Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

“Do not refer to yourself as a person to whom honor is important again.”

My friends are counseling me to stop stirring this up and it’s my intention oblige them. The people that have come to me to talk about what their beef with me is have mostly been everything from civil to downright courteous. I think the exchanges have cleared up a few things for me and generally been positive. But there is one person who showed up to my blog and insisted on crossing a line here. And that’s what I’m going to talk about now.

The guy is Nick Mamatas. You may have seen him lighting up Twitter over recent culture wars topics. You may have seen his piece on H. P. Lovecraft in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Why some big time “real” writer should have the time to come over to my on blog and not just boss me around, but also deliver the biggest insult I have ever received in my life is beyond me. But I think he made a mistake. I think he himself made the sort of mistake that he was attempting to goad me into making. In the first place, this action makes him look like a bully. In the second place, it makes it look like my description of his behaviors as being cultish evidently hit close enough to home that I am a threat to him.

And if you must know, his crushing blow came in response to my request for some kind of time out. This is a person that I was liable to lose my temper around. In every way, he strikes me as being a master sophist. And I’ll admit, I am nobody. Eh, a few people read my column, sure… but I basically I have one person in my circles that I would consider to be what I can only describe as a fan. And to see this guy come into my space and run his gaslighting routine on him makes my blood boil.

But this isn’t eighth grade. I can’t tell him to meet me off school grounds when the bell rings at 3:30. We do not live in a dueling culture. We are not Teutonic Knights. So what can you do?

Well let me tell you.

I believe that Nick Mamatas’s behavior runs as close to being abuse as can be achieved while retaining plausible deniability. There’s only so much of that crap that I can endure while retaining my composure. His cohort is liable to seize on that as me being a wimp or a girly man or a coward and then snicker to each other about it, but so what. I know my limits. When I’ve had enough, I will say so. If you can’t respect that, then that says way more about you than it does me.

And I will say this as well. Nick Mamatas knows nothing about honor. I will not be lectured on it by him. If he knew anything about it, he would have a little something in the way of noblesse oblige. If he knew anything about it, he could have simply answered me with “no, problem… just let me know when you’re ready to continue this.” If he knew anything about it, he would be able to treat me as being someone that deserves to eat at the same lunch counters that he does.

But the nasty stuff he and his crew does actually works. When they drop their routine on novice writers it is intimidating. It makes people want to drop out all together. It makes them want to not go out in public. It makes them wonder why they ever got the notion to write anything for anybody. It makes them doubt the reality of everything they’ve worked to achieve. And to my saying that, he would snub me like he did when I first raised an objection to this sort of treatment: “If that’s all it takes to make you feel like a victim of some oppression, you should get out more and do more things.”

To that I say bullshit. Top tier jazz men don’t treat novice musicians that way. Tabletop gamers don’t treat each other this way. No, there is something going on here that is so weird, so outside the bounds of normal that the only way that I can describe it is as being some kind of cult or something. And I won’t have it.

And then, the jeers and the snide remarks start up again. The gossips speculate. The cult members reassess my status level down another notch.

Whooptey doo.

The tone of their remarks at this point are like those of bullies when they are caught out actually hurting a disabled person on their school bus. “Ah, we didn’t mean nuffin’ by it…. We’s juss teasin’!” Right. I am sure that is precisely the case. The other one I really like seeing is “ah that guy, he’s so sensitive; you know… he really ought to thank us for all the backhanded compliments we gave him.”

Well sorry to disappoint you, but I won’t do that.

And I’m not going to apologize for expecting to be treated like a human being. I’ve had it with this stuff.

Update: Nick showed up in the comments here and I made this offer to him after a brief discussion:

If you want do the “let’s both apologize for each of our parts in this, agree to disagree, shake [virtual] hands and move on” thing I am open to that. Even if you don’t I intend to set this aside and get back to something more constructive. I do not intend to pursue any arguments with either you or the rest of the File770 people any time in the foreseeable future.

I believe he rejected this offer, which I find alarming given the circumstances.

