Shapeshifter.

My most recently published story, a bit of neouromil  that appears in Neil Clarke’s cyborg anthology Upgraded, contains the following passage:

Monahan had inventoried Sabrie’s weak spots as if he’d been pulling the legs off a spider. …  Not into performance rage, doesn’t waste any capital getting bent out of shape over random acts of microaggression. Smart enough to save herself for the big stuff. Which is why she still gets to soapbox on the prime feeds while the rest of the rabies brigade fights for space on the public microblogs.

A couple of phrases— “performance rage”, “rabies brigade”— were consciously inspired by my 2012 dust-up with an online shapeshifter who, at that point in her career anyway, went by the names “AcrackedMoon” and “Requires Hate”. At the time I got a fair bit of blowback for my use of the phrase “rabid animal” to describe her; Cat Valente equated my use of that term with a death threat, slung against a woman who was, she told me, “vibrantly engaging” with the SFF community. (There is an irony to this; its magnitude will be old news to most of those assembled here today.)

RequiresHate and Me, Together Again.

RequiresHate and Me, Together Again.

Funny story.  The piece immediately preceding mine in that same anthology was penned by a bright new up-and-comer named Benjanun Sriduangkaew: lauded in progressive SF circles, Campbell Award nominee, by her own admission a newcomer to the field who hadn’t even dipped a toe into the genre prior to 2011. Bright of eye, bushy of tail, her biggest flaw seemed to be a disposition so sugary sweet it would rot your pancreas from thirty paces.

Turns out Benjanun Sriduangkaew and CrackedMoon/RequiresHate are the same person. So are Winterfox, pyrofennec, and Christ knows how many other online personae.

Benjanun-This-Week has been very busy over a number of years, wearing a number of guises. She has stalked, harassed, and threatened. Some of her actions have proven actionable, to the point that authorities are now apparently involved.  She drove at least one person to attempt suicide, has induced PTSD symptoms in a number of others. She has told people who disagree with her that they should be raped by dogs, dismembered, and/or have acid thrown in their faces. She habitually deleted these comments shortly after making them, then gaslighted her targets (fortunately there are archives, and screenshots).

She got caught last month— outed by an advocate in a self-declared act of damage control—  and has since “apologized”. Apparently all that prior nastiness was just youthful indiscretion during the thirteen years when she was nineteen, and is now ancient history.  She feels much better now. She’s learned a lot about love. So if you’ll just believe her good intentions and let her get on with her career, we can all let bygones be bygones.  Also I have some farmland to sell you on the Sea of Storms.

The initial outing raised a bit of a storm in its own right, but it was only the opening act. The curtain on the main event went up November 6, when engineer and author Laura J. Mixon posted a comprehensive report— amazingly comprehensive, given RH’s tendency to cover her own tracks— drawing together records from as many varied incarnations as we know of to date.  Mixon presents timelines, quotes, links, demographic breakdowns of RH’s targets. Bar graphs and pie charts and tables. It’s a trove, and it’s indispensable, and it contains a wealth of links to a variety of other sources. (For that reason, I’ll be relatively sparse with my own linkage in this post.  Just go to Mixon’s page and follow the spiderweb of cracks proliferating across the internet. If I make a claim here that isn’t link-supported, you’ll probably find the documentation over at Mixon’s place.)

Mixon offered her comments section as a safe place for people to speak about their own experiences with the Winterfox Colony Creature. My own case was cited a couple of times (as one of the few honest reflections of RH’s true nature, since she couldn’t employ her usual strategy of deleting her comments and then denying she’d ever made them). I haven’t posted there myself. Partly this is because Mixon wanted to maintain an environment free of angry epithets and name-calling, even when directed at RequiresHate, and I’m not in the mood to practice such charitable restraint. More importantly, though, I don’t think it’s really my place to speak there because I’m not one of RH’s victims. I was a minor target for a while, but only because I spoke out in defense of a colleague. RH didn’t even know who I was until I mentioned her on my own blog. I was, as they say, asking for it.

The blowback pissed me off, at the time. I readily admit that much.  It pissed me off to see Valente blatantly misrepresent what I’d said, it pissed me off to get a lecture on the  power imbalance between Powerful White Authors and Poor Vulnerable Fans in a world where five minutes with Google reveals my home address to any anonymous darling who wants to take a rusty meathook to my scrotum.  (Being called a racist by someone who publicly rhapsodizes about “killing all white people”, on the other hand, was just funny.) Caitlin will attest that I wasn’t very nice to be around sometimes.

Still, anger isn’t injury. I wasn’t victimized, wasn’t driven from the field. If the righteous outrage of RH’s minions cost me any sales, I didn’t notice it. On balance it may have even been a good thing; at the very least, episodes like that show you who your friends are. (Richard Morgan, for one: a truly honorable dude who dived into the muck and engaged RH on her own blog, something I never had the stomach for.)  (You also learn about the fair-weather opportunists in your life; turns out there were a few of those, too.)

I was targeted, but I wasn’t a primary target. And that’s the curious thing: not even Scott Bakker was a primary target, not when you came right down to it. What both of us probably were, it turns out, was camouflage. We privileged white dudes provided cover so that RequiresHate could go after her real victims: Minorities. People of Color. Aspiring writers. People who, to put not too fine a point on it, might be considered competitors of one Benjanun Sriduangkaew.

It is at this point one has to stand back and emit an appreciative whistle for the sheer sick sociopathic brilliance of Benjanun’s Long Con.

Go, if you haven’t already. Look at Mixon’s figures. See for yourself.  The fact that RH occasionally went after the Bakkers and Bacigalupis of the world let her claim that she was Speaking Truth To Power, but in fact People of Color were four times more likely to be targeted than us privileged white boys.  Four times more likely to be hounded across every social media site they appeared at over months, sometimes years. More likely to be told that they should have acid thrown in their faces, or raped by dogs, or have their hands cut off.  A lot more likely to be considered insufficiently Asian, or “white on the inside”.  (Although to be fair, arguing that Paolo Bacigalupi should be flayed, dismembered, immersed in acid, set alight, and forced to eat his own genitals goes to show that RH wasn’t exactly phoning in her assault on the big names, either).

Now go read the comments below the report (461 as I write this). Read the first-hand testimonials of people hounded relentlessly for the crime of liking a book that RH didn’t. Read about the blackmail and the death threats. Read the stories of those who left fandom entirely, abandoned their own authorial aspirations, dared not speak out for fear of catching the baleful Eye of a CrackedMoon. People who could barely even see the word “Requires” on a computer screen without feeling sick to their stomach.

Those are your targets.

It’s been suggested that if RH really is a sociopath, she can’t be held accountable for her behavior because it’s hardwired. This is factually wrong. Sociopaths are not compelled to do horrible things. They’re simply not constrained from doing those things by anything we’d recognize as a conscience. They can choose to hurt the innocent, or not to; the fundamental difference between them and us is, if they choose the former it won’t really bother them.

As I mentioned above, I caught some flack back in 2012 for referring to RH as a “rabid animal”. I intended it as a precise echo of the sort of invective RH was slinging at others for no good reason (in fact the very next sentence was “See what I did there,” followed by an explicit rumination on dehumanising terminology)— but in hindsight I do regret my use of the term. Rabies victims truly do have no choice; their foamy-mouthed aggression is compelled by their affliction. RH is clearly not in that camp. I apologize to all rabid animals for the comparison.

Anyway. The news has spread like Ebolaphobia. It’s on too many blogs to link to. It’s all over the Westeros boards.  It’s also being discussed behind the scenes, in online writers communities where the shell-shocked share their stories behind closed doors— because even now, they don’t feel safe speaking openly.

Requires Hate still has friends, you see. Her legions have thinned somewhat as former allies scramble to cover their asses but she still has supporters, even if they might not all describe themselves as such. Some grumble at ground level, some huddle all the way up in the hallowed halls of Tor.com (where apparently they helped to blacklist and exclude authors of whom RH disapproved). [Editorial clarification: it’s been pointed out that this might be construed as an indictment  of Tor.com as an entity entire. I’d like to make it super clear that I’m only talking about someone affiliated with Tor.com, not any kind of corporate policy.  I have no reason to believe that Tor.com blacklisted anyone; we’re talking a standard bad-apple scenario here. Again, check out Mixon’s post for details, and apologies if I wasn’t clear on that point.) The usual outgroup rhetoric continues, oddly oblivious to the recent stark evidence of where such groupthink leads; Mixon’s  analysis has even been questioned on the grounds that it was performed by a privileged white woman. Apologists still mill about, decapitated since RH went to ground but still sparking fitfully with the same reflex-arc clichés.

Some would have us draw a distinction between RH’s abuses and her “legitimate” literary critiques, as if somehow there might remain a kernel of edible corn buried in all the shit. They don’t seem bothered by the fact that said “reviews” were often based on publisher’s blurbs, or quotes mined and presented out of context; I guess they’re also cool with the fact that RH bragged openly about not having read the books she critiqued.  It’s increasingly evident that book reviews for their own sake were never part of the plan anyway; they were just another bile-delivery platform, another iteration of patterned abuse extending back years before she ever discovered the joys of hacking social-justice paradigms for fun and profit— repurposed, now, to take out the competition. Perhaps a valid insight did slip through every now and then; as they say, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Others opine that RH, wearing her saccharine new Benjanun costume, should continue to get her stories published based solely on their literary merit. (Let’s put aside for the moment that “merit” exists at least partly in relation to other work in the same field, a metric which might be compromised after said field has been burned to the ground in a campaign to eliminate potential competitors.) I’ll admit that there is sometimes a case to be made for separating the art from the artist.  This is not one of those times. This is not a case of a brilliant writer who happens to be an abusive shitstain in some unrelated aspect of their personal life; this is someone being an abusive shitstain as a deliberate strategy to further her writing career. Arguing that that career should be decoupled from past abuses is like catching the guy who stole your car, then letting him keep it because you like the way he drives.

Still others mourn the enablers, revile RH but sympathize with the eager minions she recruited in her campaign of abuse and intimidation. Not their fault, we’re told; RH merely hacked the progressive paradigm of “punching up”, turned it to evil instead of good. And after all, she made some good points.

I fell for this myself, briefly: back in 2012, when a couple of ‘crawl regulars ran the “some good points” argument up the flagpole. So I dialed back my rhetoric, asked you all to do the same, even tried to engage RH directly until she sprang the trap. But even I figured it out after a day or two, and I live in a nerdly bubble way over in the Science-is-Cool wing of the SFF mansion (which might be a problem; maybe I should get out more). I hardly ever stray across the quad to Social Commentary, where everyone’s presumably way more familiar with these moves.

“Punching up”? The premise, to me, seems corrupt at its heart. If someone walks into a pub and swings a crowbar at the first person they see, it doesn’t matter which one of them is a poor queer WoC and which is a rich straight white dude. It doesn’t matter whether the assailant is punching up, out, or down; they’ve got no claim to outrage if the target punches back. (Note this only applies if the targeting algorithm lights up indiscriminately, based solely on demographic profile. If you’re targeting the specific rich straight white dude who assaulted you the day before, I won’t get in your way.)

Apparently, RH was adept at positioning herself “below” pretty much anyone she wanted to punch. She’d deride a target as being white, and therefore privileged/punchable.  If the target turned out to be Asian, RH would redefine herself as “Asian-Asian” and her target as “white inside”. (I’m not joking. I know it sounds like I am. Read Mixon’s post.) It’s a fundamental weakness in the concept— you can always punch up if you win the race to the bottom— and I’m not sure how much sympathy I should have for people who fall for something like that. If you buy into the cult of some Nigerian Prince you met on the Internet, maybe you shouldn’t expect much support when you end up with egg on your face and a zero credibility balance— especially if you got that way by abusing people who didn’t deserve it, or by being complicit in their abuse.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve read endless lamentations about the sundering effect that Requires Hate has had on the “SFF community”. I wonder if there ever was such a thing; I don’t see a “community” so much as a bunch of squabbling tribes forced to share the same watering hole. That’s how she did it, for crying out loud: by exploiting those pre-existing fracture lines, by setting different tribes at each other’s throats.  If SFF were truly a community, would one sociopathic pissant have been able to wreak such havoc?

Blame Benjanun Sriduangkaew, by all means. She deserves it. But she didn’t do it alone. She’s not a sorcerer, she didn’t use any Jedi mind tricks to enlist her troops. They had a choice. Even those she tricked into confiding their vilest thoughts, then blackmailed by threatening to betray those confidences— she couldn’t take that power by force. She could only encourage them to give it to her. They chose fealty— either to a sociopathic troll, or to an ideology whose tires they really should have kicked a few more times before taking ownership.

So I have a question for the person who claimed to like RH’s reviews, only to jump onto the Garment-Rending bandwagon when the jig went up. I have something to ask the self-proclaimed progressive who chummed around with RH’s shock troops even while admitting— in private, with no one else around— that yes, maybe RH goes too far, but her friends follow me on twitter. I have a question for the outspoken social justice advocate who didn’t speak out when the lies spread across a site with their own name on the masthead, because they didn’t want to “fan the flames”. I’d like to ask all those self-proclaimed champions of the disenfranchised, all those defenders of up-punching, all those opportunists who are so busy now disavowing the whirlwind they helped sow:

Where were you, when RequiresHate called Cindy Pon a “stupid fuck” and a rape apologist? Where were you when she made Rachel Brown’s life a living hell? Where were you just last year, when she and her buddies went after a rape survivor for the crime of saying that recovery was a good thing?

Where were all you people?

Edmund Burke once said that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. I think that begs a question.

If you do nothing, what makes you any fucking good?

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Thursday November 13 2014at 01:11 pm , filed under rant . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

128 Responses to “Shapeshifter.”

  1. Wow. Some people really have too much time on their hands. This person of whom you speak is evil. Do you require a Mohawk bodyguard now? Just saying.

  2. I think this sums up the situation nicely:

    “We privileged white dudes provided cover so that RequiresHate could go after her real victims: Minorities. People of Color. Aspiring writers. People who, to put not too fine a point on it, might be considered competitors of one Benjanun Sriduangkaew.”

    The Long Con Indeed!

  3. Holy SHIT. I saw this mentioned a couple of times and i waved it off as “who cares” without really reading anything. But i mean HOLY SHIT. I’m equal amounts impressed and appalled.

  4. I’d only ever heard the term ‘punching up/down’ used in reference to comedy before this. There, it makes sense; a joke that is funny when targeted at a more privileged group than the teller’s is…less funny, and more mean, when targeted at a less privileged group.

    It has no place, IMO, in wider rhetoric, where being mean is always an error in judgement.

  5. I ought to apologize for initially being one of the “well, she’s made some good points in the past” people. I had read two or three of her tamer pieces, whose conclusions I largely agreed with, and assumed, stupidly, that she’d been arguing in good faith. By the middle of that comment thread on the original post I’d started to realize I’d jumped into something I didn’t understand, and while I *did* call out one of her obvious sock-puppets for saying some truly horrid shit, I never apologized to *you*.

  6. This is not a case of a brilliant writer who happens to be an abusive shitstain in some unrelated aspect of their personal life; this is someone being an abusive shitstain as a deliberate strategy to further her writing career.

    Is that really the case? I haven’t followed it that closely , as RH is not really interesting.. but has she truly scared some talent off the field?

    Are there people who published or put up some decent stories and went mute after she and her mob attacked them?

  7. @PW

    Blame Benjanun Sriduangkaew, by all means. She deserves it. But she didn’t do it alone. She’s not a sorcerer, she didn’t use any Jedi mind tricks to enlist her troops. They had a choice.

    So you’ve switched camps and now you’re endorsing the concept of free will, or are you merely pretending to endorse it so it’d influence someone’s future behavior in your favor?

