would we ever educate people out of those mistaken political belief systems then?

    Let me tell you a sad, true story: when I was a very young and ignorant child, I was a libertarian. Yes! It is true!

    How did I get over this sad state of affairs? You won’t believe this, maybe, but it is true! I read a fuckton of books.

    If we forbid people from reading because they are wrong and ignorant — or just disagree with us — how will we ever hope to educate, or ever hope to reach accord?

    tl;dr You are destroying the marketplace of ideas, dude.

  91. Is Steam allowing game developers to ban people for mere association? Or to ban people because of their harrassing actions? If the latter, good for them.

    I have no expectation, or even desire, for Scalzi to “forbid” people from being a fan of his books. How could that even possibly work? “If you don’lt like me or my politics or my writing, feel free to not read my writing.” seems a perfectly valid sentiment to me.

  92. Jamie:

    “more likely BT simply relied on willful ignorance for the sake of a cheap joke.”

    Torgersen is more than amply aware that I’m married to a woman and have rather clearly expressed my preference for women as sexual and romantic. It wasn’t ignorance. He knew what he was saying was false, and did it for a specific purpose.

    Leah:

    Torgersen did not attempt to contact me, no. Nor do I suppose he will try to at any point. That said, he also did not send the insult to me directly. I assume he assumed that what he posts on Facebook wouldn’t get back to me.

  93. Ultra–

    I believe that you can be banned for any reason or no reason, but I am not sure. But it’s a good question. I am not sure about actions v. association. Also a good question.

    Using “forbid” is a strong word, it’s more about being welcoming or not. I think JS’s stance is perfectly valid. But it could be stronger. It’s the difference between “welcoming” and “feeling free”.

    delar–

    I think there is a world of difference between saying “you are not welcome to be a fan” and “you cannot literally read my books”. Luckily – LUCKILY – there is no TOS on books.

  94. Jamie, I think the idea was just that Scalzi is an effeminate girly-man liberal, which makes it difficult to countenance his being married.

  95. Rachel Swirsky said: “Please, please, please, please stop with the “put down” rhetoric about the puppies, and the “you know what has to be done about rabid animals” and “take the dog out behind the barn.”

    It’s vicious and horrible. The puppies and how they’ve acted toward me and others sucks. But good lord, let’s keep threats of violence, however unserious, out of it. Please.”

    This, in particular, illustrates the difference between the puppies and their perceived enemies. In every “liberal” space I’m following, any threats or overly abusive rhetoric is met with calls for civility. In the SP/RP spaces, the rhetoric is largely about how we deserve horrible things done to us, which are often described in detail–and the moderators not only allow it, but indulge in it themselves.

  96. One thing about this is becoming increasing clear to me. Torgenson’s motivation for the Sad Puppies as a response to how he was treated at Worldcon is likely true. I have to imagine he and Correia couldn’t help themselves wandering around, shooting off homophobic comments, sneering at liberals and ‘SJWs’, showing off their pining for the glory of the Confederacy, outlining their gun fetish and generally being increasingly obnoxious to puzzled of wonkish liberals and people committed to diversity and equality. Once the shock wore off, I’m sure the ‘are you kidding me’ looks of disgust finally drove them to hide in the bar and decide the whole thing was rigged.

  97. Let’s spell this out clearly, because otherwise it’s going to be a rabbit hole and dh will spin it endlessly. There are two differences between a convention code of conduct (CoC) and his proposed ban of homophobes from reading Scalzi’s work.

    1. What is banned?
    A CoC is not about people’s views. It’s about their behavior. You can hold whatever view you like and go to a convention with a CoC. Just don’t behave in a manner that violates the rules.

    Nothing to do with your beliefs. Believe away! Just…keep your actions, and your interactions, appropriate.

    2. Who is this all about?
    A CoC is not intended as a channel for the moral improvement of the people who might misbehave, much less a filter for Wrong Thinkers. Rather, it’s a means of protection for the people who might be the targets of misbehavior.

    If there’s no one to be affected by your behavior, there’s no need for a CoC. Because it’s not about you; it’s about the people you affect.

    Given that, there’s no parallel between a CoC and ideological restrictions on readers, who can neither act poorly in isolation nor affect other people by their private acts of reading.

    The equivalence is a dumb, trollish idea, and dh is just hoping someone here will give him some quotable agreement. But I’ve met dh before, so I’m not surprised to see it appear under his id.

  98. That’s not even backpedaling, that’s just not understanding at all what people thought was wrong with his comments in the first place. Beautiful, albeit sort of pathetic.

  99. Someone should teach the SP/RP groups how to apologize.

    “I’m sorry, but…” is not an apology. Lose the “but” to effectively apologize.

    “I’m sorry you took offense” is not an apology. “I’m sorry I caused offense” *is* an apology.

    The “non-apology apologies” put the onus on the party taking offense instead of accepting the onus upon oneself for having been offensive.

