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Monday, May 21, 2012

A failure in condescension

In which SFWA President-for-Life John Scalzi's misguided attempt to curry favor with the non-white, non-male portion of the population is shown to be conclusively wrong by his very own selected metrics:
I’ve been thinking of a way to explain to straight white men how life works for them, without invoking the dreaded word “privilege,” to which they react like vampires being fed a garlic tart at high noon. It’s not that the word “privilege” is incorrect, it’s that it’s not their word. When confronted with “privilege,” they fiddle with the word itself, and haul out the dictionaries and find every possible way to talk about the word but not any of the things the word signifies.

So, the challenge: how to get across the ideas bound up in the word “privilege,” in a way that your average straight white man will get, without freaking out about it?

Being a white guy who likes women, here’s how I would do it:

Dudes. Imagine life here in the US — or indeed, pretty much anywhere in the Western world — is a massive role playing game, like World of Warcraft except appallingly mundane, where most quests involve the acquisition of money, cell phones and donuts, although not always at the same time. Let’s call it The Real World. You have installed The Real World on your computer and are about to start playing, but first you go to the settings tab to bind your keys, fiddle with your defaults, and choose the difficulty setting for the game. Got it?

Okay: In the role playing game known as The Real World, “Straight White Male” is the lowest difficulty setting there is.

This means that the default behaviors for almost all the non-player characters in the game are easier on you than they would be otherwise. The default barriers for completions of quests are lower. Your leveling-up thresholds come more quickly. You automatically gain entry to some parts of the map that others have to work for. The game is easier to play, automatically, and when you need help, by default it’s easier to get.
Now, let me first point out that John is not a bad guy. He's actually remarkably low on the obnoxious left-liberal scale for a science fiction writer, much less a successful one, and there is no question that he means well. That being said, he's about as socio-sexually Gamma as it is possible to be and still be straight, and for someone whose communication skills are quite high, he's uncharacteristically oblivious to what a condescending little fuck this post makes him appear to be. But it's only an illusion, as the reality is that Scalzi is actually engaging in a brilliant subversion.

This will, of course, escape most readers. I suspect the average straight white man who actually works for a living rather than sitting around making up stories primarily for the benefit of obese middle-aged women aren't terribly inclined to be lectured by an overweight, educated, soft-handed little man about how easy they have it. Let's look at his metaphor of the difficulty setting, which as a gamer, game producer, and game designer I am rather well suited to examine.

First, I note that he is clearly referring to a snapshot in time. Straight white men didn't have it any easier than, for example, straight brown men back in the age of the Pharoahs, nor will they have it easier should China defeat the USA in 2050. So, the metrics have to refer to today, now, not what life was like in 500 BC, 1850, or 2050. Having established that, let's look at the measures he specifically notes and see how many of them are true:

1. The default barriers for completions of quests are lower.
2. Your leveling-up thresholds come more quickly.
3. You automatically gain entry to some parts of the map that others have to work for.
4. The game is easier to play, automatically
5. When you need help, by default it’s easier to get.

1. This is clearly false. There is copious evidence showing that Scalzi has it completely wrong here. Who is permitted to graduate from high school or college while doing sub-standard work, a black individual or a white one? Who is permitted to skate in the workplace more often, men or women? For whom are the standards reduced more often, white men or non-white men?

2. This is also generally false; Scalzi's perspective here is likely skewed from his professional involvement in the literary and Hollywood worlds, where connections matter far more than experience or achievement. But unless your father owns the cleaning company, the average white male janitor or white male sales guy is not going to level up any more quickly than anyone else, in fact, there is considerable statistical evidence that proves women are promoted much more quickly than men in corporate America. One need only look at news broadcasts to see an example of this; one never sees a twenty-two year old man reading the news. Note that the median age of female newscasters is 26, six years younger than male newscasters.

3. This is true, but irrelevant and misleading. Scalzi simply ignores that white men created the desirable parts of the map where everyone wants to go. There is no straight white male privilege in Zimbabwe because their existence is strongly frowned upon... and what was once the wealthy colony of Rhodesia is now a third-world hellhole. Scalzi has his causation backwards here, it would be more relevant and historically correct to say that white men create more desirable parts of the map than others. If he seriously wishes to dispute this, I suggest he move away from his lily-white Midwestern exurbia into a more vibrant community such as South-Central Los Angeles, downtown Detroit, or post-Apartheid Yeoville. It should come as no surprise that straight white men happen to be better at playing the game of Western Civilization than anyone else. They're probably less naturally accomplished at the Grass Hut Game, the Aesthetic Stasis Game, or the Naked Savage Orgy Game.

4. Is the game easier to play or are the players intrinsically more skilled? Scalzi simply makes a naked assertion without offering any support for it. Since the game is the same and the rules are the same, logic favors the idea that any quantitative advantage to the straight white male in this regard stems from the way in which the characters points are distributed more efficiently rather than the game setting.

5. This is obviously untrue. The research on the male inclination to ask for, and accept, help clearly demonstrates that it is women who find help much easier to get. The ease with which women and minorities are permitted to exercise free association while white men are not proves that help is much harder for them to get than for others.

So, ironically enough, subversively enough, Scalzi not only fails to make his case, but by his own chosen metrics, winds up demonstrating that it is women who are playing on the lowest difficulty setting, not men. One would think that was obvious, given how they live longer, work less, and have far more options open to them. As for the straight question, that's not even relevant, since homosexuality is not the equivalent of a difficulty setting, but rather, being left-handed and choosing to play with your left hand on a right-handed controller. It's understandable why someone might make that decision, but the controller is what it is and it works a lot better if you simply use your non-dominant hand.

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117 Comments:

Anonymous Daniel May 21, 2012 9:06 AM  

I only caught his tweet about his smug insight, assumed the rest, and was disappointed. His politics and outlook are always prostitutional, but he's never been such a plain old whore about it before. I doubt it got him any closer to bedding the grad student - the only objective that would explain such sniveling.

He's always been proud of his sit-com level enlightenment, but now he's just being a flake.

Anonymous Knarf May 21, 2012 9:11 AM  

> Scalzi simply ignores that white men created the desirable parts of the map where everyone wants to go.

Bingo. This one line is where you nail the issue squarely on its pointy little head.

The game is (slightly) easier for straight white men because straight white men created the game that everyone else wants to play. Don't like that truth? Fine, then go create your own competing game that's better.

Anonymous zen0 May 21, 2012 9:14 AM  

I was hoping you would find that.

Anonymous Salt May 21, 2012 9:15 AM  

one never sees a twenty-two year old man reading the news and the median age of female newscasters is 26, six years younger than men.

As a white male I appreciate it also. Some of the FOX NEWS babes are hot.

Anonymous Kyle In Japan May 21, 2012 9:18 AM  

The first thing I thought about when I read this is how, at the very least, white women have it far better than men right now. They hold all the power cards.

Blogger Nate May 21, 2012 9:20 AM  

For F's Sake... what kind of a retard does it take to wander through life and not realize that attractive females are so privileged in life that they are effectively playing an entirely different game?

