The Day Fandom Ended
The Hugo Award Nominations have just been successfully hijacked by neofascists.
I want to pause, before I make any comments on the implications of that statement, and make it unambiguously clear that this is what happened. There were, this year, two organized and overlapping slates of proposed nominees – the Sad Puppies, promoted by Brad Torgersen, and the Rabid Puppies, promoted by Theodore Beale, who writes under the pen name Vox Day. Of these slates, the latter was the more successful and influential, with 87% of its proposed nominees ultimately getting nominated, forming 68% of the total Hugo nominations. Every single work nominated in the categories of Best Novella, Novelette, Short Story, Related Work, and Editor (both long and short form) came from those two slates, including two nominations for Theodore Beale himself, one in each editor category.
Theodore Beale opposes women’s suffrage, saying, “the women of America would do well to consider whether their much-cherished gains of the right to vote, work, murder and freely fornicate are worth destroying marriage, children, civilized Western society and little girls.” He believes that black people are less human than white people, saying of a black woman that “genetic science presently suggests that we are not equally homo sapiens sapiens.”
I admit that these two quotes leave me slightly uncertain as to what to say. They are, obviously, preposterously vile things to say. But they are so vile that they defy the usual rhetoric with which we respond to loathsome views. They are not positions or claims that polite society is really equipped to engage with. They are so far outside the bounds of what is socially acceptable in 2015 that it is difficult to imagine many forums in which they would even be permitted to be aired. I’d go with something glib like “even Fox News would sack someone who publicly expressed those views,” but even that seems insufficient. Truth be told, I have trouble thinking of any mainstream groups or organizations where someone who publicly espoused those views would not be ostracized.
Except, apparently, orthodox sci-fi/fantasy fandom, in which Theodore Beale has sufficient clout within orthodox sci-fi/fantasy fandom to select 68% of the Hugo Award nominees.
The question of how this happened is simple enough – the Hugo nomination process is fairly easy to game if you’ve got a bit of organization and followers willing to splash out a bit of cash. It only took about 250 people to stuff the ballot box to this effect – about 12.5% of the overall people who sent in nominations, though closer to 25% in some of the smaller categories.
More significant is the question of what this means.
To be frank, it means that traditional sci-fi/fantasy fandom does not have any legitimacy right now. Period. A community that can be this effectively controlled by someone who thinks black people are subhuman and who has called for acid attacks on feminists is not one whose awards have any sort of cultural validity. That sort of thing doesn’t happen to functional communities. And the fact that it has just happened to the oldest and most venerable award in the sci-fi/fantasy community makes it unambiguously clear that traditional sci-fi/fantasy fandom is not fit for purpose.
Simply put, this is past the point where phrases like “bad apples” can still be applied. As long as supporters of Theodore Beale hold sufficient influence in traditional fandom to have this sort of impact, traditional fandom is a fatally poisoned well. The fact that a majority of voices in fandom are disgusted by it doesn’t matter. The damage has already been done at the point where the list of nominees is 68% controlled by fascists.
There are good works nominated this year. I am told that Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Sword is a truly brilliant novel that deserves awards. In Dramatic Presentation where, given the nature of the media, even the puppy slates were relatively harmless, nominating things like Grimm and Game of Thrones, there are several good nominees, including “Listen,” which was not on either slate, a fact that should have Doctor Who fans feeling properly proud. And the Best Graphic Story category is one of the best slates in the history of the category, and the only one to have four out of its five nominees not be on the puppy slates.
None of this, however, matters. An award whose nominations are, in six categories, dominated entirely by neofascists, and where Theodore Beale has that kind of influence has already lost legitimacy. The phrase “2015 Hugo Award Winner” is already not one that anybody should want. It is not something that anybody should desire for a work they love. “Listen” and Ms. Marvel are too good to win this award.
Obviously progressive voices within the sci-fi/fantasy community have to fight, and fight hard to reclaim fandom from the neofascist entryist movement that has just stolen it. But until that fight is won, it is also the moral duty of progressive voices to form a blocking majority, and to loudly admit that fandom as it stands is broken, and that any work proclaimed to be the best of the year by a fandom this broken is demeaned by the association.
