SFWA: It gets worse…

So we have been having a discussion, the umpteenth reiteration of a discussion that has been going on since the 1930s, about the marginalization of women and for that matter people of colour and GLBT people in the SFF community. I got into the discussion as well, posting links and commentary in a trio of posts that shall henceforth by known as the “Girl Cooties” trilogy, namely Invasion of the Girl Cooties, Revenge of the Girl Cooties and Bride of the Girl Cooties.

One of the many entries into the ongoing discussion was N.K. Jemisin’s excellent Guest of Honour speech for the Continuum con in Australia. It’s a very good speech and I’d have thought that what N.K. Jemisin has to say wasn’t all that controversial either – she mainly calls for finally acknowledging that women and people of colour have been part of the SFF genre since the beginning.

Another participant in the current debate is Theodore Beale a.k.a. Vox Dax, a fantasy writer and rightwing blogger who ran for SFWA president and lost. He also happens to believe that women, people of colour and in general anyone who is not like VD ruin the SF genre. N.K. Jemisin had some not very kind words to say about VD and his failed run for SFWA president, whereupon he completely looses it and posted this shitdump of sheer offensiveness. Trigger warning! Whatever upsets you, this post will probably include it.

Among other things, VD spews racist bullshit of the worst sort at N.K. Jemisin, who gets the brunt of his shit flinging attack this time. Though he also makes disparaging comments about Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s appearance and intelligence (insulting an editor at a big SFF publisher is a great career move) and demonstrates his inability to grasp irony by mistaking a satirical post by John Scalzi about rape apologists for a genuine confession (What is it with VD and Scalzi? Unrequited mancrush?). The whole post is both utterly disgusting and just plain bizarre.

If you don’t feel like giving VD hits and Google juice and still want to see what he wrote, Amal El-Mohtar, Foz Meadows and Jim Hines have excerpts of VD’s shitdump on their respective blogs along with thoughtful commentary. In fact, I did debate whether to link to VD directly, but then his idiocy deserves to be seen and ridiculed. Ironically, VD also proves N.K. Jemisin’s points about him with his shitdump rant. If anything, “various flavours of arsehole” was probably too mild a description.

However, VD was not satisfied by spewing crap on his own blog, he also had to promote the post via the SFWA Twitter feed. Which is against SFWA rules by the way and has resulted in calls for expelling him, because disseminating hate speech is clearly not the purpose of the SFWA. Natalie of Radish Reviews has a round-up of further links and reactions.

The most shocking thing (and yes, I know I probably shouldn’t be shocked) is that VD got ten percent of the vote when he ran for SFWA president. Yes, ninety percent of the membership voted against this guy, but ten percent honestly felt that a guy with the manners of a poo-flinging monkey would make a better SFWA president than Steven Gould. Look folks, Kermit the Frog would make a better SFWA president than VD. Hodor from Game of Thrones would make a better SFWA president than VD and a more eloquent one, too. A slice of bread would make a better SFWA president than VD. Besides, it’s not as if the problems with VD were unknown, since he has been spewing crap for years. And yet ten percent still voted for that guy?!

Meanwhile, outgoing SFWA president (and one of VD’s favoured targets) John Scalzi as well as Arachne Jericho and husband and wife team Scott Westerfeld and Justine Larbalestier have made a pledge to match any donations made today to the Carl Brandon Society, a non-profit organisation for supporting diversity in SFF which among other things awards the Octavia Butler Memorial Scholarship to send writers of colour to Clarion and runs Con or Bust which helps fans of colour to attend cons.

It’s a very good cause, so let’s all show VD that he is a very small minority of unrepentant arseholes in this genre.

ETA: In the comments, Estara points out that Kate Nepveu is also matching donations to Con or Bust through Friday.

And in my referral logs, I found this delightful Tumblr listing books and authors that Theodore Beale a.k.a. Vox Day does not want people to read. I can’t think of a better recommendation.

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21 Responses to SFWA: It gets worse…

  1. Estara says:

    Indeed. Kate Nepveu who organises Con-or-Bust also matched donations

  2. Michal says:

    The tumblr link is broken.

  3. Daniela says:

    I tried reading his blog-entry and gave up after the first few paragraphs. After that I felt in need of a shower. Yuck. That man is just vile in addition to being woefully uneducated.

    The fact that 10% of those who voted actually voted for him is worrying, even if you take into account that some people might not really have checked him out and only read his platform-statement. Or just voted for him to oppose Steven Gould (or Scalzi).

    • Cora says:

      I did get to the much quoted “a society of N.K. Jemisins would never build what VD considers civilization” bit (I think we’d do okay with a society of N.K. Jemisins, but the idea of a society of VDs scares me), but I started to skim towards the end, because there was just so much vile racist crap and the stupid, it burns… Ahhh!

