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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 10:27 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?
it is absolutely reprehensible. i called him an asshole multiple times already and will happily do so again
Doesn't that equate to "evil" for you?
yep, i find it evil but i don't find it racist. evil, despicable, disgusting, vile. lots of great words to describe it. racist just isn't one of them. you seem to be under the impression i'm defending him or what he said. i'm doing neither. i'm defending his right to say it not what he said and giving my opinion that while what he said used race it was not in and of itself racist or proof he's a racist. it's only proof he's an asshole
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 11th, 2015 10:21 am (UTC)
Re: This Distinction Doesn't Fly
actually if we were in a courtroom as you're the one making the claim (that claim being vox day is racist), the onus of proving it and giving proof on whether he is or is not racist would be on you.
furthermore you'd have to prove it beyond reasonable doubt, what i'm doing is showing other very likely possibilities explaining his behaviour, for you to get anyone to convict you'd have to prove me wrong, otherwise reasonable doubt has been established.
i'm not speculating on anything, maybe vox day is racist, maybe he isn't, i don't know. i'm just saying the evidence you bring up to prove he IS racist isn't convincing enough for me and it's your job to supply me with irrefutable evidence beyond reasonable doubt.
it's not my job to prove he isn't racist it's your job to prove he is.

as for "civilized adult behavior does insist that he be allowed to reap the full consequences of his choices, up to and including punches"

no, you do not hit a man for disagreeing with you, you do not punch a man for verbally assaulting you, you do not punch a man unless he has started a physical altercation with you and it's in self defence.
nothing in what you said and this paragraph has anything to do with civilized behaviour.
you do not go down to the other person's level, especially if he's vile.
an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.
Apr. 11th, 2015 06:20 pm (UTC)
Re: This Distinction Doesn't Fly
"Reasonable doubt" is only a burden of proof in criminal cases. No one is talking about sending Vox Day to prison (though I understand that's where his father is). In civil cases, the requirement is "preponderance of evidence." If I was on the jury, I would certainly say, yes, the preponderance of evidence certainly shows the man is a racist.
Apr. 11th, 2015 07:00 pm (UTC)
Re: This Distinction Doesn't Fly
I see the distinction.

And it's funny, because instead of "defending" Vox Day, you're just painting him as worse than a garden-variety racist.

A person who is racist sometimes can be pitied for being ignorant, or of being partially a victim of their own culture or upbringing.

So no, he is not racist, he is "just" an evil man that uses whatever weapons he can find to hurt those he dislikes, not caring if those weapons are condemned by most people as incredibly vile.

So he is more cold, calculating and callous than most racists.


Apr. 11th, 2015 09:55 pm (UTC)
Re: This Distinction Doesn't Fly
because i'm not trying to defend vox day, i think he's an internet troll, internet trolls aren't nice people but they're also not dangerous and they almost never mean what they say.
however the words racist, homophobe, transphobic, these are important words, people need them to remain relevant to protect themselves from people that are an actual danger which your garden variety internet troll is not.
when you start throwing does words around you dilute them, when people hear someone else called a racist they don't think he's someone genuinely dangerous or with real hate towards minorities anymore. they just think "gosh this again" and carry on with their lives.
the power behind these words have already started getting eroded to the point where most of them are nearly meaningless now, a man with a black wife and interracial daughter can be called a racist now days and nobody bats an eye at how ludicrous that is.
the power and truth behind these words needs to be preserved which is why i'm so god damn pedantic on this issue.
Katryna Wade
Apr. 17th, 2015 12:27 am (UTC)
Why is this a thing
Why is it worse to call someone a racist than it is to call them an evil, cold, calculating, brutal asshole who will grasp at any weapon he can find, no matter how vile, to hurt people he disagrees with?


- a person who believes that a particular race is superior to another.
- having or showing the belief that a particular race is superior to another.

By stating that races need a certain number of having bred with whites to become civilized (among other things), Vox Day is meeting the dictionary definition of the word "racist." He is a racist. He has been a racist. He probably will be a racist until the day he dies. He is proud to put his racism on display. He does not hide it nor deny it.

The fact that you don't want to believe that he is a racist is irrelevant. It does not change the fact that he meets any reasonable standard for being labelled by the word 'racist.'

Edited at 2015-04-17 08:02 pm (UTC)


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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