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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Publishing bias and the new vertical markets

In which I take exception to Standout Author Larry Correia's take on Cedar Fort's decision to cancel a publishing contract given to a gay writer:
So Cedar Fort really likes a book submitted to them and says that they think it will sell well. Cedar Fort gives a contract to these two authors. They write their author bios. One mentions his “partner” instead of his wife. Cedar Fort flips out and drops them.
There are two schools of thought with dealing with the Left.  Larry's is presently the dominant one among conservatives, which is that one should play by idealistic rules of ideological fair play that are observably no longer in effect. He notes, correctly, that this decision by Cedar Fort to blackball homosexuals is no different than the decision by major Manhattan publishers to blackball writers of the political Right.  He writes:
I keep seeing authors get black listed for their political opinions, and since the publishing industry is mostly in Manhattan, it is usually writers who lean right (righters?) that get blackballed. Of course, when I talk about this on the internet, proper goodthinking people tell me that’s crazy talk.
As one of the few writers who has been blackballed by both left-wing Manhattan publishers AND right-wing regional publishers, (Thomas Nelson canceled the contract for Media Whores when it discovered that I was going to address various Fox News figures in addition to the mainstream media figures they expected to be targeted), I actually think it is a positive development that these publishing biases of left and right are exposed and made more visible to the reading public.

The observable fact is that all publishing houses are ideologically biased and none of them are solely motivated by business concerns due to the fact that the editors are human, and their financial interests in the publishing houses for which they work is generally negligible.  Their bias is further compounded by the fact that none of them has any real ability to know what will, and what will not, sell well, which means that they will always be free to indulge their ideological biases with regards to every writer who does not already have an established track record of considerable success.

My opinion is that it is a serious mistake for the Right to attempt to remain above the fray and refuse to play by the rules established by the Left.  As the example of Fox News shows, as the example of Larry's own exceptional literary success shows, the Right has considerable economic power.  However, the Right has long played into the hands of the Left by being more than willing to financially sustain the Left while the Left is doing its level best to financially starve the Right. Many conservatives fall all over themselves to proclaim how eager they are to read books by gay black handicapped communist Che Guevara enthusiasts in a futile attempt to establish their cultural impartiality.

Which means that in the cultural civil war, the Left is playing the role of the ruthless Union while the Right is playing the role of a Confederacy that is too gentlemanly and refined to take the opposition seriously.  You may recall who won that war, and how.

I fully accept that no matter how many books I write, no matter how many games I sell, Tor and its filthy editors will never publish my books.  That is absolutely and entirely fine with me.  I never wanted to have anything to do with such despicable creatures, which is why I never submitted anything to them even prior to the changes in the publishing industry that are rendering the mainstream publishers less necessary than before.  I have no problem with the fact that the 4,000 daily readers of Whatever will never buy my books or with the fact that many left-wing fans of epic fantasy will prefer to wait another five years to slog through George R.R. Martin's next interminable self-parody than read A Throne of Bones.  I realize, as I expect Larry does as well, that there are thousands of SF/F readers who will never even look at The Grimnoire Chronicles because they are written by an avid gun enthusiast and published by Baen Books.

And, in like manner, left-wing writers should learn to accept that right-leaning publishers will not work with them and an increasing number of right-leaning consumers will not read their works.  The age of the uniform mass market and its ideological impartiality is over and the age of ideologically-based vertical markets is upon us. The sooner everyone on the right side of the ideological aisle embraces that fact and begins to act accordingly, the sooner we will be able to stop swimming in the moral filth, breathing in the philosophical effluvia, and wandering aimlessly throughout the creative wasteland of the Left.

Larry, I have no doubt, will disagree with my opinion.  So will a number of other writers on the Right. And that's fine, as we can disagree about this and debate this without feeling any need to excommunicate each other or rigidly enforce a dogmatic consensus because we are not rabbits of the Left.

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130 Comments:

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 August 22, 2013 9:07 AM  

And, in like manner, left-wing writers should learn to accept that right-leaning publishers will not work with them and an increasing number of right-leaning consumers will not read their works.

Except that they will not. The Leftists' brains are broken and they tend to take such companies to courts, where their left-wing judges will rule in their favor.

So it may come to down to all out brawling on the streets to get them in line.

Anonymous VD August 22, 2013 9:14 AM  

Corrected, Outlaw, thanks.

Anonymous DrTorch August 22, 2013 9:16 AM  

Another position is this: what if these authors are genius, and you stand to lose A LOT of money? Don't we want right-leaning businesses to flourish?

You already addressed one point: no one is absolutely certain who will do well.

Second, I would guess the answer is, what's the content? And can the publisher get it out there w/o undermining his ideals? Additionally, even if the content is neutral now, will those ideals be challenged later, should the author be successful?

These are different situations than what you describe, as right-wing publishers trying to prove their open-mindedness. Are they part of the calculus that publishers go through?

Anonymous VD August 22, 2013 9:17 AM  

So it may come to down to all out brawling on the streets to get them in line.

No, all that is necessary is for the Right to stop purchasing and pimping the lefties who are at war with us. I've been guilty of it in the past. Most of us are.

There are those who are moderate leftists who are not engaged in the cultural war like Umberto Eco. And then there are those immoderate leftists who are very active indeed, like the SFWA and the editors at Tor.

Anonymous VD August 22, 2013 9:21 AM  

Another position is this: what if these authors are genius, and you stand to lose A LOT of money?

It depends upon your principles. You could probably make more money today by publishing McRapey's next SF novel than Sarah Hoyt's.

What would you do?

The Left's solution is to make use of the Right when practical but every non-obvious decision benefits the Left. They're happy to sell Orson Scott Card's books and use the profits to support the release of 50 new left-leaning writers. That is probably the most effective approach and would permit the Right to win the cultural war.

Anonymous FUBAR Nation Ben August 22, 2013 9:30 AM  

Speaking of Tor, I decided not to finish the trash called the Wheel of Time. Instead I read ATOB.

OT: Vox, is Nassim Taleb's new book worth reading? Thanks.

Anonymous p-dawg August 22, 2013 9:30 AM  

Should you not remove such leftist authors as Douglas Adams, Isaac Asimov, and China Mieville from your book list, in that case?

Anonymous Stilicho August 22, 2013 9:32 AM  

Ben, Sanderson actually wrapped it up as well as could be expected.

Anonymous FUBAR Nation Ben August 22, 2013 9:33 AM  

Yes, Stilicho. I met Sanderson and he told me to start reading some of the books again. Did you finish the series?

Blogger Cinco August 22, 2013 9:34 AM  

Cedar Fort began in 1986 with Lyle Mortimer and Lee Nelson working together to release the book Beyond the Veil, Volume 1. Since then, Cedar Fort has grown and currently produces uplifting fiction and non-fiction books that are known across the globe. We have a solid catalog of LDS fiction and non-fiction, general release titles, including cookbooks, clean romance, and young adult adventures, and an LDS-oriented product line.

Another position is this: what if these authors are genius, and you stand to lose A LOT of money?

So what? They risk alienating their customer base over the potential of a best-seller. Chances are their base is going to support this decision, and any media blowback will probably work in the publishers favor.


Anonymous Stilicho August 22, 2013 9:35 AM  

Yes. Finished it. Also like Sanderson's new series (Way of Kings IIRC).

Anonymous Josh August 22, 2013 9:36 AM  

I don't disagree with this in theory, but it does remind me of the "the personal is political" mantras of the sixties. And of the SWPL food coops in Brooklyn banning all Israeli hummus because of the Palestinians.

Anonymous VD August 22, 2013 9:36 AM  

Should you not remove such leftist authors as Douglas Adams, Isaac Asimov, and China Mieville from your book list, in that case?

Why would I do that? That is nothing more than a list of books I read this year. I'm not recommending dishonesty. And I'm certainly not recommending that the Right follow the Left's lead in remaining in complete ignorance of the other side; by all means, read Marx, read Krugman, and so forth.

But there is a big difference between reading a text and buying books, waxing enthusiastic about the author, and encouraging others to buy their books.

If you're a fan of an Asimov or a Mieville or even McRapey, so be it. I'm not going to condemn you or shun you for it. Just realize that your actions are not necesssarily inconsequential and don't whine too much about the cultural miasma.

Anonymous FUBAR Nation Ben August 22, 2013 9:38 AM  

Interesting, Stilicho. I will have to take a second look at WOT. He handed me a pamphlet with Way of Kings. Maybe he is a better writer than Jordan.

