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Eric Trump continues to be himself, which is hardly pleasant for the rest of us.

Then again, this is a guy whose brother decided to help get Dear Old Dad elected by (at least graphically) allying himself with quite a few equally unpleasant people, so I guess we shouldn't be shocked at the phrase "not even people" being used by Eric.

I feel that Eric Trump is definitely a person, however.

He's also a complete idiot.
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And this is another warning about how you should be wary of taking political advice that comes from the mouths of celebrities - even ones you admire, despite their politics.

You can read the meat of the mess via the link above, but this stretch of Mr. Eastwood's Wild Ride seems to be an object lesson in not how to articulate a thought:

ESQ: What do you think Trump is onto?

CE: What Trump is onto is he’s just saying what’s on his mind. And sometimes it’s not so good. And sometimes it’s … I mean, I can understand where he’s coming from, but I don’t always agree with it.

ESQ: So you’re not endorsing him?

CE: I haven’t endorsed anybody. I haven’t talked to Trump. I haven’t talked to anybody. You know, he’s a racist now because he’s talked about this judge. And yeah, it’s a dumb thing to say. I mean, to predicate your opinion on the fact that the guy was born to Mexican parents or something. He’s said a lot of dumb things. So have all of them. Both sides. But everybody—the press and everybody’s going, “Oh, well, that’s racist,” and they’re making a big hoodoo out of it. Just fucking get over it. It’s a sad time in history.

No offense to Clint - no, really - but the only reason why Candidate Stoathead decided to go after that judge is because that judge had both the misfortune to be involved in his Trump "University" case and because there is a very large network of Stoathead supporters who are, and will continue to be, screaming card-carrying racists. So they got to hear the dog whistle loud and clear because he's of Mexican descent. Never mind the little fact that he was born and raised in the US and is therefore this thing called an "American citizen" as a result; that's not what matters in the odd little universe populated by certain Trump supporters - Gonzalo Curiel's background is.

Then again, look at this way: Clint Eastwood is 86 years old. His complaints about Today's Youth (and consider that there's been roughly 3 intervening generations since he was born, so that's some sample size you've got, there) being overly sensitive and blah blah blah are probably not much different than what he heard from some (but not all) members of the generation that preceded his when he was a teenager in the late 40's and they'll probably be no different from the ones coming out of the mouths of some (but not all) millennials some twenty to thirty years after they've had kids. The problem is this: every generation looks down on their successors as somehow being either morally weaker or less courageous than they were, and it's all bullshit. Because that canard keeps getting repeated over and over again. Younger generations just have a different set of problems than previous ones. You can still get killed over essentially nothing if you're 25 now just as you could've bought the farm over trivial shit like your ethnic background or the color of your skin way back in 1946. What's different is that we think we know better. Or should.

As for Eastwood, well, he was a genius as an actor and director. No doubt about it. But that's as far as his genius goes. Looking for deep political insight from an actor is about as bright as asking a ballet dancer about their deep thoughts on quantum physics (or worse yet, asking another actor about what causes autism), but we spend an absurd amount of time giving a shit about their opinions due to the fact that they're! Really! FAMOUS! And being famous means that you have to have equally famous opinions, right?

Not really. And it'll be a sign of genuine societal maturity if people finally realize that fact.

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Ms. Green: no offense, but in case you actually are paying attention the chief reason why the Sad Puppies are "called all sorts of names" is because Larry Correia, Brad C. Torgersen and their fellow travelers blatantly gamed the Hugo Award nominating process two years in a row and then acted like rancorous assholes - loudly, and repeatedly - when they lost.

Then again, considering your embrace of a certain individual who can apparently engage in this sort of name calling (as long as he burns down the Hugos to your liking, of course) as a comrade in arms, I'll have to consider your judgment concerning matters like this as being just a little, well, suspect.

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It takes a special kind of obnoxious to be John C. Wright these days.

It isn't just the past odd behavior he displayed towards an animated series that displayed approximately one moment of supposedly questionable morality that caused him to go completely nuts online. It's any number of things beyond that (a few of which are pointed out here), but the one that finally caused me to comment here is the wonderful, wonderful job he recently did sucking up to an especially unpalatable dipshit in order to apparently restart their mutual vendetta against "Puppy-kickers", which apparently includes anyone who chooses to crack open a SF novel that might not have been authored by the flatulent ghost of Benito Mussolini.

First things first, though. This is the tongue bath that he gives the unfathomable Mr. Beale as quoted in a post from File 770:

The Puppy-kickers are our ideological foes bent on replacing popular and well crafted sci fi tales with politically correct science-free and entertainment-free moping dreck that reads like something written by a highschool creative writing course dropout.

The Puppy-kickers have repeatedly and vehemently assured us assured us that soliciting votes from likeminded fans for stories you judge worthy was a “slate” and therefore was (for reasons not specified) totally and diabolically evil and wrong and bad, was not something insiders had been doing for decades, and was always totally inexcusable, except when they did it, and voted in a slate to grant ‘No Award’ to categories where they had lost their stranglehold over the nominations.

In that spirit, I hereby officially announce in my capacity as the Grand Inquisitor of the Evil Legion of Evil Authors, that the following list is the recommended reading list of our Darkest Lord only, and not a voting slate.

These are the recommendations of my editor, Theodore Beale, aka Vox Day, the most hated man in Science Fiction, but certainly the best editor I have had the pleasure to work with.

Wow. Pompous, self-servingly inaccurate and vitriolic. Three great tastes that taste great together.

Memo to John: there's an actual reason why Beale is so hated in SF circles. It's because he's done everything to destroy those same SF circles (ineptly and without success, but the effort is still there) as we know them. And because he's a vituperative fascist crank. On practically everything. I mean, you have actually read some of the stuff he's written in the past, right?

