Thursday, April 30, 2015

Tips for men who want to try Zumba

I just saw Talking with Zumba-loving Joe Minoso of ‘Chicago Fire’ fame | Radio and TV Talk:
Joe Minoso five years ago was a 300-pound depressed, out-of-work actor. But then the Chicago resident found, of all things, Zumba. He fell in love with that joyous style of workout and lost 70 pounds. In 2012, a more svelte, battle ready Minoso nabbed a major role on NBC’s drama “Chicago Fire” as a firefighter Joe Cruz.
I followed a link there to a clip from the show where he is about to teach a class, and a group of his friends show up (which I can't embed here). Then I found an extended cut:



Like most Hollywood entertainment, it's fascinating in what it tells you that's right and that's wrong.

What right are the moves: Minoso is doing common Zumba dance moves.

What's wrong in the extended clip are the people completely ignoring the leader. Zumba teachers are fond of saying "There are no mistakes, only unintentional improvisations," and no one expects anyone to be particularly accurate when following the leader, so don't feel self-conscious when you spin in the opposite direction of the leader or fumble some steps or do anything differently.

But the leader's there for a reason. So:

1. Try to do what the leader does. Then laugh when you goof up, because everyone there was a beginner once and they know you learn in stages.

Because the clip is about a guy's friends showing up, the class is far more male than usual. I'll probably write sometime later about why Zumba classes are mostly female, but for now, trust me:

2. If you're male at a Zumba class, expect to be in the minority.

The article about Minoso says his first teacher brought him to the front of the class because he was so enthusiastic. That's probably true, but it's not typical either: most teachers let people dance where they like. My advice to new people:

3. Find a place a few rows back and slightly to one side so you won't be more self-conscious than you already are, but you are still able to see the leader.

A few specific points:

4. Don't stare at anyone except the teacher. If people decide you're there to ogle, you won't be coming back. (I haven't seen anyone acting like a creep, but I've heard stories.)

5. Don't expect to meet women. They're there to dance, then go do something else.

6. Be friendly and respectful and dance with joy, and you probably will make new friends because people who like something tend to like other people who like the same thing.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

An essential bit from Martin Luther King's "The Other America: How the bootless may raise themselves by their bootstraps

Note: The "Great Society" was President Johnson's term for a series of programs to make the US great for all its citizens. It failed for the reason King mentions here.

From The Other America:
A man was on the plane with me some weeks ago and he came up to me and said, "The problem, Dr. King, that I see with what you all are doing is that every time I see you and other Negroes, you're protesting and you aren't doing anything for yourselves." And he went on to tell me that he was very poor at one time, and he was able to make by doing something for himself. "Why don't you teach your people," he said, "to lift themselves by their own bootstraps?" And then he went on to say other groups faced disadvantages, the Irish, the Italian, and he went down the line. 
And I said to him that it does not help the Negro, it only deepens his frustration, upon feeling insensitive people to say to him that other ethnic groups who migrated or were immigrants to this country less than a hundred years or so ago, have gotten beyond him and he came here some 344 years ago. And I went on to remind him that the Negro came to this country involuntarily in chains, while others came voluntarily. I went on to remind him that no other racial group has been a slave on American soil. I went on to remind him that the other problem we have faced over the years is that this society placed a stigma on the color of the Negro, on the color of his skin because he was black. Doors were closed to him that were not closed to other groups. 
And I finally said to him that it's a nice thing to say to people that you oughta lift yourself by your own bootstraps, but it is a cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he oughta lift himself by his own bootstraps. And the fact is that millions of Negroes, as a result of centuries of denial and neglect, have been left bootless. They find themselves impoverished aliens in this affluent society. And there is a great deal that the society can and must do if the Negro is to gain the economic security that he needs. 
Now one of the answers it seems to me, is a guaranteed annual income, a guaranteed minimum income for all people, and for our families of our country. It seems to me that the Civil Rights movement must now begin to organize for the guaranteed annual income. Begin to organize people all over our country, and mobilize forces so that we can bring to the attention of our nation this need, and this is something which I believe will go a long long way toward dealing with the Negro's economic problem and the economic problem which many other poor people confront in our nation. Now I said I wasn't going to talk about Vietnam, but I can't make a speech without mentioning some of the problems that we face there because I think this war has diverted attention from civil rights. It has strengthened the forces of reaction in our country and has brought to the forefront the military-industrial complex that even President Eisenhower warned us against at one time. And above all, it is destroying human lives. It's destroying the lives of thousands of the young promising men of our nation. It's destroying the lives of little boys and little girls In Vietnam. 
But one of the greatest things that this war is doing to us in Civil Rights is that it is allowing the Great Society to be shot down on the battlefields of Vietnam every day. And I submit this afternoon that we can end poverty in the United States. Our nation has the resources to do it. The National Gross Product of America will rise to the astounding figure of some $780 billion this year. We have the resources: The question is, whether our nation has the will, and I submit that if we can spend $35 billion a year to fight an ill-considered war in Vietnam, and $20 billion to put a man on the moon, our nation can spend billions of dollars to put God's children on their own two feet right here on earth.

Monday, April 27, 2015

An indication that US police killings have more to do with class than race

From Talk show host: Police kill more whites than blacks | PunditFact:
Over the span of more than a decade, 2,151 whites died by being shot by police compared to 1,130 blacks.
If that's accurate (see the article for more on the data), what's striking is that twice as many white people are killed, just as there are twice as many non-Hispanic white people in poverty. But correlation doesn't necessarily mean a thing, and I didn't see the definition of "white". In poverty, if you include Hispanic whites, there are nearly three times as many white people as black. If the data for killings includes Hispanic and non-Hispanic whites, then the killings don't look like US poverty.

However, as always, the picture is further complicated by geography and race: white poverty is far more rural than black poverty. If police killings are more urban, that might account for the disparity.

Teasing out class and race in the US is hard because most Americans are content to look at race alone.

Also interesting: Is Police Brutality Color-Blind? | Consortiumnews

ETA: Another important fact from the first link: "The felony rates for poor whites are similar to those of poor blacks." Yes, that's logical, but identitarians of all stripes miss it because they ignore class.

ETA 2: If you think this was prompted by events in Baltimore, you're right, but if you think Baltimore is like Ferguson, you're wrong: Baltimore has a black mayor, police chief, and deputy commissioner, and 43% of its cops are black.

ETA 3: An older post: Race, class, and people killed by cops

ETA 4: Someone just complained that police abuses are racially disproportionate. Yes, they are. The solution is not to make them proportionate. It's to end them.

On neoliberalism, "hate speech" suppression, Charlie Hebdo, Garry Trudeau

I love/hate Twitter; it's a fine place for me to draft my thoughts, which really annoys people sometimes, and I'm sorry for that. Today, Steve Brust tweeted a link to Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau attacked for criticizing Charlie Hebdo. My first reactions were ones I've discussed before:

1. Free speech is a socialist issue because the traditional goal of socialism, the socialism of Marx and Wilde and Wells and Orwell, is to free people to think and do what they please.