Thankfully, the Hugo Awards have a mechanism to accomplish this. Every category allows for a vote of No Award Given. And this should be the goal. The 2015 Hugos should simply be blank. No awards given, in any categories. Let that sit in the history books – the year that sci-fi fandom said no. We can come back in 2065 and give out a set of Retro Hugos, and figure out with the lens of history what we demonstrably failed to figure out this year.
You can purchase a supporting membership for the 2015 Worldcon, this year called Sasquan, for $40. This will give you voting rights on the 2015 Hugos, as well as nomination rights for 2016 so you can help make sure this doesn’t happen again. Plus you’ll get the Hugo Packet, which will, alongside the fascist picks, also contain the bulk of the legitimate nominees, a body of work that would cost well over $40 even for just the stuff that doesn’t come Beale-endorsed.
If science fiction and fantasy are genres you care about, and if you can spare $40, I highly encourage you to join and, when the Hugo Ballot is released, vote No Award in all categories. Because otherwise, and especially if there are any awards in the six categories in which every nomination is neo-fascist endorsed, the cultural legitimacy of the Hugo Awards and of mainstream science fiction fandom will be permanently compromised.
April 5, 2015 @ 12:45 am
I wondered why this year's Best Novel nominations seemed so… odd. I'd expected the new William Gibson to be on the list, and maybe "Grasshopper Jungle" or "Station Eleven", not Dresden Files novels and Kevin J. Anderson.
Still, not all bad: I hadn't heard of "The Goblin Emperor" (a novel which "directly opposes the wave of Grimdark we've seen in Fantasy lately" apparently) which sounds interesting.
I guess this pretty much guarantees that Ann Leckie will win for the second year running, which can't be a bad thing…
April 5, 2015 @ 2:53 am
I've never heard of this guy. I look him up on wikipedia to see if he's maybe done some stuff I know of and just haven't read. I close the wikipedia page. I've still never heard of this guy. Who is this humanoid and why do we allow him to ruin the things we like?
I don't have 40 bucks to spare, but I do have free time to rail against this sort of useless nincompoopery. Actually, that reminds me, polite society is not equipped to deal with opinions but impolite society certainly is. I mean, typing 6000 words, the bulk of them obscene, about how someone is fascist because they like Parting of the Ways more than The Pandorica Opens feels good, but it robs situations like this of their proper value. This guy's deserving of rambling 200 page threads peppered with inventive profanity, which seems at odds with our present venue, but entirely in keeping with its spirit.
Off the top of my head, he's a useless, pigheaded counterfeit-person, undeserving of the basic respect and recognition which we impart to actual people, literally undeserving of being dumped in urine and lemon juice to put him out were he aflame.
April 5, 2015 @ 2:56 am
In conjunction with #GamerGate, all this does is to remind me why we can't have good things.
[To be honest, I'm kind of glad I'm not at the UK National Science Fiction Convention this weekend, because it would be tedious to have this discussion over and over again when – as you have clearly stated – there is only one sane response possible.]
April 5, 2015 @ 3:16 am
All these flavors and you choose to be salty.
Well that's to be expected when people have had enough of social justice whining and are starting to chop down your little house of influence one well-placed whack at a time.
April 5, 2015 @ 4:36 am
Poe's Law strikes again.
April 5, 2015 @ 4:41 am
…Which of the litany of flavors would you prefer in the event of an award show being taken over by people who advocate acid attacks on feminists? A deep, abiding bitterness?
April 5, 2015 @ 8:23 am
Oh noes! The masculists are coming for us!
Seriously, are you actually delusional enough to think that this is the beginning of a mass movement, as opposed to the last gasp of a group of whiny, entitled manbabies on the wrong side of history? Just curious!
April 5, 2015 @ 8:29 am
It's easy to exploit rules to tear something down, as a relatively small and dedicated organized group will frequently beat out more chaotic opposition… but I question if they have any true long term effect other than making the Hugos less prestigious by exploiting the rules so flagrantly.
