Monday, July 3, 2017

Attacking Allies

This has been a very strange week for me, but probably not for the reasons you think. This blog isn't even in reference to any one thing in particular, but a common theme that I've noticed over the past seven to eight months. It's become a trend to attack people on one's own side. Yes, for those of you keeping score at home, you can include attacks on me if you like, but that's only a fraction of an overall picture that I have yet to mentally grasp.

For the record, yes, I am aware that there is a post that apparently goes after me. I have not read that post. I will not read that post. I've read small slivers that have been excerpted by my defenders. So, on advice of council, Mr. Finn is not available for comment, nor will he be. Thank you. Moving on.

But, yeah, it's strange to see people who are theoretically on each other's side to tear each other apart. I saw Superversive Science Fiction and the Pulp Revolution people go after each other for several weeks, if not several months, and I'm still trying to figure out where the hate was coming from in the comments (I must stress the comments). Hell, I'm still lost with where the disagreements were coming from. In Appendix N, I saw enough overlap between Superversive fiction and Pulp that I thought that Pulp could easily be labeled the action-packed variety of Superversive. The authors themselves had no animosity towards one another, but wow, the comments on those parts were just a little angry.

So, this has been going on for a while, spread out over multiple places on the internet, and I still don't get it.

There is the usual "X is not us, I must distance myself from X." Though I don't think that Pulp or Superversive ever really had a lot of declarations that one is the other. I see a lot of overlap between the two, but I see few others who do. So I'm strange. Big flipping shock. There is the Sad vs. Rabid debate ... but that was so clear, I did a blog post on it that was fairly short. Granted, the post at the time is hilarious in retrospect, but that's another story. The point is, that the differences were so plain and clear that anyone who couldn't see the difference was either ignorant or lying. I can't even say "stupid," because I think even the moronic could see the difference.

You can even go into politics and see this. You have Republicans spending more time attacking the "Alt-Right" while you have Leftist psychopaths running around burning books, rioting, assaulting anyone who supports the first amendment, all while calling themselves "anti-fascist"... talk about irony ... and shooting republicans.  But what are some right wingers spending their time discussing? Two protesters show up and disrupt the "Let's kill Trump" Julius Cesar play in the park for two minutes, and that's what's getting a lot of ink. And, again, it's right after a nutcase shot up a bunch of GOP politicians during baseball practice ... but somehow, the important thing is that they focus on two people who interrupted a play for two minutes. Huh.

I'm a historian. There is a history where wars of independence are usually followed by civil wars. America was lucky in that we managed to hold off on our civil war for over 80 years -- luck and a lot of quality politicians who never died (It felt like Clay and Calhoun lived forever). World War II saw the alliance of three people who were at each other's throats just twenty years before....yes, there was a bit of shooting between Russia and the remaining allies post-revolution. The point is that the US, the UK, and Russia all looked at Germany, and eventually all joined forces to crush Hitler. THEN they spent the next 50 years going after each other.

The counter example to this is the Chinese Civil War. If you remember, the Pacific end of World War II had Japan invading China during their civil war. The communists were, at least, smart enough to fight the Japanese, while their opponents were trying to fight both the civil war and the Japanese. The "People's Republic" shows you who ultimately won that. The opponents currently run Taiwan.

In the wider case of the GOP, I look at the decision to treat folks who are not against them as the enemy, while there are people THROWING MOLOTOV COCKTAILS AND SHOOTING AT THEM, I have to scratch my head.  Seriously, people, is there a widespread issue of being unable to have the self preservation instincts of Joseph flipping Stalin? When there are people actively shooting at you, deal with them, THEN deal with whatever internal problems there are between you.

That's why one of the smartest things I've seen over the past few months was the end of the Superversive v Pulp debate -- Jeffro and Anthony Marchetta saw that the comments were becoming angry, and they shut it down before things got out of hand. Again, there was no true animosity between them. The debate was a debate. They disagreed on things. It helped with blog hits. When it starting going negative, it stopped. The end.

