Monday, June 22, 2015

Silence is Support

Back in May, Irene Gallo said something on her Facebook page regarding the Sad/Rabid Puppies. It was, perhaps, not the most thoughtful thing she could have said, but it shouldn't have been a big deal. However, Theodore Beale saw it, screencapped it, sat on it for almost a month, and then released it with a statement about how it was just another example of the libel and slander coming from Tor. Because everyone knows by now that Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia are not racist, sexist, homophobic right-wingers. Because they keep saying so. (More on this in a moment.)

It's an argument that's been going on for a while now. Folks call out the things the Sad/Rabid Puppies say as having sexist/racist/homophobic overtones (not necessarily all three at once) and then there's a big outcry from the Pups themselves as they insist, with lots of vehemence and fingerpointing, that they never said those ugly things. (Again, more on this in a moment.)

It's an argument a lot of folks are getting tired of having, no matter how strongly we feel that we should make it known that the Puppies in all their flavors, do not represent the heart of the SF/F fandom. At least, we hope not.

And then something really terrible happened.

Last week a young man walked into a church in Charleston, sat down with a group of folks having a Biblestudy, then stood up afterwards and murdered nine of them. He said it was because black men had been raping white women. He said it was because he was taking back his country. He said he hoped to fire the opening volley in a race war.

After the fact, all the signs that this malignant worldview had been simmering for a long time. There are photos of him wearing apartheid era flags on his jacket, of the Confederate States of America license plate on the front of his car, of him burning the American flag. And then, his friends talked about how he used to make racist jokes a lot, but they never took them seriously. That maybe they should have.

It is a terrible thing that has happened. This young man with a head full of poison, has murdered nine people. Maybe he would have murdered them no matter what. But one thing has become clear - he thought he was not the only one. He thought he had the support of his friends and neighbors and family. Why? Because none of them ever thought to call him on his shit. They just chuckled at his jokes, maybe uncomfortably, and nodded a little and he took that to mean they agreed with him.

So now we come back to Brad Torgersen, Larry Correia, and Theodore Beale - the loosely allied figureheads of the Sad and Rabid Puppies respectively.

Personally, I think that Torgersen and Correia are primarily ideological bigots. They have made it clear they are adamantly opposed to particular ideas and political movements that they lump together under the label "Liberal". They are not kind nor do they mince words about how they view folks who identify with or support those ideologies. Their apparent racism/sexism/homophobia, I believe grows out of that ideological bigotry. They object to the ideas and they believe that certain groups (People of Color, women, LGBTQ) are pushing those ideas so they attack those groups. Not so much for the color of their skin or their gender or orientation, but because of their ideas.

It's still ugly and narrow-minded, but I'm not certain they actually believe PoC are actually lesser humans or that women are best suited for procreation and almost nothing else.

Theodore Beale on the other hand does believe those things. [Let me just note that I do not like disseminating Beale's philosophy. But there is always an argument made that his words have been "taken out of context" or somehow "misunderstood". I feel there is an unpleasant value in seeing that these are the things this man actually proclaims to believe, and repeats to his friends, family, and followers.]

And this is the man that Larry Correia decided to push onto the Hugo ballot last year (2014) in order to piss off the liberals at WorldCon. This is the man the Brad Torgersen continued to work with this year, synching up slate-voting ballots to exclude all but a few non-Puppy nominations for the entire Hugo ballot. This is the man they have chosen to fight beside in a (ridiculous) culture war.

But, Torgersen and Correia maintain that they themselves are not racist, sexist, or homophobic. They just, don't say anything about Beale's ongoing rants. Maybe they laugh at his jokes or hit like on the comment window. They can argue all they want that they are not be bigots themselves, but their actions say otherwise.

Correia reached out to Beale last year. This year he reached out to GamerGate (with admittedly uncertain results when it comes to the ballot stuffing) - a group known for its sexist attitudes towards women and a radical and violent fringe. And Torgersen got in deeper with Beale by coordinating their slates under the Sad and Rabid Puppies flags.

This isn't just silent support. This isn't just silence that is interpreted as support. This is a deliberate alliance with those who do not hide their racist, sexist, homophobic agendas.

But I will not be silent. And I will not support the ideologies that led a young man to murder nine men and women in a church in Charleston. I will not shrug and say "That Vox Day. He's an asshat but what can you do? It's just one man ranting on the internet." I do not want the others like Dylan Roof looking at the world of SF/F and thinking "See? They agree with me."

Because I don't.
Because we don't.
Because silence only leads to regression.


Tuomas Vainio said...

I do not know where to even begin. But I have to begin from somewhere.

