See what I did with the title of this post? No, it’s not a typo. Nor have I been drinking. It’s called disemvoweling. Clever, isn’t it?
No. No, it’s not clever at all. In fact, it’s pretty juvenile. But it’s a favorite tactic of some people when they don’t agree with comments on their blog posts. I guess it’s supposed to make the person doing the disemvoweling look smart or something. Mostly it makes them look they’re afraid to engage in a conversation.
Many of the same people who engage in this practice are some of the same ones who’ve been having a hissy fit for the last six months over the Hugo Awards. Which should tell you all you need to know about the maturity level of disemvoweling.
For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, just fell off a turnip truck, or have a life, here’s a quick recap. This is of course my interpretation. It’s going to be long, so consider yourself warned.
About three years ago, Larry Correia said that science fiction and fantasy writers who fell to the right on the political spectrum were being discriminated against in the voting for the Hugo Awards by a clique of insiders. Correia made the observation that a small group of left-leaning writers tended to get a disproportionate number of nominations and awards. The response he got was no, the works were judged solely on merit, and that if no conservative or liberterian writers were making the short list, then their writing was simply not up to snuff. John Scalzi, among others, suggested that if Correia didn’t like the way past votes had gone, he should encourage some of his friends to buy Worldcon memberships and vote for the works they liked.
So Correia did. Larry started what has come to be known as Sad Puppies and posted his suggestions on his blog. Just like scads of other people do every year. Things really took off last year, when several of the Sad Puppy nominees made the ballot. Correia was called every name in the book, accused of beating his wife and of buying memberships for his family to stack the vote. A number of people openly refused to read the suggested works simply because Correia had suggested them. Most if not all of the Sad Puppies 2 nominees that made the final ballot last year were No Awarded or came in last.
This year, Larry said he’d proved his point, and Brad Torgersen took over. In addition to the Sad Puppies suggested list, Vox Day (Voxxx Daayyyy) started the Rabid Puppies, which also put forth a list of preferred books. There was a lot of overlap between the two lists. Between them, they swept most of the slots in the categories they addressed. (Not all categories had Puppy nominees.)
And the sh*t storm started. No attempt was made on the parts of the Worldcon crowd to even objectively assess the merit of the works. Some nominees were bullied into withdrawing. A loosely organized movement to No Award the Hugos started. Puppy supporters were told they weren’t true fans because they hadn’t been coming to Worldcon since the 70s. The Puppies were accused of being a bunch of straight Mormon men who wanted to silence all women and minority voices in spite of including women and men of multiple faiths, races, and orientations. They were told that the Hugos belonged to the True Fen, not fandom at large. It was all about feelings, and the Puppies had caused badfeelz. A Tor executive, while promoting a Tor book on her blog, called the Puppies neonazis (among other things) and said their writing ranged from bad to execretable, even though two of the nominees were Tor authors. This set off a boycott of Tor. Mary Robinette Kowal began openly buying memberships for people so they could vote. There was lots of screaming about slates, what was and wasn’t a slate, and how slates were evil and a form of cheating, even though everything the Puppies did was completely within the rules.
Over the last few weeks and months, I’ve watched friends on the ballot whom I’ve known for years get attacked simply because they didn’t think the correct thoughts, hold the proper political opinions, or allowed their work to be put on the ballot by people who didn’t have the approval of the True Fen but who did enjoy said writing.
There was much talk about No Awarding any category with Puppy nominees, a sort of destroying the award to save it strategy. A scorched earth approach in other words.
And that’s pretty much what happened. The numbers have been released, and it’s pretty obvious the most organized slate was No Award. Toni Weisskopf, who had never been nominated until the Sad Puppies put her on the ballot last year, received a record number of 1st choice votes and was No Awarded. (That’s the topic of another post.)
There was a great deal of ridiculing and poor winning on the part of the True Fen. Master of Ceremonies David Gerrold told the crowd at the ceremony that it was not appropriate to boo when No Award was announced, but it was more than okay to cheer. Nominees were given an asterisk medallion that looked a lot like a certain bodily orifice, whether they were Puppy nominees or not, a sign that their nominations weren’t considered valid. A high ranking editor at Tor publicly cursed out the wife of one of the Puppy nominees (both nominee and wife are published by Tor) when she approached him at a reception in an attempt to reach some sort of reconciliation. George R. R. Martin rented a historic mansion to hold a private (invitation only) party where he gave out awards to the authors that he thought should have one.
The way some people have been behaving, I would have thought we were all back in junior high. Except that junior high was never anywhere near this immature and spiteful.
There was no evaluating works on their own merit. There was no acknowledgement by the True Fen that the Puppies might have legitimately beaten them at their own game. There was plenty of hatred and scorn. And scorched earth.
From what I’ve studied of history, implementing a scorched earth policy means that not only are you getting your ass kicked, but it’s being handed to you to on a platter. Considering that the number of Puppy supporters and sympathizers seems to be growing over time, a scorched earth approach isn’t surprising.
I’ve not commented here on the Puppies or the Hugo nominations, because I didn’t want to get pulled into that fight. In part because I have what is known as a life. There are other things demanding my attention, like work and family, that are more important that internet fights. I would rather write than argue with strangers.
For the most part, with only a few exceptions, I tried to focus this blog on things we have in common with each other, such as a love of good fantasy. This year I’ve tried to keep away from controversies unless someone does or says something head-up-bum-stupid. If you could tell a story that interested me and entertained me, then I was fine. I didn’t really care what your nationality/gender/politics/favorite flavor of toothpaste were.
Before this year’s Hugo Awards were announced, I didn’t really care about those things; all that much compared to how well an author told a story. Apparently that’s not good enough for some people, who demand that everyone think like they do. Now, thanks to those special snowflakes the True Fen, I do care about things that aren’t related to the quality of the storytelling.
The ironic thing is that the people most screaming about diversity are the ones who practice it the least. Well, screw your socially relevant message fiction. F*** your diversity agenda, with your quotas, your checklists, your Bechdel tests, and your groupthink that tolerates no dissension.
I’ll be reading more of the old stuff, and I’m going to focus on straight, white, cisgendered dead males. I’ll start by reading more of the works of H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Robert A. Heinlein. Then I’ll move on to more Isaac Asimov, Poul Anderson, Fred Pohl, Ray Bradbury, Fritz Leiber, John W. Campbell, and Roger Zelazny. Plus, I’m cutting back on reading science fiction and fantasy in general and new works in particular, and reading more historical fiction, crime and detective fiction, and nonfiction.
I’d like to thank David Gerrold, Patrick Neilson Hayden, George R. R. Martin, and the rest of the True Fen for leading by example. You’ve shown me a type of human being I hope I never become.
I’m sure some of you, if you’ve read this far, would like to correct me, argue with me, show me how I’m wrong, or just plain attack me. Feel free. Somewhere else. This is my space, and I’m not interested in what anyone thinks. Comments are closed.