To paraphrase Ayn Rand, a reputation of quality is only worthwhile so long as they continue to earn that reputation. Yes, it amuses me to cite Rand in this situation.
When I see lists telling people how to vote, its usually a clear sign that its targeting people largely ignorant of what they're voting on… see also voting lists handed out by political parties.
April 5, 2015 @ 9:22 am
The SJW clique just put out a slate that was mostly "no award". They're that mad that people outside their club might win.
April 5, 2015 @ 10:25 am
I don't understand what SJW means anymore. I thought it was intended to refer to anyone who used social justice abusively, or to some extreme. I do not see how an averse reaction to a group helmed by a man who believes Black people are genetically inferior and women shouldn't have the right to vote is extreme.
April 5, 2015 @ 10:33 am
Well last year Sad Puppy's nominee managed to finish 6th out of a field of 5, Theodore Beale being the only one unable to defeat No Award.
Sounds like Sad Puppy is a hell of a lot smaller than they want people to believe. The Noisy Minority strikes again.
April 5, 2015 @ 10:49 am
Speaking as a longtime member of SF fandom and a sometime Worldcon attendee…
I don't feel obliged to admit that these turkeys are "within orthodox sci-fi/fantasy fandom". It's not obvious to me that they found 250 people who could be described as "within wingnut/fringe sci-fi/fantasy fandom."
What's obvious is that these clowns are more motivated about the fate of the Hugos than fandom is. (Or, I guess some people would say, "than the rest of fandom is.") This is an embarrassing state of affairs and one which will scar the reputation of the award for a generation. It is not, that I can see, the end of fandom.
(I could chatter further about my own voting habits, but eh. Let's put it this way: I am currently deciding whether I care about the Hugo awards enough to try to save them. I have a lot of investment in SF, in SF conventions, and in Worldcon. But the Hugos are a bit of a blip for me.)
April 5, 2015 @ 10:54 am
Jamie, it means people like Requireshate, and the clique who defends horrible people as long as they're "punching up" http://www.julietemckenna.com/?p=1489
April 5, 2015 @ 11:38 am
Ann Leckie certainly deserves a win. I didn't think much of Gibson's most recent book.
April 5, 2015 @ 12:01 pm
I've seen it pointed out that it's more a matter of differing values. The Sad Puppies slate took about thirty suggestions and pared it down to five (the number of nominations). If all voters of those thirty books only voted for the same five books rather than voting independently, that means that a SP voter has about six times more influence than a fan voting independently, because they've persuaded people to nominate not based on 'what books you think are the best from 2014' but 'what books the group thinks are the best from 2014'.
Now, other fans could try to deal with the same tactics, but the reaction I've seen around the fandom seem to indicate that that, in addition to Day/Beale's loathsome politics, that folks don't want to have to organize Hugo nomination blocks and slates to get representation. They want it to be an independent assessment of the state of the field*, not 'who can motivate their corner of fandom'.
So they didn't fight against this, because it would run counter to the implied rules of the culture, not due to lack of motivation. Hence, being caught with our pants down.
* I've also seen it suggested that many nominees and winners tend to be those books that cross sub-genres to gather the most appeal. If they define genres, it's because they have created genres.
April 5, 2015 @ 12:34 pm
I am so disconnected from the fandom these days. I suppose there's good reasons for that.
April 5, 2015 @ 1:29 pm
SJW means, and has meant for a long while, anyone on the left who disagrees with me. While it originally it was a term referring to people who talked over those they were ostensibly helping in the name of social justice, it was nearly immediately co opted by reactionaries and Neo Nazis.
April 5, 2015 @ 2:42 pm
One of the things that interested me following some of this (the article by Matthew Surridge (http://www.blackgate.com/2015/04/04/a-detailed-explanation/) is fantastic even if the reason for it is immensely depressing) was the suggestion that because John Scalzi and Charlie Stross have both run "open threads" on their blogs allowing people to list their own Hugo-eligible work, that's somehow the same as running a "slate" of candidates and actively organising to get a closely defined list on the ballot. How can anyone draw that parallel?
