The Rabid Puppies stuck with their bloc voting scheme, though this year their notorious racist/homophobic leader, Vox Day, tried to be clever, putting on his list some authors who have been critical of the Puppies in the past, but who also were likely to be nominated by a lot of regular Hugo voters. Since no matter what happens, Vox always claims that the outcome was a victory and that all of us fell into his trap, I assume that when a couple of these big name authors win he’ll be crowing afterward. And if they don’t win, he’ll say this proves that the Hugo voters are part of an evil cabal who refuse to give any award to anyone he recommends. Or something.
Anyway, this year the voting process for me was a lot less stressful than last year. Last year I tried to read every nominee, regardless of whether it was on one of the slates. I wanted to be able to say with a clear conscious that I gave every work a fair chance and only deployed the No Award option when it was deserved. Which meant I forced myself to slog through some truly awful, extremely poorly written stories. And that gets to be depressing after a while.
A friend asked why I was doing that rather than what she did: she started each story, but if by the third page or so it hadn’t hooked her so that she wanted to keep turning the pages, she stopped and put the title under No Award. “The awards are supposed to be for excellence, after all.” I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of that. If a story isn’t good enough to hook me, then it doesn’t deserve my vote. Simple!
That made this year a whole lot easier. I mean, seriously so, so very much easier. Because once again, most of what the Puppies nominated did not pass that test. Yes, No Award was my top pick in more than one category.
The Retro Hugos were a bit more fun. The regular Hugos recognize works published in the previous calendar year. So the stories and other works we’re voting on for the 2016 awards all had to be published in 2015. The Retro Hugos are for works published many years ago, in years when there was a World Science Fiction Convention, but no awards were given. It’s an optional award that can be held at a WorldCon that is either 50 years, 75 years, or 100 years after one of the years when no awards were given. MidAmeriCon II, this year’s WorldCon, took nominations and is taking votes for works of science fiction published in 1941.
Why that was fun for me is because, first of all, a huge number of the short listed works are stories/books/movies with which I was already very familiar. Heck, I have copies of three of the five shortlisted novels on my own shelves! A bunch of the short stories, novellas, and novelettes are in anthologies that I have on my shelves. I own on DVD three of the movies (one is a serial) nominated in Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, and four of the shorts nominated in Dramatic Presentation, Short Form!
Also, Raymond A. Palmer was a golden age editor who deserves to be way more well-known than he is, and so it was fun to vote for him in the Best Editor, Short Form category!
Anyway, this year’s Hugo Ballot and Packet are disappointing in that so much bad stuff was pushed onto it by the Rapid Puppies, and I remain irritated thinking about all the good stuff published last you that ought to have made the ballot but didn’t because of the bloc voting. We absolutely have to pass the E Pluribus Hugo rule change this year, so that bloc voting becomes harder to do in the future.
The Rabid Puppies piddled all over this year’s Hugo Ballot, again. Like Men’s Rights Advocates, GamerGaters, Trump voters, and other angry (mostly) white (mostly) men who claim they are being oppressed any time that people who don’t look like them manage to achieve more than marginal representation, they’re going to keep causing trouble. But as I and many others pointed out last year, their malicious posturing brought a whole lot of fans who are queer, feminist, and people of color into the Hugo voting process who weren’t involved before. While each of those groups may make up a minority of the total fandom populations, I know that collectively we outnumber the Puppies.
Science fiction is the fiction of the future. Even its dystopian and post-apocalyptic sci fi is, ultimately, about hope for a better tomorrow. Love trumps hate and hope trumps resentment. And no one can take the hope for the future from me.
ETA: If you’re looking for who actually won, go here: Here are the winners of the 2016 Hugo Awards – Once again, slated works were largely outvoted.
My original statement had been: “Field candidates in more that 0.02% of elected offices. Build a base. Earn my vote.” And I @-ed the Green Party official twitter account. The reason I did that is because every four years for the last couple of decades, I (and anyone else who espouses progressive ideas online) get harassed by Green Party supporters urging me to vote for the Green candidate instead of the Democrat because the Democratic Party isn’t liberal enough.
And I’m tired of the harassment and harangues and histrionics.
In the 2000 election the Green Party had their biggest success: they put George W. Bush, a person who embodied everything the Green Party stands against, into office. By their own numbers, among the new Green voters they got that year were 24,000 in Florida who otherwise would have voted for Gore. Those 24,000 votes would have put Florida safely out of recount territory and would have prevented the eight disastrous years of Bush/Cheney we got.
