I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
(Part 1 of a 4 part series)
It’s official, the 2013 SFWA Presidential Election is off and running: Theodore Beale vs. Steven Gould. The ballots are in the mail. Moreover, it appears that the “defend to the death” part only applies to some individual’s exploits to discredit Beale. Unfortunately, everyone but the candidates are wearing the gloves.
For the moment, let’s forget the mounting hate campaign against Beale and the attacks that he is facing regarding statements that he’s made . . . or your current opinion of him. Forget Beale’s right to freedom of speech. Forget that Beale is a member of member of the SFWA (i.e. one of their own). Forget that Beale is controversial. In fact, he may be controversial enough to turn the SFWA upside down . . . some members of the SFWA find that “scary.”
Nevertheless, we’d like to direct the focus specifically on the candidates proposed platforms. As in any election, the candidates, first and foremost, should be evaluated on their ability to execute the duties of the office . . . not necessarily on what they may have said on Internet blogs while exercising their freedom of speech. Comparatively, outgoing SFWA President, John Scalzi, has said some pretty darn controversial things in the past (and the present). Yet, he was still elected . . . even if it was with marginal votes and devoid of full SFWA membership participation.
|SPLIT THE NEBULA AWARDS||Theodore Beale||Science fiction is not fantasy. Fantasy is not science fiction. I propose doubling the number of Nebula Awards, and presenting awards for Best Novel, Best Novella, Best Novellette, Best Short Story, and Best Script in two categories, Science Fiction and Fantasy.|
|SPLIT THE NEBULA AWARDS||Steven Gould||No Comment|
|AWARD A CASH PRIZE FOR BOTH BEST NOVEL AWARDS||Theodore Beale||A $5,000 prize will be awarded to the winner of Best Novel:Science Fiction as well as to the winner of Best Novel:Fantasy. The long term goal will be to work towards making the winning of a Nebula a more prestigious and financially valuable event than winning the Man Booker Prize.|
|AWARD A CASH PRIZE FOR BOTH BEST NOVEL AWARDS||Steven Gould||No Comment|
|EXPAND THE MEMBERSHIP||Theodore Beale||The right to SFWA membership will be granted to all self-published and small press-published authors who have sold more than a specified number of ebooks to be determined, eligibility number to be confirmed via official Amazon report. It will also be granted to all SF/F-related computer game lead designers, senior designers, and writers with primary credits on two or more SF/F-related games.|
|EXPAND THE MEMBERSHIP||Steven Gould||If there is a radical spoke to my campaign wheel, it is my desire to form an exploratory committee to examine a future event: a time where we may see the need to admit active members who do not currently fit our current membership requirements. What exactly is a professional writer? We have our membership definitions but we are now seeing writers not just making money, but making good livings without traditional publishing deals. While the time to change our membership requirements may not be here yet, I believe that it’s time to start thinking and talking about this.|
|ELIMINATE THE APPEARANCE OF CORRUPTION IN THE AWARD PROCESS||Theodore Beale||Closing the nomination process to the membership and the public made the appearance of corruption worse, not better. Reducing the number of recommendations to reduce logrolling was a good idea, hiding the results from the membership created more harm than good.|
|ELIMINATE THE APPEARANCE OF CORRUPTION IN THE AWARD PROCESS||Steven Gould||No Comment|
|EMPOWERING THE NEBULA JURIES||Theodore Beale||The most prestigious and lucrative literary prizes are awarded by juries. The Nebulas should be no different if they are to attain equal prestige. I am entirely open to a debate about the best way to ensure jury integrity, but my initial thought is to randomly select the juries from the membership, with jurors barred from voting for works published by their publishers. In situations where the latter bar would lead to an obvious injustice being done, the SFWA President and Vice-President would have the ability to release a juror from the bar on a case-by-case basis if they both agreed such an act was justified by the quality of the work in question.|
|EMPOWERING THE NEBULA JURIES||Steven Gould||No Comment|
|Bestseller Campaigns||Theodore Beale||If I win I will form a committee consisting of one author from each major publisher, who will be charged with discussing the issue with their publisher and receiving either a confirmation or a denial that the publisher has engaged in “bestseller campaigns” via bulk-buying or other methods. What will be done with that information will be up to the membership, but at least they will be informed as to the facts of the situation.|
|Bestseller Campaigns||Steven Gould||No Comment|
|Completion Of The Incorporation Plans||Steven Gould||My short-term goals are the completion of the incorporation plans already approved by the membership and already 98% done by the current board.|
|Completion Of The Incorporation Plans||Theodore Beale||The membership has approved it. I will see that the process is completed in a timely manner.**|
|Operations Policy and Procedure Manual||Steven Gould||The Operations Policy and Procedure Manual is another underway project that is critical to SFWA’s progress. Far too often, in the past, the good work of previous boards was undone, as new officers kept reinventing the wheel. [Emphasis added by The Write Agenda ™]|
|Operations Policy and Procedure Manual||Theodore Beale||I intend to review the manual to ensure no policies have been put in place without the membership’s knowledge or approval.**|
|Sweeping Changes||Steven Gould||I am not interested in reinventing the wheel. I am not interested in sweeping changes.|
|Sweeping Changes||Theodore Beale||Obviously an agent of change. The candidate has yet to elaborate on any additional changes.|
|Education||Theodore Beale||Beale graduated from Bucknell University in 1990.|
|Education||Steven Gould||No known college education.*|
|Prior Leadership Positions||Theodore Beale||CEO of 3 technology companies. Executive board member for $50 million media corporation.**|
|Prior Leadership Positions||Steven Gould||Unknown*|
|The Future and/or Reorganization of Writer Beware™||Theodore Beale||I support the work Writer Beware has done in the past but don’t know enough to take any position on modifying or reorganizing it.**|
|The Future and/or Reorganization of Writer Beware™||Steven Gould||Unknown*|
*Either candidate may contact The Write Agenda™ at firstname.lastname@example.org to update and/or correct this summary of their platforms.