Anonymous Feh August 22, 2013 9:38 AM  

Many conservatives fall all over themselves to proclaim how eager they are to read books by gay black handicapped communist Che Guevara enthusiasts in a futile attempt to establish their cultural impartiality.

This STUPID attitude is abundantly on display in Larry's comment section.

Anonymous p-dawg August 22, 2013 9:39 AM  

@VD: I assumed the list was a tacit recommendation as well as just a list - apologies.

Anonymous VD August 22, 2013 9:39 AM  

I don't disagree with this in theory, but it does remind me of the "the personal is political" mantras of the sixties. And of the SWPL food coops in Brooklyn banning all Israeli hummus because of the Palestinians.

And notice that the Arabs have completely won the cultural war against the Israelis in Europe that way. So much so that some Jews have begun calling for a complete exodus from Europe.

I'm not saying this is the way I think it should be, I am merely observing this is the way it is. And with a few exceptions like Cedar Fort and some of the CBA Houses, only one side is fighting.

Anonymous VD August 22, 2013 9:41 AM  

I assumed the list was a tacit recommendation as well as just a list - apologies.

I take it you missed my review of Infinite Jest. Ye cats. It made A Dance with Dragons a fast-paced romp by comparison.

Anonymous VD August 22, 2013 9:42 AM  

Maybe he is a better writer than Jordan.

He is. Although I thought The Way of Kings was pedestrian. Not bad, just not very good either.

Anonymous Feh August 22, 2013 9:43 AM  

I don't disagree with this in theory, but it does remind me of the "the personal is political" mantras of the sixties.

Dude, the whole point is that THEY are still playing by that rule, and we should too.

As for McRapey, Douglas Adams, Isaac Asimov, and China Mieville, etc... if you must read them, that's what the library is for. Deny them your dollars.

Anonymous Scintan August 22, 2013 9:47 AM  

Waging a cultural war is one thing. Stooping to the opponent's level to the point where you become a petty prick is another.

Anonymous Stilicho August 22, 2013 9:49 AM  

It's not just publishing. This principle carries across industries. The left is, at its core, parasitical. Stop being the host.

OpenID matamoros August 22, 2013 9:49 AM  

Another problem is the Rights adoption of leftist memes. Such as the strong kick-ass female heroine that only exists in feminist minds.

Basically they take a male character and give it a female name. This introduces discordance into the plot.

Even when they dress her/him up with how she swoons over the male character, wears makeup and high heels, it is still a guy in drag. I'm thinking particuarly, but not only, of Brad Thor here.

Personally I don't buy books written by women, with a female lead character. I always read the teaser to see who the lead character is, and look at the author's photo and name.

Nor any with homosexual characters if I know about them in advance.

If normal people continue to finance and buy abnormal characters in books, then we will continue to get more of the same. Boycott female authors, characters, and such and we'll get back to real action books.

Anonymous p-dawg August 22, 2013 9:49 AM  

@VD: Yikes. I'd rather read all 6 "...Decline and Fall..." volumes than re-read that stupid river barge trip in A Dance with Dragons. I did miss the review. Heading to the archives now.

Anonymous Steveo August 22, 2013 9:52 AM  

...it's almost like there are two countries of thought.

Anonymous VD August 22, 2013 9:54 AM  

Stooping to the opponent's level to the point where you become a petty prick is another.

Where do you draw the line? I'm not going to post fake reviews or falsely denigrate good books. I'm simply going to make an effort to review and otherwise support books by those who are actively attempting to support Western civilization and culture rather than those who are seeking to destroy it. And I'm going to encourage others to consider doing likewise.

The refusal to stoop to their level hasn't worked out very well so far, has it? Whereas using their own tactics against them has historically worked very well.

Anonymous Josh August 22, 2013 9:54 AM  

I'm not saying this is the way I think it should be, I am merely observing this is the way it is.

I understand that, I just find it really annoying that it's come to this.

Now, I think a winnable strategy for the right would be a supporting our own. The left's tends to be slash and burn, boycott so and so because they once gave money to a Republican. I think the most effective example was the support chick fil a day last year. And the Amazon book bomb of Paula Deen's book, before it was canceled.

But how far does it go?

Anonymous VD August 22, 2013 9:55 AM  

The left is, at its core, parasitical. Stop being the host.

That is a great motto for the Right in the cultural war. Don't be the host!

Anonymous JoeyWheels August 22, 2013 9:59 AM  

One step closer to the rubber-stamping of the "Approved Authors List". For both sides.

I just want to read cool fiction without being subjected to someone elses ideological axe-grinding.

That being said, I'll just keep voting with my dollar. I prefer to buy my books, music and movies, but I have a loose policy of spending the cash on creators who either don't axe-grind publicly or at all...if I dig the product of a leftie loudmouth, I'll download it or borrow it from a library. After all, share the wealth!

Blogger Bobby Dupea August 22, 2013 10:01 AM  

Leftists stand at the gate of the cultural castle, holding cardboard swords and pieces of paper that anoint them as gatekeepers. They admit those they enjoy at lunch or at mixers. It's all very pleasant, in a bien pensant, noblesse oblige, ancien regime fashion. Also, their kids get into Sidwell or Dalton.

The problem for them is other people don't need to overwhelm the charming fortress, or its cultural Maginot Lines, to capture the field. The barbarians just practice a different form of conflict, enabled by speed, ruthless technology, and superior discipline. A few of the barbarians, for drill or pleasure or even profit, drop a few coins on the ground for the keepers of the castle to fight over, and put them to work on their behalf (Washington Post). Or manufacture their art, which exists on a plain that the keepers cannot recognize (Blomkamp), and collapse their castles from within.

I really don't think the outcome is in doubt. Levin has the number one book everywhere this week whereas ten years ago he would have been a lonely pamphleteer with an audience measured in the thousands. There's no functional purpose in arguing with the men and their cardboard swords. We're already drinking their whiskey and smoking their cigars. Fire up the turbines, ride to the wind, do the work and watch the cardboard defenders slowly starve their own people.

Anonymous VD August 22, 2013 10:03 AM  

I just want to read cool fiction without being subjected to someone elses ideological axe-grinding.

Everyone on the Right does. The point is that you have been subjected to it for 20-30 years now. Do you think Selenoth would even exist if there wasn't a way around the Left's gatekeepers?

How many great classic SF/F novels don't exist because their authors were rejected by the gatekeepers? We will never know.

Blogger Random August 22, 2013 10:05 AM  

"How many great classic SF/F novels don't exist because their authors were rejected by the gatekeepers?"

Probably fewer than the number of authors killed in utero by the gatekeepers' ideological friends in the Abortion industry.

Anonymous NateM August 22, 2013 10:09 AM  

not filling me with confidence about my decision to finally get around to reading the Song of Fire and Ice series here. It's started well but i'm just dreading the ultimate twist where most all the characters I like so far die badly.

Anonymous DCM August 22, 2013 10:11 AM  

When playing Prisoner's Dilemma, tit for tat is the most successful strategy.

Anonymous TheExpat August 22, 2013 10:11 AM  

As for McRapey, Douglas Adams, Isaac Asimov, and China Mieville, etc... if you must read them, that's what the library is for. Deny them your dollars.

Exactly.

After Joss Whedon went on his hard-leftist, anti-capitalist rant at a convention, I figured that, by his own standards, the fruits of his labor could be consumed guilt-free without needing to pay for or promote them anymore. Same for other marxists and redistributionists.

Anonymous Josh August 22, 2013 10:14 AM  

http://m.usatoday.com/article/news/2681203

" An advocacy group has called for "Skip Starbucks Saturday" this weekend — a nationwide boycott on Aug. 24, to pressure the coffee giant to amend its current policy, which allows customers to carry loaded guns into Starbucks stores where permitted by state law."

Anonymous SWW August 22, 2013 10:15 AM  

Don't be the host!

Hence: Atlas Shrugged.

Anonymous The other skeptic August 22, 2013 10:20 AM  

I wont buy anything from Tor.

I will buy from Baen, but not their NightShade stuff.

Blogger Kevin Riley August 22, 2013 10:22 AM  

As a reader I try to enjoy good fiction regardless of the author's political leaning. If I find the writer pushing his agenda, especially if I disagree with it, I tend to stop reading. A a writer I try to not let my own political feelings interfere with my stories.

