Saying No

Early this week Jon Del Arroz was on his Facebook page denying that he misrepresents what people say about him here, that he stalks Filers as well as others on other social media to harass them, and gaslights them about it after he’s done it (even when it’s something he openly planned on Gab, see screencaps here and here). And in his FB comments section the amateur hour was in progress, with people stepping all over themselves trying to get in a fresh shot at me and this blog. Larry Correia was watching this and had a “Here, hold my beer” moment. The discussion wasn’t filthy enough, or vicious enough, or about him enough — and whatever it lacked, he was going to supply.

Correia followed that act by making the lowlights of his FB contributions into a post on his blog. I feel that needs to be addressed because he’s been writing about me like that for a couple of years and can be expected to continue.

Ultimately Correia remains enraged at me today because four years ago, I was one of the people (as were some of you) who said no to him when he wanted to help himself to the Best Novel Hugo. Not that I could actually stop that from happening, but when I started covering as news what Sad Puppies, Rabid Puppies, and everyone else had to say about the controversy (in their own words, with links to the rest of their posts), I had an impact by facilitating the growth of a new community of people who wanted to talk about these issues — most of them opposing the vandalism of an institution they had spent years building up.

In 2013, Correia had decided that someone with his sales figures and blog readership, who had twice had a book on the New York Times bestseller list (for a single week) deserved a Hugo, and started organizing his readers to make it happen. He didn’t think of the members of fandom as his neighbors or colleagues; he approached it like the raid culture of ancient times where you go and steal somebody’s cattle if you think you can get away with it. Despite all of the agitation he stirred up among his followers, he got only 101 nominations and failed to make the ballot.

Larry knew that since the previous summer’s raid hadn’t worked out as well as he’d hoped, to sack Troy, he would need more boats and warriors in 2014. He wrapped his nomination campaign in the flag of the culture wars. Literary awards don’t fire people up, but political motivations do. He called on readers to nominate himself plus selected friends and editors as a way to ”stick it to those SJWs”. His book made the final ballot with the third-highest number of nominating votes (184) and lost to Ancillary Justice. Two hundred votes is enough to do any amount of damage to the Hugo nominating ballot — but after two years of effort by a bestselling author, it doesn’t seem like much of a number.

In 2015 Correia gave the project to Brad Torgersen, his Patroclus, who couldn’t wait to don Larry’s armor and lead the Sad Puppies 3 campaign. Torgersen put together a slate composed of both willing and unwilling writers (with some demanding to be removed), and spearheaded his campaign with a series of abusive political tirades against the Worldcon voters. However, his band of award pirates soon discovered that the Agamemnon of their scenario was really Vox Day. His Rabid Puppies slate blanketed nearly all the Hugo categories, and his followers dictated the 2015 ballot. Larry Correia’s latest novel was one of the things on their slate, but despite three years spent jacking up his readers and colleagues to get him this award, at this point he refused his nomination, went back to his tent, and let everyone else go forward without him.

File 770 covered that story and became a place people gathered to discuss it, and correspondingly became a lightning rod for Larry Correia’s wrath. In the past two years, whenever my name or this site’s name is mentioned in comments on his blog he can always be counted on to erupt in a spew of obscenities about me — in fact, one of his followers regularly injects my name into the conversation just to see him go off. And that same spirit controlled what Correia said on Facebook, and wrote in his post. Likewise the blizzard of comments from Correia’s followers, filled with playground taunts and references to Japanese pornography and prison sex. And these things can be expected to continue because of his example and that they’re encouraged in his comment community.

I have a temper of my own, but one thing I learned early in my fanwriting career is that bad language is a dead-end — if somebody tells you what you wrote is bullshit, and you tell them, no, what you wrote is bullshit, you’re both still there and still have to think of an actual response. So while I am a graduate of middle school boys Phys. Ed. and have tried all the innuendo out for myself, there’s nothing to be gained by reciprocating. And I’ve been reminded that losing my temper doesn’t make me smarter, as witness my attempt to use Alexa stats to demonstrate that I have more web traffic than Correia, when it should have been as obvious to me that number isn’t any good as it is to everyone else. But I have decided to make this statement, because I also know from experience that when someone is trying to bully me and shut me down, I need to speak up. Which brings us back to where this story began four years ago.

No comments will be taken on this post. Your continued participation here is all the encouragement I need to continue.