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But silence is political

The Science Fiction Writers of America have another struggle brewing — the pus-oozing abscess called Vox Day is soiling their garments again. He has a novella, Opera Vita Aeterna, which was was nominated for a Hugo award. It’s not very good. I did read it — Day has made it freely available — and I was unimpressed.

Basically, it’s a vignette. An elf joins a monastery, spends years making an illuminated manuscript, and later all the people are killed by goblins, and only the manuscript remains. Why an elf? I don’t know. His only distinguishing characteristics seem to be pointy ears, and repeated mentions that he lacks a soul…an attribute not in evidence in any of the characters. Why goblins? I don’t know. Conveniently evil and dismissable monsters, I guess. Why a monastery? I’m thinking it was an excuse to not have to write about any woman characters, and so all the men could be bland emotionless ciphers. Every character in the story is indistinguishable and forgettable — even the one who is supposed to be unique and special.

So it contained none of Day’s usual openly malicious bigotry, and it was just kind of a ho-hum story without much of a point. I suspect all the Vox Day fans who nominated it were also aware of that fact, that it was possibly the most innocuous thing he has written, therefore it was a safe bet to push it, because then they’d be able to whine that it was all leftist anti-Day politics behind any objection, and that it would be unfair to bring up all the misogynistic, racist bullshit that Theodore Beale has written elsewhere.

And it’s working. Lots of people, like John Scalzi, say that “the Hugo rules don’t say that a racist, sexist, homophobic dipshit can’t be nominated for a Hugo”, which is entirely true. You’re supposed to judge the work, not the author, which is also a fair point (although, really, Opera Vita Aeterna is mundane and boring, and like most science fiction stories, doesn’t deserve some special award) (no, I’m not dissing SF — I’m a fan. Sturgeon’s Law!). But still, this attitude bothers me. Are we really supposed to regard every work of art as some disembodied, isolated fragment, bearing no connection to the creator, like some alien entity in which all that matters is what the perceiver makes of it? It seems to me that falling back on a literal interpretation of the rules (or lack of relevance thereof) is very much an act of interpretation as well, and that what we are doing is making a specific kind of choice under the pretext that we are not free to choose.

I would like to thank John C. Wright for helping me crystallize my views on this subject, though. Wright is a science fiction writer (I’ve never read anything by him) who was recently annoyed by all the shenanigans — not that there were any, Day’s story was nominated and accepted — over Vox Day’s story, and so he announced that he was quitting the SFWA.

It was out of loyalty to this mission that I so eagerly joined SFWA immediately upon my first professional sales, and the reason why I was so proud to associate with the luminaries and bold trailblazers in a genre I thought we all loved.

When SFWA first departed from that mission, I continued for a time to hope the change was not permanent. Recent events have made it clear that there is not reasonable basis for that hope.

Instead of enhancing the prestige of the genre, the leadership seems bent on holding us up to the jeers of all fair-minded men by behaving as gossips, whiners, and petty totalitarians, and by supporting a political agenda irrelevant to science fiction.

As is made clear in the whole article, the political agenda he finds disagreeable is one where the SFWA takes a stand against homophobia, sexism, and racism. This is a political departure from the mission of SFWA, he says, which is purely to support aspiring writers of genre fiction.

Because, when one of their members writes something like this…

Because raising girls with the expectation that their purpose in life is to bear children allows them to pursue marriage at the age of their peak fertility, increase the wage rates of their prospective marital partners, and live in stable, low-crime, homogenous societies that are not demographically dying. It also grants them privileged status, as they alone are able to ensure the continued survival of the society and the species alike. Women are not needed in any profession or occupation except that of child-bearer and child-rearer, and even in the case of the latter, they are only superior, they are not absolutely required.

…the appropriate, non-political response is to close your eyes and pretend it didn’t happen. There is this bizarre idea that ignoring far right wing poison is non-political and the only acceptable reaction from someone who disagrees is silence.

I’m sorry, but that is wrong. It’s the political ratchet that has been peddled for so long and with such dumb certainty that it has become accepted wisdom. Standing by quietly while the Right dominates the discourse and takes it for granted that their medieval views are the accepted wisdom is a deeply political act. It is the politics of accommodation, the politics of surrender, the politics of collaboration.

There is no way around it: whether you protest or you acquiesce, either act is a political act. The great lie the right wing has successfully promulgated is that surrender is apolitical.

I think we should rage against the nomination of Theodore Beale. It doesn’t mean we march on his home and tar and feather him: it means that we spread the word that he is an odious, horrible little racist/misogynist, and that everyone should know it, and recognize that voting for him is most definitely a political act that places you on the side of a right-wing thug…and of course, not voting for him is a political act that pits you against him. Everything is political. Don’t accept the lie that something is not, especially when right-wingers are arguing so fervently for a state of apathy.

This is also my problem with the state of the atheism movement. Somehow, silence on issues like feminism, abortion rights, and gay marriage are pushed by some as the only acceptable non-political response — anything but neglect of the issues is “mission creep” and is to be deplored. I’m afraid though, that if you don’t take a stand, you are taking a stand — on the wrong side of those subjects.

By the way, another kicker in Mr Wright’s resignation letter was the very next sentence after the quoted bit above.

Instead of men who treat each other with professionalism and respect, I find a mob of perpetually outraged gray-haired juveniles.

I leave it for the astute reader to puzzle out the revealing, and eminently political, assumption in that sentence.


Also worth reading: a lot of people have also been pushing back against Beale. Scalzi has highlighted a few of those responses:

Shweta Narayan
Arachne Jericho
Rose Lemberg
Kate Nepveu

Read those, too.

Comments

  1. says

    Here’s the thing — for a $25 donation, you can be a member of SFWA, and get voting rights on Hugos. You get to nominate. Apparently a block of right-wingers banded together, got memberships to nominate Day’s shit-pile of misogyny and homophobia, and it wasn’t against the rules for them to do that. But that’s an argument for changing the rules for nomination, not an argument for the status quo.

  2. says

    The Hugos have nothing to do with the writer-membership SFWA of course, which makes it rather hilarious that Wright has chosen to give the fan-membership World Science Fiction Society’s problem as his reason for ditching his SFWA membership.

    Anybody who wants to vote for the Hugos this year can buy a WorldCon supporting membership that gets you a e-library of all the nominees, and you can then place all the works exactly where you think they deserve to be on the ballot.

    http://www.thehugoawards.org/
    http://www.loncon3.org/

  3. anuran says

    The sad thing about Wright is that he’s a good writer. He’s also a raging Far Right conspiracy theory loon, a late convert to a fanatic brand of Catholicism, an old fashioned sexist, racially prejudiced and intolerant of any views not in lockstep with his own. If you ain’t fer him you agin him and part of the “Culture of Death”.

    In short, he’s just the sort of guy who would support V.D.

  4. says

    Except the nominated work isn’t a shit-pile of misogyny and homophobia. It’s a bland semi-religious anecdote, with an elf.

    Now Theodore Beale…he is a shit-pile of misogyny and homophobia.

  5. mothra says

    Simpler might be to prosicute him for copyright infringement. This is the exact same story (from PZ’s precis as far as can be determined) as “Book of Kells’ short fiction film winner at the Fargo Film Festival in, I believe, 2012.

  6. anuran says

    Jason, to be a member of the SFWA you have to be published. I think it’s three shorts or one novel.

  7. says

    Jason, only writers who fill the published works criteria of the SFWA can join the SFWA.

    Anybody can become a member of the WSFS, which only has one meeting each year, which is WorldCon, and each WorldCon runs the voting for the annual Hugo awards.

  8. David Wilford says

    Co-opting the Hugo awards and using them to score political points is embarrassing those on the putative “right” side of this sorry argument. Nominate a story because it’s a good story, period. I’m all for embarrassing those who put their politics before what’s supposed to be an award for the best of the science fiction and fantasy genre.

  9. says

    I assume the rules are set up like that to be welcoming to new members and avoid having tests of legitimacy to prove you belong. The question is how to accomplish both this goal and avoid letting any yahoo try to stuff the ballot box.

  10. pixelfish says

    Jason: I have to correct you on some details, although you are correct about the larger picture of vote-buying. To become a member of SFWA you have to sell a story to a qualifying market. There are no fan or newbie tiers like the RWA has. And…voting on the Hugos isn’t tied to SFWA membership but membership to WorldCon (which changes venue every year.) This year it is in London, the membership is 25 pounds (not dollars, it’s about 42 dollars) and that gives you nominating and voting rights on the Hugo. And yes, VD supported the slate of one Larry Coreia and encouraged his fans to do the same. Sadly there is nothing in the rules about that, but there is also nothing in the rules saying that you HAVE to vote on merit alone, and a number of fans are planning on “No Awarding” VD. (That’s when you rank the idea of No Award given at all above a nominated work.

    It’s worth noting that SFWA kicked VD out last year for misusing the SFWA twitter and attacking N. K. Jemisin with racialised epithets. (I’ll let you look it up. It’s…pretty gross.) This is partly his attempt at payback.

    ….

    BTW, here’s a (very partial) list of folks who felt Scalzi’s and Sanderson’s calls to judge nominated works on merit alone were unhelpful. http://whatever.scalzi.com/2014/04/23/and-now-rebuttals/ I myself wondered why I should have to vote on merit when VD’s work didn’t make it to the slate on merit alone. Plus, it means VD’s targets have to shoulder a burden of trying to separate out his attacks on them from his work….which is both cruel and largely impossible.

    Plus…as noted, it’s such a pile of mediocrity.

  11. mothra says

    I should have googles before typing from memory: ‘Secret of Kells’ at FFF in 2011, and winner of numerous international awards for best animated feature film.

  12. georgemartin says

    For those who are unfamiliar with the Hugo award process, the SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) has nothing with the Hugos. Their awards are the Nebula awards.

    The Hugos are compleatly administered by the World Science Fiction Society. To be s member of WSFS,
    you must be a member of either this year’s World Science Fiction Convention or last year’s. It is they who do the nominating and voting. A member of SFWA can be a member of WSFS if he or she pays to be a supporting or attending member.

    George

  13. says

    Why goblins? I don’t know. Conveniently evil and dismissable monsters

    So says you Mister Pro Fess Shore! Have you know Goblin good worker, Goblin hard worker. My Cousin Whistle of the Steam From Boiler was on first train to Uberwald. His wife Fire Of the Coals works at bank.

  14. Stacey C. says

    I agree wholeheartedly though I feel it might be good to also note Scalzi’s next statement in the post quoted above:

    * Apropos of nothing in particular, however, I will note that in every category it is possible to rank a nominated work below “No Award” if, after reading the work in question and giving it fair and serious consideration, you decide that it doesn’t deserve to be on the ballot and, say, that its presence on the ballot is basically a stunt by a bunch of nominators who were more interested in trolling the awards than anything else. Just a thing for you to keep in mind when voting time rolls around.”

  15. says

    Secret of Kells is on Hulu. I don’t have time to watch it, but from the summary I read, it doesn’t sound too much like Beale’s story. For one thing, the film is an hour long — it would take an awful lot of padding to plump Opera Vita Aeterna up to that length.

  16. David Wilford says

    Steve Davidson of Amazing Stories had this point to make about the Correia Hugo slate:

    Correia and Day did do something that I’ve never seen before. They publicly distributed a list of recommended votes and exhorted their readers and followers to participate in the Hugo vote to achieve a political purpose – rather than to actually review the works in question and vote on them on their merits.

    Davidson has a longer editorial here on the subject worth reading also:

    http://amazingstoriesmag.com/2014/04/bloc-voting-hugo-awards-death-thousand-cuts/

  17. cartomancer says

    The International Elven Rights Commission might beg to differ with the characterisation of this story as “not racist”. Implying that elves don’t have souls? Clear-cut eldarophobic bigotry right there!

  18. Roy G says

    I’m afraid though, that if you don’t take a stand, you are taking a stand — on the wrong side of those subjects.

    This. So much this. When we don’t say anything, we actually are saying something; we’re saying: “I accept this. Carry on.”

    The standard you walk by is the standard you accept.

  19. says

    Robert Heinlein, Piers Anthony, Orson Scott Card, and L Ron Hubbard have all been nominated, and some have won, the Hugo award. It’s not like being nominated for a Hugo means you’re a wonderful person. It’s already tainted with some horrific people.

  20. doublereed says

    Why would we ever want an organization like that to be creatively stifling?

    This is what truly baffles me about bigotry and these weird forms of biological determinism. It’s creatively vapid. The characters are stock and 1-dimensional. Stories become stuffed with cliches and stereotypes that stretch the suspension of disbelief, or are just boring.

    Social Justice offers much to creativity, because it shows just how much creative space has been left untapped due to pointless cultural norms.

  21. twas brillig (stevem) says

    why oh why. I keep seeing the headline of this post as “Science is political”. ;-(
    just the usual trope round here: how politicos blame Science for everything, while never thinking of using Science to solve any problem…

  22. Kevin Kehres says

    I’m at a loss to figure out what the award, much less the nomination, is meant to mean.

    What’s the point? It’s a “fan favorite” kind of a vote? Which means it’s as pointless as every other pointless internet poll PZ has us Pharyngulate (Was Jesus the Son of Dog?). Only this one isn’t on the internet, and you have to pay to vote.

    Meh. Even if he wins, it only points out the uselessness of this kind of “award”.

    Color me uninspired to actually give a shit.

  23. David Wilford says

    Kevin @ 19:

    In the case of Heinlein, Anthony and Card it’s at least true that all of their nominations came because fans read their stories and liked them as stories. (Politics aside, Heinlein and Card can write and write well. Anthony, well, not so much but he’s sold a lot of books.) Hubbard’s nomination was due to his faithful in the Scientology movement voting for him and it should be remembered that the final result was that No Award came in ahead of Hubbard’s story that year. One may hope the same happens to Beale’s story.

  24. says

    I guess winning a Hugo or Nebula Award is prestigious, but I’ve found that these awards no longer represent the best that SF has to offer (like so many other similar lists). Presumably, these awards would bring both recognition and money, in the form of sales, to the authors. I’ve decided to sample or borrow books and buy those I enjoy. These authors on my bookshelves are able to create solid characters and spin a good tale —
    Octavia Butler, (yup, tentacles)
    Nancy Kress,
    Jack McDevitt,
    Elizabeth Moon,
    Alastair Reynolds,
    Kim Stanley Robinson
    Geoff Ryman,
    Neal Stephenson,
    and Daniel Suarez.