  8. Well, why stop now?, as an old college buddy used to say.

    https://mccoyote.wordpress.com/2013/12/29/more-ic-interference-in-media/

    If you haven’t read Neuropath, A} shame on you and B} do it.

    In other queries, what the heck is the name of the new piece and what is Ashby’s contribution called?

  9. I’m surprised Winterfox turned out to actually be a WoC at all, I’d thought she would turn out to be a straight white guy from the USA, trolling us all along.

  10. I watched RH burn you and a few other friends, and even got involved in one “conversation” very briefly. Between her and a couple of other people who have seemed extremely happy to escalate things, I’ve pretty much walked away from the community. And I wasn’t even one of her targets (although next time we have beers, I’ll be happy to tell you a couple of tales).

  11. You completely had me nodding in agreement, right up to the point where you said:

    “Requires Hate still has friends, you see. Her legions have thinned somewhat as former allies scramble to cover their asses but she still has supporters, even if they might not all describe themselves as such. Some grumble at ground level, some huddle all the way up in the hallowed halls of Tor.com1 (where apparently they helped to blacklist and exclude authors of whom RH disapproved).”

    Where on earth did you get that idea? I haven’t seen or heard a whisper of any such influencing of Tor.com — and in fact, have it on excellent authority from multiple sources that they’ve quite classily and directly declined to “blacklist” anyone, provided the writing is solid. There’s apparently a fair amount of evidence that the RH/ADM posse has attempted whispering and blacklisting campaigns, but if you’ve a source that suggests that campaign has been successful anywhere, I’d very much appreciate a link.

  12. Y.: it’d influence someone’s future behavior in your favor?

    Yeah, it’s funny how Peter suddenly decides we have choices when he wants to morally condemn someone.

  13. Peter, I first noticed RH through your blog post defending Scott Bakker against her invective. I spent a few days of time I probably didn’t have reading her blog, people’s reactions to it, and their defenses of and advocacy for her.

    I was scared by what I read and deeply upset that some people I considered at least friendly acquaintances seemed to think this was OK and even funny. I did a thorough house cleaning of my Twitter feed and my Facebook friends; people who thought Requires Hate’s blog posts and reviews were a good thing were not people I wanted in my life.

    I didn’t feel I could intercede on behalf of victims publicly because I already had a circle of haters from the social justice camp who would be all over me in under 12 hours if I could be construed to be taking a position against social justice.

    You didn’t actually have to take a position against social justice to trigger the cascade; you merely had to utter a sentence or two that could be plausibly lied about to appear that you were against something that everyone should be for. That’s what the era of Requires Hate in her prime was like. Requires Hate didn’t go it alone, she had crowds of enforcers who, in turn, were capable of recruiting hundreds of enforcers if they felt like it.

    I have been waiting for someone to say that that what she did would STILL be unacceptable and morally reprehensible if she had targeted exclusively “privileged” white males established in the field. Since no one else seems to have said it, I will say it.

    What she did was wrong regardless of the demographic she targeted. That she disproportionately targeted vulnerable demographics does make what she did worse. But it isn’t what makes it wrong in the first place. Abuse is abuse; harassment is harassment.

    Returning, though, to that time after your post and when she then went after you, and I read up on the situation: I contend that a reasonable person spending a few hours with Google should have been able to understand the basic scenario outlined in Mixon’s article. It was clear enough to me to give me nightmares at the time.

    I am skeptical of the rationales given as to why this is coming as such a shock to people who were much more engaged with her. How could they not tell?

    Some of them enjoyed it. They didn’t want her to stop because, for some people, it was fun. Some of those people are our colleagues. While RH may or may not be a psychopath, most of the people drawn into that enjoyment are probably not psychopaths. Think about the seating capacity of the Colosseum in Rome. Blood sports as entertainment go back a long way.

    That she was doing harm to real people, to the course of writing careers, and to the field as a whole, was fucking obvious. At that phase, the evidence was there for anyone who cared to look. Most apparently didn’t care, didn’t look, or were enjoying it too much to stand in the way.

    The other elephant in the room, to borrow a favorite phrase of that social set, is why exactly did it take until 2014 for the connection between those two identities to become public?

    Victims of someone like RH should not be required to keep the perpetrator’s secrets. But that is what our “community” has required of them. (I have seen a few blog posts suggesting that some people are coming to their senses about the burden placed on targets of harassment to keep quiet about who is harassing them.) The ideal target is apparently not even supposed to try to find out who is after them because that would be considered “stalking.”

    The only thing, really, that can be done about people who operate like Requires Hate is to limit their options. Those options cannot realistically be limited if their targets are required to keep what they know about the perpetrator secret.

  14. Dear Peter,

    Thank you for this rant. Some people feel they have no other way to ‘get ahead’ other than to tear down, burn and sow with salt anyone they fear. Your comments on the so-called community are very pointed as well. A bad review or a publisher trotting out his pique won’t necessarily kill someone’s career but it can make it enormously harder, without cliques like this… the classic sociopath behaviour once they’ve picked a target and enlisted followers/backers.

  15. Y.,

    Yes. The comments at Laura Mixon’s blog include a handful of people who just gave up. Notably Colum Paget, who was targeted because he won an award for unpublished writers. She said he should be beheaded. Her stated reason? He had a character in his story sitting on a batik cushion, so therefore must be a racist. The real reason I suspect was that he won an award for unpublished authors. He was the competition. Anyway, he says he has pretty much given up writing as a result.

  16. Where was I? Well unfortunately I’d spotted the nasty little troll for what she was quite early. After she threatened Paulo I didn’t just block her, I blocked everyone daft enough to retweet her/link her posts. With the result that I missed the middle section and had it brought to my attention again only when it got close to home early this year. I’m still kicking myself. I think I’m not the only person who made that choice who wished they’d stayed around to argue back.

    “It’s a fundamental weakness in the concept— you can always punch up if you win the race to the bottom” is brilliant.

    I also want to say that the move to separate out the grief of people of colour on *this* occasion seems a repeat of the moves that allowed RH t divide and rule.

  17. Good points, well made. It’s long past time all this was dragged into the light.

  18. @Sylocat: The shapeshifter may yet turn out to be a straight white dude. Noone has so far publicly confirmed that “Benjanun Sriduangkaew” actually exists as an official (i.e. government-recognised) identity, it seems to be just the latest pseudonym. The main argument for the ss not being a straight white dude seems to be a more than passing familiarity with Thai culture in some of their writing.

  19. You really are a lightning rod for trouble…

  20. I have no love for this person, as she has hurt some very dear friends of mine. However, I feel its only fair to point out that “Benjanun Sriduangkaew” is the only name that was kept as a separate identity. Requires Hate, Cracked Moon, Pyrofennec, Winterfox, Valse de la Lune and the others were always known and acknowledged to be the same entity. She quoted herself, linked and referenced her comments under these names, and several of these names were inaugurated in quick succession over at Ferretbrain, a place where you have to email the mods in order to get them to change your log-in handle for you and thus can’t really pretend to be someone else (your tag changes sitewide when this is done, but references to the old screen name(s) will remain in the comments, which I don’t think can be edited by the user at all).

    Calling these things “socks” and such only makes it seem like there was some kind of reticence or shame involved, which there wasn’t. It was only when the publishing started that the “second thoughts” seem to have begun.

  21. tl;dr
    – RH is a sociopathic pro-grade troll and bully ;
    – it speaks well of Peter and others here that they were willing to give her the benefit of the doubt as to her intents, if not her methods ;
    – there’s no valid excuse to maintain that charade past the very short time it takes to recognize the damage of her parasitic, exploitative behavior ;
    – anyone sticking to their guns in her defense at this point is beyond any justification on grounds of loyalty, and is firmly planted in bigoted territory.

    Selfishly, I’m relieved to look back at my comments in the original 2012 thread here, and not feel like a complete fool. :)

    Having put some time in some seriously aggravating online communities in the past, I can’t say the levels of twisted, toxic crazy exhibited by ACM/RH back then and onwards was much of a surprise in itself to me, but this peculiar style of self-legitimization – “You’re a shit stain for not respecting my feelings ! …whilst I rage on you like an old-school punk on PCP !” – now, that was something else.

    I’ve done my share of spelunking down the many-rabbit-holed caves of identity politics since then (and still do on occasion), but it took the irruption of ACM on this blog, to get me involved and interested in arguments that I would otherwise have too easily dismissed for their being advocated in terms that, to my ear, often sound very much like the incoherent ramblings of a schizophrenic on the wrong medicinal cocktail.

    This crawl is a place where an inordinate proportion of contributors take the time to think hard thoughts, and often weird ones, too.
    As a result, views that would be quickly filed as nonsense in other fora by the “quacks like a duck” test often warrant a second look when happening here.

    I suspect many of us in here may have fallen victim to that local perceptual distortion when initially exposed to ACM/RH brand of cock-punching dialectics, and felt compelled to give her the benefit of the doubt precisely on the account of her sounding too batshit insane to be merely nuts.

    Turns out, ACM/RH is just that, the social justice crusader counterpart of the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck – a ‘pro’ troll that thrives on liberal-sciency guilt rather than reactionary fear-fueled pitchforkery.

    I’m sorry for the people who legitimately got hurt by her words an actions, playing on the personal identity issues and fragile sense of self-worth that oftentimes are the burden of those who strive for better understanding of themselves and others.

    I’m not sorry for the lazy cowards in the metoo crowd who went for the easy way of sticking with the self-appointed underdog for fear or losing popularity brownie points with the in-crowd.

    The grey area between goodwill, loyalty, giving the benefit of the doubts to the home team and turning into a criminally hypocrite bigot is not so fizzy that one can stay there for long and pretend they didn’t notice, especially when purportedly rooting for science and enlightenment-type values.

    ttfn

  22. Sylocat: we actually have no evidence that BS/RH is anything she says she is: a Thai (I’ve heard people suggest that BS’s personal name is a misspelling of a real, if rare, Thai personal name), a woman, or even, it seems to me, a single human being. Which makes me wonder about the meaning of identity: if it turns out, hypothetically speaking, that BS/RH are actually multiple people cooperating in the interests of at first trolldom and later parlaying trolldom into a writing career, is it meaningful to say that BS and RH (let alone the other Pyrofennec, Winterfox, ACrackedMoon etc personae) are “the same person”?

    I think it is: one person or many, they are working together for a common goal and (of late) share reputations. Even if not the same person, they are now being treated as if they are, and *they themselves act* as if they are. It’s kind of like a horribly toxic version of the way that “James S. A. Corey” is actually two people who don’t keep their separate identities at all secret, but for the purposes of the Expanse series are *acting as if* they were a single person. (There are more famous examples much further back in time: e.g. Kuttner and Moore, “in effect”, due to their close collaboration after their marriage, one person with two names from a writing perspective.)

  23. I also have a problem with the assumption that someone who could do this “must be a white guy”. Do we think only white guys could be smart or dedicated or hateful enough to pull this off? What exactly is unconvincing about her being a privileged Han Chinese woman, internationally educated, far less upset about injustice than about the fact that she’s not, as I’ve seen quoted, “at the top the highest pyramid” and longing for the day when her people kick the Europeans off the top and reclaim their place? A cursory glance at her short fiction easily suggests this. As someone neither Asian nor white I’ve been very efficiently hated on by members of both groups (as well as very kindly treated by other members of said groups), so I’m hardly likely to support either in a bid for world domination. But assuming “she must be some white guy” manages to be unfair to whites, really condescending to Asians, and a COMPLETE ERASURE of everyone else. People are people and are all capable of a wide range of behaviors.

  24. Also, assuming a non-white non-European would be less likely to target PoC also conflates the majority of the world’s population into one homogeneous mass, obfuscates the myriad intersectional conflicts between them, and really demonstrates the utter inadequacy of the term “PoC.” I hope this is something that gets recognized and addressed in the aftermath.

  25. Brian Prince: I ought to apologize for initially being one of the “well, she’s made some good points in the past” people.

    Yeah, you and Seth have some lost ground to make up. Fortunately I like your art.

    Y.: Are there people who published or put up some decent stories and went mute after she and her mob attacked them?

    Kind of, yeah. One or two speak up on Mixon’s blog, so we know it happened. But that’s only a lower limit; we’ll probably never know the true number.

    MacAllister Stone: I haven’t seen or heard a whisper of any such influencing of Tor.com — and in fact, have it on excellent authority from multiple sources that they’ve quite classily and directly declined to “blacklist” anyone, provided the writing is solid.

    Yeah, I screwed the pooch on that, clarity-wise. Someone professionally associated with Tor.com was apparently in RH’s back pocket— details at Mixon 2014— but her personal efforts (successful or not) shouldn’t be confused with the corporate policy of her contractors. My original wording was problematic, and I’ve changed it.

    B.: Yeah, it’s funny how Peter suddenly decides we have choices when he wants to morally condemn someone.

    Oh, Y. Oh, B. (There wouldn’t be an “S” hiding in there, would there?)

    Of course we have choices. I’ve never said otherwise. Every algorithm with a conditional branch point has a choice. Every If/Then statement is a choice. They’re just not supernaturally mediated.

    Thanks for playing, though.

    Talle: I also have a problem with the assumption that someone who could do this “must be a white guy”.

    Seems to me the whole question of ethnicity is irrelevant (that’s kind of the point I was trying to make with my crowbar analogy). It doesn’t matter if BS is white, Asian, purple, male, female, or blue-energy-being. The behavior was monstrous regardless.

  26. I think you’re giving too much credit for commercial venality. The behavior we see here is typical of bullies: they go after the weak, to make themselves feel less weak.

    Knocking down competitors would have been a plus, but I doubt it was the main motivation, or even a precipitative one.

  27. As for the question of benjanun’s ‘Thainess’ and likely gender, I’ll make two observations:

    First, to paraphrase what someone pointed out on another forum: A lot of her political beliefs are consistent with being a member of the educated bourgoisie of a wealthy developing-world nation like Thailand, blessed with very wide disparities in living conditions between the poor and the upper-middle-class. In short, consistent with being a privileged middle-class Thai who don’t really know shit about what goes on with actual poor people in her own country.

    Second, re. gender: the profile of attacking primarily women is not inconsistent with being a woman. Again, that’s a standard bully-profile: you go after the weak. And if you can reframe it as going after someone stronger (‘punching up’), so much the better.

    Someone I can’t find to quote right now put it very eloquently by saying that BS is basically the social justice monster that #gamergate has been pretending to fight since August. The comment is especially ironic when you consider her history as a gaming comunnity troll.

  28. Does this mean I don’t get to read your story without BS getting some of my money?

    I am torn.

  29. I have been reading around seeing what is being said elsewhere. It is sad to see people trying to retrieve or retain what they think are the good parts or the true parts of Requires Hate’s invective. It’s like trying to find the good accounting in Bernie Madoff’s books. Let go. Like Madoff, she was looking out for Number 1.

  30. @dB

    Library. :-)

  31. Talle, re. the question of what constitutes a ‘sock[puppet]’ and what the moral culpability is for using them:

    First, in many communities, it’s regarded as a sockpuppet if you can’t tell from the alias who it is, and that’s clearly the case whenever you use multiple aliases without making an extra effort to make it clear they’re all the same person.

    Second, it’s just going to be really rare that it’s clear. A lot of people maintain multiple identities and describe them clearly in a sidebar on their blog, for example. “I am DangerMan on PlanetX.com; I’m MammaKittyKass on Cutesville; [etc.].” (Note: Apologigies to anyone actually using these aliases, I just made them up.) That’s not what was going on here. What it looks like from my perspective is a deliberate strategy of keeping people off balance with regard to the multiple identities. If they’re not denied, then it’s feasible to appeal to the sort of argument you’re making, that it was all in the open all along. And that in turn makes it easier and more credible to maintain a completely firewalled identity, like ‘Benjanun’.

