Reconciling with Puppies – “…to dream, the impossible dream, to reach the unreachable star….”

Don_Quixote_2Hey, after you’ve spent a lifetime tilting at windmills, what’s one more quest?

File 770 (the blog of record for Fandom), links to a post by Joe Vasicek that is a response to George R.R. Martin’s earlier call for reconciliation.

I’m on record as stating that GRRM’s post was necessary but misplaced.  Necessary as attempted reconciliation is well within the traditions of fandom (and ‘hey., somebody’s gotta try’).  Misplaced because puppies have: already stated that their mission is the destruction of the Hugos (if they don’t “win”); rejected everything that non-puppies say or will say out of hand (SJWs ALWAYS lie); and clearly subscribe to the mantra that reconciliation is a form of surrender and surrender is not an option (never apologize).

But, as the saying goes – what the heck.

First – the supposed grounds for reconciliation as voiced by GRRM:

 And maybe… just maybe… we’ll get our wish. Call me naive. Call me an innocent. Call me too trusting by half, too nice a guy to see how things really are… but, really, I am starting to have some hope. All over the internet, people are already talking about the Hugo Awards, making recommendations, discussing the work… the WORK, the things we love, the stuff that unites us instead of the stuff that divides us. I’ve been trying to do my part, here on my Not A Blog, and will continue to do so. Over at FILE 770, similar discussions are taking place. And on many other websites, blogs, and bulletin boards as well… including Sad Puppies 4.

Yes, the Sad Puppies are doing it again. ((No big secret, that was announced even before worldcon)). Discussions of possible nominations in all Hugo categories can be found on their SP4 site here: http://sadpuppies4.org/sp4-recommendations-pages-and-faq/ Go check it out. You can even join in. So far as I can tell, you don’t need to be a Puppy to recommend.

As of a few minutes ago, there were 159 ‘thoughts’ in the Best Novel section, which suggests a healthy level of participation. And, I am pleased to say, almost all of what follows seems to be honest and enthusiastic discussion of the work. I am seeing very little name-calling compared to what we saw in Sad Puppies 3, a dearth of references to CHORFS and ASPs and Puppy-kickers and that perennial favorite, SJWs. I am not seeing any “nominate this, it will make their heads explode” posts that we saw so often last year.

I disagree entirely with GRRM’s characterization of the SPIV recommendations as “…honest and enthusiastic discussion of the work.  I am seeing very little name-calling…”.

What I’m seeing is a lot of snark and a lot of setting the Hugo award voters up for the gotchya we all knew was coming:  worthy works nominated for all the wrong reasons, forcing voters to either endorse Puppy slates or vote against their own interests.  TOR, John Scalzi and David Gerrold are well represented in the puppy “recommendations”.  All three have been previously identified as leaders of the cabal that has been “fixing” the awards for over a decade.  Together, words directed at them by puppies have got to encompass fully 95% of all of last year’s puppy vitriol.

Yet there they sit on a puppy “recommendation” list in a cynical bid that allows them to claim “fairness”.  (As a further check:  why are “puppies” so underrepresented on these lists?  Could it be that an honest assessments finds them unworthy?  Or is that just another clue that the current exercise is nothing more than political theater?)

But that’s just background.  Oh?  Proof?  OK

Another motive is to make CHORF heads explode by bringing in a military action novel, as they automatically equate “action hero” with “evilrightwingfascistbigot”,

N. K. Jemisin, _The Fifth Season_. Terrific story, well written, and although she has sociopolitical points to make, she lets the story and the characters make them.

I just can’t see the WSFS ruling it ineligible. If they were willing to bend the rules for Robert Jordan…

Currently 4 recommendations for Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Mercy.  Not a single mention of the affront of pro-noun-ism.  Rather, high praise.  (If this is not cynical – where was the high praise last year?  If it is cynical…)

The cover of the book fits the story–no bait and switch. The book is devoid of messaging or preachy narrative. It is a good story that is entertaining fun.

Yeah, I know it’s tor

Toni Weisskopf for all of the reasons listed as well as the simple truth that she was screwed out of the award in 2015. She received more votes for Editor, Long Form than any previous candidate only to be denied due to the infamous Noah Ward hissy fit.
Add in that Baen has been ignored and disrespected for many years now because wrong fans having wrong fun, it’s about damn time.

Naturally, not all of the “thoughts” presented in the comments on SadPuppiesIV are from puppies – but I’m pretty sure we can be confident that those quoted above are.  And then there’s that “winnowing” stage thing still to come. (The true exercise of power in a free-expression “democracy” is letting the masses have their say and then doing what you were going to do anyway.)

