From the Pen of Moshe Feder

Moshe Feder was my editor, and my wife’s editor, who decided to libel and campaign against me during the Sad Puppies Hugo kerfuffle. Here he comes to a startling realization, and, even more startling, he is willing to admit it. I am deeply impressed and pleasantly surprised. This sounds like something a professional would say, not a partisan.

He writes this:

I heard nothing about this at the con and I’m upset to hear about it now.

Lise has been preaching to me for some time about the growing threat to free thought and free speech from the left — our own side! — as she saw it tragically happening at Wiscon, once one of the best cons in the country and a shining example of fannish progressivism. Not only was she right, but now it appears the blight has spread to Worldcon.

Extracted from the comment thread of Darrell’s post, the following sums up my position on this matter:

“This is VERY disturbing. Speech suppression from the left is just as wrong as any other kind and utterly in conflict with the ideals and traditions of fandom.

“Worldcon should never be in the position of enforcing political correctness. The Ministry of Truth belongs in Orwell’s great SF novel, not in SF’s fandom. Thought-crime has no place in a democratic society, let alone in fandom’s benevolent anarchy. SF/Fantasy are about the limitless universe of imagination, not the setting of arbitrary limits.

“I don’t know Truesdale [though we are FB friends] and have no idea of his interests or agenda. I don’t even know what that panel was about. It doesn’t matter. His rights need to be supported and Mac 2’s action condemned. Anything else is an admission that the Puppies were right about us.”

Unless the true reason for the ejection was something else and better justified, I will be very disappointed if the con doesn’t offer Truesdale, and fandom as a whole, a very public and abject apology for such an ill-advised, egregious, and shameful action.

Sadly, the majority of the reactions here to this post and in similar discussions elsewhere appears to demonstrate that the Puppies were right about us in this respect. I find that horrifying.

My Comment: Mr. Feder, if you recall, was one of the ringleaders of the puppy-kickers.

Mr. Feder was one of the less honest and more vituperative of the puppy-kickers. He was willing to pull out and play the anti-Semite card against me, even though I am an ardent philosemite and married to a Jewess (and my boss is a Jewish carpenter) on the grounds that I said Leftwing editors promote books preaching sodomy, licentiousness, anticlericalism, divorce, aborticide, and endless libels against the Church.

I called such Leftists Christ-Haters, and Mr. Feder claimed this was the Medieval Blood Libel, which is the libel that Jews killed Christian children and used their blood in diabolical rituals. He claimed that the phrase ‘Christ-hater’ was a dog whistle which somehow his ears could hear but mine could not, that I was signaling a hatred of Jews.

Why it was that saying science fiction story awards should be given on the basis of the merit of the science fiction stories, rather than given on the basis of political correctness or political connections is somehow anti-Semitic is an elliptical derangement of the mental process so baroque that only a Leftist could either imagine it, or imagine agreeing with it.

One of the editors at Tor was behind buying memberships for and organizing non-science-fiction people to block-vote the No Award slate in order to stop me from getting the recognition the Hugo once represented. I believe it was he, but am not sure.

To see a Leftist admit wrong is more unusual than meeting a hippogriff. I do not believe I have ever seen it before in any context, anywhere, under any circumstances. The pressures set against a Leftist to avoid admitting wrong are immense: all their habits and beliefs, their customs and psychology, all militate against it.

For a Leftist to do this is a more heroic act than anything I can name. It is like seeing a legless man leap over the moon. It is like seeing a wave in mid-ocean blaze up in burning fire. I am more than impressed: I am awed.

Let us pray he does not back down and walk back the comment in days to come.

For the record, here are the remarks by Darrell Schweitzer to which Mr. Feder was referring, dated August 23 at 12:21am ·

I have now listened to the entire Truesdale-moderated panel from the Worldcon. I revise my opinion considerably. I heard NO cause for Dave Truesdale to be expelled or reprimanded in any way. I urge you all to listen to the whole thing. It begins a little roughly. He’s got an agenda. There is one angry exchange with someone in the audience, but Neil Clarke calls for that person to calm down.

After that it settles down to a much more cordial discussion, even where the other panelists think Dave is wrong. He allows them to disagree with him. He asks them their opinions and encourages each panelist to speak. (I thought Sheila Williams and Jonathan Strahan were particularly articulate and interesting.) He actually does seem to follow the rule that the moderator should speak a little less (or at least not more) than any other panelist.

If you only heard the first few minutes, you would think this was a trainwreck, but if you listen to the whole thing, you will discover that it settles down into a good panel. It ends with applause and people are chatting amiably. Dave jokes, “Since Gordon was late, he’s buying.” Laughter. The end. I have certainly been on panels that were far more contentious (or badly moderated) than this one.

So, where is the big disaster? Did everybody else hear a different panel? What redeems this is that while Dave starts with a tirade, he allows the other panelists to steer him back onto the subject and then the panel proceeds normally.

It is distressing that you can actually get thrown out of a worldcon for expressing an unpopular opinion. Are we only to allow bland agreement?