Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Hugo mess... it's still going on

This is mostly a quotes post, and again I'm putting it behind the cut for folks who just aren't interested.

George R. R. Martin has been incredibly patient with puppy leader Brad Torgersen... but in this comment thread, that patience appears to have worn out. Here are some quotes from GRRM in those comments.

The "unhappiness" here is a campaign orchestrated by the odious Mr. Beale, and once again you Sad Puppies have lined up behind the Rabids. Early in this debate, I heard a lot of stuff from your side about careers being threatened and your opponents saying "you will never work in this town again" and similar crap. Not one instance of that was ever substantiated. But now we are seeing a deliberate internet campaign to cost someone their career -- and it is coming from VD, with the full howling support of Puppies of all stripes.

No one on "my side" ever threatened anyone's livelihood or career. Your side is doing just that. In public.
You know, it's probably not the best idea to get a man who regularly kills off the main characters of his books in incredibly creative ways this peeved at you. And since he's also a blockbuster writer who has had success you will only dream of? Yeah...
"My latest offensive epithet was suggested a female member of the slate who was tired...," etc. What does it matter that she was female? And she was tired of ad hominem attacks? Yeah, so am I. So are lots of people. On both sides, I am sure.

Yet even as you accuse the other side of being "nasty churls," you engage in ad hominem attacks yourself IN THE SAME SENTENCE. Nasty churls? Really? Really? I know you are not Vox Day, but you have read the stuff he writes, I must assume. You have presumably read the comments James May is putting up... well, everywhere. How about John C. Wright? Have you read his blog? And you and this unnamed female who coined "Puppy-Kicker" have the gall to complain about nasty churls on the fannish side?

Look around the kennel, Brad. You want to see some nasty churls? They are all around you, wearing Puppy collars and baying for fannish blood.

If you really want more civility, how about deleting some of the uglier posts from your blog. That would be a start. You guys keep throwing gasoline on the fire, then bitching about how high the flames are going.
I just love how Torgerson claimed he wasn't attacking people in the same sentence in which he attacks people, and I really love that GRRM pointed it out so clearly.
CHORF and Puppy-kicker don't "seem offensive to some," they ARE offensive, and deliberately so. That's why you guys made them up, to offend and insult, not to "refine the conversation."
If you really HONESTLY want to dial things down, how about you start by banishing those ugly terms "CHORF" and "Puppy-kicker" from your own blog and your own posts.
I have to agree... there was an excerpt on File 770 from a guy who lied outright and claimed that people who dislike what the puppies have done made up "Social Justice Warriors" and called themselves that. I'm not sure whether the guy was lying because he was embarrassed to be part of a group that constantly calls people names or because he's genuinely ignorant of the origins of the term. Whichever, it's the puppies (who DEFINITELY named THEMSELVES that) who are constantly calling other people names. And claiming that name-calling is a method of "refining" the conversation is such bull that I doubt Torgerson could have typed it with a straight face, unless he is well and truly delusional.
You and Larry were both welcomed into the SF field with open arms and nominated for major awards. No, you did not win... but Eric Flint has dealt with that very thoroughly in his latest. No one is entitled to an award. You were nominated for a Hugo, a Nebula, and a Campbell in the same year... and from that, you take the lesson that you were being treated as a "second class citizen" and deemed to be "cut rate." C'mon, Brad. Really.
I addressed one potential origin of the attitudes of persecution in my last Hugo post. I don't know if I'm completely off-base or closer to the truth than I want to be, but from the way GRRM describes it, I really tend to find myself believing I might be more right than wrong.

And, finally...
You know, Brad, I think these exchanges of ours have come full circle. You keep repeating the same tired claims you started with, claims that, as far as I am concerned, have been thoroughly discredited and disproved. By me, and many other people.

Worldcon has been, and is, a wonderful place. The Hugo has been, and remains, the most prestigious award in science fiction... though I will concede that if some (note: some) of the Puppy nominees win this year, that prestige will be severely damaged.

