In my over 30 years of working as a journalist in Texas and participating in press contests, I've received a number of awards, but never a first place - 2nd, 3rd, Honorable mention, but I've never topped a category.
So I was startled yesterday when I was handed the plaque for First Place for Column Writing by the North and East Texas Press Association. The competition is so fierce, and there is so much good work being done out there, it didn't occur to me I'd come out on top.
On the other hand, the two columns I clipped and submitted WERE really good.
Then a short while later I practically fell off my chair when I was awarded Firs Place for News Photo. Apparently the judges were very impressed with how I was at the scene of an accident as it happened - in this case, a building demolition that went south when a bulldozer fell in the basement of the building being demolished - they didn't know was there WAS a basement.
Texas has five regional press associations; the North and East Texas Press Association is larger than 45 STATE press associations. It was a 200 mile drive to the city where the convention was held.
But it was worth the trip.
I feel sorry for so many of my friends who seek professional recognition and affirmation in the science fiction and fantasy literary field. The way it is converged now, most competitions – not all, but most – need to know your personal religious and political beliefs first, before they will judge your work.
Then, of course, if you are not politically correct, or sufficiently politically correct, you and your work is disregarded.
This kind of all-encompassing totalitarianism eventually turns on itself, like the Reign of Terror or Stalin’s Purges. I got a good chuckle last year when I read that someone called John Scalzi a Sad Puppy, because the Dragon Awards were invented by the Sad Puppies, and Scalzi had allowed a work of his to be on the Dragon ballot, so he was therefore a Sad Puppy.
This kind of ignorant, politicized bullshit is why few honest and intelligent people take literary s-f seriously any more.
Perhaps one reason why I have had such a low tolerance of it is because in community journalism work is still judged on its merits.
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