Larry just posted a very justifiably angry post about how the media are portraying the Sad Puppies. I’ve been following them off and on for a while, and it’s no secret I disagree with them politically. But all that means is that our politics are different – it doesn’t make them evil monsters. Some of these media representations are horrible, calling the Sad Puppies misogynists and racists whose only motivation is to cast votes against women and people of color specifically because they are women and people of color.
But don’t focus on the Sad Puppies right now. Focus instead on us. The media is portraying us as people who, if anyone disagrees with our Holy Writ Of What Is Politically Acceptable, will immediately descend upon such dissenters with flashing blades and bared teeth, attacking them as sub-human Nazi monsters. Now yes, there are some among us like that – my favorite blogger writes about such liberal Stasi on occasion. They’re awful. But when an article says, in effect, everyone whose politics are different from your own is a sub-human monster, and that article claims to represent all liberals, they make all liberals look like those Stasi attackers.
The problem is that there are an extreme minority on both sides who are like this. Vox Day exists, and man, he is the worst. And the liberal Stasi exist as well. But they are both almost non-existent, and they both have very little power. Talking to my fellow WorldCon-goers here: when you think of WorldCon, do you think of pogroms against wrong-think? Or do you think about a bunch of people getting together, discussing their favorite SF works, getting drunk at night, and having a damn good time? Cuz that’s all anyone I know is doing. We’re debating literary merit for fun, admiring what we love, and we come from a very wide swath. One of my friends, and a man I greatly admire for both his taste and intelligence, is a quite right-of-center Libertarian. He votes Republican a lot. He’s an awesome guy, and I’d be pissed as hell if anyone tried to exclude him for any reason. And he hasn’t been excluded – he’s been going to WorldCons since before I could read, and helped get me into the WorldCon scene in the first place.
But in today’s media-saturated world, that kinda thing doesn’t grab eyeballs. You want to get someone’s attention? You want them to read or watch long enough to get to the ad, so that your shitty news outlet can actually make some money? Then you have to PISS PEOPLE OFF. And nothing pisses someone off as much as being called vile and evil and being attacked by an oppressive force that is actually vile and evil itself. So the best, most-popular articles, as determined by market forces, are those that focus exclusively on the absolute worst that either side has to offer, and then portray the ENTIRE side as being as bad as those few people.
So you get our entire side thinking the Sad Puppies are all Vox Day, and their entire side thinking all of us are Liberal Stasi. They act to defend themselves from Unjust Oppression (which is in fact what the Stasi are doing) by attacking us. If the media portrayals were true, this would be the right thing to do. And now we find our party being called terrible names, equating us with these evil Stasi, and we’re like “Who the fuck is attacking us? What for?” We turn to the media and we discover “Oh! According to the media, it’s those vile, racist, misogynist neaderthals!” So we attack them in the same way Vox Day should be attacked. Which, if the media portrayls were true, would be the right thing to do. But they’re not. On either side.
It’s Lets You And Him Fight on a giant scale where the only one who wins is the Media Dragons sucking up the ad revenue. And I dunno any way to stop it, except maybe all getting together in real life and meeting each other and not being asshats for long enough to get to know each other a bit.
Except Vox Day of course. Seriously, screw that guy.