Morning Ed: Society {2016.04.27.W}

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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143 Responses

  1. Kazzy says:

    I think Alexander is wrong in thinking life or happiness or whatever is a binary and that any particular struggle puts you in the bad/struggling/unhappy bucket. I commend his willingness to identify his own biases and to seek/promote empathy, but I think he makes alot of assumptions about particular life situations that he may not personally understand. As tempting as it may be to do otherwise, I think we need to give room for people to self-define their situations. We can certainly help offer context — as I think Alexander is doing — but would he classify me as struggling or whathaveyou because I’m a “single dad”* or came from divorced parents? Because I wouldn’t classify myself as that.

    I don’t mean to downplay real struggles. Rape, domestic violence, poverty… These can all be remarkable hardships. But experiencing a hardship does not necessarily define one’s life as hard.

    * I put this in quotes because it doesn’t really feel like an accurate description of my situation, but is probably the best/most accessible term.Report

    • Mo in reply to Kazzy says:

      He also assumes all of those life situations are independent. But suffered things like child abuse, alcoholism or chronic pain are going to be correlated with other bad things on the list. So you will end up with fewer people with one bad thing, but more with multiple bad things.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Mo says:

        I thought he touched on that but I immediately thought of that as well. Not only are they correlated, but there tends to be a causative relationship. Child abuse may contribute to alcoholism or depression later in life. Etc.Report

  2. Saul Degraw says:

    BYU’s strict honor code is in conflict with Title IX when it comes to the rights of victims of rape and sexual assault:

  3. Saul Degraw says:

    The Atlantic article on the average Millennial makes sense. There was another article that stated we won’t hit peak Millennial until 2036 and then many millennials might be foreign-born and not part of the current nostalgia complex that dominates millennial culture.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Foreign born but living in the USA since under 10 years old is a different thing than foreign born and arriving in the USA in one’s 20s or 30s. A large chunk of millenial foreign born in 2036 will still be the former. They are the Dreamers.Report

  4. Kolohe says:

    I read on the internet yesterday that 93% of all Millenials plan to leave their current jobs and open food trucks in the next 10 years.Report

  5. Saul Degraw says:

    College-educated American men are the extreme workaholics of the world:

    The most interesting factoid from this article is that college-educated men lost 2.5 hours of leisure time from 1985 to 2010.

    This is probably a problem without a solution but raises interesting questions to me about why college-educated American men seem much more willing to put in super-long hours compared to their counterparts in other countries. I think part of it is because American men often seem caught in dick-measuring contests that they can’t end. A friend of mine teaches chemistry to undergrads. Last winter, it was extremely cold where she taught. My friend would always talk on facebook about seeing 19-year old guys walking around in short-sleeve shirts and shorts when it was well-below freezing. She is not the only one. I have seen a lot of mom blogs also talking about how their sons want to wear nothing but shorts in winter. I don’t remember this from my days at school.

    The dick-measuring contest seems to continue until adult hood. I think part of the reason you work 60-100 hours a week is to prove you can. Quality of work be damned at hour 90. There is also a lot of poor project management. From what I’ve heard, it is typical for young investor bankers to come into the office at 9 but not receive any assignments from the partners until 3 or 4 in the afternoon.

    From my own experience at working at a firm that required lots of hours, I was able to do long days from Monday-Wednesday but would start crashing around Thursday. I almost always needed to do work on the weekend to make my hours. The bosses were true workaholics. As far as I can tell, two of them never had children and possibly because children take away from work time even if you delegate most child-rearing to a spouse.

    These workaholic rich guys tend to have a lot of possessions but I wonder when they get to enjoy them. What is the point of a vacation home if you are always working? Or a Yacht? I never saw when my long-hour bosses ever enjoyed the stuff that their wealth let them purchase.Report

    • Art Deco in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      About 19% of the workforce puts in more than 48 hours per week, per some dated data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That share is disproportionately male and disproportionately composed of managers, professionals, salesmen, and those in transportation (e.g. truck drivers).

      The Bureau of Labor Statistics also has some more recent data on 10 ‘time consuming’ occupations wherein it is common to work 60+ hours. These occupations comprise about 3% of the workforce and about 17% of those working in them supposedly put in 60+ hours. At the top are physicians and surgeons, in re 29% report those sorts of hours. Among lawyers, the share is 15%.Report

  6. Richard Hershberger says:

    Re audiobooks: I think both encomiums to audiobooks have revealing tells. From the Medium piece:

    One of the more intriguing aspects of audio for me is just how much you can use it to enhance boring-old, just-sits-there written text.

    and from the Drespling:

    I feel like it takes me forever to read a page. But on audiobook, the pace is faster and there’s less time required to internalize the words.

    These suggest to me that the writers for whatever reason have troubles with reading. Proficient readers take in text considerably faster than speech, and if you find written text “boring-old, just-sits-there” then you aren’t doing it right.Report

    • Kim in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      Nearly every audiobook cuts out some of the “boring text”. Kinda like how i was when reading Lord of the Rings (I was in elementary school).Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Kim says:

        This was true when everything was in the form of audiotapes and CDs which cost money, but these days there’s almost always an unabridged version (and frequently only an unabridged version).Report

      • Richard Hershberger in reply to Kim says:

        I skimmed the same parts, I suspect, in my youth. In my most recent reread (about a year ago) I found that these bits were among my favorites. An abridgment is an editorial judgment about what are the good and what are the boring bits. (This is on top of the previous authorial judgment in collaboration with the actual editor.) I am unwilling to assume that I would agree with the judgment, or that even if I agree now, that I will agree later. It also means that this version cannot be equivalent to actually reading the book.

        It also illustrates a technological advantage of written text. It is pretty easy to skim through the bits you don’t want to read right now. The audiobook equivalents are inferior kludges.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      “Proficient readers take in text considerably faster than speech…


      Do you have data to back this up?Report

      • Richard Hershberger in reply to Kazzy says:

        With apologies for the pages cited, because I have actual work to do, and these seem supported, this Wikipedia page has what looks like a well sourced statement that audiobooks are recommended to have 150 – 160 words per minute. This Timothy Noah piece from Slate has 95% of college-level readers at between 200 and 400 wpm.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

          Thanks, @richard-hershberger . And re-reading my question, I apologize if it came across as cynical. I hadn’t really thought about the topic before and as someone who is a relatively slow reader (though I have no idea my actual speed… I just *feel* slow), I was curious to see more info.Report

          • Richard Hershberger in reply to Kazzy says:

            No problem. Absent good reason to believe otherwise, I take a request for a cite as being legitimate, and people claiming offense at the request a strong indicator that they are bullshitting. It also serves as a useful check: Did I get confused? It’s been known to happen.Report

          • Morat20 in reply to Kazzy says:

            “Reading is faster” supposes two things — you read items of that length sufficiently (and I deeply suspect “length” is important. I bet most office workers can read a quick email faster than hearing it spoken) to be, well, practiced at it and you lack (or have sufficient practice to overcome) any number of common disabilities that can slow down reading. (Dyslexia springs to mind).

            I’d imagine that it’d also be affected by whether you lean towards visual or audio learning. I tend to drift off hearing things, but focus intensely reading them. (And conversationally, I have to fight the constant urge to mentally fill in what they’re saying — often wrongly — and leap into my response. It’s just all so sloooowww….) Audiobooks are thus difficult to pay attention to — but reading is effortless.

