Defenders of the nail house

Brad R. Torgersen

We’re about a week out from the release of the final ballot results, for the 2015 Hugo awards. These results will determine which picks are available for your choosing when it comes time for you to cast your ballot. Best Novel, Best Short Story, etc. Already, the critics of Sad Puppies 3 have been laying the groundwork for de-legitimizing SP3. To include statements which completely misunderstand the point of Sad Puppies. Some of it is innocent. Not everybody’s had time to do a deep-dig on the history of Sad Puppies, nor to be able to discern that each iteration of the project has tended to assume its own personality. What they’re hearing about SP3 is probably hear-say from friends, and much of that is at least one to two years out-of-date. And even then, many of the “facts” put forth, are demonstrably wrong.

But other commentary is not so innocent…

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110 thoughts on “Defenders of the nail house

  1. Basically, the people making a fuss are horrified that somebody might take the rules as they stand and make a real run at the prize. Which makes them exceptionally stupid or phantasmagorically self-centered.

    If they want to reduce the Hugo Wards to complete irrelevance, then all they have to do is explicitly change the rules so that what we are trying to do (gin up interest in the Awards among our own clique, and then vote) isn’t allowed. Of course, if they do that the Awards will quickly be held in the same general esteem accorded to any other award that a small insular group awards itself annually.

    No wonder they are tearing their hair.

    1. “Basically, the people making a fuss are horrified that somebody might take the rules as they stand and make a real run at the prize. Which makes them exceptionally stupid or phantasmagorically self-centered.”
      You forgot “yes.”

      1. It seems to be a universal trait of would-be elites; they set up the game and the rules, and have a long run or a short one, and the moment anyone who isn’t “One OF Us” looks like they might actually WIN< they want to change the rules, or come up with some excuse why it doesn't count.

        It's why I despise the Antebellum Planters. Why I have no time for the Victorian Aristocracy who were so appalled that anyone in "Trade" might be considered important.

        It is also, in a weird way, why I will always have a soft spot for one of the Rolling Stones (and I wish I could remember who, but it wasn't Mick). He was being interviewed by some music journalist, and asked about the present state of the Music Industry. They interviewer clearly expected him to damn, damn, and triple damn the shifts going on. Instead he basically said "I lucked into success at just the right time. For about 25 years, a musician in a successful band that signed to the right company could get very rich. It hadn't happened before, and it looks like it won't happen again. I got lucky. I'm not going to run down the changes that are happening, because it was one set of changes that made me rich."

        HE is the opposite. He knows he got lucky, and isn't damning the next lucky ones. Good on him.

        1. “it ain’t a middle finger on a t-shirt
          the establishment’s trying to sell
          it’s the guy with the balls
          who told the establishment to go to hell”

      2. As we say on another blog when discussing the motivations of our friendly local deranged cyberstalker (just google those last two words): “Embrace the power of AND!”

    2. Oh, yes. Read the Making Light comments and you will find actual complaints that Sad Puppies considers following all the rules means they aren’t doing anything wrong.

      1. I actually read through the thread and found it rather fascinating. I think that they had a few legitimate concerns about a group of people voting a specific slate – but I find it hard to imagine that people really will vote for everything listed so I’m not sure that’s a big problem.

        They seem to think the choices of SP’s are inferior to…whatever they would chose I guess. I haven’t read enough to have an opinion except that I love Jim Butcher and doubt he is inferior to anyone.

        There is also a feeling of this award being ‘theirs’ whoever they are – I guess the people who go to worldcon? ‘Fans’, who I have learned are apparently different from ‘readers’ in some way that I dont’ fully grok. And some idea that campaigning is distasteful in general.

        Beyond that, a whole bunch of criticism that are ridiculous too. So I would say I kind of get the issues better after reading that thread, although I think some of the people also seem to be close minded jerks.

  2. It seems to me that their litany of complaints is premised on the belief that only true ‘fans’ as defined as worldcom?? attendees should be allowed to vote.
    Let me offer a similar analogy State of the Union vice State of the Hugos: The problem with America is the voters. We should return to the system where only white male landowners are allowed to vote.
    You are allowed to declare my statement the claptrap it is, but only after you explain how the anti-SP3 crowd’s statement is any different.
    These are the same people who call Heinlein a Fascist for his distinction between citizen and civilian; however Heinlein’s requirement was open to all people of all races, genders or classes; military or civil service confers the right to vote.
    To attend a convention means you can afford to travel, take time from work, pay hotel bills… Clearly, the requirements limit membership to an exclusive few. Even the $40 non-attendee fee to vote is equivalent to the poll-tax of the Jim Crowe era. Have these people no shame? (note to OCD Huns: question is rhetorical.)

