Lets get the awards themselves out of the way first. As you’ve all heard by now, the Puppies were shut out. The community managed to successfully defend themselves at the first level. Congrats to all of us, I’m proud. :)
I had thought it possible there would be some disruption of the awards. Not necessarily anything physical, but maybe booing or chanting or yelling, which would slow things, stop the proceedings, and need to be dealt with. Before I arrived in Spokane I had been half-expecting it. There was not a peep. If there were any puppy supporters in the audience they were well behaved. I will admit that I am partially impressed that they managed to keep their civility about them. The entire thing went off without a hitch.
But by the time I actually walked into the auditorium, I no longer expected the Puppies to be a problem, because this was just the continuation of their entire week-long trend.
Long time readers may be aware I’m a bit of a drama-chaser. I don’t like it personally in my life, cuz who has the time for that shit? But I love to watch it. So I was seeking it out. I made many of my panel choices based on things I thought may draw puppy ire. I went to John Scalzi’s reading, which was hilarious and delightful. There was not a single bit of contention. No boos or hisses or people standing up to ask jerk questions. Maybe this is because John Scalzi is razor sharp and intimidating to anyone without genius-levels of charisma and IQ, and they were scared to speak out. Maybe they were intimated by such a large room full of huge Scalzi fans. I don’t know.
I went to the panel on “Writing About Controversies” which was unofficially THE panel to discuss the Sad Puppy/Rabid Puppy situation. I thought maybe here, of all places, someone would stand up to ask a challenging question during the Q&A. Nothing.
I went to a handful of social justice panels, thinking maybe someone would boo or challenge there. The rooms were more intimate, the audience smaller, and the panelists fairly low-level and unthreatening. I left early out of boredome in several cases.
I attended the business meeting where the rules changes were discussed to address the puppy problem. Here, I thought, is a perfect place for them to strike. It is a very formal, palimentary system (more on this later, it was fascinating!), and it would have been pretty easy to sabotage. I saw one issue run off the table just because it was contentious and there was enough bickering and debate that time ran out on it. A group of less than a dozen puppy-supporters could have thrown a serious monkey wrench in the whole thing simply by exploiting rules without doing anything against the letter of the law (as they like to do). They could have tried continually calling points of order, or offering amendments, debating rulings, objecting to proceedures, etc. They could have run out the clock on everything. I’m sure there’s some way of dealing with this, but it would have gummed up the works if they did it smartly. Nothing at all. It’s like they weren’t even there.
I know there were some around. I ran into one at my hotel’s breakfast bar, and we had a good little discussion. It was very civil, and we went away with respect for each other as human beings. I talked to a couple friends who also ran into a puppy or two. But all in all, it was like they weren’t there. Turns out they are cowards in real life, and only strike out at others when they can do so comfortably from behind the safety of their keyboards.
One may think “Isn’t it possible they are just good people, who don’t want to disrupt a party and ruin the days of other people for no reason? Why are you Saying they are cowards, rather than that they are civilized people?” Nay, I reply. When they can hide behind screens and keyboards, and don’t have to see the faces of the people they are hurting, they are more than happy to destroy someone’s day. They are *gleefull* about it. They cackle about how good it feels to see an anthill and start stomping it (which is a direct quote from a puppy commenter on my blog, I’m not making shit up). I don’t do Twitter myself, but I hear you can see all sorts of abuse on there right now.
But lets grant that those online comments are from the worst fringes of the movement. The fact remains that the puppy supporters were excited to vote a slate so they could hijack the Hugos for their self-aggrandizement. And as I predicted in “Why Vandals?” none of them bothered to show up for the actual party. If the party was left just to them, they’d have a nearly empty convention hall and no one to run it. They do not care about the con, or the people who attend it. They didn’t attend the business meeting to try to make things better. They didn’t put forward any bids to host the 2018 WorldCon. That they didn’t try to further mar the convention by ruining things in person isn’t a mark of civility, it’s simply the modus operandi for internet cowards.
It really dawned on me just how worthless the Puppies are when I went to the business meeting, and during the watching of the fan-recognition part of the award ceremony. These are people, later on in their years, who have been SF/F fans for significantly longer than I’ve even been alive. They’ve spent *decades* of work putting together these conventions. They are dedicated, and in love. They aren’t the authors, they don’t get the accolades themselves. They’re just passionate about SF. I really came to realize how much WorldCon is by and for the fans. I was very disappointed that more puppies didn’t come to the con in person. I was very disappointed that ALL the puppies didn’t come to the con in person! They would have seen that joy and passion for themselves. Maybe that is part of the reason why the puppy supporters who did come didn’t boo or shout or try to disrupt anything. They saw the love and the passion for themselves, and couldn’t bring themselves to be assholes any more. The ones who stayed home, safe behind their keyboards – they are the ones who will continue to be dicks. Because they were cowards, and wouldn’t come to see what they were vandalizing in person. Assholery feeds on cowardice, which leads to further assholery, in a neat little circle. It’s fitting.
The true realization of just how awful they are didn’t hit until the nomination stats were released afterwards. Before that point, it was just a theoretical “Man, I wonder how the year would have been different.” Afterwards, you could see exactly which stories were obstructed by the Puppy’s spite. Which authors were denied the recognition for great work. There are some truely fantastic stories that would have gotten nominations if not for the Puppy’s vandalism. Most tragically, a story by Eugie Foster would have received a nomination. Eugie Foster died tragically last year. By all accounts, she was an amazing person and a great writer. Who knows if she would have won? But now she’ll never have the memorium of “Hugo-nominated author” that she should have received. Because of the Puppy’s butthurt. I’ve tried to engage them before, and be reasonable. After today I’ll go back to that. But for today, I’m allowing myself to be angry. Fuck those guys.