            But in general, reading should be faster than speaking because the communication channel. Well, unless everyone spoke like auctioneers.Report

            • Kim in reply to Morat20 says:

              Dyslexics who learn to read quickly are generally reading the entire page at once (filling in blanks and changing words from ?ort to port…etc).

              Audiobooks are annoying because they are so, so linear. If you miss something, or want to reflect on something prior in a book, you flip back and read just that, and then hop over to where you were.Report

            • Kim in reply to Morat20 says:

              everyone spoke like auctioneers.
              … or new yorkers.

        • Michael Cain in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

          This article from 2012 pegs average English reading rate at 220 or so words/min. My own perception is that audio books really drag, but I used to clock in at something over 500. OTOH, the only time I listen to them is on long driving trips by myself. Last time, Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. Nothing like a good vampire yarn to keep you from dozing off…Report

    • That’s a fair point. Reading is somewhat difficult for me, and my appreciation for audiobooks is not completely divorced from that. (That said, it has more to do with convenience.)Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

        I am a fan of podcasts for a host of reasons. For me, audiobooks can be hit or miss depending on the specifics. The Harry Potter series was masterfully done by the reader and didn’t require deep engagement with the topics. Contrast that to a numbers-heavy book on baseball stats which was decently read but included long recitations of numbers/charts (“Column 1… 4.3 Runs. Column 2… 5.4 runs.”) just lost me… especially since one didn’t need to know every number in the chart but rather patterns that emerge and what the data tells us.

        In grad school, we had a conversation about children engaging with physical books versus audio books. My feeling then — as it is now — is that they are different experiences and should be utilized based on the goals (or desired outcome, in a non-academic setting). If you want a child to develop decoding skills, an audiobook does not do much if anything for that skill. If you want a child who isn’t a proficient decoder to engage with the content of a book, an audiobook is great!Report

        • Kim in reply to Kazzy says:

          Another thought: there are tons of things we read that aren’t designed to be consumed as written. Like plays. I find an audioplay to be a much better teaching aid for comedy than just reading it (even slapstick, you can at least hear the pratfall).Report

        • Richard Hershberger in reply to Kazzy says:

          I am a fan of podcasts for a host of reasons.

          I tend to find them annoying precisely because the content density is so low. Some of this is the conventions of the genre, such as chit-chat intended to set a conversational tone. But a lot of it is simply the slower rate of spoken vs. written language. Even when the content is interesting, I frequently come away with the impression that this would be better in written form, with some editing to tighten up the prose.Report

  7. Chris says:

    I feel like when Will’s linking Sam Kriss, the universe is starting to tilt in the right direction.

    I’d just add this: NdGT is important in ways that it is difficult for us, educated white folk, to fully understand, and this importance in some ways (though not in all ways) transcend his being a smug prick. But he is undeniably a smug prick, and I hope at some point he begins to realize this and maybe tones down the smugness at least a little bit, because it hurts his message.Report

    • Bert The Turtle in reply to Chris says:

      I liked Sam Kriss better when he was Walt Whitman.Report

      • Chris in reply to Bert The Turtle says:

        I prefer Whitman to pretty much everyone.

        Kriss’ article is, as I described it on Twitter, an id-stroking piece of hate. If you already dislike NgDT, which I do, it’s pretty fun. If you don’t, it will strike you as really bitter and petty, which it is. Whitman, on the other hand, had the Prophets of Science pegged.Report

  8. Burt Likko says:

    It’s evident to me that there is something in the universe that Sam Kriss finds more irritating and repugnant than Neil deGrasse Tyson’s pedantry. What, you ask, could possibly be so abhorrent to this lucid and perceptive writer?

    The “return” key.

    Is there a single paragraph break in that entire essay? I think no, there are only breaks used to insert particularly annoying specimens of NdGT’s tweets.

    That said, if NdGT is principally to be faulted for smugness, it’s because he is a man of his time. We live in the Era Of Smug. Everyone is smug, unless they are either showfully humble, or unless they agree with you. No one is smug when they are actually right, provided their statement is pleasing to the audience. Smugness is how you dismiss the valid but displeasing point raised by someone who disagrees with you or otherwise is from a different tribe.Report

    • Kim in reply to Burt Likko says:

      I know someone who’s only smug when he’s actually right. Problem is, he’s nearly always right.Report

    • Chris in reply to Burt Likko says:

      He originally wrote it for his own blog, where it did have paragraph breaks.

      And I agree, we live in extremely smug times, and NdGT is a product of that, but he is smart enough to get past that if he really wants to.

      I think part of the problem is that for about the last decade now, a certain school of Prophets of Science has decided that the only preaching they really want to do is to the choir. NgDT is firmly of this school, and the result is everything he produces, from that first episode of Cosmos to his forehead-slappingly awful Twitter well-actualy’s.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chris says:

        Also, twitter practically causes smugness, whether or not actual smugity exists.

        That said, NdGT needs to acquaint himself with suspension of disbelief. It’s one thing to fact check statements of fact, especially when made by public figures, something else to fact check works of fiction (or poetic expressions) when no real effort was made to be factual.Report

        • Kim in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          When your suspension of disbelief falters, you yell about it, because it’s a really, really bad thing for an artwork to do.Report

        • Chris in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          Twitter doesn’t cause smugness! #youresowrong #imsosmartReport

        • James K in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


          Nitpicking media is a well established genre on the Internet, Phil Plaitt has been idsecitgn the science of sci-fi movies for over a decade. And not just for science either – there’s group called CinemaSins on YouTube that nitpicks movies for all sorts of things from plot contrivances to continuity issues. In fact, I first came across Tyson’s tweets on Gravity watching the CinemaSins video on Gravity (they’ve started teaming up with Tyson for some of the harder sci-fi movies)

          Many people find it entertaining to watch a piece of media be taken apart, even if (or especially if) they enjoyed it. In fact one of Tyson’s tweets used in the the above video mentions that he enjoyed gravity – analysing something is not antithetical to enjoying it, in fact for some people they go together.

          Ultimately I think Tyson comes across as smug for two reasons:
          1) In order to avoid coming across as an asshole when correcting someone you have to use certain forms of language that take up too much space for Twitter, so he ends up offering bald corrections which read as smug and dismissive.

          2) He makes the occasional pronouncement from outside his field of expertise. When he’s doing a show, he can get advice on the things he doesn’t know. When he’s interviewing someone he can let them do the talking. But on Twitter he has neither of these things, leading him to say silly things.

          Basically, what I’m saying is that Twitter is the Worst Thing in the World.

          As an aside, there’s a double-standard at play with Tyson. BoB claims there’s a conspiracy to hide the fact that the world is flat, a conspiracy Tyson would have to be part of. So Tyson is indirectly accused of conspiring to hide the truth about the universe from tyhe general public, but Tyson’s the asshole for responding?Report

  9. Autolukos says:

    To be honest, I find the deGrasse Tyson backlash way more annoying than the man himself.

    Always remember that the popular image of Millenials was created to sell us products and to convince you to click on links.Report

  10. Damon says:

    Tyson: Full agreement. I never liked him anyway.