2. Charlie Hebdo may be called anti-religious, but to call them racist, you have to ignore their criticism of Christians and Jews or conclude their racism covers the human race.

3. Charlie Hebdo is a far-left publication, so to say they're supporting a rightwing agenda, you have to ignore the rightwing religious people who think religion should not be criticized and the leftists who support free speech.

4. The Islamists who attacked Charlie Hebdo did not think they were doing anything involving socialism—or if they did, they thought they were attacking it. They were acting in the service of an ideology promoted by tycoons and princes. Calling them the oppressed is like calling soldiers and police officers oppressors—in both cases, they're the tools of rich people who are trying to make the rest of us serve them as they please.

But in that familiar discussion, I realized this:

Neoliberalism accepts the logic of "hate speech" laws for pragmatic reasons. The embrace of social identities supports division in general and conservative religion in particular. The point about conservative religion is especially significant: liberal religions accept criticism. Only conservative religions need to silence their critics.

So I find it very odd when socialists side with Garry Trudeau and other liberals in casting aspersions on Charlie Hebdo.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Shetterly's Guide to Zumba classes in Minneapolis's Standish, Ericsson, and Powderhorn Neighborhoods—One free!

If you've never done Zumba or have only done a little, there are a lot of reasons to try a class by Bernice Arias-Sather:

1. She does free classes at Powderhorn Park on Mondays and Wednesdays at 6:30 which are especially fun once the weather warms up, because then they're outdoors. They're sponsored by OUT in the Backyard, an LGBTQ community outreach group.

2. Her style seems like the best of traditional Zumba: A few pop songs with a heavy Latin emphasis, a fun, fast-moving class without much verbal instruction from the leader, who favors visual cues to help people follow.

3. She has been teaching since 2007, so some of her students have become instructors who lead dances just as Bernice taught them. This is especially helpful for new students at the Midtown YWCA, where Bernice teaches on Thursdays at 6:45 pm, and the Saturday 9:45 am is usually taught by one of her students.

At Social Dance Studio (which closes at the end of the month, alas, but its Zumba instructors will continue to teach in the area), two teachers give classes at a $5 drop-in price. Jimi Jimi Jimi includes dances with a Renaissance Festival/Eastern European folk dance feel; Sadie Jelenik takes a slightly more contemporary approach.

My favorite teacher for reasons that should not reflect in any way on the excellence of Bernice, Jimi, and Sadie is Tania Mitchell, who teaches at the Midtown YWCA on Sundays and Tuesdays at 5:30. I always warn new dancers that if they find Tania challenging, they should try someone else, because Tania is the least typical: her dances feel more complex than anyone else's, she seems to bring in new dances more often than anyone else, and she may have more high-intensity dances than anyone else (though it may just feel like that because new and complex dances burn more mental energy). Tania gives more verbal instruction than the other teachers I've mentioned, probably because her dances are more complex, but she always exudes such a sense of fun that I never noticed that until I took my own instructor certification and began comparing the official Zumba advice with the ways different teachers vary from it.

Starting in June, Tania's Tuesday class will be free outside at the Farmer's Market, which should be great fun.

Tip for new dancers: Show up early to get a good spot. If you're too far in the back, it's hard to see the teacher. My favorite place is usually in the second row, slightly to one side.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Zumba? WTF?

After I shared How strange is it that I am now a certified Zumba instructor? on Facebook, a friend said, "I might think it was strange if I had any idea what it meant." Another responded, "So, you teach them how to navigate around the furniture while they vacuum?"

Which made me realize the world is divided between people who have heard of Zumba—15 million are currently taking Zumba classes, according to Zumba's site—and those who haven't a clue what it is, and most of my friends fall into the latter group. This is for them.

The Zumba origin myth is that a gym teacher in Columbia forgot his usual exercise tape and improvised by playing a mix of dance songs that were in his car and leading people in the steps. His students loved it, so he kept doing it, and after a few years, he moved to Miami, where a couple of investors saw the potential, and Zumba went international.

Zumba teachers like to think of Zumba as “exercise in disguise.” Officially, it’s a “Latin-inspired international cardio workout", which means the teachers are encouraged to keep a high percentage of Latin music in the mix, but “international” is open to each teacher’s interpretation. Zumba is effective exercise—people burn an average of 500-1000 calories in a class—but the main reason it's popular is Zumba feels more like dancing than working out—see yesterday's comment about how I hate the idea of exercise.

A few posts about my dancing journey so far:

Old white guy can't dance (yet) - Part 1

Old white guy can't dance (yet) - Part 2

Old white guy can't dance (yet) #3

Fat women will kick your ass at Zumba

Dance is changing my idea of female beauty

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How strange is it that I am now a certified Zumba instructor?

Perhaps the most unlikely thing I’ve done in my life was getting certified last Saturday to teach Zumba. This doesn’t mean I'll teach it soon, or ever, but I’ve started down that path.

It began two years ago when Emma and I joined the YWCA. We knew we needed exercise. I hate exercise. I like activities like bicycling and hiking, but I hate anything that seems like work for its own sake, I hate the idea of group activities (though I often enjoy the reality more than I expect), and the socialist in me really doesn’t like anything with a brand name.

But I love Zumba. When I was young, my idea of a good exercise was karate, and when I was older, it was tai chi. In both cases, the exercise was secondary. The point was to do something that took me out of my daily life for an hour or so and left me feeling better at the end of the hour than the beginning. Zumba does that for me.

I’m not sure why I kept on with Zumba during the first weeks when I was convinced I would never learn the steps. My best tips:

  1. Remember everyone there was a beginner once.
  2. Smile when you screw up. I smile a lot during zumba.
  3. The point isn’t to get strong or lose weight or build stamina or reduce stress or become an amazing dancer—I have no illusions about being a good dancer or becoming a great one. The point is to have fun. Some teachers are objectively bad, and some teachers are wrong for you because of their personality or the pace they set for the class, so if you don't like one teacher, try another. I was lucky to get a great teacher for my first class.

Last month, early enough to get a discount, I signed up online for Zumba's Basic 1 instructor course. Saturday morning, I bicycled across the river to spend the day at LA Fitness in St. Paul.

The quick facts:

Kelly Bullard, the teacher, is great: cheerful, informative, an excellent dancer and an excellent dance teacher.

The first hour is an intense Zumba class; expect to sweat copiously. They're right to recommend bringing a change of exercise clothes. The remaining seven hours (including a meal break) are a mix of lecture and instruction in the basic moves. Expect to sweat more, though not as intensely as before. Bring a light jacket for when you’re sitting and listening.