    It’s pretty shrewd behavior, and those of us who’ve been on the net for a long time (I go back to early-90s USENET, myself) have seen just this sort of thing happen many times. In fact I once briefly dated a woman who did this kind of thing (albeit on dating sites).

  32. Kathryn Cramer: It is sad to see people trying to retrieve or retain what they think are the good parts or the true parts of Requires Hate’s invective.

    Still, it’s nice to see them fighting rearguard for a change. There’ve been times, reading blogs and twitter feeds, when I wondered if I was the only one on this particular hill. It’s nice to see the changing of the tide.

  33. I differentiate because I’ve understood the “puppet” aspect of sockpuppeting to indicate intent to deceive, or to appear to be more than one person. That does not seem to have been the case at all until a professional career became a factor.

    People in comms with her were aware of her name changes, is what I’m saying. She’d be under one name in one place and say, “Here is a link to the arguments I posted in my journal under this other name.” She messaged people saying “I think I’ll start this blog, here’s the new name and URL under which I will be active.” There was a consistency in moon and fox references, except for perhaps in the earliest, Lesifoere. There was no attempt to hide it, nor attempts to pretend to be several people. The backstory never changed for a decade. And the bulk of those changes were made on Ferretbrain, where her entire comment history is available, comments themselves unaltered regardless of name change, so you can see the same person being referred to as different things. Community people who didn’t know were just not paying attention, possibly due to non interest or refusal to engage. The only name which was intentionally made separate, to the point of feigning an entirely new speech style, bouncy personality, and history (“I’m new to fantasy, never read it before!”) was the Benjanun persona. The others were the normal and fairly common evolution of a decade-plus worth of growing up on the Internet. That last one, though, was calculated, and coincided with a massive deletion of WF LiveJournal posts in various comms, ones that wouldn’t have disappeared with just a journal deletion.

    There may very well socks out there, I wouldn’t be at all surprised. I just wouldn’t call the ones verified so far “socks”.

  34. Talle, I also have a problem with the assumption that someone who could do this “must be a white guy” – exactly the problem I have.

    …also worth reading, imo, is Ann Sommerville’s take and her extensive link collection.

  35. “Where were you, when RequiresHate called Cindy Pon a “stupid fuck” and a rape apologist? Where were you when she made Rachel Brown’s life a living hell? Where were you just last year, when she and her buddies went after a rape survivor for the crime of saying that recovery was a good thing?”

    Great post as usual, Peter, but I think it’s your last point that’s the most interesting and telling – all over the internet, people are commenting on RequiresHate, but most of them are neglecting to comment on the troubling hypocrisy of her supporters.

  36. A couple of points to throw in and a request for clarification.

    First, though, yes, white male’s enjoy privilege in mainstresm society, I would add that intellectuals, eg geeks, nerds, the brainy types, do not always and sometimes get singled out for everything from making heads hurt, to questioning the status quo, to stating inconvenient truths. It is another way of dividing the tribes and though not comparable to that minorities face, apart from that whole Auschwitz/Dachau thing and sometimes the Church, is a real one.

    There is, on a larger more disturbing scale, sock puppet software that allows one person to appear to be several. This is not only available to the folks who brought you waterboarding, dirtboxes, mass surveillance, and the glut of the private prison industrial complex, but to banks and the Koch brothers. GCHQ made it pretty clear where they stand on using it in their inadvertantly leaked slide presentation. Imagine the havoc…

    And third, please know it is never my desire to pile on or add stress, but I’m a little confused on the free will point as well. If neuroscience is one day going to alter the justice system, how/when do we make those forks and what does that mean? Big question, I suppose.

  37. I was almost half way through the rant before I was certain it wasn’t a short story of sorts. I do really live under a rock when it comes to drama in my fields of interest, and in the interest of keeping it that way I should refrain from follow the links.

    Purely as art, I rather liked the first half, but I think the second part ran a bit long.

  38. Markus,

    Ah the luxury of not having to worry about things because they don’t affect you personally. To have the freedom to be quippy about such a subject, and to be able to analyse a post on a real subject merely for its artistic merit. Must be nice.

    I find it’s the folks in the SFF community like you who would rather plug their ears and pretend all is well (and dismiss what’s going on merely as “drama”) who are part of the problem. Ignoring something doesn’t make you superior, it makes you, quite frankly, complicit.

  39. Testify, my brother.

    A giant experiment in meat-puppetry, like I said from the outset. Now half the community no longer needs to fool themselves thinking they would never be bamboozled like all those other idiots. Hard won wisdom, feeling like a fool.

    One question is whether there’s a second experiment afoot, one testing whether ‘all publicity is good publicity.’ Source neglect means we generally remember only the name, nothing of the context. And we tend to reach more for those names that ring a bell, be it cracked or not.

    Another question has to do with the mileage crazy gets on the web. That can’t bode well. Mixon’s research warrants a book length treatment.

    What is beyond question, Peter, is that you genuinely walk the talk. Everybody but everybody says they’ll stand to be counted. You throw the fucking chair across the room.

  40. Talle: But assuming “she must be some white guy” manages to be unfair to whites, really condescending to Asians, and a COMPLETE ERASURE of everyone else.

    It’s just a racial stereotype.
    Like, you know, how people are likely to assume that some “vanilla street crime” was perpetrated by a dude of African/Mid-eastern descent (though nothing physically prohibits any other race/gender combination from engaging in street crime), people across the world kinda assume that a person with numerous online identities and unfriendly intentions must be a Caucasian male (likely an overweight one at that :) )

    whoever: There is, on a larger more disturbing scale, sock puppet software that allows one person to appear to be several. This is not only available to the folks who brought you waterboarding, dirtboxes, mass surveillance, and the glut of the private prison industrial complex, but to banks and the Koch brothers. GCHQ made it pretty clear where they stand on using it in their inadvertantly leaked slide presentation. Imagine the havoc…

    Dude, most self-respecting competitive intelligence companies have such software.
    Some of it also has various mindmapping/relationship-tracking shenanigans (usually FreeMind derivatives) built in, as well as fingerprint management plugin (so one doesn’t end up posing as a chinese girl with a browser fingerprint that obviously betrays russo-putinoid origins :) )

    It’s not disturbing, it’s “old news”, and an inevitable consequence of how the net works (you can trust this old trusty gestalt crow intelligence on this one!)

    The only thing special about the HBGarry affair (I suspect that’s what you’re referencing) is how bumbling it was and how deeply it was infested with NIH (not invented here) mentality (then again, if you convince some senator that your project to re-invent the wheel is actually an innovative affair in developing novel circular propulsion modules, you can get a metric fuckton of cash by stitching together some open-source expert system, a freemind fork and a proxy/VPN/browser fingerprint management browser plugin)

    On a more related note, I am truly enjoying this whole showdown, it’s beautiful, like a successful bombing run or that hypothetical thor thingie USMIL didn’t follow through with.

    I wonder how long will it take to e-sleuths to figure out who this RH/Benjanun Sriduangkaew really is. Inquiring minds want to know

  41. I just had an epiphany, RH, and all other trolls, are “Lenies” (the destructive computer virus, not the character from the Starfish trilogy). As with the virus, any attempt to discern motivations is useless,massive waste of time. Their motivations are opaque and beside the point.The only thing that matters is their goal, to clog the system and waste your time. Rather than expending precious run cycles engaging, our time would be better spent identifying and deleting/ ignoring. Or to quote Behemoth,

    “why don’t you just flush her anyway?” he asked, very softly. “These things aren’t smart. They’re not special. They’re just shitbombs some assholes throw at us to try and crash whatever we got left.”

    I repeat, RH and her ilk are LENIES and should be treated as such.

    Regards
    Andrew

  42. Peter Watts: Oh, Y. Oh, B. (There wouldn’t be an “S” hiding in there, would there?)
    Of course we have choices. I’ve never said otherwise. Every algorithm with a conditional branch point has a choice. Every If/Then statement is a choice. They’re just not supernaturally mediated.
    Thanks for playing, though.

    Plenty of people would disagree with the notion that free will requires the supernatural..
    I should’ve worded that differently though. Disincentivising others from mobbing people online is good for (almost) everyone..

    eric: I think you’re giving too much credit for commercial venality. The behavior we see here is typical of bullies: they go after the weak, to make themselves feel less weak.

    You sure about that? For example, the Emanuel brothers can’t be really thought of as ‘weak’, they’re pretty successful and widely feared people, and yet they were bullying people growing up.

    Sure, there might be ‘weak’ bullies, but plenty bullies are just run-of-the-mill sadists, and not of the nice variety which confines their sadism to the bedroom.

  43. Andrew Chase:
    I just had an epiphany, RH, and all other trolls, are “Lenies” (the destructive computer virus, not the character from the Starfish trilogy). As with the virus, any attempt to discern motivations is useless,massive waste of time. Their motivations are opaque and beside the point.The only thing that matters is their goal, to clog the system and waste your time.

    “The only explanation is that something has coded nonsense in a way that poses as a useful message; only after wasting time and effort does the deception becomes apparent. The signal functions to consume the resources of a recipient for zero payoff and reduced fitness. The signal is a virus.

    Viruses do not arise from kin, symbionts, or other allies.

    The signal is an attack.

    And it’s coming from right about there.”

  44. @01:

    But the point is that most people do not know who all has it and jump, kneejerk react without considering if they are being conned. We have to evolve, and that requires knowing what the predators’ tools are.

    A major difference, perhaps, in how we view this issue is the potential for abuse, the motives of those who may abuse it, and the significance of impact.

    This goes to a fundamental point about American history, though of course it’s not been inviolate. Our system was not built on trust, it was built on opposing powers and checks and balances. It is broken. Believe that. That the POTUS can wage war, and who we are at war with itself be classified–yes, that’s the latest, even most of Congress doesn’t know–with the legislature bending over due to fear of looking weak on terror or fear of the other party, that is broken. When DOJ recommends law firms who employ private contractors to go after people engaging in first amendment protected actions, reporters and their families, and those seeking redress through the court system against large corporations, something is very broken.

    And these are the kinds of tools employed that allow them to get away with it.

  45. Will Sargent,

    Well played sir!

  46. Andrew Chase,
    Err, no. Her motivation is pretty transparent through her whole internet career. It is elitism.

    Here is how it works:
    Is a teenage fantasy fan (despises non-fantasy and badfics) -> goes to study English Literature (despises illiterate stuff) -> learns social justice problems (despises ignorant/fucked-up writers).

    She just can’t tolerate grossly inferior stuff (that others write). I can understand her, because when I tasted a few works of contemporary literature, I suddenly realised that I find half of my library unreadable and started to find lots of 5 star Amazon reviews on illiterate tripe and mediocre pulp grating.

    Elitism is so important to her that she deleted her KotoR fanfic she wrote as a teen after it was revealed and fled the forum it happened on.

  47. Arzadon Sarosh,

    Arzadon Sarosh: I suddenly realised that I find half of my library unreadable and started to find lots of 5 star Amazon reviews on illiterate tripe and mediocre pulp grating.

    I feel your pain.

    As to motivation, this particular troll may have a discoverable motive but the other 99.9999% don’t, and my larger point is that motivations don’t matter. As a cognitive psychologist once told me, “discovering the root cause of a problem may be emotionally and intellectually satisfying, but there’s no evidence that it helps to resolve it.

    Regards
    Andrew

  48. rsbakker,

    {And, hello. Also read The Warrior Prophet and enjoyed it. For some reason, B&N only stocks that one of the three. The clerk said that was unusual.}

  49. ” I was targeted, but I wasn’t a primary target. And that’s the curious thing: not even Scott Bakker was a primary target, not when you came right down to it. What both of us probably were, it turns out, was camouflage. We privileged white dudes provided cover so that RequiresHate could go after her real victims: Minorities. People of Color. Aspiring writers. People who, to put not too fine a point on it, might be considered competitors of one Benjanun Sriduangkaew.”
    Err, no. People of colour were just more likely to write non-Europe-based fiction and women are apparently more likely to write rape fantasies and write bizzarro relationships with rapists and write excuses for rapists – like Yaoi Fanfiction, the whole 50 shades of gray genre and many harlequin novels and young adult novels for example.

    Scott Bakker belongs firmly into the group whose work she ripped with his “we are race of lovers” stuff.

    I think it’s ridiculous to consider her to be writing reviews to destroy competitors. She displays consistently elitist attitude about not only books but also computer games during her internet career with the minimal acceptable level of them rising after her level of knowledge increases.

    “Apparently, RH was adept at positioning herself “below” pretty much anyone she wanted to punch. She’d deride a target as being white, and therefore privileged/punchable. If the target turned out to be Asian, RH would redefine herself as “Asian-Asian” and her target as “white inside”. (I’m not joking. I know it sounds like I am. Read Mixon’s post.)”
    It’s not positioning below. It’s her elitism at work. As an Asian-Asian, she possesses more intimate knowledge of her surroundings and of basic perception of Asian people living among other Asian people (including knowing that Asia isn’t one country with one people). Which is an advantage. People of colour living in white countries don’t magically gain knowledge of the places where they have roots. If they write fiction about non-European places without doing their research they are as likely to write ignorant shit as whites who didn’t do research.
    From that perspective a book written by an European white man that did his research would be much more desirable than a book written by an European woman of colour that didn’t do her research.

    “White inside” probably refers to the concept of “othering”. I think one is more likely to define self by the people one lives among. In this way people of colour who are “white inside” see white people and default as their people and people of colour as “the other” and exotic.
    It becomes detrimental to writing where they for example write about a person of colour that was brought up in country with people of the same colour. Because then they should describe people of that colour as their people and default while white people should be described as “the other” and exotic.

    “The blowback pissed me off, at the time. I readily admit that much. It pissed me off to see Valente blatantly misrepresent what I’d said, it pissed me off to get a lecture on the power imbalance between Powerful White Authors and Poor Vulnerable Fans in a world where five minutes with Google reveals my home address to any anonymous darling who wants to take a rusty meathook to my scrotum. (Being called a racist by someone who publicly rhapsodizes about “killing all white people”, on the other hand, was just funny.) Caitlin will attest that I wasn’t very nice to be around sometimes.”
    This whole “death threat” stuff doesn’t take into account that there are places (countries too) where wishing people death is often casually used as a more unpleasent replacement of “I hate you” or “you pissed me off” or “this shit is really ridiculous”. Personally, I’m surprised that people got so terrified of it. I remember reading a gaming magazine as a teen and I remember they had very sarcastic responses to writer letters and that they wrote stuff about wanting to stab certain readers with rusty forks, etc. Somehow everyone realised that they aren’t threatening people whose home addresses they know with horrible and painful death. This game magazine runs since 90s and I don’t recall anyone ever writing – “oh noes, this gaming magazine people writing under psuedonyms are going to kill us!”.

    Also, she posted in places where some people would casually wish her rape or death or something like that and she was responding in kind. Could have forgotten how squishy people posting in other places can be.

    “Killing all white people” is clearly edgy nonsense because she’s a fan of many works by white authors and somehow she interacts friendly with many white fans. Though it’s sad that she never used hashtag #killallwomen when writing about yaoi rape fics because they really begged for it.

    eric,
    “Someone I can’t find to quote right now put it very eloquently by saying that BS is basically the social justice monster that #gamergate has been pretending to fight since August. The comment is especially ironic when you consider her history as a gaming comunnity troll.”
    She’s not a gaming community troll. I post on a site where people holding as elitist views of games as her are majority and she never pretended to like inferior games to piss us off.
    She is much more like the part of #gamergate that is genuinely interested in separation of game journalism from game publishers so that game journalism would deliver much more criticism and much less promotion than #anti-gamegate SJWs.

  50. I frequently struggle to assess situations, when RH came here I had no idea what to do. Ultimately I left the community because of what resulted. It was a lesson. I am thankful for that lesson, although it was painful at the time, and I am sorry for what was lost in learning it.