If the tragedy that transpired in Charleston were somehow related to 2015 Worldcon nomination results, it would have been one of the top news stories already. Thus the whole association you have presented here basically amounts to libel. Libel is a published false statement that is damaging to a person's reputation; a written defamation.

As for some facts; the 'authors' who were listed on the Sad Puppies 3 slate do not exactly share their political views with one and the other, or even with those who were behind the slate. There are the occasional overlaps, but not to the extend where your claim of Torgersen and Correia being primarily ideological bigots would hold any water. The goal of the Sad Puppies 3 slate was to promote science fiction that had gone unnoticed by Worldcon, regardless of the politics and associations of the authors.

As for Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies working together, why would anyone have two separate slates when just one would have sufficed? Torgersen had his slate, and after seeing it Beale decided to start his own. A friendly artist gave Torgersen the Sad Puppies 3 icon, and Beale afterwards commissioned a similar icon for his Rabid Puppies. So the big question is, why did Beale start his very own slate? Well, last year, Beale started his own publishing company, the Castalia House, and if we look at the entries Beale added to his slate, those came from the Castalia House. Thus is it really so farfetched to consider that Beale worked on his own to promote his brand new publishing house? After all, the Sad Puppies slates had already caused something of an outcry in the science fiction and fantasy community, and he cannot be claimed to be unaware of this fact. Therefore, regardless of how well the slates performed, Beale's own Castalia House would be mentioned on several occasion.

As for Dylann Roof, you can read more about him in here:

And as for the ideologies to blame, these might prove to be thought provoking:

A.G. Carpenter said...

It's nice to see our American educational system works so well. I can see your reading comprehension is high-ish.

Perhaps if you had not been so eager to get to your own talking points into the comments here, you might have realized you seem to be arguing with a post I haven't made. But kudos on that semi-coherent response. I can tell you spent a lot of time on it.

I'm especially tickled by the conversation on Twitter in which you tried to argue that Roof's racism wasn't the issue, it was his mental illness.

I don't know about you, but I have friends who are on anti-depressants and other medications for depression/anxiety related conditions. Not one of them has walked into a church and murdered nine African-Americans. Maybe they've just adjusted to their meds better. Or maybe they just aren't racist.

But I digress. My thoughts were about sitting at the table with racism and smiling and nodding instead of calling it for what it is. I'm sorry if you didn't understand that, but better luck next time.

RAH said...

I am going to keep this simple Silence is not agreement. Roof has zero to do with SP and RP. To connect them is to imply they are the same. That is not true. If you say that Mr Torgerson who is going over to the Middle east wants to kill black Christians to start a race war is silly and slanderous. I hope you do not mean that.

I have no idea if Roof is mentally ill. But he seems to be a loser and wanted to gain glory by murdering good innocent people. VD and Correia are not anyway comparable.

Roof attacked innocent Black Christians for ideological reasons. I do not assume that because you are verbally attacking RP and SP have similar reasons. But like RP and SP and the Non Puppies the arguement is also ideological.

So if the nominations are not what you think is best, then argue that. The slate argument seems silly when so many have done the same with recommended nomination lists. Just that RP has followers that follow him. Does that make him evil?

RP may have beliefs that you disagree but to call anyone that disagree with us is evil, is not right either.

Let us stop the demonizing.

I am sure that many fans that enjoy SF &F that have been silent do not agree with either side. So Silence does not mean agreement.

Thomas Easum said...

"Back in May, Irene Gallo said something on her Facebook page regarding the Sad/Rabid Puppies. It was, perhaps, not the most thoughtful thing she could have said, but it shouldn't have been a big deal."

What she said (left out by you) was that puppy supporters were unrepentantly racist, misogynist, homophobic, and possibly neo-nazis. When you are willing to disassociate yourself from her, then it will be less laughable when you demand that others disassociate themselves from Vox Day.

A.G. Carpenter said...

It would be pretty sad if I had said or even implied that Torgersen has gone to the Middle East to kill black Christians and start a race war. But I'm pretty sure... *checks words used in original post* ... that I did not say nor imply that.

In fact, I'm pretty certain I don't say much about the ballot-stuffing in the Hugo process except in reference to the relationship between Torgersen, Correia and Beale. Because my commentary here is not about the Hugos or the stories selected or how they were selected and forced onto the ballots.

