Cliques and Outgrouping

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Jared continues his screeds in my comment sections. Feel free to read the whole thing. I will only be responding to pieces of it.

First this:

“If he still wants to fight the hugo fight, by all means, the rabid puppies are that away. Have fun.

No, seriously, I mean it. Go forth and conquer, bask in the lamentations of their femme presenting folk, whatever you want.

Jared proceeds from a false assumption – a false assumption that several others who have jumped into the fray have made. I have also been accused of “concern trolling.” What Jared and these others completely miss is that I don’t give a shit about the Hugos, or about Sad Puppies. My original post wasn’t intended to be a “here’s how to improve the puppies” guide. I don’t care. Sad Puppies is a dead brand.

The post serves, instead, two specific purposes. First, it’s a post mortem discussion of why Sad Puppies died (TL;DR – Regina George killed it). For those like Jared who refuse to learn the lessons from it, that’s his problem, not mine. Second, I’m using Sad Puppies as a club to beat Regina George with because she picked a fight with one of mine. Granted, she made it a particularly easy club to beat her with (thanks for that, BTW).

Which brings me to the next point of Jared’s that’s worth discussion today.

You say this is all about an attack on your author. I find that odd for a publisher to intervene in this manner at all, but especially that you demand she drop it while simultaneously being incensed that she didn’t name him in the post.

I am not a traditional publisher, and I don’t behave like one. Get over it.

But the last part of that quote is, indeed the heart of the issue. This suggests to me that unlike others, Jared is naive and not malicious. I’m willing to cut him the benefit of the doubt. I will assume that he honestly doesn’t understand the human behavior he’s witnessed. That’s OK. The gambit Ms. George pulled is a particularly passive aggressive gambit that specifically relies on good, decent people not understanding the intense cruelty that she’s exhibiting.

Once upon a time, I, too, was oblivious to this kind of social manipulation. And once upon a time, I, too, played victim to it. In middle school and high school I lacked the social understanding to comprehend what had happened. Since then, I’ve learned better.

Not naming him in the post *was* her trying to drop it. The event was materially linked to the post at hand, namely explaining what has happened with Sad Puppies and what will happen in the future, and as such needed to be mentioned for the sake of clarity, but dragging the individuals name into it wasn’t necessary, as that would bring up the fight anew, so she didn’t name him specifically. Those who already knew would know, but it wouldn’t change their impressions of it anyway, and those that didn’t, well, for them it wouldn’t matter. Sure, the other comments can be discussed, but that isn’t my place to argue. Of course you naming him for her makes the effort moot now.

Here, Jared couldn’t be more wrong. This is what Scott Adams would call, in persuasion land, the “fake because.” It’s a pretense that’s just plausible enough for good natured people to believe it. This is the smokescreen that hides the actual goal.

The real goal is to ostracize an individual and cast him out of the group. The entire purpose of bringing him up in this discussion is to signal to the “in group” that he’s no longer one of them. His name is left out deliberately in order to achieve this goal.

The reason this works is because everybody in the “in” group already knows who she’s talking about. Now, we can divide up the folks in the “in” group in several ways. First, we have those who consciously understand the social cue, those who understand it subconsciously and still react accordingly, and those who just miss it. Among those who understand it, we can further subdivide into four groups. There are those who understand it and will gleefully savage the cast out individual because they are cruel. There are those who understand it and will pile on because they fear being the next victim. Some will understand what is happening but stay silent, also because they fear being next. And finally there are those who will understand it and actually speak up. The last group is always small, for reasons we’ll get into later.

The net result is that those in the group pick up the signal, pile on the chosen victim, and cast him out of the group.

What about those not part of the “in” group? They fall into several groups as well. Some of them want to be part of the in group. They also pile on the ostracized individual, hoping to score points. Some will recognize what’s happening, if they happen to have enough domain knowledge. Most won’t know what’s going on and will just ignore it – it’s noise to them.

In this case, a very large number of the “out” group know exactly what’s going on because everything has happened publicly. Specifically, the Vile 770 crew already knows exactly who Ms. George is talking about. So in addition to cutting him out of the group, she’s signaling to a specific set of the “out” group that he’s been cast out and is ripe for being attacked.