    1. The anti-Sad Puppies crowd differs by virtue of being enlightened. Rather than voting their narrow self-interest (i.e., the type of stories they like) they are voting in the broader interest of what types of stories reflect well upon SF in the broader literary world. That so many troglodytic fan geeks insist on voting their narrower interest and thus keeping the ASP crowd from being admitted to the nicer literary establishments is simply cruel proof of their unworthiness to vote.

      These are the same arguments (from the same people) about why the United States needs to behave more like the European countries (while still bearing a disproportionate share of the military defense burden) and are equally as valid.

      Besides, their farts don’t stink like yours do.

      1. There are just soooooo many people who need to have Mencken’s definition of democracy tattooed on their persons.

        “Democracy is the theory that the Common Man knows what he wants and deserves to get it, good and hard.”

      2. If only they’d been “enlightened” by high-energy lasers, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. 🙂

        1. You realize, I presume, that by the standards of the Proglodyte SJWs this constitutes a death threat, thus disqualifying you from expressing an opinion, as well as disqualifying all who know you or even those who simply fail to denounce you?

          1. But what does it matter what SJW’s think, as long as they’re kept or removed from the levers of real power?

    2. A similar dynamic can be seen in the nativist attacks on European immigrants (esp. Catholic Italians and Irish) to the USA during the latter part of the 19th and early part of the 20th Centuries. Look into some of the arguments against taxpayer funds going to parochial schools, f’r instance.

      1. Which is one reason that I am leary of the Anti-illegal Immigrant populists. I think that the immigration situation is an unholy mess, and we need to control the borders better and not have a shadow society of people living here in hiding. But every time I read the populist side of it I run into characterisations of Hispanics that sound awfully familliar.

        1. Niven’s Law #17 (per Wiki):
          There is no cause so right that one cannot find a fool following it.
          in variant form in Fallen Angels as “Niven’s Law: No cause is so noble that it won’t attract fuggheads.”

        2. You are noticing the minority here, I think.

          Let’s be honest, too – the Irish *were* trouble, by and large (only partly because they were of a different religious doctrine). I can say that, as that is some of my ancestry.

          The difference – the big difference – is that those troublesome Irish were very quickly (in a cultural cycle sense) *forced* to become “natives.” This is not the case with the Hispanic immigrants, who are encouraged to *not* integrate – and castigated when they do (just look at the treatment of Cuban-Americans as a group vs. Mexican-Americans as a group).

          In fact, with any cultural division that can be found, or fabricated, our “leaders” are busily working to *disintegrate* society. Which is exactly what the Hugo fight is pretty much about, when you come down to it – SP wants to integrate all cultures and views, SJW wants to exclude all but their own.

          F’r instance… I absolutely detest the works of LeGuin. Her writings are so opposite to my philosophy that I just cannot stomach reading them, nor can my interior walls sustain the abuse. But – do I begrudge her literary awards? *Hell, no!* Her winners satisfy the two criteria that should make a work award-winning. They were new (as in “Fresh take on a trope that may have been invented as recently as when Goog was telling his friend Gog a story while they sat around a drafty French cave.”) – and they were well-written (as in “The concepts, characters, and plots can be understood by any reasonably literate person, and will evoke a significant emotional response, causing the reader to care about what happens.”).

          Modern “Social Justice Science Fiction” has neither of these attributes (in the main). It is not only a tired, barely falling outside of copyright infringement, rewrite of stories that have been done over and over and over again – it exhibits an authorial skill level that falls far short of the ability exhibited by my third grade best friend that told me tales about how the red streaks got onto the stone retaining walls around my school.

          Were there a new writer like LeGuin today – and they were somehow ignored by the “real fans” – they would probably end up on the SP “slate” at some point (although he or she would probably soon be asking for their removal – sigh…)

          1. Actually, even subversive SF works that have really neat world building with cool characters (lke Flora Fydracca) get ignored if the writer isn’t part of the Kewl SJW clique. Or if the author hasn’t gotten the issue of the month quite right, even if she is. Ideology is death on stories, and that’s being noticed, even by those nominally in sympathy with much of the SJWs leftish goals. This is why I think SP3 is going to have some interesting results come 4/4

  3. It’s amusing that I was more excited by the possibility of being on the Sad Puppies slate than I was at actually being nominated for a Hugo?

    That really does tell me something.

