As my readers probably know already, I consider myself somewhere on the Puppy spectrum of the Science Fiction community. There’s quite a bit of difference between the Sad Puppies, who one might call the reformists, and the Rabid Puppies who are mostly of the opinion that Worldcon and the Hugos should be burnt to the ground and set on fire by their own Left-wing, Social Justice proponents.
Either way, though, both camps agree that the existing community is hopelessly corrupt, cliquish, and prone to a particular animus against Conservatives and Libertarians. This prejudice is such that their works are repeatedly voted down from awards, publishers like Tor Books are run by individuals openly hostile to alternate political affiliations, and backroom deals are made to secure nominations for authors based on political backgrounds and special interests.
Steve Davidson of Amazing Stories confirms this for us in a ridiculous post, so loaded up with Strawmen that he might as well be the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. Let’s allow him to hang himself with his own rope, shall we?
“Have you stopped beating your wife?”
It’s the classic heads I win, tails you lose question. Especially if you are forced to answer it without being allowed to respond in a meaningful way.
This is a game that I largely associate with conservative discourse. We’ve seen it on capital hill, we’ve seen it on O’Reilly. And it always seems to come from conservative mouths.
Oh, that’s rich, Steve. This is from a Left wing full of SJWs, demonstrably prone to calling political opponents racist, sexist, homophobic, etc… for trivial reasons. Did you eat Chinese food today? Did you wear a Kimono to an art festival? Cultural Appropriation! Racism!
It has been adopted for two reasons, I think. One, because conservatives are often more interested in grandstanding and scoring points than they are in getting to a real answer and because, as a group, they seem largely unable, or at least uninterested, in dealing with nuance.
This is just another round of the Leftist holier than thou attitude regarding their political opponents. They like to prepare a position of authority and superiority. “Look at me,” says Steve, “I understand nuance and you don’t.” You can almost hear the tell-tale “neener-neener” at the end of that statement.
This too can be seen across the spectrum of political debate: there must not be global warming because it was cold yesterday – nope, not interested in what scientists have to say, they’re all biased anyways.
Or, perhaps, we suggest that scientists subsisting on grant money provided by a government that benefits directly from the statements of the very same scientists is a clear conflict of interest. And, furthermore, actual scientists have also come out and suggested that the entire thing may be a fraud. Furthermore, climate scientists have been caught falsifying data in the interests of perpetuating their narrative.
Even then, the Conservative thought isn’t so much that Global Warming does not exist, but rather that the science must be falsifiable, or it is not science. In other words, we think it is possible that the climate scientists are wrong.
The solution to gun violence is more guns – nope, not interested in your studies that suggest otherwise or your excuses that proper study has been hampered by politics.
Neither is Steve interested in the defensive uses of guns, the potential mass shootings stopped by guns, or the studies that suggest that firearms are an effective deterrent to criminal activity. He would say they are tainted by the NRA, or something, I’m sure.
Trickle-down economics works! Anyone with facts to the contrary must be a shill for the Occupy Movement.
Or, perhaps, we simply don’t accept the Marxist narrative that all of economic history, all of economics in the present, and all of the future of economics can be explained by a 19th century crackpot on the basis of class distinctions alone. Fancy that.
Vaccines cause autism – having an answer is more comfy than not knowing.
With the prominent exception of Vox Day, I’ve seen more Leftists espousing this than Conservatives. And, though I’m sure it comes as a surprise to Leftists, Vox isn’t the entire Right wing.
The Hugo awards are fixed by a cabal.
Do you see what he did there? He just setup several strawman arguments, burnt them down with pure, undiluted snark, and then added a bit about the Hugos right at end of it, as if to say “see, the Sad Puppies are just as stupid as all the strawmen I just destroyed.”
If this man is representative of SJWs in Science Fiction, then somebody really ought to buy the Amazing Stories name back before this man buries it six feet under through terminal stupidity.
