Brexit: it is our fault.
To save the Puppy Kickers over at file 770 effort and time I would like to accept responsibility on behalf of the Sad Puppies (for whom I neither speak, nor represent, but these details have always been mere trivia to the Puppy Kickers) for Brexit. I figure as it is all going to be our fault anyway, regardless, I may as well accept responsibility now and save us all from the smell of burning of brain-sawdust that they’d have to fill the air with, coming up with convoluted bizarre theories as to why this particular thing is also our fault. You know, we white Mormon men (especially female ones and those who would have to pour on whitewash by the bucket every morning, let alone those poor blokes trying to fake special underwear) plan on world domination, or just untrammeled eeeeevil, and the entire grab-bag of …isms.
For the record we also caused Global Warming, Global Weirding, Oceans rising, Rains of Frogs, Reigns of Frogs, Mondays (my personal contribution), bad hair days and of course George Bush. So everything they used to blame on him is really our fault. And as that took inventing time travel, we’re also responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs (we introduced them to the AR15 and techno music and tobacco, oversized sodas, and those that didn’t die from smoking went mad and shot each other, barring those who exploded because there were no regulations to stop them drinking too much soda – except for the ancestors of the chicken who were too chicken) and everything else, including the heat death of the universe. That happened because I personally forgot to turn the lights off, when the dolphins finally left.
***Wicked me. Chris points out that I forgot we are responsible for Gamerate and fall of the Soviet Union. Hereby inserted***
Oh and we caused elevenxit, lunchxit and highteaxit and supperxit too, in case you wondered. Food is important to puppies.
Our real evil reason for causing Brexit was to liberate Scotland. I long to see the coat of arms of the newly independent Scotland, the estucheon bearing the noble charge of the deep-fried Mars bar, rampant, over a lion tremblant, supported by the two haggii (dexter and sinister hill-walking) bearing the crest of the Bagpipe (the national bird of Scotland) shriekant arising from a helm bearing either a tartan crown or a wind-blown kilt, revealant. (of course that is true. We have a time machine. Otherwise there would have been no Bush to blame, or at least beat around.)
I do hope those who lost a fortune on banking stocks had suitably laid off the bets against the sales of fainting-couches. The demand for those has been at an all-time high among politicians, bankers and various SJW activists. Honestly I do think the Sad Puppies have done remarkably well, heralding in a new dark age, not to mention the fortune I’ve made from my Essential Victorian Ladies Furnishing Company as a result. We have a special on smelling salts next week.
Actually there are a few entertaining and logical writing and publishing related things to be derived from the Brexit circus. The first and obvious one is it could all have been avoided (no matter how you see this as good or ill), if those running the EU (or publishing, for that matter) had not been so busy with their own agendas and feathering their own nests to be aware of the growing discontent. Publishing has seen a steady fall off in sales… but you’d never guess if you looked around a NY Publisher’s office. The same is true in the EU – the bureaucrats, and bankers, and various little elites did very well. In Britain the losers in the equation voted in the referendum. In publishing the losers – writers and readers voted with their wallets. The outcome, in the end, is about the same: the unthinkable (if you were at the top the benefit pyramid –where no one you knew would support such a ridiculous thing) has happened. If either group had taken action, given up a few of their perks, spread the benefits, seen the people paying their wages felt they too were winning from this it could have been different. In publishing if they’d worried more (or even at all) about providing books that were directed at pleasing the demos, instead of just themselves. If they’d listened to the concerns of people nearer to the middle – and more representative of it, they’d sell more books and not be losing hand over fist to Indy sales and other media. Instead they just said the magic words “Racism, sexism etc.”. Likewise if the EU elite had given David Cameron real concessions on the main concern of the people who voted leave – immigration, instead of ignoring those concerns, dismissing them as racism etc…
The magic is all used up. It doesn’t work any more.