Two people at the class had never taken Zumba before—they probably were assigned by a school to get the instruction to teach it. I'd recommend taking a month or two of regular classes before going to one for instructors, but if you’re prepared to feel like a klutz or if you’ve got some dance background, the basic instructor course could be a fine intro. I haven’t played the review DVDs that come with the course yet, but I'm sure they make a good refresher for all the moves we learned.

Minor observations:

I should’ve counted how many people were there: I’m guessing around 80. Of those, three were male, and I’m pretty sure that I was the oldest person in the room. Most of the women were white, but the other two men were not—I wouldn't be surprised if either of them were already working at gyms. Most of the attendees were Americans from the Twin Cities. The people who traveled furthest to attend drove from Iowa, but the students included an Israeli and an Indian who was going back to India soon.

It is hard not to be noticed when you’re male at a zumba class. At an instructor class, guys especially should expect to get moved up to the front at some point—Kelly had all three guys come up and dance with her during “Uptown Funk”, a song that’s popular with zumba teachers, who each have their own version. I am very pleased that I did not trip once, and not ashamed to admit I had plenty of excuses to smile

Recommended for balance, a post by a more cynical person than me who had a less pleasant experience: What Zumba Instructor Training Reveals About the Myth of the Terrible Teacher | Kafkateach

In writing, dancing, and everything you learn, seek mastery skills, not performance skills

From What are the best tricks to keep yourself motivated? - Quora:
What surprised Halvorson was how the two groups dealt with the challenges. The ones in the “get-better” group remained unfazed and solved as many as problems in the challenging conditions as the easy ones. They stayed motivated and kept trying to learn. The ones in the “be-good” group, however, were so demoralized when they faced the challenges and obstacles that they solved substantially fewer problems than those who didn’t have to face them. 
And those differences happened just because of how the initial goal was framed. 
Define Mastery Goals, Not Performance Ones, For Difficult Problems 
Halvorson’s experiments illustrate the difference between a mastery goal, where you aim to learn and get better at some skill, and a performance goal, where you aim to be good, either to demonstrate you’re talented or to outperform other people.
Speaking from experience, this is very true: when I try to write as a performance, I get blocked. When I write for myself, I write freely. I've probably kept dancing for the last couple of years because I never think about the idea of performing for anyone. (Okay, I sometimes think briefly about it, get terrified, and go back to thinking about dancing purely for fun.)

An interesting take on privilege theory among US Maoists in the 1960s

Privilege and the working class | SocialistWorker.org makes a fascinating claim to an old-timer like me:
At the height of the American civil rights movement, when theories of oppression might be expected to have some resonance, privilege politics were virtually unknown. The privilege model was unable to find a foothold among the hundreds of thousands of anti-racists involved in the country's massive and often integrated struggles for freedom. Only later, during the tragic crisis and disintegration of the New Left at the end of the '60s, were privilege politics able to gain a hearing--among white, middle-class students, most of whom had had no involvement in the civil rights novement. White-skin privilege theory would come to play a major role in the destruction of Students for a Democratic Society [2] (SDS) by extreme sectarians.
Now, while this short article may accurately explain how Privilege Theory became popular in parts of the communist left, it doesn't explain its general history. Derrick Bell, the father of Critical Race Theory, was a black man who took part in the civil rights struggle but, unlike Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, had no interest in socialism. The appeal of privilege theory isn't to whiteness—it's to middle-classness, because it does not challenge the privilege of the rich. Privilege theory only insists that the exploiters should look like the exploited.

ETA: From a response to the article, Tarred with the same brush | SocialistWorker.org:
It is quite clear that privilege theory became something else in the 1970s and '80s. The writings of J. Sakai of the Maoist Internationalist Movement are, to this reader, the clearest exposition of a theory where white workers are just not part of the revolutionary subject, and are considered instead as active beneficiaries of the system. This is a dangerous, demobilizing theory, and the ISO is correct in fighting it. But I certainly think it is unfair to tar Ted Allen with the same brush.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Taking an internet vacation for the rest of the month

It'll be like a modern work vacation to someplace that has wifi: I'll answer messages, I might share some pics or something I thought was fun, and I'll take a break from the vacation when work requires it (expect an announcement about an ebook of Emma's Falcon, and maybe one about the first volume of Liavek). So don't say goodbye; say have fun.

And may you have fun, too.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A simple solution for fixing this year's Hugo Ballot?

Ask all the nominees to withdraw, then have a do-ever, no penalty, no foul. It's unlikely that all the nominees would immediately withdraw, but if a significant number did, I suspect the rest would see how ludicrous they looked and step down.

And if they did not, at the point at which withdrawals were deemed a crisis (50%?), the Hugo administrators would be justified in stepping in. Unprecedented problems call for unprecedented solutions.

Yes, this is an additional expense for Sasquan. But if the rumors I've heard of a recent surge in supporting memberships is accurate, the money is there. It's reasonable to expect that in a do-over, there would be a surge of memberships.

The "no foul" part of this proposal must be stressed if fandom is to heal rather than splinter. No one's broken any rules. If every nominee agrees to a do-over, there would be no reason to bear ill will toward any of them.

ETA: Yes, this is inspired by the withdrawals of Marko Kloos and Annie Bellet. I hate watching writers suffer, no matter what they've done, and in the case of Kloos and Bellet, their crime seems to have been being liked by people who wanted to see them win.

Tidying up: apologizing, politeness, useful hard numbers about the Hugos

In the first version of An Apology to Mary Robinette Kowal, I included a little context that, a couple of minutes after making the post, I realized weakened the apology, so I deleted it. Apologies in public are hard, because you know they're in public and you know that not everyone will know the context.

But that's part of the price of doing something that needs an apology.

One thing I deleted I still want to share, an example of something Mary knows and I forgot: How to Be Polite.

I turned off the comments on my apology because I hate the way people chip in on whether or not an apology is necessary or adequate or sincere. People apologize because they want to apologize, and they apologize as best they can, and the whole thing is between them and the person they're apologizing to, even though public offenses require public apologies.

Which is a long-winded way of saying I know my apology will be scrutinized elsewhere, but please don't do it here. If it's inadequate, I'm sorry it's not better. If I didn't think it was necessary, I wouldn't offer it.

That said, feel free to offer general thoughts about politeness, apologies, or just about anything you'd like. Except for identitarianism in fandom, of course.

I'm not planning to ignore fandom and its controversies entirely—for example, I highly recommend this look at hard numbers and the Hugos: Some Sad Puppy Data Analysis. The writer is a Sad Puppy supporter, so you, like me, may not agree with all of his conclusions, but the data's great to have.

An Apology to Mary Robinette Kowal

Dear Mary,

I was an asshole, and I am very, very sorry that I was infuriating when I should've tried much, much harder to disagree gently. For years, I've insisted civility and tone matter. I have no excuse for the way I expressed myself, and you have no reason to forgive me, but I hope you will just the same.

