[Ads-l] [Non-DoD Source] Re: Jesse Sheidlower's New Dictionary

Baker, John JBAKER at STRADLEY.COM
Mon Feb 1 12:08:19 EST 2021


It looks like "woke" works are well-represented in the Best Related Work Hugo Awards, but not to the exclusion of other worthy contenders, so I wouldn't necessarily give up hope on Jesse's dictionary.  I also note that the racism of Campbell and Lovecraft is well-established and really goes beyond "man of their time" levels.  I personally would have no problem with renaming the Hugo Awards - I'm not aware that Gernsbach was more racist than other men of his day, but he was an exemplar of personal dishonesty and low literary standards, making him an odd choice to honor.

John Baker

From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> On Behalf Of MULLINS, WILLIAM D (Bill) CIV USARMY CCDC AVMC (USA)
Sent: Monday, February 1, 2021 10:23 AM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Subject: Re: [Non-DoD Source] Re: Jesse Sheidlower's New Dictionary

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> Jesse should win a Hugo and a Nebula.

While I agree that Jesse's dictionary is worthy of accolade, this probably won't happen.

Nebula -- Nebulas go to fiction. This won't be eligible.

Hugos -- There is a category, "Best Related Work", that the dictionary would be eligible for. It was established to award non-fiction books about SF, and the new dictionary is entirely appropriate. (And "Brave New Words" took the Hugo for BRW in 2008). However, in recent years the membership of the WSFS has started using the category to recognize a much broader set of "works", with a particular eye to "wokeness". For example, the 2020 awardee was a speech given by Jeanette NG at the Worldcon in 2019, in which she lambasted the field's best editor, John W. Campbell, as being white and fascist. She gave the speech as part of her acceptance of the "John W. Campbell Award for best new writer", and as a result of the fallout from the speech, the award was renamed the "Astounding Award for best new writer" (Astounding was the magazine at which Campbell was editor during SF's "Golden Age".) (The World Fantasy Award changed from a bust of H. P. Lovecraft to a generic spooky tree and moon in 2016 because Lovecraft was a racist, and the James Tiptree Award was renamed the Otherwise Award because Tiptree [pseudonym of Alice Sheldon] shot her husband and herself in a murder-suicide. I'm amazed that the Hugo hasn't yet been renamed -- he, like Campbell, was a man of his time, and is emblematic of the "Dead White Male" which is being dismemorialized in statues, school names, etc.). Unfortunately, the new dictionary simply isn't what the WSFS is currently looking to recognize in awards right now.
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