Science Fiction Community Generates This Weekend's Buffoonish Defamation Threat

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353 Responses

  1. AlphaCentauri says:

    So in one quote, he's offended feminists, dog lovers, and disability rights advocates. The man has talent.

  2. jdgalt says:

    Girls give up the right to complain about sexism unless they dress conservatively. It is known.

    I'd put it more like this: Girls give up the right to call it sexism when guys comment on their appearance if they dress in ways that emphasize that appearance.

  3. Blah says:

    Fodera acts exactly as one would expect someone who's name is two letters away from "fedora" – that vile MRA-attracting headware – to act.

  4. Chris F says:

    jdgalt
    I'd put it more like this: Girls give up the right to call it sexism when guys comment on their appearance if they dress in ways that emphasize that appearance.

    I don't think that holds true for all statements about appearance. Yes, a woman dressing in a way that emphasizes her appearance will get more comments and that in and of itself isn't harassment and should keep that in mind. However, there are a number of things one could say that go over the line regardless of how the woman is dressed. Particularly if there are continued comments after she's made it clear they aren't welcome.

  5. fnorgby says:

    Maybe "Fodera" is really a thinly veiled troll. I wouldn't take someone named "Nuckbeard" seriously either.

  6. Lizard says:

    If women dress so as to not make themselves look attractive, they are "sloppy", "butch", "unfeminine", and "probably man-hating feminazi lesbians".

    If women dress so as to make themselves look attractive, they are "sluts", "asking for it", and, apparently, automatically waive their right to complain about sexism in any context at all times, in perpetuity.

    As a man, and not a particularly attractive one (in the same way that the Sahara desert is "not particularly wet"), I have three modes of dress: Jeans and t-shirt for 90% of my life, slacks+button-down shirt for most quasi-professional occasions, and a suit and tie for job interviews or funerals. (I could use more of the former.) I have absolutely no concern if my suit is "in style", or if my tie is too wide or too short or whatever the fashion is; as long as it's not covered in Mickey Mouse heads, I'm golden. All I have to do is demonstrate awareness that I am in a tie-wearing situation and not have stains on my shirt. No one is going to judge me on anything but my willingness to conform to a very low baseline standard for any given situation.

    This is not true for women. Having lived with several, I have come to understand that every clothing decision is fraught with peril, that there's hundreds of factors to be weighed and considered.[1] I don't pretend to understand them all, and find most of the rules paradoxical and confusing, but I accept that people who have lived all their lives being judged by such rules are going to have an intuitive knowledge of them that I lack, and accept their statements.

    [1]Sometimes, people will comment on whatever t-shirt I'm wearing, and I need to look down and see what it is. I just grab whatever's on the top of the pile. Women, in my experience, do not have the freedom to not care about what they're wearing. Every choice is conscious — and I have only lived with women who are, compared to the average, unconcerned about their appearance and tend to put the minimum into it necessary to meet basic social standards — but that minimum is much higher for women than for men.

  7. EAB says:

    The appearance garbage is doubly amusing if you you actually look at the pictures. The dresses in question are reproductions of Austen-era gowns which she sews herself, and the "diaphanous white gown" is a loose, fully opaque, knee-length affair. Anyone who finds those inappropriate must literally expect women to wear nuns' habits.

  8. Tahmi says:

    To provide more context – here are pictures of the infamous beach outfit:

    http://www.maryrobinettekowal.com/journal/finally-the-other-modeling-shots/

    If that is his standard for dress unbecoming a feminist, I wonder what are women who purport to be feminists are supposed to wear then, burkas? It just goes to show that no matter what women wear, they are going to get flack about it.

  9. Kevin says:

    It's a conflict between two groups: a group that thinks the communities have a problem with racism, sexism, and harassment and should take steps to address it, and a group that thinks that the first group is engaged in free-speech-suppressing political correctness and should be resisted.

    This is a bit reductive. There are also plenty of people who are not in either one of these two groups… rational people who understand that there is such a thing as actual sexism/racism etc, but that there's also such a thing as bullshit accusations of sexism/racism, and that the two should be distinguished on a case by case basis rather than simply playing the mood affiliation game with one "side" or the other.

  10. WysiWyg says:

    Am I the only one that wants to know what college let him teach?

  11. Jim Tyre says:

    Though no actual or threatened lawsuits were involved, it reminds me of the big (and incredibly stupid) controversy that arose when Limor "Ladyada" Fried changed her look for the cover of Wired. She is one of the best and most innovative hardware hackers around, but way too many people obsessed on whether it was "appropriate" (as if they had a say) for her to change her look.

    And it's not as if she revealed lots of skin, either. The Wired cover, and many other shots of her, are at http://www.adafruit.com/about/ Double standards for women (particularly, but not exclusively in tech) are the sad norm.

  12. Elizabeth R. McClellan (@popelizbet) says:

    He also called MKR an unperson in the course of that diatribe. Classic protected opinion, of course, but it seems at the very least inconsistent that someone supposedly on the side of free speech is declaring anyone an unperson? It's not a direct contradiction but calling it contradictory isn't much of a reach.

  13. Ken White says:

    This is a bit reductive.

    You mean a sentence followed by "a full description of the dispute would be too lengthy for this post" is a bit reductive?

  14. mud man says:

    I find it somewhat hilarious although sad that these communities, which pride themselves on their rationalism and liberal egalitarianism, seem to be particularly prone to these kinds of moral turf wars, ad hominem "arguments" (women are hominins too, right?), over-emoted turd-flinging. Adrift in a sea of moral ambiguity.

  15. Surly Hobbit says:

    This is not the first time the "oh noes PC brigade!" contingent of SFWA members has used questionable legal threats. Back in December, a DMCA takedown notice was "mistakenly" filed against a posted copy of a controversial SFWA Bulletin column.

  16. pharniel says:

    The response to any perceived threat to privilege is almost always as extreme and violent as possible.

    The person reacting that way may not even be aware that their privilege is being threatened – it appears to work sub-consciously as well.

    It is often driven by raw rage and emotions with very little reason – hence why the target of ridicule can simultaneously be the Greatest Threat Ever and an 'un person' whom no one should take seriously. Pay no attention the man behind the person indeed.

    To add to shenanigans apperently one of these guys is in contracts, but not for TOR and thus had no need to see them – which means that either they were talking about 'seeing contracts' in terms of, y'know, being in an office and having some information leaks of the normal variety or…he's been looking at things he's not entitled to.

    Which opens up all sorts of implications of discrimination that could be used to support another case. But that's just me. I could easily be wrong on that one.

  17. Dan Weber says:

    The dresses in question are reproductions of Austen-era gowns which she sews herself,

    Sheesh. I might have accepted his version over Ken's, but it's completely appropriate to model the works you create.

    And those other shots? Those aren't anything like glamour shots or things you'd put in a dating profile. It looks like what a photographer would ask you to do while trying to get poses for the "about the author" segment on the inside of the dust jacket. Unless someone is doing a dramatic amount of selective editing, those are incredibly mundane.

    I don't see eye-to-eye with Ken on some of these issues, but his opponent here is a few hundred pages short of a George RR Martin novel, if you know what I'm saying.

  18. Nerull says:

    Might have accepted? Why don't you tell us, since you seem to have this figured out, exactly what a woman is allowed to wear before she becomes an "unperson" who isn't permitted to have an opinion?

  19. ZeConster says:

    I find myself agreeing with the other people here, so I guess I should follow the trope and agree just a little louder than the people before me: her clothing in those photos is incredibly conservative (the kind even overprotective fathers wouldn't raise a fuss about), so I don't see the guy's point; and even if she were to have a website with hardcore pornographic pictures of herself, that wouldn't disqualify her from being allowed to complain about harassment.
    "Look pretty or have the right to complain about being harassed: pick one" is a stupid attitude to have.

    PS: how's the TotalBiscuit vs. Fun Creators article going?

  20. mudshark58 says:

    Am I the only one that wants to know what college let him teach?

    He was adjunct faculty at City University of New York, according to his LinkedIn profile, and guest lecturer at a couple of other institutions.

  21. Zack says:

    I don't agree with either of the simplified "two sides" 100% of the time, but at least Mr. Ridiculous I-Work-In-Law-Or-Something makes it easy to pick the side of the angels here… you would really think that the sci-fi community, of all things, should be more universally informed on the consequences of doubling down on internet stupidity.

    One more thought though:

    The dresses in question…

    Other parts of the arguments aside, I think it's important to remember that there ARE NO dresses in question. Making this about the dresses means he wins.

  22. Geoffrey says:

    Girls give up the right to call it sexism when guys comment on their appearance if they dress in ways that emphasize that appearance.

    Pro tip: don't refer to women as "girls" unless you're trying to be read as a sexist/caricature of one, as the previous poster was.

    Beyond that… I call bull. I "emphasise my appearance" every time I put on a suit for a job interview or swimmers and a soon-to-be-wet T-shirt for the beach. Neither of those things mean I'm inviting men or women to rate my appearance and offer me their verdict.

  23. Elizabeth R. McClellan (@popelizbet) says:

    Mr. Weber, do I misunderstand you, or is "his version" that you might have been willing to accept that MRK can't simultaneously think pinup/Red Sonja cheesecake is inappropriate for the cover art of a professional writer's informational magazine and wear dresses she selects herself, without being a hypocrite? Because that was Mr. Fodera's position as I understood it: MRK is a hypocrite because her personal presentation is inconsistent with her views about cover art and sexism in a professional organization. If you were focusing on another interpretation, I wonder what it is, and why her sewing her own dresses is a pivotal difference.

  24. Matthew Cline says:

    By what foul necromancy did you bring the hamster back to life?

  25. J@m3z Aitch says:

    Am I the only one who sometimes wishes tortious douchery was a cause of action?

  26. WTarkin says:

    Rule of thumb to help you understand these disputes when there's a huge cast of characters – the people who start talking about "privilege" first are the assholes.

  27. Kevin says:

    So far, it looks like the comments on this post break down into 2 categories:
    1) People saying that, yeah, this Fodera guy pretty much seems like a giant tool, and
    2) People chastising the people from group 1 for not denouncing Fodera quite harshly enough.

    @Ken, this is kind of what I was getting at with my first comment re "a bit reductive". "Reductive" was probably the wrong choice of word – my disagreement is rather with your choice of which two categories to reduce the debate to: i.e. one one side there's people who acknowledge that racism and sexism exist, and on the other side there's bigots who insist that racism and sexism are imaginary. That may be how one side of the debate likes to characterize the nature of the two "sides", but it often doesn't stand up to scrutiny if you listen to what the people on the other side are actually saying.

  28. David W says:

    I sent Mr. Fodera an email seeking comment, and asking for responses to some specific questions, but have not heard back as of the time of this writing.

    I'm amazed you ever get a response to these e-mails. I guess it helps that they usually go to people who've already demonstrated poor judgment and an exaggerated sense of entitlement.

  29. Elizabeth R. McClellan (@popelizbet) says:

    Funny, I thought the people who started talking about unpersons first were the assholes, by a clear margin.

  30. Craig says:

    you would really think that the sci-fi community, of all things, should be more universally informed on the consequences of doubling down on internet stupidity.

    Quite seriously, with no sarcastic or ironic intent: I have no idea why you would think any such thing. The science fiction crowd is interested in ideas about the future, technology, and sometimes borderline-mystical twaddle such as "The Singularity," but they generally over-estimate their own intelligence and are more often than not really very ignorant people, knowing little or nothing about literature or ideas in general outside of their own little literary ghetto. I was a science fiction obsessive myself as a child, but in my teens I learned to appreciate other things, and as an adult I largely left SF behind. There are still some classic SF works that I enjoy re-reading on occasion, but even in those cases I have to turn a blind eye to their failings as literature and their myopia about nearly everything imaginable. That people in the SF community get into inane, childish fights surprises me not in the least. They were doing it back in the '70s when I was a kid; why wouldn't they still be doing it now? Realize that we're talking here about a "community" composed in large part of people who have never really grown up.

  31. azteclady says:

    @ Lizard:

    If women dress so as to make themselves look attractive, they are "sluts", "asking for it", and, apparently, automatically waive their right to complain about sexism in any context at all times, in perpetuity.

    Not only the right to complain, we are supposed to waive the right to state what we observe around us, whether we have been personally/frequently/for a good long while affected by sexism.

    @ Zack:

    Other parts of the arguments aside, I think it's important to remember that there ARE NO dresses in question. Making this about the dresses means he wins.

    This.

  32. Dan T. says:

    In a similar vein to Kevin, I side with those who agree there are genuine problems with sexism, racism, harrassment, etc., but also that there are legitimate concerns about the free-speech ramifications of some of the actual and proposed actions to deal with these issues.

  33. azteclady says:

    Rats. Two links, one comment, stuck in moderation–and editing one link out won't bring it out now. Sorry.

  34. ZeConster says:

    @Kevin: despite what you may think based on my comment, I actually fall in the "case-by-case category" you describe. When Adria Richards got a guy fired for a forking joke, I believed her reaction was over-the-top, while at the same time believing a lot of criticism about her was unwarranted.
    However, being nuanced doesn't put me in a third group: I'm still in the "sexism and racism is bad and should be taken care of" group (just more moderate than some), and there's still a sexist/racist group. I can understand not wanting to be associated with the extremist part of a group you mostly agree with, but your post sounds a bit like you're trying to deny the existence of the sexist/racist group because the other group isn't exactly homogenous.

  35. Gary McGath says:

    The open-discussion advocates in the SF community (and I don't count anyone who threatens spurious lawsuits as an open-discussion advocate) aren't claiming there isn't a problem with harassment, but that the policies which many conventions have adopted use it as an excuse for speech codes. There are prohibitions on insults and causing embarrassment, and even unqualified bans on "discrimination." A discrimination ban is actually harmful to efforts to stop harassment; if a woman says no to a guy, he can threaten to report her for "discriminating" against him.

    I can't find any sense in Fodera's claim that Kowal is a hypocrite for wearing sexy clothes. I know women in fandom who do this and still don't want to be approached to closely without permission. I support them in this. If they felt so intimidated that they had to dress more conservatively, it would be both their loss and mine.

    I'm the chair of a small filk convention, and we've been working on language that will place a clear prohibition on unacceptable behavior and avoid any appearance of suppressing free discussion.

  36. Quiet Lurcker says:

    @Craig

    they generally over-estimate their own intelligence and are more often than not really very ignorant people, knowing little or nothing about literature or ideas in general outside of their own little literary ghetto.

    Sir, I find your generalization to be completely inaccurate, and (not to put too fine a point on it) offensive, not least because you generalize.

    See here and here for a partial description of a subset of of the class 'people who are interested in or like science fiction and fantasy generally'.

    Then talk to the average individual on the street who is well-spoken, and makes a lot of literary allusions and has a wide array of interest. Chances are better than good you'll find out the individual in question also likes some form of science fiction or fantasy.

  37. Christopher says:

    I agreed with pretty much everything Ken wrote in one of the articles he linked in his footnote ("All This Talk of Harassment Is Harassing Me!"); I've also noticed that there often seems to be a disproportionate amount of fear and anger towards people who talk about sexism.

    So it's really interesting to get it straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak. Fodera comes out and says that when he hears this woman talk about sexism, he feels like he does when he thinks about the times he was attacked by dogs.

    We're not really any closer to understanding why talk of sexism brings out this kind of irrational, primal fear, but it's interesting to me to see somebody explicitly admit it.

  38. Alia D. says:

    Re the “Girls give up the right to complain about sexism unless they dress conservatively” summary: I think it leads to missing the irony that Fodera’s original argument is based on a mis-understanding.
    Fodera seems to think the argument of the original sexism complaint is that an image of a scantily clad woman or a sexually provocative image of a woman, or a mention of a scantily clad woman or a woman’s sexual attractiveness, is per se sexism and proof that the publisher or producer of such images is inherently sexist. This would make it hypocritical for someone producing and publishing scantily clad images of a woman, even if only of herself, to present herself as a champion of anti-sexism. The actual argument is that some women felt gender based offence at these images and comments and that that subjective offence retroactively made the images and comments sexist and so called for immediate withdrawal and profuse apologies. This would means that the hypocrisy charge is not viable. However many of the opponents have not understood the post-modern subtitles of the original complaint.
    The fact that I could tell this is what Fodera meant just from your quote, without bothering to go back to the original article, seems good evidence to me that the quote was not grossly mangled. It’s silly that he wants to sue for being potentially mis-understood in a situation where he isn’t understanding others any better than they are understanding him.

  39. C. S. P. Schofield says:

    The only restriction on dress that I endorse is summed up by a button that Nancy Lebovitz made for me years ago;

    "If you don't want me to stare at them, don't print on them."

    I obtained that button because of a young woman who got seriously offended at my staring at her chest. Granted, her mammiform development was impressive, but what had attracted my attention was a significant portion of Hamlet's soliloquy.

  40. Dan Weber says:

    I wonder what it is, and why her sewing her own dresses is a pivotal difference.

    It's not a pivotal difference in anything. I heard someone make an argument, I find out his argument is full of crap, and I move on with my life.

    If I identity just one bad argument from a person, it doesn't mean I think all his other arguments are good. Or that all his other arguments are bad. The loss of one argument that breaks something necessary to the whole is enough.

  41. Craig says:

    See here and here for a partial description of a subset of of the class 'people who are interested in or like science fiction and fantasy generally'.

    It's actually hilarious (to me, anyway) that you refer to the Jargon File for your examples, since ESR is exactly the sort of person I was talking about.

    You are welcome to be offended, and in fact, you're probably the sort of person I intended to offend. The truth often hurts. I spent a lot of time around the SF/fantasy community when I was younger, and I occasionally glance in even now. Nothing has really changed except perhaps for the worse (the writing has certainly gone downhill). SF fans defending the SF community against charges of narrowness, ignorance, and perpetual adolescence are just as silly and unaware as members of so-called "Aryan" groups who try to defend their community against charges of racism.

  42. JimmmyMick says:

    Dare I ask … is he Libel?

  43. Nerull says:

    If I identity just one bad argument from a person, it doesn't mean I think all his other arguments are good.

    No, but when you state that you were going to accept his argument until you hit that part, it kinda implies that, doesn't it?

  44. AlphaCentauri says:

    The Daily Dot is physically hosted in by EdgeCast Networks, which is located in Santa Monica. If he sues in New York, can they try to get the venue changed to California? (I'm assuming that anti-SLAPP laws don't apply if Daily Dot files for declaratory judgment?)

  45. Sami says:

    @WTarkin: No. The side that's talking about "privilege" first is just usually the side that doesn't have it. If you think calling someone out on privilege makes the caller an asshole… your privilege might just be the problem.

    @ZeConster: "When Adria Richards got a guy fired for a forking joke, I believed her reaction was over-the-top, while at the same time believing a lot of criticism about her was unwarranted."

    Adria Richard didn't get a guy fired; she made a Twitter comment about how a bad joke was inappropriate. She did not call for him to be fired and she didn't want him fired, but SHE HERSELF GOT FIRED OVER IT.

    All she'd said was that the initial comment was "not cool". If you think it's "over the top" for a woman to say in public that a joke she found tasteless and inappropriate was "Not cool", your position is less nuanced than you think.

    The situation was a clusterfuck. He got fired, she got fired, but the blame belongs with both of their respective companies, not with her.

  46. Mikhael says:

    Fodera anagrams to Fedora. Just sayin

  47. Paul Winkler says:

    Yep, Fodera is an Arsehole. Anything else?

  48. neverjaunty says:

    @Dan T.: The problem is that this is a third group, which is people who do not in fact believe in free speech in the sense most of us mean. They actually believe in the Preferred First Speaker Doctrine, at least the subset of it in which they are always the Preferred First Speaker. However, "Waaa, it hurts my feelings when I am criticized for being a jerk!" is not really as resounding a battle cry as "free speech!"

    And thus we get a situation where they have positioned people as in favor of actual free speech – such as the right of private parties to expel boors, or the rights of any person to point out when a bigot is being bigoted – as "against free speech". This misleads people who are well-meaning (for example, those very concerned that a professional organization might officially punish dissenters) into being tricked into thinking that the douchemelons actually care about free speech and will work to uphold it, and thus deserving of their support.

    The fact that this particular douchemelon and his enablers reflexively threatened libel tells you exactly what you need to know about their concerns about "free speech". They don't give a wet walrus plop about free speech. They just want to use it as a club against people who don't shut up and meekly defer to their childish behavior.

  49. Spacemanmatt says:

    Dare I ask … is he Libel?

    Snerk. It must be hard to be him, waking up so wrong and retarded every morning.

  50. Spacemanmatt says:

    @Sami I appreciate your position on the responsible parties a lot. I really wanted that to see those companies act like groups of adults, and not like cliquish teenagers.

  51. Jules says:

    What the hell happened to make fedoras so evil? Does this infamy extend to Borsalinos? I must know.

  52. sinij says:

    Blah blah MRA blah blah misogny. Sure Fodera is a tool, but so are some people 'against' him, like Scalzi.

    The state of things is that any criticism or even mere suggestion that current social and gender science might not be absolutely, entirely right and justified in all circumstances and YOU TOO should feel guilty about your heterosexual white privilege gets you lynched by these radicals. These people do not deserve the freedom of speech, but they get them anyways. And they should.

  53. Ken White says:

    The state of things is that any criticism or even mere suggestion that current social and gender science might not be absolutely, entirely right and justified in all circumstances and YOU TOO should feel guilty about your heterosexual white privilege gets you lynched by these radicals.

    "Social and gender science" is not infrequently jargon-festooned bullshit.

    OOOOOOO. I'm afraid. Teh "lynch mobs" are going to get me!

    By which I mean, somebody might call me out, criticize me, or inflict social consequences on my speech.

    By which I mean I may have to take personal responsibility for my words.

    Like an adult.

    TEH HORRORS.

    Jesus Christ. Have some self-respect. Your mewling is pathetic.

  54. Matt says:

    "If you don't want me to stare at them, don't print on them."

    This reminds me of a discussion we had when I was in college while planning a retreat, over what kind of unisex tshirt design we'd need, given that the theme that year was "This Is Real", as a line of text right across the chest region might lead to some unfortunate implications for the females who wore it…

  55. sinij says:

    @ Ken I'm not looking to re-argue "extent of social consequences" debate, but if you do happen to criticize above-mentioned group you can count on disproportionate, highly arbitrary, and firmly into non-speech consequences. Unless you are a tenured professor somewhere, then you might get away with just social consequences.

  56. Ken White says:

    YOUR DISAGREEMENT WITH ME IS LIKE A HOLOCAUST STOP HOLOCAUSTING ME.

  57. azteclady says:

    @ Ken:

    "Social and gender science" is not infrequently jargon-festooned bullshit.

    OOOOOOO. I'm afraid. Teh "lynch mobs" are going to get me!

    By which I mean, somebody might call me out, criticize me, or inflict social consequences on my speech.

    By which I mean I may have to take personal responsibility for my words.

    Like an adult.

    TEH HORRORS.

    :heart:

  58. eigenperson says:

    Truly, sinij, let us observe a moment of silence for those who have suffered consequences for their speech. Their martyrdom shall never be forgotten. Don Imus, Sean Fodera, Tom Perkins, The Unknown PlayHaven Employee — those candles may have been snuffed out before their time, but their light will continue to burn through the ages. May Malshandir be with them.

  59. He started out angry over ongoing upheaval in the science fiction and fantasy literature community. That upheaval is mirrored in the gaming community and skeptic community and other communities with devoted and vocal fanbases. It's a conflict between two groups: a group that thinks the communities have a problem with racism, sexism, and harassment and should take steps to address it, and a group that thinks that the first group is engaged in free-speech-suppressing political correctness and should be resisted.

    Well, add to that those of us who think that whatever the appropriate line is between free speech and harassment, there really ought to be a single set of rules that apply to all, regardless of gender identity, race, religious belief, or political slant. In other words, finding unacceptable one set of rules of speech toward women and feminists, and an entirely different set of standards toward men and those who are critical of 'social justice' ideology du jour. And all too often, that's the exact vile double standard being promoted under color of "concern for sexism/harassment in ____ community".

    You've wondered aloud what drives so much of the anger around these issues – I point to the double standards very often at work when the issue of "harassment" and "sexism" is raised. People who are subjected to the bad end of double standards tend to get angry about it.

  60. mcalex says:

    Tis only a minor niggle, but is there a way for making the site so that footnotes are in the main page, and not in the single article page? Comments can take too long to load when you just want to see the footnote.

  61. "By which I mean, somebody might call me out, criticize me, or inflict social consequences on my speech."

    Well, funny thing about that, Ken, because when feminist bloggers are on the receiving end of strong criticism and "social consequences for their speech" from anybody other than fellow feminists, we tend to hear a lot of rhetoric about how what they're getting amounts to nothing more than "rape and death threats" and that any large scale criticism crosses the line into legal harassment, or at least should.

    I'd really like to know how that double standard remotely can be justified.

  62. neverjaunty says:

    @Matt, for a while a pretty popular button to wear at SF cons was one that said "Yes, they are nice, aren't they?" in three-point type.

    @Iamcuriousblue, no, that's not really what's driving the anger that's the subject of this post. It is certainly true that there are people who get righteously outraged at double standards that only exist in their own heads. I am not aware of, for example, any convention harassment policy that proposes that it's OK to grab a guy's basket but hands off the ladies, or a SFWA policy that forbids scantily-clad women on newsletter covers but welcomes art showing sexy dudes getting it on. Perhaps I am out of the loop, though.

    ETA: ah, I see. You have a bone to pick not merely with the community in question but that mass mind of "feminist bloggers", and in that service you are pretending that ACTUAL DEATH AND RAPE THREATS are merely harsh criticisms that people are misinterpreting. Cool story, bro.

  63. Well, Neverjaunty, I think that calling criticism of one group a campaign of "online harassment" while saying that similar behavior toward another groups is "inflicting social consequences on speech" amounts to a double standard, and hardly one that "exists only in one's own head".

  64. Salty says:

    curiousblue, since when have rape and/or death threats not been harassment?

    Or rather, when have these people "experiencing social consequences for their speech" received rape and/or death threats? Because if they have, by all means we should all be concerned. Such things are not social chastisement, and are not appropriate for directing at anybody in the context of free speech and more speech.

  65. What amuses me, Neverjaunty, is that you actually believe this version of reality. That 1) feminists and women have some kind of particular monopoly on threats of death and assault that others who have controversial opinions don't get, 2) that criticism coming from the feminist/social justice crowd doesn't sometimes also cross the line into incredibly hateful rhetoric or even outright death or assault threats. Nice simple black/white line there – pity it isn't true.

    Ask Lacy Greene sometime about her brush with an unhinged "social justice" type.

    In general, I think Cathy Young did a pretty effective takedown of claims you're making here:

    http://reason.com/blog/2014/02/02/cathy-young-questions-allegations-of-a-c

    In short, there's plenty of both actual harassment and exaggerated claims of harassment to go around on all sides of the issue.

    Salty, see above.

  66. Noxx says:

    Shorten to "subject dislikes dogs, and is most likely a twat"

  67. Ken White says:

    Well, funny thing about that, Ken, because when feminist bloggers are on the receiving end of strong criticism and "social consequences for their speech" from anybody other than fellow feminists, we tend to hear a lot of rhetoric about how what they're getting amounts to nothing more than "rape and death threats" and that any large scale criticism crosses the line into legal harassment, or at least should.

    As far as I can tell, some of the responses to "feminist bloggers" amount to social consequences, and some of it amounts to rape and death threats.

    Seems to me that some people tend to try to shove the criticism into the same category as the rape and death threats, and some people try to shove the rape and death threats into the same category as the criticism, and some people try to separate them out honestly.

    I, for one, don't think criticism is harassment. Nor do I think it's a "lynch mob."

  68. "Seems to me that some people tend to try to shove the criticism into the same category as the rape and death threats, and some people try to shove the rape and death threats into the same category as the criticism, and some people try to separate them out honestly."

    On that we agree. And I see this played out in extremely partisan and dishonest ways.

  69. Castaigne says:

    @jdgalt:

    Girls give up the right to call it sexism when guys comment on their appearance if they dress in ways that emphasize that appearance.

    Yeah, I think you would change your opinion on that if I leered at your wife/girlfriend/daughters in a bikini (or even a one-piece) at the beach and commented on how FINE they looked in their whorebait. Hey, what's the problem? I'm giving a compliment here!

    @sinjj:

    ut if you do happen to criticize above-mentioned group you can count on disproportionate, highly arbitrary, and firmly into non-speech consequences. Unless you are a tenured professor somewhere, then you might get away with just social consequences.

