55327_girl-writing_mdI want to digress from the branding and marketing discussion for a bit to actually consider Theodore Beale’s (aka Vox Day’s) complaints. For those not in the know, Beale heads an activist group called the “Rabid Puppies” inspired by Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen’s “Sad Puppies.” The platform for these groups is that the SF&F awards system has recently been co-opted by social justice warriors (aka SJW) who are engaged in a conspiracy to force diversity upon the SF&F readership. Correia, Torgersen and Beale insist that nobody really wants this diversity and that they, as right-leaning hard-liners, need to call attention to the conspiracy and counter with a traditional, white male ballot for the Hugo Awards.

So, is there really too much diversity on the ballot? This might not be a popular observation, but I can personally see a clear political agenda, at least in the US and Northern Europe, to increase acceptance of diversity. Everyone must have noticed this. Diversity is billed as a good thing, something we should respect that can bring in new ideas and new ways of doing things. It also implies acceptance of differences like gender, LGBTQ status, religion, disability, race, national origin, etc., etc., etc. But, the truth is that diversity makes us all nervous. Political scientist Robert Putnam, researching community trends in 2000, made the inconvenient discovery that greater diversity in a community leads to less trust, less volunteering, less cooperation, less voting and less civic engagement in general for average members of the community. As a liberal, Putnam was so disturbed by this finding that he waited until 2007 to publish the results, i.e. that diversity damages communities.

So, what can we gather from this? First, that there will be a backlash. Giving all the awards to the new kids on the block, especially those diverse kids, means that traditional, old-fashioned SF&F will get fewer awards. Second, some people will be offended that SF&F that got awards in 1953 is not getting awards now. Third, these people may complain.

Should we take them seriously? Answer: We should listen. They have a heart-felt complaint. There is still a place for vintage 1953 SF&F. However, the complainants need to accept that a significantly lower percentage of the SF&F readership will enjoy this type fiction. Diversity has invaded the fan base, and these more diverse individuals will look for stories that suit their taste. That means it’s impossible to put the diversity genie back in the bottle. It’s out, it’s loose and it’s creating change in the SF&F market. This will be reflected in the award nominations, as these tastes start to have their effect.

Get used to it, guys.

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