I've watched on with amused horror as the SFF (I think that means 'science fiction and fantasy') community – where community means 'gang' – has gone all Raging HULK over the choice of a guy called Jonathon Ross to host the Hugo Awards, which are sort of like the Oscars, BAFTAs and Nobel Prize for genre fiction all mooshed into one. Like Jeff Goldblum and the fly.
I didn't have anything to say about this because, I'm a little bit embarrassed to admit, I wasn't quite sure who Jonathan Ross was. I thought maybe he was some writer I'd never heard of, or maybe the Executive Producer of a sci-fi TV show I never got around to watching. Turns out he's some sort of English radio personality. Possibly a comedian. But he likes comic books and science fiction and apparently he's very popular so on the advice of Neil Gaiman he was offered the job of hosting the awards.
So far, so meh.
But then a Twitter storm blew up. Exactly, and I do mean exactly like the fictional Twitter storm I wrote that weekend column about a couple of weeks ago. As best I can tell some writer who's not as good as Neil Gaiman and not as popular as Jonathan Ross, objected to Ross hosting the awards because he might make jokes about her being fat.
I hesitate to write this lest I provide the flap of the butterfly's wings that sets off another unholy shitstorm, but were this the case, Jonathan Ross would be a very silly fellow indeed. Because anybody who's ever been to a science-fiction convention would realise the last thing you'd ever do there is make jokes about fat people.
(Did I tiptoe around that carefully enough?)
Anyway, as best Google can tell me, Jonathan Ross hasn't actually made any jokes at the expense of fat people, and specifically fat ladies. I have no idea whether the female author who provided the initial butterfly flap is indeed generously sized. But it turns out that Mr Ross's daughter is, and she fronted the woman about it on twitter, accusing her of insulting and defaming her dad who, she avowed, would never, ever, ever make anyone feel ashamed of her size.
Too late. Twitter was a-storm. Beset by a raging sound and fury, signifying nothing. Or rather, signifying what a bunch of sanctimonious proto-Nazis a good many people on twitter can be when given a sniff of blood and told "the angry mob is over there, please feel free to join them."
Ross and his wife, a science-fiction screenwriter of note in her own right, and the other members of his family, were subjected to the sort of biting, tearing social media zombie swarm that makes you think most people, when you get down to it, are just a bunch of braindead bitey cunts.
I know Murph has had issues with this over the years, and I have advised him again and again that living well is the best revenge. I also note that Jonathan Ross, if he has had a long career in comedy radio, has undoubtedly upset some people, and hurt others. He was somehow involved in the cruel prank played on Andrew Sachs (the actor better known as Manuel from Fawlty Towers), which saw Russell Brand sacked by the BBC. An egregiously stupid and nasty incident. And yet Ross is not a plummy voiced Kyle Sandilands.
Gaiman is seriously pissed off and has rounded the feral fans (and some fellow writers who egged them on). Speaking to The Guardian he said:
...he was "seriously disappointed in the people, some of whom I know and respect, who stirred other people up to send invective, obscenities and hatred Jonathan's way over Twitter (and the moment you put someone's @name into a tweet, you are sending it to that person), much of it the kind of stuff that they seemed to be worried that he might possibly say at the Hugos, unaware of the ironies involved".
The Hugo organisers have apologised to Ross and his family, which is only fair because their mismanagement of the whole fiasco made it worse. But then, they made it even worserer. How? By trying to placate to the mob who'd gangfucked Ross and his family in the first place!
Having just issued a grovelling mea culpa to Ross, the Hugo Committee then said they "regretted any and all offence caused to those who disagreed with our choice of Jonathan Ross, those affected by the exchanges that followed on social media, and those who are disappointed that he has now withdrawn".
So, on the one hand they're sorry for Jonathon Ross because they let him get stomped by an angry douchemob, after they "failed to brief him about the recent debates in fandom, and failed to help him deal with the controversy which ensued after we announced his participation. [And] He and his family have had a horrible few days, and it was our fault for putting him in that situation."
But then they apologised to the angry douchemob for enraging them by having the temerity to place Ross in front of them in the first place.
If Andrew Bolt hadn't copyrighted the phrase I might be tempted to say something about political correctness gone mad.
But I won't. I'll just quietly agree with whoever wrote that the Hugo Committee just shot themsevles in the arse, because nobody outside fandom even knows what the Hugo Awards are. And Jonathon Ross might have changed that.