    Millennials: The most interesting comments here was: ” Jobs at media sites like The Atlantic, BuzzFeed, or Gawker are five-times more likely to be located in New York or Washington, D.C., than television-news jobs. The clustering force is only getting more centripetal:”….”but a subtler risk is that well-educated journalists in these dense cities wind up with a skewed impression of the world, a “majority illusion” based on the extremely unrepresentative cross-section of the country that’s immediately around them. ” Such it was ever thus with “journalists”.Report

  11. dragonfrog says:

    [Neil DeGrasse Tyson] I suspect I would be a lot less annoyed about Wired locking me out for using an ad blocker, if I actually used an ad blocker.Report

  12. Morat20 says:

    In Other News, the Rabid Puppies (the sads were a non-entity) took the expected giant crap on the Hugo’s again.

    On the bright side, as part of Beale’s idiotic belief he’s a Xanatos master, actual decent works got included in some categories. (As usual, the short form stuff looks like No Award again). It’s even more egregious this year than last, which says a lot given how many “No Awards” got handed out last year.

    On the bright side, this pretty much ensures E Pluribus Hugo gets passed this year. (It got passed last year, in the wake of this crap, but the Worldcon rules require two votes at separate Worldcons to amend their charter). Effectively, it puts the boot in slate voting. Whether planned or unplanned.

    If you didn’t hear about it — the Hugos use a preferential voting system for nominations that is massively vulnerable to slate voteing. 10% of the voters, if they vote identically, can control entire categories. Under the “We’re not a**holes” approach used for the last several decades this hasn’t been a problem. Enter Charles Beale, deciding to utilize one author’s angry meltdown that he didn’t win to… whatever it is Charles Beale does. Mostly promote his own publishing house. Since the Hugo nominations are now infested by a**holes, the voting rules have to change. Sadly this takes two years. Last year was bad, this year was worse.

    For added hilarity, old Chuckie B has already hinted that he’s aiming at the Locus awards next year. (Because the Hugo’s won’t be gameable). That sort of gives away his game, if it hadn’t been obvious already.Report

    • Damon in reply to Morat20 says:

      Hugos got what they deserved. Do you think changing the rules will end the game? I don’t.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to Damon says:

        Hugos got what they deserved

        And what was that? Nobody deserves Charles Beale, no matter how evil and venal they are.

        Do you think changing the rules will end the game? I don’t.

        Uh, actually yeah. In fact, if you were supportive of the Sad Puppies initial complaints there was a Sekret Cabal of Meanies taking over the nomination slots via Sekret Slates, then you should be 100% behind the EPH proposal as it blocks that particular exploit totally. (There’s a reason Chuckie B there has already started eyeing the Locus awards, after all).

        There’s no Sekret Cabal Handshake to get around it. So in essence, the initial Sad Puppies should be ecstatic because they got what they wanted. The Hugo’s voting system is almost certain (starting in 2017) to change to one where no minority can rig entire categories. I mean there’s still “What happens if more people vote for another work than the one I wanted to win” but that’s just sadly how voting in general works.

        Admittedly, I preferred a more elegant re-weighted average system but that’s difficult (though not impossible) to hand process, and apparently the ability to validate by hand in a reasonable time frame (like not all night) was considered important.

        I realize that the RPs like to believe they’ve killed the Hugos (because if they can’t have it, no one can apparently) but it’ll be just dandy. I know that’ll make CB and his GG friends sad, but they’ll live.

        And strangely, Worldcon will…continue to go on, year after year — quite happily, despite all the sadness of the Chuckie B.Report

        • Damon in reply to Morat20 says:

          I happen to enjoy reading Vox. But I also loved The Misanthropic Bitch, so whatever that says about me…

          I’m never surprised at folks gaming the system because the system was designed poorly or easily exploitable. Serves them right. The puppies had an issue, they exploited the process (no they used the process). Hat tip to them. So it’s been fixed? Think they’ll just wither and die. I don’t. They’ll take the battle somewhere else or work to exploit the system in the Hugos some other way.Report

          • Morat20 in reply to Damon says:

            I’m never surprised at folks gaming the system because the system was designed poorly or easily exploitable. Serves them right.

            Ah yes, the “why are you slapping yourself” explanation. Or I suppose the “She shouldn’t have been wearing that short of a skirt”.

            I shouldn’t have expected anything better thought out, not from a Chuck B fan.Report

            • Damon in reply to Morat20 says:

              I said “I happen to enjoy reading Vox”. That statement doesn’t mean I agree or support him or am a fan. It means I enjoy reading his posts. Do you know who the Misanthropic Bitch was? Have you read her work? I also enjoyed reading Encyclopedia Dramatica. That doesn’t mean I agree with the postings on that site.

              Nice segue from what I wrote into supporting rape. Classy.Report

            • Kolohe in reply to Morat20 says:

              Are you really comparing a minor entertainment awards venue to sexual assault?Report

              • Damon in reply to Kolohe says:

                No, he’s claiming that my justification of the puppies exploiting rules/process weakness at the Hugos as reasonable is akin to condoning rape, as in “She shouldn’t have been wearing that short of a skirt”,Report

              • dragonfrog in reply to Damon says:

                It does at least read like victim blaming.

                Maybe going straight to sexual assault as the analogy was introducing a bit of a red herring, but then sexual assault is one of the most victim-blaming-heavy types of crime. How about victims of computer hacking “deserving it” for not following IT security best practices? Or victims of bike theft “deserving it” for thinking they could leave their bike unlocked because they were only going to be in the store a few minutes?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to dragonfrog says:

                I would have compared it to the Armenian Genocide.

                People deny that that happened too.Report

              • Damon in reply to dragonfrog says:

                Actually it’s more like “don’t be surprised if you get robbed if you leave your door unlocked.”. It’s not victim blaming, it’s “actions have consequences”. If folks want to equate that with victim blaming, go ahead, but I don’t. It’s not victim blaming when I tell someone who’s bitching about getting a speeding ticket that if they aren’t prepared to get a ticket they shouldn’t be speeding.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Damon says:

                The Hugos deserved to be trolled because they could be trolled, and if they didn’t want to be trolled they should make sure they can’t be trolled.

                It’s the logic of an a**hole.

                Sure, it worked fine for decades — but really, they shouldn’t have been asking for a good trolling if they didn’t want one.

                Do you even buy that swill yourself? Why do you even care? I know why I care — I’ve nominated and voted for the awards. I’ve been involved.Report

              • Kim in reply to Morat20 says:

                Actual, intelligent trolling is fair cricket. This just seems like rank stupidity.

                And yes, everyone howling about how “those people are meanies!” is stupid too.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Kim says:

                It’s VD mostly here. What can you expect?

                John C. Wright got pretty mockable last year, but VD is in his own special class.

                I actually feel for Larry Correria a bit though. He massively own-goaled himself. I mean yeah, vote grubbing for the nomination would have gotten him looked down on a bit (it’s considered pretty crass), and even that mostly owes to Scientology’s similar attempt in the 1980s.

                The thing is…Worldcon nominated him for the Campbell award in 2011 (Best New Writer). He didn’t round up votes online to get himself there. There were no slates. It was before any puppies were sad. He didn’t win, and losing that seems to have driven him nuts.

                That’s when he started Sad Puppies and basically started the slide to “I didn’t win because there’s a cabal of SJW’s making sure good fiction — LIKE MINE — isn’t on the list!”.

                That’s…sad. I mean yeah. losing has to suck. But jesus, you were on the “Best New Writer” short-list (and you lost to Lev Grossman!) and frankly, it is a freakin’ honor just to be nominated.

