Well this explains it. The article George R.R. Martin Accused of Racism, Generally Sucking After Hosting Hugos (also found at Vulture) contains a link to my December 5, 2018 blog post Is SciFi Author/Editor Robert Silverberg Really Racist and Sexist (or has the internet once again lost its mind)?. It’s gotten hundreds of hits in the last day or so, and I couldn’t figure out why.
Interestingly enough, the article I found as a pingback to Updexnews.com used the phrase “racist history” as part of the link when referring to my Silverberg article, and I hadn’t intended to call Silverberg a racist (really, I’m shocked I haven’t gotten even a single piece of hate mail yet).
On this twitter account, I found the following image posted prominently. It was the first indication I had of yet another WorldCon social purging by the righteous (yes, I’m being snarky…I’ll explain below).
Based on that alone, it looks like Martin simply blundered in pronouncing unfamiliar names and was immediately branded a racist by the petty slights of the hypersensitive.
But when I searched for the #HugoAwards hashtag on twitter, I came up with a whole bunch of criticisms, including those by Dag-Erling Smørgrav (no blue check mark, but he sure has a lot to say) about how Martin knew exactly what he was doing and did it anyway, citing famous but apparently social justice “troubled” authors Robert Heinlein and H.P Lovecraft.
Then, on the Official 79th WorldCon twitter account, came a recording of Jeannette Ng’s (who astonishingly hasn’t blocked me on twitter yet) acceptance speech (I didn’t bother listening to it) for a Hugo for “Best Related Work.” This was for her last year’s acceptance speech of the John W. Campbell award, which she then proceeded to trash. She won a Hugo for an acceptance speech calling Campbell (who admittedly had a “difficult” past) a racist, thus forcing the award to be named something more generic and inoffensive. Okey-dokey (Oddly enough, she featured prominently in a blog post I wrote just a few days ago).
Some bloggers, such as Hugo nominee Cora Buhlert and Camestros Felapton attempted to take a somewhat higher perspective by presenting analysis and statistics of the awards respectively (although the latter’s link to The Puppy Kerfuffle Timeline did remind me that some people have a tough time letting go of the past).
And no commentary on yet another WorldCon disaster would be complete without consulting the folks at File 770 and their latest essay Pixel Scroll 8/3/20 Undeserved Loss And Inaccessible Healing.
That’s where I took the screenshot of Ng’s twitter commentary which states amazingly:
The Hugos gains more legitimacy, more relevance, more clout from the participation of marginalised writers than we do from them. Without us, they stop being the future.
Tade Thompson, the person Ng was responding to, was lamenting how he (yes, I checked his personal pronouns which he displayed on his twitter account) was devalued by “old/dead racist bigots” and threw in the proverbial towel.
But Ng’s statement at least suggests, along with a few things I’ve quoted her as saying before, that because some otherwise very famous, very talented authors, luminaries in the history of science fiction, have also held “unpopular attitudes” (really, I’ve been reading Heinlein for decades and I had no idea, I just liked his books), all white men both in the past and present, are now evil unless they can show their official social justice credentials…but they’ll have to work at it.
No, she didn’t really say that, but for years, I’ve suspected it would come to this.
Also, for years, I’ve said that I thought there was room enough at the table for ALL people, for authors from everywhere, representing the widest possible number of perspectives. However, it’s not, nor will it ever be truly inclusive, if you include “marginalised writers” whilst throwing out the old guys. Not all of us are Hitler.
I’m sure I’ll never be a good enough writer to win an award, Hugo or any other kind. Today, I found out, I wouldn’t want a Hugo award even if I were offered one. Just me showing up (assuming the world governments will ever open up the planet again) at a WorldCon as a white, American, cisgender, male who is actually married with children and grandchildren would likely get me hung up by my proverbial thumbs, all in the name of “social justice” and “pale, stale white, males are not wanted” and “we don’t serve your kind here.”
To put it another way, “why give money to people who hate me?”
Expressed differently, for yet another year, WorldCon makes me feel “icky”. Were there other, more sane and stable activities present at this virtual Con? Probably. But other people who have been more involved already chronicled them.
Disclosure. Before I went to bed last night, I considered writing a commentary on all this, but I was too tired and frankly, not in the mood to confront this level of hostility. But once again, insomnia became my unwelcome guest, and for lack of anything better to do, I tackled this. Yes, I’m tired and grumpy, and if my mind were clear and my soul refreshed, this might have turned out a lot differently. It didn’t and so be it. I may or may not return to this topic later.
But I mean, why bother?
Addendum – The Next Morning: Scrolled through Jeannette Ng’s twitter account just now and came across someone’s suggestion that Ng should be nominated for a “Best Related Work” Hugo for 2021 for denouncing George R.R. Martin. Remember, she won a “Best Related Work” Hugo this year for denouncing John W. Campbell last year. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around how you can win a prestigious science fiction and fantasy award for expressing an opinion about people who, while talented and famous, are also very opinionated (who’s opinionated?) and caustic. Thankfully, she had the grace to say that, if nominated, she would turn it down.
To be continued…maybe.