The Enduring Power of the Designated Scapegoat
I find it amusing to hear mutterings that despite having decamped en masse (and trust me, in my case there’s rather a lot of masse involved) for the Dragon Awards, alleged Sad Puppies are mysteriously to blame for anything and everything that goes wrong involving a Worldcon.
It’s sad, really. Despite having had no part in anything Hugo related for 2 years in my case and longer for Sarah, Larry, and Brad, we’re the designated scapegoats. Honestly, you’d think that Larry making money by the bucketful, Brad doing his jobs and writing when he can, Sarah fighting illness to write, and me being, well, me wouldn’t be a threat to anyone.
This is the calling card of every abusive organization everywhere. Pick or create a group that has no actual power but can be made to look as though it poses a threat to decent people everywhere, then blame that group for everything that goes wrong. If it’s done with sufficient competence and the means of communication are controlled enough, generations can be raised believing in this nebulous threat that ruins everything.
It’s how you get the bizarre dichotomy in many Arabic nations with their designated scapegoats being portrayed as filthy stupid subhumans who are at the same time capable of using controlled animals to spy (I really wish I knew where that article got to. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so bloody tragic). The Nazis – the real ones, not the fakes that get called up these days – did the same thing, although they were smart enough to paint their untermensch as physically and ethically sub-par, not intellectually. Communists got smarter, since “capitalist” really means “somewhat free human acting in a normal human fashion” (before the word “capitalism” got coined it was called “trade” and everyone did it in some form) and the other thought crimes that earned a show trial were – and still are, I suspect – defined sufficiently vaguely that anyone could be trapped by them.
I’d wonder if the trad publishing industry and capital-F Fandom (as opposed to small-f fandom which operates on the principle of “you love it, you’re a fan”) realizes what a long and inglorious history they’re echoing with their constant whines of “Puppies!”, only I’ve already seen that most of them aren’t that educated. They might have degrees dripping off their brag walls, but they’re degrees that indoctrinate, not educate.
I’ve yet to see evidence of reasoned thought or even logic emerge from that direction (of course, the so-called argument that logic is a tool of the patriarchy might have something to do with that). What I have seen is adherence to the official line regardless of any evidence – to the extent that I suspect that if smacked upside the head with contradictory evidence many of the loudest voices would not recognize it for what it is.
After all, there are none so blind as those that refuse to see. And there is no better scapegoat than one that doesn’t exist, because then it cannot be disproved.