Tuesday, April 07, 2015

The Hugo Awards

I've spent a little while wondering exactly what to say about the Hugo Award nominations. Part of me wants to do a savage, scathing, detailed, point-by-point takedown of the utter mendacity, stupidity, hypocrisy and unmitigated gall that it takes to claim that you're doing the right thing by attempting one of the most prestigious awards in your field so that an unrepentant racist, misogynist and general terrible human being stands a good chance of winning...

But the more I think about it, the more I feel like a point-by-point takedown is exactly what the Sad and Rabid Puppies are looking for. More than that, it's what they live for; they want people to engage them and their ideas in an honest, good-faith debate about their intentions and methods and what it all means for the future of science-fiction. Because that accords them a legitimacy that their actions have not earned; more importantly, it bogs their defenders down in a constant and unending treadmill of verifying and fact-checking and debating and refuting denials and proving credibility and apologizing for mistakes and correcting mistakes and re-refuting things that have already been refuted because a new denial has come out and debunking and rebunking and refuting character smears and refuting denials of character smears and and and and and and and and...

And there's no need for that. The Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies openly ginned up a slate of nominees who agreed with them politically, purely to show that the Hugos could be hijacked by a small group of sufficiently dedicated assholes. Everything else about this, from the "it's really all about the stories" to "Scalzi did it first" to "but my wife is black so I can't be racist" to "GamerGate didn't get involved" to "Correia declined his nomination" to "you have to read all our garbage entries before you can vote against them or you're the hypocrite here" to "voting 'No Award' just shows that you're a tool of the Man (the black, lesbian Man)" to "the real victim is us white male science fiction fans who can't get Hugos anymore" to "the rules don't explicitly say you can't do this" to "how DARE you, sir!" to every other defense, obfuscation, dodge, lie, and bad-faith argument they have advanced is all just an attempt to conceal that basic fact.

Nothing they say matters, because none of it is being argued in good faith. Their words are just an attempt to distract you from their actions. That's an insult in and of itself, because when you're talking to one of the most literate and intelligent groups of people in the world about books, the last thing you should be doing is trying to pretend that you don't know what a subtext is and that nobody should read anything into your statements. But the point is, they're never going to stop lying. They're never going to stop arguing. They're always going to try to turn everything into a rhetorical victory for their side, because their viewpoints are slowly receding into the dust of history and all they have left is empty rhetoric. If they lose, they will claim they're being oppressed. If they win, they will claim their ideas have been validated. If the rules change to prevent them from acting in bad faith again, they'll claim that they would have won if things had been "fair" (ie, if they had been able to game the rules sufficiently to win). Nothing you say will ever force the kind of introspection they'd need to undergo to understand why they're terrible people, and everyone else already knows it. So it's not worth talking about.

So don't argue with the Puppies. Just vote "No Award" in the categories they dominated, and leave them right the hell off the ballot. Because Puppies don't understand "No". They understand a newspaper to the nose.


Anonymous said...

Or, you could maybe read what some of the evil, evil Sad Puppies people wrote about what they did and why, and make up your own mind:


That is, if you're not terrified of badthink.

Anonymous said...

The problem is not the politics of the writers on the slate. The problem is the slate.

When the Sad Puppies sought suggestions for the slate, 41 people "nominated" (among other things) 35 books. 4 books got 3 nominations each, 4 got 2 nominations each, the other 27 got 1 nomination each. This is what normal nominations look like--even among a group selected for common tastes in SFF, the most popular books were getting less than 10% of the nominations. Among the final nominations (the top 50 or so of which are released every year after the voting) a runaway favorite like Ancillary Justice last year will get 15% or so, of the nominations.

Curating that to a list of 5 books to vote for raises your group's nomination rate roughly 10-fold, which is why 17% of the nominators could lock up 90% of the ballot.

In the process they left books off their slate that they would have loved (and their leaders admitted later they would have added to the slate had they known about them.) Those books got locked out of the nominations.

Slates hurt every non-slate work, including those the slate makers would have loved, but didn't know about. This is why "a liberal slate" is no answer to the problem.

Some of the writers on the Puppy slate(s) are liberal. Doesn't matter. Slates are so brutally destructive to the nominating process that I don't feel I can tolerate them no matter who benefits from the unfair advantage they give. I will be voting No Award above everything that came in via slate, no matter how good it is. If there are really good writers in there somewhere, perhaps I can vote for them with an undivided heart in some more auspicious, slateless, future year.

John Seavey said...

I did read that, "Anonymous" (if that is your real name). Why do you think I made a post about how every damn thing Correia says is a lie, obfuscation, dodge, or bad-faith argument? I'm happy to leave that link here, because every damn thing he says is either an equivocation, an attempt to duck genuine criticisms of his terrible plan, a misleading statement, or just a flat-out bald-faced lie. And as I said...we're all writers and readers of literature. We can all smell BS when it stinks.