    1. In my case, the day I saw the SP3 list, I went over to amazon hunting for the authors on the list. I no longer consider wining a Hugo worth my time to look. Having RES declare you a scurrilous cur is a much more worthy acomplishment than having the favor of the SJWs.

      1. Kind of my thoughts on the subject.

        I realized that the Hugo’s, as they stand, are irrelevant. But the possibility of being on a Sad Puppies slate? Well…that meant people I respect liked my stuff, and that means a whole lot more to me than an award I don’t care a fig for.

          1. Maybe we could get Shadowdancer to come up with a little cover tag graphic for us next year: moping puppy that we could put on our book covers if we are nominated.

        1. I had a slight insight today along these lines… I think one of the issues for a chunk of the commentators isn’t just that it’s ‘our award’ or ‘their award’ or even ‘get your own award’… Sad puppies is very literally nominating authors who will lend their prestige to the award rather than the award lending prestige to to author. It is a shock… the trophy wife realizing she’s 60 and really needs to retire the miniskirt.

  4. SP3 would never happen in the first place if (resurrected conservative editor of the past) could lecture them about their wrongdoing.

    I have noticed that nothing so ennobles a conservative icon amongst the left as his (her0 demise, freeing the Proglodytes to denounce current conservatives for failing to uphold the “standards” of dead conservatives. This was especially evident during the Bush ’43 Administration when politicians and commentators (read: Democrat operatives with bylines) who during Reagan’s (or Buckley’s) life could never say his name without spitting afterwards would denounce Bush (Limbaugh, Levin, insert-your-example) for failing to uphold the high principles supposedly established by the cited dead conservative. Using conservative corpses as weapons against current conservatives is the Proglodytes’ favorite use for conservatives.

    1. I saw that in one of Brad’s two links. An invocation to Jim Baen, who, of course the ASP knew *exactly* what he would do. I am reminded of the used and abused “What car would Jesus drive?” Morons… a full size van or small bus. He had 12 disciples to carry around.

        1. I think it likely. I’m uncertain whether he would have come swinging right out of the gate, or first have done a business calculation about whether tact would be desirable.

          I rate it a dice toss, but I didn’t know the man.

        1. I always figured it would be an older F-150 with tool boxes in the back. Kinda worn but clean and in good repair, with spare jumper cables and stuff just in case.

            1. ‘Course, if what I’ve read is true that rather than carpenter, Jesus was more of a contractor, then your idea would be a better fit. Crew-cab absolutely.

          1. Think about the social standing of these cats. Members of an outcast cult, quit their jobs to preach, if they’re not walkin’, it’s a good day.

            1. If their HQ is Palestine, TX, It’s definitely going to be a pick up of one kind or another. OTOH, if it’s Mary it’d be an SUV.

              1. I’m thinking they’re gonna have to take both, if everybody wants a seat. Even at that, Mary Magdeline is following behind in her Chevy Cavalier.

        1. Raise the dead, heal the lame, and cast out demons. Can anyone say capable of keeping an electric vehicle working?

          1. Actually, I was thinking that no matter how “small” His car was, He could have as many passengers in it as He wanted along with as much enough stuff in it as He wanted. [Wink]

  5. “Inventing technical reasons to toss votes is an admission that the defenders of the nail house aren’t interested in a democratic system as much as they’re interested in a system that protects the status quo as they prefer it.”

    So the truefen are hanging with Chad, eh? I never trusted that guy.

    1. They’re interested in one of their own winning. And horrified someone who isn’t one of their own, winning or even being nominated.

    2. “There is no way to fight abusive rules-lawyers by writing stricter policies. The only method that has ever worked against abusive rules-lawyers is moderators empowered to say, “You’re being an asshole, and now you are banned,” and powerful gatekeepers behind the moderators supporting them when the rules-lawyers attempt to shriek for redress.” — from Making Light

      1. I’m reminded of Thomas More, from A Man for All Seasons:

        ROPER: So, now you give the Devil benefit of law?
        MORE: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
        ROPER: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
        MORE: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down – and you’re just the man to do it – do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

        Which is why any rule-writer, I think, should be made to ask himself this question: “What is the worst possible thing someone could accomplish without breaking the letter of this rule, and is that worse than the consequences of not having it?”

  6. Hmmm … create a new SF award, called the Baen (alternative honorees are welcome — I would be delighted to see it called the RAH RAH RAH Award except a. estate needs must grant permission) and b. co-opting the honor of others to legitimize one’s actions strikes me as the sort of thing the Proglodytes do.) Maybe call it The Piper, with the statuette being a pied piper?

