And Now, the Dickhead Report

An email from a reader today, which (to paraphrase) noted I don’t seem to mix it up as much with dickheads here or elsewhere, and wondered whether that had to do with maturity or just because everyone’s moved on.

Maybe both? On the personal level, I’m rather less feeling the need to bother with the jerks. Over on Twitter, I’ll offer up a single pro forma condescending tweet before I mute/block someone; and over here on Whatever I’m even less inclined these days to humor trolls. At this point there’s just no percentage in it and I have other things to do. I made the decision last year to cut down on the amount of ego-searching I do, which makes a difference as well. Dickheads might be talking about me, but I don’t see it nearly as often, so from my point of view it’s not something I think about as much. Occasionally someone will bring something some jerk said to my attention, but that happens less as time goes on; we’ve all got other things to do, it seems.

Beyond that, it does seem that most of the dickheads who used to rail about me have either moved on or sunk themselves into obscurity or both. The fellow most enthusiastic about being a jackass in my direction over the years has recently fixated on someone else, which is nice for me and apparently harmless enough for the fellow he’s fixed himself upon. The object of his affections doesn’t seem to be suffering any real negative effect from the jackass’ constant need to attach himself, lamprey-like, to someone else’s career in the hope of gobbling up leftover crumbs. He’ll occasionally still snark in my direction, and mutter something to his sockpuppets about my blog visits, which, fine. But I don’t think his heart’s much into it anymore. He’s found a new crush, and I wish him joy.

Outside that dude, there’s a small group of indie writers (and their fans) who have used me as a fetish object in their never-ending war against the SJW-ing of science fiction, but that’s mostly just, like, six dudes reminding each other they’re in the “I Hate Scalzi” club over and over. Again, it’s not done me any harm, so let them have their whine circle if it makes them happy. But they seem to do it less now, as far as I can see. Among the former Sad Puppies, a couple of them will still hitch the strawman version of me to their chariot and drag it around the walls of their compound, to desultory cheers. But honestly, that was soooo long ago now. In the here and now, most of them are busy trying to build (or rebuild, as the case may be) their careers, and that’s probably a better use of their time. Good luck to them.

And that’s pretty much it, I think? Science fiction isn’t the locus of trolling and random dickheads like it was a few years ago. Most of those dudes moved on to comics and/or retreated back into video games once it became clear they were just wasting cash trying to sabotage the Hugos. That tide has retreated, so my share of abuse from it has commensurately declined. And also, you know. I’m a well-off almost-50-year-old white dude, and I can’t be fired from my job. The random dickheads have other people they prefer to bother.

And again: Fine by me. The path of my career has never been materially affected by these dickheads, but they can become enervating over time. I’m perfectly happy that most of them have moved on, and that I have moved on as well, in a different direction. Life is short.

So that’s why there’s been less of this sort of nonsense recently. I’m sure it will never go away entirely — this is the Internet, after all — but it really does seem to be in decline, and likely to mostly continue in that direction. Knock on wood.

31 Comments on “And Now, the Dickhead Report”

  1. Just to give a counterweight to the dickheads: I finished the audiobook of *Head On* a week or so ago and I thought it was terrific! (Take that, dickheads!)

  2. I tried to join the Dickhead club but they neither offered cookies or a t-shirt, so it wasn’t for me, or anyone else who is sane.

  3. Glad to hear of your declining Daily Dickhead Quota! May the decline continue unabated.

  4. Oh, I don’t know. It was because of that dude and your challenge to donate to worthy causes whenever he frothed in your direction that I became a donor to said causes. Dude’s a whiner and a dick but his wee dickery produced some good so, in that instance at least, I’m glad you gave in to your baser instincts.

  5. I’m almost tempted to pop over to the former Scalzi-hater-in-chief’s website to see who the new target is. One can probably take his attacks as book reviews written in Bizzaro-speak based on past form (Scalzi,Jemisin).

  6. Assuming I’m thinking of the same thing, I think the shift in focus is a clear example of diverse thought: Left vs Right, Men vs Feminists, and so forth are all crude binaries; but disputes where there is significant common ground make me hope that we can move politics beyond “It is evil when they do it and good when we do it.”

