A major problem with all of this, it seems, is our very own Mango-in-Chief, who not only took his time in equivocally "condemning" the violence there but certainly saw fit to take an utterly graceless swipe at the CEO of Merck for daring to leave one of his pet projects because it seems to be sponsored by someone who made a ton of political capital from the same "hatred, bigotry and group supremacy" Kenneth C. Frazier mentioned in his tweet.
Then again, this is something I've expected to happen ever since the Mango got elected. No one should've been surprised at all that this was going to happen. If you are, you've either been living in a cave since late 2015 or are incredibly naïve.
Regardless of that, I suspect there are dark days ahead for everyone in this country if this sort of bullshit is allowed to continue; the only problem is that we seem to have a "President" who seems utterly incapable - or just plain unwilling - to put a stop to it.
I could start off by President Unintelligible giving this insane - but utterly in character - speech to a Boy Scout jamboree, or his continuous hectoring of his own hand-picked Attorney General, or his handpicked new White House Communications Director's harassment of his previously handpicked White House Chief of Staff, or his bizarre race-baiting during a speech in Youngstown, Ohio, or his demagoguery-fueled attempt to ban transgender troops from serving in the armed forces via Twitter that seems to have not phased anyone serving in the military who's actually associated with making such policy decisions.
Yeah, I could've started with any of those, really.
But where does it end?
Does it end?
Now, Trump acting like an adult during Comey's testimony, that would be surprising.
Then again, perhaps not.
"This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it—that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable."
-Hunter S. Thompson, about 44 years too early and 100 million Americans off, from Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72
I'm not going to pretend to take the high road on this one, dear readers.
To say that a very large portion of my fellow American citizens have made a gigantic mistake - one that will stink to high heaven like a turd dropped unexpectedly by some Baleen whale that's mysteriously learned how to fly for years, if not decades - is an understatement. Well, some of them did. Actually, not even a majority: Hillary Clinton got something like 200,000 more votes but still lost in the Electoral College, which is precisely why that institution is looking more and more archaic and even downright dangerous since it's the second time in five Presidential elections that that's happened.
But even worse is what got elected as a result.
I could've lived with a McCain presidency or a Romney presidency. No, really. I might not have liked it, but neither one of those gentlemen was as much a toxic lump of egomania, misogyny, xenophobia and a whole lot of other various types of rotting garbage as Trump is. In my opinion, he is simply the single worst candidate for President ever put forth by a major party in the last one hundred years and may be one of the worst ever, up to and including Aaron Burr and Ulysses S. Grant. And his supporters are no prize, either. Especially these supporters.
So what do you do when you wake up and find out that someone like this is President-elect?
You could do any number of things, including crawling into a deep depression, planning on immigrating to Canada in as short a span of time as possible, or even - with some of the more despair-racked people, unfortunately - consider suicide. That last choice is an especially horrid one, especially considering the sort of worthless asshole who's inspiring such an act.
Care to guess what my answer is to all of those "solutions" is, though?
Would a sound "Fuck, no" suffice?
If Trump goes out of his way to put forth the worst parts of his nebulous - but still destructive - agenda in motion, the only solution is to fight back. Through peaceful means, of course, but if it turns out that some long, long years down the line we're looking at political mobs hired by President for Life Trump to beat down anyone who dares look at him funny at a public appearance, then some other alternatives that aren't as peaceful might have to occur instead. I don't think it'll ever come to that - the Orange Monstrosity is nothing if not adept at self-destructive outbursts that could even alienate veteran Republicans (as he did with Gordon Humphrey), but this is a very odd world we live in at the moment. It's liable to get even more uncomfortably strange as time goes on.
But I'm only being just a little alarmist about this, right?
Apologies to anyone even remotely related to him, but if you can find a better example of everything I despise in terms of being a (sometimes unintentionally comical) proselytizer for exclusionary, ultra-sectarian, hateful, bigoted fundamentalism I'd like to know who he, she or (more likely) it is.
I know you're not supposed to speak ill of the dead - even the ones who've given you every reason to do so - but it'd take a ridiculous degree of revisionism on my part to cast her as anything but a singularly vile individual who played the part of a politically connected small-town bigot to the hilt (more examples of which can be found here, here and here) and never, ever seemed to tire of the act.
