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In Defense of Irene Gallo

This is another Hugo Award/ Sad Puppy post. I wish it were not true but there is something that needs to be said. The title of this piece says I am defending Irene Gallo regarding the remarks she made on her Facebook page. I am, to a point. And by the end of this article I know she will be angry at me for doing so. The gaffe was ugly and nothing I have to say will make it look any better. I am serious about what I am saying here. I say this because it can be difficult to deal with the fact that someone hates you and actually believes you hate them and their beliefs in return.

I had an epiphany yesterday. Not the sort of epiphany that makes you happy. I haven’t figured out anything that would bring about peace in the Middle East or come up with an energy solution everybody can live with. Oh, how I wish it were so. This is the sort of epiphany that makes you cry into the night sky for an alien abduction. The probing from the aliens would be worth it just to get away from the level of foolishness involved.

First, let me point out I believe Irene Gallo has been honest throughout this whole affair. She had no reason to lie to her friend when he asked her about the Sad Puppies campaign. She was safe on her personal Facebook page which she often used to help advertise various items for her employer, Tor Books. Under most circumstances, this would be commendable in an employee. It shows loyalty and initiative any employer would find desirable. Things went horribly wrong for her. Here is the quote from the thread that started the whole thing:

sad puppies

As I said above, she had no reason to lie. If she were lying then she is a cruel and manipulative person that is steering someone who is unaware of the controversies surrounding the Hugo Awards by libeling a group of people with abhorrent names and beliefs they do not hold. I have seen nothing that makes me believe that. I have met evil and manipulative people and I do not believe she is one of them.

I am now going to digress a moment. To those who have been appalled at what has been said about them, hold your bile. You will see why in a bit. To those of you who have been defending her by saying we are misinterpreting what she said, just stop it. You are impugning this woman’s honor and integrity. She has not been unclear or mealy-mouthed in anything she has said. Nor are your opponents or anybody else incapable of understanding what she has written in plain English. She was not using any obscure definition of Nazi or Fascism when she said what she said. You sound like Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carol’s “Through the Looking Glass”. And you are not master of anything. To those of you who have defended her by crying about a #WarOnWomen on Twitter and elsewhere, get a grip. This has nothing to do with her gender. The response would have been the same if the Puppies had been called Nazis by a man. I know I am not a Nazi. You know you are not a Nazi. I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you choose not to associate with Nazis. I know, darn well, I don’t associate with them. And if someone called you a Nazi you would respond with as much, if not more, vigor than the Puppies have. You are damseling her. The reason she is having trouble defending herself is that her statement was abhorrent and she had nothing but cat pictures to back it up. Deal with it.

Now we get to the part that makes me sick to my stomach. You see, I have found it is best to take my opponents at their word. I have found that most people are honest in their dealing with others when they see no need to lie. Nobody is the villain in their own mind nor do they want to be.

When the Sad Puppies first responded on Ms. Gallo’s thread they immediately began asking, pointedly, what she had to back up her assertions. The Sad Puppies know they are not Neo-Nazis and were justifiably angered that someone would call them such. The problem is they skipped a question they should have asked: Do you believe what you wrote?

I have come to the realization Irene Gallo actually believes the two Puppy campaigns are run by Neo-Nazis. Until someone closely associated with her or she, herself, tells me otherwise I will stand by that belief. It does not make what she said any better. It just shines a light on how bad things have become.gallo apology

It does not matter what you know of yourself. If someone believes you are a Neo-Nazi then that person sees no reason not to call you a Neo-Nazi. They are simply speaking the truth as they see it. If she believes it, she did not lie. And, to her, asking her to apologize for calling you a Nazi would be asking her to lie.

That Brad Torgersen has been in an interracial Marriage for 20+ years and is raising a child with this wonderful woman doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that Peter Grant has actually exchanged gunfire with Neo-Nazis while working to end Apartheid in South Africa. It doesn’t matter that the Ku Klux Klan trespassed and burned a cross on my grandparent’s farm when I was 10 years old. We can deny we are Neo-Nazis all we want. That’s exactly what a Neo-Nazi would do*. Do you know who else would deny being a Neo-Nazi? Someone who is not a Neo-Nazi.

It is worse than this one woman’s beliefs. I am sure many of her supporters believe what she has said as well. Look at those who defended her by saying Tor Books threw her under the bus. To them, Tom Doherty looks like Neville Chamberlain appeasing Germany prior to WWII. It’s actually management disciplining an employee that said some stuff that could damage their company online. But facts and reality are nothing compared to what they believe.

So what does this change? Unfortunately, very little. It merely explains why the two sides are so entrenched. When one side is convinced the other is evil there can be no compromise. Of course, if you are provably wrong about those who you believe to be evil it makes you look like either an ass, a fool, or a conspiracy theorist. These are not mutually exclusive.

This does not change our response. It only makes sense to deny when we are accused of being something we are not. When these accusations are thrown, and they will be thrown again, we must continue to ask for proof of them. I’ve seen what they throw out. When they start telling you about “Confederate Politics” or similar silliness you’ve won because there hasn’t been a Confederacy since 1865.

