“And you can go to Hell too …”

“… I wouldn’t want you to feel left out!”

Do … do these people even realize what they’re saying? They seem so sanctimoniously clueless that I don’t know whether to be angry with them, hate them, or pity them. Right now, the best option seems to be “Ignore them and create my own science fiction and fantasy! With blackjack! And hookers! In fact, forget the science fiction and fantasy!”

The latest moron that has gotten my ire up is John Scalzi, who in his wisdom decided to post a long discussion of the Hugos where he pretty much simply concedes everything that the Puppies were complaining about, as if what’s happened has somehow proven them wrong.. Let’s start, not at the beginning, but with Jerry Pournelle:

An active association with Beale is, bluntly, death for your Hugo award chances. I mean, it takes a lot for someone as esteemed in the field as Jerry Pournelle to finish below “No Award” in Hugo voting, and yet, there he is, sixth in a field of five in the category of Best Editor, Short Form.

So, Scalzi admits that Pournelle’s “No Award” is not a reflection of the quality of his work, but instead because of his purported “active association” with Vox Day/Theodore Beale, which as far as I know is simply him not active repudiating him, and in fact mostly being the inspiration for the puppies, as far as I can recall,[EDIT: Which I did incorrectly, because that was Larry Correia] by complaining that people dismissed his work because of his politics, a stance that Scalzi et al are proud to react to by … dismissing his work because of his politics. That’s not good … but when you put it up against the reason that this was Pournelle’s first Worldcon in years, it gets even worse:

This was my first WorldCon in years, what with recovering from brain cancer – still all gone – and the stroke.

Yes, let’s pick on the person who has recovered from brain cancer and a flippin’ stroke who we concede is a great talent because his politics don’t align with ours and he doesn’t hate someone that we really hate. And then let’s get on our soapbox about how good we are and how we promote empathy when we’re willing to do stuff like this.

Maybe “hate” isn’t strong enough a word.

Okay, okay, maybe that association is stronger than that, since it could, for example, simply refer to him being willing to publish books through Castalia House, although if you are assumed to agree with everything your publisher says and does that would kinda eliminate everyone, but okay, maybe they can come up with some kind of justification that might almost work if you rationalize it enough. It’s not likely to be a reason that people, like me, who don’t flat-out hate everyone or anyone involved in this — or, at least, didn’t until one side pulled garbage like this — will find reasonable, but maybe we could at least get to a respectful “Agree to disagree” position. But … not from this:

…again, nearly every crony nomination finished below “No Award” in the voting.

Remember, as related in my last post, this included Shamus Young, who is not associated in any way with the Puppies, probably doesn’t at least quite subscribe to the politics of the Puppies, has generally tried to stay away from any of this controversy, and is, in at least my opinion, a very good writer. So … clear crony nomination? Utter rot. He, objectively, did not deserve the treatment he got, that Scalzi is crowing about. And if he didn’t deserve it, how many others didn’t deserve it either, either positively or negatively.

Which, then, totally crushes Scalzi’s attempt to show that his side didn’t, in fact, the way the Puppies predicted they would, and so the Puppies really were the losers here:

So, how did this particular strategy work for Beale? Well, of course, poorly. The stuff that was obvious cronyism mostly ended up below “No Award” in just about every category, again, for the third year running. In the cases of the human shields and the already popular nominees, Hugo voters simply ignored the fact Beale slated them. In the case of the latter, no one sensible believes that folks like Neil Gaiman, Andy Weir or Neal Stephenson would willingly associate themselves with a minor racist shit-stirrer, and in the case of the former, Beale’s obvious assumption that the people he classifies as SJWs would explode with cognitive dissonance when he put people/work on his slate that they’d otherwise want to vote for (“I want to vote for it! But I can’t now because it’s on a slate! Nooooooooo!”) is predicated on the idea that these folks are the strawmen he’s created in what passes for his mind. They’re not; they knew what was up, and they largely decided to ignore his master strategy.

Except … they didn’t. Yes, when a work or author matched their politics and they liked it, they ignored the politics of the slate and voted for it. When a work or author was “obviously” a crony choice, they voted it down just for being on the slate. And when they had no idea if the work or author was a crony choice, they for some reason couldn’t be bothered to figure out if it was a crony choice or not, but instead just assumed it was and downvoted it. In all cases the quality of the work was not the primary selection criteria. Politics was. And they got the results that aligned with those political considerations. This is precisely the sort of behaviour that the Puppies were complaining about in the first place. You can’t defeat them by proving them right, you moronic half-wit. And you’re harming utterly innocent people in doing so. Again, your side could not be bothered to check out the works and authors that you weren’t familiar with despite, by your own admission, knowing that the Puppies were including works that weren’t obvious cronies. For the Hugo Awards to have legitimacy, it must be the case that the works are judged on merit, not on popular appeal or recognition and not on politics. You’ve admitted to putting the latter two above merit. You no longer have any claim to legitimacy, and you’re crowing about having done that to yourselves.