    [CITATION NEEDED]

    Yeah, I'm serious about that. Where I see the disproportionate, highly arbitrary, firmly into non-speech consequences responses coming from are the MRAs/PUAs. The Spearhead. A Voice For Men. Chateau Heartiste. Men's Rights at Reddit. Vox Day. Men Going Their Own Way. You encounter more lawsuit threats and screams of anti-free speech and how all these bitches need to be muzzled from those places in a year than from all the sociology major elites of the past 30 years.

    In short, you're full of shit here.

  70. Castaigne says:

    @Iamcuriousblue:

    because when feminist bloggers are on the receiving end of strong criticism and "social consequences for their speech" from anybody other than fellow feminists, we tend to hear a lot of rhetoric about how what they're getting amounts to nothing more than "rape and death threats"

    Here's the criticism they receive. One of my favorite criticisms was the one where the MRAs very soberly discussed the merits of raping feminists to death. I'm sure you can find your own favorites.

    Then, we shall discuss what a double standard is.

    that criticism coming from the feminist/social justice crowd doesn't sometimes also cross the line into incredibly hateful rhetoric or even outright death or assault threats.

    I haven't seen it. Got some citations?

    Ask Lacy Greene sometime about her brush with an unhinged "social justice" type.

    Indeed. You were right that it was a "social justice" type…the scare quotes were particularly accurate. The death threats against her were organized by Paul Elam over at A Voice For Men (and his resulting lackeys) as part of a Take-Advantage-Of-The-Kerfluffle tactic to get someone they hate off the internet.

    In general, I think Cathy Young did a pretty effective takedown of claims you're making here:

    Full Disclosure: Reason is a mouthpiece for Koch Industries and the Scaife Foundations and know for lots of astroturfing. Cathy Young is a noted libertarian anti-feminist who is deeply sympathetic to the Men’s Rights ideology. Your Mileage May Vary.

  71. neverjaunty says:

    @Iamcuriousblue, I was about to point out that I have not actually espoused that 'view of reality', but you're having so much fun creating both sides of the argument in your head, it would be churlish of me to butt in.

    In any event, the particular subject of Ken's post is not "feminist bloggers", but a butthurt dude who professes to be a champion of Free Speech quickly showing his true colors when "free speech" turns out to mean "other people are allowed to judge you for saying stupid shit in public".

  72. Wombat says:

    @Geoffrey :

    I "emphasise my appearance" every time I put on a suit for a job interview or swimmers and a soon-to-be-wet T-shirt for the beach. Neither of those things mean I'm inviting men or women to rate my appearance and offer me their verdict.

    Pardon, but you are saying one thing but doing something entirely at odds with it. By "emphasizing your appearance", you acknowledge that your appearance is in fact a factor in the activity you have elected to participate in (job interview, posing on the beach). By extension, you are indeed inviting people to rate your appearance against whatever standard exists. Whether you invite comment or not is a separate issue, but you are placing yourself in a position where such comment may be offered even if unsolicited. And certainly you are capitalizing upon the effect on your audience.

    [Girls] give up the right to complain about sexism…

    There's always a right to complain. That doesn't ever go away. But a complaint does not by itself generate a corresponding obligation to correct the issue.

    Even better: this is spam. Individually, no harassment has occurred. (Each prospective "harasser" being obedient and "shutting up" on notice that the attention is unwelcome.) However, the collective effect is "being harassed".

  73. shorpshireblue says:

    I haven't seen the clothing Kowal was wearing, so I cannot comment on them.

    But I can address this comment:

    "Girls give up the right to complain about sexism unless they dress conservatively. It is known."

    This is one of those strawman arguments where the proponent fabricates a position that he claims his opponent has and then attacks the fabricated position he himself created. Its a logical fallacy and form of intellectual dishonesty.

    The actual argument is that, "Girls give up the right to complain about sexism when the exploit sexism for their own advantage."

    People don't see their own clothes. They wear clothes to keep warm, shelter from sunburn, personal modesty, religious requirements, and for the effect clothing has on other people.

    Extreme clothes for extreme effect. Exploitative clothes for an exploitative effect.

    When you exploit sex for personal advantage you give up the right to complain about sexism.

  74. G. Filotto says:

    By definition you ARE inviting them to rate your appearance when you put a suit on for an interview. The fact their rating and/or subsequent action/inaction based on that rating might not be to your liking is the issue here. More specifically, what exactly is the imaginary line of "acceptable" behaviour they exhibit as a result of their judgement of you and your appearance, and when have they crossed it. That is what the argument is about, but please stop making idiotic statements that you don't alter your appearance in order to influence the other humans around you within certain contexts. Everyone does.

  75. Cat G says:

    Let me echo the request for a (please soon soon soon) article concerning the TotalBiscuit kerfluffle with FunCreators. Now on to the topic.

    @Craig – It must be nice, living in your Ivory Tower of Enlightenment, able to cast judgement upon an entire genre of fiction and all who write or read it. Pray tell, what gripping literary masterpieces are you reading? I feel in need of enlightenment. (And possibly a fedora. With horn-rimmed glasses.) I bet you don't even own a TV.

    I'm glad that you are able to completely dismiss a serious social issue merely by equating the arena it occurs in as the playground of children and idiots. Surely these kinds of social issues do not exist outside, where the truly enlightened dare to tread.

    Sir, if you perchance have some kind of regular publication which may convey to me all of the things I as an adult should be doing to better spend my free time, please affix my name to the list of those slated to receive regular mailings of said publication.

  76. HandOfGod137 says:

    If anyone has the fortitude to view the sort of dialogue Iamcuriousblue
    espouses as a fightback against "feminist bloggers" in the atheist community, may I suggest http://slymepit.com/phpbb/index.php? I leave it to the reader to make their own conclusions as to the endless rape threats to be found therein. I will say it made ME far more sympathetic to the feminist position, so possibly not the reaction they would be hoping for.

  77. Not the IT Dept. says:

    According to a few commenters on Scalzi's page, Fodera is an employee of the publishing company that publishes Ms Robinette's books. I don't think this is going to end well for Mr. Fodera when his employer finds out he's trashing one of the company's assets.

  78. Gary McGath says:

    One example of the double standard that some people here have referred to is the treatment of racial insults. Normally, any hint of insulting a person on the basis of skin color or ancestry is considered out of bounds, but I've seen quite a number of fans attack people (including me, in one case) for being white. When I called them on this in my blog, I was told in all seriousness that they weren't using "white" as a racial term, but with a definition which I had never heard of before, for which the sound "white" was inherently suited. Just an accidental homophone. There is a fan fund called "Con or Bust" which gets people to conventions, with the qualification that their skin must be sufficiently dark.

    When people carve out a category of socially acceptable racism, they're granting a degree of implied legitimacy to all racism. They treat dark-skinned people not as people, but as specimens to put on display.

  79. ZeConster says:

    @Sami:
    "Adria Richard didn't get a guy fired; she made a Twitter comment about how a bad joke was inappropriate. She did not call for him to be fired and she didn't want him fired, but SHE HERSELF GOT FIRED OVER IT."

    The fact that she said afterwards she didn't want him to get fired doesn't change the fact that her actions got him fired, nor does the fact that the internet backlash resulted in her getting fired as well. Her tweet painted him as a sexist pig, made his face public, got him in hot water with PyCon, and resulted in him getting fired, all because someone who overheard a joke he made to someone else got offended and decided to take action against what they thought was inappropiate behavior.
    Did she deserve the rape and death threats? No. Did she deserve to get fired? No. Did he deserve to get fired? No.

    "All she'd said was that the initial comment was "not cool". If you think it's "over the top" for a woman to say in public that a joke she found tasteless and inappropriate was "Not cool", your position is less nuanced than you think."
    And it is precisely that attitude I take issue with. "HOW DARE YOU SAY IT'S 'OVER THE TOP' FOR HER TO PUBLICLY SHAME HIM OVER AN INAPPROPIATE JOKE HE MADE THAT HE DIDN'T MEAN FOR HER TO OVERHEAR, YOU SEXIST PIG!" NO. Just NO. It is this extremist attitude that the actual sexists/racists use as ammo against the whole "don't be sexist/racist" thing. This isn't a zero-sum game. When two people are both in the wrong, I don't have to choose sides, and not only is it shameful to act like I should (lest I be labeled a sexist/racist), it is actually the same kind of bullshit argument Sean P. Fedora (not fixing that typo) uses.

  80. ULTRAGOTHA says:

    @Not the IT Department
    Ms. Kowal's middle name is Robinette. Her books are shelved under K.

    I, too, suspect Mr. Fodera is going to have an unpleasant talk with his boss this morning. And whatever the outcome it will be his fault and his alone.

  81. Elizabeth R. McClellan (@popelizbet) says:

    I've worked on Con or Bust since the beginning. There has never been a "qualification" related to skin "darkness." Many people disapprove of CoB without lying that we instituted some kind of paper bag test for assistance. Why do you feel the need to bolster your argument with an outright lie?

  82. Dan T. says:

    Saying a joke was "uncool" is an expression of opinion, well within what is protected by free speech. I don't find fault with Ms. Richard in that incident; fault, if there is any to be assigned, would be in all the others (on all political sides) who blew the whole thing way out of proportion afterward. Though, just about all individual participation at all stages of the conflict was also a matter of free speech as well, but it added up to a collective mess, so it's hard to figure out who to blame at all.

    On a related matter, one hopes that everybody, regardless of political position, gender, sexual orientation, race, etc., will at least agree that making threats of death, rape, or any other sort of physical assault should be out of bounds in discussion of any of these (or other) issues.

  83. Xennady says:

    I googled "con or bust" and came up with a site that has this on the front page:

    Con or Bust
    Helping Fans of Color Attend SFF Cons

    Clicking on the about "Con or Bust" link produced this quote:

    Con or Bust helps people of color/non-white people attend SFF conventions (how to request assistance; upcoming cons).

    Hence I am puzzled by this statement:

    I've worked on Con or Bust since the beginning. There has never been a "qualification" related to skin "darkness." Many people disapprove of CoB without lying that we instituted some kind of paper bag test for assistance. Why do you feel the need to bolster your argument with an outright lie?

    Please advise.

  84. Elizabeth R. McClellan (@popelizbet) says:

    You think "of color" and "non-white," as stated, and "the qualification that their skin must be sufficiently dark" as claimed here, are the same thing?

    I promise you no one involved with CoB has ever held up a swatch and said "nope, skin not dark enough for assistance." Stating that we qualify people by darkness or shade, even to exaggerate how wrong you believe it is for CoB to assist POC only, is a lie, and a particularly gross one given the history of paper bag tests. We don't do that; we never have; we never will.

  85. Dan T. says:

    How exactly DO you define "of color" or "non-white", then? Do people have to submit their pedigrees, or just demonstrate "non-white" cultural values (whatever those may be)?

  86. Adam says:

    Thanks, I needed a laugh, and this buffoon provided it.
    He's just a typical internet troll who defames, hides behind free speech and threatens lawyers in a hilarious way when challenged.

  87. Xennady says:

    You think "of color" and "non-white," as stated, and "the qualification that their skin must be sufficiently dark" as claimed here, are the same thing?

    Um, yeah.

    Stating that we qualify people by darkness or shade, even to exaggerate how wrong you believe it is for CoB to assist POC only, is a lie, and a particularly gross one given the history of paper bag tests. We don't do that; we never have; we never will.

    Hey, don't blame me for your racist website.

    It's your money. Help who you want. But don't tell me a policy to assist "POC" only isn't racist.

    You use the word "lie." I don't think it means what you think it means.

  88. Gary McGath says:

    Elizabeth McClellan: "You think "of color" and "non-white," as stated, and "the qualification that their skin must be sufficiently dark" as claimed here, are the same thing?"

    Yes.

    I suppose pale blue or bright orange people would also count as "people of color," but until First Contact, that won't be an issue. Whether you've literally held up a swatch or not, color is your stated criterion. If it's a lie to state that color is what Con or Bust goes by, then it's their lie.

  89. Elizabeth R. McClellan (@popelizbet) says:

    Nope, and nope. No photos; no "pedigree" (people aren't dogs); no values statement. Look at the assistance page yourself. http://con-or-bust.org/request-assistance/

    Nothing is stopping someone who doesn't identify as a POC from lying that they do in order to take money they're not entitled to from donors to a private organization, except decency. A false application statement would probably bar them from future assistance, just like any other false statement. But the only way we would find that out given that we don't identity police and the person in charge of administering requests doesn't attend every con, would be if they bragged about putting one over on us. Which wouldn't win them many con going friends, given the vast number of fans who donate items, buy from our auctions, or support our project event at Wiscon who might feel some kind of way about someone bragging about taking advantage.

    I'm sure if I search your online handle I'll see impassioned inquiries of the scholarship committees that base their decisions on European heritage (Italian, Norwegian, German are three that I know of) about their "pedigree" usage. They ask for more family information than we do, since we don't require any, and you obviously feel passionately about this subject even when it's not POC benefitting from private donors.

  90. Darryl says:

    Who cares whether some people want to help people of color attend cons? Good on them. Calling them racist for wanting to help certain people trivializes the term (which may be the strategy from conservatives when they whine about anti-white "racism")–they ain't lynchin' any white folk or keeping them from attending the con. When white folk are being mowed down Django Unchained style, they can complain.

  91. Ken White says:

    @Castaigne:

    Full Disclosure: Reason is a mouthpiece for Koch Industries and the Scaife Foundations and know for lots of astroturfing. Cathy Young is a noted libertarian anti-feminist who is deeply sympathetic to the Men’s Rights ideology. Your Mileage May Vary.

    I hope this doesn't terrify you, but you're commenting on the blog post of a libertarian-leaning person who has twice written for Reason magazine, who thinks that the Koch Brothers are used unseriously as a childish bugaboo by the Left (though they do hold a number of disagreeable positions), and who was cited more than once in the Cathy Young article.

    Mind you don't get cooties.

  92. Elizabeth R. McClellan (@popelizbet) says:

    You didn't say "color." You said "their skin must be sufficiently dark." If you think those two things are the same thing, you're ignorant at best and should probably spend some time reading about paper bag tests, colorism, and the reasons some people of color are lighter skinned than me (tw for rape and chattel slavery on that last research tip, though.)

    If the qualification was, as you said, whose "skin is sufficiently dark," I'd be eligible over my Native neighbor. But I'm not eligible and she is. Darkness of skin has nothing to do with it.

    If your real objection is that COB gives a benefit to POC and not white folks, say so. I'll still think you're wrong, but I won't call you a liar. You chose to instead lie about the project as if we set ourselves up as arbiters of who is a POC (we don't), as if we do so by a reverse paper bag test (we don't) and as if we even see the "dark" color of anyone's skin and judge its "sufficiency" before helping them (we don't, there's nowhere in the app to submit a picture).

    We are totally up front about our process. You have chosen to misrepresent it to strengthen a rhetorical point, which tells me you aren't confident in the base argument unless it's bolstered by a misstatement designed to invoke outrage.

  93. Elizabeth R. McClellan (@popelizbet) says:

    @Xennady , it must get tiring moving the goalposts, but I suppose since your friend Humpty Dumpty is on hand to change the meaning of "of color" to "their skin must be sufficiently dark" he can help you out.

    I haven't said the word "racism." I disagree that COB is racist, obviously, but I haven't diverted onto that. I objected to someone mischaracterizing our application as involving shade or darkness of skin when that is a lie. We don't even ask for pictures, so please explain how "their skin must be sufficiently dark" can be a "qualification." If COB were identity policing based on paper bag tests I'd stop supporting them. They're not. Saying that they are to bolster an argument is misleading.

  94. Castaigne says:

    @Ken White: No worries, I'm quite aware that you are a libertarian and that you have written for Reason. I don't blame anyone for writing for a shill paper, anymore than I would blame someone for writing for Huffington Post. You take exposure and/or pay where you can get it. Libertarianism bothers me no more than Marxism does. Both are great on paper and crap in practicality. I do express sympathy that you've been linked to a woo-meister like Young, though. That's like being recommended by Deepak Chopra or Vox Day.

  95. Ken White says:

    Somehow I'll soldier on.

  96. Darryl says:

    Worse yet, Ken, you are associated with, gasp, lawyers (including that Scott Greenstein, Greenadder, Greenie, whatever guy).

  97. Mu says:

    Here I always liked popehat for the non-conform attitude. But just touch the right subject, and it turns into FreeThoughtBlog.

  98. Some Dude Passing By says:

    When did Popehat move to tumblr…?

  99. Ken White says:

    @Mu:

    Here I always liked popehat for the non-conform attitude. But just touch the right subject, and it turns into FreeThoughtBlog.

    Would I be more "non-conform" if I endorsed the validity of a dude suing 1200 people for linking to an article quoting him?

    Perhaps I misapprehend conformity.

    Or perhaps you do.

    Because it kind of sounds as if you're saying "I like Popehat when they don't agree with the people I don't agree with, but not when they agree with the people I don't agree with."

    I'm not sure that's non-conformity, exactly.

  100. Some Dude Passing By says:

    Also I've gotta laugh at Elizabeth's justifications. "We do not hold up a paper bag to someone and see if they're brown enough! We trust them to do that to themselves, and if some filthy cracker wants to despicably lie to get themselves a cheap con trip funded by our social group affirmative action, we can't stop them. That makes it not racist!"

  101. Xennady says:

    Nope, and nope. No photos; no "pedigree" (people aren't dogs); no values statement. Look at the assistance page yourself. http://con-or-bust.org/request-assistance/

    I did. Still quite racist. From there:

    If you are a person of color/non-white person who wants to attend a convention about science fiction and fantasy, you can apply.

    Yep, racist.

    Nothing is stopping someone who doesn't identify as a POC from lying that they do in order to take money they're not entitled to from donors to a private organization, except decency.

    Huh what? Are you advising people of non-color to lie to get around the racism of the CoB? Really? And then if they do, and get caught, then no doubt they're lying racist scumbags who have cheated the worthy POC. Yes, I'm quite cynical.

    I'm sure if I search your online handle I'll see impassioned inquiries of the scholarship committees that base their decisions on European heritage (Italian, Norwegian, German are three that I know of) about their "pedigree" usage. They ask for more family information than we do, since we don't require any, and you obviously feel passionately about this subject even when it's not POC benefitting from private donors.

    Huh? What are you talking about here? Sorry, I just don't have enough interest in the justification for racism to parse all of that nonsense.

    Again- you give your money to whomever you want. But spare me the lectures about how you're not racist because various scholarship committees are racist too.

  102. Resolute says:

    AlphaCentauri – So in one quote, he's offended feminists, dog lovers, and disability rights advocates. The man has talent.

    Except, it seems, actual writing talent. Of his very few writing credits, it seems his most famous was his participation in what was basically a hoax designed to be spectacularly bad: Atlanta Nights

  103. Xmas says:

    There's heavy fighting in their internal, private message boards over the acceptance of self-publishing/e-publishing authors as members of the SFWA. These call-outs of certain writers being sexist or racist is partially the pro-publishing house authors trying to purge the pro-self-publishing authors from the SFWA.

    Yes, this guy stepped over the line. But you're seeing the last message in what was likely a long, slowly degenerating thread of messages in private forums and emails.

  104. NS says:

    @shorpshireblue

  105. Don Kenner (@DonKenner) says:

    Kudos to those who pointed out that both issues are important. Harassment and hostility are worth fighting, but we should be wary of political correctness (a very real and toxic phenomenon) and limits on expression.

  106. Joe Blow says:

    Wow. A lot of aggression and microaggression directed at women here from men who enjoy unquestioned white male privilege. It's about what I'd expect from a reactionary bunch of exploitive kochsuckers…

    Just kidding. Couldn't resist after seeing the flying monkeys appear to defend the honor of Ms. Whitefrillydress and the SFWA leadership.

    I would like to point out while I'm here that whether Fodera is ignorant of the law and a twit, is an independent variable with respect to the question of whether the SFWA has been co-opted by a bunch of people who want to use politically correct mau-mauing to silence dissent on their fora. From what I've seen of the last couple major controversies that have brewed up, the SFWA leadership might as well comprise the Race and Gender Critical Studies faculty at Oberlin. Doesn't mean the people they are trying to name, shame and stigmatize out of the writing biz are great people or necessarily correct in their behavior at all times – but condemning the witch burners doesn't necessarily involve vindicating the accused witches of all their sins. It's a bit ironic that science fiction, once a genre used to explore the implications of new technology and sociology is becoming doctrinaire, but I guess that was inevitable with the rise of fantasy fic (which I find often to be a boring combination of rape fantasy and sword porn pupl) and the exiling of a lot of the more muscular sci fi to the Tor ghetto. One wonders where a hard sci fi author goes to get published these days, to the extent he's still interested in getting words onto paper. It's not like the professional association is going to be of any assistance for anybody who says the wrong thing. (See, e.g. the recently started campaign to eliminate Heteronormative and Gender Normative language in Sci Fi). Used to be a good genre but it's hard finding authors worth reading now.

    And as an aside, before anybody starts going on about the corrupting power of money in politics, they need to go to OpenSecret.org's recent list of top donors. Sure, the Koch Brothers make it – just inside the Top 20. Almost all of the other Top 20 donors are left-leaning. So if people want to start from the premise that donor money = corruption, then let's start going down that list and see whom we can taint with the odor of smelly Benjamins.

  107. TechyDad says:

    What's wrong with ties covered in Mickey Mouse heads? ;-)

    I actually like wearing ties that express my interests (like my Doctor Who tie or my Disney ties). It's kind of like a more formal t-shirt to me. (Not for very formal occasions, of course, but perfect for my day-to-day job to which I wear a tie.)

    That being said, I agree wholeheartedly with the rest of your comment. My main concerns while getting dressed are 1) are my clothes clean and mostly wrinkle-free? and 2) Doc the colors not flash horribly? (I'm notoriously bad at the latter and often need to ask my wifefor her opinion.)

  108. neverjaunty says:

    I'm guessing Xennady thinks need-based scholarships and work exchange are class warfare, too.

    @shorpshireblue: Curious that you didn't manage to note the links to the pictures in question, but, again, the "hypocrisy" is nonsense. Fodera's argument is that because Kowal posted pictures of herself on her own blog modeling an extremely modest Regency dress that she sewed, in which she looked, in his grudging phrasing, "somewhat attractive" (her ANKLE was visible in one shot, for the love of God), it is hypocritical of her to suggest that it is lame for the official SFWA newsletter to slap bad fantasy art of the "O hai I got my armor at Victoria's Secret *sultry pout*" variety on its cover.

    I trust I don't need to deconstruct that stupidity, or explain why it really does not translate into "don't indulge in sexism and then criticize sexism".

  109. Xennady says:

    @Xennady , it must get tiring moving the goalposts, but I suppose since your friend Humpty Dumpty is on hand to change the meaning of "of color" to "their skin must be sufficiently dark" he can help you out.

    Don't ask me to parse your racism. If "of color" doesn't mean "sufficiently dark" in your usage then words have no meaning. And "not of color" hence has to mean "insufficiently dark" by your expressed words and logic- and since I don't live in South Africa circa 1950 I don't wish to split hairs about the sufficient amounts of darkness that can qualify oneself to receive help from the COB.

    You do- hey good luck with that. It's your money, but don't tell me not to notice the racism, because scholarships funds are racist too.

  110. NS says:

    @shorpshireblue

    Nothing strips a person of their right to complain about sexism. Nothing.

    If a (hypothetical) person were to use sexism to their advantage, they would still have the right to complain about sexism. The only thing that would change in that scenario would be the weight we might give that complaint.

    Using sexuality is not the same as using sexism. We all use sexuality, each of us, every day. It is the basis of human interaction.

  111. Pharniel says:

    @ZeConster how is typing 'I heard a joke that was not cool' into twitter public shaming on any level at fucking all.

    That is the most mild hint of disapproval one could possibly imagine.
    It's the youth version of "I did not care for it".

  112. Xennady says:

    I'm guessing Xennady thinks need-based scholarships and work exchange are class warfare, too.

    Fascinating. Please elaborate.

  113. Jon says:

    @shropshireblue: If you don't know Game of Thrones, I suggest you Google the phrase "It is known" to fully understand Ken's meaning.

  114. Some Dude Passing By says:

    >A lot of aggression and microaggression directed at women here from men who enjoy unquestioned white male privilege.

    "You're all misogynists! I have now automatically won the argument."

  115. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    @DonKenner

    we should be wary of political correctness (a very real and toxic phenomenon)

    When taken to ridiculous extremes, nearly everything is toxic. However, the most common form of "political correctness" usually boils down to "don't be a horrible person."

    I like the fact that there are social consequences for calling someone a racial or homophobic slur. I don't think it is a tragedy that people actually consider the effect their speech might have on other people.

  116. neverjaunty says:

    @Joe Blow, no, it's not really an independent variable. These are the same dudes use overblown rhetoric like, say, "witch burning" to describe what most people call "criticism", and who pretend they are in favor of free speech when what they really mean is the Preferred First Speaker Doctrine.

    By the way, if you think it's hard to find "hard SF" these days, you truly aren't bothering to look. Iain Banks, Charles Stross, John Scalzi, Jack McDevitt, Elizabeth Moon…whoops, you did mention "muscular", so I'm guessing your real complaint is that you like a very particular subgenre of Manly Men Fighting Manly Space Battles, written by Manly Authors, and that's not currently clogging the shelves. Which, you know, is more a symptom of the market than of a PC conspiracy to deprive you of a good book. I'm guessing people whose tastes run to Conan pastiches have similar complaints.

  117. Some Dude Passing By says:

    And then I read the rest of the message. Derp. I've actually read too much tumblr this morning, I had zero trouble believing that.

  118. Xennady says:

    (See, e.g. the recently started campaign to eliminate Heteronormative and Gender Normative language in Sci Fi).

    Uhm, yeah, more about that here:

    http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/ending-binary-gender-in-fiction-or-how-to-murder-your-writing-career/

  119. stakkalee says:

    Interesting – the "campaign to eliminate Heteronormative and Gender Normative languange in SciFi" is actually simply a series of articles on Tor.com from an author (who doesn't even have any authority with the publisher) who's merely interested in highlighting works of fiction that don't conform to the gender binary. Quite a campaign! No prescriptions or checklists or anything! I can definitely understand why certain 'muscular' sci fi fans might feel threatened.

  120. Ken White says:

    And we get this from James A. Bailey:

    All that's really happened is that Mr. White and the Endless G-Mails have successfully
    ranted in front of their online audience, which lies somewhere between the kid
    on 4chan trolling Justin Bieber fans, and the grandmother in Topeka updating
    her cat's blog, on this week's list of internet accomplishments.

    Best,
    Jim Bailey

    I IZ PROFESSIONAL WRITER YOU IZ JUST BLOGGERS IN PAJAMAS WITH CATS HURR HURR HURR.

    What I've found remarkable about the reaction to Fodera's foolishness on sff.net is how little pushback he's gotten on the definition of defamation or on First Amendment grounds. He's mostly gotten moist little noises of affirmation (which is, of course, exactly what the quote above accuses me of seeking). I find this more than a little ironic, given that Fodera and people who agree with him are posturing as saving free speech from the politically correct hordes.

    But "free speech until someone says something I don't agree with against someone I like" isn't science-fictiony. It's utterly Earthbound, familiar, and banal.

    It is a little disappointing to see some writers I really like chuckle at (at best) or support (at worst) clearly vexatious and censorious legal threats. Will it stop me from reading them? Meh. Depends on what they write. My reaction to art produced by asshats is strictly idiosyncratic.

  121. mythago says:

    @Ken, keep in mind these are people who, at heart, do not believe in free speech as a principle; they believe that they are entitled to free speech because they are smarter and better than others (who are thus undeserving of similar free speech).

    Plus, they're all super smart and thus know anything they put their minds to. And since libel has to do with writing, and they're writers, they know a lot more than some law blogger who isn't even invited to their online Diplomacy game. CHECKMATE, KEN.

  122. Fodera has certainly beclowned himself here. Given that this is the only encounter I've ever had with the man or his works, I might even be willing to conclude that he is, in all ways, clownish.

    However:

    For all those nattering on about privilege, white and otherwise, who is the bigger rock star in SF: Kowal, or Fodera? Who in SF is a bigger rock star than John Scalzi? Name me 3 publishing houses (in SF) larger or more influential than TOR, whose blog consistently hosts feminist writing and questions race- and gender-based norms and "-isms?"