                This whole thing started out of, sad as it is to say, a grown up man being a sore loser over because he was only one of the top FIVE new SF&F authors of 2011 and not THE top author. Per one award.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Morat20 says:

                “a grown up man being a sore loser… ”

                This has as much validity as saying that Patrick Nielsen-Hayden is using his editorial position as a decades-long get-back at the grade-school bullies who said he was gay.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to DensityDuck says:

                That said, the accusation you’re making here *does* apply to Beale, who has straight-up said as much (that his anger at the SF writing community comes from having being voted out of SFWA.)Report

              • Morat20 in reply to DensityDuck says:

                I’d like to think VD was just a really committed troll, because he’s such a parody. But Poe’s law, you know?Report

              • Morat20 in reply to DensityDuck says:

                I might be mixing up LC and Wright, but LC seemed to go from “Hey, I’m nominated for a Campbell” to “I didn’t win because Cabal of Evil Leftists” to “Let’s screw with the Cabal of Evil Leftists Because They Screwed Me””.

                That seems pretty sore loser to me. He got nominated for a rather prestigious award (Worldcon’s award for best new writer), lost to Lev Grossman (not something to be ashamed of) and within two years had decided there was a secret conspiracy of liberal elitists that were blocking his works from consideration. (Despite the fact that, clearly, they’d considered him good enough to nominate for a Campbell with no campaigning on his part at all).

                I don’t know what else to call it. If I play a boardgame with friends, lose, and then accuse them all of cheating — what other term is there?

                That’s pretty much what he did here. And to his credit, he didn’t sink to the depths of John C. Wright and seems to have gotten out once he realized what partnering with VD is all about.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

              Exploiting a poorly designed system is categorically different from blaming a victim of a violent crime for contributing to the crime.

              Especially since the puppies not only told people the system could be exploited, but then made 3 very open attempts to exploit the system in exactly the way the claimed it was flawed.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Don’t blame me — that was his logic. The Hugos deserved to be trolled because they could be trolled.

                Which is exactly the logic used when victim blaming rapists. I could have chosen any number of analogies true, but the logic remains the same.

                It is really stupid reasoning, I admit. But it’s not MY reasoning and I’m pretty confidant I’m grasping Damon’s logic correctly.Report

              • Damon in reply to Morat20 says:

                Nope you not for the reasons I stated above.Report

              • Alan Scott in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Oscar Gordon: Exploiting a poorly designed system is categorically different from blaming a victim of a violent crime for contributing to the crime.

                Is failing to account for bad-faith actions a poor design as such? Or does it simply indicate different design priorities?

                I have actually designed scoring rules for an award. For all that i put thought into rubric design, condorcet paradoxes, multiple judging stages, and so on, I never once considered the idea that one of the judges would try to maliciously exploit the contest.

                Because, frankly, if that happens, then I’ve got a bigger problem than “the rules aren’t well designed”, and even jerk-proof rules don’t do anything meaningful to solve that problem.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Alan Scott says:

                The Hugo dust up is akin to one political party complaining that the other is influencing elections through gerrymandering, and saying it isn’t fair because the first party has publicly* declined to gerrymander things.

                *Remember, the initial claim of the puppies was that the Hugo system was being rigged behind the scenes (bad faith actors were already in play), so they were going to commit the same rigging out in the open.Report

              • El Muneco in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                To me, they’re more like the annoying munchkins that unlucky people get in their RPG groups. They come upon a set of rules that was intended to provide a structure in which reasonable people could have fun. And their mindset doesn’t accept that, or even understand it, so they rules-lawyer it so that they can “win”.

                In an RPG group, that would just result in them not being invited back at some point. With the Hugos, that isn’t possible. So now we go through the legalistic hoops of closing all the loopholes so that no one can exploit them to “win”.

                And no one is having any fun anymore, which was the point. The munchkins don’t understand “fun”. The only thing they will understand is losing.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to El Muneco says:

                I guess it depends on whether or not one accepts the initial premise that others were already playing the rules in their favor.

                If you don’t, then they are fun killers. If you do, then it’s different.

                It’s the privilege argument. Privileged members usually think the system is fine.Report

              • El Muneco in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Well, there’s a factual claim of bias and there’s an emotional claim of bias.

                It was pretty solidly demonstrated, even before Sad morphed into Rabid, that there was no vote manipulation in the Hugos – that the results truly reflected the voting pattern of the eligible voting public. There was no cabal. There was no gerrymandering.

                Did the resulting awards truly represent every possible viewpoint? Possibly not, probably not, one might even say provably not. The biggest problem with the Sads is that they sold their soul for a pot of message. They hitched their star to writers who were demonstrably not Hugo-quality. The message had always been irrelevant, but they latched upon that as a guiding light. From that point on, anything that was not validation was unacceptable, even if there was no intrinsic motivation. Results were all that mattered.

                Then they attacked. And after that, the Rabids joined in, just to watch it all burn.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I guess it depends on whether or not one accepts the initial premise that others were already playing the rules in their favor.

                Is there any evidence they weren’t?

                I mean I know it was just assumed by the people doing the Sad Puppies slate, but not to put too fine a point on it — the mere fact that their slate was so overwhelmingly effective in 2015 (and the RP in 2016) is pretty solid proof that yes, everyone else WAS playing by the rules.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

                That’s the problem with the whole kerfuffle. The Puppies essentially made a claim that required WorldCon to prove a negative (that no one else was quietly gaming the system).

                As an outsider, I failed to understand the vitriol of the WorldCon supporters. They may not have liked what the sad puppies were saying or doing as it offended certain sensibilities, but it certainly got more people active in the Hugo awards process, bringing a wider diversity to the awards, which is a good thing. I didn’t take the vitriol as proof of shenanigans, but it showed that the process was probably very much in need of some diversity.

                But once I learned about Beale, and got a sense for his style of engagement, I saw his response to that vitriol (rabid puppies) long before he made it formal. The man is a troll, he has a following of trolls, and a large ready population of people who just could not help but feed his ego through engagement. It was like watching a train wreck unfold in slow motion.Report

              • Kim in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I don’t object to trolls (lord knows, there have been plenty in the scifi community.), but these aren’t being insightful or interesting.
                This sounds like pure harnessing of the id, not for amusement, but just to get famous.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Kim says:

                With Beale, I’m pretty sure it was both. He was happy to feed his id & his wallet.Report

              • Kim in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Which, again, I’d be more pleased with if I thought he was doing some scientific research.
                [and I’m very glad to have confirmed that he’s not actually another hat that my friend the science fiction author and troll is wearing.]Report

              • Damon in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                ” He was happy to feed his id & his wallet.”

                Flawless victory.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Damon says:

                Damon: Flawless victory.

                For Beale, it was. As repugnant as I find him, he internalized this truth and used it to make it rain for himself.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                As an outsider, I failed to understand the vitriol of the WorldCon supporters

                You don’t get why why a 60+ year old group got upset that, after decades of things working fine, a group decided to get together and hack their awards?

                Sad Puppies 1-3 didn’t get much of a Worldcon reaction. Nobody cared. LC whined and pimped his books, declared moral victory and his status as valiant underdog in the PC wars, and everyone was fine.

                Sad Puppies 4 (and the Rabids they invited in) hacked the awards, utilizing a well known exploit that Worldcon had spent decades NOT using out of a sense of comity. THAT’S when Worldcon members started giving a crap, because an outside party broke their awards out of an entirely imagined and thoroughly entitled (remember, this all STARTED because Larry had a sad that he was nominated for a Campbell — Worldcon award for best new author — didn’t win) sense of grievance.