  51. Arzadon Sarosh: It’s not positioning below. It’s her elitism at work. As an Asian-Asian, she possesses more intimate knowledge of her surroundings and of basic perception of Asian people living among other Asian people (including knowing that Asia isn’t one country with one people). Which is an advantage.

    I’m not convinced of this. I mean yes, it’s pretty obvious RH is an elitist, but if you go back over the threads on her blog— or even on this one, for that matter— she and her minions state pretty explicitly that it’s okay for a Thai Lesbian to attack a straight white guy, but not vice versa, because one one belongs to a disenfranchised group and the other doesn’t. It’s the same kind of doublethink that leads to “no such thing as racism against whites”.

    Arzadon Sarosh: This whole “death threat” stuff doesn’t take into account that there are places (countries too) where wishing people death is often casually used as a more unpleasent replacement of “I hate you” or “you pissed me off” or “this shit is really ridiculous”.

    Nah, that’s not consistent with the double standard that was applied when folks on the other side of the argument responded with much milder epithets. For example, when RH lights into Bakker with

    … reading this is like catching you masturbating to rape porn surrounded by wads of used tissue. Possibly your masturbating aid is your own steaming feces. And, not quite content with being found out (and feeling no shame, for that matter), you record it and upload it to youtube, and share around the link. Bakker is the piglet with the explosive diarrhea that’s very, very proud of the shit he’s just excreted. And he wants us all to smell it. Possibly follow his lead and taste it too.

    (or, as Cat Valente describes it, “vibrantly engaging” with the SFF community), I suppose you could chalk it up to some culture-specific norm cranked up to eleven that even they don’t take seriously. But why then would the same tribe that flung those feces get so outraged at the revolting sexism when Bakker refers to RH as “dude”?

    Whatever was going on with that fucker, it had nothing to do with losses in translation.

  52. “(or, as Cat Valente describes it, “vibrantly engaging” with the SFF community)”

    Been sniggering uncontrollably at that one for the last ten minutes. Thanks!

  53. rsbakker,

    As Karl Rove taught us, negative campaigning works. Once aggressors are discredited, their targets still carry the stain of accusations, endlessly repeated as linkbait lies, phrases that were outrageous distortions in the first place now devoid of any factual context.

    That is very hard to undo.

  54. Richard Morgan: Been sniggering uncontrollably at that one for the last ten minutes. Thanks!

    Careful there.

    Using the term ‘vibrant’ in a sarcastic manner is signifies shitlord status..

  55. I’ve solved the mystery:

    1. Masters the language of social justice.
    2. Uses that technical mastery to put self into position of dominance.
    3. Violently attacks isolated individuals
    4. Has a separate perky, friendly ‘public face’

    RH = Jian Ghomeshi!

    I only walked into this issue with the blog post and I can’t help but be struck by the similarities of the RH and JG cases.

  56. Well, on the lighter side, it ladled a serious helping of irony onto a couple of your SFContario panels – ‘Reviews and Critiques’ and ‘Author Branding’.

    ” What are the right and wrong ways to deal with reviews and criticism? How can you use them to improve your writing, and what sort of criticism can you safely ignore?”

    “How do you develop content to attract your target audience while being creative and standing out in the crowd? Can you keep a private social presence separate from your professional persona?”

  57. Re:
    Arzadon Sarosh

    Is there any value to deciphering acrackedmoon-Benjanun’s motivations, beyond purely academic ?

    I mean, I get the thrill of getting into a creepy, terrible person’s mind (I myself am very much interested in mindsets of certain types of criminals), but at the end of day Benjanun is still just a shitty troll and an angry e-stalker.
    She’s not Hannibal motherfucking Lecter, not Heath Ledger’s Joker, she’s not a major dictator, not a high ranking KGB/FSB officer, not a cult leader, not a “real deal” terrorist, and not even a particularly interesting rapist and/or serial killer.

    She’s just someone desperately trying to hurt people with mere “wordses”, and she’s not very original with how she goes about doing that.

    Speaking of which, the only thing interesting in this affair is how thin-skinned some of the community turned out to be, how gullible and prone to stereotypical “insidious wifey” whisper campaigns.

    I can totally understand how a rape victim, or a person with a significant history of some other severe trauma, could be vulnerable to that kind of abusive behavior, but majority of people who were either significantly affected by her shit-slinging…
    … perplex me.

    How does one even survive having an internet connection if threats of beheading by some dweeb on the other end of TCP/IP mediated exchange can shake them to the point of dropping a career?
    What would happen if such a person were to try playing CoD, let alone wander into “the /b/owels” ?
    How does anyone ever get to any conference ever if all it takes to have their talk canceled is some barely visible shmuck and a bunch of synchopants starting to badmouth them to conference organizers?

    Are people in sci-fi community so civilized and mild-mannered that behind-the-back badmouthing isn’t a common occurrence that conference organizers should be just desensitized to ?

    Okay, this will come off as a callous thing to say (and admittedly, I am probably a rather callous person by some modern comfy first-world standards) but in my very humble opinion people should
    a) get a goddamn tougher skin
    b) get some grasp of troll management
    c) be more suspicious of their fellow (wo)man, especially if the evidence as to existence of an actual (wo)man amounts to little more than a small pile of pixels and a few database records.

    because frankly, the scale of damage a single angry shitstain was able to do with some moderate social engineering and a lot of time is amazing.

    It was like, I dunno, some pacifist elf-wannabees being invaded (and overwhelmed) by a single Srank 😉

    Re: Y, vibrant

    You mean there are cases when this word is used completely unironically? Like, not even a little bit ?

    Re: Peter, hacking “social justice”

    The sad thing about feminism (specifically, radical feminism and most of branches commonly considered second-wave, though “wave” classification is notoriously inaccurate) is that it can’t be meaningfully “hacked” due to the same reasons an unlocked, open door can’t be meaningfully “lock-picked”.

    To qualify as “some kind of feminist” it would be pretty much sufficient to acknowledge that women aren’t lesser creatures that “naturally” “deserve” to be subjugated or precious fragile morons that need to be protected from world and themselves, and even that miserable ideological standard is shaking thanks to the likes of Wendy Shalit and Melissa Farley (if this doesn’t remind you of fabled “political horseshoe”, it should)
    And of course, there isn’t any kind of authoritative body of feminism that could “disown” a particularly cancerous branch of the movement. Anyone who manages to get away with calling themselves feminist at least once gets to keep the title until they get bored of it (even if said “anyone” is a known abuser of women with considerable probability of undiagnosed mental health issues)

    Many other branches of social justice discourse are only marginally better.

    Hacking a great deal of “social justice discourse” amounts to little more than “coming in”, “setting up your own shop” (nowadays you don’t even have to publish an article or a book to do that, mere blawg would suffice), and start building up a clique.

    Militarizing said clique is even easier, as Sriduangkaew has so vibrantly demonstrated.

  58. Re: Greggles

    Well, Ghomeshi strikes me as stereotypical “wallflower”, which is a kind of person who hangs around at the outskirts of the community trying to hook up with neophytes and not attracting much attention from more established members (the term is occasionally used to describe exactly this behavior at BDSM events and is a huge-ass red flag, but it’s not a behavior that is limited to formal kink events).

    Not all wallflowers are “rapistst” or otherwise “evil”, but this behavior lends itself a little bit too well towards being a part of high social-competence non-opportunistic rapist’s strategy.

    I would argue that Ghomeshi’s gambit was not so much to put himself in position of dominance (some of the women he targeted were actors and other people of close, if not similar social standing. The kind of sex offender that is strongly concerned with pre-existing social dominance would more likely target people who are in a considerably weaker social position, think “low end” prostitutes, room service workers, minimum-wage workers, etc), but about maintaining an air of socially inconspicuous conduct.
    Do note how he claims to be a BDSM practitioner yet has, to the best of my knowledge, completely avoided participation in any events and/or social networks with like-minded individuals (and Canada, as far as I know, has a rather decently sized BDSM community).

    If RH was like Ghomeshi, there would be no RH blog, and way, way less over-the-top threats of dog rape, genital mutilation and acid attacks, but there would be way, way more behind-the-scenes intrigues and backstabs.

    P.S.:
    If I wanted to make parallels between RH and violent sex offenders (though, assuming she’s really a woman and not a man hiding behind a particularly clever wall of pseudonyms, I am not sure if any existing classification of violent sex offenders would be reliably applicable), I would pin her somewhere between a Type 3 rapist and a Type 4 rapist (the pervasively angry type and the overtly sadistic type), closer to the latter since there appears to be a lot of planning going into her… escapades.

  59. Just wondering if anyone is aware of the Kathleen Hale/GR blogger uproar that went on recently (here’s the article that started it…sorry I’m using an iPad and can’t figure out how to shortcut, so copy and paste is all I’ve got: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/oct/18/am-i-being-catfished-an-author-confronts-her-number-one-online-critic). While I have strong opinions on both of these issues and how they relate to each other, I’m basically a lurker on this site and I don’t feel qualified to throw my hat in the ring with all you smarty pants folks… But I am interested in what you all think about what Hale said and did, especially as it parallels the RH situation.

  60. 03,

    Jian Ghomeshi as one of the members of moxy fruvous was horrendously self promoting. He and his band repeatedly showed up to every Take Back The Night march, White Ribbon campaign almost exclusively before they had any radio play. He used the technical knowledge (I mean manipulation of language and tropes) he gained while studying women’s issues at York U to inveigle him and his band into these settings and would frequently use this spotlight to hit on women at these events.

    Hardly a wallflower.

    While none of his actions were as extreme as the ones we’re hearing about, he was definitely working on his technique.

    Oh, and I’ve never bought his BS about engaging in consensual BDSM. In addition to my knowledge of his behaviour in the early 90’s (he dated an acquaintance that I’ve offered to corroborate for if she decides to come forward) his facebook post pretty much convinced me of that. And yeah, my own contacts in the kink community are completely outraged that he’s using them as cover.

    As far as social dominance is concerned, he had piles! THE STAR of CBC, who held the key to fame and fortune for some and a gateway into media for all the interns. There were at least two subordinates at CBC that we know of that were sexually assaulted (and I don’t feel the need to hedge with the word “allegedly”)

    So why do I think that RH and JG are the same beast?

    The simple fact that they’re both using perceived minority status to “punch up.” Her’s are belonging to a sexual minority and being a WoC, which she uses to rationalize and legitimize (in her and her followers minds) to degrade and humiliate her targets. Jian uses his (bullshit) membership in a sexual minority to cast doubt upon the very women he has literally punched up and degrade.

    As far as attack vectors are concerned, they both used what tools were available to them to attack. RH, because of the internet would have to launch sustained assaults to drive off her targets, Jian could pretty much watch his problems disappear because of fame and systemic victim blaming.

  61. 03:
    Re:
    Arzadon Sarosh

    Is there any value to deciphering acrackedmoon-Benjanun’s motivations, beyond purely academic ?

    Possibly one or two. Some people willing to pick up her slack found her and helped.

    Fascinating book, I’m told.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Starfish_and_the_Spider

    The other being, word-panic supports the idea of policing the Internet.

  62. No one in SF is very many degrees of separation from the Wikileaks crew. So one can presume the NSA and similar organizations already know the identity of SF writers with secret or semi-secret internet pseudonyms.

    Businesses also have access to substantial data mining and may already know IDs associated with pseudonyms in connection to marketing information.

    Five years ago, the justification for the protection of pseudonymity had to do with protecting free speech from the State and keeping people from losing security clearances and jobs and such. That seems to be already out the window, and if it isn’t now, it will be shortly.

    So what is this situation we have here, but a mad Masque for intruiges among ourselves?

  63. You mean there are cases when this word is used completely unironically? Like, not even a little bit ?

    Oh yeah. Would you suspect the Guardian of using the word ‘vibrant’ ironically?

  64. Also, I have a book recommendation for everyone reading this thread whether you agree with my perspective or not:

    Snakes In Suits: When Psychopaths Go To Work by Paul Babiak and Robert D. Hare. http://www.snakesinsuits.com

    It has a lot to say about abuse and ambition. And it is a real page turner. I read it cover to cover on a long flight a few years ago.

  65. I’m not entirely convinced RH was pulling a Long Con; it’s easy to believe so once someone presents the idea because the pattern matches… but human brains are very good at matching patterns from random noise. It feels a bit like a conspiracy theory that requires surprising amounts of forethought and self-awareness on RH’s behalf.

    Her behaviour matches that of a plotting mastermind… and also that of a SF/F-interested bully. She engages in all the patterns of bullying, abuse, and folding others into her wolfpack of abusers. It’s not necessary to introduce the component of a coldly calculating plot to explain her behaviour, and I think it might hurt the lesson we take from this if we do. In the end, what happened was that RH found a way to mask her abuse and bullying by exploiting cognitive biases[1] and flaws in the social justice paradigm[2]. In the end, what we should learn from this is to shun bullying and not give people a get-out-of-jail-free card just because they speak the social justice language. A diabolic plot distracts from all this.

    And, hey, why not judge RH by her merits as a writer? It certainly does her no favours:

    Consider Courtship in the Country of Machine–Gods, a novelette where a nation of vampires commit a complete and total act of genocide against a thinly veiled stand-in for Europe/the West. Completely without irony, RH writes about how – in retaliation for a failed attempt at colonialism – the slave-owning vampires decide to knock Totally Not Europe back into the middles ages technologically by exterminating seven eights of their population. And then, when they lose four of their soldiers in an attack, they decide to simply kill off the entire population of Not Europe with a genetically engineered plague.

    The sheer clinical detachment and straight-faced portrayal of how the vampires have absolutely no qualms about their genocide, complete with regarding the Not Europeans as less than human[3], appears almost satirical, but there’s not a speck of self-awareness, and RH has expressed attitudes like that before.

    RH’s entry into the world of “progressive” SF has included a revenge fantasy about committing genocide against Europe, whose population is considered less than human. There are no saving graces here.

    [1] Like Geek Social Fallacy #1, where RH could escape shunning while engaging in it herself because ostracism is considered a taboo.

    [2] I consider the constant unwillingness to address or consider that the less privileged are not above committing abuses a serious flaw in the mainstream(/Internet?) discourse.

    [3] A Polish guy I know felt that this was uncomfortable, for reasons that should be all too obvious.

  66. Kathryn Cramer,

    Glad there’s a book. Been unable to relocate many of the articles on that subject I had read from the 90s.

    Once you grep the meaning of Cheney’s walk on the Dark Side, that the neolibs have just about as little desire for individual and community self-determination as Karl Rove, and that even the teapublitarians don’t really mean you to have it either, the situation is rather bleak.

  67. ..little desire for individual and community self-determination..

    There is no such thing as individual and community self-determination in the age of advertising and mass media..

  68. Another good reference is the book Counseling Survivors of Domestic Abuse by Christiane Sanderson. http://www.amazon.com/Counselling-Survivors-Domestic-Christiane-Sanderson/dp/184310606X

    Its focus is domestic abuse, but her discussion of the effects of abuse on targets is detailed, multi-fasceted, and superb.

    When someone has done monstrous things to many people, we tend to become fascinated with the perpetrator and disregard the victims. But once you get the idea, watching the perpetrators is like watching someone chew their food.

    The victims, on the other hand are interesting. Understanding why abuse changes people is important.

  69. Chris Hatcher was another such expert who worked that as a side-effect of his understanding of torture and brainwash victims as well as profiling violence in the workplace. Sadly, he passed in 1999.

    http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Chris-Hatcher-former-UCSF-professor-3094873.php

  70. Suppose that RH/BS were a group which did the whole bullying campaign as part of launching an sf career. Once there’s money to divide, can you imagine the negotiations? And other machinations?

    Just guesswork, but I gather RH etc. was a troll long before she(?) discovered social justice, so I assume she found a desire to be a writer and accepted the risk of being outed.

    She may start a second writing career under another name.