    Start be grandfathering in, from the time of the first issue of Analog/Astounding (or other generally agreeable date) the works which would have won if the award had been in existance. This would constitute the bench-marking of the award and not be an appropriation of past works intended to clothe current awards in robes of stolen dignity.

    1. Naw, it should be the Sirius. Done in the form of a sad puppy, of course. Then everybody can make “Why so Sirius?” jokes.

    2. since a new award is to be founded, and it is growing out of the sad puppy campaigns, I submit to you………THE PUPPY…….
      alt the evil league of evil awards (the ELEA)

      1. Since we are recognizing Human Wave writing, it occurred to me that the trophy might be named The Wavey. Get one of those spring mounted hands that waves at you. Alternatively, one of those black boxes which, when you put a coin on the altar, has a hand that snatches it.

        After all, we think nothing wrong of writing for money.

      2. How about the Free League of Evil Awards–the FLEA!
        So we’ll have the PUPPY and its FLEA!

        1. I think we might offer, in recognition for the most politically incorrect novel, the WBE* Award.

          *Worst Book Evah

          1. So we just round robin between John Ringo, Vox Day, Larry Correia, and Tom Kratman? You know they’ll leave everyone else in the dust.

  7. we don’t need truefen running the Hugo Awards. And we don ‘t need the clueless masses chiming in. We need experts on what speech DESERVES to be rewarded. We need gauleiters, block commissars, inquisitors… oh, wait. We’re good.

  8. I saw a suggestion that in order to prevent a complete sweep by a Sad Puppy Slate, the nominations be limited to 4 places of 6 or 5 spots of 7. Why are they so scared? Their stuff can hold it’s own against competition, right? Right? Bueller? Bueller?

                1. Well, it is an American territory. American Samoa is, anyhow, and most of its residents are happy about that, even if the government of the nation of Samoa aren’t.

  9. It was pretty hilarious to hear that Jim Baen would have been against Sad Puppies. I suppose Zombie Heinlein will be the next one to denounce us.

    1. Baen lived his life attempting to remedy the causes of Puppy related sadness. He liked a good story, and cared not whether it was literary or the politics of its author.

      The second time I came across and first time I read Chalker’s Well World books was from him. I’m certain we could find some other books that fit stated goals of the SJW that he introduced me to. Mad Mike’s Freehold, for one.

      It wouldn’t be ‘Zombie’ Heinlein. Smith would operate a mechanism from a state of pure thought, to tell Weber he sucks. Lovecraft would be animated from his salts, and tell Drake he blows. Heinlein would have faked his death and never really died in the first place. It is totally plausible that he would tell Kratman to eat a dick on general principles. Or perhaps they were craftsmen who cared about telling a story, or at least selling a story that people would buy, knew the work needed, and at least appreciated that tastes might differ.

      People know that many of us respect Jim, or at least respect the business he put together. They think that this can be used to manipulate us. They forget that we know that Jim was not extremely close friends with everyone in the industry.

      1. ” I’m certain we could find some other books that fit stated goals of the SJW that he introduced me to. Mad Mike’s Freehold, for one.”

        I think Ringo’s Paladin of Shadows is about the only series farther from the stated goals of SJWs than Mad Mike’s Freehold.

        1. Alternate sexuality stuff. I meant ‘stated goals’ to be read as some subset of what they claim to be after. Not their real goals, and certainly not every not and tittle of what is needed to stay PC with them.

          That said, the social progressives and sexual revolutionaries have been failing to convince me at least since I was ten. I am reminded of Kratman’s bit on how you can classify a person’s politics by what political groups and statements look similar to them.

    1. Siblings in May is very appropriate. I’m not into horoscopes but I remember the Gemini period starts May 22, and Gemini represents twins, which are siblings.

  10. It’s a very epistemic-closure mindset, isn’t it? When everything is assumed to be about politics, the claim to want to transcend politics can only be explained by assuming it to be merely a disingenuous cover for promoting the claimer’s politics.

  11. Well, well, well, we have been the change we wanted to see, however slightly.

    The Making Light post now reads:

    I’ve been keeping an ear on the SF community’s gossip, and I think the subject of this year’s Hugo nominations is about to explode.

    Let me make this clear: my apprehensions are not based on insider information. I’m just correlating bits of gossip. It may help that I’ve been a member of the SF community for decades.

    If the subject does blow up, I may write about it in this space. In any event, watch that space.

    Hope we got screen captures.

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