In fact, my observation was very narrow in scope. (Despite the conclusions that you and Mr. Vainio seem to have drawn.) Since it seems that my home schooled education was more valuable than I first assumed, let me reiterate that point. It is, and I'll draw attention to it here in case the other words I've written are somehow distracting you from seeing it, if you (general you here, not personal you) don't want to be accused of being a racist, a sexist, or a homophobe, then you shouldn't keep company with someone who obviously is. AND, if there is some pressing reason for which you must keep company with such an individual, it would behoove you to speak up about your own views and make clear how you disagree with the racist/sexist/homophobe you are keeping company with. You should not by ANY means, seek out the company of such individuals and join forces with them for any lesser cause (like, say, being a little butthurt over not winning an award) and then complain that you appear to support their hate speech and why is everyone being so mean?

As always, I appreciate the attempt to play along at home. Next time I'll try and use smaller words.

A.G. Carpenter said...

Mr. Easum,

I am well aware of what Ms. Gallo said. I'm also well aware of what Theodore Beale has said. If we look at his words (some of which I linked to in my original post) it's easy to see why someone might conclude he is unrepentantly racist, misogynist and homophobic. And why it's equally simple to conclude that anyone who would proudly claim to be one of his supporters is likely the same. Or anyone who would enlist his help in any culture war type of cause is likely the same. Or any of their followers.

Which, you know, may have been what I said previously.

Thank you for your thoughtful contribution.

Anonymous said...

Very good post, AG Carpenter. I believe that Beale and Wright are toxic and just the kind of posters who enable people such as the church murderer. I think that people who agree to be associated with them, Torgerson and Correia, should be more proactive in rejecting the hate speak they indulge in. The many silent fans of SFF who have not spoken on the subject (and may not even have heard of the Hugo Kerflufle) are also not co-leaders in a movement that supports Beale and his agenda.

Torgerson and Correia need to contemplate, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

Glug said...

I just wanted to say that you are right on topic here. The Rabid Puppies, for all their denials, are a hate group. They are a hate group who trades in violent rhetoric and systematically dehumanizes those who they see as political opposition. There is a very real danger that this kind of rhetoric will escalate, though I truly hope that it does not.

Thomas Easum said...

"I'm also well aware of what Theodore Beale has said. If we look at his words (some of which I linked to in my original post) it's easy to see why someone might conclude he is unrepentantly racist, misogynist and homophobic."

Ms. Gallo didn't call Beale a racist, misogynist homophobe. Instead, she called all puppy supporters racist, misogynistic homophobes. For some reason you don't have a problem with that, and it looks like a clear double standard to me. I would suggest the following:

1.) Either accept that people you normally wouldn't agree with will occasionally end up on the same side of an argument with you, and it signifies nothing,


2.) Disavow what Irene Gallo said, publicly disassociate yourself from her, and then call upon Torgerson and Correia to do the same with Beale.

Otherwise, I don't understand how you can reconcile the hypocrisy.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post. You might be interested in the article "Charleston Shooter's Manifesto Reveals Hate Group Helped to Radicalize Him" on the Southern Poverty Law Center website. Here's a quote: "Roof fits the profile of the lone wolf terrorist radicalized in the echo chamber of racist websites that increasingly promote a global white nationalist agenda." It's disturbing how well Day's viewpoints, which he elaborates on at great length, fits in with white supremacist and nationalist agendas, right down to "peaceful" ethnic cleansing.

I do want to question one point, though. You said that Torgersen and Day coordinated their slates. Do you have any evidence of that? After reading up as much as I've been able to, I find it plausible that Torgersen had no knowledge of and no control over Day's release of the Rabid Puppies slate.

Joel C. Salomon said...

“They object to [Liberal] ideas and they believe that certain groups (People of Color, women, LGBTQ) are pushing those ideas so they attack those groups.”

… except neither Larry nor Brad has actually attacked any of those groups.

“Maybe [Torgersen and Correia] laugh at [Beale’s racist] jokes or hit like on the comment window.”

… then again, maybe you’re baselessly inventing scenarios to smear them with, lacking both scruples and any facts that would bolster your case.

On the very rare occasions that Torgersen, Correia, et al. discuss Beale’s opinions they make it quite clear they disagree strongly. They just don’t see this as a reason to disengage professionally from him, just as almost nobody professionally disengages from writers who ascribe to political views with far bloodier histories than American racism.

A.G. Carpenter said...

Dear Mr. Easum,

It seems you misunderstand, again.

First, let me say, it is a little disingenuous for someone (or a group of someones) who drop the phrase "lying SJW" on the daily to be upset about name calling. But, no one likes to be called ugly things. (Or called things that are portrayed as ugly.)

Secondly, perhaps you should see my above blog and comments again. Beale has made his position clear for a long time. Torgersen and Correia still chose to team up with him to "save SF/F from the politically correct crowd of box tickers". Correia reached out to GamerGate and even stated that he likes them. They aren't simply not disavowing these abhorrent positions, they are deliberately engaging with them and refusing to speak against them.