  25. ganymede says

    I’m probably going to get banned for saying this, but here goes: I’ve been lurking here for a couple of months now. Theodore Beale actually is sexist and homophobic, but in practice the terms sexist, homophobic, racist, bigoted, privileged, and various other permutations get tossed around so loosely around here — basically anyone who doesn’t agree with some aspect or other of extremist leftist ideology can count on getting called a bigot — that if the only thing I knew about Beale was what I read in the comments here, I would not be inclined to take your word for it that he’s a bigot.

    It’s the boy who cried wolf syndrome. Once you’ve made a name for yourselves of calling anyone who doesn’t agree with you a racist, sexist, homphobic bigot, at some point a lot of people just stop paying attention. If you want to be taken seriously, you might try being just a little more judicious in the labels you attach to people. Otherwise, to borrow a line from Heinlen, your complaints have the same amount of significance of kittens mewing in a box.

  26. D Carter says

    I’m afraid though, that if you don’t take a stand, you are taking a stand — on the wrong side of those subjects.

    No. Wrong. Flatly wrong.

    The first rule of war is to pick your battles, and there are so many battles. I will pick some battles, but I will not pick them all.

    You’ve put yourself in a logical jail cell; you cleverly lose either way. If you do pick your battles, as I do, then you are hypocritical for not letting me pick mine. Whereas if you don’t pick your battles, then I certainly don’t merit your abuse for pursuing a better strategy than yours.

    My life and conscience are mine, not yours thank you very much, and I will pick exactly the battles I see fit to fight. You are welcome to try to persuade me to help fight yours–I read this blog for exactly that purpose! And I doubt I’m alone. Well done.

    But anyone who pretends that I am acquiescing or for crap’s sake collaborating just because I don’t reflexively join their own little pet peeve is hereby cordially invited to **** off straight to *********** do not pass Go do not collect $200 take a ****ing ride on the Reading.

  27. Rich Woods says

    @ganymede #27:

    basically anyone who doesn’t agree with some aspect or other of extremist leftist ideology can count on getting called a bigot

    So wishing for all people to be treated fairly and equally is extremist leftist ideology now? Wow, I’m even further to the left than I thought I was…

  28. Zeppelin says

    A person who does not concern himself with politics has already made the political choice he was so anxious to spare himself: he is serving the ruling party.

    -Max Frisch

  29. says

    @ganymede:

    Do you see the first link in PZ’s OP?

    Click that link.

    Read that link.

    Come back and tell us that Beale isn’t sexist and racist (and a homophobe, though it’s not as explicit in his comments.)

  30. says

    Sorry, you’re right, in the acronym soup that is the sci-fi community, I mistook SFWA for WSFS. My bad.

    The fact that Day was nominated for a crappy book JUST because HE is a shit-pile of homophobia and misogyny (and racism, let’s not forget that) is a well-evidenced bit of nastiness though. A bloc definitely did form specifically to vote him in.

  31. D Carter says

    @27: You go too far, but yes the relentless little show trials and intentional friendly fire are tedious, boring, counterproductive.

    And…best beware “kittens in a box.” Schroedinger had something to say about that.

  32. nich says

    But anyone who pretends that I am acquiescing or for crap’s sake collaborating just because I don’t reflexively join their own little pet peeve is hereby cordially invited to **** off straight to *********** do not pass Go do not collect $200 take a ****ing ride on the Reading.

    PZed did not say that merely not taking a stand on EVERYTHING is a political statement, but that POINTEDLY refusing to take a stand on a certain issue is. If I am merely silent on the issue of gay marriage, there’s nothing political about that. BUT if someone sticks a microphone in my face and asks me about the issue and I say “Gay marriage is such a political issue and I refuse to take a stand on it” I have indeed just made a political fucking statement.

    Strawman extinguished. Now why don’t you and ganymede go take a ride on the Reading.

  33. says

    The thing that makes me really hate nerds and geeks the most is what seems to be a constant background noise of complaining about people talking about jackassery and problems.

    Like I’m sure ganymede and D whatever aren’t racist or whatever but it seems like there’s always a slew of people only too willing to dedicate time yelling at people annoyed at sexism/racism/blah blah blah as wet blankets, but remaining silent on even the most atrocious examples in the fandoms or communities.

    Sorry but taking time out to finger wag the Tumblr Social Justice Warrior and not about people like Vox is a political decision derp a herp.

    And ffs you two, we literally get one talking about the importance of picking their battles and THEN giving Kuddos to the dip stick who chose to defend Vox Day for his “why you suck” speech?

  34. D Carter says

    @36. You don’t know what we remain silent on. You only know what we remain silent on here.

    By the way, nice complaining about people, yourself.

  35. says

    @ganymede:

    I misread the gist of your post, though my point still stands. No one, honestly, can read Beale’s tripe and say he’s not a racist or sexist.

    And no, you won’t be banned for saying it. You may think otherwise, but PZ doesn’t just ban cause people disagree with him (I’d long have been banned if that were the case.)

  36. samihawkins says

    Like I’m sure ganymede and D whatever aren’t racist or whatever

    You give them more credit than I do. As far as I’m concerned the only reason to be upset about someone opposing bigotry is if you yourself are one of the bigots.

    If they actually thought we were wasting our time they could have just ignored this thread. That they chose to spend the time chastising us for opposing bigotry shows that they must have a personal stake in this and it’s not on the anti-bigotry side.

  37. nich says

    Kevin@32:

    Oh no no no. He totally agrees that Beale is a homophobe, but that the commentariat here have so watered down the term that coming from Pharyngula the term is meaningless.

  38. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You only know what we remain silent on here.

    You aren’t remaining silent. You are complaining vocally.

  39. nich says

    And for fuck sake, John C Wright RESIGNED his membership. If that’s not taking a political stand, I don’t know what is.

  40. rabbitscribe says

    “Are we really supposed to regard every work of art as some disembodied, isolated fragment, bearing no connection to the creator, like some alien entity in which all that matters is what the perceiver makes of it?”

    ***Shrug*** You can make a pretty good case for that:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intentional_Fallacy#New_Criticism

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_the_author

    Random thoughts: if we’re not supposed to regard works of art in that way, how does that impact our response to art created by people of whom we know nothing? What about Presentism? Mark Twain was remarkably progressive for his time, but even his views would be completely unacceptable today, at least to me. What do you think of the Romantics? Romantic idol Shelley treated women and children like shit and Romantic idol Byron was a straight-up pedophile when he wasn’t treating women and children like shit. Now what do you think of the Romantics? I wouldn’t choose to buy the work of a living artist with those deplorable viewpoints, but the art itself is what it is.

  41. D Carter says

    Heh, well, I had wondered how long it might take some random venomous Pharyngulator to call me a bigot for no reason. I idly estimated a week.

    Not even! Wave to the studio audience, #39, step forward for your prize–you win! And by “win”, I mean of course “lose”.

  42. Pierce R. Butler says

    The above dialog motivated me to look for info on Larry Coreia.

    Until this national conversation is willing to entertain allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons, then it isn’t a conversation at all, it is a lecture. … Gun Free Zones are hunting preserves for innocent people. Period.

    Bleh. What do you think about “The Negro” (no, the above rant said nothing about Trayvon Martin & George Zimmerman), Mr. Coreia?

  43. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    D Carter, as was pointed out by nich @ #35, you might try reading for comprehension.

  44. samihawkins says

    Not taking a stand on something isn’t the same thing as actively belittling those who do take a stand. There’s plenty of topics I have no position on. I express my lack of position on those topics by not spending my free time going into threads about them. If I were to go into one of those threads to lecture and belittle the people who are taking a stand on that topic than it would be plainly obvious that I do have a position on that topic and it’s not with the side I’m lecturing and belittling.

  45. David Wilford says

    All I know is that when a story is nominated merely to poke a political finger in the eye, it’s crap. All of it too, not just 90%.

  46. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    #41. Then you know it. QED.

    Know what? Why don’t you explain it to me. I don’t think you know what you are talking about.

  47. tsig says

    D Carter, do you often walk into a party kick the host in the shins then crap on the floor?

  48. Freodin says

    “Are we really supposed to regard every work of art as some disembodied, isolated fragment, bearing no connection to the creator, like some alien entity in which all that matters is what the perceiver makes of it?”

    Yes, we are. That is the way any achievement should be evaluated.

    Here in this case it seems, from what I read, that there is a group of people, whose ideology I don’t agree with, who are pushing their “hero” for an award… not for the value of his work, but for ideological reasons.

    But as I see it, the right way to oppose such a behaviour is to make sure that this cannot happen or cannot get the desired result… not to combat it with bringing your own ideology – even if I agree with it – into the battle.

  49. says

    DCarter @44

    Hmm, admission that you mainly came here to troll and we’re looking to be accused of bias. So you admit bad faith, but still want us to play along with your pose.

    And you fuckers “wonder” why we take poses such as yours with a grain of salt. Maybe it has something to do with all the bad faith assholes who come on here and play their little faux martyrdom drama. You know, just maybe.

  50. David Wilford says

    Freodin @ 52:

    It’s possible to chew gum, er, point out the fact that a Hugo nomination was politically motivated rather than for any artistic merit while also criticizing the politics of the perpetrators of said nomination.

    I think those on the “right” of this matter should ask themselves what their patron saint, Robert Anson Heinlein, would have thought of such a dishonorable nomination for an award that’s supposed to go the best work in science fiction and fantasy. Me, I think Heinlein gave a damn about the genre enough that he’d have found this business disgraceful.

  51. rrede says

    #13 Indigo Jump: *high fives fellow Pratchett fan*

    Some of the most interesting aspects of his latest work are the inclusion/development of storylines concerning goblins and orcs (will say no more to avoid spoilers).

    Two points: the links to what those who disagree with some of Scalzi’s points are worth reading, first.

    And second: in the context of stories about elves and goblins that do something different than the traditional fantasy/Tolkienian focus (and I love Tolkien’s work), I have to recommend Sarah Monette’s/Katherine Addison’s _The Goblin Emperor_ which is alternate world fantasy where a half-goblin son of the Elven Emperor ends up as Emperor — the alternate world part is that there are no human beings–is well worth reading.

    Spolers to some extent at the review: http://daniellibris.wordpress.com/2014/04/08/the-goblin-emperor-by-katherine-addison-sarah-monette/

  52. David Wilford says

    @ 54:

    In response to Correia, hey, it’s no problem if he and his ilk want to make themselves out as the real victims of prejudice, but that doesn’t excuse their messing with the Hugos.

  53. woozy says

    @27

    Theodore Beale actually is sexist and homophobic,

    Then what’s the problem?

    but in practice the terms sexist, homophobic, racist, bigoted, privileged, and various other permutations get tossed around so loosely around here — basically anyone who doesn’t agree with some aspect or other of extremist leftist ideology can count on getting called a bigot

    Then shouldn’t you be making this comment on one of those postings in which the accusations are unfairly tossed about? You just stated that it happens frequently, so why are you making this observation on a post about some-one whom you admit deserves the label.

    =======
    I like Scalzi in an idealistic and objective and utterly fair way.

    @OP

    Lots of people, like John Scalzi, say that “the Hugo rules don’t say that a racist, sexist, homophobic dipshit can’t be nominated for a Hugo”, which is entirely true. You’re supposed to judge the work, not the author, which is also a fair point… But still, this attitude bothers me.

    Scalzi didn’t actually say you shouldn’t judge the author. He just said the nomination was within the rules and now you should judge the work within the rules, in which case a thorough dismissal is just fine. Although he does think you should attempt to read the work, he doesn’t say you should dismiss your feelings toward the author in your judgement of the work.

    =====
    @29 D Carter

    Your logic is really bizarre. Yes, you can pick your battles. And the battles you choose not to pick are (supposedly) the battles that you do not believe are significant enough to deserve picking. And by being silent you are indicating you do not care about the issue. Which is taking a position.

    It allows the “wrong” side to win but supposedly you are fine with that as it is not an issue you care about or one that you had given up upon from the beginning. There’s nothing wrong with that attitude provided the issue you are silent on is one you care minimally about.

    I think PZ’s point was remaining silent for some perception of fairness on issues that *do* matter to one. I’m not sure whether I agree with him or not but if I don’t it’s certainly not for the reasons you gave. (I think if I disagree, it’d be in cases where I feel the process and cause of fairness are themselves more important than the issue itself. But I’m not sure I disagree.)

  54. says

    In which the formidable John Scalzi put his foot in.
    Basically, his original approach is “don’t feed the trolls” and we all know that it doesn’t work.
    But I have some sympathy: VD and Correia just managed to taint and sully something he really liked.

  55. chris61 says

    Dollars to donuts that Al Franken, Democratic senator from Minnesota, won a lot of votes because people knew and liked him from SNL. Should everyone who voted for him (or against him) be judged on their taste in comedy?

  56. David Wilford says

    @ 61:

    It’s more like Bedtime for Bonzo getting an Oscar nomination because Ronald Reagan starred in it and was President. Having seen the movie myself, trust me, it’s not Oscar material and the reason it would even get a nomination would be because of the politics involved, and nothing else.

  57. Jon Mitchell says

    I get the impression from reading Scalzi’s blog that he is not only advocating that awards be given on merit only – but he is encouraging the reading of the other nominees’ works (it is subtle – but I think he is saying VD’s work is crap, and if you actually read it and the quality of the other nominated works you’ll see that it is crap and doesn’t belong on the ballot).

    so when all is said and done – and VD does NOT win an award – what did Scalzi achieve? VD does not get recognition (which he didn’t deserve) and VD is denied the ammunition that “voting against him was a political act”. The way I read it – Sclazi will enjoy 2 slices of schadenfreude pie

  58. Paul Zimmerle says

    Are we really supposed to regard every work of art as some disembodied, isolated fragment, bearing no connection to the creator, like some alien entity in which all that matters is what the perceiver makes of it?

    I’m actually inclined to say “yes” to this, but with caveats.

    For instance, I appreciate a great deal of Lovecraft’s work – but I never forget that he was an incredibly racist man, even for his time period.

  59. moarscienceplz says

    Apparently, Wagner was a racist ass. That doesn’t stop the Ring cycle from being transcendent art for the ages.