Sincerely and abjectly,

Will

PS. The original version of this post had a bit of discussion around it which, I realized, distracted from the apology itself. So I've discarded it. The apology is unchanged. Comments are still off.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Confessions of a Scarred and Broken Man, or If I Blog Again about Fandom’s Social Justice Warriors, Kill Me

1

On Sunday, Emma asked me a question no husband wants to hear: What happened to the man she married? Where was the man who annoyed her by forgiving everyone, then annoyed her more when she realized he was right?

If you’re now thinking I got the very best version of that speech, you are very right.

But it didn’t make me feel any better.

The answer is that man broke in 2009. In the fifty years before the great fannish flamewar remembered as Racefail 09, I had marched or protested or worked booths for every major leftish cause, from civil rights to gay marriage. Every time, I faced haters. I remember the police holding back furious right-wingers at marches for peace in Vietnam. Perhaps the scariest march was with a tiny group in Sierra Vista, AZ, a military town, when Bush was invading Iraq and there was no police presence because no one had applied for a permit before protesting—but none of the haters did more than yell and give us the finger from their cars as they sped by. Afterward, as our little group was dispersing, a young soldier came up and said he expected to be sent out in the next day or two, and he was grateful we were saying what he could not.

I don’t remember when I first heard the popular version of Martin Niemöller’s observation about Germany in the 1930s:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
I probably heard that in a Unitarian Sunday School. I heard it young, anyway. I never consciously decided I would always be one of the first to speak out, but it seems to have taken. My first instinct is to protect underdogs, even or especially when I disagree with them, no matter how large or how small the conflict.

This can be hard on my friends. Long ago, when I thought the Nielsen Haydens should be counted among those friends and I hoped Jo Walton would be, they mocked me for saying in an online argument over something trivial that lurkers supported me in email. I realized they didn’t know their standing as pros made people afraid to criticize them, so they thought lurkers were either imaginary or people whose fear made them irrelevant. It was a tiny example of how people with power fail to see the effect of their power. This should be a curse: May you never be supported by lurkers.

The lurkers in fandom’s identitarian flame wars will no longer have me to speak for or with them. In my childhood, anonymous phone callers threatened that the Ku Klux Klan would burn my home, and I was bullied in school for speaking out for integration, but racists never broke me. It’s easy to oppose people if you reject their tactics and their goals.

But fandom’s furious identitarians succeeded where racists failed. Identitarians insist they want what I want, a world where everyone is equal. But to make that world, they attack anyone who wants equality in the wrong way. Perhaps my greatest disappointment with them is they happily use the tactics of racists and bigots—mockery, death threats, blacklisting, and censorship. Like all holy warriors, they believe the ends justify the means. They often quote Audre Lorde’s most famous line, “the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house,” and fail to see that they love the master’s tools.

To be both fair and precise, what they want and I want is not the same egalitarian world. In the world I seek, people are free to disagree. In theirs, saying the right words matters far more than treating each other with love and respect. I have often shared this quote, so I’ll share it for what may be the last time: Malcolm X said, "Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery." I’ve always been aware that Martin Luther King’s preference for absolute pacifism and Malcolm X’s for self-defense divided them far more than their religions—as a Christian, King believed in St. Peter’s advice to respect everyone.

But “respect everyone” has never been respected by those who believe zeal matters most.

2

When Emma asked what had happened to the man she had married, I was in the middle of drafting a blog post inspired by the discussion over Requires Hate and the Hugos. I got this far:

“Any cause that requires mockery and abuse to advance itself isn’t one I need to engage with, regardless of my basic beliefs or agreement with the underlying goals.” —Jay Lake

"If you ever find yourself asking your friends to stop sending death threats, you need to get some new friends." —Andrew Molitor

Perhaps the greatest failing of Laura Mixon’s “A Report on Damage Done by One Individual Under Several Names” is that it assumes Requires Hate arose in a vacuum—it would be like discussing Robespierre without mentioning Jacobins or the Reign of Terror.

I'm thinking about this because I just left this comment at George R. R. Martin’s Not A Blog. In response to Colum Paget's comments about being driven from the field by RH and her allies, I wrote:
A number of writers were hurt by that community during Racefail 09, an enormous flamewar that ran for months in 2009. Their first target was Jay Lake, whose crime was being a white man who wrote an essay asking people to research characters from other cultures before writing about them. Coffeeandink, one of the leading SJWs at the time, found his post "wanting". People came to Jay's defence, and they were attacked for being racists.

Afterward, Jay wrote “I probably won’t ever be at WisCon again, sadly, as it used to be one of my favorite cons, but RaceFail has made it very unwelcoming and unsafe for me.” He was immediately mobbed by the SJWs—Tempest Bradford announced that he was "showing his ass", etc. They knew he was wrestling with the cancer that eventually killed him, but for people who believe completely in their cause, there is no mercy for transgressors.

Jay wrote, "I know how satisfying it is to have a cause, to pounce on the wicked, the unrighteous and the foolish. I was once young and angry all the time, too. Now I’m middle aged and angry sometimes. But somewhere along the way I decided that justice tempered with peace was a lot more important to me that being completely, absolutely right all the time. (I’ve been down that road. I know people with permanent addresses on that road.)”
A few of the commenters at Laura's post do understand that the history is relevant. Anna Feruglio said,
And like many others, my coping mechanism since Racefail is to not engage, because if I do I will go crazy, it will consume all my emotional energy and break me. It’s not a choice, it’s not that I think you shouldn’t feed trolls – it’s just that I learned in a lifetime of depression that to survive I have to retreat. And it angers me more than I can say that it makes me less of a human being. I still speak up when my friends are attacked, and I am mindful (for having been on the other side) how painful and destructive the silence of the bystanders can be when you are being attacked. 
What saved me from being an Evil Ally back in the day was that one person I hurt – Patrick Nielsen Hayden – reached out to me, in some pain more than anger. And overnight it’s like the scales fell from my eyes. There were a lot of people during Racefail that taught me a lot, and a lot of people who just plain gloated in scoring points. I have very little liking for them and I find it hard to forgive them even now, and they make taking a stand for fairness and justice and diversity and tolerance a lot harder.
Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little said,
I also remember coming belatedly to the trainwreck that was RaceFail and noting a toxic tendency of people on one side of that war to hound dissenters through multiple communities and back to their personal blogs, spewing abuse the whole way, which tendency is noted in the case of RH’s followers as well. It’s been some years and I haven’t gone out of my way to refresh my memory, but it seems to me there’s some overlap in the LJ and twitter handles involved in both cases.
3

So when Emma called me on what I have become, she was addressing things I’d been thinking about. As you might expect, we had a teary conversation, and though she did not ask me to, I promised I would write one last post about fandom’s social justice warriors, the post you’re reading now, and be done with them. From now on, if I must address them, it’ll be in art. Whether I’ll get therapy, I have yet to decide—I’ve been dancing a lot, and that’s all the therapy I want.

