When The Puppies Come Marching Home 8/28

(1) Steve Rzasa on Speculative Faith“Puppies v. Trufans: Civil War”

My short story Turncoat, set in the Quantum Mortis sci-fi universe and written with a very specific aim, was nominated this way: Last spring, Vox Day approached me about writing a short story for the Riding the Red Horse anthology. He saw it as a successor to Jerry Pournelle’s There Will be War. Since I had a genuinely good time writing the Quantum Mortis books, I agreed. Over the next few months, I brainstormed concepts, and wrote Turncoat in July.

Fast forward to December 2014 and Turncoat was released as part of Riding the Red Horse. The first I learned of the Rabid Puppies thing was when I saw Turncoat on Vox’s slate or list or helpful suggestions round-up — whatever you want to call it — in February. I thought that was nice to be considered for such an award, and vaguely read over what Rabid Puppies’ aim was. Frankly, I didn’t think they had a snowball’s chance. But then again, I knew next to nothing about the Hugos and absolutely zero about the previous Sad Puppies efforts.

Whatever the goals of both Puppy groups are/were, they were not, from my perspective, pursued with Christian views in mind. The campaigning on both sides was, in one word, brutal. Even supposing the Puppy groups were correct that they were persecuted and disregarded when it came to science fiction awards, the whole fracas is in direct violation of Paul’s admonitions in Romans 12: Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them… Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

The Puppy vs. Trufan war was not conducted in this fashion. There were some on both sides who conducted themselves well, but name-calling and threats dominated. I’m sure a lot of people outside the debate now think there’s a ton of crazy people reading sci-fi and fantasy.

But don’t kid yourself: this showdown was not about faith. It was about message.

(2) Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt – “Fauxtrage”

Mary Three Names, whom I don’t mean to impugn, because it’s becoming clear to me that she has an impairment that prevents her from understanding written language but has nonetheless managed to win three Hugos, leapt to a conclusion probably caused by her impairment and decided “Chicom” was a racial insult.

Now, I understand some of the younger people and those who didn’t grow up in Europe during the cold war might NOT know that Chicom is a contraction of Chinese and Communist.  Not a racial slur under any way or form, but a way of specifying these were CHINESE communists, you know, not Russian Communists or Feminist Communists (you know, Mary, Femcoms, you might know some) or any other form of the repulsive ideology.

 

(3) True dat.

(4) Vox Day on Vox Popoli“Directly over the target”

And wait, there’s more! The SJWs are also engaged in a charity drive so that John Scalzi will read it for the audio version.

As you can see, this is a masterful rhetorical response that totally proves the falsity of the Second Law of SJW: SJWs Always Double Down. One of my friends sent me an email last night that I think aptly describes the situation. “WTF, are you PAYING these people or something?” And just to ice the crazy cake, we’ve now officially gone meta as there are now fake fake reviews being posted. And while I’m not surprised by the nature of the reaction of the science fiction SJWs to the book, I am amazed by the vehemence behind it. They are absolutely furious to see that a book unmasking them was not only published by me, but is riding the very wave of media attention that they themselves created to success. That’s the importance of the parody in their minds; if it can become even more popular than SJWs Always Lie, that will disqualify it and render it harmless, thereby relieving the stress they are presently feeling.

(5) Dave Langford in a comment on Whatever at 1:39 a.m.

$50. I’m too deaf for audiobooks but will imagine this one in my head. WITH SOUND EFFECTS.

You rock Dave!

(6) Walt Boyes on Facebook

[This is a long post, as is the Burnside post that follows. All the excepts can do is suggest why I found them of interest.]

I am neither a Puppy nor a Puppy Kicker. But as a working editor, I am appalled that an award in which nearly all the professional categories requires the services of an editor to be a successful work, something like 2400 votes were cast in opposition to ALL the editor nominees. There were several worthy nominees who were beaten by NO AWARD, in my opinion, unfairly. One comment I have seen repeated several times was that if they were worthy, they’d have won. Maybe they’ll get nominated again sometime. That’s bullshit. They WERE worthy, and they got shat upon. All you have to do is to notice that Toni Weisskopf got four times the number of votes that the winner has in the last five years to see that. Mike Resnick had the same experience in the Best Editor-Short Form category…..

Revenge attempts won’t work, and in the long run, counter-revenge attempts like the slate voting of NO AWARD (Yes, it was a slate, and there is proof that is widely available). In fact, nothing will work. The Hugos are legally owned by the WSFS Trust, and they don’t want the rest of us.

They. Don’t. Want. Us.

I don’t think the Hugos can be saved. At least, I don’t think that the puppies movement will change things. WSFS owns the Hugos. Legally, to change the Hugo system you have to change WSFS. I don’t see that happening.

At Kansas City, amendments to the WSFS constitution will be proposed (please don’t ask me how I know) that will make it even harder to inject an outside nominee into the Hugos than the amendments passed in Spokane do. The Spokane amendments will almost certainly be ratified in Kansas City, as WSFS works to make it harder to “steal” their awards. The amendments made in Kansas City will be ratified in Helsinki, at what will may possibly be a very small Worldcon. Note how few people attended the WSFS business meeting in Spokane. And only people who attend the business meeting have the right to vote on the constitution. No Award will always win in a contest of wills. It isn’t right, but it is the way the rules are rigged. Remember, WSFS _owns_ the Hugo Awards outright. It IS their football.

What is going to happen, basically, is the WSFS Hugo Committee will be given the power to reject any ballot for “wrong think” of any kind. If the puppies campaign in 2016 has legs, WSFS will react by making their control tighter. They will create a “nominating committee” which will prepare a slate (I know, Irony, thy name is WSFS) of nominees for the ballot, from a “suggestion list.”

The SMOFs, the Nielsen-Haydens, and the other PuppyKickers have the numbers and the staying power to do this. The puppies, I am afraid, do not. In order to change this, and keep it from happening, the puppies will have to deliver 300-500 committed puppy voters to Kansas City and Helsinki, in person. $50 supporting memberships won’t help here. You have to have an attending membership, and then you have to show up for the business meetings. There were on the order of 300 people attending the WSFS business meetings in Spokane at some point in the proceedings. This year, the outsiders couldn’t deliver enough votes to take the Hugos. They certainly aren’t going to be able to deliver actual butts in chairs at two successive Worldcons.