The "sniff test" is all in your mind. As for the awards going to the "correct" kind of artist and writer... yes, sure, so long as "correct" means "excellent." It was not, and never has been, an award for longevity or mediocrity... or even for popularity, as measured by sales figures. It is an award for LITERARY EXCELLENCE. Period. Conservative writers, like Niven, have won plenty of Hugos. Mediocre writers win fewer. Bad writers win none.

But why I am bothering? I have explained all this before, as patiently as I could. I have cited all the facts, traced the history. It seems plain that neither logic nor facts will budge you. You have your story and you're sticking to it.

OK. But don't tell me the wounds were "self-inflicted," please. You sound like the grade school bully who grabs a kid's arm and makes him whack himself in the face with it, all the time saying, "Hey, why are you hitting yourself? Hey, stop punching yourself."
It's just... wow. Amazing that GRRM tolerated the puppy leader so long, but it looks like he's finally fed up with it. I hope he gets back to slaughtering his characters in his books instead of eviscerating Sad Puppies.

I don't entirely agree with GRRM on everything about the Hugos, though I'm impressed with his views. It seems to me that most fans have their own opinions. While a few people group themselves into...ahem... slates, and march in lockstep, most of the time with fandom if you get four fans in a room talking about a subject, they'll have at least five, and more usually 20, opinions.

I just spent a fabulous weekend in Seattle with a number of awesome fans. I had the time of my life and feel better than ever about fandom. This Hugo mess is very sad, but fandom is really strong and will survive. We will do what it takes to make sure awards go to the best works, despite slates and hates. What will last is a lot of bad feelings on the parts of many people, especially those who were the direct victims of this nastiness and these attacks. One of them posts in the same comment thread as above. I have made no secret that I'm a big fan of Ursula Vernon and was delighted by her Hugo win for Digger. She posts as well:
Mr. Torgersen, I don't think you know me. Up until this Puppy thing, I didn't know you.

I've got a Hugo, as it happens. I won it in 2012, for Best Graphic Story. I've been a little afraid to talk about this now, because of some of your friends, but perhaps it's time that I say something.

Can you understand why being told that our much cherished awards were an affirmative action movement, and we weren’t REALLY creating anything worthwhile, might not have inclined some of us kindly toward you?

From my point of view, "Torgersen" went from a name on the Campbell ballot to a dude who had just insulted something I poured a decade of my life into. And then various other people on the Sad Puppy leadership began talking about Glittery Hoo-has, and...wow. Way to reduce a project that I sweated blood over, a project that I was very proud of, to a vagina joke.

Way to diminish something I worked damn hard on, to reduce it down to "Oh, well, 700+ pages for years of your life, that doesn't matter, the only reason anybody could possibly be impressed with your stuff is because you're a GIRL."

Do you understand why that would upset me a little?

Can you at least reach across the aisle to understand why I might think you weren't a very nice guy after that? When I'd never said anything about you at all, and you started off by attacking something I was very proud of?

Why maybe I wouldn't be very happy at the Sad Puppies, when the beginning of your campaign was to insult me, and people like me, by implying we hadn't earned the thing that we were proud of?

I'd never spoken a word to you, and you insulted my work out of the blue. That's why I'm upset.

I suppose you probably won't read this. But at least I'll have said it, and that's probably worth something.
Thank you Ursula. I doubt my opinion means beans to the puppies since it sure seems like the vast majority of them are misogynistic brats, but *I* really appreciate both your work and your willingness to speak out. Thank you.


RAH said...

I did not read your entire post but you said that calling people SJW is an insult. Personally I disagree. Those who actively work toward feminist and LGBT issues are that and it is a description not an insult. Read Will Shatterly essay. I would think being a SJW is to be badge of pride in their effectiveness is gaining their goals of female or minority empowerment.

There is also a big difference between coining a term CHORF, which is again a descriptive term, so is Puppy Kickers, than calling people racist , sexist and misogynists. Since I have read a a lot of negative comments from people that are negative toward SP3 supporters they do seem to fulfill the description to be Puppy Kickers.

Perhaps you think being called a racist or a sexist is not a bad insult. If so I disagree. In current society to be called or have ones reputation as a racist is destroy their employability or ability to sell books. To be called an asshole is not on par. So not all insults are equivalent

UrsulaV said...