    That being said, the portion of my reading time devoted to modern works of fiction is fairly small these days and likely to remain so, so I think this idea of turning the Hugo awards into a big fapfest for libertarians and misogynists works great for me. I will just avoid purchasing any Hugo winners from now on. QED.

  60. David Wilford says

    @ 63:

    I see nothing wrong with being prejudiced against Beale’s nominated work, given the circumstances. It’s crystal clear his nomination is politically, not artistically, motivated and that it a deliberate insult to the Hugos, AND to fans who are women, people of color, LGBT fans, and much less importantly, white guy fans like me who want nothing to do with the likes of Beale. Making a stink about it right now is absolutely the right thing to do. I’d like those on Correia’s slate who I know have a sense of decency about such things to say they want their Hugo nominations withdrawn, out of respect for what the Hugos are supposed to be about, namely honoring the best in science fiction and fantasy, not to play politics.

  61. nich says

    Should everyone who voted for him (or against him) be judged on their taste in comedy?

    No. They should be judged for voting for Stuart Smalley and not Al Franken.

  62. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    chris61 @61 (*teehee*)

    Dollars to donuts that Al Franken, Democratic senator from Minnesota, won a lot of votes because people knew and liked him from SNL. Should everyone who voted for him (or against him) be judged on their taste in comedy?

    No, but they should be judged on their taste in government representation if “he was good/bad on SNL” is a criteria that impacts their vote.

  63. says

    Dollars to donuts that Al Franken, Democratic senator from Minnesota, won a lot of votes because people knew and liked him from SNL.

    You know a lot of liberals liked Braveheart but I doubt they would vote for Mel Gibson.

  64. ganymede says

    At 36 and 39, “yelling at people annoyed at sexism/racism/blah blah blah as wet blankets”, no, I’m in favor of calling out people who actually are racists, sexists, bigots, etc. My point is that a lot of what gets called racism, sexism and bigotry around here really isn’t, which results in those terms being inflated to the point where they have no real meaning at all. The problem with calling someone a sexist who isn’t a sexist (and making a practice of it) is that it becomes hard to tell if someone you’ve accused of sexism really is a sexist, or if you’re merely reverting to namecalling in lieu of actual analysis.

    Ask yourself this: Can you think of a non-sexist reason why someone might oppose abortion? Or a non-racist reason why someone might oppose affirmative action? Or a reason not related to privilege why someone might oppose higher taxes on the wealthy? I’m not asking you to agree with those reasons; merely if you can acknowledge that not everyone who disagrees with one of your issues does so out of prejudice and bigotry. Because precious little I’ve seen here suggests that that is the case.

  65. chris61 says

    I wouldn’t vote for or against a politician based on his art but nor would I vote for or against a piece of art based on the political views of its creator.

  66. nich says

    My point is that a lot of what gets called racism, sexism and bigotry around here really isn’t, which results in those terms being inflated to the point where they have no real meaning at all.

    Citations? Examples?

  67. nich says

    chris61@71:

    …nor would I vote for or against a piece of art based on the political views of its creator.

    You don’t “vote for” art. You either like it or you don’t. Refusing to plop down cash for Das Rheingold or Ender’s Game or Chinatown because you can’t ignore the disgusting views or actions of their creators is perfectly valid. Choosing to ignore those actions and views because ART IS BEAUTIFUL! doesn’t make you some kind of fucking hero.

  68. nich says

    ganymede@70:

    Can you think of a non-sexist reason why someone might oppose abortion?

    Yep, but it’s probably just about as stupid as the sexist reason was.

    Or a non-racist reason why someone might oppose affirmative action?

    Yep, but it’s probably just about as stupid as the racist reason was.

    Or a reason not related to privilege why someone might oppose higher taxes on the wealthy?

    Yep, but its probably just about as stupid as the reason related to privilege.

    That was easy.

  69. twas brillig (stevem) says

    At 36 and 39, “yelling at people annoyed at sexism/racism/blah blah blah as wet blankets”, no, I’m in favor of calling out people who actually are racists, sexists, bigots, etc.

    And that is what this OP is about, but still you yell at everybody. You even acknowledged that VD is a racist & a homophobe. But HERE you call everyone “tattletales”, that they calling innocents “racist” at the drop of a hat?
    I don’t think this is the thread you meant to be in. Thunderdome is around here somewhere, look for it, go there, Thunderdome is for all the tone-trolling you want.

  70. CJO says

    My point is that a lot of what gets called racism, sexism and bigotry around here really isn’t, which results in those terms being inflated to the point where they have no real meaning at all.

    But you’re not pointing out those instances, either here or in comment threads where this is happening, giving the reader no way to see if you are characterizing this behavior accurately. Give us an example and we can deal with that.

    Can you think of a non-sexist reason why someone might oppose abortion? Or a non-racist reason why someone might oppose affirmative action? Or a reason not related to privilege why someone might oppose higher taxes on the wealthy?

    Well, for instance privilege doesn’t have to do with prejudice and bigotry — the whole point of interrogating privilege is to reveal that systemic and institutional forces of oppression mostly don’t depend on individuals holding avowedly prejudiced attitudes in order to end up perpetuating e.g. racism and sexism in society. As for non-sexist reasons why one might oppose abortion or non-racist reasons why one might oppose affirmative action, these mostly turn out to be carefully crafted evasions of the underlying sexism and racism of those positions, peddled to the rank and file as ways to talk about these issues without immediately signaling the actual motivations behind support for them. This is especially prominent in the forced-birth movement, which has long been at pains to distract attention from their actual aims –to reduce or eliminate bodily autonomy on the part of women– by branding themselves the party of “life” and fetishizing the fetus. That the average protester at a women’s health-care facility who reallly realllly cares about the baybeees is not aware that they are pawns in this game doesn’t mean that they aren’t, or that the game isn’t real.

    But again, I’d like to see an example where a commenter here accused a vocal opponent of abortion or affirmative action with sexism or racism with no other justification.

  71. anteprepro says

    Tone troll

    My point is that a lot of what gets called racism, sexism and bigotry around here really isn’t,

    Citation needed. While you are at, give YOUR definition of these terms and what constitutes examples of them. I’m betting that the key issue is that you have a conveniently strict defintion for these.

    Ask yourself this: Can you think of a non-sexist reason why someone might oppose abortion? Or a non-racist reason why someone might oppose affirmative action? Or a reason not related to privilege why someone might oppose higher taxes on the wealthy?

    Oh my fucking Christ. Yes, we can think of these reasons, because every single fucking person who takes these positions claims to have reasons X, Y, and Z and go on and on about how they aren’t really sexist, racist, apologists for the aristocracy, etc. etc. But then you poke them a little. You look at their other actual beliefs. You look at the arguments they choose. The priorities they have. Look at the people that they view as comrades in arms. And it doesn’t take very much effort to see the bigotry underlying it all.

    We didn’t just start assuming, a priori, that the people who vehemently oppose abortion “because babeeeez:” are really after controlling women. You figure that shit out by noticing how those same people are fine with abortion for women who don’t “deserve” it and have no desire to help women who “deserve” it from getting pregnant in the first place. Same with right-wing “fiscal responsibility” and rabid opposition to “reverse discrimiation”. It’s all about seeing where the loopholes and inconsistencies on the subject show up. Those are the tells. Noting the pattern is important. People like you who are just so OFFENDED about us noting that pattern? Well, just see the main post. Silence is political. As is who you decide to direct your obstructionist whinings towards.

    On that note: Your hand-wringing in defense of “not really bigotry, you alarmists” is noted.

  72. Alverant says

    I agree with the idea that you have to pick your battles. But this is a battle worth fighting. The Hugos are a big deal in the SF community. Their future works can have “Hugo Nominated/Winner” on them to draw customers and if they go to a con, that will be on their too. As for the “judge the work, not the creator” line of reasoning, it sounds good but there are some creators who have views I find too vile to even consider buying their new works. But that’s a decision for us individually and not collectively. That being said if enough people are disgusted at what happened then they should try and speak out to change things for the better.

  73. carlie says

    Worst thing that can happen if you call a bigoted act bigotry when the intent wasn’t actually bigotry: the person might get their feelings hurt a bit.

    Good thing that can happen if you call a bigoted act bigotry when the intent wasn’t actually bigotry: the person gets upset, but the shock is enough to make them examine their actions, see it from someone else’s point of view, realize that they look like a bigot, and stop doing that thing.

    Worst thing that can happen if you tiptoe around a bigoted act and refrain from calling it bigotry because you’re worried about offending the person who did it regardless of their intent: the person keeps doing the bigoted action and there is more bigotry in the world, and the presence of all the bigoted acts encourages others to act in a bigoted fashion, and teaches other people to be bigoted by example, and the world is a better place.

    Good thing that can happen if you tiptoe around a bigoted act and refrain from calling it bigotry because you’re worried about offending the person who did it regardless of the intent: ?

  74. says

    Why an elf?

    Elves are basically the fetishised Aryan ideal. Tall, thin, frequently blond, always pale (unless they’re evil, black elves, hmmm), and more graceful, eloquent, musical, deadly, smart, and generally better at everything than you are.

  75. carlie says

    Crap, of all the places for a typo: “and the world is NOT a better place” for the end of paragraph 3.

  76. says

    Vox Day,

    In addition to your being a racist, woman-hating schmuck, your Latin leaves much to be desired. Latin has case endings; please use them.

    I suppose it’s just possible that his title means “works [are] eternal life,” but I doubt it.

  77. Al Dente says

    Theodore Beale aka Vox Day [sic] is a homophobic, misogynist racist. Here are some quotes, courtesy of rationalwiki:

    Homosexuality is a birth defect from every relevant secular, material, and sociological perspective…[we must] help them achieve sexual normality.

    It is absurd to imagine that there is absolutely no link between race and intelligence.

    Because they are the intellectual driving force of humanity, men will be fine… It is written that women ruin everything.

    I don’t believe I could recommend this as a strategy for most men, but it is surely educational to learn that raping and killing a woman is demonstrably more attractive to women than behaving like a gentleman. And women, before all the inevitable snowflaking commences, please note that there is absolutely nothing to argue about here. It is an established empirical fact.

    Ganymede wrote:

    My point is that a lot of what gets called racism, sexism and bigotry around here really isn’t

    Beale proves himself to be a homophobic, racist, misogynist bigot and calling him such is not hyperbole.

  78. Poggio says

    Opera vita aeterna?

    Anyone who would mix the neuter plural and feminine singular like that should be whipped down the street by a man dressed as Petrarch.

  79. A. Noyd says

    ganymede (#70)

    I’m in favor of calling out people who actually are racists, sexists, bigots, etc. My point is that a lot of what gets called racism, sexism and bigotry around here really isn’t

    And we’re supposed to accept that you have the most correct understanding of racism and sexism and other bigotry because… why again?

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    anteprepro (#77)

    It’s all about seeing where the loopholes and inconsistencies on the subject show up. Those are the tells. Noting the pattern is important.

    Yeah, most people throw this veneer of belief in equality over a whole mess of double standards. They might not mean to hold double standards or even realize they do, but they still act on them to undermine actual equality. And that’s what’s important.

  80. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Co-opting the Hugo awards and using them to score political points is embarrassing those on the putative “right” side of this sorry argument. Nominate a story because it’s a good story, period. I’m all for embarrassing those who put their politics before what’s supposed to be an award for the best of the science fiction and fantasy genre.

    ….did you even read the post?

  81. nich says

    Azkyroth@86:

    I might be wrong, but I think David Wilford was talking about the people who specifically bought into SFWA membership to vote for Beale. See his comment @49.

  82. mikeyb says

    I’m probably in the extreme minority, but I’m not a big fan of any awards in general. I know it’s important to recognize peoples works in diverse fields by your peers. But all too often awards become political. For example Scientist A is considered a better more important person than Scientist B because he or she has a Nobel Prize. Why is that so? Why does it matter. We should be able to recognize the contributions of person X without pointing to some reward. And there are lots of other problems with awards – why is there a Nobel for Economics but not Biology? Plus many other types of rewards are farcical – why do the Emmy’s exist, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a joke – what kind of hall of fame could consider Kiss hall of fame material. Why did Titanic win best picture in the Oscars, bla bla bla. Anyway I’m probably a total pain in the ass anarchist on this point, but I’m no fan of awards. This guy may be a total asshole petitioning for a Hugo, probably so. I wouldn’t read him one way or another based on whether he had an award or not. But I’m perfectly fine with it if someone else is into rewards.

  83. David Marjanović says

    — basically anyone who doesn’t agree with some aspect or other of extremist leftist ideology can count on getting called a bigot — [...] If you want to be taken seriously, you might try being just a little more judicious in the labels you attach to people.

    …erm.

    Also, kittens are serious business.

    Anyone who would mix the neuter plural and feminine singular like that should be whipped down the street by a man dressed as Petrarch.

    QFT.

  84. omnicrom says

    I’m not sure why “lacking a soul” is such a big deal in the story. I play a lot of Super Robot Wars and in you always end up with a couple of characters who don’t have souls, and they’re just as heroic and awesome as anyone else.

  85. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    70 ganymede

    Ask yourself this: Can you think of a non-sexist reason why someone might oppose abortion? Or a non-racist reason why someone might oppose affirmative action? Or a reason not related to privilege why someone might oppose higher taxes on the wealthy? I’m not asking you to agree with those reasons; merely if you can acknowledge that not everyone who disagrees with one of your issues does so out of prejudice and bigotry. Because precious little I’ve seen here suggests that that is the case.

    Sure we can but that doesn’t matter. If it’s racist (or sexist or w/e) in effect, then it’s racist. The actual motivation in their “heart of hearts” and intent doesn’t mean shit. If someone acts, supports or says shit that is in effect racist, that makes them racist.

    Considering how racist our society is, I don’t know why you’d start with the assumption that someone isn’t racist until proven otherwise.

    ===========

    73 nich

    chris61@71:

    …nor would I vote for or against a piece of art based on the political views of its creator.

    You don’t “vote for” art. You either like it or you don’t. Refusing to plop down cash for Das Rheingold or Ender’s Game or Chinatown because you can’t ignore the disgusting views or actions of their creators is perfectly valid. Choosing to ignore those actions and views because ART IS BEAUTIFUL! doesn’t make you some kind of fucking hero.