    In short, while Fodera is an ass, so are countless other people. I would suggest to those of you who regard Fodera with an emotional intensity greater than mild, bemused contempt, that you're quite worked up over nothing. The culture war has been won; retrograde boobs like Fodera will keep up their rearguard action against PC champions like Scalzi, but however long it lasts, the outcome is known. In fact, I'd wager at least a nickel on the notion that folks like Fodera and the MRA community are fueled in part by the inability of the Scalzis of the world to simply win gracefully.

    And, I suspect, people like Scalzi will continue to elevate people like Fodera to positions of importance that they don't deserve, because the Scalzis of the world need the Foderas of the world. One cannot main a standing army of Proper Moral Outrage without a barbarian horde at the gates. (And I bet it sells a lot of novels).

  123. Mary, Mary says:

    Hey, no need to drag Earthbound through the mud. I liked that game.

  124. Ken White says:

    In short, while Fodera is an ass, so are countless other people. I would suggest to those of you who regard Fodera with an emotional intensity greater than mild, bemused contempt, that you're quite worked up over nothing. The culture war has been won; retrograde boobs like Fodera will keep up their rearguard action against PC champions like Scalzi, but however long it lasts, the outcome is known. In fact, I'd wager at least a nickel on the notion that folks like Fodera and the MRA community are fueled in part by the inability of the Scalzis of the world to simply win gracefully.

    This point about relative power is perfectly reasonable.

    But . . .

    This blog is about many things. One of the things it is about is freedom of speech. It's about how our legal system is broken, how the system does not adequately deter and redress bogus censorious lawsuits, and about how even transparently bogus lawsuit threats chill and deter people from speaking out. This blog is about pushing back against that. Mr. Fodera may indeed be a less prominent figure than the people he is criticizing or the people criticizing him. But he can file a frivolous lawsuit as well as any big name, and his bumptious threats can chill speech just as well.

    I call out people who promote ignorance about the First Amendment and free speech, and people who make vexatious legal threats to retaliate against criticism. It's my thing.

  125. Trails says:

    Yet another reason John Scalzi is awesome and we should all buy and read his books.

  126. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    @ Not Claude Akins

    In fact, I'd wager at least a nickel on the notion that folks like Fodera and the MRA community are fueled in part by the inability of the Scalzis of the world to simply win gracefully.

    What would you consider winning the culture war gracefully?

    I'd argue that the continued mockery and contempt for backward views that should no longer have a place in our society, and the poking of the people that hold them, isn't winning gracefully, but it is part of keeping those portions of the culture war won.

  127. Dr Dynamite,

    What would you consider winning the culture war gracefully?

    Being content to stamp out heresy without needing to burn the heretics.

  128. Conster says:

    @Pharniel:
    "@ZeConster how is typing 'I heard a joke that was not cool' into twitter public shaming on any level at fucking all. That is the most mild hint of disapproval one could possibly imagine. It's the youth version of "I did not care for it".
    Except that's not what happened. Even putting aside the fact that you're paraphrasing her tweet in such a way as to make it sound less strongly phrased than it actually was, she not only put their faces on Twitter, she also wrote this in another tweet and linked to PyCon's code of conduct:

    "Can someone talk to these guys about their conduct? I'm in lightning talks, top right near stage, 10 rows back #pycon."

    So it wasn't an "I heard a joke that was not cool" kind of tweet, it was a "These two guys – look at them! – made an unacceptable sexually tinted joke that goes against the convention's code of conduct" kind of tweet. In addition, she made a blog post about the issue, which included the tweet that showed their faces, explaining why she felt it was her duty to call out their behavior in such a public matter. Now, it makes sense that people will disagree with me about whether her behavior was warranted (because people can have different opinions about things without being wrong and/or villains), but it's silly to claim it was "the most mild hint of disapproval one could possibly imagine".

  129. Surly Hobbit says:

    @Xennady:

    I'd just like to say what a pleasure it is to see you participating in Internet discourse, Mr Bloom.

  130. Dave Ruddell says:

    Yet another reason John Scalzi is awesome and we should all buy and read his books.

    Please. He will sometimes delete comments from his site that violate his highly visible commenting policy. The man is worse than Hitler.

  131. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    @ Not Claude Akins

    Being content to stamp out heresy without needing to burn the heretics.

    First of all, no one is being burned at the stake because they are racist or sexist or homophobic. They are, however, suffering the social consequences of their speech. I think the references to witch-burning or lynch mobs or the Inquisition or whatever overly dramatic analogy folks like to use when a jerk is held to account for his speech are quite misplaced not least for the reason that they trivialize what real victims of mob violence went through. There were *real* lynch mobs in this country's not too distant path, and they didn't make fun of people, they fucking killed them horribly. Getting made fun of on the internet ain't in the same category.

    Second, one of the best ways to stamp out the "heresy" of racism and sexism and generally awful behavior is to not socially tolerate them, and to make clear to people that they're dicks if they behave that way. If people don't want to be made fun of for being dicks, then, well, the ball is in their court.

  132. Shawn Fedora says:

    I sent Mr. Fodera an email seeking comment, and asking for responses to some specific questions, but have not heard back as of the time of this writing.

    That's slander! See you in court bucko. And make sure you're wearing pants.

  133. L says:

    Uhm, yeah, more about that here:

    http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/ending-binary-gender-in-fiction-or-how-to-murder-your-writing-career/

    Wow, between the blog post itself and the comments thread, I'm not sure if I've ever seen a whinier bunch of whiny whiners.

  134. HandOfGod137 writes:

    "If anyone has the fortitude to view the sort of dialogue Iamcuriousblue espouses as a fightback against "feminist bloggers" in the atheist community, may I suggest http://slymepit.com/phpbb/index.php"

    Nice try with linking me to the Slymepit, as if guilt by nonexistent association actually amounts to an argument.

    I do think the degree of "threat" that the Slymepit actually constitutes is much exaggerated, as much as its very existence drives some of the FTB and A+ crowd to apoplexy. Because when I've checked it out, what I've seen is mostly a lot of unrestrained venting of anger toward Skepchick and Freethoughtblogs (way too obsessive for my tastes, actually), often crossing the line into line into being pretty juvenile, and sometimes into being quite sexist. What I haven't seen as anything that rises remotely to the level of legal threat or harassment, but if anyone here can provide a concrete example, I'm ready to stand corrected. In fact, I challenge "Hand of God" or anybody else here to provide this.

    My impression of the Slimepit is that it's the equal and opposite inverse of the AtheismPlus forum and much of the FTB commentariat. The same kind of immature partisanship reigns in all these spaces, and I might add, is much in evidence in the more mudslinging comments in this discussion.

    BTW, since we're on the topic of out and out death and assault threats, where they come from, and whether they get excused or not for political reasons, I leave you with these links from Geek Feminism Wiki:

    http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Flashbelt_slide_show#Threats_of_violence_against_Hoss_Gifford
    http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Derailment#Examples_of_derailment

    If this is an example of how "anti-harassment" the feminist and social justice portion of the interwebs are, color me wholly unimpressed.

  135. Castaigne writes:

    "Full Disclosure: Reason is a mouthpiece for Koch Industries and the Scaife Foundations and know for lots of astroturfing. Cathy Young is a noted libertarian anti-feminist who is deeply sympathetic to the Men’s Rights ideology. Your Mileage May Vary."

    Well, nice conspiracy theory, but Cathy Young's article actually presents an effective argument, one that stands until an intelligent, evidence-based rebuttal is provided.

    So far, the assertion that the "group that thinks the communities have a problem with racism, sexism, and harassment and should take steps to address it" is somehow a special target of harassment (over and above that received by anybody who says something controversial on the interwebs) remains an unproven.

  136. Edward says:

    The Slymepit rocks. It's mostly atheist liberals who make fun of the whiny antics of other atheist liberals.

  137. Doc,

    How about "hate the sin, not the sinner?" Or is that too Christian-normative for you? Please, help me find a metaphor that doesn't drive you to the fainting couch.

    I agree with you that it's a boon to society that today's high-minded moralists engage in shunning instead of autos-da-fe. I still find the blue-nosed tut-tutting an obnoxious response to the ape-like feces-tossing of the Internet's vocal minority of He-Man Woman-Haters.

    Let me disclaim those comments by saying that Ken's particular objection to the *legal* matters at hand is entirely fitting. As a *social* matter, however, I just don't get it. The world is full of objectionable people saying objectionable things. I'm not convinced that formally shunning them all (rather than calmly refuting their ideas) is at all a productive pursuit. Besides, wouldn't you rather convert Fodera to your way of thinking than drive him to some quiet corner of the internet where he'll only congregate with like minds?

    I think we've entirely lost the distinction between harmful action and undesirable thought. The lawsuit is a harmful action, no doubt. But too many people here want to purge all dissent from the public square, in ways that I think are detrimental to everyone. Silencing all the MRAs isn't a boon for feminism, IMHO.

    Bonus question: Why is it bad for the government to restrict speech?

  138. sinij says:

    Winning cultural war gracefully is knowing where to stop when you achieved your goals. Afghanistan has a problem with gender inequality, US, by comparison, does not. Sure, it still not perfectly equal in all aspects – but it goes both ways and balances out.

    When your side start pushing for retaliatory discrimination, or guilt for minority non-belonging-ness you just executing the prisoners on the way to becoming the new oppressor.

    For example, women have higher university enrollment and graduation rate than men. Why is it _still_ a taboo to discuss repealing of gender ratios and mandatory inclusion quotas? Why do we still talk about "we need more women in profession X" when men has by far higher unemployment rate?

  139. mmrtnt says:

    …any lawsuit would be an extinction-level event for Fodera's reputation and credibility in the publishing industry

    Pure blogging gold, there.

  140. George William Herbert says:

    Not Claude Akins wrote:

    For all those nattering on about privilege, white and otherwise, who is the bigger rock star in SF: Kowal, or Fodera?

    Context is everything.

    The context here is that the SFWA, the science fiction writers group, had a couple of its regular newsletter contributors contribute something which in my opinion clearly showed in that context that the culture war was not won and that they (and others) were in fact willing to go on the offensive against women and minority writers in the community.

    One can take that in any number of ways, but the "That's Not OK" response won, and this is now a backlash against that outcome, couched in free speech terms. This is not about hypotheticals of free speech in an effects-less vacuum; it's about people who did create an active, aggressive hostile environment, and people who are actively and aggressively hostile in defending those actions.

    None of this has been legally actionable as far as I can tell, but I suspect that careers are being ruined both in the industry and in terms of people's readership for the writers.

    Things that people got away with 10 and 5 years ago, socially, they aren't now… the Enders' Game movie arguably tanked because its core enthusiast audience were pissed off by his anti-gay stance. It got made because 10 and 5 years ago that was not clear. Today, nobody would start a movie, do a huge book deal, with an author who beclowned themselves in these manners.

  141. mmrtnt says:

    infamous beach outfit

    Many, many internets for that description

  142. George William Herbert says:

    sinij wrote:

    Afghanistan has a problem with gender inequality, US, by comparison, does not

    The US clearly has a problem with gender inequality. A prominent woman writer was slut-shamed by some of her peers in this discussion for daring to wear a white dress on a beach, exposing skin between the shoulder and wrists and between the knees and ankles. Multiple people supported this behavior, believing it to be a worthy argument.

  143. cbcalvin says:

    "he does not appear to have a firm grasp of the subject matter" I like that line. I think that I will steal it.

  144. The US clearly has a problem with gender inequality. A prominent woman writer was slut-shamed by some of her peers in this discussion for daring to wear a white dress on a beach, exposing skin between the shoulder and wrists and between the knees and ankles. Multiple people supported this behavior, believing it to be a worthy argument.

    I… can't even…

    First, of course, "slut-shamed." As if inventing an official piece of jargon for an instance of boorish behavior thereby gives it life in some awful form. Armor of +1 against arguments! I've given it a name! It's a syndrome now, a pandemic!

    Second, what is your threshold for determining problems? If we elect a black president, but a dozen guys on a Klan message board call him the N-word, does that mean we have a race problem? Heck, the fact that anyone, anywhere disagrees with you must be evidence of dozens of disturbing trends in this benighted land of ours.

    Let me suggest to you that the Internet 1.) Is not a representative sample of anything 2.) Is a cesspool of infinite horror.

    Let me further suggest that if you think about it, you'll realize that using small, self-selecting samples to make broad-brush judgments is a bad idea, and you're only doing it here because it fits your desired conclusion.

    Here's some things for you to Google. Zoo, the movie. Swap.avi. NAMBLA.

    And a quiz for when you finish: Do "we" have a problem with horse-on-man-love, scat porn, and pedophilia, or are some members of the human race simply strange and sometimes evil people?

  145. azteclady says:

    @ Not Claude Atkins

    Do "we" have a problem with horse-on-man-love, scat porn, and pedophilia, or are some members of the human race simply strange and sometimes evil people?

    Allow me to suggest that, for many instances of human behaviour, this is not actually an "or" question–it's often both, in the same place, at the same time.

  146. sinij says:

    George William Herbert, you are confusing regrettable, yet commonplace internet asshatery with gender discrimination. You asserting that attacks happened to her because she was a women without pausing to consider that attacks probably happened because she posted a picture on the internet.

    Try following – put a toga on and get someone to take some pictures of you. Then post it somewhere public. You are likely going to get some wisecracks directed at you. Would this too constitutes "slut shaming"?

  147. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    Please, help me find a metaphor that doesn't drive you to the fainting couch.

    You mistake my pointing out the rather self-pitying nature of the burning/witch hunt/etc metaphors with my being scandalized by them.

    I agree with you that it's a boon to society that today's high-minded moralists…

    And by high-minded moralists, you're of course referring to people who aren't, or at least are trying not to be, dicks via racism, sexism, et al.

    As a *social* matter, however, I just don't get it. The world is full of objectionable people saying objectionable things. I'm not convinced that formally shunning them all (rather than calmly refuting their ideas) is at all a productive pursuit.

    The world is certainly big enough to allow for both. If someone is being a sexist moron, I would hope that they receive both mockery for their behavior and a gentle education on the error of their ways from someone they respect.

    I think we've entirely lost the distinction between harmful action and undesirable thought.

    I think that putting sexist/racist/stupid speech out into the world is an action. An action for which social consequences are sometimes appropriate.

    Why is it bad for the government to restrict speech?

    It's been several years since I last had to deal with a Socratic lecture, and I don't miss it all that much. If you'd like to tell me your own thoughts on your question, please feel free.

  148. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    Winning cultural war gracefully is knowing where to stop when you achieved your goals.

    Do you really think that there are no longer serious issues of racism or sexism in this country that we would benefit by eliminating? Because your post really seems to imply that the goals on those fronts have been met, and we should probably call it a day.

  149. sinij says:

    If someone is being a sexist moron, I would hope that they receive both mockery for their behavior and a gentle education on the error of their ways from someone they respect.

    I hope that if someone is being a sexist moron via regrettable practice of engaging in a sexist moron speech acts that they receive VERBAL mockery and not OTHER KINDS of consequences.

    Do you really think that there are no longer serious issues of racism or sexism in this country that we would benefit by eliminating?

    We all could benefit from eliminating instances of sexism or racism. Do I personally think that there are still systemic sexism issues in this country? No. Do I personally think that there are still episodic instances of sexism? Yes, but eliminating it would only be possible after we find a cure for idiocy.

  150. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    @sinij

    I hope that if someone is being a sexist moron via regrettable practice of engaging in a sexist moron speech acts that they receive VERBAL mockery and not OTHER KINDS of consequences.

    Well that depends, doesn't it? Let's say, for example, a prominent employee of a company, who happens to be responsible for the company's hiring and promotion, makes a bunch of ridiculously sexist comments on Twitter about how women don't make good employees and the only reason he'd hire one is to have someone pretty in the office to look at.

    If such a person were fired by his company and had a hard time finding a similar position, I'd say that would be a pretty reasonable social consequence. Wouldn't you?

    Do I personally think that there are still systemic sexism issues in this country? No.

    The number of female CEOs in the Fortune 500 and U.S. Senators seem to me pretty strong indicators otherwise.

  151. sinij says:

    The number of female CEOs in the Fortune 500 and U.S. Senators seem to me pretty strong indicators otherwise.

    Red herring.

    Instead, how about we look at the number of employed women vs. the number of employed men with a college degree in the 30-and-under demographic?

  152. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    @Sinij

    C'mon…let's be serious here. You really don't think the fact that approximately 95% of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, or that 80% of the U.S. Senate are men is evidence that there may be some systemic issues of sexism left in our country? Really?

  153. Educational outcomes for girls and women outstrip those of boys and men at all levels.

    The senate is filled with old people. Fortune 500 companies likewise. They're lagging indicators. Get back to me in 30 years, when there are approximately 7 blue collar jobs left in the country and 70 million men competing for them.

  154. Joe Blow says:

    Hey, aptly-named @NeverJaunty – amazing you took my reference to "witch burning" and turned it into a sexist assault on women.

    For the record, I cannot abide by the burning of witches (except in metaphors), unless witches are found to burn more efficiently and with lower carbon emissions than hydrocarbons or heretics. Metaphors, like demon-summoning chants, are evidently something not to be used lightly around you, so I will stop trying to explain why I think it's possible to condemn politically correct dissent-silencers, without it amounting to an endorsement of Fodera.

    The ad hominems are pretty funny, BTW. I suppose by mentioning the Tor guys that marked me as a mouth breathing moron. My favorite modern sci fi authors for now are Stross and Vinge and Neal Stephenson, though Stross seems to have gotten off the hard sci fi bus with the Laundry Files series and Vinge doesn't write much any more. Not sure if Stephenson can be pegged for any genre… he's a bit like Gibson in that respect. FWIW – as if you've read this far – I find the .mil sci fi stuff is rarely interesting, it's pretty soap opera-y, not my thing at all. Sadly I don't patronize Tor, but after your adverse endorsement I'm inclined to look, on the principle that the enema of my enemy is my friend. As for Scalzi – he had one or two good ideas about uploading consciousness and the implications of that but his last several works have been derivative of that One Good Idea and sci soap opera at best. It's like he ran out of ideas or something and he's having a tough time coming up with new ones so he's going for jokey / spoofy / space opera. I'm glad he stumbled into the idea of turning the SFWA fora into the world's foremost race & gender critical theory lab so that he has something to write about regularly, but if he wants to keep going with the sci fi writing thing he should probably buy a round or two of whatever Stross is drinking. When I can find some sci fi that seems smart and not utterly implausible I will read it, but there ain't much now, and I worked through the canon, and even some of the better steampunk stuff, and the shelves are mostly bare. So for the last couple years I have mostly been reading a lot of political economy and modern (post-1600) European history, along with a some engineering books and a few bits of modern fiction thrown in. I read sci fi when it's got a good review from a writer I trust or a recommmendation from a friend, but a lot less than I used to because most sci fi and fantasy is crap, and badly written crap at that.

  155. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    @ Not Claude Akins

    They're lagging indicators.

    They may be lagging, but they sure as hell are indicators. I don't dispute that in 30 years things are likely to be different, but I also think it is rather ridiculous to dismiss out of hand the fact that these enormously powerful groups of people are so disproportionately male *now*.

  156. Joe Blow says:

    Wait – in calling most sci fi writing crap, did I perchance offend the coprophagic-american community?

    Frank Zappa's ashes must be rolling over in their urn.

  157. Mu says:

    Would I be more "non-conform" if I endorsed the validity of a dude suing 1200 people for linking to an article quoting him?
    Sorry Ken, I wasn't referring to the article at all, just to the way the discussion was developing. It's the topic itself that seems to bring out a recurring pattern of comments, independent of the forum.

  158. Ken White says:

    Naturally mentioning Tor is not as bad as mentioning Gor.

  159. Kateality says:

    Always fun to watch a bunch of guys (and a few women) argue about sexism. Let's all take a deep breath – I do that frequently on this subject, as a lawyer who also happens to be a woman.

    @Ken, I know that you were being facetious when you commented that women give up the right to complain about sexism when they wear attractive clothes, but some of the people who followed appear to think that's a fact. So this is directed to them, not to you. When you (as a man) assume that women who wear clothes that look good on them do it to attract male attention, that is sexism, because it assumes that the woman's choice revolves around you. There is nothing anti-feminist about dressing to feel good, and I don't lose my feminist credentials by wearing cute clothes. For the record, I also don't wear those cute clothes for your benefit, although it's adorable that you think you're that important.

    Secondly, amen to whoever said that the actual content of the photos is irrelevant. It is.

    Finally, people are going to say gross things on the internet, and in real life. They're allowed to do that. But it doesn't mean that I can't call it gross. Fodera's comments were gross, and they are full of sexist subtext (references to dogs, clothing choices, etc). Other, non-government actors, are going to create spaces online or in real life where there are rules limiting speech that is hurtful or discriminatory. That's ok too. The people who choose to frequent those spaces agree to limit their speech in accordance with the relevant policies. If you're not going to agree, use a different space.

    Notice that I haven't mentioned privilege. That's because it's been turned into a bit of a dirty word, so I use it sparingly. Privilege is why men can say that they don't know anyone who's sexist, or white people can say that they have never seen racism. The -isms exist as patterns, not isolated events. The fact that you do not personally experience the pattern means that you are unlikely to notice subtle incidents of it in your day-to-day interactions. That is what privilege is. When someone uses that word, they are indicating that your personal experience is not the be-all-and-end-all, and asking you to look beyond. It's not an insult, or if it is, it shouldn't be. It's a request that you consider that not all experiences are the same as yours. I'm never going to ask you to feel guilty about the system – you didn't create it. But if you refuse to acknowledge that it exists, then you're perpetuating it, and I might ask you to open your mind a little.

    Regards,

    A reasonable feminist

  160. George William Herbert says:

    Not Claude Akins:

    I… can't even…

    Apparently not.

    First, of course, "slut-shamed." As if inventing an official piece of jargon for an instance of boorish behavior thereby gives it life in some awful form. Armor of +1 against arguments! I've given it a name! It's a syndrome now, a pandemic!

    Second, what is your threshold for determining problems? If we elect a black president, but a dozen guys on a Klan message board call him the N-word, does that mean we have a race problem? Heck, the fact that anyone, anywhere disagrees with you must be evidence of dozens of disturbing trends in this benighted land of ours.

    Let me suggest to you that the Internet 1.) Is not a representative sample of anything 2.) Is a cesspool of infinite horror.

    Let me further suggest that if you think about it, you'll realize that using small, self-selecting samples to make broad-brush judgments is a bad idea, and you're only doing it here because it fits your desired conclusion.

    Here's some things for you to Google. Zoo, the movie. Swap.avi. NAMBLA.

    And a quiz for when you finish: Do "we" have a problem with horse-on-man-love, scat porn, and pedophilia, or are some members of the human race simply strange and sometimes evil people?

    Excellent. So now we have reduced all boorish behavior to comparisons with pedophillia and bestiality. That raises the level of the discusion, let me tell you, yes sir-ee bob.

    You seem to be under some unfortunate delusion that I'm new or inexperienced around here.

    I respectfully suggest that if the word "slut-shaming" was new to you, that you are insufficiently educated in sexual harrassment and gender abuse issues in the modern world.

    Regarding thresholds; Sure, one small group in a corner can always project a bad image without there being a general problem. In this case, discussion boards of the organization and external ones frequented by its members both launched and widely (but not universally) supported obvious, ignorant, and by employment law terms as it's been explained to me actionable sexual based harassment (creating a hostile working environment). This was not one or two people; it was a large vocal group within a small (1,800 person) organization, on the organization's primary discussion channels.

  161. George William Herbert says:

    Ken:

    Naturally mentioning Tor is not as bad as mentioning Gor.

    Sadly, I don't know if there's any response to this that will not simply make this discussion worse. Bravo, Ken!

  162. DeadLenny says:

    Being in publishing, Fodera should know better than to bitch about mangled quotes. Publishers do it all the time: a crap novel gets a negative review, so the publishers, using lots of ellipses, will cut up the bad review to make it look positive. Yeah, the reviewer used the words that show up on the book jacket, but lots of words have been cut out and replaced by ". . ."

    So a reviewer might write, "This book is dull, with no sense of adventure and completely lacking in excitement. Keep it as a doorstop for your laundry room!" The book jacket will read, "This book is…adventure and… excitement. Keep it…!"

    So that's how that works. Sorry Fodera, you're in the wrong line of work to be whining about misquotes.

  163. Dr.,

    They may be lagging, but they sure as hell are indicators. I don't dispute that in 30 years things are likely to be different, but I also think it is rather ridiculous to dismiss out of hand the fact that these enormously powerful groups of people are so disproportionately male *now*.

    But so what if they are? Women are the rising class, so to speak. The existence of male super-majorities at the top of the food chain is perhaps evidence of past discrimination; those men got there because they were afforded opportunities 30-50 years ago. Today, however, women are ahead in everything that counts. (Which I'm sure is just evidence of women's natural superiority once unleashed on a level playing field). The existence of past beneficiaries of a male-centric system of education and employment means nothing today; the numbers tell us women are ahead of men.

    George,

    Excellent. So now we have reduced all boorish behavior to comparisons with pedophillia and bestiality. That raises the level of the discusion, let me tell you, yes sir-ee bob.

    No, the common thread here is Internet behavior. Since you're not new here, you're aware that the Internet is a weird and a wild place. And since you seem unwilling to draw larger trends about society from any of the things I mentioned, I do wonder why you don't hesitate to do so in regards to the SFWA. Forgive me if I doubt that an organization that expelled Vox Day and is headed by John Scalzi is rife with ism. Unless you think Scalzi was elected on the votes of unreconstructed Confederates. I do not argue that Fodera was a boor. I do strenuously object to the notion that you can draw any meaningful conclusions from this episode.

    I respectfully suggest that if the word "slut-shaming" was new to you, that you are insufficiently educated in sexual harrassment and gender abuse issues in the modern world.

    It's not new. I just find that it's more useful for obfuscation than argument. It's a conversation stopper.

    Kateality,

    Notice that I haven't mentioned privilege. That's because it's been turned into a bit of a dirty word, so I use it sparingly. Privilege is why men can say that they don't know anyone who's sexist, or white people can say that they have never seen racism. The -isms exist as patterns, not isolated events. The fact that you do not personally experience the pattern means that you are unlikely to notice subtle incidents of it in your day-to-day interactions. That is what privilege is. When someone uses that word, they are indicating that your personal experience is not the be-all-and-end-all, and asking you to look beyond.

    Thank you so much for your patience with us clumsy men. I shall endeavor not to see your condescension as an insult, but rather as a gentle invitation for me to grow.

    When someone uses that word, they are indicating that your personal experience is not the be-all-and-end-all, and asking you to look beyond. It's not an insult, or if it is, it shouldn't be. It's a request that you consider that not all experiences are the same as yours.

    Implicit in this statement is the notion that the opinions of the less-privileged should be, well, privileged. Odd, that.

  164. sinij says:

    @Dr. Nobel Dynamite

    How many US CEOs are Irish? Would you say that because we still discriminate against Irish in the US? Now, how many US CEOs are Jewish? Would you say that we have some affirmative-action going?

    Or perhaps there are other factors at play and you can't make general societal trend generalization at looking by looking at such small subset of people.

    Plus, are you suggestion that only people that made to C-level position/Senate should be used as a measure of success, with the rest of us judged failures?

    You are trying to establish that women are still discriminated against. How about you look at the professional salaries adjusted for equal work experience and education, this is much more meaningful comparison than CEOs/Senators.

  165. HamOnRye says:

    @ Dr Noble Dynamite

    C'mon…let's be serious here. You really don't think the fact that approximately 95% of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, or that 80% of the U.S. Senate are men is evidence that there may be some systemic issues of sexism left in our country? Really?

    You seem to have a theory on the subject so lets hear it. Also while your at please tell us about your experience as a manager dealing with hiring, promotions, succession plans, and how that is used to discriminate against women.

  166. Mark - Lord of the Albino Squirrels says:

    Today, however, women are ahead in everything that counts.

    Like pay?

  167. Badland says:

    @ sinji

    How many US CEOs are Irish? Would you say that because we still discriminate against Irish in the US? Now, how many US CEOs are Jewish?

    Gah. Dumb. What percentage of Americans are Irish? What percentage of Americans are Jewish? What percentage of Americans are women?

    Oo! Google! Hello, how are you? What's that you say? 2.2% of Americans are Jewish, 11.9% are Irish and 50.8% are women? But 50% of the Jewish people and 50% of the Irish people are female?

    So women are even more under-represented than Sinji suggests?

