Rachel Gutin Profile picture
Aug 2, 2020 17 tweets 3 min read Read on X
So, now that Shabbat is over, and now that I’ve had a few hours to catch up on what everyone is saying about the #HugoAwards, I have some thoughts I want to share.
First, I want to say that there was SO MUCH wrong with the Hugos ceremony this year, and I feel terrible for each and every nominee on that ballot. You deserved so much better than the hugely problematic mess you were treated to.
But while I was signed off for Shabbat, other people covered most of the problematic aspects of the ceremony better than I ever could.

So many people, I’m not even sure which threads to link to here.
But there’s one topic I haven’t seen extensively discussed, and that’s directly related to the fact that I had to wait until after Shabbat to tweet this thread:

In addition to being a hugely problematic mess, the Hugos were scheduled over Shabbat for most timezones in the world.
From sunset on Friday through full dark on Saturday, Jews who observe Shabbat the way I do step away from technology. And that can mean not being able to access events that take place in a virtual space.

Including awards ceremonies like the Hugos.
Up until this year, it didn’t bother me that the Hugo Awards ceremony is often scheduled such that it happens over Shabbat in some part of the world. If I wasn’t at the con, the con had no obligation to ensure I could see the awards. And if I was, I could attend in person.
But this year, I *was* an attendee at the con. It’s just that my attendance involved using my computer.

And watching *with* other people involved using my computer.

Sharing my thoughts and reactions? Computer.

Reading other people’s thoughts and reactions? Yup. Computer.
Now, I do want to acknowledge that there are workarounds. I was able to watch much of the ceremony by starting the livestream before Shabbat, then leaving it running without interacting with it.

But not every Jew would be comfortable with that - or able to.
In my time zone, Shabbat began an hour into the awards ceremony.

For anyone further east than me - including four entire continents of people - Shabbat began before the awards even started.
And I haven’t even gotten to the part that bothered me the most: At least three of the nominees on this year’s ballot observe Shabbat the same way I do.
Two out of those three nominees live further west than me, and their award categories were close enough to the beginning of the ceremony that they got to hear the winner before Shabbat began for them.

The third did not.
One of this year’s Hugo winners did not get to accept her award live because she was observing Shabbat.

I don’t think she even knew she’d won until this evening, after Shabbat ended.

That’s a FULL DAY after she won.

A full day when lots of other people knew - and she didn’t.
I wish that they had considered moving the awards to another night.

I wish they had begun even an hour earlier, and made sure to announce the award for that category before Shabbat began for that nominee.

I wish she could have spent Shabbat celebrating instead of wondering.
And even if this nominee was comfortable watching the way I did, she still would not have been able to accept her Hugo live. She still would not have been able to tweet about her win. She wouldn’t see all of the congratulatory messages from friends.
And I know this is such a small thing compared to EVERYTHING ELSE that was SO WRONG about this year’s ceremony. But it is still a thing that I want to be sure gets acknowledged.
When you run an awards ceremony online, it’s important to be aware of who you are excluding. And part of that is paying attention to Shabbat and Jewish holidays when scheduling them.
An update: Someone who commented on the thread just told me that Hugo category in question was awarded before Shabbat began, then played "live" at the ceremony. So accommodations were made.

It still feels less than ideal to me, but it's definitely better than nothing.

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More from @Rachel_Gutin

Dec 25, 2020
For those of us who aren’t celebrating Christmas, I would like to share a story:
In a small Jewish community on an outlying planet sits a museum. At its center, a narrow plinth. Upon the plinth, a boxy container, folded from heavy white paper, its edges charred. A wire handle across its top.

The label reads: In Commemoration of the Great Christmas Alliance
There is no further explanation posted, but ask any museum staff member, and they will tell you the tale of the time when Chinese food saved the Jews from boredom and despair, on the occasion of yet another Christmas.
Read 26 tweets
Sep 22, 2020
This Rosh Hashanah, my thoughts kept returning to a single story. It’s the story of a soul, newly arrived at the gates of Heaven And while I’m not sure I believe in a literal heaven, with an actual gate where angels stand guard, a story doesn’t have to be factual to be true.
So a woman arrives at the gates of Heaven. She is small of stature, but she stands tall before the imposing gates. A simple black robe hangs from her shoulders, and a lacy white collar adorns her neck. In her eyes, there is a gleam of steely determination.
In most stories, this is when the angels would stop her. They would ask her to prove she deserves a place in Heaven. But in this story, the angels step aside.
Read 15 tweets
Aug 23, 2020
After nearly five months at my parents’ house, I am finally back in my own apartment.

The first thing I unpacked: stuff that needed refrigeration.

Next: my laptop.

After that, books.

Here are all the books that spent time at my parents’ house. 39 books in three stacks, s...
And here are the books that I read while I was at my parents’ house: 26 books in two stacks, spi...
I also purchased a total of 18 books, 17 of which were shipped to my parents' house, and one of which I picked up while traveling.
Read 4 tweets
Aug 21, 2020
The eighth panel I attended at #ConZealand this year wasn’t technically a panel. It was a dialogue between @doctorow and @Ada_Palmer entitled “Corey Doctorow and Ada Palmer Discuss Censorship and Information Control”

I learned a lot from their conversation.
This thread will include some of the things the two of them said. I’m copying this over from my handwritten notes, so assume I’ve paraphrased unless I put something in quotes.
From @Ada_Palmer: Every time there’s new media technology, people worry about the new one and forget to censor older ones. Censorship focuses on the newest saturate media - and on where people get political information from.
Read 31 tweets
Aug 14, 2020
The seventh panel I attended at #ConZealand this year was “Justice in Science Fiction and Fantasy”, with @BrentCLambert, @AdriJjy, @MMSnodgrass, and Fred Lerner, moderated by @jennlyonsauthor.

This panel gave me a lot to think about.
This thread will include some of the things the panelists said. I’m copying this over from my handwritten notes, so assume I’ve paraphrased unless I put something in quotes.
The panelists began by listing pet peeves about how justice is handled in science fiction and fantasy:

@AdriJjy: I want more about societal institutions and systemic things rather than an individual. And I hate the bad guy getting redeemed by dying.
Read 32 tweets
Aug 13, 2020
The sixth panel I attended at #ConZealand this year was “Infinite Entangled Futures - Indigenous Voices in Conversation,” with @ShiningComic, @RoanhorseBex, @understatesmen and @toniwaiaroha, moderated by @sloanesloane.

This was a fascinating and enjoyable panel.
This thread will include some of the things the panelists said. I’m copying this over from my handwritten notes, so assume I’ve paraphrased unless I put something in quotes.
First, the panelists introduced themselves. Among other things, each shared which indigenous tribe they are a part of. Because most of these tribal names were unfamiliar to me, I didn’t know how to spell them, so I looked them up afterward on author websites and twitter.
Read 49 tweets

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