Jul 292015
 

v2-explodingThis year has been extraordinarily bad in terms of fiction nominees for the Hugos, which I blame primarily on the Puppies campaign. However it’s not a total loss, there is at least one work in each category that I genuinely liked, and would vote for. Which puts me in a bit of bind, because now I have to decide if I should No Award or not.

There are two major objections to the Puppies’ campaign (aside from plain old bad taste, which is a venial sin at worst).

  1. Block Voting. Three men chose a slate of works (based on inscrutable criteria) and encouraged adherents to vote a straight ticket without considering other works. It seems highly likely that most people didn’t even bother to read the works they voted to nominate. This overwhelms the normal scattered popular vote, and reduces the Hugos to a party-system. Right now there’s only one party (the Puppies) but even if there were multiple parties I would still be unhappy with this result. Having winners chosen by the leaders of whichever party can attract the most loyalists is distasteful. It’s the same political machine that runs US politics, and everyone hates it. Why would we want to adopt that system for anything?
  2. Dark Arts. The Puppies gathered members and fired up their base by using the tried-and-true method of tribal hatred. It’s simple red-vs-blue antagonism. The Puppies’ message is that an evil leftist cabal of “Them” have been oppressing “Us.” Every single thing that really pisses off the right about the left was painted onto the image of “Them.” And we can defeat “Them” and really rub their noses in shit simply by paying $40 and exploiting the very system they have so much faith in! The Puppy Triumvirate found a pressurized reservoir of discontent and resentment that was straining to explode, stoked it further, and tapped some of that energy for their own purposes. All this does is turn the Hugos into another contest of who can hate who harder. All other considerations (such as artistic quality, or personal integrity) get thrown aside when we’re engaged in an existential struggle against the Other Tribe. That is not what I want the Hugos to be about.

So this use of Dark Arts must be discouraged. I cannot ignore the consequences of what would happen if the Puppies’ tactics were to propagate. And they will propagate if they’re seen to be successful. Regardless of how much I personally enjoyed a couple of these nominees, I cannot rate any work that was on a Puppy Slate above No Award.

If you have a Hugo vote this year, I urge you to consider the ramifications of the Puppies’ tactics, and vote No Award as well.

  13 Responses to “Defense Against The Dark Arts re: The 2015 Hugo Awards”

  1. My thought… and I may just start registering every year for this purpose… Is that an author that finds themselves on a block voting list and doesn’t ask to be removed should be not officially, but culturally DQ’d from beating No Award. Even if they are good and plausibly deserved to be on the ballot. It’s not like anybody is ignorant of the ramifications of what is going on. If Heinlein rises from the dead and justifies in his own mind that it’s okay to benefit from block voting, then he’s DQ’d. If somebody makes a good faith effort to disavow a list but the list mongers refuse because they see their rigging not working anymore… then maybe that author gets a pass. Which is why we shouldn’t make it a rule, just a cultural norm. People can tell if somebody is bullshitting about wanting to be on or off a slate, and vote accordingly.

  2. William: “I’m sure we can all pull together, sir”
    Vetinari: “Oh,I do hope not. Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny.Free men pull in all kinds of directions”

    -Terry Pratchett, The Truth.

  3. “The Puppies gathered members and fired up their base by using the tried-and-true method of tribal hatred.”

    This has always been, and remains, a base and vile canard. I have even proven it to you, here on this very blog.

    If you want to see tribal hatred, first go look in the mirror before looking over here at me. This is the lesson of the Sad Puppies campaign, one which you may resist with all your might, but it still becomes all the more obvious with every anti-Puppy post.

    If “no award” actually wins anything, the lesson will be even louder. Thanks for making my point for me so beautifully.

    • > I have even proven it to you, here on this very blog.

      Says the man who gleefully posted about how it was time to go stompin’ on anthills. :)

      But I guess that’s not really fair. The point isn’t about how individual voters may or may not have felt. I was referring directly to the rhetoric used by Brad, Larry, and Vox.

      • At least you admit there’s an ant hill to kick.

        But really, you’re still living in dream land if you think “tribal hatred” is what was being said when you are “referring directly to the rhetoric used by Brad, Larry, and Vox”.

        Vox, sure.He’s being the biggest dick he can be on purpose just to hack you off. That’s his thing.

        Brad and Larry? If that’s tribal hatred these days, standards have fallen from when I was a kid.

        You want to conflate the efforts of two completely different sets of people, its a free country. But just because you say it doesn’t make it so.

        I will remind you, again (what is this, ten times now?) that all Larry had to do to become International Lord of Hate was to show up and say “Hi, how’s it going?” Y’all did the rest, including but not limited to the ongoing series of One Minute Hates in the Guardian.

        All any of us has ever done is express a preference. We express a preference, and the SJW crowd goes on a scorched earth rampage, where no lie is too heinous to be voiced. Think up anything horrible, then google “Larry Correia” + “insert horrible thing here” and you will find somebody said it.

        That’s the plain reality of the Sad Puppies campaign. There’s an ant hill full of red ants, we kicked it, and now they’re out biting everything in sight and we’re just saying “Look, an ant is biting you.” I don’t like red ants myself, because biting, so I stomp on the sons of bitches. You can keep them as pets if you want.

        Tribal hatred? Tell you what. Wear your hipster uniform, and go hang out at a biker bar. That’s tribal hatred. You can tell by the hitting and the kicking after you fall down. I’d say try the reverse too but I don’t think you could do “biker” convincingly. (Probably to your credit, incidentally. Bikers are scum.)

        There will be real, no-shit tribal hatred at Sasquan this year. It will be rained down upon anyone fool enough to self-identify as a Puppy. They will be getting spit on, screamed at, people will be following them around with video cameras to make sure they don’t do anything violent, and so forth. Mark me, this will happen.