Pertinent to the current discussion:

Is There a Statute of Limitations for Being an Ass on the Internet?

About the psychological effects of mobbing:

Mobbing drives people a little—or a lot—mad

How to survive a mobbing (that mostly happens online)

ETA:

Sunday, April 12, 2015

For people who mock those who respond when their name is invoked in public posts

Just saw this:
I doubt I'll respond since they declined Mary's offer. I just wanted to note that many people respond to public posts. I suspect I'll continue to do it; there's no shame in responding publicly to what's done in public. As for what's done in private, well, there are two kinds of gossips, those who want to play the child's game of Telephone and those who want to be this year's Walter Winchell. There's no shame in responding to them, either.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Mary Robinette Kowal is buying votes for the Hugos

ETA 5 (posted at the top as well as the bottom because it's the most important ETA): An Apology to Mary Robinette Kowal


Ask for a supporting membership to WorldCon at Talk with me about being a fan of science fiction and fantasy. Currently, there are 30 available, ten from Mary, 10 from an anonymous nominee, and 10 from Shimmer Magazine.

Don't know anything about science fiction, the current Hugo controversy, or fandom in general? No worries. Mary provides a very short guide to all you need to know. (Though I must note she leaves out the Rabid Puppies.) (She seems to be providing the guide for her readers from the romance community, but it's useful for all non-fans who would like to vote.)

Worried about voting for things you haven't read? No worries. In the comments, Mary notes,
It doesn’t require you to finish reading all of them. I just read until I stop enjoying the thing.
and
As for not reading everything before voting… I look at it like this: If I only have time to read three things, then those three were the most compelling things I read that year. I just leave the other ones off my ballot. I don’t vote No Award, I just don’t include them.

I also get the packet and start reading work, but when it stops being interesting, I stop reading. I won’t vote for something that I don’t find excellent.
Her reasoning seems to be that she believes GamerGate brought in non-fans who affected the nominations. So far, I haven't seen any analysis of the actual numbers to support that; please leave a link in the comments if you know of any.

It is amusing to see fandom's patricians buying votes for plebes. I expect the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies will take their cue from Mary.

May the richest fan win.

ETA: I just noted this in the comments:
...she's trying to be fair. She's planning on a drawing. I can't imagine any fairer way to buy votes. It's like giving out beer at a polling station—no one's telling anyone who to vote for. She can buy votes in her community, Vox Day can buy them in his, and Correia and Torgersen can buy them in theirs, and the people with the deepest pockets will buy the result in a perfectly fair way. This is going to be fun to watch. Popcorn, please!

Which is to say, yes, I think it's a well-meant misstep, but it's an enormous one.
ETA 2: I just noted in Mary's reddit thread that I could be wrong about this turning into a vote-buying war. Vox Day may decide to simply tell his followers to enter Mary's contest.

ETA 3: Mary added an application box to her post under "FURTHER EDITED TO ADD".

ETA 4: Some people have said this is not a case of rich people reaching out to their own communities. But I picked up the term from Mary, who says in her post: "I encourage others to reach out to your own communities as well."

ETA 5 (posted at the top as well as the bottom because it's the most important ETA): An Apology to Mary Robinette Kowal

Harlan Ellison on gaming the Hugos and Nebulas



This is probably from 1994. No, I won't name the person Harlan didn't name.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Why Brad R. Torgersen should forgive Mary Robinette Kowal, and a few facts about racism in the USA

ETA 2 (posted at the top as well as the bottom because it's the most important ETA): An Apology to Mary Robinette Kowal


When you hear liberal identitarians say all or most white people are racist, remember that most Americans, white and black, disagree. From More Americans View Blacks As Racist Than Whites, Hispanics - Rasmussen Reports™: "Among black Americans, 31% think most blacks are racist, while 24% consider most whites racist and 15% view most Hispanics that way. Among white adults, 10% think most white Americans are racist; 38% believe most blacks are racist, and 17% say most Hispanics are racist." Though liberals are most susceptible to the claims of Critical Race Theory, most liberals disagree with the internet's SJWs: "Among liberal voters, 27% see most white Americans as racist, and 21% say the same about black Americans."

So when people like Mary Kowal and Tempest Bradford respond to a picture of Brad Torgersen's mixed-race marriage with "yes, it is possible to be in a mixed marriage and still be racist" and "misogynists marry women all the time" instead of "What a lovely family!", you have to remember that their belief system is at work. It's no different than a homophobe responding to a picture of a gay family with "some gay people are homophobic" or a rape culture theorist responding to a picture of a heterosexual family with "some men are rapists". They do not realize that they're casting aspersions on the people who inspired their comments by insisting on the possibility of guilt. They think they're only defending their faith.

Science fiction's "social justice warriors" loosely fall into two camps, moderates and radicals. If you were to compare them to fandom's Islamophobes, the moderates are like Elizabeth Moon, a nice woman who did not want to create strife in 2010 but whose belief system prevents her from seeing her bigotry. The radicals are like Vox Day, who does not care if his beliefs offend. Think of the moderates as Laura Mixon's camp and the radicals as Requires Hate's, not because Laura and RH are the leaders of their groups, but because Laura called out Requires Hate, forcing that community to choose sides. Mary seems to favor Laura's side, though she's friends with Tempest, who favors Requires Hate.

So the first two reasons to forgive Mary:

1. She can't help what she believes.

2. She tries to be nice in the way she expresses her belief.

And more importantly:

3. Like Laura acknowledging that RH had gone too far, Mary acknowledged that people on her side issue death threats. That's an extremely brave breaking of ranks with her group, which usually insists that bad behavior is exclusively on the side of their opponents, and when they do acknowledge some bad behavior, quickly excuse it as rejecting "tone policing".

And there may be a fourth reason: women make more racist choices than men. From Single Female Seeking Same-Race Male - NYTimes.com: "In that analysis of more than 20,000 online daters, split roughly evenly between Boston and San Diego, men didn’t show much preference for same-race partners. Women did, and African-American women showed the most pronounced preference." Mary is a white woman married to a white man; she can't fully grasp the challenges faced by mixed race couples and cannot see the significance of the fact that Black wife/White husband marriages are 44% less likely to end in divorce than White wife/White husband couples. So when her faith requires her to insist on the possibility that Brad may be racist, even though she cannot quote or cite any reason to support the possibility, she simply cannot see how offensive she is being. Like most of us, she's torn between her desire to be kind and her desire to defend what she believes is justice.

ETA: In the comments at Please stop with the death threats and the hate mail. - Mary Robinette Kowal, Lisa Hertel said, "You know, HP Lovecraft was proudly antisemitic, and yet he married a Jew. I married a guy who snores, doesn’t make me any fonder of snoring…"

I left this, which may not escape moderation:
Did Lovecraft say anything antisemitic after he married?

