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Dept. of Sweet Weeping Whatever

So. The Hugos.

Once upon a time, for a short while, I was an enthusiastic Old School SF fan. I attended Worldcons, read through everything nominated for the Hugo awards, (at least those things I could get my hands on) and voted happily. I eventually gafiated lo these three decades gone now, and I know well that the Hugos are as likely to be popularity contests as they are to be signifiers of quality.(Often popularity and quality overlap, which is not quite totally germane to this.) Still, the Hugos have a place in my memory and in my heart, because they are part of what introduced me to a) some pretty decent writing and b) fandom - which is, possibly, even more important.

That's why I was disheartened to learn that a group of people who believe that fandom has been improperly taken over by folks who aren't, by and large, white, cis-gendered, straight males (and a few good-looking white-cis-gendered straight females) and who have apparently dedicated themselves to fighting the good fight against such people, have succeeded in loading the 2015 Hugo Awards ballot with nominations for books, stories, television episodes, fanzines, movies, etc., etc.  that they believe are more worthy. They invited folks with whom they are sympatico, including many in the G*merg*te community to join them in block voting for those worthy offerings. They thus succeeded in filling up many, if not all, the slots in most, if not every, Hugo category.

It makes me sad and angry for several reasons. Not least of which is, of course, that I have slid into that spectrum of fandom that these folks, the self-named "Sad Puppies," call Social Justice Warriors, or SJWs. Perhaps I always had that bent, but it's gotten more pronounced over the last nine years or so - hey, just about the same time period that I've been in online LJ/DW, Who/fanfic fandom! Hmmm.... But I digress. Yes, I like to think of myself as a progressive, so I imagine I'm immediately classed by these folks as "the enemy." Their loss, not mine, but as you can imagine, I'm not happy to see what they've done.

There are other reasons I'm unhappy with this. As much as I know the Hugos have always been political in some ways, have always been popularity contests in some ways ... I still respected them, and thought that other fans respected them, too.

This move doesn't signal either respect for the field of science fiction (which is, as we know, what I point to when I say "science fiction") or for fandom. And that makes me angry.

Yet another reason: there are, perhaps, some books, stories, movies, etc., on the "Sad Puppies" slate that would be worthy of peoples' time and votes - but because they have been placed on the slate, a lot of people who want to protest the Breitbart-like reactionary mouth-frothing and self-pity-sodden moves of the "Sad Puppies" will vote No Award rather than vote for them. And that's understandable, given that apparently most of those whose work is on the SP slate have allowed their names to stay on that slate, which doesn't, in my opinion, speak well for them. Still, their works should have stood or fallen on their own, not because of an admittedly fully understandable reaction against the SP.

So why should I care? After all,
I haven't gone to a Worldcon since 1986 or so, and I fell out of the habit of reading a lot of SF or fantasy as well. (Why? Because Fanfic ... ahem ....) It's probably true that few people outside the world of science fiction fandom pay attention to the Hugos, although they are better known to the general public now than they might have been 30 years ago, when I was still voting for them. And this could easily be dismissed as a tempest in a teapot. But it angers me that people whose philosophies are, by their very nature, exclusionary and reeking of fear and hatred of change and the new, are doing this to something I care about.

Especially when these people have the unmitigated gall, or apparent cultural tone-deafness, to say they are doing it in the name of inclusion and returning the Hugos to diversity and anti-authoritarian forward thinking. No, really, that's what they're saying. Because John W. Campbell-White-Guys-Finish-First SF is under attack from everywhere - everywhere, I tell you ... sweet, weeping jesus. Haven't these guys ever read The Futurians, or The Way The Future Was? Even some of the stalwarts of White Guys Finish First SF were the kind of people from whom the Sad Puppies would recoil in horror.

Anyhow, here are links to a few current news pieces and opinion pieces about the fun and games (not all of which are in lockstep with each other.)

Here are thoughts by people I
trust and respect about said fun and games.

Here's a link to the official Hugo ballot, and a link to what would be the "No Sad Puppies" ballot.

This entry was originally posted at http://kaffyr.dreamwidth.org/354260.html?mode=reply, where there are currently comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there or here; I watch both.