    Agreed. All of those are on my list of Will Not Support. Because media has an effect and what you peruse or allow without complaint fuels the status quo or breaks it down.

    To add to that, it’s also important to be consistent. For instance, it’s a known problem that white actors, well just white people in general, get away with far more. Seriously, The Shit List is long. Several of those I didn’t know about and googling names for more information is depressing as shit. I think this comment sums it up well:

    I imagine there are some people who claim to be purists, but I’m of the opinion that it’s impossible to completely avoid supporting these people in some way.

    For some people, there is a line you can cross. I will never knowingly watch anything involving Roman Polanski. I don’t listen to any Chris Brown songs anymore. For me, personally, it’s because I’m so pissed at society’s epic failures with these two. (Charlie Sheen is kind of another one, but I hate grouping him in with the other two because I wouldn’t like his work regardless – talentless buttface).

    In contrast, I do watch Parks and Rec. I think it’s probably the most feminist comedy on TV right now. But, Rob Lowe is on it. It’s more important to me to support the show than it is to slightly fuck over Rob Lowe.

    I dunno. I don’t think there’s a hard line for what consumption is and isn’t feminist. But I think you’re an asshole if you claim to be a feminist and can’t listen to people criticize your choices. For instance, if someone told me I suck for watching Parks and Rec bc of Rob Lowe – that’s fair. My choices need not be everybody’s.

  86. doublereed says

    @ganymede

    Can you think of a non-sexist reason why someone might oppose abortion? Or a non-racist reason why someone might oppose affirmative action? Or a reason not related to privilege why someone might oppose higher taxes on the wealthy? I’m not asking you to agree with those reasons; merely if you can acknowledge that not everyone who disagrees with one of your issues does so out of prejudice and bigotry. Because precious little I’ve seen here suggests that that is the case.

    Originally I believed people opposed abortion for non-sexist reasons. However, enough evidence has been produced to me (over and over and over again) that the reasons they present are completely shallow and their true reasons are always transparently controlling women’s sexuality. So, not only will I not agree with the position, but I think they’re being intellectually dishonest about their actual position if they suggest anything but sexist bullshit.

    I haven’t heard good fights for and against affirmative action. From what I’ve seen, the data does show that it is one of the most effective policies out there to fight institutional inequality. So I dunno about that.

    Plenty of people oppose higher taxes on the wealthy who are not wealthy. That’s being scammed, not privilege.

    By the way, this:

    I’m probably going to get banned for saying this, but here goes:

    is martyring. If you think you are violating rules, then kindly don’t. I’ve seen places take this line as simply a request to be banned and ban the person simply for uttering that line.

  87. says

    Ganymede:

    My point is that a lot of what gets called racism, sexism and bigotry around here really isn’t,

    You’re just still pissed off over my mild correction over your generic use of ‘American Indian’ and went on to keep digging and double down over that issue, exposing your willful ignorance and refusal to see what you were doing was bigoted. You had every chance to understand, given the amount of people who explained things to you, but no, you preferred to be an ass. (http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/03/30/do-you-have-to-shove-your-awful-little-holy-book-in-everything/comment-page-1/#comment-775260)

  88. Alverant says

    @Godric #80
    I know. It’s one of the reasons I dislike fantasy. I know things like elves, dwarves, etc come from Europe so their humanoid spirits are going to be white and there is the “dark=evil” meme but that was then. Today there’s no excuse for the thinly disguised racism in fantasy races especially when you know who’s evil because they’re ugly and/or have dark skin. I see some movement away from that but it’s still there.

  89. says

    BTW, due to this topic being thrashed out in detail on several SF blogs lately, I’m much more aware about how the Hugos work than I used to be. Just being nominated by some ballot-stuffing is unlikely to actually result in an award, because (a) attending voters at LonCon3 outnumber non-attending voters by about 3 to 1, and the con-goers are likely to keep on voting pretty much how they have been voting over the last decades i.e. for what they damn well like just because that’s what they like; and (b) they use a run-off voting system, which tends to vitiate the effects of a relatively small cadre of ballot-stuffers.

  90. says

    basically anyone who doesn’t agree with some aspect or other of extremist leftist ideology can count on getting called a bigot

    I’m aware of plenty of conservatives who aren’t bigots, but let’s be clear about a couple things:

    First, social conservatives generally ARE bigoted – that’s basically the definition of social conservatism. They want to limit people’s rights based on religion, sexual orientation, and often race. I include conservative Muslims in that as well, by the way.

    Fiscal conservatives are a different matter, to a degree. You can narrow it down a lot by cutting out the ones who are also social conservatives, to begin with.

    Most “conservative” fiscal policies are, in some way, harmful to those with the least ability to defend themselves. In the past, when we’ve tried the “no regulation” strategy, it’s caused massive damage, mostly to poor people, mostly to minorities. Every time we’ve de-regulated a bit, it’s gone back in that direction, and every time, conservatives say that we didn’t go far enough in that direction. It feels a little bit like somebody telling me that the temperature will stop going up once I’m actually IN the fire.

    I can’t think of any conservatives I’ve met in my life, including the years spent living in Indiana, and in Wisconsin, and my own relatives back in New England, and others I met along the way (and one Texas preacher in Tanzania), who wasn’t in some way bigoted, ignorant, stupid, or callously indifferent to the suffering of others.

    Some may exist, but in my experience it has almost ALWAYS turned out to be a case of “lovely people if they’re with the right people”. As a group, conservatives regularly vote for politicians and policy that hurts minorities, women, poor people, the environment, and basically anybody who doesn’t have so much money they never need to work again in their lives.

  91. ganymede says

    Nich, No. 72 and antepro No. 77, you want an example, fair enough. You need look no further than comment no. 39 in this thread by samihawkins, who flat out called me a bigot simply for suggesting that perhaps the rhetoric could be toned down a bit. Please note, my disagreement with many commenters here isn’t even on the substance — I agree in outing bigots who really are bigots — but rather on how it gets done. And that, in her eyes, was enough to make me a bigot too.

    And please note how vicious this tactic is, because there is no such thing as a good way to respond to it. If I say, “no I’m not,” then she’s put me on the defensive, and we all know that people who are on the defensive sound guilty whether they are or not. If I ignore it, then her accusation stands unchallenged. If I respond in kind — hey sami, fuck you too — then I’ve sunk to her level. The whole tactic is a cheap shot that doesn’t even pretend to be anything else.

  92. ganymede says

    Inaji, No. 94, I had actually forgotten who you were until you reminded me. Glad to see I made a deeper impression on you than you did on me.

  93. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    amihawkins, who flat out called me a bigot simply for suggesting that perhaps the rhetoric could be toned down a bit.

    You were sounding like a bigot. You not being a bigot is still up in the air, and your opinion on that subject isn’t considered evidence.

    t. If I ignore it, then her accusation stands unchallenged.

    Third party evidence, not your opinion, is always your friend. Funny how third party evidence is still missing in action…

  94. ganymede says

    @CJO, No. 76, I don’t disagree with you that people who really are sexist and racist can make up justifications that sound egalitarian, but I don’t think it’s a fair statement that all or even most opposition to abortion or affirmative action is based on racism or sexism. If you believe, in your heart of hearts, that the fetus is a full and complete human with the full panoply of rights that come from being human, then it necessarily follows that abortion is murder and must be stopped. And it doesn’t even matter that most biologists disagree with that analysis or that there are great arguments on the other side, because the question is whether the opposition to abortion is based on sexism. A belief that it’s murder may be wrong, it may be misguided, it may be contrary to the evidence, but so long as it’s an honest belief, it’s not sexist. (And before anyone asks, I think abortion should be safe, legal and rare.)

    I struggle with affirmative action because I see good arguments on both sides. I actually think it’s a close case. You’re welcome to disagree with me, as I imagine you probably do, but the fact that I think the opponents of AA have a point doesn’t make me a racist.

  95. ganymede says

    At Nerd of Redhead, No. 101, the only person who would think I was sounding like a bigot is either someone who doesn’t understand what the word means, or who does understand what the word means and is dishonestly twisting it to use as a club on anyone who disagrees with them.

  96. doublereed says

    @ganymede

    I’m also curious by what you mean about “extremist leftist ideology.” Pro-Choice, Affirmative Action, and Higher Taxes on the Wealthy are not examples of extremist leftist ideology. Those are actually examples of mainstream leftist ideology. None of those are remotely extreme. And frankly “higher taxes on the wealthy” is not even leftist, more like mainstream centrist.

    Are you associating tolerance, diversity, and nondiscrimination with “extremism”???

    But I’m afraid to respond to you after you martyred in your original post. It makes me think you’re just going to whine.

  97. carlie says

    If you keep getting called a bigot and you don’t like it, you might want to stop saying things that make you sound like a bigot.

  98. nich says

    @ganymede:

    A single, crappy example does not a trend make. If samihawkins indirectly, kinda, sorta implying you could possibly be bigoted is the best example of a spurious accusation you can come up with, I think it’s ok to say the commentariat’s bigot-dar is pretty decently calibrated. You’re going to need to do better than that. Given that you think it is so prevalent, WAY better examples shouldn’t be difficult to find.

  99. PDX_Greg says

    Women are not needed in any profession or occupation except that of child-bearer and child-rearer, and even in the case of the latter, they are only superior, they are not absolutely required.

    Well, without thinking about it, I guess I can’t argue with that. Nor with it’s equally true logical equivalent that men are not needed in any profession or occupation except as sperm bank donor.

    And due to the sheer mathematics of sperm production, very few men are needed at all. Because the value of human life should only be measured against our required participation in the act of keeping the species alive and abundant. Oh wait, no, I forgot that that standard should only be applied to women, because a man said so..

  100. A. Noyd says

    ganymede (#102)

    If you believe, in your heart of hearts, that the fetus is a full and complete human with the full panoply of rights that come from being human, then it necessarily follows that abortion is murder and must be stopped.

    No, it doesn’t follow. Notice how, in your framing, women are missing from the consideration of the rights of the fetus. That omission is sexist. I don’t care that you’re pro-choice and this isn’t your argument. You’re sexist enough that you apparently can’t recognize the sexism inherent in the framing you’re using.

    Like I asked above: We’re supposed to accept that you have the most correct understanding of racism and sexism and other bigotry because… why again?

  101. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    I think Ganymede’s problem is a combination of ignorance (hasn’t familiarized himself with the existing dialogue and body of knowledge on Applied Sociology), arrogance (…yet feels he’s entitled to lecture everyone else on its contents…) and a somewhat legitimate complaint (another chicken coming home to roost on the “I KNOW! LET’S TAKE ALL THESE WORDS THAT EVERYONE HAS BEEN USING FOR DECADES AND ADOPT THEM AS TERMS OF ART WITH SPECIALIZED MEANINGS THAT ARE VAGUELY RELATED TO, BUT EMPHATICALLY AND UNEQUIVOCALLY DISTINCT FROM, THEIR COMMONLY UNDERSTOOD AND ETYMOLOGICAL MEANINGS!” approach).

  102. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If you believe, in your heart of hearts, that the fetus is a full and complete human with the full panoply of rights that come from being human, then it necessarily follows that abortion is murder and must be stopped.

    Never mind that that attitude is debasing the woman, who has full human rights, to incubator status, which is misogyny.

    who does understand what the word means and is dishonestly twisting it to use as a club on anyone who disagrees with them.

    Nope, you have no idea of what it takes to sound like a bigot. Simply not sounding egalitarian without providing real evidence to back up your inane and stupid views is enough, and if the dog whistles are present, it is prima facie evidence.

  103. ganymede says

    Carlie, the only person who would think I was sounding like a bigot is someone who doesn’t know what the word means, or someone who does know and is dishonestly twisting its meaning to club anyone with an opposing viewpoint. Which one are you?

    Nich, samihawkins wasn’t indirectly, kinda, sorta implying I could possibly be bigoted; she said I was in so many words. However, she’s far from the best recent example; I just used her because she appeared in this thread.

    If you go back to the Bundy thread about the guy in Nevada (who, unquestionably and indubitably really, really is a racist), and read the comments there, you will find that it quickly deteriorated from not just “this guy is a racist” to “anyone who supports this guy is a racist”. And that ignores the minor detail that Bundy’s racist views, obnoxious though they are, are a separate question from whether the federal government should own half the State of Nevada. It is possible to believe, as I do, that Bundy is an ass while at the same time objecting in the strongest of terms to the federalization of most of the West. I have federalist tendencies; I disapprove of the size and scope of the federal government. But not only was that distinction not made in the OP or the comments; the strong underlying theme throughout most of the comments is that supporting Bundy is racist (or at least fellow traveler).

    In that same thread, there was a discussion of the use of the term “cotton picking” as a racist slur, and someone pointed out that the origin of the term is not racist. Some crazy person, I forget who without going back and looking, said that it is “basic doctrine” that the origin of a term is irrelevant to whether it is racist unless its origin supports a claim of racism. Basic doctrine according to whom? This is not a principled rule; this is a result-oriented, heads-I-win-tails-you-lose mechanism to declare anything and everything racist based purely on the whim of whoever wants to make an accusation.

    You want more examples, I’ve got them.

  104. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    102
    ganymede

    @CJO, No. 76, I don’t disagree with you that people who really are sexist and racist can make up justifications that sound egalitarian, but I don’t think it’s a fair statement that all or even most opposition to abortion or affirmative action is based on racism or sexism. If you believe, in your heart of hearts, that the fetus is a full and complete human with the full panoply of rights that come from being human, then it necessarily follows that abortion is murder and must be stopped. And it doesn’t even matter that most biologists disagree with that analysis or that there are great arguments on the other side, because the question is whether the opposition to abortion is based on sexism. A belief that it’s murder may be wrong, it may be misguided, it may be contrary to the evidence, but so long as it’s an honest belief,

    No. Intent is not magic. Their polices make women second class citizens who do not control their own body, which is sexist bullshit. They are sexist because they are advocating sexist policies. Their intent doesn’t stop women from dying in illegal abortions. I place far more weight on women’s lives than forced birthers fee-fees.

  105. ganymede says

    @Noyd and Nerd, I agree with you that a fetus is not a person, but since this is a thought experiment on the question of whether it’s inherently sexist to believe that abortion should be banned as murder, let’s assume that it is and see where that argument takes us.

    First, can you give me an example of another situation in which it is permissible to take the life of one human for the benefit of another? The potential cost to a woman of carrying a pregnancy to term is great, no doubt about it, but not as great as the cost to the other person who is being killed.