The other thing that happened this year, and will happen again, is that the PuppyKickers controlled the media. This is not because of some gigantic left wing media conspiracy. That’s bullshit. Something like six companies, all led by conservatives, and 277 conservative executives control nearly all of the media outlets in the United States. If you don’t think so, look at how comparatively right wing CNN and MSNBC have gotten in the past six months. It’s because of the fact that Nielsen-Hayden and friends knew how to issue a freakin’ press release, and did so regularly. You can see the evidence for this in the fact that all the articles online and in print kept using the same phrases and sentences over and over. That’s because they got press releases, and used them as source material. To my knowledge, the puppies didn’t issue any. They waited for the media to come to them, and by the time they did, what passed for objectivity was the Wired article last weekend….

After the money, it is all about the culture war. There are people who believe honestly and strongly that women, minorities, and sexual issues are not being addressed to their satisfaction in science fiction and fantasy. They believe that there is too much white colonialism in science fiction. Folks, the way to change people’s minds is to understand where they are, be sympathetic to their position, and slowly move them to where you want them to be. It is way too late to do that. There is a crop of writers, mostly women, some women of color, and quite a few men, both white and non-, who are committed to changing what they see as bias toward white only culture.

This is not necessarily wrongthink. Nor is it necessarily the gods’ own truth. Stop telling these young writers they are wrong, or dismissing them as some sort of weird Marxists. Some of them are amazingly gifted writers. The ones that are, write brilliant stories where their bias against white colonialism culture really doesn’t show—it is about the story, and their bias isn’t the plot, and it certainly doesn’t affect the action….

One of the puppy kickers has regularly said, “Go start your own awards.” Despite the snark and the down-nose-looking deprecation, it really is good advice.

I fully expect to be run out of here on a rail for what I’ve said.

It is hard to be neutral in this thing. My sympathies lie with both sides, but my efforts lie in getting good writing, regardless of politics, and writing well myself. I got the trebuchet from David Gerrold after the awards, because I mildly pointed out that I didn’t support, “applause is okay, booing is not.” And I mean mildly. And Gerrold and I go back a ways. I am sure there are more people on the other side (Mike Glyer for one) who think I am an unmitigated Puppy asshole. I am not, and never have been, a Puppy.

Just a note: Walt Boyes has never been mentioned in a post on File 770 before, and only in two comments, neither of which expressed any opinion about him at all.

(7) Ken Burnside – “How the Hugos Crashed, aka: ‘The Diary of a Self-Deploying Human Sandbag In The Culture War”

I went to the INB Theater, sat in the front row and waited.  The long discussion of the Official Hugo Asshole Disks led things off.  The Sasquan chair reminded people that “No Award” was an option.  David and Tananarive did a lovely job, and covered for a few gaffes from script pages not turning, and tried to keep it fun.  I’ve been a master of ceremonies; I’m not going to rag on them for it.

Best Related Works came up.  It went to No Award; I expected that.  I didn’t expect the loud and raucous cheering, which, frankly, pissed me off.

Then Best Short Story came up.  It also went to No Award.  The cheering was even louder.

Then Best Editor, Short Form went to No Award and the cheering was deafening. There were several people who said “Fuck this…that’s not right…” when that happened, down in the nominee area.  David heard it; he quickly looked over the orchestra pit to see what was going on.

Then Best Editor, Long Form went to No Award, and the cheering made the floor tremble. Several people (myself included) started booing.  David said “booing is not appropriate” and I came about a half-second away from standing up and jumping on the stage to grab the mic.  Bryan Thomas Schmidt DID get up and curse loudly.  Toni Weisskopf apparently never went to the ceremony at all; per Bryan the two of them commiserated for a few hours after the ceremony.

Best Novelette went to an actual winner, best Novella got No Awarded (but with less cheering), and Best Novel got a Hugo.  I made a point of personally congratulating all of the Hugo winners when I found them on Sunday.

Words cannot describe how furious I was at the outcome at the time.  I sat in the theater after the lights came up.  I had a brief conversation with political pundit (and fabricator of the Hugo Asshole Disks) Jim Wright.  He agreed with why I was angry: Cheering for No Award (and cheering loudly) was beyond the bounds of acceptable behavior.

For a ceremony that promised to be about inclusion and “we’re all fandom,” having the master of ceremonies feed off the cheering for No Award?  That’s very easy to take as hypocrisy of the first order.  I’ve also been told, multiple times that SF readers are NOT FANDOM…and that’s part of the problem. Seeing “No Award” blow out candidates who were clearly meritorious, like Mike Resnick and Toni Weisskopf?  With cheers that rattled the rafters and made the floor rumble?

I felt so very included in Fandom then.  Really.

(8) Meg Frank discusses why she resigned as a Sasqan committee member in response to the handling of the Antonelli letter to the Spokane cops and what he wrote about Carrie Cuinn.

It is common knowledge at this point that Lou Antonelli wrote a letter to the Spokane PD. It is also known that he went on Sarah Hoyt’s podcast and bragged about it. While many were rightly focused on David Gerrold’s reaction, the simple fact is that he wasn’t the only person harassed and intimidated, and he wasn’t the only one to report it. As the Co-Director of the Hugo Ceremony I reported my fear directly to my superiors. I did so several times – initially rather timidly because I didn’t want to make a fuss, but later rather firmly in a way that could not be misunderstood. One of the vice-chairs, Glenn Glazer, attempted to guilt me into not pursuing the complaint, and one of the Operations Division Heads, Robbie Bourget told me flat out that I hadn’t been harassed. When I pointed this out to them, I was told that I hadn’t ever made an official harassment complaint and lots of sarcasm that wasn’t in any way close to appropriate.

Senior members of the Sasquan committee responded to a member reporting harassment and asking for help with guilt trips, denial, victim blaming, sarcasm and dismissal.

In the interest of avoiding a he said/she said situation, I have PDFd all of the emails in this conversation and placed them in a Google Drive folder here:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B-XkKq2NGWUZV21ubUpYOVhtOHM

[Frank has since created an alternate address because people said they could see all the emails — https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B-XkKq2NGWUZfkEzMlNwMGl3amVndzZ1MmxmakhHUHpEdzJRNG1BOVNRYlBJZEZsd1dPT00&usp=drive_web.]

After a fair bit of crying, some time spent on the phone with Jill, and lunch with a good friend, I decided to resign. I cannot ever in good conscience support a committee that treats its members this way. Any member, including committee members and staff, should feel able to report violations of the code of conduct and be taken seriously.