Thirdly, Ms. Gallo seems to take a harder line than I do. Where I feel it's clear the Beale is a bigot of many flavors, I think Torgersen and Correia are more interested in the press they can get by sticking close to a controversial figure. But that is only because I'm not seeing the same years of hatred I see in Beale. Ask me again in another five years and I may say unequivocally that Gallo was correct in her assessment. (She did exaggerate with "every supporter". I'm sure some of you are lovely people who treat all humans as equal with no regard for race, color, gender, orientation or creed.)

Fourthly, I get the angst over having someone tell one that one is a shitty human. I get a little cranky when someone tells me I'm an asshat, but then I usually look at what I've said. Am I denying the humanity or intelligence or soul of another human being? Am I saying someone should be given lesser rights based on the color of their skin, their genitalia, their orientation or even their political or religious beliefs? If I am, then the assessment that I'm an asshat would be correct. If I'm criticizing a particular opinion but still treating the other person as a person, I figure the problem is yours.

Have a nice day.

A.G. Carpenter said...


I think Beale decided to run his own slate because he saw the opportunity to promote his own press, but the Sad Puppy slate did contain several slots from Castilia House. And Correia's big move last year was to put Vox Day's novella (?) on the Hugo ballot. So there is some coordination between them.

Thanks for reading.

Glug said...

… except neither Larry nor Brad has actually attacked any of those groups.
... except, they have. Torgersen has been very clear that he believes that several works, all by women and PoC's, were placed on the ballot as "affirmative action" nominees. That is a direct attack against the quality of the work and integrity of the writers. The SP also put Transhuman and Subhuman on their slate. It is a nonfiction piece which contains comments aimed against women and their agency. The essay Saving Science Fiction from Strong Female Characters is the worst offender, but many of the essays denigrated and dehumanized women including the title essay.

liberal femur said...

Why is Nk jemisin, obviously much more racist than vox day, not considered with the same contempt?

A.G. Carpenter said...

liberal femur: I must admit to not following NK Jemisin very closely, but I've seen this argument made before. However, no one ever seems to point to examples of her being "obviously much more racist" (i.e. arguing that People of Color deserve certain social benefits by merit of their non-whiteness or that People of Color are more intelligent/human/talented/etc than Caucasians).

In fact, the allegations that she is "racist" usually come from folks like... well, Theodore Beale. Who classified Jemisin as "half-savage" due to his whole misguided "not equally Homo Sapiens Sapiens" argument.

I do not feel that being proud of ones racial heritage makes one a racist. What does make one a racist is when one not only thinks one is better than some other racial group (based on ones own genetic background) and seeking to obtain privileges that are denied to others or enact laws that penalize others based on that heritage.

RAH said...

I read your response and is guilt by association. No one has agency or responsible for their own opinions. You seem to espouse groupthink. Roof and his radicalism are a symptom of isolation of this young man. I could see him as perfect person for ISIS to seduce. He wants to feel powerful. Hating is a method Yet VD nor Correia has anything to do with him. Your implication is that they are the same.

Another point there is big difference from being described as a SJW and a racist, sexist, neo nazi. Those terms are designed to destroy a persons reputation and viability to earn a living. Being an SJW is nothing but a social justice warrior for causes they think should be championed. It is the tactics that a lot of us dislike.

So again silence is not agreement. You are tarring everyone that does not have an opinion as to be forced to be one a side they may neither agree with or car about.
Oh and by the way what has your homeschooling has to do with this. Is that bragging or an excuse? Seems to be another irrevelent point.
But to you clling everyone guilty because they do not condone or stignatize aperon you want to shame.

A.G. Carpenter said...

Really? You think Roof and Beale are nothing alike?

"Anyone who thinks that White and black people look as different as we do on the outside, but are somehow magically the same on the inside, is delusional. How could our faces, skin, hair, and body structure all be different, but our brains be exactly the same? This is the nonsense we are led to believe." - Dylan Roof

"Pure Homo sapiens sapiens lack Homo neanderthalus and Homo denisova genes which appear to have modestly increased the base genetic potential for intelligence. These genetic differences may explain the observed IQ gap between various human population groups as well as various differences in average brain weights and skull sizes." - Theodore Beale (in response to the question: Do you believe Black Africans have, in general, less genetic potential for intelligence than White Europeans?)

Beale is more nuanced in his approach and draws his conclusion from some scientific basis instead of mere physical observation, but the sentiment is the same.

Robert Hall said...

Forewarning- The comment ahead is snark, and should only be construed as snark.

