I read a most interesting post today on the ongoing tempest in a teapot of the Hugo Awards:
This is a dialog between two members on opposite sides of the issue who, by treating each other with civility, suddenly discovered that peace broke out all along their front, and troopers in the trenches started singing Christmas hymns together, and exchanging gifts across the barbed wire and corpse littered no man’s land.
The two are riffing off a blog post by Sad Puppies 3 captain Brad Torgersen, in which identifies tribalism as the mechanism behind the enmity, or, at least, behind the high passions driving the enmity. This is why they refer to the two sides as ‘tribes.’
Floris: To get to that point, I think it’s essential that all Tribes acknowledge their own responsibility for the whole fracas, tone down their rhetoric, and enter a dialogue about the things that they do see as positive in the other. Find common ground, explore the similarities in their opinions and objectives, and work from there. A bit like you and I are doing, assuming for the sake of argument that you’re more of a Puppies fan, and simplifying matters by sticking myself in the WorldCon tribe (both of which are probably major simplifications, if not errors). There are clearly Tribes in specfic fandom that reflect the socio-political Tribes in the world at large, but I expect that bottom-line, fans have more in common than these bickering sub-Tribes think, and that the tribe of specfic fans has more to unite than to divide them.
Keranih: Yes, yes, yes, this – Fans are My People. I reserve the right to be very cranky at other Fans, but still. Team Fandom!
Floris: To get to this point, I think it’s essential that all Tribes acknowledge their own responsibility for the whole fracas, tone down their rhetoric, and enter a dialogue about the things that they do see as positive in the other.
Keranih: Yes. And I say again – we didn’t get to this level of vitriol overnight. We’re not going to fix it tonight. But we do need to start, and we need to acknowledge up front that it is going to be a long process with compromise, hurt feelings, and stop, I am too pissed off to talk to you any more right now from both (all? yes, ALL) sides. We need to be willing to invest the time and be willing to accept temporary deadlocks in order to get to the best solution.
I concur with the peacemakers, and urge my fellow fans to whom science fiction is beloved and for whom the Hugos still recall an echo of dignity to adopt a less belligerent posture.
Remove or silence those among you who see science fiction as a tool of social engineering and to whom entertainment is subordinate to political correctness, and I will break my saber over my knee and throw the shards in the sea.
Here are my terms: Halt the libels and lies and keep a civil tongue in your mouth, and there will be peace.
I offer no concessions in return because I have none to offer. When you and yours leveled the accusation that I was a White Supremacist Misogynist Hatemonger you knew it was false, as did every honest onlooker.
I could ask Brad Togersen’s wife to squint her eyes and grit her teeth and make herself Caucasian by an effort of will, but she lacks the power to do so. Nor can Larry Correia make himself non-Portuguese to please you. Nor can Sarah Hoyt by alchemy become a male. Nor can Vox Day cease being a racist because he is not one. You cannot even quote one unedited line of his writing to support the accusation.
Nor can I cease being a one horned one eye flying purple people eater for the very simple reason that I am not one now. I cannot become less of something I am not by any means, real or theoretical.
Nor can I unbaptize myself as a Christian: the chrism, being invisible, is ineradicable.
You and yours, however, can and may cease leveling false accusations at me at any time you wish, merely by ceasing to level them.
As I said, I concur with the peacemakers, but I predict the warmakers have the right of it.
I predict that the politically correct would far rather destroy what little meaning the Hugos retain than surrender the greasy pleasure of calling Vox Day a racist.
Give up slander? It is their only hobby. Give up the power to police thoughts and ruin careers? Give up on the Two Minute Hate? Give up the dream of trampling a human face forever?
It is the only distraction that fills their inward void.
The thought policemen will not exit the dim and comfy thought-prison of political correctness. One might as well ask the dotty old spinster to surrender her dozen cats.
I proffer the olive branch, knowing full well none will hear and answer. I do this only to demonstrate to undecided onlookers which side seeks peace.
If heaven is gracious, all my predictions will prove hollow.
I pray it so! I would rather be in the good opinion of men like George RR Martin and Charles Stross, men whose writing I admire and whose success is unquestioned, than continue to receive their unearned and unexpected sneers and slights. Mr Scalzi, to my knowledge, holds no enmity toward me, and I certainly hold none toward him. I find him likeable, and a writer of solid, if modest, accomplishment.
Mike Glyer seems a reasonable man. He might prove me wrong, and accept peace.
As for Mr Damian Walter of the Guardian, he is not a writer, not a part of science fiction, and scholarly opinion is divided as to whether he is part of the human race. I seek nothing from him and accept nothing from him. Let the earth swallow him at a gulp that he may vanish without an outcry.