Blogger Vox May 21, 2012 9:23 AM  

I don't think the SFWA's president-for-life has had a whole lot of experience dealing with attractive women, Nate.

Anonymous Salt May 21, 2012 9:26 AM  

Just look at what rides the Alpha carousel.

Anonymous Pablo May 21, 2012 9:26 AM  

Is the game easier to play or are the players intrinsically more skilled?

That's the first thing that came to my mind when I read what Scalzi had to say. By "privilege" does he really mean talents and/or values? As a white man, am I suppose to negatively regard my own IQ and work ethic?

I know, I know, I am such a raciss!

Anonymous Cited by 1663 May 21, 2012 9:32 AM  

"winds up demonstrating that it is women who are playing on the lowest difficulty setting, not men."


"Through work to bring materials from women's studies into the rest of the curriculum, I have often noticed men's unwillingness to grant that they are overprivileged, even though they may grant that women are disadvantaged. They may say they will work to women's status, in the society, the university, or the curriculum, but they can't or won't support the idea of lessening men's.....

Thinking through unacknowledged male privilege as a phenomenon, I realized that, since hierarchies in our society are interlocking, there is most likely a phenomenon of white privilege that was similarly denied and protected. As a white person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something that puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see one of its corollary aspects, white privilege, which puts me at an advantage.

I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege. So I have begun in an untutored way to ask what it is like to have white privilege. "


White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh


The seminal work on white privilege(from women's studies deptt. no less!) before Mr. Scalzi brought the message to the video game playing, porn watching, forever alone white beta proles.

Anonymous a good ROI May 21, 2012 9:33 AM  

5. When you need help, by default it’s easier to get.

Um, he has not really played WoW if he believes this. Case in point: start a character, choose female, work to about level 3-10, be somewhat kind to a few male characters and they will start GIVING you EQ and gold. You won't even HAVE to ask. You will start having other males help you quest and level up. Join a guild and again, act somewhat female and you will have guys tripping over themselves trying to help you. Jump to the real world, there have been studies that have been completed that show that female are much more likely to be helped in various situations then men are. So he in incorrect both in the gaming world as well as the real world.

Anonymous trk May 21, 2012 9:36 AM  

which 'character class' gets more 'in game perks', 'play this bonus race card when life gets you down', 'in game tax rebates based on their character class' or 'bonus level ups by staying at free ingame housing without exploring the dangerous nasty cave 40hrs a week'...it certainly isnt the 'straight white male' class.

Anonymous Orion May 21, 2012 9:41 AM  

Gee, I wonder how many of the Ilk (or Scalzi himself) know of a "minority" that has been told they would never get a specific job because of their skin color or gender since say, 1980? Told out right by an honest recruiter. I was back in the late 80s as a white male. I had little interest in the FBI, but was at a job fare. Since my major was history and I already had inklings of working in some other field if only to pay for my masters degree and doctorate, I figured and talk to any recruit where I'd even have a remote interest and compatibility with the work. I was flat out told that they were strictly looking for women and blacks. As a white man my chances of getting in were approaching zero. I didn't bother mentioning already having a security clearance as high or higher than they were likely to have from the military. I just filed it away as another case where "the world is being made more fair by robbing Peter to pay Paul". Unlike Scalzi I guess, I was raised by to judge a man by their character instead of skin color. This basically underscored the fact that racists like Scalzi are unable to get past that point and have rigged the game so the net results are "fail" in a large portion of society.

Anonymous Orion May 21, 2012 9:42 AM  

Disjointed entry above, but you get the picture.

Anonymous Vidad May 21, 2012 9:43 AM  

What dreck.

Anonymous Knarf May 21, 2012 9:44 AM  

> So I have begun in an untutored way to ask what it is like to have white privilege

That part made me laugh so hard I spewed my coffee out of my nose.

So Mr. Scalzi actively wants lessons in race relations? I know some 'hoods in Los Angeles where he could get a whole graduate program's worth of lessons packed into 24 hours -- if he makes it out alive.

Anonymous VryeDenker May 21, 2012 9:46 AM  

The top achievers in life make things look easy. Consider professional ballroom dancers. They make it look so effortless, but it's hard as hell to dance the Pasodoble (that's Double-step for us non-Spanish types) in a tux or high heels. The same goes for being white: we make the hard things in life look easy because we have mastered (and in some cases transcended) the techniques.

Anonymous rycamor May 21, 2012 9:46 AM  

What's really ironic about this is that the prototypical WASP of today is probably less likely to rely on his vaunted connections and societal "privileges" than ever. I think it's partially a sense of white guilt, but more than ever it is a pride thing. We've heard for so long about our privileges that we really want to shove it in the world's face.

I myself would have done far better in life if I had been willing to use my family and social connections. In fact, I think young men should be taught more about how to be skilled and judicious in such matters. This is one area where WASPs of any status lower than the classic Ivy League upper-middle have been ill-served by their culture. The upper-middle as well as the successful ethnic groups like Jewish, Indian, Japanese or Chinese in this country are taught from childhood how to use their connections, while young white men are just cast upon the world with a (useless) degree and instructions to go and make something of themselves.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 May 21, 2012 9:47 AM  

Reminds me of the monks who would beat themselves in public for their sins and then bask in the glory of the adoration of the dumb masses.

What a coward this guy is. Seriously, get over the Federally-mandated white guilt and move on with your life.

Anonymous Josh May 21, 2012 9:51 AM  

For F's Sake... what kind of a retard does it take to wander through life and not realize that attractive females are so privileged in life that they are effectively playing an entirely different game?

example 32,851...the sarah phillips scandal at espn

Anonymous rycamor May 21, 2012 10:01 AM  

Orion May 21, 2012 9:41 AM

Gee, I wonder how many of the Ilk (or Scalzi himself) know of a "minority" that has been told they would never get a specific job because of their skin color or gender since say, 1980? Told out right by an honest recruiter. I was back in the late 80s as a white male. I had little interest in the FBI, but was at a job fare. Since my major was history and I already had inklings of working in some other field if only to pay for my masters degree and doctorate, I figured and talk to any recruit where I'd even have a remote interest and compatibility with the work. I was flat out told that they were strictly looking for women and blacks. As a white man my chances of getting in were approaching zero.


As a young, white, fairly poor college grad in '89 I had a few business ideas and thought "hey, why not go to the SBA office in Miami and find out what it takes to get a small business loan?"

When you recover from your laughing fit, understand that yes I was young and naive, but I got an immediate lesson. The black SBA officer I met with practically did a double-take when I came in his door. He perfunctorily listened to a couple of my ideas before saying I was unlikely to get anything because of my race. "Just because of that? So nothing else about my situation makes any difference?" I asked. "Yes, I'm afraid so." I suppose I should be thankful that he at least saved me the trouble of pursuing that charade.

Blogger knightblaster May 21, 2012 10:05 AM  

I don't think the SFWA's president-for-life has had a whole lot of experience dealing with attractive women, Nate.

This has to be it. I guess the Midwestern Exurbia has a higher proportion of fatter folks. Where I've lived (both coasts), there are plenty of attractive women, and these are clearly the ones playing life on "easy mode".