  71. Always nice to hear about new Watts material being published.

    Mr Watts, you should compile a list of “Peter Watts’ recommended science fiction novels” for us. You’re very interesting, your writing is very interesting, so it stands to reason that your tastes in SF are likewise hugely interesting. Feed us Mr Watts! We need Watts approved books to keep us over until Watts the novelist re-emerges.

  72. Peter Watts: I’m not convinced of this.I mean yes, it’s pretty obvious RH is an elitist, but if you go back over the threads on her blog— or even on this one, for that matter— she and her minions state pretty explicitly that it’s okay for a Thai Lesbian to attack a straight white guy, but not vice versa, because one one belongs to a disenfranchised group and the other doesn’t.It’s the same kind of doublethink that leads to “no such thing as racism against whites”.

    I’d say that it’s still elitism, because it’s specifically about part of disenfranchised group possessing knowledge/higher taste against parts of privileged group being ignorant/being tasteless. I haven’t seen her throwing racial slurs at random people.
    As we know, she’s perfectly capable of being amiable with knowledgable/tasteful/willing to learn privileged people and condescending/abusive towards towards ignorant/tasteless disenfranchised people.

    It’s the same kind of doublethink that leads to “no such thing as racism against whites”.

    I interacted with feminists on a feminst forums before being banned for being too edgy and I think the basic problem is that people who invent these theories have very limited ideas of power. They see power as something that is bestowed by institutions and ideas of non-violence are very popular. I have different views on power. Besides experiences with stuff like bullying at school and generally criminal violence, I was greatly influenced in my views of power by Columbine school shooting.
    I believe that power is not only bestowed in cabinets of the ruling classes but also manifests itself in acts of violence.
    So, for example if a group of black youths will attack random white people in a “knock-out game”, it’s absurd to claim they weren’t racist because racism = prejudice + power because physical violence, especially with weapons or with numerical superiority is an act of power. Even bullying by disenfranchised minorities could be considered racist because bullying is about power.

    People who invented such ideas are probably similar to the ones who are now horrified with her Twitter reign of terror. Generally, I remember talking with some feminists believing in stuff like that and they were terrified when I expressed to them some of my ideas of negating powerlessness and my admiration to individuals negating powerlessness like Anders Breivik.

    It’s not applicable though because Lesi probably isn’t racist against whites. She seems to pretend to be racist against whites as a form of trolling. Lesi has a long history of admiring white (often male) writers. She just changes criteria what is admirable. In her blog she viciously slammed many women of colour while writing glowing reviews to work of white males such as Dan Abnett and China Mieville.

    Nah, that’s not consistent with the double standard that was applied when folks on the other side of the argument responded with much milder epithets.For example, when Lesi lights into Bakker with

    I know Bakkers writing from a fragment about “race of lovers”. It’s a detailed description of a woman getting raped by a dragon (?) while her husband (?) and kiddies are watching. For some odd reason, when her son and husband get raped next, Bakker spares us the description. If the purpose is to horrify us with grimdark, not have the reader sexually aroused with description of rape of a woman, it certainly wouldn’t be anything wrong with an equally detailed description of rape of the dude and his son, RIGHT?

    Ah, I found that fragment on RH’s blog too:
    http://web.archive.org/web/20130126015129/http://requireshate.wordpress.com/2011/05/27/grimdark-is-best-served-cold/

    That’s the basic problem she has with Bakker – he writes rape of women as grimdark fap fodder while pretending to write about evils of patriarchy and misogyny. I think it’s a very accurate diagnosis, because I had the same impression. Wow, I’m reading that entry now and comments, and she got the same impression as me. She must be very smart person.

    I put emphasis on rape of women because there’s a visible difference that rape of women is written as in an erotic story while rape of men and children isn’t.

    (or, as Cat Valente describes it, “vibrantly engaging” with the SFF community), I suppose you could chalk it up to some culture-specific norm cranked up to eleven that even they don’t take seriously.But why then would the same tribe that flung those feces get so outraged at the revolting sexism when Bakker refers to RH as “dude”?

    It’s a longer story. Lesi being elitist means that she believes in a hierarchy of beings, not in relativism. Therefore Bakker as a being of lower level is wrong to attack her as a being of higher level.

    I know her from a non holds barred elitist cRPG community with lots of colourful characters including actual nazis, people who regularly joke about rape, etc. that she was posting in between 2007 and 2012. When she joined that community was in the middle of a holy war with mainstream cRPG developers, gaming journalists, etc. due to a campaign of lies waged by these against traditional cRPGs like Fallout. They made false claims that Fallout was Turn-Based and had isometric view only because of technical limitations despite that real time and FPP cRPGs existed long time before and interviews with designers have shown that adopting turn-based combat was a conscious design decision made with a goal of emulating tabletop RPGs.
    There were many of these enemies of Fallout and we were forced to adopt very hostile stance to avoid having community overrun by them and to avoid Truth being replaced with lies and delusions spread by AAA game developers and game journalists.
    While back then she didn’t know about Fallout, she already expressed understanding of our cause and understanding that not all opinions are equal and that some opinions are more informed than others and supported us.

    One thing that was characteristic about that community that it didn’t shy from Nazi/fascist aesthetics and mannerisms. There were also many Warhammer 40k fans there. The name Requires Only That You Hate is a paraphrase of a Thought For the Day from Wh40k – The Emperor Asks Only That You Hate.

    And even before joining us, she apparently had a long history of having elitist views on writing and games. For example her review of Ed Greenwood’s novel is an update of a much older review updated with SJW elements.

    So, returning to the topic. There’s no double standard. There’s a hierarchy of beings. Talk about certain language being used to silence the voices of coloured people is a part of elitsm, because she talks about a very specific voice critcizing specific things and possessing knowledge of specific things. In her blog she stomped coloured people that she didn’t consider monocle enough into the ground.

    Whatever was going on with that fucker, it had nothing to do with losses in translation.

    What I don’t understand is why she refers to Bakker as a “neckbeard”. I googled his picture and he seems to be a shaver. I find her politicization of unmutilatled male body deeply problematic. But what else could be expected from a demented fashion-worshipper.

    03:
    Re:
    Arzadon Sarosh

    Is there any value to deciphering acrackedmoon-Benjanun’s motivations, beyond purely academic ?

    Just saw some accusations thrown at ex comrade in arms so I’m throwing in my two cents.

    Speaking of which, the only thing interesting in this affair is how thin-skinned some of the community turned out to be, how gullible and prone to stereotypical “insidious wifey” whisper campaigns.

    I can totally understand how a rape victim, or aperson with a significant history of some other severe trauma, could be vulnerable to that kind of abusive behavior, but majority of people who were either significantly affected by her shit-slinging…
    … perplex me.

    How does one even survive having an internet connection if threats of beheading by some dweeb on the other end of TCP/IP mediated exchange can shake them to the point of dropping a career?
    What would happen if such a person were to try playing CoD, let alone wander into “the /b/owels” ?
    How does anyone ever get to any conference ever if all it takes to have their talk canceled is some barely visible shmuck and a bunch of synchopants starting to badmouth them to conference organizers?

    Are people in sci-fi community so civilized and mild-mannered that behind-the-back badmouthing isn’t a common occurrence thatconference organizers should be just desensitized to ?

    Well, I have noticed that there are segments of the community that belong more to the nice and friendly fanperson culture rather than to culture of criticism and hostility. I noticed that after spending years in the more callous parts of the internets I have to conceal my true self behind a mask in others to avoid horribly offending people or getting banned.

    because frankly, the scale of damage a single angry shitstain was able to do with some moderate social engineering and a lot of time is amazing.

    It was like, I dunno, some pacifist elf-wannabees being invaded (and overwhelmed) by a single Srank

    There may be something seriously wrong with these people taking into account what kind of social engineering she was using to get into their favour – acting all cute and friendly on her blog and licking boots of people whose work she slammed anonymously.
    One would ask, why getting their favour is so important? Are these writers in some kind of clique, some kind of a mutual adoration society where outsiders have lesser chances to succeed? Maybe we also need a #readergate to clean some things up?

  73. whoever: And third, please know it is never my desire to pile on or add stress, but I’m a little confused on the free will point as well. If neuroscience is one day going to alter the justice system, how/when do we make those forks and what does that mean? Big question, I suppose.

    It’s a big honking question, no doubt. But the fact that we recognize the fundamental determinism (with a frisson of randomness, for anyone getting ready to hurl quantum uncertainty in my face) of human behavior doesn’t mean that we give destructive individuals a free pass; we still do whatever it takes from adding to their victim score, for purely pragmatic reasons of societal protection. We still lock away serial murderers, withhold the licenses of drunk drivers, and keep pedophiles away from playgrounds. We just dispense with the going-to-hell-because-you’re-eeeevul shtick that seems to inform so much of the LawnOrder sensibility these days.

    I don’t think we should support Requires Hate’s career as a writer no matter what pseudonym she uses, for the same reason we shouldn’t hand a pyromaniac a can of gasoline; for the sake of this discussion it doesn’t matter whether I feel this way because of a complex algorithm wired into my brain or because some supraphysical force just dropped a “decision” into my head without cause. For whatever reason, I don’t think abusive behavior should be rewarded. I think that if a career strategy is predicated on abuse, we should see to it that that strategy fails.

    Note that I am not calling for a “ban” on RH’s writing. I don’t even know how such a thing would work unless the government passed some kind of law, and if they did I’d be much more worried about the government than the writer. (Which I am, actually.) But when I see transcripts of conversations in which Nick Mamatas— editor and advocate of RH— suggests that we should encourage her writing career because once she’s out and writing she’ll be less inclined to attack people, I just have to roll my eyes. This argument has the same logical structure as “Maybe Eric Cartman won’t take another dump on the carpet if we just give him what he wants”; the thought that it would be seriously entertained by anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together chills me to the bone. And yet.

    So. While I do not advocate a ban, I do advocate cooperative behavior; perhaps all us squabbling tribes might (for once) act together, and turn our collective backs on this sociopath no matter how endearingly she scratches at the door. Action/reaction.

    It’s almost Newtonian.

  74. Anon: I find it’s the folks in the SFF community like you who would rather plug their ears and pretend all is well (and dismiss what’s going on merely as “drama”) who are part of the problem.

    Lighten up, anon. I don’t think that’s what Markus was going for at all. It is possible to joke about something even if you take it seriously. I do that myself all the time.

    rsbakker: One question is whether there’s a second experiment afoot, one testing whether ‘all publicity is good publicity.’

    God, I hope not. That would mean I’ve just helped boost RH’s sales figures.

    Andrew Chase: RH, and all other trolls, are “Lenies”

    Will Sargent: The only explanation is that something has coded nonsense in a way that poses as a useful message; only after wasting time and effort does the deception becomes apparent. The signal functions to consume the resources of a recipient for zero payoff and reduced fitness. The signal is a virus.

    Huh.

    The students have become the masters.

    demoval: I frequently struggle to assess situations, when RH came here I had no idea what to do.

    You knew what to do. I saw you do it. You stuck your finger up to see which way the wind was blowing, and then you ran away.

    Greggles: RH = Jian Ghomeshi!

    Interesting analysis. I think it would carry more weight if we could be assured that there was only one such asshole on the planet who fit that profile. Sadly, they seem to be common as bed bugs.

    PhilRM: Well, on the lighter side, it ladled a serious helping of irony onto a couple of your SFContario panels – ‘Reviews and Critiques’ and ‘Author Branding’.

    It did. Although those panels actually went pretty well even without the irony.

    03: How does one even survive having an internet connection if threats of beheading by some dweeb on the other end of TCP/IP mediated exchange can shake them to the point of dropping a career?

    I might have a wee bit of insight into that.

    As I’ve stated, I was far from a major target. Far as I know RH never even read any of my stuff (beyond the last line of “The Things”, which she quoted out of context apparently in an attempt to imply I was pro-rape or something). I’m more established than most of the people she went after. And having spent a couple of decades in academia, I can lay claim to a relatively thick skin. But what really bothered me at the time was not so much what RH was saying as the fact that so many others believed her.

    Seeing Big Guns like Valente so completely misrepresent what happened, then shout me down when I politely pointed out that it didn’t go down that way. Seeing Scalzi boost her signal with “Cat Valente Lays Some Truth on You”. The flood of posts and comments from people saying they’d never read anything from that vile homophobic misogynistic piece of shit Watts ever again. Watching the claim that I’d described all geek girls as rabid animals posted without contradiction, even though at least one of the webmasters on that site— a self-proclaimed fan of mine— knew it was a lie. The freezing glares I got just walking down the hall at a local con. Not to mention those people who’d proudly proclaimed friendship with me when it suited them, only to slink away the moment the wind changed.

    That shit hurt. Not because you’ve got a thin-skinned reaction to one loudmouthed troll, but because it doesn’t seem like one loudmouthed troll. It seems as if your friends and the whole fucking field is turning against you. Enemies scream to the heavens and allies make not a peep for fear of drawing fire.

    I repeat: I was small potatoes in RH’s sights; others were targeted for years. And even so, I wondered what kind of impact it would have on my career. Fortunately the answer seems to have been: negligible.

    And at least I got to purge a few cowards and hypocrites from my friends list.

  75. 03: The sad thing about feminism (specifically, radical feminism and most of branches commonly considered second-wave, though “wave” classification is notoriously inaccurate) is that it can’t be meaningfully “hacked” due to the same reasons an unlocked, open door can’t be meaningfully “lock-picked”.

    Yeah, that’s kind of what I meant when I said punching up was corrupt at its heart. And I’ve cringed at some other ideological paradigms that I’ve seen wash over the transom from the Humanities Department over the years. At least some of them seem to hail from the camp of “It would be horrible if this were true, therefore it’s false.”

    I’m not very good at politics generally, I think.

    Kathryn Cramer: Snakes In Suits: When Psychopaths Go To Work by Paul Babiak and Robert D. Hare. http://www.snakesinsuits.com

    Small-World Dept: for a year or two back in the nineties I dated a woman who was doing her Master’s under Robert Hare; I had his book Without Conscience on my desk while I was writing Blindsight.

    Eukie: I’m not entirely convinced RH was pulling a Long Con; it’s easy to believe so once someone presents the idea because the pattern matches… but human brains are very good at matching patterns from random noise. It feels a bit like a conspiracy theory that requires surprising amounts of forethought and self-awareness on RH’s behalf.

    Yeah, you make a good point, and I overstated myself. I don’t believe she started pulling this shit at the turn of the century with a conscious eye to getting published at the end of her ten-year-plan. I believe she was just a sadist and a bully who got her rocks off by attacking people for no good reason; but I strongly suspect that, somewhere along the way, she repurposed that impulse to a specific goal.

    In fact, it would be interesting to plot her book reviews over time; did she narrow down her targets to a more specific, potential-competitor focus over time? If so, when did that start?

    A really interesting analysis. For someone else to perform.

    Nancy Lebovitz: Suppose that RH/BS were a group which did the whole bullying campaign as part of launching an sf career. Once there’s money to divide, can you imagine the negotiations? And other machinations?

    And this, r’s and K’s, is why sociopaths will always remain a niche subpopulation. They self-limit at large numbers.

    It’s also a not-bad elevator pitch for a indie movie…

    Trent: Mr Watts, you should compile a list of “Peter Watts’ recommended science fiction novels” for us.

    I would, if the list itself wouldn’t be so incompetent. I have been so busy writing lately that I’ve had very little time to actually read, at least for pleasure; when I do read, journal articles and the occasional manuscript someone asks me to blurb end up taking most of that time. By now, I’m hopelessly ignorant of my own field. I have two bookshelves, seven feet high, crammed with volumes I want to read but haven’t got around to yet.

    The good news is, I’ve decided that just because I enjoy and activity doesn’t mean it should be low priority. So I’m about to rejig my schedule so that I devote one day a week to reading SF. I’m calling it “Research and Professional Development”.