Anonymous Brother Thomas August 22, 2013 10:26 AM  

I don't read anything much published after 1960 or so because it isn't usually that good and I don't usually share the underlying ideology. Unfortunately this has resulted in my complete unfamiliarity with contemporary writing. I’m a counter-cultural RC with libertarian sympathies. I really enjoy fiction that honestly depicts the human condition and all that it entails (good and evil, redemption or self-destruction, self-love or selfless love, etc.). Considering the four main types of plots, I generaly prefer man vs. self or man vs. society.

Can anyone recommend anything contemporary?

Anonymous Stilicho August 22, 2013 10:28 AM  

Fact is, right-wingers just don't have talent and all the good SF/F writers are leftists.

Never heard of Heinlein, Tolkien, Pournelle, Piper, etc. So typically closed-minded and...plebian of you.

Anonymous Brother Thomas August 22, 2013 10:36 AM  

@TheExpat August 22, 2013 10:11 AM
"After Joss Whedon went on his hard-leftist, anti-capitalist rant at a convention, I figured that, by his own standards, the fruits of his labor could be consumed guilt-free without needing to pay for or promote them anymore. Same for other marxists and redistributionists."



…and such “Marxist” writers - and film producers - often fight copyright infringement. They’re all for property rights when it effects their wallet.

Anonymous The other skeptic August 22, 2013 10:49 AM  

In other news, Bradley Manning announces:

I am woman, hear me roar

Blogger Some dude August 22, 2013 10:49 AM  

@VD

I agree with you. The writing of stories and plays is probably the single most important work to a society. It is never "just" a story. At the same time, I'm opposed to government mandated narratives. Let people tell the stories they believe in by the authors they like. That isn't censorship, it's how free speech is supposed to work.


Anyway, it sounds like you hate the Tor editors for reasons that go beyond rabbit behavior. It sounds like you saw something really ugly in them.

Anonymous Krul August 22, 2013 10:53 AM  

Which means that in the cultural civil war, the Left is playing the role of the ruthless Union while the Right is playing the role of a Confederacy that is too gentlemanly and refined to take the opposition seriously. You may recall who won that war, and how.

Nasty business. To win the "cultural war" by restricting the discourse and closing your ears to opposing viewpoints sounds cowardly. To allow the Left to continue running roughshod over you because you're "above that sort of thing" sounds stupid. It's a damned dilemna.

Anonymous Susan August 22, 2013 10:54 AM  

Except for VD, some of you are talking about how you buy books, etc by publisher.

I have never done that when I buy. I just buy by authors that I like, or plots that look interesting. The publisher only interests me in terms of finding out if there are more books out there by an author I like that I may have overlooked.

Joss Whedon is a total atheist. Yet I have never gotten any sense of that in his work, because he says that it is the characters who are talking about God, etc, not him. I respect that philosophy totally in a director/writer. Not many out there who can keep the two separate.

Blogger Markku August 22, 2013 10:56 AM  

On the one hand, the sentiment makes a lot of sense to me. But on the other, I have a nagging suspicion: What if it's a sense of justice that draws you to the right? What if we are rightists simply because we are good people - and good people are the minority? In other words, what if the situation is now stacked in such a way that we can't win, but we can lose more; if it is no longer obvious that we are the side of truth and goodness and left the side of lies and envy, what if the minority that would be our natural allies then loses the passion?

This is not really connected to this particular issue - obviously one HAS the right to choose not to throw his financial lot with a pervert. I mean in general, when one is the morally straight option and the other is morally gray area.

Anonymous Josh August 22, 2013 11:06 AM  

Hello dimwit dan

Anonymous VD August 22, 2013 11:10 AM  

To win the "cultural war" by restricting the discourse and closing your ears to opposing viewpoints sounds cowardly.

It sounds cowardly to actually fight the war rather than appease and surrender? That's perverted.

Anonymous jack August 22, 2013 11:11 AM  

Media Whores: Since it was mentioned; Vox, would you plan on publishing it within Alpinwolf at some point. This assumes it's not become dated. I think I would like to read that.

Anonymous Heh August 22, 2013 11:12 AM  

To win the "cultural war" by restricting the discourse and closing your ears to opposing viewpoints sounds cowardly.

Wow, the Left must really be stupid and cowardly, since that is exactly their strategy...

Anonymous 43rd Virginia Calalry August 22, 2013 11:14 AM  

I am glad that other people are saying what I have been saying for years. You should see the look on conservative faces when they say that they only buy American cars and I reply that American cars are made by blatantly anti-American Unions and they will not get a penny of my money.

Anonymous Heh August 22, 2013 11:14 AM  

Pournelle and Piper, really? That's what you consider better than leftists like McAuley, Aldiss, Mieville, Watson, and Park?

Yes, really.

McAuley, Aldiss, Mieville, Watson, and Park... really suck.

Blogger James Dixon August 22, 2013 11:16 AM  

> After Joss Whedon went on his hard-leftist, anti-capitalist rant at a convention, I figured that, by his own standards, the fruits of his labor could be consumed guilt-free without needing to pay for or promote them anymore. Same for other marxists and redistributionists.

Exactly. They're the ones arguing politics trumps art, not us. I'll never buy another Springsteen song, for example.

Anonymous Stilicho August 22, 2013 11:17 AM  

Yes, really.

McAuley, Aldiss, Mieville, Watson, and Park... really suck.


Indeed. Dimwit Dan's preferences are as plebian as his mental processes. He probably thinks Big Mac's are the pinnacle of the culinary arts.

Anonymous Scintan August 22, 2013 11:24 AM  

Where do you draw the line?

That's usually the million dollar question, and it's usually where you and I part company on issues. In this case yor approach isn't even needed. The publishers are dying without the action. Going out and buying The Foundation Trilogy isn't going to save them.

I'm not going to post fake reviews or falsely denigrate good books. I'm simply going to make an effort to review and otherwise support books by those who are actively attempting to support Western civilization and culture rather than those who are seeking to destroy it. And I'm going to encourage others to consider doing likewise.

There's nothing wrong with supporting good, right-wing authors and encouraging others to do the same. That can be done without any sort of active boycotting of the lefties.

The refusal to stoop to their level hasn't worked out very well so far, has it? Whereas using their own tactics against them has historically worked very well.

It works fine. What fails every time is abandoning the field or constant retreat, which are typical maneuvers of the right.

Anonymous jack August 22, 2013 11:26 AM  

@ Stilicho.
I used to go to Mac's place regularly until they changed their menu and got away from the angus burger. Now, it's usually Burger King since they have peach tea.
Hard to imagine MacDonald's cuting their throat so efficiently.

OpenID 972989a8-d210-11e2-ac4d-000bcdcb8a73 August 22, 2013 11:28 AM  

This is why I find the Mensa book selection (by Mensans) helpful. All generas, and apparently NONE
that will appear on the NYT "popular" list (for hopefully obvious reasons)

Of course, if something from the monthly overview catches my eye I'll go to my local book monger and
order it. So far, books such caliber have NEVER been "on the shelf", nor even HEARD of at the library. With my "frequent flier" discount (No computerized Customer Loyalty/DNC "reporting" BS, although I did notice a few strange, seemingly unrelated, gub'mint "issues" soon after I ordered "On Killing"-NOT an "instruction" book) I end up out-of-pocket only a little bit higher than...say...Amazon.

I suspect the lack of "popular", unregistered, titles in MY library will eventually render it Samizdata, I emboss my personal ex libris
into any "loaned out" anyway.

CaptDMO

Anonymous bob k. mando August 22, 2013 11:33 AM  

Agelaius August 22, 2013 10:15 AM
Fact is, right-wingers just don't have talent and all the good SF/F writers are leftists.



perhaps you've heard of a minor writer from a couple of decades ago? he won one or two awards, sold a few books. once in a while you can even find some of his work on the bookshelf in reprints.

i do so love to listen to marxist fags whine about Robert Heinlein being 'fascist'.

oh, you want someone more current? one data point does not a trend make?

Orson Scott Card
Jerry Pournelle
Larry Niven
Dean Ing ( ie - Professor Ing )
CS Lewis

of course, Tolkien is THE quintessential fantasy author, the touchstone upon which 3/4 of current high fantasy plagiarizes.

but, you know, dem crazy stoopid right winger conservative assholes, dey doe noe how to rite.

Anonymous JoeyWheels August 22, 2013 11:40 AM  

Mr. Dixon hit one of my nails for me. No need to repeat it.

If an artist starts letting ideology triumph over producing great art, then it becomes useless to me.
That's not to say that great art has never been inspired by ideology.
Springsteen is a great example of letting the cart drive the horse. Springsteen was at his best when he just wrote and played the songs and let the listener decide on what (if any) takeaway existed.
His latest music is all about his causes.
The last album of his I bought was "Tunnel of Love". Everything more recent than that has left me shrugging "Meh. Politics AGAIN, Bruce?! No thanks."