April 5, 2015 @ 2:46 pm
I'm more inclined to think it's the middle stage of opposition (Gandhi: "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win", or, alternatively, Schopenhauer: "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.")
April 5, 2015 @ 2:50 pm
I grasped the absurdity of it when I was accused of being one.
Yeah, I'm a life-long Republican… albeit a socially progressive one, which means I advocate for slow-ansslow-and-steafslow-and-steady progress to minimize pushback. But when the Free Market is happy to embrace Captsin Jack, Modern Family, Orphan Black, female Thor, etc., its really hard to argue against those things.
April 5, 2015 @ 4:03 pm
Keep in mind, you're often dealing with very vocal minorities.
Take this instance, if they truly swept the nominations through force of numbers, then they would welcome anyone's efforts to counteract them, because they would prove their dominance in defeating them.
This is why they put forth the notion that SJWs took science fiction and comics away from them, because they simply do not have the numbers to truly influence the over-all direction of either industry. Even when they cloak themselves in populism, they maintain that films like The Avengers (directed by SJW Whedon) should win the Hugo… which it did, and Harry Potter won Best Novel.
One thing I know as a life-long Republican is they're not exactly shrinking violets when it comes to letting their opinions being known. Kirk Cameron continues to make a living catering to the Religious Right. Even Hollywood, there's a fairly sizable number of vocal conservatives who continue to get lots of work because they bring in an audience. Many critics of Sad Puppies are actually disappointed that they're not using their platform to elevate worthy conservative voices, but rather are using their platform to troll liberals with some obvious nut-jobs of dubious talent.
The bigger problem with the Right has always faced (and one that made my decision to become a Republican much, much easier) is they're absolutely pants at pushing a long-term social agenda. They play to the reactionaries of today rather than sowing the seeds to win over future generations. They score the odd short-term victory, but they've been on the retreat for a long, long, long time.
I sincerely doubt that the Hugo Nomination victory they scored will turn into any kind of proper victory, because it's incredibly easy to bring the far greater numbers to bear against their agenda in the final vote when they're going up against two or three choices instead of dozens. Unless they score a massive influx from their fellow Culture Warriors (which isn't off-set by a massive influx of their opposing numbers), they'll probably end up being about as successful as they were last year… and they could very well end up losing the categories they swept in the nominations, because they aren't assured of a victory.
Because, as many Hugo voters have said, game on. Their opponents can follow the rules just as well as they can and they can campaign for "No Award" as hard as they like.
April 5, 2015 @ 4:11 pm
But if (as in some categories this year) the slate is successful enough that all the nominees are Sad Puppies, then being able to vote No Award becomes a rather empty consolation. Indeed, in the case where all the nominees in every category are Sad Puppies, it is tantamount to simply not having any Hugo awards at all. Which would suit the Puppies just fine: for them, destruction is a victory.
April 5, 2015 @ 4:33 pm
I'm not really sure they can keep up the energy for long-term destruction.
Not too long ago, I replied to a Gater who tweeted something to the affect of "how do SJWs do this all the time, it's been 8 months and we're all exhausted".
My response was it's easier to keep the energy up when you're building something because you can see the progress you're making. With destruction, you only see chaos.
Hate is an energy, but it's a very draining one. And in the end, you don't really have anything to show for it. So if they succeed in tearing down the Hugos, then a much more protected award becomes the gold standard. If they're not sowing the seeds for their future, then they'll have gained nothing.
April 6, 2015 @ 1:02 am
On the one hand, your proposed action makes sense to me.
On the other hand, I've seen people on Twitter say the correct action is to vote for the best thing that's not on the slate should such a thing exist, and No Award if there's nothing. And that also makes sense to me. Someone suggested that the entire thing gets No Awarded, the puppies will at least have the satisfaction of knowing they spoiled it for everyone else.