The 2000 election was the Green’s best result because they got millions of votes nationwide, instead of their previous high of a bit less than 500,000. A big surge! Green principles must have been appealing to more people! Except that in every election since then, they’ve only managed about 460,000 votes nationwide… again. They didn’t turn any of those new voters into Green Party supporters after 2000. None. And they didn’t use that new support to improve their organization in any way, such as to get more of their candidates on the ballot in local races.
If you want to take the time of going to their national party website and literally by hand count the number of candidates they have run on the ballots in recent elections (because they have a horrible database that won’t give you the total, and they conveniently avoid mentioning the exact number in all their publications, even when asked by a columnist that they have vilified for reporting they don’t run local candidates), you find that they have about 116 candidates, compared to the total of 500,000 elected positions in the country. That’s 0.02% of the possible offices—not two percent, that’s two-one hundredths of a percent. Which is less than a drop in the bucket.
When I said “earn my vote” I meant the party needs to organize enough to run and win enough local races that they have party members with the necessary experience to then run for state-wide offices and start winning there. Not running 2 candidates for every 10,000 offices, as they are now. Not running celebrities that have name recognition and no applicable skills for governor in some states every now and then. Not running joke candidates for president every four years when you can’t get your party on enough state ballots where it would be even possible to win the electoral college.
One of the people who tried to argue with me on Saturday asked what could the party possibly do other than stating their policies. The answer doesn’t fit into 140 characters, but here’s part of it: Organize. Ring doorbells, find local problems that aren’t being addressed by the other parties, and find viable candidates to offer solutions. It means running candidates in off year elections. It will take years, I know. But yelling at people like me, telling me I’m not a real progressive because I’m voting for a candidate who actually has a chance of getting into office isn’t going to build your party. Getting millions of people to throw away their votes in the national election 16 years ago didn’t get the party any further than it had been before.
And just stating your policies isn’t going to do it, either. The left has a problem organizing because a lot of us fall prey to the notion that if they just put out a good idea, people would magically be drawn to them. The myth (and I used to think this, too) is that if the policy is good enough, we don’t have to do the hard work of recruiting and organizing and raising money and actually putting candidates on the ballot and getting them elected to city councils or state legislatures. And we get caught up in these endless debates about the best policy.
I’ve been to those meetings, where every week we try to get some work done, but someone wants to re-visit an issue we’ve already re-discussed ten times after reaching a decision a few months ago. No one who wants to discuss it has any new information, and truth be told, because the topic keeps being re-opened for discussion again and again, we haven’t really had a chance to see if the decision we thought we made months ago will work or not.
The Green Party is trotting out their candidate who flip-flops between multiple scientifically incorrect positions on medical care—anti-vaxxer, pro homeopathy, pro-and-anti-vaxxer at once—without explanation; and whose inconsistent foreign policy is more in line with the ravings of Trump than Trump’s running mate’s foreign policy comments are! They put forward a platform which with regards to domestic policy mirrors significantly the platform which the Democrats officially adopted yesterday.
Their current argument is since Bernie Sanders failed to win over a majority of Democratic Primary voters, that instead of voting for Hillary, people who liked Bernie’s policies should vote for the Green Party candidate. Never mind that when Sanders and Clinton were in the Senate together, they voted the same 91% of the time. Never mind that when she was in the Senate Hillary was more liberal than her husband, President Clinton had been, and that her campaign had more liberal stands that President Obama’s before she was pushed further to the left by Bernie Sanders. If Bernie was good enough, why isn’t 91% of Bernie worth voting for?
The argument is usually put forward that an election isn’t a horse race. I agree. It’s a hell of a lot more important than that. As a voter, I should vote for candidates that will make the world a better place. Part of making the world of better place means actually getting elected and having the organization and experience to enact at least some of their proposals.
The Green Party is not on enough state ballots to get the electoral votes to win. That’s a fact. Many states don’t allow write-in candidates for President (heck seven states don’t allow write-in candidates at all!). Many more won’t allow votes for a write-in candidate for President to be counted if the candidate doesn’t have electors properly registered with the state beforehand. So the likelihood that the Green Party candidate can be elected as President is so close to zero, it isn’t funny.
