Sunday, June 14, 2015

Intolerance and Anger

My twitter feed lately has been filled with hot laced anger. Anger at the Sad Puppies, gamer gaters, sexism, racism, inequality, and everything else under the sun. Yes people are hating on cotton candy. There have been epic battles featuring monsters with tentacles vs. Naruto vs. space mech suits vs. Godzilla vs. etc.. The tweets have been emotional calls to battle or outright attacks on others. I was even pulled into the emotional torrent that was swirling at one point.

This blog post isn't about any of those issues in particular. I wanted to focus on something else I noticed that I found to be interesting in the way these various conflicts developed. It has to do with the mindset of the groups involved. I'm not here to say that everyone in these groups subscribe to either mindset as I am about to outline them any more than I would say that everyone must love chocolate ice cream. It doesn't matter if I think you should love chocolate ice cream. If you don't want any then that means more for ME, and if you do want some...  I hid the tub. Good luck finding it!

I'm going to try to avoid the political pitfalls of what this blog post is about in favor of focusing on how these conflicts arise. Many of these conflicts are overflowing into the political arena with gay marriage becoming more of an accepted eventuality across the country. I want to delve deeper into the thinking behind these conflicts. The voices in my head want to probe your mind with PEZ dispencers, LEGOs, and other such plastic instruments that may have been covered in a child's drool at one point.

The groups that I am going to address here generally label themselves as "conservative". This isn't necessarily true of all conservatives or conservative groups. These groups are very good at rallying support. Once they have decided to back a leader, no one questions that leader. If the leader messes something up completely they may have to walk the plank, but their hardcore supporters will not abandon ship. They are more likely to double down on the embarrassment rather than go against the tide. A good example is the advent of the Sad Puppies. They have had success promoting their slate at the Hugos. There has been at least one author who has asked not to be associated with their slate because of the push back they have received. Bottom line is that they have been effective due to their ability to rally their following into action.

The leaders of these groups don't feel the need to explain themselves. I've seen this time and again. At some point someone asks how the group works or why is it the way it is. The response is to deflect by stating their goal. Their stated goal always sounds like a great idea that everyone should sign up for. "We do it this way because puppies are cute!" If they don't deflect then they will refer to something that happened at the beginning and put the onus back on the person asking to look it up. If you try to look it up then more often than not you will find smoke. Sometimes there isn't anything there to back up their assertions, it's not easy to find, or only partially explains things.

These groups don't let the truth stand in their way. If what they are pushing is based on lies then they repeat those lies until they seem like the truth. They get their supporters to repeat the lies so it doesn't seem like something one person made up. This is how you get people who adamantly oppose the idea of climate change. Climate change has been a fact in the scientific community for quite some time, but you still have politicians who publicly announce that they don't think it is real. I've seen people argue that the latest science shows that climate change isn't real, but they are unable to provide any credible evidence. I send them a link to a recent article from NASA and they still deny it. It simply baffles me how these people can stare in the face of truth and say "Nope!" There's a brick wall in their way and they keep walking into it because they refuse to believe it's real.

Many times these groups promote a hidden agenda that can seem obvious to outsiders. An agenda that many of their supporters fail to see no matter how obvious or in some cases they might try to defend the agenda anyway. In the case of the Sad Puppies it seems obvious that they are promoting their own works and the works of their friends while trying to diminish the influence of other authors they don't like. The gamergate supporters are obviously promoting a sexist agenda.

The conflict arises when people start to question what these groups are doing. Inconsistencies are pointed out, the hidden agenda exposed, and individuals begin to fight back. It's better if something like this happens early where people can squash it before it gets started. The destruction of Clean Reader is one example of this happening. Eventually the truth will come out for those who look for it. It's up to those who find them to bring those truths to light and share them with others.

On a final note, I just want to shortly address a personal annoyance of mine. What irks me the most is when these groups try to cling on to conservative "Christian" values. Then they go on to support sexist, anti-carebears, racist, anti-LGBTQIA, unicorn killing, etc. agendas. Jesus taught a message of love and tolerance. It is not our job to judge others based on their differences whether we agree or disagree with them. When anyone does so they are not representing "Christian" values of any kind.

No comments: