I had a brief discussion on Twitter yesterday with one of the Rabid Puppies. A lot of it went like you’d expect – Vox is brilliant, they can’t lose, they’ve proven the existence of a “hidden slate” that was already rigging the Hugo awards (despite exactly zero evidence showing this – lack of evidence is apparently confirmation of the conspiracy?) and so on.

But a couple of tweets caught my eye. First, you have pretty much an admission that they know this is Vox’s revenge campaign:

Marc DuQuesne ‏#RabidPuppies argument is @voxday was accused of gaming the 2014 #HugoAwards, So he's been demonstrating what gaming actually is

Vox retweeted that, which I’m sure some would say isn’t necessarily an endorsement, but let’s be real, it is. And it’s very popular with his fans.

But more interestingly: I’ve long held out the point that the foundation of the Sad Puppy argument can be summarised as, “we don’t like the winners, therefore nobody can, therefore FRAUD!” – that the entire Puppy crowd can’t even admit that voters not voting in slate actually liked what they were voting for, it was all political and secret-conspiracy. And I got that argument from him, more or less:

Marc DuQuesne ‏Exactly! That's why the #SadPuppies and #RabidPuppies formed, because overt slates are the best way to fight covert slates.

Marc DuQuesne ‏The sad argument is that low participation was causing skewing to virtue signaling instead of good work.

Virtue signalling instead of good work.

They still can’t even conceive of the idea that people actually like what they’re voting for, it had to be an invisible covert political slate, so they have to mount an organised and expensive political slate to create the results that “should” have happened. (“It became necessary to destroy the town to save it,” I guess.)

That’s really insulting, as has been so much of the Puppy effort. But don’t miss this new buzz-phrase, virtue signalling.

Isn’t that neat? I thought maybe it was a one-off, but no, apparently, it’s their replacement for political correctness. They’ve realised that the PC thing doesn’t fly anymore, so they’re trying out a new, substitute phrase.

And the neat thing about that is that you now have “virtue” being used as a negative by the alt-right/reactionary crowd, just as they use “justice” as a negative. Political correctness had at least some degree of neutrality to it, but now, virtue signalling – a.k.a., not being a douchebag – and social justice warrior – a.k.a., opposing injustice? Bad? Apparently. So now we have “virtue” and “justice” both being portrayed as negatives, and undesirable.

Sometimes, my band shtick feels like it just gets more and more appropriate by the day. At least, I guess, whether they realise that or not, they’re laying their cards on the table.

This is a part of a series of posts on the 2015/2016 Hugo Awards capture by a rightist political group whose focus has now shifted to destroying the awards.