They want simple explanations – yes or no answers – for everything. Why? Not sure, but it may have something to do with the fact that facts frequently do not support their world views, nuance can’t be delivered in a sound bite, and, apparently, because people who actually know stuff tend to be more educated than otherwise and educated people are dangerous, largely because they tend to make up their own minds on the issues rather than parroting the sheep bleatings of pundits.
Translation from SocJus: I understand nuance, and you don’t. I am educated, and you are not educated. You are all sheep.
I’ve always found this argument hilarious because the Social Justice Warriors are obviously split as to what the Evil White Patriarchy really is. On the one hand, they claim that we are all stupid, uneducated and positively basic. At the same time, we are supposed to have oppressed women, minorities, the disabled, homosexuals, etc… for quite literally thousands of years.
If someone could manage that, it is uncharitable to call them stupid and uneducated. Evil might be applicable, but certainly not stupid.
I should hasten to point out a bit of nuance here: the above may seem to be an indictment of all conservatives and all conservative thought. 1. I address the ideas, not individuals. The things people say and write are different from the individual. I’ve got plenty of friends who express idiotic ideas. They’re still friends and that idea they expressed is still idiotic. 2. the above is directed at publicly disclosed expressions of conservative thought, which may very well be disproportionately biased towards those individuals who find some value, economic or otherwise, in doing so.
Translation from SocJus: I have a couple Conservative friends. I think they are kind of stupid. They are idiots, actually, but I like them because it is convenient for my argument here.
This, mind you, is the full extent of Steve’s command of “nuance.”
Do I need to lay out a connection between puppy movements and conservative politics? It’s there, it’s been expressed, if not admitted to, by puppy proponents. The subjects addressed, the arguments advanced certainly align with conservative thought, so much so as to make little to no difference. The fact that they’ve adopted the yes or no rhetoric is kind of the icing on the cake.
Of course there is a connection. Ever since I can remember, Conservative authors in Science Fiction, who were open about their Conservatism, were maligned. These people feel that they were wronged. I mean Steve, you just got done calling them all stupid, uneducated and unable to understand nuance. Do you really think that this sort of attitude, expressed consistently by others in various positions of power in the Science Fiction community, would not have some kind of effect?
You know, that maybe the Conservatives would feel unwelcome by a cabal of Leftists constantly calling them stupid, racist, homophobic and sexist? So of course there is a connection between the Puppies and Conservatism. These are all the people you insulted over the years. These are the people that Worldcon jeered at when they were No Awarded. These are the people the SFWA has repeatedly maligned, that Patrick Nielsen Hayden has publicly insulted.
Did you really think there would be no reaction from decades of this behavior? And, when that reaction came, are you surprised that it was comprised largely of individuals of the political philosophy you were maligning?
Come now, I thought you were educated and “nuanced?”
Kevin attempts to demonstrate that traditional fandom has spent the past 40+ years doing nothing but turning away other would-be fans because they don’t do things the right way (pun maybe not intended).
Steve, that’s exactly what it has been doing. Your side publicly admits this, in fact. They are practically squeeing that the Evil Patriarchal White Men won’t win any more awards.
Excuse me, I was there. I was a Trekkie before I was a Fan, and I left after two years of fanfic (mostly atrocious slash), two years of fan art (Spock in the shower), mostly throngs of autograph seekers mobbing actors who would later say to them “Get a life”.
But let me back up. Who organized the first Trek conventions? Fans.
Who flooded Paramount with letters begging the studio not to cancel Star Trek? Fans (Trekkies did not exist until the show went into syndication). Who wrote the best episodes of that show? SF authors. And what, pray tell, were those authors before they were authors? Fans.