    BT’s apology is very much an “I’m sorry you took offense, but….”.

    Frayed nerves or no, he diminishes the apology by adding the caveat. He doesn’t seem to be sorry that he caused offense but that offense was taken. That implies he thought the insult appropriate, but used in the wrong place.

  100. Thank you, Abi. I knew something trollish was happening with dh, I just couldn’t quite see what.

  101. abi–

    The code of conduct was not about anything to do with the CoC per se, it’s rather, an example of leadership. There is nothing remotely wrong with them or weird and your post is really confusing.

    JS was a HUGE leader in getting COC moved forward – to the point where they all have them now. There is no way to “ban” homophobe’s from doing anything (well, short I suppose the law which tends to be very clumsy).

    The next step to getting homophobia treated, socially, the same way as racists is to get past the phase where we let them intrude into shared spaces. Racism reached a tipping in the US where being outwardly racist was shunned, socially and in all spaces. You couldn’t be racist a movie theater, at a playhouse, or really anywhere.

    Maybe we just need a little bit more time to go from “big tent” co-existence with homophobes to “we don’t care to share spaces with you (including fandom)”.

    I was hoping JS would decide that now is the time to show homophobic fans the door. BT created a nice opening for him to do that.

  102. I understood the point of Torgenson’s statement as both casting Scalzi in a effeminate light as if that were something of which to be ashamed. I guess it just struck me that this one comment can encapsulate much of the Puppy movement to date, at least from my perspective. This is not the first example of easily found facts being disregarded to score points through some sort of hyperbolic emotional attack, nor is it the first to cost the Puppies dearly in how they are perceived.

    My point (though not well articulated in my post) was that regardless if they achieve whatever goal they are attempting to hit (in this case making a cheap joke), the victory ends up being pyrrhic. They need do nothing to convince those already on their side, and the things they do–such as this joke–only serve to undermine them in the eyes of those who are not.

    In the end, it seems, again only in my perception and others may feel differently, that the Puppies are their own worst enemies.

  103. dh: I think that Brad has been perfectly happy in the past and recently to say, if you don’t support my relationship, don’t support my works. I think it would be good for SF/F and the world for JS to say the same thing in this case about gay rights. Will, you JS?

    FossilFishy: Worse attempt at a “gotchya” I’ve seen in a while.

    Yes.

    For fucks sake, dh. You’re bending over backwards so much to try to “get” Scalzi on something that you’re making these folks wince.

    [Image deleted because, come on, Greg — JS]

    We get it. You’re rabid. But no one is taking your stupid bait.

  104. dh, can you please provide examples of those publishers banning users for GG affiliation? I know it’s the middle of your work day, but you certainly seem to be able to follow up on other posts, so maybe you can go back and give us those examples as well?

  105. @dh:

    JS was a HUGE leader in getting COC moved forward – to the point where they all have them now.

    It’s amazing how much you’ve learned about the history of the SF community in such a short time! Was it only a month ago that you were saying

    I don’t personally follow SF/F and I haven’t read any of the works in decades.

    Of course, your later comments on Making Light cast a lot of doubt on that assertion, even before you started claiming to work for the Carter Foundation, implied that you’d been monitoring elections in Nigeria, and generally displayed more talent for fiction than you did for straightforward conversation.

    I’ll let you go on your merry way here, if John allows you, but anyone who wants to see your previous oeuvre can use your Making Light view all by index as a basis.

  106. John, in Brad’s thread on FB (and in Larry’s thread during the SP3 slate fallout), I wrote that I was uncomfortable when people piled on you (not a popular opinion in that crowd). I was delighted that he felt what he had written was ‘below the belt’ and wrote (what he took to be) his apology in the same thread that he had written (what he took to be) an insult. After all the sniping that has transpired (between both sides) I thought he was trying to take the high road.

    “A month of this fracas has worn my manners down to the nub, and even Scalzi doesn’t need me punching low like that. So, my apologies to the thread; and my apologies to Scalzi too. Shitty move on my part, and I am sorry for it.”

    I think the more common reply here is: “Thanks.”

  107. DH, Greg, et al.:

    I’m not going to try to stop anyone from reading my books. I’m also not going to try to stop them from not reading my books. I have no interest in individually vetting my readers or potential readers; there’s too many of them and I don’t have the time or inclination.

    Let’s go ahead and table this particular discussion now. It’s getting rather silly.

    Johne Cook:

    “I think the more common reply here is: ‘Thanks.'”

    I don’t care what the common reply is, Johne. I do care what I think is the correct reply. I offered it.

  108. abi–

    I have no idea what you are talking about. But just to help you along, I’ve changed my name. JS has asked to change topic so that’s that.

  109. If you did decide to go gay with Wil Wheaton, my fourteen-year-old would probably post photos of the pair of you to her Tumblr feed with captions like “OMG SO CUTE!!!”

  110. dh

    As the link clearly states, it prohibits “”griefing”, racist bigotry, sexism or any other forms of “cyber bullying”.”