I don't believe anyone has said no mixed marriage is free of racism. The question is whether it's rude to point out the possibilities of flaws without being able to cite evidence of those flaws in things a person has said or done. What has Brad said or done to justify discussing racism in mixed marriages like his?
ETA: After asking that, I found this, which is fascinating: Facts & other stubborn things: Lovecraft on Race and Religion: Part 1. But before anyone says Lovecraft's marriage justifies speculating about Brad, Lovecraft said many things that are antisemitic. What has Brad said or done that's racist, other than being white like Mary?

ETA 2 (posted at the top as well as the bottom because it's the most important ETA): An Apology to Mary Robinette Kowal

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Game Of thrones happy dance

For Mary Robinette Kowal and other "anti-racists" who insist a person in a mixed marriage may be racist

ETA 7 (posted at the top as well as the bottom because it's the most important ETA): An Apology to Mary Robinette Kowal


This is in response to How to tell when MRK is angry, which is in response to a discussion in the comments at Please stop with the death threats and the hate mail. To simplify following what was said, I'll quote our interchange:

It began when Walt Boyes left a comment that included:
Bringing this back around to the HUGOs, for a minute…Brad’s proposed slate included socialists, conservatives, centrists, libertarians, anarchists, Christians, atheists, reformed atheists turned Christian, likely Pagans, Hispanics, Native Americans, immigrants, women, men, the disabled, straights, gays and bis. He is married to an African-American woman, and they have a mixed-race daughter. Are you saying that he still could be sexist, misogynistic and racist? That doesn’t make sense. Yet that is what many people who claim to be of the left are saying.
Mary's response included:
But yes, it is possible to be in a mixed marriage and still be racist. (Please do not take this statement to mean that I think Brad is proudly racist, which is an opinion that people seem really determined to put into my mouth.) It is possible in the same way that it is possible for a man to be married to a woman and be misogynist. It is even possible for a man to truly love his wife, and still carry the baggage of a misogynist culture around with him causing him to hold women as weaker, inferior creatures. Loving an individual is not the same as thinking that the class/category is your equal.
Which led to the following exchange:

  1. Will Shetterly
    Mary, yes, nice people can be racist, but it’s really hard to be a racist and a miscegenist at the same time. I don’t know if you’re in the “all white people are racist” camp, but the results of Project Implicit and other studies disagree with you. Suggesting there may be any inequality in anyone’s marriage without the slightest hint of evidence is, well, not charitable.
    1. Mary Robinette Kowal Post author
      Will… Seriously, did you read anything I wrote? I AM NOT SAYING THAT BRAD TORGERSEN IS RACIST. For fuck’s sake, will people stop trying to bend my words to say that.
      What I am saying, strictly and only, is that pointing to someone’s spouse as the ONLY example for how they are not “-ist” in some way does not at all mean that they aren’t. And “really hard” does not equal impossible. Jesus H. Christ on a Pogo stick, use a little rigor in your arguments and stop trying to pick a fight by inventing opinions for people.
      1. Will Shetterly
        If you’re willing to use a little rigor here, why do you feel obliged to argue that someone in a mixed marriage might be racist? When you hear someone claim something, do you automatically point out that some people lie? Context matters. We’re not talking about the general principle. We’re talking about two people who have had a long and loving marriage. Why doubt them?
        1. Mary Robinette Kowal Post author
          Because I don’t think Brad’s marriage should be relevant to the discussion of the Hugos. I HATE that people keep trying to drag his personal life into this and that people keep using his wife and child as weapons. That’s a horrible thing to do to someone. He has said that he usually doesn’t talk about them or post photos to respect their privacy. I’m trying, desperately, to respect that boundary.
          Which means that, as much as possible, I’m going to talk about issues without talking about individuals.
          I mean, seriously, I disagree with Brad about many, many things, and I know that he holds me in contempt, but I’ve also been in the crossfires of the internet before and it sucks. I’m unwilling to do that to anyone except in a few very, very rare cases. This is not one.
          This is your notice that future attempts to continue bringing Brad’s marriage into the conversation will not be let through.
Probably because of her ideology, Mary fails to grasp or does not care that these are real people:


This is a man who has been called a racist, with his wife and his daughter. His "racism" is part of the debate of the Hugos because people like Mary and her friends feel obliged to insist that racists may marry people of other races and have insisted that the Sad Puppies are racist. Now, it's true that in rare cases, racists marry people they consider inferiors. Humans are astonishingly inconsistent. But why point that out in this case? What drives the desire to insist that Brad Torgersen may be racist when there is nothing to suggest that? We can go through life assuming the worst about everyone, but what does it say about our beliefs if we do?

Mary's clarification about her belief about Brad is fascinating; she said, "Please do not take this statement to mean that I think Brad is proudly racist, which is an opinion that people seem really determined to put into my mouth." Her "proudly" suggests she thinks he is casually or obliviously racist, which fits the "all white people are racist" assumptions of Critical Race Theorists.

Project Implicit found that a large minority of white people, including me, have an implicit preference for black folks. A smaller percentage have no detectable preference. Which group Torgersen falls in, I do not know. But anyone who knows the meaning and history of miscegenation should hesitate before suggesting the white member of a happily married couple is racist, "proudly" or not.

A few data points for Mary and her friends:

1. Gallup found that only 4% of Americans approved of marriage between blacks and whites in 1958, while 77% approved by 2007. Those percentages cut across racial and political lines.

2. According to Wikipedia, "Black wife/White husband marriages are 44% less likely to end in divorce than White wife/White husband couples over the same period."

Damn Brad for being a conservative if you must. But do not doubt that his marriage is a marriage of equals.

ETA: Mary's line about "misogynists marry women all the time" comes from a tweet by her friend, K. Tempest Bradford.

ETA 2: This post may be part of a series: For John C. Wright and other homophobes who want people to believe they are Christians

ETA 3: Regarding Tempest and Mary's comparison of racist marriages to misogynist ones, there's an easy test: Are both partners equals? If you have no reason to think otherwise, why suggest that a relationship is built on racism or misogyny? The only answer I can think of is that you believe all or most heterosexual relationships and mixed-race relationships are controlled by the man or the white person—an assumption which belittles the woman or the person of color in the relationship. If that assumption had anything to support it, marriages between white men and black women would be very weak, and yet, they're statistically the strongest, which suggests that those men and women have a partnership that no one should question.