  7. I’m not going to pretend that if I watched Nascar (I don’t) it wouldn’t be for the wrecks, or if I watched Hockey (I don’t) it wouldn’t be for the fights. The scathing responses to the dickhead of the moment were always among my favorite posts on the Whatever and I think what got me here in the first place many years ago. Here’s to more dickheads!

  8. six dudes reminding each other they’re in the “I Hate Scalzi” club over and over.

    Cheese and whine club? :)

  9. The best thing to do with a dickhead is ignore them. They just get egged on with any response. It is, however, a lot more fun to see them bluster and spout lies when you call them out.

  10. I remember how I used to come here to tell you how much I loved kittens! Well, I still do! They are so fluffy and snuggly!

    [Meow – JS]

  11. The signal:noise ratio on your blog has gone up for me lately because of this, as I would usually skip those posts as soon as I realized you were just ranting about some jerks.

  12. Thank you for the link to the “Kitten Setting” post above, John.

    Ghlaghghee was one super-adorable ball of cuddly fluff, indeed. Worth it for the picture.

  13. “Crikey! It’s a rare dickhead sighting in the wild! This waterhole used to be popular with them, until the prey decided it was more profitable to move along elsewhere and ignore them. Occasionally, one comes back to see if a new generation of prey creatures is ready to be harvested, but so far, the dickheads’ hunts have proven largely unsuccessful. They are now uncommon enough in these parts that there is discussion of tagging them to see where they have moved, but largely the agreement is that — eh, fuck ’em.”

  14. I doubt Peterson even knows of VD’s existence. I guess if he’s got to fixate on someone, it’s good that it’s a full-scale celebrity who is already the locus of lot of controversy and discussion.

  15. I can’t ever remember that one dickhead’s name now, so I would have to do some searching to find his blog to see who his new crush is, and honestly, I don’t care that much. It’s nice to have forgotten him.

  16. Dave Higgins: I actually know quite a few mew who are feminists, so that’s not a binary either.

  17. The bitching that has come from them is stale and rote too, they new material (I hope they don’t get new material), the social trends they were fighting have moved on and they lost so they are just a sad and dissatisfied remnant, and also people don’t use the internet in the same way they did even two or three years ago either so it doesn’t have the same visibility factor. In short everybody has moved on except them.

    I feel like we are almost in a lull of the storm right now. There is still a lot of highly charged feelings around, but as much as their patron saints seem in power (Trump, Putin, Brexit, etc) the social tide seems to be moving another way and all they railed against has been viewed and accepted, and seems harmless. We’re just running the clock down on those patrons in power until their inevitable removal or reversal in order to get on with things.

    I’m sure there is another big row coming, but whatever form it takes it won’t have the creative community and SFF community in the heart of it in the same red hot way.

  18. You have noted in the past that the hay day of blogs has passed. I wonder whether the percentage of trolls in general, on blogs, has declined too. To me, it would be nice to think so.

  19. bUt jOhn YOu aRE viSTINg tHe UK f0r OUR BrExiT! PAArtTY sTill?

    Not saying anything, but when yourself, Rowling, Stross and most of the SF litterati are all visiting at that same moment, some are wondering if SF itself didn’t decide re-enact ‘The Children of Men’. Or that perennial favorite, “The Wicker Man”.

    We’re sorry about the vIsIT: n0TT oUR faaaulT. wE jUsT LIkE sTOORIees. s00ry.

    But: if you’re coming to slay, be aware that Queensberry Rules apply.


    If the Queen dies during your visit, tell ATHENA to enact the ‘reverse Patriotic jingle’ trick: like all Americans, you’re now Canadian or Australian (we’d suggest Canadian, most of London knows an Aussie) while you scarper. Under *ALL CIRCUMSTANCES* do not attempt a faux Irish accent.


    We did try to warn you about the bug-fuck reality that was approaching, but perhaps symbiotic dragon-mind sex was too much for your generation.

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