Before about 1940, it was not uncommon for Third Parties, rather than to nominate their own candidate for President and waste party money and resources on a campaign that didn’t stand a chance to win in the electoral college, to instead endorse the nominee of the larger party that most closely aligned with their platform. Then the party concentrated on down ballot elections. Since the Greens haven’t been able to get on enough ballots to have a mathematical chance at winning post-2000, I’d have more respect for them if they took that route
You can complain about ballot access. You can claim that both parties are corrupt. But it is an absolute lie that both parties are equally corrupt. And it is just as untrue to insist that neither party is better than the other for civil rights, health care, jobs, or the future of the planet. And if you let Trump become President, you will not make ballot access any easier in future elections; nor will you reduce corruption.
And it won’t be four years of gridlock. Trump and the Republicans in Congress will be rolling back progress in pretty much every social justice area that the Green Party cares about. In 2000 the Green Party argument was that if Bush/Cheney won and enacted their policies, a wave of voters would come to the Green Party’s way of thinking by 2004 and throw everyone out of office.
That didn’t happen.
I can’t tell you how to vote. If you want to shoot yourself in the foot by voting for the Green Party candidate and letting Trump win (and that’s a simple matter of math; that is what will happen), I can’t stop you. But know this: you aren’t just shooting yourself in the foot, you’re shooting a whole lot of the rest of us, too.
We’re not the enemy. Trump and the forces of hate are. Stop asking me to shoot myself in the foot at the ballot box. And stop claiming that you are doing anything more productive than that.
Some times, you just have to quote one of the masters:
“Critics who treat ‘adult’ as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”
And yesterday they had their biggest fail ever. This year’s Republican party’s draft platform was the most anti-gay political party platform ever in the history of the U.S. I am not exaggerating. It is worse than the platform that was adopted by the party in 1984, when panic over AIDS was at its height. It is worse than the platform that was adopted in 1992, when thousands of signs that said “Family Rights Forever, Gay Rights Never” were being waved by attendees inside the convention hall. This year’s platform, as the New York Times reported is:
…a staunchly conservative platform that takes a strict, traditionalist view of the family… [it] amounts to a rightward lurch even from the party’s hard-line platform in 2012—especially as it addresses gay men, lesbians and transgender people…. Nearly every provision that expressed disapproval of homosexuality, same-sex marriage or transgender rights passed.
Specifically, the platform condemns same sex marriage and calls for the appointment of judges that will overrule the Supreme Court decision making marriage equality legal and calls for an amendment to the Constitution which would in effect repeal the marriage equality laws that states adopted through legislatures and by direct votes of the people. The platform explicitly asserts (contrary to every reputable study out there) that it is better for children to be raised exclusively by opposite-sex parents (the language also appears to condemn single parents or grandparents/other relatives who raise children, such as say, after the death of the children’s parents). The platform endorses the so-called conversion or pray-away-the-gay therapies (which studies have shown are actually harmful, especially to children) which have been outlawed in many states. It calls for banning transgender people from public bathrooms that match their gender identity.
As the New York Times summed it up: “nearly every provision that expressed disapproval of homosexuality, same-sex marriage or transgender rights passed.”
The Log Cabin Republicans vowed to fight the platform at the convention. They promised they would fight to get that language changed. They sent out, over the course of the last week, dozens of emails begging people to donate money now so they could fight the platform. And guess what happened at the convention yesterday?The platform was adopted without any changes and with virtually no attempts from the floor to amend a single word.
Isn’t it wonderful that we have groups like the Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud working within the party to help spread tolerance and acceptance of gays? [/sarcasm]
And the thing that pisses me off most about those guys (and almost every single one of them is a guy) is that their presence is used by the hateful members of the Republican party to claim that the party isn’t actually anti-gay. It’s a variant of the “I can’t be homophobic, I have gay friends” defense. See, the Republicans say, we allow some of those homos to be members of the party: we take their money, we get them to go out on news channels and tell people that the party isn’t really anti-gay, even though we repeat discredited anti-gay propaganda, and pass anti-gay laws, and call for the appointment of anti-gay judges, and denounce gay and lesbians in the military, and block gay and lesbian appointees to government office. We do all of those things, they say, but we let these few homos to be members of the party, so we aren’t actually anti-gay.
Dan Savage laid out the case pretty clearly four years ago: On Booze, Meth, Suicide… and GOProud. Medical studies all agree that the reason that queer people are more likely to attempt suicide (especially as children), and more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol is because of the lifetime of anti-gay bullying and abuse that queer kids suffer just growing up in our society. They are made broken by the anti-gay attitude of society (which is then used as proof by the folks who want society’s attitude to be even worse that we deserve it). Broken, abused people become self-loathing people. And self-loathing people often succumb to self-destructive behavior. And the thing is, self-destructive, self-loathing addicts don’t just want to destroy themselves, they want to take other people with them. As Dan summed it up:
“…just like your meth-addicted friend who pushed the drug on you, or your drunk friend who mocked you for stopping at four, or your sexually out-of-control friend who insisted that you were a prude if you didn’t play the come dump with him down at the bathhouse, the GOProud boys want you to abuse yourself the same way that they’re abusing themselves.”
