John C Wright – You don’t get it

Yet another shot in the Theadore Beale saga.

This time John C. Wright defends him.

He was a gadfly. Heinlein’s two most famous novels are Starship Troopersand Stranger in a Strange Land. The first challenges the orthodoxy of the Left as much as the second does that of the Right. But in his day, few science fiction readers were offended by his or anyone’s ideas. Science fiction was proud to be a literature of the new and startling. A spirit of intellectual fearlessness was paramount.

But we do not live in Heinlein’s era. We live in an era of more progressive values where ethnic minorities are recognised as equals and we argue for freedom to be who you are.

Yes we argue for freedom of expression, but we also can judge you by what you choose to express. We can choose not to buy, not to support and not to admire your expression.

The corollary is Tracy Emin’s My Bed. A piece of work that is arguably worthless and pointless and has gained value because it was supported. Your work may mean everything to you but may not be supported.

This may be because no one cares and that is sad.

Or it may be because people think your work is detrimental to humanity as a whole and that it harms.

A darker time followed. The lamps of the intellect were put out one by one, first in society at large, then in literature, then in our little corner called science fiction. What we have now instead is a smothering fog of caution, of silence, of an unwillingness to speak for fear of offending the perpetually hypersensitive.

Science fiction is under the control of the thought police. The chains are invisible, but real. For a genre that glories in counting George Orwell as one of its own, this is ironic, to say the least.

Poor choice of words considering we are defending a man who insults others for the colour of their skin.

You mince words sir, you pretend that Theadore Beale is a modern day Galileo! Oppressed by an inquisition and silenced. That he speaks the ultimate truth.

That I am not fully human  and that he and people who look like him were divinely created to rule and I was created to serve. I know that dialogue.

And this is like supporting your homophobia by quoting Oscar Wilde.

Myriad examples exist. Orson Scott Card publicly expressed the mildest imaginable opposition to having judges overrule popular votes defining marriage in the traditional way. The uproar of hate directed against this innocent and honorable man is vehement and ongoing. An unsuccessful boycott was organized against the movie Ender’s Game, but he was successfully shoved off a project to write for Superman comics.

Got that? The award-winning Mr. Card, one of the finest science fiction writers today, was forced off the project because the dictates of his religious faith (not to mention his faith in democracy over rule by activist judges) did not agree with the political beliefs of the thought police.

You mean Orson Scott Card accepts the pre-biblical swayamvara method of marriage where a woman’s hand can be won through murdering her suitors and proving you are a badass? Or by a feat of skill? Or by force? Or does it mean the traditional marriage romanticised by Christianity in the same way that people think Knights all were chivalrous, bowed to young ladies and so on?

I may have to point you to another Science Fiction/Fantasy book. It’s a series. You may have heard of it. It’s called Game of Thrones.

Orson Scott Card’s “traditional” definition of marriage only grudgingly recognises mine as an atheist. My marriage would never have occurred before his gods whatever they are but of my forefathers. To him that’s not a real marriage too, but he only really accepts it because to say so would be racist and xenophobic and in that the Church has changed.

No one accused him of attempting to write a Superman story belittling homosexuals, or belittling anyone. Sales would have grown, not fallen. This was not about money or hurt feelings. It was about this: if a man thinks what St. Paul thought about homosexual acts, he cannot write a children’s yarn about a friendly alien Hercules saving a spunky girl reporter from mad scientists or moon-apes.

Nice one! Let’s belittle comic books. After all? What sort of story can you tell with just pictures? The people who like comic books must be dumb and it’s for children.

Comics cannot tell deep stories or meaningful ones. That it’s just action.

The above is not art, it tells us nothing important (it’s from Swamp Thing BTW). No wait. Even people unfamiliar with the genre will identify a story from this.

If all you think about comics is saving spunk girl reporters from mad scientists or space apes, you seem to have forgotten that we have progressed far from that.

Likewise, Theodore Beale was expelled from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers America (SFWA), our professional union, on the rather specious grounds that he repeated comments from a members-only bulletin board to the general public. He was libeled with the same typical menu as above. (By odd coincidence, the falsely accused racist here is also Hispanic.) That the expulsion was done in an irregular and ad hoc fashion casts an additional pall of shame over it.

How is it libel to quote him verbatim. He said racist things mate. Like proper “old school racism”.

The case against Mr. Card is filled with falsehood. His real remarks are too innocuous, so new and unreal ones are invented and merely attributed to him.

They are innocuous because they do not affect you.

The case again Mr. Beale was a mask of hypocrisy. Repeating private communications is something many others have done. His real crime was thought crime. His opinions on matters unrelated to science fiction got him kicked out. He neither picked anyone’s pocket nor broke anyone’s leg.

No. His real crime was being super duper racist. You want to portray him as a modern day Galileo when he is in fact a old school bigot.