But beyond that, this is what gets me: a few weeks ago, David G. Hartwell passed away. As is pointed out in the File 770 link above, he was John C. Wright's editor at Tor Books - you know, the same Tor Books Wright now wants people to forget was his former publisher. Even Wright managed to come to his senses for once and was quite respectful of  Hartwell after his death.

But now Beale is the best editor he's ever had the pleasure to work with, despite not possessing a single molecule of the same sort of talent Hartwell had, much less the graciousness.

Sure. Of course. Two birds of a feather, etc.

It just affirms that whatever resides under Wright's fedora, it's certainly not helping him to think.

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I have no real news to add concerning the incidents concerning Lou Antonelli's letter to the Spokane police concerning that international criminal mastermind David Gerrold or his earlier outbursts of irrational anger aimed in the general direction of Carrie Cuinn and Aaron Pound (subjects covered in a far more exhaustive manner by Natalie Luhrs on Pretty Terrible); what I do have is an opinion on Sasquan's decision to let Antonelli attend later this month.

The decision's a bad one. Here's why: despite Antonelli's apology (one which I really have my doubts about - saying "I'm sorry" seems to be the least of your problems if you openly libeled someone and tried to get them in trouble with a police department weeks before that person was even due to set foot in the city in question), what he did not only put Gerrold in potential jeopardy but the rest of Sasquan's attendees as well. This wasn't merely the action of a complete asshat with serious anger management issues; it was the action of someone who apparently has no regard for any of the other people going to a function he was going to attend as well.

I'm not sure what's more disturbing - the fact that an alleged adult was going to do this to a well-known author merely because he wrote something he didn't like or that he was apparently willing to cause all sorts of potential mayhem to other attendees in the process. Sure, Gerrold accepted his apology. That's what the bigger man does when confronted by this sort of crap. But that's not the same thing as giving him tacit permission to do it again by not reminding him of the consequences of such actions, and that's what Sasquan effectively did. In a time where all manner of deeply unpleasant shit is breaking out all over the place over the Sad Puppies 3 campaign, this was not the signal a Worldcon needed to send to its attendees or SF fandom in general.

Frankly, I'm more than a bit puzzled by this. What would happen if Antonelli had phoned in a bomb threat or called in a false active shooter report to the cops some time during the con? Would that have been okay with Sasquan's concom as well?

Back in the day, most tiffs between pros and fans ended up being confined to email and online flame wars; these days it's almost as if you have to pack a flak vest before heading off to one of these things. Sasquan's actions didn't help that perception one bit.

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(WARNING: this is going to be a mostly visceral reaction to what I consider a disgusting response to a national tragedy; you were warned in advance. If this doesn't bother you, read on.)

Sometimes I get the feeling that certain members of the human race were just put here to test the limits of my anger; this, unfortunately, is one of those times.

As mentioned on James Nicoll's More Words, Deeper Hole, a certain Hugo awards nominee who got there largely due to the efforts of the Sad/Rabid Puppies slate-voting him in under the Best Related Work category decided to have a massive brain fart and posted two nauseating comments about the Charleston mass shooting of June 18th. The two comments (reproduced here and here) were, apparently, an attempt to be funny to someone.

And I'm sure they were funny. To utter psychopaths, though. Not to human beings with anything approaching normal levels of actual empathy.

Seriously, what the hell is this?

A steaming turd that was posted by an emotionally deficient individual is one thing - there are plenty of those to go around on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc. - but here's the problem: the guy who posted this particular serving of Antisocial Personality Disorder du jour is a Hugo nominee who got there with the help of a faction of "fans" and pros who have done everything in their power to game the Hugos and get people nominated who don't deserve to be there. They don't even deserve to have their alleged reasons for gaming the nomination process taken seriously anymore - if they ever did in the first place.

Do you know what they do deserve, though?

Derision. Contempt. And your hard-earned money going to authors who write far better books and stories than they do.

The fact that the particular author in question here has a Hugo-nominated book made up entirely of his similar wit and wisdom should serve as a warning that this was never about anyone trying to reclaim a space in the SF universe for cracking good old-fashioned Golden Age tales, as Brad R. Torgersen said in his Sad Puppies 3 manifesto. That might have been what Torgersen claimed, but it's not what the Sads (as well as V*x D*y and the rest of the Rabids) wanted. What they wanted was for their pet bull to take a shit in the middle of the floor and dare people to call it what it obviously was.

Guess what? Mission accomplished. All the Sad/Rabid Puppies stand for in my opinion is utter bullshit. The nomination of books such as Dysentery from my Internet (a book, BTW, that was a nominee on both the Sad and Rabid lists; originally, I thought that only V*x D*y's sycophants would stoop so low as to nominate it, but no such luck) is irrefutable proof of that.


What's worse is that that those "jokes" about the Emanuel AME Church mass shooting was posted by someone I've known on and off in Chicago-area fandom for years. That fact alone makes this especially difficult to stomach. I wasn't more than a friendly acquaintance and I certainly never shared his politics, especially recently; however, I never realized what sort of a complete asshole he is deep down. And if he meant any of what he wrote, he is a complete asshole. If not, he's a tone-deaf publicity freak who doesn't care how he comes off as long as he gets enough followers and like-minded "fans" online. Both of those facts are sad and pathetic, but for him to take a national tragedy and try to crack wise about it in order to be King of the Dickheads isn't merely sad and pathetic - it's a sign that the man is mentally FUBAR.

As to anyone who wants to take issue with my language in this post, go right ahead and do that. I'm not the one mocking nine dead people who were killed by a fucked-up kid who was either a nascent white supremacist or psychologically addled to the point of committing mass murder. Too many people take issue with profanity even when it's fully deserved, and in this case it is. It's also funny that you didn't read garbage like this in the wake of the Sandy Hook or Aurora shootings. It couldn't be because the victims were - you know - black, could it?

Nah. Of course not. It was just a coincidence! And I just need to lighten up!

Both of which are utter bullshit as well, of course.

