Now, let me preface this a bit by throwing this out there for anyone to catch. I am not a hippie. I mean not even kind of. My wardrobe looks more like Kerry King than Jimi Hendrix. Yes, I do own a pair of sandals. One pair, compared to the 3 pair of work boots and 1 pair of cowboy boots. Those sandals are a bit ragged from my Velociraptor toes wearing down the front part. They are also covered with grease and oil, cause I will throw those on my Flintstone paws, meander out to the garage to work on this engine or that motorcycle and end up tossing them to the side and just going barefoot. I can’t even properly walk in sandals and I am not afraid of saying so. My damn feet slide all around in them, my toes cramp up from trying to keep them from flying into the air striking a bird or small child, and that floppy part in the front always seems to catch on everything in my path, causing me to stumble, curse, retrieve said sandal, and hurl it angrily as far as I can. So yes, even though I own sandals I don’t really wear them.
Sandals? Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, hippies! Hippies and Puppies. Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies. Puppies and Hugos! Hugos and people!
Now I am back on track so let us continue. The Hugo awards are considered by many people the pinnacle of SciFi/ Fantasy literary achievements. Sometime in the near past (like the past few days but I suck at remembering what today is let alone other days backwards) the Hugos had their ceremony and winners were selected. This of course brought the Sad Puppy and Rabid Puppy agenda back into the limelight. You know what I am speaking of right?
You don’t? Well, instead of enlightening you with all the chaos I will link this article which sums its up perfectly. Now, go read.
Really, go read it. It is a good article. Even if you think you know the whole story go read it. I will wait.
Done? Great! I read it and thought it was a great summary also. Wait….why would I read it? I am a self-proclaimed writer so I should know it all. I mean, I write so therefore I am a writer. Does that automatically entitle me to know of and be involved with every piece of drama that pops into the literary world? Why….. no it doesn’t. Mind you, I understand the deep implications of the entire fiasco. I can read between the lines and see who just punched who in the face with an agenda. Agenda’s hurt most of the time. Just because I understand the ins and outs does not mean I see the point. Well ok, to clarify: I see the point all too well.
In fact when all this Puppy/ Anti-Puppy behavior came to a head I simply ignored it. gasp Shocking! Scandalous to not get involved with the scandal! I saw it, muttered “Damn drama” to myself, then moved on to happier playgrounds. Then it came roaring back in my field of view. I swept it under a rug with all the other drama-bunnies and went about drinking whiskey and riding motorcycles too damn fast. Then the drama interjected itself into my life again. Now, it had me hooked. I figured, all this fuss must be over something world-changing so I should educate myself.
So I did. I looked into the entire vile episode……..and felt sick.
Why did I feel sick? Was it the colorful language that both sides hurled vehemently at each other? Not even kinda. Words are weird little things because if you let them they can open new worlds, open your mind, or utterly destroy the things you care deeply about. Reread that sentence. Pay close attention to “if you let them.” Remember folks…sticks and stones….sticks and stones. So no, the foul language didn’t bother me. Hell, I think I even expanded my already colorful vocabulary a bit.
So what did cause me to feel nauseous? The pure, unadulterated, blind hate being carelessly thrown about. Neither side seemed to ever listen to the other.
I must interject something before I continue. The Rabid Puppies, particularly Vox Day never had an agenda. I liken him unto the Madonna of sci-fi lit today. Not Madonna as the virgin, as in the Like a Virgin. See, controversy sells. Madonna knew that, and sold millions of albums. Controversy can turn a nobody into a somebody. Rabid Puppies understood that and turned a possibly healthy conversation toxic. Enough about them, because honestly I don’t care enough. And no one can make me care.
What I do care about however is the very real argument brought up that turned into a vicious dog fight. The real argument centered around two groups with opposing ideals wanting the same goal. Equality and not to be treated unfairly. That sounds like a reasonable argument. The Sad Puppy group thinks that the Sci Fi/ Fantasy genre is too centered on catch phrases like “diversity” and social justice issues, rather than on plot and story. They believe that unless a story includes various modern social issues it will get ignored. The Anti-Puppy faction thinks that the genre has been too long dominated by old white men writing about old white men things, like old white aliens firing old white lasers while riding old white space ostriches screaming “Old White Man Power!” to the heavens. I cannot disagree with them. The genre has had a predominant influence by a certain group that fit a certain mold. Guilty! The punishment is to become more open and tolerant of other races, religions, sexual orientations, diets, favorite colors, grasskins, carnivores and herbivores, basically if you aren’t old and white and male you should be given the keys to your shackles and unleash your literary imaginings unto the world.
So that makes the Anti-Puppy brigade right! I mean, I whole heartedly agree that everyone should be treated equal. And I saw the two camps lobbing verbal fireballs at the ramparts of the enemy so that means the Sad Puppies are found guilty. The punishment shall be……..?
See, here is the dilemma faced. Both sides seems to want equality at the expense of the other. Neither side is willing to agree that both have valid points. Equality is never won by limiting another. In the words of an infamous drunk driver, “Can’t we all just get along?”
Which brings me back to my sandals…. I mean hippies! The hippies that lived Make Love Not War. The putting flowers in rifle barrels at universities hippies. The ones that understood that hate only begets hate. And through hate nothing gets achieved. We need more hippies these days. They are out there people. In fact, I would feel confident going out on a limb saying the majority of people just want happiness in their life. They don’t care about the agendas. Sure, some will argue that the hijacking of the nominations and the resulting awards given or not given will prove that people do care.
Simply, no they don’t. The loudest voices on the internet is the smallest group. The largest group are the ones who read what they want and bypass the drama. That large group transcends all the labels the small, loud groups place on themselves. Witty names, catchy phrases,
pound signs hash tags, flags, and -isms are a really small group that seems to scream at everyone that doesn’t agree with them. Be you a Puppy or a Puppy Pounder, your venomous hate is a toxic plague upon literature.
Make Stories Not War.
My 2 coppers for what it’s worth.