** Updates submitted by Theodore Beale 03.01.13
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
– Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Ironically, the attacks being waged against Beale are approaching the same intensity of those found in the allegations in the Bauer vs. Glatzer case. (Note: Glatzer, who co-authored a book on “bullying” has yet to weigh in on the Beale vs. Gould race.) What could possibly explain the increase in fervor for the attacks against Beale? Bottom line: Beale poses a real threat to the SFWA and its status quo. In spite of Beale’s recent public display of modesty wherein he downplayed his viability as candidate . . . the reality is that he may be a very serious candidate for this position. Why? There may be enough dissention within the SFWA membership, which desires change, to actually elect him.
Another reason that the SFWA has to take Beale seriously is that, historically speaking, voter turnout within the SFWA has been low in prior elections. Outgoing SFWA President John Scalzi was in fact elected on marginal votes. Let’s revisit some of the voting results which led to putting Scalzi in the position of President of the SFWA. The SFWA claims to have a membership of 1800. During the 2010 elections, only 305 ballots were received (16%). 44 ballots were discarded due to SFWA procedural requirements; leaving 261 qualified ballots (14%). President, John Scalzi received merely 208 votes. Therefore, approximately 11% of the entire membership voted Scalzi into office. Treasurer Amy Casil Sterling was elected with 151 votes (8% of the entire membership). Comparatively, national voter turnout in federal elections has been as high as 56.8% in recent years. What was the cause of this dismal voting behavior? Was it due to disenchantment or indifference?
In fact, this historical voter complacency within the SFWA could possibly work in Beale’s favor; which may explain the current smear, misinformation and efforts to discredit him. To the best of our knowledge, neither the SFWA, John Scalzi, Victoria Strauss nor Ann “A.C.” Crispin have ever mounted such a vigorous “Get out the vote” campaign against a SFWA candidate. In addition, as an expose’ on organizational fraternalism, the SFWA home page (www.sfwa.org) even hosts a promotional link to a book written by Gould. Thus, this alone should raise questions regarding fairness and reciprocal promotion (to Theodore Beale). Gould could “man-up” and request that the link be removed . . . yet, he has not.
As is typical in this SFWA community, the attacks against Beale are becoming personal, they avoid the content of his platform and they are either ad hominem or red herring in nature. Nevertheless, Beale has raised some very substantive issues regarding the current state of the SFWA. We hope to hear from both candidates regarding the gaps in their platforms and relative experiences in leadership. Simply writing books and being a “friend” (quoting Scalzi on Gould) isn’t convincing enough to elect an individual to this postion or endorse him.
PART II – Perfect Candidate vs. Perfect Patsy
(photo credit: Keith Stokes, The MidAmerican Fan Photo Archive)
Bradley Denton, Steven Gould Announce Engagement
- THE 2013 SFWA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: HYPOCRISY, HERESY & HATE (PART III)
- THE 2013 SFWA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: HYPOCRISY, HERESY & HATE (PART II)
- THE 2013 SFWA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: HYPOCRISY, HERESY & HATE (PART I)
- Perfect Patsy: Steve Gould Running for SFWA President . . . Not “Interested in Sweeping Changes”
- Author Jim Hines Running for SFWA Office (but NOT President) . . . Let’s Debate.
- SFWA’s President Makes HUGE Political SNAFU! Was this Predicable?
- 2013 SFWA Presidential Election: Change or Status Quo?
An Unconvincing Narrative. (n.d.). Eat Our Brains. Retrieved from http://eatourbrains.com/steve/
Bauer vs. Glatzer | The Write Agenda™. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://thewriteagenda.wordpress.com/bauer-vs-glatzer/
Dissention on the Rise Within the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers (SFWA): Scalzi’s Departure Raises Concern About Undesirable Presidential Candidate(s) and the Future of Writer Beware™ | The Write Agenda™. (n.d.). The Write Agenda™ | We scrutinize claims made by others in the publishing industry to evaluate the transparency and accuracy of their reporting. Retrieved from https://thewriteagenda.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/dissention-on-the-rise-within-the-science-fiction-fantasy-writers-sfwa-scalzis-departure-raises-concern-about-undesirable-presidential-candidates-and-the-future-of-writer-beware/
Eat Our Brains » Blog Archive » Denton, Gould Engaged. (n.d.). Eat Our Brains. Retrieved from http://eatourbrains.com/EoB/2007/04/01/denton-gould-engaged/#comments
Vox Popoli. (n.d.). Vox Popoli. Retrieved from http://voxday.blogspot.com/search/label/McRapey
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