    Second, can you give me an example of another situation in which it is permissible to take the life of one human for the benefit of another, where the person for whose benefit the first person is being killed had a hand in creating the situation in the first place? No one is suggesting she should be punished for having sex, but no one is suggesting the fetus got there by immaculate conception either.

    Now again, you may not find those arguments persuasive, and you may think there are great counter-arguments. I don’t find them persuasive, and I can give the counter-arguments too. But they’re not sexist. They’re arguments that honestly and in good faith seek to balance the interest of two persons where there are two persons with interests at stake.

  106. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    111
    ganymede

    If you go back to the Bundy thread about the guy in Nevada (who, unquestionably and indubitably really, really is a racist), and read the comments there, you will find that it quickly deteriorated from not just “this guy is a racist” to “anyone who supports this guy is a racist”.

    So, what you have to say a slur in order to be racist? People who support his racist views somehow aren’t racist?

    Are you seriously that dense and blinded?

    Some crazy person,

    Fuck you, ablist shitstain.

    I forget who without going back and looking, said that it is “basic doctrine” that the origin of a term is irrelevant to whether it is racist unless its origin supports a claim of racism. Basic doctrine according to whom? This is not a principled rule; this is a result-oriented, heads-I-win-tails-you-lose mechanism to declare anything and everything racist based purely on the whim of whoever wants to make an accusation.

    Yeah, I’ve looked through that thread again. You’re going to have to fucking cite some shit because I didn’t find a damn thing close to “basic doctrine”. Yes, people were talking about it being used in a racist way and how “cotton picker” has been consistently used as a racist insult. This is supported by Bundy’s backpedaling including denying ever saying “pick cotton”.

  107. ganymede says

    Doublereed 104, it’s not like the regular commentators here never martyr on a wide range of subjects, so cut me some slack.

    I consider myself a mainstream leftist. I agree with you that abortion rights and higher taxes on the wealthy (not sure about affirmative action) are mainstream left positions, and I hold them myself. I used them as examples because they’re easy examples. While I don’t find them persuasive, I think there are arguments against abortion, affirmative action and higher taxes on the wealthy that aren’t inherently based on ill motive. But you can see, from my conversations with A. Noyd and Nerd, that ill motives tend to be attributed to people who make those arguments regardless. In fact, in 108, notice how A. Noyd stopped just short of calling me a misogynist for saying that the argument wasn’t entirely implausible even though I don’t actually agree with it myself. So, the definition of misogyny has now been expanded to include, not just prejudice against women, but the acknowledgment that an argument that is prejudice-neutral on its face should be evaluated on its own merits and not dismissed as sexism. If that’s what passes for misogyny around here, then my original point stands in spades.

  108. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Carlie, the only person who would think I was sounding like a bigot is someone who doesn’t know what the word means, or someone who does know and is dishonestly twisting its meaning to club anyone with an opposing viewpoint.

    You repeat this, but it is only your view. Not that of the well experienced commitaritat. Your view is dismissed without third party evidence….

    but since this is a thought experiment on the question of whether it’s inherently sexist to believe that abortion should be banned as murder, let’s assume that it is and see where that argument takes us.

    Nope, sexist fuckwittery from start to finish. Women are never less human than the fetus they carrry. There is no evidence to show otherwise, and your hypotheticals are dismissed as sophistry.

  109. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I consider myself a mainstream leftist.

    The evidence is lacking your view is discounted, for obvious reasons based on skepticism. Without third party evidence, how can we determine you aren’t a troll, or simply a liar and bullshitter?

  110. ganymede says

    JAL, No. 114, “fuck you” is both misogynistic and homophobic and you should be ashamed of yourself for using such a vicious slur. The insult is found in the assumption that a passive sex partner is an object of contempt and ridicule, which means women and gay men who bottom. So, since you’ve now shown your true colors as a homophobe and misogynist, I have nothing more to say to you.

    (See, two can play this game. Isn’t it fun?)

    I will now go back and find the basic doctrine quote for you.

  111. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I will now go back and find the basic doctrine quote for you.

    What doctrine? That we should believe everything you say *snicker*? Or that you need to back up your assertions?

  112. woozy says

    You’re just still pissed off over my mild correction over your generic use of ‘American Indian’ and went on to keep digging and double down over that issue, exposing your willful ignorance and refusal to see what you were doing was bigoted.

    Oh, ganymede’s the hole-digger. I remember him. He started with an idea that could have been valid but he was rather tenaciously more interested in perceiving slights to his reputation than in clarifying his position or in listening to responses so the net result was the appearance of a whimpering extremist clutching to the rags of an idea that then appeared incoherent and pointless.

    I see he his doing it all over again. His original comment was not wrong. In internet discussions everywhere I have seen both sides with a holier than thou attitude and a great desire to toss any opposing opinion with every label whether it applies or not. And, yes, I have seen folks labeled as “bigots” when it wasn’t deserved. And yes, I think when that happens it sucks. *BUT* FOR THE LOVE OF THE NON-EXISTENT GOD THIS ISN”T ONE OF THOSE TIMES!!!!! Vox Day is a *foul* misogynistic and racist scumbag and his foul misogynistic and racist scumbaggery are ample and available to anyone who can google.

    So why get schoolmarmy and tsk-tsk over an incident where the “bigot” label is actually utterly and unequivocally deserved? Why defend the accused “bigots” when the only so-called “bigot” on trial is, in actuality, quite guilty? And why insist on accusing everyone else of besmirching your good name when your actions can so *easily* be misconstrued as a defense of Vox fuckin’ indefensible Day? Are you some kind of masochist?

  113. ganymede says

    OK, it was “standing doctrine” rather than “basic doctrine” but that doesn’t change my point. It’s comment no. 71 in the “You can’t possibly be surprised” thread dated April 24.

  114. ganymede says

    Nerd, I’m not sure what evidence you want or think you’re entitled to. Perhaps you could be more specific? I mean, I suppose you’re right that you have no way to independently verify that I’m a mainstream leftist; for all you know I could be one of the Koch brothers writing under a pseudonym. So, believe whatever you like; I’m comfortable that taken as a whole, my views are closer to mainstream left than yours are.

  115. ganymede says

    Woozy, No. 120, I made a judgment call that raising the subject in a thread in which the accusation was being done right would allow me to contrast this thread with others where the accusation hasn’t been done right. That’s a judgment call.

  116. CJO says

    I’m responding in terms of our specific disagreement here. I won’t involve myself further in any derail into a general discussion about abortion.

    ganymede:

    If you believe, in your heart of hearts, that the fetus is a full and complete human with the full panoply of rights that come from being human, then it necessarily follows that abortion is murder and must be stopped.

    This is exactly what I’m talking about. People who can say that this belief is the crux of the matter either haven’t come to terms with the issues, or have, and are cynically misdirecting the public’s attention away from their actual motivations. (Almost) nobody actually believes this, as shown by: The complete failure of social and political movements opposing abortion to promote responsible sex-ed curricula in schools and to support access to family planning-oriented medical care for all women; the fact that everyone but a few extremists admits an exception in cases of rape (we don’t excuse murderers when their victims happen to have been conceived in a certain way); and the fact that nobody but a few extremists actually favors trying doctors who perform abortions as serial killers or their patients as accessories to premeditated murder. Interrogate the supposed motivating belief and it crumbles under exceptions. What they don’t like isn’t killing babies, it’s allowing women the autonomy to choose what to do with their bodies, and that is sexist, whether or not one has been fooled or fooled oneself about the matter.

    Here, in fact, ready made, is another handy example:

    I think abortion should be safe, legal and rare.

    While I’m aware that this bit of Clintonian doublespeak has come to stand in as a cry of defiance, it too, believe it or not, trades in casual, unconsidered sexism. Abortion should be safe and available on demand, yes, but “rare”? It should be no less frequent than unwanted pregnancies. And it seems to me that the “[should be] rare” there indicates an interest in policing female sexual behavior. I get it; it’s an affirmation of the importance of access to reproductive health care, but sloganized in that way in the context of an all-out assault on basic human rights, it acts as a sop, a concession to entrenched sexism. Abortion should be safe and legal. Full stop. Its incidence in the population is a public health issue, and not a trivial one, but one that would be a hell of a lot easier to manage from a policy standpoint if it wasn’t being offered up as a bargaining chip in the culture wars.

  117. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    121
    ganymede

    OK, it was “standing doctrine” rather than “basic doctrine” but that doesn’t change my point. It’s comment no. 71 in the “You can’t possibly be surprised” thread dated April 24.

    *sigh*
    Here’s the actual quote in context, which is what I asked for and what is needed to understand. You lazy fucker.

    71 Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Let’s not be so hasty about “coton pickin’”. It seems to refer to the difficulty of the activity itself, not the people doing it. Apparently it originated as a term in the 17th or 18th century, when cotton picking was done as much by whites as blacks. (Source, another source).

    Yes, and “butthurt” alludes to the behavior of petulant children by reference to spankings. Unfortunately, it is standing doctrine that the origins or etymological meaning of a word can only be considered if they tend to support rather than rebut the position that the word is harmful and ought not to be used.

    Clearly, Azkyroth, doesn’t actually seem to support this line of reasoning because of the word “unfortunetly”. He’s simply making a point that this is what other people use often when determining what’s harmful because meanings changes, as the “butthurt” example shows. (If I’m wrong Azkyroth, feel free to correct me. This is just how I read it.)

    And you describe this comment as:

    Some crazy person, I forget who without going back and looking, said that it is “basic doctrine” that the origin of a term is irrelevant to whether it is racist unless its origin supports a claim of racism. Basic doctrine according to whom? This is not a principled rule; this is a result-oriented, heads-I-win-tails-you-lose mechanism to declare anything and everything racist based purely on the whim of whoever wants to make an accusation.

    To review: You fucking fail in reading comprehension. And still remain silent on the ablism, which speaks volumes.

  118. anteprepro says

    By god, ganymede. You obviously have nothing really to say. Just the half-hearted sound of shoveling and befuddled, mealy-mouthed rambling. Talking around in circles, yet digging down. A spiral that will bring us nothing but dirt, will bring you nothing but a descent. Just shut the fuck up already while you are ahead.

  119. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    OK, it was “standing doctrine” rather than “basic doctrine” but that doesn’t change my poin

    If my make mistakes and lie, why should anybody take your unsupported word for anything other than bullshit?

    I’m not sure what evidence you want or think you’re entitled to.

    Simple fuckwit, your views are supported by third party evidence found in places like this, Google Scholar. What your personally or say without evidence should be dismissed, per Chirstopher Hitchens (#6), “That which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence”. Notice the link to evidence, which is utterly lacking in your posts….

    So, believe whatever you like; I’m comfortable that taken as a whole, my views are closer to mainstream left than yours are.

    Who the fuck cares what you believe, if you unnecessarily troll without evidence…..

  120. anteprepro says

    I struggle with affirmative action because I see good arguments on both sides. I actually think it’s a close case. You’re welcome to disagree with me, as I imagine you probably do, but the fact that I think the opponents of AA have a point doesn’t make me a racist.

    ….
    I disapprove of the size and scope of the federal government. But not only was that distinction not made in the OP or the comments; the strong underlying theme throughout most of the comments is that supporting Bundy is racist (or at least fellow traveler).

    Why is it that every time someone comes in here to defend people from accusations of bigotry, it is because they have some personal right-wing sacred cow beliefs of their own? Why is it that it always basically boils down to trying to silence criticism of right-wing bigotry, in order to confine it to only those who have KKK levels of bigotry, versus quieter, more polite bigotries and prejudices? In order to stop the Grand Defender from feeling icky and guilty by association?

    Thanks for the very productive use of our time, ganymede. Trying to make it so that you can sleep at night without worrying about whether your opposition to affirmative action is racist or not. Top notch priorities. But it is off topic. If you are going to blather on at length about this more, I might suggest taking it to the Thunderdome. But that’s just my opinion, and I have no authority, so do whatever the fuck you want.

  121. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    In that same thread, there was a discussion of the use of the term “cotton picking” as a racist slur, and someone pointed out that the origin of the term is not racist. Some crazy person, I forget who without going back and looking, said that it is “basic doctrine” that the origin of a term is irrelevant to whether it is racist unless its origin supports a claim of racism.

    You incomparable blockhead, that was intentional, hyperbolic snark.

  122. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    128
    anteprepro

    Thanks for the very productive use of our time, ganymede. Trying to make it so that you can sleep at night without worrying about whether your opposition to affirmative action is racist or not. Top notch priorities. But it is off topic. If you are going to blather on at length about this more, I might suggest taking it to the Thunderdome. But that’s just my opinion, and I have no authority, so do whatever the fuck you want.

    I’m actually all for this. I don’t like how this thread has turned again to this shit and regret I didn’t urge the Thunderdome move earlier. I’m not sorry for what I said, just that I didn’t think of the bigger picture.

  123. anteprepro says

    130 JAL

    I don’t like how this thread has turned again to this shit and regret I didn’t urge the Thunderdome move earlier. I’m not sorry for what I said, just that I didn’t think of the bigger picture.

    Honestly, it is a thread about Voxy Voxy. On topic might have been worse.

    Re: chigau’s response to ganymede at 100.
    Just re-read that comment due to your response to it.
    Holy crap, that comment seems outright sadistic.

    Glad to see I made a deeper impression on you than you did on me.

    The more I read that phrase, the less I am able to see it as anything short of deliberate and callous. Cruelty. Even beyond simple trolling.

    Ugh.

  124. says

    Ganymede, bigoted speech is the use of bigoted terms in speaking, regardless of your intent or ignorance. When it is pointed out that something is bigoted terminology (and by all means feel free to get the bigger picture on such a term elsewhere), arguing against this rather tends to point to a person actually being something of a bigot rather than having made some error, or simply so self-important that it doesn’t matter anyway.

    BTW, someone saying that you used a racist term is not the equivalent of calling you a racist.

  125. A. Noyd says

    ganymede (#113)

    since this is a thought experiment on the question of whether it’s inherently sexist to believe that abortion should be banned as murder, let’s assume that it is and see where that argument takes us

    Oh, sure, I totally want to pursue a derail of a derail with a question-begging, golden-mean-humping victim of the Dunning-Kruger effect who gets a hard on over dehumanizing thought experiments. Sounds like a super productive use of my time. *eyeroll*

    Now again, you may not find those arguments persuasive, and you may think there are great counter-arguments. I don’t find them persuasive, and I can give the counter-arguments too. But they’re not sexist.