So, no. You're not supposed to speak ill of the dead. It's just damn near impossible in this case.
Signal boost to the Washington Post editorial "Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy":
DONALD J. TRUMP, until now a Republican problem, this week became a challenge the nation must confront and overcome. The real estate tycoon is uniquely unqualified to serve as president, in experience and temperament. He is mounting a campaign of snarl and sneer, not substance. To the extent he has views, they are wrong in their diagnosis of America’s problems and dangerous in their proposed solutions. Mr. Trump’s politics of denigration and division could strain the bonds that have held a diverse nation together. His contempt for constitutional norms might reveal the nation’s two-century-old experiment in checks and balances to be more fragile than we knew.
Any one of these characteristics would be disqualifying; together, they make Mr. Trump a peril. We recognize that this is not the usual moment to make such a statement. In an ordinary election year, we would acknowledge the Republican nominee, move on to the Democratic convention and spend the following months, like other voters, evaluating the candidates’ performance in debates, on the stump and in position papers. This year we will follow the campaign as always, offering honest views on all the candidates. But we cannot salute the Republican nominee or pretend that we might endorse him this fall. A Trump presidency would be dangerous for the nation and the world.
Why are we so sure? Start with experience. It has been 64 years since a major party nominated anyone for president who did not have electoral experience. That experiment turned out pretty well — but Mr. Trump, to put it mildly, is no Dwight David Eisenhower. Leading the Allied campaign to liberate Europe from the Nazis required strategic and political skills of the first order, and Eisenhower — though he liked to emphasize his common touch as he faced the intellectual Democrat Adlai Stevenson — was shrewd, diligent, humble and thoughtful.
In contrast, there is nothing on Mr. Trump’s résumé to suggest he could function successfully in Washington. He was staked in the family business by a well-to-do father and has pursued a career marked by some real estate successes, some failures and repeated episodes of saving his own hide while harming people who trusted him. Given his continuing refusal to release his tax returns, breaking with a long bipartisan tradition, it is only reasonable to assume there are aspects of his record even more discreditable than what we know.
The lack of experience might be overcome if Mr. Trump saw it as a handicap worth overcoming. But he displays no curiosity, reads no books and appears to believe he needs no advice. In fact, what makes Mr. Trump so unusual is his combination of extreme neediness and unbridled arrogance. He is desperate for affirmation but contemptuous of other views. He also is contemptuous of fact.
Throughout the campaign, he has unspooled one lie after another — that Muslims in New Jersey celebrated after 9/11, that his tax-cut plan would not worsen the deficit, that he opposed the Iraq War before it started — and when confronted with contrary evidence, he simply repeats the lie. It is impossible to know whether he convinces himself of his own untruths or knows that he is wrong and does not care. It is also difficult to know which trait would be more frightening in a commander in chief.
Given his ignorance, it is perhaps not surprising that Mr. Trump offers no coherence when it comes to policy. In years past, he supported immigration reform, gun control and legal abortion; as candidate, he became a hard-line opponent of all three. Even in the course of the campaign, he has flip-flopped on issues such as whether Muslims should be banned from entering the United States and whether women who have abortions should be punished . Worse than the flip-flops is the absence of any substance in his agenda. Existing trade deals are “stupid,” but Mr. Trump does not say how they could be improved. The Islamic State must be destroyed, but the candidate offers no strategy for doing so. Eleven million undocumented immigrants must be deported, but Mr. Trump does not tell us how he would accomplish this legally or practically.
What the candidate does offer is a series of prejudices and gut feelings, most of them erroneous. Allies are taking advantage of the United States. Immigrants are committing crimes and stealing jobs. Muslims hate America. In fact, Japan and South Korea are major contributors to an alliance that has preserved a peace of enormous benefit to Americans. Immigrants commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans and take jobs that no one else will. Muslims are the primary victims of Islamist terrorism, and Muslim Americans, including thousands who have served in the military, are as patriotic as anyone else.
The Trump litany of victimization has resonated with many Americans whose economic prospects have stagnated. They deserve a serious champion, and the challenges of inequality and slow wage growth deserve a serious response. But Mr. Trump has nothing positive to offer, only scapegoats and dark conspiracy theories. He launched his campaign by accusing Mexico of sending rapists across the border, and similar hatefulness has surfaced numerous times in the year since.
