… and Scalzi grows stronger!
Check out the 2020 Dragon Award ballot, and you’ll see what I mean.
From the author of The Handmaid’s Tale to lesbian vampire stories to a writer so deranged even Disney fired him, this year’s Dragon ballot reads like the canon of Death Cult humiliation scripture.
The crowning touch being the inclusion of John Scalzi, who once famously declined a Dragon Award nomination before throwing his hat back in the ring, only to lose.
Frankly, I think this could be his year.
Before you accuse me of indulging in gallows humor, I assure you I’m serious. The nominations list gives us all the variables to work the equation.
First, when dealing with Death Cultists, one always does well to pin them down to their own past statements.
Remember when the Narrative among the CHORF set was that the Dragons were “a fake award” of no consequence? Some of them even lobbied Dragon Con to be taken off the ballot.
Of course, the Death Cult witches lie constantly in the manner of their father below. Thus their previous attempt to take over the Dragons in 2017.
That attempt failed, and the Dragons continued to be a direct democratic process as intended. Each subsequent years’ winners were pretty much what you’d expect from a readers’ choice award with a broad voter base. Baen and the bigger indies came to dominate, with cameos from the more mainstream Pop Cult fare like Corey Doctorow and The Expanse.
I and the other cultural commentators who predicted this course of events based our forecasts on the key difference between the Dragons and the other literary awards. Anyone can vote in the former, while the latter lock voting rights behind a paywall or professional organization membership.
Put simply, the Death Cult can monopolize the Hugos because World Con’s voter base is quite small, relatively speaking. The number of CHORFs isn’t growing. In fact, they’re rapidly graying. It stands to reason that an award with an open, large, and growing voter base would be immune to manipulation by an insular Cult.
And for three years, that reasoning held true. But as is its wont, 2020 threw the con scene a curve ball: Corona-chan.
The central feature of convention culture is convening. Due to the pandemic, congoers can’t meet in person, which defeats the whole purpose of the event.
We’re seeing the same dynamic at work in the world of sports. Conservative pundits blame the sports leagues’ wokeness for the precipitous decline in ratings, but as I’ve often argued, that’s largely reversing cause and effect. NFL viewership had been recovering after the Colin Kaepernick affair. People seemed willing to swallow a bit of Cultic dogma with their bread and circuses.
Talk to former sports fans, and they’ll tell you it’s the empty stands that finally made them turn off the tube. Sports are group activities, just like conventions. Take away the live social dimension, and former enthusiasts lose the drive to participate–even virtually, as we’re seeing with TV sports.
But the Death Cult never sleeps. I’ve pointed this out again and again, but it looks like folks need another reminder. The Cult’s motives have nothing to do with supporting the con scene, entertaining people, or even making money. They’re religious fanatics driven by eschatological frenzy to bring everything under the shadow of their heretical anti-faith.
There’s your explanation for what happened with the Dragons. The virus shut down the con, normal people tuned out, and the small but relentless Cult faction took advantage of the drastically reduced voter base to pack the ballot.
Which means Scalzi may get the Dragon he did–then didn’t–then did–want after all.
And will only have taken a once-in-a-century crisis to make it happen. But as they say, never let one go to waste.
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