I am setting boundaries here for what I am willing to take from hostile people, because like I say… I have had enough.

I am not looking for trouble, but again, I find this man’s attitude to be genuinely toxic. Maybe I brought this on myself, and maybe I really do owe the guy an apology for what I’ve said about him. I’m open to discussion that. But if I say, “your behavior is borderline abusive” and your response is to keep at it, then that makes me think I have a genuine bully on my hands and that I’m not as responsible for the ugliness as I’d otherwise assume.

I have never had to ban someone before, but I am taking the liberty to delete his comments from this post.

Update 2: I have gotten with Nick and talked things out. We have agreed to drop this and move on. Neither of us bear any ill-will toward each over over this exchange. For those that wanted to read his response to me, it is here.


26 responses to ““Do not refer to yourself as a person to whom honor is important again.”

  1. MishaBurnett June 14, 2015 at 8:27 am

    It may be the coward’s way out, but this kind of thing is what me leave Science Fiction as a genre. I refuse to use those words to describe my work. They can have it. I will write what I want and stay out of their lunchroom altogether.

  2. Cedar Sanderson June 14, 2015 at 8:43 am

    you have at least one other fan. I appreciate how you make your points, and I’ve enjoyed most of your posts, even the ones that leave this non-gamer girl doing the confused puppy head-tilt. But the reviews of old classics are treasures. Don’t let them get you down. You know you’re saying something right when they come attacking. Keep at what you meant to say, and we’ll keep listening.

  3. Cedar Sanderson June 14, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Oh, and it’s a bit rambly (the reviewer isn’t well, as you will see) but you really need to read the last lines of this post.

  4. James May June 14, 2015 at 11:29 am

    I have been as guilty as anyone of insults, but I don’t regret it. I came to this long ago from seeing an increasing number of free-flowing insults against men and whites as an entire group, even English for crying out loud. When I asked what was going on I was banned, deleted and accused of being a homophobic racist who hated women, or even insane. There would be no debate. My guilt was my skin and sex, my “privilege.”

    Okay. Game on. Let the insults – and facts – flow. But not towards a race and sex, but rather, to the people doing that.

    That’s the insane irony here. This entire social justice movement is predicated on the idea there is something like anti-non-white, anti-woman and anti-gay hate speech and defamation, and that it is wrong. And so their cure is racial and sexual hate speech and defamation? WTF?

    Turns out it’s only wrong one way, and that’s when you begin to sense the true origins of this movement, and it’s not from oppressed people, but people who don’t like me and have sold that to some truly naive people and called it “diversity,” “marginalization,” “exclusion” and “underrepresented.”

    As they say, you can’t get there from here.

    All along I have offered a very simple solution: rules. If racial and sexual defamation is such a problem in SF, let’s make a definition of hate speech and ostracize anyone doing it. I don’t even care what it is; just make one for everyone.

    Crickets. It’s always crickets. That again tells you the true origins of this movement and how naive it’s supporters are. They are being sold a con game by con men. Because the reality is that if you do that, scores of editors, lit-org presidents, well-placed bloggers, serial convention panelists and award-nominated authors disappear overnight. Obviously, that’s not going to happen.

    The another revealing thing is this very movement itself has gone so far as to boycott any conventions that don’t have race-sex harassment policies, so they damn well know what I’m talking about, since it is their very idea. But the harassment only works one way. Once again the con game reveals itself.

    There are no rules. Being white and a man is a foul ball and anything else a base hit; those are the rules.

    Let the insults flow, cuz I’m not playing that game – not with anyone.

    These people won’t let this race-sex-privilege thing go. It’s like an addiction. And considering this is SFF, it is a very weird addiction in a very weird place. That yet again tells you something of the obsessive narcissistic origins of this sociopathic movement and their interests. No normal human being thinks SFF is Civil Rights-era Mississippi in the 21st century. Imagine doing this in Westerns or murder mystery genres and you can see how weird these people are.

