Need Less Bow, More Wow 8/30

(1) From the SuperversiveSF livestream, Kate Paulk’s statement on SP4 at 1:05:42 (transcription provided by Mark):

For starters the word slate is not going to appear anywhere. For second [Cross talk] I am not doing a slate, I am doing a list of the most popular works in all of the various categories as submitted by people who read on any of the various blogs that will have me. And I’m going to post ultimately the top ten of each, with links to the full list of everything that everybody wanted to see nominated, and I’m going to be saying “hey if you really want to see your favorite authors nominated your best bet is to pick something of theirs from the most popular in the list as opposed to the least popular”. That is going to be what it is. I don’t care who ends up on that list. I don’t care if David Gerrold ends up being the top of the list somewhere. That’s not the point, the point is that I want to see the voting numbers both for nomination and for actual voting go up above 5,000 up above 10,000, because the more people who are involved and who are voting the harder it is for any faction including puppies to manipulate the results.

(2) John C. Wright – “Neither Do They Grok Nicknames”

How is it that these mackerels have gained hegemony over our cultural institutions, down to and including such trivial corners of life as the Hugo Awards?

These are the same people who did not comprehend that obscure nuance of the English language known as a “nickname” was when used in my Hugo-nominated story One Bright Star to Guide Them. Instead it was generally agreed by the consensus that I had forgotten the name of my own character, on the grounds that she was a woman, and therefore hated by the author. I wish I were kidding. These people are deranged. It is not due to a physical damage to the brain, but to spiritual. Pride and ire darken the intellect.

(3) MRMADWRITER – “Merit’ vs ‘Politics’ in Fiction”

How is it that we live in a time where gender is the dominating topic, and the white male is pushed into a grave and buried in it. I thought equality stood for, if anything the treatment of all ethnic groups respectfully. True equality would be difficult to achieve in regards to the world that we live in today, hence the fact that how well you do in life, is purely based on merit and your determination to succeed. There a plenty of stories where people at the bottom of the barrel have risen to the top. It’s a matter of thinking outside the box and sometimes taking risks. But the Sad Puppies campaign is evidence that free expression, and the position of writer is now under intense scrutiny. If you don’t fit the narrative of the other side, your work is not even worth their time.

(4) Mark Ciocco on Kaedrin Weblog – “Hugo Awards: The Results”

So the Puppies did not do so well in the final voting. I was basically expecting this, though perhaps not to this flagrant extent (the 2500 Absolute No Awarders number is pretty eye opening). More evidence for my Action and Reaction theory, and I stand by most of what I said there. One thing I hope I’m wrong about is “No Award” being the worst possible outcome. It’s always been clear to me that the current Puppy approach does not work (assuming you’re actually trying to get your nominees an award and not, say, burn the whole thing down). My recommendation for Kate Paulk: Please, for the love of God, do not put together a slate. Focus your efforts on garnering participation and emphasize individuality. If you’re dead set on listing out nominees, go for a long reading list as opposed to a blatant slate. Brad Torgersen called for nominees early this year, and the grand majority of them didn’t make his slate (and some things appeared on the slate that weren’t discussed? I think? I don’t really feel like digging through that.) Perhaps coordinate that effort and be inclusive when you list out eligible nominees. We’re all fans, let’s write this year off and try not alienating everyone next year (that goes for everyone, not just the Puppies). Forbearance is a good thing.

The notion that voting on the current year gives you the ability to nominate next year is a brilliant one that might actually keep me participating. That being said, if there’s anything like this year’s clusterfuck brewing, I’m out. I can forgive this year because I think even the Puppies were surprised at how successful their slate approach was. I can understand the Noah Ward voters too. But if the same thing happens next year… I don’t know, why bother?

(5) Cathy Young on Real Clear Politics – “Mutiny at the Hugo Awards”

It’s also telling that Mixon bent over backwards to stress that she supports the righteous anger of the “oppressed” and that most of Requires Hate’s victims were themselves female, gay, transgendered, and/or nonwhite. When a commenter argued that treating members of “dominant” groups as acceptable targets was precisely the mindset that enabled Requires Hate, Mixon insisted that “a case can be made for marginalized people’s right to punch up.”