(9) Cat Valente sets the record straight in a comment on File 770:

I can knock this one down:

>I saw George R.R. Martin declare that all Puppies were Rabid at his party, and hoped that his alternate awards would’t be needed in the future, and more or less cheered for fandom holding off the barbarians. You know, people like me.

I was at the party, and as usual there is a tiny bit of truth in the wreckage of honesty on display.

George did indeed talk at length in the lead up to his announcing the Alfies. Most of it was on the history of the Hugo rocket as a hood ornament and the early days of the Hugo Losers Party that, you know, he invented. When it came time to say something about why he went and dug up old hood ornaments to make awards out of, he did say that he hoped the awards would be the first and last Alfies given out–because he hoped that next year would be a normal Hugos with a fair ballot. He absolutely did not say “all Puppies are Rabid” or anything of the kind. And he did not “more or less” praise fandom for holding off barbarians. You can tell by the “more or less” that this part is complete bullshit.

George Martin has advocated against No Award since day one of this mess. He was sad and hurt and astonished by the vitriol like we all have been, but he in no way presented the No Award result as a victory, (why would he, since he didn’t want No Award to take the night) nor the Alfies as the “real award” in any way. Rather, he emphasized that this was all his opinion and his party and his decision, his “grand and futile gesture.” His exact words were: “And yes, there are committee awards, but I am the committee.”

(10) This sounds terrifying.

(11) Gary K. Wolfe in the Chicago Tribune – “Hugo Awards: Rabid Puppies defeat reflects growing diversity in science fiction”

Following the official awards ceremony, Martin hosted a huge party in a landmark mansion, during which he presented his own “Alfie Awards,” named after science fiction writer Alfred Bester, to several candidates who, according to the final vote tallies, would have been on the Hugo ballot but were bumped by the Puppy slates. The Alfies, made from actual old automobile hood ornaments (which earlier Hugo trophies were said to resemble), also went to Puppy-slate authors who had withdrawn their own nominations, giving up a chance at a Hugo rather than being associated with the Puppies and with slate voting, and to Eric Flint, a novelist who — although he is popular among many Puppies — had posted insightful critical commentary on the controversy during the summer.

Martin clearly viewed the Hugo results as a dramatic victory for fandom and for the science fiction community at large, and made the point, shared by many in the aftermath of the awards ceremony, that in the end the controversy—inevitably dubbed “Puppygate” — represented not a divided science fiction community, but rather a surprisingly united one, and one which chooses to celebrate diversity rather than to view it as a conspiratorial threat. The Puppies themselves — some of whom have since claimed victory simply by forcing the “no awards” votes — may or may not return next year, when Worldcon is in Kansas City. But some estimates have them at no more than 10 percent to 20 percent of this year’s voting, and since the huge membership of the Spokane Worldcon — over 11,000, including non-attending members — provides an enormous base for next year’s nominations, it likely will be more of an uphill battle against a broader community that has already rejected them once and that will not as easily again be taken by surprise.

The final irony in all this is that the Hugo Awards, while more diverse and international in recent years, have never really disdained the kind of adventure fiction that the Puppies claim to champion. I met the winning novelist, Cixin Liu, when he was in Chicago earlier this year, and he made it clear that his idols are classic writers like Robert A. Heinlein and Isaac Asimov. “The Three-Body Problem” itself concerns communications with an alien race, the Trisolarans, whose plan is to invade the Earth as a refuge for their own endangered civilization — surely one of the oldest plots in science fiction. John Scalzi, who became one of the chief targets of Puppy vituperation, is a white male who won the Hugo in 2013 for “Redshirts,” a space opera adventure with knowing references to “Star Trek.” Among the novellas bumped off the ballot this year by the Puppy slate was Nancy Kress’ “Yesterday’s Kin,” a well-written tale that begins with an alien spaceship parking itself over New York harbor.

The problem, I suspect, is that none of these works are only about revisiting these favored old tropes. Sometimes they satirize them (as with Scalzi). Sometimes they introduce political themes (as with Cixin Liu, whose novel opens with a harrowing account of China’s Cultural Revolution). Sometimes they focus on character and family relationships (as with Kress). What seems to threaten the Puppies is not that science fiction has forsaken its origins (which it clearly hasn’t), but that readers have come to expect more and to welcome different voices. The old-fashioned modes of space adventure and military science fiction still have substantial markets, but it’s probably true that such works show up less on Hugo or Nebula award ballots than their supporters would like.

(12) Olivia Geng on the Wall Street Journal – “Cixin Liu Becomes First Asian to Win Hugo Award for Science Fiction”

Chinese author Cixin Liu last weekend became the first Asian to win the Hugo Award for best science fiction or fantasy novel. Yet to hear the Shaanxi native tell it, making history pales in comparison to the importance of ensuring science fiction’s future in China.

“I don’t really have any special feeling about it,” Mr. Liu said by phone from his hometown in Yangquan, Shaanxi province, when asked about becoming the first Asian to win the prize in its 62-year history.

“The Hugo Awards are not well-known in China,” he added. “It still cannot change the recent receding popularity of science fiction in China. All I can do is try my best and write as many good sci-fi works as I can.”

(13) R. S. Benedict on Unicorn Booty – “Sorry, Sad Puppies: Science Fictuion Has Always Been Political”

If Mary Shelley was science fiction’s mother, its father was probably H. G. Wells. His many works have been imitated, copied and adapted over and over again. Were H. G. Wells alive today, the Sad Puppies would probably despise him. He was a socialist who believed in racial diversity — a very controversial view in the 19th century.

But, the Sad Puppies might argue, as long as he kept his politics out of his writing, it wouldn’t be a problem. The problem with sci-fi writers is that they insist in letting their politics shape their stories.

Bad news, guys: H. G. Wells’s works were all about politics.

The War of the Worlds was Wells’s reaction to Western imperialism. Unlike many of his countrymen, he believed that Great Britain did not have a God-given right to invade and conquer other nations in Africa and the Pacific. The War of the Worlds was his way of saying to England, “How would you like it if someone did that to you?” He explicitly spells out his point in the novel: ….

