SFWA me, baby, one more time

The SFWA drama (see previous posts here, here and here) is still going on, so here are the latest links, under the cut for those who don’t want to scroll through 1500 words on the SFWA controversy:

Former SFWA president John Scalzi offers his extensive commentary on the SFWA situation via ten things about petitions and freedom of speech. Lots of good points there.

The Daily Dot weighs in as well here and here. Both articles are basically just summaries of the discussion to date.

ETA: Apparently, one of the people whose posts on a public SFWA listserv are being quoted in one of the Daily Dot articles is now threatening to sue the author of said article and everybody who linked to or shared said article for “libel”. Uhm, I’ve got no words. Excerpt this: Some dude defends a petition against supposed censorship in the SFWA Bulletin by threatening to sue people who linked to stupid things he posted in a public forum for libel. The irony, it burns.

At Teleread, Paul St. John Mackintosh calls the petition “adolescent” and wonders what it means for the genre at large. Fraser Sherman also weighs in via this four part post.

Meanwhile, Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware is pointing out the good points and aspects of SFWA and why the organisation is relevant for writers of speculative fiction.

The German SFF blog Lake Hermanstadt has a summary of the whole SFWA brouhaha, full of delightful snark and rather direct language. The whole post is well worth reading (alas, only in German), but IMO the most important point is that apparently the motive behind this and similar uproars in the SF community is that way too many people are still looking for the Golden Age, while conveniently forgetting that it wasn’t always all that golden, particularly if you were not a straight white man.

Case in point:

At Adventures Fantastic, a blog devoted to fantasy, historical adventures and pulp, Keith West declares that he views the SFWA controversy mainly in terms of lack of respect for “the giants of the field”. He also feels the need to point out that while most of the signatories of the petition are well-known names in the genre, their critics are “nobodies” in his view.

Honestly, this “old people deserve respect, simply because they are old, and must not be criticized” view is something I simply don’t get. I didn’t get this as a teenager, when I was told that I shouldn’t call out bigotted elderly relatives and family friends on their bigotted crap, because they were old and besides, I shouldn’t upset family parties by talking about politics (for some reason, nobody seemed to have told the people who spouted bigotted crap that). Actually, this hasn’t changed much. I tend to dread family gatherings, simply because someone will inevitably spout bigotted crap about immigrants or foreigners or the unemployed or gays or people who don’t keep their gardens clean, while showing absolutely no awareness at all that what they are saying is not acceptable and that many, if not most people at the table will vehemently disagree. Nor did I get it when I was told as a teen that I absolutely must not criticise anything about postwar West Germany (or later united Germany), because the people who had built up the country were to be respected and admired. “Well, if they wanted gratitude and respect, then maybe they should’ve done a better fucking job”, I once screamed in frustration at someone who told me I had no right to criticise the ravages postwar architecture had left in my hometown.

So in short, I have never gotten this “Respect people because of what they did in the past” or “Respect them, because they are old” attitude. And that fact the petition was signed by many authors whose works I have read and enjoyed and admired over the years (and many I have never read or whose work put me off when I tried to read it) doesn’t mean that I cannot criticise the bloody petition itself.

If you want to be disillusioned some more at what writers you used to admire really think say, a Tumblr which posts excerpts from a public SFWA newsgroup has been put up. The depressing original can be found here. Lots of ranting about “young people today” and sexist remarks about Mary Robinette Kowal (who didn’t even say anything in this round of the debate, but apparently they are still miffed about her contribution to the last round) for daring to be female and have a body.

ETA II: Silvia Moreno-Garcia quotes some of the sexist remarks about Mary Robinette Kowal and also some pictures of Mary clad in gowns deemed inacceptable due to plunging necklines. Uhm, for a regency dress, that neckline is positively demure, since the necklines of real regency gowns could and did often plunge much lower, as this famous example shows.

By the way, while I have read and enjoyed many writers of the signatories of this petition, I haven’t actually read any of them recently with two exceptions (one a reprint of a book from the 1980s and one a story by an author with whom I share a TOC). But mostly, the people who signed this petition are authors I read as a teenager in the 1980s, i.e. over twenty years ago. Indeed, when I talked about the whole uproar with a non-fan, she asked me, “How do you know the signatories are old? Did they put their birthdate next to their signatures?” – “No, I know because many are fairly well-known writers and because I read some of their books twenty-five years ago and sometimes they weren’t even new back then.”

Meanwhile, Jim C. Hines tries to understand the POVs of some of the signatories of the petition by offering quotes from posts (mostly on Facebook, hence no links) in which said signatories explain why they signed the petition. Coincidentally, I just realised that I share (or will share, though I can’t talk about that yet) a TOC with not one but two of the signatories.

Finally, at the Mad Genius Club, a group blog by disgruntled rightwing writers who may well be mad, but definitely aren’t geniuses, Kate Paulk offers a rather unique take on the whole affair. First of all, Ms. Paulk apparently still hasn’t grasped just why Theodore Beale a.k.a. Vox Day was expelled from the SFWA (hint, it was not because of his failed run for president nor because of his political views, but because he decided to spew racist and sexist insults at fellow SFWA members via the official SFWA Twitter feed, which is a violation of the organisation’s statutes). Next, her post is brimming with sexist language about “glittery hoo-haas” (“hoo-haa” is apparently a weird euphemism for “vagina” used to people who can’t bear to use the proper term, because they feel it’s a dirty word) and “storm in a B-cup”, while completely forgetting that many of those who criticised the petition are cisgender men and therefore not in possession of a vagina, glittery or otherwise. As for the rest, I’m not really sure what her point is or if she even has one, though she mentions “lack of respect” for established writers and that she feels the SFWA is neglecting its actual objective of protecting writers from bad contracts (which may be the only sensible thing in the entire post).

And as if that article wasn’t bad enough, here is another goodie from the Mad Genius Club, not directly but indirectly related. In this one, Cedar Sanderson, who unironically refers to herself as a “Lady Writer” as well as a race and gender-blind reader, complains about how feminist women are destroying genre fiction, because the fact that some women are speaking out about sexism in the SFF community might induce potential (male) readers not to buy Ms. Sanderson’s novels, because those potential readers might fear that since Ms. Sanderson is female, her novel might be feminist “message fiction” with strong female characters.

Never mind that for every hypothetical (male) reader who refuses to buy a book by a female writer, because it might – gasp – contain feminism and female characters who are actually human, there is another reader who is explicitly looking for such books, I also wonder whether people like Larry Correia (who has remained silent on the current controversy – probably still too busy campaigning for Hugo nominations and getting his knickers in a twist about post-binary gender) or the Heinlein worshippers at the Mad Genius Club are aware how ironic their complaints about “message fiction” are. Because Larry Correia’s macho focussed urban fantasy with a liberal dose of gun porn is message fiction. Saint Heinlein’s writings were message fiction with a message so blatant that I couldn’t even tolerate it as a teenager. So apparently “message fiction” is only bad when it’s the other side that is doing the messaging.

Finally, about the “glittery hoo-haa” thing, if you were looking for something to label feminist SFWA critics with, wouldn’t “Vagina Dentata” be more appropriate? Because the silly term “glittery hoo-haa” brings to mind a woman who shaves off her pubic hair and applies glitter to her nether regions, because she assumes men will like her better that way, and not a man-hating straw feminist.

ETA III: The inevitable Sarah Hoyt had to weigh in as well with a post on how expelling Theodore Beale from SFWA is a precursor to genocide, which is Godwin’s Law taken to extremes. Oh yes, and she also screeches about straw communists (I can think of only three explicitly Communist/Socialist SFF writers and I’m not sure if any of them are SFWA members) and calls the critics of the petition and/or Theodore Beale “illiterate and uneducated”. In short, business as usual.

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273 Responses to SFWA me, baby, one more time

  1. Fail Burton says:

    I fail to see the difference between “immigrant,” foreigner,” and straight white male when they are used in the pejorative sense. If someone today or long ago was being a sexist or a racist, probably better to use names rather than all 500 million at once by race and gender while implying they are the sole source of such things. On top of that, racial bigotry and sexism are race and gender-neutral terms, as are “love,” “hate,” “jealousy,” “ignorance,” and “genius.”

    • Cora says:

      I didn’t mean “straight white male” in the perjorative sense, though I won’t debate that it can be meant that way and often is. All I wanted to point out that the Golden Age wasn’t always so golden, particularly if you did not hit certain demographic markers.

      As for people complaining about “immigrants” and “foreigners”, that was a jab against certain relatives and more or less distant acquaintances who just cannot keep their political views to themselves at family gatherings, though they would probably be horrified to be exposed to mine. In short, your typical bigot at the dinner table. Be very thankful, if you don’t have any of those in your extended family.

      • Fail Burton says:

        My family are immigrants and foreigners so they rarely attack each other for that. As for demographics in the old days, I’d point out that there is a more nuanced argument there than usually makes the rounds. The SFF of 100 years ago was in an America that was almost 90% European descended and at that same time 90% of black folks still lived in the old South, defined as the old Confederate states. That means the stew people like Edgar Rice Burroughs and Francis Stevens moved in was what it was. I am no more surprised at the make up of their literature than I am of Chinese and Arabic literature today. None of the three constitute a consciously supremacist or exclusionary literature. Also, they were boys adventure stories. Girls had their own literature marketed to them if you’ve ever read about the Stratemeyer Syndicate from that same time period. This is not to suggest that a country with Jim Crow laws wasn’t also what it was. But, for example, the state of Minnesota had anti-Jim Crow laws that pre-date 1900. History is never as simple as it seems. If you’re a writer from Central Minnesota 100 years ago, or even now, where there are almost literally no black people, and in a state that had two regiments torn to pieces fighting slavers in the Civil War, I won’t judge that literature. They wrote what they knew.

        • Cora says:

          Yeah, I guess if you come from an immigrant background, you’ll get less ranting against foreigners and immigrants at the dinner table. Alas, most of my ancestors have been living in the area at least since the Thirty Years War and probably much longer, though we can’t tell for sure, because records have been destroyed. I do have a bunch of sea captains on one side of the family and a wandering shoemaker on the other, but that’s more or less it.

          I do agree that we cannot hold golden SF or indeed anything from the pulp era to the same standards as modern work (and for the record, I love me a bit of pulp and golden age SFF). I view these works as period pieces with regards to issues like diversity, sexism, racism, etc…, though there is a wide spectrum ranging from “This one tries, even if he doesn’t quite succeed” to “This would have been offensive in any century”.

          Plus, a lot of the time as a reader/viewer in another time and another culture, I sometimes don’t even recognise offensive stereotypes for what they are, e.g. pretty much everybody I know assumed that the black woman whose legs are sometimes seen in the old Tom and Jerry cartoons was the owner of the cat and none of us got that Uncle Remus from Disney’s Song of the South was supposed to be a slave/ex-slave. We actuallly assumed he was just a neighbour who happened to be black, because in rural North Germany it was common for children to address neighbours as Aunt or Uncle. But that we sometimes can’t see the problems doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

          However, when modern SF tries to look like the Golden Age (and not just by imitating the good parts like the sense of wonder and fun), that’s when you get a problem, because the world has changed since the 1920s.

          • Fail Burton says:

            Information is slippery simply because there is so much of it. I think we sometimes make the mistake of assuming if we don’t know it, it never happened. An interesting example is Gertrude Bennett, who had a handful of her SFF stories published in the Munsey Magazines around WW I under the alias of Francis Stevens. Then – she quit. Abraham Merritt apparently admired those stories and emulated them. Now, in order to understand what that means, one has to understand that Merritt, though not a prolific SFF writer, was incredibly popular with SFF fans from around 1920 to the mid-fifties. But that popularity is a story now lost in time. Merritt even had a pulp magazine named for him which ran 5 issues in ’49-’50. Merritt had died in ’43. Merritt was hugely influential on other writers like Lovecraft, Jack Williamson and probably much of that entire generation. So what do you have from all of that? A lost story. Also, I used to collect Tom and Jerry and in at least some of those that woman actually is the owner of the house and the cat. Sorry about the 30 Years War. Who won: Tom or Jerry?

            • Cora says:

              Thanks for the lost story. I’ve heard of Abraham Merritt, but not of Gertrude Bennett/Francis Stevens. There are a lot of once influential authors who are forgotten, often unfairly.

              As for the Thirty Years War, they eventually agreed to disagree (i.e. they decided that the local ruler has the right to pick which flavour of Christianity he or she prefers and that any subject who disagrees has the right to emigrate).

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  3. Not sure if this assists or muddles context at all, but the glittery hoo-ha is generally a tongue-in-cheek but often used term for a common romance fiction trope (which also turns up in other genres) in which the heroine’s vagina appears to magically fix everything wrong with the hero once he has sex with her. The male equivalent, because romance writers are very fair-minded, is the “magical wang.” (neither of these tropes are meant literally of course, unless it is a Very Bad Romance Novel)

    I’m not even making this up – http://www.arghink.com/2007/04/09/the-glittery-hooha-an-analysis/

    Knowing the origins of this phrase, it has to be said, actually makes that Mad Genius post about ten times more confusing. I think it has to be a case of “that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    • Cora says:

      I remember that definition of the “glittery hoo-haa” from Beyond Heaving Bosoms by the two women behind Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. But if they got the term from there, it makes even less sense than before.

      It probably really is a case of “that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.” Which would actually be a pretty apt description of the whole Mad Genius blog, come to think of it.

  4. I thought Kate Paulk was a horrible person.

    Then I read that utter garbage by Sarah Hoyt, and wished there was a way I could resign from my gender, because that was the most horrifying thing I’ve read in all this horrifying mess.

    What astoundingly nasty people, and how completely lacking in decency and empathy. I thought I’d used up all my appalled over the original Truesdale nonsense. Now I really have.

    • Cora says:

      Hard as it may be to believe, that was actually a comparatively mild post by Sarah Hoyt’s standards. After Obama was reelected, she really lost her shit for a few weeks and started ranting about treason and revolution and how it was war now. Pretty scary stuff.

      The whole Mad Genius Club is an echo chamber for rightwing SF writers who wish that Heinlein were still alive anyway, so they only incite each other further.