(Indeed, this may be more pleasing to them than actually winning. Like the people on Twitter who spent International Women's Day asking when Int Men's Day was, and then swearing at Stewart Lee for telling them. They didn't want an Int. Men's Day, they just wanted to complain that there wasn't one.)
Long term, I've seen an interesting proposal for how to make having a slate a disadvantage with the existence of anti-votes (although it aknowledges there are problems with the concept) here.
April 6, 2015 @ 6:04 am
In conjunction with #GamerGate
Funny you should put it that way:
The puppies brought the gators into the tent. Presumably thinking they would get eaten last.
How can anyone draw that parallel?
Through the immunity all humans and some intelligent life-forms have to being literally burned by their own stupidity.
April 6, 2015 @ 6:10 am
The liberal blogger Driftglass definitely knows the first of those quotes; his interpretation of it may, I realize now, incorporate the second.
Dear Future Generations,
You want to know what life was like for Liberals in America during my lifetime?
First they ignored you.
Then they laughed at you.
Then they fought you.
Then they got gigs in national magazines repeating as breathless epiphany things you had been saying for thirty years.
April 6, 2015 @ 6:49 am
I haven't got a clue what any of this means.
April 6, 2015 @ 7:05 am
Not to mention, a supporting membership is $40. Even if there are only a hundred people out there willing to kick in $40 to "stick it to the lib'ruls" and vote a slate that they haven't read, understood, or care about, that's a pretty big swing in a field of a thousand ballots total when nobody else is running an organized slate.
April 6, 2015 @ 7:12 am
Right on! It's ridiculous that a bunch of reactionaries set against diversity and social justice get to take over awards like these. It's part of a wider cultural zeitgeist and backlash against the progress made in recent years and should be resisted on principle.
I have no idea how to fix the Hugo's themselves, though I read with interest the ideas of others more knowledgeable in this area. It's clear though that some sort of action will have to be taken or else the Hugo's will not only be useless, but become the measure of what we DON'T want for our future and the future of the genres we love.
April 6, 2015 @ 9:42 am
I'm a bit lost too.
Is someone seriously making this argument: "someone is fascist because they like Parting of the Ways more than The Pandorica Opens"? That seems a bit extreme.
April 6, 2015 @ 9:57 am
This is one of the most incomprehensible posts I've ever read on this site. What I'm getting between the lines is kind of making me glad I'm so out of touch that I have no idea what Sad Puppies are. 🙂
April 6, 2015 @ 11:10 am
I think the person in question is Ted Beale, not Phil. This is someone who followed the links, read up on Teddy's philosophy, and is now too stunned and horrified to even use the name.
April 6, 2015 @ 11:12 am
Short version: "Sad Puppies" is the name for an effort to gin up a bunch of Hugo nominations for racist, sexist assholes to "teach a lesson" to everyone who's not a white male about who the intended audience for science-fiction and fantasy actually is.
Aren't you glad you know now?
April 6, 2015 @ 12:24 pm
Oh, okay — so Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies aren't on opposite sides, then?
My head hurts.
April 6, 2015 @ 12:42 pm
No. Rabid Puppies were even more racist and sexist assholes, the unrepentant and vicious ones who aren't afraid to let their hate flag fly. Sad Puppies say things like, "Oh, we just feel like there's too much 'reverse discrimination', while Rabid Puppies actually claim that black people are a different species and aren't afraid to use racial slurs. There's a lot of overlap between the two, which the Sad Puppies are busily trying to convince everyone is pure coincidence.
April 6, 2015 @ 1:06 pm
Re: our discussion on yesterday's Shabcast, someone in Stross' blog made what I think is the best solution for the how to vote question, one that covers both of our positions:
In every category, rank "No Award" first.
In every category where there are non-Sad/Rabid Puppy entrants, rank those, and only those, below "No Award".
That seems to me to allow the outcome you want — an across-the-board win for "no award" — while still making sure that if the "make everything No Award" strategy doesn't win, the "vote for people who don't actually advocate shooting children in the face, raping your wife, and throwing acid in feminists' faces" strategy isn't handicapped, thus maximising the chances of defeating the fascist scum as much as possible.