    They won’t make up rules, and there’s a reason for that. That’s because the people most invested in promoting this ideology have the same ideas for rules pre-Civil Rights-era white supremacists did, the very people this social justice movement laughingly and falsely claims to be against. Well, they may be against the skin, but they are fully on board with what passes for the principle – hate.

    Without rules there is no debate or fair play. A flood of Tweets, articles and posts with no quotes are “proof” of wanting to keep non-whites, gays and women out. Jim Hines even went after a too-white photo of WorldCon chairs once. Actual anti-white anti-male quotes in their thousands with the exact same odd language about “privilege” and “misogyny” are ignored, transformed, made anecdotal, out of context, etc.

    Actual racial and sexual segregation, initiatives which either call for or actually do boycott men and whites are ignored. The fact nothing exists like that on the other side is ignored too – sad puppies or Gamergate women disappear or are called “misogynists.” There never was any movement in SFF which used terms equivalent to “white tears,” “mansplaining,” “white saviors, and the whole nine yards. We are being lied to.

    Scores of people like Matthew Foster today outright mention “a lessening of dominance of white authors” and then when you quote them you’re called a paranoid with the LOL and “who said anything about less white males?” They say that shit even while they boycott white male panels, reviewing them, etc. This is SFF – drag your weird obsessions elsewhere. Only you are doing what you claim others are.

    It’s a con game; that’s all it is.

    • jeffro June 14, 2015 at 11:34 am

      I asked the File770 people for a neutral ground where fans could set aside the culture wars in order to meet together as fans to discuss the things that they are fans of. The fact that those efforts were sabotaged and rejected by enough of their people that it can’t happen tells me everything I need to know.

    • James May June 14, 2015 at 12:08 pm

      My innocuous comments deleted while an actual stalker and a women who has openly admitted to mental health issues and been kicked off a variety platforms continue on does not define “neutral.”

      By the way, I wouldn’t worry about your tormentor. His Wikipedia page of yawning boredom is longer than Patti Russo’s. I mention her exactly cuz a lot of people may never have heard of her. And yet she has had an extraordinary career pioneering a rock and roll style of music – mostly with Meatloaf – and even as an actor. You don’t have to be a genius to figure out what bitterness and jealousy looks like. Were I a braggart my non-existent Wiki page would be twenty times longer than the enfant terrible which never quite turned into a butterfly. But I play to an audience of one and I don’t need no Wiki. Let his Wiki be your last laugh.

      When it comes to sheer gracelessness, it probably explains a lot of these frustrated geniuses. They’re like the mad scientist Boris Karloff in those old Universal films the world has disrespected and he will avenge himself on. One of them is always going on about how her epic fantasy has been ignored compared to GRRM cuz he’s a he even while she cries only about the women harmed in his word. There is no awareness or irony in feminist ladyland.

      Our accidental demographic is used as proof of a conspiracy and we become white male scapegoats for their own lack of success. Guts, talent, determination and discipline are not “privilege.” Max Brand wrote 500 short novels. So go do that and stay off of Twitter whining about men. You may suddenly discover “privilege” and the elusive “meritocracy” and stop letting yourself be an affirmative action patsy used by people who live in all-white neighborhoods. They are in no hurry to see diversity up close and personal.

    • ninagrauer111 June 14, 2015 at 7:45 pm

      Won’t someone think of the WHITE PEOPLE!!!!! Just because they can call the cops without being worried about getting beat up and don’t have to prove themselves worthy of their jobs doesn’t mean that they can’t be severely hurt by people saying MEAN THINGS about them.

    • Cirsova June 15, 2015 at 11:35 am

      On the plus side, I now realize that Lovecraft fan fiction has bigger problems than base hackery.

  5. jlv61560 June 14, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    Welcome to the world of the “Social Justice Warrior,” demanding “tolerance” and “diversity” and then proceeding to reveal by their words and actions that they haven’t got a clue what those two words even mean. The sheer hypocrisy of people like Mammatos (or however you spell it) never ceases to amaze me. As does their arrogance, contempt for others and general clownishness. As a general rule, despite whatever “success” they can claim as members of the so-called “intelligentsia,” they are personally miserable and simply want to push that off on as many other people as they can. For them, life is a zero-sum game. They can’t win unless someone else loses. And that’s really the saddest part of their lives of all.