    Nothing on holding GG-ideology. Unless you think the above is what GG is all about?

    Thanks anyway. I think by now enough people realise what you’re trying to do that they can evaluate your words fairly. I look forward to your next round of “But I’m just asking y’know…”

  111. Scalzi: Image deleted because, come on, Greg

    I was looking for something as absurd as dh’s concern trolling. May have gotten a bit too absurd. Wasn’t trying to say I condoned the image. Anyway, sorry for that.

  112. I seem to recall that Newsweek back in the late 80s or early 90s incorrectly labeled Michael Chabon a prominent gay writer based on the content of “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh” — to which Chabon responded that the publication’s mistake had actually opened up to him an important new base of loyal readers, even if it was predicated upon an incorrect characterization of his sexuality. I make reference to that event to note that in addition to the many posts in this thread descrying homophobia (a point with which I wholeheartedly agree), Torgersen’s attempted insult (which I think JS has nicely rebutted) also strikes me as ironic. At least to me, it implicitly suggests Torgersen would be uncomfortable with the idea that he could ever become a popular author within a demographic like the gay community that reads and purchases books…. I thought that one important motivation for writing is to reach the widest possible audience, not the narrowest. I am confident that greater sales typically is the publisher’s preference, at least. But then again, maybe I’m being naïve.

  113. ….

    I brought popcorn. If anybody wants some.

    This really isn’t a complicated issue. A homophobic dumbass said some dumb, homophobic things and OGH (long may he reign) turned it into a moderately amusing joke with some choice snark, then calmly and rationally pointed out the homophobia.

    It’s really pretty simple.

  114. Sometimes, when I see people trying really hard to be sneaky, I have this overwhelming urge to say “You…you know we can all see you, right? Hiding behind the potted plant isn’t gonna help…”

    I’ve felt that way a lot recently. Must be something in the water.

  115. ” thought that one important motivation for writing is to reach the widest possible audience, not the narrowest.”

    I am not sure that’s the case anymore (ever). There seem to be a lot of people happy to hit a certain niche.

    I’m sure whoever write tie in novels and other spin-offs are happy to cater directly to a very specific fan base.

  116. I was hoping JS would decide that now is the time to show homophobic fans the door. BT created a nice opening for him to do that.

    If OGH is as SJW as his detractors would have one believe, why would he want to do that? Why would he not want homophobic fans to read his work? One of the functions of literature is to communicate, so why would he want to shut off what modicum of influence he has on them?

    Several years ago, when I was a Boy Scout leader, I went to a training session for leaders while my son was at summer scout camp. One of the topics that came up was what to do with a scout who professed no belief in a higher being. Several of the more religiously inclined attendees asserted that such a boy would have no place in Scouting. I pointed out that if they really intended Scouting to be a teaching environment, those were the boys they should be most in favor of having in their troops.

    The short version is this: The people who are probably most in need of reading fiction by “SJWs” are the people you think OGH and other authors like him should somehow ban from reading their books.

  117. So yet again Brad Torgersen has bathed in skunk piss and doesn’t understand why people tell him he stinks. Just to show how clueless he is he’s also wallowed on the furniture, mucked up the carpet and tossed around in the bed. After which he spits out a half-assed non-pology. Stay classy Brad… Stay classy.

  118. @ Floored: Thanks! Have a soda – I’ve got root beer, orange crush, and cream soda. Help yourself.

    My dad, a career Marine, was very fond of the following joke: A Doggie (Army) and a Jarhead (Marine Corps) are in a toilet, pissing. After, the Jarhead heads straight for the door, without washing his hands first. The Doggie says, “In the Army they teach us to wash our hands after we piss!” to which the Marine replies, “In the Corps, they teach us not to piss on our hands.”

    Mr Torgersen needs to stop pissing on his hands.

    (NB: Dad felt free to change the other service-member’s affiliation according to mood and audience. Still does, actually.)

  119. Ursula Vernon:

    And sometimes I want to say “Wait … You just said the opposite to that a minute ago.”

  120. @ Mintwich: Got any juice? I don’t like carbonated stuff, or alcohol.

    I brought Joe-Joes (organic all-natural Oreos), in chocolate-chocolate and peppermint flavors. Should be enough for everyone.

    Now, what Torgersen REALLY needs to do is watch some George Takei videos. Such as this one:

    And this one:

    Especially the second one. The phrase “lathered in man-sweat” is scream-inducingly, brilliantly funny. :D

  121. I have always hated that joke because goddamnit, people, the issue is fecal bacteria, not urine (which is close enough to sterile in most cases to make no odds) on your hands.