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Although I think that Laura J. Mixon says what most needs to be said about the Puppy-proposed  boycott of Tor books (mentioned here by Laura Resnick via Facebook) in her letter to Tom Doherty, a few choice bits about the individual most responsible for initiating it need to be repeated here:

(Theodore) Beale has been pursuing a personal grudge against several people, including Tor author John Scalzi and the Nielsen Haydens, for years. The reason he has targeted them is that they have stood up for those who have been bullied and harassed by Beale and his supporters.

Beale was booted out of our professional trade organization, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), in 2013, after using official SFWA channels to promote a series of deeply offensive, blatantly racist remarks against SFF writer and SFWA member N. K. Jemisin. He has a long history of horrific reactionary public statements, not only against people of color, immigrants, and non-Christians (including citing Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, who gunned down 77 people, mostly teens, as a national hero for his acts, and suggesting that we look to Hitler to solve our immigration problems [he has since deleted the offending paragraph from his article, but the original pro-Nazi text appears here]). His views on women (“a few acid-burned faces is a small price to pay for lasting marriages,” “[A] purely empirical perspective on Malala Yousafzai, the poster girl for global female education, may indicate that the Taliban’s attempt to silence her was perfectly rational and scientifically justifiable”) and gays (“Correcting the gay defect;” “How ‘gay marriage’ harms you”) are equally repugnant.

All of the above has been documented over and over again, but that's not the point: the point is that there are apparently people out there who've decided to still make Beale the champion of their cause despite the fact that he has repeatedly proven that all he seems to be is a singularly repulsive scumbag whose supply of grudges never seems to end, either in terms of the number or the expiration date. Mixon, again:

But there is no getting around the fact that a misogynistic, homophobic white supremacist, who has spoken approvingly of shootings and acid attacks on women, and of Hitler and the Holocaust, who has called a respected SFF scholar and popular writer an ignorant, “not equally human” savage, stands at the heart of this conflict. Beale’s followers and fellow travelers may not themselves hold all the bigoted views he does, but information on who he is and how he feels about women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and others has been widely shared by now. If people are emailing you calling for Irene to be fired, they are unavoidably supporting Beale’s hate-filled agenda.

What makes this worse, IMHO, is that the nonsense he's orchestrating about demanding Gallo's firing doesn't just stop there. Laura Resnick:

One of their explicit demands is that Tor must publicly apologize for "the attitudes, lies and libel expressed by Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Moshe Feder and Irene Gallo, all current or former employees of Tor, and by the Tor-published author John Scalzi, concerning supporters of the 'Puppies' slates for the Hugo awards."  A second demand is that Tor must publicly reprimand those individuals. With so many different Puppies involved, I can't tell at this time whether they're still demanding that Irene Gallo's employment be terminated.

If anyone thinks that I was being far too harsh in my language when I called the RSHD a singularly repulsive scumbag, please feel free to tell me how. Come to think of it, my forgetting to use the term "egomaniacal" earlier is a bit of an oversight. My bad.

To be perfectly honest, the people who support his little campaign aren't much of an improvement, at least in terms of the outrageous chutzpah they're showing in demanding an apology here and a reprimand there. Okay, they may not be as hate-filled and venomous as he is. Few people are who already aren't in a prison cell, psychiatric hospital or currently running a torture program in a third world dictatorship. But let's face it - they let him take the lead in all of this despite knowing exactly what he is. Why they did so is beyond me, but the history of SF is chock-full of people who are more than a bit tightly wound. The RSHD is just one of the latest examples. I'm also sure that by the time this all ends he'll also go down as one of the worst.

Granted, I think that Tor won't just roll over in the wake of this bullshit. Too much of their reputation as a publisher is at stake for that to happen, and if you were thinking of picking up a book published by them over the weekend it couldn't hurt. Just keep in mind the following: a fanatic has a right to his views, but that right ends at the range he can punch someone who wants to violate it. The RSHD has gone way past that range.

But nothing bad can happen when you continue to incite people to such levels of hatred, right?

Nine people might disagree with that point if they could.

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So. A bunch of guys got together, voted as a bloc and...

Ah, skip the intro, already. This has been detailed by so many people in the fannish community in so many different ways that it's not funny, but then again, it really shouldn't be. Why? Mainly due to two reasons which I'll go into in detail:

1) Like most people who happen to read these odd, antiquated things called "books" as a form of entertainment I have a finite amount of both time and money to spend on those books. That means that I pretty much read what I want to. Quite a bit of it would be termed "literary science fiction", for want of a more accurate description. That being said, the one thing that will not convince me to read a book is having someone engage in the online equivalent of screaming at the top of their lungs with a bullhorn outside my window at 3 in the morning about how "YOU'RE BEING A LITERARY ELITIST/SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIOR/CRAPTACULAR JUDGE OF SCIENCE FICTION FOR NOT READING MY BOOK INSTEAD THE ONE YOU'RE CURRENTLY ENJOYING, DAMNIT!!!"

That's pretty much what the entire Sad (and even worse, Rabid) Puppies crowd did with the 2015 Hugos. A number of more deserving nominees probably got knocked off the ballot as a result of all this, which directly leads to this observation:

2) All of this wouldn't be as grating on my nerves except for the following: although there was nothing particularly illegal in terms of  Hugo nomination rules as laid down by the WSFS in what the Sad/Rabid Puppies did, they chose to ignore the following truism: just because you can doesn't mean that you should. The Sads, in my opinion, were looking to continue a strategy of self-promotion that goes back to the first two Sad Puppy campaigns that Larry Correia organized in 2013 and 2014. Unfortunately, the current Sad Puppy front man is Brad R. Torgersen, who seems even more naïve than Correia about the company he keeps. Tactics like theirs would have pissed me off regardless of who engages in them, but the fact that the organizers of the Sad and Rabid campaigns are all to the right of my own political views (in the case of the Rabids very far to the right, since they make the likes of Bill O'Reilly seem like Bernie Sanders in comparison), have a very narrow definition of what constitutes proper SF and also undertook this as a politically motivated attack on certain corners of SF fandom is just icing on an already huge cake. I have a saying that if you scratch an Objectivist you'll find a Stalinist underneath. I think it's been more than adequately proven here.