( 40 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 6th, 2015 05:52 am (UTC)
I had been considering buying a supporting membership to Worldcon this year so that I could vote in the Hugos for the first time ever. After this, I'm even more undecided - on the one hand, I feel like it's somewhat more important that I vote, given the recent shenanigans, and on the other I'd prefer that my first Hugo voting experience be a positive one, which this wouldn't be. :\
Apr. 6th, 2015 01:19 pm (UTC)
Yes, I've decided to get a voting membership exclusivly so I can vote "No Award" on the Rabid Weasels slate, as I have taken to calling it (Points to Mary Robinette Kowal). No, it isn't a positive experience -- but I've watched two other once-decent organizations that mattered deeply to me, which were taken over and ruined by different species of Rabid Weasels. I don't care all that much about the Hugos themselves, but at least this time there's something I can do about the RWs.
(no subject) - kaffyr - Apr. 6th, 2015 04:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - brithistorian - Apr. 7th, 2015 04:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lolmac - Apr. 7th, 2015 10:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Apr. 9th, 2015 08:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Apr. 6th, 2015 02:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 6th, 2015 07:56 am (UTC)
It just seems incomprehensible that anyone would do something like that. :/
Apr. 6th, 2015 02:33 pm (UTC)
Sadly, it's all to comprehensible, if you figure that there are people in this world who are dead certain that, when they lose their default privilege, when people challenge them to include more diversity in their worldview, that they are OMG, UNDER ATTACK BY THE MOBS OF PEOPLE NOT LIKE US, THERE ARE TOO MANY NOT-MEN, NOT-CAUCASIAN PEOPLE AROUND, OMG!!!!

They really don't understand that allowing other people the rights and privileges that they themselves expect as their birthright does not equate to them being under attack. And as long as they think they're under attack, and as long as they believe that their being under attack equates to all that is good and noble being under attack ... they'll act like this.

Wow, that's not a real comprehensible answer. tl:dr - A bunch of guys at the top of the food chain, think that anyone getting farther up the chain is wrong and evil, so they're fighting it.
(no subject) - lost_spook - Apr. 6th, 2015 04:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Apr. 6th, 2015 05:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 6th, 2015 09:42 am (UTC)
OMG...this is terrible. WTF is wrong with the world. Why is it, every time we move forward, we take two steps back.

Generations from now, even something as 'small' *coughs* as this will be looked upon with a frown. Do they NOT get the stupid irony of their 'inclusiveness' horse shit?! SciFi has always, ALWAYS been about diversity, going up against insurmountable odds, being the odd one out and winning, the movement forward in thinking, society and ideas/ideals. This is beyond a joke. This is frigging horrifying and enraging...wth.

The SJWs? Yeah, they have gotten worse. And they are their own brand of hate-mongering and fear. They are one of the main reasons I avoid Tumblr as well. There are several different types of blindness. One can be 'progressive' and still be REgressive. They are not immune to this phenomena. *Sigh*

*Hugs you*

Edit: Okay. Read some of what these 'vaunted thinkers' within the articles had to say. To say I am disgusted is an understatement. Fucking neanderthals. THESE are the 'leaders' of SF?! Count me out then. @#$%ing hell...

Edited at 2015-04-06 09:46 am (UTC)
Apr. 6th, 2015 05:08 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I often roll my eyes at the SJWs, but in truth I am closer to them in spirit, because they've taught me to check my privilege, and I don't regard that as a bad learning experience.

The Sad Puppies don't like it that people have called them on privilege; they don't like it that other people are saying, "Listen, there are other voices out there." They don't believe it when people say, "No, we're not ganging up on you when we ask for diversity." They react the way bullies often do when they're confronted: by whining that they're the victim.

The stuff that V*x D*y said about one writer - someone you and I heard speak at Wiscon, I think - was incredibly racist. And he's the head of this effort. Put that together with the fact they're bringing G*merg*te folks into it, and they've lost any possible credibility in my eyes.

(no subject) - a_phoenixdragon - Apr. 6th, 2015 10:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Apr. 7th, 2015 03:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lolmac - Apr. 6th, 2015 09:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - a_phoenixdragon - Apr. 6th, 2015 10:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Apr. 7th, 2015 03:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 6th, 2015 11:40 am (UTC)
Robert Heinlein imagined someone like Vox Day and called him Nehemiah Scudder. The Puppies didn't deliberately keep his bio off the ballot, but there's a certain appropriateness.
Apr. 6th, 2015 04:10 pm (UTC)
Robert Heinlein imagined someone like Vox Day and called him Nehemiah Scudder.

