Combative and confrontational

Since we are all about the evidence here at VP, be it scientific, documentary, or testimonial, here is a documented example of the sort of thing that a certain Baen author pointed out a certain Tor author is prone to overlooking on the part of the Tor editors when he is busy on pinkshirt patrol policing the behavior of other SF/F publishers.

The Baen author wrote: “Scalzi’s editor Patrick Nielsen-Hayden has been a rather routine and
divisive voice on his Making Light blog for many years now.  Often
combative, often confrontational.  Both he and his wife.  How much
division have the Nielsen-Hayden duo sown?  How much has their invective
and their involvement in various controversies helped to put up walls
in fandom?  Has Scalzi ever once called either of them out for it?”

Then someone sent me this little rant, courtesy of Teresa Neobatrachia Hayden, as she threatened those who dared to criticize her husband, the self-declared racist, Patrick Nielsen Hayden:

There’s been a big LJ thrash recently, one of those maelstroms of online
stupidity that take on a life of their own. All kinds of good people
got trashed, starting with Elizabeth Bear. Patrick got involved when he
posted some consoling remarks to Lisa Spangenberg. In the course of
those remarks, he observed that (1) some people are stupid; and (2)
some people don’t argue as well as others. The mob took this personally,
and lit into him.

What would you expect from a group that’s
self-selected for agreement with the statement, “I’m stupid, and I don’t
argue well”? Things got extremely ugly.

I wonder whether any of
those draggletailed loudmouths have noticed that Patrick has now deleted
his entire Live Journal, all the way back to the beginning. I doubt
they have. They don’t strike me as the sort to go back and see the
damage they’ve done. Patrick has as usual taken them seriously; whereas
they, knowing themselves better than he does, will have known they
weren’t worth listening to, and assumed they’d had no effect.

tender them my congratulations. Whatever good there was in Patrick’s LJ
is gone now. Those members of the mob who actually wanted someone to
listen to them now have one less person to do it. The junior literary
critics and wanna-be writers have lost one of the central editors in
science fiction from their conversation. And if any of that lot
professes to care about Patrick personally — please understand I’m not
rating that probability very high at the moment — it should be obvious
to them what kind of effect they’ve had.

I know Patrick better
than anyone else. This is serious damage. The nithings who’ve hurt him
will have moved on to some other inane topic by now. There’s nothing
worthwhile I can do to them. It wouldn’t take away his hurt — and
besides, they wouldn’t understand most of what I had to say to them.

other issue: when Patrick and I first registered our Live Journal
accounts, it never occurred to us to use anything other than our real
names — or rather, our real initials, which are easily traced to us,
and which we’ve used as userIDs in other forums where our identities are
or were known. Has it not occurred to the people attacking him that
they can say anything, whereas what they say about him will show up
whenever someone Googles his name? In terms of public reputation,
they’re playing with Monopoly money, and he’s playing with the real

Some of the people who are using false names are known to
him. Some of them are known to or evident to me. In those cases, I’ve
told Patrick who they really are. It’s only fair. Just on the other side
of the boundary for people whose identities he can figure out are
people whom he can almost figure out: this one is a VP student. This one
is someone he knows at conventions. This one is a reviewer he’s had
dealings with. And so forth.

Do any of those safely pseudonymous assholes ever stop to reflect that if he can tell they’re a former VP student, but not which one,
all former VP students become “people who may be traducing me on LJ at
this very moment”? The same thing goes for people he knows from
conventions, or wanna-be writers who might submit something to him.
Entire classes of people become potential attackers. That’s why I
identify everyone I can: it exculpates everyone else in that class.

of you I can’t identify are not off the hook. I suggest that you never
seek to take credit under your real name for anything you’ve done or
written under your LJ pseudonym, because it’s unlikely that I will ever
forget you or what you’ve done.

Did Toni Weisskopf ever threaten anyone in the industry or publicly question the extent of their sexual experience? Alternatively, did Mr. Scalzi ever wax outraged and hold his very own editor to public account? Meanwhile, the overweight amphibian croaks about hurt… what about the terrible pain her husband inflicted on us People of Color? What about the FeelBad he has caused us? What about the way our tender feelings are bruised, even years later, by Patrick Nielsen Hayden’s cold declaration of racism?

It certainly explains a lot about the rot in SF/F over the last three decades to know that this pair of half-witted lunatics were editors at the largest publisher in the genre. Between them and the Peter Jacksons, it is a tossup as to which marriage was more disastrous for modern science fiction and fantasy.

Speaking of Mr. Nielsen Hayden’s reputation, I find it more than a little amusing that one has only to type “patrick nielsen h” into Google and the fourth autocomplete suggestion is “patrick nielsen hayden racist”. Despite all the pointing and shrieking that has been directed at me over the years, the accusation doesn’t even come up that quickly for me. What a grand editorial legacy to leave behind: racism and McRapey.