I've been . . . not astonished, really, because I've seen it all before, but . . . taken aback, at least, by the depth of ignorance, prejudice and blind, religious-fervor-style 'group-think' displayed by many of those arguing in favor of Ms. Irene Gallo's comments that precipitated the crisis concerning Tor. I'd like to examine that issue in the context of the wider crisis, because I think it's the key to the problem - even though it may render it incapable of resolution.
I've pointed out previously how, for the liberal left wing and progressive ideology, the 'narrative' is more important than the actual facts in almost any situation. For example, the New York Post pointed this out in connection to the now-debunked allegations of rape in Rolling Stone magazine against a fraternity at the University of Virginia. Here's an excerpt. Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.
The verdict’s in on Rolling Stone. According to no less an authority than the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, the magazine’s story last year on a University of Virginia gang rape was a “journalistic failure [that] encompassed reporting, editing, editorial supervision and fact-checking.”
But as with many other stories that don’t fit into the right narrative, the media will continue to draw the wrong lessons.
As an AP article noted, “Despite its flaws, the article heightened scrutiny of campus sexual assaults amid a campaign by President Barack Obama.”
Despite its flaws? You mean despite the fact that as far as anyone can tell, the story was made up out of whole cloth?
Even once the police investigated the claims of the alleged victim, The New York Times reported: “Some saw a more complex picture, saying that the uproar over the story and the steps that the university had taken since in an effort to change its culture had, in the end, raised awareness and probably done the school, and the nation, some good.”
How has the university benefited from the fact that a fraternity has been falsely accused of a horrific crime? And how has the nation benefited from the false but now widespread belief that violent rape, even gang rape, is raging on US campuses?
Wouldn’t it have done more good for people to know that young women are statistically less likely to be attacked on a campus than off one?
But who cares about the facts as long as awareness has been raised?
There's more at the link.
Precisely the same dynamic is evident in the reaction of so-called 'social justice warriors' or SJW's concerning Ms. Gallo's lies about and defamation of the so-called 'Puppies' (sad, rabid or whatever) in her recent comments (similar to the lies that Entertainment Weekly recently had to retract hastily and abjectly, for fear of being sued). They're indignant - some appear to be frothing at the mouth! - that Mr. Tom Doherty of Tor has publicly apologized for any confusion her comments may have caused, and taken at least initial steps to set the record straight. Hundreds of their comments may be found at Tor.com beneath his statement. I urge you to read them for yourself, if only to get an education in 'group-think' and the blindness to reality of the 'ideologically pure'. Here are a few examples, with my comments in italics following each one.
- "... everything Ms. Gallo said was true–we’ve all seen the vile things Vox Day has said, for YEARS, and others on his slate aren’t far behind. I’m very disappointed in Mr. Doherty for throwing Ms. Gallo under the bus." (Why should Vox Day's words be grounds for condemning anyone else? Who says he speaks for all 'Puppies'?)
- "Ms. Gallo’s comments are nothing but truth, and no one should be rebuked for speaking truth." (Who says they're true? On what factual, verifiable, empirical grounds?)
- "I have to question Mr. Docherty cowering in fear of a piece of sub-human filth like Vox Day. It appears as though nobody could defame him as he is already an object of ridicule." ('Sub-human filth', eh? Do you realize that language comes straight out of the Nazi playbook against the Jews? Do you really want to associate yourself with them in that way?)
- "Half of Americans admitted to [an] AP pollster they are prejudiced against blacks. That’s means it’s statistical certainty that some of the #rabidpuppies/#sadpuppies who claim to [be] bigotry-free are bald-face liars." (Some probably are - but how does that tar all of them with the same brush? And doesn't the same 'statistical certainty' mean that just as large a proportion of those on the other side - your side - are guilty of precisely the same thing?)
- "The Puppies (of all stripes) should be publicly ignored. (And privately shunned, if you feel so inclined.) They (as a group) are only interested in crapping all over SF, because most SF readers don’t agree with them on a wide variety of things. They are purveyors of fractal wrongness, and engaging them (as Mr. Doherty regretably has done) is like wrestling with pigs, playing chess with pigeons, or arguing with an idiots." (This Puppy isn't interested in 'crapping all over SF' at all. Who are you to judge my motivations? And the expression 'fractal wrongness' isn't scientific, but a cultural meme that often has little or no objective reality or validity. It's defined by your perception of another person's world view. If you're qualified to judge them like that, it must mean that they're similarly qualified to judge you. It works - or doesn't work - both ways.)