Anonymous Joe Doakes May 21, 2012 10:05 AM  

Scalzi is entitled to his 15 minutes of fatuity, same as anybody else. I don't have to like his political opinions to appreciate "Being Poor" or "Old Man's War."

Scalzi ripping straight white guys is the same career-enhancing-strategy as that fat Dixie Chick shooting her mouth off, but hey, it's his career.

Vox's temporal and locational point is the key. SWM was the winning formula for people living in certain parts of the US for the last 200 years. The rules were different before White Men defeated Indians and will be different in three generations, when minorities will be more populous than whites and will remake all the laws in their own image.

To use Scalzi's metaphor, we're down to one life and the bad guys are gaining ground faster than we can suppress them. Our dominance won't last long. Then the world will look like Mogadishu and life will be back to normal.

Blogger Markku May 21, 2012 10:08 AM  

without invoking the dreaded word “privilege,” to which they react like vampires being fed a garlic tart at high noon

White Privilege by any other name would still cause a race huckster to find your guilt dollar as sweet.

Blogger mmaier2112 May 21, 2012 10:10 AM  

Funny... my brother last night said he wants a black woman for a possible manager slot... "That would be perfect", he said. Because his manager team is all white males.

Anonymous Suomynona May 21, 2012 10:13 AM  

I demand the SFWA take the presidency from Scalzi and give it to an underprivileged, black lesbian, preferably illiterate. Literate people have it far too easy, reading stuff and acting like they're so superior.

Anonymous The other skeptic May 21, 2012 10:18 AM  

Meanwhile, calls to legitimize Israeli aggression in the ME ...

Anonymous The other skeptic May 21, 2012 10:20 AM  


Funny... my brother last night said he wants a black woman for a possible manager slot... "That would be perfect", he said. Because his manager team is all white males.


Perhaps he plans to short his company's stock.

Anonymous The other skeptic May 21, 2012 10:23 AM  


The first thing I thought about when I read this is how, at the very least, white women have it far better than men right now. They hold all the power cards.


I think this always happens at the end of the empire.

When things change they will be unable to cope.

Blogger Nate May 21, 2012 10:24 AM  

"I don't think the SFWA's president-for-life has had a whole lot of experience dealing with attractive women, Nate."

Touche'

Blogger Professor Hale May 21, 2012 10:29 AM  

There is also significant stratification within white male. Tall dark handsome ripped white male have lots of natural advantages over scrawny (or chubby) short white male. Even in gaming communities, no one volunteers to be the player with no particular skills and low scores in every attribute. This is known.

Anonymous dh May 21, 2012 10:31 AM  

> One need only look at news broadcasts to see an example of this; one never
> sees a twenty-two year old man reading the news. Note that the median age
> of female newscasters is 26, six years younger than male newscasters.

Uhh, this is not a good point for you VD. This is because men in the target demographic respond to 26 year old news babes, while the target women demographic do not respond to 26 year news dudes.

Anonymous Randy M May 21, 2012 10:40 AM  

I do have one big unearned advantage that correllates, maybe weakly, with race in our culture--my parents cared about me as a child, not doing drugs while pregnant, feeding me real food, reading to me, disciplining me, etc.

So once I took the keyboard, so to speak, I had more skill points in wisdom, knowledge, health, self-discipline, etc. Though admittedly few in keeping it real.

But if we try to equalize life to eliminate this unfair advantage, don't we disincentivize actions that benefit directly the next generation?

Anonymous VryeDenker May 21, 2012 10:44 AM  

"Uhh, this is not a good point for you VD. This is because men in the target demographic respond to 26 year old news babes, while the target women demographic do not respond to 26 year news dudes."

Aren't all the women in the target demographic cougars?

Anonymous Suomynona May 21, 2012 10:46 AM  

Perspective is everything.
Self-loathing, useful idiot sees: Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is.
Normal human with half a retarded brain sees: Straight White Male: The Highest Setting for Civilization Building There Is

Scalzi elected to turn off commenting to that travesty of logic because he wouldn't be around to monitor: this is the sort of comment thread that needs to be watched closely. Apparently, he's all too aware of how low the difficulty setting is for shredding that piece of garbage he's attempting to pass off as actual reasoning.

Anonymous alexamenos May 21, 2012 10:48 AM  

Privilege = living in a community built by your own kind for your own kind.

What a horrible, horrible thing.

Anonymous rycamor May 21, 2012 10:48 AM  

dh May 21, 2012 10:31 AM

> One need only look at news broadcasts to see an example of this; one never
> sees a twenty-two year old man reading the news. Note that the median age
> of female newscasters is 26, six years younger than male newscasters.

Uhh, this is not a good point for you VD. This is because men in the target demographic respond to 26 year old news babes, while the target women demographic do not respond to 26 year news dudes.


No, this is exactly to point: it is a natural advantage that attractive young women have. Young men, even attractive ones, do not quite have the world handed to them the same way.

Anonymous Biksos Noodoi May 21, 2012 10:50 AM  

Just so you know, Vox: Scalzi lives in Bradford, Ohio, which is 98.82% white.

Seems like a nice low-difficulty-setting place to live in and make your money penning screeds about how awful white people are and how diversity is such a blessing and why we need more of it.

Anonymous The One May 21, 2012 10:55 AM  

I remember my privilege when the black kid with lower SAT's and a lower gpa received the merit scholarship and I did not. Maybe I was playing a different game.

I do agree I had an advantage in having a father vs other's who did not.

Anonymous alexamenos May 21, 2012 10:56 AM  

Jim Goad covers the subject at Takimag...

http://takimag.com/article/were_white_were_male_and_we_suck_jim_goad#axzz1vW3YXONZ

Anonymous Suomynona May 21, 2012 11:07 AM  

alexamenos May 21, 2012 10:56 AM
Jim Goad covers the subject at Takimag...

http://takimag.com/article/were_white_were_male_and_we_suck_jim_goad#axzz1vW3YXONZ


That was excellent.

Anonymous Noah B. May 21, 2012 11:08 AM  

Such people want equality of outcome regardless of how much work and effort a person has put into their achievements. It is yet another of the left's suicidal attempts to defy reality.

Anonymous Move Zig May 21, 2012 11:14 AM  

That one gets a standing O from me, Mr Day.

Anonymous DonReynolds May 21, 2012 11:16 AM  

BRAVO, Vox. A very good retort.

You did not even mention how "privileged" white straight men somehow were relieved of all of the authority, respect, and power....which my father and all who came before him enjoyed in their lifetime.

In return for being relieved of the burden of leading and ruling, we have been rewarded with more responsibility. We should work harder and study harder, so others won't have to. We have to pay an ever increasing proportion of the Federal, state and local revenues....and still loan the government more to make up the deficit....because no one else can fend for themselves. My God, there are millions of people who would starve to death if it weren't for "privileged" white straight men. Of course, we must do everything possible to ensure not only their survival, but their eventual (and inevitable) domination in this country. And since their numbers are so small to start with, we need to import as many as we can from every Third World country in the world, because any delay keeps us from arriving in that post-racial heaven, where everyone is brown and beautiful and has no history of their own.

