Tag Archives: rabid puppies

Hugo Awards 2016: Geez, not this shit again

Welp, it happened again: The Rabid Puppies, the folks who want to destroy the Hugo Awards, nearly swept the nominations again this year. Not that anyone expected their defeat last year to discourage them. They seem to revel in the whole “If we can’t have what we want, at least we can ruin it for everyone else” thing, so of course they’re back for another go.

At least they avoided being completely tedious and changed their tactics a little this year. Instead of attacking the politicization of the Hugo Awards by nominate tepid right-wing polemics, they mixed things up and nominated some worthy works as well. I’m sure this is some devious mind game or clever stratagem, but it’s not really worth the effort to untangle it.

The Puppies are upset that their preferred flavor of sci-fi seldom wins Hugos. The reason they don’t win is obvious: In a popularity contest, the most popular work is going to win and the stuff the Puppies like is not the most popular. If 60% of the voters prefer one type of book, while 40% prefer another, will the less popular type win 40% of the awards? No, it will win none of the awards because¬† 60% > 40% every time. Obvious, right? That sucks for the fans of the less popular style, but that’s the tyranny of math.

Last year, they gamed the nomination process to sweep the several categories, and the Hugo voters gamed the awards process to ensure that every Rabid Puppy nominee finished below “No Award.” This strikes me as just and the only possible way to preserve the integrity of the awards. The downside is that giving out “No Award” year after year isn’t a lot of fun.

I’ve read suggestions that this year’s troll-fest was a direct response to the Hugo voters’ failure to reward the Puppies to force the voters to give them trophies even if the voters didn’t actually believe they were deserved. No, really, that’s the argument (although it was phrased slightly differently.) The desire, then, is to receive an award, regardless of merit. The sort of thing that Puppy authors might call “affirmative action.”

Fortunately, I have a solution which I think every reasonable person will agree is wise and just: If what the Puppies really want is recognition, then simply reward every Puppy candidate with a “participant” award. You know, the kind they give to grade school children when you don’t want anyone to feel bad. This way, the Chuck Tingles and John C. Wrights of the world can have their recognition without having to try to abuse the nomination process. Then, simply discard any nominations which match the slate proposed by the Rabid Puppies. Problem solved…for a little while at least…maybe.

 

 

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Taking a deep breath before returning to the fray

You may have noticed that the year-long election season is starting to pick up steam.

You may also have noticed that the Republican debates are set to being Thursday.

You may even have noticed that Donald Trump, of all people, is the current leader in Republican polls.

Now that the Hugo Awards voting is ended and the Rabid Puppies have been unmasked as unremarkable trolls who don’t actually believe anything, the next item on the agenda is watching the circus of the GOP nominating process. I do not take this responsibility lightly. I just needed a breather before embarking on what is sure to be the silliest of silly seasons.

I’m up for this. Who’s with me?

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Nothing at all about the Sad and Rabid Puppies

I have spent a very, very long time among American political conservatives. I would wager that I have spent more time in their midst than the vast majority of people reading this post. I have both friends and family who are near the right-most limits of the political spectrum. I’m not of them, but I do feel as though I know them reasonably well.

One of their most-common characteristics is a love of the American founding fathers that approaches reverence. Almost all of the strong conservatives I’ve met believe that the founders were divinely-inspired in their penning of the U.S Constitution. They believe that these men were of greater character than today’s political class and that their work should be considered so close to perfect as to warrant painstakingly literal interpretation. Did I say “approaches reverence?” I was obviously under-selling it.

Here’s the bit that I find so baffling: The American founding fathers were the radical liberals of their day.* They were about as anti-establishment as you could get. By the standards of their day, they made bold strides in distributing political power out of the hands of the legacy establishment and into that of the (again, this is relative) the “common man.” There’s a reason why democracies based on this model are referred to as “liberal democracies.”

That being the case, I imagine these founders would be appalled at the reverence they’ve been afforded. It seems to go against everything in the character of these 18th century progressives.¬† I’m not historian, let alone a time-traveling mind reader, but I suspect the founders would have wanted those who followed them to embrace their spirit of trying to improve on their groundwork Instead, those who claim to love the founders so much set their words in amber and place them on an altar.

That’s it in a nutshell. The conservatives love the people who broke the mold so much that they turned the founders into a new mold. If you see any parallel between the political conservatives and, say, the movements within science fiction devoted to ensuring that works which embrace the values of the revolutionaries of the genre, that’s on you.

* Just out of curiosity, who are the heroes of American liberalism? The conservatives seem to have co-opted many of the obvious candidates. The founders, who broke away from monarchy and laid the groundwork for representative democracy? Lincoln, who, among other things, ended slavery? Theodore Roosevelt, the trust-buster? There are good answers to this question, but you do have to dig a little deeper, don’t you?

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