    (sorry, pet peeve)

  122. Well, but, you have to admit, you and Will would make a pretty great couple if circumstances were different.

  123. What a bizarre argument this Hugo business has turned into. Science Fiction is about what it means to be human, and I’ve always found it very very odd that only some human experiences would be welcomed… This idea that in the good old days only straight white men were welcome is even more ludicrous. My grandmother was a CIA codebreaker and my mother was a DOD dungeonmaster and PhD biochemist- both passed on a love of speculative fiction and very little tolerance for the sort of narrow minded asshole that talks about the good old days.
    Can I propose that anyone who uses the term social justice warrior as an epithethet be labeled a social INjustice warrior?

  124. Brad Torgerson posted a juvenile insult and was rightly called out for it. Regretting his action, he attempted to apologize and was attacked again, this time for the attitudes revealed by his choice of insults and apologies.

    I’m curious: What would you have recommended Mr. Torgerson do, once he had dug a hole for himself?

  125. bOINGbOING has a video of a town council member who went to the restroom and didn’t turn off his microphone. Fortunately for them, he was no Frank Dreben, but as alert readers pointed out, he didn’t seem to have washed his hands. He’s just lucky Harlan Ellison wasn’t there.

  126. floored: Popcorn? Seriously? JS has the hammer raised, and you brought popcorn? Pecans, walnuts, almonds… any of these would be appropriate, barring allergies.

    Well. You’ve already suffered enough, what with the italics. I already feel kind of guilty.

  127. @sir wulf How about a real apology instead of the standard ‘I’m sorry if you were offended’?

  128. I’m curious: What would you have recommended Mr. Torgerson do, once he had dug a hole for himself?

    Stop digging.

  129. @Sir Wulf: Isn’t the answer to that question more or less what the original blog post above is about? “I’m sorry I called you gay” doesn’t address the actual problem, which is that he clearly believes that “gay” is one of the worst things you can call someone.

  130. So, while we’re all clear that “gay” as an insult stems from the homophobic assumption that “being gay is the worst”, can we also be clear that calling people “retarded” and making “hurr hurr derp” comments (as in that distressing puppy gif way up thread) is also an insult that stems from bigotry? In this case, ablesm? As in, “People with mental/developmental disabilities are so awful, that it’s a devastating insult to insinuate that Brad and the Puppies are like them”?

    Can we just agree that using the existence/identity of an entire class of blameless people as an insult is unacceptable, no exception?

    I have a cousin who’s been subject to really rotten treatment all her life because of having a developmental disability. People in my family call her “worthless” and tell her to “shut up” when she tries to participate in conversations around the dinner table. It’s pretty heartbreaking, and for the most part I’m powerless to do anything about it. It’s been going on longer than I’ve been alive. And then, of course, I get to see people on the internet pretty much agreeing with my family, and using a spectrum of ablest slurs that not only insinuates that being like her is the worst thing ever, but that being like her is a shameful thing, a fit description for people who have behaved immorally and unprofessionally.

    It hurts. A lot. Please stop.

  131. @ Sir Wulf:

    I think that Scalzi had a good recommendation at the start of this thread:

    It’s my wish that, in return for accepting his apology, Torgersen might take some time to examine what in his own thinking caused him to offer his attempt at an insult. I’m not asking it as a requirement for accepting the apology; it’s just a hope. As I said before, the Sad Puppies seem to be carrying around a lot of fear and anger, Torgersen no less than any of the rest of them. Some time looking inward, and possibly examining the roots of that fear and anger, might do him some good.

    I’m sure that, if he spent the time to figure out what the real problem with his insult was, the correct solution would present itself to him. I suspect it would involve a better apology, directed at the people whom he had genuinely insulted (hint: not John).

    There’s no single form of words he can copy and paste. It’s a matter of understanding the problem, and letting his next moves reveal that understanding, just as his current ones reveal his current attitudes.

  132. Myke Cole’s letter is interesting (and his books look that way also, good way to learn about new authors).

    Unfortunately the DADT policy was repealed, but it’s not illegal to discriminate against gays and lesbians who serve. There was a separate bill that contained those provisions, which has never been passed into law.

    CWO can (and sometimes do) lead various size detachments, but more often than not they are technical experts who are along for some purpose. US Army Reserve CWO, anyone know what that entails?

  133. Nicole, is that what those mean? I first saw “derp” on SOUTH PARK, and it was used as a place marker for language so boring, nobody cares what it says. I feel bad now, and would have deleted my comment above, but was unable. I’m sorry I have offended and I will be more careful.

  134. Sir Wulf: Brad T. (1.) should have apologized for using the suggestion that someone’s gay as an insult; and (2.) should not have used “it’s too infamous a thing to say about Scalzi” as his reason for withdrawing the slur.

  135. “What would you have recommended Mr. Torgerson do, once he had dug a hole for himself?”

    The answer is easy: “I apologize to John Scalzi for calling him gay, and I apologize to gays for treating their sexual orientation as an insult.”

  136. So far as I can tell, the origins of “derp” and “herp derp” are not related to developmental disabilities, and they are rather terms relating to the way in which just about everyone occasionally has “failed to engage brain” moments. (First usage I can find is in Baseketball, and I’m not gonna say those people are the pinnacle of respectful treatments of topics, but it clearly had nothing to do with developmental disability.)