      What’s worst about this is that this guy’s attitudes are well known, since he’s been around and sprouting crap (not quite that offensive, usually) for years. He even had a column in Black Gate for a while (and once called me and Mur Lafferty amoral for daring to disagree with him about the The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant being a wonderful and inspirational tale of redemption). Plus, he apparently regular participates in private SFWA forums. So the only people who might not have known about this guy’s views are those who exist off the internet. Which makes even 10% of however high the voter turnout was pretty scary.

      • Daniela says:

        We already had a society of VDs and the result was not one I wnat see repeated ever. The thought alone makes me shudder in dread.

        I also wouldn’t mind a world with more N.K. Jemisins it it. Never mind the fact that all the first great civilizations were in Africa and Asia and were the ones that later influenced the civilizations in Europe (so much for white men supremacy).

        I’ve never read the Thomas Covenant books. The only things I read by Stephenson were his mirror-books (German translation) and while I liked them well enough I obviously didn’t like them enough to search for more by him. But *amoral* for not agreeing with him? *shakes head*

        Sometimes I really don’t understand US society. On the one side all that freedom rhetoric and on the other men like that who are offered plattforms and find open support and voters. Same with a lot of politicians and their blatant hate-speeches.

  4. “VD got ten percent of the vote when he ran for SFWA president. Yes, ninety percent of the membership voted against this guy,”

    My understanding is that of those members of SFWA who bothered to vote, Gould received 90% of the vote. Leaving 10% for He Who Shall Not Be Named.

    • Cora says:

      You’re correct, of course. Voter turnout should not be forgotten.

      According to Tobias Buckell, 500 people voted in the election, 50 of which voted for VD. I don’t know how many members the SFWA has (and neither does Tobias Buckell), but I’m sure it’s more than 500, so the overall percentage of VD supporters is lower than 10%. Not that 50 people voting for VD is not disturbing enough.

      • SFWA has about 1800 members, last I heard.

        • Cora says:

          Thanks for the information, Will.

          • While, to the best of my knowledge, I don’t know anyone who voted for VD, I’d also guess that some of the people who voted for him chose him as a protest vote, not necessarily sharing his weird ideas about race and knowing he couldn’t win, but not wanting to vote for someone perceived as Scalzi’s successor. I think Steve Gould’s a great guy, but I also think Scalzi made some bad calls in his time, like allowing a convention to cancel a guest of honor at whim. Whatever you may think of Elizabeth Moon’s politics, that’s not the sort of precedent a professional writer’s group should let go unchallenged.

            • Cora says:

              I’m not exactly a stranger to protest voting myself, but voting for an outspoken misogynist and racist is hugely problematic even as a protest vote, because unlike – say – The Pirate Party or the Transcendental Meditation Party or the Anarchic Pogo Party (I haven’t actually voted for the latter two, though I sometimes threaten to do so, when frustrated by German politics), misogynists and racists have the potential to be actively dangerous. Even if you can’t stand either Scalzi or Steven Gould, there’s no way VD would be a better choice even as a “fuck you” vote. I don’t know how the SFWA elections work, but is there no write-in option or the option to abstain via a blank ballot or a “No, thank, neither” comment?

              I disagree with you on Elizabeth Moon, but then I’m very sensitive with regards to islamophobia. Though I agree that the whole situation could have been better handled. I’m also curious whether any convention has ever kicked out Orson Scott Card.

              • I’m very sensitive to Islamophobia, too; I was one of the first to disagree with Moon on her LJ. But I’m also very sensitive to what happens once the principle of silencing people has been established—historically, when you do not speak up for the right of your opponents to speak, eventually, you’ll lose the right, too.

                And for a professional writer’s group, the issue should be different: once a writer accepts a GoH offer, the people who offer it should be obliged to stand by their offer, so long as the person remains a professional writer. A writer’s group is supposed to look out for all its members, and Scalzi failed. I wouldn’t have voted for VD, but I also wouldn’t assume everyone who did is a VD clone.

                Dunno if any con has changed its mind about Card. Within the community, his views on homosexuality have been known since, I think, the early ’90s. What’s oddest about the Moon situation was she was chosen because of her military background and her conservatively liberal outlook. Her take on muslims shouldn’t have surprised the people who chose her to be a GoH.

                • Cora says:

                  Actually, that’s another thing I wondered about, whether Elizabeth Moon’s problematic views weren’t known beforehand. I must confess that I don’t know much about Ms. Moon except that she writes military SF which I don’t read and that for the longest time I kept getting her mixed up with the other two Elizabeths (Bear and Hand) currently writing SFF. But surely her views didn’t come out of nowhere, so the Wiscon committee should have known what they were in for.

  5. Jason says:

    Beale’s commentary might be offensive, but saying Hodor is more eloquent than he makes me wonder if I can take you seriously when you’re pissed off.

  6. Romeo says:

    this article is interesting and could add new insights, have a nice day

  7. Pingback: SFWA drama comes to a conclusion | Cora Buhlert

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