In the comments to the last Wednesday’s post titled Answering Peter Grant, a Puppy supporter called Xephon has been vocally criticizing me for several things I’ve said. The arguments in his/her first few short comments made little sense to me, so I thought the discussion was going nowhere, but then this lengthy account landed on the comment section.
I’m still unconvinced, but Xephon brings up some points I want to respond to, and because this is going to take up some space, I’ll rather do it in a new post.
What I’m complaining about is that I made it clear in my first comment that I neither support Beale nor would consider any criticism directed against him to be excessive, and yet you mention him in every comment, insistent on drawing connections between him and everyone who is on the SP slate or supports what they are doing. He is nothing more than a bandwagon-jumper who has seized the reins for his own gain.
I can’t argue with your assessment of Beale, there. However, the reason he is mentioned when discussing Gallogate and Tor boycott is very simple: he orchestrated it (for his own gain, of course). He released the screen capture of Gallo’s comment a month after it was posted, manufactured the outrage and managed to get Peter Grant and others on board. That was his scheme and — if his goal was to get more visibility in the Puppy movement — it worked.
The sickening truth is that the anti-Puppies need Beale more than the Puppies do. He’s done nothing for my side except stir an increasingly rancid pot. Those of us who have distanced ourselves have learned that we are wasting our time, because all we hear from the other side is, “because Vox Day”. You need him to be your bogeyman, the focal point for your opposition. If he didn’t exist, someone would have invented him.
One of the funnies recent developments in the discussion around Hugos is that the second you mention Theodore Beale/Vox Day, somebody charges in and accuses you of “because Vox Day” fallacy. It sure is an interesting variant of “playing the ‘Playing the Hitler Card’ card”. Let me state once again that Beale’s Rabid Puppies slate swept the Hugo ballot. Your demand that everything related to him should be removed from the Hugo discussions does feel a bit odd — especially when we’re talking about his boycotts and other schemes.
Another thing I’d like to state again is that all Sad Puppies don’t buy into Day’s bigoted lunacy and I’ve never suggested that they do. Many other people have said exactly the same thing, but all I’m seeing is the sea of “Playing the
Hitler Vox Day Card” cards.
A week before the Hugo nominations were announced, a pizza parlor in Indiana came under attack when the 62-year-old wife of the owner told a reporter her husband’s business wouldn’t cater a gay wedding.
Glossing over the absurdity of having a pizza parlor cater a wedding, the wave of hatred directed against this business was horrific. Its website was hacked and filled with porn. The owner and employees were harassed by phone, mail and in person to the point where they had to close the business. A HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER tried to mobilize a mob to burn the place down – fortunately the school board she worked for found out about before she got too far. The owners and several employees had to move out of their homes. A family lost its livelihood and twelve people lost their jobs.
All that over one comment.
That’s a disheartening story. Too bad you missed the happy ending: they raised nearly a million dollars and re-opened. Nobody lost their livelihood over one comment.
What’s this story’s relevance to the Hugos, then? Irene Gallo made one single comment on Facebook (as the pizza parlor people did) and Beale gets his minions as well as many onlookers calling for a Tor Books boycott (as the anti-pizza people did). In the end, luckily, that amounts to nothing. Tor Books gets overwhelming support and can keep on serving their tasty pizzas.
(To be fair, I can’t say that I support a law that allows discrimination based of religious beliefs, but I don’t live in Indiana, so my support doesn’t matter one way or the other.)
When the Hugo nominees were announced and the first wave of hatred against the Sad Puppies started, it all seemed like deja vu to me. I’d bet money Beale noted it too, realized how easily enraged people of a certain political persuasion could be, and exploited it. He wanted to strike back as WSFS for kicking him out and the people who hated him happily played along and continue to do so. They actually managed to make a vile, toxic egomaniac look like a victim.
I can’t say that I agree with you. Calling vile, toxic egomaniacs on their vile toxicity is a reasonable thing to do, and everybody who really mistakes this particular egomaniac for a victim has some serious issues with reading comprehension.
Look, if you’re opposed to slate voting, Sasquan’s website had documented a proposal to change the nomination process. A nominating voter can only nominate four choices per category and the shortlist will have six nominees per category. This sounds to me like a sensible method to prevent a sweep in any category. Forget Beale and put your support behind that. But I guarantee, human nature being what it is, if the SP/RP nominees have any success in this year’s Hugos, then next year, EVERYBODY will be using slates – including a lot of people who have spent the last two months working themselves into a froth about how they “ruined” the Hugos. I’m working on getting more people involved in nominating and voting. The larger the voting pool, the more difficult it will be to “game”. That is the part of the Sad Puppies’ goal that I support.
I am opposed to slate voting and there is indeed a rule change proposal I’m supporting — E Pluribus Hugo. That makes sure everybody’s nominations are taken into account and small minorities (whether they’re Puppies or somebody else) can’t make sweeps by voting tactically anymore. The thing I’d really like to see is some more reasonable Puppies supporting that, too, so how about helping us out a little here? It’s a fair system, after all, and I thought fairness was what you wanted.
The “4 and 6” proposal would simply mean that a small but organized bloc of tactical voters could take two thirds of the slate instead of 100%, and I’m afraid that’s not enough for me. Furthermore, in that system, two competing slates of, say, 20% of voters each would easily take the whole ballot, leaving 60% with nothing, because the votes are distributed among such a vast number of works. E Pluribus Hugo is clearly the best way to go.
Given the outrage that gaming the system caused this year, I think it’s very unlikely that there will be any Happy Kittens slates in 2016. If there were, very few authors would allow their works to be on a slate, in case they’re given the chance to refuse. Hopefully, Sad Puppies 4 will run into the same sort of problems and the slatemakers are forced to abandon it or feature only the most militant right-wingers.
Reaching out to more voters, decreasing the supporting membership fee and making the system less byzantine with confusing categories are things I think WSFS and Worldcons should be doing, so we’re in agreement there.