kaffyr: (NaruOMG)
[personal profile] kaffyr
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. 


Date: Tuesday, 7 April 2015 04:24 pm (UTC)
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Nice)
From: [personal profile] mishalak
I have two somewhat positive ways to look at this.

One, is that this is just death. Everything dies in time and Worldcon is going to die just as so many other literature focused SF conventions have died. Part of the cycle of life that institutions die when they get old and having a 75 year run is better than a lot of institutions. That is nearly four human generations and even more fan generations.

Two, is that this a moment of crisis that will cause renewal. The Hugo Award rules and voting population are... well they are not very representative of anything. The whole reason they can be gamed is because of low voting and nominating numbers compared with the size of the convention and the size of fandom. Perhaps this problem will mean that people who care might actually do something to make a larger Worldcon community.

Date: Saturday, 11 April 2015 05:20 pm (UTC)
cygnia: (uh-uh)
From: [personal profile] cygnia
What's been really irritating me on one particular geekery forum I frequent is the sheer amount of "Hugos are still relevant? LOL whatever..." attitude (that said attitude is from ciswhite straight dudes is PROBABLY just a coincidence, of course...*growls*)

Like it's soooooooooo edgy to be apathetic.

Date: Sunday, 12 April 2015 04:35 am (UTC)
shanghaied: (Just...no)
From: [personal profile] shanghaied
Consider lollerskates and lollercaust instead (if/when appropriate) - at least they have the quality of being somewhat cheerfully cynical :-)

As for the text of the post itself, I'm sure all the words you used were in a language I know, but the sentences have no reference points in my universe. Oh well. However, I recognised parts of some of them enough to mention in passing that when I saw the season finale of a certain daft-yet-classy genre series I'm fond of, the first thought that flashed into my head was DUUUUDE, DO YOU REALISE THAT YOU, THE LEAD ACTOR, ARE NOW THE ONLY WHITE GUY IN THE MAIN CAST AND EVERYONE IS TAKING THAT FOR GRANTED AND HOW EXCELLENT IS *THAT*? So maybe you Social Justice Warrior people are helping make an actual difference in the world. Or at least in major network telly.

Not mentioning the series by name BTW because, in case it isn't obvious from my reaction, I'd rather not spoiler anyone overly.

Date: Monday, 13 April 2015 11:43 am (UTC)
shanghaied: (prickly)
From: [personal profile] shanghaied
'I only speak two languages - English and bad English' :P :P :P

(Actually untrue, but it's a favourite quote of mine)

But but but it has REAL ACTORS in it! Muhahahaha...

Date: Monday, 13 April 2015 09:12 pm (UTC)
shanghaied: (we are stardust)
From: [personal profile] shanghaied
:D

Date: Monday, 6 April 2015 05:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brithistorian.livejournal.com
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. :\

Date: Monday, 6 April 2015 07:56 am (UTC)
thisbluespirit: (librarian)
From: [personal profile] thisbluespirit
It just seems incomprehensible that anyone would do something like that. :/

Date: Monday, 6 April 2015 09:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-phoenixdragon.livejournal.com
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 Date: Monday, 6 April 2015 09:46 am (UTC)

Date: Monday, 6 April 2015 11:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] supergee.livejournal.com
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.

Date: Monday, 6 April 2015 01:19 pm (UTC)
lolmac: (eat a good book)
From: [personal profile] lolmac
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.

Date: Monday, 6 April 2015 02:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cygnia.livejournal.com
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.

Date: Monday, 6 April 2015 02:40 pm (UTC)
liadtbunny: Disney Cartoon Lion (Bulman not happy)
From: [personal profile] liadtbunny
Boo! They've missed the point of what SF is.

Date: Monday, 6 April 2015 04:41 pm (UTC)
thisbluespirit: (heyer - gothick)
From: [personal profile] thisbluespirit
Oh, I know, but this is not only that mentality, but so completely petty on top of it, isn't it? /o\

Date: Monday, 6 April 2015 05:43 pm (UTC)

Date: Monday, 6 April 2015 09:55 pm (UTC)
lolmac: (Dead Bug)
From: [personal profile] lolmac
I don't think there's anything new about the shrill young "SJWs" -- there have been similarly young, shrill, naive individuals for as long as I've had an ear to hear. I bordered on being one myself, until I recognized that the shrillness wasn't a good state of being. "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention!" -- not quite; I've been paying attention for longer than you've [not you, Mandy or Kaffyr or anyone else here, of course] been alive, but I have more strength for the long haul when I don't waste energy being outraged.

The only difference I see in the current generation is that everyone can have a big noisy platform now, and it's easy for anyone to find their echo chamber.

