FAQ

Here are the answers to a few questions I’ve seen pop-up from time to time.

I want to share some information with you. If I send you something in email, will you automatically publish it?

No, I will not, and I’m sorry if my initial badly worded disclaimer intimidated you. Please see the updated about page for more details on my views about protecting sources vs. making unsupported allegations.

How could you write this?

Well, it’s only 55k words. Most novels are much longer, and written in a shorter time than it took me to write this. I don’t see anyone surprised at that.

Also, around 15-30% of the essay are quotes and a few thousand words are the repetitions in content necessary to make every case analysis stand on its own.

Overall, the essay isn’t so big, when you get down to it. Certainly no more than a fraction of what Mixon and her supporters have produced in the same time span.

Why now?

I had hoped to finish and publish sooner. While some of you might think BS is Legion, I’m only one man, and English is not my first language.

I started this shortly after the 2015 Hugo nominations were announced. I expected to finish a few weeks after. As I mentioned in my essay, I did not think this would turn out to be such a long post. In my mind, I was only going to correct the couple of Mixon’s inaccuracies I knew about and separate cases about negative reviews from other cases. I honestly figured most of the content of Mixon’s essay was valid and reasonable (as my comments on the Jim C. Hines posts I linked in my essay should show). Unfortunately, it turned out not to be the case.

For those in doubt, just go back and read Mixon’s essay. Go slowly, sentence by sentence, starting at the top. As you do, try to link every single one of Mixon’s claims to her cases. Try to describe to yourself the events of those cases. Each time Mixon uses plural, make sure you think of every case where the statement applies. Do all of this without looking at her case list first, which is at the end of her essay (i.e. that would be cheating). You’ll get confused pretty quickly, I assure you.

To me, the only way out of the confusion was investigating the facts of every case, one by one, and then tackle Mixon’s essay itself. That took time, even if in the end, I did not dissect Mixon’s essay line for line as I originally intended, but went for the myth busting approach instead.

Are you really you?

Yes.

If you are really you, how come I can’t find anything under your name online?

Since it’s apparently not obvious to everyone, EBA is a pseudonym, hence the nonexistent online presence (though I also have zero online presence under my real name [in French, or in English], I’m just that big of a nobody). The fact that so many people have already been hard at work smearing/harassing various people for the production of my essay should be sufficient evidence of the necessity of using a pseudonym (if you have to stomach for that sort of thing, see, for example, the comments on the file770 post that links to my essay, or on FFA, the central hub of the harassment against BS).

For people waiting for “confirmation” that I’m not RH, AB, or [insert the favourite target of your harassment]: there will never be such a thing. The only way to get that is if someone were to stalk me in order to discover my true identity, which I took great pains to hide, and then dox me. As I said in the essay, I have absolutely no connection to any of the people involved in this, or to anything in SFF in general. I’m just a casual reader, FFS. Even if someone discovered my identity, only ill intent could justify revealing it. The only reason anyone would dox me would be to harass me into silence on this issue instead of simply pointing out where I’m wrong in my presentations of the facts, and moving on with their life.

I note that this type of speculation also functions in much the same way as all the speculation as to who RH was. For years, racist, homophobic, colonialist, and sexist people harassed RH with constant speculation about her identity. Those people were too bigoted to believe she was a queer WoC from Thailand, as she had always openly claimed. You see, a lot of fauxgressives are unable to believe they (or their friends) could ever say or do anything bad, hence any criticism of them must be wrong or disingenuous. Funnily enough, hypocrisy being a strong character trait for those people, they now condemn RH for accidently misidentifying people’s racial identity. (To be clear, RH’s behaviour was sometimes worthy of condemnation by reasonable people in those specific cases. I’m only pointing out the hypocrisy.)

Those same people are still hard at work today, but since I claim to be a white man (which I am), their bigotry leads them to attack BS (queer WoC), AB (trans woman), AK (queer woman) and other people who are almost all marginalised in various ways. Just take a look at FFA’s GG-like list of BS supporters (again, no links; I don’t want to encourage stalkers). As always when dealing with such bigots, they frame their harassment in pseudo logic and rationalisations, but most people won’t be fooled, even if they can be silenced or intimidated.

There is no reason to speculate about my identity, and no conceivable way to justify blaming anyone other than me for writing the essay. Either my essay can stand for itself, or it can’t. After all, if I’m wrong, people will either not believe me at all, or will easily show my mistakes. I have even said numerous times that I will correct any mistakes when shown evidence. Anyway, no one would blindly believe anything anyone says on the internet without fact checking first, right? No one would use the fact that a white man produced an essay they didn’t like as an opportunity to smear and harass WoC and marginalised people, right?