Also, consider their online belligerence: if they hadn't ratcheted up the "you better listen to us because we're really angry and we'll call you names if you don't" element of their campaign, I wouldn't have cared all that much about this mess. Since they did, my response is this: if the Puppies' only way to present an argument is to engage in personal attacks against other pros in the field (such as here, here and here), they've pretty much lost my interest in reading anything they publish or even in taking them all that seriously as polemicists in the first place. Not only is it a complete non-starter in term of debating tactics, but it makes them look like a pack of emotionally stunted escapees from the Asshole Factory. That's not a particularly pleasant turn of phase, mind you, but I calls 'em as I sees 'em and what I see from them is behavior indicative of a bunch of supposedly grown men who are acting like anything but.

So if the SRPs were looking to win any points with a run-of-the-mill, not particularly SMOFish Joe Fan like me by doing this, they didn't. Quite the opposite, in fact. As to whether they realize that there's an actual lesson in that fact...

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 Shorter Sean P. Fodera: "you can't possibly be a feminist because you're hawt and don't dress like a Victorian schoolmarm all of the time!" Uh, yeah. Sure.                                                                                                                            
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I've started a new job which shall remain nameless for now (mainly because of doubts concerning what I can actually publicly say about it at this time), so I've been busy. However, believe me when I say that Tim Baffoe's column excoriating a number of complete dopes whose list of solutions to Jay Cutler's groin tear is to either sign the world's most re-re-retired football drama queen or Touchdown Jeebus. And remember, ladies and gentlemen: Twitter is only your friend until you say something really, really stupid to it. 
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To Felicity Savage:

October 1st, 2013:

Ms. Savage:

The overall point of your article at Amazing Stories (found, I must admit, through this particular LiveJournal page) seems to be that it's perfectly acceptable for someone like V*x D*y (i.e., the Racist Sexist Homophobic Dipstick*) to engage in some incredibly repugnant public behavior as long as he doesn't use those naughty, naughty scatological words you dislike in doing so. Such is not the case with anyone choosing to take issue with him, however. They're far worse people for calling him some unpleasant names in response.

Too bad they seem to be fully deserved, questions of profanity aside.

To wit:

For examples of racism, there's his post attacking N.K. Jemisin (which is the same one that got him in trouble with the SFWA when he used one of their Twitter accounts to propagate it) or his post discussing - and I kid you not - "the merits on anti-semitism". Or his
post on WND defending massive deportations of illegal aliens by stating that - wait for it - "If it took the Germans less than four years to rid themselves of 6 million Jews, many of whom spoke German and were fully integrated into German society, it couldn’t possibly take more than eight years to deport 12 million illegal aliens, many of whom don’t speak English and are not integrated into American society". Granted, that's either one seriously poor analogy he's choosing to employ or he's merely doubling down on what a great guy Hitler was. Your choice.

Sexism? Well, there's his singularly odd defense of men mutilating women because - in the RSHD's own words - "a few acid-burned faces is a small price to pay for lasting marriages, stable families, legitimate children, low levels of debt, strong currencies, affordable housing, homogenous populations, low levels of crime, and demographic stability". 

Homophobia? Say no more. Too bad for him that employing it really seems to have backfired badly, though.

Dipstick*? There's any number of beliefs he has that fall into this catch-all category, including his loving embrace of the anti-vaccine movement, his creationist tics and his complete inability to understand astrophysics.But, as a member of MENSA no such thing as the Dunning-Kruger effect really applies to his pet theories, correct?

But I digress. Obviously, the biggest crime in all of this is that people took issue with him and chose to employ actual obscenities to do so. For shame! Nothing he wrote could possibly compare to that!

In conclusion, I'd like to say that although I was greatly disturbed by what you wrote and what you strangely chose to focus on in your essay, I will not employ any actual profanity in doing so. I will merely use words like "obtuse", "insipid" and - unfortunately - "inane" instead. However, no obscenity. And those are proper words of usage in the English language, after all, so no harm, no foul.

(*The actual word Dips*** was not used in deference to Ms. Savage's high-borne standards of decorum)

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So former Democratic Illinois gubernatorial candidate Bill Daley and current Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner are members of entirely different political parties, right?

Sort of. Or not really, actually.

From Steve Bogira via the Reader:

In the end, Daley apparently did not believe enough in public service in difficult times. In just over three months, his commitment to the race declined by 100 percent. In an interview Monday night with a Tribune reporter, he offered his reasons for dropping out. They boiled down to "Being governor sounds hard."

And then on Tuesday, Daley told Michael Sneed of the Sun-Times he thinks Governor Pat Quinn "will be beaten by any one of the four Republican gubernatorial candidates in the general election." And that among the Republicans, "Bruce Rauner is the strongest candidate."

And why is that, you may ask? Read on:

But why is Bill Daley dissing the Democratic incumbent, and boosting his Republican challenger?

There are presumably some other hidden reasons, but perhaps it's mainly because Daley has more in common with a corporate guy like Rauner than he does with a Democrat like Quinn.

Rauner is a multimillionaire venture capitalist. Daley has been president and chief operating officer of Amalgamated Bank of Chicago, president of SBC Communications, and midwest chairman of JPMorgan Chase. He's also been commerce secretary, and he put in a year as chief of staff to President Obama, succeeding another Rauner buddy, Rahm Emanuel, in 2011.

And both Rauner and the Daleys believe in putting family first.

Rauner, you may recall—though Rauner hopes you won't—apparently used his influence in 2008 to help his daughter get into Payton College Prep, the prestigious Chicago high school.

