Yes, I’m a little pissed, how can you tell?

Fuck this shit!

Up to now I’ve been pretty quiet about this, but you all have finally pissed me off. I’m seeing all sorts of grandstanding, self-congratulatory, “I’m so fucking proud of fandom,” nonsense all over the place. This is some sort of high-water mark for the genre. Schadenfreude for everyone! Crush the puppies! See them driven before us, and hear the lamentations of their women! Yay us! We won!

If you’re part of that cheering squad, fuck you.

This is what you’re cheering: A bunch of guys came to the game trying to get people to win. A bunch of other guys came to make people lose. The latter was victorious. So you’re all cheering, “Yay! People lost!”

Applauding “no award” means nothing but your own profound joy that everyone in the category lost. It means you are celebrating their defeat.

It means you celebrate the fact that a pair of women editors who’ve done fantastic work in the genre for decades, who managed to pull in record setting numbers of votes, were successfully blocked from getting an award because mumblemumble-hate-mumblemumble-misogyny-mumble. It means you are okay that, given the traditional meaning of “no award,” fandom pretty much up and said to Sheila E. Gilbert and Toni Weisskopf that, “no, really, we don’t think you should have this Hugo, and furthermore, we really think you aren’t worthy to be on this ballot.”

That is what you’re cheering.

So fuck you.

If you start saying “collateral damage,” Fuck you.

If you start saying “but the puppies…” Fuck you.

If you start saying “if they distanced themselves from…” Fuck you with a rusty chainsaw.

All of the above is an attempt to deflect responsibility. Fandom decided that voting “no award” across the board was a reasonable response to the Puppies, and that’s what they did. The people who did so, the people who encouraged them to do so, and the people cheering the results, are all taking a massive steaming sour-burrito dump on the careers of two women who’ve probably done more for the genre than the whole lot of knee-jerk puppy kickers put together.

So, yeah, if you’re blabbing on Facebook about how proud you are about all this, I’m pretty much losing my respect for you.

The end of free speech

It’s done.

When the creative class itself packs their bags and calls it quits, it’s over.  This is where we end.  Any tyrant now knows that they can suppress any artistic expression they don’t like just by making some threats.
asshat
The temptation is to retaliate.  Make fun of North Korea and Kim Jong Bad Hair Day.  Punish them by making them the butt of the joke.  But it doesn’t fix the problem.  You see, they’re already a joke.  They’ve been one for years. Satire clogs the Internet as we speak, and will continue to do so.  But that’s just pretending the fight’s still happening when we’ve already lost.  It doesn’t matter how many memes you post to Facebook.  Hollywood, the heart of American cultural dominance in the world, has caved to a tin-pot dictator of a country that has to kidnap filmmakers just to have a film industry.  A cartoon from College Humor isn’t going to make up for that.  A biting Jon Stewart critique isn’t going to make up for that.  Hell, George Clooney can’t get a petition signed condemning the hacking and intimidation of Sony.  George-effing-Clooney.

Worse, the movie industry as a whole has just let everyone know that if you want a film banned in the US, just make a threat.  They’re all almost inviting a bomb at a multiplex now. Good work all.

Now Sony has a perfect right to do what it did.  So does AMC, Regal, et al.  So does Paramount for pulling Team America as a last minute replacement for the Interview.  But this cannot continue if we don’t want our popular culture to be at the mercy of any regime that can afford a hacker and a bomb.

So how do you give Hollywood a spine? Stay home this Christmas.  Don’t pay to see the movies they deign to show us this week.  Make it cost them to cave into these threats.  Rent a movie, watch Netflix, and send an e-mail to your local Regal, AMC, Cinemark letting them know why they aren’t getting your money.  Let Sony Pictures and Paramount know why you aren’t paying to see their other moves.  Boycott the whole pantywaist lot of them until they grow a set and tell Kim Jon Un to sodomize himself, or they go bankrupt, divest, and are replaced by studios and theater chains with corporate cultures that will.

Bad Examples: Publisher Edition

Say you’re a publisher.  Say you’ve been profitable in the past but have been sliding into financial difficulties.  Let’s even say that you’ve had a few past issues with lawsuits over breach-of-contract.  Then, let’s just posit that some blogger does some research and finds all sorts of shenanigans:

  • There is a set of authors who have not received royalty payments in over six months. EC has blamed this repeatedly on a new accounting system installed in December of 2013.
  • CEO Marks admits that “already submitted finished books” will be paid but that “payment may be delayed.”
    […]
  • The author portal has been shut down where a select few authors could check their royalties.
  • Authors request for return of their rights have been rejected and some are told that their books will be published with or without their approval.
  • The total sum of unpaid royalties, editor fees, cover artist fees is in the several thousands, perhaps approaching six figures.

So you need to put this behind you, right? You need to make good your commitments to your authors and possibly do the obligatory mea culpa for damage control, right?

Right?

Bueller?

What am I thinking? No, what you really do is file a lawsuit against a blogger.

You file a lawsuit.  Against a blogger.

Really, Ellora’s Cave? Really? What kind of legal advice are you idiots getting? I’m sorry, you think schoolyard bully tactics are somehow going to protect your collapsing business model? WTF you think will happen in discovery, when the defendant gets to see your books to demonstrate the truth or falsity of the claims in their blog post? WTF you think will happen when you get a well-deserved reputation for being litigious bullies who also happen to screw their authors? Has your legal team dropped the habit of pissing off Judges?

My prediction: Bankruptcy before this ever makes it to court.

Speaking of authors doing things wrong. . .