        When it happens, I will be reminding you of this post. You’re welcome.

        • Did you watch the Hugos live stream tonight?

          Lots and lots of applause for no-award. Some tribal something going on there, you ask me.

          Also the twitter feed has been instructive. So many fat little emo girls scurrying about looking for transgressions to be outraged at. No false arrests yet, but there’s a couple days left for that.

          • I don’t twitter, so I don’t know what’s going on there.

            I was, however, an attendee at the award ceremony. I was one of those people you heard applauding vigorously for No Award. :)

            • Very classy then. Very classy indeed. Nice applause for No Awarding Toni Weisskopf, one of the most prolific editors in the business.

              And gee, exactly what we all predicted you’d do. Thanks for the win, dude! I was a bit concerned that reason and good manners would save the day, but y’all pushed through and showed your true colours for the world to see. It was epic.

              I was comfortably at home, watching on my computer. It was really nice, because I could turn the sound down and skip a lot of the more objectionable bits. I particularly liked turning the sound down on David Gerrold when he was telling people no to boo Noah Ward. Because Noah is a great guy, or something. That was satisfying as hell. Would that life came with a mute button.

              I don’t suppose it has occurred to you that having the same number of No Awards in one night as there have been in the whole previous 75 years might be something other than a shining star? More of a damp stain to mark your participation?

              Speaking of participation, fair play and all that, isn’t 1,500+ people all voting identically called a -slate-? Just wondering.

              Oh by the way, my friends an I are going to make you do it again next year, and every subsequent year until you either get tired of being petulant or move the goalposts. Then we’ll game the new goalposts. I may well nominate a “Twilight” book, and have it be called the Connie Willis/Noah Ward Award. That will be fun.

  4. *Puppies Hugo Complaints Summarized*

    “Everything’s CHANGING! Nothing’s like what it WAS! Everything was BETTER back then! I don’t know where I fit IN anymore! They CANCELED… BONANZA!!! WAHHHHH!!! WAHHHHH!!!”

    Well, welcome to Old Age, fellas. Happens to all of us — usually around the time we hit 55. And when it happens to you… it is always a surprise.

    :)

    • Well, I don’t think that’s entirely fair. They were told that they were being targeted for persecution by their traditional political opponents. That’s the sort of thing that brings people together, and it would work regardless of what the particular excuse was. We won’t learn much about how to deal with them if we mock caricatures of their position, rather than actually considering what motivates them.

  5. If you have a Hugo vote this year, I urge you to consider the ramifications of the Puppies’ tactics, and vote No Award as well.

    I wish people like you understood how awful they sound. You use a derogatory term (‘the Puppies’) which has been abundantly used to dehumanize a subset of fans whose tastes you disapprove. You deny the individual agency of about 300 Hugo nomination voters by presenting them as tantamount to mindless puppets in the hands of three people. You conflate two entirely different campaigns with different objectives and tactics. Already about mid-April it was clear from the first analyses of the nomination data that, with very high likelihood, at most a handful of Sad Puppies voters voted the SP list, which btw they had *never* been asked to do, contrary to your claim. You want people to believe that slate-voting “no award” is an action to save the Hugos from slate voting. You claim to have voted against works worthy of the award while at the same time criticizing others for an (imagined) failure to read what they nominate. You accuse others of adopting a confrontational mindset while you lie about them and outperform them by publicly promoting burning the awards to the ground, which btw is exactly what VD is hoping you to do. You criticize others’ perceived doing in “All other considerations (such as artistic quality, or personal integrity) get thrown aside” while happily announcing how you have decided to throw aside those same considerations.

    You are very naive about how this can end. It is people like you who have forced people like me to pony up $40 with the sole purpose of putting every nominee above “no award” and so try to save the Hugos from you. VD cannot destroy the Hugos, he needs to convince you to do it for him and, for what I can see, he may have been completely successful.

    • > You use a derogatory term (‘the Puppies’)

      They chose the term, not me.

      > presenting them as tantamount to mindless puppets in the hands of three people

      I’ve tried very hard not to do this, and said MANY times I respect people with the ability to coordinate and unify against a hostile force. My beef is with the people who exploit this.

      > You conflate two entirely different campaigns with different objectives and tactics

      Brad and Larry were quite happy to ally with Vox. If you let the devil fight for your side, you must be ready to accept the negative PR of having the devil on your side.

      > the first analyses of the nomination data

      This does not exist yet. It won’t be released until after WorldCon. What data are you speaking of?

      > at most a handful of Sad Puppies voters voted the SP list

      The results speak for themselves.

      > which btw they had *never* been asked to do, contrary to your claim

      If you’re going to cling to this, I’m not sure it’s worth my time to respond. You need only read Brad & Larry’s writings to understand that yes, the whole point is for everyone to vote for these works, even if we don’t explicitly say to do it in those exact words. I’m not gonna pretend I don’t understand what they’re saying just because they didn’t literally order it the way Vox Day did.

      > You want people to believe that slate-voting “no award” is an action to save the Hugos from slate voting.

      Yes. I explained my reasoning in the original post. I stand by it.

      > btw is exactly what VD is hoping you to do

      VD can say whatever he likes. If you are responding to his arguments, he is winning. IMHO it’s a typical Cao Cao strategy

      > criticizing others for an (imagined) failure to read what they nominate

      It doesn’t require very much imagination…

      • He’s got you on the “no-award” thing, and you know it. Its just spite and dog-in-the-manger bullshit. Dress it up all pretty and put lipstick on it, its still a pig.

        Do you remember what happens to the dog in the manger? He starves to death.

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