      • The whole Mad Genius Club is an echo chamber for rightwing SF writers who wish that Heinlein were still alive anyway …

        And you’re glad he’s dead? That is, you know, the logical alternative to wishing he were alive …

        • Cora says:

          No, I’m not glad that Robert E. Heinlein is dead. I read a few of his books as a teen and didn’t much care for them, but I didn’t wish any ill on the man himself. Not that it would have mattered, because he died around the time I started reading SF.

          However, Heinlein was born in 1907, so he would be 107 years old now, which makes it rather unlikely (though not impossible) for him to be still alive. And science fiction has moved on since Heinlein’s glory days.

    • Clearly, if they fail to agree with you, they must be entirely lacking in decency and empathy. How could anyone decent not hold the same opinions as you? How could anyone empathetic not feel your emotions and be shamed into agreeing with you?

      As a believer in diversity and honesty, I salute you! Keep fighting the good fight for diversity through uniformity of belief, and honesty through pretense of agreement. Only in automatic conformity is there true respect!

        • Stephen Houghton says:

          Look if you think that it besmirches your honor to belong to the same gender as someone you disagree with, that is not our problem, it is yours. It is openly sexist to believe that sex should determine opinion or that guilt should be assigned by sex.

          Now what by Sarah has you so upset? Just expressing moral disapprobation is a form the argument from moral intimidation.

      • Fred Davis says:

        But you actually do lack empathy to an abnormal degree, Jordan. Normal human empathy means things like not wanting to kill everyone in the middle east because of 9/11, to cull just one (though frequently recurring) example of how not to do basic human empathy from your LJ.

        Maybe you want to get someone from the mad genius club who is possessed of a vaguely normal set of human emotions to come and wave that particular strawman around. So yeah, that means not you, the genocidal furry, and not Kratman the waffen SS apologist, and not VD and his whole white supremicist shenanigans.

        There have to be standards, you know?

        • Tom Kratman says:

          Strenuous….Yawn.

          • Sean says:

            pretty much.

          • Fred Davis says:

            Do please excuse me, tom, if I’m putting you to sleep, please. Do continue regaling this blog with the totality of your wikipedia degree in modern history or the precise weight of your reichmark-stamped-mauser’s receiver again.

            15.2oz you say? fascinating.

        • I got curious and looked up Jordan’s LiveJournal, then searched for references to 9/11. I found plenty he’d written in support of the military action we took, even suggesting we didn’t go far enough in some ways. But absolutely nothing remotely qualified for your characterization of “wanting to kill everyone in the middle east because of 9/11”.

          Which leads me to suspect that you consider the American response to these attacks excessive and an affront to “normal human empathy”. Tell me, Fred—do I understand you correctly?

          • Cora says:

            Apparently, Jordan has something of a history (though I for one had never heard of him before he showed up here) going back to Usenet, so maybe that’s what he is referring to.

            • I’d rather have Fred speak for himself, either to post links to what he claimed or answer my question.

            • Fred Davis says:

              I’m not one of the old USEnetters (They tend to go on about jordan liking 12 year old girls, which was allegedly his major schtick before 9/11 happened and he switched to the OTT islamophobia thing). But I think if you read any section of the skiffy bit of the interwubs for long enough he’ll cross your path eventually though.

              Congratulations! This is yours.

    • thomas monaghan says:

      Wow what a bunch of BS. Name calling and defaming of a people really shows your true stripes Ann!! Especially the yellow one on your back.

      • “Especially the yellow one on your back.”

        You realise, don’t you, that this particular insult originates in anti-Asian racism?

        As for the rest of your drivel, you can bite me too, arsewipe.

            • Cora says:

              Thanks for the correction.

              Though to be fair, he has been polite, unlike the rest of the bunch.

              • I was trying to delete that because I had him mixed up with the other thomas. Can you please do that for me?

                • Cora says:

                  Done. And yes, it’s kind of difficult to keep track of who said what here. Plus, some of the threads are apparently coming up against the reply limit.

                  • Tom Kratman says:

                    Funny, I found it very easy to keep track of Ann’s comment to me, which was, in fact, idiotic.

                    • Cora says:

                      Tom, Ann, knock it off. She got you mixed off with someone else who shares your not too uncommon first name.

                      Disagreeing with her is fine, but don’t make me regret saying you’re polite.

              • Tom Kratman says:

                Told you, Cora, I am polite until someone is impolite to me. Did Ann make a mistake? Yes, two of them, but one – since deleted – was most impolite. And she shouldn’t really delete it; she _should_ apologize.

            • Tom Kratman says:

              You need to pay more attention to detail. Your initial claim was that yellow, as in cowardly, was anti-Asian racist. I showed you where that was false. Your counterevidence, that yellow is code for dangerous to whites, “yellow peril,” does not refute that yellow, as in cowardly, has nothing to do with asians. Your next step must be to produce evidence that dangerous to whites and cowardly are synonyms. Lots of luck with that.

              • I’ll refer you to my Japanese friend who has had the word ‘yellow’ (meaning coward) thrown at her by Americans. I think you will find that plenty of Asians and non-Asians have had the two meanings conflated, especially during the Second World War when the ‘cowardly Japanese’ was a popular meme. Maybe you’ve heard of this.

                As for apologising, I would have, but now you’ve demanded it…no. Not now I know where you’ve crawled from. If you’re happy to associate with those kind of people, you should just be grateful Cora lets you comment at all.

                • Tom Kratman says:

                  That it may have acquired the meaning says nothing about orginal meaning. And, frankly, I consider the claim of your Japanese friend simply preposterous. If there’s one thing Americans would never consider Japanese, after the Pacific campaign, 41-45, it’s cowardly.

                  • Cora says:

                    The Pearl Harbor attacks are frequently described as cowardly by Americans.

                    • Tom Kratman says:

                      You may have missed it, but the Pearl Harbor attack was over by about mid day, 7 December, 1941. I specifically said, 41-45, during which time the Japanese had ample opportunity to demonstrate, and did demonstrate, that they were the bravest people in the world and in the history of the world.

                • Tom Kratman says:

                  Oh, and I demanded nothing. I pointed out what a decent human being would do. If you are not such, that’s your problem.

                  • Cora says:

                    Knock it off. She got you mixed up with that other guy who acted like a jerk. Don’t make me regret that I let anyone comment who doesn’t actually post death threats.

          • pst314 says:

            That’s right, Tom: The association of yellow with cowardice predates WWII by many centuries.
            Somehow that fact gets conveniently ‘forgotten’ and those who remember are branded as ‘racists! racists!’

          • Expendable Henchman says:

            Re: Yellow Bellied:

            I’ve always believed the term came from “Lower than a Yellow Bellied Snake” because the belly scales of lizards and snakes, never being seen or exposed to sunlight, tend towards a yellow color.

            I’ve never heard any reference to cowardice as being a derogatory characteristic of Asians. Frankly, it takes a lot of guts to cross a few thousand miles of ocean to live in dangerous poverty working your ass off daily in the railroad business.

            I’ve lived a lot of places (including a long bit in Asia without any english speakers) and I’ve NEVER heard any asians described generally (or even specifically) as cowards. Italians and French crackers, yes, Chinese: never.

            • Tom Kratman says:

              Sure, but when one is a very minor stockholder in the racial grievance and outrage industry, one looks for dividends wherever one can find them. A little dose of “niggardly,” anyone?

        • hugh59 says:

          I always thought that “yellow” in that context was a reference to urine and a person urinating out of fear. There is no dispute that the use of that term to describe Asians is demeaning and disgraceful.

    • Martin Wisse says:

      You have to remember, Hoyt’s family apparantly fled Portugal when the country liberated itself from a literally fascist dictatorship in the mid seventies, something she tends to talk about as the country falling to the communists.

      • Cora says:

        As far as I know, her family is still in Portugal and she came to the US as an exchange student, got married and stayed. Though given her background, she should know what Communism actually looks like and that Obama is not one.

  5. Kaz Augustin says:

    Thanks for that, Cora. I’m the kind of person your relatives warn you against — a brown-skinned foreigner and perpetual migrant. Y’know, it doesn’t even hurt anymore; I just feel tired.

    Also, I wish Americans wouldn’t start talking about politics. It’s beyond embarrassing. If you go to Kate Paulk’s blog, she rants on about the “Marxist” press in the United States. Again, I’d spew coffee from my nostrils if I wasn’t such a bone-tired Marxist myself. I figure the Mad Genius Club must know what kind of person she is, so I’ve just collected myself a new bunch of authors to avoid as, right now, I’m too tetchy to even begin being charitable.

    • Cora says:

      As I said to Ann above, the Mad Genius Club is an echo chamber for disgruntled rightwing SF authors who wish Heinlein were still alive. Even Orson Scott Card is too leftwing for them, which is really saying something.

      American misperceptions about what Marxism actually is (hint: The US mainstream press is not and has never been Marxist) will never cease to amuse me. I guess it’s what happens when a country has actually had any party with actual political influence that’s further left than a leftwing conservative or a very conservative social democrat.

      The saddest thing about the Nazi at the dinner table is that when you correct them by e.g. pointing out that their own Lebanese neighbours or the Russian seamstress at the corner store are always nice and helpful, they tend to say something like, “Oh, but those people are exceptions. It’s all of those other immigrants who are the problem.” But facts never really work with that sort – they’re simply immune. Most of them time, I just avoid sitting next to them and chat about opera with the gay pal of the Nazi at the dinner table (not that the Nazi at the dinner table is aware his pal is gay).

      • thomas monaghan says:

        Pitiful!

      • James Davis Nicoll says:

        Hey, not every belief Card holds is horrifyingly reactionary:

        * He doesn’t think kids should be punished for their parents’ crimes.

        * He has a desire for his town to have a utopian level of public transit roughly on par with Kitchener-Waterloo’s.

        * Despite the occasional moment of detectable dissatisfaction with the current President of the US, he did write an essay about respecting the other guy’s point of view.

        ” But I also know many voters who support Obama, and I know their motives are at least as good as mine.”

        http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2008-11-04-1.html

      • Stephen Houghton says:

        Cora, a) Card is a democrat with a position on gay marriage no different than that of the President of United States until last year, so of course any centrist or right of center publication is going to think he is a lefty. b) Nazism is and has always been a left wing political movement unless one is an actual Marxist. The only right wing cred the Nazis had was anti communism. From all other perspectives they were what they claimed to be authoritarian socialists. That they had favored crony capitalists is not surprising and plenty of socialist and even communist states have had that. c) “glittery hoo-haas” is a term that originally meant a woman with over the top IT, SA, etc. but has been taken over by Kate and Sarah to mean women who think that their vagina (no I wouldn’t want you to accuse me of hiding behind a weird overly lainate euphemism) their cunt makes them special, instead of their individual achievements. d) The idea there are only two or three communists in the SFWA so that is ok is typical fellow traveler- useful idiot BS. What would be your reaction be if there were “only” two or three avowed members of American Nazi Party in the SFWA. I can’t say about your reaction personally, but the PC reaction by many to the use of terms “lady writer” and “lady editor” gives a good idea. It also gives a good sense of the morality of many members of the SFWA to be an apologist for the bloodiest ideology of the 20th Century is A OK but the expression Lady Editor and “off with their heads.” And people wonder why people like Sarah, Kate and I hold the modern left in contempt.

        • Cora says:

          I don’t ever recall Obama saying that criminal persecution of gays and lesbians should be maintained to keep them in line, which Card said at one point. Though I agree that Obama did not express his support for gay marriage until fairly recently.

          BTW the Socialism element was purged from the Nazi party with the Röhm coup a.k.a. the night of long knives in 1934. “Socialism” remained part of the party name and there was some lip service, but otherwise the Nazis were quite happily capitalist and closely alligned with the big business of the time.

          And if you’re trying to shock me by using the word “cunt”, sorry, won’t work.

          • Tom Kratman says:

            Where did Card say that, Cora? I don’t mean where someone interpreted the words into his mouth or keyboard, where did _he_ actually say it?

            • Joel Salomon says:

              It was in an essay written just after the courts upheld anti-sodomy laws, and in the context of arguing that such laws should generally not be enforced, even if they stayed on the books.

                • Cora says:

                  He just posted one.

                • Tom Kratman says:

                  For reason or reasons unknown, no _link_ appears on my screen. Do you mean the title he mentioned?

                • I don’t think the original 1990 article is online anywhere; at least nobody quoting the Evil Mr. Card has linked to it. My information comes from http://www.hatrack.com/misc/Quotes_in_Context.shtml which seems to have Card’s imprinteur though it is written in third person.

                  • Correction: The original essay can be found at http://www.nauvoo.com/library/card-hypocrites.html with the following note by Card prepended:

                    This essay was published in February of 1990, in the following context: The Supreme Court had declared in 1986 (Bowers v. Hardwick) that a Georgia law prohibiting sodomy even in the privacy of one’s own home was constitutional. I was also writing this essay to a conservative Mormon audience that at the time would have felt no interest in decriminalizing homosexual acts. In that context, my call to “leave the laws on the books” was simply recognizing the law at that time, and my call to not enforce it except in flagrant cases was actually, within that context, a liberal and tolerant view—for which I was roundly criticized in conservative Mormon circles as being “pro-gay.” Those who now use this essay to attack me as a “homophobe” deceptively ignore the context and treat the essay as if I had written it yesterday afternoon. That is absurd—now that the law has changed (the decision was overturned in 2003) I have no interest in criminalizing homosexual acts and would never call for such a thing, any more than I wanted such laws enforced back when they were still on the books. But I stand by the main points of this essay, which concerns matters internal to the Mormon Church.

                    An honest reading of the complete essay (ah, but what room is there for honesty when Social Justice must prevail!) yields scant evidence of Card’s supposed “homophobia”. Notably, this is exactly the case with the recent SFF thread (with all its female author participants), where an honest reading (there’s that phrase again!) doesn’t remotely support the allegations of antipathy to women writing.

              • Tom Kratman says:

                I ask because in all of the anti-Card links posted here that I’ve checked, once you click through you find that, why no, that’s not what he said, but what someone with an axe to grind and a penchant for hysterics says he said.

