Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Links of Interest: Anticommunist Ponies and the Hugos

As many of you readers may have noticed, this has been quite an explosive week. The Hugo nominations were finally released last Saturday to a storm - no, a hurricane - of controversy. I'll link to some remarks on that tempest in a tea cup in a bit. First, however, I'd like to draw attention to Saturday's season-opener for My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, which, in these quarters, might arouse considerable interest:

Brandon Morse, The Federalist
I feel it’s necessary to preface this article by stating that I am not a brony. I’ve met a couple, and I don’t exactly…get it.
Don't worry, Brandon. I don't think you lose your man card by appreciating a good allegory -- even if the show is targeted to little girls.
After the leader has been exposed, the town revolts, reclaiming their cutie marks and thus their individuality. Using their reclaimed unique skills, they rescue the main characters’ marks and thus their powers, while chasing the villain into a mountain cave system, where they lose her. The show ends with the now-unique and fun-looking village having a party. 
To children, this message is clear. It’s better to be yourself than to be the same as everyone else. What they won’t realize is that the show uses many references to the real world to do it.
I was actually thinking of Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" while watching these episodes the other night -- and I agree that the choice of theme was quite remarkable. I know many in my audience (of gun-totin' dudes and the Odd girls who love them) may balk at this suggestion, but -- go and watch it. Don't let the ponies and all the pink distract you from the pure awesome.

But anyway, now to the Hugos. Dear. Lord. 

To peruse the final shortlist, click here. Personally, I was quite shocked at how well certain despondent infant canines performed-- and I was doubly shocked to see the dominance of Vox Day's alternative selections. I consider Day a professional shit-stirrer who is much too extreme for my taste and consequently read him only on occasion, so I had no idea he had that kind of a following.

As you might expect, once this result was confirmed, fandom proceeded to lose its collective mind -- and the noise drew the attention of certain mainstream media outlets, who dispensed with all the dull fact-checking stuff and uncritically ran one side's preferred narrative. I'll give you one guess which side that happened to be.

(In the interest of fairness, I should note that Breitbart and The Federalist have both published articles favoring the Puppies. Still, in a contest between these alternative conservative publications and Entertainment Weekly, who's going to win on the influence front?)

I've been a Sad Puppy booster from the beginning (though I am also an independent-minded cuss who posted her own personal slate here and here). I know these folks' intentions, and they are not to scuttle the Hugos or drive out "diverse" voices. Granted, there is a political tinge in the movement; a good chunk of us are libertarians or conservatives of various flavors, which is why Breitbart and The Federalist took notice. But that is an accident of the Sad Puppy philosophy, which stresses ideological diversity and solid story-telling over navel gazing and genre-destructive literary pretensions. Said philosophy operates on strongly individualist assumptions, so it will naturally attract those who hold political views built on the same base.

And yes -- I can admit there's probably also a bit of spite involved (directed not at the Hugo Awards specifically but at the fandom elite). Please excuse my French here, but people are really fucking angry. Why? Well, Larry Correia explains our thoughts pretty well in the following posts:

A Letter to the SMOFs, Moderates, and Fence-Sitters from the Author Who Started Sad Puppies

Addendum to Yesterday's Letter

And I suggest you read the following post by Brad Torgersen as well:

A Dispatch from Fort Living Room

For years now, a vociferous and powerful minority of radical left-wing science fiction fans has worked hard to beat down every nail that dares stick out. Indeed, I wrote about this very phenomenon as early as 2010. Any deviation from approved groupthink, no matter how mild, has resulted in relentless bullying and, in some cases, successful Stalinist purges. Quite frankly, we nails are sick of it. We're sick of being forced to self-censor, we're sick of being dishonestly vilified for having contrary opinions, and we're sick of the double standard that forces us to disavow characters like Vox Day while virulently racist SJW's like K. Tempest Bradford get a pass. Do you get it? Do you understand the origin of this uprising? Do you now understand why some folks on our side have been less than polite? Why do we have to play by the Marquess of Queensbury rules while the other side gets to wear metal cleats?

I have more to say on this whole brouhaha, but I need to head to work, so it'll have to wait until tomorrow. In the meantime... enjoy the posts I've linked above! 

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