A Sad Puppy-Related Thought Experiment

NOTE: I have retracted this post. If you’re interested in the reasons, please click this link. I’m leaving the retracted post visible for the time being because, aside from the intellectual honesty issue, it’s pointless to try to make things “disappear” on the internet.

Let’s say I tell you that I am a Christian.

I tell you that I am  a Christian, but I don’t believe in God. I don’t believe in Jesus. I don’t believe a single word of the Bible. But, I nonetheless insist I am a Christian, and I will call you a liar if you say otherwise.

How would you react to that? Personally, I’d say I was full of shit. If I don’t believe anything that Christians believe, then how can I say I’m a Christian?

This is, however, exactly how Sad Puppy-favorite author and homophobe John C. Wright responds to claims that he is homophobic.

I am not unrepentantly homophobic. I am nothing of the kind. It is a lie.

I follow the Catholic teaching on same sex attraction and how one deals with it. In public, I have heaped scorn on those who use a children’s cartoon, one I loved, to insinuate their pro-perversion propaganda in a cowardly and craven way.

I have no hate, no fear, nothing but respect for homosexuals.

You and people like you who use the false cloak of compassion for homosexual to lure them into ruining their lives, you are the ones for whom I have no respect. You are the ones who hate them; you are the one who urge them down ever darker paths.

See? He’s not a homophobe! He just believes everything that homophobes believe including that people who aren’t homophobes have homosexuals. Just because he espouses homophobic beliefs doesn’t make him a homophobe.

This will probably shock you, but Wright’s bio on Wikipedia describes him as a “former lawyer.”

The Rabid Puppies are fairly easily dismissed because I don’t get the sense that there’s anything there beyond the trolling. They’re just another branch of GamerGate; a group of folks who get off on harassing people and “winning” arguments without any apparent attachment to or belief in the arguments they’re making.

The Sad Puppies are trickier, though. I get the sense that there is a strong sense that these folks truly believe in their positions. I personally don’t buy into the premise that there is a liberal cabal at the head of Sci-Fi today, forcing stories of political correctness down the throats of unwilling readers. I don’t buy it. I don’t see any evidence of it. I think the method of selecting a slate of writers for their political beliefs and getting the entire slate nominated is, at best, childish. But…even though I don’t buy all of it, I can at least respect the viewpoint.

Or, at least, I could, until this ridiculous boycott of Tor kicked off yesterday. If you’re not familiar with the story, I’ll give you a brief version. A Tor employee made some over-the-top comments about the Puppies on her Facebook. The head of the Rabid Puppies took a screen shot of it and made a huge deal of springing it on the world at a time which was determined would embarrass Tor*. The head of Tor threw the employee under the bus and made a big deal of it. This just emboldened the Puppies, who then used the opportunity to make a series of very-unrealistic demands on Tor with the threat of a boycott if those demands weren’t met.

Tor ignored the demands. The boycott began.

I hate to bag on Free Republic-favorite Wright*, but his post regarding the boycott is a masterpiece of both self-martyrdom and incredible hubris:

Since I am Tor author and hitherto have been very proud of my association with that fine and famous imprint, I am fascinated (if mildly aghast) that the Tor management has allowed the situation to degenerate to this point.

Of course, Wright is bright enough to know that “Tor management” isn’t the instigator here. He’s just playing silly buggers with this entire post and he’s announcing it in the first sentence.

Because of a financial conflict of interest on my part, it would be untoward of me to express fulsome support and applause for the boycott, and tell the boycotters their position is the principled and correct stand.

“Principled and correct stand.” Yes, thank you very much for telling people what to believe. Seriously, though, am I right about the lawyer thing? “I can’t tell you to boycott my employer *wink wink*…”

Nor will I point out, because it is obvious, that if you buy my books from Tor, then some part of your precious book-buying dollars goes into the wages of several people at Tor (but by no means all, or even most) who hate both you and me with a sick and soul-destroying hatred, a hatred like a disease that withers the heart and rots the brain.

Wow. “…a sick and soul-destroying hatred, a hatred like a disease that withers the heart and rots the brain.” Poetic, but of course, utter nonsense. Dude, no one even cares that much about you, or at least, we didn’t, until you started throwing your tantrum and gaming awards and supporting-while-not-supporting a boycott. Oh, and spilling your homophobic nonsense. That got you a lot of attention, if not a lot of sympathy. But “soul-destroying hatred?” Nope. Don’t care that much.

Nor will I point out, because it should also be obvious, that any Christian gentleman would be willing to forgo a worldly reward of your generous book-buying dollars if he may have your spiritual reward of your loyalty instead. If the gentle reader feels compassion for me in my hour of need, or fears the boycott will harm my finances, I have a tip jar on this page.

Even with the florid prose, it’s pretty transparent what Wright is after here. This could be shortened to: I love Jesus, give me your money.

So I cannot express support for this boycott.

“I am covering my ass.”

The people with whom I work, my editor and cover art director, have a perfect right to expect me not to undermine their position, untenable as it may be. If the management wants to set the company policy as one of indifference to our patrons and clients on whom our livelihood depends, or contempt, or enmity, or loathing, that business decision is in their bailiwick.

Understand, Wright’s complaint here is that Tor did not give in to demands from the Rabid Puppies, demands which were never going to be met, and he is re-casting this as contempt, enmity, and loathing.

John C. Wright is a very clever man. He can be incredibly dishonest while at the same time never technically “lying.”

He’s also a real turd. I was starting to have a little sympathy for some of the Puppies’ positions, but so long as they’re trying to push this piece of work down our throats at the Hugo Awards? No thanks. As long as guys like this one are the poster boys for the movement, I’ll do what I can to support Tor.

By the way, I’m really looking forward to finally reading Scalzi’s Redshirts. Bought it yesterday, in fact…

* This, I think, tends to support my belief that this isn’t about any principle other than “winning”…except, maybe, “trolling.”

**  That’s a lie. Wright’s a real jerk, and the fact that the Freepers like him doesn’t exactly mitigate in his favor.

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