A while back, I challenged any Puppy on Twitter to show that they really valued truth and honesty and factual reality as so many claim by acknowledging that the idea—widely promoted by Vox Day, including with a made-up quote—that David Gerrold had threatened the career of Brad Torgersen was not supported by facts. I asked them to either cite Gerrold doing so or label Day’s pronouncement a lie.
No one did. When pressed, one person said he couldn’t call it a lie because he felt that what Day had said was “essentially true”. He couldn’t cite facts or quotes, but it was “essentially true”. Its essence was true, or at least, it rang true to him.
Now, in fact-based reality, David Gerrold did not threaten Brad Torgersen. He did not imply that Puppies wouldn’t be welcome at Worldcon or the Hugos ceremony in particular, or that they would be treated discourteously as winners or losers. In fact, when it came to the ceremony, he laid down the law in the opposite direction: all are welcome, all are welcome. Connie Willis turned down a presenter gig specifically because she didn’t feel like she could abide that directive.
But if he didn’t do those things, the feeling among the Puppies is, he ought to have. It fits their worldview, their narrative, so much better if he did, so it doesn’t take much prompting from even a middlingly talented wordsmith to get them to believe that he did.
“If it’s not true, it ought to be!” could be given as a summation of it.
I’ve been calling Day out obliquely (as in, I’m not challenging him directly so much as pointing out what he’s doing) on Twitter for a while, whenever he engages in these lies. I don’t know if I’ve actually made anyone think by doing so, but I believe he’s afraid that might be happening. I mean, I don’t flatter myself to believe his blog post entitled Bi-Discoursality is entirely a response to me. Rather, I believe I’m a part of the general situation he is attempting to defend himself from.
Day’s supporters like to trot out “You don’t understand Vox, he’s a troll. He’s trolling. It doesn’t count.” when someone pins them down with something he said that is 1) too egregious, 2) too much of a lie, or 3) too egregious a lie for them to defend. This response ignores the fact that we do understand him, we know he’s a troll, and that’s irrelevant to the point at hand.
Well, Day is attempting to codify “Was trolling, didn’t count!” into a defensive shell against people calling out his lies. See, they’re not lies, they’re rhetoric, which is the only language those silly emotional irrational SJWs understand, you see? He has to use rhetoric to deal with, even though as a creature of pure logic and reason it’s such a foreign language to him that if he wasn’t also a certified supergenius he would never have been able to internalize its principles in order to communicate with us!
He would much rather use the reasoned method of dialectic to communicate with everyone, except he has to reserve that for those minds that are susceptible to reason and influence, you see, and…
Wait a minute.
Vox… Mr. Day… when you said “SJWs always lie.”, the example of a rhetorical statement that you put forth in that post, were you addressing us, those you call “SJWS”… or were you addressing your followers?
When you made your famous essentially true statements about David Gerrold, were you trying to convince those wily SJWs they were allied with a skunk, or were you trying to whip up your own base?
And regardless of your intention when you engage in these, ah, rhetorical flourishes… take a look around. How many of supposedly overly emotional, irrational SJWs that you claim to be trying to persuade with them wind up being persuaded? And how many of your own followers wind up repeating the lines and running with them like they’re God’s own truth?
God’s own essential truth, that is. The facts may not bear it out, but emotionally, the target of the rhetoric knows it to be true.
The post I’m referencing is itself a piece of rhetoric. It lays out no actual logical premise, no evidence, and no conclusion. It’s just a pre-emptive defense against anyone questioning his lies, wrapped up in hollow flattery towards his audience: you are so reasoned, so rational… and because I’m writing this dialectically, anyone as smart as you will understand that it is true! It’s a hedge against the day when the intellectual debt incurred by one of his lies overcomes the emotional investment his chosen audience has in agreeing with him.
He winds up the post by predicting that those who only speak rhetoric will see his post as nothing more than a man attempting to sound smart and then attack it. I suppose that, grade school gamer that he is, this is what he regards as a particular cunning trap and he takes this post as a sign that it worked. Or that’s what he would say, anyway.
In reality, it’s just another hedge. It gives his followers an out for ignoring any criticism. Don’t listen to the child who says the emperor is naked. The wise can totally see the clothes!