        • Daniela says:

          Since when are the Nazis a left-wing movement? Even during their time they were viewed as hard-core right-wing and because of that appealed to the conservative bourgosie. Some of their rhetoric and of course their attempted focus of the worker-class make them look a lot like the socialists and even the name of the NSDAP hint at socialism but they were definitely right-wing in more than just their opposition to communism.

          I would suggest reading the books by Professor Richard Evans. He goes really into the depths of why the Nazies were right wing.

    • Hugh says:

      Nice of you to defame a large population of people. Rudeness and ignorance should be discouraged. Stereotyping people should be discouraged.

  6. Mark says:

    Just when you thought things can’t get any worse.

    I think a healthy community is a community in which many different views are represented, so even if I may lean more to the left, I think it’s good to have more conservative counter-positions. I get nervous if everybody around me thinks and feels just like me. Or in this case I think it’s good to have people voice their concerns regarding censorship, self-censoring, editorial policies, control boards etc. (which is not necessarily the same as having a conservative position). I don’t think that everybody who signed the petition had necessarily a bad intention (I think some did, or simply don’t count like Resnick and Malzberg). But then I’m reading comments from conservatives like Sarah Hoyt, and she is just so far out there… And pretty much every other comment from that corner goes into a similar direction that cannot be taken seriously (sometimes I wonder if Theodore Beale is even a real person. Everything is just so ridiculous). I think what’s missing is that people with contrary positions just make it clear that they don’t want to be associated with these phonies and that they don’t have a personal agenda or feud with somebody. Which admittedly may be a naive request, because that would mean that I would expect from them to know about these guys and everything they have said somewhere, and how can you seriously expect from somebody to deal with all that shit?

    I also disagree with the young vs. old thing. Associating older people with right wing (or other anti-progressive) sentiments seems to be a widely accepted exception to the rule that you shouldn’t have prejudices against any group of people (particularly groups that are not based on ideology, but on biology). And then it’s also not my personal experience. My political views were very much influenced (one could say, imprinted in my brain) by what happened in Rostock-Lichtenhagen in 1992 and how politics reacted and particularly how people reacted to these riots (excusing the riots as an acceptable political statement), and very disappointed by many of peers at that time, which were just as young as myself. I saw bigotry throughout all age groups during that time.

    That doesn’t mean that I disagree with the idea that nostalgia is a big part of the problem (I always thought that it’s strange that the SF community feels like the community, that is the least open to change and innovation). I just think that the Nazi comparison doesn’t really fit there.

    • Cora says:

      I agree that the SFF community in general and SFWA in particular should be open to people across the political spectrum. And indeed there are conservative SFF writers who don’t regularly behave like jerks. But in the US, the political divide is sharper than elsewhere and so you get people like Theodore Beale or the Mad Genius Club who race over the right edge so far into insanity that they make the CSU seem like the Left Party by comparison. And sadly, these people drown out the saner voice. Ditto on the left. Shrill voices drown out more reasonable people.

      I accept that some of the signatories may have genuine issues about censorship. And I don’t think anybody would have objected to a better worded petition against censorship in the SFWA Bulletin. But why sign Dave Truesdale’s completely over the top petition instead of drafting your own? Though to be fair, Robert Silverberg and Nancy Kress claim that they edited out the most offensive bits, which resulted in the second defused draft of the petition.

      I don’t believe that older people are necessarily more conservative, though the tendency is there. But on the other hand, you also get older people who are very far into the socialist/left spectrum and younger people who are conservative. As for the petition, at least one of the signatories (Brad Torgersen) is young(ish) and there are some names I don’t know. And several of them do identify as liberal/progressive. But it is notable that most of the big names are authors I read twenty-five years ago. Plus, you get comments like David Brin’s Tweet in response to petition critics that the children should be quiet, because the adults are speaking. So age and the resulting fear of irrelevance do seem to play into it at least for some of the signatories.

      The “Nazi at the dinner table” comment was mostly due to having grown up in a conservative rural (now semi-rural) area, where “Stammtischparolen” were pretty rampant (from people who were otherwise quite nice) and speaking up or simply not inviting those people anymore was not considered acceptable. Few of those people were actually old enough to have been Nazis – most of them never got further than Hitlerjugend or BDM. Besides, I have to go to an 85th birthday in the family on Wednesday, where several people of that kind will be in attendance and I’m dreading having to sit there, eating cake I don’t like and having to listen to people spouting their prejudices against immigrants.

      Besides, with regard to issues like casual sexism or racism, there is a notable old versus young divide that cuts across the political spectrum. Particularly older men regardless of political orientation sometimes say things that are pretty damn offensive to modern ears (sexist jokes, saying “I worked in slant eye land for three years” in an Asian restaurant – really happened and I just about died of shame, etc…). And if you try to tell them that it’s no longer appropriate to make such jokes in public, you sometimes get a “Don’t so so prudish like those bloody Americans” for your trouble. Standards of what is deemed offensive have changed quite drastically in the past thirty or forty years and not everybody gets it or even understands that there is a problem. It’s the Rainer Brüderle effect – the guy genuinely did not get that remarking on the breasts of a woman he didn’t know was totally inappropriate.

      As for Rostock-Lichtenhagen, I remember those events and my anger at the lack of reaction only too well. And you’re right, there were people all across the age spectrum there. I also remember the spin in the media – “Well, you have to understand that they are angry.” – and the lack of decicive reaction from the authorities (though my grown-up self knows that “Get the Bundeswehr and shoot the lot” would not have been an appropriate reaction either, though arresting them would have been). Even worse was the selective editing of the events for the 20th anniversary two years ago. “Oh, the authorities failed and put asylum seekers into that block and it was all dirty and filthy and so it was understandable that the people rebelled.” But then, there is a lot of historical editing going on regarding the last years of the GDR and the unification.

      • James Davis Nicoll says:

        I’m dreading having to sit there, eating cake I don’t like and having to listen to people spouting their prejudices against immigrants.

        One of the funnier things to happen to me on the bus was listening to an angry old lady announce she was moving away from Ontario because we have too many immigrants now. In a thick German accent.

        (when kids at my high school wanted to pretend being old, they’d put on German accents because all the old people they knew were German…)

        • Cora says:

          Of course, it’s always those other immigrants who are the problem. Over here, some of the worst complainers about immigrants are people who came from what used to be Germany, but is now Poland, i.e. people who were “those horrible immigrants” when they were young.

          A friend and I actually came across a German radio station while travelling through Ontario. The station was playing the worst sort of German folk pop music, the sort that only old people listen to. We seriously considered donating some CDs of contemporary German pop music to them.

          • Yama says:

            Send them some Popol Vuh, probably the best thing to come out of modern Germany.

            • Cora says:

              We were going to go for some Herbert Groenemeyer (you probably don’t know him as a singer, but he was in Das Boot as an actor), Fettes Brot (German hip hop band rapping in Low German) and some German New Wave from the early 1980s, but that’s a good choice as well.

              • Daniela says:

                Send them some Schandmaul or In Extremo ;-). Maybe even some Corvus Corax. Let’s do the culture schock properly ;-D.

                • Cora says:

                  With Schandmaul, they’d probably be shocked at the name already.

                • Sean says:

                  Nahhh…send them some heavy metal. Hmmm there was a band back in the 90’s I was fond of Drain STH. Did a cover of “Ace of Spades”. a cover which I preferred to the original by Motorhead. I now wait for any possible Motorhead fans in the building to gasp in shock and spontaneously give birth to cattle. *grin*

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  8. Patrick Richardson says:

    Ahh and the International Community of the Perpetually Butthurt and the Cis-sisterhood of the Glittery Hoo Haa has been heard from. Of course they have zero sense of humor to recognize sarcasm or ridicule when they see it, wouldn’t recognize satire if it bit them on the ass and are only tolerant of viewpoints that agree with theirs.

    Lemme see, does Larry Corriea have a message, yeah, he does. Sort of. Mostly he just tells a good story. You know, what all of the people you’re bitching about are actually railing about? We don’t want to be preached to? We just want to read a good story?

    You want right-wing message fic? Read “Last Centurion” book is brilliant. Blows up your little commutard world view, point by point. With annotations.

    But that would involve reading something that forces you to stretch yourself. You know, that thing you accuse right wingers of being unwilling to do? That?

    • Cora says:

      You know, I considered just leaving this comment languish in the spam bucket, but then I thought, “What the hell, let’s approve him, so people can see another example of the mindset we’re talking about here.”

      Besides, what makes you think I haven’t read Larry Correia?

    • Kaz Augustin says:

      Oh man, I have an entire row of Robert Heinlein books at home. And EE “Doc” Smith. Read them too…they’re not just there to give me gravitas when any right-wing smugtard runs a condescending eye over my library. 😉 All I can say is, thank christ Harry Harrison came along and saved my sanity! LOL

      And Richard? My butt only hurts ‘cos I’ve been taking it there from people like you for years. You know my biggest gripe? You guys never use lubrication.

      • Keith Glass says:

        This entire bit has been. . . amusing. But the bottom line here is. . . what sells, and what doesn’t. You may have the Ultimate Novel. . . .but if 22 people have bought it, and 18 of them are relatives who are humoring you, you are NOT a successful writer.

        So I issue a challenge: Publish your past year’s royalties for all to see.

        I rather suspect that people like Larry Correia, Sarah Hoyt, and (Oh John Ringo, NO!!!!!) John Ringo make the vast majority of SFWA writer’s paychecks look like a fast-food worker, in comparison. . .

        • “I rather suspect that people like Larry Correia, Sarah Hoyt, and (Oh John Ringo, NO!!!!!) John Ringo make the vast majority of SFWA writer’s paychecks look like a fast-food worker, in comparison. . .”

          So?

          Some writers make more money than others. That doesn’t (a) make them better writers or (b) make their politics or opinions more relevant or acceptable.

          Money is not the only measure of worth. And populist crap, like fast food, may sell more but be worse for you in the end.

          • Keith Glass says:

            Quite simply: if you’re writing for a living, and it doesn’t pay the bills, it’s a hobby.

            And, oh noes, they DARE to write something that’s designed to sell. OMFG, Capitalism !! What’s next, Dogs and Cats, living together ??

            Let’s go theoretical, shall we ?? No-name author, does not sell many books: who CARES about their relevance or political acceptability: for most of the world, they don’t even exist.

            Big name author, sells many books, in a lot of cases, sales are supported by their opinions or political views. Correia is the example here: not only does he espouse what the regular readers here would likely consider “unacceptable” political views, but he revels in them, and uses them in his relentless marketing. Probably why he has a massive, engaged fan base, that even supports indy authors (He did another “Book Bomb” yesterday. . .), and sells massively.

            But apparently, “populist” equals “bad” in your weltanschauung. We USED to call that point of view “Elitist”. . .

        • Cora says:

          Ah, the ever popular “You don’t sell enough, so your views don’t matter” argument. Again, Kaz can defend herself (and she has sold considerably more than 22 copies).

          Larry Correia and John Ringo seem to have found their niche and are selling well, which is good for them. As for Sarah Hoyt, her Darkship series probably sells on the strength of the Baen brand alone. Not sure about her self-pub stuff, but if she’s selling, good for her. As for whether they’re outselling the majority of the SFWA, I suspect that some paranormal romance or YA writers that no one even consider to be writing SFF outsell them all.

          And if you’d read my posts (it was in a previous post I think), you’d have noticed that I said it’s good thing that writers who didn’t fit into the paradigms of traditional publishing (and I explicitly included conservative and right-leaning writers) can find their own niche via indie publishing.

          • Keith Glass says:

            “Selling well.” That’s an understatement. They both have several New York Times Fiction Bestsellers. That’s pretty much, the Gold Standard in publishing: it simply does not get better than that. Both are in Top 100 at Amazon. Again, gold standard, especially as NYTimes only considers Dead Tree Editions for it’s numbers.

            I would call that “wildly successful”. Despite what you claim to be “unacceptable” positions.
            In fact, based on their wide acceptance, the actual evidence tends to deny your claim wholly.

            But do go one, us politically unacceptable ones are having a blast. You DO know that we’re laughing at you, don’t you ???

      • Wayne Blackburn says:

        You say you have read Heinlein and Smith, but have you really read them, or did you merely skim through them looking for things to be offended over?

        I honestly don’t know how anyone who has actually read Heinlein could think that his books would give them, “gravitas when any right-wing smugtard runs a condescending eye” over their library. Anyone who would actually be considered “right-wing” would completely ignore Heinlein as far as “gravitas” goes, because he was so far to their left.

        You people out there on the Left, who keep nailing more boards at the end, to go ever further and further to the Left, think that Orson Scott Card is on the Right. Sorry, he’s barely close to the middle, but your perspective is so warped by distance that you can’t see any difference.

        • Yama says:

          How far right do you have to be to consider Card a leftist, or even centrist?

        • Cora says:

          I can’t answer for Kaz, but I have read both. Heinlein didn’t particularly appeal to me and by the time I found Smith, I had read too much of the other SF he inspired that I couldn’t appreciate him. I probably would have enjoyed Smith more, if I had found him at 15. Heinlein I didn’t even care for at 15.

          As for the political spectrum, I suspect it’s your position that is warped, because it’s pretty well known that the political spectrum in the US is shifted further rightwards than in other industrialized countries. And while Orson Scott Card may self-identify as a Democrat (and very few Democrats are actually left by European standards), particularly his views on gays put him on the far right fringe by West European standards.

        • Kaz Augustin says:

          Yes Wayne, I spent hard-earned pocket money running errands and working jobs as a teenager JUST so I could buy SF books and NOT read them. Srsly? Are you even on planet Earth?

          If OSC is “in the middle”, then it’s not MY perspective that’s warped, believe me. And what “distance”? The distance of, say, not living in the United States, which I did for several years? Not attending SF cons? I did. Not reading? Plainly ludicrous.

          May I suggest you actually learn what “left-wing” and “right-wing” mean before you comment further? I don’t mind having conversations with conservatives. I buy, read and enjoy PJ O’Rourke, for example. But at least O’Rourke knows what he’s talking about, whereas you….