It does mean we should temper our response in pity rather than anger. The person throwing out such vile accusations isn’t necessarily foolish, they may simply be obtuse. It is difficult to change deeply held beliefs, especially when knowing that you were wrong makes you look stupid or makes you the villain of your own narrative. It is frustrating to deal with. Keep your cool.

But how can she continue to hold these thoughts when confronted with the fact that they are absurd when compared to reality? People know many things that just are not true. Allow me to present the fallacy of the alligator’s color. Without looking anything up, what color is an Alligator? Green? That’s what color it is on the University of Florida sports logo and in dozens, if not hundreds of children’s books. Now Google a photograph of an alligator. What color is it? Alligators are actually black. Why do we think they are green? Because that is what we have been told and we never had any reason to doubt the Florida Gator’s logo. This works for other beliefs as well.American_Alligator

I do not know if Tor Books has made a final decision on Irene Gallo’s fate yet. I do not think Mr. Doherty’s and Ms. Gallo’s statements are the end of it. I do hope Tor Books will ask Ms. Gallo if she believed she was protecting her company from Neo-Nazis when she made her inflammatory post. Yes, it is absurd on the face of it, but that changes nothing about what she may have believed and continues to believe for all I know. I do not know what I would do if faced with such a decision. Is losing a loyal, valuable, and capable employee worth the reputation loss from keeping her after the damage she has caused? I am glad I do not have to make that call.

I am saddened that there are people who think my friends and I are racist, homophobic, Neo-Nazis. This only means the fight over the Hugo Awards has reached a new low. And that it cannot end well. This does not mean we will stop fighting. It simply means we should pity them. They hate because they do not know any better.

*Actually, it is the opposite of what most Neo-Nazis would do. It is disgusting, but they see nothing wrong with their beliefs and will gladly tell you about them. If you disagree, ask a Law Enforcement Officer that has had dealings with them or, even better, infiltrated them.

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About James Schardt

A retired Army Aviation Mechanic and former Non-Destructive Testing Technician, James Schardt is currently a college student studying Mechanical Engineering. He has been known to contribute book reviews and articles to the Otherwhere Gazette.

25 comments on “In Defense of Irene Gallo

  1. Which is more or less what I said earlier this week on my blog: that Irene Gallo is a bigot.

    Bigot n. A person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.

    She is obstinate in her belief that we are neonazis and woman-haters, so obstinate that facts do not sway her even a little. It is a prejudice, and she is intolerantly devoted to it. And she regards and treats members of our group with hatred and intolerance.

    She is a bigot. And, for what it might be worth, honestly so: rather than affecting the pose for short-term advantage, she really believes it.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. She is in and of a social tranche that considers anyone to the right of Stalin an extremist, and anyone to the right of Lenin a Nazi. Remember that the NYT has declared itself to be centrist – and they are proud of their role in covering up Stalin’s murderous atrocities.

    These outraged elites – competent or incompetent in their fields as they may be – have always looked down on the plebes [the vast majority] with disdain. And as long as they were the gatekeepers and manipulators they were safe. They had the media and the arts as antibiotics to suppress dissent, with tools ranging from hiding information to deliberate lying to public shaming to corruption of the legal system.

    Unfortunately for them, the New Media has created a strain of super-Plebes, resistant to all the previous methods of control and eradication. They can no longer isolate and destroy. Preference cascades develop uncontrollably, usually to the extreme disadvantage of these self-appointed elites.

    So I agree with this article and sympathize with this sad, parochial, insular, and ignorant individual. But if anybody can be said to be following Nazi ideology, it is not the targets of her attack. Quite the contrary.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Moshe feder has already gone all in on backing her statements, snidely noting it was on his private FB and not representative of Tor.

    Liked by 3 people

    •         Feder is particularly stupid about this.  People were so (justifiably) outraged about Gallo’s ‘explanation’ of the Sad Puppies that they mostly forgot the beginning of her post: “Making Sad Puppies sadder…Proud to have a tiny part in this.”  She went out of her way to insult the “Sad Puppies”, of which I am proud to be one.  But Feder ‘damsals’ her, saying that her remarks were “spontaneous, unpremeditated … an explanation … a spontaneous writer and not a calculating one … never been known for her diplomacy … [making an] off-the-cuff statement … just one person’s opinion, readily ignorable.”

              In Feder’s idiotic opinion, falsely calling people “unrepentantly racist, sexist and homophobic,” and falsely “claiming they are calling for the end of social justice in science fiction and fantasy” is far less outrageous than doing in the open what Tor employees and writers have done quietly, namely get people nominated for awards.

              My response to the Nielsen-Haydens, Feder, and Gallo was expressed in the following letter to tom.doherty@tor.com Tom Doherty, head of TOR, rhonda.brown@macmillan.com Executive Director of Legal Affairs for Employment, MacMillan. Code of Conduct Compliance, lauren.welch@macmillan.com Macmillan Fiction Publicity Chief, helaine.ohl@macmillan.com MacMillan HR Chief, lorraine.saullo@stmartins.com: Executive Assistant, St. Martin’s Press. Current POC for John Sargent, andrew.weber@macmillan.com Global COO for MacMillan, and john.sargent@hbpub.com CEO of MacMillan:

      Sirs and Madams:

            You won’t know me, and there’s no reason you should. But I’m one of the people that your employees keeps insulting. I’m one of a large number that’s been told I’m racist, misogynist, a Jew hater, and the general scum of the universe. And I’m done with it.