    Being jerks about developmental disabilities is bad, but the counter theory that says that nothing related to intellectual competence or performance can ever be discussed or especially used as an insult is also pretty flawed. In fact, it is stupid.

  137. @rrede
    Thanks for the link to the open letter. It certainly adds depth to this comment I was working on earlier.
    —-
    There are actual military men and women who are getting legally married now. The argument before the Supreme Court, last week, is partially because of the need to insure that military couples receive the recognition they deserve in every state where they could be based.

    No one has firewalls between their emotions and their various social and employment circles. Maybe that’s Torgersen’s problem. Maybe he is having a personal freak out, possibly related to his inability to understand the changes that the military is undergoing? Maybe this is a reflex from before 2010? I dunno, he seems to be suffering not just from a fear and panic about change which could be impacting his writing career. The military is, after all, one of the few institutions where we actually enforce necessary social change not just by example and cajoling, but under orders. It is how we handled integration, and it is how we have handled gay soldiers, marriage rights, and eventually women as combat troops.

  138. /gaming tangent
    @dh “The big change recently is that Steam has started to allow the game developers to ban players directly, on their own, which has done a lot to give game developers the ability to reign in who uses their products on the platform. It would be like Tor allowing JS to ban certain people from buying his books. A very small technical change, a very big ideological change.”

    The difference is, I don’t read a book with five, ten, or a hundred thousand other readers all reading it simultaneously and commenting on it in real time as we progress together. Modern games almost always have a multiplayer component, and one or two disruptive or obscene players can ruin everyone’s experience. This is a *very* common online activity, I know you know what kind of players I mean.

    It would be more accurate to conceive of MMORPGs as a *service* you pay for than a creative product you *own*. I’ve seen this complaint repeatedly on the possibility of developers banning players based on their behavior, and it seems far more hysteria than reality-based. No game will be very successful if players are being banned left and right for their voting patterns, much as no game will be successful if a handful of jerk players are allowed to go around insulting other players unchecked. All the ban-related EULAs *I’ve* seen mention explicitly that bans are *possible* and will usually be related to *player-generated* complaints about a user’s behavior. If you don’t play online games like a total asshole, you don’t have anything to worry about.

    /tangent

  139. @Sir Wulf

    Brad Torgerson posted a juvenile insult and was rightly called out for it. Regretting his action, he attempted to apologize and was attacked again, this time for the attitudes revealed by his choice of insults and apologies.

    This is just my opinion, but I didn’t see any attack in Scalzi’s response to Torgerson’s apology. What I saw boiled down to: Apology for being juvenile accepted, even though your barb wasn’t the insult you intended it to be. But you did insult some folks over here by using their orientation as a homophobic insult, however ineffectively, and they’re the ones deserving of an apology.

    Why would you interpret or characterize as an attack Scalzi accepting an apology and (separately and non-conditionally) asking the person apologizing to try to understand why the person he’s apologizing to wasn’t the one insulted? Does that really come across to you as an attack? Because I, for one, can only dream of a day when more people are so civil on the internet.

    Just a thought. I know it’s easy to get carried away with hyperbole (on the internet, when emotions run high, this day in age, maybe even just because its always been human nature). My only purpose in this reply is to examine whether our hyperbole warps how we think about discussions like this.

  140. Thank you for your responses to my inquiry, particularly Abi Sutherland’s especially courteous answer and Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s concise statement. I had missed some of the information given above as I skimmed the comments.

  141. When I was in the Army one of the trainers for SERE (Survival, Escape, Resistance, Escape) was a Green Beret who had fought with the Montagnards, going on missions far behind enemy lines. It also turned out he was gay. When I think of tough warriors I think of him. I don’t know what this fellow who keeps blabbing on about being a warrant officer in the Army, etc., has done or is doing in the Army, but somehow it seems to me he wouldn’t be fit to polish that Green Beret’s boots. And as someone who was an Army officer, I wish he would respect the service more by not wrapping his personal prejudices up in Army green.

  142. dh May 4, 2015 at 11:29 am: “I will dig into Steam later. … The big change recently is that Steam has started to allow the game developers to ban players directly, on their own, which has done a lot to give game developers the ability to reign in who uses their products on the platform. It would be like Tor allowing JS to ban certain people from buying his books. A very small technical change, a very big ideological change.”

    Nope. Wrong. It’s nothing at all like Tor allowing Scalzi to ban certain people from buying his books (which, by the bye, would be impossible).

    Players on gaming sites are interacting. Badly behaved players ruin the experience for others. It makes sense to have a system in place that can ban repeat offenders.

    Nobody cares what you do in private with a book you’ve bought, because it doesn’t affect anyone else’s experience of their own copy. You can burn it, turn it into a masturbatory device, use it to level your washing machine, or fill every scrap of white space in it with annotations in tiny precise handwriting. Doesn’t matter. It’s strictly between you and that copy.