At one time, science fiction was an oasis of intellectual liberty, a place where no idea was sacrosanct and no idea was unwelcome. Now speculative fiction makes speculative thinkers so unwelcome that, after a decade of support, I resigned my membership in SFWA in disgust. SFWA bears no blame for all these witch-hunts, or even most; but SFWA spreads the moral atmosphere congenial to the witch-hunters, hence not congenial to my dues money.

You are wrong Mr. Wright.

You initially spoke about new thoughts and new ideas? Vox Day AKA Theadore Beale brings nothing new to the table.

I grew up on stories of the inferiority of the colour of my skin. I grew up being called a Nigger and when people learned the correct racist term for Indians? Paki. I mean it’s okay to be racist but heaven forbid you  look stupid by using the wrong term? A major faux pas. My people bleach their skins and deride those who are dark because they think the same way that Mr. Beale does.

My parents fought that sort of thinking.

My grandparents fought that sort of thinking. Hell Gandhi fought that sort of thinking and he would be in the Great Great Grand Parents age group. That’s 5 generations of people who look like me and come from my “overall” ethnic label who fought against the notion that white people are “simply better”.

How is Vox Day bringing anything new to this conversation? He has not said anything profound or brought about a new way of thinking. What he has said is an opinion mired in the bigotry of the past. No idea is sacrosanct you say? Then why must his idea be more sacrosanct than mine?

Or in a language you may understand?

“Ooga Booga Vox Day No Likee Melanin. Thinks It Bad and Make You Stupid. Decent Human Beings Think He Stupid.”

Now you may think “why that chocolate fancy bastard, no wonder he sides with those people! They treat him like  human being”.

Be warned. If this is how overgrown that playground of live-and-let-live nonconformists, geeks, and weirdos known as science fiction has become, how long before all the fields and gardens of civilization are smothered by this tangled and malodorous weed of terror, accusation, and thought police?

Oh that Theadore Beale! Such a non-conformist! Look at him living his wild racist lifestyle at a period where we aspire to skin colour not mattering! Look at him and his charming claims that black people are not equal to white people! Such a Rebel.

Without a Clue.

You want to know what non-conforming is Mr. Wright? Try being the only Indian at a football match. That was how I grew up. Want to try non-conforming? I like Metal and that’s a predominantly white endeavour but you know what? While it may be weird to step into a place where you are the only person from your culture who likes this and are welcomed? You enjoy it. No one in Metal’s told me I am inferior.

But the joke here is that the geeks and weirdoes? We have to have no standards of decency. The Racist. The Sexist. The Homophobe. We must give them succour. Fuck all the Women Geeks. Everyone knows women cannot be nerds? Women are all pretty and can never like RPGs, or Comics or VIdeo Games or Table Top Games. Settlers of Cataan is two complex for the female mind.

Gays?  Fuck those guys! No wait! Maybe Not!

And People of Colour? Nah! They don’t want to be geeks anyways? They are all into rap music (or doing mathematics, owning corner shops and fiscal responsibility). Or Crime…

How desperately racist must you be to think “JESUS CHRIST! There are females, gays and coloured enjoying our stuff! This cannot stand! I must be as shitty a person as possible to them to drive them away. I cannot like anything they like! I may catch the vaginas/gay/jungle fever”

The lunatic Left planned and struggled for years, decades, to achieve their cultural influence. Let us imitate their perseverance, and retake our lost home one mind, one institution, at a time. Start by praying.

Pray all you like mate.

I am not planning to stop liking the same things you do anytime soon.

Now if you excuse me? I am going to go complain about how Max Brooks tries to depict Iron Maiden as the music of choice for American Soldiers rather than British ones in World War Z.

*Shakes Fist! Do Your Musical Research You Hack!!!*


  1. says

    One thing is clear: conservatives can only make their case by lying badly.
    Vox Day wasn’t expelled for repeating “private conversation”. He abused the official account to go after a fellow writer in a racist rant.
    And if Card’s “criticism” was “mild” I don’t want to hear “strong” because I like my dinner to remain inside of me for a little longer.

  2. steffp says

    It’s just grumpy old men who think they’d made great sales of their mythology-laden fantasy books in the sixties, when sci-fi geeks read virtually everything. Like other inhabitants of conservative bubbles they look in awe at the societal reality (represented by their diminishing book sales), which they as all stupid people, blame on “the left”, as if it took any propaganda to find their outdated oevres dull, behind the times, and rather backward.

    Remember, the sci-fi-fandom consists of geeks, not of Young Republicans. And for geeks, homophobia, misogyny, and overt racism aren’t cool. No reason to buy another of that kind of books.

    So Messrs Beale and Wright stage a storm in a teacup. Retake society until the customers finally buy their silly books. Fat chance… How about writing in a more, say, contemporary way?

  3. Holms says

    Nice one! Let’s belittle comic books. After all? What sort of story can you tell with just pictures? The people who like comic books must be dumb and it’s for children.

    To extend ‘comic’ to drawn or similarly animated media in general, anyone that scoffs at ‘mere cartoons’ and the like, thinking that they can’t tell a story or contain emotion, should watch Graveyard of the Fireflies.

