On Gates, Hugos, and Puppies – Throwback Thursday
This week for a Throwback Thursday, looking back at some of our posts from the original blog, there was one that came to mind this week thinking about Ghostbuster… but then I remembered that really, there’s two posts there, so why not both? From Gamergate to the Hugos, and now to Ghostbusters, I think there is a strong thread of connection between the world happening, and reactionary backlash. Here’s each of those posts, below! Or follow those links back to the originals where there was a lot of conversation.
On the Gates that Gamers Build
Sorry to steal over an hour of your time, but this was really good.
We’ve talked about Anita Sarkeesian before, such as in this related post, and her show Feminist Frequency. Having watched all of those videos, YouTube had the good sense to recommend to us the first video… which we then found out was a six-part series.
We watched it all once we started.
I really like the way that the question was approached – why on Earth did all of this happen? Why all the hate, why the targets that ended up being targeted? We’ve been following it all for a while, but not everyone has, and it can be dangerous to bring Anita up when you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into.
And I should say – we’ve specifically avoided talking about the hashtagged gate that gamers built because we know that people were trolling that and giving grief. And we were wanting to avoid the grief when we had nothing to add to the conversation. With these videos, that has changed.
Watch them. Share them with those who might need some thought to go into it. There’s some deep psychology stuff in here. Some tough questions. Not a lot of answers. But it’s good stuff.
On Hugos, Puppies, and Remember that blog post I wrote…
If asked, I’ll tend to answer that one of the more important things to me is the idea of science fiction, fantasy, and the related speculative fictions being taken seriously. I think I expressed that best so far in my Realistic vs. Romantic Literature post.
I bring this up because one of the things that I feel like ought to matter for these sorts of literature to be taken seriously would be for their awards, at least, to be solid. For at least the fandom, the people who do care and who do take it seriously, to keep it together.
Which is why I have been so disappointed in the controversy over the Hugo awards. Because I want to see the Hugos taken seriously. Because I often turn to the Hugos to figure out what I should read – and I imagine others do as well. I’ve even thought of recommending the Hugo award winners as a complete set that should be held at the library. I want this to be a list of titles that matter.
For a full rundown on the controversy, I would recommend this Wired article. I read that, and it was pretty darn good. Covered a lot of the history of it, a number of good interviews on both sides. However, one of the saddest things to me was the extent to which even Wired was down on Science Fiction. Calling it a “maligned literary sub-genre” and talking about how the mainstream media barely touched it. Well, I’ll let you read it.
To even talk about it that way, for it to be the representation of the genre… sigh.
Meanwhile, Puppygate (ugh, can we stop calling everything -gate?), to a great extent, reminds me of the gaming gate we mentioned recently – and I think the videos we linked there apply really well here too. Even to the point of there being a more mild group that’s being used, and an extreme and strategic group using them. Which worked out kind of like this:
I think it’s pretty awesome how many people turned out, and how many awards were actually not awarded. That there were people who declined their nominations. Because new ideas matter. Because representation matters. And because quality matters. And spiking a ballot – in any direction – doesn’t help with those things. It’s science fiction – a diversity of ideas is kind of the point.
Or, to close out with one more Wired quote:
That would be Martin, George R.R. Who held a losers after party, because he’s that awesome.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!
I was reminded of both of these posts because of all the controversy that’s been around the new Ghostbusters, things like the super low rated trailer and the down-voting on rating sites before the movie actually came out. The reports of Reddit groups actively scheming on how to tank the movie, on the very grounds of its existence. Leslie Jones leaving Twitter because of all the racist trolling sent her way. Much as the video said: Gamer Gate was but one fight in the overall war, as it were, and the Hugos were a next big one, and Ghostbusters is the current battle. I’m sadly left wondering what will be next…