Excellent point,

Somewhat tangentially, this group's monumental lack of historical perspective is pretty mind-blowing.
Apr. 6th, 2015 02:36 pm (UTC)
I've been angry about this entire case. The fact that they actively courted assholes from Gamergate to help stack the ballot proves they're bigots.
Apr. 6th, 2015 04:12 pm (UTC)
Yes indeed. Bringing G*merg*te into anything lowers the credibility of whoever brings it in to below zero. Once you bring that group of losers into your camp, you've got no legs to stand on.
(no subject) - cygnia - Apr. 6th, 2015 05:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Apr. 7th, 2015 01:00 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - a_phoenixdragon - Apr. 6th, 2015 10:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 6th, 2015 02:40 pm (UTC)
Boo! They've missed the point of what SF is.
Apr. 6th, 2015 04:30 pm (UTC)
Their lack of understanding is cosmically large. But don't tell them that. I mean, they're warriors for goodness and truthiness! *rolls eyes*
Apr. 7th, 2015 05:54 am (UTC)
Yeah, I've been following this mess with furious disappointment. The fact that they set out to completely take over many categories shows that their agenda is not really about getting recognition for the sort of stories they like but about taking things away from those they regard as aligned with SJWs/progressives/intellectuals.

The only comfort I can find from this is to consider the quote attributed to Gandhi: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." In the struggle between the reactionary old boys' club and those who think speculative fiction should be inclusive, thoughtful, and forward-looking, we seem to have reached the stage where they fight us.

For further reading, this I appreciated Arthur Chu's article on Salon discussing this situation and contextualizing it in the history of small groups of determine, loudmouthed trolls gaming democratic systems and screwing things up.
Apr. 7th, 2015 03:32 pm (UTC)
That article is very thoughtful; thanks for linking to it. And I like the term you use — furious disappointment. I think that's what I feel when I consider this situation.
(no subject) - lolmac - Apr. 7th, 2015 10:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tardis_stowaway - Apr. 10th, 2015 11:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lolmac - Apr. 16th, 2015 03:55 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 8th, 2015 01:04 am (UTC)
The Iron Dream for retro-Hugo!
Apr. 9th, 2015 08:58 pm (UTC)
Whisper it! V*x would probably take that seriously. Or has, at one point or another, in the depths of his dark evenings.
Apr. 9th, 2015 03:51 pm (UTC)
First, let me say, "Thank you," for sharing all of this information. I find it both deeply depressing, and frustrating, but that's not your fault. Second, I feel the need to mention part of my strong emotional reaction comes from having been initially excited by seeing among the finalists Skin Game, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Lego Movie, and Grimm. Those are all things I love. Some of them are things I might have voted for if a) I had the money, and b) I didn't deeply resent having to chose between voting for something I love knowing the Rabid Weasels also like them, or voting against them just because the Rabid Weasels also like them. I hate just the thought of being stuck in that bind so deeply I'm not sure if I'd spend the money even if I did have it. I'd really like to vote for Skin Game and Grimm. Okay, I'd have a nervous breakdown trying to pick which of the movie finalists I liked best. I might vote for Edge of Tomorrow (which the Rabid Weasels apparently didn't care for) just because I think it is the movie finalist that has been the most under appreciated, if I had the money, and wasn't put off the idea of voting for the Hugos all together.
Apr. 9th, 2015 09:00 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the fact that they've tainted some really good things with their actions is part of what angered me. Some people have said it would be best to vote for what you wanted to vote for in the first place, but the problem with that is the slate people will undoubtedly take credit for any win, and that? Makes my stomach roll over.
(no subject) - beccadg - Apr. 12th, 2015 05:16 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Apr. 13th, 2015 01:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - beccadg - Apr. 14th, 2015 06:30 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 15th, 2015 08:12 pm (UTC)
Heard from this, and it sounds terribly disheartening. Always so awful when great events are taken over with such drama and awful attitudes that just… ruin what the spirit is all about.

( 40 comments — Leave a comment )

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