    How interesting

  168. Sinij says:

    Yes, there is still pay inequality. However it isn't huge – 93c on a dollar. See:
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2013/04/09/are-women-catching-up-in-pay/

    It is much less than for example new immigrant wage gap, or college degree vs. high school, or even parents vs. career-only track.

    Compare that to Afghanistan, where getting stoned to death as a consequence and in addition to getting gang-raped is a real risk women must face.

    In US all you have to complain about these days are overhearing dongle jokes at the conferences. I am not kidding, that was a huge gender discrimination 'crisis' couple months back.

  169. Mark - Lord of the Albino Squirrels says:

    all you have to complain about these days are overhearing dongle jokes at the conferences.

    Or about you pay being cut by (your figures) 7%.

  170. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    @Not Claude Akins

    Today, however, women are ahead in everything that counts.

    Except, of course, the examples I provided demonstrate that isn't true. No on is arguing that the world of today is very different than the world of 50 years ago, and is likely very different than the world will be in 50 years. But to argue that there every single systemic example of sexism has been eliminated is just silly.

    @sinij

    Plus, are you suggestion that only people that made to C-level position/Senate should be used as a measure of success, with the rest of us judged failures?

    Yeah, that's a very reasonable interpretation of what I wrote.

    @HamOnRye

    You seem to have a theory on the subject so lets hear it.

    My theory is a controversial one: I don't think every vestige of systemic sexism has been eliminate from our society. Crazy, huh?

  171. Sinij says:

    How come US lack of maternity/paternity leave doesn't enter these conversations? Oh wait, this real issue could not be easily framed in us vs. them terms. You would rather complain about Internet being inconsiderate to someone's delicate sensibilities.

    I don't think every vestige of systemic sexism has been eliminate from our society.

    Oh, I agree with you. Divorce courts and debtor's prison for missing support/alimony payments is outright barbaric and still stuck in 50s-era thinking. It is very systematically discriminative. Does that qualify as "vestige of systemic sexism"? So how come none of the -isms movements want to talk about it?

  172. Yendor says:

    I'm confused about the so-called "Preferred First Speaker Doctrine". Which of these are examples of possibly boorish people exercising their right to free speech, and which are examples of censorious people who should be condemned on general principles?

    (1) A boorish person who posts something inflammatory?

    (2) People reacting to #1 and saying (s)he should not have posted what (s)he did?

    (3) People reacting to #2 and saying they should not have posted what (s)he did?

    (4) What popehat seems to be doing: Saying it is OK for the people in #2 to criticise #1, but it is not OK for the people in #3 to criticise #2?

  173. Castaigne says:

    @Ken White:

    Somehow I'll soldier on.

    Do not take my admittedly strong opinions to heart as a criticism of you specifically; I assure you they are not and that I have nothing but the deepest respect for you and what you do. You don't need me to tell you that do good work in the name of free speech and defense of the rights of everyone, regardless of their political persuasions. I don't care WHY you do that good work or what impulses it stems from; all that matters to me are your actions and I haven't seen you step wrong in the two years I've lurked.

    @Darryl:

    Worse yet, Ken, you are associated with, gasp, lawyers

    I actually respect attorneys by default more than I do most other professions.

    @Joe Blow: an independent variable with respect to the question of whether the SFWA has been co-opted by a bunch of people who want to use politically correct mau-mauing to silence dissent on their fora

    That's just it. It hasn't.

    I'm terribly sorry, but these ideas that the – let's call them dissenters, to be polite – that the dissenters hold as to what is acceptable in terms of public discourse seems to be firmly mired in the 1970s and 1980s. It was acceptable then to refer to lady editors and how good they looked in bikinis in a professional association's magazine then. It was acceptable for Harlan Ellison to go around championing civil rights and then get in a grope or six if he wanted.

    It's not acceptable now. You can't get away with it on the Internet outside of your own private hidey-holes. You can't get away with it in public anymore. You can't do it in a corporation. And you can't do it in the majority of professional associations that are not still dominated by white male Christian guys like me.

    In IT, we've been able to get away with it for a long time. In the geek world, we've been able to get away with it for a long time. Now the time has come when the piper is to be paid. You can't get away from that. (And that timeline doesn't even cover POC.)

    It's a bit ironic that science fiction, once a genre used to explore the implications of new technology and sociology is becoming doctrinaire

    Doctrinaire? Really?

    I'm trying to think of how the works of Charles Stross, Alistair Reynolds, Peter F. Hamilton, Cory Doctorow, Iain Banks, etc., are doctrinaire. I don't think you've been reading much current science fiction lately. Or you have solely been reading Baen products.

    but I guess that was inevitable with the rise of fantasy fic (which I find often to be a boring combination of rape fantasy and sword porn pupl)

    Yes, the work of Scott Lynch, Neil Gaiman, Jim Butcher, R. Scott Bakker, Joe Aber Crombie, K. J. PArker, and Paul Kearney is rape fantasy and sword porn. Sure.

    How about not?

    That doesn't even begin to cover the works Lord Dunsany, E. R. Eddings, John Carroll, Jack Vance, Ursula K. LeGuin, Ken Grimwood, Michael Moorcock, Ray Bradbury, Fritz Leiber…the list goes on and on. You don't know what you're talking about here. Especially since the "rise of fantasy fic" began around 1900.

    One wonders where a hard sci fi author goes to get published these days, to the extent he's still interested in getting words onto paper.

    Define "hard". Alistair Reynolds writes hard SF and he's published by Gollancz. If you're talking about "Horatio Hornblower IN SPACE" material or other popcorn like that, Baen's your company.

    Used to be a good genre but it's hard finding authors worth reading now.

    Then frankly? You're not looking very hard.

    @Iamcuriousblue:

    Well, nice conspiracy theory, but Cathy Young's article actually presents an effective argument, one that stands until an intelligent, evidence-based rebuttal is provided.

    *erases what has been written in response*

    I had a nice long rebuttal here for you, documenting the various woo Cathy Young has been involved in, how she believes feminism herself is a Communist conspiracy and so on, and how the argument in the link she provides has been disproven…but your comments here indicate you are trolling instead of actually caring about a response.

    So tell me why I should bother with you?

    @Not Claude Akins:

    How about "hate the sin, not the sinner?"

    You are what you believe. You are what you say. You are what you think. The two cannot be separated.

    I'm not convinced that formally shunning them all (rather than calmly refuting their ideas) is at all a productive pursuit.

    Because calmly refuting the ideas of Jim Crow worked so well? Or the Moral Majority? Or various Communist dictators? You know, in my 36 years of life, I have never seen ONCE where calmly refuting anything worked by itself. At all. I haven't read of any period in the 20th Century where it worked by itself either. It always took some force, whether that be in the form of shunning, burning the witches, protesting, civil disobedience, revolution, criticism, or just plain kicking some ass.

    I think you underestimate the truculence of your opponents, sir.

    Besides, wouldn't you rather convert Fodera to your way of thinking than drive him to some quiet corner of the internet where he'll only congregate with like minds?

    You will never convert Fodera. Ever. I guarantee it. Just like I could never convince my grandparents to stop referring to black people as n—– or Negros.

    But too many people here want to purge all dissent from the public square, in ways that I think are detrimental to everyone. Silencing all the MRAs isn't a boon for feminism, IMHO.

    I don't want to purge all dissent from the public square. Not at all. I want these people to speak. You see, I want to know who the fuckers are. I want 'em loud and proud.

    And then, when they say stuff like "Irreversibly infected feminists need to die their ideals, all of it. Each one of them is a rotten ticking time bomb who does not deserve a man.", I reserve the right to give them a verbal fist to the nose in response. And then take whatever actions I deem fit that are legal to punish their ass.

    So you have a problem with, and I quote, a "neologism used to describe the act of making any person feel guilty or inferior for certain sexual behaviors or desires that deviate from traditional or orthodox gender expectations, or that which may be considered to be contrary to natural or religious law"?

    Are you saying that it should be totally to make a person feel guilty and inferior for those reasons? Or just that there shouldn't be a term for it?

    Second, what is your threshold for determining problems?

    That is personal to each person. Each person will have a different threshold. Whether or not that threshold is accepted by others depends on the societal viewpoint of the time.

    If we elect a black president, but a dozen guys on a Klan message board call him the N-word, does that mean we have a race problem?

    I consider it so. I consider that Stormfront is even populated by one person is a problem.

    Let me suggest to you that the Internet 1.) Is not a representative sample of anything 2.) Is a cesspool of infinite horror.

    1) The Internet is representative of Western culture and what it has produced. It is a direct product of Western culture and mirrors it.

    2) The WORLD is a cesspool of infinite horror. If you haven't realized that by now, you haven't paid enough attention to your fellow man.

    Do "we" have a problem with horse-on-man-love, scat porn, and pedophilia, or are some members of the human race simply strange and sometimes evil people?

    Horse-on-man love? Scat porn? Not my taste, but no, -I- don't have a problem with it. In most states those things are legal. If I had a problem with it, I'd campaign to make it illegal, but I don't have a logical reason for doing that.

    Pedophilia? Yes, -I- have a very large problem with it, considering it involves sexual abuse with someone who does not have an ability to consent.

    Get back to me in 30 years, when there are approximately 7 blue collar jobs left in the country and 70 million men competing for them.

    Might be a surprise, but I don't give a fuck about 30 years from now. I concern myself with the here and now and I'm not interested in playing Taoist Buddha and contemplating my navel while the future happens. Sorry.

    On the side-topic of blue collar jobs? Those are going away. People need to upgrade and do different things. Those that can't? Well, in IT, the obsolete go ahead and self-delete. Sorry.

    @Kateality: Awesome response. You've said it much better than I ever could.

    @sinjj:

    Winning cultural war gracefully is knowing where to stop when you achieved your goals.

    I wouldn't say the goals have been met yet.

    Sure, it still not perfectly equal in all aspects – but it goes both ways and balances out.

    I disagree entirely.

    I hope that if someone is being a sexist moron via regrettable practice of engaging in a sexist moron speech acts that they receive VERBAL mockery and not OTHER KINDS of consequences.

    Nah, I'm all in favor of kicking the fuckers out of my store. I don't want them in my place of business. Or my home. Or on forums I frequent.

    If you want to tolerate them, that's your business. Just don't be surprised when they shit where you sleep. *shrug*

    Do I personally think that there are still systemic sexism issues in this country? No.

    And there a lot of people that would disagree with you and say that yes, there are still systemic sexism issues in existence in this country. Just as many say that institutional racism still exists.

  174. neverjaunty says:

    @Yendor, yes, some confusion there, perhaps magnified by your use of "not ok".

    If the boor in #1 characterizes her statements as free speech, and the statements of the people in #2 as censorship, a lynch mob, and so on, that is the PFSD.

    If the people in #3 say that the people in #2 should not criticize because that might hurt Boor's feelings, so that she does not say boorish things in the future, that is the PFSD.

    If all we have is a chain of people saying to the group of people ahead of them "I think what you said is stupid and offensive!" there is no use of the PFSD.

  175. Yendor says:

    @neverjaunty I'm still not understanding because what you are saying seems extremely hypocritical to me. Both the people in #2 and #3 are posting the same message "Hey you previous poster. That was a stupid comment and you should not have posted it. I think worse of you for having read it."

    You seem to be saying that whether or not such a comment qualifies as legitimate free speech depends on whom it is targeted to.

  176. Kateality says:

    Not that they should be privileged – just that they should be considered. My comment was in reply to those who seem to think that merely raising the concept of privilege is accusatory and insulting. If you're already familiar with the fact this is not the case, my explanation of term wasn't necessary for you.

  177. Xennady says:

    Interesting – the "campaign to eliminate Heteronormative and Gender Normative languange in SciFi" is actually simply a series of articles on Tor.com from an author (who doesn't even have any authority with the publisher) who's merely interested in highlighting works of fiction that don't conform to the gender binary.

    Hmmm. Interested in highlighting works of fiction that don't conform to the gender binary. Well, here are the first few words from the author of that series of articles, from the Tor.com website Jan 21 2014:

    I want an end to the default of binary gender in science fiction stories.

    But I'm sure the author has no authority with the publisher. Nope, none at all. It's just a coincidence that her writings appear on the publisher's website, as one of the official bloggers of the site. I'm sure it's also a coincidence that on first page of the comment thread a moderator stepped to warn someone not to challenge the goodthink when they expressed disagreement with the idea that ending "the default of binary gender in science fiction stories" was a key goal of science fiction.

    If Ford Motor Company paid someone to stand around in a klu klux klan sheet and exclaim about the quality of Ford motor cars- gosh- somehow I'd sort of figure Ford was sort of endorsing the klan. I'm sure the guy in the sheet wouldn't be running Ford, though. And when Tor.com has someone express a fringe idea on their website- well, I'm thinking Tor.com endorses it.

    I note, by the way, that I'm calling it a fringe idea not because I don't want any gay or different-gendered characters in SF- but 1) because there already plenty of those now 2) and because eliminating the most common way people describe themselves just to make some strange political point is just stupid.

    Plainly Tor.com can have anyone they want blog on their site, and if they want to proselytize for ending the default of binary gender in SF, go for it.

    But I find it rather tiresome that the professional leftists who run so many of the institutions of American culture seem to think it's still 1950, requiring endless and tiresome efforts to enlighten the misogynist racist hordes infecting flyoverland, and I'm tired of them shoehorning their politics into everything they touch.

    Give it a rest.

  178. Mark - Lord of the Albino Squirrels says:

    But if even Slate (and Hanna "End of Men" Rosin) say the pay gap is a myth, I'm feeling like it might be a myth.

    The 23% gap, yes. None of your articles says *a* gap is a myth.

    If you'd like, we can use the smallest figure for the gap I've been able to find. The American Enterprise Institute usually goes with a gap around 5% – the same one Hoff cites. Coincidentally, that is also the smallest one I can find being cited by, well, anyone or supported by any academic work.

    The question still remains, how is 5% – or .001% from a study I just made up – mean that women are ahead on pay?

    Or did you mean that pay does not count?

  179. DeadLenny says:

    From Kateality:

    Privilege is why men can say that they don't know anyone who's sexist, or white people can say that they have never seen racism.

    Daaaang. Privilege must also mean someone owns their own spaceship, because they aren't familiar with this planet. I just… I can't wrap my brain around the idea of anyone claiming to have never once met a single woman-hating creep, or a yahoo racist redneck asshole, ever. Kateality, have you ever met someone who made this claim? Did you check the sonofabitch for a pulse? Cos he's either new to this world, or runs on batteries. There's too many scumbags on this planet to have miraculously avoided them past the age of, say, five.

    But anyway.

    So I've done a lot of link-hopping reading up on this Fodera guy, I've gone through the comments here — okay, I sort of skimmed, there are some in-jokes that went over my head, and also what seem to be long-running tiffs — and really, trying to define this guy down has become way too complex. Screw the analysis and the long-winded definitions. I can explain, rather succinctly, what Sean P. Fodera's problem is.

    He's a fuckin' creep.

    I mean, c'mon, why complicate things? He's a complete tool that has issues with women. Heh, like those pictures of Mary Kowal he's all torqued about. Okay, it's a woman on the beach with her husband wearing a white sun dress. (Mary's wearing the sun dress, not her husband.) Yeah, and? Hup, she doesn't have shoes on either: that's gonna alienate her Amish readers. Shit, if Fodera thinks those shots are risqué, for chrissake, nobody let him see the "Undergarments" section of a Montgomery Ward catalog. He'll either join some militant anti-pornography group or suffer from terminal priapism. Or both, given his borderline misogyny.

    He's a great example of something I noticed reading the sci-fi boards: you're dealing with a depressing amount of dudes who, mentally, are still stuck in seventh grade. They're right on the cusp of "girls are icky!" and "girls intrigue me but I have no idea what to do with one." The end result is a psychological state where these guys find women attractive… But they've never really worked out what to do about it, and that pisses them off. So it's not their fault they're social retards, it's womens' fault, all of them, for having the gall to be interesting. (And heaven help the woman who dresses cute. She must be nothing but a slut.)

    And it only seems to get uglier when this cluster of dorks with embryonic social skills and bad breath have "their" turf invaded by anything carrying two X chromosomes. The usual "they're all bitches" under-the-breath muttering morphs into panic, drawbridges are quickly built and raised, and, while the phrase "Get outta here, ya goddamn cunt!" may not actually manifest itself in public areas of the internet, female writers will have every detail of their lives examined as fodder for ad hominem attacks.

    So yeah, to me, that's where it stands. To understand the psyche of a tragic percentage of sci-fi writers and fans, all you gotta do is think back to seventh grade. Think about what the boys were like. Now give them jobs, larger vocabularies, internet connections, and in a few cases, writing contracts.

    There, got that out of my system. The line for complaints forms below. And if you think I swear too much when I write, um, you can fuck off.

  180. Xennady says:

    My theory is a controversial one: I don't think every vestige of systemic sexism has been eliminate from our society. Crazy, huh?

    My theory: people who agree with you will never believe every vestige of systematic sexism has been eliminated from our society, no matter what.

    It just can't be done. No way, no how. So you end up clubbing the bleached bones of the patriarchy into ever finer bits of dust.

    Newsflash: That horse is dead. Please notice.

  181. neverjaunty says:

    @Yendor, what you're missing is that both #2 and #3 (and Boor, for that matter) are engaging in free speech. However, if #2 then turns to #3 and says "Your saying that is not an exercise of free speech; it is censorship because now I have SADFEELS", then #2 is engaging in PFSD. That is because #2 is claiming that their exercise of free speech now converts other types of free speech – ie stuff directed at #2 – to not-free-speech.

    If this is still opaque, I dunno, maybe it will make more sense if you read Ken's lengthy post on the topic as he coined the term and explains it well.

  182. neverjaunty says:

    @Joe Blow, you're obviously a thoughtful reader. Therefore I am sure you understand the importance of words, and than language has meaning. It is a little odd to see you snipe about metaphor – since bad and sloppy metaphor does, in fact, make for poor argument (and bad writing). More specifically and as Ken has pointed in, oh, several posts, using melodramatic, exaggerated terms, such as describing "public criticisms of a person's public statements" as a witch hunt, a lynch mob, Kristallnacht, etc. does not make a powerful and convincing statement so much as it demonstrates the speaker has a massive lack of perspective. (And, depending on the speaker, e.g. a rich dude comparing mocking his ex-wife's landscaping to Nazi violence, a clear need to open the Strategic Clue Reserve.)

    TL;DR: describing public criticism of public remarks in overwrought terms may not be as effective as hoped.

    I genuinely have no idea where you're getting the stuff about sexist slurs, ad hominems or a dislike of Tor as a publisher from. Perhaps you are confusing me with someone else, or you meant Baen? (Which I don't have an opinion on as a whole, other than they have ugly covers.) Angry Robot is putting out some good stuff if you are looking for a new publishing brand, though.

  183. Xennady says:

    Notice that I haven't mentioned privilege. That's because it's been turned into a bit of a dirty word, so I use it sparingly. Privilege is why men can say that they don't know anyone who's sexist, or white people can say that they have never seen racism. The -isms exist as patterns, not isolated events. The fact that you do not personally experience the pattern means that you are unlikely to notice subtle incidents of it in your day-to-day interactions. That is what privilege is. When someone uses that word, they are indicating that your personal experience is not the be-all-and-end-all, and asking you to look beyond. It's not an insult, or if it is, it shouldn't be. It's a request that you consider that not all experiences are the same as yours. I'm never going to ask you to feel guilty about the system – you didn't create it. But if you refuse to acknowledge that it exists, then you're perpetuating it, and I might ask you to open your mind a little.

    So in other words privilege is all around us, at all times, like wifi or nitrogen.

    The thing is, I use wifi, and I believe the scientific arguments for the existence of nitrogen.

    I believe in nitrogen. And wifi too, even though I can't see either of them.

    This privilege of which you speak- sorry, my faith fails me. When I see someone telling me to ignore my lyin' eyes to believe in something I don't see existing, and which hasn't been proven, but which will have the likely effect of costing me plenty o' money- nope.

    I ain't seeing it.

  184. Xennady says:

    Heh, like those pictures of Mary Kowal he's all torqued about.

    I appreciate your fealty to leftist goodthink, but I also think you have a point.

    I don't see how anyone can honorably object to the pictures Mary Kowal posted. This Fodera guy plainly seems to be something of an asshat.

    But I'd like to get something out of my system too. I'd never heard of either this Fodera-guy or Mary Kowal- or Alex MacFarlane or Larry Correia either. I know of Sarah Hoyt- another SF author- only because Glenn Reynolds let her post on his site while he was on vacation. And a link at her site led me to Larry Correia.

    Something is wrong there. I grew up reading SF but at some point I just stopped paying attention to the genre as a whole. Just too much politics, too much message fiction, too much bad writing.

    That said, I'm always looking for good stuff to read. So it sure would be nice if the SF community could stuff a sock in the politics for long enough to come up with a way to introduce good writing to potential customers. I don't see that existing now, as what I see from the groups such as the SFWA is just more of the endless leftist drivel that I find so tedious.

    http://parahumans.wordpress.com/

    For example I just happened to discover the fabulous writing and wonderful storytelling of this particular author by random unlikely chance.

    Again, it sure would be nice if the organized SF community would work harder at connecting authors with potential customers.

    I just don't see that now. In my opinion that's because the official SF community is much more interested in politics than storytelling.

    That's failure, in my opinion.

  185. Cat G says:

    It's good to see, reading through these comments, that despite "nerd culture" really taking off, the common stereotyping of science fiction readers, writers, and general fans is still so locked into depressing little boy men that never managed to make it past 7th grade and all of whose opinions can be described in the words "socially stunted" or "awkward".

    And no one finds it the least ironic to make that point while simultaneously arguing over the issues of gender inequality.

    Can't we all, more or less, just try to live by Wil Wheaton's (yeah, I know, I'm shocked too) perennial dictum to "Try not to be a dick"?

    (Yes, discrimination based on gender is a horrible thing, and probably more damaging than generalized stereotyping of SFF fans. But it's all linked to the same basic behavior pattern. If you are against one, don't do the other. Don't suggest equal treatment for all and then in the next breath denigrate on the basis of the same kind of small-minded, over-generalized tripe you were just complaining about.)

  186. Adam Lipkin says:

    Xennady — Wouldn't the two big awards (Nebula and Hugo) work as a good way to introduce folks to new stuff (ditto for the Shamus and Edgar in mystery, the RITA in romance, and the National Book Award/Booker Prize in literary fiction)? Kowal was a finalist for the Nebula, for example, and it seems like looking at the lists of nominees would be a good place to start.

    (That said, SF/F genre has split into a lot more subgenres than it used to have; I'd argue that not being able to keep up with all the big works is a feature, not a bug, as different niches continue to be filled.)

  187. Richard says:

    @Xennady:

    So in other words privilege is all around us, at all times, like wifi or nitrogen.

    The thing is, I use wifi, and I believe the scientific arguments for the existence of nitrogen.

    I believe in nitrogen. And wifi too, even though I can't see either of them.

    This privilege of which you speak- sorry, my faith fails me. When I see someone telling me to ignore my lyin' eyes to believe in something I don't see existing, and which hasn't been proven, but which will have the likely effect of costing me plenty o' money- nope.

    I ain't seeing it.

    Which, of course, is the entire thing about "privilege." Those who have it can't see it.

    Here's a metaphor for privilege:
    You drive to work one day. The roads are in pretty good condition: there are two potholes you come across because of recent weather conditions, but you're able to maneuver your car around them easily.

    You meet a coworker from a part of town with historically bad road conditions, though they have improved recently. He says, "Damn, the roads are bad out there! I hit two potholes on the way to work today!"

    Privilege is assuming that you are in as good a position as he is to assess his road conditions. Privilege might lead you to conclude that, since he hit the same number of potholes that you avoided, that he is a bad driver.

    Acknowledging privilege is nothing more than saying "Maybe, having driven down a different road than he has, I should give more credit to his assessment of his road conditions before concluding that any problems he encounters along the way are his own fault."

  188. stillnotking says:

    C'mon…let's be serious here. You really don't think the fact that approximately 95% of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, or that 80% of the U.S. Senate are men is evidence that there may be some systemic issues of sexism left in our country? Really?

    Well, I'm an empiricist, so I tend to answer questions like this by examining the historical record. In nearly every human culture, past and present, men disproportionately occupy positions of civil, economic, and military authority. ("Nearly every" is an understatement, in fact — the exceptions are rare and ambiguous enough that one can dispute whether they existed at all.) Now, it's possible that cultural sexism is coincidentally prevalent in thousands of societies, separated by enormous time and distance, and having little to nothing else in common, but that seems unlikely. On the other hand, it's possible that there are biologically-based physical and behavioral differences between the sexes that make one of them, in general, less interested, less suited, or both, at clawing their way to the top of dominance hierarchies.

    The latter explanation has the virtue of being extremely plausible — so plausible that our recent ancestors would have regarded it as just obvious — but the fatal flaw of being injurious to some people's feelings, therefore unacceptable in the modern age. (Even though it shouldn't be, since within-group variation always exceeds between-group, and population averages say nothing about a given individual, e.g. Angela Merkel or Hillary Clinton.)

  189. HamOnRye says:

    @ Dr Nobel Dynamite

    My theory is a controversial one: I don't think every vestige of systemic sexism has been eliminate from our society. Crazy, huh?

    I might have known that you would attempt to weasel out of the question when pressed.

    Smearing the process when you have no concept of how it operates, and how these positions are obtained is dishonest. Is this more of your slavish adherence to your so called "right thinking"?

    How does your right thinking deal with the public school systems? Pick a dozen elementary schools and go look at the ratio of women to men in this profession. By your method, we clearly have a rampant systematic vestige of sexism.

  190. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    @HamOnRye

    I might have known that you would attempt to weasel out of the question when pressed.

    I'm not quite sure that level of unpleasantness is warranted, but in any event, I'm not trying to avoid the question, I just have no "theory" more controversial than I stated. I think the facts that less than 5% of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and 20% of the Senate, are women are pretty good indicators that there are probably vestiges of institutional sexism remaining in our society.

    Smearing the process when you have no concept of how it operates, and how these positions are obtained is dishonest.

    I don't think that taking the position that a very large imbalance in the representation of women in these two particular (very powerful) groups is good evidence of systemic sexism (or even the remnants of systemic sexism) is "smearing" anything.

    Is this more of your slavish adherence to your so called "right thinking"?

    You'll have to help me out here. You appear to be quoting me as advocating (with slavish adherence, no less) "so-called 'right thinking,'" but I don't recall doing so. Could you provide the context in which I slavishly adhered to something I called "right thinking?"

    On the chance you're referring to my dislike of people being dicks to one another through bigotry of one kind or another, I'll happily cop to that.

  191. Some Dude Passing By says:

    Nobel Dynamite has just illustrated one of the classic tactics of a certain type of internet warrior.

    1. Make a supposedly subtle smug, condescending insult in your post that the opponent actually couldn't possibly miss

    2. Wait for the opponent to make a less subtle insulting post in reply

    3. Gasp in surprise and sadness that the opponent has taken this high-minded discussion to a place of ad hominem

    4. Cluck tongue, congratulate self for moral superiority

  192. neverjaunty says:

    @Xennady, do you have any suggestions of how SFWA might promote members ' works in ways it is not already doing? Promoting SFF is a fine idea, though I admit I find your complaints a bit odd; you 'stopped paying attention' to the genre, so it's perhaps unsurprising that you would not notice or come across new works other than by random chance.

  193. pharniel says:

    @stillnotking

    Ahh…Sexual dimorphism – the Thinking Sexists choice. It allows you to employ words like 'empiricist' and quote vaguely scholarly studies and engage the time honored "Differences will always exist so you shouldn't bother this is just the natural order" coupled with "..and really it's not so bad here so what are you complaining about.." derail and dismiss combo.

    Really it's the John Birch Society of sexism to the MRA's KKK.

    I want to thank the late entry for "WHAT ABOUT THE MENZ" with all the divorce talk – it completed my Bingo sheet. I'd say that it was hard to put together and required viewing countless of these threads but the simple matter is that MRAs, 'Dark Enlightenment' and theocratic websites and forums will hand you the list of techniques to use – most of the time in what order.

  194. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    @Some Dude Passing By

    If you could point out who you believe I insulted with what comment, I will happily consider whether an apology is necessary. I'm not interested in trolling, I just happen to disagree with a couple people's expressed opinions.

  195. Dictatortot says:

    DeadLenny's post pretty much wins this thread (laying aside some overly scattered fire at the expense of the many socially hapless nerds who HAVEN'T taken out their disappointments on women). Fodera doesn't seem to merit the time of day–neither as a man nor as a would-be litigant.

