Insightful investigative reporting on the part of The Guardian reveals that John “I am a rapist” Scalzi lied when he claimed that he was enjoying the attention of what he hitherto described as an adorable “mancrush”:
John Scalzi is the author of several books, including the Old Man’s War series and Redshirts, published in the States by Tor and the UK by Gollancz. He’s also the president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Fed up of being constantly targeted on his website by one particular individual and his followers, Scalzi decided to take action, pledging US$5 every time “the Racist Sexist Homophobic Dipshit in question posts an entry on his site in which he uses my name (or one of his adorable nicknames for me)”.
Scalzi put a ceiling on his “troll tip jar” of US$1,000, figuring that gave his bête noir 200 opportunities to abuse him over the coming year, and said he’d give the cash to four charities: RAINN, America’s largest anti-sexual violence organization; Emily’s List, dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women to office; the Human Rights Campaign, which works for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equal Rights; and NAACP: America’s oldest and largest civil rights organization.
A novel enough way to tackle the trolls, for sure, but what happened next was somewhat astonishing: Scalzi’s friends, Twitter followers and readers asked if they could jump in with pledges too. Many of his friends are high-profile authors and industry types – Will Wheaton, the actor who played Wesley Crusher in TV’s Star Trek: The Next Generation, and a writer in his own right, was one of many who promised to match Scalzi’s US$1,000 pledge.
By the early hours of this morning, UK time, the pledges for Scalzi’s chosen charities had grown to US$50,000.
One of the triggers for the trolling of Scalzi seems to be a satirical blogpost he wrote in October last year attacking conservative politicians for their line on abortion control. It took the form of an open letter to them, in which he adopted the persona of a rapist….
However, the Guardian doesn’t seem to have gotten the story quite right. The reporter appears to be under the impression that Mr. Scalzi did not enjoy the attention, when we were repeatedly informed, in writing, that he did. When was it, the inquiring mind wants to know, that “the “McRapey” comments became too much”? And why were we never informed?
The headline is certainly interesting: “Troll’s comments prompt author to pledge charity donation for every insult.”
John Scalzi’s name is an insult? I suppose that’s true enough in light of his antics. But just to set a few things straight.
- I have never trolled or sock-puppeted Whatever. I am not sure of the exact number, but excluding the 30 or so comments on the TIA Big Idea post, I believe I have posted fewer than 10 comments there since 2005.
- I have never encouraged anyone to visit Whatever, to leave comments there, or to troll there. I have linked to various posts at Whatever; a look through the blog archives shows a grand total of 58 references since 2005.
- I do not wish to have what passes for John Scalzi’s stature in the science fiction field. If I had any desire to write unoriginal and derivative takes on Heinlein, Dick, Piper, and Star Trek, I would do so. As should be obvious from my 854-page epic fantasy novel, my sights are aimed elsewhere.
- Since when does “constantly targeted” mean “criticized 26 times in eight years?” Of the 11,327 posts here on Vox Popoli, precisely 58 refer to John Scalzi in any way. Of the 58 references, 32 of them are not even critical.
- It was really reprehensible of The Guardian to omit to report that in addition to raising $50,000 for the noble cause of not quoting, criticizing, or even mentioning John Scalzi, Mr. Scalzi also commissioned the painting of a dancing pink rabbit.
What can we conclude from all of this? Sheldon Cooper was right. McRapey isn’t the problem. We have to fight the real enemy! Ensign Wesley must die.die.die! Now, to be fair to the Guardian, it is entirely possible that the reporter, David Barnett, attempted to ask me for a comment before writing his story, but was unable to reach me as I was much too busy laughing.
UPDATE: A sometime critic of mine who has challenged me to a debate with John Scalzi adds his thoughts on the increasingly hilarious matter:
As Helen Smith demonstrated, John Scalzi likes easy and ideologically safe (politically correct) targets. This rule applies on those rare occasions when he responds to criticism, as well. Scalzi realizes that the best way to smear an entire group is to cherry-pick its worst members, and then present them as the representative norm. I noted earlier how he cherry-picks anecdotal cases of aberrant male behavior to build the case that women require his advocacy against sexism. In a similar manner, Scalzi strategically chooses which critics he responds to.
He would not respond to Helen Smith, as this would place him in the difficult situation of having a woman expose his chicanery and call his bluff. Nor does he respond even to Vox Day—who swings back and forth between moderate positions and more extreme ones. But Vox Day frightens John Scalzi not because he is sometimes extreme, but because he is consistently articulate and often insightful. Scalzi does not want real dissent; he wants either sycophants, or babbling cardboard opponents whom he can casually demolish. The more likely a critic is to debunk his methods, the less likely John is to engage him or her in open debate.
That is inarguably true, but on the other hand, John does commission rabbit paintings and solicit the burning of other people’s money in lieu of debate, which is considerably more amusing than mere rational discourse. I certainly have no complaints. I’m simply enjoying the dancing rabbits.
UPDATE II: This should be amusing. I’ve already done two little interviews with publications in the USA and Canada doing stories on the affair. Is there no end to the madness? How is he so masterfully pulling the strings of the global media?