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What Now?

For all of you who are sick of Puppygate... I am too, but there's still a few more things that I need to say. Another day, maybe, and I will move on to happier topics.

Yes, I know about Larry Correia's response to my earlier posts and I will reply to him here... but not just now. There's another topic I need to cover first, one that I have been leading up to all along -- what the hell do we do now?

Whether you think what the Sad Puppies did is right or wrong, it's done. The ballot is out. It is what it is. So the ball is in our court now. What to do?

(Here is where I will probably piss off everybody on the anti-slate of this mess. Sorry).

Over at Making Light, and on several other sites, various rules changes are being proposed to prevent this from happening ever again. There are so many different proposals they make my head spin. More nominating slots, less nominating slots, weighted voting, eliminating the supporting memberships, outlawing slates, limiting nominees to a single nomination, juried nominations... on and on and on. The worldcon business meeting is never exactly a funfest, but if the proponents of half these proposals show up at Sasquan, this year's will be a nightmare. And will probably still be going on when MidAmericon II convenes.

I am against all these proposals. If indeed I am at Spokane, and if I can get myself up in time for the business meeting, I will vote against every one of them.

Most of them, frankly, suck. And the mere fact that so many people are discussing them makes me think that the Puppies won. They started this whole thing by saying the Hugo Awards were rigged to exclude them. That is completely untrue, as I believe I demonstrated conclusively in my last post. So what is happening now? The people on MY SIDE, the trufans and SMOFs and good guys, are having an endless circle jerk trying to come up with a foolproof way to RIG THE HUGOS AND EXCLUDE THEM. God DAMN, people. You are proving them right.

I hate what the Puppies did. It was based on false premises, and though it was not illegal, it was mean-spirited and unsportsmanlike. So how about we do NOT prove them right by rigging the rules against Sad Puppies 4? How about we try to be better than that? There is nothing wrong with the Hugo rules. If we want to defeat the Puppies, all we need to do is outvote them. Get in our own nominations. This year, the Puppies emptied the kennels and got out their vote, and we didn't. Fandom danced the usual, "oh, too busy to nominate, I will just vote on the final ballot," and for that complacency, we got blindsided. We lost. They kicked our fannish asses, and now we have the ballot they gave us. If we don't want that to happen again, we need to get out our OWN vote.

But let's not give in to our worst impulses. I do not want to disenfranchise anyone. (Well, okay, maybe a few, rabies is dangerous). The fandom I joined in 1971, the fandom I love, is open and friendly and welcoming, and has room for every shade of political opinion and literary taste. Those are values worth defending, a culture worth fighting for.

Oh, and there's another (lesser, admittedly) reason not to change the Hugo rules. The Nebulas. I have been a SFWA member since 1972, and I swear, the organization spends half its time arguing about the Nebula rules, year after year, decade after decade. I have seen a dozen "reforms" in my tenure, all in the interests of making the voting "more fair," but no matter what rules we adopt, a couple years later the bitching starts and members start demanding we change them again. It's endless. We do NOT want to open that Pandora's Box at worldcon. Change the rules to deal with the Sad Puppies, and a year or two from now we'll be changing again. Aside from adding the occasional category, or splitting one, the Hugo Awards have operated more or less the same way for decades, and that stability is part of their prestige. Let's not mess with that.

Which brings me to another proposed countermeasure: the No Award strategy.

This comes in two flavors. The hardliners propose we vote NO AWARD for everything. Every category, even the ones where the Puppies have no nominees. No Hugo Awards at Sasquan, whatsoever. We'll show them. Rather than letting them move into our house, we will burn it to the ground. "We had to destroy the village in order to save it." It worked so well in Vietnam.
All I've got to say about this idea is, are you fucking crazy?

The other approach is less radical. Vote NO AWARD in all the categories that are All Puppy. In the others, chose between the nominees (there are a few) that did not appear on either the Sad Puppy or Rabid Puppy slate, and place all the rest, the SP/RP candidates, under No Award.