          • Wayne Blackburn says:

            And what “distance”? The distance of, say, not living in the United States, which I did for several years?

            Wow. You clearly didn’t understand what I wrote about that. See the part about, “nailing more boards on the end”? That meant that you hit the end of Left and had to add more on the end to move further and further Leftwards. After going further and further Left time after time after time, you are so far from Center that Center now looks the same as Right to you.

            By defining OSC as “Right-wing”, merely on his (misinterpreted) position on gays (yes, I know it was Cora who said it, but it’s a repeated point I have heard lately), it betrays a superficiality that is truly staggering. By defining someone relative to a single aspect of their observed opinions or behavior, you therefore box yourselves into tighter and tighter definitions of what it is to be part of the group, because if you stray from the same opinions as the rest of the group, you will be ostracized and demonized.

            As for my question about “skimming”, I suppose I misstated that. What I really meant by that was to ask if you read things with an eye to what will offend you, so that as soon as you find something that can be twisted into being interpreted as offensive, that it then becomes bad. It was also more in the realm of wondering if you read them before or after you heard from someone else that there were offensive things in them, and had preconceived notions before reading.

            • Cora says:

              For a lot of people, myself included, Orson Scott Card’s position on gays (which isn’t misstated, unless OSC is a very bad communicator, since he said it himself) is what puts him beyond the pale.

              And as I and also others have said before, the political spectrum in the US is shifted further rightwards than elsewhere (and note that neither I nor Kaz are Americans), so many of your moderates look like conservatives and some of your conservatives like the rightwing fringe from here.

              • Wayne Blackburn says:

                I said, “misinterpreted”, not misstated. There’s a significant difference between the two terms.

                • Cora says:

                  It’s kind of hard to misinterpret Card’s stance on gays either, since he can’t stop shouting it from the treetops.

        • jennygadget says:

          I promise you that when I read books looking for things to be offended by, I DO NOT skim. I read very closely and carefully.

      • Tom Kratman says:

        Jeez, does your husband know about that? 😉

        • Kaz Augustin says:

          I know. I keep covering them with Zamyatin, Tiptree, Lem, and more Harrisons and hope he doesn’t notice. LOL

          (It’s a JOKE, you poor maligned jingoistic “conservatives”. That’s what the LOL means, okay? Maybe tomorrow, we’ll talk about sarcasm and irony. Hmm no, maybe I should get you all dictionaries first.)

          • Yama says:

            Harrison as in M. John?

            • Kaz Augustin says:

              Y’know, I have some M John books. Loved his Viriconium series (and I’m not usually a fantasy reader). I bought “Light” just on the name. Can I tell you, Yama, I was deeply disappointed. Maybe I need to re-read, but I objected to the main character’s treatment of women and a story that just seemed to peter out before it ended.

              But, to answer your question, I was referring to Harry. 🙂

              • Kate Elliott says:

                Oh thank god another person who feels the way I did about Light.

                Sorry — this has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

                • Cora says:

                  Don’t worry, Kate, there have been lots of OT posts here. Mostly they were more enjoyable then the T ones.

          • Tom Kratman says:

            As long as we’re joking, I’m not entirely sure you caught the joke. You wrote:

            “My butt only hurts ‘cos I’ve been taking it there from people like you for years. You know my biggest gripe? You guys never use lubrication.”

            And it was to that that I asked, “Jeez, does your husband know about that? ;)”

      • Wayne Blackburn says:

        You know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a good explanation of why Heinlein sets people off like that. For his time, he’s probably the most transgressive writer who was popular enough to notice.

        I know why you don’t like Smith, though. He never wrote the Qadgop and Cynthia space opera that Kim Kinnison was writing while undercover in Children of the Lens. 🙂

        • “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a good explanation of why Heinlein sets people off like that. ”

          he’s a raging sexist for one thing. And the incest kink is a bit…euwww.

          But he’s a mixed bag. When he’s good, he’s very good and when he’s bad, he’s horrid. Like a lot of writers. I read him until I finally reached the point where I just got mightily sick of Lazarus Long, and as they say, when you are tired of Lazarus Long, you are tired of Heinlein.

          • Wayne Blackburn says:

            A “raging sexist”? The mind boggles. A less sexist person of his generation would be hard to find.

            • “A less sexist person of his generation would be hard to find.”

              Which doesn’t say much for his generation then, does it?

              Google “Heinlein’s Sexism”. You’ll find I’m not the only person – the only *woman* – who feels this way. But perhaps you only think male opinions count.

              Do you always spend this much energy defending dead authors’ reputations?

              • Fail Burton says:

                I think your opinion counts for yourself and you speak only for yourself. Lighting up an entire generation, an entire country, is wrong. Heinlein’s books were made up fictions. Literature is constantly full of strange anomalies and eccentric visions. I see no reason to treat novels as a census or instruction manuals if it’s not implicit in the work itself. There is also no bible or set of laws I know of that prove Heinlein was wrong and unfair and you are right and fair.

            • I think this essays says it best for me:

              http://miniver.blogspot.com.au/2004/02/is-heinleins-writing-sexist.html

              Yes, his writing isn’t *just* sexist (there’s the racism too, ho ho) and his ideas in *some* ways were ahead of his peers, but he was still stuck in a mindset which just doesn’t fly too well with people who aren’t the numbnuts currently attacking leading female authors for having legs.

  9. Kaz Augustin says:

    Oops, misspelt his name. Oh well, unless he’s a 5yo, he should be able to suck it up…

  10. “What the hell, let’s approve him, so people can see another example of the mindset we’re talking about here.”

    You’ve got to admire the sheer boneheadness of the anti crowd, haven’t you? A petition is got up by a man, is largely supported by man, pushing a male-centric agenda, and the pushback is now being whined about most unbecomingly and unprofessionally by men, particularly one male publishing employee (well for now he is).

    But who’s at fault according to the idiot child above? A mysterious “Cis-sisterhood of the Glittery Hoo Haa”. Yeah, the all-powerful vaginas done made those men make absolutely fucking fools of themselves.

    “Of course they have zero sense of humor to recognize sarcasm or ridicule when they see it”

    Oh we recognise it all right, sport. We just don’t find it clever or particularly witty. Or indeed, showing anything like an actual wit was behind any of it.

    Run along back to your man cave, there’s a good little chap.

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  12. Yama says:

    Fact: I would rather watch Theodore Rex than read a book by Theodore Beale.

  13. However, in Chile professional organizations such as journalist and educator associations began to expel left leaning members prior to Pinochet taking over. Those lists of expelled were compiled by Pinochet’s secret police as a clue as to who to roundup. Later, many were picked up…and we know how that ended.

    Which has nothing to do with why Vox Day was kicked out. He was, indeed, thrown out for posting his vile crap on SFWA’s official twitter feed. But the whole thing would have died off had not a lot of people involved with SFWA piped up with gloating about Vox’s political beliefs being the reason.

    The leadership of SFWA should have been loud that _anyone_ posting their own agenda, regardless of politics, on the official SFWA twitter feed is violating the rules of conduct of the organization. Otherwise, well….the current back and forth.

    • Cora says:

      That’s an interesting point about Chile. However, I sincerely doubt that there is currently a coup planned from any side of the political spectrum in the US, so Vox Day’s life should not be in danger due to being expelled from the SFWA.

      I agree that the SFWA leadership should have made it clear that political posts have no place in the official Twitter feed regardless of political orientation. There are grey areas, e.g. a post about how the affordable care impacts writers might be appropriate, even if it is political topic, but those are exceptions.

      • Tom Kratman says:

        Neither “currently” nor “planning” are the key and important concepts here, Cora. Things happen in the future and they happen without anyone in the present planning them. If you lived here and paid attention, you could feel it; we are so close to a civil war it scares even _me_ and I kind of enjoy war. Yes, yes, it’s a character flaw, I know. Problem with the next one, though, it that it’s most likely to resemble Beirut in the 80s, not Gettysburg, 1863.

        I recommend against it, but who listens?

        How do you avoid political posts? Everything has become political. Do you mean that no one there should discuss, say, the latest “end the tyranny of two genders” kerfuffle? Even if they’re in favor? And then there’s the fact that right and left no longer speak the same language in important particulars, share few or no common outlooks and values, and just hate each other with an unbridled passion. Maybe purges such as were done to Vox (Yeah, I really think that under all the rationalizations, it was a purge, indeed a larger purge than just of one man) help matters by reducing the contact, hence reducing the hate, but I doubt it.

        • Cora says:

          I haven’t visited the US in a while now, but even from over here it’s obvious that the political divide is getting worse in your country. Nonetheless, I don’t think that there will actually be a violent conflict, but then you’ll never, e.g. see what’s happening in Ukraine or Thailand or Syria. I certainly hope I won’t be proven wrong.

          As I said, there is a slippery slope regarding what is and isn’t political. And of course, it is possible to post things on one’s blog that one doesn’t necessarily post on the Twitter feed. As for Vox Day, if his post had merely been politicaland OT, it might have gone unremarked, especially since his politics have been known for years and yet he wasn’t expelled. However, Vox Day mixed politics with racist attacks on another SFWA member and that was what pushed his post over the line. And while disagreeing with people is fine, calling them “uncivilized monkeys” or whatever it was (not looking it up now) is not.

        • Kristophr says:

          It will be worse than Beirut, Tom.

          The left will be checking credit card records to find right wingers to round up, and the right will be turning cars with Obama bumper stickers into swiss cheese.

          Take the current war in Syria, and square it.

          I would rather not go there if I can help it.

  14. She’s a “lady” and a “writer” — why should you be surprised that she refers to herself “unironically” as a “lady writer?” It’s a purely self-descriptive term.

    • Cora says:

      Cedar Sanderson is of course free to refer to herself as she wishes. However, “lady” is kind of old-fashioned and most women these days prefer “woman writer” or “female writer”. Plus, a column about “lady editors” was part of what sparked this whole issue, so I simply found it interesting that she used the term.

      • Yama says:

        I feel like Cedar (really, her name is Cedar?) Sanderson is herself a relic of the past.

        • You may be more right then you think. My understanding is that the she was originally dubbed Lady Sanderson by an SCA aficionado in a thread and she used it jokingly for years in various forms. Until she got attacked for it by people who did not get the joke, so she wholeheartedly adopted it.

  15. Wow. Have you ever actually read any science fiction?

    Here’s some hints for you. Much of Heinlein, especially early Heinlein, was quite explicitly socialist in some form.

    “Non-binary” gender was explored by people like Ted Sturgeon and Chip Delany and hell, even Isaac Asimov, long before you were born. And if _Left Hand of Darkness_ doesn’t seem transgressive to you now, it’s because you’re a naif who doesn’t understand just how transgressive it _was_ — coming out in print at the same time as the Stomewall Riots.

    And then there’s John Varley’s stories in which people change sex as a matter of whim — and not in the unsatisfactory simulation of today, but complete changes, fecund and enthusiastic.

    The whole fight seem to me to be just social signalling: you aren’t thinking about these things, you’re making sure you send the signals of your in-group.

    Well, honey, I’ve been being ejected by groups since **long** before you were born. So have *all* the fans who you’re attacking. Your leverage there is *really* limited, and with indie publishing, it’s getting less and less every day.

    And when you grow up, you’ll see how little you actually meant to anyone’s ideas.

    • Cora says:

      I have read a lot of SF, but thanks for the history lesson anyway. And yes, I was aware that Heinlein started out on the left and then moved progressively further to the right. The books I read by him (originally published in the 1950s and 1960s) were already further to the right than I was comfortable with.

      As for the post-binary gender debate, you should maybe take up those points with Alex Dally McFarlane or whoever made them, because I didn’t make them.

      Besides, you really seem to be falling into your own trap, i.e. responding to what you think my belifs are rather than to what I actually wrote.

      Finally, I am grown up and I am indie publishing, thank you very much.

      • Fail Burton says:

        I think the point he’s making is that once again, history is a little more nuanced than we want to acknowledge today. In a 1952 letter to his agent Heinlein stubbornly defended his desexing an alien which his female editor didn’t want to have happen. “I always called a flat cat ‘it’ rather than ‘he’ or ‘she’ and gave the only named one a name with no sex connotation.” That should but doesn’t get Heinlein approval today, presumably because it doesn’t fit in with stereotypes of Heinlein or men and women being pre-fitted with morality. Lost stories together with presumptions based on stereotypes aren’t all that useful. If we could de-sex morality the way Heinlein did his alien, we might look at actual events rather than gender. History never survives stereotypes. For example, Muslim colonialists ruled much of India 3 times longer than the British, but because of modern politics, it is only the British that are reviled for the act. Again, if we could make our historic expressions of immorality and morality race and gender neutral, we would have more fairness and less room for bigots to operate.

        • Cora says:

          Good points again, Fail. And Heinlein was ahead of his time in some ways (also see the Filipino protagonist in Starship Troopers at a time when SF was almost entirely populated by white US protagonists, even if it wasn’t actually written by Americans) and deeply problematic in others. I guess how you react to him also depends on which of his works you find first. And for the record, I quite liked Citizen of the Galaxy, when I read it as a teen.

    • Expendable Henchman says:

      Andrew Jackson Libby was a total Transgender, being reincarnated, with all memories intact female. ‘A confused male, resurrected as a well adjusted and happy female’. And one of the closest friends of Lazarus Long.

  16. If you can stand a couple more links, this sff.net post puts its finger what might be an underlying problem:

    Maybe this goes back to a conversation I had with Damon [Knight, founder of SFWA] . . . hell, must have been nearly 15, 16 years ago.. Something was going on–I forget what–and I observed to Damon that he presumed what SFWA was about–what he envisioned when he started the organization–but that other members might not have the same “compass pointing north” he did. So then the question that needed to be asked on a regular basis is, “Just what is the object of the exercise?”

    Before I threw in the towel I asked repeatedly for, and argued for the importance of, a Policy and Procedure Manual, something that spelled out what SFWA was, how it proceeded, and how it implemented policy through procedure. The silence was deafening.

    (“Something was going on”, plus comments in another thread that The Daily Dot linked to, indicate that SFWA has been dealing with one drama or another for much longer than it’s been in the public eye. I’ve also seen copious references to a redesign of the internal SFWA forums a few years ago that rendered them unreliable or unusable for many people, which might be the reason why this now takes place in other, more public forums.)