(We will see.)

Anonymous rycamor May 21, 2012 11:16 AM  

The second page of that Jim Goad article speaks volumes. The poor sap who tried to raise his voice made one major mistake: trying to go halfway and cover for retreat. There can be no retreat in such situations. The "other" side wants no less than complete ritual prostration, and the claws are bared at any sign of weakness. There is no halfway. If you decide to open your mouth about such a topic in public, you must be completely unapologetic and stand your ground (and maintain your cool), or you will be massacred all the worse.

Anonymous Smarty Pants May 21, 2012 11:34 AM  

On the point about young attractive women having an advantage over men the same age, I think Hollywood provides a good example. There is dozens of very successful young actresses who are constantly getting major parts in films who are in there teens and twenties. How many major male movie stars in there twenties can anyone think of, even in the historical sense. You can name people who has been in one very successful film or even a successful franchise but not many who have constantly get great parts throughout there twenties. In terms of actresses I can think of dozens. Nearly all male actors don't start getting success until there late twenties and early thirties, maybe even later and that's the way its always been. The only real exception I can think of is Leonardo Di Caprio.

Think is why I always think it is silly when actresses complain about the fact that they find it harder to get parts in films once they turn 30. They always seem to forget the major advantage they had during there twenties.

Anonymous Noah B. May 21, 2012 11:38 AM  

At an engineering firm I worked at years ago, a black guy with an engineering degree, who nevertheless had no design experience, waltzed into an engineering design job making 25% more than I was making, even though I had been working there for two years and had become a top notch designer. One of the owners was stunned by the fact that he didn't sound black, and the substance of the interview apparently ended there.

He was totally incapable of working as a design engineer, so he was promoted to management within about 6 months. When that didn't work out, they created a new marketing position just for him. After he'd been in that position for a couple of years, and he hadn't brought in any new clients, they let him go.

So the idea of white privilege sounds more like some offshoot of liberal guilt from someone who has never held a meaningful job.

Anonymous DonReynolds May 21, 2012 11:39 AM  

Joe Doakes..."Vox's temporal and locational point is the key. SWM was the winning formula for people living in certain parts of the US for the last 200 years. The rules were different before White Men defeated Indians and will be different in three generations, when minorities will be more populous than whites and will remake all the laws in their own image."

White men did not become the majority in North America at Jamestown, Virginia, nor when they put Montezuma to death, or when they landed at Hudson Bay. We actually have quite a bit of historical experience at being THE MINORITY here. Simply put, white men did not prevail by becoming the majority in this country. If the Indians had been inclusive and welcoming, and greeted the newcomers as immigrants, to live as Indians and speak the lingo, perhaps we could compare the experience to today. The American Indian was by no means a Democrat....nor were the white settlers and pioneers.

What will not survive is the Republic of laws, when raw non-white majorities ignore the Constitution and thus end the rule of law. That will be destroyed by people who do not believe in it anyway. Democracy will destroy the Republic, which will be replaced by smaller Republics, that do not include the invaders.

Anonymous Daniel May 21, 2012 11:40 AM  

Perhaps this was written in memory of Boxer from Animal Farm. As wrongheaded as Scalzi can be, his hands do not typically consist of this much ham. Even when he wrote his silly "You don't know what poor is" list, it was liberal and cliched, but it wasn't so brazenly fearful.

Anonymous Orion May 21, 2012 11:42 AM  

"Just so you know, Vox: Scalzi lives in Bradford, Ohio, which is 98.82% white."

Mr. Scalzi needs to relocate to one of the barrios surrounding Chicago like I have at the very least. Or maybe try Detroit, where if you are white and not a multimillionaire you have been on the government's list to push out since 1968. Come on Scalzi, feel the privilege and enjoy the diversity of having to repeat your questions three times before you can translate the answer into something other than gibberish.

Anonymous Noah B. May 21, 2012 11:42 AM  

@Smart Pants

Mickey Rooney, Kurt Russell, MacCaulay Culkin, River Phoenix -- there are lots of examples of young men getting major roles. You probably just tend to find the young attractive starlets more memorable, which I fully understand.

Anonymous VD May 21, 2012 11:53 AM  

Uhh, this is not a good point for you VD. This is because men in the target demographic respond to 26 year old news babes, while the target women demographic do not respond to 26 year news dudes.

Your objection is irrelevant. The rationale doesn't matter, it still contradicts Scalzi's assertion. Furthermore, women are the primary consumers of television news by a significant margin. They don't want to watch old women on the television either.

Anonymous TLM May 21, 2012 11:53 AM  

5. When you need help, by default it’s easier to get.......

What BS. As a white male small business owner that lost practically everything I had in 2010, the "only" people that offered any help at all were those Christian friends whose commitment to "love one another" extended beyond any useless platitudes of help and into their own pocketbooks. For all the "supposed" programs that Congress passed to help out SB's and individuals, I was turned down for every single one that I applied for. The freaking Govt agency leeches that had lived off my ridiculously high taxes (250k alone in Fed Income tax for the previous 8 years) basically all gave me the "FU". Scalzi is a self-loathing pussy.

Anonymous kh123 May 21, 2012 11:54 AM  

Quoted more than once I'm sure:

"Okay: In the role playing game known as The Real World, “Straight White Male” is the lowest difficulty setting there is."

Stopped right there. Someone's apparently not involved in the legal apparatus of this country. Or the tax game, otherwise known as "Ball & Shell: Vice City".

Blogger LP 999/Eliza May 21, 2012 11:56 AM  

Wow on Scalzi. I'm kinda disappointed with him but I can understand where is thinking from.

Bradford Ohio? Major SWPL zone. It is like Steunbeville in a few ways minus the poverty and the doper scene.

On a personal note, this post was helpful to me in the professional setting. As last week I was rejected for a couple gigs. My friends who were pulling for my hire found out it was a demographics issue that I wasn't hired. The HR committee liked me but couldn't hire me...

Blogger JDC May 21, 2012 11:56 AM  

Quote: "I don't think the SFWA's president-for-life has had a whole lot of experience dealing with attractive women, Nate."

And I'll bet he thinks his take on white male privilege will make him more attractive to the hotties, instead of revealing himself to be a caricature of the overweight gamma trying to win over ladies by being nice and in touch with his feminine side.

Anonymous kh123 May 21, 2012 12:17 PM  

"But if we try to equalize life to eliminate this unfair advantage, don't we disincentivize actions that benefit directly the next generation?"

Thank Marx that we have public education for that.

"Such people want equality of outcome regardless of how much work and effort a person has put into their achievements. It is yet another of the left's suicidal attempts to defy reality."

Again, thank Karl Mordechai Levi that we have Communism for that.

Anonymous Rollory May 21, 2012 12:22 PM  

Uncharacteristically?

Every single thing I've ever read from Scalzi has him coming across as a condescending jerk.