                But you don’t get why Worldcon would be upset that someone, quite literally, hacked their awards?

                I didn’t take the vitriol as proof of shenanigans, but it showed that the process was probably very much in need of some diversity.

                Oh do expand. I’m deeply curious as to why you think this is so. Whose vitriol, and whose and what diversity, and why?Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

                There have only been 3 SP campaigns so far. IIRC, 1 & 2 were driven by Correia, 3 was Torgerson. 4 is underway (I think, with Paulk doing the work).

                I recall vitriol after SP1, as that is what actually made me take notice (an author complaining about not getting an award is about as interesting as a politician complaining about not getting elected). SP2 really brought the hate, mostly because of Scalzi’s, et. al. response to the inclusion of the Vox Day short story*. RP (during SP3) dialed it up to 11.

                As for specifics, I stopped really paying attention once Day launched RP. And I have other things to do besides dig around blog archives looking for examples from 3 years ago.

                PS Comity to not use an exploit is not a guarantee that said exploit is not being used, only that it is not being used openly (hence the proving of a negative). You yourself came up with numerous better ways the voting could be done (now) where gaming it would become very difficult. Getting all pissy and bent out of shape because your system is obviously hackable, especially when it can be pretty easily fixed, is right up there with corporations or governments yelling at security experts who publicly expose their IT holes. In short, I have zero** sympathy for the offended parties. Quit yer bellyaching and fix yer system.

                *Giving Day any attention at all was a big mistake. Putting him up for consideration, despite any noble intention that may have been had, was the height of folly. Day is the scorpion of the Puppies back. He honestly could not have named his campaign any better, a perfect allusion to the fact that he has no problem biting any hand that gets too close.

                **And I mean ZERO. Any pleading that I should have even a modicum of care for the aggrieved WorldCon people will fall on deaf ears. So no, I don’t buy the claim that people were upset that their voting system had some significant emotional value we should respect. It’s a system, one that was originally designed before the internet, it has a weakness that has been publicly exposed, and a party has openly expressed a desire to exploit that weakness. Spend less time writing about how unfair it is, and more time fixing the exploit.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Laying aside whether the Hugo voting system was asking for it, you CAN understand why Worldcon members were rather upset it got hacked, right?

                Having your awards hijacked by a tiny minority is the sort of thing that upsets people who like the awards, regardless of either the reason for said hijacking OR the relative easy or difficult of said hijacking.

                Whether you give a crap or not, that’s pretty much why SP1 and 2 were of note only on the far corners of the internet and SP3/RP got so much louder. And of course why RP2 is of mild interest now.

                (Mild because, well, we went this route before and all VD did was ensure the voting system gets fixed. And next year, at most, you’ll have the pre-2015 status quo with a voting system that’s slightly more prone to tossing up popular, but less mainstream, works).

                And in the end, I think the thing you miss with your “ZERO SYMPATHY” thing is this: Worldcon is a convention. They go there to do con stuff, and one of the things they like to do is award books they like. They created an award, they’ve had this award, and the point is to award books. Creating a hard-to-exploit voting system wasn’t on their “to-do” list because the “No as**holes please” method worked just dandy for 60 years.

                Which is kind of the whole point — it’s a convention and the convention’s award, and regardless of whether you think it’s a convention run by SJWs or whatever, it’s still a dick move to show up and hijack their awards no matter how easy it is to do. Easy does not make it less dickish. (Actually, given how long it remained un-dicked, there’s an argument that doing it makes you more of a dick. After all, it worked just fine before YOU showed up.

                It’s like rules lawyers or munchkin players in casual games. “Hey, I was here to play board and card games and hang out with my friends live we’ve done for years, why is there an a**hole shouting that we’re playing it wrong? Who is he, and who invited this jerk?” is a pretty understandable response. Even IF we were totally playing it wrong.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

                I’d understand them being upset it got hacked, if the hack came out of the blue. It didn’t.

                I get why the system was done the way it was 60 years ago. Makes total sense. The internet and online voting changed that.

                As for the game analogy, totally get that, which is why, back when I had time to play, and I had my own set of rules that didn’t synch up with the books, I was pretty clear about the rules, and if someone wanted to play with me, they played by my rules, or they went elsewhere. My games were not open to the public.

                WorldCon & Hugo voting is, effectively, open to the public (or, at least, the public who cares enough to buy a membership for a year). It’s not a private club where the membership is evaluated on some basis other than “Fee paid (Y/N)?” Having a percentage of the membership act as if it is a private/semi-private club is bound to cause friction should ‘undesirables’ come around.

                Who I really feel for is WorldCon itself. They got put in a really bad spot and had no real way to prevent it, or defuse it. It was going to get ugly no matter what they did.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Getting all pissy and bent out of shape because your system is obviously hackable, especially when it can be pretty easily fixed, is right up there with corporations or governments yelling at security experts who publicly expose their IT holes. In short, I have zero** sympathy for the offended parties. Quit yer bellyaching and fix yer system.

                I don’t share the outrage, but I really don’t like the idea that we should have to harden all of our social interactions to such an extent that no one can make our lives difficult by violating informal social norms. Nor do I think it’s reasonable to expect that people who’ve come to rely on those norms fail to try to enforce them when they’re violated. That’s what the vitriol was and is, IMO, an enforcement mechanism, even if, in this case, it looks to be an ineffective one.Report

              • Francis in reply to pillsy says:

                While my politics put me on the side of Scalzi et al., there is an interesting question here of whose informal norms were violated first. If the Hugos were originally primarily for a particular brand of swashbuckling Heinlein-style men-are-men sci-fi, then you might see why that particular branch is complaining.

                Sure, the rules said that anyone could join and vote, but why did those liberals and women join our club, instead of forming their own? Why bring their values into our playground, and then push us out? They broke the social norms first; we’re just reasserting our primacy. — the argument goes.

                I don’t know if that argument has any factual basis behind it, but that is what I recall reading from the SPs.Report

              • El Muneco in reply to Francis says:

                That’s the weak version, that liberal cooties have invaded our treehouse and we don’t get nice things anymore.

                The strong version is that: (1) SJW fandom has a controlling interest in certain publishing houses which it uses to publish message fiction regardless of quality; (2) that the quality gap means that SJW-endorsed fiction which is nominated for awards should not be winning them; (3) that the fact that it is winning them is a smoking gun pointing at shenanigans; (4) and that the fact that the SJW-controlled publishing houses overperform in awards voting proves that the publishers themselves are corrupt and are directly dictating the results of award voting.

                (1) is trivially untrue. (2) is a value judgement and it’s possible for reasonable people to disagree. (3) hearkens back to the “weak” version – “we can’t be getting outvoted legitimately because we’re the good guys!”. (4) was conclusively disproven – not only are vote totals a matter of public record, but the publishing houses identified as SJW havens actually underperform in award voting relative to their market share.

                So the claims that were being made do in a sense boil down to the weak version, with additional chemtrails-level conspiracy theories.

                And, as Oscar points out below, a massive persecution complex stoked by JCW (or was it Correia?) after his reputation failed to increase following the nomination of his rookie work (and a personal vendetta on his part which shows that Correia (or was it JCW?) interpreted events at certain conventions far differently than all other observers).Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to El Muneco says:

                El Muneco: was conclusively disproven – not only are vote totals a matter of public record, but the publishing houses identified as SJW havens actually underperform in award voting relative to their market share.

