January means it’s time for successful authors to start laying the marketing groundwork for the award season.
The digital panopticon was supposed to make it easier for the technocrats to fool the rubes. They see a distopian future with themselves standing atop the graveyard of liberty, fully believing themselves deserving of such an honor because of their good breeding and good intellect. Of course, they aren’t as smart as they think they are.
After all, they never considered the idea that the watched also watch the watchers, goes all the way back to old Jeremy Bentham his ownself.
You can see this in a million little details. Major media conglomerates getting out-hustled by Drudge. The #MeToo movement gaining traction in the public. And on a lesser scale, the clear evidence that all of the major awards choose their winners using methods as democratic and organic as the DNC chooses presidential candidates.
There were too many smarty-Marties involved who just couldn’t keep their gobs shut about the rigged system. They had to blab about how they were so smart they could game the system. And their own pride exposed the sordid mess of the process for all the world to see. The worst offenders straight up admitted that they bought the gold medal – Weinstein all but bragged about the pricetag for Shakespeare in Love‘s Oscars. And sci-fi’s favorite whipping boy bragged about the role organized log rolling played in the Hugo Award selection for decades, including the one where he got his turn.
It’s all one big scam.
And while it may be lucrative for the miscreants who lie to the world and themselves using words like “deserved” and “earned”, the revelations that it’s all one big marketing schtick puts me off the process. I’d value a solid recommendation for one of my works by a big name writer over a Hugo any day and twice on Sundays. I’d rather hear from one fan that they loved one of my works than make bank off of a scam.
Go ahead and compile lists of works you loved and that you think were the best of 2019. Put my name on there and I’ll be honored that you remembered my work. But don’t expect me to go courting voters who have already sold their votes for a drop of clout or a shot at climbing another rung up the Award Ponzi scheme.
I’m in it for the readers. Not the accolades.