When my dad mentioned he was buying Scalzi's "Little Fuzzy" remake, I promised him that if he ever gave it to me, I would burn it unread. Even bought the matches. For a reflexive liberal like Scalzi to pretend to take up the storylines of Piper, as reactionary an author as has ever existed in SF, was the perfect avatar of liberal condescension. I suppose to top it one would have to come out with a "new translation" of the Bible explaining that Eve was actually a homosexual man.

(No argument with the general thrust of the post, though.)

OpenID ZT May 21, 2012 12:23 PM  

They used to think that the South Koreans were just gifted at Starcraft. They dominated the westerners during the first SC. Now with SC2 and expansion of gaming leagues into Europe and the US they are finding that the whites are able to go toe-to-toe. This wasn't doe to superiority of genetics. It was because the Koreans would spend freak'n hours play the game. Now that whites are spending hours as well playing the game they are on an level footing.


Correlation is not Causation.

Anonymous JMH May 21, 2012 12:28 PM  

So, playing on the White Male difficulty setting, where in the Game Settings Control Panel do I uncheck the "constantly stabbed in the back by traitors supposedly on your own team" box?

Also, if "White Male" is the easiest setting, why are so many people lying about their race to play the game on the allededly more difficult non-white settings? Ward Churchill must really be leet...

Anonymous Randy M May 21, 2012 12:39 PM  

"Thank Marx that we have public education for that."

Ah yes. Since headstart is no better than even any parents attention, and public schools fall so far below homeschooling, I'm sure it'll all work out.
Sucking equally--yay?

Anonymous Daniel May 21, 2012 12:43 PM  

Rollory
Every single thing I've ever read from Scalzi has him coming across as a condescending jerk.

Condescending jerk? Yes. But often quite funny. The problem isn't his "rant-jerk" persona, but the fact that his rants only work when they have targeted something true. His rants against the SFWA were condescending, jerky, and funny. His rants about stupid tropes in sci-fi are funny. His rants about crappy fans are funny (if self-serving.) In other words, when he carelessly rants about something with which he is familiar, his condescending jerk character can work.

"Condescending jerk" is a role he takes on to curry fandom. The problem is when he goes off, literally half-cocked, against an illusory target he knows nothing about: in this case, white men.

Scalzi offering man-lessons to men is like Inspector Clouseau offering to teach a class in forensic science. On paper, he would seem to qualify for the job. In practice, the botch-job is funny for reasons to which he will likely never be privy.

Blogger IM2L844 May 21, 2012 12:47 PM  

"The game is easier to play, automatically, and when you need help, by default it’s easier to get."

Just more typically nonsensical leftist pablum. The idiots buying into this crap better hope and pray they never have to actually experience a truly level playing field.

Blogger Vox May 21, 2012 12:49 PM  

Every single thing I've ever read from Scalzi has him coming across as a condescending jerk.

He's been perfectly pleasant in all my contact with him. However, I have to confess, I haven't read any of his books post-Old Man's War and I haven't been reading his blog for quite some time now, pretty much since he got the Stargate gig and started letting lots of people without any interesting ideas post those Big Idea bits.

Anonymous Orion May 21, 2012 12:56 PM  

Did a re-write of Little Fuzzy? One of my least favorite Piper books, but the fact that Scalzi saw a need... frankly, I find that about as condescending as you can get. Piper's influence and contribution to SciFi dwarfs anything Scalzi is likely to contribute if he lives until 200 and writes until he is 199. Scalzi is now of my list for any future purchases. The sad thing is the list of authors worth buying is getting excessively short in the SciFi/Fantasy area. I may really need to reconsider doing some writing myself at this rate.

Anonymous HH May 21, 2012 1:10 PM  

ZT says "They used to think that the South Koreans were just gifted at Starcraft. They dominated the westerners during the first SC. Now with SC2 and expansion of gaming leagues into Europe and the US they are finding that the whites are able to go toe-to-toe. This wasn't doe to superiority of genetics. It was because the Koreans would spend freak'n hours play the game. Now that whites are spending hours as well playing the game they are on an level footing."

Another possible answer is the backbone is much stronger on the Korean internet -- internet is about 4 times faster.

http://articles.cnn.com/2010-03-31/tech/broadband.south.korea_1_broadband-plan-south-korea-broadband-internet?_s=PM:TECH

Blogger Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus May 21, 2012 1:24 PM  

Dudes. Imagine life here in the US — or indeed, pretty much anywhere in the Western world — is a massive role playing game, like World of Warcraft

If life is like WoW, then why do I always get in trouble for waving a battleaxe at my neighbours?

Anonymous WaterBoy May 21, 2012 1:30 PM  

"If life is like WoW, then why do I always get in trouble for waving a battleaxe at my neighbours?"

They probably don't think you should be treating your mother-in-law that way.

Anonymous WaterBoy May 21, 2012 1:34 PM  

This article may have had some relevance in another age. But that is not the one in which we currently live.

Anonymous Country Lawyer May 21, 2012 1:39 PM  

Many of the MMORPG have gone "free to play" which means there are different tiers of players. The free to players (those that don't work) get limited access to the game. in WOW they can only level up to 20. There are premium players (those that have paid for a while, or buy certain perks) that have greater access to the game and then there are the subscribers that pay a monthly fee and with a fair amount of "grinding" (we call this paying taxes and working hard) can get to the top of the game.

Of course there are "signature characters" that often have perks and advantages that the players don't. (elites with family connections). But the signature characters can get bumped off (see Cataclysm for an example, or what City of heroes did to Statesman).

Now, the free players, the premiums and the subscribers can all re-roll new characters (we call these children) and pass on some of the "loot" they've acquired in game to the new characters, but the free players are still limited to level 20.

In order for the game to survive, there has to be enough incentives for the free players to want to go premium or subscribe and enough incentives for the subscribers to keep subscribing.

The more I look at the analogy, the more I like it, and you can see that the Real Life Expansion: Western Civilization has not bee operating under a proper model for sustainability as a game.

Anonymous Move Zig May 21, 2012 1:57 PM  

Isn't the very problem that Scalzi has pointed out, although unwittingly?
"All white people have it so easy while the rest have to suffer and toil in our labor." This message permeates the schools, movies, tv shows and pop music.
Now don't the progressives prefer to minimize atrocities committed by Muslims so as not to anger them too much and make them believe that despite all the violence, we still love them? This way the muslims don't get too angry.
But they do the opposite when white atrocities occur, even when they are proven to be lies.

Anonymous Smarty Pants May 21, 2012 2:11 PM  

"Mickey Rooney, Kurt Russell, MacCaulay Culkin, River Phoenix -- there are lots of examples of young men getting major roles. You probably just tend to find the young attractive starlets more memorable, which I fully understand"

MacCaulay Culkin was a child star who faded away in his late teens and twenties and who is most famous for being in a famous film franchise which I stated was the exception. River Phoenix was a child actor as well but became much more popular after death than he was in life, the same can be said about Dean. Kurt Russell had a career blip in his twenties. Mickey Rooney is an exception but I never said it was true in every possible case after all I gave an example against it. But for every one male I could list you could name as 7 or 8 successful actresses in that same age group. Another exception I can think of in modern times is Shia LeBeouf but his success seems to be more tied into the fact that Speilberg has a boner for him rather than his talent, attractiveness or his ability to attract audiences.

