The Sky is Falling – Amanda S. Green
At least that is the way it might seem if you were paying much attention to those very vocal few who have made it their life’s mission to denigrate anyone who might even remotely be associated with Sad Puppies 3. Oh how they have rallied these last few days to not only vilify Lou Antonelli but, even in the face of the one man who could reasonably be seen as having an issue with him accepting his apology, they continue to attack and demonize him. This has resulted in at least one contract being cancelled for Mr. Antonelli and even that is not enough to satisfy those who have taken to social media to attack him.
And, like with so much of what the Anti-Puppy crowd has done these last few months, they have taken Antonelli’s actions and blown them out of proportion. Specifically, Antonelli sent a letter to the Spokane Police Department expressing concerns not so much about what David Gerrold might personally do but what some of those who follow him on social media might do. Was it a wise move on Antonelli’s part? No. But, to be honest, with some of the vitriol I have seen from both sides of the fence the last few months, I can understand why he might have felt concerned.
As is the way of so many things in the day of the internet and public records requests, the letter and its contents became known. Having had time to calm down and think about what he had done, Antonelli issued an apology to David Gerrold and Gerrold accepted the apology. But that wasn’t the end of it. Oh no, not by a long shot.
Some of the more vocal of the Anti-Puppy crowd have fanned the fires. They keep referring to what Antonelli did as “swatting” Gerrold and Sasquan. It is another example of how they have found the best hot button word, one we all associate with bad behavior and danger to those involved. But, are they right? Did Antonelli “swat” Gerrold and Sasquan?
Not only no but hell no.
From Wikipedia, “Swatting is the act of tricking an emergency service (via such means as hoaxing an emergency services dispatcher) into dispatching an emergency response based on the false report of an ongoing critical incident.” It has happened when police have been called to someone’s home saying a robbery or kidnapping is in progress. It is often associated with gamers doing it to other gamers or fans, very disturbed and misguided fans, doing it to Hollywood stars.
But note one thing, it is the “false report of an ongoing critical incident.”
Hmm. I don’t quite see how a letter qualifies, especially one expressing concern over potential actions for an event that is not taking place for weeks from the date of delivery.
The Business Insider gives this example of what SWATTING is:
Imagine you’re at home playing a video game, broadcasting your gameplay online for your followers to watch on the video-streaming site Twitch. Without warning, the door to your room is busted open and SWAT officers are screaming at you to put your hands up and get on the ground — all while thousands of people online get a front-row seat to the action thanks to your computer’s webcam.
And yet there are those who continue to claim that Antonelli’s letter and his subsequent comments on a podcast constituted SWATTING and Antonelli is the lowest of low.
From the podcast, here are the few sentences the group takes issue with:
“I personally wrote a letter addressed to the police chief in Spokane and said I thought the man was insane and a public danger and needs to be watched when the convention’s going on, and I mean it. I attached my business card. I said this guy’s inciting to violence. Somebody—a weak-minded might attack somebody because of his relentless strength of abuse. I think, honestly, I think he belongs in a secure psychiatric facility.”
Personal opinion? Yes.
Prudent and wise? Probably not.
Ongoing critical incident? Not a chance.
But let’s look at this from the other side of the coin. Irene Gallo called Puppies of the Sad and Rabid forms “extreme right wing and neo-nazi”. She also said they were “racist, misogynist and homophobic.” Others have suggested that Brad Torgersen be muzzled by his editor or have his contract dropped. But where is the outrage from those who are so worried about everyone being treated equally when the livelihoods of writers and artists are being threatened by such accusations?
Oh, wait, we don’t matter. They don’t care that such accusations could cause someone with a security clearance to lose that clearance and, thereby, their job. They don’t give a rat’s ass about calling on editors to muzzle their writers for expressing a personal opinion that the other side doesn’t approve of. But let us call out Irene Gallo or anyone else for what they say and we become the big bad enemy.
And this is all over an award that most of the reading public doesn’t even know exists.
There really are times when I feel like I am standing along the edge of the playground watching a bunch of three year olds – my son was much better behaved at that age – pitching a fit because they can’t have their way. Worse, it makes all of us look bad to those who wander past our social media posts and see this sort of BS.
I refuse to apologize for supporting Sad Puppies 3. I was honored to be included on the recommended list of authors, bloggers, artists and more Brad put together. I will never apologize for believing story and character development are more important than message in fiction. The vast majority of readers want to be entertained when they pick up a book, not preached at. That doesn’t mean a book can’t have a message. It just means there has to be more than just a message to it.
Then again, unlike the other side, I had no problem reading everything that was on the Hugo ballot – and yes, I lost a lot of sleep making sure I did just that – and then voting for what I thought was the best. I did not stomp my foot and grit my teeth and put “No Award” above any nominee just because it was by an author I might not agree with politically or because they were off of the Rabid Puppy or someone else’s recommended list. I didn’t even vote “No Award” above something with a message just because it had a message.
But then, I also recognize that Antonelli’s comments and his letter weren’t the most prudent thing he’s ever done but they also do not deserve the vilification he has received as a result.
So here’s the deal, folks. I don’t care what side of the issue you’re on. Grow the f*ck up. Antonelli apologized. Gerrold accepted it. They were the parties involved. No one else has a dog in this show.
I’m not holding my breath. I’ve seen too much of the other side to think they will act like the responsible adults they claim to be. They smell blood in the water right now because Antonelli apologized. They view that as weakness and they will do everything they can to exploit it. After all, now it is SWATTING to send what used to be viewed as a crank letter. At least in their eyes and as long as the letter concerns them. But how many “concerned” communications have their side sent to Sasquan’s concom, how many “concerned” conversations have been had that say basically the same thing as Antonelli’s letter? Even if they haven’t sent such “concerns” to Sasquan, you can find similar on their Facebook or Twitter feeds, in their FB comments and on their blogs.
Yes, my friends, the double standard is alive and well and living in the science fiction and fantasy world.