(14) Aya de Leon – “The Hugo Awards, Social Justice, and the Psychoanalytics of Genre”

In many ways, the Hugo battle has been inevitable. It’s been coming since the US ended the era of legal racial segregation and began to question strict gender roles. In the latter case, young women have historically been pressured to read materials that reinforced their domestic roles. They weren’t supposed to be concerned with what happened outside their door in this world, let alone be concerned about what was happening in other worlds. But in the 70s and 80s, women SFF writers have developed a strong body of work in the genre and beyond, exploring issues of gender and developing wide readership.

For people of color, prior to integration, SFF was for white people. However, in the 70s and 80s, an early vanguard of black SFF writers began to integrate the genre. During that time, a relatively small number of people of color would read SFF (sometimes—prior to the internet—they were completely unaware of the POC who were writing it). The readership was primarily those of us with white friends, at white schools, or in white communities. Not surprising that SFF themes of alienation or actual aliens spoke to many of us.

(15) jaythenerdkid on The Rainbow Hub – “The Hugo Awards Controversy and Sci-Fi’s Diversity Problem”

The Sad Puppy vision for the Hugo Awards is one where nominations are a meritocracy (where people who write innovatively about gender, sexuality, race and other social issues are considered without merit). The Sad Puppy method of achieving this vision involves harassing everyone who doesn’t agree with them, because their arguments can’t actually stand on merit. They’ve even run afoul of George R. R. Martin, who is about as establishment as it gets in contemporary fantasy (I mean, one of his heroines is a literal white saviour in a land full of brown savages, yikes!), which means they’re now very much persona non grata in the SF/F community, something they’ve decided is a badge of honour rather than a damning condemnation of their beliefs and tactics.

That’s all well and good, but the fact that the Puppies got as far as they did – completely rigging five categories so that the only nominees were of their choosing, and skewing several others so there were very few choices who weren’t theirs – says a lot about a community that’s always inhabited a curious place halfway between insular and inviting, inflexible and innovative. It’s strange to think that the Hugo Awards, which have honoured legends like Ursula K. LeGuin and Octavia Butler, were turned into a farcical man-child temper tantrum by a bunch of jilted former nominees who wanted to ruin everyone else’s fun. At the same time, it makes perfect sense coming from a community that can accept the War of the Roses with dragons, but not making a fictional god female. There’s always been this element in the fandom of people – mostly men, mostly cis, mostly straight, mostly white, mostly middle-class, mostly college-educated – who think escapism and adventure stop being fun once politics that don’t agree with their own are introduced. (They’re fine, of course, with the hard-right libertarian politics of works like Ender’s Game or the oeuvre of Terry Goodkind.) The internet has enabled these squeaky wheels, giving them wider platforms and the ability to organise their bullying and harassment.

(16) Joe Vasicek on One Thousand and One Parsecs – “The Decline and Fall of Fandom and the Hugo Awards”

Can the Hugo Awards be saved? I seriously doubt it. The “truefans” will jealously clutch it to their chests until they die, and with the graying of fandom, that will probably be accomplished fairly soon. But just as the Renaissance rose from the long-cold ashes of the Roman Empire, so too I hope that something good will eventually come out of all of this. Because really, there is a place in fandom (lower-case f) for everyone, and that has never changed.

(17) Creative Bloq – “Hugo Award-winning artist reveals her secrets to success”

Here, Elizabeth reveals her top tips for fantasy and sci-fi artists who want to get noticed…

01. Community

Search out art communities, locally and web-based.  We are a reasonably small set of artists in the grand scheme of things and it becomes really easy to see all of the connections and overlaps.

Personally, I highly recommend ArtOrder.  Jon Schindehette is a huge advocate for artists in general and ArtOrder is his baby.

02. Professionality

Be professional.  Always, always, always make deadline.  READ YOUR CONTRACTS.

03. Exceed Expectations

Strive to make your art director look awesome through giving them great work. One of the bits of advice I follow is do not create illustration you feel simply reflects your payment.

Always try to exceed their expectations.  It may only be a $100 contract, but your work should look like you were paid $500.  The internet is forever.  Your work is you.

(18) Natalie Luhrs on Pretty Terrible – “No More Memory Holes”

So remember how Sasquan decided that even though Lou Antonelli violated their Code of Conduct they weren’t going to enforce the Code of Conduct because David Gerrold didn’t want them to?  Turns out that Gerrold wasn’t the only one feeling harassed and intimidated–and he wasn’t the only one to report it.

Meg Frank, the Events Deputy Division Head also reported same against Lou Antonelli and was told by the head of operations, Robbie Bourget, that she had not been harassed and one of the vice-chairs, Glenn Glazer, attempted to guilt her into backing down.  Instead of backing down, Meg Frank resigned a week before the convention.  Frank has provided a PDF of emails to back up her assertions.

I wish I could say I was surprised, but I’m not.  Here are a some screencaps from the Journeymen of Fandom group on Facebook in which it is clear that Robbie Bourget sees the rehabilitation of offenders back into community as a higher priority than attendee safety….

(19) Juliette Wade on TalkToYoUniverse“My new SF/F Reading Journal for next year’s Hugos”

I have been inspired by this year’s Hugos.

It’s become clear to me, as perhaps it has to many others, that entrusting my opinions of the latest genre works to others to nominate for awards is not enough any more.

One might ask: why haven’t I done the active, thorough job I wanted on nominating? Easy: life. The biggest factor in my failure is my faulty, distracted, non-eidetic memory.

Therefore, I’m starting a reading journal.

Essentially, I am a very busy person (as many are), and I can’t always call to mind every story I’ve read in a year, even the good ones. From now on, every time I read a story in the field, or a brilliant article, etc. I’ll be writing down title, author, and publication

(20) Cat Rambo on The World Remains Mysterious – “My Report from Sasquan: Mostly Glorious and So Many Thank Yous”

Met up with Mike Resnick, who has appeared on the Hugo ballot a breathtaking 37 times, winning 5, after the panel. We ventured out into the hazy afternoon along the riverwalk to talk about some SFWA stuff and came out of that excited about some prospects. I’m a longtime fan of Mike’s, not just of his excellent work, but of the way he helps newer writers, consistently extending a hand by collaborating with or publishing them. As SFWA President, I’m trying to make sure that the org’s moving forward in a way that makes (almost) everyone happy, so I wanted to talk about how we could use some of SFWA’s new marketing resources to help with the committee that Mike has ably headed for so long, the Anthology Committee. I’m looking forward to working with him on the SFWA projects we discussed.

