Puppygate Roundup

I promised myself I’d update this blog more often than my last one. You can see how well that’s going. It’s part of my grander scheme of watching less TV, playing fewer video games, and (ironically) spending less time on the Internet, and spending more time reading, writing, and yes, tabletop gaming. The latter’s not easy on the wallet, though, which any gamer can tell you.

However, I’m also keeping up with the latest dust-up over the Hugo awards, which is being referred to as “Puppygate.” Let me first make clear how stupid I think the name is, and bemoan our American habit of appending “-gate” to any controversy we can get our hands on. Cue bemoaning, conclude bemoaning, etc., etc., wasn’t that fun?

I would like to spend the proper time writing up a suitably exhaustive post on the subject, specifically to tear into the Puppies’ allegedly apolitical motives being themselves politically motivated. Work on the master’s degree demands more of my time, unfortunately, and I can’t spare the words. So you’ll have to settle for a roundup of suitable posts that I’ve discovered on the matter.

(General warning: this topic demands some consideration at length, and so most of these articles are long. You’ll probably lose days like I did. Sorry, but not sorry.)

First off, for everyone who doesn’t know what the hell I’m talking about, I recommend Susan Grigsby’s “Freeping the Hugo Award.” It has the double appeal of being an up-to-date summary and being written by a “fandom outsider,” as it were. The tone is handy to remind us that, while all of SFF is frothing, it’s a tempest in a teapot for the rest of the world, literary and otherwise.

George R. R. Martin has strong and multiple opinions on the matter, multiple enough that I can’t really round it up except to point you at his general Not A Blog where he continues to make relevant posts, but I will single out his ideas on how to respond to the Puppy slates when voting time comes. I find myself largely agreeing with his point of view.

Chuck Wendig has his own “posts of some smart people,” which yes, makes this entry recursive as anything—a roundup featuring roundups. But hey, this is a big topic with a lot of people talking. Also, he goes on to state some of his own thoughts and draws the necessary connection to Gamergate. (Which is also a stupid name, but at least it has alliteration.)

John Scalzi, being a favorite target of the Puppy crowd, weighs in on the matter as well. His defiant tone is one I’ve always admired and enjoyed, even when sometimes it seems like he’s pouring gasoline on top of fertilizer and daring his detractors to run at him with a match. I can’t say why it seems like that sometimes, but it does.

Mary Robinette Kowal is also a Puppy punching bag, but she has issued a call to action that I think is maybe the most sensible response to this whole shebang. (Is that a sexist term? Shebang? I don’t know if it is, but I like it anyway.) I agree with her that Puppygate (ugh) is a wake-up call to everyone who thinks the fandom can get along just fine without their involvement. Everyone needs to stay involved, and though I count myself among those who can’t afford a supporting WSFS membership, I like to think I’m doing my part with this post.

Finally, I think the most in-depth analysis of the whole affair and the reason why the Puppies are barking up the wrong tree can be found with Matthew David Surridge over at Black Gate. Surridge, by the way, is one of the Puppies’ choices for Best Fan Writer in the Hugos, and as part of the post I’ve linked he refuses his nomination. His breakdown, while based on personal opinion, involves a great deal of research and is, if such a thing can be, sublime.

As I said before, I’d like to do a full write-up of my own personal views, but it’s not likely to happen.

There’s probably some final, clever puppy joke that could go here. Oh well.

Written by James

A paralibrarian by trade, James "Captain Raspberry" Taber studied story theory at UMass Amherst. His obsessive personality serves him well in gaming. If he approaches you, do not panic. Hold your ground and make noise. If all else fails, use your emergency banana.

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