There's another point that could be made about the ability of child actresses to cross over into adult parts in relation to male actors.

Anonymous Daniel May 21, 2012 2:11 PM  

Waterboy
This article may have had some relevance in another age. But that is not the one in which we currently live.

I can't imagine what age that would have been.

I think Scalzi just got himself bamboozled by operating in his infamous "failure mode of clever." He often affects the elitist tone of the condescending superior as vague parody, but again, it only works when he is actually punching holes in something he knows something about.

Manhood isn't one of them.

Anonymous james Dixon May 21, 2012 2:16 PM  

> ...in WOW they can only level up to 20.

Thanks. My wife has thought about trying WOW for quite a while, but has never been able to justify the cost. Now she can try it for free. Somehow I had missed hearing about this.

Anonymous Idle Spectator May 21, 2012 2:25 PM  

"If he seriously wishes to dispute this, I suggest he move away from his lily-white Midwestern exurbia into a more vibrant community such as South-Central Los Angeles, downtown Detroit, or post-Apartheid Yeoville. It should come as no surprise that straight white men happen to be better at playing the game of Western Civilization than anyone else. They're probably less naturally accomplished at the Grass Hut Game, the Aesthetic Stasis Game, or the Naked Savage Orgy Game."

Been to those places. What a bunch of shitholes. I mean vibrant. Shiny vibrant. Shiny vibrant with shiny people who shower when shiny water is available. But the Aesthetic Stasis Game; don't knock that till you try it. Nothing wrong with continually watching Entertainment Tonight over and over again. Will Kim Kardashian find her beau now that she is tired of dating athletes? Why is Megan Fox such a bitch on the set of the new Transformers movie? What shoes was Cameron Diaz wearing on the red carpet? Oh I'm sorry, I was describing the average woman. And you wonder why they suck at art?

Anonymous Country Lawyer May 21, 2012 2:25 PM  

"Thanks. My wife has thought about trying WOW for quite a while, but has never been able to justify the cost. Now she can try it for free. Somehow I had missed hearing about this."

Don't do it, its a trap

Anonymous alexamenos May 21, 2012 2:26 PM  

Anecdotally....

At lunch today I was talking with some of the (white) guys in my office about filling an upcoming opening. I eventually came around to saying unequivocally that the minimum requirement for me is that the person be a white heterosexual male.

Part of my reasoning (part, not the whole) is risk related -- when we've been sued or screwed by a (soon-to-be-former) employee in the past it's almost invariably been a female, a colored person, or a homosexual (a Democrat, in other words). Almost? Not "almost", every single time it has been a Democrat.

I've fired two heterosexual white males in the past few years -- neither even sought unemployment insurance. Unlike their Democrat coworkers who looked at their employment as a privilege to which they were eternally entitled, the hetero white males looked at their employment as a business deal, and they understood and accepted the implications of not upholding their end of the bargain.

Anonymous Daniel May 21, 2012 2:27 PM  

If Scalzi's fantasyland were true, it would be awesome. I'd love to not only run the world at its easiest setting, but use the relative advantage of that setting to make it even more difficult for the non-white and female to ever compete.

The fact that this has not occurred, but its opposite has, is sufficient to eviscerate any mirage of logic underpinning Scalzi's conditioned response.

Dingbattery abounds!

Anonymous Shild May 21, 2012 2:48 PM  

I’ve been thinking of a way to explain to straight white men how life works for them, without invoking the dreaded word “privilege,” to which they react like vampires being fed a garlic tart at high noon. It’s not that the word “privilege” is incorrect, it’s that it’s not their word. When confronted with “privilege,” they fiddle with the word itself, and haul out the dictionaries and find every possible way to talk about the word but not any of the things the word signifies.

So, the challenge: how to get across the ideas bound up in the word “privilege,” in a way that your average straight white man will get, without freaking out about it?



I really don't get this.

So Scalzi wants straight, white men to believe that they have it easy. Why? What does he have to gain from such a pronouncement? Presumably he believes it's true, but even so what is his motivation? What exactly does he want his fellow SWM to do with this information? What's the point?

Anonymous James Dixon May 21, 2012 2:48 PM  

> Don't do it, its a trap

Of course it is. But what's the fun in not springing it?

Here they'll think they've caught a nice mink, only to find a fisher sitting there waiting for them. :)

Anonymous Idle Spectator, He-Man Woman Haters Club May 21, 2012 2:55 PM  

For F's Sake... what kind of a retard does it take to wander through life and not realize that attractive females are so privileged in life that they are effectively playing an entirely different game?

No kidding. It is like they live in a Al Capone's secret vault reinforced with estrogonium lacquered with bullshit, with the attention span of a goldfish where a YAG laser beam is shined into the fish's retinas beep-beep-beep every half-second.

"Awwwww, he was just being nice."
"No, he wants to stick his corpus spongiosum in your bicornuate uterus."
"Stop being jealous!"


White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh

Seriously, what is with academics always inserting colons in their titles? And it is not just the humanities and social sciences, I see the same thing in the hard sciences. Say it with me, HYPHEN! Or, SEMI-COLON! Or, PANCREAS!


Um, he has not really played WoW if he believes this. Case in point: start a character, choose female, work to about level 3-10, be somewhat kind to a few male characters and they will start GIVING you EQ and gold. You won't even HAVE to ask. You will start having other males help you quest and level up.

Done this before in online games. COMEDIC GOLD. I was amazed considering they could not even see me, and yet they were still giving me free trinkets. It's a pirette's life for me! Arrrrrrr.

Anonymous Ten41 May 21, 2012 3:05 PM  

When my nephew got out of high school 18 years ago, he did not have a large amount of prospects. No money for college, no serious blue collar job lined up, etc..

So he decided to go with the Coast Guard - that is until the Navy called. Fast track to Officer training, nice job selection, the works! This was what the Navy recruiter offered. Well, that was until the recruiter found out that my nephew was white...

Anonymous Whatever May 21, 2012 3:29 PM  


Scalzi ripping straight white guys is the same career-enhancing-strategy as that fat Dixie Chick shooting her mouth off, but hey, it's his career.


Bush's strategy sure was swell, wasn't it?

Those silly Dixie Chicks.... they didn't think Bush II was the genius that this poster knows him to be.

History has proven them wrong.

Anonymous Mrs. Pilgrim May 21, 2012 4:10 PM  

Imagine life here in the US — or indeed, pretty much anywhere in the Western world — is a massive role playing game, like World of Warcraft except appallingly mundane, where most quests involve the acquisition of money, cell phones and donuts, although not always at the same time.

It'd look kinda like this.

Anonymous rycamor May 21, 2012 4:12 PM  

Shild May 21, 2012 2:48 PM

I really don't get this.

So Scalzi wants straight, white men to believe that they have it easy. Why? What does he have to gain from such a pronouncement? Presumably he believes it's true, but even so what is his motivation? What exactly does he want his fellow SWM to do with this information? What's the point?