That's less insane than the "No Award For Everything" idea, but only a little bit. Sorry, I will not sign on for this one either. For a whole bunch of reasons. For starts, the Puppies are already proclaiming that "No Award" equals victory for them (though sometimes it seems as though they believe anything that happens constitutes victory for them). Also, near as I can tell from reading the blogs, it appears that some of the Sad Puppy candidates never consented to joining their slate, and that none of the Rabid Puppies were ever asked if they wanted to be included (I am ninety per cent certain that none of the films or TV shows in the two Dramatic Presentations category were ever contacted). There are also a whole bunch of people -- all the editors except Vox Day, for starts -- who may or may not have been contacted. No one has said, no one talking about it, we just don't know.

Also... really, when you come down to it, this whole "were they contacted?" thing is a false issue. Torgensen says he contacted almost everyone, but missed a few. Some of his slate say no, they never heard from him... but does it really matter? I have been trying my damndest to get Alan Lee and John Howe nominated for Best Artist for years, and I never asked if I could. This year I wrote a long post about the brilliance of STATION ELEVEN and why it should be nominated in Best Novel, and I never contacted Emily St. John Mandel to ask if I could. I will not condemn Brad Torgensen for failing to do what I never do myself.

I do not believe in Guilt by Association, and that's what we'd be doing if we vote against every name on the Puppy slates simply because they are on the slate. That was a classic weapon of the McCarthy Era: first you blacklist the communists, then you blacklist the people who defend the communists and the companies that hire them, then you blacklist the people who defend the people on the blacklist, and on and on, in ever widening circles. No. I won't be part of that.

I have looked over the ballot, but I have not read all of it. Will I read all of it? Well, not every word.... but I will at least glance at every nomination. I know, from past experience, that there are some very talented writers on the list. There are also some very bad writers, and at least one whose picture probably appears next to MEDIOCRE in Websters. There are a lot of writers I have never read before, whose work I need to sample. Torgensen has claimed that the Sad Puppies slate is diverse, and a cursory glance at the names suggests he is not wrong.

I intend to consider every story and every finalist in every category, and vote for those that I think worthy of Hugos. I will vote NO AWARD, I promise you, but only where No Award is warranted. (Truth be told, I vote No Award every year in almost every category. Usually not in first, admittedly... but I don't just look at a category and rank them one to five in order of preference, I rank the ones I think rocket-worthy above No Award, and the ones I don't below).

This ballot is the worst I have ever seen, admittedly, and there are stories and writers on it who are not fit to polish a Hugo, much less win one. But there's good stuff as well, and talented writers whose work I have enjoyed, and I am not going to vote against them just because the Sad Puppies like them too.

As I get further into my reading, I will let you know my thoughts on what I've read. But that may be a long process, so be patient.

Honestly, I don't think any of the choices we have now are good ones. All roads seem to lead to perdition, but each of us will need to walk the one we think best. Meanwhile, I urge everyone who is reading this to go to the Sasquan website and join the convention. Attend if you can; if not, join as a Supporting member, just as the Puppies did. It is too late to nominate, but not too late to vote. The Puppies will be getting out their vote, you can be sure. We need to do the same, unless we care to see some poor guy hand Vox Day a rocket.

I wish I was more optimistic about how all this is going to turn out.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

(That's Yeats, not me. Just to be clear).


Apr. 10th, 2015 04:58 pm (UTC)
Ah... have you actually read Vox Day's piece about N.K. Jemisin?

If that is not a white supremacist screed, then there's never been one.
Apr. 10th, 2015 05:08 pm (UTC)
i think he's not a very nice person, and i think he was a huge asshole towards a black women.
however i don't think he was an asshole at her for being black, he simply doesn't like her and as an asshole used he being black as a way to hurt her.
this doesn't make his a white supremacist, it just makes him a very unpleasant person. besides there's the entire him not being white thing.
i don't agree with the man on many things but calling him a white supremacist is really uncalled for and in my opinion untrue and precisely the kind of thing people end up angry about.
you can't just call anyone that disagrees with you politically a racist, or part of the kkk, or homophobic or whatever other thing you want, that is not acceptable behaviour.
Apr. 10th, 2015 06:54 pm (UTC)
You can if it's true.

He doesn't just attack Jemisin's speech, he calls her a "savage" for being black.