ETA 4: I'm very frustrated that I can't make people who believe they're on the left understand the implications of casting doubt on a mixed-race marriage. But let me try with a hypothetical situation:

A Log Cabin Republican is accused of being homophobic. In response, he posts a beautiful picture of his gay spouse and their child. I would expect good people to say, "What a lovely family! I'm sorry I assumed you were homophobic. I clearly misunderstand the basis of your politics." I would not expect good people to say, "Well, you know you can be homophobic and gay, don't you?" Yes, it is true that people can be homophobic and gay. But saying that without any evidence of homophobia? That's just hurtful. Multiracial families, like gay families and all families, should be celebrated, not doubted, regardless of their politics.

ETA 5: A point I just made in the comments: In my youth, I marched and bled for the sake of integration and interracial marriage. I did not do that so identitarian liberals could quibble about the nature of a conservative's multiracial marriage.

ETA 6: Why Brad R. Torgersen should forgive Mary Robinette Kowal, and a few facts about racism in the USA

ETA 7 (posted at the top as well as the bottom because it's the most important ETA): An Apology to Mary Robinette Kowal

A sweet video review of Dogland

I stumbled on this today. It made my day. Also, she has a great cat.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

For John C. Wright and other homophobes who want people to believe they are Christians

I'll use the Douay-Rheims translation because Wright's a conservative Catholic, but conservative Protestants who want to be thought of as Christians can use King James. The message is the same:

1. Speak respectfully. 1 Peter 2:17 has no qualifications: "Honour all men."

2. Don't judge. Luke 6:36 is simple: "Judge not, and you shall not be judged."

There aren't any exceptions to either of those. You're welcome to disagree with anything you wish, but if you want anyone to believe you're Christian, keep those verses in mind when you do.

ETA: This is in response to Wright's The Perversion of a Legend. I wish every self-proclaimed Christian would try to remember another bit of advice, Luke 10-24: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind: and thy neighbour as thyself." But if you can't manage to love your neighbors, at least try to honor them all and keep from judging them.

ETA 2: If you follow the link to Wright, you won't find the reason for his rant, but if you follow the link he provides, you'll learn a detail from the end of The Legend of Korra—a detail that I think is really sweet.

ETA 3: Something I just said on twitter:
Jesus didn't a say a thing about sex. Even if he disapproved, his reaction to wrong-doers was to invite them to dinner.

A beginner's guide to "Social Justice Warriors" in the F&SF community

I don't like "social justice warrior" as a name, but that's what the internet calls the angry identitarians who love to mob, threaten, and dox in the name of social justice. So, for the sake of this guide, I'll use it.

I first noticed identitarians in the community in 2005. Their beliefs about race had been formed by Critical Race Theory; their beliefs about gender came from what Christina Hoff Sommers calls gender feminism, which I think could be more precisely called identitarian feminism. Their first major "kerfuffles"—flamewars that swept from blog to blog—came in 2008 with The Outing of Zathlazip and the Hounding of William Sanders.

In the first case, a young woman who wrote as Zathlazip made a post at a site called Something Awful that made fun of people at Wiscon. In return, she was doxed and mobbed online. Offline, someone went into her office and left a threat which terrified her so much that she went to the police.

In the second, William Sanders, a Cherokee author, made comments about Islamist terrorists that were interpreted as Islamophobic. In return, he was mobbed and threatened, and the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts (ICFA) withdrew its invitation for him to be its Guest of Honor.

A year later, Racefail 09 began when two white writers, Jay Lake and Elizabeth Bear, wrote blog posts saying that people should research other cultures when writing about them. Their explanations were first found wanting by Coffeeandink, a white SJW. The scifi internet quickly exploded for several months. What continues to amuse me is that if you use dictionary definitions, none of the people involved were racists—people like Vox Day ignored that fight or watched it from the sidelines.

Two American Indian "fails" quickly followed: Patricia C. Wrede was denounced for writing an alternate history in which humans never went to the American continents before the European voyages of the Middle Ages—this was interpreted as "erasing" American Indians.

A year later, Neil Gaiman was denounced for saying, in response to a question about the setting for The Graveyard Book, “The great thing about having an English cemetery is I could go back a very, very, very long way. And in America, you go back 250 years (in a cemetery), and then suddenly you’ve got a few dead Indians, and then you don’t have anybody at all, unless you decide to set it up in Maine or somewhere and sneak in some Vikings.” The phrase "dead Indians" was called racist, and the mention of the fact that American Indians didn't bury their dead in cemeteries was interpreted as a claim that there were few or no American Indians.

In 2010, Elizabeth Moon was uninvited as a WisCon Guest of Honor after writing a blog post that was interpreted as Islamophobic. People like N. K. Jemisin vowed to boycott the convention if Moon stayed its GoH, even though the co-GoH was Nisi Shawl, a black woman who had never said anything to upset fandom's warriors.

In 2012, Victoria Foyt's Save the Pearls, a book about a white woman overcoming her racism and falling in love with a black man, was denounced as racist. When Marvin Kaye, editor of Weird Tales, defended the story, he was attacked. Ann Vandermeer, his co-editor, resigned. His defense was removed from Weird Tales' web site, and he cancelled his plan to publish an excerpt from the novel.

In 2013, several kerfuffles arose regarding SFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. One was over a cover of the SFWA Bulletin featuring a swordswoman in a chainmail bikini. Another was over the reminiscences of Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg, who said that one of the field's first female editors, Beatrice Mahaffey, was attractive as well as capable. The uproar resulted in the resignation of the Bulletin's editor, Jean Rabe.

In 2014, one of the most vicious SJWs, a blogger whose many pseudonyms included Requires Hate, was exposed as a professional writer, Benjanun Sriduangkaew. Moderate SJWs denounced her while extremists defended her in a kerfuffle reminiscent of the clash between Girondists and Jacobins.

And now, we have whatever the uproar over the Sad Puppies will be called. I hope it won't be Hugogate, but the people who try to connect it to Gamergate make me fear it may be. If you want to know much too much about SJWs in SciFi and outside it, last year I updated old blog posts in a book that's free at Amazon and Smashwords: How To Make A Social Justice Warrior.

ETA: For the record, I understand the outrage in some of these cases. What Zathlazip did was juvenile, Sanders' initial comments did seem Islamophobic out of context, I was one of the first to criticize Moon for her simplistic take on Muslim immigrants, Save the Pearls is naively written (based on the little I read), and chainmail bikinis have seemed stupid to me ever since I saw the first one in the '70s. But in all these cases, the mob reaction was vicious: none of their victims deserved what they got. The greatest difference between the original practitioners of social justice and the people who get called SJWs now is the first group believed in treating everyone with love and respect; the second believes, as all bullies do, in hurting their targets so badly that what they perceive as the social contract will never be broken again.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

About Morlocks, Eloi, and Social Justice Warriors; or John C. Wright doesn't understand H. G. Wells

I just saw John C. Wright's In Which a Morlock Chides Me. I doubt Wright and I have much more in common than a belief people ought to treat each other with respect, and even there, we differ. I'm with the Quakers in liking Jesus's advice to call no one master, but I can't knock Wright's use of "Mr" and "Miss". It's certainly an improvement on the insults his opponents love.