April 6, 2015 @ 1:48 pm
Seavey: Definitely, though I would characterize it more as "too tired and not thinking clearly enough to remember Beale's name".
Encyclops: I'm saying that the level of discourse that Beale's philosophies and public statements call for is more associated with lengthy, incoherent, and completely hyperbolic rants on message boards about which Doctor is better, rather than reasoned and measured discussion on the eruditorum. In other words, my response to Phil's statement that "they are so vile that they defy the usual rhetoric with which we respond to loathsome views. They are not positions or claims that polite society is really equipped to engage with" is that we can and should respond to these statements, it's just that the tools we use to do so get far more use screeching and howling uselessly into the endless abyss of internet fora. Pissing into the ocean of piss, as a certain website describes it.
Or, to leave it completely clear what I mean, his views are so repugnant as to justify flame war behavior in otherwise reasoned discourse. In fact, they seem intended strictly for that purpose, being as I find it difficult to accept that anybody believes, truly, that (for example) black people are literally a different species than white people, or acid is an appropriate response to feminism.
April 6, 2015 @ 2:21 pm
All right, I'm with you now — thanks, Jarl! I remember guys like that from the old Usenet days, and yes, they ended up being basically ways to show off one's wit to one's friends.
April 6, 2015 @ 3:42 pm
Norman Spinrad predicted this decades ago with The Iron Dream, where he wrote a formulaic piece of sci-fi/fantasy as Adolf Hitler. It's almost indistinguishable from other such books, and the afterward even talks about the fake book's fans. Fascism in sci-fi has been a problem for a long, long time. See also: Michael Moorcock's 'Starship Stormtroopers' essay.
April 6, 2015 @ 5:22 pm
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April 6, 2015 @ 5:39 pm
April 6, 2015 @ 9:30 pm
If this is "the end of Fandom", all I can say is, it's about time.
April 6, 2015 @ 10:34 pm
In order to prevent a small group from nominating an entire slate of candidates so only their choices are on the final ballot of the Hugos the nominating process should be restricted to one or at most two recommendations per voter. That complicates it logistically for the group trying to takeover the Hugo Awards, although it still might be possible considering Vox Day had the financial resources to take over a Finnish publisher to provide a source for many of his nominations. Regardless, if he can work around that by having access to absolute control of a couple hundred ballots that was still a flaw in the nominating process that should be fixed.
There is another problem in that in filling out the ballots Sad Puppies especially nominated some people worthy of consideration along with the stinkers. Some withdrew their nominations and some didn't. Some support NO AWARD over anyone appearing on the slates even if they do not share either the milder: there's too much liberal literature winning, or the rabid: women shouldn't have the right to vote and some minorities are subhuman, philosophies of the slates. I support giving each work careful consideration rather they appear on the slates or not. Use NO AWARD judiciously.
More discussion and participation about the Hugo Awards and the possible nominees in the January to March time periods would also minimize slate influence.
Elections naturally evolve toward parties, see US history. I am surprised it hasn't occurred until the puppy slates, contrary to what the rabid puppies believe. More publicity about what was the best of the year in the December to March period and recommendations for nominations should be made. Strategically Sad Puppies took 30 or so recommendations from his followers and narrowed down to 3 to 5 to concentrate his followers impact. Rabid Puppies saw the chance to possibly close out categories, no works from you liberals and running dogs, and expanded that list to the nomination limit. More discussion and publicity of the possible nominations and reducing the nominations allowed by voters will prevent future hijackings. Although I also have no doubt people not philosophically aligned with the puppies will launch competing slates seeing the good works and good people knocked out this year.
April 7, 2015 @ 7:10 am
Scurra: EasterCon was actually lovely (at least I found it so – it's the first I have attended). I only heard one discussion of the Hugo nominations and that only briefly in an otherwise long and wide-ranging klatch with Charlie Stross. I saw quite a bit on twitter of course, but I'd have seen that if I hadn't been there. Just saying, it didn't ruin everything.