I like fiction to be the same...present an idea and let me choose my take-away.
Don't bludgeon me with it and expect me to conform to your view.
I love "Atlas Shrugged"...hated Rand's characters droning on about the core value for 3 or 4 paragraphs ever few pages. I GET IT. Stop beating the horse.

Anonymous Randy M August 22, 2013 11:41 AM  

I think the focus should be on works themselves that are uplifting, edifying, promote the good, non-nihilistic, etc. But author's politics can certainly play a role if they are go out of their way to make them known.

However, if a leftist accidentally makes a good book that promotes rightist virtues, making this available is probably more helpful than denying him the money or exposure. Of course, that assumes the current publishing model and existence of gatekeepers, which may not long be the case.

Anonymous Alexander August 22, 2013 11:55 AM  

Randy,

Disagree. To paraphrase how the left treats FOX, giving a left-wing author support because any given work is either simply good or appears to support a traditionally conservative position is still bad because it gives them credibility as a logical and neutral party.

Joss Whedon's opinions deserve no more consideration simply because he wrote a series that involves an oppressive government and the audience supports the scrappy crew who just wants the freedom to do their own thing. But that's inevitably what happens when you say, "well, *this* time we can support him".

Either play the game, and play it through all the way or don't bother and recognize the consequences for inaction. But handicapping yourself because of kindness or civility or 'not stooping' or because you just want objectively good writing is no way to win the culture war.

Anonymous Severen August 22, 2013 12:04 PM  

"the personal is political"

Of course it is. How could it not be?

Conservatives insist on fighting a street fight with Queensbury rules.

Anonymous bob k. mando August 22, 2013 12:10 PM  

Agelaius August 22, 2013 12:03 PM
Dean who?
Niven hasn't written anything even passable since the 1970s.




who cares?

you, stupidly, made a blanket and universal assertion that right wingers couldn't write.

you're a liar. you know you're a liar. we know you're a liar. you know that we know that you're a liar.

now go home and have your mommy change your diaper.

Anonymous Stilicho August 22, 2013 12:15 PM  

Dean who?
Niven hasn't written anything even passable since the 1970s.


How could he? He refuses to use those wereseals the Left is enamored of as the primary characters in his books. It's amusing to watch you die a little each time you squee. Even Puppeteers don't do that.

Blogger JCclimber August 22, 2013 12:15 PM  

An example of a rightist author who has let their philosophy ruin their recent books is Tom Clancy.
His deep-throating of the military industrial complex and the neo-conservative viewpoint finally got me to the point where I did something I've rarely done....I started one of his books and returned it to the library without finishing it.

Didn't help that his male characters are so deeply blue pill about women that I couldn't stand it anymore.

I miss the days of Red Storm Rising.

Anonymous Randy M August 22, 2013 12:15 PM  

"Joss Whedon's opinions deserve no more consideration simply because he wrote a series that involves an oppressive government and the audience supports the scrappy crew who just wants the freedom to do their own thing. But that's inevitably what happens when you say, "well, *this* time we can support him"."


But, doesn't Firefly make a more compelling argument than whatever off-the-cuff inanity Whedon expresses as his opinion? Fiction is powerful propaganda, moreso than one more voice singing in the "cathedral" choir.

Anonymous Stilicho August 22, 2013 12:21 PM  

But, doesn't Firefly make a more compelling argument than whatever off-the-cuff inanity Whedon expresses as his opinion? Fiction is powerful propaganda, moreso than one more voice singing in the "cathedral" choir.

Quite so. I imagine it haunts him a bit these days. Of course, it was produced in the bad old days of Bush, when it was still ok to oppose government. It now appears that the writers may have slipped a few things by Whedon who failed to realize that the same criticisms could apply to a leftist regime.

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Anonymous Krul August 22, 2013 12:27 PM  

It sounds cowardly to actually fight the war rather than appease and surrender? That's perverted.

The Confederacy weren't perverse appeasers, and it's disingenuous to claim that fighting honorably on principle is appeasement. Impractical, perhaps even stupid, but not appeasement.

Like I said it's a dilemna. It's pragmatism versus idealism, and if losing on principle seems pointless, winning by betraying your principles seems the same as losing.

Anonymous DonReynolds August 22, 2013 12:32 PM  

I put MYSELF on one side of the ideological divide more than four decades ago. It is a voluntary decision to be on one side or the other. I guess everyone has an event or a person that causes them to make that decision. For me, the person was Hanoi Jane Fonda, but there is no reason to go into great detail on that history. (As I have said here many times, that war will never be over.) Every Southerner knows that the Civil War will never be over either, the seeds of which were planted when the nation was born. Even if every Confederate suddenly forgot about the war, the Yankees never will.

I have never been happy or satisfied with the rules of engagement in the ideological war in this country. The Left does not necessarily have more dedicated warriors, but they may have people with more time to devote to the war and the tools (weapons) they are quick to use (boycott, witch hunts, guilt by association) have seldom been used by the Right. The reason the ideological conflict has persisted for so long is because it has lacked the finality to put the conflict to rest. So it continues from one generation to the next, devisive and destructive, hateful, with no quarter asked or given....except that the combatants are not allowed to engage in open violence. Even when riots turn into scuffles and shouting matches, there is a remarkable degree of restraint on both sides. Correctly, I think they both fear how terrible it could become in short order.

I can remember when the cadre of the Right was John Birchers and conservative protestant churches and our opponents were communists and "socialists" and libertines (hippies). Those arguments swirled around questions of patriotism, man versus state, and the public morality. The end of the Cold War with international communism weakened the Right, even as the Left rushed to new trenches and new lines of attack with environmentalism and global warming, feminism, and homosexual "rights". Attacks on the traditional American nation have taken the form of a war on Christmas, abortion, Christianity in public, and the war on drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. More recently, we have experienced more selective enforcement of the law, the militarization of the police, gun control, intrusive government regulation and constant surveillance.

The conflicts over civil rights (integration) were mostly fought by entirely different organizations, who have more or less died out or been targeted by the FBI, except in the press. Racial and religious conflicts were generally much more primordial, going back centuries or millennia. These were ancient conflicts involving the enemies of my blood or old feuds (such as the McDonalds). There was no problem with illegal aliens and no talk about throwing open the borders during the Cold War (except to Cuban emigres or Vietnamese refugees).

The point I hope to make is.....in this ideological war, the battles have been fought intensely over a rapidly shifting landscape with unreliable alliances....but the enemy has always been the same. So I have to conclude that these differences of opinion may not be entirely cultural. There may be a genetic component that predisposes people to be Left instead of Right and vice versa.

Anonymous bob k. mando August 22, 2013 12:38 PM  

Alauda August 22, 2013 12:28 PM
I stand by my assertion.




and that assertion was ...



Agelaius August 22, 2013 10:15 AM
Fact is, right-wingers just don't have talent and all the good SF/F writers are leftists.



considering that
1 - leftist pukes have almost completely cleansed the SF/F aisles of 'right wing' writers
2 - SF/F book sales numbers are crashing

one has to ask if your assertion that modern, leftist writers are 'good' or have 'talent' has any factual data to back it up.

Blogger RobertT August 22, 2013 12:42 PM  

"OT: Vox, is Nassim Taleb's new book worth reading? Thanks."

My humble opinion is yes. But I would recommend Black Swan first so you know what he's talking about. Taleb is opinionated and obnoxious, but he has a unique outlook that may seem obvious, but no one is doing it that way. He was one of the few to predict the 2008 blow up. Because of his books I have begun buying lotto tickets whenever I remember. Small investment, no risk and potential mind boggling returns. That's what Taleb is all about.

Anonymous Stilicho August 22, 2013 12:42 PM  

There may be a genetic component that predisposes people to be Left instead of Right and vice versa

Of course there is. You've read enough about r/k selection here to see that there is truth there. It may even go deeper than that.

Blogger James Dixon August 22, 2013 12:51 PM  

> Sales are down because of Amazon's takeover of the book market, and lo and behold, they're promoting right-wing garbage.

Which, strangely enough, they seem to be able to make money doing. Strange how that works.

OpenID thetroll August 22, 2013 12:52 PM  

> But, doesn't Firefly make a more compelling argument than whatever off-the-cuff inanity Whedon expresses as his opinion?