Incidentally, this type of bigotry is, in part, why I have received only positive feedback or very mild criticism for my essay (so far). The most active bigots are too busy attacking BS and her friends on Twitter and other platforms. (Although reasonable people might eventually make valid criticisms of my essay). Why insult a white man about his work when you can harass PoC, trans women, and other marginalised people instead, amiright? Why stalk EBA when you can stalk BS and her friends instead?

Why is it that some people seem entirely too happy to blame a queer WoC for the actions of a cishet white men?

This is also reminiscent of the case of Kowal, analysed in detail in my essay:

  1. Lavie Tidhar tells Kowal, apparently in a face to face conversation, that one of her published stories is racist.
  2. On her blog, weeks after the story’s publication, RH criticises the same story for its racism.
  3. Kowal thanks RH for the criticism.
  4. Months later, Kiwal rewrites her story, giving credit only to Tidhar for pointing out the racist elements in her original story (with probably no ill intent towards RH).
  5. Years later, Mixon accuses RH of “pressur[ing] [Kowal] to revise [her] manuscript and publicly apologize for writing about American Indian culture”.

While I have no doubt Mixon is sincere in her presentation of this case, I still think she is very much wrong. She blames RH for the consequences of Tidhar’s actions.

If you are really you, how come [insert your incoherent ramblings]?

Listen, you are really starting to sound like a raging conspiracy theorist.

You realise what you’re doing, right?

Do you see how the narrative has been framed, and continues to be framed, as if it’s impossible for anyone to say something about RH that is not 100% negative (or something about Mixon’s essay that is not 100% positive) without actually being RH in disguise? Or someone “under her control”? Can you see how unhealthy that is?

Can you see how this framing is done in part to prevent people from talking about the flaws in Mixon’s essay? How it prevents people from realising that many respected people fighting for diversity in SFF, under their real names, have already been severely critical of parts of it, and pointed out some of the errors of fact it contained? Can you see how my essay can quote PoC severely critical of Mixon and her associates, that some of those comments can come from the very website apparently created in part by Loenen-Ruiz (one RH’s victims, according to Mixon) so that PoC can talk about the situation , and it still gets dismissed as RH propaganda you should not read?

Do you see how some of Mixon’s 29 cases rely solely on a single anonymous comment on a blog? How those anonymous comments are taken as gospel truth by Mixon and her supporters, while a detailed and sourced essay by a pseudonymous blogger must automatically be dismissed? Why is it that when an anonymous man says that RH called him “misogynist”, he gets to be a victim of RH, but that when an anonymous PoC says: I’ve been swinging from sorrow for the victims, terror of Laura Mixon and Elizabeth Bear, fury at their abuse of power, fear at their abuse of power“), they don’t get to be a victim of Mixon?

Do you realise that you are reaching for anything that will allow you not to evaluate for yourself the information I have presented?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think anyone has to read my essay. There are plenty of very good reasons why people would choose not to read it. Or read it but disagree with what I had to say. That’s allright, really. But you sound like you’re trying to fabricate reasons for it to be “the right thing to do” to dismiss it. That’s not intellectually healthy.

But RH is not a nice person. She called people racists, and still does!

Look, even if someone were to show RH’s criticisms were wrong, why are you even talking about it? Why use your activism time to try to take down the queer WoC from Thailand that, in your opinion, happens to be wrong about homophobia, sexism, racism, and colonialism? Why not go expose and yell at the thousands of cishet white men and women that are also wrong about those things? I’m sure most of us can agree there’s no shortage of those.

Why did you write this, and what do you expect to gain from it?

I guess my main motivation, if I you allow me to steal a bit from ADM, was that I felt strongly that silence was complicity. That if I said nothing about Mixon’s essay, knowing its flaws and apparent biases, I wouldn’t be neutral; I would be complicit.

I do not expect to gain anything from this, on the contrary, but I really do hope people continue to contact me with evidence I have missed so that I can correct any mistakes I may have made in my essay. I have already made a few corrections, some minor, others more substantial, and I will continue to make as many as necessary.

Finally, I do not expect Mixon or any of her associates to respond to my essay. There’s really no need. She took her best shot at presenting her investigation, so did I. I’m sure she has far better things to do with her time, just as I do.

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