    Arzadon Sarosh: I’d say that it’s still elitism, because it’s specifically about part of disenfranchised group possessing knowledge/higher taste against parts of privileged group being ignorant/being tasteless. I haven’t seen her throwing racial slurs at random people.

    I think she has, actually. Judging by posts on Mixon’s and Nichol’s blogs, she has a habit of slinging “privileged white boy” epithets at new targets, and then, upon learning that they’re female or Asian, refining the jibe to being “white on the inside” or “not Asian Asian”.

    But I think we may be splitting semantic hairs here anyway. RH is obviously an elitist, and her type justifies the whole punching up thing on the explicit grounds that people not in their disenfranchised group can’t speak for them. Did you think that my invocation of up-punchery implied I thought RH considered herself worse than the people she was attacking? Rest easy; I’ve rarely encountered anyone so pathologically wedded to the idea of their own superiority.

    I believe that power is not only bestowed in cabinets of the ruling classes but also manifests itself in acts of violence.

    Agreed. I’d go further: the cabinets of the ruling classes have their power only because they can inflict violence on the populace. It all comes down to force.

    It’s not applicable though because Lesi probably isn’t racist against whites.

    Lesi? Is this another of RH’s pseudonyms, or is this her real name? Don’t suppose you’d have a surname to go with it? (I note you’ve substituted “Lesi” for “RH” even when cut’n’pasting my own quotes…)

    It’s a detailed description of a woman getting raped by a dragon (?) while her husband (?) and kiddies are watching. For some odd reason, when her son and husband get raped next, Bakker spares us the description. If the purpose is to horrify us with grimdark, not have the reader sexually aroused with description of rape of a woman, it certainly wouldn’t be anything wrong with an equally detailed description of rape of the dude and his son, RIGHT?

    That’s a good point. I haven’t read that piece— and it’s important to note that when I first spoke out in defense of Bakker, I stated explicitly I wasn’t qualified to judge whether his work was misogynistic or not, because I hadn’t read it. I was, however, qualified to take issue with someone else (RH) who judged Bakker’s novel after having read a measly 6 pages, especially when my wife not only had read the book in question (and found it not misogynistic), but had also provided feedback to Bakker on an earlier draft. The whole point of my blog post, actually, was to refer people to Caitlin’s review of Bakker, as a vastly better-informed counterpoint to RH’s ignorant and inflammatory drivel.

    For reasons that remain unclear, RH never bothered to engage with Caitlin’s review.

    I guess my point here is that the issue was never with whether R. Scott Bakker writes misogynistic stories. The question is whether RH’s stated opinion on anything can be taken seriously, given her habitual misrepresentation of the texts she claims to be critiquing. The woman is a pathological liar; I’d be happy to engage on issues of misogyny in fantasy literature in a different forum (and assuming I read enough fantasy to be a competent participant), but given the record I would never offer RH a seat at that table even if you can sift a few valid insights out of her 13-year-lifelog. She simply can’t be trusted.

    Lesi being elitist means that she believes in a hierarchy of beings, not in relativism. Therefore Bakker as a being of lower level is wrong to attack her as a being of higher level.

    My question is why she’d even consider the word “dude” an attack, given your claim that terms like “disgusting roach” and “loathesome piece of shit” are, in her world, nothing more than casual banter.

    The name Requires Only That You Hate is a paraphrase of a Thought For the Day from Wh40k – The Emperor Asks Only That You Hate.

    Yeah. Cat Valente already made that point during one of her RH-defense posts a couple of years back. I don’t know what the take-home message is supposed to be; that there’s nothing to infer from a blog title like, oh, say “The Final Solution” beyond the fact that its owner is a history buff?

  76. Peter Watts,

    “Seeing Big Guns like Valente so completely misrepresent what happened, then shout me down when I politely pointed out that it didn’t go down that way. Seeing Scalzi boost her signal with “Cat Valente Lays Some Truth on You”. The flood of posts and comments from people saying they’d never read anything from that vile homophobic misogynistic piece of shit Watts ever again. The absolutely freezing glares I got just walking down the hall at a local con. Not to mention those people who’d proudly proclaimed their friendship with me when it suited them, only to slink away the moment the wind changed.”

    I think this is a major part of what is driving the speculation about WTF/ROT/BS’s true identity (in addition to the near-certainty that BS is simply another invented persona – not that I disagree with Talle’s point above): a lot of people behaved disgracefully, as long as they thought that WTF/ROT/BS was attacking people they believed were legitimate targets. A lot of these people are still behaving disgracefully, just in different ways. And so there are a lot of other people who are hoping there will be an additional topping of schadenfreude layered onto the whole pile, by the revelation that everyone who defended (or actively assisted) a vicious, sociopathic troll was getting catfished by some middle-aged skinhead in Cleveland.

  77. Heather C: Just wondering if anyone is aware of the Kathleen Hale/GR blogger uproar that went on recently

    This is tougher for me that it seems to be for many.

    When the story first broke the groundswell opinion seemed to be Holy shit did that author ever go over the line. That was stalking that was harassment that was NOT OK. And if Kathleen Hale had just been reacting to the archetypal One Nasty Review, I would agree with that position.

    What if she’d been dealing with Requires Hate, instead?

    I don’t know which end of that spectrum Hale’s nemesis was closer to. The way the Guardian piece describes it, it was very RH-like: quotes taken out of context or invented entirely, accusations of rape apology, when (according to Hale) there was no rape in the book. Gangs of rampaging one-star hit’n’runners. Speaking as a reader myself, if I check out a book online only to find that it has a mean rating of 1.5 stars and numerous reviews complaining of misogyny and shitty prose, my first thought would not (until recently) be that the listing had been trolled; my first thought would be to spend my money somewhere else. I suspect these things really can fuck up your career, especially if you’re just starting out.

    OTOH, there’s some evidence that Hale is not exactly the most reliable of narrators. By her own account, many others– at least of whom knew about this specific troll— warned her not to engage. And while the activities reported were pretty vile, they don’t seem to have gotten as extreme as Requires Hate was on her happier days.

    So I don’t feel qualified to judge how badly Hale screwed up on this one. My default setting would be to say Yeah, she stepped over the line. She should’ve just buckled down and rolled with it.

    But if Hale had been me, and “Blythe Harris” had been Requires Hate? Damn right I’d want to know who she was. And I wouldn’t put it past me to try and track down a meatspace address.

  78. Peter Watts,

    Agreed.

    One thing I have not heard a good solution for, let’s say psychopathy, sociopathy becomes recognized as a big problem, something to do becomes public opinion. What do you do?

    They are people. I can say that in my calmer moments. In fact, I think I’m finally understanding what you meant about Achilles being more human.

    https://twitter.com/LParsons69/status/533337878101647360

    Imagine a bunch of enslaved monsters wanting loose from the bonds of Big Brother. Set them free, how?

  79. Was looking for an email but there was none to spam, so I’ll unload this here, despite it being somewhat offtopic. Sadly there are many people like her screaming similar bullshit (often mocked as SJW):

    http://maverynthia.tumblr.com/post/101566719440

    this one attacked a pretty progressive Japanese comics (aka manga) US publisher, despite that they regularly take chances with comics for women and one of their recent releases was about a gay couple (with cooking as the main focus though).

    Heck, I’m surprised no one here mentioned the recent T-Shirt incident.

    Most of the time these people get dismissed as raving lunatics, but sometimes, unfortunately they get a signal boost from a prominent person and eventually develop a following. And the way they act like zealots makes them no different from hardcore religious people, thus impossible to reason with because they won’t give an inch.

    P.S: Feel free to flush this post down the toilet if it’s too offtopic.
    P.S2: Scalzi is an asshat who enjoys his famous internet persona and “social justice” is all the hip new rage in the liberal circles.

  80. Reminds me of two things I’ve seen recently.

    http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/06/14/living-by-the-sword/

    http://the-real-seebs.tumblr.com/post/94321063473/consultancygate-an-overview

    I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with this. Although it strikes me that maybe a better phrase for RequiresHate than “Rabid Dog” is simply “Vampire”.

  81. Adrian M Ryan,

    Re that 2nd link, there were some misogyny accusations against 3e creator Monte Cook as well some time back.

    http://www.reddit.com/r/numenera/comments/1js2sz/on_rpgnet_numenera_flagged_as_misogynist/

  82. Vito: P.S2: Scalzi is an asshat who enjoys his famous internet persona and “social justice” is all the hip new rage in the liberal circles.

    Actually, I like Scalzi, and I pretty much agree with him on the whole social justice front (although I hesitate to use the phrase these days, for obvious reasons). I sometimes wonder what he’s accomplishing, beyond preaching to the choir; I admire the craft of his metaphor describing white privilege as a video game set on dead easy (for example), but if you’re not already on board with such self-evident truths then you’ve pretty obviously been inoculated against reasoned argument anyway. Eloquent rhetoric isn’t likely to accomplish much in such quarters, which is one reason I don’t spend much time on such issues here. (Likewise, I don’t write essays on Why Evolution Is A Real Thing either.)

    Still, I agree with Scalzi’s position on a lot of social issues. And he’s always been a fun and inclusive guy to hang out with at cons. Which is why his remarks back in 2012 kinda stung.

  83. Must be linked. My draft presentation:

    https://mccoyote.wordpress.com/activists-primer-on-counter-intelligence/

  84. Peter Watts: When the story first broke the groundswell opinion seemed to be Holy shit did that author ever go over the line. That was stalking that was harassment that was NOT OK.

    Don’t forget to ask Third about compintel, lol :)

    P.S.:
    Also, never thought about Valente as a “Big Gun”
    She’s the person who wrote a book about (as they like to put it on the SCP wiki) “the city what can was STD”, right ?

  85. The Gervais Principle— a discussion of the extent to which sociopaths (rather milder versions than RH) can cooperate in organizations. I would have thought it was altogether too cynical, if it weren’t for the comments from people who said it explained a lot about their careers.

    When I think about the Gervais Principle, RH almost seems quaint, like comparing Bernie Madoff to the banking crisis.

    For a fictional example, see Stross’ The Rhesus Chart— traditional vampires can’t cooperate, but investment bankers who become vampires have enough of a social structure that they can work with each other.

  86. So, yesterday at work, I was confronted by a surprisingly empty inbox, and decided to spend the day getting all caught up on the RH story, starting here, then reading all over Laura Mixon’s exhaustive post (and comments), then moving on to other commentary. (Not the most productive use of one’s time, admittedly).

    What really struck me was how quickly the debate shifted, away from RH-the-troll and into a myriad of sub-controversies and beefs. Mixon’s quantifying of the RH problem was extremely useful, but the extended comments in the post became something else. And then other parts of the SFF web, like the women-of-color and people-of-color areas, began reacting to other people’s reactions.

    (As a white male, I’m not commenting one way or another on these opinions and conflicts … just taking note. Although I am quite happy I haven’t lived in the West for 20 years or so).

    For what it’s worth, I was stuck in the middle of a mini-controversy a couple of weeks ago, after inadvertently offending a particularly vocal subsection of Korean pop music fandom. At first it was distressing seeing a sudden burst of 1-star reviews and angry insults (not entirely unwarranted, I guess) showing up on Amazon and Goodreads; but, then I noticed they were accompanied by a significant sales and ranking spike, so that took the edge off a lot.

    tl:dr – I wholeheartedly agree with 03’s comment-43082. A troll is a troll, and trolls are an eminently controllable problem.

  87. It is interesting to hear that there are “online writers communities where the shell-shocked share their stories behind closed doors,” because the populations evident online are those who were deeply hurt by RH and those who continue to defend her. What appears to be missing are those who at one time voiced some support but now realize that they made a grievous error. Where are the posts from prominent authors saying, “I once supported RH and boy am I sorry now that I know more of what was going on”?

    It can be very easy to think you agree with someone like RH because they 1. pick soft targets (grimdark authors are often not champions of equality and also water is wet) and 2. lie about their victims to turn them into soft targets (Peter Watts uses abuse victims as characters without their permission). The same techniques keep MSNBC and Fox News on the air.

    PS – Probably Lesi=Lesifoere, one of early aliases.

  88. Peter Watts: I don’t think we should support Requires Hate’s career as a writer no matter what pseudonym she uses, for the same reason we shouldn’t hand a pyromaniac a can of gasoline; for the sake of this discussion it doesn’t matter whether I feel this way because of a complex algorithm wired into my brain or because some supraphysical force just dropped a “decision” into my head without cause. For whatever reason, I don’t think abusive behavior should be rewarded. I think that if a career strategy is predicated on abuse, we should see to it that that strategy fails.

    I don’t see what it’s supposed to have to do with her career. She was writing biting reviews and starting/taking part in flamewars for at least last 10 years. Doubt she was planning to improve her career by eliminating Ed Greenwood and R.A. Salvatore from competition.

    The problematic stuff she did that are related to her career is pretending to like work of some people she hated privately and generally presenting the world that horrible saccharine façade.
    Even without abuse, false friendliness and sycophancy is deeply contemptible behaviour that should be stomped out.

    Let’s hope people who got burned by RH, will seriously start considering what goes behind all these smiling faces in business and will start associating such behaviour (including for example in service industry) with vile manipulation, instead of blindly following happy nice reaction of more primitive parts of the brain.

    By the way, she went on a forum vandalism spree, deleting/editing her posts on multiple forums she posted on. Luckily a friendly stalker is preserving juicer bits:
    https://twitter.com/creepalicious

    Her deleting spree is pretty silly because she’s deleting evidence that her RH blog isn’t something done to damage her competition and that hyperbolic references of violence are an element of her writing style that somehow crept into conversations with authors, not something designed to make people afraid of her showing up at their doorstep with a butcher knife.

    Peter Watts:
    Seeing Big Guns like Valente so completely misrepresent what happened, then shout me down when I politely pointed out that it didn’t go down that way. Seeing Scalzi boost her signal with “Cat Valente Lays Some Truth on You”. The flood of posts and comments from people saying they’d never read anything from that vile homophobic misogynistic piece of shit Watts ever again.The absolutely freezing glares I got just walking down the hall at a local con.Not to mention those people who’d proudly proclaimed their friendship with me when it suited them, only to slink away the moment the wind changed.

    That shit hurt. Not because you’ve got a thin-skinned reaction to one loudmouthed troll, but because it doesn’t seem like one loudmouthed troll. It seems as if the whole fucking field is turning against you; and in a very real way, it kind of is.Enemies scream to the heavens and allies make not a peep for fear of drawing fire. You actually do wonder what kind of impact this is going to have on your career.

    Wouldn’t happen if you’d write Deeply Philosophical literature about Moral Clarity.

  89. Mark Russell: What really struck me was how quickly the debate shifted, away from RH-the-troll and into a myriad of sub-controversies and beefs. Mixon’s quantifying of the RH problem was extremely useful, but the extended comments in the post became something else.

    If the issues raised by the RH situation were really just about the behavior of one new writer no one seems ever to have met, the discussion would have been over in a day, and the whole matter might have been old news in 2012.

    If SFWA were more functional, it would be able to do an analysis like Mixon’s covering much more of the field and many more members of the community who advance through relational aggression and the effects on their targets. Such an analysis should be done, but probably won’t be.

  90. Peter Watts:
    Actually, I like Scalzi, and I pretty much agree with him on the whole social justice front (although I hesitate to use the phrase these days, for obvious reasons). I sometimes wonder what he’s accomplishing, beyond preaching to the choir; I admire the craft of his metaphor describing white privilege as a video game set on dead easy (for example), but if you’re not already on board with such self-evident truths then you’ve pretty obviously been inoculated against reasoned argument anyway. Eloquent rhetoric isn’t likely to accomplish much in such quarters, which is one reason I don’t spend much time on such issues here.

    Ah.

