One Final Thought on the Hugos
One final thought on the whole Sad/Rabid Puppies and Hugo affair.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen an explosion of new Voter ID laws being pushed in the states, including my home of WI. The reasons certain politicians introduce the laws are simple and obvious attempts to disenfranchise voting blocks such as poor, minority, elderly, and college students that tend to vote for the other party. However, if you talk to the people on the ground who support these laws, they deny the actual motivations and cling to the active delusion that they are protecting the integrity of the election process from the scourge of in-person voter fraud plaguing the country.
The only trouble is, there is no fraud. The number of actual confirmed cases is so small as to be statistically insignificant, unlike the estimated millions of people nationwide who will be barred from voting as a result of these new restrictions. But you can’t convince Voter ID supporters of this objective fact.
In Wisconsin, the only documented case of voter fraud in the last election cycle was actually a Scott Walker supporter, the Governor who signed the Voter ID law, because he was convinced that he had to “balance out” all of the minority voters who were going back to the polls like they had a revolving door.
They believe the lies that voter fraud is endemic, with millions of votes being cast by dead people, duplications, etc. Enough votes to sway entire elections, even at the national level. They believe that the only reason their side loses is because, naturally, everyone else must be cheating, not because an actual majority of the country disapproves of their policies and candidates. It’s the only explanation that they are willing to accept, instead of facing the reality that times really have changed on topics like gay marriage, healthcare, drug legalization, immigration, and a host of other issues they hold such inflexible attitudes about.
The whole SP/RP phenomenon is a microcosm of this inability to recognize and cope with shifting attitudes and preferences within the fandom community. They simply refuse to believe that the silent majority really has moved on to new things, so they concocted a narrative to explain their failures where some secret cabal is somehow stacking the deck against them. How this is accomplished, considering both the nomination and voting processes are done through public ballot, is never clearly explained.
And much like the Wisconsin voter fraud case above, the Puppy slate voting was a coordinated attack (although within the rules of the award at the time) meant to counterbalance the SJW conspiracy locking them out of the nomination process. But just like the WI case, there was no conspiracy. There was no attempt to lock them out. They just weren’t that popular among the people who follow, vote for, and attend the Hugos. They thought they’d awaken a sleeping populist dragon that would swoop down and defeat the small clique of elitists holding them back. But the beast they awoke turned on them instead.
That’s a tough pill for anyone to swallow, but the ensuing results should make it very clear where the sympathies of the actual silent majority of modern fandom lay. Now, the question is, will the SP/RP’s take the time to do some self-reflection and learn from this lesson, or will they double down and comfort themselves with even more extreme conspiracy theories? Only time will tell.
Comments (9 Responses )
[…] (14) Patrick S. Tomlinson – “One Final Thought on the Hugos” […]
LostSailor - 08/29/2015 - 2:39 am #
The whole SP/RP phenomenon is a microcosm of this inability to recognize and cope with shifting attitudes and preferences within the fandom community….There was no attempt to lock them out. They just weren’t that popular among the people who follow, vote for, and attend the Hugos.
Ah, The Narrative. “Fandom” has moved on to progressive social justice fiction and everyone else is a dinosaur who will just have to accept it.
Well, no. The truth is that a very, very small, insular group of “Fans” worked to exploit diminishing interest in the Hugo Awards to promote fiction where identity politics are deemed the yardstick of “quality” over well-written actual SF and F stories that few people outside the in-group ever pay much of any attention to.
That’s not fandom, that’s “Fandom,” always a relatively small group when compared to the much wider audience for science fiction and fantasy. And it worked for a while when all it took was a handful of nominations to put a work on the ballot, a less than a few hundred in the case of novels, and often less than a hundred in the case of shorter work. That’s not “fandom moving on,” that’s just a capture of disinterest by the vast majority of fans.
When called on it this year, the response, predicted in advance, was to circle the wagons and nuke the awards rather than recognize anything other than insular in-group work. Well done. That Toni Weisskopf was No Awarded this year is just proof of this.
Now, the question is, will the SP/RP’s take the time to do some self-reflection and learn from this lesson, or will they double down and comfort themselves with even more extreme conspiracy theories? Only time will tell.
There are no conspiracy theories. Y’all don’t understand us at all, so you construct a comforting Narrative instead. And there’s no self-reflection necessary; we’ve been clear about both the problem and the goals all along–get ya’ll to burn down the Hugos. And you did. Y’all will have to own that (perhaps after some self-reflection).
We’ll be back, not to worry. Science fiction and fantasy is ours, too. We’re not going away.
And congrats on your book deal. Hope that works out for you.
Patrick S. Tomlinson - 08/30/2015 - 3:01 am #
Look everyone, here’s one of them now. Notice how their narrative has had to change to fit the new data. A spike of membership of 65% is “circling the wagons,” instead of an actual grassroots movement. The plan “all along” was to lose spectacularly and publicly.
The Hugos were not “burned down.” They were strengthened and expanded. Their relevance was renewed and advanced to a new chapter in front of a larger audience.
