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Lou Antonelli

Louis "Lou" Antonelli is a journalist and prolific writer of short genre fiction. He is primarily known to meme through his involvement in a fandom controversy called the Hugopocalypse. In 2015, a few right-wing authors and editors selected slates of works for their fans to nominate for the Hugo Awards; because the other voters spread their nominations over a much wider range of works, the slate works wound up dominating the ballot. Two of Antonelli's works were on the slates and consequently reached the final Hugo ballot: “On A Spiritual Plane,” a short story, and “Letters from Gardner,” a collection of essays which was nominated for Best Related Work.

Unlike other slate nominees such as Tom Kratman and John C. Wright, meme didn't have much bad to say about Antonelli's writing. His behavior, however, was quite another matter. As fandom discussions over the slates heated up, he revealed a hair-trigger temper that blew up several times in spectacular fashion.

In the distant past of 2012, Antonelli ran for a board position in SFWA, the guild for science fiction and fantasy writers. He used the phrase 'canine-Americans' to describe his dogs when he posted his platform. When author Nisi Shawl objected, Antonelli castigated her for being too 'PC'. Antonelli did eventually apologize, and Shawl accepted. (Jim Hines summarized these events here).

Antonelli first came to meme's attention in 2015 when he got in an argument with Deirdre Saoirse Moen, who had advocated voting all the slate nominees below No Award on the Hugo ballot, irrespective of their quality. Her view was that the slates were inherently unethical and it would be wrong to reward any slate candidates with a Hugo even if their work was good. Antonelli protested, which resulted in DSM kicking him off her blog. Antonelli retreated to his own blog and said, “Apparently 'Deirdre Saoirse Moen' is Gaelic for 'Not all the Nazis are in Germany.'”

Meme saw this, as did commenters on File770, which was running a series of Hugo link roundup posts. One such commenter named Aaron Pound filled in a few more details. It appeared that Aaron tweeted that Antonelli was an 'asshole' in response to his Godwin, and Antonelli in turn sent a threatening letter to his work email (which Aaron later reproduced on his blog), and also called up his boss to try to get Aaron fired.

Antonelli's response? He was mad at Deirdre for being a jerk, hence calling her a Nazi. And he really contacted Aaron's boss not out of anger at being called an asshole, but because Aaron was tweeting during working hours! Since Aaron is a government employee, Antonelli figured he was wasting taxpayer money by tweeting during the workday, and so he wanted to let Aaron's boss know. To finish, he said that Aaron was likely going to face a “Congressional investigation” over this.

This turned out not to be a great rejoinder. Aaron eviscerated his arguments, and also pointed out that he didn't actually send his tweet during working hours.

Antonelli's next appearance on meme was after he went to Conquest, a regional science fiction convention, and reported that the Puppies had a lot of support. While most of the online genre fiction community who had commented on the issue had taken the anti-Puppy stance, Antonelli said that many fans in meatspace were actually pro-Puppy:

“Although the party line narrative is to vilify the dissident movement, it's not quite as unfashionable among the rank-and-file fans, it seems. I went to the convention with a half dozen copies of “Letters from Gardner” - that's all I had on hand - and despite not having a signing, I sold them all. Some of the people claimed they only learned about the book because of the Pupps, and as a result of the discussion were supportive. At one panel I got a clenched first “Go Pupps!” salute.”

Meme noted that there might have been anti-Puppy people there who just didn't say anything to Antonelli out of manners, and also that attendance at his panels never exceeded 25 people (by his own admission), so he might not have talked to a representative sample of genre fiction fans.

Despite a subsequent plea (seen by meme) for everyone to respect the Hugos, Antonelli again caught meme's attention with his Hugo-related stupidity a few weeks later. On a livestream for the superversive sci fi show, Antonelli told the other panelists that, should No Award win, the Puppies should sue Tor for Exaction on the basis that Tor's anti-Puppy campaigning had caused the Puppy novels to lose and thus cost the authors the money they would have made off of a Hugo win. He later reiterated this claim on his blog. This is, of course, legally incoherent, and meme laughed about it. Even John C. Wright, another Puppy on the podcast, responded that this wouldn't work; he pointed out that the Puppies have been saying that the Hugos are worthless, so they don't really have grounds to assert that not getting one is damaging.

But that wasn't the big thing. Antonelli also said in that podcast that he had contacted the Spokane police and warned them that David Gerrold, the Worldcon Guest of Honor who would be conducting the Hugo Award Ceremony along with Tananarive Due, was dangerous and might instigate violence against the Puppies. His basis for this was that Gerrold had said some mean things about the Puppies on his facebook. Jim C. Hines provided a transcript of the relavant portion of the superversive livestream:

“I really didn’t know much about [Gerrold] before the Hugo nominations came out. Following his discourse and his level of discourse as a result, I personally wrote a letter addressed to the police chief in Spokane and said I thought the man was insane and a public danger and needs to be watched when the convention’s going on, and I mean it. I attached my business card. I said this guy’s inciting to violence. Somebody—a weak-minded might attack somebody because of his relentless strength of abuse. I think, honestly, I think he belongs in a secure psychiatric facility.”

Meme discussed this latest inanity, as did many others in the community (one of the more notable responses was from Adam-Troy Castro, who explained at length how awful this was). Antonelli eventually apologized to David Gerrold, admitting he overreacted in a comment on a post Jim Hines made about the whole mess. Gerrold accepted his apology, then reiterated his acceptance on Facebook and put out some pleas for civility. Nonetheless, Antonelli still had one of his accepted stories withdrawn from publication because editor Carrie Cuinn found his actions offensive. Carrie subsequently received death and rape threats, and she noted on her blog that Antonelli neglected to mention–when he posted the private message she had sent him about withdrawing his story–that she had sent it before he had posted his apology.

Finally, Natalie Luhrs subsequently posted an email she received from someone who saw Antonelli at one of his conventions. According to the email, Antonelli talked with at least one Puppy and accepted his enthusiastic support, only to later protest that he knew very little about the Puppies and wasn't condoning any of their nonsense. He was called out on this lie by another panelist, Marguerite Reed, during one of his panels–she had read a pro-Puppy post by him and pointed out that this proved he was well aware of Puppy rhetoric and had been for months. (Meme.)

lou-antonelli.txt · Last modified: 2021/08/30 05:16 by nonnymousely