Look, don't take my word for it. Read what he said.
Apr. 10th, 2015 07:02 pm (UTC)
i did, using racially charged words doesn't always make someone a racist, usually it just makes him an asshole. a nice comic by garth ennis called "the boys" makes that point really well.
he used that word because he knew it'll hurt her and he wanted to hurt her but he didn't want to hurt her because she was black but because he disliked her as a person. her being black is a tool he used to harm her, not the reason he wanted to harm her. you may find this to fine a distinction but i don't.
either way you said yourself you wanted to keep this civil, that people shouldn't use "sjw" because that's not how some people want to call themselves.
we know for a fact vox does not want to be called a "white nationalist" why does he not get the same privilege as you extend other people? why do you think it's acceptable to call some people some names but not call other people other names?
i just don't see any logical reason behind such a distinction.
Apr. 10th, 2015 07:33 pm (UTC)
He said that Asians and other non-whites were an infestation. Is that white supremacist enough for you?
Apr. 10th, 2015 07:34 pm (UTC)
You'll note, I didn't call him a white nationalist. I identified him - correctly - as a white supremacist. Those are different. "You may find this too fine a distinction, but I don't."

Vox Day holding a white nationalist position wouldn't even be vaguely rational, as he's stated that he doesn't think black people are capable of forming functional civilisations, but that would be functionally required as part of any white nationalist plan - barring, oh, genocide, which I have also not claimed he favours. (Nor am I claiming or implying that now, nor do I even think it to be true. He is vile, but not that vile.)

I further haven't seen any indication that he's actively in support of white nationalist-specific actions. No, he's not a separatist; he's a supremacist, inarguably. On several axises, really - one of which is quite explicitly race.
Apr. 10th, 2015 08:15 pm (UTC)
i have not seen evidence of this, i have only seen evidence of him being, as you so aptly put it, vile and quite honestly just an average internet troll.
while i have seen a lot of bullshit spoken about immigration and a lot of very nasty cursing towards minorities i have not seen any evidence of him being a white supremacist. if admittedly i've not read much of the man's blog.
and again i find it hard to believe he'd be a white supremacist considering the fact he himself is not white.
Apr. 10th, 2015 08:41 pm (UTC)
I'm vaguely surprised that got unscreened
Oh, really, you fell for that? That's almost adorable.

Yes, Vox Day claims to be some percentage some unstated First Nations Tribe. Is it true? Maybe! I don't know; it's not even relevant. Race is a social construct, not a biological one, and socially, from all available evidence, Vox is whiter than me, and I'm pretty damn white.

Admittedly, Vox himself does not believe race is social - he's talked about the... 3000 years? of breeding he thinks Africans need to become fully civilised? I forget the exact number, it was in discussion around his N.K. Jemisin rant, but it was quite a long time. He talked about how his European lineage had already received those years of breeding. How nice for him.

Regardless, I think even Vox knows that he's using this as a distraction and shield. He used it as a "gotcha" in reaction to SFWA expelling him after that racist screed he promoted using SFWA resources. And by claiming 1/12ths or whatever First Nations ancestry, he can attract all the "one drop" believers who put anyone with even a hint of non-European ancestry out of the "white person" zone.

But it's all nonsense, of course.

And just to be clear, you literally do not get more racist than this.
Apr. 10th, 2015 07:50 pm (UTC)
This Distinction Doesn't Fly
"her being black is a tool he used to harm her"

The "tool" can only work because of racism. In a culture without racism the tool would not exist. So by your supposed defense, Vox Day deployed a racist tool with intent. He willfully availed himself of what racism left there for him to demean a person. He called upon existing racial hierarchies to reduce her to a level below his own.

That just is racism.
Apr. 10th, 2015 08:20 pm (UTC)
Re: This Distinction Doesn't Fly
no no no, the tool works because of her. it's her personal insecurity not society's. it's just how trolls function.
this has nothing to do with culture or racism.
if she were ugly he'd use that, fat he'd use that, if she were trans he'd miss gender her, this is just what trolls do they focus on what they see as something you're insecure about and hammer at it, because their goal is to hurt you specifically and they're very good at tailoring their insults just for you.
saying this tool exists is because society is racist is like saying if i call someone a "knob head" it's because society is incredibly prejudiced against knobs.
Apr. 10th, 2015 08:48 pm (UTC)
Re: This Distinction Doesn't Fly
No. If you use racist, sexist, or homophobic language to hurt someone, then own it: you are a racist/sexist/homophobe/whatever. It doesn't matter if all trolls do it, it's wrong, and it's disgusting.