In fairness to Steve, this part is mostly true. In fact, early Trek was a very far cry from the sort of politically-correct garbage (see: Voyager) that it eventually became. And, in those days, the fans were, shall we say, very enthusiastic. I know because I was one of them (yes, I was a starry-eyed child at the time, but still). Although, at least I avoided the fanfiction. From what I’m told, some of that was absolutely shudder-inducing. But, again, as Kevin originally told us, this was a case of fans doing as they willed: “In short, fans doing fanac, but not in the Approved Manner or on the Approved Topics. And so Trek fandom and its conventions, for the most part, went its separate way from traditional literary SF fandom.”
If it’s not my shtick, I’ll ignore it and do my own thing. It’s not necessary for me to declare my superiority to it. Steve’s protestations are more like the old aristocrats firmly displaying their disdain for peasantry.
Why was there a disconnect between Trekdom and Fandom? Because shortly after it began, Trekdom was co-opted by commercial interests that had a need to pack as many paying customers into a hotel over a weekend as possible. This is not Fannish. Because radio, television and film are one creative step (at least) removed from the literature. Written SF is a direct conversation between the author and the reader, mediated by the imaginative capabilities of those two same people. Other media forms are filtered through multiple imaginations before they get to the “reader” and, therefore, are not as pure an experience. Fans value pure artistic expression. They thought Arena was a pretty darned good Trek interpretation of Brown’s absolutely wonderful short story of the same name. They accept the limitations of television show budgets and the substitution of a humanoid lizard for the tentacled red roller of the original story. But they also made note of those limitations, usually to the detriment of the Trek episode.
Seriously Steve? You’ll notice that the Sad Puppies are strong proponents of Indie publishing, or smaller publishing outfits like Baen or Castalia House. The side that is co-opted by commercial interests is your side. Marvel is making sure that there should be a Black Captain America (and is he a Socialist now?), because SJWs demanded it so. The new Ghostbusters remake is supposed to have an all-female cast, to placate the Feminists. Tor Books is the 800lb Gorilla in the room of WorldCon…
…but our side is the one loaded with commercial interests, like the Trek world you decry here? Pull the other one.
As to Steve’s second point, about “pure” fiction, just what the hell is a “pure” story supposed to be, anyway? I don’t even understand the Puppy Kickers when they say things like that. A book is a book. A Science Fiction story is a Science Fiction story. When they mention purity, all I hear is “politically screened.” It’s as if they have decided that the unwashed masses may only read works approved by their betters. It’s a remarkably arrogant and self-serving perspective.
In short, if any real rejection of Trek fandom took place back in the late 70s and early 80s, is was because Fandom is about everything SFnal, while Trek was all about one single show – a mere 75 hours of television programming, stacked up against (at that time) nearly four decades of conventions, fanzines, magazines, small presses, anthologies, ground-breaking novels and thousands of conventions.
Funny how all of this gushing about small presses suddenly stops when the gatekeepers are toppled from their Ivory Tower thrones by indie publishing. But, in any event, Steve is supposing here that Trek fans were somehow separate and distinct from SciFi fans in general. Did this “nuanced” man understand that there is huge overlap between them? Consider a Venn Diagram. All of Star Trek would exist within “Science Fiction,” so campaigning against it is kind of silly.
What really happened when Trekkies found themselves “not welcome” at traditional conventions? They discovered that traditional conventions were not all about Star Trek. There might be a panel or two devoted to it, there might be a dealer or two selling memorabilia, there might be a costumer or two dressed as a Klingon or a mini-Horta or in Star Fleet uniform. But the convention was decidedly oriented towards other things: authors and their latest books, magazines and their latest issues, fanzines that didn’t gush endlessly over shirtless Sulu.
If you walk into a KFC, you can order a Big Mac, but you won’t get one.
What a load of bullshit. They weren’t walking into a KFC, Steve. The Science Fiction fans were walking into a Science Fiction convention, and wondering why they were suddenly not welcome. After all, they were fans of a massively popular Science Fiction show.
It’s like walking into a KFC and saying “I’ll have the chicken” and getting shut down. “We don’t have any chicken for you, pleb.”