So the shrillness and self-righteousness annoys me on all sides, but I'm willing to cut some slack for shrill young people on the one side, who are at least somewhat likely to grow up to be rational adult people I agree with. The Rabid Weasels are just as shrill and self-righteous, but highly unlikely to grow up, since many of them are already in their 50s and 60s. And they start at shrill and go on and down from there, passing loathsome on the way to unspeakable. (I've been following the overall story arc of this mess for the last few years, although I have more tender love for my stomach than to read more than a few lines at a time of Rabid Weasel writing.)

I just checked, and was pleased to find that a non-attending voting membership is much less pricey than I had feared! So, yay, that's now a Plan. I had at one point hoped to attend -- the PNW is my home turf, I know most of the folks who are running the con, and some of them were encouraging me to come -- but, when you get right down to it, this is one clusterf*ck I'm glad to avoid. I have to assume that the Rabid Weasels will be attending in numbers, and the thought of the hotel being flooded by that rising sea of privilege is really squickifying.
Edited Date: Monday, 6 April 2015 10:05 pm (UTC)

Date: Monday, 6 April 2015 10:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-phoenixdragon.livejournal.com
As am I, but then, I think of the SJWs as hysterical, belligerent and self-righteous asshats. Everyone who is reasonable I think of as Progressives. But then, I came across so many self-righteous, hate-mongering, name-calling/cat-calling, fear-driven SJWs on Tumblr, it drove me away from Tumblr. To call out Hate with more Hate is not the way to go. To me, Progressive is a little more realistic, down-to-earth and with a for-everyone attitude and looks a little more like this. So that's where my thoughts are on that.

I think I'm just appalled and headdesking because the louder one crew screams, the louder the other one does (and by this I mean Priveledged, Pompous Assholes VS Internet!SJWs) and all it does is create more hate, fear and anger. Nothing gets done. And the priveledged use their priviledge to make it all that much worse. I'm just beside myself! I keep fighting, but I guess I find it easier to do so quietly and in little ways that can lead to big ways, as screaming just seems to make me hoarse and other people deaf.

And yes, the Priviledged are the new 'victims'. UGH. Fear of losing what they have is what makes them so hateful. What they don't get is the old wives tale: the more you give the more you have. If they'd just get that death grip on everyone loosened a tad, maybe they would find it easier to breathe, relax and enjoy what everyone can bring to the table (metaphorically). I guess I just don't understand what all the shouting is supposed to accomplish.

Gods, yes, I remember that. I also remember being uncomfortable and quite vocal about certain things after that (my apologies, btw, if I embarrassed you at any point. *Facepalm*). To me that is just fear speaking in a really ugly way. I just wish that the priviledged would realize the only thing out there to fear? Is themselves...

Date: Monday, 6 April 2015 10:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-phoenixdragon.livejournal.com
Yeah, I'd give that a pass myself...

As I replied to Kaffyr above, I guess I'm just appalled, tired and slightly boggled with all the white noise. I have lived and loved and tried to treat everyone around me as I wish to be treated and quietly point out when someone else's treatment is less than stellar. I know gently is not always best, but quite frankly the noise from both sides is deafening and accomplishes naught but confusion and anger.

I'm just...*hands* I cannot believe how the racist, sexist, homophobic, mysogonistic has not died out by now like the terminal diseases they are. And the boldness of late of these assholes who Hate (with that capital H!) just boggles me utterly. Then your 'new' SJW makes matters worse by hating on those who hate, which accomplishes even less and sends out the wrong message.

I dunno. Maybe I'm too old and set in my ways and not that bright. I just want everyone to share, participate, love who they love and be able to walk by a police station or a group of any set of individuals and not be afraid. Is that truly to much to ask in this day and age?

Date: Monday, 6 April 2015 10:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-phoenixdragon.livejournal.com
THIS. Gods...Gamergate exposed a lot of ugliness out on the Net. Unfortunately, they don't seem to care they are ugly, they just seem to think it is their right to be.

Welcome to Rome.

Date: Tuesday, 7 April 2015 05:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tardis-stowaway.livejournal.com
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.

Date: Tuesday, 7 April 2015 04:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brithistorian.livejournal.com
Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I'm leaning toward voting (assuming I can find money in the budget for the membership). Despite never having been to a Worldcon, the Hugos do mean something to me: I remember being a tweenage boy in a small town in Mississippi and reading about the Hugos in the Xignals newsletter from Waldenbooks. That was my introduction to the concept of organized fandom. I wasn't really sure what happened at a Worldcon or how the Hugos were awarded, but I had definitely formed the idea that these were Good Things.

Date: Tuesday, 7 April 2015 10:16 pm (UTC)
lolmac: (Dead Bug)
From: [personal profile] lolmac
I have done the deed: a Supporting membership (voting, not attending) is US$40, and I can afford that without tears. (Thank you, universe, for putting me into a position where I can spend that money on principle instead of food.)

