A little more than a week ago I ended my moratorium on commenting on puppy actions with this post.
A puppy representative chose to use the comments on that post to try and take me to task; among other things it was suggested that I was not worthy enough to comment on the subject because I was a nobody and the person in question was a published author. (I’m not naming him by name because he’s not worthy of that honor and everyone knows who it is anyway. That may be a cheap shot, but I’ve got so little respect at this point that I don’t care.)
“who are you compared to me? What have you done, sir, that I should remember you? What are your contributions to the field?”
This was such an arrogant and pompous ploy that I chose to answer it in the only appropriate manner – by nonsensically listing a host of accomplishments that had nothing to do with the subject at hand, because the question had no bearing on the subject at hand.
But it did lay bare the kind of character and personality we are dealing with here (if anyone needed reminding).
The – we’ll call it a ‘debate’ – in the comments boiled down to this:
Puppy Pontificator: “What, if anything, can I do so that you would read that story, assuming it wins the nomination, and give it a fair and unbiased judgement? The same judgment as you would give any other story written any other man or woman, white or black, Christian or Jew?”
Response: “Publicly repudiate slates and campaigning. Don’t participate; let your readers know that you don’t endorse slates and have requested that your works not be included on them.”
Which eventually resulted in seeming compliance: “Done! I accept your offer, I have posted a notice on my blog eschewing slate voting, and you must now perform your part of the deal, and forswear putting my works, should any be nominated, below ‘No Award.’”
And now for the analysis.
First, note that in the first quote from PP we have this “assuming it wins the nomination”.
This whole thing is about the nominating process and the final voting, not just the final vote. PP has very carefully tried to thread a needle here by entirely ignoring the fact that slates and campaigning are pretty much a done deal by the time we get to the final ballot.
So, PP. No. Your assumption about what you’ve agreed to do is meaningless because the assumption is wrong – and I think deliberately so.
Moving on: We’ve been through this in detail for over two years now. You may have made a statement on your blog – but I see no requests you’ve made to have your works removed from slates.
Which brings up another smarmy game: We’ve never agreed on our definitions of slate. All you’ve got to do is decide that something isn’t a slate, or campaigning, and you’re free and clear.
You’re playing a word game that can best be described as “smarty pants”. I’ll accept his meaningless request and trap him into having to vote for my work – publicly – and then call him a liar if he doesn’t live up to his word.
Then there’s the arrogant assumption that once having read his nominated work, I’ll decide that it deserves – on the merits – to receive a vote (1 thru 5) and not being placed below No Award.
PP – any work on the final ballot can be placed below No Award, based on its merits and absent any political baggage. It falls under the heading of “how the hell did this get on here?“. No Award was specifically introduced so that voters had a full and open range of options when voting – not just an enforced pick from a handful of selections.
In 1977 I was proud to participate in the Hugo Awards that gave No Award to Best Dramatic Presentation. The nominees were Carrie, Futureworld, Logan’s Run, and The Man Who Fell To Earth. I am positive that there were a good number of fan-voters who really, really liked one or more of those films. There were a larger number of fans who felt that none of them stepped up to Hugo Award quality. I personally agreed with that sentiment. Carrie was paranormal twaddle, Futureworld was just bad, Logan’s Run was a very poor adaptation of a decent novel – a good case of someone wanting to cash in on the “sci-fi buzz”, but not understanding the genre and The Man Who Fell To Earth was an interesting experiment that largely failed. I watched (reviewed for a newspaper in fact) all of them and then voted No Award.
Until the final tally, none of them were deserving of anything. The final vote determines Hugo worthiness – not your preconceived notions.
If PP does the honorable thing and actually complies with the request and its intent (these puppies have always had a problem with that latter part), then none of his works will appear on slates, and here is how things would proceed from my end:
The only notice I’d receive of his eligible works would be an eligibility post on his blog, or a recommendation from another reader or author. A mention that I am unlikely to see because, except for checking up on links and quotes, I generally don’t visit the sites and pages that are likely to recommend his works.
Not being aware of anything eligible by PP, I won’t be reading anything by PP and will therefore not be nominating any of his works.
Since his works were removed from slates at his request, the Puppies won’t nominate any of his works en masse*, and therefore it is unlikely that any of his works will make it to the final ballot.
But if they should: I’ll read it and vote accordingly. (I do not feel I am under any obligation to “…perform your part of the deal, and forswear putting my works, should any be nominated, below ‘No Award.’”, for the reasons stated previously and absent any proof of real compliance with my request. Further, as has been illustrated, reading and judging the work on its merits is no guarantee that an honest vote won’t see it placed below No Award.)
The likelihood of the foregoing actually happening is so far down the probability path as to be next to zero. So I’m not concerned at all that I’ve “fallen into his trap”. I had to read some of PP’s works last year and can say that my prior experience finds me very uninterested and definitely unlikely to ever voluntarily purchase any of it. I could be pleasantly surprised, but lets also consider that the author has now made such an arrogant ass out of himself (“…winning an award I deserve…”) that it is difficult to read anything under his byline that isn’t tainted by that knowledge. I pride myself on fairness so will labor mightily not to let that affect the read, but in the end, PP is just gonna have to trust me.
PP’s comments – his seeming willingness to surrender – brings up a few other thoughts.
It may very well be an indication that what we suspect RP of doing this year is in fact what will happen: the RP slate will consist of nothing but works that fans will already want to vote for. Since PPs works aren’t going to be on that slate, it means nothing for him to ask that his name be removed.
This makes it all that much more important for authors and artists and editors to make it abundantly, publicly, clear, that they do not want to participate in those slates. No one can stop such a list from being published and if the comments from a leading GGer are anything to go by, GG is on board with the RP slate. The only thing likely nominees can do to make the way clear for voters is to make sure we all know that you aren’t endorsing the slate: that you want to win a Hugo based on the merits of your work, not because a bunch of hooligans decided to use you as a political football. The only way to get past this thing (presuming EPH gets ratified) cleanly is to not play the game. A perceived win for the puppies this year will validate their “cause” and will give them the energy they need to continue this BS beyond 2016, in ways that can only be imagined at this point in time.
The offer to reconcile was never anything but an exercise in futility. Oh, make no mistake, it had to be tried. It had to be given an honest chance, if only to underline the fact that there is no reasoning with these people: the exchange with PP amply demonstrates that they hold those of us who respect the Hugo Awards in deep contempt; that they are not willing to engage in straight-forward dialogue, but instead want to play “gotchya” and petty word games. Their thinking can be boiled down to this: We DESERVE Hugo Awards and are going to do anything we have to do in order to get them.
*absent behind the scenes work, like asking the Vlad wannabe at SPIV to remove his name, while sending out a notice to puppydom to vote for him anyway…something we know they’re fully capable of doing.