                This I’ve not seen before. Linky?Report

              • El Muneco in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Actually on second thought, the second part (underperforming) might not have been part of the formal result. That might just have been informal eyeballing. From what I remember, it was more focused on putting error bars on “if there was vote manipulation, how extensive would it have to have been to get the results we got?”

                In any case, I didn’t keep a link, and three days ago google might have helped, but everything I see now is referencing either the 2016 noms or the 2015 results, and this went way back.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to El Muneco says:

                I always feel like I’m confusing one with the other. (LC and JCW). The only bit I know for sure is JCW was the author of “in all modesty, one of the finest writers writing today”.Report

        • DensityDuck in reply to Morat20 says:

          “Sekret Cabal of Meanies taking over the nomination slots via Sekret Slates”

          Imagine that I described something you actually cared about like this.

          Would you even be interested in talking to me?Report

          • Morat20 in reply to DensityDuck says:

            I’m not taking idiotic conspiracy theories seriously, especially ones that have been conclusively and publicly disproven. (The very success the RP/SP crowd had in 2015 was plenty of proof no such cabal existed).

            I treat moon landing conspiracy folks the same way. (But not creationists. I mean it’s just as mockable, especially the YEC variety, but it’s also deeply tied to religion so I give it a bit of a pass)Report

          • pillsy in reply to DensityDuck says:

            Imagine that I described something you actually cared about like this.

            Would you even be interested in talking to me?

            If something I actually cared about could be accurately described in this fashion, I don’t see why my lack of interest in discussing it would be any great loss to you.Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to Damon says:

        “What they deserved” for – what exactly? What did the Hugo organization do to deserve bloc-vote nomination of swashbuckling action driven fiction (slash dude-bro pulp fiction) to the exclusion of other styles?Report

        • Autolukos in reply to dragonfrog says:

          Exist seems to be the answerReport

          • dragonfrog in reply to Autolukos says:

            If after they attempt to fix their voting system, they continue to “deserve” the various puppies “taking the battle” to them, then that seems to be the only logical conclusion.Report

        • Kim in reply to dragonfrog says:

          Funny how I didn’t see you complaining about getting Groundhog’s Day nominated to the Library of Congress…
          [Translation: we only attack these sorts of things when we don’t like the results.].Report

          • dragonfrog in reply to Kim says:

            Today I learned that Groundhog Day was nominated to the Library of Congress.

            I still don’t know, among other things, what such a nomination actually implies, the process or effort by which Groundhog Day was nominated, what if any opposition that process faced, how that process contrasted with the usual process, the extent to which those involved in that effort wanted Groundhog Day in vs how much they really wanted other things out and Groundhog Day was just the first thing they lit on, the rules by which things normally get into the LoC, whether anyone expressed the opinion that there was an abuse of the rules at play.

            So no, I did not complain about a thing I knew and continue to know nothing at all about.Report

            • Kim in reply to dragonfrog says:

              Getting into the Library of Congress means the movie is of significant cultural import.


              You can take its nomination as a skilled takedown of this dude (it was more than that, of course… it’s honestly one of the best scripts of all time)Report

              • dragonfrog in reply to Kim says:

                So, a movie reviewer predicted a thing wouldn’t happen, and then it happened. So far I’m not seeing any strong parallels.

                Was there some Boaty McBoatface-esque campaign behind the nomination, or did the librarians of congress just share your view that it is one of the best film scripts out there?

                Did some person or group do something technically in the letter of the rules of nomination but contrary to its spirit? Is there a limited number of movies nominated in a year, so getting Groundhog Day in meant keeping something else out (specifically, something that the someone or someones really dislike because it’s too SJW-y or too bro-y or too communist or too Christian or not communist or Christian enough)?Report

        • Brandon Berg in reply to dragonfrog says:

          Here’s the post that started it, I think. The gist of the complaint seems to be that there was a bias towards left-wing message-fic, like this after-school special.Report

          • Morat20 in reply to Brandon Berg says:

            Which, I’d like to point out didn’t win. Although it’s funny — when asked to point out the “bias” three things (pre-2015) come up — that story, Ancillary Justice and Redshirts. Three things, total. For something that had been “going on for years” in “multiple categories”. I don’t think I’ve heard anything else ever listed.

            Now If you were a dinosaur, my love –I didn’t like that story much myself, didn’t nominate it and I believe it was either 3rd or 4th on my ballot when it came time to vote. But over the years since, listening to people scream about it and it’s “left wing message fic” nature I’ve come to appreciate it a lot more. It does something rare — it seems to hold a mirror up to the reader. Because God Almighty, the sheer number of things projected onto a simple short work that exist purely in the mind of an individual reader and nowhere else — fascinating. I’m not sure whether that was skill or accident, but goodness.

            Now Redshirts, that seems to be sheer Scalzi hate. It’s generally used in “Would you vote for it over Dune? THEN IT SHOULDN’T HAVE WON” — which is the logic of someone who doesn’t understand how yearly awards work. (Hint: Dune was not published in the same year as Redshirts. I would personally rank Dune higher if they had been published the same year. Although admittedly if Redshirts had been published in the 70s, it probably wouldn’t have made much sense).

            As for Ancillary Justice — quite honestly, I’m pretty sure 99% of the people screaming about it never read it. It was both a fantastic work* AND was not even remotely what the screamers said it was.

            *One reason I can be sure of this is that it won the Hugo, the Nebula, and the Arthur C. Clarke award. Also Locus and BFSA (the British Nebulas, basically). You know how many books have won the Hugo, the Nebula, and the ACC? Exactly one.

            Not even in Chuck’s wildest fever dreams has he claimed the Sekret Cabal controls the Nebula, the ACC, the Locus, and the BFSA. Well, not yet.

            As I said, he appears to be looking towards the Locus next as the Hugos troll-proof themselves.Report

            • dragonfrog in reply to Morat20 says:

              How can you construct Redshirts into “left wing message fiction”?

              I mean, I semi recall that there’s a bit where the captain hits on someone inappropriately – kind of like a real life Captain Kirk might do – and this is depicted as inappropriate, and the target of his attentions doesn’t actually appreciate it. But that’s about all I’ve got.Report

              • El Muneco in reply to dragonfrog says:

                1) Noted SJW and leader of the cabal (along with the Nielsen Haydens) John Scalzi wrote it.
                2) ????
                3) Profit!Report

              • Morat20 in reply to dragonfrog says:

                Actually they claimed Redshirts just wasn’t “Hugo-worthy” because it wasn’t better than Dune.

                If You Were A Dinosaur My Love, which they hate with the passion of a thousand firey suns, didn’t actually win — and is SWJ message fic only if you want it to be. (Something something clearly the bad guys were southerners because they drunk gin something.)

                And Ancillary Justice was message fic because of female pronouns. And clearly few, if any, of them read it.

                Those three titles PLUS “How come Monster Hunter didn’t win? And Jim Butcher sells books like crazy and he never wins!” were pretty much the sum total of the argument. (And my favorite, John C Wright, spending a few hundred words to complain that sci-fi was taken over by SJW’s and you couldn’t judge a book by it’s cover anymore. Actual author. Literal, hand-to-god, argument he made.)Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

                I haven’t read the Ancillary books yet, but the gender thing seemed like an odd duck to get worked up about. Has no one ever heard of Rendezvous with Rama and it’s sequels, where the aliens have 3 genders. Arthur C. Clarke isn’t exactly an unknown author, and SciFi has been toying with gender and sexuality for a very long time.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                It was all an odd duck to get worked up about. That was sort of the problem.