    And on a similar note, Silvia Moreno-Garcia on how other professional writers’ organizations act professional.

    • Sean says:

      “I’ve also seen copious references to a redesign of the internal SFWA forums a few years ago that rendered them unreliable or unusable for many people, which might be the reason why this now takes place in other, more public forums.)”

      That’s happened in a lot of places. A couple forums have been through multiple redesigns and more importantly…platform[ie software] changes.

      There’s been at least one fan run forum for a specific author that due to people having busy lives…just kinda fell by the wayside and the fan who was running the forum shut it down, because he just didn’t have the time or the energy anymore. Plus as I said…lots of the users stopped posting because well..”real life” became just a tad more important and time consuming.

    • Cora says:

      Thanks for the link.

      Compared to e.g. RWA, which seems to be the best managed of the professional genre writers’ associations, SFWA does offer a sorry picture and is mostly notable due to internal drama. Just the other day, someone on a writers’ forum I frequent said, “Strange. I always forget that SFWA exists, until there’s another drama.”

  17. Completely off topic, so apologies in advance.

    Having never lived in or visited Germany except to catch a connection in Frankfurt, I’m curious what you find lacking about the country and how it’s run. I’ll confess to knowing little to nothing about its governance, but I hold the Germans as a people in high regard. Just curious.

    Thanks! 🙂

    • Cora says:

      Mostly, my issues (and mind you, my comment about how criticism of the political system was brushed off mostly refer to my experiences in West Germany the 1980s and early 1990s, i.e. over twenty years ago, in a rather politically stagnant era) involved question of representation and elections such as the fact that the German president as well as the Bundesrat (the second chamber of the German parliament) are not elected directly by the people or that the German constitution did not allow for referenda at all at the time (and still doesn’t on the federal level, though several states have state level referenda).

      The West German postwar constitution, now the constitution of the united Germany, was drafted in response to issues with the constitution of the Weimar Republic, which were believed to have contributed to the rise of the Third Reich. Now this might have been a good idea back in 1949, but by the 1980s, let alone today, a lot of it was outdated, e.g. it is ridiculous that today’s German citizens cannot elect their own head of state (and some presidential elections would have gone differently, if the people would have been allowed to vote), just because our grandparents and great-grandparents elected WWI general Paul von Hindenburg back in 1925. I’m no longer quite as enthusiastic about referenda as I used to be as a teen, simply because there have been too many cases – both in Germany and abroad, e.g. the Swiss immigration referendum – where pressure groups used referenda for their own ends.

      Furthermore – this was 1989/1990, remember – there was also the fact that the unification of East and West Germany was decided by politicians (and IMO much too quickly) without asking the people in East and West Germany, even though our constitution actually requires a referendum on any unification with another state (invoked only once in the 1950s about the Saarland state) and also requires a new constitution for the united Germany, should that ever come to pass. If there had been a referendum on the unification, it would have passed anyway, but it still would have been nice to be asked or for objections to be at least acknowledged.

      Finally, my own hometown of Bremen (which is also its own city state) ended up with a mayor after 1945, who IMO was not very good at his job and made a series of really bad political decisions, which hurt the city and state of Bremen until today. However, he is revered as the mayor who rebuilt Bremen, never mind that if you’re stuck with a pile of rubble, rebuilding is the only thing you can do, no matter who is in power.

      In general, the German political system is not bad. There is room for improvements, of course, but then that’s true for every country.

  18. Patrick Richardson says:

    Sheesh, I take my time, I come over here, try to show you people how to troll properly and “he’s probably a five-year old” is the best you can come up with? Then again, the host’s writing is about at that level, so I suppose I’m not completely surprised.

    *sigh* the quality of the opposition just drops every year.

    Of course, the absurdity of a German invoking Godwin’s Law and yet having the hubris to lecture Americans on our politics defies description in any event.

    As a post-script, I’m rather stunned in your hyperventilating over a pair of first generation immigrants (Sarah is a naturalized citizen, but Kate just happens to still be an Australian citizen) daring to revere the US Constitution, and the complete meltdown of my favorite Wise Latino Gun Porn (that would be Larry), I find it incomprehensible, nay unbelievable that you couldn’t spare some venom for Tom Kratman, if there is any worse reactionary in SFF these days, I don’t know who it could be!

    • Cora says:

      Yeah, calling me a Nazi, just because I’m German (and born 28 years almost to the day after Hitler died) – that was the one thing still missing here. And rude comments about my writing, too.

      For your information, I am aware that Sarah Hoyt is a first generation Portuguese immigrant. As for Larry Correia, I didn’t know he was Latino, but suspected it based on his surname. No idea Kate Paulk was Australian, but thanks for the information.

      As for Tom Kratman, see this very comment thread. No venom, but unlike you he’s actually polite, though I disagree with his politics.

      • Patrick Richardson says:

        Madam, (yes I know, old fashioned, but you wanted polite) I did not call you a Nazi, nowhere did I use that term. I do find it a bit ironic when a German invokes Godwin’s Law, particularly when it is far from appropriate in the example you used.

        Moreover, that was not a rude attack on your writing, but rather an honest critique. A quick Google search and you will find I’ve been a professional journalist, at the national level for about 20 years. No just a writer, but an editor as well.

        Your writing, which shows — I will honestly admit — some imagination, is however, stilted and sophomoric.

        Granting, for the sake of argument, that you are not writing in a language for which you are a native speaker, one still notes that “Hi, my name is Caroline Ragnarok!” as the opening line of a short story neither catches the readers attention, nor invites them to continue further into the story. Indeed it is the sort of lede (yes that’s spelled right) I would expect out of a 6th grade creative writing assignment.

        If you wish to continue your writing I would suggest reading a great deal more best selling fiction to see how it’s done. Larry Corriea is a good place to start for how to grab a reader’s attention. Then I would suggest the first three Anita Blake books (ignore the rest of the series) to learn pacing. Hamliton has since gone a little bonkers, but those three were brilliant.

        As to my rudeness, madam, your commentors, whom I assume are your friends made free to insult three close friends of mine. They made rather free to call them “terrible people” when they have neither met, nor know either of them.

        Sarah is a kind woman, who will happily give anyone the shirt off her back, has raised two brilliant young men to adult hood, and who plays mother hen to a rather large stable of aspiring writers for no better reason than she can.

        Kate has a snarky way about her, but is also a kind woman, with an excellent sense of humor.

        Lady Cedar is also a brilliant, beautiful young woman whom you have made free to insult for no better reason than she disagrees with you.

        So tell me, madam, in what universe do I owe you any respect when you have shown my friends none?

        • Cora says:

          Well, at least you’ve done your research.

          And considering your friends can be pretty damn rude at times, I suspect they can take it.

          • Patrick Richardson says:

            How and when, my dear, have they been rude to you specifically?

            Show me one time they have been anything but polite to a commenter who has not provoked them.

            Yes, they can take it, as can I, you don’t spend two decades of your life in the news business (and as someone who has been there and done that let me tell you, madam, you are wrong, the American media is explicitly Marxist, many are avowed Trotskites, but then I have experience from the inside you do not) without growing a thick skin.

            That said, you should perhaps consider that if you are going to run with the big dogs, you’d best expect some of them big fleas. When you tear out after someone’s friends, particularly when you do so without provocation, you might then expect to that someone to have something to say.

        • Yama says:

          First sentences are overrated anyway.

      • Tom Kratman says:

        Oh, I’m polite, right up until someone is impolite to me, when my inner psycho comes out. 😉

    • Daniela says:

      Here have a cookie, little troll.

      On a side note, some Germans actually took a good hard look at their history and learned something from it. And encountering the same rethoric in 2014 coming from a country that’s supposedly standing for freedom and equality is frightening.

      • Expendable Henchman says:

        The US no longer stands for Freedom and Equality. Having been one of those subject to getting a bullet for the trouble of saving non-Americans from other non-Americans, I’m pretty happy that we’re getting out of the world police business.

        There’s very little that would make me happier than pulling all US military back to within 200 miles of our borders, and let the rest of the world learn to play nice. We could stop spending fortunes and blood ‘saving the world from itself’ and sending our military to every natural disaster around the planet.

        We should retire most of our military and build up our nuclear missile arsenal. Tell the planet “leave us alone and we’ll leave you alone”. Then do it.

        The world will either play nice or learn Mandarin. I don’t care which. “Make the world safe for democracy” my well-muscled hispanic ass.

  19. Patrick Richardson says:

    Hmm response no longer awaiting moderation, but it sure ain’t up either.

    Ya’ll really are a bunch of cowardly fucks ain’tcha?

  20. VD says:

    First of all, Ms. Paulk apparently still hasn’t grasped just why Theodore Beale a.k.a. Vox Day was expelled from the SFWA (hint, it was not because of his failed run for president nor because of his political views, but because he decided to spew racist and sexist insults at fellow SFWA members via the official SFWA Twitter feed, which is a violation of the organisation’s statutes).

    Get your facts straight, Buhlert. Your claim is false. This is the tweet on the @sfwaauthors feed, which, by the way is NOT the official sFWA Twitter feed @sfwa: “A black female fantasist bit.ly/18AlusR”

    That’s the tweet in its entirety.

    The comments which got SFWA in a tizzy were on my private blog to which the tweet linked. As I showed in my response to the ludicrous SFWA report, 69 other members of SFWA, including the current president and no less than 3 members of the SFWA Board, were guilty of similar links to attacks on other members, only they did so in an genuinely official SFWA channel, the SFWA Forum.

    The real reason I was purged was because John Scalzi and Patrick Nielsen Hayden from Tor threatened to quit if I was not. It was nothing but politics from start to finish, which is why, as I warned, purging me changed nothing whatsoever.

    • Yama says:

      You called her a half-savage or something. Bite my coccyx.

      • Actually he said (using google’s cache to avoid direct linking)

        Being an educated, but ignorant half-savage, with little more understanding of what it took to build a new literature by “a bunch of beardy old middle-class middle-American guys” than an illiterate Igbotu tribesman has of how to build a jet engine, Jemisin clearly does not understand that her dishonest call for “reconciliation” and even more diversity within SF/F is tantamount to a call for its decline into irrelevance.

        He also said “Jemisin’s disregard for the truth is no different than the average Chicago gangbanger’s disregard for the traditional Western code of civilized conduct.”

        And “Unlike the white males she excoriates, there is no evidence to be found anywhere on the planet that a society of NK Jemisins is capable of building an advanced civilization, or even successfully maintaining one without significant external support from those white males.”

        So actually, much more racist and vicious than ‘half-savage’.

        If Scalzi and Patrick Neilsen Hayden did threaten to resign – for which there is no evidence other than Mr Beale’s usual reliable portrayal of the facts /snark – then good on them. Because Beale is someone no organisation can afford to include, unless its initials are KKK.

        • Cora says:

          Thanks for locating for what VD actually said, since I didn’t have the spoons to go through his rantings again.

          Though “racist abuse” sums it up nicely.

        • Yama says:

          Yecch.
          I’m sure the NSDAP or NDH would accept him.

          • Cora says:

            Actually, the modern version of the NSDAP (which was banned after WWII) is called NPD, but otherwise I agree.

            • Yama says:

              Vox Day sucks so hard he ruptures the very fabric of time and space. Which probably explains why he’s a slavering he man woman hater.

        • Fail Burton says:

          It’s a question of compared to what. How is Jemisin saying Australia “is not a safe country for people of color,” or referring to whites having created “…an ingenious system allowing it to dominate most of the planet. (Diabolical… but ingenious.)” any different from talking about a black neighborhood being not safe for whites or ingenious Jews? Day and Jemisin should’ve been booted together or each stayed. One cannot argue one is a racial supremacist and the other not.

      • Jim Hines did a contemporaneous summary of events:

        http://www.jimchines.com/2013/06/racist-takes-dump-in-sfwa-twitter-stream-news-at-11/

        Which I consider much more honest than anything Beale might crap out.

        • Fail Burton says:

          Since when are McCarthy-style witch hunts completely devoid of facts considered “honest?” You may find gaping double standards “honest” and photos of convention organizers a sign of an unconscious KKK but I don’t. By that standard, team photos of the National Hockey League and National Basketball Association are suspect. Fear and division based on precisely nothing but innuendo are the opposite of “honest,” as is the filthy racial slander called “white privilege.” And may I say that routinely dividing up the world into white vs. PoC is something a white supremacist might do, not someone concerned with fair play. The idea a male Sikh tuk-tuk driver in Amritsar and a Catholic teen age Mayan girl soccer player in Guatemala City have something in common is deliciously stupid – and racist. That doesn’t stop people from trying to teach whites how to accurately depict those non-existent commonalities.

    • Cora says:

      Letting you through, because you deserve to tell your version of the story.

      Though maybe spewing racist abuse at N.K. Jemisin wasn’t the best of ideas.

  21. Kaz Augustin says:

    Wow, great party you’re having here, Cora. Well done. 😉 We should catch up if/when I’m ever in Europe….

    • Cora says:

      Let me know if you make it to this year’s WorldCon in London.

      • Kaz Augustin says:

        Nope, London’s out for me. I see that both Beijing and Kansas City have nominated for 2016. Hmmm, might have to wait for 2018…

        • Cora says:

          I actually hope Beijing gets it, if only because there have been too many US-based Worldcons already. But both are equally out of my reach.

          • Kaz Augustin says:

            Beijing is only a $150 return ticket away for me but the pollution! Doubt they’ll fix it by 2016 but best of luck to them if they can.

            • Cora says:

              Well, they couldn’t fix it for the Olympics, so I doubt they’ll fix it for Worldcon, though you never know.

          • James Davis Nicoll says:

            I worry about the impact of air quality on attendees at a Beijing con but it would be interesting to get a clearer idea of what is going on with Chinese SF. Aside from the odd translated piece in Clarkesworld, I don’t see much of it but I know it exists.