April 7, 2015 @ 11:40 am
Nerd Culture Delenda Est.
April 8, 2015 @ 2:38 am
Finally someone willing to call the 'Dark Enlightenment' likes of Theodore Beale what they are: (neo) fascists.
April 8, 2015 @ 4:27 am
I kind of like this statement. I enjoy many diverse areas of pop culture, but the rise of fandom in certain areas has led to exclusionary tactics among those who have fought their entire lives to not be excluded. It is no longer enough to enjoy a good book and be around others who enjoy good books. You must read the right books by the right authors in order to be a part of the group. The alternative is to be excluded again.
April 8, 2015 @ 8:06 am
Oh, yes, that poor Jim Butcher fellow desperately needed the Sad Puppies to keep him out of obscurity and poverty! What he would have done without Correia and Torgerson we'll never know. They'd probably have found him begging for change on a street corner with a cardboard sign saying, 'Insufficiently Literary – Please Help'.
April 8, 2015 @ 10:23 am
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April 8, 2015 @ 10:42 am
No platformed, you fascist prick.
April 9, 2015 @ 12:31 am
I'm a Limey at heart, but I say, well said. Watching this shower of shite is amusing for one reason. They don't understand that we have decided to weigh in and bury them. I spent some time today with an award winning author who could not say Vox Day without spitting. His books are cruel but what he did to inspire the base to react, at last, priceless. In the meantime, I view all this like porno sites who want your vote for best presentation.
April 9, 2015 @ 1:13 am
Leave actual fascism to Mussolini and his fans (and nazism to Hitler and his fans). Those are not fascists or neofascists. They are racist reactionaries and there are loads in France, the UK or the US. Also, do not conclude or advocate global ban of their views because censorship is frequently part of their justifications.
April 9, 2015 @ 8:30 am
Just because they're not capable of using force to impose their views on others doesn't mean they're not fascists. It just means they're not very successful fascists. Also, people saying that their tactics should not be rewarded with one of the most prestigious honors that the science-fiction fandom community has to offer should not be conflated with "advocating a global ban of their views".
April 10, 2015 @ 3:09 am
Yeah I've been in the same place as you encyclops, as I simply haven't been keeping in touch with stuff – so been reading a lot in the last couple of days, thanks to Phil and Jack's Shabcast also.
April 10, 2015 @ 6:27 am
tl;dr: Concur with the No Award recommendation, and I can give a specific practical reason why.
My wife Deirdre and I were at the UK natcon this past weekend, though we’re Bloody Yanks. There was a panel the evening following Sasquan’s ballot announcement (watched live) to catch less-connected attendees up on events. A certain amount of eye-rolling and bafflement from Brits was evident. The predominant view among frequent Hugo voters present was No Awarding most categories will is the best policy. A minority politely differed, and averred that voting on merit remains wise as usual. Fortunately, there’s plenty of time for voters to decide: Sasquan’s voting cutoff is likely to be about 4-6 weeks before the Aug. 19-23 con dates — to ensure adequate lead time for engraving rockets — thus around the end of July.
Various ideas were discussed at the panel, as they are being discussed elsewhere, to close the long-acknowledged nominating process vulnerability that, by 62-year-old gentleman’s agreement, nobody violated by driving a huge voting-slate truck through the process until Torgersen and Beale did so this year. (Morose-canine spokescritters thus harp on absence of rule-breaking, which is true but irrelevant to the point under discussion.)
After several days' reflection, I now think No Award the best policy on game-theoretical grounds: Even though Bruce Schneier is leading a discussion about how to best fix the acknowledged nomination weakness, and you couldn't ask for better help, any amendment would take effect only after MidAmeriCon II in Kansas City (2016), thus two years of slate-vulnerable nominations. The only effective way to powerfully deter that gaming of the system two years in a row is to ensure that nominees know in advance that it's the kiss of death, so they'll decline slate nominations and disavow them upon being informed of them. I've elaborated on this point, here: http://deirdre.net/the-puppy-free-hugo-award-voters-guide/#comment-18834
So, lots of Noah Ward it will be, for me. (I'm speaking only for myself, in this.)