            You may have Ms. Gallo, Mr. Feder, and Mr. and Mrs. Nielsen-Hayden as employees, or you may have me as a customer. I will no longer make purchase from Tor/Forge, or any Macmillan imprint, while any of them are working for you.

      Stephen M. St. Onge
      Minneapolis, MN, USA

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I don’t think it’s wrong to call someone dishonest who says dishonest things. Why do we feel the need to give the benefit of the doubt to someone who really ought to know better? Did she actually think that the SP/RPs were Neo-Nazis, homophobic, sexist, etc.? No, I don’t believe so. We can assume from someone’s actions their mental state. And I’m assuming Gallo was lying in order to reinforce a false belief. Her ‘apology’ only served to make things all the clearer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Irene Gallo has lived in New York City for a couple decades. I doubt she has had much interaction with people outside the NYC Publishing and Art community. She doesn’t know any better because there isn’t anyone in her circle of associates that believes differently than she does. Look at Moshe Feder doubling down on stupid since this has happened. Same thing. This is an extreme manifestation of the “How could Nixon win? I don’t know anybody who voted for him” phenomenon. There is a poison in the house of Tor. They will have to rid themselves of it either by cutting it out or changing how they think. Otherwise, they will die.

      Liked by 3 people

    • “Dishonest” and “honest but wrong” can look similar. I recall Michael Moore (yes, really), say in an interview that Bush, saying what he believed to be true, was *lying* because what he said wan’t true. (Debatable, but that was Moore’s argument.)

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Aren’t you being a little insensitive when you refer to the hue of that alligator? 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  6. My guess is few believe it should be taken literally.

    For some, saying “Nazi” is acceptable because VD (usually) has blogged about articles discussing scientific findings or public policy and speculated on ways they might be deployed to challenge liberal consensus on social issues, and done so with a lot of provocative – presumably with deliberate intent to offend – rhetorical posturing.

    For some, saying words like “Nazi” or “Stalinist” is acceptable because principles like the right to ask “controversial” questions or hold “unpalatable” beliefs is felt, rightly or wrongly, to be under attack, whether in specific genre/industry circles or in the wider public sphere.

    Probably everyone should cut it out, but the specific incentives to do so might vary depending on one’s motives.

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  7. *chuckles* Oh, well done. This was brilliantly written.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. […] friend James Schardt said that she was utterly sincere, and he was right. The utter sincerity comes through. She’s not being insulting, she’s telling the truth as she […]

    Liked by 1 person

  9. As I posted over at Sarah Hoyt’s:

    Savonarola was utterly sincere.
    The Grand Inquisitor of Spain was utterly sincere.
    Cotton Mather was utterly sincere.
    Ned Ruffin was utterly sincere.
    The British and German university professors who ordered their students off to die in WWI were utterly sincere.
    Lavrenti Beria was utterly sincere.
    Any number of Germans we all could name were utterly sincere.
    The Boston Matrons who demanded that every American GI returning from WWII be confined to asylums until they were deemed fit for “decent society” were utterly sincere.
    Bull Conner was utterly sincere.
    Lester Maddox was utterly sincere.
    Charles Manson was utterly sincere.
    Sincerity don’t mean crap.

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  10. It is simple projection. Progressives believe the end justifies the means. Since their ‘ends’ are all so wonderful (in a naive fantasy based way), then anyone ‘opposing’ them must be Satan Incarnate.
    It is also a projection that after TOR and their ‘change the world for the better’ cohorts decided in some way, that readers want literary fiction and all stories told from the progressive trans-gendered-feminist point of view, then they ‘gamed’ the Hugos to substantiate their beliefs.
    Now that SP3, and worse the dread Vox Day have come in touched the nerve that, yes, the readers are madder than heck and they are tired of this feel good crap being shoved down their throats.
    Ms Gallo refuses to admit that her efforts at TOR over the last few years are not only wasted, but harmful to the company. Since she refuses to admit her failure, she must ascribe hateful evil traits to her opposition.
    This woman is sick and you are not helping.

    Like

    • She seems to be, or perhaps have been, in charge of artwork such as covers. Even John C. Wright has praised her work. Apparently her covers sell books. If she were an editor, parts of this article would have been substantially different. The woman lives in a bubble insulated from the real world and she has to find her own way out of it. I couldn’t help her if I wanted to.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Is there a reason your post doesn’t mention Vox Day and his views, given that he’s the leader of the Rabid Puppies?

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  12. Theodore Beale isn’t the beginning and end of the Puppies campaigns. I don’t feel the need to name drop him every time I write an article about the controversy surrounding the Hugo Awards. I didn’t mention Larry Correia either.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. […] called us “racist, sexist, homophobic, neo-nazis,” while our leader this year is a man in an interracial marriage for more than 20 years, one of our […]

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