In a dangerous world, Mr. Trump speaks blithely of abandoning NATO, encouraging more nations to obtain nuclear weapons and cozying up to dictators who in fact wish the United States nothing but harm. For eight years, Republicans have criticized President Obama for “apologizing” for America and for weakening alliances. Now they put forward a candidate who mimics the vilest propaganda of authoritarian adversaries about how terrible the United States is and how unfit it is to lecture others. He has made clear that he would drop allies without a second thought. The consequences to global security could be disastrous.
Most alarming is Mr. Trump’s contempt for the Constitution and the unwritten democratic norms upon which our system depends. He doesn’t know what is in the nation’s founding document. When asked by a member of Congress about Article I, which enumerates congressional powers, the candidate responded, “I am going to abide by the Constitution whether it’s number 1, number 2, number 12, number 9.” The charter has seven articles.
Worse, he doesn’t seem to care about its limitations on executive power. He has threatened that those who criticize him will suffer when he is president. He has vowed to torture suspected terrorists and bomb their innocent relatives, no matter the illegality of either act. He has vowed to constrict the independent press. He went after a judge whose rulings angered him, exacerbating his contempt for the independence of the judiciary by insisting that the judge should be disqualified because of his Mexican heritage. Mr. Trump has encouraged and celebrated violence at his rallies. The U.S. democratic system is strong and has proved resilient when it has been tested before. We have faith in it. But to elect Mr. Trump would be to knowingly subject it to threat.
Mr. Trump campaigns by insult and denigration, insinuation and wild accusation: Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy; Hillary Clinton may be guilty of murder; Mr. Obama is a traitor who wants Muslims to attack. The Republican Party has moved the lunatic fringe onto center stage, with discourse that renders impossible the kind of substantive debate upon which any civil democracy depends.
Most responsible Republican leaders know all this to be true; that is why Mr. Trump had to rely so heavily on testimonials by relatives and employees during this week’s Republican convention. With one exception (Bob Dole), the living Republican presidents and presidential nominees of the past three decades all stayed away. But most current officeholders, even those who declared Mr. Trump to be an unthinkable choice only months ago, have lost the courage to speak out.
The party’s failure of judgment leaves the nation’s future where it belongs, in the hands of voters. Many Americans do not like either candidate this year . We have criticized the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, in the past and will do so again when warranted. But we do not believe that she (or the Libertarian and Green party candidates, for that matter) represents a threat to the Constitution. Mr. Trump is a unique and present danger.
I try not to wish death on anyone except the most deserving. And I'm not doing it here, either. But let's face it - you could find any number of public figures far more worth mourning than this guy and his penchant for being just plain wacko on any number of issues, millions of bad Rapture fiction novels sold or not.
In case you might have worried that Donald Trump might not be getting top-notch policy advice, the Republican nominee released the names of his “Evangelical Advisory Board” Tuesday, and look who’s back in a position to influence American policy again! It’s Michele Bachmann, the goofy Jesus-addled former Minnesota congresswoman who retired from Congress in 2014 but never entirely left our awareness, almost like an especially bad childhood trauma.
Since leaving the House and the [*snicker!*] Intelligence Committee, Bachmann has occasionally popped up on our radar with her not-infrequent warnings of the impending End Times and thoughtful commentary on how terrorism is God’s way of getting back at Barack Obama. So now, as the wags at Raw Story put it, Bachmann “tops the list” of Donald Trump’s evangelical brain trust. It’s an alphabetical list. It’s also not clear what particular role Bachmann will fill. Possibly in exchange for her advice, Trump will do what he can to hasten the End Of Days.
Considering that this...this, uh...brain trust will also consist of the likes of James Dobson, Robert Jeffress and other very strange people extolling even stranger forms of Christianity, I have to wonder if this is an attempt to either win the general election by attracting as many likeminded weirdos as possible or an attempt to lose the general election by forcing every partially sane human being on the voter roles to vote for Hillary Clinton instead.
Okay, the title of this post could've been more subtle. But why? Subtlety seems to be completely uncalled for in this case, since his position on killing New York's Child Victims Act is completely unfathomable even for someone pretending to constantly defend his mother church from the Great Evil Unwashed - which would seem to be everyone else on the planet:
In a vitriolic message emailed to his supporters, Catholic League President Bill Donohue celebrated the defeat of the Child Victims Act that would have made it easier for kid sex abuse victims to seek justice.
