Catching Up On The World, As Briefly As Possible
Lots of things happened whilst I was on tour that I didn’t address because a) I was traveling, b) I was doing events, c) I was trying to sleep a bit between a and b. But now that I’m home, let me, as briefly as possible, catch up on some major events and what I thought of them.
The Hugo Awards: This is a personal one. I was up for Best Novel with The Kaiju Preservation Society. The book didn’t win; Nettle & Bone (by Ursula Vernon aka T Kingfisher) did.
How do I feel about that? Pretty darn good! Nettle & Bone is a very fine book and Ursula is a friend, and overall the Novel finalist class was excellent. I have no complaints for myself and am totally thrilled for Ursula. Her acceptance speech (regarding frogs and beetles) was much better than mine was going to be in any event.
I am aware that when someone who doesn’t win an award mentions they are fine with not winning, there is reasonable skepticism. I won’t try too hard to convince others of my sincerity here, but I will remind people I already have a Best Novel Hugo of my own, and it really does take the pressure off. Also KPS won the Locus, Alex and Ohioana Awards already this year, and independently of this, I personally was recently awarded the Budapest Grand Prize, previously given to such folks as Salman Rushdie and Umberto Eco. I am feeling sufficiently awarded this year, thank you.
The Speaker of the House Nonsense: It’s been three weeks since Kevin “I Have No Spine” McCarthy was booted from the position and in that time Steve Scalise, Jim Jordan and (it now looks extremely likely) Tom Emmer tried and failed to gather up support to take the position, leaving the House unable to do work. Emmer’s bid appears to be doomed because he had the gall to suggest that the 2020 election was legitimate; Trump’s people are apparently manning to phones to oppose him. All of this is going on and, meanwhile, the middle east and Ukraine burn, and we have less than a month to go until the government has another shutdown moment.
The side of me who loves schadenfreude is enjoying this, I admit. There’s no way the Republicans can claim they are anything but dysfunctional at this point; they all hate each other and would rather burn their own party to the ground than not get their own way. The part of me that is aware that the world is on fire is getting a little nervous. Honestly at this point it seems to me that the only way that any speaker will get the gavel will be if some moderate Republican cuts a deal with the Democrats and convinces four other Republicans to go along with it. But doing so would be slitting their own throat politically, since they would immediately be primaried. So, wheeee! We’re all maybe gonna burn!
Trump’s Lawyers Flipping: Three members of Trump’s former legal team have pled guilty in the Georgia election fraud case, with Jenna Ellis being the latest, just today. As I said elsewhere, all we need now is Giuliani to flip to have collected the whole set. This is of course immensely bad news for Trump, which, obviously, delights me entirely. The chances of Trump running for President from a Georgia prison are now that much higher.
Israel and Gaza: My feelings on this subject are incompressible, which is to say I can’t in fact briefly summarize my feelings about this situation and any attempt to do so, here or on social media, is to invite misinterpretation, bad faith argument, and also, exposure of the fact that my knowledge base of events and actors is unlikely to be sufficiently deep for any number of people. Aside from the anodyne refuge of “my heart breaks for the innocent on every side” — which is true, but also very safe to say — I don’t think I have anything to say here that offers something new or useful, and until and unless I have time to write deeply and extensively on the situation, I’m going to hold off saying anything substantive about it in public.
Which is different than not having opinions — I do have them! — but I certainly understand how from the outside the two look similar, and how some folks might find my public unwillingness to post on social media about the situation less than satisfying. In public, I’m mostly just wishing we lived in a better world than the one we do.