    But even a creep's enemies can be horrible in their own right, and it doesn't sound–to put it mildly–as if the SFWA is in particularly good hands right now. If not for his thumbless attempt at legal threats, I'd consider him little worse a person than the above-cited Mr. McFarlane … and I'd certainly wonder about an organization where the latter wasn't as heartily ostracized as the former.

  196. stillnotking says:

    @pharniel – I'm neither an MRA, nor a reactionary, nor a sexist, but even if I were, your post would still be content-free ad hominem.

  197. Edward says:

    Ahh…Sexual dimorphism – the Thinking Sexists choice. It allows you to employ words like 'empiricist' and quote vaguely scholarly studies and engage the time honored "Differences will always exist so you shouldn't bother this is just the natural order" coupled with "..and really it's not so bad here so what are you complaining about.." derail and dismiss combo.

    No doubt, you are picketing the Olympics right now for their insistence that men and women be segregated in competition.

  198. A. Nagy says:

    @ Xennady

    http://parahumans.wordpress.com/

    I have probably said this before in the book recommendation thread but Worm is fantastic and everyone should click this link.

  199. Mike says:

    Stillnotking —

    In nearly every human culture, past and present, men disproportionately occupy positions of civil, economic, and military authority. ("Nearly every" is an understatement, in fact — the exceptions are rare and ambiguous enough that one can dispute whether they existed at all.)

    [W]ithin-group variation always exceeds between-group, and population averages say nothing about a given individual, e.g. Angela Merkel or Hillary Clinton.)

    "Nearly every" wasn't the important understatement — it was "disproportionately." Men did not disproportionately occupy those positions — they exclusively occupied them. Now juxtapose the fixed statement with your second statement — that there's enough within-group deviation that certain women would be quite qualified for high leadership levels. Those together should prove to you that the systems you "empirically" analyzed resulted from sexism.

    Personally, I agree that there are differences between the sexes, but those are mainly (if not solely) physical. And it doesn't surprise me at all that the physically stronger sex exclusively dominated societies, without regard to their suitability for leadership in other ways. Might as well look at unsupervised playgrounds and say that the larger bullies are more suited for leadership since they dominate all of them.

  200. stakkalee says:

    You know what I want? I want peace and love for everyone. I want a million dollars. I want to be able to enjoy a nice lobster (stupid shellfish allergy!) You know what I find rather tiresome? Shia Labeouf. Kneejerk reactions. Claiming a moderator is "warning someone not to challenge the goodthink" when in fact all they're doing is linking to the moderation policy. But what I find most tiresome is partisans in the culture wars complaining that the other side is being too mean, which behavior would be completely out of bounds for those selfsame partisans.

    Is Alex MacFarlane an editor at Tor? Does she have the power to hire and fire writers? Has Tor instituted a "no gendered pronouns" rule that they're forcing their writers to follow? Are they mandating a quota of a certain type of author? Have the announced any new initiatives to stamp out "wrongthink"? Are they ignoring their core market and alienating their shareholders? Does this "campaign" include anything more than a blogger (who could be unpaid for all I know; I couldn't find info about whether Tor.com pays their bloggers) and a moderator (again, possibly a volunteer) running a blog post that's just trying to highlight works that don't conform to the gender binary (and being ruthless in the comments section?) No? Then quit bellyaching.

    Look, I get it. Some fans just want "their" sci fi to go back to the good old days, when there was absolutely no politics in the stories and nobody pushed a certain viewpoint, nosiree. And yeah, it's a shame that all other publishers have been run into the ground, forcing everyone to patronize Tor for their sci fi needs. But that's the world we live in now; the culture wars are being won by those ruthless leftists, those hypocrites that say they want tolerance, but won't tolerate bigotry! It's truly a sadder, poorer world to live in, where unreconstructed misanthropes can't state "Dudes in dresses? Chicks with dicks? What a world!" without some uppity SJW being rhetorically violent and calling them out for their ignorance (a fate nearly as bad as being Kristalnachted!) Whole vistas of culture are being closed off to those misanthropes, who have no options, no alternatives – if only there was some way, some space, where those people could find each other and form a bulwark against those winds of change! O Tempora! O Mores!

    Whew, sorry. The sarcasm sort of got away from me at the end there. TLDR version: You want people to give it a rest? Quit fucking whining.

  201. c andrew says:

    The New and Improved Steve Dallas weighs in!

    http://www.cartoonistgroup.com/store/add.php?iid=85999

  202. stillnotking says:

    Men did not disproportionately occupy those positions — they exclusively occupied them.

    Instances of women assuming the highest leadership roles have always occasionally happened, even in the most male-dominated societies. Anyone who's played Civilization knows that there have been iconic female leaders around the world. It does, however, seem obvious that those women were farther from the mean than their male counterparts, who dramatically outnumber them.

    Personally, I agree that there are differences between the sexes, but those are mainly (if not solely) physical. And it doesn't surprise me at all that the physically stronger sex exclusively dominated societies, without regard to their suitability for leadership in other ways.

    That makes sense if you're talking about small, primitive societies, but modern polities from at least ancient Greece onward haven't generally chosen their leaders with tests of strength.

    Let me make it clear that both ancient and modern societies have very often been sexist when it comes to inheritance, educational opportunity, legal rights, etc., but that sexism seems much more likely to be a formalization of real biological difference than a creation out of thin air. No sane person today would argue for a return to any of that, but a sane person can certainly argue that men and women are unlikely ever to be equally represented in, say, the United States Senate, even if cultural sexism were completely eradicated.

  203. sinij says:

    @pharniel

    Yes, so what about discrimination against men? If your stated goal is to address all vestigial leftovers of sexual discrimination to achieve perfect gender equality in all aspects, shouldn't you attempt to do just that?

    Perhaps you are not being upfront about your goals and they are not quite the same as your claimed goals? Ether you are not trying to achieve perfect gender equality in all aspects due to pragmatic realization that this is impractical or you are not trying to achieve gender equality, instead you are advocating for/condoning retaliatory discrimination.

    So I will ask everyone again, how do you know when you won gender wars? When all men automatically assumed pedophile-rapists and require to register on the patriarchy-offenders list from birth?

  204. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    @stillnotking

    ancient and modern societies have very often been sexist when it comes to inheritance, educational opportunity, legal rights, etc., but that sexism seems much more likely to be a formalization of real biological difference than a creation out of thin air

    That's interesting. What biological difference(s) do you believe were being formalized by denying women inheritance rights, legal standing, and/or education?

    @sinij

    So I will ask everyone again, how do you know when you won gender wars? When all men automatically assumed pedophile-rapists and require to register on the patriarchy-offenders list from birth?

    And to think, there are some people who don't take MRAs very seriously.

  205. Some Dude Passing By says:

    >Ahh…Sexual dimorphism – the Thinking Sexists choice.

    Reality has a sexist bias.

  206. stillnotking says:

    What biological difference(s) do you believe were being formalized by denying women inheritance rights, legal standing, and/or education?

    I'd say the difference is encapsulated pretty well by what we think of as "traditional" roles for each gender — homemaking, parenting, socializing roles for women; military service, physical labor, and leadership roles for men. If one sex was, on average, even slightly better at or predisposed toward some of those roles, and the other sex toward the rest, the cold logic of division of labor demanded that limited resources be apportioned accordingly, even if one sex was substantially disadvantaged as a result. The story of evolving sex roles from hunter-gatherer times, to agricultural settlements, to the modern era is (IMO) largely a story of how that math has changed.

    Modern Westerners, living in a time and place of unbelievably vast material prosperity by historical standards, have the luxury of assigning significant value to individual preferences and liberties. That means we justly condemn sexism — we don't force women to be nurturers and men to be soldiers if they'd rather be something else — but it doesn't mean that the original difference has vanished. We can (and should!) insist that the sexes be equal, but we cannot insist they be alike.

  207. CJK Fossman says:
    When someone uses that word, they are indicating that your personal experience is not the be-all-and-end-all, and asking you to look beyond. It's not an insult, or if it is, it shouldn't be. It's a request that you consider that not all experiences are the same as yours.

    Implicit in this statement is the notion that the opinions of the less-privileged should be, well, privileged. Odd, that.

    Your inference engine is broken.

    When I see someone telling me to ignore my lyin' eyes to believe in something I don't see existing, and which hasn't been proven, but which will have the likely effect of costing me plenty o' money- nope.

    I ain't seeing it.

    So the weight of your wallet bends your vision in the same way the mass of a star bends a beam of light. Nice to know what drives you.

  208. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    @stillnotking

    I don't think that really answered my question. I asked about inheritance rights, legal standing, and education (because you raised them as examples of the formalization of biological differences). Why, for example, does the fact that men are generally more suited for military service and/or physical labor lead logically to women not being allowed legal standing or the right to inherit property?

  209. stillnotking says:

    Sorry, I thought I did answer, but maybe I wasn't clear. If the average man is a better leader than the average woman — or at least more ambitious; perhaps a crucial distinction — then, over time, men will become the leadership class, and (in a context of limited resources) women will be denied the educational opportunities and legal rights that would allow some of them to compete. Thus a baseline biological difference, however minor, becomes a wildly tilted playing field.

  210. HamOnRye says:

    I'm not quite sure that level of unpleasantness is warranted, but in any event, I'm not trying to avoid the question, I just have no "theory" more controversial than I stated. I think the facts that less than 5% of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and 20% of the Senate, are women are pretty good indicators that there are probably vestiges of institutional sexism remaining in our society.

    If being challenged on assertion is unpleasant you probably best prepare yourself for more of it.

    You asserted that simply by the ratio of men to women in these positions that is "evidence" that sexism exists in this country. For the sake of moving the argument along we will accept the numbers you have provided with regards to that ratio in CEO's and the senate.

    CEO's: 1 in 20 are women
    Senate: 1 in 5 are women

    So here is at least two data points that are part of the evidence.

    Now lets turn to my previous question, which you did not include in your response. Based on my current experience with the public education system the ratio is heavily tilted in women's favor. In the school that my children currently attend, we have a staff of 72 which runs the gambit from supervisors, teaching staff, and building services. Of that 72, one is a male who works the lunch line. I am willing to assume that there is local variation and my current experience is at one of the tails of the bell curve. We will be generous and call the average something considerably less, say 1 in 50.

    By your criteria alone 1 in 5 to 1 in 20 is likely a vestige of systematic discrimination on the basis of sex. Then 1 in 50 is not simply a vestige of sexual discrimination but a living breathing bastion of sexual hostility towards men that can only be explained through routine and systematic discrimination.

    Yet we to believe that you are so attuned to the culture injustices of our day that you see likely discrimination in the corporate and government, and have no background to share on the inner workings of promotions. And at the same time you completely missed the massive injustices in the education system and was unwilling to comment on it?

    You'll have to help me out here. You appear to be quoting me as advocating (with slavish adherence, no less) "so-called 'right thinking,'" but I don't recall doing so. Could you provide the context in which I slavishly adhered to something I called "right thinking?"

    Clark's Government Shut Down Parodies. Ring a bell?

  211. Kateality says:

    @Xennady what would constitute "proven" to you, with respect to privilege and the continued existence of sexism in the Western World? Women talking about their experiences with sexism? Empirical evidence about the incomes and career paths of men and women with similar skills and education? Both of those are out there in spades. All I'm trying to point out is that we all see our own little slice of the big picture, and that it's worthwhile to consider that your slice is not the only one worth seeing. I don't see how being open-minded to different people having different experiences is going to cost you a bunch of money, but, as the gentleman who came to my door last week to try and sell me some home maintenance services pointed out, maybe I should get my husband to take a look at it.

    @DeadLenny, you would probably be surprised how many people think that this stuff is in the past because they don't see it in their own social circles. "Don't see it" being the operative phrase.

  212. Lagaya1 says:

    stillnotking-

    The answer is that until very recently, women who got pregnant had no choice but to become mothers. That is very limiting to their abilities to do much else for a good number of years. Birth control is so recent. And the products (mainly infant formulas) that make it possible for a man to take over the primary parenting role are also very recent. Women now have choice, and now they can do it all. History has no power stop them. Saying it's always been that way doesn't work here.

  213. stillnotking says:

    The answer is that until very recently, women who got pregnant had no choice but to become mothers. That is very limiting to their abilities to do much else for a good number of years.

    If the sexes were alike, there would be no reason why men couldn't raise the children while women ran the government. One would think at least a few human societies in the history of the world would have arrived at that arrangement.

    If the sexes aren't alike, then you're making exactly the same point I am.

  214. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    @HamOnRye

    By your criteria alone 1 in 5 to 1 in 20 is likely a vestige of systematic discrimination on the basis of sex.

    I should have been more complete in my earlier response to you. I do think the fact that the overwhelming majority of teachers are women is evidence of a kind of systemic sexism. Now, where you posit that it is the result of a kind of "sexual hostility toward men," I think that the much more likely explanation has to do with the fact that the profession (much like nursing) was historically viewed as a women's profession (and one of the few available to women). I think that the disparity is due much less to a hostility toward men in the profession, but a cultural bias that tells men that that they don't belong there.

    Which, to be clear, I think is a bad thing. I think we'd be better off with more male teachers, and more male nurses.

    you are so attuned to the culture injustices of our day that you see likely discrimination in the corporate and government

    Not so much "so attuned," as "not willfully dismissive and/or obtuse." Friend, this isn't really rocket science, and I am frankly surprised that the rather pedestrian recognition that there are still some examples of systemic sexism left in our society is being met with such incredulity.

    Clark's Government Shut Down Parodies. Ring a bell?

    Hide the ball is an enormously tedious way to have a conversation. Please provide the source for you quoting me as referring, much less slavishly adhering, to "right thinking."

  215. Geoffrey says:

    @Wombat

    Pardon, but you are saying one thing but doing something entirely at odds with it. By "emphasizing your appearance", you acknowledge that your appearance is in fact a factor in the activity you have elected to participate in (job interview, posing on the beach). By extension, you are indeed inviting people to rate your appearance against whatever standard exists.

    Er, no. With the beach example I deliberately chose a scenario where my dress happens to emphasise my appearance without being chosen for that purpose. I choose my beachwear for a compromise of sun protection and mobility, not for "posing". The fact that it emphasises my appearance is foreseeable but not a motivation.

    Your assumption that anything that happens to emphasise appearance must have been chosen with that intention (hence inviting 'rating') is a big part of the problem. If a woman wears shorts that reveal her legs she MUST be doing it to get men to gawk at her legs, and not because it's hot or because her dress was in the wash or whatever other reason might apply. It's all about you, right?

    The job interview example there is a bit more nuanced: yes, I'm dressing with the intent of emphasising one particular aspect of my appearance. ("Looks like somebody who understands professional norms and is capable of following them.")

    But it's still not an invitation to rate me on OTHER aspects of my appearance; even if it makes my butt look good, it would be wildly inappropriate for an interviewer to comment on that. (And since I'm a dude, they don't.)

  216. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    @stillnotking

    If the average man is a better leader than the average woman — or at least more ambitious; perhaps a crucial distinction — then…

    Is this the biological difference you're pointing to, and if so, why are you couching it with "if?" Are they or aren't they?

  217. Edward says:

    Is this the biological difference you're pointing to, and if so, why are you couching it with "if?" Are they or aren't they?

    It's an interesting thought. "Better" leaders – that seems extremely vague and difficult to nail down. More ambitious? Maybe so. I'm always drawn to crime statistics because I work in crime. Men do outnumber women by huge margins in nearly all crimes (with the exceptions of things like abortion). Why would this be so? It seems unlikely that this is just a random occurrence.

  218. stillnotking says:

    I do believe the average man is a better leader than the average woman (and at least a standard deviation more ambitious). I believe that there are more men qualified to be effective leaders than there are women. I believe those statements would be true even in a society where men and women were fully equal.

    Lest there be any confusion, I don't believe that all men are better leaders than all women, or that the sexes of the candidates have any relevance in an election. (Men are, on average, taller than women, but ask me to pick the taller of two people and I'll pick based on who is taller, not who is a man.) My point is simply that relative representation in political office is not an accurate measurement of political equality. If we're waiting for there to be 50 US Senators who are women, we will be waiting a long time — probably forever. And not because of sexism.

  219. Lagaya1 says:

    stillnotking-

    My point was that what made a difference then, no longer does. Are you saying that in the past, that was not an issue? Because someone could have figured it out? They just did within the last hundred years or so. That's why things are changing.

  220. TM says:

    @Richard

    You drive to work one day. The roads are in pretty good condition: there are two potholes you come across because of recent weather conditions, but you're able to maneuver your car around them easily.

    You meet a coworker from a part of town with historically bad road conditions, though they have improved recently. He says, "Damn, the roads are bad out there! I hit two potholes on the way to work today!"

    Privilege is assuming that you are in as good a position as he is to assess his road conditions. Privilege might lead you to conclude that, since he hit the same number of potholes that you avoided, that he is a bad driver.

    Acknowledging privilege is nothing more than saying "Maybe, having driven down a different road than he has, I should give more credit to his assessment of his road conditions before concluding that any problems he encounters along the way are his own fault."

    Of course, on the flip side of this coin (or really multi sided random number generator) are the options:

    1) Your co-worker really is hyper sensitive (or just pissed that they hit two potholes) and the roads are in the best condition in his part of town as they have been in years.

    2) Your co-worker just happens to be living in a particularly bad part of town, and on the whole (with regards to the city and the country) the roads really aren't that bad.

    Neither of these options require denying the suckiness of potholes, the damage they have caused to your coworker's car, or the need for the remaining potholes to be repaired, but they do justify some level of scepticism when your coworker starts going on about the holeyarchy and the how you're just suffering from SUV/Trucknormative Privilege when you suggest either that the pothole menace is not quite as bad and certainly not something we need a new committee on or that your coworker consider getting a truck if they're going to live in a part of town with lots of potholes.

    All of that to say, like most things in life, with sexism/racism/privilege there are multiple sides to the story, an usually the truth lies somewhere in the middle, and the internet (especially twitter, but also 3rd, 4th and 5th hand blog post accounts) is a bad way of seeing the middle, but an excellent way of finding the extremes. These sorts of discussion could do with a lot more calm discourse and assuming the other side is engaging in good faith, if perhaps poorly phrased and a little less hyperbole (sorry Ken, but seriously, calling someone a hypocrite is not saying they have "no right" to say something, even if the person doing the accusation is wrong about their accusation). Such hyperbole turns "I find it very funny and ironic that she would jump on this bandwagon." into "slut shaming", when it's just as likely to be asshatery or the common internet tendency to assume your opponent is arguing in bad faith.

  221. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    @stillnotking

    I think it's pretty clear you're not making an argument that systemic sexism no longer exists, but instead that the systemic sexism that exists is justified.

  222. stillnotking says:

    @Dr. Nobel

    No. Sexism is differential treatment or prejudice based on sex, which is never justified.

  223. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    @stillnotking

    Sexism is differential treatment or prejudice based on sex

    Yeah, that's a good description of what is represented by the statement

    I do believe the average man is a better leader than the average woman (and at least a standard deviation more ambitious). I believe that there are more men qualified to be effective leaders than there are women.

    That is pretty much textbook sexism. Now, the question of whether your prejudice against women in this regard is correct and/or justified is a separate issue. But the fact that it *is* a prejudice cannot reasonably be argued.

  224. stillnotking says:

    No, it's not. Statements about the distributions of populations are not prejudice. Treating individuals as reflective of the averages of populations to which they happen to belong is prejudice. One can understand that women are, on average, shorter than men, without assuming that any given woman is short.

    I would happily vote (in fact, have voted) for a qualified woman for political office, and the bar for "qualified" is no higher for women than for men. That doesn't mean there are equal numbers of qualified women and qualified men.

    Not to be rude, but this is Statistics 101 stuff.

  225. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    @stillnotking

    It is simply intellectually dishonest to pretend that believing that women are biologically less likely to be good leaders is anything other than a prejudice based on sex, i.e. sexism. Again, the question is not whether you are right in your prejudice, or whether you always act on your prejudice, but whether you do in fact have a prejudice.

    The fact that you've voted for women before or (very generously) allow for the fact that an individual woman may be a better leader than an individual man doesn't change the fact that your explicitly stated view is pretty much the textbook definition of sexism.

    You're trying to have your cake and eat it to. You want people to accept your argument, but you're not willing to face that the argument is rooted in a (in your view justified) prejudice against women. Own it, my friend.

  226. stillnotking says:

    @Dr. Nobel

    How about claiming that men are, on average, more violent and criminal than women? Would that be sexism? Because it happens to be true as well. Uh oh, it's even worse than you thought — I'm sexist against men and women!

    You're the one who's confused here, as I explained rather clearly (I thought) in my last post. I'll await any response to that criticism, or at least a sign that you understood it.

  227. barry says:

    However tempting it is to comment on the differences between a fedora and a panama hat (panamas are more diaphanous), I'll try to stick to the subject.

    It's banal to be a trash-talking blowhard on the internet. Fodera could have gotten away with that

    The Streisandian line can get crossed when one side starts making real legal threats. That makes people sit up and take notice and share with friends because both physical and legal threats are more than 'just words'.

    But I think he will 'get away with it' because it looks like only very nearly a threat. "I know who you are, and what you wrote is libel, and I'm kind of a bit like a lawyer" (quoting the gist rather than the actual words) might not be enough to cross the line.

    I'm betting this one fizzles out because on one hand it doesn't look enough like libel, and on the other, it doesn't look enough like a threat of legal action. It still only looks like typical internet blowhardery.

    (If Fodera has taken legal action in the meantime, please pretend I never wrote this).

  228. DeadLenny says:

    From Xennady:

    I appreciate your fealty to leftist goodthink, but I also think you have a point.

    Um… Thanks, I guess. You lost me on the first half of that sentence. If you're saying what I think you are, hehehHAHAHA! My own politics are so immature and spastic as to defy description. Bud, I don't agree with anybody, at least not enough to pigeonhole. I self-describe as "libertarian," partially because I agree with some of the philosophy, but usually just to horrify the hippies waving petitions at me outside Save-Mart. I don't know why, but just mentioning it really seems to make them cringe. (Well, anything that gets up the nose of white people with dreadlocks can't be all bad.) And at the same time, I'll vote Green in local elections because they'll be the only ones I can stand. The other candidates tend to be ranchers or sheriff's deputies, whose politics make Alan Keyes look like Fred Rogers. So voting is a matter of looking through the sample ballot and deciding, "Hmm, which candidates aren't flag-waving yahoo jackoffs?" That kinda leaves the Greens by default, no matter what sort of drippy-hippie bullshit they're espousing. I'd rather deal with them than some ex-cop. (They never win, but at least my own conscience rests easy.)

    I don't see how anyone can honorably object to the pictures Mary Kowal posted. This Fodera guy plainly seems to be something of an asshat.

    Well yeah. You'd think she was posing naked with a meth pipe in one hand and a dildo in the other. Fodera is just an insecure doofus.

    You mention being a sci-fi fan when you were young; you've got that one over me. Excluding Douglas Adams — who many SF fans will tell you "doesn't really count" — I just never got into the genre at all. I've read SF out of boredom: when you're dirt poor, the only form of entertainment you can readily get is the "free Books" box at Glide Memorial, so you'll grab anything that's there. It did get me in the habit of reading for pleasure, and I'm not picky about genre. Words printed on paper? Yeah, I'll read it at least once, and if it sucks, well, I know to at least avoid that particular author. Shit, I'll read a shampoo bottle if I'm in the can for a few minutes.

    You're gonna laugh because I know it's considered so pedestrian, but… You know who my favorite author is, or at least in the top five? Louis L'Amour. No, it's not brilliant writing. It's never gonna be confused with Shakespeare, or even Raymond Chandler (another favorite)… But fuckin' a if Louis L'Amour doesn't tell a damn good story. Sometimes that's all I want and need, a good story to read. And he was prolific enough that you can go a long time without hitting the same book again. (It doesn't hurt that you can walk into any used book store on the planet and pick up one of his books for a dollar or less.)

    On a different note…

    Um, for whoever's reading this, please answer a question.
    What the hell does "MRA" stand for? I've been trying to figure it out via the context of comments, but I'll confess: for the meaning of MRA, I'm lost without a damn compass. Someone, please define.

  229. Lagaya1 says:

    stillnotking-

    If you're saying that men are more criminal and violent, then, aren't you saying that women would be better leaders? Or do you define leadership as the ability to intimidate? Some people do, just curious of your stance.

  230. stakkalee says:

    @DeadLenny, "Mens Rights Activist" or "Mens Rights Asshole" depending on your POV. The kind of activists who on the one hand decry false rape allegations against men as a scourge, then flood a university's online sexual assault reporting system with false rape allegations. Manboobz is a critical site, but it'll get you links to The Spearhead and A Voice For Men, and from there you're off to the races, MRA-wise. I don't envy you your investigations.

    EDIT – I came back because I was being a little too snarky there. Some MRAs have valid points, like disparities in court outcomes regarding child custody between men and women, or the lack of sufficient resources for male victims of sexual or partner violence. My problem with most MRAs is their "solution" to those problems frequently involves blaming feminists for those outcomes and acting like entitled douches.

  231. stillnotking says:

    @Lagaya1

    They're separate measurements. In both cases, we're talking about the edges of the distribution. There are more male criminals than female criminals, and there are more male leaders than female leaders; presumably the criminals and leaders are not the same people! Although Clark would likely disagree.

    Obviously (I hope), I don't think violent criminals make the best leaders.

  232. c andrew says:

    Barry,

    I favor the Fez ever since I saw Cap'n Steuben wear one in "Kelly's Heros!"

  233. Charles says:

    Jumping back into the CoB thread, against my better judgment —

    I have a cousin with blond hair and blue eyes.

    Her twin sister is visibly identified as black. Her parents both are visibly identified as black. She herself identifies as a POC, and has every right to do so.

    Folks who think that POC status is about skin tone don't know what y'all are talking about.

  234. Lagaya1 says:

    Yes, stillnotking, I agree I stretched the point there and realized it after posting. I still wonder why you think women do not make as good of leaders, though. you seem to have rejected my childbirth-as -limiting-in-the-past argument, but what is your theory? There must be a reason?

  235. stillnotking says:

    @Lagaya1

    My claim is just that there's almost certainly a biological dimension. I'm not sure it's warranted to speculate beyond that, although there are a few interesting studies out there; men tend to be less risk-averse than women, that's probably part of it. Men seem to exhibit more variance than women on a number of possibly relevant personality traits, in fact. I certainly wouldn't discount the role of childbirth and, probably more significantly, child care. Reproductive biology is presumably involved in all sex differences, after all. I don't think we actually disagree on that, I just think there is a biological reason (beyond simply who carries the child) why women are, in historical terms, nearly universally the caregivers for children, while men are the ones running things. Birth control ameliorates some of the burden of child care, but it hasn't changed that basic arrangement much.

  236. DeadLenny says:

    @ Kateality:

    @DeadLenny, you would probably be surprised how many people think that this stuff is in the past because they don't see it in their own social circles. "Don't see it" being the operative phrase.

    I definitely am surprised. Seriously, that's what is so hard for me to wrap my head around: that there's people so tightly enclosed in their fuckin' social bubbles that they never see anything ugly about the species, much less our society.

    And I don't know if it pisses me off or just makes me sad. Part of me wants to find the people you're talking about, grab them by the neck, and shout, "Wake up, asshole! Who told you it was okay to be complacent? There are still woman-hating dickheads in the world, we still have racist scumbags on this planet. You can't pretend they don't exist just because your friends aren't like that! Now get outta the house and experience people you've never met before. Guess what, some of them may be total shitbags."

    And the part of me that's sad is the part that feels sorry for them. They're scared. Odds are they've never seen places that are scary, ugly, dangerous, and creepy. They've never lived where the pimps smack around their "girls" right on the streetcorner*. They managed to avoid towns that have cross-burnings (Modesto is such a goddamn lovely place). In one respect, they're lucky for having avoided all that, but at the same time, having that sort of shit right in your face jars you out of your complacency, you hopefully get off your ass and do something. Anything. Volunteer at a battered women's shelter a couple nights a week. Donate some bread to the SPLC.
    They have to override their fears.

    *I really, really fucking hate pimps. If it was left up to me, every pimp on the planet would end up dangling from street lights and telephone poles like Scumbag Piñatas. Even now, in my early middle age, I'd throw down on a pimp in a heartbeat; twenty-some years ago I'd actively pick fights with them in the Tenderloin, where I lived. They're abusive thieving shit, and both the sex trade and the world in general would be better off if they all dropped dead. Painfully.
    (Sorry, was that a bit much?)