That's because Firefly was mainly the vision of longtime Whedon collaborator Tim Minear, who is the most hardcore libertarian making a living anywhere even remotely near Hollywood. As a pretty ironclad rule, whenever you see some inspiring theme in a "Joss Whedon" work, it was Minear's concept, and Whedon provided the clever snark. Whedon himself straight up proclaims that his sympathies were often with the Alliance rather than the crew, so there you go.

Anonymous Stilicho August 22, 2013 12:54 PM  

And the reason right-wingers have been cleansed from the shelves is because they're almost always godawful. Sales are down because of Amazon's takeover of the book market, and lo and behold, they're promoting right-wing garbage.

...and this little rabbit cried "Squee! Squee! Squee!" all the way home...

Anonymous Jack Amok August 22, 2013 12:57 PM  

Of course Alauda is correct about right-wing authors having no talent, as long as you accept his (her? its?) definition of talent. To leftists, political affiliation is an essential component of talent. Nothing from outside the warren can be truly good. Theirs is a world where membership trumps everything. Belonging is the highest calling, the most noble goal. Like fundie muzzies who think the Koran is the only book worth reading, lefties think conforming is the only talent worth having.

Belong. Conform. Don't not conform.

Anonymous physics geek August 22, 2013 12:57 PM  

Serious question: is Alauda real, or is someone in this thread simply playing a joke on everyone else?

OpenID thetroll August 22, 2013 12:58 PM  

> Sales are down because of Amazon's takeover of the book market, and lo and behold, they're promoting right-wing garbage.

Huh. That's one of those things left-wingers like to call "coincidence", isn't it? Thanks for the morning chuckle, dude. Enjoy your descent into irrelevance.

Anonymous Stilicho August 22, 2013 1:03 PM  

Belong. Conform. Don't not conform.

I see what you did there. Good one.

Blogger Markku August 22, 2013 1:04 PM  

How nice of Dimwit Dan to have reverted to one of his old aliases, as I now have no choice but to delete it all.

Anonymous Daniel August 22, 2013 1:10 PM  

I am persuaded by this argument. Black Gate Magazine had an uneven but promising start, and developed into a meat-packing plant of modern "old fashioned" adventure fantasy fiction. Then, in its final blockbuster issue, it was packed with a bunch of bland "kickass woman" stories. Despite it containing one or two good stories, it died, a shadow of its former glory.

I know that BG was always a money-losing venture, so it wasn't going to run forever, but I think it is notable that it died while currying favor with girl readers. The mass market is dead (as we knew it) - niches are the potential goldmine. Know your readers.

If this publisher's current readers will be the sort who roll their eyes at the author's "partner..." then this publisher is going to sell more and cement more favor with readers. It is actually a good business decision.

Anonymous VD August 22, 2013 1:19 PM  

Pournelle and Piper, really? That's what you consider better than leftists like McAuley, Aldiss, Mieville, Watson, and Park?

John Scalzi certainly does. I note that he's published Piper fan fiction.

And the reason right-wingers have been cleansed from the shelves is because they're almost always godawful. Sales are down because of Amazon's takeover of the book market, and lo and behold, they're promoting right-wing garbage.

You're incoherent. Amazon is successfully selling a lot of "right-wing garbage" while the mainstream publishers bestsellers are also "right-wing garbge". What they can't sell is mostly that fine left-wing SF/F that they keep trying to stuff down an uninterested market's throat.

Anonymous Feh August 22, 2013 1:25 PM  

This is why I find the Mensa book selection (by Mensans) helpful. All generas, and apparently NONE that will appear on the NYT "popular" list (for hopefully obvious reasons)

I was in mensa when I was a kid, and I remember it as having a great deal of Leftist nitwits and gamma males. My mom's hope that I would benefit from a strong, positive male influence was... not fulfilled.

It's pragmatism versus idealism, and if losing on principle seems pointless, winning by betraying your principles seems the same as losing.

What principle is being betrayed? It is NOT a right-wing principle that "all forms of filth and depravity MUST be published because freedom". That's a Leftist principle.

Anonymous Feh August 22, 2013 1:26 PM  

I know that BG was always a money-losing venture, so it wasn't going to run forever, but I think it is notable that it died while currying favor with girl readers.

I got banned as a commenter for making the girls cry. I only read it because Vox was there anyway.

Anonymous Concerned Rabbit Hunter August 22, 2013 1:29 PM  

I think all this talk of a race was has gotten out of hand:

http://m.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/08/homeland-security-employee-moonlights-race-warrior/68600/

Blogger Markku August 22, 2013 1:35 PM  

The right-wing error is not really that of too strict principles, but of naivete. "Ok then, we agree that we can't discriminate due to anything that could be described as politics, although we can't really see why not. But since our opponents are obviously such principled gentlemen, surely they will play by the same rules that they propose, and this will all work for good. I mean, who would propose rules and then not follow them himself? Ridiculous."

Anonymous Jack Amok August 22, 2013 1:36 PM  

Regarding "stooping to their level", I think (as Vox mentioned) there's a line that can be drawn far short of their level, and it's really important.

Declining to support someone with talent because they're not on your side is one thing, choosing to support someone without talent because they are on your side is another. The latter is what's happened with lefties and why mainstream SF/F is such a gawdawful mess. The reality is that when it comes to entertainment, there's actually quite a lot of talent in the world. Yu don't have to support people with obnoxious views to be entertained, just pick from among the talented folks the ones who are not obnoxious. In database terms, ideology is the filter, talent is the sort.

Leftists put ideology first though. For them, ideology is the filter and the sort.

Anonymous VD August 22, 2013 1:46 PM  

It's pragmatism versus idealism, and if losing on principle seems pointless, winning by betraying your principles seems the same as losing.

What principle is being betrayed in this regard?

Declining to support someone with talent because they're not on your side is one thing, choosing to support someone without talent because they are on your side is another.

Precisely. I will never falsely exaggerate the talent of someone simply because he is of the right. On the other hand, in SF/F, we're usually comparing people to Heinlein and Asimov, who are not exactly Maupassant and Eco.

Anonymous Golf Pro August 22, 2013 1:57 PM  

"it discovered that I was going to address various Fox News figures in addition to the mainstream media figures they expected to be targeted"

How is Fox News not part of the "mainstream" media?

In addition to FoxNews, NewsCorp owns the WSJ, The NY Post, Dow Jones, etc...

It's like saying that Phil Mickelson is not a pro golfer because he's not #1 in the world.

Anonymous JoeyWheels August 22, 2013 2:05 PM  

"In database terms, ideology is the filter, talent is the sort.

Leftists put ideology first though. For them, ideology is the filter and the sort."


Well said.

There was a time when I didn't know or care what an author's ideology was. All that mattered was if the story was worth reading; did it keep me enthralled to the end; were the characters relateable/interesting?

As I've gotten older those qualities still matter, but so many works have become platforms for the author to espouse their idealogical bullsh!t under cover of some sci-fi/fantasy narrative...and it shows with how lame their world-building and character development is.
once the lameness is too much to bear, I end up tossing the book to my 'donate' pile or return it to the library.

Blogs like this give me a heads up as to what other like minded people are reading/producing and what the other side is up to as well.

Will I be inclined to try something from Vox's list? Sure.
Will I like it just because it is on his list...who knows.

I do know that the SFWA debacle has clued me in on whom to avoid "because idiots". To be fair, I had only heard of a few of those 'authors' anyway.
I just don't dig supernatural bounty-hunters who get it on with all manner of were-beasties.

Anonymous Jack Amok August 22, 2013 2:16 PM  

There's another line we can draw short of the madness of the Left, and Vox spelled it out in his final paragraph.

Larry, I have no doubt, will disagree with my opinion. So will a number of other writers on the Right. And that's fine, as we can disagree about this and debate this without feeling any need to excommunicate each other or rigidly enforce a dogmatic consensus because we are not rabbits of the Left.

We don't have to draw our ideological filters narrowly. We can have a fairly broad definition of what is compatible, primarily I think because we differentiate ourselves in other ways. The Right - in general - doesn't compete on ideology. We play sports, or race cars, or create things - any number of activities. So the "holier than thou" attitude is less common. It does exist on the Right, but it seems like those folks usually end up warping off to something that looks more like the Left.

The Left, well, witness all the "sexism" witch hunts going on in leftopias. Those folks always end up drawing their lines tighter and tighter. Exclusion is their most powerful tool, so they overuse it.