[Thanks to Mark Dennehy, Ann Somerville, and John King Tarpinian for some of these links.]

592 thoughts on “When The Puppies Come Marching Home 8/28

  1. IMNSHO the discussions on Antonelli is drifting unpleasantly close to a rule of “never, under any circumstances, involve the police”. This is a dangerous sentiment, and one that in the long run is more likely to benefit harassers than victims. Any fan who worries about harassment at cons should take great care to stay away from expressing this.

    There is also the regrettable fact that for people this side of the Atlantic the US police is as scary and probably scarier than the criminals. Irrational, maybe, but there you go. If LA had pulled his stunt in the UK, it would have been very different.

    But I am rather offended that you are twisting my words into some sort of omertà. SWATing is not the same as “going to the police”. Please.

  2. Johan P: IMNSHO the discussions on Antonelli is drifting unpleasantly close to a rule of “never, under any circumstances, involve the police”. This is a dangerous sentiment, and one that in the long run is more likely to benefit harassers than victims. Any fan who worries about harassment at cons should take great care to stay away from expressing this.

    No, the discussions on Antonelli are about him involving the police in what is clearly a vindictive, baseless accusation in an attempt to cause problems for him, and Sasquan, and other con attendees.

    Any fan who worries about harassment at cons is going to have a vested interest in stopping these sorts of baseless police reports, because, in the aggregate, they have the end result of casting doubt on legitimate police reports.

  3. Sarah Hoyt was not involved with the podcast where Lou spoke about sending his letter.

    Someone who says Sarah was involved…andnthat gets repeated a lot has not heard the podcast.

  4. No, the discussions on Antonelli are about him involving the police in what is clearly a vindictive, baseless accusation in an attempt to cause problems for him, and Sasquan, and other con attendees.

    My objection is that too many comments takes a shortcut past the part about “vindictive, baseless accusations”, and argue as if writing to the police is always wrong, regardless of content and circumstances.

    Consider these two statements:
    a) Antonelli wrote to the police. Writing to the police is wrong.
    b) Antonelli wrote to the police and made a baseless accusation. Making baseless accusations to the police is wrong.

    There’s a clear difference in meaning here. In my opinion that difference tends to get lost in comments criticizing Antonelli. I am sure people’s opinions are closer to b than to a, but in what people write they are often closer to a. So please, be a little bit more nuanced?

  5. But, Johsn, we’re not idiots, and we’re not talking in a vacuum. We’re talking about an actual baseless accusation that David Gerrold was dangerous, sent to actual police in Spokane. We really, really don’t have to specify all the details in every single mention for sensible people to know what we’re talking about.

  6. @Anna Feruglio Dal Dan Frank’s entry into the “harassment” complaint certainly adds to the complexity of the situation, as she seemed to eventually arrive at the point of saying Antonelli made “her” feel unsafe. Still, she apparently couldn’t pin this feeling down well enough to file a formal complaint.

    It seems to me you are starting to swerve into nasty snarky territory and I don’t really understand why. I can’t say I like it.

    It seems to me reading the emails that she had no difficulty pinning down her feelings. I have been the point of contact for the enforcement of the code of conduct for a WorldCon. Part of our brief was that we should not have put people in the situation to decide whether to make a formal complaint or not. We were there to listen and it was up to the convention to be proactive in ensuring that the code of conduct was enforced.

    I didn’t mean to be snarky, and as I’ve said, it’s been several hours now since I read the emails. One of my initial concerns about Ms. Frank posting this is how is would be taken in different quarters–much of it is open to interpretation. The gentleman talking about the difference in laws regarding harassment has probably put his finger on the issue. If laws regarding harassment vary in different locations of the US, laws about privacy and ownership of documents do, too. Ms. Frank has gone back through the documents and redacted the email addresses, which makes privacy less of a concern. I certainly respect what she was trying to do.

  7. Johan P: The attitude of most US fans I know is not to call the attention of police to a con unless there is an immediate threat because the authorities are unlikely to appreciate some of the things happening, though maybe less relevant today now that smoking is not allowed in so many hotels…

  8. @L. Jagi Lamplighter

    I can’t recall anyone saying Hoyt had, although this is yesterday’s thread and maybe I forgotten it. The main focus of the conversation was on how appalling it was for Antonelli to say what he did, and how none of the others present commented negatively on it. I don’t recall if it was during the section when you had to leave, but if not could you say why you didn’t challenge Antonelli about his behaviour?

  9. Luso-Americans, in the US, have never been concentrated in ghettos (as opposed to simply forming neighborhoods), have never had wide-ranging systematic suspicions cast upon their “Americanism”, have never been targeted by white race riots and have never been treated systematically as outsiders, except:

    1. in Hawaii, where they were kept from being part of the Haole ruling elite
    2. when from Cape Verde, as, surprise, most immigrants from Cape Verde are visually Afro-complected.

    So why should Luso-Americans claim Hispanic identities—the only need to do so is to cash in on the dubious benefits of Affirmative Action, and to use ethnicity as am amulet against criticism, as Hoyt is doing now.

    Greek-Americans have a broader history of oppression in the US than Luso-Americans, including being concentrated in ghettos, being attacked in large-scale riots (see the Greek Town Riot in Omaha; National Guardsmen occupying Salt Lake City’s Greek Town to keep Greeks from joining the Western Federation of Labor), and widespread suspicion of their Americanism—up to and including KKK attacks on no less a monster than Spiro Agnew for not actually being white enough for the White House. This happened in my lifetime. After 9/11, several Greeks and Greek-Americans were easily confused with Arabs by the credulous and paranoid and harassed by security agents. In my hometown, which is a Greek-American enclave on the north short of Long Island, the police, state police, and FBI were called in to surround the ferry after a woman reported two Arab men who looked like terrorists talking about airplanes. These were Greek-American students at nearby Dowling College, which has a well-regarded aviation program.

    Do I get to be Hispanic too?

  10. @Lela: I believe someone mentioned that Ms Frank’s partner is an IP attorney. S/he would know better than I about privacy and ownership issues in re the emails. As I noted, my area is liability and IANAL. I am one of those eggheads that lawyers consult on specific topics, because no one person can be an expert in every part of law, code, and practice.

  11. Pingback: Amazing Stories | AMAZING NEWS of FANDOM: 8/30/15 - Amazing Stories

  12. L. Jagi Lamplighter on August 30, 2015 at 6:02 am said:
    Sarah Hoyt was not involved with the podcast where Lou spoke about sending his letter.

