By the standards of Journalism the writing of , blowback to, and retraction and re-writing of Entertainment Weekly’s piece on the hugo awards was rather quick, and a victory to truth vs narrative in journalism.
However the internet being what it is unfortunately this story is proving the old saying that a lie gets around the world before the truth gets a chance to get on its pants:
The Hugo Awards have been at the centre of a furore after two campaigns successfully prevented female authors and authors of colour from being proportionally nominated. Some people are comparing the controversy to GamerGate, which in 2014 saw coordinated misogynist attacks aimed at people who spoke out about sexism in the gaming industry.
In 2014 the Hugo Awards celebrated the increasing diversity of sci-fi and fantasy writers, with younger writers, women and people of colour all picking up awards. At the time, pop culture website io9 commented that the awards heralded “a sea change”.
The nominations for this year’s awards were announced on Saturday and showed that two campaign groups, the Gamergate-affiliated Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies, have succeeded in getting a list of predominately male, white writers nominated.
Last year, the Hugo Awards went to mostly minorities and women. In response, a fan group decided to fight back against what they saw as a liberal attack on their medium. It appears that they have succeeded, as the 2015 nominees are predominantly chosen by a group called “Sad Puppies. Now a counter-counter group is trying to ensure that no one wins any Hugo awards in any category except Best Novel.
Sci-fi Hugo Awards hijacked by anti-diversity campaign
By putting forward a slate of predominantly American nominees, the campaign organisers have been able to lever the votes of a minority of non-attending members to “hack” the voting process and dominate the award nominations. Remarkably, this is all within the rules of the Hugos, and the moral defence put forward by campaign organisers for what many people would consider cheating is their belief that block voting is common in the award-giving process.
The Hugos and Worldcon have always been – much like the baseball World Series – a world event in name only. Hugo winners have been overwhelmingly from the US, with almost no non-anglophone works even considered for the awards. But over the past decade or so, the Hugos and Worldcon have become much more diverse and interesting, with many more women, writers of colour and international voices among nominees and winners. It’s that diversity which has been lost in this orchestrated backlash.
The new slate of Hugo Awards nominees were just announced, and you can read the list at the link. Suffice to say, the nominees in pretty much every category (other than Best Novel) come pretty much exclusively from a fan campaign called Sad Puppies, organized by Brad R. Torgersen and Larry Correia. Last year, Correia organized a campaign which successfully placed one item in each category on the Hugo slate — so this year, they decided to go further. As John Scalzi has pointed out, this was not against the spirit or the letter of the Hugo Awards rules.
The Hugo Awards are voted on by fans, and anyone who purchases a supporting membership at Worldcon can nominate two years in a row. (And typically, it doesn’t take that many votes to nominate something successfully.) To Torgersen and Correia, this meant that a “rarefied, insular” group of writers were promoting their agenda by nominating works by women and people of color. To the rest of us, it looked as though science fiction and fantasy were finally catching up to reality — the best stories aren’t only the ones told by straight white men.
A conservative ballot stuffing campaign probably destroyed the credibility of the awards.
Never doubt that a small group of deranged trolls can ruin anything (even the Hugo Awards)
The 2015 Hugo Award nominees have been announced, and there are some strong titles in contention for Best Novel, including books by Ann Leckie, Marko Kloos, and Jim Butcher. However, that doesn’t seem to be what people are talking about, which is probably causing some consternation in the Kloos household, where conversation is usually relegated to arguing over the best pronunciation of their last name. No, this year’s crop of nominees is notable for being overwhelmingly dominated by a group of white guys who formed an organized backlash to the growing inclusion of women and people of color in last year’s awards.
It seems eternally worth stating, as there’s no end of people who don’t seem to understand this, that welcoming women, people of color, and LGBTQ people into an industry does not mean there’s some sort of secret conspiracy against conservative straight white dudes. It means people value a progression towards allowing more voices in a conversation. In trying to combat an imagined liberal conspiracy that puts politics ahead of good work, the Sad Puppies have achieved an actual conspiracy that does exactly this. Good job.
Firstly, the SAD PUPPIES slate cited in the article, included both women and non-caucasians.
Or Glenn Reynolds:
SO ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY PUBLISHES A NASTY HIT JOB — Larry Correia Fisks it here — and without contacting any of the people it attacks, and then after publication, the author, Isabella Biedenharn, invites Larry to give the other side.After publication. What, did she come to Entertainment Weekly from Rolling Stone or something?
And they certainly won’t ever cite Larry Correia’s Epic fisking of EW here
Here is an interesting one for you moderates, SMOFs, and fence sitters to ponder on. Why is it that our own words and actions aren’t to be believed, but anything the other side says about us, no matter how outlandish, is to be accepted?
Over the years I’ve done Sad Puppies, do you know how many fannish blogs, fanzines, and podcasts interviewed me, the guy who started the campaign, about the goals of Sad Puppies?
I can’t think of single one. You’d think with the most controversial thing to happen to the Hugos in forever, somebody would actually want to sit down and interview us and get our side of the story, but nada, zip. Sure, lots of people wrote about it, but it was pretty obvious these fannish journalists didn’t read what I actually wrote, and instead they critiqued Straw Larry, or they quoted other bloggers quoting Straw Larry.
Nope for the readers of those sites the libelous claims from Entertainment Weekly that those pieces were based on will be forever true, the retraction never noted and the “facts” forever established in their minds.
That’s considered a feature BTW not a bug.
Closing thought let me point out to Larry & Brad that if you think you’ve already got a winner in a libel suit in the US, any moves against sites in UK and other such countries with much lower standards for libel, should be a cakewalk.
Update: Larry notices the spread:
Most of them said our slate was exclusively white, straight, and male (not true)
Most of them said that last year was a big win for diversity (I believe last years winners were all white and one Asian).
Most of them said our slate was exclusively right wing (not true, in fact the majority skew left, we have socialists, liberals, moderates, libertarians, conservatives, and question marks. To the best of my knowledge, I believe that last year’s “diverse” winners all espoused the same social justice politics).
But there is no bias in this perfectly functioning system. My side said that political narrative trumped reality in this business. Believe me yet?
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