So now let’s get to Vasicek’s piece.

  1.  His opening paragraph identifies GRRM’s post as “the first salvos”.  First?  This thing never ended (and George has been conciliatory throughout in case you didn’t notice)
  2. He identifies SP as “an ongoing civil war within Science Fiction & Fantasy fandom, between those who believe that the genre should serve the cause of social justice, and those who believe that there should be room for writers on all sides of the political spectrum…”  Please show me where non-puppies have self-identified as believing the genre should serve the cause of social justice (and show me where this is the be-all and end-all purpose as is implied by the statement)
  3. He goes after GRRM: “Last year, George R.R. Martin was very aggressive in attacking the puppies…” (GRRM was one of a handful of people trying desperately to avoid a war.  He renounced the No Award ‘nuclear option’ (a version of which I advocated).  He invited puppies to his party.  (I think the attacks on GRRM have a lot more to do with click-bait than they do any real political issues.  But, you know, no matter how many people click on your post because you’ve got his name in it, you still won’t be GRRM and you still won’t have a contract with HBO.)
  4. He lays down the gauntlet: “The trouble is, you don’t achieve reconciliation by shouting at the other side to lay down their guns first.”  I’ve read and re-read GRRM’s reconciliation post.  I see no mentions of requiring unconditional surrender.

Then it gets serious. “GRIEVANCES NEED TO BE RECTIFIED”  (“The tradition of Festivus begins with the airing of grievances.  I got a lot of problems with you people! Now you’re going to hear about it!”)

What’s the grievance?  GRRM is an elitist fan.  ALL of us who have played by the rules (both written and unwritten) since 1953 are elitists. Apparently, the ONLY way that puppies will agree to sit down to the table is if we all first acknowledge our elitism and privilege, and after that we get to sit down and “genuinely listen” to what the puppies have to say.

I spent too much time listening last year to bother this year because all of the arguments are the same and because all of those arguments are patently false.

A. all fans should be allowed to vote for (what used to be) science fiction’s most prestigious award.  Members of Worldcon have been keeping this thing to themselves for too long.

This is demonstrably false.  1.  Anyone can become a member and all members enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other member.  2. “Prestige” has nothing to do with numbers. 3.  If you want a popular award for SF/F, go create one.  I assure you, the cabal will not interfere in any way.  (I’ve spoken to them all and they promise.)

B. The Elites who control Worldcon are a cabal controlled by TOR/John Scalzi/David Gerrold/the Nielsen Haydens.  That cabal represents social justice liberalism.

Demonstrably false. 1. Everyone who is a member of Worldcon “controls” Worldcon (business meeting, Hugo voting).  2.  If you are not a social justice liberal and are a member of Worldcon, the cabal represents more than just SJWs.  3.  There is no cabal.  The voting record (freely available online) amply demonstrates this at least insofar as the Hugo Awards are concerned. 4.  What’s wrong with social justice anyway?  (Don’t answer – entirely different subject.)

C. (Elite) fandom is too small to have so much influence.  Other conventions have tens of thousands of attendees and are more popular and influential.  Worldcon should be more popular and influential.

Demonstrably false.  1. SIZE DOES NOT MATTER when you are judging quality.  2. SIZE DOES NOT change history, or tradition.  3. Size does matter when one is trying to sell books.  Worldcon and The Hugo Awards are not about selling books.  4. Popularity is not a measure of quality.  Sales are not a measure of quality.  5.  Further – the influence that Fandom has is the influence it gives to itself.  Those fans who join Worldcon have chosen to accept that influence for themselves.   You do not have to accept it.  Your non-acceptance can not change how anyone else feels about it.

D.  Fans were mean to…

Demonstrably false.  1. What you all saw as meanness was in fact revulsion.  Understandable after you all shat in the punch bowl during the dinner party.  2. What do you expect after three years of being told the Hugo awards are meaningless, its voters are under the sway of a cabal and you non-elitists are the only ones who know what real science fiction is?  3. Notice that in the previous rebuttal, I did not need to mention any of the bigotry, misogyny and downright hate that often accompanied those other statements.

E.  So-and-so DESERVES a Hugo Award

Demonstrably false.  1.  Life ought to have amply demonstrated to you by now that the question of which hand fills first is not the one waiting for wishes to come true.  2.  No one DESERVES a Hugo.  Not Isaac Asimov, not Robert A. Heinlein, not Ray Bradbury, not anyone.  3. Individuals vote for the Hugo Awards and there are as many methods and reasons as there are voters.  The beauty of the award is the collective consensus that is arrived at by having so many generally well-informed voters participating (or choosing not to because they are not informed enough.  In their own personal opinion. (4. this is why “making the award more popular” would undermine the entire enterprise.  Hugo Voters/Worldcon attendees self-select because of their deep and abiding interest.  That interest is usually accompanied by deep familiarity with the field.  Any other methodology would reduce the Hugo Awards to what the puppies claim to want – a popularity contest in which the only measure is how many copies were sold or how many dollars were earned.) 5. If influence really swayed the vote, aren’t you arguing for TOR and your other targets to pretty much be winning every year?

