As I predicted, Tom Doherty’s public dressing down of Irene Gallo for her (correct) comments on the Puppies failed. Having scored one success Day and co have doubled down and unleashed the dreaded boycott threat on Tor. All the usual idiots are of course crowing about Tor tasting Puppy power while everybody else has at turns been slightly depressed about it and somewhat upbeat about the slim chances it has of succeeding. And they’re right that the chance of Tor giving in to ridiculous demands like this are small:
Tor must publicly apologize for writings by Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Moshe Feder, Irene Gallo, and John Scalzi that “demonize, denigrate, slander and lie about the ‘Puppies’ campaigns”
That’s not going to happen, nor is Tor going to fire anybody about this: there aren’t enough Pups to provide a proper boycott. At best they can hope for a similar “success” as the Southern Baptist boycott of Disney for being too gay friendly. At worst, they shoot themselves in the foot because Tor also publishes John C. Wright. But focusing on whether or not the boycott can succeed is missing the point. The point of the boycott is the boycott.
As I said before, Day is following the Tea Party/Breitbart Culture Wars playbook. Gin up outrage, energise your base, focus their attention on the designated enemy, then fleece the suckers. Vox knows how the game is played because he’d been working for Worldnet Daily one of the low rent rightwing clearing houses his daddy had set up until he became too loony even for them. What are the odds on the next instructions of Day, as “leader of the Rabid Puppies”, will next issue instructions that the only proper way to boycott Tor is to instead buy books by goodthink publishers like Baen or his own vanity press?
The key is not to win, the key is to keep the fight going and make some money doing so. That’s been the career path for whole generations of roghtwing bloviators: fart out articles and blogposts and books about the evil of libruls and blag your way onto wingnut welfare. But to do so you need that red meat to keep the suckers in line. Without the month late fauxrage at Gallo’s comments the Puppies wouldn’t have anything to talk about. But this? This they can spin out until long after this year’s Hugo results are revealed.
It’s hard to deal with this. Just ignoring it is one option, not giving the oxygen of publicity to these people, but can obviously backfire. You can’t deal with this thinking these are normal fans, and that just ignoring it will starve this “controversy” of the fuel it needs. People like Day (and Larry and Brad) are perfectly capable of keeping the fire stoked indefinitely. Not responding just cedes ground and helps them keep up the pretence that they’re speaking for some imagined silent majority.
Rather, their more noxious opinions and writings should be exposed to sunlight, because the natural response of normal people not obsessed with partisan politics like the Puppies is to run the hell away from the circus. That’s also why somebody like Hoyt is so angry at Mike Glyer for accurately quoting her on File 770. Somewhere she’s aware of how she sounds outside her little echochamber. And that’s why Natalie Luhr’s showcasing of Michael Z. Williamson greatest hits is important. It removes the pretence that these are just fans rather than collossal assholes.