Strangely enough, just as my ancient post on Mr. Patrick “fiction writer working at the very highest level today” Roscoe gained some renewed attention, another author decided to break the cardinal rule of writing in the age of the internet, that rule being: “Thou shalt not start a flame war over a review of thine book.”

I will not fully engage my snark here because Jacqueline Howett does not seem to fit in the same category as professional authors undergoing a review meltdown (Anne Rice for example).   She seems slightly more entitled to a bit of sympathy for her misstep. Her repeated misstep. Missteps ending with the eloquent:

“Fuck Off.”

More’s the pity because the review in question actually suggests that she has promise as a writer, and just needs some fairly serious copy-editing. (Note to self-publishers:  Everyone needs copy-editing.  Get yourself some before you start uploading files. This is one of the responsibilities you assume by bypassing traditional publishing.) Now, because of her public tantrum, she’s now known for being the author who had a hissy fit over her own bad sentence construction. (She’ll be lucky if the following sentence does not become an internet meme: “Don and Katy watched hypnotically Gino place more coffees out at another table with supreme balance.”)

So it doesn’t matter if you’re professionally published, self-published, or uploading things to fanfiction.net.  All public internet whining gets you is a fist full of abuse from folks who love this sort of thing, and a reputation as one of “those” authors. I mean, editors do Google you, and it doesn’t help you if this or this is one of the top results.

Myth and Asshats

So rarely does the universe provide such an enlightening conflation of shallow facile consensus political wisdom, along with elitist literary snobbery as we have in this column by Maureen Dowd.  Dowd has gotten the memo, that Christine O’Donnell is the designated political chew toy for this political cycle.  O’Donnell is the acceptable target.  After all, she was the idiot who spoke aloud some doctrinaire religious ideas about sex on MTV when she was in her twenties, and had the bad sense to admit to Bill Maher that she dated a neo-pagan in high school.   But, you see, Ms. Dowd is a writer, and a writer needs a theme.  So what original aspects of designated clown O’Donnel does she decide to make fun of this time?

The fact that she likes Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.  Really.  This is cause for her to question someone’s mental stability and connection to reality, the fact that O’Donnell decides to praise one of the major writers of the 20th century for his treatment of women.

“Look at the significance that he gives to Eowyn, the Lady of Rohan,” O’Donnell said on C-Span in 2003. “She was a warrior spirit and, to me, that’s who I love. I mean, I aspire to be soft and gentle like Arwen, but realistically, I’m a fighter, like Eowyn.”

O’Donnell said she liked Tolkien’s outlook on gender: “On the one hand, there’s the attitude that’s normally on the conservative side — as a conservative woman, I feel I can say this — that stifles women. There’s almost the stereotypical attitude of, to be a true woman, you have to stay at home. And I’ve actually had people say to me, ‘Why do you choose a career over marriage?’ Honestly, I’ve had only a few significant relationships, and they’ve broken up with me. And one of the things I’ve been told is, ‘If you weren’t so strong, you’d be married by now.’ ”

That passage is apparently worthy of Dowd’s mockery, more so than O’Donnell’s views on masturbation.  (Which my wife has had a field day with.  And which, in the video I saw, had a lot in common with a Playboy interview with a certain infamous ex-president, including use of similar language.  Of course, given the results of that guy’s election, it probably is a disqualification on its face.)  Apparently, if you are a fantasy geek of any stripe, you need not apply to the hollowed halls of seriousness that admitted this guy.

Worse, she decides to bring up C. S. Lewis:

“We’re rowdy, we’re passionate,” she told the enraptured crowd. “It reminds me of the C. S. Lewis Narnia books, where the little girl asks someone about Aslan the lion, who represents God, and she says with a little concern over such a fearsome lion, ‘Is he safe?’ And her friend says, ‘Safe? Who said anything about safe? Of course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.’ ”

Yep, that disqualifies her right there.

You know, in policy terms I probably have as as little in common with Christine O’Donnell as I do with Charlie Rangel. And I agree with all of the critiques of her on tactical grounds, as the woman has had a colorful history, and a lot of it has been in front of the TV cameras. I agree on a lot of the critiques of her on policy grounds.  (As opposed to the knee jerk critiques of her because of her scary religious background. Please remember the guy who first popularized the term “lust in my heart” during a political campaign.)  But just because you’ve decided to professionally despise the woman does not mean that dissing both Tolkien and C.S.Lewis does not make you a prime asshat.

And by the way, the above thesis was so frighteningly thin that Ms. Dowd had to downshift midway into the article and and start talking about how Obama is the first African-American President and those Tea-Party people are all mostly white. Thanks for the stunning original insight, I have been waiting with baited breath for someone to come up with that analysis.

Lastly, you don’t get to use the phrase, “We the People in the Ruling Class Elites do think O’Donnell comes across as alarmingly loopy,” in an ironic fashion unless there are actually people out there that think you are part of the “Ruling Class Elite,” and after viewing the drainage from this intellectual abscess,  I think everyone is only looking on with sad bemusement.

Newsweek needs to get out more. . .

I love conspiracy theories, but the latest article on such by Newsweek has left me a little cold.  Not a single black helicopter to be had.  And how does questioning the maternity of Sarah Palin’s kid rate high enough to be on a list with Goldman Sachs looting the world? Nary a COINTELPRO, ECHELON or Skull & Bones to be found. I mean they’re trying to be topical, but really. . .

Getting a line on real mind-altering conspiracy theories from Newsweek is like watching a sitcom to discover what the kids are listening to these days. Won’t happen.

That is why (speaking of what the kids are listening to) you need to go here, to see what is really going on. And read about the Denver airport if you want to get the willies.