"The bill was sold as justice for the victims of sexual abuse, when, in fact, it was a sham,” Donohue wrote.
He blasted the legislation as ”a vindictive bill pushed by lawyers and activists out to rape the Catholic Church.”… (emphasis mine)
“If the statute of limitations were lifted on offenses involving the sexual abuse of minors, the only winners would be greedy and bigoted lawyers out to line their pockets in a rash of settlements,” Donohue railed. “The big losers would be the poor, about whom the attorneys and activists care little: When money is funneled from parishioners to lawyers, services to the needy suffer. “
He added that “the Catholic League is proud of its role in this victory.”
Now, you might think that calling a career wackjob who does this on a regular basis something unpleasant might suffice; but just hauling off and saying "what a turd" seems a bit insufficient. Instead, read the reply of one Stephen Jimenez:
Bill Donohue, the highly-paid spokesman and alleged Catholic who spews venom every time he slithers out of the den of thieves, says the Child Victims Act “failed” to make it to the floor of the Assembly last week because it was “a sham” and an attempt to “rape” the church.
I say “alleged” Catholic because Donohue’s contempt for child sex victims has nothing whatsoever in common with the gospel of truth and justice preached by Pope Francis - or the teachings of Jesus. I trust you, the readers, to decide for yourselves whether Mr. Donohue’s blasphemy has reached new levels of demagoguery.
Let’s start with who really committed RAPE and who the real victims. As a former altar boy who awakened before daybreak to serve daily Mass and who takes immense pride in my Catholic education at Georgetown, I’d like to provide some needed moral instruction about rape. My rape began when I was a 10-year-old boy in Brooklyn and ended shortly before I turned 14. I can’t count how many times I was abused sexually over those four years - in classrooms, coat rooms, locker rooms, steam rooms, swimming pools, showers stalls. But I do remember feeling extremely frightened when Brother Romanus, the man who raped me, took me into a locked changing room at Washington Baths on the boardwalk at Coney Island. Not once, but many times.
But even if he read that, would Donohue care?
Probably not. He's shown where his real interests lie.
He may not think it's a gutter, but it is.
So, then: in the wake of a horrible tragedy, you knew that the nuts would be coming out in force, right? And that their rhetoric would be especially disgusting in light of the fact that the 49 people killed were at an Orlando gay bar, right?
Sadly, you're not going to be disappointed in those beliefs.
"Pastor" Steven Anderson's opinion on the deaths in Orlando:
The good news is that there’s 50 less pedophiles in this world, because, you know, these homosexuals are a bunch of disgusting perverts and pedophiles. That’s who was a victim here, are a bunch of, just, disgusting homosexuals at a gay bar, okay?
But seriously, Steven, tell us how you really feel:
Now let me just be real clear: I’ve never advocated for violence. I don’t believe in, you know, taking the law into our own hands. I would never go in and shoot up a gay bar — so-called. I don’t believe it’s right for us to just be a vigilante… But I will say this: The Bible says that homosexuals should be put to death, in Leviticus 20:13. Obviously, it’s not right for somebody to just, you know, shoot up the place, because that’s not going through the proper channels. But these people all should have been killed, anyway, but they should have been killed through the proper channels, as in they should have been executed by a righteous government that would have tried them, convicted them, and saw them executed. Because, in Leviticus 20:13, God’s perfect law, he put the death penalty on murder, and he also put the death penalty on homosexuality. That’s what the Bible says, plain and simple.
How very Christian of him.
Then again, consider the equally loving, Christian response of one Roger Jimenez:
People say, like: ‘"Well, aren’t you sad that 50 sodomites died? Here’s the problem with that. It’s like the equivalent of asking me — what if you asked me: "Hey, are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today?" Um, no, I think that’s great. I think that helps society. You know, I think Orlando, Fla., is a little safer tonight. ...the tragedy is that more of them didn’t die. The tragedy is — I’m kind of upset that he didn’t finish the job!
Not to be outdone in the post-Orlando hate sweepstakes are the father and son nutjob team of Walid and Theodore Shoebat. First, Walid:
Instead of complementing us, the mocking liberal Jew Sam, Seder, says that we, not the Muslim “should be under watch”.
This is how the system from media to government repays Christian converts from Islam.