And guess what? I’m perfectly fine with the fact that a lot of my fannish friends still enjoy going to Trek conventions. Or Star Wars conventions. Or Firefly conventions. Or Doctor Who conventions. Or gaming conventions. My Little Pony conventions for that matter. And I’d be happy to hear about something interesting that happened at any of them.
Here is where I come back around to the lack of handling nuance. Mr. Trainor wants us to believe that there is something wrong with Fandom because, back in the 1970s, Worldcon wasn’t renamed World Trek Con, the Hugo Awards didn’t all go to Trek stuff and WSFS didn’t allow itself to get diluted by tens of thousands of Trek fans “who seemingly had no other interest in SF outside the series“.
Steve is really a fan of the Strawman. Kevin said nothing of the sort. He merely dared to compare the Ivory Tower, holier than thou attitude present in WorldCon today with the sort of unwelcome the plebeian Star Trek fans encountered before.
Steve is actually proving Kevin’s point admirably. He’s declaring himself more nuanced, more educated, more enlightened than the unwashed Conservative masses present in Sad Puppies. He’s looking down upon them from his Ivory Tower and declaring himself and his kind superior. This is exactly the same thing that happened to Star Trek fans once upon a time, just as Kevin Trainor tells us.
Nuance. I know it may be difficult to keep track of the fact that different kinds of science fiction oriented conventions may focus on different things, but hey, there it is. Go to a Trek convention and you get Trek. Go to a traditional con and you get traditional fandom. The Trufan really only experiences a conflict when they are into Trek and have to choose between a traditional con and a Trek con that are both being held on the same weekend. (Oh, the horror!)
There’s that word again, Steve. Perhaps nuance is actually understanding that Science Fiction doesn’t require (or desire) your rubber stamp of approval.
But none of that happened. What did happen took place within the finest traditions of fandom: some people with a special interest went off and did their own thing (relying on the tools, connections and experiences they’d gained from traditional fandom) and now we all happily co-exist in the greater world where everyone is allowed to make their own choices about what kind of conventions they’d like to attend.
Steve forgets that this originally started as a conversation about the Puppies and their place in the Science Fiction world. He clearly allows the Star Trek peasantry their little reservation, however grudgingly, but he declines to allow the Sad Puppies the same.
This is all part and parcel of the endless water torture drip of puppy fandom. Ignore the actual history in favor of their simplified narrative. Open up Trufandom to the thousands that have no other interest in SF because those thousands can be persuaded that their populist arguments are correct.
Has he even bothered to look at the Sad Puppies? He claims here that it is opening up Science Fiction to thousands who don’t care about Science Fiction, but I have not met even one single proponent of Sad Puppies who has not been a lifetime fan of Science Fiction. Not even one!
This is as blatant a lie as I can conceive of. The Populist arguments are coming from his side. The over-simplified “they are all racists, misogynists, etc…” narrative is a Social Justice invention. And they continue this narrative in the face of all available evidence to the contrary. When Brad Torgersen revealed that his wife was a Black woman, they still persisted with the racism narrative against him. That, they claimed, was insufficient evidence.
What is sufficient evidence, then? Why, being a Leftist. When you’re a Leftist, you can be excused of actual racism. You can be excused of pedophilia, of literal consumption of feces. None of it matters with them.
The simplified narrative is their narrative. They are the ones attempting to attract non-fans to Science Fiction, by pandering to political special interest groups and Social Justice narratives. And as much as Steve decries bad Star Trek fiction, is the sad, sorry tripe like If You Were a Dinosaur My Love, really an improvement?
I’d rather read a thousand Mary Sue stories than another line of that sort of drivel.
Somebody buy the rights to Amazing Stories so we can get back to, you know, reading stories that don’t completely suck wind. And Steve Davidson? Go shove a phaser up your ass and suck off a tribble. How’s that for nuance?