If 2015 was the year of the Grand Stand and Noble Gesture, 2016 was the year of the ominous silence. Perhaps my eyes and brain deceive me, but the Hugos seemed to get less press this year. And I'm including both blogs and mainstream media, from both the Puppies and the Puppy Kickers. There has been little rending of garments, and even less rejoicing.
Space Raptor Butt Invasion was perhaps the only story with legs, but even that conversation petered out. Why?
My guess is that after seeing the fallout of 2015 (while adamantly denying the fallout of 2015), the Tor cabal is trying to play things down and push EPH/similar reforms. Seriously, when was the last time anyone described Vox Day as a "minor racist"? Isn't he usually a double-secret probation ultra mecha-racist who MUST BE DEFEATED? For the first time in years, we had a Hugos that wasn't The Most Important Hugos Evar! Shocking.
Take this as evidence that the Puppy Kickers are capable of learning. Specifically, they've learned that life isn't a bad message fic and it will take more than virtue signaling to win.
The only question is, will EPH be enough? People smarter than me and better at math have said both "yes" and "no." In my experience, it is easier to game an "unbreakable" system than to make a system truly unbreakable. At any rate, my predictions are on the record.
2). Invasion, Repelled
Space Raptor Butt Invasion failed to take home the prize, and Chuck Tingle has already published a story about being pounded in the butt by the loss. You gotta love this guy.
Nonetheless, this marks my first failed prediction. Back in this post, I wrote:
-Space Raptor Butt Invasion will win a Hugo. Both sides will claim it as a victory. Framing SRBI's nomination as about love winning over hate was a master stroke by Dr. Tingle.Clearly, I was incorrect. And while I'm ready to tuck in and eat my words, it's interesting to look at where my logic broke down.
My logic was the following:
-Puppies will vote for it because they think it is hilarious, embarrasses the Hugos, and Chuck is one of them.
-Puppy Kickers will vote for it because they think it is hilarious, embarrasses the Puppies, and Chuck is one of them.
-If the two largest blocks vote for it, it can't lose.But lo and behold, one of these two voting blocks failed to vote for SRBI and instead propelled Cat Pictures to victory and Noah Ward to second place. One of these two blocks was either lying to itself or lying through its teeth.
My prediction failed, and it failed because one of these two groups said one thing and then did another. So which group is the group of dirty liars? The Puppies? The Kickers? I'm sure the ballot numbers will tell.
Either way, learn from my mistake. Take that group's tendency to lie into account in the future.
3). Thoughts on Brand Value
This is related to #1, but I get the feeling that no one is going to be bragging much about their 2016 Hugo wins - certainly not as much as they would have in the pre-Puppy era. While this year wasn't as publicly disastrous as 2015, there's still a sort of exhaustion about the proceedings. An implied asterisk above each winner.
Remember, 4th Generation Warfare is about legitimacy. And when winning a Hugo is no longer something to brag about, it will lose the only legitimacy an award has.
This will be a great way to gauge the health of the Hugos. Keep an eye out for cool reserve on the part of winners and (more importantly) apathy on the part of losers. Winners will always enjoy being honored, so the tell here is the amount of gushing. The less gushing, the less they care.
Losers will always enjoy being able to brush off an award as "not important" - it soothes a bruised ego. Look for losers (particularly, politically neutral losers) shrugging off a loss instead of being 'crushed,' 'crestfallen,' etc.