    We’re supposed to accept that you have the most correct understanding of racism and sexism and other bigotry because… why again?

    (#115)

    But you can see, from my conversations with A. Noyd and Nerd, that ill motives tend to be attributed to people who make those arguments regardless.

    I never said a thing about your motives. You could have the purest fucking motives on the whole fucking planet and that framing would still be sexist.

    In fact, in 108, notice how A. Noyd stopped just short of calling me a misogynist for saying that the argument wasn’t entirely implausible even though I don’t actually agree with it myself. So, the definition of misogyny has now been expanded to include…the acknowledgment that an argument that is prejudice-neutral on its face should be evaluated on its own merits and not dismissed as sexism.

    First, I did not use the word “misogynist” or “misogyny.” Second, your argument was not prejudice-neutral because the framing omitted consideration of women. Third, I did not dismiss the argument for sexism; I dismissed it for being a non sequitur¹ and pointed out that the framing of argument was inherently sexist and that your failure to notice that sexism was itself sexist.

    Yet, here you are making some would-be conclusion about how people around here define misogyny based your complete misunderstanding of my argument and how you feel I almost called you a misogynist. That is extremely dishonest. Quit making shit up.

    …………..
    ¹ Which it is. You can’t go from “fetuses have full human rights” to “therefore abortion is murder.” Consideration of women’s existence, equality, rights and humanity is critical.

  126. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    ganymede #111:

    …the only person who would think I was sounding like a bigot is someone who doesn’t know what the word means, or someone who does know and is dishonestly twisting its meaning to club anyone with an opposing viewpoint. Which one are you?

    And later in the same comment you complain that

    This is not a principled rule; this is a result-oriented, heads-I-win-tails-you-lose mechanism to declare anything and everything racist based purely on the whim of whoever wants to make an accusation.

    Well, you do seem to be familiar with using false dichotomies. Too bad you’re only willing to be ‘principled’ when it suits you. Of course hypocrisy doesn’t necessary make you wrong, but it does make you an asshole, and someone who’s reasoning skills are pretty suspect.

  127. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    To review: You fucking fail in reading comprehension. And still remain silent on the ablism, which speaks volumes.

    On the other hand, as a narrow point of dissension, I personally don’t find the argument that “crazy” is ableist to be particularly convincing, so I’d rather not be made the centerpiece of it.

  128. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ganymede, I finally have time for a longer response on what evidence do I expect you to provide.

    Easy, if you at all think about it all, which I seriously doubt.

    If you presuppose a post-racist nation where everything is totally equal, you should be able to cite recent academic literature to support that assertion. Or you shut the fuck up about it.

    If a fetus is more of a human being than an woman, you should be able to show that a majority of bio-/midical-ethicists agree. Or you drop the assertion.

    If you claim that women are fully equal to men in the workplace, again, recent academic evidence to support that assertion, or you shut the fuck up about it.

    If the rich shouldn’t be taxed more heavily, conclusive academic evidence that dropping taxes on the rich actually increases revenue to the governing bodies, and increases jobs, or you shut the fuck up about it.

    Simple. Don’t expect us to take your word for it. Show us your word is backed with real third party evidence….

    Essentially, that which is expected of somebody not lying and bullshitting. Back up your assertions with links to real evidence.

  129. woozy says

    Woozy, No. 120, I made a judgment call that raising the subject in a thread in which the accusation was being done right would allow me to contrast this thread with others where the accusation hasn’t been done right. That’s a judgment call.

    Then shouldn’t you have *contrasted* the comments and pointed out the differences rather than lumping the two threads in a common “don’t toss accusations of bigotry just because you disagree” caveat?

    @100

    Nich, No. 72 and antepro No. 77, you want an example, fair enough. You need look no further than comment no. [40] in this thread by samihawkins, who flat out called me a bigot simply for suggesting that perhaps the rhetoric could be toned down a bit.

    Well…. not precisely. S/He expressed the viewpoint “As far as I’m concerned the only reason to be upset about someone opposing bigotry is if you yourself are one of the bigots”. The logic of this is may be faulty (tossing racism accusations simply because one disagrees is not “opposing bigotry”; and doing things in the name of opposing bigotry isn’t carte blanche absolution putting one beyond criticism) and you may disagree with her/his assessment, but it is a viable (albeit hurtful) expression.

    And please note how vicious this tactic is, because there is no such thing as a good way to respond to it. If I say, “no I’m not,” then she’s put me on the defensive,

    You could point simply point out why s/he is wrong.

  130. ck says

    ganymede wrote:

    And that ignores the minor detail that Bundy’s racist views, obnoxious though they are, are a separate question from whether the federal government should own half the State of Nevada. [...] I disapprove of the size and scope of the federal government.

    [Regarding being called a bigot:] And please note how vicious this tactic is, because there is no such thing as a good way to respond to it.

    I consider myself a mainstream leftist.

    Then perhaps you should stop repeating right wing talking points (some of them almost verbatim). Otherwise, people are going to assume you’re either lying or playing devil’s advocate and trolling.

  131. Lars says

    The great lie the right wing has successfully promulgated is that surrender is apolitical.

    That’s the exact same lie that the right wing in Europe successfully promulgated 75 years ago. Just saying. Sorry for Godwinning the thread, but not really.

  132. says

    Wow, this turned quickly into “ganymede tells everybody what a great guy he is and how much we suck for failing to notice it”*
    *and even worse: thinking the opposite.

    It’s also piece of evidence #2649861235 why calling actions instead of people racist, sexist, whatever, fails: Because privileged people who are convinced that they are not racists* are also convinced that only racists say racist things. Therefore, they could not have said a racist thing, quod erat demonstrandum, so the others are WRONG and the actual problem and the real racists, because they deprive the word of any meaning and they will double down until they reach 2048.

    *Something you have stoop to KKK levels to to be actually considered one

  133. hiddenheart says

    Alverant, about your #79: There’s a lot of fantasy that doesn’t do that, of course. I happen to be re-reading Barbara Hambly’s Darwath trilogy right now to discuss it with a friend. (Gotta love a series in which the key to saving the world is sound historical scholarship and the ecological reasons for the Big Bad to get active.) It doesn’t. More recently we have folks like Saladin Ahmed, Malinda Lo, N.K. Jemisin (the target of the racist harangues that got Beale booted from SFWA), and lots of others doing fantasy that simply provides no space for pandering to racist, sexist daydreams.

    Gilliell@142 and all the others: I know this isn’t an original thought or anything, but we do see two basic views of human nature at work in threads like these.

    On the one side, people convinced that you have to mean harm to do harm and that it’s possible to purge yourself of all major taints that would lead you to mean harm. On the other, people who feel that everyone gets some taint by virtue of existing in society of any kind and being an animal, who think it’s possible to do terrible harm without any conscious bad intent, and that the sign of meaning well is paying attention to harm done and helping clean up the messes one helps make.

    Growing up among liberal white technocrats, I got a lot of the first. But I found that it simply doesn’t fit any reality I can observe. Everyone screws up and acts out on stupid bigoted ideas. I’m lesbian and trans, and I have my share of demonstrating homophobic and transphobic impulses just as I do with racist and otherwise undesirable ones. I’m human. I absorb things from my contexts. I can reduce the extent to which I’m bound to the bad ones, with a whole lot of practice and sometimes humbling submission to shared instruction and clue-sticking from others, but it’ll never get to zero, or anywhere close – I will continue to sometimes hurt myself and others by passing along such crap even though I have no wish to do so.

    When people with my experience of the world tell people like Ganymede anything like “hey, you screwed that one up”, we aren’t standing from above and hurling down stones of judgment. We’re standing alongside wearing our “Been There, Done That” t-shirts and wanting to climb toward better vantage points together.

  134. A. Noyd says

    Giliell (#142)

    Because privileged people who are convinced that they are not racists are also convinced that only racists say racist things.

    Here’s an appropriate illustration. Vox Day is the guy in the first panel, and ganymede is one of the people in the second.

  135. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    Therefore, they could not have said a racist thing, quod erat demonstrandum, so the others are WRONG and the actual problem and the real racists, because they deprive the word of any meaning and they will double down until they reach 2048

    Legitimate racism

  136. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    hiddenheart @ 143

    Growing up among liberal white technocrats, I got a lot of the first. But I found that it simply doesn’t fit any reality I can observe. Everyone screws up and acts out on stupid bigoted ideas. I’m lesbian and trans, and I have my share of demonstrating homophobic and transphobic impulses just as I do with racist and otherwise undesirable ones. I’m human. I absorb things from my contexts.

    Oh yes. And this is one of the great problems I see in very simplistic uses of the privilege concept, where people use it to try to sidestep claims of their own internalized biases (luckily, around here that shit gets called out with quickness). POC internalize racism, LGBTQI people internalize homophobia and transphobia and essentialism and shame, women absorb misogyny, etc. You can turn those internalized biases against yourself, against people in your group, people in a different group who face the same hardships you do, or people who face hardships unlike yours while you remain oblivious to the threads of empathy that could have connected you. There is absolutely nothing that prevents victims of bigotry from absorbing bigotry.

    We are all swimming in the same toxic pool. We have all fucked up and likely will again in the future. The only way to combat it is to recognize that fact and be vigilant.

  137. zenlike says

    103 ganymede

    If you believe, in your heart of hearts, that the fetus is a full and complete human with the full panoply of rights that come from being human, then it necessarily follows that abortion is murder and must be stopped. And it doesn’t even matter that most biologists disagree with that analysis or that there are great arguments on the other side, because the question is whether the opposition to abortion is based on sexism. A belief that it’s murder may be wrong, it may be misguided, it may be contrary to the evidence, but so long as it’s an honest belief, it’s not sexist. (And before anyone asks, I think abortion should be safe, legal and rare.)

    Really? That’s the most damning thing you said on this thread, because it clearly shows you have zero understanding on issues like racism, sexism,… etc, up to and including privilege.

    I’m sure most members of the KKK believe in their ‘heart of hearts’ that darky must be kept down. I’m sure most nazi party members believed in their ‘heart of hearts’ that the Jewish race needed to be extinguished to make room for the aryan races. I’m sure members of the quiver-full movement believe in their ‘heart of hearts’ that the proper place for woman is barefoot and pregnant.

    But according to you that’s not racism, or sexism. You are wrong to an unbelievable degree. Maybe you are not a sexist, racist or bigot yourself, but with your attitude, you certainly are (very probably unwillingly) their biggest ally. Please take a long hard look at yourself.

  138. says

    Apparently Ganymede subscribes to the Hobby Lobby model of beliefs. As long as it’s a sincere belief, who cares what the outcome is? Hobby Lobby sincerely believe that birth control pills cause abortion, therefore it’s not sexism for them to try to control their employees’ access to birth control pills, no matter how inequitous the outcome. KKK members sincerely believe that people of color are, on average, less intelligent and lazier than the average white person, therefore it’s not racism for them to attempt to exclude people of color from politics. Etc.

    Fantastic reasoning, Ganymede. I suppose it would be too much to ask for you to attempt to think through to the logical outcomes of this absurd prioritization of telepathic interpretation of peoples’ motives rather than the concrete outcomes of putting their beliefs into action.

  139. woozy says

    @151

    The KKK and Nazi Party[1] believe in their “heart of hearts” direct attitudes towards blacks and jews. Thus they are directly racist. Ganymede’s hypothetical anti-abortionist (I personally know a few, less than five, people who truly truly believe “in their hearts of hearts” fetuses are fully people; they are all women and all democrats by the way) believes something about fetuses, not women. Admittedly one might be able to argue that such a belief results in a sexist conclusion, but it is not a direct and fundamental aspect of believing fetuses are fully human and abortion kills them. The beliefs of the KKK and Nazis are fundamental.

    [1]The tragic thing is I *don’t* think most nazi party members in occupied Europe believed their party line in their “hearts of hearts”. But that’s another issue.

  140. dannysichel says

    “Authors are human, and humans can do things that are unpleasant, hateful, or bordering on the criminal. Should we let this affect our view of their work?” (topic of the ‘Separating Authors From Their Work’ panel at a con I attended a few years back; one of the preconditions to discussion was ‘let’s please not talk about any living authors’)

    So with that in mind, I read through Opera, giving it a fair shot, and… I’m not impressed. The conclusion had a genuine “oh, how sweet and sentimental” moment, but overall it’s flat and unimaginative. An elf becomes interested in human religion? There’s so much you could do with that. But in a world where the existence of multiple nonhuman sapient species is indisputable fact, it’s just not plausible that the theology would be so similar to ours. Considering elves (and, one would assume, goblins) to be wholly soulless? If they use tools and language, then they could be an asset to the Church and there should be some attempt to convert and absorb them. Maybe orphaned goblin children being raised in the monastery because villagers are afraid of them? With the basics of this world’s theology (how would the notion of ‘celestial incorruptibility’ be affected by having two moons? Might the complex orbital mechanics and frequent partial eclipses make it more obvious that they’re moving in three-dimensional space?) being provided to the children as part of elementary instruction, and the elf being present, and asking inconvenient questions which would also provide an interesting look at opposite viewpoints, maybe something about how can you believe in miracles if an elf can do magic?
    If the existence of magic and demons is a fact, then what even is the distinction you’re making between magic and miracle, between angel and demon? Why doesn’t the elf ask this? Why accept this as a god to be worshiped but that as a demon to be feared? Yes, the elf calls “exorcism” a “banishment spell” and calls “prayers” “rites”, and… that’s it? No explanation about why he’s wrong, just a statement that he is?

    And if we added goblin children, then when the goblin raiders attacked the monastery later, there could have been a poignant moment where a monk was killed trying to protect the children from the raiders, and then the raider killed the children, and the elf considered who was better – the monk who believed that the goblins had no souls but wanted to protect them anyway, or the raider who worshiped the goblin god but killed goblin children. Or maybe even if a goblin child had grown up during the elf’s stay in the monastery, and become a novice monk, and so many more things that could have been done with this basic scenario. And instead we just got… this.