Blogger Jordan179 August 22, 2013 2:29 PM  

You're assuming that gays are naturally Leftists on issues OTHER than homosexuality. That's just mirroring political correctness. One of the great mistakes of the American Right has been its utter rejection of homosexuals, who might be natural allies on -- to take an obvious one -- Muslim immigration (the Right dislikes gays, but the Muslims want to kill them. I fear sometimes that the Left will completely triumph -- destroy freedom of speech in favor of political correctness -- while the Right just sits there muttering "At least we kept those gays out of our groups" as the secret police knock on their doors.

Blogger Markku August 22, 2013 2:39 PM  

destroy freedom of speech in favor of political correctness -- while the Right just sits there muttering "At least we kept those gays out of our groups" as the secret police knock on their doors.

It is simply that the world has made homosexuality the watershed issue. "Celebrate sin and spit God in the face, and we will accept you. Fail to do so, and we will not tolerate you."

Homosexuality is by no means a big part of Christianity. It is just one sin. But it happens to be the line in the sand right now, so that's why we're constantly talking about it.

Anonymous Daniel August 22, 2013 2:40 PM  

Feh:
I got banned as a commenter for making the girls cry. I only read it because Vox was there anyway.

The magazine, particularly issues 5-14, was terrific. It did a great job of holding fast to its core principle: adventures in fantasy. Like any anthology, it was hit or miss, and their reviews - normally excellent - became wildly off or banal toward the end. But it was clearly the best fantasy (w/ a little sci-fi and a little horror to boot) anthology of the last decade, with some of the best shorts of the last two or three decades.

If I recall, John O'Neill brought Vox on without clearing his background as an approved leftist. He had no idea (and I think this is to his credit) of what Vox's politics were, only that he was a strong advocate for good fantasy fiction.

Incidentally, one of their most prominent writers, James Enge, hooked me with two of his Moorlock the Maker stories, but once I learned of what an odious, vulgar and blind feminist he was, I soured. He, for no business reason but emotional politics, was the one who wept that O'Neill had failed the warren by letting Vox in. He wasn't my favorite author, but I certainly would have bought his Moorlock novels if he hadn't demonstrated his unpleasant politics so smugly. Early on, I recommended his stories in print with enthusiasm.

Now I simply don't.

Now, imagine that I'm a reader of Cedar Fort's books, and I am tired of the gay agenda creeping in everywhere else. Am I more likely, after hearing the news of this decision, to buy their next book, or less?

Losing potential readers because of a principle is tough. Losing core, proven, repeat readers because of a lack of principle is much worse for business.

Think about it - Ender's Game has received a massive international pr campaign against it for its author's princples. Is it selling fewer copies now?

No. It is selling more.

Anonymous Krul August 22, 2013 3:03 PM  

VD - What principle is being betrayed in this regard?

For those publishers without an express ideological stance, the principle is integrity. These businesses have a responsibility to their shareholders and their customers: to make the biggest profit and provide the best books they can, respectively. If they disregard these objectives by putting personal political prejudices ahead of financial and aesthetic judgement they are failing those responsibilities.

Moreover the restriction of ideas that contradict one's own is cowardly, since it is an implicit admission that one's own ideas can't withstand the scrutiny of competition.

Anonymous Anonymous August 22, 2013 3:15 PM  

REG


I think Mr. Correia is missing the point- The publishers, state that they are a supporter of the LDS. It doesn't matter if there are many Mormons who don't have a problem with homosexuality. The point is that Mormon doctrine does. The publishers have to stay in line with doctrine or divorce themselves from their policy. Its not a matter of money. They have to pay the price for their standards by refusing to sell out.
I know the people in the comments section of his post have gone bonkers. They are saying they will buy the book simply because the publisher refused to print it. A good example of 'A fool and his money are soon separated.' They can post the book on their shelf as a trophy to that saying.
The most important thing to me is. I've been a reader all my life, (72 years) I have learned the value of reading to entertain and the subtle effect value. Writing will work itself deeply into the mind and good writing will cause people to change sub-consciously. I think Paul made that point in the "Think on these things" quote. When the eighties hit, I didn't recognize that Science fiction or fantasy had changed to political. Somewhere around 1985 I started noticing that I was speaking in a manner that was not consistent with my own beliefs. I was judging the church, judging other people less libertarian and more left wing. Sort of like the main commenter on Correia's blog. Claiming to be Libertarian; but, sounding more like a Democrat.
I woke up, started scanning my reading and what was being said in the filler of the story. Yep, the left-wing message was there, neatly buried in small offhand lines. In the 1950s, we called it "Brainwashing." I started being more careful to read what was there, soon, I simply quit reading SF/F. Then, listened to what I was about to say before I said it. Took time to clean my mind, judge my words and attitudes. From what I see in public society, I think brainwashing has been a staple in every form of media for years.
I think that this is the biggest problem, more than publishing.
Sorry for the length.

Anonymous Daniel August 22, 2013 3:20 PM  

These businesses have a responsibility to their shareholders and their customers: to make the biggest profit and provide the best books they can, respectively. If they disregard these objectives by putting personal political prejudices ahead of financial and aesthetic judgement they are failing those responsibilities.

Baloney. The have a responsibility to make money how they see fit. By publishing books that are certain to annoy core customers while drawing no new audience in, they are being irresponsible to "gloss over" the offending admission in the book.

A publisher rejects viable books all the time. For all sorts of reasons. The author status can make a business difference. Simply take that lady who had sextuplets and a teevee show. When they portrayed themselves as church-going and married, their book made millions. As soon as they portrayed themselves as divorced and hateful, their book (same book) collapsed in the marketplace. The book was the same, the reader's perception was much different.

Business decision.

Moreover the restriction of ideas that contradict one's own is cowardly, since it is an implicit admission that one's own ideas can't withstand the scrutiny of competition.

There's no such restriction. They didn't buy the license to publish the book, then bury it. That book can be published elsewhere. They've restricted nothing. Do you think they should spend their business time publishing, for example, sensational anti-LDS literature if it would be lucrative to do so? Is it cowardly that they don't, themselves, do this?

There's no admission of anything. Publishers pick and choose what to publish all the time. The problem with the business end is there's no range of perfect mathematical choices (such as: "making this decision will lose us 15% of our core readership, but will expand our total readership by 19% due to the controversy, so it is a marginal gain of X, which is a justifiable risk in order to increase our sales...") then it comes down to sense.

It would have been senseless for an LDS publisher to try to let an openly gay author who promoted himself as such in their own materials just "slide."

They would have easily lost 10% of their readership and gained 0% extra Larry Correias to make up for it.

Anonymous Krul August 22, 2013 3:38 PM  

Re: Daniel,

The publisher is LDS? In that case there is no breach of integrity in refusing to publish a gay author.

There's no such restriction. They didn't buy the license to publish the book, then bury it. That book can be published elsewhere. They've restricted nothing.

True. When I wrote that I was thinking about a hypothetical future time when the Right, having won the "culture war", has a monopoly on information distribution and common knowledge, as the Left did until the dawn of the internet. I don't want to see Rightest gatekeepers behave like Leftists.

Anonymous VD August 22, 2013 3:39 PM  

Moreover the restriction of ideas that contradict one's own is cowardly, since it is an implicit admission that one's own ideas can't withstand the scrutiny of competition.

That's totally false. There is nothing cowardly about me refusing to publish a math book that says 2+2=37 or a fantasy novel that is based on 95-pound women wreaking havoc across the land with her broadsword. Furthermore, you're forgetting that both publishers and book buyers necessarily reject more than 99 percent of the options that are available to them.

What is cowardly is surrendering in the cultural war because you are afraid that someone, somewhere, might criticize you for standing up for your beliefs.

Anonymous Scintan August 22, 2013 3:39 PM  

You're assuming that gays are naturally Leftists on issues OTHER than homosexuality. That's just mirroring political correctness. One of the great mistakes of the American Right has been its utter rejection of homosexuals, who might be natural allies on -- to take an obvious one -- Muslim immigration (the Right dislikes gays, but the Muslims want to kill them. I fear sometimes that the Left will completely triumph -- destroy freedom of speech in favor of political correctness -- while the Right just sits there muttering "At least we kept those gays out of our groups" as the secret police knock on their doors.

In the mid-term Obama election, only 31% of homosexuals voted Republican.

Anonymous dmjole August 22, 2013 3:40 PM  

For what it's worth: further comments over at Correia's blog also indicate that Cedar Fort publishing has some history of bad business dealings with some authors in the past.

Anonymous Heh August 22, 2013 3:42 PM  

Moreover the restriction of ideas that contradict one's own is cowardly, since it is an implicit admission that one's own ideas can't withstand the scrutiny of competition.