The point is merely to gain points.

What's really funny is that Scalzi is falling prey the the same apex fallacy that most women do when talking about men: addressing only the top 1-5% (or maybe even the top .01%) and pretending the rest don't even exist.

Yes, there is still a world of opportunity for elite males who know how to manipulate both women and the system (which in some ways is really the same thing), but for the rest, the task of supporting that system has grown more onerous, and with fewer rewards, every decade, and the time draws nigh...

Anonymous Daniel May 21, 2012 4:18 PM  

Shild
What does he have to gain from such a pronouncement?

Exactly the right question, with an easy answer. Economics.

One only need to have read Zoe's Tale or any number of his geek-related profitmaking ventures to realize that his target demographic will appreciate him oiling the largest gears. If his readers (and SWFA beneficiaries) can see him as a progressive and wise schoolmarm/leader/minder who happens to be clever and sometimes funny, they are more than willing to plunk down their semi-hard-earned dollars to listen to him emote or read about his admiration for the "fairer sex."

In other words, he's providing grease for the hamster wheel in hopes that it turns him a profit.

He's not clueless: he's advancing a lie that benefits him tangibly. Straight white men who actually comprehend the real levels actually have little utility for his wares: they are not his customers.

Anonymous Lugo May 21, 2012 4:31 PM  

John is not a bad guy. He's actually remarkably low on the obnoxious left-liberal scale for a science fiction writer, much less a successful one, and there is no question that he means well.

Disagree. He is an obnoxious leftist dipshit, and his failure to learn from persistent error disqualifies him from the "he means well" excuse.

Anonymous JMH May 21, 2012 4:58 PM  

John is not a bad guy. He's actually remarkably low on the obnoxious left-liberal scale for a science fiction writer...

Yeah, that's kinda like saying being shot with a 9mm slug is remarkable low on the potentially fatal injury scale. Just 'cause there are writers in the .50 cal range of obnoxious doesn't mean it's okay for Salzi to pop off like this.

I've been meaning to read Old Man's War for some time, but maybe I'll give it a pass. I'm sure it's good, but I've no shortage of good reading to get to.

Anonymous Stickwick May 21, 2012 5:02 PM  

Whatever: Those silly Dixie Chicks.... they didn't think Bush II was the genius that this poster knows him to be.

Way to miss the point.

Mrs. Pilgrim: It'd look kinda like this.

Oh, this close to perfection. The World of Workcraft characters should have been dumpy and ordinary-looking for the joke to be complete. Still, pretty funny.

Anonymous FP May 21, 2012 6:20 PM  

I saw this on the liberal gaming forum "quarter to three" this past weekend. What surprised me was that there were people actually arguing against Scalzi instead of the typical responses on these issues.

Anonymous Daniel May 21, 2012 6:47 PM  

Honestly, on a different day, Scalzi himself would have been one of the dissenters. The original screed was just that blindly drafted, then heavily lubricated with artful supplication and "dear woman" worship. That's unusual, even for Scalzi.

Generally his sarcasm trumps his wussified true beliefs.

Aw heck. I'm screwing up my deconstructible armchair philosophers again.

Anonymous SM777 May 21, 2012 7:21 PM  

alexamenos, there is a way to circumvent the socialist dictates of whom you may hire and whom you may fire without being sued. That solution is contracts. You can have a large firm without any employees. Just give them 1099's instead of W-2's. That means they are contractors not employees even though they can work there as long as they want. If someone screws up, the contract can be terminated, but no one is fired because no one was "hired" to begin with.

Anonymous WaterBoy May 21, 2012 7:30 PM  

SM777: "You can have a large firm without any employees. Just give them 1099's instead of W-2's. That means they are contractors not employees even though they can work there as long as they want."

One must be careful in how one proceeds along this path. Just because you choose to consider yourself as having contractors instead of employees, the IRS might not necessarily agree. Businesses in the personal service industry such as barbershops, hair salons, and nail salons, for example, are especially vulnerable to this type of recharacterization by the IRS depending on their overall business model.

Anonymous Idle Spectator May 21, 2012 7:42 PM  

Anchorage logger.
Appalachian* coal miner.
San Franciscan commercial fisherman.

What do these non-privileged people have in common?
*App-uh-LATCH-en for you fancy urbanites not in the know


I must not feel white guilt.
White guilt is the mind-killer.
White guilt is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my white guilt.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the white guilt has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

Anonymous Godfrey May 21, 2012 8:15 PM  

I think privilege is working for the government for thirty years and retiring at 52 years of age with a fat pension and gold plate medical care. But you’ll never hear the state-worshipers mention that privileged class.

Reason 1036 why I sometimes wish I could kick a “liberal” in the head… several times.

Anonymous Godfrey May 21, 2012 8:19 PM  

Everyone needs to learn how to play the game. For example, I classify myself as "more than one race" on all applications and paperwork.

Anonymous Toby Temple May 21, 2012 10:05 PM  

Vox: "I don't think the SFWA's president-for-life has had a whole lot of experience dealing with attractive women, Nate."

Nate: Touche'

How old is he?

Anonymous O.C. May 21, 2012 10:20 PM  

Just give them 1099's instead of W-2's. That means they are contractors not employees even though they can work there as long as they want.

This is very dangerous advice. Google irs.gov for the regulations regarding "statutory employees" and read them carefully -- or better yet, get competent legal counsel to read them for you and advise. If you try to jack the IRS around by claiming your statutory employees are independent contractors, you can end up taking a nice long vacation in the graybar hotel.

Anonymous Gx1080 May 21, 2012 11:11 PM  

@FB

That's because all the libfags were banned by the mod going crazy. You can find them here: www.brokenforum.com

Anonymous p-dawg May 21, 2012 11:35 PM  

@kh123:

"Again, thank Karl Mordechai Levi that we have Communism for that."

He just co-opted ideas from the Babylonian Talmud and re-wrote them as his own. Communism is a scam that's been around for thousands of years. Hasn't worked yet, but I'm sure we'll get it right RSN.

Anonymous Reader's Indigestion May 22, 2012 12:15 AM  

Those of you who've been thinking about reading Scalzi's work should take a pass. It's not that good, only somewhat better than Stephanie Meyer or Mercedes Lackey. There are a lot of other, better books out there and they aren't written by useful idiots.

Anonymous TheExpat May 22, 2012 2:21 AM  

Honestly, on a different day, Scalzi himself would have been one of the dissenters. The original screed was just that blindly drafted, then heavily lubricated with artful supplication and "dear woman" worship. That's unusual, even for Scalzi.

Which, leads me to suspect that there is a woman involved. A particular woman.

Anonymous Anonymous May 22, 2012 11:07 AM  

Vox,
I'd love to know how you know about post-Apartheid Yeoville.

Wandering Saffa

Anonymous Anonymous May 22, 2012 11:07 AM  

Vox,
I'd love to know how you know about post-Apartheid Yeoville.

Wandering Saffa

Anonymous Daniel May 22, 2012 11:29 AM  

The Expat
Which, leads me to suspect that there is a woman involved. A particular woman.

That's my guess too.