Again, more at the link. Notice how the commenters cited above aren't addressing the specifics of what Ms. Gallo said - they're saying that she's right regardless of those specifics, because of other, often extraneous factors. "My mind's made up. Don't confuse me with the facts!" They also freely insult others, regardless of the fact that they would never accept or tolerate the same insults being directed against them. To call anyone a 'sub-human piece of filth', as quoted above, is barbaric . . . yet some of them revel in that sort of thing. That says far more about them than it does about the person they're accusing.
Another favorite tactic of such individuals is to ignore the overall thrust of the problem by nit-picking the details to death. If someone makes an allegation of a pattern of misconduct, they respond by taking every single element of the allegation, separating it from the others and nickel-and-diming it to death, demanding verification, supporting evidence, etc. They can (and do) spin out the process in such depth and for so long that others lose patience and walk away . . . whereupon they claim victory because the original allegation "has not been proved" (to their satisfaction, anyway). I saw an instant example of this when I mentioned on a thread at Eric Flint's blog that I'd written an open letter to Mr. Doherty. The instant response from someone called 'Tracy' was:
Um . . . John Scalzi is a spokesperson for Tor? I can’t take something that makes such a ridiculous claim seriously, and I’d be surprised if Doherty felt any different. Such a bizarre claim makes it look like you don’t know what you’re talking about elsewhere (and to be frank, your open letter contains a wealth of references to your personal life, but basically nothing about the behavior you think should be condemned in the Nielsen Haydens, Feder, and Scalzi).
Note that she never addresses the overall substance of what I have to say - she nit-picks one detail, misquotes it, then calls it 'ridiculous' and builds the rest of her comment around that 'straw man' before segueing into completely off-topic insinuations. In this way she can (and does) avoid confronting the wider reality about which I'm speaking - and hopefully distracts others from thinking about that reality while they focus on her nit-pick. It's a classic example of the tactic. (Want another, larger one? Consider the months of deadlock, arguing over procedural issues including the shape of the conference table, that delayed the start of the Paris peace talks over Vietnam in the 1970's. The nit-picking cost at least hundreds, if not thousands of lives on the battlefield - but that didn't matter to those picking the nits. They lost sight of the main reason they were in Paris in the first place: to stop the war and make peace. Scoring procedural and propaganda points off the other side became more important than the lives that were being lost.)
Those tactics are not going to work in this case. I've had enough. So have many other people. Ms. Gallo's words were the last straw for us, as I explained in my earlier posts. They're merely the latest example of a long-standing pattern of behavior by senior employees at Tor. I'm not joking about my response, either. I'm willing to give Tor a few days - a week at most - to rectify the situation and deal with all those involved, not just Ms. Gallo. If the company fails to do so, I will call for a boycott of its products and publications . . . and I won't do so alone. I've consulted with a large number of fellow authors and other individuals about this over the past few days. There are some influential figures involved, as Tor may soon find out to its cost.
If that happens, some readers may be surprised to learn how widespread is the anger and bitterness that has built up during the past few months and years concerning the individuals I've identified at Tor. Their conduct and attitudes have become inseparably intertwined in the minds of many - including myself - with the conduct and attitudes of their employer. We don't believe they can be separated. It's for Tor to prove us wrong . . . but I suspect that's not about to happen, because to my mind - our minds - Tor really is standing behind them, despite Mr. Doherty's attempts to distinguish between the company and its senior staff.
I truly hope it doesn't come to a boycott . . . but if it does, so be it. We no longer have anything to lose by acting. Tor, on the other hand, risks losing everything by not acting. I say that as a former director of companies, with post-graduate business education and a good understanding of the financial pressures on Tor and companies like it. (Yes, individuals at 'some companies' do talk about such things to outsiders, particularly when they're also angry over what's happening internally. The numbers are . . . interesting.)
Your move, Tor . . . for a short time. I truly hope you make the right one before it's too late.