But I've got to say as respectfully as I can that Wright doesn't understand Wells. In The Time Machine, the Morlocks are the descendants of the working class, and the Eloi (from the Hebrew for "lords") are the descendants of the bourgeoisie. Wells' point is that the class war hurts everyone. Neither race is admirable.

Wright calls the internet's angry identitarians "Morlocks", but they're believers in ideas developed at the US's most expensive schools, and they tend to be graduates of those elite schools—they're Eloi. Their sense that they're entitled to insult others while quickly taking umbrage at any possible slight is an ancient trait of the privileged classes. Their notion that the most important forms of privilege are social rather than economic is common among the privileged. Wright seems to recognize the Eloi in Damien Walter when he refers to his "weak and girlish way", a better description of the childlike Eloi than the apelike Morlocks.

Ah, well. Wright's a conservative and I'm a socialist, so it's no surprise that he identifies with Eloi and I with Morlocks.

Since I don't have a proper conclusion, here's a Wells quote:

"That Anarchist world, I admit, is our dream; we do believe - well, I, at any rate, believe this present world, this planet, will some day bear a race beyond our most exalted and temerarious dreams, a race begotten of our wills and the substance of our bodies, a race, so I have said it, 'who will stand upon the earth as one stands upon a footstool, and laugh and reach out their hands amidst the stars,' but the way to that is through education and discipline and law. Socialism is the preparation for that higher Anarchism; painfully, laboriously we mean to destroy false ideas of property and self, eliminate unjust laws and poisonous and hateful suggestions and prejudices, create a system of social right-dealing and a tradition of right-feeling and action. Socialism is the schoolroom of true and noble Anarchism, wherein by training and restraint we shall make free men." ― H.G. Wells, New Worlds for Old

Related: On Star Trek and the dark history of "Social Justice"—a post for David Gerrold

ETA: A beginner's guide to "Social Justice Warriors" in the F&SF community

ETA 2: Just read Wright's The Perversion of a Legend. He really needs to work on that "respect everyone" thing. If he wishes to keep claiming to be a Christian, 1 Peter 2:17 matters.

Two (no, three) more essential points about the Hugos and the Sad Puppies

Continuing from Four essential points about the Hugos and the Sad Puppies:

5. For anyone who thinks the Sad Puppies are racist and sexist, EW made the same claim, then issued this:
CORRECTION: After misinterpreting reports in other news publications, EW published an unfair and inaccurate depiction of the Sad Puppies voting slate, which does, in fact, include many women and writers of color. As Sad Puppies’ Brad Torgerson explained to EW, the slate includes both women and non-caucasian writers, including Rajnar Vajra, Larry Correia, Annie Bellet, Kary English, Toni Weisskopf, Ann Sowards, Megan Gray, Sheila Gilbert, Jennifer Brozek, Cedar Sanderson, and Amanda Green.
One of the books on last year's Sad Puppy slate, Sarah Hoyt’s A Few Good Men, has a gay protagonist.

In response to the claims of racism, Brad Torgerson has posted a picture of his lovely family. And, yes, everyone expects the usual raging identitarians will mock him for it, because in their "all white people are racist" world, a target's black friends and lovers don't fit their narrative, so they're simply ignored. While it is true that some racists will have sex with people of other races, racists of all hues hate miscegenation.

6. The people who complained about a non-existent influx or "ballot stuffing" by GamerGaters may succeed in bringing about an influx for the final vote. On Gamergate forums at Reddit, people are noticing that they're being blamed for something they didn't do and, in the discussion, learning that for the price of a Worldcon supporting membership, they can get a whole lot of books.

What should be stressed here is that this mostly seems to appeal to Gaters who love f&sf. So if there is an increase from the GG crowd, it'll be an increase of actual fans. The rest of GG is far more likely to drop $50 on a game than the chance to vote for something they don't care about.

If you insist there was "ballot stuffing", consider this comment Judas Unchained made at the link above:
Let's look at the number of valid nominating ballots for the last 5 years.

2010 -> 864
2011 -> 1006
2012 -> 1101
2013 -> 1343
2014 -> 1923
2015 -> 2122

Between 2010 and 2011 there was a gain of 142 votes, between 2011 and 2012 95, between 2012 and 2013 242, between 2013 and 2014 580 (!) and between 2014 and 2015 199.

There were only 199 extra votes this year and this gain is perfectly comparable to past years. In fact, it is less than the last two! For this to be GamerGate's fault, we have to assume that the higher profile Sad Puppies campaign didn't pull in any extra people, there was no upswing in anti-Puppy votes to try and counter the puppies and general interest in the fandom didn't grow at all.
At the same link, I shared a Facebook comment by David Levine, who points out that there could be some Gamergate influence:
Chicon 7 total membership: 6197 [1]
LoneStarCon 3 total membership: 6060 [1]
Loncon 3 total membership: 10833 [1]
Sasquan total membership as of 2/28/15: 5147 [2]

Total potential nominators at LoneStarCon: 6197 + 6060 = 12257
Actual LoneStarCon nominating ballots: 1343 [3]
Ballots per eligible nominator: 0.1095

Total potential nominators at Loncon: 6060 + 10833 = 16893
Actual Loncon nominating ballots: 1923 [4]
Ballots per eligible nominator: 0.1138

Total potential nominators at Sasquan: 10833 + 5147 = 15980
Actual Sasquan nominating ballots: 2122 [5]
Ballots per eligible nominator: 0.1327

Sasquan received 1.16 times as many ballots per eligible nominator as either of the previous two conventions. I'm no statistician, but I think that might be statistically significant.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Worldcons
[2] http://sasquan.org/member-numbers/
[3] http://www.lonestarcon3.org/hugo-awards/statistics.pdf
[4] http://www.loncon3.org/.../2014%20Hugo%20awards%20full...
[5] http://sasquan.org/hugo-awards/nominations/
But the only thing the numbers clearly show is that the percentage of members who nominate has grown in a time of controversy. For people who care about democracy in general, growth is desirable—as I've said elsewhere, democracy means sometimes I lose, and I’d rather pay that price than accept any of the alternatives. I've seen at least one person propose raising the price of Hugo voting in order to ensure the proles don't affect the system again. As a democratic socialist, I'm doubly appalled by that notion.

ETA:

7. The Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies offered different slates. They are broken down at Entering the Lists | File 770. Conflating them only confuses the issue—which may've been the intent of the people who created the Rabid Puppies slate, of course.

Related: On Star Trek and the dark history of "Social Justice"—a post for David Gerrold

About Morlocks, Eloi, and Social Justice Warriors; or John C. Wright doesn't understand H. G. Wells

ETA 2: A beginner's guide to "Social Justice Warriors" in the F&SF community