Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

White Guys on the Loose!

In the last week or so before the Hugo Awards are to be announced, the big players have weighed in with a suspiciously familiar set of talking points:

Yes! Magazine declares: “Next week, on Aug. 22, voters will decide if these awards are still about celebrating excellent writing and innovative ideas, or if they are just another blood-drenched battleground in the conflict between white male traditionalists and everyone else.”

NPR says: “More women, writers of color have been winning Hugos lately, and that’s caused a backlash from a group of mostly white male writers and fans. They call themselves the Sad Puppies.”

The New York Times reports: “They say the Hugos had become hijacked by progressive politics…. Their opponents, many of whom said they would vote for ‘No Award,’ say that science fiction has diversified beyond white men.”

Am I really supposed to believe that none of these news outlets is aware that way back in April Entertainment Weekly had to post a retraction for pushing a similar narrative?

After misinterpreting reports in other news publications, EW published an unfair and inaccurate depiction of the Sad Puppies voting slate, which does, in fact, include many women and writers of color. As Sad Puppies’ Brad Torgerson explained to EW, the slate includes both women and non-caucasian writers, including Rajnar Vajra, Larry Correia, Annie Bellet, Kary English, Toni Weisskopf, Ann Sowards, Megan Gray, Sheila Gilbert, Jennifer Brozek, Cedar Sanderson, and Amanda Green.

But hey… I guess it’s possible that these crack journalists aren’t up to speed on how to use Google. They could still old school this one if they had the heart for it, though. If they wanted to do some of the actual work of reporting on this topic, maybe they could… you know… talk to some of the people that are involved? Like, I dunno… some of the inconvenient women that don’t fit the stereotype they’re trying to manufacture?

I am not a heterosexual white man. I am not an angry white man. I am not racist or misogynist. No matter how many times you repeat it, it will not make it true, and I will not go away. I stand here still, with those like me, looking at you and repeating: I am an inconvenient woman.

Ah well… I don’t know if these people are brazenly pushing a narrative that they in fact know is untrue or if they are so incompetent they have no clue how to do their jobs. Either way they have zero credibility.

SPJ, if you’re listening… you know about all of those mistakes that were made last year in the coverage of gamergate? You know… the ones that are all water under the bridge for you because they put your entire profession in such a bad light? Well… your people are up to their same old tricks. In fact, they seem to be recycling the exact same narrative that they wore out last year! Any chance you can get somebody on this that actually has some journalistic ethics? You know, to show us that you guys are actually capable of covering complex news stories in the internet age…?

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18 responses to “White Guys on the Loose!

  1. Louis J. Desy Jr. August 20, 2015 at 7:55 am

    I think what is appalling is that these outlets are supposed to be reputable publications and newscasts that are supposed to have journalists and fact checkers working for them to put out accurate stories, ensuring that what is reported is accurate. Instead, we see stories that are really opinion pieces about how the writer feels on an issue or ‘infotainment’ (stories meant to entertain the reader, viewer or watcher; not meant to inform), masquerading as journalism where facts are missed, the facts presented in the article are wrong, opinions or conclusions are presented with no sources, etc. In the ‘old days’ editors would have never allowed this to happen, or reporters that slipped one by such editors would have been bawled out. Today we see this going on all over the place with click bait stories on the internet (misleading headlines to get viewers to click on the article for ad revenue), poor spelling, grammar and sentence structure. Sometimes the story is so poorly written that it is not clear what the main point is of the story. In some cases it looks like there was no editing or review before the story was posted.

    Louis J. Desy Jr.

    • jeffro August 20, 2015 at 8:00 am

      The panel of journalists at SPJ Airplay scoffed at the notion of Gawker Media having any standing as a news source. The subtext was that “real” journalists aren’t like that. But if NPR and The New York Times are really not substantially different from Gawker in their day to day operations, then I have to wonder if there really are all that many “real” journalists out there….

    • BobtheRegisterredFool August 20, 2015 at 6:33 pm

      I’ve been getting the impression that newspapers are for senile old people. When I was young, I was big on newspapers. Now I ask that people not send me links to NYT articles, because I doubt there is any data worth the analysis.

  2. Cirsova August 20, 2015 at 10:14 am

    “We can’t cover these stories because they’re too hard!”
    “But that didn’t stop several outlets from covering them, covering them the same way and covering them wrong.”

    Also, congrats on your backhanded shoutout from GRRM! It almost sounds like he may have put you somewhere on his ballot.