                I’m rather glad the Sads moved away from slates AND there seems to have been a successful push to get some awards through Dragoncon, which seems like a great idea.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

                Since DragonCon has always been friendlier to the pulpier side of things, that seemed like the better effort to make with regard to awards.

                I get that the Hugo’s are the Grand Daddy of all, but still, for all the effort…Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I’m all for more awards. Awards are a great way to find new authors. And honestly, given some of the SP3 kvetching focused on “popularity” Butcher, for instance — who I am a huge fan of (by this I mean I’ve purchased all of his books. Most of them twice, as they were on the list to move to Kindle pretty early) but has yet to write anything I’d nominate for a Hugo.

                If they want to structure the Dragoncon awards to give more focus to popular authors, or to authors inventing or revitalizing a genre, or to authors in specific sub-genres (military sci fi, urban fantasy, series, etc) I’m all for it. It’s a great idea in general (although I suppose as Pratchett notes being a popular enough author is clearly it’s own reward).Report

              • Kim in reply to Morat20 says:

                More awards are good, so long as the award categories aren’t moribund. Nothing worse than being told “this is the best of the best” and finding it just horridReport

              • Morat20 in reply to Kim says:

                Well, the marketplace will clear that. So to speak.

                Honestly, that’s why the attempt to hijack the Hugos rather than make their own originally. They wanted the prestige of the award, even as they shouted it was worthless.

                Except VD, of course. I’m pretty sure he thinks he’s sticking it to Scalzi, and I’m pretty sure Scalzi goes to sleep each night on a large pile of money and doesn’t care.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:


                I don’t know if Correia was right to go after the Hugo’s the way he did. I would have spent my efforts elevating other awards rather than targeting the Hugo, but that is a value judgement. I do know his motivation was more than just the failure to net a Campbell. From what a remember of his writing at the start of it all, there was an element of snobbery he was offended by. He’s a pulp author, no question, one who seems to be doing exceptionally well as an author (i.e. making bank), and yet he talked a lot about being told he wasn’t a ‘real’ writer because he just wrote pulp, rather than something edgy that got noticed by the Hugos. It’s a theme that carries through his blog posts, and he carries that banner for other authors as well (Butcher, K.J. Anderson, etc.), where they are discounted as writers because they write fun stories that sell really well. Goes hand in hand with the whole WrongFan thing. I’ve seen enough grousing by other authors to think that Correia isn’t wrong (there is a real snobbery/wrongfan attitude), but all of the reactions have struck me as, well… a good example of Sayre’s Law, but as applied to publishing and fandom.

                Some folks just can’t be happy letting the big fat royalty checks be all the validation that’s needed.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                The Left Hand of Darkness won a Hugo more than 40 years ago. In Ancillary Justice, the pronoun thing is just a little detail in what’s, overall, a pretty straightforward space opera adventure.Report

              • El Muneco in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I’m probably reading the kerfluffle uncharitably, but my impression is that Sads tended to read the exclusive use of female pronouns as if it were, say, a college newspaper insisting on saying hu-person because “man” is gendered – so it was an imposition of social control in the way that exclusively using a male pronoun would not be, because tradition. So the pronoun, to them, breaks immersion, because it’s, to them, an imposition of real-world politics in a place it doesn’t belong.

                Whereas the author’s intent was to bring home that this was an alien viewpoint – this being literally doesn’t see human variations up to those as large as sexual characteristics, in the same way that we don’t see them among pigeons, or sharks. It only sees as far as “that’s a human”. In the 60s or 70s, Leckie would have made up a pronoun for that. We all remember how that ended. And “he” would work, but as the Sads pointed out, no one would notice the alienness because that’s the default even among us! So we ended up with the pronouns Leckie ended up using, but that has the unfortunate side effect that it sounds like something it isn’t and which rubs the Sads the wrong way.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to El Muneco says:

                The pronoun thing sounds like it would take a bit to get used to, but whatever, wouldn’t be the first, or even fiftieth story I’ve read with some viewpoint that took time to get used to.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to El Muneco says:

                The pronoun thing became a big deal because readers who were the sort of people who become very excited about pronoun choice made sure to rub everyone’s noses in it. The pronoun thing isn’t some very minor aspect of the work that got blown entirely out of proportion; it was invariably described as the whole reason we ought to be reading the book!Report

              • El Muneco in reply to DensityDuck says:

                That in no way invalidates what I said, and in fact reinforces it.

                I can very easily see how even well-intentioned communication could get distorted across the cultural gap. And there probably were people who were, let’s say, overenthusiastic.

                But sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to DensityDuck says:

                I remember Tor making a really big deal about the pronoun thing, so much so that I had to look up the book on Amazon to get any idea about the plot. Probably why I haven’t read it, because the marketing wasn’t aimed at me.

                @el-muneco Have you read it? Is there a good story in there?Report

              • El Muneco in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                DD’s comment prodded me to look back, and yeah, it looks like a fair number of people who have some strong leftist beliefs glommed onto the pronoun thing and did attempt to run AJ up the social justice flagpole. Then someone actually read it and it died back down. And I didn’t find much from Tor in the official publishing/editorial capacity, mostly outside commentaries hosted on their site.

                I haven’t read it, personally. I don’t read much since getting my new contacts, and while I didn’t bounce off the sample chapter, it doesn’t particularly speak to me, either. I’ve seen comparisons with Banks, and that seems apt – but Banks wrote “Consider Phlebas” as well as “Use of Weapons”, so it’s not determinative.

                Now I’m actually considering seeing what all the fuss was about. Maybe the audiobook.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Ancillary Justice is fantastic. (It’s the first novel ever to win the Hugo, Nebula, and ACC award. Also snagged the Locus and British SWFA).

                The pronoun thing only seems interesting to people who haven’t read the book, and if you haven’t read the book why do you care?

                (In terms of reading it, I kept realizing I just defaulted to everyone being a woman. Which would occasionally jar me into realizing no, they’re not all women. Which is a mistake the main character makes when dealing with other human civilizations — using the wrong pronoun and getting a bit of laughter or “good try”)Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

                It’s was all the focus on the pronoun thing, making it into a much bigger thing than it sounds like it is.

                Like saying that you should visit France because of the awesome cheese. The cheese is the best part, it is THE reason to visit France. And you are not a huge fan of cheese.

                One should not allow ideology to get in the way of proper marketing.

                PS I’ll put in my kindle queue.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                “as no one ever heard of Rendezvous with Rama and it’s sequels, where the aliens have 3 genders. Arthur C. Clarke isn’t exactly an unknown author,”

                ACC had bugger-all to do with the Rama “sequels”, beyond granting permission to use the name and the basic idea.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to DensityDuck says:

                DensityDuck: ACC had bugger-all to do with the Rama “sequels”, beyond granting permission to use the name and the basic idea.

                So? ACC set it up, and signed off on it, even if Lee did the writing.