In April, Crain's Chicago Business columnist Greg Hinz reported that Rauner's daughter had tried to get into Payton, but her test scores and grades had left her just shy of admission. Rauner called Arne Duncan, who was then the CEO of CPS and is now the U.S. education secretary. A Duncan aide called the Payton principal, after which Rauner's daughter was admitted, apparently through a "principal discretion" process that allowed for up to 5 percent of admittees. (Political clout was not supposed to be a reason for a principal to exercise "discretion.")

"It's all baloney," Rauner told the Sun-Times, about Hinz's claims. "It's stuff that doesn't matter. It may have partial truths in it. It's all part of the process of slinging mud early against someone who's doing really strong."

I suppose Rauner thinks it's "stuff that doesn't matter" because the integrity of a person who would be governor is nothing to worry about in Illinois.

Oh, no. Of course not. Take a look at the guy who ran Illinois right before Quinn did. Or his predecessor. There weren't any serious ethics issues at all with those two. Not at all!

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Old news by Internet standards after ten days, but just when you thought that things couldn't possibly get any stupider in life, this happens:

Iowa pastor and youth counselor Brent Girouex, who claimed with a straight face that he was trying to "cure" teenage boys of their "homosexual urges" by having sex with them, has had his sentence reduced from 17 years in prison to sex offender treatment and probation.

Since Girouex confessed to having sex with four underage boys, eight additional young men have come forward saying they were sexually violated by the 31-year-old pastor. Girouex, who is not longer a pastor at the Victory Fellowship Church, believed that he could rape away the gay by "praying while he had sexual contact" with the boys, all in an effort to keep them "sexually pure" for God

Now this is exactly the sort of self-justifying sexual predator who completely, utterly deserves to be locked up behind bars as a danger to society, right?

...or not.

While the claim of raping in order to make the victim sexually pure is novel, rapists having their sentences reduced to virtually nothing is not. Girouex's drastic sentence reduction follows closely behind the heels of the actions of a Montana judge, who sentenced a convicted rapist to serve just  30 days in jail, and made comments about how his 14-year-old victim was an active participant in the sexual relationship. The victim, a girl in this case, subsequently committed suicide, and the judge apologized for his remarks, but left the light sentence in place.  

My, what a fantastic pair of examples of our judicial system at work in that staunch homeland of family values, Middle America.

Pardon me while I find a nice, quiet place to throw up.

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Definitely from the "huh? what?" corner of SF ephemera, to be sure, but this crap is actually starting to wear my ass out.

As quite a few of you know, John Scalzi took home a Best Novel Hugo for Redshirts. A very nice thing for Scalzi, to be sure, but the reaction from some pros was a bit unpleasant.

First off, John Ringo. And then, Dave Freer. Put politics ahead of common sense, much?

As usual, I'm not going to link directly to their comments (which are available via those links I did use, BTW) because I don't want people either (A) punching their monitors out of frustration with the start of yet another pointless feud among SF pros or (B) turning their computers off to do something more constructive like removing belly button lint instead. Priorities, people, priorities.

BTW, I also wager that at least one pro writer who also blogs will publicly lose his shit over this concept, as relatively innocuous as it seems. It's just the mood of the room these days, IMHO.
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I really wasn't going to harp on this subject all over again, but the things you find via Google...

A while ago, a certain individual who ran as a dark-horse candidate for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Presidency (yeah, this guy again) who's been previously labelled by some as the Racist Sexist Homophobic Dipshit (or RSHD, if you're trying to be polite to mixed company), mainly due to the fact that no one's really been able to prove otherwise. The latest controversy involved a Guest of Honor's speech by N. K. Jemisin at Continuum 9 that involved the subject of racism, but the RSHD's typical tunnel vision kicked in and he decided to post a genuinely repulsive screed merely because he was used as an unnamed (but nonetheless identifiable) example of same in the SF community. The irony is that his response completely proved Jemisin's point about him.

Now consider the following: the vast majority of people in this little subculture of ours who blog took serious umbrage at the RSHD's ham-handed tactics. It's one thing to post racist crap that personally attacked a fellow writer as subhuman; as sickening as that stuff was, if he had just restrained himself and posted it to one of his own blogs everyone would have just thought that the RSHD was acting out again and would've not paid much attention after that. The problem, however, was a bit more complicated than that, since he used the SFWAauthors Twitter Feed to spread the manure around. This was, and is, not particularly smart since there are rules against that sort of thing (Article IV, Section 10 of the SFWA bylaws, for one); as it is, there's a growing consensus in some quarters that the RSHD has to be tossed out of the SFWA on his ear. Except for the following people who should know better:

While googling the term "SFWA" a few days ago, I noticed that there was a handful of pros - both affiliated with the SFWA and not - who were strongly taking his side despite the fact that he seems to be everything his detractors make him out to be. I won't name names, because - let's face it - people make mistakes. Even professional writers. Those who remain this clueless on the subject of an incredibly nasty piece of work like the RSHD should feel embarassed. I mean, if this is the sort of guy you're going to waste energy defending, you just might come to regret it later on when you actually have a chance to think about it.

But hey, if any of those pros need more examples, there are plenty around. Oddly enough, quite a few correspond to the letters of the guy's new acronym:

Racism? Sure. The Jemisin controversy again, and this thing he wrote in 2005 called - wait for it - "The merits of anti-semitism", What a charming guy.

Sexism? Yep. His repulsive essay on how much he likes Taliban-style tactics in keeping women barefoot, pregnant and uneducated is a good example of same.

Homophobia? He hasn't really graduated beyond the level of fifth grade "you're a fag" taunting, but you've just gotta love it when he aims it at the candidate who beat him the last time he ran for SFWA President and it backfires so spectacularly.

Dipshit? Well, he's an anti-vaccine loon, to boot. And a creationist. And apparently not smart enough to avoid taking on Phil Plait on other subjects the RSHD apparently knows nothing about, either.