  237. Lagaya1 says:

    The "biological reason" being breasts. That's why the ability to control birth opened the world to women, and continues to do so. I have no doubt that women will continue to improve their standing in the future as education and attitudes allow.

  238. azteclady says:

    To those commenters bemoaning that more women than men are hired for blue collar jobs? Yeah, they are–because women cost the company less than men.

    If both were always paid the same for the same job, and still more women than men were hired, you would have a point. As it is, you don't.

  239. Xennady says:

    Xennady — Wouldn't the two big awards (Nebula and Hugo) work as a good way to introduce folks to new stuff (ditto for the Shamus and Edgar in mystery, the RITA in romance, and the National Book Award/Booker Prize in literary fiction)?

    Sure. I can only say that in my case it doesn't, for reasons I've already stated.

  240. Xennady says:

    Which, of course, is the entire thing about "privilege." Those who have it can't see it.

    Spare me. Privilege is just an excuse for the political left to do what they want to do anyway.

    But since privilege supposedly can't be seen it also can't be disproven. So no matter what, they win the argument.

    Neat trick. But I'm not buying it.

  241. EAB says:

    I do believe the average man is a better leader than the average woman

    Statements about the distributions of populations are not prejudice. Treating individuals as reflective of the averages of populations to which they happen to belong is prejudice.

    Given that you hold the first position, do you really think that you can somehow be perfectly 100% objective when evaluating the comparative leadership skills of any particular individual, without subconsciously letting their gender influence your judgment? Because you would be a marvel among humanity if that were the case.

    Humans are really, really bad at unconscious bias, and we look for confirmation of our existing opinion wherever possible. There are plenty of head-to-head studies where identical resumes or statements are ranked worse when associated with women (or people of color) than when viewed blind or associated with a man. When you're dealing with something as vague as "leadership skills", which have little or no objective component, unconscious bias leads the vast majority of people to consistently rate men's skills a bit higher. You might correctly identify the outliers like Hillary Rodham Clinton, but you're overwhelmingly likely to rate a mid-level woman a bit lower than you would a man with the same objective criteria. People aren't robots, and most people who believe that men are generally better leaders are more likely to imagine evidence of leadership where it's not when dealing with a man, and overlook actual evidence when dealing with a woman.

    One of the most interesting real-world demonstrations of this happened in classical music, where orchestras began conducting blind auditions in the 1980s. Music does have a significant objective component, and conductors genuinely thought they were hiring the best players without regard to gender. They didn't set out to preferentially hire men, and I'm sure they by and large did not even think of themselves as holding biased opinions. Yet simply hiding the musician behind a screen and concealing his or her name makes it 50% more likely that a woman will be chosen. Blind auditioning is directly responsible for a significant portion of the increase in the female representation of major orchestras.

    How do you explain those results without acknowledging the existence of unconscious bias? And if you admit that unconscious bias exists, how can you be sure that you're not allowing it to influence your opinions of women's leadership skills?

  242. Xennady says:

    @Xennady, do you have any suggestions of how SFWA might promote members ' works in ways it is not already doing? Promoting SFF is a fine idea, though I admit I find your complaints a bit odd; you 'stopped paying attention' to the genre, so it's perhaps unsurprising that you would not notice or come across new works other than by random chance.

    Not paying attention doesn't mean I don't look for new material- and a good place to find it should be at places like the Tor website.

    Instead, for example, I get rewarded with bizarre and strange political nonsense intended to solve a problem in SF that doesn't exist.

    That doesn't help me find new material. It drives me away from their site, forever. The same with the SFWA.

    To each his own, and Tor and the SFWA can do and say whatever they want.

    But I suspect they're chasing away a good part of their potential audience with the nutty politics. I suggest they stop that.

  243. rochrist says:

    So because one time you visited the Tor website and encountered political content by an author that ruffled your feathers, you're forever finished with Tor and, I assume, by extension, any book they publisher. For very forward thinking and 'free speech and thought' of you.

    I visit the Tor site pretty frequently, and I'm pretty sure I'm not being assaulted by too much political content of /any/ stripe. And I read books by authors I appreciate. I even enjoy many Baen authors, allow the politics is far more heavy handed there.

  244. TennLion says:

    Sarah Hoyt has an interesting take on her interaction with SFWA: http://accordingtohoyt.com/2014/02/18/my-last-post-on-sfwa-pinky-swear/

  245. EAB says:

    But since privilege supposedly can't be seen it also can't be disproven.

    The interesting thing about some types of privilege is that it's sometimes possible to temporarily acquire it, or lose it. Two examples I've seen in my own life:

    1) It's not uncommon for women to deliberately use male or gender-neutral pseudonyms online, whereas it is VERY unusual for men to identify as female or explicitly seek to conceal their gender. Do you think you might have different experiences if you used a female pseudonym? That's a form of privilege you could see, if you wanted.

    I have an unusual and non-gendered first name, and often use initials as a 'nym. I am invariably assumed to be male unless I specifically say something which implies otherwise. IMO, there is a clear difference in how I'm treated when people think of me as "he". If you've never tried to assume the other gender, how can you be sure that you know better than people who have done so and who tell you that there IS a difference?

    2) I've been dealing with a major injury for about a year. It's required me to use various walking assistive devices (crutches, scooter, etc), limits my ability to get around, prevented me from driving for a while, and so forth. Pretty much anyone who's ever been in that position will tell you that they never realized how HARD life is when you can't stand or walk very well. I eventually hope to walk more or less normally again in a year or so, but it's gone on long enough that it's stopped being a temporary thing, and I am experiencing life as a disabled person.

    To me, that's a really good working definition of privilege. It's nobody's fault, but the plain fact is that my life is a lot harder right now. I constantly have to think about logistics and physical considerations, and they prevent me from some activities. Other people take things for granted that I can't do, and occasionally even give me a hard time about it ("come on, there won't be THAT much walking"). Sometimes I have to ask strangers for physical assistance like holding doors, carrying things, or even helping me hop up steps when there's no ramp. I often have to ask people to make special accommodations for me.

    Nobody's deliberately being able-bodied to spite me or anything, but I'm at a real disadvantage in this particular area, and it affects my whole life. They might have plenty of other problems, but most people do have the privilege of being able to walk. I used to be able-bodied too, and I took that privilege for granted — I didn't even see it, might even have denied that there was any such thing, until I lost it. Now it impacts pretty much my whole life, in ways that most people just don't realize, including pre-injury me.

    Do I think my life might be similarly complicated if I were dealing with other identity disadvantages? Absolutely, in ways that I can't anticipate any more than you might grasp some of my current limitations. But I'm fairly sure my life could be a lot harder than it is if you changed some of my other external characteristics, just like changing my ankle has already been.

    If you are skeptical of the idea of privilege, can you honestly say that your life would go on exactly the same if you woke up tomorrow as a woman? Or is your first instinctive thought "Man, that would SUCK?" If it's the latter, you might want to do some thinking about why that's so, and what that implies for those of us who wake up every day as women.

  246. Fasolt says:

    @DeadLenny:

    You're gonna laugh because I know it's considered so pedestrian, but… You know who my favorite author is, or at least in the top five? Louis L'Amour.

    I don't consider L'Amour pedestrian. He's one of my favorites to. I've read all of his books and own some of them. He knows the material and you even pick up some actual history along the way. As you say, he tells great stories and I've always enjoyed them. If pedestrian is the word, then I'm walking with you. :)

    I particularly like Science Fiction and Fantasy, but will read any genre as well.

  247. AlphaCentauri says:

    I am immensely privileged. It literally is not possible for me to live in the type of poverty that many people experience, because the education I have received is such a huge advantage. Unless something caused brain injury, I could always land on my feet.

  248. TM says:

    @EAB

    2) I've been dealing with a major injury for about a year. It's required me to use various walking assistive devices (crutches, scooter, etc), limits my ability to get around, prevented me from driving for a while, and so forth. Pretty much anyone who's ever been in that position will tell you that they never realized how HARD life is when you can't stand or walk very well. I eventually hope to walk more or less normally again in a year or so, but it's gone on long enough that it's stopped being a temporary thing, and I am experiencing life as a disabled person.

    To me, that's a really good working definition of privilege. It's nobody's fault, but the plain fact is that my life is a lot harder right now. I constantly have to think about logistics and physical considerations, and they prevent me from some activities. Other people take things for granted that I can't do, and occasionally even give me a hard time about it ("come on, there won't be THAT much walking"). Sometimes I have to ask strangers for physical assistance like holding doors, carrying things, or even helping me hop up steps when there's no ramp. I often have to ask people to make special accommodations for me.

    Nobody's deliberately being able-bodied to spite me or anything, but I'm at a real disadvantage in this particular area, and it affects my whole life. They might have plenty of other problems, but most people do have the privilege of being able to walk. I used to be able-bodied too, and I took that privilege for granted — I didn't even see it, might even have denied that there was any such thing, until I lost it. Now it impacts pretty much my whole life, in ways that most people just don't realize, including pre-injury me.

    It seems to me that in these sorts of heated discussions, the term "privilege" is never just used as short hand for "my life experiences are different but just as real as your life experiences" as you're using here, but it's also with the added baggage of "You're [opinion/experiences/argument] is wrong because you have privilege" (and as a note, the privilege often seems assumed). That usage is just as fallacious as the argument that "I haven't seen [racism/sexism/discrimination] therefore it doesn't exist".

    In your case, you've discovered that life is much different (and harder) when you can't walk with two legs. But even still, you would (I assume, but I suppose you might not) be sceptical if you came across an article talking about how the author wanted to "end the default assumption of bipedal motion in science fiction", and you would probably be rightly angry if people responded to your argument that "since most humans use bipedal motion, and a lot of science fiction has humans in it that there's nothing wrong with a default assumption of bipedal motion and this whole thing is really dumb" with "That's just your two legged privilege blinding you to the struggles of handicapped people" Likewise, if people who have difficulties with bipedal movement started demanding that everything in the world from cars and bicycles (two pedals, I don't think so) to the 400m dash in the Olympics to nature trails all be modified, changed or done away as with as a rule because over 2 million people throughout the US are amputees and that doesn't even begin to account for the people who have loss of limb function without amputation. You might sympathize with their position, and even agree that some of the things they're asking for are perfectly reasonable things to want, but you might still draw the line at the federal government mandating that all new passenger cars come standard with hand controls rather than pedals.

    The term "privilege" might be a handy short cut for "different life experiences" but in these discussions, it often seems to be used in a pejorative sense, and it might do a world of good to stay away from jargon when possible for the sake of furthering discussion. For the exact same reason why staying away from "liberal" or "conservative" (or "Democrap" and "Rethuglican", however accurate the terms might be) in a political discussion is generally a good idea, even if they are handy short cuts. The added benefit of staying away from terms like that is it helps you (royal you, not you in particular) to address your opponent as an individual, rather than as a unit of whatever baggage and extras are rolled into the label.

  249. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    @Xennady

    Spare me. Privilege is just an excuse for the political left to do what they want to do anyway.

    Privilege is the the thing that allows people who are born on second base to believe they're really wonderful hitters for getting a double.

    And if I may mix my metaphors, privilege is the water in which some fish swim. Of course they don't notice it, because they don't know any differently. But take that water away, and they'd sure as hell notice the difference in a hurry.

    And before the Randian chorus starts in with how they've earned everything they have by the sweat of their own brow and nothing else, just save it. Just because someone is privileged doesn't (always) guarantee their success, or mean that they haven't worked hard or overcome obstacles. But to deny that our society affords certain, sometimes less than easily quantifiable, advantages to some groups is contrary to reality.

  250. ULTRAGOTHA says:

    @Xennady:
    An article on Tor.com stating, basically, 'I want more books that reflect the diversity of genders in real life and I'm going to write some columns pointing out good books that do that' is "bizarre and strange political nonsense"?

    I don't think those words mean what you think they mean.

    If you don't want to read those columns amongst all the hundreds of columns on their web site, then just skip them like I do all the Wheel of Time and Star Trek re-reads. Lord knows there's enough content on that site for almost everyone to enjoy without reading the stuff you aren't interested in.

    Though I suppose that column could be your straw and that's cool, too. I know there are things I no longer support because the straws finally broke my back.

    Back to being vaguely on topic: The longer Macmillan is silent regarding their employee's trashing books Macmillan publishes and the author who wrote them (not to mention all the people he threatened to sue) the more I think about the phrase "silence implies consent". I somehow doubt Macmillan wants to send that message. Even a statement of "We know this happened and we're dealing with it as an internal personnel matter" would be welcome by me. Unless that has happened and I missed it.

  251. ZK says:

    Now that this discussion has simmered down a bit, I just want to express some sadness that every time there's a discussion about the science fiction community, it's a huge argument about feminism, social justice, identity politics, racism and sexism and how these authors are bigots or these authors are Women's Studies undergrads.

    I'd love to talk about actual science fiction stories instead. Some great stories talk about these topics without hurling accusations or being thinly-veiled political pamphlets. And some great stories don't talk about these topics at all.

    Maybe it's just me, but science fiction is interesting because of the science and the fiction, not the political fighting of angry authors. Le Guin or Atwood aren't great because they were great at tweeting or signing petitions…

  252. TM says:

    @ULTRAGOTHA

    An article on Tor.com stating, basically, 'I want more books that reflect the diversity of genders in real life and I'm going to write some columns pointing out good books that do that' is "bizarre and strange political nonsense"?

    Except the article didn't say just that. What it did say (in fact, the very first sentence was):

    I want an end to the default of binary gender in science fiction stories.

    and then later:

    SF that presents a rigid, unquestioned gender binary is false and absurd.

    I want to dismantle the sediment—to not only talk about post-binary texts and bring them to attention of more readers, but to do away with the default narrative.

    I want to never again read entire anthologies of SF stories or large-cast novels where every character is binary-gendered.

    I hope you’ll join me in making the default increasingly unstable.

    Now, you could argue that this was all hyperbole, but the author is according to the bio blurb at the bottom a professional writer, editor and historian and I would assume she knows how to write the things she intends and how (as a writer) to be aware of her audience. And her audience was SF writers and readers, the very people she acknowledges even in her own article that have been playing with gender in their stories for years, just apparently not playing with it enough.

    The longer Macmillan is silent regarding their employee's trashing books Macmillan publishes and the author who wrote them (not to mention all the people he threatened to sue) the more I think about the phrase "silence implies consent"

    Personally, my bet is that the company recognizes this for what it is (the internet equivalent of a playground scuffle, complete with rubber and glue analogies) and is going to (publicly) stay out of it entirely unless someone forces their hand. Eventually this sort of stuff goes away and all a press release does is drag more people into the fray that this might have passed by completely.

    @ZK

    I'd love to talk about actual science fiction stories instead. Some great stories talk about these topics without hurling accusations or being thinly-veiled political pamphlets. And some great stories don't talk about these topics at all.

    And I think underneath a lot of the internet mud slinging what really ticked off a lot of the people (I know it did me) was the implication that somehow SF, the genre with the biggest track record for this stuff, somehow hasn't done enough, and isn't doing enough and that anyone who dares to not include [insert special interest subject here] in their works is a bad or lazy person and should feel bad. And for some people it has to do with the fact that SF has been waning for a while, and at least some people think it has something to do with there being an up tick in stories that have anvilicious messages where the message appears to be the main point, not the story itself.

  253. Xennady says:

    But what I find most tiresome is partisans in the culture wars complaining that the other side is being too mean, which behavior would be completely out of bounds for those selfsame partisans.

    Know what I find most tiresome? The endless, ceaseless, relentless gob-smacking dishonesty from leftist partisans.

    No, you're never censoring people to keep out the badthink. No, you're just linking to the moderation policy, to keep mean people at bay.

    You're not imposing speech codes on universities to keep out competing ideas. No, you're just fighting racism, etc.

    You didn't build death camps to kill your opponents. Nope. You just killed the wreckers who made communism fail.

    Mm-hmmm.

    Then quit bellyaching.

    I'm not bellyaching, and I've ready explained my views. Absent this post here at popehat I'd quite likely never have heard of Alex MacFarlane. She troubles me not, forever. Again, Tor and Macfarlane can do and say anything they want, anytime. But I just have no interest in their bizarre and laughable idea to eliminate "binary gender" from SF- and if that's what they want to focus their writing on- good luck, but I'm not interested.

    Look, I get it. Some fans just want "their" sci fi to go back to the good old days, when there was absolutely no politics in the stories and nobody pushed a certain viewpoint, nosiree.

    I'd like to go back to the good old days when storytelling was paramount, not leftist gender politics. And I doubt there was ever a time when there was no viewpoint in SF. I've read and enjoyed work by Ursula K. Le Guin, for example. And more recently Charles Stross.

    Know why? The stories.

    But that's the world we live in now; the culture wars are being won by those ruthless leftists, those hypocrites that say they want tolerance, but won't tolerate bigotry!

    Yay! Give yourself a hug and a trophy, because you're awesome!!

    I see no tolerance from the left, and plenty of bigotry. Excuse my badthink, but I'm really quite tired of the left patting themselves on the back 24/7 just because they have opinions.

    It's truly a sadder, poorer world to live in, where unreconstructed misanthropes can't state "Dudes in dresses? Chicks with dicks? What a world!" without some uppity SJW being rhetorically violent and calling them out for their ignorance (a fate nearly as bad as being Kristalnachted!)

    This is the most pathetic part of your pitiful screed, because as Larry Correia wrote this is not true at all, and never has been. As you should know if you've read much SF.

    Quit fucking whining.

    I think when you say "whining" what you really mean is "expressing a viewpoint I disagree with, and I lack the power to shut you up directly."

    That burns, doesn't it?

  254. Xennady says:

    In your case, you've discovered that life is much different (and harder) when you can't walk with two legs.

    You have my sympathy for your injury, and I understand that life is more difficult under those circumstances.

    But there is a vast difference between difficulties resulting from injuries and supposed difficulties resulting from "privilege" which is so nebulous and indistinct it requires special training to discern.

    Sorry, I'm still not believing in it.

  255. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    @ZK

    I just want to express some sadness that every time there's a discussion about the science fiction community, it's a huge argument about…

    Maybe it's just me, but science fiction is interesting because of the science and the fiction

    I think there have always been discussion and/or fights about the politics underlying science fiction because I think science fiction is often, if not primarily, about ideas. "What if society functioned like X instead of Y" is at the heart of a lot of science fiction, even if the reason for it functioning like X varies enormously (i.e. because we have faster than light technology, unlimited energy, discovered aliens, etc.).

    So, for example, when a writer wants to tell a story about what the world would be like if we were all combined into one gender (or nine), the writer's starting point view of what effect gender has on the world is going to be important to how she tells that story.

  256. Dictatortot says:

    Interesting how strongly some of us assume that some people's opinions can only be blinkered, because hey–if they only saw all sides, they'd infallibly agree with us! Couldn't possibly work any other way, could it? But soft–it's also possible that many of the so-called "privileged" (by whoever's metric is fashionable this morning) HAVE, in fact, looked outside of their own perspectives, have scrutinized various issues from a variety of angles, and have still concluded that–all things considered and with some exceptions–they still have the better of the argument.

    Unless, of course, "privileged" is merely your shorthand for "ipso facto, by virtue of station in life, less qualified to be believed than me." Which sentiment has an interesting history in human affairs.

  257. Xennady says:

    An article on Tor.com stating, basically, 'I want more books that reflect the diversity of genders in real life and I'm going to write some columns pointing out good books that do that' is "bizarre and strange political nonsense"?

    Excuse me, but this not what was said.

    Words have meanings. If Alex MacFarlane meant what you say she meant she should have used different words- perhaps even the words you put in her mouth.

    By the way, I love how people are going around correctly poor little lady Alex MacFarlane, assuming she didn't mean what she wrote and correcting it for her.

    I find this stunningly condescending.

  258. ZK says:

    So when a writer wants to tell a story about what the world would be like if we were all combined into one gender (or nine), the writer's starting point view of what effect gender has on the world is going to be important to how she tells that story.

    Well, sure, but I'm still interested in the story itself, not the author's unadulterated politics.

    There's a fantastic first-novel from Ann Leckie out last year called Ancillary Justice in which the protagonist is a multi-gendered AI who has problems seeing identity in others. I presume the author was trying out ideas about gender vs. social norms, but it wasn't just an angry blog post about it, it was an interesting elaboration of the ideas into a larger world with space-ships and intrigue and laser-guns.

    discussion and/or fights about the politics underlying science fiction because I think science fiction is often, if not primarily, about ideas.

    I'm very interested in the politics and ideas in science fictions stories. I think you've put it extremely well that scifi is about ideas. But I'm not at all interested in the politics and ideas in the SWFA, or on an author's blog, or between authors on twitter.

    Obviously lots of people are… but that's not science fiction, it's just another case of People On The Internet Are Wrong.

  259. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    @Xennady

    No, you're never censoring people to keep out the badthink. No, you're just linking to the moderation policy, to keep mean people at bay.

    You didn't build death camps to kill your opponents. Nope. You just killed the wreckers who made communism fail.

    Wow, *that* escalated quickly. If I may be so bold, the lumping of a blog's comment moderation policy in with death camps may not give the impression of a reasonable perspective.

    But there is a vast difference between difficulties resulting from injuries and supposed difficulties resulting from "privilege" which is so nebulous and indistinct it requires special training to discern.

    I think you may have missed the person's point. She was pointing out that until she was injured and had to navigate with this particular disability, she didn't consider how relatively easy she had it before in this regard. That's how privilege works. It doesn't mean you're a bad person, but it does mean that you have a leg up in some regard.

    And no, it doesn't take special training to understand different ways in which you may or may not have been privileged in your life, it just takes a functional sense of empathy, and a somewhat objective look at your own circumstances.

    This isn't a left/right issue, it's just reality. For example, I don't think it is controversial to admit that I was privileged by the fact that I grew up in a place in which I never felt unsafe or had to witness serious violence, never had to skip a meal, and had a fair amount of safety net when it came to being a stupid kid. I didn't really consider them advantages at the time because that's just the way things were for me and my friends. Now, I am able to understand that not everyone had those same advantages, and I may be in a different place had I not had them.

    @Dictatortot

    Do you really not think that there are some advantages some people & groups receive, not by virtue of anything they've done to earn them, which make life easier for them in one way or another? Because that's all privilege is, and to deny its fundamental existence is kind of silly, isn't it?

  260. Dictatortot says:

    Do you really not think that there are some advantages some people & groups receive, not by virtue of anything they've done to earn them, which make life easier for them in one way or another? Because that's all privilege is, and to deny its fundamental existence is kind of silly, isn't it?

    Sure. But that sort of privilege, as you define it, isn't in itself sufficient to invalidate or even devalue the opinions of its possessors.

    Everyone's got different life experiences, and they all can color our outlooks to some extent. Humans, however, have a little faculty called "imaginative sympathy" (you actually invoke it above). In most cases, this can go a long way in correcting for such disparate experiences. It wouldn't do, though, for me to assume that my interlocutor isn't exercising it, or to act as if only someone who isn't exercising it could possibly disagree with me.

    Moreover, hardship and disadvantage, like privilege, can be powerful limiting factors that keep a person from seeing things as they actually are. Being a woman or an ethnic/religious/whatever minority certainly can give one a different perspective on the world. But I'm not convinced it necessarily gives any truer a perspective … who knows, maybe not even AS true a perspective! It certainly doesn't give anyone a presumptive advantage in arguments like these.

  261. Xennady says:

    Wow, *that* escalated quickly. If I may be so bold, the lumping of a blog's comment moderation policy in with death camps may not give the impression of a reasonable perspective.

    I just happened to notice- while reading the comment thread under that post by Alex MacFarlane- that a comment expressing doubt that ending default binary gender SF was a worthy goal attracted a warning about the moderation policy. I've read at other sites that Tor deleted plenty of other comments that questioned the wisdom of Alex MacFarlane and her bizarre quest. Hey, it's their site, go for it. I'll respond by ignoring them.

    But pattern recognition- where have I seen that sort of behavior before? Hmm…

    Oh- it's how the political left behaves, all the time. Obviously the leftists running the Tor site can't set up death camps, and have to use the pitiful tools at their disposal to end badthink. But I'd say it's a rule that leftists will use whatever means available, up to and including mass murder, to end dissent against their insanity. Yes, I've noticed this.

    I think you may have missed the person's point. She was pointing out that until she was injured and had to navigate with this particular disability, she didn't consider how relatively easy she had it before in this regard. That's how privilege works. It doesn't mean you're a bad person, but it does mean that you have a leg up in some regard.

    What? Am I supposed to feel privileged because I don't have a broken leg? Or just feel sympathy for those who do?

    Defined in this way "privilege" is meaningless. In the real world I know when I get lectured about "privilege" the real goal is to push political and economic policies that will cost me a great deal in taxes, won't work, but that if I object to them I'm a wrecker who makes communism fail and puppies cry.

    No, I'm not buying it. Still. Lectures won't help.

  262. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    @Dictatortot

    But that sort of privilege, as you define it, isn't in itself sufficient to invalidate or even devalue the opinions of its possessors.

    Of course it isn't enough to invalidate automatically, but I do think it is reasonable in some circumstances to take into account. For example, let's say that a person who has lived his whole life in a wealthy suburb of Chicago puts forth the opinion that the minimum wage is just fine where its at because he worked for minimum wage in college and he could do it, somebody in Englewood should be able to too. I think taking into account the fact that he may have been the recipient of other privileges that he's not acknowledging (such as, say the fact that his parents were paying for his school and health insurance) is probably relevant to his opinion on the minimum wage in this instance.

  263. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    Am I supposed to feel privileged because I don't have a broken leg?

    You should recognize that being able-bodied and not having any difficulty getting around and doing the things you want to do is a privilege that not everyone has, and once that privilege it taken away it quickly becomes evident how much it was taken for granted. Is that really so tough?

    Again to clarify, it doesn't mean you should feel guilty or did anything wrong, but it may just help you understand why the ramp they're putting in the library is kind of a big deal for a lot of people, or why the school spent the money on widening the doors to the bathroom.

    Defined in this way "privilege" is meaningless.

    No, it just doesn't happen to fit into your rather cartoonish view of the subject and dovetail with your rants about those rascally leftists.

  264. TM says:

    @ Dr. Nobel Dynamite

    Actually, the better thing to do in that circumstance would be to examine the totality of the facts rather than assuming that someone from a wealthy suburb of Chicago received some undefined number of benefits that amount to privilege or that the other person is not also receiving their own benefits and privileges. In other words discuss the issue, not the individual debaters especially when you're making assumptions about the debaters that may not be true.

    For example, I grew up in the wealthy part of the state where I was born. I also lived in a family that survived on a single teacher's salary, with a non working parent and a disabled sibling, and my parents didn't pay for more than my first year of college, and even then, they took out a loan, because they sure as heck didn't have the cash.

    My issue with "privilege" isn't the idea that there might be unexplored view points, but that it's more often then not used to shut down discussion and frankly with a whole lot of up front assumptions that reflect the acuser's own bias.

  265. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    @TM

    rather than assuming that someone from a wealthy suburb of Chicago received some undefined number of benefits

    I'm not assuming anything. It's my own hypothetical. I'm the one that created the facts.

    In other words discuss the issue, not the individual debaters especially when you're making assumptions about the debaters that may not be true.

    That's certainly appropriate in a lot of situations, but I'm sure you would agree that quite a few arguments people put forth re: things like the minimum wage involve some variant of "if I could do it, then that person should be able to too," or "I didn't need extra help like welfare/food stamps/Pell Grants/whatever, so why should this other person." In the presence of these categories of arguments, I'd say a discussion of the unacknowledged privileges that may have been afforded is probably relevant.

  266. Dictatortot says:

    For example, let's say that a person who has lived his whole life in a wealthy suburb of Chicago puts forth the opinion that the minimum wage is just fine where its at because he worked for minimum wage in college and he could do it, somebody in Englewood should be able to too. I think taking into account the fact that he may have been the recipient of other privileges that he's not acknowledging (such as, say the fact that his parents were paying for his school and health insurance) is probably relevant to his opinion on the minimum wage in this instance.

    If that's his explicit argument in full, then probably … in that particular case. However, not many arguments in the wild are wholly based on such misplaced personal anecdotes.

    Simply to take your example, most of the anti-minimum-wage arguments I've heard are more abstractly economic, dealing with fiscal principles and (at least partly) involving educated guesses about the likely behavior of employers. If the suburbanite in your example had these additional reasons to support his argument, making observations about his "privilege" or lack thereof would be impertinent.