In this day and age it takes great courage indeed to be cowardly enough to deny gays anything they want, from the right to belong to any organization to the right to assert their "ideas" wherever and however they like.

Does anyone not know what the "gay ideas" are? Or for that matter, what the "heterosexual fornication ideas" are? These ideas are... not new. Thousands of years old. We know what they are. They were traditionally restricted for very good reasons. They should be again. Or at least, we should do what we can to prevent the gushing sewer pipe from opening any wider than it already is.

Anonymous VD August 22, 2013 3:46 PM  

For what it's worth: further comments over at Correia's blog also indicate that Cedar Fort publishing has some history of bad business dealings with some authors in the past.

I know absolutely nothing about Cedar Fort. I'm not defending them, except for their right to publish whomever they want, for whatever reason they want. (I'll defend Tor's right to do so as well.) I'm only interested in them as a starting point for this discussion.

Blogger Whiskey August 22, 2013 3:52 PM  

My view is probably a tangent of all expressed here. My take is that what is wrong with modern culture, in politics, media, movies, books, television, and yes Science Fiction and Fantasy is that the economics (as VD noted) have changed and allow free-riding for ideological bias by a fairly large (in terms of historical percentage) "New Class" jumped up aristocrats who are very, very insecure about status and class and their own belonging, and thus express ideological purges.

As various stories made clear, even Hollywood studios run by Jews such as MGM, did business with the Nazis in the 1930's, enthusiastically, in the hope of retaining access to the market which was then #2 in the world. Money and direct profit can produce that behavior, regardless of class, ethnic, or ideological interest.

What went wrong was the massive expansion noted by Charles Murray tangentially in Coming Apart, an eight-fold expansion in headcount by Fortune 500 Companies from 1950 to 2000. We have a lot more aristocrats, who are oligarchic rulers but with fluid hierarchies and the capacity to be ejected from the aristocracy in a way that the aristocrats of old, and the British Royal Family, could never and don't face. Prince William is Prince William, nothing he can do or say will make him anything but Prince William. Not so for the newer aristocrats, working in publishing, movies, music, TV etc.

Yes this includes most definitely Joss Whedon, Feminist #3 I guess.

The old models for books and movies and TV was not that "no one knows anything" but that they did not WANT TO KNOW. And we are in the midst of a Moneyball revolution for books. Like pre-SABREmetrics Baseball, the new class aristocrats coasted on a few profitable books or movies or TV shows, and played cronyism. The classic agency problem, familiar to any activist investor looking to change a corrupt cronyist management at a poorly performing company.

What e-books, Amazon, and other avenues offer is the ability to determine what elements are likely to be profitable in a book, and select them over elements that are likely to be non-profitable. Moneyball in other words. That means signing say, the next Brad Thor or (sadly late) Vince Flynn who sell/sold lots of books catering to an underserved market and make lots of money in the process. The new class did not care, they would make the same money if the book failed or sold like JK Rowling. So they played crony-favorites. Including ideological bias.

Amazon's big advantage is the "people bought similar books" or whatever they call it recommendations that are automated and mass-personalized. It allows people to seek out stuff and particularly underserved people: the majority of American book-buyers. And international ones for that matter.

Anonymous Daniel August 22, 2013 3:52 PM  

For what it's worth: further comments over at Correia's blog also indicate that Cedar Fort publishing has some history of bad business dealings with some authors in the past.

Look, Cedar Fort looks like idiots in this account: they (apparently) knowingly signed a gay author, and then lost their cool when he acted like a queen about his bio. Pulling the plug late in the game, however, was a better business decision for them than just letting the bio slide and picking up the short-term money (while very likely losing the trust of a minority of core, repeat, proven customers).

Furthermore, understand that 85% of publishers are pumping out absolutely horrid contracts right now (chaos in the industry - long story) and so Cedar Fort, like it or not is no different than their peers if they are, in fact, a monstrous company to work with.

Don't forget that this was a Young Adult novel. Were I the publisher with a contract (and, as it said, had full knowledge prior to the contract that one of the author's was gay - which implies that Cedar Fort's problem is not with the gayness, but the public gayness for their audience) I simply would have changed both bios to match. Not every bio has to have marital status: in fact, I think that is often thrown in just to pad the bio. There's no business reason why to include it.

That would have been a compromise that no one would ever have noticed, and would have drawn no "negative" attention. But what the publisher in fact was - apparently - decide at the last hour that they didn't want to inspire young readers to idolize perversion. Kids lionize their favorite authors - this thing was going to be a mess, eventually. So the publisher pulled the plug on their flagship book, and paid the authors back.

Again...a business decision.

Anonymous Krul August 22, 2013 4:01 PM  

VD - That's totally false. There is nothing cowardly about me refusing to publish a math book that says 2+2=37 or a fantasy novel that is based on 95-pound women wreaking havoc across the land with her broadsword.

This is what I failed to understand at first. I was thinking about censorship, not the freedom of businesses to deal with whomever they choose for their own reasons. If both left-leaning and right-leaning publishers exist then there is obviously no cowardice and no betrayal of ideals.

Anonymous WaterBoy August 22, 2013 4:02 PM  

JoeyWheels: "Meh. Politics AGAIN, Bruce?! No thanks."

Hazard of the job. Once you achieve popular/financial success, you then have the wherewithal to pursue critical success. And who makes up the majority of today's criticlique? It's them that one must appease.

And sometimes, you get to have both.

Blogger rcocean August 22, 2013 4:46 PM  

"You're assuming that gays are naturally Leftists on issues OTHER than homosexuality. That's just mirroring political correctness."

We here this constantly on the right. And its always been a waste of time. We've been modifying and moderating our views on Gays, Blacks, Hispanics, Feminists, etc. for my entire life. Result: the conservative share of the vote never grows - the only thing that grows ar demands that conservatives be even MORE pro-minority or socially liberal.

Anonymous Rosalys August 22, 2013 5:09 PM  

I've noticed that a couple of my favorite authors began introducing homosexual characters after the first few books. I thought maybe they were just trying to be hip with the current culture or something. I didn't like it but kept reading until the characters' homosexuality became more and more prominent. And then I started to wonder,"Is So-and-So a homo?" Then I'd Google and sure enough So-and-So has come out of the closet or else has been out of the closet all along but hadn't originally made it the focus of their plot line and so I hadn't noticed. Usually the "gayer" their stories get, the worse they get. Patricia Cornwell comes to mind. Her older books were so good. I just can't stomach her stuff now.

Same thing with TV programs. I'm semi-addicted to HGTV type shows. Lately they've been featuring "engaged" men or "married" women who, "need to find their dream home so that they can start their family!" It makes me sick. I've stopped watching some of my favorites because they are pushing their agenda of perversion.

So you're a pervert, you're mixed up; I'll pray for you to repent while you can because I really do not want anyone go to eternal torment. But if you want to be left alone I can live and let live - if you would only GET OUTTA MY FACE ALREADY!

Anonymous MC August 22, 2013 5:25 PM  

My understanding is that they didn't drop them because the guy was gay, but rather because the guy put up a stink that the author bio didn't identify him as gay. They apparently are not only obligated to publish him, but to advertise his homosexuality.

Anonymous Daniel August 22, 2013 5:45 PM  

Exactly, MC. Larry's headline is very misleading.

Blogger Justthisguy August 22, 2013 6:01 PM  

Oh yeah. As Daffy Duck said, "I suppose you realize; this means war." It's all who-whom for me from now on, folks. No enemies to the Right. Throne and Altar. Ancient Traditions. Fuck the Whigs.

Anonymous DonReynolds August 22, 2013 6:20 PM  

Phoney-cian...."We remember who seceded rather than accept a democratic election."

39.8 percent of the popular vote, not including South Carolina, is hardly a DEMOCRATIC election....but maybe you have another definition.

Phoney-cian...."And we remember who attempted to justify the torture, murder and slavery of millions of Americans because of the same racist drivel you try to gloss over here.
Personally, I think the Union made two mistakes. It should have let the South go - after shoveling all the whites who wanted to stay into one of the states and giving the rest to the freed blacks and the whites who wanted to stay part of the Union. And then built a wall around it and jeered when racist fucks like you devolved into savagery.
And of course the first mistake was not being more thorough in marching through Georgia. Perhaps if everyone who had ever owned a slave had been impaled along the route, we wouldn't be dealing with their wannabe ideological descendents like you now."

Thank you, Dipshit, for reminding everyone here that nobody has a monopoly on racism or hate speech. You make my job much easier. (Can we hear from the New Black Pather Party now? or just pan to the President for a supporting comment?)