            • James Davis Nicoll says:

              Of course, “the air quality would kill me if I attended” applies to a lot of other cities in addition to Beijing. It’s why I left London in the 1960s; when a man tires of London, he has tired of coughing up a thick, tarry substance from his lungs…

              • Cora says:

                The air quality in London was still pretty bad when I was a student there in the 1990s to the point that I always suffered from swollen joints and other problems for a few days until my body had gotten used to the air. I shudder to imagine how much worse it must have been in the 1960s. BTW even back then a Chinese fellow student told me that Beijing’s air was much worse.

            • Cora says:

              Since Worldcon is only four days, healthy attendees should manage, though people with respiratory problems would be in trouble. And it would be great to learn more about Chinese SF apart from the occasional translated story.

          • Cheryl Martin says:

            I’m hoping for Helsinki in 2017 even though I’m unlikely to make it over there. I agree that putting more “World” in Worldcon would be a plus.

            2017 has a wonderful worldwide spread of bids with Nippon, Montreal, Helsinki and Washington DC. Then 2019 has Dublin and France bidding. So yay!

            While I’m here: thanks for the overview, discussion, links and context.

            • Cora says:

              I’m also hoping for Helsinki, if only because it’s on the same continent and fairly easy to reach by plane. Though Nippon would be a great choice as well and more “world” in Worldcon is always good. Dublin and France are both good and again Worldcons I could actually attend. Depending on which French city bids, I might even be able to go by car, which would be a first.

              Glad you liked the post BTW.

              • Daniela says:

                Helsinki would be cool. I was there very briefly last year and it’s a beautiful city. Would love to go there again, maybe combine World Con with a few days of city-exploring.

                • Cora says:

                  I’ve never actually made it to Finland, which is odd, since I actually did a lot of interpreting jobs for Finnish businesspeople a few years ago.

          • I’d really like to see Worldcon go to China sometime too, but on the strength of their bid filing and the campaign so far, I gotta say that’s not looking likely this year. On the bright side, the group behind the bid has allegedly said that they plan to keep bidding over and over until they succeed, so I look forward them raising their game in upcoming years.

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  23. BornLib says:

    “The inevitable Sarah Hoyt had to weigh in as well with a post on how expelling Theodore Beale from SFWA is a precursor to genocide”

    Er no. The post was about how the attitude expressed in the following quote, leads down that road:

    “Having no other dog in this fight, I would just like to say that Vox Day is a reprehensible human being, and deserved to be forcefully ejected, not only from the SFWA, but from society in general. But that’s just my opinion.”

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  25. Daniela says:

    Wow, you comment section really exploded, didn’t it?

    I found the Lake Hermanstadt-entry very interesting, especially when the historical breakdown. I would add that fantastic elements have long been a part of literature, long before Tolkien even and as such were far more part of our cultural heritage. It would also be interesting to take a look at this from a cultural standpoint and view the development in Europe versus the development in the USA. My first contact with SF, aside from TV, were actually French comics and not US-writers. Just last week I was talking with a few fellow writers and it somehow became clear without anyone really saying it that Jules Verne was viewed as the beginning of SF and that we’d all read him. Again the French influence.

    I’ve also never really encountered this massive divide between SF fans or the extreme sexism that seems to run rampant. There is sexism but the debate is usually much more sedate although I just encountered my first Male Rights Activist who really left me stunned. I don’t know what was worse the whining or the way he tried to twist everything I said and how his own arguments changed and twisted. Totally fascinating.
    And it’s not only debate, when I see female fans in the US talk about their experience with lets say Comic stores it’s very different from mine. Yes, I was stared at but never treated condescendingly and there was always someone happy to answer questions. Even the predominately male role-players-groups that I’ve tried out were relatively welcoming.

    I do think the SFWA has some good points, especially Writers Beware and the people actually volunteering for it are doing good work and giving their best, but the debate is not doing the organization any favors. It’s now forever linked to drama. I read the same entry on the forum you did and I can understand the call for a new organization with less drama and more focus on the professional side of things. And that’s the key, isn’t it? This is about the professional presentation of the organization.

    Of course with a new organization I would also welcome a more international approach, maybe with local chapters.

    I hear you on the relatives’ front. Mine are by now either mostly dead or we’ve lost contact with them, but I too couldn’t shut up. Luckily I often had my dad in my corner aside from that the main idea was ‘children should be seen but not heard’. Not with me. I always had trouble keeping my mouth shut when they came up with the bigoted crap or the Stammtischparolen. Still do.

    • Cora says:

      You’re right that fantastic elements have been part of European culture for far longer than Tolkien. And of course, Tolkien was heavily borrowing from Norse mythology. As for fantasy as a genre, Lord Dunsany and Mervyn Peake both predate Tolkien as well.

      I read lots of French and Belgian comics, too, as a teenager (my Dad worked in the Netherlands and comics were all I could read in Dutch) and of course our own Perry Rhodan. There were lots of fantasy and SF comics I read at the time. Yoko Tsuno, Storm (not the X-Men character), Blake and Mortimer, Aria, Franka and many others. They also had great adventure and historical comics.

      I’ve been stared at in comic shops and clumsily hit on, but never in the over-the-top creepy way that American female fans report. Come to think of it, my creepiest comic store experience was either in the US or Canada. Ditto for my only “Hit on in an elevator” experience, which is apparently very common in the US.

      I agree that all the drama (it has been going on for over a year by now) is damaging to SFWA, which is a pity, because it has its good points.

      Luckily, the bigotted relatives largely behaved themselves today and instead I had to listen to a woman endlessly talking about the wonderful new house her son has bought. There were some complaints about Hartz IV people getting too many benefits (apparently, someone knew someone who got a vacation to Disneyland Paris paid by the Sozialamt), but no complaints about immigrants or at least none I was aware of.

      • Daniela says:

        Now that you mention it. While not in an elevator I’ve been hit on by Americans way more than by Germans, sometimes in some really offensive or very creepy ways. Might really be a cultural thing. I know from some American women that they are surprised by the lack of aggressiveness of German men and that they have to be much more foward to make their own interest known.

        Maybe it’s because German women aren’t raised to be “ladies”. I can’t find the article anymore but it dealt with the concept of being raised as a “lady” and the hidden meaning behind things and ingrained behaviour patterns which left me blinking in confusion at my computer screen, because it was so different from my own experiences as a woman. I also find the US society far more gendered than Europe. I remember talking to a female attorney and that she had to wear a skirt and heels to court. If she wore pants the judge might admonish her about her “improper” dress. I was trying to imagine a German company or institution trying to enforce a skirt-dress-code for their female employees and just couldn’t. Some of the suggestions for proper business-dress in the US would in Germany be viewed as much too sexy and un-business-like.

        Ah, Hartz IV. Everytime that comes up I want to tell people to really try living off Hartz IV for a few months and then have an emergecy like the washer breaking down or such. Friends did it once but I think they cheated as they have a big garden and grow a lot of their own food and preserve a lot of it.

        • Cora says:

          Well, in the early 1970s, there was a lawsuit because the Mercedes plant here in Bremen tried to fire a woman (who worked in the office, not in production) for coming to work in a pantsuit. However, that was still over forty years ago. Something similar would be unthinkable today, though apparently not in the US. As for attorneys, I always wonder what Americans would make of Danni Lowinsky, the surprisingly enjoyable working class female lawyer show on SAT 1.

          I agree that the US is more gendered and that this whole “Act like a lady thing” is pretty foreign here in Germany, at least past approx 1965. This is the way my mother’s and grandmother’s generation thought, not mine.

          Totally agree on the Hartz IV thing BTW.

    • Anubis says:

      Daniela,

      I’m happy to hear you liked my post! (Also, thanks to Cora for linking it although it is in German only. I guess you would have found it rather less delightful in terms of style or even snarkiness if I had tried to write it in English.)

      You are right, of course, that fantastic elements were a part of literature long before Tolkien. Fantastic literature is around since the 18th century, and even before that there were fairytales, romances, legends and popular ballads that can be seen as precursors to fantasy proper. I didn’t mention it, because in my blogpost I was mainly concerned with the development of genre consciousness in SF and in fantasy: SF started to view itself as a genre with the rise of the pulp magazines in the 1920s, while the genre consciousness of fantasy developped in the wake of the Lord of the Rings‘ publication. That said, it is of course true that there was SF and fantasy before these starting points: Poe, Verne and Wells wrote SF, even though they were not yet regarded as writing within the confines of a genre (with a group of self-aware readers, specialised publishers etc.). Likewise, Morris, MacDonald, Dunsany and others wrote fantasy, but did not necessarily assume that they all belonged to one specific subset of literature, or catered to specific readers’ expectations.

      I stressed genre consciousness in my post because I believe that while there is nothing inherently nostalgic about either of the two, the differences in the evolution of genre consciousness in SF and fantasy account for the fact why the nostalgic idea of a Golden Age (now long past) is so prevalent in SF while there is no comparable notion in fantasy: The history of SF as a genre, with its starting point in the recesses of magazine culture, was very self-referential from the outset, while fantasy saw the light of day in the public sphere of the literary market and didn’t have a chance to become as reclusive as SF. This is why I believe that the habit to invoke the good ol’ days in fandom (and in publishing!) is an unfortunate legacy of the genre history of SF. Of course, it is only one thread (although an important one) in a much bigger story, and I totally agree that the influence of Franco-Belgian comics and animation is responsible for a quite different perception of SF that many people in Europe (including me) have. People like Mœbius and René Laloux certainly blurred the boundaries between fantasy and SF.*

      Well, of course you already read that last part in my blog entry. I just wanted to make sure that those who couldn’t read it would get an idea what the “historical breakdown” was about.

      * Although you might say that Uderzo unwillingly demonstrated with Asterix and the Falling Sky that the blurring of boundaries doesn’t always work out. 😉

      • Cora says:

        Thanks for the comment, Anubis, and for the excellent blogpost.

      • Fail Burton says:

        There was a distinctly American genre fantasy in the U.S. in the pulps, but it was never as popular as SF. Burroughs had unique cross-over fantasies melded with almost Victorian expressions of SF. Weird Tales had fantasy that usually took place in some fabled antiquity or in modern America and abroad. Fantasy expressed itself mainly in R.E. Howard’s sword and sorcery but also with Clark Ashton Smith, Abraham Merritt and H.P. Lovecraft. It’s other expression was in that Weird Tales type of urban fantasy, also shown in a pulp like Unknown, The Magazine of Fantasy and SF, and brought to it’s most popular expression by Ray Bradbury. Sword and Sorcery dominated American genre fantasy until around 1980 when the Tolkienesque took hold with epic expressions.

        The evolution of fantasy and SF was a matter of popularity, not genre consciousness, since they resided side-by-side and with many of the same fans and often in the same pulps.

        I have no idea why you consider the Golden Age the good old days or unfortunate. It is fondly remembered because of an outpouring of great literary expression, not because of zoot suits. There is certainly nothing to match the work of that Golden Age today.

        American genre fantasy was just as reclusive and insulated as SF. The mainstream knew nothing about Lovecraft and Smith, or Howard or Merritt’s Ship of Ishtar, one of the all-time great genre fantasies.

        • Cora says:

          Anubis was speaking from a European POV, hence the focus on Tolkien rather than Howard, Lovecraft and Weird Tales. Others may have had different experiences, but I for one didn’t see much of the Weird Tales crew and American sword and sorcery type fantasy until well into the 1990s. For me, Conan was mainly a comic and film character. I was surprised when I found out that there were books.

        • Sean says:

          Ahhh Lovecraft. I love his work. I don’t know…I consider that more in the vein of horror than Scifi. Though some of his fans have made it more outright scifi in direction in their own works. the Titus Crow series by Brian Lumley comes to mind in that direction. He approached it as more super science than supernatural.

          The original himself though? some of his stuff STILL leaves me spooked and looking for things that aren’t there some times.

        • Anubis says:

          “Weird Tales had fantasy that usually took place in some fabled antiquity or in modern America and abroad. Fantasy expressed itself mainly in R.E. Howard’s sword and sorcery but also with Clark Ashton Smith, Abraham Merritt and H.P. Lovecraft. It’s other expression was in that Weird Tales type of urban fantasy, also shown in a pulp like Unknown, The Magazine of Fantasy and SF, and brought to it’s most popular expression by Ray Bradbury.”

          Let me say again what the point of focus both of my own blog entry and the comment above is: the evolution of genre consciousness. My point was not that fantasy wasn’t popular before it came to regard itself as a genre. What I was saying is that a genre’s self-perception is shaped by the way it comes into being.

          In fact, you could say that modern American fantasy evolved in three steps: The Weird Tales style as well as the later Unknown style of fantasy were unsuccessful attempts to make fantasy a genre (with a group of fans unified by their expectations as readers and everything that goes with it). I say unsuccessful, because the Weird Tales writers would be forgotten today (and were largely forgotten for some decades), were it not for the sword and sorcery revival in the 1960s and the efforts to preserve Lovecraft’s work in book form. Likewise, the Unknown style virtually disappeared when the boom of Tolkienesque fantasy started. It resurfaced in the 1980s, unter the name of urban fantasy (you called it so yourself), but in a form considerably changed.

          Both these attempts to forge a genre began with magazines, went largely unnoticed by the mainstream, and were almost completely forgotten after their initial popularity. Both reappeared decades later by way of a revival or a renewal of the style. Had it only been these two efforts, we probably wouldn’t even speak of a fantasy genre today. The moment that defined fantasy in the readers’ minds was the publication of The Lord of the Rings and its paperback success in the 1960s, without which I doubt there would have even been a revival of the two earlier styles.

          The aspect in which Tolkien’s success differed from the earlier attempts is, of course, that it took place in the public sphere from the onset, and coincided with the massive cultural changes of the 1960s. The fact that fantasy after Tolkien allowed itself to be scrutinized (and appreciated) by the mainstream is probably the reason why fantasy, as a genre, is considerably less concerned with its own secluded past than SF is. The constant debates among some SF fans that their favourite literature could somehow be ruined by outside influences (a phenomenon which explains why SF fans tend to construct the past as a Golden Age when SF was innocent, pure and unhampered) are notably absent from fantasy. From Tolkien onward, fantasy has always been in situation of dialogue between genre and mainstream. Which is a good thing, because it can keep a genre from fading into obscurity.