    Why wasn’t there anything about the elf’s own religion, even if only to indicate how human religion was preferable? If the monastery was getting yearly visits from a demon creature that kept telling the elf “come back to the Collegium”, then why was it just goblin raiders who destroyed the monastery? Why wasn’t there a note left in the wreckage that said “YOU SHOULD HAVE COME BACK TO US”?

    It’s even got BAD THEOLOGY. How can an immortal elf who knows his own age (he says he’s “more than three hundred years old”) argue that “either there are no incorruptible things to be found in the world, or no incorruptible thing ever begins to exist”? In case Vox ever reads this and doesn’t understand my point, let me be more clear: a physically immortal being is incorruptible (unless you’ve made some distinction between the two concepts IN WHICH CASE YOU SHOULD HAVE MENTIONED IT), the elf is immortal and incorruptible and exists in the world, and the elf has a definite age which means that the elf has a beginning, which means that the elf is making an argument which is disproved by his own existence. If the priest had said this, the elf could have replied that he was not immortal, the oldest elf ever died at the age of only 1253…

    The best thing about this story is the ideas it inspires in me as to how it could have been done better; it’s barely even interesting, and only for what it could have been. It’s competently written only in that it does not have significant errors of grammar, spelling, or vocabulary. It’s not Hugo material. I am ranking this story ’0′, below ‘no award’, and leaving it off my ballot.

    What’s really interesting is the “other works by this author” section at the end. Apparently, Vox has written an anthology called “Altar of Hate”. I’m not sure which would be worse — if he realized the implications of this title, or if he didn’t.

  141. doublereed says

    @25 CJO

    While I’m aware that this bit of Clintonian doublespeak has come to stand in as a cry of defiance, it too, believe it or not, trades in casual, unconsidered sexism. Abortion should be safe and available on demand, yes, but “rare”? It should be no less frequent than unwanted pregnancies. And it seems to me that the “[should be] rare” there indicates an interest in policing female sexual behavior. I get it; it’s an affirmation of the importance of access to reproductive health care, but sloganized in that way in the context of an all-out assault on basic human rights, it acts as a sop, a concession to entrenched sexism. Abortion should be safe and legal. Full stop. Its incidence in the population is a public health issue, and not a trivial one, but one that would be a hell of a lot easier to manage from a policy standpoint if it wasn’t being offered up as a bargaining chip in the culture wars.

    No. I’ve always taken the “rare” to mean that unwanted pregnancies are rare. It essentially refers to good sex education and full access to contraception. It also reinforces the point that late-term abortions actually ARE rare.

    Taking the ‘rare’ to mean controlling women’s sexuality seems to me like you’re deliberately misunderstanding the statement in order to be more strident. It’s not a concession, it’s just a comprehensive, realistic look at the issue.

    Also, how is that doublespeak?

  142. hiddenheart says

    Believing in the power of intent is a classic sign that the speaker is carrying around a ton of unexamined advantage. It’s not a luxury you get when you’re marked.

    Take being a woman working in the sciences or businesses. Everything you do comes under scrutiny, and you will be blamed for everything the men around you think is going wrong, regardless of your actual actions, let alone your intent. The same is true if you’re a person of color in a mostly white environment: your intent is irrelevant when it’s time to blame you for anything others think went wrong. The same is true for any other category where the fact that you’re an X drowns out the reality of who you are as an individual.

  143. says

    Ganymede’s hypothetical anti-abortionist (I personally know a few, less than five, people who truly truly believe “in their hearts of hearts” fetuses are fully people; they are all women and all democrats by the way) believes something about fetuses, not women

    In the same way that colonial brutalizers of, say, the Congo believed things about the resources which they were claiming in the name of King Leopold, not about the people who lived on the land that contained those resources.

    Yeah, still misogyny at work, to consider the fetus in isolation from the woman in whose body it resides.

  144. says

    I haven’t read the entire thread so let me just throw my two likely unoriginal cents in here:

    In regards to the Hugos, I’m perfectly comfortable voting against Day (by having no award above him) because first it is transparently the case that the nomination was a political stunt. Second, Day isn’t good writer as evidenced by his blog that I read for lols once in awhile. I haven’t read any of his intentional fiction because life is short and I’m not giving the guy any money. I’m perfectly fine with people looking at the writers’ politics and deciding to buy/not buy and/or engage in/not engage with the product because it makes sense to not support people who you find venomous.

    In response to this by Professor Myers:

    “But still, this attitude bothers me. Are we really supposed to regard every work of art as some disembodied, isolated fragment, bearing no connection to the creator, like some alien entity in which all that matters is what the perceiver makes of it?”

    There are really, really solid reasons, the most pressing of which is epistemic access*, why authorial intent should be entirely irrelevant when judging a text in terms of merit and/or meaning. I’m not sure how it is in other fields but the text, and only the text, is the ruler in philosophy. It is my understanding/experience that this position is nearly universally held in the humanities generally. Now I don’t think Day, again I read his blog, has ever produced anything worthy of serious consideration because bad writer but it is possible, stop clock and whatnot, so yeah it is possible that Day has produced “good work” from a text only stand point.

    The real issue is the tension between how we engage with every day works and how we should engage in Important Works. I’m perfectly ok looking at context, intention, etc. in the vast majority cases because most works are disposable in the sense that they will not stand the test of time and not particularly deep. However, when dealing with the Important Works one should ignore everything but the text itself because that is what we all have access too, and it is what is agreed to be of merit.

    Note: I’m not dissing pop art at all. I’m not saying a piece of popular art can never be important, or worthy of serious consideration. I think something like the Godfather is both serious and popular for instance. I’m just saying the laws of averages are such that most art, regardless of source, is going to be crappy-average.

    *We don’t have epistemic access to the author’s intentions that is unproblematic. Because even if we have a point to point critical analysis by the author that states all their (presumed) intentions, which is rarity, they might be lying and they may be unaware of their own motivations

  145. says

    It is my understanding/experience that this position is nearly universally held in the humanities generally.

    I think you’ll find this is not universal even in literary criticism.

  146. says

    hiddenheart, MM
    Exactly!
    It’s not like we don’t fuck up.
    Hell, I probably don’t get through the week without fucking up in those respects, usually when it’s about race.
    Actually, I had one of these moments when reading N. K. Jemisin’s Dreamblood books: In the first book the protagonist looks at the Prince and thinks about how he is brown. Brown is BAD. Brown is mixed-blood, mixed with lower blood. I automatically assumed protagonist = white, brown bad because less white.
    When I noticed that it was actually protagonist = black, brown = bad because less black I wanted to hide under the couch…

    +++
    As for works and authors: I have no intention to throw my time and money into the general direction of assholes. There’s so much kick-ass stuff to read from people whom I gladly support. I’m not feeling bad about this.

  147. David Marjanović says

    John Cleese as the centurion teaching Brian how to properly write grammatically correct Latin graffiti

    He still gets it wrong, BTW: domum should be domos, because they’re not all going to the same house.

    ganymede:

    Some crazy person, I forget who without going back and looking, said that it is “basic doctrine” that the origin of a term is irrelevant to whether it is racist unless its origin supports a claim of racism. Basic doctrine according to whom?

    Azkyroth:

    You incomparable blockhead, that was intentional, hyperbolic snark.

    Azkyroth, it wasn’t at all obvious that that was snark. It came across as very weird to me that you’d use the theological term “doctrine”, but I couldn’t figure out why you did that. You need to make your snark a lot more obvious – nobody here knows you well enough that you could deadpan it, and we can’t hear your tone of voice.

    ganymede, the point here is the etymological fallacy: because the meanings of words change over time, it’s a logical fallacy to insist that their meaning now still has to be what it was at some point in the past.

    A few thousand years ago, “do” meant “give”, and “make” meant “knead”… oh, a few hundred years ago, “bead” meant “pray(er)”…

    First, can you give me an example of another situation in which it is permissible to take the life of one human for the benefit of another?

    Emergency self-defense and emergency defense of others.

    Even most anti-choicers accept an exception for life of the mother, though they tend to put a ridiculously high burden of proof on it.

    Second, can you give me an example of another situation in which it is permissible to take the life of one human for the benefit of another, where the person for whose benefit the first person is being killed had a hand in creating the situation in the first place? No one is suggesting she should be punished for having sex, but no one is suggesting the fetus got there by immaculate conception either.

    Even most anti-choicers accept an exception for rape. That’s not consistent with the logic of your previous paragraph: how is it the fetus’s fault that the woman was raped? They accept this exception because being pregnant from a rapist is traumatizing. In other words, they accept that defense of the woman’s life isn’t the only possible situation where it’s acceptable to kill a fetus or embryo.

    But wait. If you accept this, you’re making it about the woman’s intent at the time she got pregnant. What, then, about cases where contraception fails? Either you punish women for things that are outside their control, or you make something that’s usually impossible to prove the standard of evidence in a murder trial. Nothing good could possibly come out of this.

    JAL, No. 114, “fuck you” is both misogynistic and homophobic and you should be ashamed of yourself for using such a vicious slur. The insult is found in the assumption that a passive sex partner is an object of contempt and ridicule, which means women and gay men who bottom. So, since you’ve now shown your true colors as a homophobe and misogynist, I have nothing more to say to you.

    See? Etymological fallacy again.

    per Chirstopher Hitchens (#6), “That which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence”

    Nerd, why do you keep attributing this to Hitchens, after it’s been mentioned so many times here that quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur is much, much older?

    What purpose does it even serve to bring Hitchens into this? Are you trying to make an argument from authority? ~:-|

    Honestly, it is a thread about Voxy Voxy. On topic might have been worse.

    QFT.

    If you presuppose a post-racist nation where everything is totally equal

    Trust me, he doesn’t (I’m referring to the 2nd-to-last sentence).

    they will double down until they reach 2048

    *steal* :-)

    I’m sure most members of the KKK believe in their ‘heart of hearts’ that darky must be kept down. I’m sure most nazi party members believed in their ‘heart of hearts’ that the Jewish race needed to be extinguished to make room for the aryan races. I’m sure members of the quiver-full movement believe in their ‘heart of hearts’ that the proper place for woman is barefoot and pregnant.

    I really don’t think that’s what ganymede is saying; I think he’s saying intent is magic – that “this action is sexist” can only mean “the intent behind it is sexist”.

  148. twas brillig (stevem) says

    re ?158?:

    Yes, BUT. If we give an award based on the Work only, will he accept the award as being only for the work?
    ‘Prejudice me’ thinks Day will take the award to mean he is being awarded for everything about him; especially his personality and ‘superior mind’. THAT is what the pharynguloids fear will happen; that he will think the Hugo is for Him, with just a footnote saying it is for the work. As others have said, I too think that is why he was nominated at all, to award Him, and they just stuck it onto his latest POS to meet the qualifications for nomination.
    I.E. a “stunt” to reward the scummer. [My "worthless" 2 pennies in answer to yours. ;-( ]

  149. says

    To jump back to the original topic, Science Fiction has always had a strong contingent of asshole libertarians and related flavors of rightists, among both the fanbase and the writers. This comes with the standard package of unexamined privilege, constant microagressions towards less privileged groups, and entrenchment around hardline bigots of every stripe in the name of vague and poorly thought-out principles, along with a solid minority of open hardline bigots of assorted (and usually multiple) stripes. There are certain tells that are very common, and usually more obvious the closer to the present the story is set. I first encountered Correia’s work through the Grimnoir books, set in an alternate 1930s where some people had started to display specialized magical talents a few decades back. There were some flags, but they were explainable by it being both a period piece and clearly a deliberate pastiche of certain types of pulp novels. I then tried one of his modern fantasy books (the Monster Hunters International series), which had so many flags in the first five pages I didn’t even finish the chapter. (The protagonist is a gun-fondler who spends half a page drooling over the gun he always carries concealed, and is justified when his boss turns into a werewolf and he has to shoot him, while thinking ‘witty’ cracks about his crazy ex-wife and lunar cycles).
    TL;DR, I’m not surprised at all that he’s a fan of Vox Day, although he’s far more technically competent as a writer.

  150. David Marjanović says

    Oh. ganymede? I’d like to reply to this comment of yours from a month ago:

    The alternative interpretation — that all Native Americans at all times and places worshiped Manitou — is not a reasonable interpretation since nobody with any sense would believe that.

    But… you were new here. There is, unfortunately, no reason to assume that a random unknown commenter in the innertubes has any sense.

    ░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░

    The tragic thing is I *don’t* think most nazi party members in occupied Europe believed their party line in their “hearts of hearts”.

    Parts of the party line weren’t propagated very loudly; they were easy enough to find out with a bit of effort, but not everybody made that effort.

    An elf becomes interested in human religion? There’s so much you could do with that.

    …Actually, yes!

    It was to me…

    OK: not enough people here know Azkyroth well enough that he could deadpan it.

  151. David Marjanović says

    (The protagonist is a gun-fondler who spends half a page drooling over the gun he always carries concealed, and is justified when his boss turns into a werewolf and he has to shoot him, while thinking ‘witty’ cracks about his crazy ex-wife and lunar cycles)

    ROTFLMAO!

    So that’s what gun-fondlers are really afraid about! :-D :-D :-D

  152. says

    An elf becomes interested in human religion? There’s so much you could do with that.

    Was a point in a D&D game I did, a NPC was an Elf wizard who had studied the religion and magic of other species trying to find a way to resurrect his mate. Elves in the setting believed they were immortal and would reincarnate, but only if they died in Elven lands. Since his mate died in profane human lands according to their beliefs she was lost forever. The results of his experiments into vitalism and necromantic magics was a driving force for a lot of the campagin

  153. says

    He never achieved it because death and souls were funny in that setting (Souls and spirits existed but were not immortal. Eventually all souls fade into Nothingness due to a sort of inescapable law of entropy. Even the gods eventually would grow tired and need to find replacements so they could fade)

    But he did create the race of homunculi that were used as a slave race the PCs were trying to liberate, and the first Paladin via his experiments

  154. says

    David Marjanović #161

    He still gets it wrong, BTW: domum should be domos, because they’re not all going to the same house.

    Is it possible that “domum” is used metaphorically, to refer to Rome, thus justifying a single “house”? I.e. Romans, go [to your] home [city]? I have no idea if it works like that in Latin.

  155. says

    @Indigo Jump

    “I think you’ll find this is not universal even in literary criticism.”