Good job!

So, from this, I have a few plans going forward:

1) I’m going to out and buy some works from Jerry Pournelle, just to spite Scalzi et al. I might even buy the work he edited that they decided deserved “No Award”.

2) I’m going to judge the “Best Novel” and “Short Story” categories myself. I’ve already read “Cat Pictures, Please” and will comment on it, and I will look up all the others and judge them as well. I will also buy all of the Best Novel works that I can find and judge them as objectively as I possibly can. Because I don’t trust them, but we need someone who is closer to the average reader to do it, and even if no one reads them, at least I’ll know who can be trusted and who can’t. (Spoiler: I don’t think “Cat Pictures, Please” totally sucks but don’t think it’s that great either).

3) At some point, I’ll do a calmer summary of all of the Hugo Award crap.

Note that this obviously isn’t in chronological order [grin].

In conclusion … Scalzi et all can go to hell because they pretty much admit to judging things not on the basis of quality, but on the basis of politics and the like, and I can’t trust awards or recommendations given by people who would do that. Thus, they’ve proven, to me at least, that what the Puppies say about them is true. Again, good job!

4 Responses to ““And you can go to Hell too …””

  1. r4nneko Says:

    I read your posts. I don’t think we are likely to have a productive conversation on this at all.

    I really enjoy Shamus’s works, but I wouldn’t have voted for him had I remembered to buy a Supporting Membership this year. I don’t think his writing is award worthy.

    I also have very different opinions on what it means to be nominated as part of a slate and continued efforts to game the system. Passive acceptance of the benefits leaves you associated even if you did not seek it out unfortunately sometimes you actually have to state a position.

    • verbosestoic Says:

      Well, the question is this: would you have placed “No Award” higher than him? Because if you do in fact feel that it would be better for no award to be given out at all than to have it go to him and not just that there were better writers than him, both among those who were nominated and those who weren’t, then while I strongly disagree with you on that, that is indeed within the intent of the “No Award” category. But if your view is really just the latter, then I submit that that is not what the category is for.

      If the former is your opinion, then I’d need you to demonstrate for me that most of the people who “No Awarded” him — and almost everyone else in that category — felt the same way, which I find dubious. If it’s the latter, then our disagreement is over what “No Award” should mean, and we could discuss that.

      As for the latter, you are essentially advocating for “No Awarding” someone on the basis that they didn’t repudiate the Puppies and their views. I contend that “No Awarding” people on that basis essentially proves the Puppies’ point: Hugo voting is often driven not by the quality of the works, but for other things that are not related to it. This is especially problematic when everyone admits that the Puppy slate deliberately included people who were NOT associated in that way — and who didn’t repudiate the slate by, say, dropping out — and that people like Scalzi are crowing about how they filtered out the cronies from those who weren’t and also about how they filtered on quality, since they didn’t actually manage that. You can only justify this position by saying that someone who refuses to take a side — as Shamus does — must be seen as an enemy, and that’s both a bad argument and very dangerous. After all, if you treat people who don’t agree with you completely as enemies, they’ll start to think of you as one, too. That’s not likely to get them on your side, even if they come to agree with you. And if the other side isn’t doing that and in fact might even be welcoming, then they’re going to gain support just from that.

      Again, look at me: I probably shouldn’t really support one side over the other, at least a priori, but I see the anti-Puppies as absolutely refusing to play fair in an attempt to prove that they DO play fair while the Puppies are at least OPENLY gaming the system. I think that the Puppies ought not be gaming the system, but must admire them for getting the anti-Puppies to actually reveal how they too game the system.

      As I said — and other posts also state this — right now I don’t trust ANY side, because right now I wholeheartedly believe that both sides, in their messages and recommendations, are going to reflect their political goals rather than objective opinions about the actual state of the system and about the actual works. The whole point of my buying and review the novels is to try to provide some sort of mostly unbiased and objective viewpoint on this. I do not claim that I will necessarily succeed, but I shall certainly try.

      Anyway, that was probably more of a response than you needed or wanted but, hey, that name thing [grin].

  2. Back to (old) SF … | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] read “The Mote in God’s Eye” and “The Gripping Hand” that I bought during my rant at the Hugos and and started reading but abandoned because I wanted to read some things just for fun. Since […]

  3. Thoughts on “The Mote in God’s Eye” | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] a couple of years ago I bought a couple of works by Jerry Pournelle because I was ticked off at John Scalzi justifying […]

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