I’ve been accused multiple times now of believing Declan Finn’s lies. He has been accused of “leaking” information to me. I have no idea what you people are smoking. I’ve based everything I’ve written off of what both Declan and Ms. Regina George have written publicly on their blogs. Jared and his friends can believe that or not believe it. Obviously, there’s no possible way I could ever prove that, as I can’t produce records of communications that never happened. On the other hand, I also don’t care what paranoid delusions these people harbor. Not my monkey.

There’s a reason I chose “Regina George” and the Mean Girls photos for all of these posts. This tactic is a classic right out of exactly the same kind of clique behavior that the movie depicts. I’ve seen it worked hundreds of times, maybe even thousands. You can watch it happen daily at any high school in America.

Don’t take my word for it, though. There’s an entire book that describes this exact behavior. Queen Bees and Wannabees is aimed at your daughters – and for good reason. This particular behavior is overwhelmingly female. That’s probably why it went straight over Jared’s head. Most women understand what’s happening here immediately and instinctively. They’ve dealt with it since they were little girls. A great many men miss it entirely.

Indeed, this entire recipe relies on men like Jared missing it entirely. It’s a classic passive-aggressive behavior. Ms. George provides enough detail to ensure that the people in the group get the right social message. But she leaves out enough – deliberately – to ensure that she can pretend she’s not doing anything of the sort. Then she relies on decent people, people who don’t want a fight, or maybe people who even feel the need to protect her, to refrain from calling her out on it. And when some of us do call her out on it, she falls back to the “fake because.”

I detest passive aggression with the fiery passion of a thousand dying sons. Thankfully, I also learned a very long time ago the morally correct and highly effective way to deal with passive aggression: aggressive aggression.

Ms. George has decided to play Mean Girls with a man who literally doesn’t grasp the social situation well enough to properly defend himself. I’ve dealt with Declan Finn for nearly eight months now, editing his upcoming book (which is great, by the way, especially with the editing we’ve put it through). The one and true crime that we can absolutely lay at his feet is having zero social skills – maybe even negative social skills. Frankly, I’d lay money that he has more than a touch of Asperger’s. And when people say to me, “Oh, don’t believe his lies!” (as they have in this matter), I only have two responses:

  1. What lies? He literally hasn’t told me a damned thing.
  2. Trust me. My wife and I had to explain to him why certain scenes in the earlier drafts of his books didn’t work… and he just wasn’t getting it. He really and truly doesn’t understand this stuff.

Of course, that second reason is also why Ms. George is picking on him in the first place. Because you see, this kind of attack is always targeted at the weak.

What I’ve also learned over the years is never, ever to give anyone the benefit of the doubt when they behave this way. As I noted earlier, I’ve seen this play out hundreds, if not thousands, of times throughout my life. I’ve never once seen it done unintentionally. The perpetrator always knows what she’s doing.

Had she left this matter completely private, where it belongs, I never would’ve gotten involved. But she didn’t. She took it public on purpose and deliberately. She should’ve written her sad, sorry excuse-filled poor me post without mentioning him at all. But she can’t do that, because she needs a scapegoat for her own pathetic incompetence.

So I stand by my comments. Ms. Regina George is a cowardly bully who has picked a fight on a man unable to defend himself. And there is only one appropriate response to bullies.

You stand up and punch them in the nose.

Thankfully, Ms. George has given me plenty of ammunition. And I’ll continue to use it until she and her cronies back off.

Russell Newquist

My name is Russell Newquist. I am a software engineer, a martial artist, an author, an editor, a businessman and a blogger.

I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and a Master of Science degree in Computer Science, but I’m technically a high school dropout. I also think that everything in this paragraph is pretty close to meaningless.

I work for a really great small company in Huntsville, Alabama building really cool software.

I’m the owner and head instructor of Madison Martial Arts Academy, which I opened in 2013 less to make money and more because I just really enjoy a good martial arts workout with friends.

I’m the editor in chief of Silver Empire and also one of the published authors there. And, of course, there is this blog – and all of its predecessors.

There’s no particular reason you should trust anything I say any more than any other source. So read it, read other stuff, and think for your damn self – if our society hasn’t yet over-educated you to the point that you’ve forgotten how.

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