    To summarize: social interaction and solitary reading are not the same thing. Social interaction is subject to ongoing supervision and possible social penalties, and if you’re doing something seriously weird, management wants to know about it. Solitary reading (assuming it’s not a library copy) is a private interaction with your chattel, i.e. your copy of the book; and if you’re doing something seriously weird, we don’t want to hear about it.

  143. Wow, I was not expecting that from Torgersen. He never made any bones about his conservative libertarian politics when he was around and he said some nasty things sometimes, but homophobic sneers I would have thought was not his thing from my limited exposure.

    It seems I may have been wrong in a lot of my wordy verbiage on these puppy threads. I have argued several times that I thought the puppies don’t really care about the Hugo Awards that much, that they were instead just repeating silly claims as a rhetorical strategy to promote their political views as good and winning and social justice liberals bad losers, etc. I postulated that some of them were trying to get in better or higher with rightwing movements and media off of this. I thought Teddy had taken the whole operation out from under them and been the main force bringing in the game rippers. I thought that most of what they were doing and threatening was done out of callousness, not straight malice, not counting Teddy of course.

    But that remark was pure malice. Pathetic, homophobic malice, but malice. And the attempted apology he made was even more malice directed at gay people.

    So I guess that they really do care about the Hugos. That they believed the Hugos had been taken over by gay people and uppity women and so forth, and so had to be destroyed, like the Westboro Church trying to upset a funeral. So I apologize for all those words that were off-base for those of you who worked your way through them. I guess I gave them more credit for intelligence and calculation than they actually had.

    In any case, Torgersen has given an excellent example of why we need social justice efforts for all humans to be treated like actual equal human beings. Just like Star Trek. :)

  144. Off topic: has anyone noticed how cool the Locus Awards slate is? Plus their festivities seem really cool (including an Hawaiian shirt contest) judged by Connie Wills. Looks like all the fun will be happening there :)

  145. Seebs @ 231: I dunno. When I looked up “derp” online, one of the first synonyms I found was “retarded,” which–no. I suspect that whatever the word’s origins, it has since developed (by association, perhaps?) a meaning that makes it hurtful to many innocent people when it is used as an insult.

    That said, my problem with using any word meaning “stupid” as an insult in this context is mostly because I don’t see Torgersen’s initial joke as “stupid” (in the sense of not bothering to use one’s intelligence) in the first place. Adolescent, insensitive, and possibly ignorant, yes; demonstrating a misused or unused intellectual capacity? Not really . . .

  146. I’m late to this rodeo, but…

    I’m sick to death of being told (and seeing people being told) to ‘calm down’ and ‘stop talking about that’ when they have perfectly good reasons to speak on things or get angry. For me, the whole thing is down on the level with being instructed to ‘smile.’

    Other people have no right to tell you to not be angry or annoyed or bemused or whatever. People need to stop attempting to police the emotional states of others. It’s douchey.

  147. Please, please, please, please stop with the “put down” rhetoric about the puppies, and the “you know what has to be done about rabid animals” and “take the dog out behind the barn.”

    If rabid puppies infect you, you get inflammation of the brain. The symptoms include anxiety, confusion, agitation, abnormal behavior, paranoia, terror, and hallucinations, progressing to delirium… and eventually death. And once you show symptoms, it’s too late– it’ll kill you and there’s no canine cure. And that’s why they have to be put down.

    When you go out of your way to call yourself a rabid puppy, complete with commissioning art showing puppies foaming at the mouth, you can’t really claim surprise about it, no matter how many times you clutch your pearls (in a not-gay way, of course).

    Hey, I didn’t pick the name. That would be Mr. Beale. Surely a Hugo-nominated editor like him would be aware of the connotations.

    Now, I will say that there’s an argument that Mr. Beale picked the name precisely because when people point out that you’re supposed to put down rabid puppies, he can clutch his pearls (in a not-gay way, of course) and claim he’s being persecuted. But it’s not like he can claim to have picked the name to be loved, any more than he can when he refers to himself as VD, a common term for venereal disease.

    Also: obligatory (in a non-gay way) link: https://www.facebook.com/adamtroycastro/posts/10206402245077523

  148. @Kat Goodwin:

    Welcome to the club. We have popcorn, cookies, and possibly other noshables. :)

  149. @Mary Frances What I got when I looked up ‘derp’ in an online dictionary was: 1) Also, derp derp, herp derp [hurp durp] (Show IPA). (used as an inarticulate response to a foolish or awkward comment, action, person, etc.):
    I can’t believe he just said that. Derp.

    2) a person or thing considered to be foolish or awkward.

    3) a person or thing considered to be foolish or awkward.

    I think you’re reading /way/ to much into it.

  150. Glenn:

    Love the Adam Troy Castro piece, I’ve been meaning to send him a fan mail.