That’s the only explanation for a queer person to support the Republican Party. It isn’t because Republicans are fiscally conservative, because they aren’t. The Republican party runs up trillion dollar deficits while giving tax cuts to the wealthy and enacting programs to hurt working Americans. I get so tired of hearing people (queer and straight) react to any of the anti-gay or misogynist or racist statements or actions of Republicans by saying, “I don’t support that, of course, but I just wish there was a political party that was social liberal and fiscally conservative.” I’m tired because there is exactly such a party: the Democratic Party.
The Democratic Party has been more fiscally conservative than the Republican Party since 1992. The Democratic Party is more fiscally conservative than the vast majority of the American voters. And the Democratic Party is, truth be told, slightly less socially liberal than the majority of American voters.
So don’t feel anything but pity and contempt for the gay republicans who claim they are changing the party from within. They aren’t. They’re damaged self-loathing people clinging to their abuser, enabling their abuser, and they’re trying to get you to join in on the self-destruction. Don’t fall into the trap.
On the other hand, a friend of mine mentioned that she was getting in line to see the movie again, and immediately her tweets were replied to by a bunch of random internet guys spewing various derogatory comments. Accusing her of getting in line again to “make up for it being a flop” (which it isn’t; Sony is very happy with the numbers), for instance. Explaining to her why she shouldn’t like it, and so forth. Several people have jumped in on it, including some guys claiming to be friends and not disagreeing with her, but upset that she isn’t tolerating the other dude’s opinions.
Why are her tweets getting that response and not mine? I did a little checking around on Twitter and saw several other male friends who have commented how much they liked the movie, and none of them are getting arguments from random internet dudes. But several women I am acquainted with have posted virtually identical comments about the movie, and they’re getting harassed.
And make no mistake: if you tell someone that they are “silencing”dissent when they don’t agree with you after you come into their space (which is what you are doing when you reply to someone’s tweet or blog post, et cetera) and tell them that their feelings are wrong, then you are harassing them. And when you’re a guy trolling through social media looking for women expressing opinions that so you can correct them, you are a mansplaining douche. I know you’re going around looking for women to argue with, because you’re ignoring nearly identical statements from other guys. You may not consciously realize you’re doing it, I’ll grant that, but when you see both my comments and my friend’s, but you only argue with her? Yeah, you’re being that kind of jerk.
And please, Internet dudes, don’t try to mansplain away another dude’s mansplaining.
You don’t have to like the movie. That’s fine. But don’t try to convince someone who has already seen the movie and loves it that they don’t actually like what they like. And don’t try to prove that the movie is bad. When you do that (when we do that) we’re being jerks.
And I say “we” because I slip up and do it, too. A lot. I have explicitly asked certain friends to tell me when I cross the line from trying to discuss something to bullying someone for disagreeing with me. It’s a behavior many of us learned growing up. When someone disagrees, we push back. It is so easy to go from pushing back to pushing down.
Yeah, we made our opinion known publicly. You’re allowed to have a different opinion and express it in public. But don’t be a dick about it. Being a dick is not going to persuade the other person to agree. It isn’t. And here’s the thing: if what they like isn’t hurting you, there’s no reason to try to persuade the other person.
I push back hard on certain political topics because actual people die because of some policies that some people support. People dying, people living in poverty, people suffering injustice, people not being able to get health care… those are all things worth arguing about. But a goofy comedy? Let it go.
I want the new Ghostbusters movie to succeed because I loved it and I want to see more movies like it made. So yes, I’ve recommended it and told people how much fun I had and in some cases I’ve offered to buy people a ticket to see it. Because I genuinely believe they will enjoy the movie, perhaps as much as I did, but even more because I want us all to be able to enjoy more movies like this. I want little girls such as the one whose father posted a picture of the Ghostbusters costume she made with her existing toys to see movies like this and know they can be the hero, too. And yes, I want little boys to see this movie and know that their sisters and girl classmates and neighbors can be just as much a hero as they can. I want everyone to know that they can be someone’s hero.
