Apr 052015

So spent a couple hours last night talking about Sad Puppies. These are just my opinions, and probably not of interest to anyone, but hey, it’s my blog. :) Other people’s objections are in bold.

I started with my statement equating the Sad Puppies with the Vandals, and when asked why I’d used that term I followed up with my Why “Vandals”?  explanation that’s now its own post. In brief, it explains that WorldCon is a party for WorldCon goers, in which the participants give an award to the fiction they really like at the end. It’s a party that takes a lot of effort to organize, and has been built over the course of decades. The Sad Puppies don’t like it, and won’t care to keep it going after they’re done destroying it (despite their “take back” rhetoric), and so they are little better than looters, taking fame and attention for a few years and then leaving ruins in their wake.

Yes, the Hugos have liberal tendencies. There were a few nominations in the past few years that were obviously bad and I strongly suspect were simply there because they were pushing the right message. But its different when it’s an internal matter with one or two cases per year, as opposed to someone else coming in and wiping the entire conversation away.

Just because a book is popular and is purchased by the ignorant masses like me doesn’t mean it isn’t worthy of a Hugo.

Writers of popular fiction already have their own award, called PILES OF MONEY. :) Michael Bay is incredibly rich, and good on him. But when a bunch of people manage to game The Oscars to get Transformers 4 all the awards, the people who run the Oscars and who traditionally enjoy them and participate in them are gonna be a bit annoyed. Michael Bay already has the PILES OF MONEY award. Why do his fans want him to have the Oscar too? Why are they so desperate for the validation of a group of artsy snobs that they say they don’t even like? I am boggled.

So I’m not a real fan?

I’ve never said anything about you not being a real fan. Did I say anything about you not being a real fan? Why would you even think I said that? I’m just saying your taste is different for the normal WorldCon-goer’s taste, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But why are you trying to take the WorldCon award and give it to someone that that group of people don’t care for? It doesn’t mean anything to either side! Give your own award from the people who have your taste in fiction to them. They’ll appreciate it more, and so will you!

If the people at the party are only giving out awards to other people at the party that they like, then great! But don’t say that and then spout off about this being the SFF Top Award in the same breath. It’s the top award for a closed group in which not everyone is allowed to play.

I’m pretty sure WorldCon never called itself “the most prestigious award” or whatever. That name was given by others, over time, since I guess being around for a long enough time gets you that sort of cred. Once Sad Puppy Con (or whatever) is around for a few decades it will also be known as one of The Most Prestigious Awards.
And come on, all groups always say the award is for “The Best XX of the Year.” Everyone knows it means “in the opinion of the group.” Do the Oscars really need to come with the disclaimer “Best Movie Of The Year (*assuming your are one of the elite few people in the industry that spends most of their lives on this, if you’re just an average Joe this may not be as appealing to you) Of 2014!”

Your kind killed the prestige by boosting message fiction over Good solid SciFi!

If that’s so then the con will die a slow death of becoming more and more irrelevant. Not sure why you feel the need to be validated by such a fading entity.

Who are you to say who can and cannot be a member of worldcon? Why do you get to decide who has the right to vote and whose opinion matters? Either the Hugo is supposed to represent the best of sf and is open to everyone, or its a self-congratulatory award for an insular group that means absolutely nothing, and soon that group will age out and die.

I only have one vote in the matter, so I’m not one to decree it. It used to be just Tradition (which I thought the other side was big on?) – those people who had the same kind of taste got together and decided who they liked best. And yes – WorldCon is pretty grey. 

It’s interesting to consider what the award actually means. I mean yeah, it is a self-congratulatory award for an insular group. The group prided themselves on being very widely read and having what they considered to be refined taste. And apparently that means a lot to some people. I mean, the yearly Awards for Wine (I don’t even know what they’re called) are the same thing – a few elite people decide what THEY think is the best, based on THEIR fancy refined palette, and the rest of us make fun of them for being such snobbish ass-hats. But a lot of people still pay attention. Winning the Wine Award is considered a big deal, and the wines can charge more afterwards, etc.

So, why does it matter, if it’s just a group of self-proclaimed elites? Fuck if I know. I just enjoy the bickering. If you don’t give a damn about the snobby elites, don’t pay attention to their stupid award, right? I know I always get the cheapest wine that still tastes good, cuz I don’t care. I don’t even know what the wine award is called! Why are people so determined to crash the Hugos? What’s with the hate-boner?

From my friend Aaron:
You say the wishes of a thousand artsy snobs were defeated by a couple hundred Sad Puppies and declare that a victory for democracy.
As I said at the outset, I don’t care if your politics are different from mine (they’re likely not), and I don’t care that your reading tastes are different from mine. I care that the group you’re defending gamed the system to defeat the preferences of most of the Hugo voters. I would have contempt for that effort, even if I thought all the nominated works were terrific.

For the first time in a long time, the preferences of most of the Hugo voters are FINALLY being recognized. The insular group of self congratulators has been exposed, and by doing so, the average SFF reader like me has seen the truth – that this award was not truly given to the best SFF of the Year.