    Someone who says Sarah was involved…andnthat gets repeated a lot has not heard the podcast

    Hello!
    There are two discussions proceeding in parallel, one about Sarah Hoyt referring to herself as “brown” and one about Antonelli.

  13. IMNSHO the discussions on Antonelli is drifting unpleasantly close to a rule of “never, under any circumstances, involve the police”. This is a dangerous sentiment, and one that in the long run is more likely to benefit harassers than victims.

    I thought it was clear that no one was remotely saying “involving the police = harassment.” I think, if anything, most people in the conversation were relying on shared context to make it clear that they meant “using the police as a long-distance weapon of escalation against your fannish ‘enemy’ = harassment,” and so did not feel the need to repeatedly and redundantly explain the difference between Antonelli’s letter to the Spokane PD and hypothetical legitimate police reports.

    Even so, regardless that no one was seriously promoting it in this conversation, “Never involve the police, ever” is a rule of survival for some people. We’ve had too many high-profile examples in the US to ignore that. Hell, just today, retweets are crossing my feed reminding me that the NOPD were given permission to shoot “looters” on sight in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina disaster — and we all remember, I hope, how the media distinguished between evil “looters” and understandable “scavengers” in the wake of that disaster.

    This is why many people point out that by attempting to use the police to harass David Gerrold at Worldcon, Antonelli put countless lives in danger. Not everyone at Worldcon is white, and innocent people of color who cross paths with the police for whatever reason often wind up dead.

    #blacklivesmatter

  14. @L. Jagi Lamplighter

    I know others have already done so, but I wanted to add my voice and say: The conversation about Hoyt and the conversation about the podcast are two different conversations that happen to be in the same comment thread.

    Since I understand you were on the podcast, I wonder if you could explain why you didn’t criticise the police report? You surely can’t have believed that Gerrold was really a danger.

  15. @Brian V

    Thank you for the book pointers! Women of Wonder looks promising, and Warren Ellis is a favourite comics writer of mine and usually entertaining otherwise so I’m not quite sure how I missed Cunning Plans coming out. I like the premise for Ten Billion Tomorrows, too, so I hope it proves better than the reviews.

    ETA: Ooh, and Cunning Plans is £1.27 on Kindle. Time to check that out properly, then!

    @Greg

    I might just take you up on that. Just let me see how next weeks dental surgery goes first, I wouldn’t want to leave you in the lurch if that ends up putting me out for the count for awhile.

  16. @Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little This is why many people point out that by attempting to use the police to harass David Gerrold at Worldcon, Antonelli put countless lives in danger. Not everyone at Worldcon is white, and innocent people of color who cross paths with the police for whatever reason often wind up dead.

    Isn’t this an attack on the police? Regardless of recent issues in the media, they remain a taxpayer-funded pubic service organization that many people rely on when in need. They risk their lives daily in responding to problems like mass shootings, robberies and murders.

    You can’t assume that just because Antonelli sent them a letter that he endangered black lives at the convention. I gather the police chief was in contact with the convention committee and left dealing with the issue up to them.

  17. @Lela E. Buis:

    Isn’t this an Isn’t this an attack on the police? Regardless of recent issues in the media, they remain a taxpayer-funded pubic service organization that many people rely on when in need. They risk their lives daily in responding to problems like mass shootings, robberies and murders.

    Police officer is not even one of the top ten most dangerous jobs in America, and most police deaths are from traffic accidents. Whole swaths of the country experience police interactions as a menace. (If you are having trouble grasping the ubiquity of this, let me point you in the direction of Black Twitter.) Until that changes the police should be “attacked” — where “attacked” here means have the actual nature of US policing as it exists described accurately.

  18. You know, Anna Feruglio Dal Dan’s comment about this having mobilized fandom made me think:

    People talk about organizing fandom being like herding cats. And this is true. However, it’s a lot easier to get cats all moving in the same direction when a few rats decide to streak across in front of them…

  19. Until that changes the police should be “attacked” — where “attacked” here means have the actual nature of US policing as it exists described accurately.

    Agreed. What Mike G. had to say about cons not wanting police called in is well-known to me. I’d be careful not to conflate Worldcons with Ferguson, MO, however. Exaggeration for effect is, what did Aristotle call it? Oh, RHETORIC!

  20. @Jim Henley Police officer is not even one of the top ten most dangerous jobs in America, and most police deaths are from traffic accidents. Whole swaths of the country experience police interactions as a menace. (If you are having trouble grasping the ubiquity of this, let me point you in the direction of Black Twitter.) Until that changes the police should be “attacked” — where “attacked” here means have the actual nature of US policing as it exists described accurately.

    I’m aware, thank you. Police executions have been a problem for many years–this has only recently been revealed through cell phone videos. It’s still quite a jump to suggest that Antonelli’s letter about David Gerrold endangers black lives.

    This is also a fairly direct insult to the Spokane police. I’m not familiar with their reputation. Is their department considered a specific problem?

  21. No, it’s not an insult to the Spokane police.

    Antonelli doesn’t know what the Spokane PD is like.

    He didn’t, from his own description, send a general letter of concern; he told the Spokane PD that the Sasquan GoH was a dangerously unstable man who belonged in a locked psychiatric ward. And that, by extension, Sasquan was a group that would make such a man GoH.

    Whether or not Antonelli was likely to succeed doesn’t change what he tried to do–which is cause serious and potentially dangerous trouble for David Gerrold in particular and Sasquan in general.

    And sf conventions already try to avoid police attention as far as reasonably possible, because much of what goes on looks strange, and the police often don’t like “strange.”

  22. Isn’t this an attack on the police? Regardless of recent issues in the media, they remain a taxpayer-funded pubic service organization that many people rely on when in need. They risk their lives daily in responding to problems like mass shootings, robberies and murders.

    It’s not “issues in the media”, it is the alarming number of people who wound up dead after an encounter with the US police forces. Number incidentally that was unclear and hard to find until a British newspaper took it upon itself to try to keep score. And you are oh so right that it is a taxpayer funded public service that people rely on. Isn’t it a pity that they can’t rely on it, especially if they are not white.

  23. Was it a safety issue, though? Or just annoyance? Gerrold said Antonelli invited him out for a beer, and that he might eventually get around to it, just not right then.