Blogger Baloo May 22, 2012 11:35 AM  

The maddening part is that I like Scalzi's books. I even gave _Old Man's War_ to my son, a Marine, to read. I've gone on about this and linked to you here:
http://ex-army.blogspot.com/2012/05/scalzis-scurrilous-silliness.html

Anonymous Anonymous May 22, 2012 1:28 PM  

With only minor exceptions, straight, white males have been the gamers of the human realm since time in memoriam. Collectively, we have been the dominant cultural and economic force since the time of Homer (not Simpson, the other one). Gaming is in our nature; it is in our blood; and it has been, until fairly recently, the central organizing theme of our culture. The meek inherit the earth from the gamers among us only after the second coming. Scalzi is right; gamers have an enormous advantage in this and any other culture. He just doesn’t understand why.

It is not surprising the Scalzi conflates the issues of “privilege” and “merit.” Many do. Privilege is the special treatment bestowed on those lacking merit. Granting privilege to those lacking merit is the new organizing principal of our culture, though it is hardly a new principle. Scalzi insists on the word “privilege” because it is the only way he can establish moral equivalence. Such transfers, when taken to extremes, have always been the source of internal strife and, ultimately, revolutionary change in our realm. This new order will recede, one way or another.

Thank you, Vox, for the wonderful post and to the commenters above. And thanks to Dr. Helen for pointing me in this direction.

Anonymous Anonymous May 22, 2012 6:36 PM  

John Scalzi is the President of the Science Fiction Writers of America. By buying into the self-sealing and circular argument of white privilege, he has shown how much SF has distanced itself from its own legacy.

SF has always prominently used its unique ability to tell stories to distance ourselves from ourselves so we could look back with better eyes, to escape from perceptual traps of bias and prejudice. E.M. Forester's The Machine Stops, from over 100 years ago, is an example of this. Within pop culture expressions of SF perhaps more well known, E.C. Comics (Judgment Day) and the original Star Trek TV series (Let That Be Your Last Battlefield) presented the tools to escape from perceptual traps.

In writing about white privilege, Scalzi has shown he's fallen headlong into that trap, not that he is a writer who is struggling against it. As such, he is incapable of creating true art. Like the sad con game of the "argument" of white privilege itself, Scalzi is only capable of producing smoke and mirrors that appears as if it's art.

Anonymous Anonymous May 22, 2012 6:43 PM  

John Scalzi is the President of the Science Fiction Writers of America. By buying into the self-sealing and circular argument of white privilege, he has shown how much SF has distanced itself from its own legacy.

SF has always prominently used its unique ability to tell stories to distance ourselves from ourselves so we could look back with better eyes, to escape from perceptual traps of bias and prejudice. E.M. Forester's The Machine Stops, from over 100 years ago, is an example of this. Within pop culture expressions of SF perhaps more well known, E.C. Comics (Judgment Day) and the original Star Trek TV series (Let That Be Your Last Battlefield) presented the tools to escape from perceptual traps.

In writing about white privilege, Scalzi has shown he's fallen headlong into that trap, not that he is a writer who is struggling against it. As such, he is incapable of creating true art. Like the sad con game of the "argument" of white privilege itself, Scalzi is only capable of producing smoke and mirrors that appears as if it's art.

Anonymous Andypoo May 24, 2012 12:58 PM  

I wonder how difficult the fat ugly mentally Ill feminist setting is. I suspect it would never succeed and all you had to do to progress was blame the nearest man.

Anonymous ZimbaZumba May 24, 2012 5:30 PM  

It's usual to take evidence then come to a conclusion. Here I see a conclusion followed by making the 'evidence' fit it.

Anonymous Call Me Colin May 24, 2012 6:17 PM  

Whenever people whine to me about how "Oh, we disabled, transgender, black women have it so, so tough!" I think, well, duh!

Look, it's a simple fact of life that straight white able cis men are just better than other people, we are the dominant force in our society! We control the country because we are the most powerful.

But now these femininazis and liberals have united all the weak against us and are trying to control society, which can only lead to doom and utter destruction. Sure, make a society where everyone is a limp-wristed black women, see how far it gets you, meanwhile us men will be happily living in our utopia where the strong and weak understand their places!

Blogger The Great and Powerful Oz May 25, 2012 8:56 AM  

I've been reading Mr. Scalzi's work for years now and am a bit of a fan. After I found his blog I began getting a better understanding of him as a person. He's been isolated from a lot of the real world and has developed some rather skewed ideas. I recommend learning more about his background and trying to understand how he wound up with this worldview instead of merely flaming away or painting him as an evil person. Once you have that, you are better equipped to deal with this sort of situation rather than just flaming away. This article was a good example of a reasoned approach that doesn't make it appear that a dissenting opinion is coming from some frothing at the mouth madman. Looking crazy is only useful in very limited circumstances.

Blogger george May 26, 2012 10:12 AM  

Scalzi looks even crazier given the fact the current point leader in our real life game, our president, got there solely by signing up for the game and choosing "black" as his character race. Then he went and smoked some doobies before signing back in and realizing he had won!

Eventually white males will get tired of being oppressed. It is fair to say that no other group is as discriminated against as the western world exists right now.

Anonymous James May May 26, 2012 1:46 PM  

The logic that celebrates a black man today can be used to insult a black man tomorrow. This is what Scalzi and the politically correct Left and their racialist language simply doesn't understand and why such language is dangerous. Perhaps Scalzi can explain the sea of privilege Jews swam in in Europe some decades ago. Certainly those arguments were made, and persuasively. Positive or negative, it is the "logic" of these sad arguments that is dangerous and not the direction they are pointed in today.

The truth is that this racialist language doesn't contain a moral compass, it doesn't have eyes. It isn't like a Passover angel of death that sees the signs or skin. It is a double-edged sword that can cut in any direction at will. This is why Scalzi is an Orwellian anti-racist-racist - he has created a grammar and syntax that one must handle like a rattlesnake. The fact that Scalzi has no idea of how to say "I'm wrong" is it's own "proof." Instead, more semantic gibberish in place of plain, common sense is indicated.

Anonymous Anonymous May 26, 2012 5:36 PM  

It's hard to believe a science fiction writer who's legacy is The Machine Stops and "1984," which are virtually manuals on how to not get caught in stupid perceptual traps, could write such drivel, and racist drivel at that.

Success doesn't derive from privilege, privilege derives from success. If Scalzi wants to make blanket statements that white men are successful, that's on his dime.

And this guy's the PRESIDENT of the Science Fiction Writers of America? That's almost unbelievable. Wave bye-bye to truly thoughtful SF and usher in politically correct and clever blather disguised as perception and art.

Anonymous Anonymous October 31, 2012 5:07 PM  

"Every single thing I've ever read from Scalzi has him coming across as a condescending jerk."

Pretty much. I love his books, but he's a self-righteous prick about everything. I had some interactions a few years back with him online, and even when I was trying to be gracious, he was being an ass. Sometimes his blog is entertaining, but he has bad intellectual habits and is often bloody rude. And his fans often egg him on, which doesn't help.

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