Despite all these disclaimers, Mixon’s exposé was too politically incorrect for some. Writer and blogger Deidre Saoirse Moen, who drafted the “Puppy-Free Hugo Awards Voting Guide,” also opposed the award to Mixon, at least partly because “it just feels like a white woman elder putting the younger woman of color in her ‘place.’” That Mixon ultimately got the award could be seen as repudiating the extremes of left-wing cultural politics. But in a way, it also affirms that criticism of such extremes is allowed only from within the true faith and from within the establishment (Mixon happens to be married to current SWFA president Steven Gould).

In this stifling atmosphere of “progressive” authoritarianism, the Sad Puppies’ mutiny makes sense.

Those who revile the Puppies as bigots if not outright fascists point to the pseudonymous Vox Day, a.k.a. Theodore Beale, the leader of his own “Rabid Puppies” faction whose Hugos slate largely overlapped with Sad Puppies. A writer and indie publisher kicked out of the SWFA a few years ago, Beale is also a prolific blogger who urges a radical Christian takeover of America and espouses views that actually can be called racist and misogynist with no exaggeration. (Among other things, he maintains that blacks are inherently more violent and less civilized than whites, that female suffrage is bad because women will “vote for whomever they would rather f***”, and that curtailing female education is rational because “a society that sends its women to college stops breeding”).

It’s hard to tell to what extent Vox Day’s public persona is performance art played for shock. In any case, this year’s Sad Puppy leaders, Correia and Brad Torgensen, repeatedly stated that they do not share Vox Day’s views and regard him as an unpleasant tactical ally, the Stalin to their Roosevelt and Churchill. (Hoyt, in turn, has written that she find his views “repulsive.”) They didn’t quite disavow him; but Torgensen has told Wired magazine that even if they had, their detractors would have found some other reason to demonize the Puppies.

Given the tenor and frequent sloppiness of anti-Puppy critiques, Torgensen is almost certainly right. Thus, in a Chicago Tribune piece on the Hugos controversy, Roosevelt University professor Gary Wolfe mentions Vox Day and his inflammatory views—then adds that “others” in the Puppies’ ranks “have even argued against women’s right to vote.” But Vox Day is the only one who has done that. Far more typical of the Puppies’ views is Best Fan Writer nominee Sanderson, who considers herself a pro-equality, anti-misandry feminist—and who nonetheless got skewered as an “anti-feminist” for (among other things) defending astrophysicist Matt Taylor’s public appearance in a shirt with scantily clad women on it.

As for Vox Day, the Puppies say that the progressive guardians of the fandom and WorldCon voters played right into his hands by “no-awarding” the categories with only Puppy nominees. Vox had planned to instruct his followers to vote “no award” on everything, in the explicit hope that a large number of “no awards” would help him “burn down” the Hugos.

(6) Louis Antonelli on Facebook

OK, it’s been a week since the Hugo nuking and Sasquan convention ended. I’ve gotten a lot off my chest and aired a lot of grievances. Seven days. I’m actually feeling played out. At this point, I think I’ve made all the points I’ve needed to make, done all the good I could. I’m feeling like it’s time to turn the corner, close the chapter on this fiasco and move forward.

A little Facebook poll – what do y’all think? Give me a “Like” or thumbs up if you’d to see a change in focus. That’s not to say I’ll always be a sweety pie – but let’s face it, both sides have had a lot to say and think this past week. I’d like to know what you think – is it time to move on?

(7) Steven Barnes on Facebook

On SJWs, racism, and the attempted control of language

There is a story that the Buddha was lecturing, and a man mocked him, insulting everything he said.  Finally, the Buddha paused.  “Excuse me, my friend,” he said.  “If I offered you a present, and you declined to accept it, to whom then does the present belong?”

“To you” the man said smugly.

“Precisely. And if you offer me insult, and I decline to accept it, to whom then does the abuse belong?”

And the man was speechless.


I don’t respect shifting language for political purposes.  It feels like Orwell’s  “Newthink” to me.  Very close to what NLP refers to as “slight of mouth” patterns.    Here’s a pair of examples, one from the Right, one from the Left.

