As I’ve said before – in the religious liberty context – when one takes their eyes off the “head for the hills” Republicans and focuses on the vast conservative grassroots, the social-justice and identity-politics Left is taking beating after beating. And now that losing streak is extending into a new cultural arena — the arts.
Conservatives who love gaming and science fiction (*cough* me *cough*) have long been distressed at the leftist assault on both genres — favorite lefty targets because gaming and sci-fi have long been seen as the habitat of the dreaded species whiteus maleus. As Robert Tracinski writes in The Federalist, the pattern is distressingly familiar:
By now, we know the basic ingredients of a typical skirmish in Culture War 4.0. It goes something like this: a) a leftist claque starts loudly pushing the “correct” Culture War position onto b) a field previously considered fun, innocuous, apolitical, purely personal, or recreational, and c) accusing anyone who opposes them of being a racist, sexist, bigot who relies on oppressive “privilege” to push everyone else down, while these claims are d) backed up by a biased press that swallows the line of attack uncritically and repeats it.
The response to the social-justice Left in the gaming world was “Gamergate,” an online movement that (and this is an understatement) “punched back twice as hard” against the left-dominated gaming media. The resulting online battles were extraordinarily vicious, with claims and counterclaims of online bullying, “doxing” (exposure of personally identifying information on the web), and general internet hand-to-hand combat.
In science fiction, the response was “Sad Puppies,” a movement led by conservative author Larry Correia. Why Sad Puppies? Because “boring message fiction is the leading cause of Puppy Related Sadness.” Correia and his Sad Puppies targeted the Hugo Awards, prestigious writing awards voted on by members of “Worldcon,” the World Science Fiction Convention. Correia had known that the social-justice Left had campaigned against him previously, so he countered with his own campaign — assisted by leading conservative and libertarian authors. In 2014, they succeeded in getting a number of nominations. The tolerant Left’s response was predictable. Here’s Correia:
Many of you have never heard of me before, but the internet was quick to explain to you what a horrible person I am. There have been allegations of fraud, vote buying, log rolling, and making up fake accounts. The character assassination has started as well, and my detractors posted and tweeted and told anyone who would listen about how I was a racist, a homophobe, a misogynist, a rape apologist, an angry white man, a religious fanatic, and how I wanted to drag homosexuals to death behind my pickup truck.
The libel and slander over the last few days have been so ridiculous that my wife was contacted by people she hasn’t talked to for years, concerned that she was married to such a horrible, awful, hateful, bad person, and that they were worried for her safety.
This year, the Sad Puppies swept the field, dominating the Hugo nominations. The leftist response was, once again, predictably slanderous. As Tracinski points out, some of the reporting was too slanderous even for the mainstream entertainment press. This correction, from Entertainment Weekly, is an all-timer:
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.
This story has been updated to more accurately reflect this. EW regrets the error.
Correia, Torgerson, and their Sad Puppies allies are living arguments against cultural defeatism. With humor and verve, they’ve taken on the allegedly unstoppable Left, stopped it, and thrown it into spasms of impotent rage and amusing disarray. In its rage and self-righteousness, the Left always overreaches. Always. I’ve seen that reality in 20 years of on-campus battles, we’re seeing that reality as their hate campaign against Memories Pizza helped make the owners a pile of money, and we saw it when we watched unhinged rhetoric help turn American Sniper into the top-grossing movie of 2014.
Congratulations, Sad Puppies. Long may you reign.