The preferences of most of the Hugo voters are obviously not being represented, I think you meant to say that the preferences of the majority of *SF readers* are finally being represented. I suppose that could be true, as long as you trust Brad & Larry to know who is the most popular writer? But then why not just stick with the Best Seller List, and give awards to the Top 5 Selling SF Authors every year?

How are you defining “best”? Because the Hugo’s defined it as “The works that our con-goers were most impressed with.” Are you saying that it’s instead “what sells the most” or “What Brad and Larry like” or… what? I mean that’s what this all comes down to, isn’t it? If you don’t like the criteria of WorldCon voters, there are other awards, or Best Seller lists.

Shout outs to Prometheus Award and LibertyCon

See, there we go. Why the hate-boner for WorldCon specifically? Is it just because Larry got snubbed that one year? Dude has incredibly thin skin…

The “worldcon inner circle” aren’t the Lords of SF. They’re just a few thousand people. There are quite a few OTHER inner circles which do, in fact, honor people like Larry. And for that matter, Larry was nominated for a Hugo several times, he just didn’t win (and, having read his works, rightly so. They were good, but they weren’t as good as the competition he was up against those years)

You keep arguing that we should just let the Hugo awards go on being a meaningless circle jerk. That we shouldn’t be take someone else’s toy away from them. It’s not about that. It’s about making the hugo’s actually mean something again like it used to. We’re increasing membership and voter turnout, and boosting diversity of opinion. How is that a bad thing?

I think the Hugos still mean quite a bit. Just because the barrier to entry is high doesn’t mean its meaningless. Possibly the opposite?

Regardless, maybe this is a bit of an elitist attitude, but I don’t think that letting Brad & Larry give out the award will make it better.

Why should their be ANY barrier to entry AT ALL?? (sic)

Because then you get Transformers 4 winning all the awards

Most of us will agree that Michael Bay’s stuff is shite. But the SP slate was not full of Transformers. Even Van admitted that it was likely that some of the SP recommendations were good – and the point is that the criteria should be “Is it GOOD?” versus “Does the Inner Circle think it checks the box?”

Yes, and how do you determine what’s “good”? It used to be done by a couple thousand people coming together, talking a whole lot, and then voting. Now it’s done by Brad & Larry [edit:  and Vox Day] deciding what works they like best. That’s going the wrong way IMHO.

How is that different from Scalzi or Crouse deciding what’s best?

They never did.

*guffaw* Yeah, Scalzi NEVER campaigned or tried to manipulate ANYTHING! *guffaw*

Like, for serious. Sure, he let people know he was eligible, and obviously he’d like to win. But when people like Scalzi would get a lot of attention, its because they thought like most of the WorldCon attendees do. They were representative of the group. That’s why there was no outcry when the works they liked got nominated – for the most part people agreed that this is the kind of work we really enjoy.

That’s also why when someone else comes in and pushes through a full ballot they DO get the sort of blowback you see – because they are NOT representative of the population. Before the various people could argue “Is Scalzi right here? He seems off. I think this work is better.” and so on and so forth. Typical kvetching. When someone comes in and forces in a ballot that wouldn’t even be on the typical con-goer’s Top 20, that is when people get annoyed

What I’m against is the SP Slate, not any particular person or their opinion.

What you are missing is that the works you have been voting on in the past were vetted well before you came along to cast your ballot. You’ve been duped, hon. You may not vote that way on your own, but the decision on the choices you had to select from had been taken out of your hands LONG before it got to your vote. The Soviets used to hold elections too, and the people voted. But it doesn’t make it democratic. Wouldn’t you rather have legitimate choices?

I don’t think the voting in the past was vetted nearly as much as you think. When it was “vetted” at all it was due to waves of group-think that sometimes came or went. There isn’t actually any sort of High Council that makes these decisions, just a bunch of people talking to each other online and off. The vetting is FAR FAR more vetted this year, where 100% of non-Novel literature (and 3 of the 5 Novels) was picked by the Sad Puppies or the Rabid Puppies offshoot – in effect three people made almost the entire nominating decision this year.

Brad and Larry have ONE VOTE EACH. You are making the assumption that all of the SP RECOMMENDATIONS were blindly and stupidly voted for en bloc by some zombie horde. We are not sheep. We don’t blindly follow ideology. I am always willing to listen to recommendations by folks who may be more in the know than I am.

I didn’t say anyone was sheep. I think unity IS strength. The SPs united, and won. But they *obviously* voted as a block, as the nominations are item-for-item 100% the Sad Puppies or Rabid Puppies slate (with the exception of 2 novels).

Then I went to bed, because it was late and we were starting to go in circles. Perhaps one of the most eyebrow-raising parts of this discussion was when someone came in shouting that If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love was revenge porn and hate speech. the narrator has a good laugh over the carnage delivered to thinly veiled ideological enemies by her dinosaur lover”. I was at a loss for words. I guess “Life Is Beautiful” was revenge porn too, then.

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