That being said, my question is this:

Why in the world would anyone - anyone - bother to defend this pathetic creep?

It can't be because of freedom of speech issues, because his freedom of speech wasn't affected in any way: he continues to post whatever the hell he feels like and shows no real signs of stopping. If it's because there's a strong contrarian streak in these authors, there are far better reasons to get your jollies by picking fights. If it's because of politics, they need to remember that any number of other very dumb people have decided that "libertarian" means "I can be a bigot and misusing the term 'libertarian' makes it perfectly okay".

The only other reason, unfortunately, is that some of the people who have taken up the mantle of supporting the RSHD are doing it for the worst reason of all: because they share at least some - if not all - of his prejudices. In that case, nothing I or anyone else can write is going to change that fact. It's just a damn shame if it's the truth.

(NOTE: There's a very simple reason why all of the above links direct to blogs and sites referencing the RSHD's output and not directly to the source material; I don't want to give his personal pile of Internet guano free publicity in terms of hits. Sure, you can go to his site directly if you so wished. Why would you want to, though?)

the_archfiend: (Default)

This has nothing to do with the recent SFWA fiasco, but it's yet another illustration of the unpleasant fact that sexism in fandom is alive and well in some corners - and with a vengeance.

Around the time of a recent Project A-Kon in Dallas, two groups of Twitter-enabled creeps using the hastags #gropecrew and #rapecrew decided that it would be such fun to sexually harass female cosplayers attending that convention by making a series of sexually explicit threats against them. From the Daily Dot article:

A pastebin document from ED (Encyclopedia Dramatica) members created shortly before the convention which mentions (ED  sysadmin) MeepSheep and trolling was originally tagged #gropecrew. The mention of "cwc" could be Twitter user colesl4w_king, who, along with MeepSheep and a handful of others, sent threats of rape, harassment, and even murder to con attendees over the weekend.

You could read the entire article (and should), but my guess is that you'd still be just as disgusted by this as anyone else who's been involved in fandom for as long I have. Granted, I'm on the far end of the age spectrum when it comes to anime fandom (I've been into anime longer than some of the people who now attend conventions have even been alive), but I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would go to these lengths to harass and threaten people via a medium that can be so easily backtracked unless there's something seriously fucking wrong with them in the first place.

And yes, I know that ED is a site for Internet shit-stirrers. So what? Are they actually justified in doing this for that reason?

I suppose that this could be classified under the general term "creeping", but that term is starting to seem rather insufficient to describe some of the following:

The now-banned Twitter user xplsvs, using the #gropecrew hashtag, sent one Twitter user a picture of a murder victim with slit throat.

Other participants joked about infecting con attendees with HIV ("poz" is slang for having the virus):

At least one Twitter user alleged that the Grope Crew took the trolling offline and actually made good on its threats.

Unbelievable, Simply unbelievable.

I suppose that some people out there - someone whose own misogyny is so intense that he literally believes that "the little bitches deserved it", or someone so naive that he thinks that this is just some prankster ring's idea of fannish fun n' games and that it therefore has no real-life consequences - is eventually going to step forward and defend this crap. They're idiots. Maybe not as big a set of idiots as the perpetrators themselves, but still idiots just the same.

So if anyone else is going to choose this time to claim that they're isn't a sexism problem in fandom in general and anime fandom in particular, don't bother. Others have rebutted your argument far worse than I ever could.

the_archfiend: (Default)

Ghu knows that there's been tons posted on the subject of the recent SFWA Bulletins over a very short time (a really good selection of some of the blogs that commented on M&R can be found via Jim C. Hines), but a series of paragraphs by the authors from one of the pieces in question irked me in particular.

The background is this: a number of writers and bloggers (quite a few of whom were fellow members of the SFWA) took issue with what they perceived as Malzberg and Resnick's dismissively sexist language from SFWA Bulletin 200 (more on which, here and here), which was on top of a chainmail cheesecake du jour cover painting to boot. Oops. And then there was that singularly odd Barbie reference as well. Double Oops.

The entire thing would've probably been deemed a minor brain fart by Bulletin editor Jean Rabe (who has since resigned), but no. Malzberg and Resnick - for whatever reasons - decided to pour gasoline on what was a minor spark from a malfunctioning 2' tall wind-up robot with predictable consequences in issue #202. M&R, below:

Consider: When all is said and done, we didn't run the kind of diatribe that you hear from almost every top-selling rap star these days. We didn't bring Henry Miller up to date. Or Rabelais. All we did was appear in a magazine with a warrior woman on the cover, and mention that a woman who edited a science fiction magazine 65 years ago was beautiful.

Fair enough, although the "what we wrote was nowhere near as bad as X" alternative strikes me as false: if you're irritated by what you perceive as a false reading of what you wrote, you explain why it's wrong and don't go with the old "well, gee, we didn't go so far as that" canard. It's akin to saying that punching a bully in the face wasn't as bad as, say, axe-murdering a family in another town instead. This is trivially true. It's also beside the point.

Unfortunately, the following is where the cookie crumbles. Or explodes. Take your pick.

If they get away with censoring that, can you imagine what comes next? I'm pretty sure Joe Stalin could imagine it. Of
course Schicklgruber the painter could imagine it. Even Chairman Mao could imagine it.

But could you? Could you write this kind of seemingly trivial censorship/thought control into a story without
having an editor reject it because those days are over and now that we have an enlightened populace they will of course
never come again.Or is this maybe, just maybe, how they do come again?

Okay, does somebody want to explain the concept of a false dilemma to these two? And quick?

If your immediate desire is to tell M&R to put a fucking sock in it, already, you're not alone. That was my initial reaction, and it had less to do with their feeling angry at adverse criticism they felt was unjustified (which is, after all, their right) and more with the fact that they characterized their critics as a politically correct lynch mob using some of the worst mass murderers in history as comparable role models. Hyperbole, much?

