[Ads-l] Jesse Sheidlower's New Dictionary

MULLINS, WILLIAM D (Bill) CIV USARMY CCDC AVMC (USA) 0000099bab68be9a-dmarc-request at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Tue Feb 2 10:43:02 EST 2021

Probably a discussion for a different place and time, but  . . . 

I grew up reading a style of SF that was written mostly in the 1940s and 1950s by people who were excellent writers but were often real shits as specimens of humanity.  But for the most part, I have no trouble recognizing and appreciating their creative works as a completely separate topic from what kind of people they were.  It's possible to honor the good things that people did without any implication of approval of the bad things they did, but apparently that's too far for some (many?) of the SF fans of today (and the school board in San Francisco, and many other groups).

The audience for SF today (or, at least, the vocal part of it) looks for different qualities in stories than I do.  That's part of getting older, I suppose -- things change.  I probably wouldn't want to have John W. Campbell for a next-door neighbor, or have dinner with Lovecraft.  They did great things for a slice of literature, though, and it's worth remembering that and memorializing it with awards named for them.  But that ship has sailed.

If anyone wants to nominate Jesse's dictionary for a "Best Related Work" Hugo, it's not too difficult.  You have to be a member of either this year's World Science Fiction Convention (Discon III), or next year's Worldcon (Chicon 8) by the end of this calendar year (Dec 31 2021).  You don't have to attend the Worldcon -- you can do this with a Supporting Membership which is cheaper (many people join as  supporting members just to participate in the Hugo process).  A couple of weeks into 2022, Chicon will open the nominating period for a few weeks and you would submit lists of nominees in the various categories.  This year's nominating period (for works published in 2020) opened Jan 26 and closes Mar 19.  A sample nominating ballot for this year is here, if you want to see what's involved:


After you join, Chicon will provide instructions on how to submit nominations, and later on, on how to vote for it to win.

Note that last year, it only took 36 people nominating Jeannette Ng's speech to get it onto the ballot, and it ended up winning the award.  And the year before, 48 nominations were enough to get a work on the ballot.  It wouldn't take many of us to get it recognized.

Membership at Discon:

Membership at Chicon:


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

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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