  267. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    @Dictatortot

    If the suburbanite in your example had these additional reasons to support his argument, making observations about his "privilege" or lack thereof would be impertinent.

    That doesn't make any sense. If someone makes their own life experience a part of their argument, even if it is subordinate to other arguments, then it's on the table. You don't get to throw in an argument based on your own personal experience and then declare your personal experience out of bounds to the extent that it weakens your argument.

  268. The says:

    > Courts increasingly recognize that linking to one's sources for a challenged statement makes it less likely that it will be treated as defamatory.

    I wonder if that's a good idea in general? I can easily imagine very selectively misquoting someone, giving a link, and using this excuse as a fig leaf. Not only do few people actually verify links like these, but the presence of one would give further credibility to the original misquote.

    Mind you, that entire discussion is premised on there being a misquote in the first place. If there's no misquote, it doesn't matter one way or another.

  269. stakkalee says:

    Man, these recent contributions are sublime. Alex McFarlane's blog post is "engaged in a campaign", but you're just stating your opinion that she should shut up (and me, I wrote a screed!) You have so little interest in "their bizarre and laughable idea" that you continually bring it up, affronted by its very existence. You complain that people "are correct[ing] poor little lady Alex MacFarlane" and claiming her words don't mean what you say they mean, yet you claim I mean to censor you ("lack the power to shut you up directly") when my intent was quite obvious – I meant to call you a whiner. Are "leftist gender politics" truly paramount in sci fi right now? Because the only evidence you've presented of that so far is one damn blog post. Again, one blog post that included no prescriptions, no ultimatums. In the post MacFarlane constantly talks in terms of her desires, her opinions, her intentions. She makes no demands, only requests. Do you find those discussions tiresome? Well bully for you! You've made your opinion on the subject known, yay! Gold star for you! I'm sure somebody other than yourself finds your preferences fascinating. But if you're going to keep complaining that those preferences aren't being catered to, that people are talking about things that don't interest you, I'm going to continue stating my opinion, that you're a babyish whiner deserving of mockery and ridicule. And the fact that I find your whining laughable chaps your hide. Deal with it.

  270. Dictatortot says:

    That doesn't make any sense. If someone makes their own life experience a part of their argument, even if it is subordinate to other arguments, then it's on the table. You don't get to throw in an argument based on your own personal experience and then declare your personal experience out of bounds to the extent that it weakens your argument.

    I'll give you that much: in truth, I don't like arguing with personal anecdotes even when "privilege" couldn't conceivably enter into the picture. But are you contending that the charge only ever gets made against such arguments? Don't know about you, but I tend to see it marshalled against arguments from principle as often as against personal examples. And even in the latter case, there's still the unexamined assumption that the person can't have looked at more than one side of the issue, or else he'd concede. Still looks an awful lot like like bad faith from here.

  271. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    Dictatortot

    But are you contending that the charge only ever gets made against such arguments?

    No, just using an example of instances in which it would clearly be relevant. I think it's relevant in other contexts as well, but this category is really so obvious I don't think a reasonable person can argue against it.

    But I don't think an explicit reliance upon your own personal experience is necessary to make your own privilege relevant in all cases. For instance, if Steve Forbes makes the argument that there isn't any reason for food stamps or welfare, because anyone who wants to work hard can always earn enough to feed their family, I don't think it is out of bounds to point out that such a viewpoint may depend in whole or in part on his rather privileged circumstances.

    Still looks an awful lot like like bad faith from here.

    Since you're referring to unidentified arguments made by unidentified people in unidentified contexts, I can't really agree or disagree.

  272. But I don’t think an explicit reliance upon your own personal experience is necessary to make your own privilege necessary in all cases. For instance, if Steve Forbes makes the argument that there isn’t any reason for food stamps or welfare, because anyone who wants to work hard can always earn enough to feed their family, I don’t think it is out of bounds to point out that such an viewpoint may depend in whole or in part on his rather privileged circumstances.

    Or you could refute his argument.

    As applied, the word "privilege" is a cheap ad-hominem. A thing is, or is not, true. It doesn't matter who says it.

    And last I checked, the nation's most prominent upper-class Chicagoans are left-wing Democrats.

  273. TM says:

    @Dr. Nobel Dynamite

    For instance, if Steve Forbes makes the argument that there isn't any reason for food stamps or welfare, because anyone who wants to work hard can always earn enough to feed their family, I don't think it is out of bounds to point out that such a viewpoint may depend in whole or in part on his rather privileged circumstances.

    Perhaps, or perhaps it would be better examine the truth or falseness of the statement without making accusations as to the opponent's world view. Put another way, in such a discussion between the Hypothetical Mr. Forbes and a Hypothetical Opponent, which response to Mr. Forbes' argument is more likely to engender quality discussion:

    1) "Mr. Forbes, are you seriously suggesting that [Person] living in [Destitute Abandoned Mining Town Where Food is Scarce] will be able to feed a whole family on $7.50 an hour? Or that [Person 2] living in [Inner City Ghetto With Insanely High Rents] will be able to feed their family on it?"

    or

    2) "Mr. Forbes, your privilege means you can't understand or see what it's like for [Person] living in [Ghetto]"

    or the even worse which I've seen in these discussion

    3) "Mr. Forbes you better check your privilege because you're wrong."

    It's also worth noting, that "privilege" with all the baggage it contains is a really lousy word for "your experiences are different from mine and you should consider others". You can see this by noting that if I were to say:

    "Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are wrong about how much racism is still an issue because of their privilege"

    as short hand for:

    "[They] are wrong about how much racism is still an issue because their experiences are both older and in more and more isolated areas"

    The initial statement would be rightly criticized as wrong and frankly stupid. Because we know that "privilege" is about more than just experiences.

  274. Xennady says:

    You should recognize that being able-bodied and not having any difficulty getting around and doing the things you want to do is a privilege that not everyone has, and once that privilege it taken away it quickly becomes evident how much it was taken for granted. Is that really so tough?

    Again to clarify, it doesn't mean you should feel guilty or did anything wrong, but it may just help you understand why the ramp they're putting in the library is kind of a big deal for a lot of people, or why the school spent the money on widening the doors to the bathroom.

    This has nothing to do with the descriptions of privilege that attracted my attention.

    This- handicapped ramps for handicapped people. No issue.

    Privilege, as described above- something that cannot be seen, especially by badthinkers, but must be accepted on faith, just because, and which will require endless fundamental transformation of American society, to get the badthink out, which coincidentally will require the adoption of myriads of unpopular leftist policies.

    But don't object, because shut up, racist.

    Again- I'm not buying this. Again, lectures won't help.

  275. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    @Not Claude Akins
    @TM

    Or you could refute his argument.

    …perhaps it would be better examine the truth or falseness of the statement without making accusations as to the opponent's world view

    It isn't an either/or.

    A thing is, or is not, true. It doesn't matter who says it.

    But when we're dealing with matters of opinion or matters which are not readily provable, of course we should take into account the weight we give the person offering his opinion.

    And last I checked, the nation's most prominent upper-class Chicagoans are left-wing Democrats.

    Um, ok? That probably would be a little more relevant if I was trying to make this about Democrats being good or Republicans being bad, but as it is it really has nothing do with my argument.

  276. Man, I totally blew the 10 minute edit timer, but I wanted to add:

    @stakkalee,

    While this doesn't directly implicate your disagreement with Xennady, a reasonable person could make the case that the SFWA, at least, is engaged in a political campaign. That's the opinion of at least these two (female!) right-libertarian seeming (former?) members, at least.

    http://madgeniusclub.com/2013/06/06/storm_in_a_b_cup/

    http://accordingtohoyt.com/2014/02/18/my-last-post-on-sfwa-pinky-swear/

    I would note that, if anyone disagrees with Mmes. Hoyt or Paulk, perhaps you should check your male privilege at the door and reconsider.

    Also, another SFWA member blogger[?] notes in a blog post that several proiminent writers, including:

    Gregory Benford, David Brin, Amy Sterling Casil, C. J. Cherryh, Jack Dann, Harlan Ellison, David Gerrold, Janis Ian, Nancy Kress, Mercedes Lackey, Barry N. Malzberg, Jack McDevitt, Larry Niven, Dr. Jerry Pournelle, Mike Resnick, Robert Silverberg, Norman Spinrad, Allen Steele, Harry Turtledove, Vernor Vinge, Gene Wolfe.

    have signed a petition objecting to SFWA censorship. (Cite here: http://adventuresfantastic.com/again-really/)

    Also worth noting that the first action of SFWA president Scalzi was to kick the runner up out of the group. Now, is Vox Day a giant asshole? Very probably. But a purge of assholes is still a purge. [ObDisclaimer: yes, private orgs can evict anyone they want; I am not arguing the legality]

  277. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    @Xennady

    But don't object, because shut up, racist.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but if you took a break from your self-pitying victim complex about how all those mean leftists try to make you feel bad, you might be able to actually understand why you're completely (and probably intentionally, I guess) missing the point.

    As it is, you just keep trying to engage in these silly screeds against "leftists" that are boring, utterly beside the point, and amount to a Mad Libs taken from any Breitbart article from the last year.

    Take care & good luck.

  278. TM says:

    @ Dr. Nobel Dynamite

    It isn't an either/or.

    No, it isn't either or, but it is a case of "just because you can, doesn't mean you should". Accusing someone of being "blinded by their privilege" or reacting as they have because "their privilege is threatened" (first instance of privilege in this comment thread) is as likely to turn off quality discussion as accusing your opponent of being a "flaming liberal" or a "socialist" or a "bible thumping conservative". Even if the accusation is true, the baggage associated and how the terms are thrown about in these sorts of conversations causes unnecessary bad will. Frankly if you can't get your opponent to examine their "privilege" without actually using the word "privilege" you're probably not trying to get them to explore any new world view, but rather simply trying to engage in an ad hominem attack.

  279. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    @TM

    Even if the accusation is true, the baggage associated and how the terms are thrown about in these sorts of conversations causes unnecessary bad will

    I think you're too casually dismissing the possibility that in some cases (not all, but some) the bad will and resulting bad behavior are due to the fact that some people act like assholes because they can't face the possibility that they did, in fact, have some advantages in life that they hadn't considered. If you spend your life believing that every single thing you've achieved is due to solely your own hard work and intelligence, and nothing more, it probably isn't pleasant to consider that there may have been more to it than just your own wonderfulness.

  280. Xennady says:

    And the fact that I find your whining laughable chaps your hide. Deal with it.

    You mad, bro?

    Alex McFarlane's blog post is "engaged in a campaign", but you're just stating your opinion that she should shut up (and me, I wrote a screed!)

    I don't think I've ever said MacFarlane should shut up. I just think her goal is bizarre, and I have no interest in hearing more about it. She has the right to be silly, and I have the right to ignore her. I intend to

    You have so little interest in "their bizarre and laughable idea" that you continually bring it up, affronted by its very existence.

    Because people continually mention me, inspiring me to defend myself. Like right now!!

    Because the only evidence you've presented of that so far is one damn blog post.

    I'm only speaking for myself, and my opinion. But as it turns out today the leftist effort to purge non-leftists from SF picked some notice from the outside world.

    http://ace.mu.nu/

    The actual story wouldn't link, but anyone interested can just scroll down. The headline-

    And Speaking of Politicizing Everything: Ostensibly Free-Thinking and Liberal Science Fiction Writers of America Now Purging Members for Being "Sexist"

    So no, others have noticed.

    But if you're going to keep complaining that those preferences aren't being catered to, that people are talking about things that don't interest you, I'm going to continue stating my opinion, that you're a babyish whiner deserving of mockery and ridicule.

    Hey, go ahead. Give yourself another hug, and another trophy. You're fighting badthink on the internet!!

    Yay!!

  281. Xennady says:

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but if you took a break from your self-pitying victim complex about how all those mean leftists try to make you feel bad, you might be able to actually understand why you're completely (and probably intentionally, I guess) missing the point.

    No, I get the point. I just don't agree with your vision of what "privilege" means.

  282. TM says:

    @Dr. Nobel Dynamite

    If you spend your life believing that every single thing you've achieved is due to solely your own hard work and intelligence, and nothing more, it probably isn't pleasant to consider that there may have been more to it than just your own wonderfulness.

    I'm not dismissing this possibility, I'm saying that it adds nothing to the conversation to accuse said person of being "blinded by their privilege" as opposed to addressing the specific things that you intend when you say "privilege". If your opponent is going to be an asshole either way, what do you gain by launching poorly developed and baggage laden labels at them? It's like they say, "Never wrestle with a pig, you both get dirty, but the pig enjoys it"

    And yes, I'm aware that everything I've said up to this point could be considered "concern trolling" but I'm honestly just sick of seeing what could (and should) be quality discussions devolve into nothing more than back and forth jargon spewing with no understanding going on.

  283. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    it adds nothing to the conversation to accuse said person of being "blinded by their privilege"

    I agree as far as that goes, but who is saying that? I was referring to acknowledging the existence of privilege in certain contexts, not maintaining that anyone is "blinded" by it.

  284. EAB says:

    What? Am I supposed to feel privileged because I don't have a broken leg? Or just feel sympathy for those who do?

    Defined in this way "privilege" is meaningless. In the real world I know when I get lectured about "privilege" the real goal is to push political and economic policies that will cost me a great deal in taxes, won't work, but that if I object to them I'm a wrecker who makes communism fail and puppies cry.

    I don't expect your sympathy. What I do expect is an understanding that because you don't have a broken leg, you (probably) don't put much thought into making accommodations for people who do. That's not a criticism of you for being a mean puppy-kicker, but rather a neutral observation. Having the privilege of being able-bodied (or white, or rich, or educated, or attractive, or whatever) isn't a negative characteristic in itself.

    Privilege doesn't get problematic until you start handling a potential conflict badly. If I tell you that something isn't very accessible, do you listen politely and ask what you can do to improve it? Or do you roll your eyes and whine about how much money it costs to make accommodations to handle a few special snowflakes? If I suggest that perhaps I have a perspective that helps me understand the problems a little better, are you rude and dismissive? If I say that my experience suggests that people with disabilities are systemically disadvantaged in lots of ways healthy people don't think about, do you stop and ask yourself if that might be the case, or do you start complaining about whiners and handouts?

    I didn't really have to start thinking differently for a while after my injury. I thought it I'd be back on my feet in a few weeks, and you can put up with a lot in the short term. It took a couple months for it to sink in that I have to think about accommodations and accessibility and all that jazz, and to appreciate what it's like for people who have always had to deal with that — to say nothing of people who don't have some of the OTHER advantages I have, like being well-off enough to throw money at some of the logistical problems. While I hope I'll be back on my feet in another year or so (after yet another surgery and rehab), it's changed my thinking in ways I would not have expected.

    I'm asking you in good faith here: do you think that any of your views and opinions might potentially alter if you found yourself or a close family member dealing with a quasi-permanent disability? I'm not asking what those specific changes might be, just whether you think it's possible that you would reevaluate your positions on some issues.

    If not, well, I congratulate you for your intellectual consistency. However, I suspect the answer would be that you would change your mind about some things. Most people do, to greater or lesser degree, when their life circumstances take a big detour like that. And if that's so, the logical corollary is that your current opinions are a product of your underlying privilege, which you can only hold right now because you've got no skin in the game.

    I'm honest enough to admit that I shifted some opinions when they started to apply to my own personal life instead of being abstract politics. I learned from the experience in ways that went far beyond sympathy, and am quite conscious of how clueless I used to be. Can you honestly say you'd go through a similar experience and remain unchanged?

  285. sinij says:

    Privilege doesn't get problematic until you start handling a potential conflict badly. If I tell you that something isn't very accessible, do you listen politely and ask what you can do to improve it? Or do you roll your eyes and whine about how much money it costs to make accommodations to handle a few special snowflakes?

    I will turn around this on you, should you be endlessly accommodated, at no expense spared, because rest of us could never understand what it is like to be in your circumstances and hence are disqualified from making this kind of decisions?

    Shouldn't you at least have to justify why you should be accommodated at our expense?

  286. DeadLenny says:

    @ stakkalee:

    First off, thanks for the explanation of "MRA." A lot of the early posts make sense now.

    So I took your advice and did some reading and… Daaang. There's some dudes out there with serious fuckin' issues. The "Rants" section of the AVfM Lounge was some of the best unintentional comedy I've come across in a while (although my sense of humor is pretty weird); if I was bored enough, it would be sooo easy to… Well, not troll, exactly, more like getting the posters to chase their own tails. (Not happening today: I've got half a damn cord of wood to shift, I gotta patch a wheelbarrow tire before that. Aarrgh…) (In fact I'll be back in a while.)

    It wasn't quite what I was expecting — I mostly read through message boards, that's where people tend to write from their guts and not their heads. I was half-expecting the sort of "goddamn bitch fucked me over!" type ranting you normally hear in bars, from some Herbert who's working on his ninth Miller. And, I did come across lines like this:

    "Which gender is known for getting into screaming fights with their mothers? Which gender makes enemies of all their friends by gossiping behind their backs and stealing their boyfriends? Which gender gets emotional and resorts to personal attacks during any discussion where they're not getting their way? Which gender expects to behave like children with no consequences for their actions?

    Well shit dude, you're describing the damn species, not just half of it. Being emotional and conniving knows no gender, especially the younger you are (I got the impression from the thread that its participants were all between 18 and 22.) The styles are different, but the actions are the same.

    The articles I went through were… Better? I guess that's right. Actually, it was more like the authors hyper-intellectualized their fear and distrust of women to completely disguise the "they're all bitches" vibe the article usually seemed to want to carry until you couldn't really see it; a genuinely skillful dance routine. Although I'll admit to getting bored and restless while reading a couple articles, and began thinking, "I wonder if I could pull off that kinda tap-dance when I write if I needed to?" (Maybe the articles were just plain written really goddamn slow, and were boring no matter how you look at it.)

    Like you pointed out, yeah, there are a couple valid issues that the "Men's Rights" organizations/websites address, like men getting fucked over in family court at a high rate. Shit, I've witnessed that one: two arrests for meth possession since their separation, unemployed, can't even pass her probation piss tests, and she still got custody of the kids. What the hell is the judge thinking? (Speed was the reason they broke up: he was sick of the life and wanted to clean up, she didn't.) And if the MRA types focused on tangibles like that, then yeah, they'd be considered more valid and generally have a leg to stand on.

    But no, the overall "All Wimminz Be Bitchez" vibe is the dominant one, no matter how much it gets intellectualized. I'd describe them the same way I described some Sci-Fi fans in my original post: they're genuinely scared and insecure with women because somehow they never learned to communicate or deal with them. That's pathetic and sad, because they ignore the door-slamming, rat-fucking obvious:

    Women are fellow members of the species.

    Duh! You pack that basic concept in your head and voila, the distrust and paranoia stop being rational. Women aren't a different species, they aren't a goddamn alien race, they're people. What's so hard about that? And yeah, I've met women who were conniving bitches, just like I've met men who were thieving dickheads. I've met women who use their sexuality like a tire iron: either jacking you up, or bashing your head in. But! I've met guys, both straight and gay, who would do the same thing with their own sexuality. Good looks, good clothes, four days a week at the gym, and a smiling self-confidence that borders on narcissism, and you're set.

    (I knew a guy about twenty years ago who lost his apartment in a fire. No renter's insurance, not enough savings for a new place. So, he basically bed-hopped his way through San Francisco and Berkeley. Stay a week with a girl, claim to have found "a roommate situation" elsewhere, and hop into a different girl's room… Including women I knew. One commented to me, "That sonofabitch still owes me $200. But god, could he fuck." He was still employed, he'd just figured out a way to save up fresh rent money as quickly as possible… And if he broke some hearts, well, he never said he loved them. Yeah, he really was a sonofabitch.)

    I really do think it grinds down to the MRA types carrying a metric assload of baggage when it comes to women, and being unable to admit it. Some have terrible communication skills in "real life," some went through butt-ugly divorces where the backstabbing and contention could be cut with a machete (and needed to be), and, well, some are members of Lenny Bruce's descriptive, "The Great Army Of The Unlaid."… But at some point, all guys have felt like Field Marshalls of that Army. It's all in how you handle it; the goal is to go AWOL, but you have to sit down with yourself and really think about what you want first. If all you care about is fucking, sure, $40 and a condom will accomplish that in San Francisco or Oakland. If you want more than that, and over a certain age you kinda should, then you need to work at it… And the place to start is with yourself. Remember, MRA dudes, you're not talking about "women," you're talking about people, no matter the situation. It's two X chromosomes, not an alien race.

  287. Francis says:

    should you be endlessly accommodated, at no expense spared

    According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers and owners of places of public accommodation must make a "reasonable accommodation" for people with disabilities.

    So, according to our legal system, the answer is no, the individual does not need to be endlessly accommodated.

    If you believe that the imposition of even a reasonable accommodation requirement is unfair, you are welcome to try to get the law changed.

  288. DeadLenny says:

    Actually, I did just think of a major difference between men and women.

    Women can't write their name in the snow.

    (Although it would be funny to see the attempt made. Thank you folks, I'll be here all week! Tip your waitress!)

  289. Leslie says:

    "When you exploit sex for personal advantage you give up the right to complain about sexism."

    Yeah, tell that to the Olympics volunteer who *gasp* exposed her stomach to enjoy the sun, and was cyber-stalked by Reddit. Her outfit was surprisingly innocuous.

    Trust me, from someone who has actually experienced being a woman, you can be extremely conservatively dressed–for example, in a business suit with a shirt showing no cleavage–and some random man will tell you all the things he wants to do to you. MRK's rather Amish outfit obviously got Fedora all worked up.

    I don't think life works the way you think it works.

  290. tigtog says:

    Some Linking 101 –

    Quoth Xennady • Feb 20, 2014 @3:30 pm

    [link to Ace of Spades snipped]
    The actual story wouldn't link, but anyone interested can just scroll down. The headline[snip]

    Permalinks to individual posts on blogs are nearly always tied to datestamps on the posts (that's how I found the permalink for your comment). Every post on the Ace of Spades front page has a "Posted by Ace at [time]" line at the the foot, and that's where you'll find the permalink in future, in order to make your link more tempting to others by making it easier to find the exact article you are referencing.

    I see Ace hasn't changed much.

  291. Xennady says:

    Every post on the Ace of Spades front page has a "Posted by Ace at [time]" line at the the foot, and that's where you'll find the permalink in future, in order to make your link more tempting to others by making it easier to find the exact article you are referencing.

    That wouldn't appear in the comment box, which is why I posted a generic link to site.

  292. tigtog says:

    What, this link wouldn't appear?

    http://ace.mu.nu/archives/347298.php

    Funny how a simple cut and paste makes it appear for me then.

  293. Xennady says:

    What, this link wouldn't appear?

    http://ace.mu.nu/archives/347298.php

    Funny how a simple cut and paste makes it appear for me then.

    Yay! Give yourself a trophy!!

    It didn't appear for me, and I didn't care enough to keep trying.

  294. tigtog says:

    Pfft. Success in such a basic internet operation doesn't merit any sort of trophy. It's a single instance of basic competence.

    Not caring enough to ensure one demonstrates basic internet competence aka consideration for other readers certainly doesn't merit that feverish back-patting you seem to be engaged in either.

  295. Dave Ruddell says:

    Not that it really matters to the discussion, but Fodera has apologized. Would include a link, but I'm on my phone and I'm just not fancy enough to pull it off. Go to Scalzi's site if you want a link. He actually believes he still might have a case against The Daily Dot. Would love to know who his lawyer is.

  296. stakkalee says:

    @Not Claude Akins,

    There's a lot going on with the SFWA recently. There's the Vox Day issue, where he was forced out of the organization for misusing their twitter feed (and just being a d-bag in general.) Do you want to characterize that as a political campaign? Sure, go for it. It's not the word I'd use (I'd go with expulsion) but regardless, it's a group of people deciding on who they want to associate with, and it's a majority overriding the wishes of a minority, so calling it a 'political campaign' is understandable, though it might elicit a chuckle or two from me. If you then extend the metaphor and claim that it's evidence of a larger leftist plot to purge all non-leftists from the organization (and sci fi in general), and that death camps are right around the corner, well at that point I'm going to guffaw, and then call you a hyperbolic whiner, because your threat-detection software seems to be on the fritz and you're seeing leftist bogeymen everywhere. (On a side note, I do want to take issue with your last paragragh, claiming Scalzi kicked him out. It's my understanding that some SFWA members initiated the expulsion, and your wording implies that John Scalzi was taking this action of his own initiative, a purge of his political enemies; it sounds overwrought.)

    Another issue is the recent tempest over the Bulletin, the SFWA's monthly newsletter, which eventually led to the petition you linked. I had to track down a timeline of the events to get a handle on it, but it seems that what happened is the Bulletin published a couple of things that elicited some grumbling from some left-leaning folks, including A)a cover featuring some chainmail-bikini cheesecake, B)an article by Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg about "lady editors" that struck some folks as overly dismissive, and C) another article by CJ Henderson calling Barbie a role model for "maintain[ing] her quiet dignity the way a woman should," (and who could object to that phrase, eh?) These apparently all induced some people to express their offense and offer criticism to the people involved. The problems only exploded when Resnick and Malzberg wrote a follow-up article claiming that their "liberal fascist" critics were trying to use "thought control" to suppress their freedom of speech; again, ridiculous and overwrought. At that point everything blew up, the Bulletin was shuttered, an editor resigned and the SFWA started putting new plans together on how to deal with the Bulletin. One of their solutions was to create a volunteer committee who would work with the new editor to make sure everything that appeared in the Bulletin was up to current SFWA standards. That system seems excessive and complicated to me – why not just make sure you trust the editor? But at the same time I don't agree with some of the points of the petition – calling editorial discretion 'censorship' (whether it stems from an oversight board or the editor herself) doesn't sit well with me, and I don't think that the SFWA should be the "front line of defense on First Amendment issues." The SFWA is a writer's organization, and it should be judged on the way it supports and assists its members. There may very well be issues with how the SFWA handles those duties, but to claim that any failures are the result of leftist infiltration and groupthink is utterly laughable.

    Demographic changes are causing growing pains in a lot of cultural areas, yes. Some of the old guard are being pushed aside, some of the new guard are demanding (rather than requesting) accomodation, which they have the right to do. And yes, there is definitely an authoritarian impulse beating in the hearts of some people, and it's an impulse that needs to be resisted (one of the reasons I come to Popehat. Thanks for the space Ken!) But to pretend that that authoritarian impulse is solely the domain of one side of the political spectrum is just naive, or mendacious. Naiveté should be educated, and mendacity should be mocked.

  297. Basil. Forthrightly says:

    Lets try this block quote thing.

    Also worth noting that the first action of SFWA president Scalzi was to kick the runner up out of the group. Now, is Vox Day a giant asshole? Very probably. But a purge of assholes is still a purge. [ObDisclaimer: yes, private orgs can evict anyone they want; I am not arguing the legality]

    That's a rather fact-free version of events; most notably, it wasn't Scalzi, but rather his successor, Steven Gould, who was president of SFWA when Ted Beale (AKA Vox Day) was booted by a unanimous vote of the SFWA board.

    Considering the utter depths of VDs assholishness, in my opinion, until now I'd never bothered to run down what he was booted for, assuming it was more than simply an Internet food fight. Turns out he was booted for using SFWA publicity resources – a Twitter feed – to distribute links to a blog post containing some ad hominems directed at other SFWA members.

    What I'm assuming is fairly neutral reporting on the event can be found here:
    http://www.locusmag.com/News/2013/08/beale-expelled-from-sfwa/
    (For those who don't know, Locus functions as the SF trade journal and has been awarded the Best Fanzine Hugo 8 times over its 45 year existence.)

    The Locus article links to VDs actual blog post as well; anyone bothering to read that special snowflake's screed should note that he was putatively not booted for the comments, per se, but for using SFWA resources to promote them.

    And I don't think it helped VD any that the first comment to this article on his personal blog is a thinly veiled call for the main target of VDs wrath in the post to be gang-raped. However, I suspect that the most salient issue – after the SFWA resources thing, perhaps – was VDs assertion that "Africans" as a group, including an American black author and I assume all other blacks, were not as civilized as he is and that they wouldn't be for centuries. The First Amendment cuts both ways; VD and his fellow travelers can say what they want and the SFWA can decide they don't want to associate with that sort of rhetorical racist and misogynistic thuggery.

  298. Dictatortot says:

    For instance, if Steve Forbes makes the argument that there isn't any reason for food stamps or welfare, because anyone who wants to work hard can always earn enough to feed their family, I don't think it is out of bounds to point out that such a viewpoint may depend in whole or in part on his rather privileged circumstances.