In my further reading, I read a blog post by one guy who says he was included on the Rabid Weasels slate without his knowledge or consent, and decided after presumed soul-searching to accept the nomination -- and then he goes on to explain that Folks Just Don't Understand Whut Those Guyz Wuz Trying to Do, so my decision to vote a straight No Weasels slate stands without tremor.

Date: Tuesday, 7 April 2015 10:24 pm (UTC)
lolmac: (Conductor)
From: [personal profile] lolmac
Oh, thanks for the link to the article! I've loved Arthur Chu since his start on Jeopardy. (I wish he was on the Hugo ballot.)

Date: Wednesday, 8 April 2015 01:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apostle-of-eris.livejournal.com
The Iron Dream for retro-Hugo!

Date: Thursday, 9 April 2015 03:51 pm (UTC)
ext_26142: (10th Doctor Certified Geek from ???)
From: [identity profile] beccadg.livejournal.com
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.

Date: Friday, 10 April 2015 11:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tardis-stowaway.livejournal.com
Glad you enjoyed the article!

I actually went to college with Arthur Chu. We weren't friends, but there was some overlap in our social circles. It's been pleasantly odd to witness him become an internet celebrity and thoughtful cultural commentator.

And yes, he would definitely be better on the Hugo ballot than much of what's on there.

Date: Sunday, 12 April 2015 05:16 am (UTC)
ext_26142: (Steve Shield by beccadg)
From: [identity profile] beccadg.livejournal.com
Some people have said it would be best to vote for what you wanted to vote for in the first place...

Upon a good deal of reflection I think they're right. I think to vote any other way is to surrender your freedom to vote how you want to the bigots. I mean voting against people who appeared on their slate solely because they appeared on their slate is ultimately no different than voting for people who appeared on their slate solely because they appeared on their slate. Either way, you've allowed your choices to be dictated by the slate, and the bigots who put that slate together. John Scalzi said, "I’m not inclined to punish creators strictly on the basis of who has nominated them, or why." Charlie Jane Anders said, "The best you can hope for is that the quality of the work winds up getting considered first and foremost, over other factors." I think the fairest thing to do for yourself, for the creators who've been nominated, and for the non-bigot voters who participated in the nominating process is to make full use of your freedom.

...but the problem with that is the slate people will undoubtedly take credit for any win...

You should no more let what the bigots will do dictate your actions than you should let what the bigots have done dictate your actions. Teresa Nielsen Hayden said, "Want to strike back against the Sad Puppies and everything they represent? Buy a supporting membership. Vote for the nominees you love or like or find worthy. Do it with no agenda beyond your love of SF. Next year, buy one early enough to nominate." It seems like one of the things getting lost is that even at the nominating stage not all of the voting was being done by the bigots. Eleven out of the seventeen categories has at least one nomination that did not appear on the bigots' slate. Those were clearly voted for by people not voting from the slate. It can be inferred by those nominations, and other factors, that some of the other nominees who did appear on the slate where voted for by people besides the bigots who were voting strictly from the slate.

I think the biggest thing the bigots did was expose how difficult choosing nominees for the six categories they dominated are without some kind of a guide. Hell, even if you do have a guide. For four of those six categories the Sad Puppies couldn't come up with five things/people to nominate. Just look at the entry numbers for those six categories --
Best Novella (201 entries)
(The Sad Puppies listed 3 choices, not 5.)
Best Novelette (314 entries)
(The Sad Puppies listed 4 choices, not 5.)
Best Short Story (728 entries)
(Okay, this is where limited knowledge/choice wasn't the problem.)
Best Related Work (346 entries)
Best Editor, Short Form (187 entries)
(The Sad Puppies listed 4 choices, not 5.)
Best Editor, Long Form (124 entries)
(The Sad Puppies listed 4 choices, not 5.)

Date: Tuesday, 14 April 2015 06:30 am (UTC)
ext_26142: (Captain Jack/Ianto Hug by beccadg)
From: [identity profile] beccadg.livejournal.com
...an you have my respect for putting the information together.

Thanks! I wasn't sure how interested anyone besides me would be once I got it put together, but I hoped that since I found it interesting someone else might.

Teresa's comments are extremely logical (but then, she generally has a lot of good sense.)

*Nods.* I clearly should be following her more generally. It was nice seeing that Jim C. Hines, and John Scalzi weighed in on the situation. I'd always had the impression they were cool people, but it's still nice when people you think are cool show you just how cool they actually are. 8-)

Date: Wednesday, 15 April 2015 08:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flowsoffire.livejournal.com
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.

*hugs*

Date: Thursday, 16 April 2015 03:55 am (UTC)
lolmac: (Camo)
From: [personal profile] lolmac
I had my own massive double-take some years back on Jeopardy: I went to college with Ryan Holznagel, one of the Big Champion guys. He's a really nice guy (well, was back then, and I'm sure still is), and it was a kick watching him win big!!

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