    It’s been theorized that on matters of morality, social justice, equality and such, preaching to the choir is mostly done in order to score points – adopting and preaching about how moral/just/fair you are makes one more ‘worthy’. And the other side of the coin is, if you don’t choose to engage in that social game.. this might happen to you: (I’m quoting an interview with a veteran game dev)

    I have already received a deluge of hate for daring to take any public stance other than full obeisance at the Altar of the Aggrieved.

    This also means people have to find novel moral position to espouse and defend. After all, if you are merely saying what everyone else has been saying, it’s nothing special.

    One has to demonstrate one is better than one’s peers, that’s a basic human drive. Therefore, over time ever more involved and rarefied moral positions are adopted*.

    *this is more obvious in moral systems that are not grounded in some sort of book, whether holy or philosophical.

  91. > The signal is a virus.

    The interesting thing you can take from “a signal sent to waste resources” is that heuristics live and die on how much processing power you should do on any particular signal.

    “Unbounded computation” is a bad idea. In security fields, unbounded computation means that you’ve just handed your enemies a giftwrapped “denial of service” attack. Interestingly, even parsing certain messages out — trying to divine meaning at all — can result in unbounded computation given a complex enough grammar.

    This is being understood in social terms now. Trolls attack not simply through the initial message, but through additional cognitive load — surely there must be some communication that can solve this problem — and that helpful impulse to parse and process messages is what takes down the system.

  92. Will Sargent,

    Agreed and nicely put. So how does one efficiently differentiate between a troll and someone who is sincerely trying to make a point?

    Regards
    Andrew

  93. Andrew Chase,

    Assuming we’re talking meat decisions and not heuristic software…

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/06/03/the-secret-service-wants-software-that-detects-social-media-sarcasm-yeah-sure-it-will-work/

    …usually find offloading to unconscious somehow works more often than not. Though in case of RH, tried to engage her elsewhere a few times and she avoided me completely, even stopped posting for a day or two after. Cutting to the heart of the matter quickly sometimes does that.

    Also, “right to be forgotten” case in EU:

    French ‘right to be forgotten’ decision takes link removal beyond Europe

    http://zd.net/11jfHXl

  94. Andrew Chase,

    Andrew Chase:
    Will Sargent,

    Agreed and nicely put. So how does one efficiently differentiate between a troll and someone who is sincerely trying to make a point?

    Regards
    Andrew

    I don’t think you can. You have a budget for processing messages, and after that budget is exceeded, you end communication and treat the sender as spam.

  95. Peter Watts: Actually, I like Scalzi, …admire the craft of his metaphor describing white privilege as a video game set on dead easy (for example),
    Still, I agree with Scalzi’s position on a lot of social issues. And he’s always been a fun and inclusive guy to hang out with at cons.Which is why his remarks back in 2012 kinda stung.

    That metaphor sorta breaks down when you look at mortality statistics of men vs women, or the fact that adverse life outcomes (prison, homeless, etc) are far more likely to occur to men than to women.

    That straight white males fail more often than say, white women does not suggest that it’s the lowest difficulty level there is..

  96. Will Sargent,

    Will Sargent:
    Andrew Chase,

    I don’t think you can.You have a budget for processing messages, and after that budget is exceeded, you end communication and treat the sender as spam.

    Sorry to butt in, but I think it is possible to draw a line between trolling and legitimate critique. The line is abusive language and tone. If someone is swearing or responding sarcastically, they’ve crossed the Rubicon into troll territory. It IS possible to argue passionately without descending into invective, threats and insults. We have an example on these blogs with the Brin/Watts debate where Brin starts out somewhat rationally then seems to go right round the bend into aftrollistan.

  97. whoever:
    rsbakker,

    {And, hello. Also read The Warrior Prophet and enjoyed it. For some reason, B&N only stocks that one of the three. The clerk said that was unusual.}

    And the local library isn’t much help either. See Status column.

    https://mccoyote.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/wpid-img_20141119_161841.jpg

  98. Y.: Peter Watts: Actually, I like Scalzi, …admire the craft of his metaphor describing white privilege as a video game set on dead easy (for example),
    Still, I agree with Scalzi’s position on a lot of social issues. And he’s always been a fun and inclusive guy to hang out with at cons.Which is why his remarks back in 2012 kinda stung.

    That metaphor sorta breaks down when you look at mortality statistics of men vs women, or the fact that adverse life outcomes (prison, homeless, etc) are far more likely to occur to men than to women.

    That straight white males fail more often than say, white women does not suggest that it’s the lowest difficulty level there is..

    Should be corrected as able middle class/rich socially manipulative straight white male.

    Eukie: Consider Courtship in the Country of Machine–Gods, a novelette where a nation of vampires commit a complete and total act of genocide against a thinly veiled stand-in for Europe/the West. Completely without irony, RH writes about how – in retaliation for a failed attempt at colonialism – the slave-owning vampires decide to knock Totally Not Europe back into the middles ages technologically by exterminating seven eights of their population. And then, when they lose four of their soldiers in an attack, they decide to simply kill off the entire population of Not Europe with a genetically engineered plague.

    The sheer clinical detachment and straight-faced portrayal of how the vampires have absolutely no qualms about their genocide, complete with regarding the Not Europeans as less than human[3], appears almost satirical, but there’s not a speck of self-awareness, and RH has expressed attitudes like that before.

    RH’s entry into the world of “progressive” SF has included a revenge fantasy about committing genocide against Europe, whose population is considered less than human. There are no saving graces here.

    Is considered less than human by transhumans. Technically, speaking there are part about genetic testing revealing that the people they kill are white supremacists that genocided all non-whites (possibly also dark haired whites) and now are suffering from inbreeding.
    Also, they (or rather the protagonist) decides they want them gone after they express will to go into hiding and rearm and commit genocide against the good guys (which was their intention from the beginning).
    Personally, I liked that part of the story, just as I like extreme measures like in W40k or Armageddon 2419 A.D. (very nice sci-fi from 20s that was horribly raped into the Buck Rogers in the 25h Century comic strip).

    Hmm…
    One thing caught my attention today. The titans of the good guys are called Voices. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Makes me wonder if the bad guys aren’t an allusion to the Eurocentric fantasy running out of creativity and degenerating into EDGY GRIMDARK RAPE RAPE RAPE RAPE.

    From what I understand, she has some kind of a country security problem where she’s afraid that America will decide that they want to invade/bomb Thailand like they often do with various developing countries. I remember being a kid/young teen before Poland got into NATO and living under threat that Russia could decide that it no longer wants Poland to be an independent country, so I understand such fears and hostility that they create (Russia getting disappeared would be a pretty optimal solution back then.).

    Peter Watts: Arzadon Sarosh: I’d say that it’s still elitism, because it’s specifically about part of disenfranchised group possessing knowledge/higher taste against parts of privileged group being ignorant/being tasteless. I haven’t seen her throwing racial slurs at random people.

    I think she has, actually. Judging by posts on Mixon’s and Nichol’s blogs, she has a habit of slinging “privileged white boy” epithets at new targets, and then, upon learning that they’re female or Asian, refining the jibe to being “white on the inside” or “not Asian Asian”.

    But I think we may be splitting semantic hairs here anyway. RH is obviously an elitist, and her type justifies the whole punching up thing on the explicit grounds that people not in their disenfranchised group can’t speak for them. Did you think that my invocation of up-punchery implied I thought RH considered herself worse than the people she was attacking? Rest easy; I’ve rarely encountered anyone so pathologically wedded to the idea of their own superiority.

    I mean random targets like in random white people. Like in someone white “gets” what she writes and comments agreeing with her isn’t in danger of getting attacked for being white.

    Peter Watts:
    It’s not applicable though because Lesi probably isn’t racist against whites.

    Lesi? Is this another of RH’s pseudonyms, or is this her real name? Don’t suppose you’d have a surname to go with it? (I note you’ve substituted “Lesi” for “RH” even when cut’n’pasting my own quotes…)

    Oh, haven’t noticed it XD .

    Lesi is short for Lesifoere.

    Peter Watts:
    That’s a good point. I haven’t read that piece— and it’s important to note that when I first spoke out in defense of Bakker, I stated explicitly I wasn’t qualified to judge whether his work was misogynistic or not, because I hadn’t read it. I was, however, qualified to take issue with someone else (RH) who judged Bakker’s novel after having read a measly 6 pages, especially when my wife not only had read the book in question (and found it not misogynistic),

    But is your wife versed in the criticism theories that RH is influenced by? I mean there were times when Winterfox used to think that Tolkien is the best thing under the sun and then suddenly:
    https://web.archive.org/web/20120225053944/http://requireshate.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/the-tolkien-fanboy-fallacies-yes-tolkien-was-a-racist-sexist-bore-deal-with-it

    There is a lot of stuff that is difficult to notice without reading a bit about critical theory . IIRC my first reaction to this text (long before I encountered the RH blog) was more like “hot, will have to check out the whole book”, not “why is this rape scene written like this?”

    Peter Watts:
    For reasons that remain unclear, RH never bothered to engage with Caitlin’s review.

    Could I have a link to that review? Can’t find with DuckDuckGo.

    Peter Watts:
    I guess my point here is that the issue was never with whether R. Scott Bakker writes misogynistic stories. The question is whether RH’s stated opinion on anything can be taken seriously, given her habitual misrepresentation of the texts she claims to be critiquing. The woman is a pathological liar; I’d be happy to engage on issues of misogyny in fantasy literature in a different forum (and assuming I read enough fantasy to be a competent participant), but given the record I would never offer RH a seat at that table even if you can sift a few valid insights out of her 13-year-lifelog. She simply can’t be trusted.

    Habitual misrepresentation?

    Peter Watts:
    My question is why she’d even consider the word “dude” an attack, given your claim that terms like “disgusting roach” and “loathesome piece of shit” are, in her world, nothing more than casual banter.

    Because she’s not a dude?

    Peter Watts:
    Yeah. Cat Valente already made that point during one of her RH-defense posts a couple of years back. I don’t know what the take-home message is supposed to be; that there’s nothing to infer from a blog title like, oh, say “The Final Solution” beyond the fact that its owner is a history buff?

    The Final Solution would suggest misanthropy or something like that.


  99. Arzadon Sarosh

    :

    Because she’s not a dude?

    Correctly or not, some people use the term “dude” as a gender-neutral reference. It doesn’t necessarily mean you are assuming someone to be male. Dude.

  100. This is not complicated: RH was StormfrontAsia. StormfrontSJW approved. They approved because RH’s own rhetoric was steeped in Social Justice Warrior academic racialized power/privilege gender theory. What really caused the divide between Stormfront East and Stormfront West was personality clashes. They are still on the same page. In short, not a thing has changed.

    Tolkien’s still a racist, Heinlein’s still a sexist, Asimov’s still a pig, and generally all of SF’s Golden Age, if not the entirety of Western Civilization, is still talked about as if it were Mussolini.

  101. Laura Mixon’s http://laurajmixon.com/2014/11/a-report-on-damage-done-by-one-individual-under-several-names/ isn’t showing up as an article, but her notes about editing it seem to imply that she didn’t mean to take it down, so I’m assuming there’s a computer glitch involved. If it seems appropriate, could someone let her know?

  102. Ah! It’s all coming back to me now. Asked them why they didn’t go after, for example, USDoD’s rape epidemic instead of mere “word harm.” Only answer I got was, “Can’t we do both?” Reply, “Where is the other?” *Crickets.*

  103. Life’s too short to put up with assholes. There is plenty of good art out there. I spend my money and time supporting artists that:
    1) do good work.
    2) are not utter assholes.

    As far as I can tell RH/Lesi/Benajun fails both criteria.
    (I’ve only read the “Machine Gods” story but it didn’t leave me wanting more.)
    She/he/it clearly fails #2.

  104. James May: What really caused the divide between Stormfront East and Stormfront West was personality clashes. They are still on the same page. In short, not a thing has changed.

    I don’t think you can describe Rabid’s activities as ‘personality clashes’. It goes far beyond that – a clash implies a somewhat fair fight or at least an exchange of blows..

    Rabid and her minions mostly picked on soft targets of similar ideological and artistic type, I mean and left fantasy writers who actually are deserving of of some verbal punishment like say, Vox Day largely alone. It’s one thing to hold repellent views, it’s completely different to be a dick to other people.

    I’d pay some money to watch Vox Day ‘debate’ Rabid. That’d be entertaining. Sadly, they’d probably just talk past each otherm like so many people on the internet are wont to do..

  105. Re: Greggles, on Ghomeshi

    Okay, I gotta admit my ignorance of his earlier exploits.
    That behavior paints him as way more actively and strategically predatory, which is never good.

    As to his use of social status, my argument wasn’t that he ain’t got it or wasn’t using it, but rather that putting himself in position of social dominance was not a significant part of his behavior, he was not “maximizing” the “differential” of social status between him and victims (some of his victims are rather famous in their own right).
    A stereotypical victim for someone who seeks to leverage effects of social dominance would be women of extremely low social status, unemployed, “lower tier” sex workers (targeting streetwalkers in rural areas rather than $1500/night escorts) and such, which doesn’t seem to be his profile (I wonder if he even had a victim profile that was “his thing” or if he basically went after anyone who were unlucky enough to follow him home).

    And right until the moment his game was up, his cover was not a sex minority status, but a generally benign conduct (though I admit that RH is not alien to this tactic as well – her saccharine “bee” persona is exactly this kind of disguise)

    I guess there is a degree of necessarily convergence between all predatory tactics (much like the paws of mole and that weird what’s-its-name insect have similar shape) but I kind of think (oh, perhaps, hope 😉 ) that RH is a bird of a different feather and limits her/his/vis/its self to forms of harm that can travel over wires.

  106. Y.,

    By “personality clashes,” I meant the current fall out. Ideologically the Mixon clique and RH clique are still on the same page, namely, the straight white male is still public enemy No. 1.

    Although now back-peddling, one of RH’s current critics commented on a racist post RH wrote about “white man’s tears” about fantasy author R. Scott Bakker: “‘…what we have here are people so embedded in their privilege that pointing it out to them instantly strips away the progressive veneer and elicits poop-flinging that would make a baboon blush. Women and other Others are still furniture – and though furniture is useful and can be decorative, it’s not supposed to move, dammit!'”

    That’s ideological solidarity and by the way, the very racism and sexism these people are supposedly so against. There is no equal protection in that world; “racism” and “sexism” mean whatever they want it to mean.

    Try running something like “black lesbian tears” past RH’s critics and watch how fast you are booted from the SFWA. In fact RH’s racial bigotry isn’t even an issue, unless it was someone not white, or a woman. This then amounts to nothing more than an analogy to infighting between two chapters of Stormfront over clubhouse protocols, not whether Jews and blacks are a problem.

    3 current bloggers at Tor.com left sympathetic comments on RH posts where RH was over-the-top anti-white and anti-male. Given those Tor bloggers current writings, that hate speech obviously was not and still is not an issue.

    If you limit yourself to just RH’s blog, she did in fact virtually only racially insult whites and stated “…though I’ve called R. Scott Bakker a shit-eating roach (and will happily continue to!), you can be sure I won’t be calling any minority writer anything like that, and have never done so.”

    On her blog, RH went after men and women equally and people of color were in the minority. On her blog at least, RH saved her worst bile for whites and “neckbeards.” No one cares because in this world of “punching up,” there is no law everyone can benefit from and which is equally applied, there is only race and gender.

  107. Will Sargent,

    “I don’t think you can. You have a budget for processing messages, and after that budget is exceeded, you end communication and treat the sender as spam.”

    Okay, how do you then convince others that this is a virus and not a legit attempt at communication? It seems to me that this is the real problem (and possibly unsolvable), everything else regarding motivations and targeted sub-groups is a distraction.