    And Yes, vox opened the door for that rhetoric. But he’s a horrid shriveled person and not someone worth compromising ethics for. Let’s not walk through it.

  151. I’ve brought water and juice for those of us that don’t do carbonated drinks.

    I’m afraid there is little BT can do that surprises me. I do hope someday he can get passed his distressed privilege and be happier with life.

    I finished The Three-Body Part and will be reading the Goblin Emperor, rereading Ancillary Justice, and then reading Ancillary Sword. These things bring me happiness to counteract all the SP/RP stuff. My husband brought the Goblin Emperor and Ancillary Sword home from the library yesterday. I’m continuing to update the ballot as I finish each book/story for the Hugos.

  152. I’m late to this rodeo, but…

    I’m sick to death of being told (and seeing people being told) to ‘calm down’ and ‘stop talking about that’ when they have perfectly good reasons to speak on things or get angry. For me, the whole thing is down on the level with being instructed to ‘smile.’

    Other people have no right to tell you to not be angry or annoyed or bemused or whatever. People need to stop attempting to police the emotional states of others. It’s douchey.

    Needs saying. Needs repeating, apparently.

  153. Rochrist:

    I think you’re reading /way/ to much into it.

    Whether you think it’s a problem or not, it doesn’t hurt you or others to stop using the references because someone has told you that you are causing them pain and that it can be read that way. And the same goes for the putting the puppies to sleep stuff. Whether it’s a joke or not, it’s still a death threat and violent in its base. It’s poorly done humor of the sort that puppies enjoy; try something else.

    I will bring my much acclaimed homemade chocolate chip cookies, but mostly just because this all has been really depressing.

  154. @Teresa Nielsen Hayden–

    It is something of a misstatement to say that all gaming in that system is social activity, because it’s not. There are many that are not, and they are equally affected by the ability to refuse to sell or refuse access to the platform. The platform tool makes no distinction. The rest of your comment is very strong, which is, Steam only cares that you don’t make a mess of the interaction for other people. I like that policy, I think it’s great. It has already made a big difference.

    You point out correctly that reading a book is a totally private event. That’s a good point I did not think of before.

    I mentioned the case of racism, but it could be any social problem – BT’s casual homophobia, misogyny, or whatever else. If you live only in the bubble of progressive fandom, you might think those values are effectively gone, but people who track the reported values of Americans (namely, Gallup), have found that it’s not as fringe as you one might hope or wish or think. On gay dignity – which BT’s post brings up – we are not anywhere near 1-in-20 that do not support legal interracial marriage. According to Gallup, 1-in-3 Americans do not support legal consensual gay relationships, let alone marriage. So when you go to a con, or participate in some fan event, it’s a safe bet that either a third of your fans/viewers thing that gay people can’t be trusted to make their own relationship choices, or that your audience skews more progressive than the general public. And when you go to big events, like DragonCon, it is likely that there are going to be thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of people who disagree not only the idea of gay marriage, but even, the right of gays to freely associate.

    I agree you can’t clumsily ban readership, and doing so is a bad idea. I originally wrote:

    “I think it would be really helpful for the SF/F authors who feel strongly about it to make a really strong, really positive statement, along the lines of, if you believe “X” thing that I strongly disagree with, you shouldn’t buy my books or support my work.”

    Which wasn’t well thought out. A better version might be: “If you are an opponent of gay rights than don’t participate in fandom”.

    Even after the last 20 years of strong gay rights activism, we still have a long way to go to even get gay rights to where race relations are (which as we have seen recently, is still far from ideal or even tolerable).

  155. I’m a solipsist. I’m not too sure about Scalzi, if you know what I mean…

  156. @DDH: “Which wasn’t well thought out. A better version might be: “If you are an opponent of gay rights than don’t participate in fandom”.”

    Which, naturally, would prove that the Puppies are unwelcome in fandom based on their non-SJW thoughts, thereby retroactively justifying their odious campaigns?

    Nope, not taking that bait. Believe whatever you want to believe, just don’t be a jerk to others.

  157. Sir Wulf:

    Brad Torgerson posted a juvenile insult and was rightly called out for it. Regretting his action, he attempted to apologize and was attacked again, this time for the attitudes revealed by his choice of insults and apologies.

    Here’s how I’d handle it:

    “What I said was not only hurtful to Scalzi, but was part of a bigoted attitude that I share with many members of society. We’re all responsible for our own actions, but when those actions happen in a large number and target specific members of society, the hurt they cause becomes systemic, and stopping that systemic hurt is something I want to take part in.

