I mentioned in my last post on Pink SF Puppies the Rabid Puppy’s objection to any vague hint of romance fiction in science fiction.
According to Day, Pink SF has the following qualities and is supposedly the dominant form of SF currently: (edited excepts)
- It is ‘necrobestial’ love triangles.
- It is using the superficial trappings of science fiction to tell ‘goopy, narcissistic female-oriented story’
- Pink SF primarily concerns a) choosing between two lovers
- b) being true to yourself,
- c) enacting ex post facto revenge upon the badthinkers and meanies who made the author feel bad about herself at school
- Pink SF is about feelings rather than ideas or actions.
He contrasts it with “Blue SF” which is supposedly like this:
- avoids strong independent female protagonists
- avoids sexual equality, salutes la difference
- doesn’t deign to throw bones to women
- shows disdain for [I’m being polite] to ‘every idiot of either sex who whines about it being too this or not enough that’
- does not apologize for being male, for being insufficiently inclusive, or for refusing to fall in line with the dynamic demand for character quotas concerning sex, race, religion, and sexual preferences.
So here is a thing. This year two movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe were nominated for a Hugo: Captain America: Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Captain America was the non-Puppy pick (why? because it was a great movie)
[warning some spoilers below the fold]
Guardians of the Galaxy was the Rabid Puppy pick. But why? Well there is an obvious and simple answer – it was also a great movie. I don’t know which movie I like more – they were fun, clever, well acted and scripted, with great pacing and well filmed. Guardians had the edge in terms of music but otherwise hard to choose between them.
Yet given two films so closely related that they form part of the same series, set in the same imaginary universe, we have a break on Puppy-Partisan grounds.
In the Puppy narrative the non-Puppies are a narrow clique of overly leftwing cultural elitists. So which MCU movie did these leftist pick:
- The hero is a literal embodiment of American patriotism
- Places an individual hero at the center – it is about one man (with allies)
- The plot involves a quasi-world government agency turning out to be actual Nazis
- Yes, there is a strong female character but it isn’t a romance between Captain America and Black Widow – instead the is a running joke about Cap NOT dating
- A key baddy was a good man turned evil by Nazis and the Soviets
- A key goody was somebody who escaped from Soviet conditioning and is now an American
- Robert Redford is evil
In a positive, non-preachy way The Winter Soldier is a deeply conservative film. Honor matters, patriotism matters, fighting evil matters, people who claim moral ambiguity or shades of grey are not to be trusted and are easily exploited by evil, world government is to be treated with suspicion and is easily exploited by bad actors. It also relies heavily on anti-surveillance themes that some conservatives may be ambiguous about but which are certainly in tune with libertarian thinking and that of conservatives such as Rand Paul.
Guardians on the other hand:
- Doesn’t feature “necrobestial love triangles” but does feature a sentient animal
- Is overtly anti-animal experimentation
- Literally involves tree hugging
- Has multiple strong female characters
- Has a strong romance sub-plot
- Has as a main villain (not counting Thanos) an extreme religious bigot (Ronan)
- Ronan is also a cultural bigot
- Is so diverse that the team crosses multiple biological taxonomies
- Is fundamentally team focused
- It made me cry a bit at the start – and even if it didn’t make Vox Day cry at the start it was clearly trying to make grown men sob a little
- A world police force (Nova) are good guys and they team up with known criminals
- Really just about everything about this movie intersects with stuff the Rabid claim to hate
Maybe they just didn’t notice. Maybe they really are that easily distracted by spaceships that Guardians is a how-to lesson on how to sneak this stuff under the Puppy radar. Maybe Vox Day hadn’t watched it.
In reality I think they saw that it was a super popular movie and also saw that The Winter Soldier had received some more intellectualized critical acclaim because of its 1970s-style thriller plot and hence picked the more gloriously popcorn one of the two. Maybe all that Blue SF/Pink SF stuff was just verbal guff.
Either way Guardians wins my Not A Hugo For Most Incongruous Rabid Puppy Nomination for 2015.