[Pulled out of comments on Sarah Hoyt’s blog]
[Edit: further comments on Vox Day added after reading more of his blog]
And this is where I get to talk about Vox Day and John C. Wright, respectively the evil genius and the epitome of Badthink.
Vox is an example of an agent provocateur; he dances right up to the line to outrage stupid people who can’t parse what he says, then carefully avoids crossing it. Outraged progressives attack, his fans are engaged, and off he goes to huge traffic and increasing notoriety, which converts to more attention and sales. Using his name is now like invoking Voldemort. It’s not something I would do, but every ecological niche is filled in a complex society…
When I came out with my first book “Bad Boyfriends,” which was a sincere effort to help the clueless with useful information about attachment types and how they can determine relationship satisfaction, I had some reviewers mentioning that it was a “red pill” book, which I thought referred to the Matrix, where swallowing the red pill meant accepting the truth instead of living a comforting lie.
Then I discovered the huge number of (mostly but not entirely) men in the red pill / MRA movement. Looking through their writings, I found much that was useful mixed with some pseudoscience that was confirming their beliefs. So while sympathetic, I couldn’t agree with everything, but thought their point of view was important and a useful counterpoint to the feminist-dominated discourse increasingly taking over. I wrote a lot of pieces supporting some of their better points, and the guys at A Voice for Men asked me to do a piece or two. So I did. The commenters were an interesting mix of thoughtful and rabid, but I didn’t have any trouble soothing them when it was clear I sympathized even when I could not fully agree.
Those posts went up on Reddit and I had 4000 page views a day. Vox has this game down cold; he is serving red meat to starving men who need to hear alternative viewpoints.
I stopped writing for AVfM when one of my posts (which said some kind things about Emma Watson’s UN-based effort, which included a concession to male issues — see http://jebkinnison.com/2014/09/24/emma-watsons-message-intelligence-trumps-sex/) was seen as insufficiently rabid by many commenters. AVfM disowned it (must not upset base!) and then was set upon by one of their old opponents, David Futrelle at We Hunted the Mammoth, and his commenters.
Yikes! So much hate on both sides. So I stopped trying to mediate that war.
I don’t know Vox Day, and I haven’t read much of his work, so I am unable to disavow him or apologize for him. As someone remarked, if he didn’t exist, they would have to invent him, or some other Emmanuel Goldstein. [Edit: Having read quite a bit more of his writings, I can see where the widespread revulsion comes from. He often promotes pseudoscience which confirms the biases of his fans — I don’t have a problem with beliefs unsupported by evidence unless they are aimed at harming groups of people, but he promotes some that are intended to justify hatred against whole classes of people. In that, he’s just another quack, profiting by feeding fears with pseudoscientific justifications.]
As for John C. Wright, I’ve read and admired a lot of his work (but he owes me for the time spent to resolve the endless throne room battle scene in “Judge of Ages”!) The first book of his I read, “The Golden Age,” fixed him in my mind as someone I would happily read. But of course his Renaissance Man (from the actual Renaissance!) qualities include enough knowledge of history to disdain the current political line and its enforced forgetfulness. Like Orson Scott Card, he has some beliefs that the progressives find heretical, and he has tactlessly expressed them. But where others get a pass because their offbeat beliefs aren’t central to SJW causes, he does not. I remember reading Charles Stross’ first post on LiveJournal commenting on how Wright was now deemed too incorrect to be acceptable in civil society….
But again, I don’t know Mr. Wright other than from his works, which are usually very good. A writer who can get away with that level of digressions without causing me to toss the book has to be good.
I’m actually claiming that the main character in my latest book is based on Vox Day, just to see if anyone will take the bait. He’s not actually, but I’m curious to see if the trolls will react. And I happen to agree: if he didn’t exist, someone would have invented him. He plays his part so well, I sometimes wonder if someone did.
I’ve never met Vox Day, and I wonder if anyone’s seen Scalzi with him in the room at the same time. 🙂 Sounds like a good thriller plot: ruse is too wildly successful and can’t be stopped…
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