        • Anubis says:

          Since you mentioned Burroughs, allow me to comment here on this reply you gave me a bit further down:

          “Mugambi was a friend, considered one of the family. He was not a servant or a dog, nor was he treated as such. Tarzan met Mugambi when Chief Mugambi and his warriors attacked Tarzan. Tarzan spared his life. Am I to believe every depiction of a black person living in the home of a white person is some subtle expression of white supremacy? I think you’re reaching an awfully long way there, bud. It has perhaps escaped your attention that Tarzan sided with Mugambi and Tarzan’s adopted tribe of Waziri warriors against whites many times. ”

          1) No, it hasn’t escaped my attention, because racism in the Tarzan novels (and particularly the portrayal of the Waziri) is something that interests me very much, while 2) what you are willing to believe is, frankly said, of no great concern to me. I’m all about arguments, not beliefs.

          The “white hero saves/spares native guy’s life and earns himself a loyal companion” plot is a common trope since at least Robinson Crusoe. Burroughs merely took it one step further by letting Tarzan adopt not only an individual, but the whole Waziri tribe as well. It is essentialy a colonialist wish-fulfillment fantasy. The idea that European colonialism would ‘save’ Africans from (grossly exaggerated) perils like Arab slave trade was an integral part of colonialist propaganda, and it is an omnipresent theme especially in the earlier Tarzan novels.

          The character of Mugambi is particularly interesting in this regard, because while he is purportedly Tarzan’s friend, his function is still that of a servant. In Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar there is one single short scene toward the end of the novel that actually shows Mugambi and Tarzan having an amicable conversation. It is the only instance which undermines the otherwise clearly delineated hierarchy between master and servant. The rest of the novel has Mugambi running errands for Tarzan or trying to protect Jane for him in his absence.

          I agree, though, that the portrayal of the Waziri is a rather subtle expression of white supremacy, because the Waziri are an almost perfect impersonation of the so-called Hamitic hypothesis, i.e. they are presented as being superior to other African peoples due to their more Caucasoid facial features. Chapter 15 of Jewels of Opar contains a telling physical description of the Waziri: “As the warriors danced in the firelight, Tarzan was again impressed by the symmetry of their figures and the regularity of their features—the flat noses and thick lips of the typical West Coast savage were entirely missing.” This explains the slightly more nuanced portrayal of the Waziri, while most other black characters are strictly one-dimensional, either playing the role of the blood-thirsty fiend or that of the passive slave.

          (Cora, I hope you don’t mind that I’m double-posting here. This comment thread really is gargantuan, and it makes it little easier for me to keep the ‘history of the genre’ discussion in one place. I’m sorry in case I messed with your comment policy.)

          • Cora says:

            No problem about the double post, though I’m locking the comment thread, since it’s been getting out of hand.

  26. Tom Kratman says:

    Try this, fool: Peril and Coward are not cognates; they’re nearly orthagonal. Hence your claim that yellow, as in cowardly, is racist is unsupported by the evidence you have produced. Idiot.

  27. Kratman said ” If there’s one thing Americans would never consider Japanese, after the Pacific campaign, 41-45, it’s cowardly.”

    The Japanese attack was viewed by many Americans as a cowardly stab in the back by a Japanese Imperial Navy that was afraid to meet a weaker US Navy openly in a fair contest of strength. The perceived treacherous nature of the attack in peacetime, the loss of American battleships, and the high death toll, galvanised and united American public opinion against Japan. It enabled President Roosevelt to mobilise America’s wealth and industrial strength to defeat Japan as well as Germany. Despite his understanding of the United States and its people, Admiral Yamamoto failed to appreciate that it made no sense for Japan to make a fiercely determined enemy of such a powerful nation when there were no compelling reasons to do so.

    http://www.pacificwar.org.au/pearlharbor/PearlRetrospect.html

    Really ugly racism was a decided feature of WW2

    http://brainz.org/10-most-xenophobic-pieces-anti-japanese-wartime-propaganda/

    But I’m sure you know all this better than an actual Asian person living in America would, right? And that no enemy has ever been considered cowardly while also being a threat?

    You are the last person I would look to for validation of decency, considering who you hang out with. But do keep keeping on with your ad hominem. I’m done.

    • Tom Kratman says:

      Ah, but that still doesn’t mean that yellow, as in cowardly, has the first thing to do with Asians. I know it’s a tough concept for you. I know you have trouble with being contradicted. But try this, just try really hard, no matter how it strains you; the concept of yellow as cowardly predates Pearl Harbor. Moreover, after Pearl Harbor the Japanese gave us ample proof of courage. Work with that for a while. And, in the interim, to quote you, “Bite me,” because I really don’t want anything further to do with someone with a) as bad a chip on her shoulder as you have, b) who is no brighter than you seem to be, or c) a generally not decent human being.

    • Cora says:

      I’ve only ever heard “Pearl Harbor was a cowardly attack” as well, including at school.

      There was some xenophobic ugliness towards German Americans in WWII, but that was nothing compared to what Asian Americans, particularly Japanese Americans, got.

      My great-uncle, who emigrated to the US sometime after WWI, joined the US Army in WWII and was sent to the Pacific to fight, so there wouldn’t be any conflict. Meanwhile, Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps.

      • Strangely enough I was just watching a programme about Pearl Harbour this week. I hadn’t really read up on the actual sequence of events or why the attack was so disastrous for the Japanese. Or, indeed, why the attack was seen as so cowardly (it turns out to be a bit of diplomatic bungling more than anything.)

        Ooh, another link http://yellow-face.com/

        Of course after WWII there was Korea and Vietnam to fuel the whole evil Asian stereotype, and the rise of Japan’s economy to the perceived detriment of American workers (leading to this kind of thing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Vincent_Chin)

        Using ‘yellow’ as a perjorative has nasty racist overtones and has had since at least Pearl Harbour. It takes a white man to try and argue differently, of course.

        • Cora says:

          Never mind that there was the whole “yellow peril” thing in pulp literature (Fu Manchu and his imitators) all the way back to the early 20th century.

          And it continues even today, e.g. in US TV shows. If an Asian person shows up on NCIS, you can be certain they are the villain. Even if they are a cast regular, the script will find a way to make them a villain. For a while, I suspected it was displaced Vietnam trauma, but they should have gotten over that by now, never mind that the writers are probably much too young to have been actively involved.

          • Tom Kratman says:

            Oh, we’re pretty sure here that the Vietnamese are becoming our new bestest buddies in the world. Why? Because we have so many of the same enemies.

          • Tom Kratman says:

            Addendum; the notion that the Japanese embassy staff bungled the decoding is true but irrelevant. Their instructions were to deliver the notice of declaration of war too late for us to respond to it, anyway. It was an attempt at meeting the formalities, while gaining all the advantages of a surprise attack.

            • Cora says:

              That’s apparently not an uncommon strategy. Kaiser Wilhelm II tried something similar in WWI, only that it didn’t work the way he thought it would.

              • Tom Kratman says:

                Oh, yeah. You know, tactically and operationally, German arms are first rate. But strategically, you would have been better off putting the horses in charge. At least if you could have found a talking horse, he might have said, “Now wait a minute. You think that the combination of French and Russians represents and existential threat. Okay, despite the difference in tactical an operational quality, maybe you’re right; I am just a horse, after all, so what do I know? But you are going to throw nearly everything you have into a desperate rush to finish off the French, first, where the rails are not going to work and you are going to have to rely on me and my pals for transport and recon, AND YOU CANNOT GUARANTEE WHAT MONTH IT WILL HAPPEN SO YOU CANNOT GUARANTEE THERE’LL BE ANYTHING FOR ME TO EAT? That ABSURD!”

          • Fail Burton says:

            I think we are confusing plot devices – for pulps that were churning out thousands of stories – with ethnic disdain. Think of all the pulps: Dime Mystery, Doc Savage, Weird Tales, The Spider and scores more. Then think that Astounding Science Fiction had over 1,300 stories alone from 1939 to 1960. Everybody was grist for the mill, every country, every culture. Choosing leering Asian or ethnic faces on covers like Spicy Adventure while ignoring the fact evil Europeans had the same leering countenances is unfair. Scholarship rather than myths and (ironically) stereotypes would be helpful. One of the dumbest myths is that SF from 1915 to 1960 was colonialist and used aliens as indigenous racist analogues. For example, of the 48 stories which make up the ’70, ’73, SF Hall of Fame series which covers that era, none are about colonizing and only 9 even have aliens. None of those aliens are ha-ha analogues to non-whites. It is a myth that is spread by assumptions rather than a knowledge of that era’s stories.

            • Cora says:

              Of course, the pulps were full of racial and ethnic stereotypes of any kind, including stereotypes about Europeans. Nor were all the portrayals of other races and ethnicities necessarily negative. Take e.g. the Asian agents of the Shadow or the black couple who worked with the Avenger (the pulp hero, not the comic or 1960s TV series).

              I actually agree with you on the “aliens as racial and ethnic analogues” thing. This trope exists, of course, but it’s not nearly as prevalent as it’s made out to be, at least not in the golden age SF I have read. Of course, I haven’t read all of it and I may have missed some particularly bad examples. But “aliens of racial/ethnic analogues” is more a feature of TV SF, e.g. Star Trek.

              • Fail Burton says:

                People pick and choose. In Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar, so-called “racist” Burroughs describes Mugambi like this: “…nor could a braver or more loyal guardian have been found in any clime or upon any soil.”

                Supremacist racist bigots are not hard to spot. They never profile their targets in a positive way – never.

                • Anubis says:

                  “Supremacist racist bigots are not hard to spot. They never profile their targets in a positive way – never.”

                  Actually, they do it all the time. The ‘loyal black servant’ stereotype you cited is the best example.

                • Fail Burton says:

                  Mugambi was a friend, considered one of the family. He was not a servant or a dog, nor was he treated as such. Tarzan met Mugambi when Chief Mugambi and his warriors attacked Tarzan. Tarzan spared his life. Am I to believe every depiction of a black person living in the home of a white person is some subtle expression of white supremacy? I think you’re reaching an awfully long way there, bud. It has perhaps escaped your attention that Tarzan sided with Mugambi and Tarzan’s adopted tribe of Waziri warriors against whites many times. There’s always a head of a ranch in fiction. If it’s a bunch of white guys, no big deal. If there’s some black guys suddenly it’s Step and Fetch It, even though there are no such portrayals.

      • Tom Kratman says:

        It happened, both here and in Canada (also to some extent in Latin American), but not so much or in exactly the ways as myth would have it. Japanese who were still citizens of the Empire of Japan were interned. This is, by the way, perfectly legal and proper. Some American citizens of Japanese descent went along voluntarily, to take care of Grandma and Grandpa. Go figure; they’d also bring the kids along. Generally, one prefers to hold enemy aliens only until they can be deported and also, to hold them long enough to set up an exchange for one’s own citizens being held. This was, broadly speaking, done, but somewhat incompletely.

        All that said, there _were_ Japanese descended American citzens in the camps. Some went voluntarily, for their health, so to speak, while some were forcibly removed (most of the force being implied rather than explicit). It is a shame and it is a pity, but given the circumstances, it’s not so hard to understand as all that. Note, too, that there is a close correlation between the distance they were evacuated and the range of carrier-based aircraft. We didn’t intern much in Hawaii, except for those we actually had some reason to think were threats. Why not? Different theories have been advanced, mostly economic. I’d suggest that we knew, too, that it was a) pointless, because there was _no_ part of Hawaii out of range of carrier-based, aircraft, while b) we had enough force in Hawaii, very quickly, that they weren’t especially vulnerable to sabotage.

        It’s not necessary to like it. But in discussing it and thinking about it it is necessary to remember that “Silent Leges Inter Arma,” which is to say, law doesn’t work much in war while, war being uncivilized for the most part, civilized constraints fail.

      • Tom Kratman says:

        “There was some xenophobic ugliness towards German Americans in WWII, but that was nothing compared to what Asian Americans, particularly Japanese Americans, got.”

        In the Great War there was. WW II? Not much unless they had some connection to the Bund, which was considered a society to advance facsism in the US…which it pretty much was. Non-Germans descendent who were involved in the Bund – Anti-English Irish, notably, along the east coast – also came in for some scrutiny, I think, and maybe occasional internment. I’m not sure about that, though. But again, enemy citizens are completely legally internable, even today.

        • Cora says:

          My great-uncle likely was a naturalized citizen by WWII, since he had an American wife and a child, born sometime in the 1930s. Plus, having left Germany while the Nazis were still a fringe party must have helped. As far as I know, he ran away to sea as a teen (came from a long line of sea captains) and eventually stayed in the US, when his ship docked there. I only met him once, as a very young child.

          • Tom Kratman says:

            Yeah, if we’d had trouble with German descended folk, I kind of doubt that the Supreme Allied Commander would have been named “Eisenhower.”

            That said, it’s not only taking an unnecessary risk assigning someone to fight his relatives if you don’t have to, it’s goddamned inhuman to do so. Hence, yes, Japanese to Europe to fight Germans and Italians made sense, while sending former German citizens to the Pacific might have made sense in some cases. At least it would be minimally decent to ask.

            • Cora says:

              I suspect that’s why we had a lot of African American solders in Germany in WWII and immediately after. Less chance of loyalty issues.

              • Tom Kratman says:

                Probably not. Shortly after the Civil War, Congress mandated that there would be 2 black infantry regiments, and 2 black cavalry regiments, in the regular US Army. The way the law was worded was a little ambiguous, but on the whole the Army Staff Judge Advocate thought it meant “no less than two each,” no matter how small the Army got. Hence, there was a larger than proportional slice of the Army that was black. (Though not without its racist aspects, by the way, the Army paid whites and blacks the same, something civil life could not generally deliver; hence those black infantry and cavalry slots were considered pretty plum in the black community at large.)

    • Fail Burton says:

      You’re wrong. After 41-45 and after Pearl Harbor are two different things. Also, the Empire of Japan outmatched us in aircraft carriers in 1942 and were certainly not afraid to confront the European/American presence in the Pacific, since that is exactly what they did. Keep in mind all uses of aircraft carriers use surprise as a tactical advantage, so fear doesn’t enter into it, but common sense.