Silence is consent. Silent and not so silent support of broad based generalizations , specifically neo-nazi belittle and demean the theft from, countless rapes, brutal violence, and attempted genocide of an entire group of people.

Active defense of anyone who paints with a broad brush using such a word is making light of violence, rape, murder, torture, and much more.

Silence =/= consent. If a woman was raped, but was so terrified, would it be consentual sex? No.
If someone was murdered , and a witness remained silent for fear of their own well being, are they an accessory to murder and just as bad as the murderer? No.

Is the arguement of silence equaling consent a form of blaming the victim of an event? Maybe, but honestly not sure, think the classification would be different.

The following was snark, and only snark.

Robert Hall said...

and of course, I enjoy snark fail by not completing a though. "but was so terrified.... that they didn't say anything"

Snark fail. /faceplam

Jayn S said...

Mr. Salomom
"On the very rare occasions that Torgersen, Correia, et al. discuss Beale’s opinions they make it quite clear they disagree strongly."

Actually, Brad Torgersen, at least, when asked about what he thought of Beale's racism, replied that while he agreed Beale was an asshole, he refused to call him a racist and anyone who DID call him a racist was a terrible, horrible person engaging in a Marxist plot to commit the Orwellian crime of "unpersoning," and he thinks that anyone who does is a by definition a worse person than Beale.

That sure looks to me like Brad was granting a free pass for Beale no matter WHAT racist shit he says.
Of course, your interpretation may be different.

Jayn S said...

I beg Brad's pardon...perhaps a better approximation of what he said was that anyone who called Beale a racist and asked to know if Brad agreed with this was the terrible, horrible, worse-than-Beale unpersoning Marxist.

A.G. Carpenter said...

Jayn S: I remember seeing Torgersen's comments about not engaging in public shaming. On the one hand, I can appreciate the sentiment. On the other hand, there are certain opinions and activities that fully deserve being called out and criticized to the fullest extent. (For example, using science as a vague justification to refer to People of Color as less intelligent, less civilized, less emotionally mature individuals. Or declaring a moral/societal imperative to continue to (over)populate the Earth as a justification for denying women the right to vote or pursue higher education.) Especially if the individual involved in repeating such opinions has done so without pause for the extent of time that Beale has. (This is not a single comment that has been taken out of context, in other words, but a pattern of thought and behavior.)

Thank you for the link.

Thomas Easum said...

Ms. Carpenter,

I believe you have a logical inconsistency in your argument. Let me summarize:

1.) Roof has become a crazed, church-murdering maniac because no one called him out on his bullshit. This doesn't seem likely to me, but I'll go with it for the purposes of this debate.

2.) Torgerson and Correia need to publicly call out Beale, otherwise more crazy people will be created. Or, perhaps, Beale himself will go on a murderous rampage.

3.) Irene Gallo, on the other hand, does not need to be called out on her bullshit because ... she says stuff I like.

Your argument makes no sense. And not because I happen to disagree with it. It's because YOU ARE DISAGREEING WITH YOURSELF.

A.G. Carpenter said...

1) Roof is a delusional racist who found information on the internet that further confirmed and developed his distrust and hatred of African Americans. His ideas about African Americans are eerily similar to Theodore Beale's in sentiment. (Although Beale says "evolution" when he argues that black men are more prone to violence than white men, and "genetics" when he says that the less white one is, the less capable of intelligence/higher IQ.) It is uncertain what Roof would have done if his racist delusions had been questioned, but his friends and family have said they never said anything because they "thought he was just joking" and Roof has made it clear he thought he was "one of many who saw the truth about blacks" and that by committing murder in that church in Charleston he would spark a new race war.

2) Torgersen and Correia (and any other human who sees that Beale's philosophy is racist and damaging fodder for delusional folks like Roof) need to be vocal in pointing out that Beale's claims about People of Color are not grounded in reality, and stop being implicit supporters of the rhetoric that Roof and others in the past have clung to. Rhetoric that Beale spouts on a regular basis.

3) Again, I think Gallo misspoke in her implication that every member of the Sad or Rabid Puppies is a racist and/or misogynist and/or homophobic individual. However, having read the comments made by Puppies/Puppy supporters on Vox Populi, Monster Hunter Nation, and Torgersen's blog I am forced to much the same conclusion as Ms. Gallo.

I also repeat that I do not find condemning someone's attitudes on race/gender/orientation, even in abrasive terms, to be on the same level as denying the personhood of an individual based on their skin color/genitalia/partner. (Much the same way some do not see using the term "lying SJW" as an intended epithet to be the same thing as calling someone a "racist". )