    Well, how about this, then: let's say that Steve Forbes makes the argument based on what he knows about the law of unintended consequences, employer behavior patterns, and libertarian theories about where the mutual responsibilities of citizens ought to begin and end. In responding to this, would it be defensible or trenchant to bring up his inherited wealth?

  299. Dictatortot says:

    I'm honest enough to admit that I shifted some opinions when they started to apply to my own personal life instead of being abstract politics. I learned from the experience in ways that went far beyond sympathy, and am quite conscious of how clueless I used to be. Can you honestly say you'd go through a similar experience and remain unchanged?

    I don't know, but I can only hope that the answer turns out to be yes. There's a word for hanging onto your principles, even when doing so involves goring your own ox, or the ox of someone you care about: "integrity."

  300. stakkalee,

    If you then extend the metaphor and claim that it's evidence of a larger leftist plot to purge all non-leftists from the organization (and sci fi in general), and that death camps are right around the corner, well at that point I'm going to guffaw, and then call you a hyperbolic whiner, because your threat-detection software seems to be on the fritz and you're seeing leftist bogeymen everywhere.

    I'm sure I've engaged in a lot of embarrassing hyperbole in this thread and elsewhere, but nowhere did I suggest death camps were on the horizon. All I've suggested is that all the ruckus at SFWA has a specific political bent. You suggest that it's not politics, but a response to racism and misogyny. We'll have to agree to disagree there. Here, read lefty-in-good-standing Mercedes Lackey on just how offensive she found Malzberg etc.:

    http://accordingtohoyt.com/2014/02/18/my-last-post-on-sfwa-pinky-swear/#comment-148894

    The problems only exploded when Resnick and Malzberg wrote a follow-up article claiming that their "liberal fascist" critics were trying to use "thought control" to suppress their freedom of speech; again, ridiculous and overwrought. At that point everything blew up, the Bulletin was shuttered, an editor resigned and the SFWA started putting new plans together on how to deal with the Bulletin. One of their solutions was to create a volunteer committee who would work with the new editor to make sure everything that appeared in the Bulletin was up to current SFWA standards.

    If Resnick and Malzberg had written something truly vile, I'd agree. But they didn't. They used the term "lady writers." Is that really offensive? If they said "lady writers are inherently inferior to male writers," then, yes. But all they said, as far as I can tell, is that back in the day there weren't as many of them. A neutral observation.

    And, c'mon: A "volunteer committee" to make sure everything is "up to standard?" If racial slurs were slipping past the editors, I might buy this. As it stands, I read this as simply enforcing the party line.

    And so, I conclude that the louder elements in the SFWA are indeed trying to silence people who don't fall in with their modern left-liberal worldview. This kind of language-policing is, in my experience, inextricable from modern leftism; it doesn't appear elsewhere. So, yes, I think it's political. Do I question their right to do it? Not at all. But I think you're kidding yourself if you don't think there are people trying to enforce a left-leaning ideological party line, or what Clark might call an "SWPL" ethos.

    @Basil,

    That's a rather fact-free version of events; most notably, it wasn't Scalzi, but rather his successor, Steven Gould, who was president of SFWA when Ted Beale (AKA Vox Day) was booted by a unanimous vote of the SFWA board.

    Ah, apologies for getting that wrong, and thanks for the correction.

    And I don't think it helped VD any that the first comment to this article on his personal blog is a thinly veiled call for the main target of VDs wrath in the post to be gang-raped.

    Yeah, I will not defend VD (and especially not his blog community) from charges of assholery. I'm just basing my perception (which may be wrong) on others' contentions that the crimes for which VD was expelled were crimes that others had committed, and in greater degree. In other words, he wasn't kicked out for being a gigantic asshole; he was kicked out for a rules violation that some find questionable, which looks to those observers like people looking for a pretext to get rid of someone they don't like. But I'll admit I'm basing this all on thirdhand knowledge, and if I knew VD personally, it's entirely possible I'd vote to expel him, too. He does seem like an unpleasant cat.

  301. ULTRAGOTHA says:

    @NotClaudeAkins

    If Resnick and Malzberg had written something truly vile, I'd agree. But they didn't. They used the term "lady writers."

    You’re confused as to timelines. The reaction to the Lady Editors in Swimsuits column was along the lines of rolling eyes and exasperation. It wasn’t until the next column where Resnick and Malzberg spent six pages excoriating “anonymous” posters (who were anything but) and comparing their exasperation to Hitler, Mao and Stalin and calling them Liberal Fascists that the internet blew up.

    Also, have you even read Gould’s reply to the petition? The editor of the SFWA Bulletin will not have to go to any selection or editorial review board to approve material. That was never on the table. Truesdale got hold of an imaginary end of the stick.

    SL Huang has a timeline of most of this (as noted above in Stakkalee’s post)
    http://www.slhuang.com/blog/2013/07/02/a-timeline-of-the-2013-sfwa-controversies

  302. Chris Ho-Stuart says:

    May I suggest an update note to the post to say Fodera has apologized to Kowal, and she has accepted without reservation.

    There are other points of note that you lawyer types will enjoy, such as a claim that he could still have a case for libel against DailyDot; but since he's not actually going to pursue that (wise move I suspect) my own inclination is to focus on the apology and the acceptance as the positive point and the best way forward for those involved.

    (Link: http://webnews.sff.net/read?cmd=read&group=sff.sfwa&artnum=6934)

  303. stakkalee says:

    @Not Claude Akins,

    I wasn't trying to suggest you had engaged in that hyperbole, and I'm not sure I've ever seen you engage in hyperbole, though others have, in this very thread. I was merely trying to explain my own criteria for how I respond to certain ideas and phrases and what provokes my own bitter mirth, and I want to apologize if you felt I was unfairly tarring you with a broad brush. Beyond that, I don't really want to relitigate the response to the Resnick and Malzberg article, but I do want to note, as ULTRAGOTHA points out, that they were ultimately excoriated not for their choice of language but instead for equating criticism with silencing. If someone says to you (the general 'you') "You should feel bad for saying that," don't respond with "Stop oppressing me!" Again, it makes you sound like a whiny baby.

    The only point I take issue with is your contention that language-policing is solely the domain of modern leftism. I've never been 100% sure what 'language policing' means; can you give me your definition? But if you're trying to say that in modern politics only the left attempts to enforce ideological purity I have a question: In the comment you linked, regarding the oversight committee Mercedes Lackey says "[A]ll it takes is a moment of inattention, and BAM, the committee is full of Teabagger Taliban, and if they think they had it bad before…" Do you disagree with her? Do you think an oversight committee full of Tea Party Patriots wouldn't also cause the Bulletin to toe their own party line?

  304. dee nile says:

    Do you think an oversight committee full of Tea Party Patriots wouldn't also cause the Bulletin to toe their own party line?

    Ah, the classic tu wouldquoque argument.

  305. Nathan Dolan says:

    This frodo dude is clearly an idiot. That doesn't make the point a bout women looking good invalid in the context. Given that this whole issue stemmed from an article in the bulletin and a cover with a chain mail clad fantasy chick. It seems, to me, at least a bit hypocritical for a woman who has bikini glamor shots in her marketing to scream sexism.

  306. Nathan Dolan says:

    This whole line of argument is stupid. Let's not pretend people don't naturally form opinions on things. How about instead of telling everyone to shut up we get some thicker skin.

  307. Nathan Dolan says:

    Ok, I saw the beach pics. I retract my statement about bikini modeling shots. I still think people should just grow up though.

  308. Nathan Dolan says:

    Perhaps she should have simply spoken to management rather than blasting it over twitter…

  309. ULTRAGOTHA says:

    Nathan, I suggest you read up on exactly what happened here. The Daily Dot picked up Mr Fodera's screed and reported on it. It wasn't until after it was all over the internet that Ms Kowal responded at all.

    Not that, if she had know about it earlier and chosen to respond on Twitter, there would be anything wrong with that.

    Your other mistake is in thinking that even if she had posted photos of herself in a bikini on her blog that that somehow removes her right to comment on inappropriate covers on the SFWA Bulletin.

  310. Ashera says:

    I have a question: In the comment you linked, regarding the oversight committee Mercedes Lackey says "[A]ll it takes is a moment of inattention, and BAM, the committee is full of Teabagger Taliban, and if they think they had it bad before…" Do you disagree with her? Do you think an oversight committee full of Tea Party Patriots wouldn't also cause the Bulletin to toe their own party line?

    UGH. Tu quoque arguments lack an ethical basis. And this quote is disgusting on the face of it. I can't believe you are defending it.

  311. babaganusz says:

    looks more like contrasting it with others' emphasis on 'leftist behavior' than "defending it"…

  312. Ashera says:

    @ babaganusz

    An argument that boils down to: "You'd do it too, if only you could" strikes me strongly as a defense of a behavior. YMMV, I guess.

    She COULD have said, "You know, you are right, that's a disgusting comment and unworthy of someone purportedly remarking on the values of an oversight committee." She would have taken the wind out the sails of the people who are disagreeing with her. But oddly, that is not the tack that was taken.

    EDIT: To fix typo

  313. TM says:

    @ULTRAGOTHA

    Your other mistake is in thinking that even if she had posted photos of herself in a bikini on her blog that that somehow removes her right to comment on inappropriate covers on the SFWA Bulletin.

    Can we please stop equating "So and so is a hypocrite and really doesn't have room to be criticizing X when they engage in it themselves" with "So and so has no right to criticize X". Calling someone a hypocrite is no more denying that they have a right to speak on a topic (except in perhaps a hyperbolic manner) any more than criticizing someone's speech is muzzling them or censorship even if you say "so and so is a disgusting asshat and should shut their mout" (except again, in perhaps a hyperbolic manner).

    @Ashera

    Tu quoque arguments lack an ethical basis.

    And in this instance, they're also an argument for the people who don't want an oversight board and feel it's a bad idea. Regardless of whether the opponents are emphasizing or only concerned with "leftists" their argument is essentially "an oversight board is a bad idea because it can (and likely will) be used to push a political view rather than any real useful purpose." Responding to that argument with "sure, but if you guys got control over the oversight board – it just takes a moment of inattention – then you'd do the same thing" is an argument in favor of not having the oversight board in the first place. Both sides are in violent agreement, and might actually agree if they could drop the label slinging.

  314. babaganusz says:

    An argument that boils down to: "You'd do it too, if only you could" strikes me strongly as a defense of a behavior.

    my mileage does not vary there. i just think you're mistaking stakkalee's purpose behind quoting Lackey. her formulation is not being 'defended'.

    stakkalee rather clearly (i thought) specified that

    The only point I take issue with is your contention that language-policing is solely the domain of modern leftism.

    what do you suspect the purpose of "solely" is in that sentence? i suspect it doesn't imply an exoneration of "language-policing" in any form.

    sure, the quote is – Lackey's words are – disgusting in at least one sense. i hope you're not confusing defending a rather narrowly-focused use of the quote with defending Lackey's words.

    Both sides are in violent agreement, and might actually agree if they could drop the label slinging.

    well put.

  315. Nathan Dolan says:

    I'm not really commenting on this incident specifically, more on the theme of sexism in general. Why is it wrong to say a woman looks nice when she has clearly made an effort. And as far as the opinion issue. I said earlier that she is free to have her opinion, just as others are free to think her opinion is childish nonsense.

  316. babaganusz says:

    Why is it wrong to say a woman looks nice when she has clearly made an effort.

    who, anywhere, ever, said such a thing?
    and assuming you could dig up an instance, whoever defended such an absurd premise?

    and please try harder to nail down whether you're commenting "in general" or in regards to a specific incident before you hit the Submit button (or finish editing).

  317. tigtog says:

    While I totally agree with babaganusz above, it might be a good thing for Nathan to become aware that one of the major reasons for women "clearly [making] an effort" is that there is a special class of scorn levelled at women "who just can't be bothered to make an effort" and perhaps what many if not most women who "make an effort" are hoping for is merely to avoid being singled out for scorn, and that being singled out for compliments is only slightly less unwelcome attention.

  318. babaganusz says:

    bah, there you go being helpful and patient rather than fueling the scorn cycle! ;)

  319. stakkalee says:

    I made no defense of the oversight committee. I said quite clearly in an earlier comment that I thought the proposal was excessive and complicated. I think some people might want to refresh their understanding of what a tu quoque argument actually is. To give you a hypothetical: if I were to argue that a woman's criticism of a sexist magazine cover should be ignored because in the past she had worn attrative clothing similar to those on the cover I would be making a tu quoque argument.

  320. Nathan Dolan says:

    Didn't I already say I was commenting in general? Since the whole point of this (the SFWA thing) seems to be that it's wrong some how to notice or write about noticing that women look nice or include depictions of women in revealing fantasy outfits. Wait! I thought that was supposed to be empowering?

  321. Nathan Dolan says:

    Ok, so if I notice she looks… "Frumpy" lol I'm wrong, but if I notice she looks nice I'm also wrong? And how do you think it makes men feel having to tiptoe through your feelings? Why is there no consideration for us?

  322. Nathan Dolan says:

    I've never "scorned" a woman for not making an effort, because I don't care. I have seen women be particularly nasty about this sort of thing though.

  323. babaganusz says:

    Okay, so nuance might not be your strong suit.
    Nobody said "noticing" anything "makes you wrong". Someone may have thought your response was patronizing, though. Does it trouble you, to be seen as patronizing?

    Also, you're welcome to attempt to provide an example of substance in which there is "no consideration for us", but until that happens, your being-taken-seriously points are rapidly dwindling.

    Your premises seem to be based on disingenuous/oblivious talking points that are supposedly 'in response to feminism'. This is a lot more about paying attention and making sense than about anyone being "wrong" (unless you're of a 'black-and-white'* mindset – you seem to be complaining of black-and-white attitudes, but the way you characterize them is kinda too absurd to be credited).

    I thought that was supposed to be empowering?

    are you able to elaborate on the concept of empowerment, or was that merely snark?

    *just to avoid confusing you further, i mean 'black-and-white' metaphorically and am not dragging skin color into this.

  324. ULTRAGOTHA says:

    Nolan, if you think the whole point of the SFWA blowup last summer was "that it's wrong some how to notice or write about noticing that women look nice" then you really haven't been paying attention. Did you read the timeline link that both stakkalee and I posted?

  325. VD says:

    I do want to take issue with your last paragragh, claiming Scalzi kicked him out. It's my understanding that some SFWA members initiated the expulsion, and your wording implies that John Scalzi was taking this action of his own initiative, a purge of his political enemies; it sounds overwrought.

    John Scalzi did take action of his own initiative; both he and Patrick Nielsen Hayden of Tor Books threatened to not renew their memberships unless I was expelled for an action that 69 other SFWA, including President Steven Gould and 2 other members of the current Board are documented to have committed. But Gould and the Board are the members responsible for the actual act, which has now set the precedent that the SFWA Board can kick out any member at any time for any reason without even publicly disclosing the reason. Hence the concerns expressed by Jerry Pournelle and other past SFWA leaders.

    It was an entirely political act from start to finish. Hayden was upset that I described his wife Theresa, who very much resembles an ugly, overstuffed amphibian, "a fat frog", and Scalzi was upset because I cheerfully remind him that he once wrote "John Scalzi is a rapist" and unmasked his fraudulent claim to have "50,000 daily readers".

    Gould claims "I didn't give him any choice" but to act as he did, which isn't quite true, but is not entirely unreasonable. It doesn't surprise me in the least that the organization is now riven between the Old Guard of real writers and the New Guard of mostly unpublished activists; I predicted as much last summer.

  326. VD says:

    I don't think it helped VD any that the first comment to this article on his personal blog is a thinly veiled call for the main target of VDs wrath in the post to be gang-raped.

    All of that was totally irrelevant. The verdict was in well before the charges were laid. They even tried to link me to Stormfront, which was ironic given that I'm as white as Barack Obama.

    Email me and you can read the report as well as my response. There is a very good reason they sent me and my ISP a DMCA takedown notice rather than let the public actually read the charges. It doesn't just make SFWA look ridiculous, it makes them look insane.

    The petition was never about the Bulletin. The petition merely represents the first panicked reaction of the Old Guard to the realization that the inmates are running the asylum. I've heard from numerous members, some of whom are quite forthright about their distaste for me, expressing their appreciation for my attempts to warn them.

  327. stakkalee says:

    @VD,

    In the comment I was responding to Not Claude Akins said in his last paragraph that John Scalzi initiated your explusion after (and as a result of) defeating you in your bid for the SFWA presidency, a formulation to which I objected. It's my understanding that Scalzi, while president of the SFWA, responded to calls for your ejection by other SFWA members by initiating an investigation (in discussion with the rest of the board) of your potential misuse of the Twitter feed, and that that investigation was continued by Steven Gould after he defeated your campaign for the SFWA presidency (Scalzi having elected to not run for a fourth term.) You say that Gould felt compelled to continue the investigation in part due to some inflexibility on your part and I have no reason to doubt you. I don't know what opinion John Scalzi may have held regarding your expulsion since I couldn't find anything he had written on the topic in my admittedly cursory investigation, but you suggest that he and Patrick Nielsen Hayden both responded by threatening to resign their membership if you weren't expelled in part due to your intentional provocation and again, I have no reason to doubt you. My objection to calling such actions a 'political act' is that it's essentially a content-free argument; sure, you can describe individuals exercising their right to free association as 'political', but put that way, isn't everything?

  328. Nathan Dolan says:

    Since I don't know you and don't particularly care about your internet opinion of me feel free to have whatever "opinion" of me you like. ;D
    ULTRAGOTHA, I haven't read your timeline, I've been fairly randomly following this SFWA drama on several writers blogs.
    I just think people should stop caring so much about what everyone else is doing and their opinions and grow up.

    Babaganusz, did it sound like snark? Lol
    Why would I associate the common term Black and white in refrence to world view with skin color?

  329. Nathan Dolan says:

    I would be interested in reading the timeline if you could provide a link and I realize there are several layers to the issue.

  330. ULTRAGOTHA says:

    I would be interested in reading the timeline if you could provide a link and I realize there are several layers to the issue.

    I did not put this timeline together, S L Huang did. Here it is again: http://www.slhuang.com/blog/2013/07/02/a-timeline-of-the-2013-sfwa-controversies

  331. babaganusz says:

    Why would I associate the common term Black and white in refrence to world view with skin color?

    my apologies. was being overly careful and a little bit mean.

    here's a problem, though: how do you reconcile

    And how do you think it makes men feel having to tiptoe through your feelings? Why is there no consideration for us?

    (in passing, wondering how you would attempt to establish that "there is no consideration for men")
    with

    I just think people should stop caring so much about what everyone else is doing and their opinions and grow up.

    ?
    first of all, "what everyone else is doing and their opinions" is ridiculously vague. if you insist on commenting so 'generally' that you are not actually presenting a coherent position to argue against, you just might be wasting our time (yours and mine; i sometimes avoid speaking for others).

    so you might want to be more specific about, say, your desire that certain persons be left alone, or that other persons mind their own business, or whatever. i don't think reducing it to tepid generalities is serving whatever argument you may have. for example, if what you're getting at is "thoughtcrime is bullshit!" you can find a fairly wide variety of supporters here. for another example, if you lean towards the "whining MRA" stereotype (and i should warn you: "Why is there no consideration for us?" tends to ring that sort of bell), you'll be lucky if you're tangentially supported by one or two cantankerous denizens. i'm not telling you what you care about, on any level. but you commented. and responded to responses. more than once. chances are you'll be better off copping to caring about something specific and defensible sooner or later.

  332. Nathan Dolan says:

    Cool timeline, thanks for reposting! Reading it was interesting. It is somewhat one sided however. I didn't see any of the posts by Larry Corriea, Sarah Hoyt, or Michael Z Williamson.
    And it didn't change my opinion on the controversy. The article where Rachel analysed the cover art felt particularly like people trying way to hard to find something to be upset about.
    I just thought it was a neat fantasy art cover.

  333. Nathan Dolan says:

    Thought crime is bullshit sums it all up very nicely.
    Yes, the where is the consideration for us? Comment was ment to be scarcastic. I apologise if my writing is not effectively getting my feelings on the issue across. I just think certain people are trying very hard to find things to be offended about..

  334. Xennady says:

    It's my understanding that Scalzi, while president of the SFWA, responded to calls for your ejection by other SFWA members by initiating an investigation (in discussion with the rest of the board) of your potential misuse of the Twitter feed, and that that investigation was continued by Steven Gould after he defeated your campaign for the SFWA presidency (Scalzi having elected to not run for a fourth term.)

    stakkalee, I'm not trying to bait you into taking another swing at me, and I think is a roughly accurate summation of what happened, as far as it goes.

    But that said, this strikes as a rather typical behavior by the left. An aggrieved leftist, seeing something he/she/gender non-binary doesn't like suddenly discovers rules have been violated, hence requiring an "investigation." Behavior must be modified in manner proscribed by the leftist- or else.

    I see this over and over again- and here's an example from today:

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/2544430

    "Michigan Democrat Rep. Gary Peters threatens TV station licenses over Obamacare ad"

    That link also has a link to the actual threatening letter Peters sent.

    Does that satisfy you, tigtog?

  335. Basil. Forthrightly says:

    @Xennady that's a dead link

    However, I've deduced that it's yet another story about the Julie Boonstra story.

    The Washinton Post has asserted that the ad is substantially false or misleading:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/wp/2014/02/20/a-hard-hitting-anti-obamacare-ad-makes-a-claim-that-doesnt-add-up/

    Whether that (if true) would or should justify Gary Peter's takedown demand is not a question I'm going to dig into specifically, other than to say I lean to the "more speech" camp heavily.

  336. Basil. Forthrightly says:

    Oh, and here's an article that lists 5 Republican takedown efforts in the 2010 cycle, so again it's not just a left wing thing.

    http://p.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/sep/28/political-ads-scramble-for-foe-takedowns/?page=all

  337. Xennady says:

    Whether that (if true) would or should justify Gary Peter's takedown demand is not a question I'm going to dig into specifically, other than to say I lean to the "more speech" camp heavily.

    I also lean to the "more speech" camp, and I noted this story because Peters attempted to stop someone from saying bad things about a law he presumably supported, which I take as typical leftist behavior.

    Shut up, Gary Peters explained, or else you'll lose your license to broadcast.

    Thuggery, to be blunt. Which is same sort of behavior I see from the people who booted Vox Day from the SFWA.

    I am not a fan of that behavior.

  338. Xennady says:

    Oh, and here's an article that lists 5 Republican takedown efforts in the 2010 cycle, so again it's not just a left wing thing.

    I have no sympathy for those efforts either.

  339. A. Nagy says:

    @VD

    Any reason you can't post it like on your blog or on here? I'm interested at least.

    "I don't know what opinion John Scalzi may have held regarding your expulsion since I couldn't find anything he had written on the topic in my admittedly cursory investigation, but you suggest that he and Patrick Nielsen Hayden both responded by threatening to resign their membership if you weren't expelled in part due to your intentional provocation and again, I have no reason to doubt you."

    VD may be an asshat but what he said in those 2 posts are pretty much dead on as far as what happened from what I can tell.

  340. Basil. Forthrightly says:

    A. Nagy

    He apparently did publish it via link on his blog at one time.

    I infer that because I've seen opponents of his mention it and link to a blog post of his that in turn has a deadlink to it. His comment above appears to explain the deadlink, that the SFWA issued a DMCA takedown request for that content.

  341. stakkalee says:

    Xennady, I'll try to avoid trading any more slaps with you, but this comment of yours includes more of the same behavior I objected to previously:

    But that said, this strikes as a rather typical behavior by the left. An aggrieved leftist, seeing something he/she/gender non-binary doesn't like suddenly discovers rules have been violated, hence requiring an "investigation." Behavior must be modified in manner proscribed by the leftist- or else.

    My disagreement with you, and with Not Claude Akins, stems from your apparent misunderstanding of the basis of this impulse. I'm not trying to claim that leftists never resort to unethical means to control the terms of the debate. I'm saying if you believe that that impulse is solely or predominantly the domain of the political 'left' ('left' when measured on a conceptually simplistic and frankly erroneous scale, but that's a bigger discussion) that you are wrong, and doing damage to your own interests in addition to causing harm to the state of the discussion generally. To put it colloquially, rules lawyers exist everywhere in the political continuum; if you believe, and try to convince others, that only leftists will lawyer the rules you're making it easier for someone else to come along and convince the public to ignore that same behavior when done by a 'rightist,' or to view a leftist's otherwise reasonable demand for accomodation as more evidence of their leftist propensity towards thought control. I share your distaste towards those takedown requests, and like both you and Basil. Forthrightly (who's obviously a filthy leftist) I support a 'more speech' solution to resolving those situations; presumably it's why we're all here at Popehat. I just want to make sure we're aiming our fire at the right targets, and not hitting any innocent bystanders with the crossfire.

    @A. Nagy,

    As I said, I take VD at his word as to those points. I'll admit, I'm dubious as to his claim that 70 other SFWA members used the SFWA Twitter feed to link to personal blog posts in which they directly attack and insult other members of the SFWA, but I'm willing to examine the evidence. Perhaps VD can post a link if and when he responds.

  342. Ken White says:

    I would not be thrilled with anyone using this comment thread to re-argue other disputes.

  343. stak,

    I shall try to clarify my thinking, here. I do think speech restriction (today) is largely a phenomenon of the left. We could research and debate the causes of this, but my rough impression is that as right-wing culture warriors have receded, left-wing moralists have risen. As examples:

    1.) The recent kerfuffle with the FCC "CIN study." I realize this rests on two assumptions, first that the FCC is an organ of the left, and second that the goals of the CIN study were to suppress speech, so YMMV, but I think there have been enough studies and donor reports over the decades to back me up on this one.

    2.) Here's Tom Harkin harkening back to the days of the Fairness Doctine: http://www.politico.com/blogs/michaelcalderone/0209/Sen_Harkin_We_need_the_Fairness_Doctrine_back_.html

    3.) Campus speech codes. I think this one speaks for itself, but if you need a cite, I'd recommend thefire.org.

    4.) Canada's "human rights tribunals."

    5.) Likewise the UK. http://overlawyered.com/2013/12/british-man-arrested-making-nelson-mandela-joke/

    6.) John Kerry's recent remarks that AGW should be beyond debate.

    7.) Also read this and try to keep your lunch down: http://www.thecrimson.com/column/the-red-line/article/2014/2/18/academic-freedom-justice/?page=single#

    All of these speech laws flow, IMO, from identity politics and a desire to protect oppressed or minority groups. And I think both identity politics and the tendency to view things through an oppressor/oppressed framework are things of the Left, broadly speaking.

    That having been said, I'm not trying to paint anyone with this particular brush (at the moment, anyway…), just attempting to be clear, as our dear POTUS might.

  344. VD says:

    My objection to calling such actions a 'political act' is that it's essentially a content-free argument; sure, you can describe individuals exercising their right to free association as 'political', but put that way, isn't everything?

    Very good point. What a lot of people don't realize is that this all goes back to a political op/ed in 2005, published on WND, which was when John Scalzi and Teresa Nielsen Hayden began attacking me on Electrolyte. I had never heard of either of them at the time, but perhaps "ideological" would be a better term.

    I'll admit, I'm dubious as to his claim that 70 other SFWA members used the SFWA Twitter feed to link to personal blog posts in which they directly attack and insult other members of the SFWA, but I'm willing to examine the evidence.

    Oh, it's a lot more than that, actually. But 71 posts (not members, sorry), were all I bothered compiling from the SFWA Forum in my response to the report. I compiled the list, complete with direct links to each attack: "I note the following 71 posts by various members. While the severity of the attacks varies from minor to serious enough to have caused members to quit the organization, they are all personal attacks which, due to where they took place, clearly violate the policy more directly and egregiously than merely linking to a blog post via a Twitter feed. Note that several of these attacks are either protested by other members or admitted by the member who made the attack. Please also note that no less than four of these direct violations of SFWA policy were committed by members of the present SFWA Board: Steven Gould, Rachel Swirsky, Lee Martindale, and Jim Fiscus."

    what he said in those 2 posts are pretty much dead on as far as what happened from what I can tell.

    Given that I am entirely accustomed to everything I write being read by hundreds of people who despise me, I see no reason or even opportunity to shade the facts. For good or for ill, it's just the facts.

    I would not be thrilled with anyone using this comment thread to re-argue other disputes.

    Not arguing or even attempting to defend myself. I'm simply providing relevant and easily confirmed facts. This is all related, Ken, it's not a distinct dispute.

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