Their transformation of a number of authors and bloggers (quite a few of whom were female, some not) who took issue with a series of editorial gaffes by the Bulletin into an angry mob of feminist Gestapo agents strikes me as an misadventure in conflating criticism with censorship: for one thing, do bloggers actually have the ability to "censor" a publication just by taking issue with something that was written in it? Worse yet, you'd think that both Resnick and Malzberg were about to be dragged off to Lubyanka prison for their crimes. Near as I can tell, they haven't.

Also, considering the ridiculous number of feuds that have occurred in fandom and among pros since the beginnings of the genre, this sort of criticism and infighting is not a rare occurrence. Far from it. Are Malzberg and Resnick somehow unaware of that fact?

Of course, when the dread name of Andrea Dworkin is invoked, it means that the ante is upped almost to the point where odd little people who always type in caps ("ZOMG O NOES EVERYONE MUST AGREE WITH US OR IS A LIBRUL FASCIST JUST LIKE HER!!1!!") end up making their opponents' points all by themselves.

Almost all cranks insist that the Secret Police are coming to get them. Except when they don't exist in the first place, of course

Malzberg or Resnick are hardly cranks: it's just too bad they were all too willing to play the part.

the_archfiend: (Default)

The John Ziegler angle on the Jerry Sandusky debacle has just turned completely nauseating. Dom Cosentino again, in Deadspin:

We told you yesterday about filmmaker John Ziegler's lunatic shouting tour to promote his jailhouse interview with Jerry Sandusky. Ziegler had hoped to use that interview to help rescue Joe Paterno and other Penn State officials from allegations that they covered up Jerry Sandusky's sex crimes against children. That effort has backfired spectacularly.

Ziegler's plan, which included airing portions of the Sandusky interview on television, was so misguided even the Paterno family has distanced themselves from him. Another part of that plan called for revealing the name of the victim from the infamous 2001 Penn State shower episode. Ziegler eventually reconsidered, but then it was posted on his site anyway, where it remained for several hours. In the text, the victim's first name appeared five times, his last name once, and the name also showed up for a while in the URL link to a separate document. Ziegler admitted he made a "stupid mistake," but he also claimed that his websites "were immediately hit with a massive and coordinated cyber attack" that initially prevented him from making post-publication edits.

So Ziegler's excuse for outing a (previously) underage, (previously) anonymous victim of sexual assault by a male adult is that he was originally going to do so, changed his mind, then changed his mind back, was subsequently hacked or DDoS'ed (or so he claims; there is, of course, no real proof offered up for this) and thereby prevented from removing the material in question.


Never mind the fact that several of Ziegler's Tweets (included in the article) first sell the salaciousness of "the real story of Victim 2", take time out to respond to a series of Twitter trolls, pull back on the "real story" angle and eventually go into "I was hacked!" mode shortly thereafter.

Seriously, is anyone out there gullible enough to take Ziegler's bullshit seriously? Anybody?

Ziegler's case isn't helped by the following, either:

Now keep in mind that Ziegler had every intention of outing the man known as Victim 2. He made a subtle reference to it in his stupid challenge to the media published last week. Monday morning, Matt Lauer had to interrupt Ziegler to assure viewers of Today that the name wouldn't be revealed on the air. Yesterday afternoon, Ziegler wrote that if Victim 2 "agreed to speak to me and explain this to me himself, that I would gladly consider not releasing his identity." He later denied that was a threat and accused TMZ of defaming him after the site called him out on it.

That last sentence is especially telling, since it comes perilously close to the old "I'm sorry if I made anybody uncomfortable by something I refuse to own up to" non-apology. But then again, Ziegler seems completely comfortable with such actions:

By this morning the victim's name had been removed. Ziegler tweeted out a link to what he called a "series of apologies." He mentioned victims' rights advocates, his webmaster, his many supporters, "members of the Sandusky family and their representatives," his own wife, and "those, who like me, [sic] desperately want the truth to come out here." John Ziegler did not apologize to the child-sex abuse victim whose identity he shared with the world because of his "stupid mistake."

So the only person who was left out of that cascade of mea culpas is the victim himself. He even managed to apologize to "members of the Sandusky family and their representatives", but not one of his victims. Fantastic.

My wish, of course, is that Ziegler has run afoul of some Pennsylvania rape-shield law that will make his 15 minutes very, very expensive and uncomfortable. It's exactly what the douchebag deserves.

the_archfiend: (Default)

From Dom Cosentino at Deadspin:

Let's first get this out of the way: Ziegler's two previous films alleged that the Clinton administration was responsible for 9/11 and that Barack Obama got elected in 2008 because the media were really mean to Sarah Palin. That ought to give you an idea of the sort of mind we're dealing with here, as should the fact that he and Palin are no longer on speaking terms. Ziegler and I have had a number of exchanges about the Penn State case since last summer, some cordial, some not, all of them conducted on his end with a paranoid and martyred air of lonely genius.

He isn't an easy person to get along with, even if you see things by his weird lights. The Paterno family no longer supports whatever the fuck he's now doing.

Cosentino's piece goes on to quote the previously mentioned Paterno family's Disavowal Of Everything Ziegler, but the most galling aspect of Ziegler's one-man publicity act isn't that he's engaging in one; after all, who doesn't try to get their 15 minutes of fame by rolling around in their own shit these days? It's that his little project to exonerate St. Joe Paterno hinges on a nauseating strategy (namely, painting Jerry Sandusky's victims as false accusers in order to paint Paterno as a fellow victim) and that he's willing to scream this garbage out of a bullhorn even as the ship he helped wrecked continues to sink.