F. The slate was not a slate, it was the same thing that Scalzi and others do.

Demonstrably false.  1.  It was identified as a slate by its proponents. 2. Recommendation lists are not slates because recommendation lists are not accompanied by an over-riding political agenda.  3. telling people how to vote;  recruiting people to vote; curating a list; buying memberships to vote as a block; asking people to march in lockstep is slate behavior.  4.  Recommendations STOP at the recommending part and leave the decision making to the individual voter.

G. The SJWs/CHORFS/PUPPYKICKERS are taking over the world:  women can’t write science fiction: the cover doesn’t reflect the story; there’s messages in there.

Not even worth addressing.

H. We’re not aligned with Gamergate.

Demonstrably false:  1. “Looking forward to this year. If they thought last year was a scandal, they ain’t seen nothing yet. : )” Daddy Warpig

I.  Sad Puppies are not Rabid Puppies

Demonstrably false:  1. “You’re riding in the same car…”  2. No renunciation of affiliations that I can find.

J. The No Award vote was bloc voting (just like what we did)/getting fans to No Award was a win

Demonstrably false.  1. Puppies bloc voted under directive from their ‘leaders’.  Fans voted individually and individually determined that what the puppies were trying to do was unacceptable. 2. No Award has always been an option.  The route puppies took has only ever happened twice before, not nearly to the same degree and – was roundly rejected those times just as it was this time. 3. Anyone can polish a turd.  It remains a turd.

Other things of note:  Your friends may think its cool that you are threatening to open carry at Worldcon because of the threats to your person that you perceive, but that most of us recognize for what it is: the bluster of a fearful person ginning up a non-existent threat in order to rabble rouse.

Want to reconcile?  Here’s what puppies must do.

  1. stop scamming the system.  If you want to recommend works that you think are worthy of the award, go ahead and do so.  But drop the political agenda (you’re dragons are imaginary) and eliminate the hateful, snarky commentary
  2. stop attacking the very people who are offering you a bridge
  3. please learn a little bit about the history of Worldcon and the Hugo Awards
  4. if you want to be counted as Fans, then be Fans.  Fans who care attend Worldcon, nominate their conscience and attend the business meeting to effect change they think is needed.  They work WITH and within fandom – they do not set themselves up as a cabal that engages in fear and hate.

The great and wonderful achievement of WSFS (and the Hugos) is that NO ONE CONTROLS THEM.  For decades the institution has survived and thrived on a set of rules of governance that prevents anyone from acquiring undue influence or power over them.  Any attempt(s) to change that will be met with great resistance (as was demonstrated last year) and rightfully so.  No where else on the planet can one find an organization that so deliberately and democratically insures that power resides with the collective will.  No where else I am aware of does everyone get such a guarantee of a fair shake.  Puppies perceive this as a political fight:  FANS are in control, but THEY want to be in control.  Until puppies realize that they are attacking the one institution that already delivers what they are whining for, we’ll keep on having this fight.

  • Serack

    Mr. Davidson, You request, “Please show me where non-puppies have self-identified as believing the genre should serve the cause of social justice (and show me where this is the be-all and end-all purpose as is implied by the statement)”

    I assume you are familiar with Laura J. Mixon’s Hugo winning expose on Requires Hate. (A very admirable report) In it, she states:

    “I’d like to take this opportunity to ask my colleagues who are in a position to do so to start thinking and discussing how to help elevate and amplify marginalized writers’ voices. There have been some efforts around this already—several anthologies have been created and more are on the way; some influential writers have begun workshops on how to write about characters from races and cultures not their own. I believe more efforts are needed, if we want the SFF field to continue to prosper. I’ll be thinking about more ways I can help with this, too.”

    You enter into hyperbole in requesting a “be-all and end-all” but I hope you are willing to accept the words of the wife of the president of the SFWA as being exactly what you requested.

    I am disgusted by the Puppies, especially the Rabid breed, but hyperbolic retorts like yours do harm to your cause.

    • I fail to see how offering writing classes that help authors become better writers fits into the definition turning the genre into a cause for social justice.

