It’s been a while since someone being a jerk on the internet has attracted my attention. This has been one of those weeks, however. A person named Theodore Beale has announced his candidacy for president of my writing organization, Science Fiction Writers of America. His motivation, as far as I can tell, is jealousy of, and a certain obsession with, the outgoing president, John Scalzi. Having done my due-diligence on the man’s character, by reading his blog, I’ve been appalled. His opinions are openly and unapologetically racist, sexist, and homophobic. His blogs, which you can find by googling his name, espouse opinions calculated to shock, including that women and men are not equal, that women should not have the right to vote, that women are uncivilized and need the influence of men to civilize them, and that women like to be sexually dominated, etc., etc., etc.
One of Beale’s blogs is dedicated to disseminating a sociological theory that seems to be pulled directly from his ass. It has to do with ranks of male humans that are based on how hot a woman one can hook up with. It’s a baffling, complicated system almost completely disconnected from reality. One has to pity a man who is both committed to that system, and also a publicly professed evangelical Christian, as Beale is, as one can see the train wreck coming for him one day when the woman he is monogamously married to finally succumbs to the effects of entropy–as we all do–and he finds his rank in the “game” dropping precipitously because he is now married to a wrinkly, saggy-boobed, post-menopausal woman of no social value, and yet does not have recourse to the traditional remedy practiced by the likes of Ghengis Khan–of acquiring more, younger women. He’s either stuck, or has to succumb to hypocrisy and trade in his life partner for a more status-boosting model.
There’s actually something rather refreshing about encountering a person who is so open about their racist, sexist, homophobic opinions. Granted, it’s the same kind of refreshing you get in your first breath of clean country air, the moment before the wind changes and you smell the nearby pig farm. But still, at least we can dispense with the pretense that old school cross-burning racists are extinct, or that the work of feminism is over because everyone’s been enlightened. That is obviously not true, and now we have an exhibit to point to whenever we need it.
Here’s me pointing now. People, have you found yourself arguing that issues like gang violence are about “class not race,” that women could decrease the incidence of rape by dressing differently, or that the shooting of Trayvon Martin was justifiable self defense? Well, guess what. You get to have Theodore Beale on your team. You’re so lucky. No, no, please don’t protest. He’s yours. You deserve him.
Now, if you find you don’t want to be on the side of hate, it’s not too late to make a different choice. Why not explore a lifestyle and belief system where we don’t hassle people over things they can’t control, where we give people a hand up because there’s enough of everything to go around, where we don’t have to be insecure about masculinity because it’s okay not to be masculine, where we don’t have to put everyone through a tiresome litmus test based on the sexual attractiveness of their female partner? It’s good over here. We have charming, generous, brilliant people like John Scalzi and Jim C. Hines on this side. And, look, no matter how many people we have on our team, there’s still room for everyone and anyone, whereas it looks like there’s limited seating on THAT side, and it’s pretty much reserved for white males. Yeah, I know where I’d rather be.
Which, by the way, means that if Beale somehow won the presidency of SFWA (a pretty unlikely event), I would immediately resign because it would no longer be an organization that in any way represents my interests.