                I remember my parents being all intrigued at the idea of 3 genders (damn hippies that they were).Report

    • El Muneco in reply to Morat20 says:

      A couple of things:

      – It’s Theodore Beale. “Vox Day” (Voice of Theo) is a pun on it.
      – I actually gained a lot of respect for the Sads. They are now what they should have been all along, a lobbying group of fans with a common interest. They didn’t put together a slate, or attempt any shenanigans whatsoever. Everything they did this year was within both the letter and spirit of the pre-slate implicit agreement within fandom.
      – The Sads actually might have had some traction if the Rabids hadn’t been so efficient.
      – Once again, I feel sorriest for the creators of legitimate works that were pushed off so that Beale’s gunsels could get him the right to stamp “Multiple Hugo Nominee” on the front of Castalia House organs.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to El Muneco says:

        I try not to say his name, lest I summon him. 🙂 Although I really don’t know how I got into the habit of calling him Charles, which I don’t think is in any way a diminutive for Theodore.

        I actually had no problems with the Sads myself this year. Unlike last year, they had recommendation lists (ie, lists longer than the number of slots on the category) — often considerably so — which makes them more akin to any author or fandom curating up a long list of “Stuff I liked that’s eligible this year”. More power to them, is my motto. As I’ve said before, I actually like the upcoming voting changes because it’ll bring in more diversity rather than less. Tastes often cluster, as it where. EPH would make sure no cluster took over a category, even the smaller ones (unless said cluster was a majority. Which at that point, majority…).

        Now last year? They may have been taken over by the Rabids, but they invited them in. They planned with them. They rolled out a coordinate campaign with matching logos. They went courting the GG idiots, for Pete’s sake. (OTOH, I sort of suspect that was mostly Wright;s idea to invite in VD).

        But this year? Two thumbs up for the Sad Puppies. If they’d have done that LAST year, no one would have given a crap.

        Honestly, other than the idiot who SWATted another author, the person I found the most odious last year was Wright. VD remains in a category entirely his own. And with VD, you know he’s a troll. Wright seemed to lack….the self-awareness. A man complaining about lack of diversity in the Hugo’s pushing a slate where one category was what, 3/5 his own works?

        If VD was as smart as he likes to think he is, I’d say the whole point of his vanity press is to qualify enough cronies (including, IIRC, hid own pre-teen) as authors under SWFA rules as some sort of convoluted scheme to get back at them by getting enough people in place. (Which would, honestly, also require the SWFA folks to be morons who have never met VD. And they’ve met VD).

        Honestly, the central irony of all of this was….the same group complaining about “left-wing bias” and “SJWs” and “message fic” being promoted over good, old fashioned sci-fi were the same people complaining about Ann Lecke. Ancillary Justice was exactly the sort of book they claimed was always getting passed over, and they hated it. Although to be honest, I’m not sure how many read it. It was…not at all like what they often said it was. (Well, maybe that and Wright literally complaining you couldn’t judge a book by it’s cover anymore).Report

  13. Hoosegow Flask says:

    Actually, black holes don’t suck…Report

  14. North says:

    So… Cruz has picked Fiorina as his running mate. I have to admit that this rocked me on my heels a bit. Picking a Veep this early is a gigantic waving banner broadcasting desperation and I didn’t think Cruz was there yet. I have to assume this is a combination of Trumps excellent performance on Tuesday and what must be some hair raising internal polls for him out of Indiana. On those grounds I’m very happily upgrading my Trump odds to even: 50/50.

    My Googling has failed me. Can anyone think of a successful candidate for the nod who named their veep pick this early? For either party? Certainly not in the last 30 years at least no? Sweet agnostic Jeebus I’m happy to be alive to be watching this farce.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to North says:

      It’s a horror show. Like Trump’s foreign policy speech.Report

      • North in reply to Burt Likko says:

        As you are a noble national minded man, counselor, with the overall welfare of the republic first in your thoughts it makes perfect sense that you would view the potential elevation of Trump to being within a theoretical shot at the presidency with horror.
        As a cynical and ruthless partisan, myself, I view his success in the GOP primary with schadenfreude that occasionally approaches physical rapture. As a Democratic supporter I feel like a wolf crouched along a country road hearing the approach of a golden belled veal calf somehow mysteriously escaped from his bonds. “Ding a ding ding” goodness my mouth is watering!Report

        • dexter in reply to North says:

          @North, I am one hundred percent with you on this one. My biggest regret it that they will not let them bring their guns to the convention.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to North says:

          This is all 12 Dimensional chess, but the other day someone pointed out to me that the Trumps & the Clintons so have been friends for a long time.

          If so, I can’t help but wonder if Trump isn’t a damned effective Clinton plant, deployed for the sole purpose of causing the GOP to implode.Report

          • North in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            If it was we need to get the architects of that scheme into office -immediately-. If Hillary or someone on her team could somehow predict that the man they should choose as a successful mole was a serially divorced, dubiously pro-life, New York loudmouth with little serious history with the GOP then we need them working foreign policy yesterday.Report

        • Francis in reply to North says:

          I dunno. Life doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game, and it’s a little depressing to see so many people convinced that it is. I listened to a couple of the early R debates and it was really striking to hear how different the tone was from Reagan. For all his faults, on the campaign trail he really did deliver a universal message of Morning In America for everyone. The debates seemed to be a competition as to who could demonize Democrats more.

          And he might win.Report

    • Autolukos in reply to North says:

      The obvious hope is that Fiorina retains some residual popularity among California Republicans from her 2010 Senate run. I don’t think it’s going to work out for Cruz, but then I don’t think continuing on his previous path would work out, either.Report

      • North in reply to Autolukos says:

        Agreed, it’s a Hail Mary, but if he’s Hail Marying now well he’s basically robbing his general chances to try and get the nod.
        I just hadn’t thought Cruz was quite that desperate yet but then again the way the NRO crowd is screaming for the party to rally in Indiana suggests it is that desperate for them.Report

        • Autolukos in reply to North says:

          I don’t really see any way this hurts his chances in the general, if he makes it that far. Fiorina is as capable as anyone of standing on a stage and seeming like she wouldn’t be a significant downgrade from Ted Cruz.Report

          • North in reply to Autolukos says:

            Eh, there’s a reason campaigns put off picking a Veep until later. Also Fiorina doesn’t meet most of the Veep profiles. She’s not from a battleground state, she doesn’t really balance out Cruz, she doesn’t bring in an otherwise disaffected constituency (Abortion absolutists were going to go with Cruz anyhow).Report

            • Will Truman in reply to North says:

              I agree with you that this is a move of desperation, but Carly is someone that non-TP and non-evangelical types are comfortable with. She does kind of expand his base within the party, to the extent that any VP candidate can.Report

            • Autolukos in reply to North says:

              That might decrease the number of votes the VP draws from 0 to 0, I supposeReport

              • Autolukos in reply to Autolukos says:

                I feel like this might come of as dismissive in a way I didn’t mean, so I’ll expand a bit.

                Fiorina doesn’t really come with an apparent constituency within the party, but she did more to earn her 15 minutes earlier in the campaign than most sideshow candidates and has been a reasonable surrogate since signing on with Cruz. The impact of VP picks is overrated in any case; nobody was going to suddenly make Cruz a significantly more attractive candidate.

                The reason campaigns usually pick a VP later appears to be entirely a matter of how the convention and primary systems developed; I don’t think there is a great downside to moving early.Report

              • North in reply to Autolukos says:

                I agree in a lukewarm manner but picking this early still vibes desperation to me.Report