      There were two parts to my request: 1: show me where non-puppies have self-identified as believing the genre should serve the cause of social justice

      and

      2. show me where this is the be-all and end-all purpose

      The “and” means that both conditions must be met to satisfy the requirement.

      Is Laura Mixon’s request to help amplify marginalized writer’s voices a social justice thing? I don’t think so. I think that those marginalized writers can come from any background and could be writing on any subject…and will individually represent views from across the political spectrum. Explain to me how, for example, bringing in more works-in-translation is a “social justice” thing.

      The claims by the puppies are that there is a cabal of social justice warriors intent on turning the entire field into a cause for social justice. Calling that out for the misrepresentation that it is is not hyperbolic, so far as I’m concerned and, further, your quote doesn’t meet the requirements for proof that what I stated isn’t true.

    • stevedavidson

      I fail to see how offering writing classes that help authors become better writers fits into the definition turning the genre into a cause for social justice.

      There were two parts to my request: 1: show me where non-puppies have self-identified as believing the genre should serve the cause of social justice

      and

      2. show me where this is the be-all and end-all purpose

      The “and” means that both conditions must be met to satisfy the requirement.

      Is Laura Mixon’s request to help amplify marginalized writer’s voices a social justice thing? I don’t think so. I think that those marginalized writers can come from any background and could be writing on any subject…and will individually represent views from across the political spectrum. Explain to me how, for example, bringing in more works-in-translation is a “social justice” thing.

      The claims by the puppies are that there is a cabal of social justice warriors intent on turning the entire field into a cause for social justice. Calling that out for the misrepresentation that it is is not hyperbolic, so far as I’m concerned and, further, your quote doesn’t meet the requirements for proof that what I stated isn’t true.

      • Serack

        You chose to focus on writing classes. The type of person who uses the term SJW negativity sees her request for elevation and amplification of a code for minority writers (code emphasized by the context of the rest of the report) and would justifiably perceive a request from an influential member of the SS/F publishing community for preferential nominations and votes for Hugo’s for said marginalized writers over otherwise deserving works that don’t benefit from the “fight” for social justice.

        You title your blog post as an attempt at reconciliation but deliberately chose to prop up hyperbolic requests for “be all and end all” subversions of the genre, insisting in your reply that nothing less is worthy.

        Mixon’s words are admirable. Your foux attempt at reconciliation isn’t.

        • stevedavidson

          ok. whatever. When you’ve decided to read what was written, instead of what you want to imagine it says, maybe we can talk some more.

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  • “We recently discussed the asterisks – a lot of money was raised for a very good charity – and I don’t think he has anything to apologize for.”

    So you’re unwilling to give up even one second of your childish grave-dancing. Gotcha.

    • stevedavidson

      No. I’m unwilling to buy into your narrative of what’s been going on.

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  • 1: We were all promised that Sasquan would release the Hugo nomination data for 2015. No such information has been released. Why do you think that is? Would it be because the information embarrasses SadPuppies supporters? Or because it shows that there was dishonest block voting, but it was that anti-puppies doing it?

    2: You want reconciliation? Start with a personal apology from the Sasquan MC for letting people cheer “No Award”, and another apology for demanding that people not boo “No Award”. Follow up with a promise that Mid america Con will not tolerate any such hateful behavior next year.

    That would be a good start.

    • Do you mean this data – http://www.thehugoawards.org/content/pdf/2015HugoStatistics.pdf – ?
      I think one of the prominent features of folks who puppy-identify is a distinct lack of patience. Fandom – including the Worldcon and Hugo Awards administration is an all-volunteer activity. This frequently means that one must trade time for dollars. The very experienced and competent administrators have day jobs and other things that take precedence over doing their volunteer work. Over on the TheHugoAwards.org site that I linked to, a link to the administrators is provided for anyone who has questions. If the stats I linked to are not what you are looking for, try the administrators. And have a little patience. Worldcon is run on an open basis, there is no conspiracy.

      Again, you seem to be thinking that there is some direct connection between me and the people you are demanding apologies from. There is not. There is no cabal. I have worked with David Gerrold (Star Trek comic) and I personally thought he did a fine job as MC at the ceremonies. We recently discussed the asterisks – a lot of money was raised for a very good charity – and I don’t think he has anything to apologize for. The events surrounding this last year’s Hugos were unprecedented and deserving of some notice to that effect. An asterisks is a time-honored symbol for doing just that. Those who are putting the Vonnegut spin on the symbol are, I believe, simply looking for something else to complain about.
      Nevertheless, if you want an apology from the MC, the place to do that is with the MC.
      Same goes for “guarantees” from BigMac2; you’ll need to ask the committee for that. I’ll be doing a few panels at the con. Why not stop by and let me know how that goes?

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