    • jeffro August 20, 2015 at 12:00 pm

      Yes, GRRM has his eye on my category– especially since the person he backed is the one who filled Matthew David Surridge’s place when he dropped out. For those that missed it, here’s the text:

      Most fan writing is… well, more fannish, often featuring wit and humor. Trip reports, con reports, satires. Investigative journalism, of the sort featured in Mixon’s report, is seldom seen here, and might have had a tough go. But none of the usual fan writers made the cut this year. Most of those opposed to the slates are going to unite behind Mixon, I think. The strongest of the Puppy candidates is Jeffro Johnson, who seems to be mostly a book reviewer. And yes, book reviewers have won here before. Dick Geis comes to mind, and Charles N. Brown as well (though Charlie did a lot more).

      • Cirsova August 20, 2015 at 12:06 pm

        I guess the part that strikes me as odd is the notion that people who write about books are seen as the exception in the fan-writer category.

      • H.P. August 20, 2015 at 1:25 pm

        If this whole thing has taught me anything, it’s that the Hugo Awards are less about books than about the people writing them, to the award’s discredit.

    • jeffro August 20, 2015 at 12:30 pm

      This is normal for “fandom”. You can see this in this video about Seacon 1979 where the archetypical fans say, “a lot of fanzines are about gossip and individual people in fandom; they’re very rarely about science fiction at all” and “a professional magazine isn’t quite as scurrilous as a fanzine; if you want to know real stuff about authors you may be able to find it out in a fanzine– not so much in a professional one. They can get sued but we haven’t got any money, so….”

  3. jlv61560 August 20, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Why in the world would you think that any of these outlets even care about the *actual* issues? Or the SPJA, for that matter. None of them have worried about facts since the 1960’s and it’s been all about the narrative since before Geraldo Rivera chased that pimp down the alley. Appealing to them to actually do “jounalism” is like appealing to a fish to do differential equations.

    • jeffro August 20, 2015 at 1:55 pm

      Well, if they are going to pose as professionals, then they need to be held accountable to their own supposed standards. No, I don’t much care for how they cover games, science fiction, and fantasy. It’s easier to create an alternative than it is to police the chowder-heads. Either way, it’s a lot of work though. As far as I’m concerned, they’ve earned quite a share of push-back. It’s practically a civic duty to contribute to that.

    • yacheritsi August 26, 2015 at 9:41 am

      It’s been longer than since the 60’s.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Duranty#Calls_for_revocation_of_Pulitzer_Prize

      _The concern over Duranty’s reporting on the famine in Soviet Ukraine led to a move to posthumously and symbolically strip him of his Pulitzer award he garnered in 1932, the year the famine started, although the Pulitzer in question did not involve the famine._

      “although the Pulitzer in question did not involve the famine.”

      Indeed.

      • jeffro August 26, 2015 at 9:44 am

        Interesting thing about that… Duranty’s reporting did not fool Edgar Rice Burroughs. He knew exactly what those people were.

  4. BobtheCertifiedIdiot August 22, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Why there will be Sad Puppies:

    The short answer is Kate Paulk, and the long answer is Jim Baen.

    The diabolical Morman Man Kate Paulk is going to be head of Sad Puppies 4. There is nothing legal the opposing forces can do that will stop her.

    Jim Baen was a nefarious Morman who like rayguns, exploding spaceships, and the like. Odds are that if you liked a story, he would too. He was an editor, and eventually started his own publishing company. The CHORFs considered it a place that did Men’s Adventure, not real science fiction.

    Now, he didn’t get on perfectly with every writer he published, but some of them were and are extremely loyal to him. He also developed a fairly hard core group of fans, The Barflies, on his company’s message board.

    He passed away, and was succeeded by Toni Weisskopf, another Morman Man. She also earned the loyalty of many Baen authors, and the respect of the Barflies. Some of the people who hated Jim hated her too.

    Barflies generally hold that Baen authors are not inferior to other authors. They are a natural match for Sad Puppies.

    Since I must leave now, Kate was originally a Barfly, and other figures of Sad Puppies include Baen authors and Barflies. Many of the rest are independents furious at what the opposing forces have done. Some months ago, I saw the schedule for future heads of Sad Puppies. Counting Kate, I saw from four to seven names on it. There are others who want on that list.

  5. Warren Abox August 23, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    Sorry you didn’t get the shiny rocket this year, Jeffro. Here’s hoping saner heads prevail next year.

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