So, yeah, 2017 has been strange. I don't quite get why those who are technically on the same side go after each other. I don't get it, I never will get it, and I just wish I could. Hell, even my own personal experience lately is confusing, even to me. Hell, if I can't even figure out how to quell the storm I'm in the center of, comprehending the logic of the other situations is far beyond me.

Though, to end this on a more positive note, the post title, "Attacking Allies" in this case means two different things. One, attacking your friends. Two, allies who attack on your behalf.

In my own little circle, it has been made strange not by blog posts attacking me, but by people who have extracted their own conclusions from people defending me. Erroneous conclusions. But they are made even more strange by who is throwing these additional accusations. In one case, it is a Facebook friend who I've actually done things for out of friendship. He had a kickstarter, and I used time on my podcast to bandy his wares. He was unfairly attacked in a Facebook group by a psychotic harpy, and I had a choice to become a moderator of the group, or defend someone I liked and respected. I chose the latter. He has reciprocated over the last few months by becoming increasingly hostile while interacting with me less and less.

So ... huh?

I mention all of this because the confusing thing about it is that, at the end of the day, I actually don't care about this turnaround. One of the more vociferous voices against me, who I thought was a just and honorable man, turns out to be merely angry. I am actually surprised my my own reaction. Usually, I would expect to be shocked about this sudden but (apparently) inevitable betrayal. But, again, much to my own surprise, I realize that if this is how one goes about treating one's allies, who needs them? It is time to focus on something else. If an "ally" attacks you ... then the "ally" is no longer worthy of your attention. The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune are annoying, but when someone is throwing a Molotov cocktail at your head, some things are a little more important.

In my case? I have a novel coming out in a little over a week. So if someone would like to attack me, go ahead, you have free reign, because I really do have better things to do. I'm busy, damn it. I hope to have seven books out by the end of the year. But I do suggest you watch out for my friends... some of whom I didn't even know I had.

Once upon a time, I blogged about an incident in high school where everything had fallen to crap. The strange thing then, as now, is that I had people rallying to my defense who didn't know me. Or, people who had been paying attention to me well enough to realize how much BS was going on around me.

Now it happens once again. Where people who I though barely knew of my existence have rallied to my defense against people who I thought knew me. It's been a great comfort just knowing that there are people out there who actually don't think ill of me. Where there are people looking at the same situation that I am, and coming to similar conclusions: the conclusion being to tilt one's head and go "What the Hell?"

And these are people who have jumped to my defense.

I hate trite sayings. I hate cliche. I hate overused fortune cookie wisdom. But it really is true: those who stand by you don't need evidence, and those who stand against you won't accept it. Several month ago, I have offered several of my detractors evidence and conversation to prove that rumors about me were untrue-- they rejected even looking at it. When several people who came to my aid wanted to back me, I offered to show them the same evidence -- they didn't need it, they just believed me. And of those people who have come to either my aid, my defense, or just comfort, not a single one has asked me to justify their faith in me. Not a single one.  It's embarrassing to realize that I'm not certain that I would be that good a friend.

When my publisher, Russell, first jumped into the fray, I made some sort of comment that boiled down to "Ah, yes, this sort of thing with an author damages the brand." His response was a quick and easy, "Nah. I'd do this even if you weren't one of my authors."

When things like that happens, it's difficult to be a cynic. I actually have faith in humanity again.

So, thanks should be made to Dawn WitzkeJim Fear, Russell Newquist, Injustice Gamer Alfred Genneson, JD Cowan, Jon del Arroz, Jeffro Johnson, Cirsova Magazine, the Puppy of the Month Book Club, Mr. Oghma, as well as the moral support I've gotten from authors at SuperversiveSF. And, as always, His Tankness, Tom Knighton, whose brief exchange helped more than he could know.

In some cases, it's nice to look out over the lynching party and seeing the people who haven't joined in. Even if they don't jump in and try to stop it, it's reassuring to know who isn't party to it.

Anyway, I know I'm leaving some people out, but after the first dozen, I lose track. It became a bit of a furball on Twitter after a while. The hash tag was amusing though. If I haven't mentioned you, it's just because there were so many. And I thank you all.

It's good to know that the ones who hate my guts are actually in the minority. Just loud.

Illegitimi non carborundum

And, if you've done that....

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