I’ve never sat at it.
When I was a kid in the old USSR, there was nothing “cool” about me. I was kind of scrawny, shy, and I had that damn Jewish last name, so teachers and other students in Soviet schools shunned me as a Jew, ensuring I never got to engage in activities with the other kids. Yeah… I was that lonely kid you saw on a swing by herself in kindergarten while all the other kids were building huge forts and playing team games.
My last name in Russian sounds like the Russian word for “hockey puck,” so guess what my fellow students called me back then! They also beat me around quite a bit – much like a hockey puck. I was a Jew after all, so beating up on me became pretty much sport.
When I came to the United States, I was definitely not a cool kid. My parents didn’t have much money – well… really hardly any at all – so I would wear the same clothes every day, which didn’t endear me to my fellow students. They never bought sweets, or junk food, or sodas. I never got ice cream. We didn’t have money for such frivolities. I tasted cereal for the first time in my life when I was nine years old, and it seemed like an amazing treat at the time! What furniture we did have was procured from other people’s trash. So was our TV – a tiny little black and white thing that my dad fixed up, so he could watch the news and learn English. So kids from the neighborhood didn’t come visit. I had no friends. Add to that the fact that they thought I was Russian (despite the fact that I tried to convince them I was French) at the height of the Cold War made me not so popular.
When I was older, I went to summer camp. People weren’t mean to me, but I certainly was not one of the cool kids. I didn’t have many friends. I was generally left behind when my bunk mates got together to play games or go swimming. I spent a lot of time by myself, reading, writing letters to my parents, or walking through the wooded areas of the campground. I had learned sufficient English by then, but I was a bit introverted, and I preferred to spend time by myself.
I was never invited to cool kid parties in middle school – you know those parties where everyone plays “spin the bottle” and hooks up with members of the opposite sex. I did go to some, but I felt awkward and weird, and when I invited kids in my class to my own birthday party, one person showed up, and embarrassed, I never wanted another party.
I did find my voice, so to speak, in high school choir. I participated in concerts and plays. I loved the stage. But ultimately, we were choir and theater geeks, and my husband likes to remind me that I was the type of kid he would have beaten up in high school. I wasn’t a cheerleader. I didn’t play sports. I was a music geek, and I was expected to and did hang out with my own kind.
Frankly, I like it that way.
I don’t care about being popular, or cool, or well liked. I have never chosen the easy or popular path. That’s never interested me. So when time came for a decision about whether or not to support the Sad Puppies, it was easy, and the way the cliquish “cool kids” acted at this year’s Hugo Awards ceremony cemented that choice.
Larry Correia started the Sad Puppy campaign in hopes that the Hugo Awards would become a bigger, more inclusive tent that rewarded good storytelling regardless of politics, personal views, or religion. What culminated in the awards ceremony this year was snark, arrogance, downright cruelty, and slaps in the face to many deserving, well-regarded, talented authors and editors.
There were personal attacks – racist attacks, in fact against a kind, generous, talented man. There were false accusations of racism against some of the kindest, most generous people I know by people who are their peers. Arrogant racists, who claim moral superiority, because they feel entitled to abuse anyone who is white or male and has the temerity to not feel guilty about it, see it fit to impugn the intelligence and soul of one of the brightest, kindest women I’ve had the pleasure of knowing.
Don’t know what I’ll do if Sarah Hoyt stops being nice & starts getting real! Her mighty intellect– sry, can’t say that w/ a straight face
— K Tempest Bradford (@tinytempest) August 29, 2015
Oh no, you guys! Sarah Hoyt says that if we anger her too much she might turn the full force of her personality on us! *falls down laughing*
— K Tempest Bradford (@tinytempest) August 29, 2015
This is, of course, the same Cuntasaurus Rex who issued a racist reading challenge to all its drooling, frothing acolytes to stop reading anything written by straight, white, cis male authors for one year. The same wackjob SJW who, by her own admission, couldn’t get through anything written by those evil white oppressors, and would get all ragey and quit reading, because PRIVILEGE! Or something… has the temerity to impugn the Mensa-level intelligence of Sarah Hoyt – a successful, Latina female author, whose talent and wit Tempest, who admits to have mooched off her rich friends for a while after leaving her oh-so-privileged New York existence, couldn’t even begin to match!
But hey… Tempest is one of the cool kids, right?
Yeah, if that daft bint is at the cool kids table, pardon me while I eat with the nerds!
No, the Sad Puppies will never be at the cool kids table. They will always be the nerds – old fashioned, dedicated to actual talent, strength of writing, storytelling, and love of the craft. They will never be the progtards who worry more about the color of the author’s skin, the political leanings of the writer, the pronoun he or she (YES, I’M USING THE BINARY, YOU MICROAGGRESSED ASSHOLES! DEAL WITH IT) prefers, or the sexual orientation the author happens to be. The Sad Puppies will always choose talent and hard work over pronouns, race, and gender. And that makes them not cool in the eyes of the establishment science fiction and fantasy community.
Not cool. Not progressive. And therefore, intentionally left out in the cold – just like that five-year-old Jewish kid on the swing, sitting alone while all the others built forts.
Well, that’s OK. These are the people I prefer to associate with anyway. Because I love literature. Because I love art. Because I love integrity and honesty. Because I admire talent, intelligence, and dedication to one’s art. And because I think that’s what the Hugo Awards should be about – innovation, imagination, and ingenuity. And I’ll take those a thousand times over the racism of K. Tempest Bradford, the ignorance of Arthur Chu, the disdainful conceit of David Gerrold, the disingenuousness of George R.R. Martin, and the stubborn, arrogant, defamatory libel of Mary Robinette Kowal.
They can have the cool kids’ table. I’m proud to stand with the Sad Puppies. Again.