    That very well might be the case, I’m not a literary criticism guy and I have had only limited engagement with the topic generally. It’s just that in my MA program at the University of Chicago, the one class everyone in my program was forced to take was basically training us to regard only the text as text regardless of anything else. We were trained even to ignore the other relevant texts by the same author. This training was placed in the context that this is the professional standards of the disciplines in the humanities . I’m aware that other positions that do regard the Author’s intent, i.e. weak intentionalism, are still around, but still it’s what I was trained to do. It might be a UChicago thing.

    I’m completely confident that no one in academic philosophy cares about the author’s intent.

  156. Lee1 says

    @155 doublereed

    No. I’ve always taken the “rare” to mean that unwanted pregnancies are rare. It essentially refers to good sex education and full access to contraception. It also reinforces the point that late-term abortions actually ARE rare.

    Taking the ‘rare’ to mean controlling women’s sexuality seems to me like you’re deliberately misunderstanding the statement in order to be more strident.

    No. I’ve always interpreted it the same way as CJO. Since the standard statement (at least as I’ve always heard it) is just as ganymede said it, “abortion should be safe, legal and rare,” it’s not clear to me why you wouldn’t just interpret it at face value as exactly what it says instead of interpreting it to mean “abortion should be safe and legal, and unwanted pregnancies should be rare.”

    I also agree with CJO that in that statement there seems to be a concession to entrenched sexism, as they put it @125. To my ear, adding that abortion should be “rare” in addition to safe and legal carries implications of more subtly coercive attempts to control women’s reproductive decisions through moralizing, shaming, faux concerns about women’s health that have the effect of limiting their choices, etc. as opposed to outright bans. And that’s consistent with what I see as the general attitudes of many people I hear say something like “abortion should be safe, legal and rare” – they’re fine with abortion being (generally) legal, but they still want to reserve the right to engage in shaming and moralizing over the decisions some women make about their own bodies.

    That interpretation could very well be a misunderstanding of what most people take the statement to mean, but it’s certainly not “deliberate,” and I think it makes a lot more sense based on a plain reading than your interpretation does.

  157. woozy says

    Me>> The tragic thing is I *don’t* think most nazi party members in occupied Europe believed their party line in their “hearts of hearts”.

    David Marjanović>> Parts of the party line weren’t propagated very loudly; they were easy enough to find out with a bit of effort, but not everybody made that effort.

    I didn’t actually mean that most Nazis (the followers, not the leaders) didn’t know that the party line was about genocide. I meant that in “their hearts of hearts” they didn’t necessarily believe in the cause of genocide. But they accepted it anyway because it gave a bit of balm and at the end of the day they didn’t really care what happened to those pesky jews. Which is truly tragic. And appalling. And racist (I did *NOT* say they weren’t racists, just in case any one thought I did). But like I said, that’s another issue.
    Sally>>>
    In the same way that colonial brutalizers of, say, the Congo believed things about the resources which they were claiming in the name of King Leopold, not about the people who lived on the land that contained those resources. Yeah, still misogyny at work, to consider the fetus in isolation from the woman in whose body it resides.

    Yes… that’s good argument as to how one can conclude all anti-abortion arguments lead to misogyny.

    But one (who has the chronic “heart of hearts” condition that causes him to believe fetuses are “people”) can equally say to consider the woman’s reproduction in isolation from the fetus that will die is murderous (but one has to have a heart of hearts condition to actually claim this).

    How do you feel about vaccinations? A family has a fundamental right to determine how it will raise children. (This is precisely same fundamental right that was the basis of Roe v. Wade; One can not dictate what medical treatment a parent should have for her child and thus whether the parent should have a child at all.) To actualize that right they put the lives of other people at risk and may kill innocents. Do they still have that right not to vaccinate? Does their right to autonomy outweigh the rights to life of the people they will kill?

  158. says

    woozy

    Do they still have that right not to vaccinate? Does their right to autonomy outweigh the rights to life of the people they will kill?

    I know that this is now completely OT, but I’ll bite:
    Children are not their parents. Vaccinating or not does not affect the bodily autonomy of the parent. The parents are stewards of their children and as such have a duty to protect the life and the health of the children. In case they are not fulfilling that obligation the government is fully justified to renounce part of that privilege and actually ensure that a child gets the protection they deserve.
    mandatory vaccination is IMO not primarily about the risk unvaccinated children pose to others, but about the right of the child not to contract a horrible disease they could easily be vaccinated against.
    The government does not grant me the privilege to decide whether I secure the kid with an adequate seat and a seatbelt in the car. I don’t see why I should get the privilege to decide whether to protect them against measles or not.

  159. Roberto Alsina says

    PZ, do you always use the same standard? Because I seem to recall you like Led Zeppelin. And Jimmy Page used to date a 14 year old. Who apparently he sort of kept kidnapped for a few years.

  160. Roberto Alsina says

    chigau: sure, that either we should consider the artist when evaluating the art (and then Led Zeppelin is crap) or not, in which case this hugo-nominated thing may or may not be crap regardless of the author, and “Are we really supposed to regard every work of art as some disembodied, isolated fragment, bearing no connection to the creator, like some alien entity in which all that matters is what the perceiver makes of it?” has to be answered “yes”.

    See? Logic.

  161. says

    But one (who has the chronic “heart of hearts” condition that causes him to believe fetuses are “people”) can equally say to consider the woman’s reproduction in isolation from the fetus that will die is murderous (but one has to have a heart of hearts condition to actually claim this).

    That’s plausible, I suppose.

    But it in no way refutes my argument that considering the fortunes of a fetus while ignoring those of its female ape container is inherently misogynistic. At best it’s a tu quoque. Therefore, we can rest easy in the knowledge that all anti-abortion arguments, even those centered exclusively around the lives and rights of zygotes, embryoes, and fetuses, are inherently misogynistic.

    Actually, there is one exception to that. There is the anti-abortion argument that is only ever presented by pro-choicers as a challenge to the Forced Birth Brigade: the argument against abortion by way of forced organ donation for all people. If women are expected to risk their lives and health to save the lives of fetuses, then it is logically consistent that people who are genetic matches for those in need of blood, bone marrow, kidneys, or other organs to risk their lives and health to save the lives of born people who need them.

    It would be profoundly invasive of the entire population’s bodily autonomy and personal liberty, but it would not be misogynist.

    What was the topic again?

  162. says

    You know this is a bit of a straw Vulcan item that really annoys me.

    A bunch of the whiners are basically going “oh it’s all or nothing” hence why we have assholes saying “well what about ____” blank.

    Which you know is a false dilemma.

    It’s not that every author has to match some fucking purity test in order to be seen as a good artist, but it is valid that some artists have beliefs that influence, beguile or even contaminate their work.

    Frank Miller is a good example of this, his nutty butty bar beliefs saturate his work, and it’s only gotten worse. In fact the problem with him is that knowing what his beliefs are (because you can’t really not know due to later works and the fact that he opens his craw) inevitably taints some of his earlier work that many interpreted as satire or in jest.

    OSC is another example because people had to consider whether they wanted to lend economic support to someone who quite likely would donate some of it to anti-humanist causes.

    Conservatives were smug when Ian M Banks died bc his work is saturated by his social libertarian atheistic views

    This idea of a perfect death of the author where you only deal with the art piece is bullshit because it cannot be done. Not as long as their are author commentaries and interviews or authors themselves.

    Saying that we should only consider the art and not the artist to me feels a bit like saying “I don’t see color”. It’s a form of denialism insisting on how people ought to be now how they actually work.

    And saying it’s all or nothing is a flat out dishonest and foolish argument.

  163. David Marjanović says

    Is it possible that “domum” is used metaphorically, to refer to Rome, thus justifying a single “house”?

    Would really surprise me; you’d probably have to resort to patriam or urbem.

  164. David Marjanović says

    …with in in front of them; domus is the only word that has this weird fake allative kind of thing.

  165. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    OK: not enough people here know Azkyroth well enough that he could deadpan it.

    …which buggers belief, frankly.

  166. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    michael kellymiecielica @ 171

    I’m completely confident that no one in academic philosophy cares about the author’s intent.

    Academic philosophy is not literary criticism.

    Literary criticism has many different schools of thought and approaches. Some of them have nothing to do with who the author was or what their intent was, but they do not dominate the field by a long shot. Examining the life and viewpoints and thoughts of the author is a huge part of literary scholarship. There has never been a time when the dominant critical approach was to deal with literature in a vacuum. The study of literature involves a whole hell of a lot of biographical study. There are people who dedicate their entire careers to nothing but James Joyce’s jerk-off letters to his wife.

    Philosophy is not the same as literature. Science is not the same as literature. That there are fields where the life of the person writing something shouldn’t influence our reading of what they wrote is irrelevant, because literature is not those fields.

    It’s not that “this author was a jerkface, therefore this book sucks”, but that literature is something different from these other fields. It’s an ongoing conversation, between what influenced the author and what influenced the reader. It changes over and over again, as different readers bring new viewpoints and more information is discovered about authors.

    FFS, the concept of Orientalism is based in part on the fact that it’s important to consider who created a work of art and how their biases influence that work. When an author is openly bigoted against a group of people, that bigotry is important. It does have an influence. It needs to be considered.

  167. David Marjanović says

    …which buggers belief, frankly.

    That’s not how it works. I’m not good at detecting every kind of sarcasm, and there are people here who are, at least on average, even worse at it.

  168. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Then the issue isn’t a matter of being “well-known,” which is the incredible part since I’ve been an active participant since before the move TO Scienceblogs. >.>

  169. jrfdeux, mode d'emploi says

    Azkyroth:

    …which buggers belief, frankly.

    I’m pretty sure it’s “beggars belief” but I do rather like your version. :-)

  170. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    I’m pretty sure it’s “beggars belief”

    Yeah, it does that too.

  171. knowknot says

    Knowing nothing about and having never read Vox Day, I thought the quote MIGHT have been development of the views of the characters, though VERY poorly written. Having screwed words up myself and seen the unfortunate results, I tend toward caution.
     
    Then I did a some searching, and, um… wow. Please internets him don’t live in my neighborhood ever please.
     
    But even before that, I’d checked the John C. Wright link in the OP, which was, by association, enough to cause a judgement chokeback hematoma…
     

    I am willing and eager to work alongside anyone sharing an enthusiasm for fantasy and science fiction, and to put aside as irrelevant all discussion and inquisition and condemnation of personal opinions on matters religious, political, and social, which are no part of that business.
     
    We are not a political party, or so I thought.

     
    - Thought experiment: Imagine an art form, or any form of communication, in which “opinions on matters religious, political, and social” are not worthy of “discussion.” (Note that Wright realized that mentioning “discussion” alone would have seemed, you know… wrong, and added inquisition and condemnation to tare the effect.)
    - Now imagine Disney direct-to-video productions.
    - Take a few minutes to explain the fundamental difference between the two.
    - Wait. don’t.
     
    Note also the similarity of the argument implied in the phrase “We are not a political party, or so I thought.” to those used in the Duck Dynasty / “infringement of free speech” amusement, several thousand Internet dog years ago. On the one hand we have “we object and will not support this commercially = constitutional breach,” while on the other we have “presence of opinions or moral sense of any kind = presence of an overriding and contrary political machine.” Curious, for someone who later makes reference to Orwellian troubles.
     

    Instead of enhancing the prestige of the genre, the leadership seems bent on holding us up to the jeers of all fair-minded men by behaving as gossips, whiners, and petty totalitarians, and by supporting a political agenda irrelevant to science fiction.

     
    So… are all agendas irrelevant to science fiction, or just the proposed and offending one? And how does any meaningful work completely avoid politics (which appear to be synonymous with opinions) in some form? And how would this be clarified, given that “discussion” is to be prohibited?
     

    Instead of friends, I find ideologues bent on jihad against all who do not meekly conform to their Orwellian and hellish philosophy.

     
    Oh my shiny teapot. Pat Robertson has stopped by. I must remember to stop typing when he visits, for I may accidentally transcribe.
     

    POSTSCRIPT and ADDENDUM: Several people, both publicly and privately, have asked me for the details of my claims, to name the events and persons involved.
    I politely but firmly decline to do so since some of the names are those I have worked with in the past and might work with in the future, men whose work I read with pleasure and admiration, and I seek no public shame to visit them.
    Such is the courtesy which, at one time, one professional expected from another. I find it sad that I am required to explain it.

     
    - Well, apparently we’re adding “reasons I am not a complete whiner” and “what I’m actually talking about” to the list of things which must not be mentioned, along with “discussion” and such.
    - And when, exactly, in the history of literature did this form of “professional” behavior flourish it’s blossoms upon the earth? Seems to me I recall a fair amount if “discussion,” etc and even vitriol being exchanged like carbon dioxide between persons of letters, in some amazing cases even among people who could maintain passion and civility simultaneously, when both their work and decency meant enough.
    - But, I suppose one’s own work assumes a changed nature once “discussion” and the realities of human experience are subtracted from its surrounding environment.

  172. chigau (違う) says

    Azkyroth #186

    Then the issue isn’t a matter of being “well-known,” which is the incredible part since I’ve been an active participant since before the move TO Scienceblogs.

    Well, I’ve known you only FROM Scienceblogs.
    But I guess that you pre-date David Marjanović.

  173. David Marjanović says

    Then the issue isn’t a matter of being “well-known,” which is the incredible part since I’ve been an active participant since before the move TO Scienceblogs. >.>

    I guess you don’t comment that much… *shrug*

    Re the domum thing: http://latindiscussion.com/forum/latin/the-locative-case.8192/

    Interesting – I was never taught humi.

    several thousand Internet dog years ago

    *steal*

    But I guess that you pre-date David Marjanović.

    He does. I briefly popped in before the move to the SciBorg, fled in terror of the timesink, and returned a year later (after the move, in 2006) in a moment when I thought I had some spare time.

  174. says

    Thanks for writing about this. Though I do believe in judging the work for itself, “Death of the Author”, etc. I also believe in acknowledging that an authors’ views do matter (and can also influence the work itself). Whenever people try to act as though an author’s views don’t matter … I kind of feel like asking them how often they’ve seen nominations where a person who hates them and believes they should be discriminated against was included; how often they’ve been in literature classes in which multiple books had parts that were discriminatory towards them; how many times they’ve been told to judge just based on the “merits of the book” and ignore hateful comments targeted at them. Because from my perspective, it happens *all the time* and it gets tiring.