Charles Gannon made a guest post about the Sad Puppies and the whole Hugo debacle On Monster Hunter Nation, Larry Corriea’s blog. Apparently, the article was originally posted to Whatever Scalzi, John Scalzi’s blog. Someone challenged Mr. Gannon to post it to a Puppy blog and see what he got. I read through his post and feel he made some very good points. Yes, the rhetoric needs to be toned down and calmer heads need to prevail. Ken Burnside made the same point a week ago on the Wrongfun podcast. That being said, there are issues. At one point, Mr. Gannon used the term “The Evil Other”. I’m not sure he has grasped the full significance of this label.
Would you talk to a Homophobic Neo-Nazi that tried to hijack a literary award? How about a racist who married a minority wife and had a child with her to hide his racism? These have actually happened! We know, it was talked about in such serious publications as Salon, Entertainment Weekly, The Daily Beast, The Guardian, and Slate. They had to get their information somewhere. Someone sent this information to them and they should have done due diligence. Otherwise they might not have as much credibility as people thought.
Now, those two characters, above, don’t even sound plausible in comic books. But these are not just insults that have been thrown at the Puppies. This is what many of the Science Fiction Establishment actually BELIEVE. With these beliefs, almost any action becomes allowable. What tactic should be disallowed when fighting Evil? Are you going to let a prestigious award go to a Nazi? Someone might think it validated his ideas, then you have more Nazis. Would you pay for a hundred more people to vote to prevent that? Would you tone back your rhetoric for any reason? You certainly wouldn’t apologize for calling them Nazis. That’s what they are. Good grief, we’re talking about Fascists, here! It cost 60 million lives to defeat them last time! Vox Day is sadly mistaken. Social Justice Warriors don’t always lie. When you are fighting for Good, there is no reason to lie. Social Justice Warriors tell the truth as they see it.
Of course, the problem is, the Puppies are not Nazis. Even Theodore Beale, the infamous Vox Day, doesn’t quite reach that level (probably). In the face of this, the Puppies can’t back down. Not won’t, CAN’T! They know. They tried. This is the biggest problem with telling the Puppies to moderate their responses. The Puppies don’t actually think the Establishment is Evil (maybe with some exceptions for a couple of editors and/or former editors). They’d love to have a civil discourse. If the other side wants more literary stories, that’s fine. The Puppies want more plot and adventure. Let the fans read them both and decide. But the Establishment, via Deirdre Moen and others, told its fans NOT to read the nominations this past year. That they should reject them on principle because slates are bad (Had your book been nominated, Mr. Gannon, your work would have been treated this way as well). It worked. 2,500 votes were slated “No Award” in several categories. And we’ve seen that any backing away or apology will only be met with a redoubled effort by the Establishment. If the Puppies apologize they get attacked for apologizing too because it shows they knew they were wrong when they said whatever they said in the first place. See how that works? There is no margin for compromise because that needs to be a two way street. The Establishment believes the Puppies are Evil and there can be no compromise with Evil. It’s ugly. And until one side modifies what it believes, it won’t get better. Those beliefs need to be addressed by those who want to be peacemakers.
Update: The article was edited by the author to include links to the original articles on Monster Hunter Nation and Whatever Scalzi.