Who is laughing now Mr. Seder? Boy you are dumb and I can’t feel sorry for dumb Jews.
Even when we point a stupid Jew to Evangelical Christians, they too get angry since in their view a Jew can do no evil.
The whole culture is dumber than a nail.
Liberals and gays should all screw each other. Finally I could watch TV and could care less…
The only ones moaning over fifty gays slaughtered are liberals, idiots and gay lovers.
I suppose he gets extra credit for injecting some reflexive anti-Semitism into that screed, but not to worry - his son Theodore is not to be outdone:
The sodomites who were killed in this club were not innocent people. They were not good people. They were not people who were just victims who we should just feel sorry for. It was scum killing scum.
I don’t believe in vigilantism, but I do believe in the government killing the sodomites, I do believe in the government arresting the sodomites and executing them for homosexuality. Under my rule, that sodomite club in Orlando, it would have been destroyed, it would have been demolished, bulldozed and all the bastards in there would have been arrested, tried, found guilty for homosexuality and executed.
I'm sure everyone reading this finds all of this just charming.
Other rants by the likes of Pat Robertson and (just to make the Loony Tune pool more inclusive, ultra-Orthodox fanatic) Yosef Edery are just as wonderful, but it does makes you wonder precisely how people who claim to represent a religion of love and peace - just like ISIL does, of course - have the balls to publicize such utterly barbaric, homicidal views.
It's almost as if they're making every argument against organized religion for its opponents.
Which probably wasn't their intent, mind you, but never let it be said that a complete idiot can't sustain more damage to his cause in a mere five minutes than a well-armed opponent can in a hundred years.
Via NPR.org: Donald Trump (the man who is easily identifiably by the stoat living on his head who is also running for President) loves conspiracy theories. He loves them so much, in fact, that I'm astounded he hasn't called Glenn Beck up for advice on generating them now that Weepy's candidate of choice Ted Cruz is fini.
Then again, compared to someone like Mary Lou Bruner (a candidate for - what else? - the Texas State Board of Education), he's strictly a small-timer.
Let's face it: one of the surest signs that our political system is broken to the point of needing an entire truckload of Super Glue is when pols come crawling out of the woodwork to lessen the blow of sentencing of yet another Illinois "statesman" gone horribly wrong.
The man in question this time around is convicted fraudster and alleged serial pedophile Dennis Hastert. And one of his defenders is Tom DeLay, who may not be in prison anymore but still qualifies as high-grade pond scum - especially after putting up the mistletoe on this one.
Normally the cliché pretty much goes "it is to laugh", but that's far too polite for my mood. Try inserting the word "vomit" instead and you've got it just about right.
A certain amount of backlash was to be expected from the Hugo results at Sasquan, but...
First off, there's the stupidity concerning this nonsense, in which Scott Malcomson thoroughly makes a fool of himself concerning the idiotic idea of a class-action lawsuit because the Puppy slates didn't win en masse.
Now what would actually be even more laughable as a concept?
How about a Gamergate-connected something called Andrew Swallow trying to drag the FBI into it for no real reason?
Add to this Kate Paulk's ever so subtle characterization of anyone opposed to this nonsense as "petty bullying socialists" who would "fit in just as well with the Nazis as they would with their equally murderous Communist cousins" (gee, Kate, hyperbole much? Over losing a bunch of literary awards, for crying out loud?) and you get the sense that the Puppy camp is exclusively made up of one of the following:
1) Professional Internet trolls;
2) People looking to expand their following and book sales by throwing red meat to readers gullible enough to believe their logic-free bullshit in toto;
3) People dumb enough to actually believe their own rhetoric;
4) An unpleasant mixture of "All of the Above".
Seriously, how many more iterations of this garbage do we have to go through before people do what the logical thing is and write these idiots off as not worth addressing, bickering with or even caring about?
It seems to be the thing to do, especially since tuning obnoxious blowhards out whose opinions you couldn't give two shits about in real life is second nature to most adults.
So why not here?
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.
(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.
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.
So: the quote that managed to get Irene Gallo in such hot water is this one, as reproduced by Chuck Wendig:
There are two extreme right-wing to neo-nazi groups, called the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies respectively, that are calling for the end of social justice in science fiction and fantasy. They are unrepentantly racist, sexist and homophobic. A noisy few but they’ve been able to gather some Gamergate folks around them and elect a slate of bad-to-reprehensible works on this year’s Hugo ballot.