April 12, 2015 @ 12:07 am
Since I wrote that, the very obvious problem with voting for the best thing not on the slate has been pointed out, which is that it's not fair on the things that got knocked off the list by the slate. (Or, for that matter, the things that did get in, which will win by default rather than metit.) So yeah, kill 'em all and let the Retro Hugos sort it out.
April 12, 2015 @ 3:09 pm
The Dark Enlightenment / Neo-Reactionary "movement" generates a kind of horrified fascination in me since I encountered it while googling "Yarvin" a few months ago and getting an entry that wasn't related to my son's lego x-wing.
Quite a few people have called them fascists already. I'm not acquainted with Theodore Beale but generally it seems to be a mix of "race realists" (a phrase more accurately shortened to racists), men's rights activities, democracy haters and corporate apologists.
What's a little odd for me is that I agree with them that many of our democratic institutions no longer seem to work but I disagree with virtually every solution they propose.
Rather disappointingly, Nick Land is now part of this mob. Land's early 90s work with CCRU and Sadie Plant is still often compelling but his knee-jerk anti-leftism (and specifically the leftism of UK humanities academia in the 80s and 90s) has left him in somewhere… unattractive.
April 13, 2015 @ 6:15 pm
This is a fairly typical fascist move: use the official rules in a way which is against the spirit of the rules. The most straightforward response is to fix the rules. The Hugo nominee voting system was never thought through carefully; there's a discussion at Making Light about possible voting fixes. (Any "proportional representation" method would work.)
Next move by fascists will be to attempt to stack the rules-writing committee. Watch for it. This is just standard authoritarian stuff. (You're a Doctor Who fan… Malcolm Hulke brought this stuff up tangentially in a number of his stories, as did a number of other writers.)
April 13, 2015 @ 6:21 pm
"that means that a SP voter has about six times more influence than a fan voting independently, because they've persuaded people to nominate not based on 'what books you think are the best from 2014' but 'what books the group thinks are the best from 2014'. "
Have you read some of the sociology/psychology studies on how political right-wingers often value group conformity over, well, pretty much anything else? (They will throw out their own beliefs to conform to the group.) This reminds me of that. And as such is not at all surprising.
The rules need to be arranged so that this sort of bloc voting simply doesn't work. Their last attempt to take over the final vote ballots last year failed; unfortunately the attempt to take over the nominations succeeded. Since the nominees list is supposed to show a diverse variety of books, this really indicates a poor election system for nomination selection.
In this case, any "proportional representation" system for selecting nominees would fit the bill; there are several. They're basically designed to ensure variety, rather than monolithic bloc dominance, when trying to come up with members for a committee (or a list of nominees). Unfortunately, I've found that it's hard to convince people to use decent election systems, for whatever reason.
April 13, 2015 @ 6:28 pm
"My response was it's easier to keep the energy up when you're building something because you can see the progress you're making. With destruction, you only see chaos. "
This is true. But it's also easier to keep the energy up when you're fighting the righteous fight for your own survival (as the harassed and threatened female game creators are, fighting for their own ability to create and distribute games) than when you're just fighting in order to be mean to other people (as the harrassing and threatening Gamergaters are).
This is also, by the way, why the locals in Afghanistan and Iraq and Somalia and Yemen have outlasted the US troops. For them it's a question of survival; for the US it is not.
April 18, 2015 @ 3:47 pm
Just as a footnote: for those who want to send a protest vote with more finesse than a blanket No Award, you might want to look at this — a list of which nominees weren't on the Puppy slates: http://deirdre.net/the-puppy-free-hugo-award-voters-guide/
At the moment, thanks to withdrawals and disqualifications, the majority of nominees in "Best Novel" are actually non-Puppy books. Voting from the surviving nominees and following them with No Award, while putting No Award in the slate-driven categories (or where you don't like any of the survivors — after all it's a much shorter reading list this year) would also send a pretty clear message!
May 9, 2015 @ 11:54 pm
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