    In the future, I’ll police my own language, respond to criticism, and call out others who’re abusive and bigoted the way I was”

    I think you can see that this is not an easy thing to do, and it requires real courage

  158. dh, no matter how hard you try to incite us to say stupid things, I really doubt anyone here will bite. Just because you have apparently bought in to the myths the Puppies have about what “SJW”s want doesn’t mean those myths are true. I doubt there’s a single person here, including the gay and bi and genderfluid ones, who believes that all homophobes should be barred from fandom for the thoughtcrime of being homophobes, and no amount of saying things that amount to “we all know they should be, right? Right?” is going to get you agreed with.
    You seriously sound like the FBI undercover agent at a peaceful sit-in saying, “we all hate the government, so when are we making the pipe bombs?” Umm, no. Just no. That agent provocateur stuff doesn’t work when you don’t understand people’s actual beliefs, motivations, and goals.

  159. Rachel:

    Sometimes, when things have gone bad, you have to do distasteful things in order to do the ethical and right thing, even if the object of your distasteful actions might not deserve it.

    That’s one of the lessons I learned from Old Yeller.

  160. DDH, this sounds like a great time to lead by example. Why don’t you use your personal platform to proclaim that you are doing this thing, rather than try to wrangle other personalities into it?

    Then maybe others will go “That DDH, he’s made a great point!” and join in. That’s generally how these things work best…

  161. @Cally, great point on the FBI informer, er dh. I was wondering why he keeps trying to beat a dead horse in so many threads, now it all makes sense – they must be associated with SP/RP so they have something that they can point to, jump up and down, and go “See! See!! They were mean to us so that justified EVERYTHING we’ve been saying !!@111!1”

  162. Late typo alert, because it keeps bugging me: headline should have “than be a sad puppy,” not “than to be a sad puppy.”

  163. Well I would be happily able to say that. Except sadly there’s not a lot of call for my opinion. JS, on the other hand, has a lot of sway. Withing about 6-months, conduct policies becamee universal at all major con’s. And a lot of other people joined in.

    Not doing things which are just because your enemies will use them against you is unilateral disarmament and it’s not usually a good idea. It doesn’t matter what is done or said, you can count on the Puppies to (a) declare victory and (b) being difficult.

    There was a strong solidarity movement with anti-racism, and it pushed the needle appreciably. Even if (when) the SCOTUS rules on gay marriage, there is still a lot of brush that homophobes can use to hide.

  164. As the one who posted the “derp” gif, a few thoughts….

    Nicole: call her “worthless” and tell her to “shut up” …. insinuates that being like her is the worst thing ever, but that being like her is a shameful thing

    I’m sorry that’s how your family treats your cousin. It wasn’t my intent to pile on her.

    Mary: When I looked up “derp” online, one of the first synonyms I found was “retarded,”

    When you look up anything relating to below-statistical-average intelligence on a place such as urban dictionary, every word has “retard” as a synonym. At least the dozen or so that I checked.

    When I looked “derp” up on oxford dictionary, it said “Used as a substitute for speech regarded as meaningless or stupid, or to comment on a foolish or stupid action”. Oxford makes no mention of “retard” either in its definiiton or synonyms.

    I’m using as a guideline “don’t punch down”. As far as I’m concerned, Brad, Larry, and VD are not “down” in any sense of the word. Though they all love to invoke victim politics, I’m not buying that they’re the powerless victims here.

    The “hurr hurr” is standard troll-speak for “lookie what I did”, as in “I just gave this dweeb a wedgie, hurr hurr”. And Brad was clearly attempting to make a joke that Scalzi was gay and several of his followers where jumping in on the “hurr hurr”. And the “derp” is about making bone headed mistakes, which I find especially funny given that the pups like to say how much smarter they are than everyone else. VD has repeatedly pointed out that he’s a member of Mensa. And he’s an idiot. The first batch of cartoons I posted making fun of VD and the puppies was Megamind, who thinks he’s a supergenius, but keeps making boneheaded mistakes.

    There has to be a way to point at people like VD, especially people who boast about their membership to Mensa, doing moronic things and clearly not being nearly as smart as they think they are without it being an attack on someone like your cousin. There has to be a way to punch up at think-they’re-so-smart-but-pull-boneheaded-maneuvars like VD without it being lumped into the same category as punching down on people with developmental disabilities.

    Cause if there isn’t a way to point out boneheaded mistakes and idiotic behavior, then, that just eliminated a whole swath of what I’d consider valid criticism.

  165. I think the fact that BT’s comments are essentially just ignored by most of the larger world is evidence that casual homophobic remarks and victimization is still somewhat socially acceptable, and that even relatively powerful (Within reason, it’s not like we are talking about power brokers) still have a problem shunning homophobes. Asking LBTQ friends to share space with people who don’t even want them is difficult. BT’s original “joke” had 4 Likes, which 4 is too many.

  166. @Greg:

    Puppies are related to coyotes, right? That might explain their wiliness… :D

  167. Folks, the comment thread has a couple of points where it appears to be about to go off the rails, and I’m about to be traveling for several hours and I won’t have a lot of time tomorrow to sit on the thread and tell everyone to behave, so I’m gonna go ahead and close comments down for now. They might open up again tomorrow evening, depending on when I get back to my hotel room and how I’m feeling when I do.

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