Now here's the problem, and it takes more than a bit of nuanced thinking to fully get it.
If Gallo had taken one word out of that paragraph, she'd have been fine. Problem is, she left the Godwin-friendly term in, and that complicates the issue to the point where defending her becomes a bit difficult. It is not, however, impossible.
As much as either group of Puppies deny it, a lot of the stuff they've posted is exactly what Gallo calls it. Her problem is that she didn't pay enough attention to the difference between the Sads and the Rabids. The Sad Puppies have come across repeatedly as a group of tireless (and tiresome, IMHO) self-promoters who decided that a strange dual attack on "the literati" and racial diversity in fandom was going to win them oodles of readers and supporters and thereby make them the unquestioned kings of book sales in the SF universe.
Probably not, but you can dream, can't you?
Except when the dream becomes a waking nightmare.
Then you've got a problem.
Enter one person we will call the RSHD, as it's a euphemism he seems to have earned.
The RSHD does not seem to know when to leave well enough alone, you see. He had already earned himself a reputation for unsavory behavior and the promotion of crank beliefs even before he used a Twitter feed belonging to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America to defame fellow SFWA member N.K. Jemisin for daring to point out that he wasn't really all that nice a guy in a Guest of Honor speech she gave at Continuum 9. For that action, the RSHD got his lifetime membership in the SFWA revoked, which led to what you'd expect: more evidence of his inability to leave well enough alone. This time, though, he got a new bunch of friends in the form of the creeper lobby gamergate, and they decided that they'd ride the coattails of past Sad Puppy bloc voting efforts in order to get a bunch of people nominated for Hugo Awards that, in all reality, probably don't deserve them - one of them being the RSHD himself. Another one was John C. Wright, who seems to fit the definition of "homophobic" in the old "there's a picture of him in the dictionary above that entry" sense of things. Come to think of it, if Gallo had just specified that the Rabid Puppies were racist, sexist and homophobic in their orientation she'd be completely right.
Unfortunately, all this amounts to is another distraction from the overriding ridiculousness of this clown show.
This is a debate in which men - grown fucking men, mind you - are willing to engage in vituperative attacks and even borderline-illegal online and in-person harassment against people whose only crime seems to be that they disagree with them. Or gained their ire on a more personal level. Or are even breathing the same air as they are. Shit, I don't know where any of this starts or stops any more and I've been involved in more than one internecine fandom-related war myself. I just haven't been involved in one where this sort of thing becomes the norm, and I don't like Irene Gallo's chances at being passed over for harassment now that she's become a target.
So she wrote something that should've been edited more wisely. Big deal. She wrote it on her own Facebook page, on her own time, and that's more than what the RSHD has done in the past.
So I stand with Irene Gallo. I also think that it's time that we didn't just stand with her; we need to tell the people who are now insisting on her being fired from Tor to get off their high horses, knock off the selective outrage and think real hard about the sort of people they're allying with - such as the RSHD, for example:
"[I]n light of the strong correlation between female education and demographic decline, 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 that would be the sexism that Gallo brought up doing the talking there, of course.
Ultimately, the right tack to take about all of this was written by katster in this post:
It strikes me that Beale doesn’t want dialogue. He doesn’t want us to understand each other, because if we can understand — if we can glimpse that the other side of the screen sits another human being not all that much different from us — then his culture war is dead. He cannot afford to lose that — it is his driving force and his motivator.
I’m a science fiction fan because I like to read, Beale. I’m not here for your bullshit culture wars, and I really wish you’d take them somewhere else.
Ah, Mike Pence. No sooner does he decide to make a splash in the 2016 GOP Presidential field by signing a certain controversial bill than he finds out that a whole lot of people don't really like it, including other public officials, the major newspaper in his capital, major business executives and even the NCAA.
It's really a test of your nerves to run for President these days - especially when some of the groups you're openly pandering to are just about as nutty as a fruitcake that accidentally fell into a peanut processing plant. But hey, Pence has a solution - it's called whining. Or failing that, blaming the other guy's laws.
And just as it's a test of your nerves to run for President, laws like this and the reasons they get passed are a test of my gag reflex. Air sickness bags to the fore!