    • jeffro June 14, 2015 at 12:48 pm

      I believe a lot of this stuff makes sense from their perspective. However my experience with this is that it is utterly toxic. My mistake was not understanding what kind of boundaries to set when engaging. People think the “I’m shocked, shocked” routine is put on, but I really was surprised by it all. I don’t want to stay inside my own echo chambers, but there’s really only so much of this that I can take at once. If that means I’m some kind of hick, well… you got me there.

    • James May June 14, 2015 at 2:42 pm

      This is a cult (and it can quite rightly be called a cult) which is based on the idea it is wrong to negatively critique humans based on their skin and sex. The cult is also based on critiquing people based on their race and sex. That is not a thing I need to take seriously or be polite to. It is an Orwellian nuthatchery of hate and intolerance for their fellow human beings. How hard is it for adults in 21st century America to figure out that self-contradiction?

      This cult also continually rags on mid-century SF authors as benighted and backwards. I have some information for you: they were far more advanced thinkers than this bunch. When you have Nebula nominees writing about “vomit zombies” and calling anyone who uses the all too human term “misandry” an idiot, I am not impressed. Such failings are human, not male. If you resent having to write in English and white people and want to pretend there was whites-only “colonialism,” there are airplane tickets to far away and noble lands.

      • jeffro June 14, 2015 at 2:45 pm

        I enjoy a good James May rant on occasion myself, especially if it invokes Jack Vance and criticizes authors that admit to not having read him, however… I do not believe that this guy has run the standard “intersectionalist” talking points that you tend to tear apart.

      • James May June 14, 2015 at 4:09 pm

        I agree. I recently wrote that myself. He doesn’t obsess on this feminist stuff and isn’t really part of the problem. I imagine there’s tons of people who aren’t. I think the problem is not a numbers game but where those numbers are concentrated. That points to collusion and an ideological echo chamber which rewards collusion right there. To me the problem isn’t just hate speech but how smoothly it’s mainstreamed by people who’ve obviously spent a lot of time reading the same stuff and making hate seem like a good thing. Their arguments are virtually identical. Some of what Anita Sarkessian says is almost verbatim from bell hooks. This way that “privilege” is used came from a very specific place. And in SFF, at one time or another, virtually the entire bunch network on Twitter. It’s like a club and they know each other very well. Anyone not part of that club who challenges them more than a couple times usually gets blocked.

  6. Eric June 14, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    When Nick Mamatas talks about a person having no honor, he speaks from personal experience.

  7. Dave W. June 14, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Wow, sorry you had to deal with that, Jeffro. I had no idea Mamatas was that big of a weasel.

    PS: the worn-out MechWarrior and Battletech rulebooks on the shelf pic bring a nostalgic manly tear to my eye. :-D

    • jeffro June 14, 2015 at 4:24 pm

      Whoo boy, that’s like one of the greatest games ever. I love the post-apocalyptic elements of the earliest iterations…!

      • Dave W. June 14, 2015 at 4:35 pm

        Totally agree. I lost count of all the hours my old gaming group played with our merc units, scrounging for mech parts and C-Bills, trying to find competent techs to hire, looking for the next contract on backwater worlds in the Periphery. Sigh….. Those were the salad days of my tabletop gaming.

  8. Robert Davis June 14, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    You shouldn’t let trolls upset you so much. They grow slightly larger when that happens.

  9. Rogers Cadenhead (@rcade) June 15, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    Bloggers should be comfortable kicking people out of their space for whatever reason they see fit. If someone’s being too much of an ass, show them the door.

    But when you write a blog post slamming somebody and then delete his responses, what’s left behind is an open forum where people can call him a bully, weasel and other names but he can’t offer a defense.

    I have no idea whether it was fair to call him those names in the absence of his responses — I didn’t see them. It seems to me that when you took the step of deleting his comments, you should’ve deleted the whole post.

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