    Unless you are referring to something else entirely, it was Gerrold who offered to buy Antonelli a beer, an offer he rescinded in the light of subsequent events.

    Anyway, the fact that Gerrold didn’t feel threatened doesn’t mean that othe people might have. Perception of threat is inherently subjective, but in this case I, a white middle class woman, would have felt nervous. Gerrold might well be braver than I am; or maybe Frank felt more threatend because as one of the persons responsible for the Hugo ceremony, it wasn’t just her own personal physical safety she was worried about.

  24. David W. on August 30, 2015 at 11:19 am said:
    Until that changes the police should be “attacked” — where “attacked” here means have the actual nature of US policing as it exists described accurately.

    Agreed. What Mike G. had to say about cons not wanting police called in is well-known to me. I’d be careful not to conflate Worldcons with Ferguson, MO, however. Exaggeration for effect is, what did Aristotle call it? Oh, RHETORIC!

    I wish the problem was limited to Ferguson or to Mississippi.

  25. Might be worth remembering that one of the things that happens at sf/f conventions is cosplay, and cosplay often involves fake weapons. A young black cosplayer has been shot dead by the USAmerican police because they felt threatened by his costume sword. This is not a theoretical, it has already happened.

  26. Gabriel F.: Jamoche already sussed out the issue you’re facing, but to confirm:
    The img[src*=] + span selector selects one element, and then generates a new pseudo-element inside it, which gets positioned over the entire post. The a[href*=”caninedaze”] selector selects another element (which in the case of Brian Z is present on the same post), and then generates a second new pseudo-element inside it, which gets positioned over the entire post. So you basically have two obscuring elements over Brian’s post, rather than a single one, and that of course multiplies their effect.

    The a[href*=”caninedaze”] selector was proposed as a second way to target Brian Z (based on his desire to promote his website) when there was talk about ways he could circumvent the filter (namely by using new email-addresses). But it’s proven quite unnecessary, so Jamoche’s solution of removing that line would be the correct one.

    I have to say, btw, that it pleases me to no end that there’s blogposts and userstyles being shared as a result of all this. Remember this on other websites, also – if something about the website displeases you, you can rewrite it for yourself, and make it better!

  27. @Anna Feruglio Dal Dan Isn’t it a pity that they can’t rely on it, especially if they are not white.

    The media has made this look like it’s a problem minorities have, but actually white people are regularly executed by police as well. It just doesn’t make the news. There is also an issue of property confiscation that goes a long way back. Recently the justice department has taken steps to respond to both issues, and will hopefully reverse the trends.

    @Meredith A young black cosplayer has been shot dead by the USAmerican police because they felt threatened by his costume sword.

    Ouch. Where did this happen?

  28. @Nick Mamatas: “to use ethnicity as am amulet against criticism, as Hoyt is doing now.”

    It’s a move straight out of the Puppy Leader Playbook.

    Beale glomped onto a relative’s DNA testing to portray himself as Native American, despite having had no interest whatsoever in belonging to that ethnicity or community. It was free “minority” status, and he pounced on it.

    Correia is a little browner than I am, which basically means he tans instead of burning under the gaze of the Evil Daystar. I can’t say for sure how he identifies in terms of community, but he is in no danger of being harassed by police for being brown.

    Hoyt is about as white as I am, which is pretty damn pasty. The only things that would give her away as any sort of minority are her thick accent and her speech patterns. She is about as “Latin” as Marcel Marceau.

    Aside from Beale, the above descriptions come from one-on-one, face-to-face interactions with the people I’ve described. I’ve met them in person, hope (now) never to repeat that experience, but that is how I remember them.

  29. Max:

    You are confused about other peoples’ motivations again. They aren’t blocking you because of your puppy beliefs, they are blocking you because you are a liar and an asshole.

    He’s not confused. He’s providing helpful demonstration to people who haven’t blocked him of why others have.

  30. L. Jagi Lamplighter on August 30, 2015 at 6:02 am said:

    Sarah Hoyt was not involved with the podcast where Lou spoke about sending his letter.

    Someone who says Sarah was involved…andnthat gets repeated a lot has not heard the podcast

    and Anna Feruglio Dal Dan replied:

    Hello!
    There are two discussions proceeding in parallel, one about Sarah Hoyt referring to herself as “brown” and one about Antonelli.

    I believe Jagi is talking about Meg Frank’s summing-up as quoted in the post: “It is common knowledge at this point that Lou Antonelli wrote a letter to the Spokane PD. It is also known that he went on Sarah Hoyt’s podcast and bragged about it.”

    Yes, that’s getting repeated, because Meg Frank’s post is getting discussed, for obvious reasons. But I think it’s originally a slip on Frank’s part; I don’t recall seeing it anywhere else except as a reference to her post.

  31. I believe Jagi is talking about Meg Frank’s summing-up as quoted in the post: “It is common knowledge at this point that Lou Antonelli wrote a letter to the Spokane PD. It is also known that he went on Sarah Hoyt’s podcast and bragged about it.”

    My bad. I hadn’t noticed that.

  32. @HelenS

    Good catch! I went to look at the original article and she’s corrected it, so perhaps Mike will want to correct his quote.

    I’m rather bemused as to why LJL left such an unhelpful message when trying to have it corrected.

  33. Anna Feruglio Dal Dan: Anyway, the fact that Gerrold didn’t feel threatened doesn’t mean that other people might have.

    Exactly. As we were leaving the File770 meetup, who should be leaving at the same time? but Antonelli and at least one other Puppy. It might have been coincidence that they were there at the same time — but given how well publicized the meetup details were, my take on it was that they were there to suss out who showed up and identify as many of us in realspace as possible.

    I found this intimidating and creepy — and given that I was not happy with Sasquan failing to enforce their harrassment policy decision against him before that, you can imagine just how incredibly unhappy I was with Sasquan after this happened.

  34. So…. I’m guessing the chances of that being a total coincidence are pretty low? There must be many possible dinner choices around the conference centre area?

    Also: what?

  35. It’s kind of a sad indictment that I should be thinking “Well, at least Ms. Lamplighter’s tone is pretty neutral, that’s commendable”.

  36. Antonelli’s letter almost certainly went right to the kook file but, you know what, occasionally there are kook cops who take such letters seriously.

    Also, some media outlets on the right gave Puppies a sympathetic hearing; kook cops often read such publications.