Something a bit (but only a bit) less galling follows:

Ziegler went through with a scheduled appearance on The Today Show, and at one point host Matt Lauer had to interrupt him to inform viewers that Ziegler would not be outing one of Sandusky's victims on the air, as he still may do on his website at some point today. After Lauer read a portion of the Paterno family's statement, Ziegler said the statement was "sad, heartbreaking for me, considering I've put a year of my life into this with no compensation, no thought of compensation." Because this is all about Joe Paterno and not John Ziegler, see. Ziegler will also tell you this is not a commercial endeavor and that he hasn't made any money from it. Just be aware that you can contribute to his film project here. (Self-serving link removed by me, of course).

I have no real idea if there's a shield law in force in Pennsylvania that's intended to protect the victims of sex crimes, but if there is, Ziegler really might want to rethink the idea of outing that victim -.if he can find the time to stop coming off as a self-pitying little creep, that is. You may remember that I previously thought that's exactly how Jerry Sandusky comes off, which is quite telling indeed. And so is the fact that Ziegler wants people to actually contribute money to his as yet uncompleted pile of celluloid horseshit.

Ah, but like most people who grasp at straws, Ziegler's unaware of the horseshit that lies underneath. How unaware? Read on:

Last night, Ziegler allowed himself to get trolled by Piers Morgan on CNN, which you can see above (see the Deadspin link for the embedded video). Ziegler began raising his voice almost from the start. It got no better from there, in part because Morgan has little grasp of the facts surrounding Paterno's firing. But Ziegler walked right into his trap anyway. Sara Ganim made an appearance toward the end, only to have Ziegler repeatedly attempt to shout over her. When Ziegler finally attempted to question whether Ganim deserved to win last year's Pulitzer Prize, Morgan cut him short and said, "I would take the Paterno family's advice, and just disappear."

At this point, some people would realize how much of a public nuisance they've become and head off into the sunset, intent on preserving what little dignity they have left. I get the sinking feeling that Ziegler won't be one of them. Far from it.

the_archfiend: (Default)
A new spin on the sordid Jerry Sandusky/Penn State saga got dropped on the American public like bird shit a few days ago when a certain John Ziegler (whose previous efforts at "documentaries" include a pro-Sarah Palin screed that I'm sure utterly enthralled the 62 or so Palin supporters who apparently saw it nationwide) filmed an interview of Sandusky in which the convicted pedophile/self-pity machine stated that Mike McQueary was wrong, wrong, wrong to think that Sandusky was engaging in sex with an underage boy when McQueary caught Coach Mumbles with the boy in a locker room shower in 2001.

In an interview excerpt broadcast on NBC's "Today" show on Monday, Sandusky said he doesn't know why Mike McQueary claimed "that sex was going on" when he saw the convicted sex offender with a boy in 2001.

"That would have been the last thing I would have thought about," Sandusky said. "I would have thought maybe fooling around or something like that."

As per usual, Sandusky doesn't quite come off as a particularly good anything: witness, substitute father figure, founder of a charity, table lamp. The only thing he seems adequate at is being a creep in public. It's almost as if he revels in it.

But why the attempt to interview him in the first place? Why now?

Well, here's the fun part.

Ziegler, a former radio talk show host, is obsessed with media conspiracies. One of his films says President Obama was elected in 2008 as the result of a media conspiracy.

Yup. He's one of them, too. Fantastic.

He told "Today" host Matt Lauer on Monday that Penn State icon Joe Paterno was the victim of a bloodthirsty media.

"I personally believe the media in this particular case has an agenda they don't want to hear what the truth is," Ziegler told Lauer. "This has been a rush to judgment from the beginning."

So, yeah, you guessed it: this is part of Ziegler's half-assed attempt to reinstate St. Joe Paterno to the status of untouchable college sports legends everywhere. As stated in the Daily News article I'm quoting, the interview is actually part and parcel of - wait for it - a documentary intended to exonerate Paterno's legacy.

As you might guess, some people besides me have taken issue with such a project:

Advocates for sex abuse victims, meanwhile, criticized NBC and "Today" for airing the interview excerpts, which where filmed for a documentary currently being produced by right-wing filmmaker John Ziegler.

"Ziegler is seeking to profit by capitalizing on the controversy of the Sandusky scandal by producing and distributing a film," a statement released by victim advocates said. "By airing these interviews, and capitalizing on the ensuing storm of controversy unleashed by this announcement, NBC has chosen to give national exposure for a second time to a child rapist whose indisputable guilt on over 40 counts of sexual abuse of children was agreed upon by a jury of his peers."

The statement was signed by Christopher Anderson, the executive director of MaleSurvivor; Cardozo Law School professor Marci Hamilton, who represents a Sandusky abuse victim; John Salveson and Tammy Lerner of the Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse; and Roger Canaff of End Violence Against Women.

In other words, I can think of quite a few people who probably won't be shelling out money to see the "documentary" Ziegler's concocting.

But what of the Paternos themselves? How do they feel about this "help" that Ziegler is providing them, especially in the wake of their own watery attempt to counter the Freeh Report? Read on:

Paterno family lawyer Wick Sollers released a statement released shortly after midnight, saying:

“The release of the audio recording of Jerry Sandusky is a sad and unfortunate development. Sandusky had the opportunity to speak, under oath, during his trial and he chose not to do so. Releasing a recording at this time, nearly a year after he was found guilty on 45 counts, is transparently self-serving and yet another insult to the victims and anyone who cares about the truth in this tragic story.

“The Paterno family would prefer to remain silent on this matter, but they feel it is important to make it clear that they had no role in obtaining or releasing this recording. Moreover, they believe that any attempt to use this recording as a defense of Joe Paterno is misguided and inappropriate. I encourage anyone who wants to understand the facts of this case to go to and read the reports of former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, former FBI profiler, James Clemente, noted pedophilia expert, Dr. Fred Berlin and the King & Spalding legal team.

“From the beginning, the family has been committed to due process and a careful, objective examination of the facts. This is the path they will continue to follow.”

I'm doubtful about that last paragraph, but not what preceded it.

And that's hardly a bus they just threw Ziegler under; try a 18-wheel Peterbilt instead.

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