Even you, dude bros. I want you to be heroes. And the first step is to stop being a mansplaining jerk. Salty is great when we’re talking about snack food (especially parabolic potato chips), but not in social interactions.
I’m used to being disappointed in members of my own gender. Growing up a queer boy in very redneck communities in the 60s and 70s, I learned to be very careful around other guys, since you never knew which ones would turn into bullies the moment you accidentally expressed the wrong opinion, or pronounced something weird, or walked wrong, or… well, you get the picture. So I wasn’t completely surprised when a lot of a certain type of fanboy started spewing hate and rage at the fact that someone was rebooting Ghostbusters with one twist: our four ghost-hunting nerds would be played by women.
I was very shocked when a few male friends, specifically a few gay male friends, joined in. Particularly one who got angry and seething on line after the first trailer was released absolutely insisting it was a bad trailer and this was going to be an awful movie. Because I watched the trailer and couldn’t stop laughing.
One of the differences between me and a lot of the men hating on the movie before they ever saw it was that the original Ghostbusters movie was not part of my childhood. Because I was 23 years old when the movie was released in theatres. I saw it in a theatre with a bunch of my friends. And we laughed, and cheered, and howled with more laughter while watching it. For weeks afterward we kept quoting lines to each other and laughing more. Decades later, I still find ways to slip allusions to that movie into tabletop roleplaying scenarios I create and stories I write. I liked the movie a lot.
But I didn’t love every single moment of the original. I cringed at a lot of Bill Murray’s scenes. I kept wanting him to stop being a sleaze toward Sigourney Weaver’s character. It didn’t matter that most movies at the time featured men behaving in that slimey, sexually-harassing way. I didn’t like it when it happened in the other movies, either. But a lot of movies, especially comedies, have moments that make me feel like I need to apologize on behalf of my gender. While I laughed and cheered when the heroes beat the big bad at the end of the movie, I was always a little bit disappointed that there was no hint that Dr. Venkman had become less of a sexist sleaze ball. I had wanted him to have a redeeming moment with Dana Barrett, but it didn’t happen.
There were other moments, jokes that weren’t quite perfect. It was a good movie. It was a great way to spend some time laughing with friends. But it wasn’t perfect. And when I went back and watched the trailer for the original, I can’t exactly call it a masterpiece, either. It was funny, but actually it struck me as less engaging than the trailer for the new movie. So I figured that at least some of the guys who otherwise weren’t misogynist manbabies but were still reacting so negatively to the trailers, were doing so because they were remembering the first movie through the distortion of it being literally part of their childhood.
My husband and I saw the new Ghostbusters on Friday night. We laughed. We cheered. We applauded. We howled with more laughter.
And so did everyone else in the theatre with us.
It’s a good movie. It’s a funny movie. It is not a retread. It’s telling a similar story in a similar universe, but not the same story. The opening sequence is very creepy. Some of the jokes are in-jokes and allusions to the previous films, but not such in-jokes that they aren’t funny is you don’t know them. Don’t believe me, then read this review: A Ghostbusters Review From Someone Who’s Never Seen the Original Ghostbusters.
There’s also this review that compares the reactions to the Ghostbusters reboot to another sequel to another beloved-by-fanboys movie: What Are You Fighting for When You Fight the New Ghostbusters?. And then there’s this: Sorry Haters – Ghostbusters Might Actually Be Good although this latter reviewer is a lot more mealy-mouthed than he ought to be (I mean, come on, guy, you just watched the movie; you know whether or not you enjoyed it; stop writing this like an insecure person who isn’t sure of your own opinion unless it is validated by other guys!).
And don’t miss this one: Real Men Confirm the New Ghostbusters Didn’t Ruin Their Childhoods After All.
It’s a funny movie. Period. It’s a good movie. Period.
I’m not saying that only misognyist manbabies won’t like this movie… I’m just saying that every single negative review I have seen has demonstrated more than a little bit of a gender-based double standard. Every one.
So, I’m hoping this movie does well. Not just to prove the trolls and manbabies wrong, but because I really enjoyed laughing for two hours without one moment of cringing that made me embarrassed to be a guy. Because that’s an extremely rare thing in movies—but it’s something we need more of.
ETA: Sunday night I went to see the movie a second time with two friends (my husband wasn’t feeling well). I still liked it my second time. The theatre was packed, again. People laughed and cheered and clapped a many points in the movie. It’s a goofy comedy, yes. So was the original. I had a blast the second time, and still recommend it.