  37. A couple of things about harassment:

    Last Easter, at Minicon, I and my sweetie were harassed by someone with a fairly long history of being various different sorts of problems. The end-result of this was that his membership in Minnstf was revoked and he’s banned from attending Minicon. So people other than me thought it was pretty severe. (Full details on my LiveJournal, where I’m lydy, if you want all the bells and whistles.)

    Right after the event, I had All The Feels. I was incandescently angry. I made jokes about starting a Kickstarter to pay for the backhoe, because I’m not in good enough shape to dig a deep enough grave. I was also on the Board for Mnstf, the governing body that would have to make a decision about the incident. And every time I started to try to think about what should actually be done, I found myself minimizing the situation. Part of that was, I think, wanting to shield my convention and my club. Part of it was typical girl socialization. Part of it was probably geek fallacy. Interestingly, my sweetie, who is a) not a girl and b) not on the Board, did similar swings between wanting our harasser to die in a fire and wanting to smooth it over and have it be gone. I (of course) recused myself from the decision. I had the incredible luxury of being able to trust the Board members to protect my club, my convention, and me. To bring perspective to a situation where I had none.

    This is one of the many, many reasons why you don’t want a system which has the target decide what is to be done about the person that targeted them. They genuinely don’t know what they want. David Gerrold was stuck trying to both protect the convention and himself, and that really sucks. He was a public face, and he cared enormously about the community and the convention. I think he behaved incredibly well. But he didn’t have the luxury of walking away, and letting someone else handle it.

    Since I am also the Chair of the Code of Conduct Committee for Minicon (yes, my harasser really did harass the anti-harassment coordinator, one does have to admire) I’ve been paying close attention to how these conversations go down. There are a couple of minimizing techniques that I’ve seen over and over again.

    The first one is to insist on evaluating specific harm to the target. If the target wasn’t harmed, or if the person discussing the problem doesn’t believe that the target was harmed enough, somehow it doesn’t count. The second is to concentrate on exactly and only the reported problem, and refuse to look at the possibility that the reported problem is an indicator. The latter tends to invoke a judicial model, where we insist on innocent until proven guilty, and insist that we can only adjudicate the crime in front of us, and not reputation, pattern, or likelihood.

    These minimizing techniques ignore what I think the actual goal of anti-harassment initiatives. The goal should be to police our social space. We want to have good parties, good conversations, a healthy and vibrant community with many voices. Fear of being harassed drives away some people, and silences others. It restricts people, makes people think twice about things like, “will this delightful bit if cosplay bring me unwanted attention” or “if I say this, am I likely to end up being harangued?” Too often, the point of a narrow focus is to avoid dealing with the fundamental question: who do we want at our party? In the end, we get to choose if we want people who think nothing of riding roughshod over other people’s boundaries or people who do not tolerate that type of behavior.

    I think one of the ratholes we go down frequently is trying to make the “victim” whole. In the first place, we tend to ignore the fact that bystanders are also often victims of harassment. If someone is crude to every woman that walks into a party, that is something on display, something that changes the tenor of the party for every person there, not just the women so accosted. It’s real damage to our social space and our social fabric. In the second place, we can’t actually make the “victim” whole. It’s not within our power. That thing, it happened. It can’t be fixed. What we can do is try to prevent future instances of same. Police the space. Make it better.

  38. Good grief, Lydy. I’d heard something of what happened to you but the details are gut-churning. Thank you for sharing, and your measured comment above. I hope you and your sweetie don’t suffer any lasting effects from this nasty experience.

  39. Re: Antonelli

    This is a pattern, right? An escalating pattern of behaviour. I’m not saying this as “guy who rags on the puppies online”, I’m saying this as “guy getting genuinely concerned about Real Life actions”.

  40. Mark: Re: Antonelli: This is a pattern, right? An escalating pattern of behaviour. I’m not saying this as “guy who rags on the puppies online”, I’m saying this as “guy getting genuinely concerned about Real Life actions”.

    Given Antonelli’s self-admitted actions toward Aaron (including threatening to come down to his work and sort him out) — and his complete lack of recognition of how inappropriate his behavior had been — you can understand how horrified I was to realize that Antonelli and other Puppies had probably been observing us from the other side of the room the entire time we were having the File770 meetup.

    It Was Creepy. Intimidating. Disturbing. And no, I don’t think it was a coincidence.

  41. Was Tank Marmot at Sasquan? Because there’s a guy I wouldn’t want to be in the same room as even more than I wouldn’t want to be in the same room as Antonelli.

    Antonelli watching the meetup is just… Urgh. Skin crawlingly awful.

    @Lydy Nickerson

    Your comment here, and your post on livejournal about dealing with harassment as a convention committee member are both really excellent.

  42. JJ:

    As we were leaving the File770 meetup, who should be leaving at the same time? but Antonelli and at least one other Puppy.

    That’s how I got the chance to personally greet Lou. I spotted him coming in while I was on my way out.

    So it’s not your theory that he was arriving just in time for the Making Light meetup?

  43. @Lydy Nickerson: Second the sympathy about your having gone through that. But also thank you for writing Harassment: What do we do? I hadn’t read it before, but think I’ll view it as required reading from now on, along with with Elise Mathesen’s report. (Elise sitting down with us at the File770 meetup at the Saranac Pub was about my best experience at Sasquan, as she’s among my personal heroes.)

    If there’s any way you could attend a Smofcon such as the upcoming Fort Worth one in December, IMO your insights would be really valuable.

  44. Mike Glyer: That’s how I got the chance to personally greet Lou. I spotted him coming in while I was on my way out. So it’s not your theory that he was arriving just in time for the Making Light meetup?

    I don’t remember now if I saw him at the end of File770 meetup or the end of the ML meetup. At this point, all I remember is that I was so creeped out wondering what they were doing there and feeling intimidated and I just wanted to get AWAY from him.

  45. Rick Moen:

    (Elise sitting down with us at the File770 meetup at the Saranac Pub was about my best experience at Sasquan, as she’s among my personal heroes.)

    That was pretty amazing, wasn’t it?

  46. JJ says:

    As we were leaving the File770 meetup, who should be leaving at the same time? but Antonelli and at least one other Puppy. It might have been coincidence that they were there at the same time —

    It might very easily be coincidence. There were other meetups there, and in general it seemed to be an especially popular place to eat.

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