18 thoughts on “D. West Declines Rotsler Award

  1. Who was the runner-up? And is it a good idea to name him/her, or should 2011 be skipped?

  2. This comes as no surprise to me. For years I have been trying to persuade D to let me, or anyone else , do a collelcted edition of his artwork. His response has always been dismissive in that he seems to think it of no lasting importance or value, and does not even represent the best of what he thinks he is capable of. I think he probablky mentally accepts the ‘honour’ but doesn’t want to see it enshrined for eternity. I write this of course having not seen D’s response in hard print.

  3. He can decline the check… but I’m not sure whether he can decline the choice of the judges. That would be too much like trying to changing the past and causing his grandfather to disappear… or something like that.

  4. I suppose Don can decline the award if he wishes. So now what happens? Does the award default to the runner-up, or will 2011 be a non-award year?

  5. WTF?

    What grounds does he suggest?

    One of West’s charms is his insurgent angle, the ironic elbow in the unsuspecting gut…

  6. West’s lengthy letter of explanation ends with two paragraphs that can stand for all:

    “Rotsler may not have meant any harm (and may even be said to have acted on generous impulses) but in the end he did do harm, effectly by a kind of artistic dumbing-down. (“Hey, you don’t have to think about it, and it doesn’t have to be good — it just has to fill the space.”) He was not the only offender, but he was certainly the most prominent. So, an award for fan art with Rotsler’s name attached may also not mean any harm (and may even be said to be based on generous impulses) but I don’t feel I can have anything to do with it. To reconcile acceptance of this award with my opinions on Rotsler’s work and the effects it has had on fan art would require a feat of mental and moral gymnastics beyond even my capabilities.

    “Thank you anyway for the compliment of choosing me, but you will have to find a recipient elsewhere.”

  7. Maybe we could start a D.West award for non-minimalist fanart? We’d have to do it quickly, though… I fear that that the idea of fanart itself is dissolving as we watch. With the internet, it’s extemely easy to search for and “borrow” an image that seems tailor made for an article, or just fills space with something interesting. Who needs artists? And what with the artists themselves increasingly adapting Photoshop techniques or (like myself) using raw materials from the internet in graphics, the idea of art drawn for and by fans has become rather outdated. Fanzines are full of full colour photographs, lavish graphics effects and “found” art that could just as easily be found in a similar publication about prosthetic dentistry, home cooking or trout fishing. In a few years, when old fossils such as myself and Steve Stile are put out to pasture, thee may be no such thing as art for and by fans that shares in a collective past.

  8. Well, it’s what I would expect of D West. Give him an honor and he sees it as an opportunity to put someone down and trot out his tired infant terrible schtick.

  9. Anyone can accept or decline any award he or she wants to. If the recipiant’s principles are at odds with the award, he is more than justified in putting his principles about any considerations of status or cash that might be involved. Would anyone be upset if an artist had refused to accept an award naming him as the best artist embracing Aryan Nation’s racial standards, or the person whose art best embodied the sentiments of any other political or social cause he strongly objected to?
    That being the case, why should there be any uproar when this artist decides that this particular award, named after a minimialistic artist he does not admire, is not one he cares to accept. It is entirely his decision to make and he should be respected for it.

  10. @D Klaus:

    That’s the way I look at it. BobJ is right, of course, that it’s West’s choice to decline the award, but dissing Bill Rotsler’s artwork creates a double-take moment on the part of most people. Even if for some reason they thought badly of it. Do people turn down Hugo Awards even though most everyone knows that Hugo Gernsback couldn’t write his way out of a single-ply wrapping of toilet paper?

  11. Forgive my ignorance of the way in which the particular Award is run but this seems to be a clear either/or situation. If the Award is run without any notice being given to those under consideration, the surprised but successful awardee must have the right to reject the Award. More fool the administrators for not notifying the nominees or checking with the proposed winner to see if there are likely to be any problems. But if D West knew he was being considered, he had a duty to tell the administrators he did not want to be included in the final judgement/voting process. His failure would not only be discourteous but morally dubious, merely designed to give himself the opportunity to make a name for himself as the one who refused the Award.

  12. “Do people turn down Hugo Awards even though most everyone knows that Hugo Gernsback couldn’t write his way out of a single-ply wrapping of toilet paper?”

    A few people have removed themselves from consideration for varying periods of time. Terry Pratchett was nominated but turned down nomination allowing the writer behind him on the balloting to make the final ballot.

    For the 1982 Nebula, Lisa Tuttle turned down the nomination, but ended up on the ballot anyway and won. She turned down the award. Details here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bone_Flute#Nebula_Awards_controversy

  13. I note that George C. Scott’s Oscar for “Patton” was not re-awarded, even though it was refused. By that logic, West remains the recipent of the Rotsler, much as though I feel the award should be withdrawn since it seems clear to me he’s using this “refusal” to ramp up his reputation as a cranky old git.
    Despite a return to form a few years ago (mostly thanks to ‘Chunga’), I’d thought D drab and unfunny for a long period of time, in contrast to the general consistency of previous winners.

  14. Lester del Rey refused the posthumous Hugo Award for Judy-Lynn del Rey. I refused several Hugo nominations for several years. I think instead of saying that D. West refused his award and naming another recipient, the refusal should be recorded without anyone—a second place in effect—being the winner.

  15. Quite a lot of Rotsler’s work was funny, economical, and instantly recognizable. On the other hand, a lot of it was just doodling, repetitious, and used as filler with no particular attention paid to it. The Rotsler Award remembers the best – D. West remembers the worst. Everyone has been true to type.

    So Don’s name – like that of Marlon Brando’s in the records of the Oscars – will have an asterisk next to it in the official listings.

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