Blogger Justthisguy August 22, 2013 6:23 PM  

Ok, Phoeny, that does it. Now it's personal. "marching through Georgia", my ass. My Dad's family has lived in GA since 1830 or so, and the only reason I'll ever visit St.Louis is to piss on the grave of that lunatic and war criminal, Bill Sherman. The fucking damyankees had all the advantages of population and industry, and still had to cheat to win. Well, we have learned the lesson they taught us, and yes I intend to cheat, and to win, in this fight.

Blogger Justthisguy August 22, 2013 6:32 PM  

P.s. Beware, Phoeny! I believe I feel an Aspie perseveration coming on, directed against you, to be actualized on the 'net. Once we sink our teeth into that kind of thing, we are like bulldogs; we don't let go. We tend to wallow in, and enjoy, that kind of thing, actually. I think I'll start with Google, and go on from there.

Anonymous DonReynolds August 22, 2013 7:03 PM  

While not at all OT, a movie theater in Kentucky has decided not to run the movie "The Butler" because it has Hanoi Jane Fonda in the cast. The Liberals are going into withdrawal over the boycott. Maybe it will spread around to more theaters. The owner of the theater is a Korean War vet. I caught the story on Breitbart.

Anonymous Mudz August 22, 2013 9:56 PM  

I can understand where you're coming from. A capitalist spirit.

I can agree with it up to that point. Publishers should be able to publish what they choose, and where the action is should really be with what the readers decide they want to read. And the market and economy of thought will come to reflect a more natural organism.

That's cool, and that makes sense I think.

But I don't don't think it should be taken to the point where there's a dude with a really great story about a man stranded alone on an island, but it's okay to reject him on the grounds of voting for Obama. (Legal, but not to be encouraged.)

No-one should feel compelled to read literature just because it's from the 'other side', since that's just another kind of ideological enforcement.

But honestly, I don't care if the author's a despicable person who leaves all the jar lids unscrewed. And I'm not going to think twice about it. (Okay, I admit, I have limits. If the author is using the money to fund abortion or something, I'd care a great deal.)

I think I'd prefer a straight-up honest fight to a sort of pandering frustrated obsequiousness, pleas for 'if I'm nice, you be nice too' kind of thing.

The sense in which your argument appeals to me, is that it has occurred to me in the whole evolution-debate department that the notion of 'fair-play' is asking for the other side to volunteer playing by the same rules. A sort of attempt to blackmail their sense of honour. Which doesn't work if they don't have one, and even if they do, you've limited your own options for success.

I just think there should be some honourable boundaries on tactics. The battle can be won quite handily without sacrificing one's principles. Let's see who's God is stronger.

Fact is, I just think it should work like this:

If you like a book, buy it. Don't cheat the author.

Works if you're a publisher or reader.

So I agree to the point of free choice. Just as long as it's not taken into actively screwing people you don't like out of money or jobs. I think there are certain principles a civilised society should be made to abide by, and it should be something like: 'Don't be a liar, cheat or fraud.'

All the change should occur on the positive end, what people choose to buy, and what publishers choose to publish. Not on the negative end of actively sabotaging the other guys.

If leftist propaganda is forced to stand upon its own strength, and hardly anyone's actually interested, then *poof* problem solved.

So as long as that's the sum of your argument, I'm onboard.

I just don't think we want to do this whole 'right, if that's how it's gonna be, I'm gonna play it their way' and then wake up the next morning as a leftist.

Keep your eye simple.

M2C.

Anonymous Jack Amok August 23, 2013 1:25 AM  

I'm semi-addicted to HGTV type shows. Lately they've been featuring "engaged" men or "married" women who, "need to find their dream home so that they can start their family!"

Well, call me old-fashioned, but I remember when HGTV type shows were about building, fixing, or remodelling homes, not about EFFIN-HIEMERING BUYING THEM!

Odd, isn't it, that the rise of agenda-driven shows just happens to coincide with the utter decline of the network into useless drivel.

Blogger Markku August 23, 2013 6:10 AM  

If it's a dictionary, I don't care if it was composed by a homosexual. If it is video game graphics made according to agreed upon specification, I don't care if it was composed by a homosexual.

If it is a book of fiction that I haven't yet read, now I start caring. A book is entirely a product of its author's soul. All value judgements in it are his. I can make a pretty good guess if the book will be worth my investment of time based on what the author is like.

Blogger Markku August 23, 2013 6:13 AM  

And even if I'm basically entertained by what I'm reading, I will constantly have a nagging suspicion that he will very soon say something that will fill me with disgust and ruin it all.

Blogger Markku August 23, 2013 6:17 AM  

Special case: if it's Robot Unicorn Attack, then it's such an absolute nuclear explosion of flamboyant gayness that there is a numeric overflow in gaydar, and it's kinda not gay.

Anonymous Mudz August 23, 2013 7:20 AM  

You may have a point. But in that case, I'd actually want the author's sexual preference identified.

I can remember getting pissed off when I was reading Space Odyssey 2010, at the time believing that classical sci-fi would be this wonderland of old-fashioned values and morals coupled with wide-eyed wonder, when women wore aprons and ironed shirts while they hummed against a desaturated floral wallpaper with a single framed piece of embroidery and a cat playing with yarn at her shoes and the husband sitting in a big comfy chair with a newspaper, wearing a hat, smoking a pipe next to a wooden-boxed radio talking about the price of tires, and their children were on the back porch taking turns looking through a telescope at the big pretty night sky going 'wowww' and eating home-made biscuits (yes I had a very specific idea of what kind of sci-fi I'd be reading).

And then I came across that single scene where the big, enthusiastic man turned out to be something called a 'polysexual'. I didn't know what the heck that meant, but I knew I didn't like it. It was the equivalent of the book taking a big crap all over my shoes. It was neither wanted, nor anticipated.

The worst part is that ever since, I keep seeming to running into big, bearded, gay old men. Why is this a trend? Was there some sort of specific temporal event that infused gayness on a broad scale two generations ago?

Also. I hate Peter Hamilton. This shall be mentioned upon all occasions possible. My soul is saturated with loathing for his satanic and joyless trilogy, which didn't even redeem itself with a worthy plot resolution.

OpenID cailcorishev August 23, 2013 7:30 AM  

Same thing with TV programs.

Yeah, I used to love The Amazing Race; it was probably the last TV show I ever watched regularly. But I hated the way they insisted on having "gay couple" teams, or "lesbian daughter and homophobic dad who is learning to accept her."

The only good side was that the gay racers usually turned out to be narcissistic and bitchy -- wow, who could have foreseen that? -- so they probably didn't gain as much sympathy from the audience as they were hoping. But it was still tiresome.

OpenID cailcorishev August 23, 2013 7:37 AM  

it's such an absolute nuclear explosion of flamboyant gayness that there is a numeric overflow in gaydar, and it's kinda not gay.

As Mike Nelson says about Chris Tucker's character during the Rifftrax treatment of The Fifth Element: That's so gay that it comes full circle and becomes heterosexual again.

As someone said above, one concern with recommending a work is that you might inadvertently be recommending other works by that author. I hesitate to recommend The Seven Storey Mountain for that reason: it's a tremendous book, but I'd hate for someone to read it on my recommendation and then go on to look up Merton's other books where he dabbles in Eastern religions and gets way too ecumenical.

Blogger James Dixon August 23, 2013 8:45 AM  

> ...a movie theater in Kentucky has decided not to run the movie "The Butler" because it has Hanoi Jane Fonda in the cast.

I'm just waiting for the day I can meet her and tell her I think her best work was Barbarella. :)

Anonymous Daniel August 23, 2013 2:57 PM  

While not at all OT, a movie theater in Kentucky has decided not to run the movie "The Butler" because it has Hanoi Jane Fonda in the cast. The Liberals are going into withdrawal over the boycott. Maybe it will spread around to more theaters. The owner of the theater is a Korean War vet. I caught the story on Breitbart.

Whereas all the other theaters don't want to show the movie because...unless it is a sequel to Mall Cop...no one wants to see a movie about how a butler saved America.

Only way you could get me into that movie if it was choreographed by Mary Robinette Kowal with lyrics by Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

Anonymous Daniel August 23, 2013 3:11 PM  

Oh, and why is that, once a year, at the end of every summer, (The Butler, The Help, Red Tails, etc.) liberals pour about $100 million of their knee jerk concern into tickets to movies about inspiring black servants?

Isn't that, I dunno, just a little...patronizing?

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