    Regards
    Andrew

  108. James May,

    Allow me to introduce you to a term much favoured in English English: ‘bollocks’. Your statement about Lorna’s post:

    ‘By “personality clashes,” I meant the current fall out. Ideologically the Mixon clique and RH clique are still on the same page, namely, the straight white male is still public enemy No. 1.’

    is an excellent example of it, and it’s good to see you going for bonus points by lying about the content of what Lorna wrote. This up votes your possibilities of acquiring the greatly valued ‘total bollocks’ award, but, as with all things, there are problems attached to these glittering prizes; for example, people actually do notice that you are lying.

    No one reading Lorna’s report in good faith could reach your conclusion; after all, she invited guys to speak up and guys did speak up, some of them straight white males. That doesn’t support, in any way, your thesis, though it does make it obvious that you are not interested in evidence, For example, Colum recounted his experiences: and yet you pretend otherwise.

    I’m pretty sure that our host has some pithy insights into why you should do that, what with all the neuroscience stuff, but all I can do is murmur ‘Bollocks’. For some reason, murmuring it pisses people off, so I stick with the murmur…

  109. Does she also have a patreon account like the rest of the professional victims?

  110. T. gondii:
    Does she also have a patreon account like the rest of the professional victims?

    Yes, I am drawing similarities between this instance, and Atheism+ and GameJournoPros.

  111. Re: Peter, on damage

    Well, your case was different.
    You had people (ones you consider friends) go against you and side with a shitty troll (and I totally can relate to the anguish you experience when betrayed by “friends”).

    And even then, all things considered, all that did was flush out shitty un-friends from your immediate vicinity, not like people stopped buying your books or something

    Leaving a career because an internet person threatened to behead you is just… kind of thin-skinned.

  112. >Leaving a career because an internet person threatened to behead you is just… >kind of thin-skinned.

    Go tell that to Anita Sarkeesian.

  113. 01: Also, never thought about Valente as a “Big Gun”

    Well, she’s way bigger than me, anyway.

    jcr: Where are the posts from prominent authors saying, “I once supported RH and boy am I sorry now that I know more of what was going on”?

    Well, Valente posted her shock and surprise and Oh my goodness I had no idea when Mixon’s story first broke on Nov 6, but it didn’t take long for someone to point out that some of the abuse had happened on her blog and she’d actually mocked one of the victims there, so how could she not have known? And then Valente said Yeah but that doesn’t mean I knew that RH was actually a *writer*, as if that had been the true scandal all along. But she must have deleted the post, because I couldn’t find it when I went back and looked.

    The good news is, I got a screen grab of her initial reaction before it disappeared. The bad news is, the grab ends halfway through the first challenge to her revision of events, so I don’t know how it went down after that.

  114. Peter Watts: Well, she’s way bigger than me, anyway.

    Sorry if I’m being nosy and getting my fingers into an intimate writer thingie, but how do you guys and girls measure each other over there in Western sci-fi circles?

    I mean, the only objective-ish measure that immediately comes to mind would be sales, and that’s a ludicrous way to compare writers.

  115. 01: Sorry if I’m being nosy and getting my fingers into an intimate writer thingie, but how do you guys and girls measure each other over there in Western sci-fi circles?

    I would imagine Twitter followers and the length of signing lines at conventions have some significance, too.

  116. Arzadon Sarosh: Doubt she was planning to improve her career by eliminating Ed Greenwood and R.A. Salvatore from competition.

    The impression I get from Mixon’s post is that she was never seriously targeting the Greenwood’s or the Salvatores (or even the Bakkers); the bulk of her more recent attacks were aimed at aspiring/emerging writers who shared her own demographic niche. Back in the day we called it “competitive exclusion”.

    But again, I don’t think she laid long and careful plans like an HG Wells Martian; I think she just repurposed her shtick to more specific targets when the whole writing thing went into gear.

    Kathryn Cramer: If SFWA were more functional, it would be able to do an analysis like Mixon’s covering much more of the field and many more members of the community who advance through relational aggression and the effects on their targets. Such an analysis should be done, but probably won’t be.

    I was a member of SFWA for one year, back in 2000-2001 I think. Let my membership lapse in disgust and have never seen any reason to reinstate it.

    Y.: It’s been theorized that on matters of morality, social justice, equality and such, preaching to the choir is mostly done in order to score points – adopting and preaching about how moral/just/fair you are makes one more ‘worthy’.

    I will admit the word “pandering” has flitted across my mind occasionally when checking out that blog. Still, you can’t deny it’s an effective promotional strategy.

    Arzadon Sarosh: Could I have a link to that review? Can’t find with DuckDuckGo.

    Here you go.

    Arzadon Sarosh: Habitual misrepresentation?

    Yeah. For example, she had a habit of mining stories for a single line which, taken out of context, would complete misrepresent said story, then tweeting that line out of context. She did that to my stories, in fact. Hell, she did it to my blog comments.

    Peter Watts:
    My question is why she’d even consider the word “dude” an attack, given your claim that terms like “disgusting roach” and “loathesome piece of shit” are, in her world, nothing more than casual banter.

    Because she’s not a dude?

    And that’s somehow more egregious than the stuff she slings around, with the expectation (going with your interpretation here) that threats of throwing acid in people’s faces is just run’o’the-mill trash talk that nobody should get het up about?

    The Final Solution would suggest misanthropy or something like that.

    Yeah. Or something like that.

    Nancy Lebovitz: Laura Mixon’s http://laurajmixon.com/2014/11/a-report-on-damage-done-by-one-individual-under-several-names/ isn’t showing up as an article

    I couldn’t get through yesterday either. Seems to be okay now, though.

  117. By the way, there’s a word for throwing acid at someone’s face: vitriolage.

  118. Peter Watts: I couldn’t get through yesterday either. Seems to be okay now, though.

    It got changed to a pdf..

    http://laurajmixon.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/A-Report-on-Damage-Done-by-One-Individual-Under-Several-Names.pdf

  119. no, no, not a pdf. pdfs are where information goes to die.

  120. Why do you hate PDF so much ?

    It’s a bearable way to present information. Perhaps not universally The Best and quite bloated, but definitely not the worst.

    Come on, it could have been a .djvu 😛

  121. 01,

    I was being snarky due to a nit. and now that I think about it, that was ungracious of me for this thread in particular. I should have controlled my snark.

    as an aside,

    People abuse PDFs in creative ways. This one is hilarious, A new low in “databases”: the PDF.

    Another event I ran in to: in suplemental data the author provided their source code in an image (picture, not VM) embedded in the PDF. The rest of the text was actual text. They had to do extra work to make the code inaccessible.

    Sharing information from a web page in PDF form isn’t the most horrible choice, but I have a preference to read it directly from the browser, with different endpoints for other human and machine friendly formats so I can archive (pdf) or crunch data (csv, json, whatev) accordingly.

    ack thpt djvu.

  122. 01: Sorry if I’m being nosy and getting my fingers into an intimate writer thingie, but how do you guys and girls measure each other over there in Western sci-fi circles?

    I’m gonna say, sales figures. Pretty much sales figures. And even if authors hold those numbers close to their chests, you can get a decent relative index by looking at Amazon ranks.

    Also my exactly how far your publisher rams the broom handle up your ass when it comes to negotiating contracts. Or even whether they bother to check their bio notes on you for accuracy.

    By that scale, I’m a pretty small spud.

  123. I almost had to wipe off my computer display when reading “The flood of posts and comments from people saying they’d never read anything from that vile homophobic misogynistic piece of shit Watts ever again” due to reality-check failure. (Translation, WHAT? Is this some alternate universe they’re in? SPUTTER!”)

    Someone wrote, “That metaphor sorta breaks down when you look at mortality statistics of men vs women, or the fact that adverse life outcomes (prison, homeless, etc) are far more likely to occur to men than to women.”

    Uh, there are different “adverse life outcomes.” Lots of females (underage females !== women…) move in with abusers and exploiters, or stay with them, as oppose to being out homeless on the streets. Is it a better “adverse life outcome” to be a battered wife or sexually exploited sort housed on condition of being victimized, or be dead (the fate of many of those who try to get out of abusive situations who are female) than be “homeless”?

    There was a minor, promising writer who said she would commit suicide before moving back in with her parents. Her roommate had moved out, and she didn’t have the money to continue paying rent on her own. She said that at a Readercon. She was dead by suicide some days later. Her lasts posts on Genie very tragically had some delay before people saw them, if they’d been seen sooner intervention and arrangement likely could have been happened to avert the tragedy.

    The reality is that misery faced by the distaff side is often less visible, or short-shrifted. Just look at the sports section in a US newspaper, how many of the articles are about girls’ or women’s sports, and how much of that is text as opposed to photographs? There are professional women’s team sports, there’s even a pro women’s hockey league–and it gets no coverage in Boston, where one of the teams is, except for the day there was a article in the magazine of the Boston Globe’s Sunday edition bemoaning the lack of coverage of pro women;s sports–the very same day that of the 20 pages of sports coverage, there was less than half a page, maybe less than a quarter of a page, of girls’ sports–more than half of which was image, female athletes apparently while taking second place to high priced one-half-of-one-percent-of-the-population-physiqued-models in skankwear “swimsuits” in Sports Illustrated, are more tokenly presented in images in sports sections of papers, than text discussing their sports performances….

    Slightly more than half the US population is female, but you’d think only the original version of Star Wars:A New Hope were more devoid of females than the USA if you looked at the sports sections of newspapers. There’s page after page of performance-extolling and promotion of football players and teams, especially college ones, with attitudes towards women redolent of Vox Day’s.

    I only recently heard of the RH controversies, which shows how clueful/in-contact I’ve been lately.

    What I do know, though, is that the dimensionality of such issues are large, and not only are most metrics squishy, but that the basic issue of “where and what are the datum” to use as Original Calibration makes a random walk look like absolute zero with a wave function of zero.

    People form perceptions from the range of not only only experience first hand and vicarious, but from the characteristics of their physiology. Peter has a viewpoint which is a foot higher than mine–than means that he literally sees farther, and sees over people and what are obstacle to me who/which block my field of vision . That sort of thing can make a vast difference. Unless someone is consciously thinking “what is the field of view/reach of people who are not me, who are taller or shorter than I am” the person generally assumes they are Standard Reference Person and that everyone else has the same field of views, the same reach, the same metrics for comfort in table and seat and counter heights, and altitude for posting notices, handing mirrors, and affixing fixtures for handwashing and drying….

    I’m short, and quite literally have been overlooked by various people and at various times in my life. They might not have meant to overlook me, but they were tall and didn’t go out o they way to have their field of vision include people my height or shorter. The possible responses to that sort of thing include acceding to being part of the furniture and ignored, going elsewhere, or getting feisty trying to avoid being quite literally overlooked. Oh, I forgot a fourth response, which a friend of mine mentioned to me years ago–bulking up to where one had the -mass- to not be not-noticed, that mass = figurative “weight” and weight-presence, going along with actual substantiative mass. Someone massive cah’t be casually brushed aside/ignored, there is that physical substantiative presence to have to deal with.

    But anyway, even when people are speaking what’s supposedly the same language, the words and phrases and ideas being tried to be expresses, don’t necessarily have the same meanings and convey the meanings the speaker/writer intended. Or rather, from comm theory, there’s are the bits the transmitter is sending, which might not be conveying the message the originator intent–it could be corrupted as regards fidelity of content to original intent “When formatting for transmission”, there can be “dropouts” in transmission, there can be distortion or “losses” along the transmission path, the reception side can had the wrong decoding hardware/software or otherwise generate “errors” decoding/unpacking, and then even if all of that goes correctly, the recipient might not be, er, “on the same wavelength” to properly reconstruct and interpret the original message, and comprehend it as the originator intended/expect.

    Additionally, there can be “noise sources” or other message senders and messages circulating around, to influence or try to influence the distribution and interpretation…

  124. Paula Lieberman:
    But anyway, even when people are speaking what’s supposedly the same language, the words and phrases and ideas being tried to be expresses, don’t necessarily have the same meanings and convey the meanings the speaker/writer intended.Or rather, from comm theory, there’s are the bits the transmitter is sending, which might not be conveying the message the originator intent–it could be corrupted as regards fidelity of content to original intent “When formatting for transmission”, there can be “dropouts” in transmission, there can be distortion or “losses” along the transmission path, the reception side can had the wrong decoding hardware/software or otherwise generate “errors” decoding/unpacking, and then even if all of that goes correctly, the recipient might not be, er, “on the same wavelength” to properly reconstruct and interpret the original message, and comprehend it as the originator intended/expect.

    Additionally, there can be “noise sources” or other message senders and messages circulating around, to influence or try to influence the distribution and interpretation…

    You speaka my language. Absolutely not only unintentionally, but this is why Ron Paul once scored so highly among some progressives. “Freedom” can mean from oppression, or freedom to do the oppressing. “Constitution” likewise means many different things. It was in part the fuzziness of the words that made it possible at all.

    Recently had the honor of helping a pal working on finishing up his undergrad. He has had trouble with a paper because the thesis is that it is not only the oppressed who suffer, but also the oppressors. This should come as no surprise, really. Torturers suffer from PTSD as do the tortured and came become addicted to inflicting pain and duress. The point is not, I think, to create a mass pity party, but to point out that certain actions harm us all, especially when they don’t really help the big picture.

    If only there were an antidote drug for fear of the other, the different, for the aversion/repulsion reflex. That’d be half the battle, though it would also likely, law of unintended consequences, make Aldous Huxley roll over in his grave.

  125. Paula Lieberman: I almost had to wipe off my computer display when reading “The flood of posts and comments from people saying they’d never read anything from that vile homophobic misogynistic piece of shit Watts ever again” due to reality-check failure. (Translation, WHAT? Is this some alternate universe they’re in? SPUTTER!”)

    You don’t need to live in a parallel universe. You only have to trust secondary sources.

    For example, Valente said on her blog that I’d called RH a rabid animal because she’d described a book as sexist, which was simply a flat-out lie; if you took her word for that, without going to source, you’d probably conclude that I was an asshole. The World Sf Blog served as a similar platform for similar bullshit, with the added bonus that I personally know two of the people who were on their masthead. One of them, whom I’d considered kind of a friend, admitted backstage that this was outrageous and that she’d certainly do something about it— only to come back later the same day and say she wasn’t going to speak out after all, because she didn’t want to “fan the flames”. I also received private declarations of support from an up-and coming SF writer who proclaims herself a feminist and social justice advocate, who told me she was going to speak out on her own blog; two years later, I’m still waiting. And this is someone who’d very publicly avowed a fierce and familial love and loyalty to me on earlier occasions, when such proclamations didn’t run the risk of costing her anything.

    So given a scenario in which one’s enemies are slinging shit at full throttle, while one’s friends remain curiously mute— well, what would most people conclude? A lot of folks figured they already knew all they needed to. Why waste time clicking all the way back to original sources?

  126. whoever: He has had trouble with a paper because the thesis is that it is not only the oppressed who suffer, but also the oppressors.

    This seems like an utter crock of shit written by someone who has never been under the loving care of a joyful sadist.

  127. Y.: This seems like an utter crock of shit written by someone who has never been under the loving care of a joyful sadist.

    Not really. Many studies done regarding interrogators showed they can experience a psychotic break, become addicted to inflicting pain. Really became part of the driving force behind the worst of the worst in former USSR, East German Stasi. And readily apparent today.

    But as for lacking empathy for the professional sadist, been there, know what you mean.

  128. Actually, I doubt any organization in history, even the goddamn SS, had a procedure for specifically recruiting sadists.
    For one, that would require a diagnostic suite for sadism that would greatly exceed modern psychological/psychiatric capabilities. Also, it would require a kind of gleeful admission of an inherent organizational malice that few organizations could ever afford.

    Then again, being a sadist, I don’t find the idea of torturing a nonconsenting living being highly unappealing for some reason that I find hard to pin down, so there’s that.