Thank you for the kind words! I appreciate the thought, and I promise that my self-worth has not been dinged by the cries of Affirmative Action.

I am offended more than hurt...but honestly, I suspect, based on the reluctance to name any names (except perhaps "If You Were A Dinosaur..." and "Ancillary") that many of the Puppies were viewing the Hugo winners as a monolithic bloc, and not as real people who might conceivably take offense. It would perhaps not occur to them that they were casting an insult, and that it would land out of the blue on people who had never heard of them before, and that those people would take it as an attack.

So since they weren't thinking they were attacking real people, the real people mad at them came as a shock. Or something. That's all I've got, anyway.

Y'ever just stop and go "My god, this whole thing is bizarre!"?

Tegan said...

RAH, it's pretty clear that you didn't read my post, yup. If someone calls me SJW insultingly, which is how the puppies are doing it, then it is an insult. Claiming it's not an insult is a deflection unworthy of intelligent debate.

Also, there is a big difference between coining an insult (CHORF is not a "descriptive term" because it doesn't actually mean anything) then applying it to everyone who isn't in the self-defined puppy movement... and using the completely descriptive labels of "racist", "sexist" and "misogynist" to describe the actions of the leaders of the puppy movement, especially VD. As I've pointed out repeatedly before, people who call themselves puppies then get offended when the puppy leaders are accurately described are delusional. They put the collar on and proudly followed VD, so they can stop pretending to be offended and trying to justify silly insults that five-year-olds would find childish. I mean, puppy kickers? Really? What pre-school did they just graduate from?

And, frankly, if somebody is racist, sexist or misogynistic, it's absolutely right to call them out. The puppies cannot prove that the puppy leaders don't each fall into at least one of those categories while everyone (outside of the puppies, who tend to have a blind spot about their leadership) can clearly see plenty of evidence that they do.

There's also another big difference between the "name calling" they are offended by and the name calling I'm offended by. I use my labels to describe specific works and actions of specific people, particularly VD. Those labels are accurate. When I refer to the group as a whole I usually call them puppies, as they named themselves. Have I gotten general on occasion? Yes, but I'm always referring to a specific and self-defined group. I have not applied the label of "puppies" to anyone, they chose that label for themselves.

On the other hand, the puppies are constantly coming up with childish names to call everyone who doesn't agree with them. Those people who do not agree with them are not an organized group. They are the vast majority of fandom. Yet they are all painted with the same insults by the puppies. The puppies insult EVERYONE who isn't them, and they do it constantly. They are throwing a cup of green paint in a stadium of thousands and claiming everyone in the stadium is now painted green. By contrast, I'm pointing at people who have painted themselves red and saying, "Those people are red."

Tegan said...

UrsulaV, I find the whole thing so terrible and bizarre I sometimes sit back and say, "Do I really want to post on this?"

I almost think I'm being trolled and I'm going to open up a post one of these days and get Rickrolled or something. But I've seen the pickup artist and men's rights forums and have been amazed at them. I've met one or two of those type of guys in person that I know of, I'm stunned at how seriously they seem to take themselves. I thought those attitudes died out years ago, but it flourishes on the 'net. I guess they are terrified that the people they've hurt for generations will stamp them down if they lose power... since that's what they would do.

I also feel like puppy leadership never considered the individuals involved. Whether it was because of sexism, self-entitled blindness or a touch of sociopathy, they don't care who they hurt. The comments by Brad at GRRM really make that clear. In his opinion, his hurt is the only important thing in the world... and his hurt doesn't seem to have any basis in reality.

UrsulaV said...

Tegan - It's all just so weird. How do these people exist in society? Are they going through their lives gritting their teeth on rage every time they see a woman on the street not noticing them, or one of the other various sins? How does anyone live that way?

I don't blog about it because I can't ride herd on the comment section tightly enough. I admire those who can!

Tegan said...

Because my comments are completely moderated, and because I only get online three times a day, I really hope I don't get too "popular" and have to deal with a lot of them. But so far, so good. I haven't had to delete anything at all. Then again, I haven't checked the spam folder recently, so there might be something nasty lurking in there...