There is indeed a much larger audience beyond the WorldCon membership, but if you were honest with yourselves, which you never have been, the takeaway from last week would be that the larger audience, the new audience, looks a hell of a lot more like the people who were actually sitting in the seats at the Hugo Awards than the Keyboard Commandos who tried and failed to sabotage them from the safety of their couches and coffee shops. There is a very small, insular group of fans who worked to exploit diminishing interest in the Hugo Awards. They’re called the Sad Puppies.
I’m sure you’ll be back, and you’ll be shut down again, probably even more embarrassingly now that so many more people will be keeping an eye on you.
LostSailor - 08/30/2015 - 3:54 am #
Our prediction hasn’t changed at all since the beginning, and it’s all online: rather than even consider our picks, they would all be No Awarded. Indeed, immediately after the nominations were announced, many blogs and other outlets were calling for No Award for everything we picked. So, yes, that was the plan all along. Y’all performed spectacularly. There’s no “embarrassment” in being “shut down” since we weren’t. There’s only wry amusement. You’re kidding yourself if you think that the wider audience of fans is the same as the Identity Politics commandos of WorldCon
Y’all should really be thanking us for increasing participation this year, you really should. We’ve done more than y’all have in rousing the PC crowd to action, but I suspect that’s all the uptick you’re going to get.
But I can see that The Narrative is firmly entrenched here, so no point in continuing. I do sincerely wish you success with your forthcoming novels.
And by all means keep your eyes on us; that’s where we want them. We’ll be back, and in greater numbers.
Patrick S. Tomlinson - 08/30/2015 - 4:28 am #
Your picks were No Awarded because you acted like assholes and tried to sabotage the voting process instead of participating like adults. You did EXACTLY what you’ve been accusing the mythical SJW cabal of all along; selected a slate of nominees based solely on your own political preferences. Indeed, that was the entire point I was trying to get across. You are exactly what you accuse the rest of fandom of being; a small, insulated, politically-driven cabal. That’s why your picks were shut out, because you tried to hijack the process to make a political statement instead of focusing on the quality of the material. And you’re delusional enough to claim some sort of pyric victory from the aftermath. If your plan all along was to be publicly humiliated, well, congrats, you did it. We totally played right into your hands on that one.
And we’ll be happy to do it again next year.
But what would I know about the wider trends in fandom? I’m only an industry professional who actually attends WorldCon, GenCon, CONvergence, and a half dozen other fan conventions every year where I directly interact with fans of all stripes through panels, comedy, and a whole lot of drinking. I’m sure the growing diversity of attendees I see and the conversations on the importance of representation in expanding fandom I participate in are all controlled by this secret society of SJW’s while the silent majority of puppy sympathizers cowers in fear in the corner. Yes, it’s all an elaborate ruse mean to constrain the popularity of the oppressed straight white male.
Dann - 08/29/2015 - 2:45 am #
I respectfully disagree. As does at least one major newspaper in Wisconsin.
In 2004, Milwaukee had far more people vote than they had eligible voters. That is because of “same day” voting that permitted people to fraudulently vote.
The margin in Milwaukee alone was enough to tilt Wisconsin to John Kerry in 2004. That was the conclusion of a joint investigation that included one major newspaper in Wisconsin.
They found hundreds of fraudulent same day registrations that used false addresses to gain access to ballots.
I highly recommend the first 1/2 to 2/3s of John Fund’s excellent book “Who’s Counting”. The last portion of the book is a polemic that has little to do with documenting voter fraud. I recommend avoiding it.
Fraud is real. It is hard to detect precisely because we have not had the sort of commonsense fraud prevention used in other civilized nations. (purple fingers anyone?) But it is perceptible for those willing to look at the evidence.
There are other forms of fraud that are also common such as people voting in Florida and in northern states due to owning homes in both places.
Every citizen has a right to vote in every election….once.
Patrick S. Tomlinson - 08/30/2015 - 2:49 am #
Funny, then, how you are unable to actually name this “major newspaper,” or indeed point to any actual evidence, investigations, etc, that support your contention.
Dominic - 08/30/2015 - 4:59 am #
I think the most telling sign of the utter lack of popularity of the SP/RP phenomena is their minuscule presence at the convention. From reading about the convention, and reports from friends who attended, the few SP/RP people that actually showed up skulked in the shadows drawing as little attention to themselves as possible. I keep saying this, and will keep saying it, if the SP/RP folks were as popular as they believe themselves to be then they would be hounded by the major, and minor, publishers relentlessly to produce books on an assembly line so that all involved could make butt loads of money. If there is a remote possibility of making money off of something these days it is leveraged ad nauseam.
I have no issues with them writing what they love but to force it upon everyone else because they cannot accept their minor niche gets tiresome. Like other Ultra-Conservatives who do not have a realistic view of their own worth not all people believe as they do. There is room for all people, all beliefs to co-exist. It does take conscious work to do so though.
Patrick S. Tomlinson - 08/30/2015 - 5:10 am #
There was virtually no puppy presence. None of the ringleaders attended, and the one or two authors who were associated with the movement who were there kept a very low profile and their events were sparsely attended. The same was true of the Hugo ceremony. They simply didn’t show up.