  4. says

    @4… Seriously? My post going up at midnight has a Grave of the Fireflies shout out…

    But holy fuck… Swamp Thing’s art is epic. When I have a job? All the books will be mine…

  5. M can help you with that. says

    Orson Scott Card publicly expressed the mildest imaginable opposition to having judges overrule popular votes defining marriage in the traditional way.

    Ah, I see John C. Wright is writing alternate history these days.

    Because in this timeline, O**** S**** C*** has talked at length about how gay people should be thrown in jail — not all of us, but just a few highly-visible cases when one of us gets uppity or comes out or needs to be made an example of. About how we’re all hell-bent on destroying America and Family and Church and whatever-the-hell else it is that’s so important that it has to be capitalized to express the right-wing reification.

    Ah, but maybe none of that was said too publicly in the last 30 minutes…therefore we’re not allowed to bring it up. John C. Wright says it’s down the memory hole, and any reference to C***’s really horrendous bullshit is now “falsehood” and “unreal.”

  6. says

    His real crime was thought crime

    Are you saying his mistake is that he’s a racist (that’s how he thinks) and that his mistake was the he let it slip?

  7. Pen says

    Science fiction was proud to be a literature of the new and startling.

    I find it interesting that he seems to genuinely not understand how much can now be said and represented which couldn’t before. It’s particularly ironic that the ‘intellectual fearlessness’ of science fiction was actually so limited. It was limited by a kind of white male heterosexual ‘will to power’ idea and they didn’t even see it – still don’t, in some cases. To some extent sci-fi has been about diversity and multiculturalism but generally explored through technology and alien civilizations. How odd that some of its practitioners can’t even cope with standard every day human diversity in their own world! What does that say about them and their alien worlds?

    A spirit of intellectual fearlessness was paramount.

    Was that really the same guy who said this:???

    If this is how overgrown that playground of live-and-let-live nonconformists, geeks, and weirdos known as science fiction has become…

    Right. We just want common-sense, traditional, ordinary intellectual fearlessness in our speculative fiction, do we? I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Should these guys be thrown out? Well, the fact is that they no longer make the intellectual fearlessness grade. They fall below the standard required by the profession and have the audacity to insult better practitioners in the process. I don’t know about throwing them out, since I suppose it’s an open profession, but I see no reason why they should be accorded any status within it.

  8. says

    @Al Dente:
    Wright wrote a long, homophobic whine about the SyFy channel.

    Wow. “Just as if this abomination is normal and natural and worthy of no comment”
    “Why are you willing to tolerate sexual perversion but not racism?” etc.

    So, when Vox Day was just letting a bit of the homophobic flag show, (Oh, excuse me, no ‘thought-crime’ here) I can see why Wright doesn’t want to establish a precedent of writers’ words coming back to haunt them, mmmmmmmm? It appears that thinking homophobic and racist thoughts is perfectly OK as long as you keep your cards facedown on the table in Wright’s world. Because his inner thoughts and attitudes either are not reflected in his actions or he’s a liar. What a strange position to want to be in.

  9. says

    I’m surprised that a writer of speculative fiction would not have encountered
    The First Rule of Holes

    I’m also amused that he describes his homophobic comments (thanks for the link, Al) as
    in response to my criticizing the Sci-Fi Channel (as it was known then in those days, back when they knew how to spell) for bowing to political correctness, that is, submitting to an inquisition of gossips.

    Oh, is that what it is? I guess to be a good science fiction writer, you have to be able to project a malleable truth… OOps, I mean, “fool yourself”

  10. chrislawson says

    John C. Wright is a goddamned liar. Orson Scott Card didn’t express the “mildest imaginable opposition”; he said that allowing gay marriage was sufficient cause to raise arms against the government. The only way this could be considered the mildest imaginable opposition is if one is a raging, violence-enabling homophobe oneself who cannot imagine any response less than threatening a civil war.

  11. chrislawson says

    Man, that is the weirdest avatar attached to my name. How did I get attached to what appears to be a vampiric vertebra with rabbit ears?

  12. says

    Yet another asshole tries to pretty-up blatant stupidity by calling it “challenging orthodoxy”…

    Heinlein’s two most famous novels are Starship Troopers and Stranger in a Strange Land. The first challenges the orthodoxy of the Left as much as the second does that of the Right.

    I never had any inclination to read the former, and couldn’t finish the latter. What’s this guy’s point again?

    Heinlein had some pretty obvious, blatant and damning faults — but he was still a far better writer than VD, and had far more original and relevant ideas than anything that’s come from VD’s head. Same goes for Card. Comparing VD to either of those writers is just a gratingly bad joke — and there’s plenty of far better writers today anyway.

    Seriously, with people like Neal Stephenson, William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, James P. Morgan, etc. on the scene, there’s no good reason to give an idiot like VD the time of day, no matter whose “orthodoxy” he’s pretending to “challenge.”

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