Thursday, May 5, 2016

2016 Hugo Awards: Porn, Puppies and Pedophilia

So the 2016 Hugo nominations just came out, and I’m not even sure I should blog about them here in my blog about YA and science fiction. Holy cow, it’s even worse than last year.

So this year the Sad Puppies’ list was helmed by women, and they played cooperatively with the other kids in distributing their recommendations. The Rabid Puppies, meanwhile, managed to get a porn parody and a couple of essays about pedophilia onto the ballot, among other things.  Some of my nominations – Andy Weir and The Martian, Mike Glyer and File 770 – made the list, but others got shafted, like Wylding Hall and Cat Pictures, Please

I’m not even going to talk about the porn parody here, although I did think it was funny.  As for the pedophilia essays, they both generally allege that liberalism and homosexuality lead to pedophilia. The nominations list came out on April 26, 2016. The very next day, April 27th, former United States Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (Republican) was sentenced to prison for molesting children. So much for the claim that pedophilia is caused by political persuasion.

One of the nominated pedophilia essays, entitled Safe Space as Rape Room, lists several prominent SF writers that have also been pedos, then extends some flimsy causation theories to insinuate it’s all a big conspiracy.

The other one is a personal account written by Moira Greyland about her abusive mother Marion Zimmer Bradley [“MZB”], who wrote a feminist revisionist version of the King Arthur story called Mists of Avalon, among lots of other things, during a decades-long career as a successful sf/fantasy novelist.

MZB occupied a corner of the sprawling Bay Area subculture of science fiction afficionados, hippies, neuroatypicals, mystics, creatives and similar escapists.  I occupied a different area of this subculture, when I was young and dreaming of being a science fiction writer myself, hanging out with my fellow tattooed alternative types, playing music and stuff. I had some interesting adventures and met some weird people. I refuse to discuss any details until I’ve outlived everyone involved, but I got to go to some cool parties and chill with fun people, including some decent writers, the only one of which that I’ll namedrop is Fritz Leiber, since he was old and infirm and I was too shy to say anything, so there wasn’t much interaction. And I’ll namedrop Captain Colourz too, since he did one of my tattoos. At all relevant times discussed herein I was a consenting adult. 

Kind of a boring one, in fact. I’m straight, but I’ve always been a tomboy that likes guitars and computers and Dungeons & Dragons, and therefore I’ve always felt more comfortable with people who clash with traditional gender stereotypes. Guys that wear eyeliner, women who are good at math, people like that. The corner of the subculture where I hung out emphasized consenting adulthood,  because it included families, and nobody wanted their children to get molested, nor did they want the non-subculture authorities prying into their family lives and uncovering scandals such as open marriages and homosexuality. 

I was interpersonally backwards when I first encountered the subculture, coming from a family that didn’t believe in socializing. We moved frequently, and dad didn’t really like it when we interacted with other people, although we all did it anyway. A total of five people attended my dad’s funeral, all of them relatives. During the punk era my lack of social grace wasn't really a problem, and later on it became a moot issue when I learned that I’m happiest when I do most of my socializing through handheld devices such as computers and guitars, but upon leaving the nest I had no idea how normal people socialize, and things like choosing hostess gifts or exchanging holiday cards can still throw me into a panic.

I usually tell people I grew up in a cult when they notice my unusual affectations from that period – I wasn’t really coerced or imprisoned, but there was a considerable amount of groupthink, along with some power tripping regarding going along with the groupthink, and I turned out to be allergic to that.  Due to this allergy, I didn’t get along with the MZB-related cliques at all, because I always seemed to be getting into arguments with control freaks and their pseudoscience … er, with my fellow dreamers who differed slightly in the expression of those dreams. I quickly racked up several enemies in the sf/fantasy world, torpedoing my reputation in the bud.

Fortunately I had plenty of dreams and could survive the dashing of a few, so I gave up on the whole science fiction novel plan and wrote madcap nonsense for zines, and then I ended up in the alternative press, where I wrote hippie mysticism and developed fresh, new antagonistic relationships with journalists.

And then, right around the turn of the century, I became disillusioned and I got divorced, and I cut people off – including my NorCal nerd and alt-press subcultures – because I felt the need to recalibrate my moral compass. I ultimately became kind of a boring liberal who is mainly into pragmatic things like accessible healthcare and reducing carbon dependence.

Ms. Greyland, who was unfortunately not a consenting adult at all times discussed herein, also recalibrated. She became a social conservative who opposes gay marriage.  I disagree with her, but I can understand that pedophilia might lend a whiff of rot to everything a child associates with the experience.

I don’t feel right voting for Ms. Greyland given the political message attached to her work. Yet at the same time, her account stirred up memories. During a particularly harsh time in my own life (twenty-two years ago today, in fact), I was given some remarkably sensitive assistance by a person who had been victimized by MZB. I’m not going to provide any details on this person’s identity but I hope they’re happy and healthy, and if they care to get in touch (and can handle my lack of social grace) I’d love to buy them dinner sometime.

And you know what? MZB was a bitch. Fuck her, fuck her books, fuck her enablers, fuck all her fellow pedophiles, and fuck her again for being fucking evil enough to fucking inspire me to use the F word here in my YA blog, repeatedly. I’ll stop now. I probably won’t do it again.

And you know what else I don’t like? Bad arguments. I don’t believe college sports, or religion, or politics, or science fiction, or homosexuality causes pedophilia. I think respectability “causes” pedophilia, because pedophiles seem to flock to whatever they think will make them look respectable. You can’t really ban respectability because it attracts pedos.  It’s like banning babies because some of them will grow up to be serial killers. Or members of the House of Representatives, or players of college football, or fans of science fiction.

So here’s what I’ve decided as far as Related Work goes this year: this particular vote-dispensing machine doesn’t produce feeding pellets for rats that press the slate button, and I’m going to vote No Award for this heavily slated category, but I do think that Ms. Greyland’s piece is worthy of some discussion, so here I am, discussing it. Both of the essays were hard to read but Ms. Greyland’s especially brought tears to my eyes. I wish her some much-deserved happiness.

Over the years I’ve drifted away from most science fiction – not from reading it, but from the interpersonal drama involved in liking it in conjunction with others. This whole Sad/Rabid Puppies versus the Hugo awards is a case in point. I’m trying to imagine the Motion Picture Academy spite-nominating a porn film for Best Picture, and I can’t.  

And yet I love science fiction stories, and I realized I couldn’t go to my grave without composing a few of my own. I think that the pendulum is swinging in a direction against tolerance for all kinds of wicked people including pedophiles, and I certainly don’t object at all to the backlash-inspired practices that are becoming prevalent today, such as anti-harassment policies, and everyone carrying a videocamera in their pocket, and less wiggle room with regard to consent.  

And that's all the thought I want to give to the Related Works category this year. I’ll write about the other categories later, after I read them.  



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