This year the Hugos have been rocked with political conflict. There is so much trash talk flying around about the situation that it is probably impossible to make any comment without making one or both sides angry. In spite of that, here is my take on the entire affair.
First, more than enough vitriol has been flung in all directions. I have no intention of adding to the attempts to attack the motivations, personal morality and character of anyone on any side. Although I will say that it never fails to amaze me when I see people crawling around in the mud, hurling their own feces at other people and claiming to be pure of heart and full of noble intentions. The lack of self-awareness is frightening.
To me the whole thing boils down to another front opened up in the ongoing Culture Wars, where “progressive” and “conservative” ideologies have been in conflict for decades. This culture war is tearing Western Civilization itself apart, and in many areas (politics, for example) the war has significantly damaged friendships, business partnerships and professional organizations. And it appears that it will only continue to get worse.
It is the sign of the ideologue that they believe their side in any debate is pure and blameless and the other side is evil and hateful. I am not an ideologue. There are legitimate debatable issues that adults with reasonable tolerance to other people’s views could discuss and come to some reasonable terms to try to address real or perceived injustice. But I am afraid that “adult” and “reasonable tolerance” are no longer terms that apply to a surprising number of people. And the less they apply to a person, the more vocal that person seems to be.
I don’t know how this will all end up, but I have already been defriended by one person simply for asking that person to provide some evidence to support a rather inflammatory statement implying that none of the nominees on the Sad Puppies ballots were worthy of a Hugo award, and that any award given this year would be tainted beyond redemption.
It is painful to watch relationships being torn apart on social media. I would ask that people take a deep breath, calm down and remember that science fiction and fantasy are something that we all share as an interest and the last thing any of us would want to do is damage the credibility and reputation of our favorite genres. But that is exactly what we are doing. It’s sad.