P.S. "Knobs" are not a class of people who have historically been discriminated against because of fundamental parts of their identity-- unlike women, racial minorities, or gay people. Hating jackasses doesn't make you a bigot, because being a jackass is a choice people make. Hating black people-- or calling black people savages, or arguing that the Taliban was right to shoot Malala Yousafzai because she is the face of girls' education-- absolutely makes you a bigot (and a human piece of trash). That's what bigots do. That's who bigots are. Whether they're trolling or not.
Apr. 10th, 2015 08:52 pm (UTC)
Re: This Distinction Doesn't Fly
First, "trolls" is the wrong word. A troll is someone who tries to get other people to squabble by dropping little bits like "Star Trek is miles better than Star Wars amirite?" and sitting back to watch the fireworks. We've allowed it to be applied to people who are, depending on the level of bother, abusers or @ssh0les. But we shouldn't let a relatively anodyne word like "troll" hide their offenses.

All your new claim amounts to is that this bad person (we haven't settled on a term yet) is also willing to be transphobic, body-shaming etc. in addition to being racist. Doesn't help his case or yours. The "knob head" thing is a red herring. And ascribing the issue to "her insecurity" is as classic a case of blaming the victim as one will find.

I understand that white fragility is a real and powerful thing, but for that reason, we have a responsibility to confront it in ourselves.
Apr. 10th, 2015 09:55 pm (UTC)
Re: This Distinction Doesn't Fly
So what you are saying is that he would have used whatever he could to hurt her.

Don't you find that reprehensible?

Setting out to hurt another person? Not to refute her ideas, counter her arguments, find common ground, agree to disagree... but to HURT?!

Doesn't that equate to "evil" for you?
Re: This Distinction Doesn't Fly - ihatenamessono - Apr. 10th, 2015 10:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Re: This Distinction Doesn't Fly - ihatenamessono - Apr. 11th, 2015 10:21 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: This Distinction Doesn't Fly - grrm - Apr. 11th, 2015 06:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: This Distinction Doesn't Fly - renepavan - Apr. 11th, 2015 07:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: This Distinction Doesn't Fly - ihatenamessono - Apr. 11th, 2015 09:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
Why is this a thing - Katryna Wade - Apr. 17th, 2015 12:27 am (UTC) - Expand
Alexander Pendergrass
Apr. 10th, 2015 08:39 pm (UTC)
This is just obnoxious, but fine. As bizarre of an arguing point it is, sure, you're technically correct. Vox Day proudly spouts off racist rhetoric...but that does not make him racist. John C. Wright proudly spouts off homophobe rhetoric...but that does not make him a homophobe. Similarly, I might often block shots in basketball...but that does not make me a shot blocker. It's just something I do, proudly, through a public platform, to the adoration of my glowing friends and fans. Likewise, you have been employing hairsplitting rhetoric...but that does not make you a hairsplitter. You've got us there.

In summation, Vox Day uses racist rhetoric. John C. Wright uses homophobic rhetoric. Is that okay for us to say? Or does that offend some sensibility too? (Honest question.) And is it okay to then make the declarative statement that some of the principal players in the Puppies platform [alliteration is awesome] (Yes, I know I'm combining Sad and Rabid puppies, is that okay?) use racist and homophobic rhetoric? Is that fair enough?
Apr. 11th, 2015 10:41 am (UTC)
"John C. Wright uses homophobic rhetoric"

you know i've yet to see anyone show me proof of that, at least when i ask about vox people give me a blog of him, when it comes to j.c wright nobody is willing to source that claim.
also feel free to call me a hair splitter i'm a pedantic fuck but i find these distinctions important.

so for the first question, so long as you source (and please fully source, no twit sniping or taking things out of context) i'm fine with the usage of "they use X rhetoric"

and no the rabid and sad puppies are 2 distinct camps, it's not okay to mix them up, that's guilt by association.
we do however have a good common ground here, alliteration is in fact awesome.
(no subject) - grrm - Apr. 11th, 2015 09:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Alexander Pendergrass - Apr. 11th, 2015 10:31 pm (UTC) - Expand


George R.R. Martin
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