It seems authoritarian creep (and creeps) manage to infest just about every large group that offers awards and titles. I used to be very active in the medieval recreation group the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronisms). I loved fighting in armor, the camaraderie, events, and the rest. But it started to get much too political and inbred (for lack of a better word) about the same time I met the young lady that became my wife, so I quit the SCA cold turkey. The SWFA (Science Fiction Writers Association) has become similarly infested with self-promoting, left-wing, intolerant hacks. There are a lot of details I’m sure I don’t know, but I’ve sort of been following it at Vox Popoli, and more recently at Sarah Hoyt‘s blog. A few days ago there was this hysterically funny posting, written mostly in animated GIFs. Among the comments were two cents worth being put in by Jerry Pournelle, Kim du Toit, Charlie Martin (not surprising, I guess), Michael Kingswood, David Brin, Mercedes Lackey, and many others. It was one of those things that was “just…. wow” to watch unfolding. An incredible rant, and magnificent comments, among them this gem by gryphonking:
On SFWA, Fairness, and Awful Things:
I sigh when anyone complains at length about “fairness,” for two reasons:
One: unless you’ve put in the years to be a pro comedy writer, complaining is not actually skilled, productive work.
Two: Fuck Fairness, Get Results.
No one is entitled to a level playing field, anywhere, anytime; fairness is a human mental construct. In game design, play balance is an issue. Fairness is required for the game design, because a game is a mental exercise. Whether it’s moving checkers or letting the Seahawks stomp you, every good game is balanced by design, to be playable AS a game.
So the sigh comes when I hear “fair” applied in anything BUT a game, since it makes me wonder, “Are these adults who think this world IS a game?” 7 billion people use the same planet. Every one acts in their self-interest. That’s as balanced and fair as “the game” gets. All else is up to you. “Fair” doesn’t enter into it. The rich don’t say “Damn, I’m selling the yacht because it isn’t fair that I am so wealthy!” and the starving don’t say “Damn, it’s unfair I’m hungry so I’ll suddenly have two college degrees. And my STR will be 18, too!”
…. If you have a situation in your life that has hurt you, and feels unfair, then Ass Must Be Kicked. Misogyny? Racism? Oppression? Use Your Power. Do legendary things by facing terrible odds. Are you tiny or tall, mentally impaired, this or that color, birth-defected, diseased? That’s your circumstance. Be smart. Gain grit. Armor up. Outwit and overpower. Is it easy? Fuck no. Should it be easy? Wrong question; it is what it is. Investigate, quantify, verify, strategize. Overcome. How you do it is up to you, but it never has been, and never will be, a fair game.