The indignant defenders of Vox Day are still ranting away. John C. Wright, who is apparently a fairly popular SF writer, has written an angry denunciation of all those corrupting leftists who have tainted an awards ceremony. It’s remarkable; it’s an essay for which the descriptor “spittle-flecked” is entirely appropriate, and I am surprised that a professional writer would produce something so incoherent. The bottom line: he longs for the good old days when one could be a racist, sexist asshat and still be rewarded for your writing.
At one time, science fiction was an oasis of intellectual liberty, a place where no idea was sacrosanct and no idea was unwelcome. Now speculative fiction makes speculative thinkers so unwelcome that, after a decade of support, I resigned my membership in SFWA in disgust. SFWA bears no blame for all these witch-hunts, or even most; but SFWA spreads the moral atmosphere congenial to the witch-hunters, hence not congenial to my dues money.
I’m not even going to try to go over the details of this irrational mess; Foz Meadows has taken care of that. I just have a couple of general questions for Wright.
If you’re standing up for the principle of “intellectual liberty”, why is so much of your essay an attempt to argue that your favorite “speculative thinkers” weren’t actually saying the horrible things they are accused of? One problem here is that Wright is terribly unconvincing: he makes excuses for Orson Scott Card’s homophobia and Vox Day’s misogyny, either by abstaining from actually quoting them or by claiming that their words were taken out of context. When Card writes something like this, claiming that gay marriage will destroy ‘normal’ families…
Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.
I fail to see how context redeems it. I read the whole thing; it is most definitely a standard bizarre homophobic rant against giving gay people the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexuals.
Or when Vox Day made his racist, misogynist attack on N.K. Jemisin, it’s damn hard to find any way to excuse this:
… those self-defense laws have been put in place to let whites defend their lives and their property from people, like her, who are half-savages engaged in attacking them. … Jemisin’s disregard for the truth is no different than the average Chicago gangbanger’s disregard for the traditional Western code of civilized conduct. … Unlike the white males she excoriates, there is no evidence to be found anywhere on the planet that a society of NK Jemisins is capable of building an advanced civilization, or even successfully maintaining one without significant external support from those white males.…Being an educated, but ignorant half-savage, with little more understanding of what it took to build a new literature by “a bunch of beardy old middle-class middle-American guys” than an illiterate Igbotu tribesman has of how to build a jet engine, Jemisin clearly does not understand that her dishonest call for “reconciliation” and even more diversity within SF/F is tantamount to a call for its decline into irrelevance.
So one problem here is that it is blatantly dishonest to pretend that Card is not homophobic, and that Vox Day is not a racist and misogynist. They are. It’s not a matter of the “thought police” and “witch-hunters”, as Wright tries to claim, propagating untruths about these authors. It’s their own words that condemn them.
But here’s the big point: if Wright is really trying to wrap himself in integrity and commitment to a principle, it shouldn’t matter. An author could be a baby-raping cannibal, and by Wright’s own insistence that we should judge a work solely by the quality of the writing and not the personal failings of the author, we should ignore the baby-raping and the cannibalism. So why does he spend so much effort trying to minimize the odious political and social views of Vox Day? Revel in them! Go ahead, admit that he’s a contemptible woman-hating racist (as he is!), and then insist that even this terrible excuse for a human being should have his work judged entirely on its merits.
But Wright lacks the courage of his convictions. Apparently it is important to minimize the defects of his heroes.
Why is this an issue of left vs. right at all? That’s what Wright pins all the blame on: a particular set of political views.
The lunatic Left planned and struggled for years, decades, to achieve their cultural influence. Let us imitate their perseverance, and retake our lost home one mind, one institution, at a time. Start by praying.
This is a very familiar whine. But step back and look at what people actually object to in Vox Day and others: Racism. Misogyny. Homophobia. Religious bigotry. The very things Wright unsuccessfully tried to minimize in his protagonists. I will charitably assume that Wright deplores racism, misogyny, homophobia, and bigotry of all kinds.
So why, oh why, do these right-wingers so obligingly associate support for equality with the Left, and identify so readily racism and misogyny etc. with the Right? It is fine with me if they want to draw the dividing line that way, and it’s true enough that the Right has done a wonderful job of shackling themselves to inequity and discrimination and oppression, but I can still imagine (with increasing difficulty, I admit) a conservative wing of American politics that doesn’t necessitate despising every segment of society other than white men.
And now not only is the Right carrying a lot of unpleasant obligate baggage, but we’ve got a political party afflicted by and ideologically dominated by the Tea Party — and they call us the
It seems to me that the real problem here is that wingnuts don’t want to be held accountable for their ugly views — they want to be racist and sexist, but how dare you call them racist and sexist, and worst of all, how unfair to actually penalize them in the court of public opinion for being bigoted scumbags.
But it’s actually quite fair. You’re free to accuse me of being a feminist, an egalitarian, an anti-racist, and I won’t deny it — I’ll actually take pride in it.