  1. Social Justice Warrior.  Look at those words, and the only thing it could mean denotatively is someone willing to fight, and die, and change the world to achieve an idea of equality and justice.  Literally, I can think of nothing I’d be more honored to be considered, and nothing that more accurately describes the human beings I respect most in all the world. The attempt to demonize it is nothing more than a linguistic mind control.
  2. Racism.    The primary definition of this term is, simply, the differential attribution of worth or capacity based upon race or ethnicity.  Nice, neutral definition–anyone can have that, (probably most of us have a little of it)  it is global and pervasive and would seem to arise from tribalism and the tendency of children to think their mommy is prettier, their daddy stronger.   But over the last twenty years, academics have shifted that to be “perception of differential capacity based upon race or ethnicity PLUS the power to enforce your decisions and leverage your attitudes”.   That’s another interesting “slight of mouth” pattern, because it leads to the attitude that disadvantaged groups “cannot be racist.”   Since all of our cultural vitriol is directed at this term, it is an interesting “escape hatch”: WE can say whatever we want, YOU have to shut the @#$$ up.

I don’t buy either of these.  I’ve been attacked by both sides for disagreeing with them, and that’s fine by me.   So I state clearly, for the record: I think the term “Social Justice Warrior”, denotatively, is one of the finest things a human being can be. Want to use a different, connotative definition?  You are welcome to do so, and in so doing, allow us to examine your values, politics and thought patterns.

I think “racism” is a perception, a judgement about human beings, separate from whether that perception is correct, and separate from the actions you take once you’ve come to that conclusion.   I disagree that there are major differences between whites and blacks (for instance) morally or mentally, and believe that in almost all cases those who believe there are are being self-serving.  That immeasurable human evil has flowed from those beliefs.  The great Octavia Butler believed that the most dangerous quality of human beings is

  1. our hierarchical thinking.
  2. Our tendency to place ourselves higher on that hierarchy than others.

Further,  almost everyone changes that definition so that THEY “aren’t racist.”   THEY don’t burn crosses on lawns, use “The N-word.”   They have black friends, or have dated/married a woman of the group in question.  CAN’T be racists.  Can’t possibly have an attitude about the AVERAGE member of the other group, or any sense that whites would have survived slavery and its aftermath with greater ease.

And on the other side, why,  they can believe blacks are mentally, morally or athletically superior genetically…but they aren’t racist because they are members of a group with lesser power.

O.K.  That’s all fine.   If that’s the way you make sense of the world, and it works for you, I’m happy. Let me know how that works out.    I’ll probably never accept either position, and if that bothers you, you may call me whatever you want, or think whatever you wish.

But come Christmas morning, that box will be under YOUR tree, not mine.     Have fun.

(8) James Worrad – Sad Puppies, Post-Hugo Blues & Loose Genitalia…

“And what’s even sadder is this pathetic collection of power-hungry little Hitlers have destroyed what was once a genuinely respected award. “

Such is the outlook Kate Paulk, author, blogger and leader-apparent of Sad Puppies 2016 (Buckle yourselves in, folks!). A baroque example, admittedly, but at heart fairly typical of the SP campaign’s disconnect from the reality on the ground. To Paulk, if you didn’t use your vote like the SP’s told you then you were in lockstep with the shadowy cabal of mean, hissy-fitting SJWs/Communists/Decepticons. No excuses.

The idea most Hugo voters were motivated not by politics but by a wish to stick it to a bunch of pompous gits intent on ruining a much-loved event is not even laughable to Paulk. It’s more like she cannot even register the fact. To vote unpuppish was to be a… I dunno… a Stalin clone in a test tube or something. You were willing to burn the ground and salt your loins rather than let anyone else have it.

Any glance at 2015’s winners dispels this garish canard. How, for instance, would a mass ‘SJW hissy fit’ explain that win in the fan writer category, Laura Mixon’s takedown of a troll who hid their psychopathology behind a mass of faux social justice rhetoric?  Surely a lockstep leftie march would have crushed that eventuality before it began? Instead the ‘Mixon Report’ won with votes to spare.

And why? Because fandom’s wide and battered middle finally woke up and drew a line in the sand. Against the worst excesses of leftwing hypocrisy on one hand and the most thuggish excesses of right-wing stupidity on the other. Simples.

[Thanks to Mark and John King Tarpinian for some of these links.]