Fascinatingly, in the rage about the stupid people who dared vote for leaving the EU, the modern liberal left has turned viciously on older people, and the other group who voted strongly for Brexit – the poor, blue-collar solid working class artisans whose jobs have ‘globalized’ – saving their ‘betters’ money, but making them poorer. They’ve sneered at them as stupid, racist etc. wanting to go back to the past…
Hmm. You know, the past began a microsecond ago. It seems to me that one group wants to go on with the certainty of that past, wanted that status quo, even if it certainly isn’t working for many people. It was working for them. And the same was true in publishing and in the Hugo Awards. The people voting to leave know you can’t turn the clock back, even if they might like to. But they want a different direction. For them the status quo wasn’t good, and the direction was worse, and the elite who were winning were not in the least interested in their plight. The boot is on the other foot now. Do they seriously expect those folk to be sympathetic if their foes cosy job in London and cheap plumber and easy ski-ing trip are endangered? The time to have built that goodwill, to have made sure the average bloke in rural England liked the EU, that the plumber from a small town didn’t hate the EU are past. The same is true in publishing. Treat readers who don’t match your tastes as scum… and they’ll treat you like that. That’s all very well… if you can afford it. But can they?
Well, according to people bearing the brunt of this – the blue-collar working class of the writing world – you know, those strange fellows who write, the midlist, who publishing thinks of and treats like instantly replaceable assembly-line workers: no.
I find it strange, as an old fart who still remembers when ‘socialism’ was actually about those poor workers, and treating the blue-collar workers as if they weren’t thick, second class citizens. I’ve worked among them, am friends with a lot of them, just as I am friends with a lot graduates. Here’s the thing: there are some bright people there, and many able, hard-working ones. And graduates… well there are a LOT of mediocre-follow-the-pack thinkers there (questioning established wisdom was a requirement when I was at University. Going along with it, is now). A lot of graduates work less hard and are less ingenious than a good few self-taught artisans I know. There’s also a good stock of dumb graduates, indistinguishable from the non-academic of yesteryear, except they owe a college a lot more money. Oh and they can elevate their (non)importance with sneering. The blue collar worker has been dumped for the unemployed, and minority de jour by the modern left. Oddly both in writing and in the wider field of employment, the blue collar are not supportive of either publishing or EU.
As for the elderly: the young who voted did favor the EU. Only… many less of them voted. And they all thought for themselves and not one single one followed fashion or were influenced by their peers. Hadn’t you noticed? Only old experienced people do those things.
Everyone who doesn’t die young gets older and hopefully wiser. Well, some people manage to die young at 90. Others just die immature at 90.
For me, what typified the Remain campaign… was that they had nothing to sell but the status quo (which even they knew a lot of people thought lousy), so instead they turned to fear-mongering. Much the same as the puppy-kickers in Hugos last year, with declining sales, and the same narrow little clique winning year after year, they turned to shrieking how bad the Puppies were and what evil they would bring and what (fill-in-the blank) ists they were. And we would suffer dire financial consequences, and our careers were dead… none of which happened, but Traditional Publishing continues in financial strife. I wonder if this will happen to the EU too.
The truth is, once the panic at the status quo and predictable if dismal future of the EU being disturbed, no one really knows what the future holds. Myself I’d hold up hope of reviving good things, of finding new good things, not fear of change from a dismal status quo – both in publishing and the EU. The reaction to rebellion by the former masters of the status quo –punishment and threats (partly to try and keep what they’ve got, and partly just frustrated rage at their loss) will almost certainly backfire in the worst possible way. If the EU – or publishing, or the Hugo wish to remain relevant they need to spread the rewards to those who feel excluded – even if it means less for those who had it all, up to recently. Less is better than none. Hope and rewards sell better than threats and misery – and that’s true in books too.
The other marked similarity between the EU and remain supporters and traditional publishing and their Puppy kicker supporters is… It’s ALWAYS someone else’s fault. Which is why I saved time and effort by accepting the blame for Brexit on behalf of the Puppies. The truth is the EU has failed the expectations and desires of a lot of people. Traditional publishing has done the same. Midlist traditionally published authors 30 years back made a respectable living. That is down by an order of magnitude – without correcting for inflation. When one of my self-published books doesn’t sell or is unpopular… it’s not the reader’s fault. TOM – the picture’s a link, is actually doing quite well – perhaps because it is funny and light in grim-ish times. Perhaps because the characters don’t actually blame everyone else for their problems, but resolve them. Maybe because it’s a cute cat. But _I_ am responsible for its success or failure.
The right place for the EU, publishing, the Hugo Awards to place blame and to try to fix… is with themselves.
Never seen one admit they might need to fix that.
But they surely tell other people what to fix.
Maybe they need to try fixit, instead of brexit.