      Pearl Harbor was considered a sneak attack because we were not at war. It was not looked at in light of a commons sense use of tactics, although it is the same tactics they would’ve used had we been at war. When it comes to WW II, you are confusing war and a consideration of loyalties with racism. When E.R. Burroughs wrote a Tarzan book disparaging the Germans in WW I, their press had anti-Burroughs propaganda. Burroughs had no ethnic hatred of Germans. Had Americans an ethnic hatred of Japanese, there would’ve been a push back against Japanese films successfully marketed into America only 10 years after WW II. There was none.

      The American military from top to bottom did not view the Japanese military as cowards in any sense – quite the opposite. It is and was well-known from experience by the end of ’42 that the Japanese were fearless and daring fighters. Their navy and ground forces showed that around Guadalcanal again and again. Guadalcanal Diary was a famous book published in Jan. ’43 right at the end of that campaign by a journalist who’d been on Guadalcanal. It did not portray the Japanese as cowards or “yellow.”

      The quote about Yamamoto is precisely opposite the reality. Yamamoto felt the war against America could not be won. Yamamoto was not in charge of such decisions and simply did his duty.

      • Cora says:

        Speaking as someone at the receiving end of the negative stereotypes in that Tarzan book, it is bloody offensive and “Well, you must view it in the context of the time – He didn’t really mean it that way” doesn’t really make it any less hurtful when read decades later. Especially if you still see variations on the same nasty stereotypes popping up in modern media with far less excuse.

        I imagine a person of Japanese origin would feel similarly about nasty anti-Japanese stereotypes and I for one can’t fault them for it.

        • Fail Burton says:

          Again, I think we are confusing politically motivated slurs with ethnic slurs. Burroughs was writing in reaction to a war. If he’d had it in for Germans he scarcely would’ve waited for a war, now would he? In that sense, you were in no way on the receiving end. Frederich Wilhelm Eric von Mendeldorf und Von Horst is the hero of Back To the Stone Age from 1937. Why not be on the receiving end of that then? They cancel each other out.

          Same thing about the war in the Pacific. If we’d have had propaganda posters about Japanese before and after the war, you’d have a point. And note the pro-Chinese posters during that same Pacific War, AND we fought the Germans and the Italians. Politics, not race.

          Generally speaking, no one in America dislikes Japanese or Germans. I’m not certain what modern stereotypes of Germans you’re talking about. I would say that fiction is driven by stereotypes. Also not the same thing as defamation.

          • Cora says:

            If you’re at the receiving end of a slur, it doesn’t much matter whether it’s politically motivated or an ethnic slur.

            As for stereotypes, pretty much every German person ever seen in US or British fiction, TV or film is a villain and mostly a Nazi stereotype, which I for one find bloody offensive.

            • Daniela says:

              Yes, this. Also, most Germans are usually portrayed as blond, very strict, without a sense of humor. They are either portrayed as cold and cruel or overbearing and loud. And are generally the villain, usually a Nazi or in a very few instances Communists.

              It’s offensive and boring. Writing should also be about challing stereotypes and breaking them in creative ways. Nothing says that you can’t go against the existing stereotypes.

    • Expendable Henchman says:

      Dehumanizing opponents is necessary when you’re training your people to kill wholesale in war. The word for people who can efficiently kill others without dehumanization is “psychopath”.

      Anyhow, the nastiest anti-Japanese WWII propaganda is straight up reporting of what happened.
      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_731
      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanking_Massacre

  28. Kaz Augustin says:

    Citing historical events is always fraught with difficulty. There are absolute historical facts, for sure, but there are not as many of them as you’d think. For example, there was a recent revelation that that murderous, massacring tyrant Joseph Stalin (and he was, there’s no doubt about that) also wanted a united and neutral Germany at the end of WWII. His proposal was rebuffed but still…Joseph Stalin for chrissakes! suggested a neutral Germany. Oy!

    Closer to home, I found out this week that everything I had read and been taught about the Kitty Genovese case in New York (it led to formulation of “the bystander effect”) is wrong. I’m going through a course on history at the moment and now find that arguments are more persuasive when they don’t depend on perceived historical fact that often isn’t, especially historical “fact” from the past two centuries. The entire modern era is still too much in flux to derive much of use, imo, especially as so much of it is still either classified, misfiled, lost or plain destroyed.

    • Cora says:

      I actually did know about the Stalin thing, though it’s not mentioned often. Apparently, our then chancellor Konrad Adenauer – who is still revered by plenty of people – turned him down, because he feared (probably not without justification) Stalin wouldn’t keep to his word, and joined NATO instead. Austria didn’t turn Stalin down and was unified and left alone.

      As for history being distorted, there is way too much of that going on even now, particularly regarding former East Germany. Which is infuriating, because most of the people involved are still alive.

    • Tom Kratman says:

      Given that he was Stalin, do you really think he was serious, or that he thought it would be easier to take a neutral Germany than the 3/4ths of non-neutral Germany he never got? Given that, should we really have taken him at his word?

      • Cora says:

        Well, he did leave Austria alone. But then Austria isn’t Germany.

      • Kaz Augustin says:

        Joe was an interesting dude. I actually wonder what would have happened if his wife hadn’t died when she did. He is known to have said that his sense of humanity died with her. A provocative statement if ever I heard one. He treated his generals atrociously, was paranoid in the extreme, was as sharp as a razor and inhumanly ruthless. My guess (though I could be wrong) is that, if he didn’t see Germany as a threat, he would have left it alone. He did that a lot, even within the Soviet bloc. If he didn’t perceive you as a threat, you were left alone. But, of course, Stalin wasn’t the entire regime, no matter that we seem to paint him thus. He might have figured you for an inoffensive idiot, but there would have been underlings who didn’t.

        In any case, wonderful concept for an alternative history novel, wouldn’t you say? 🙂

        And, thanks to this discussion, I’m revisiting my Rosa Luxemburg. That woman was brilliant!

        • Cora says:

          She sure was. They’re still laying wreaths at her grave on the anniversary of her death, a tradition that survived even the fall of East Germany.

        • Tom Kratman says:

          Indeed? And the threat represented by the kulaks was…???

          Actually, Stalin understood something that parlour pink revolutionaries usually will refuse to understand; if you want a true revolution, a true change, you must kill without stint. Of course, ultimately he failed, which suggests – as I have suggested here and there – that directed revolution is imposssible.

          No, before you say it, ours wasn’t even a revolution.

          • Expendable Henchman says:

            What do you mean “he ultimately failed”?

            He was born to a cobbler, was maimed and scarred in childhood, and was booted from religious college because he couldn’t pay tuition.

            From there, he went on to win 1/3 of WWII, killed millions of people who irritated him, and terrified millions more into doing precisely what he wanted them to. Those he really didn’t like he ERASED from history.

            He died in bed, in the pinnacle of luxury, effectively owning a very large percentage of the planet.

            How, again, can you say he “failed”?

            • Tom Kratman says:

              Easy; the circumstances of one’s own death are hardly dispositive of success in the remaking of a society, which was his goal. In that remaking, he failed.

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  30. Bernadette Bosky says:

    As a word person, I looked further into “yellow bellied,” and it seems pretty clear to me that the phrase didn’t begin as anti-Asian (though as an ethnic insult!)–http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/yellow-belly.html–but it is used that way now.

    Does that mean it “is racist”? I leave that up to philosophers. Does it mean that using it is a bad idea because of what it means to many people now? That seems like a clear “yes.”

    • Fail Burton says:

      “Yellow-bellied” is not now and never has been applied to Asians. I have never once seen it used that way. I have only ever seen it used in American pop culture as meaning a coward.

    • Tom Kratman says:

      Well, at a bare minimum, Bernadette, it’s archaic as hell, which makes its use a little iffy on its own. My position, in any case, was never more than that it didn’t originate as an anti-Asian slur.

  31. Dave Freer says:

    Cora Buhlert I appreciate you are an ESL and writer and that humor, sarcasm, subtleties, puns and multi-layered writing, let alone idioms, double entendres, kennings and in-jokes and cultural references are hard for you to grasp. As a translator I would think you’d be aware of this, and be wary of not making a fool of yourself. There are usually clues to anyone but the incredibly dense and in this case the self–mockery and self-denigration are marked by some little crossing out. So I suggest you go and have a long careful at the title to Mad Genius Cub. But to help you, That was a joke, Joyce (yes, I know your name isn’t Joyce.) http://everything2.com/title/It%2527s+a+Joke%252C+Joyce The English and Australians particularly like laughing at themselves. It’s rarer in Americans, but present. I don’t think it’s very German, and absent entirely in totalitarians. Try to imagine the distinctly ridiculous little fat boy of Korea laughing at himself. Or old ‘Eva why did you put superglue on my toothbrush? It’s stuck under my nose.’

    I am sure that your annoying bigoted (it’s one t – oddly enough also a mistake Sarah Hoyt makes all the time.) relations who hate foreigners and homosexuals, which they know nothing of, but assume are inferior must be beaming with proud delight at your post “Look Horst, she’s just like us after all!” “Yes Daphne, I knew it was the genes.” “Nonsense, Horst. If it was your genes she’d have a moustache like a Shetland pony’s tail. It’s our fine upbringing. Look at the way she laid into that Kate with a mere two (or is it 3) Science degrees in fields almost totally dominated by men, used to be a field geologist in Australia – you know, probably one of the toughest most foul-mouthed 99.8% male environments –and told her she couldn’t bear to say ‘vagina’. That’s just pure… genius. Not even you at your best could do as well.” “Well, yes, but that wonderful, wonderful part where she told people she knows nothing about, whose complex and varied culture she barely has seen, and that through the lens of those who detest them, as an insular German who, in her own words, was born Bremen and still lives there, that she knows they’re stupid, inferior and perfect for sneering at. Oh if only the Kaiser were still alive and we could send her to Africa to keep up our wonderful reputation. I’m so proud Daphne, I could burst.” “That’s just three helpings of Baunkohl und pinkel, Horst.”

    You know, I find it bizarre that you attack three women (and I feel left out and so does Amanda. Can you please label us as evil too?) who, without asking for free rides, have proved themselves the equal or better than most men. Women who DO what most feminist talk of demanding (and then wants someone to do for them). Who have done more for sf reading numbers than any three of your sidebar list of authors. Kate took on the toughest of degrees, and most male of environments, and did well and was liked and respected, and still does well, despite dealing with a debilitating illness that would cripple me, or you. She’s a lot brighter than I am and lot more sarcastic. At the age you were having tantrums about having to listen to your staid relatives, Cedar was working gutting salmon on a poor homestead in Alaska. She’s busy as a mature student supporting herself, taking a Science degree – a lot harder challenge than your Arts degree was. And she still manages to behave like an old fashioned lady – polite, honorable, generous to those weaker than her, even those she does not like, and willing to take hell with a fire-bucket for her family and friends. I grew up in the harsh egalitarian meritocracy of commercial line-fishing boats, where the skipper didn’t care if you were black, white or something between. He only cared about fish: one for the boat, one for the skipper, one for you. I am great believer in merit and earned respect. I’d take her as crew any day, because I know she could do the job as well or better than almost anyone else. Do you think you could cut it? You talk about having a lack of respect for these old codgers. Well, respect is something that has to be earned, and I see no signs in your biography that you have or could do as much. If you think you deserve it and can do as much or more than old useless people… I’ll happily arrange you a job crutching sheep here. It’s a filthy, hard, and entirely male-done job. That’ll do more for establishing female equality than any or all of your feminist writer friends, and anything you could write. And afterward you’d have had a life outside your sheltered one to write about.

    For the record I personally frequently am in need of disgruntling, even without eating curly kale, but that’s about the only remotely accurate part of your description of MGC – It’s a writing blog for writers, which largely deals with technical issues in writing and getting published – there are a several thousand blog posts on those subjects. Most of our readers are self-published authors. In this we do differ markedly from SFWA. They refuse to consider self-published authors – no matter how many copies they sell or how much they earn as good enough to belong to their ‘elite’. Oddly, the person campaigning to change this was Vox Day. There are other issues to take with him, but he was actually trying for writers and writing. Your saints, on the other hand, were and still are doing their level best to declare self-pubs as second class citizens never to be allowed into their hallowed little clubhouse – which it is all it really is, as publishers and agents are part of the organization, and have prevented any action to improve contracts, payment time, non-compete clauses, and better rates of pay for authors, just for a start of the list of outright employer exploitation. They got your idols to orchestrate boycotts against Amazon – which pays us a lot better and faster than publishers do. Meanwhile, those ‘disgruntled right-wing writers’ are on record as saying they wanted it to be an effective union-type counterbalance to the traditional publishing exploitation of the writer. Typical right-wingers, eh, Cora, wanting to union build! Disgusting.

    Fortunately there were the likes of Scalzi, Hines, and Kowal to make sure SFWA did really important stuff like fight about the editorial of a magazine with a circulation slightly smaller than a suburb’s newsletter, keeping the self-published riff-raff out, and all that diversity stuff that really matters to the membership. And it really does. You see only a very small percentage of SFWA are actually working writers. Look at the membership lists – and especially those in the politics of the organization. Even if you last wrote a short story 25 years ago for a disappeared market, and are a dilettante who teaches for a living or relies on your trust fund or rich partner, you’re in, and in forever. It’s a shiny I-made-it badge. Yay. MGC on the other hand are 40% full time trad published, 60% self-published and making a substantial (and growing) part of their income from it. And we try provably very hard to help, support, and promote other writers. No, we don’t like SFWA because it seems actively damaging for sf/ fantasy, and that is what we do and try help others do. But never mind, if your vulva gets you onto that TOC, I am sure they’ll let you in SFWA. You’ve got the ‘cool kids’ sneering at the ‘lower classes’ (who are better qualified and more able and sell more books) just about perfect already. See you push up sales (which have dropped steadily in comparison to the reading population) by 50% (for all those women and diversity that you’ll add) and maybe one day we’ll respect you for that.

    Actually, I’m not true believer in Heinlein. I’m more of Zelazny/Sharpe/Heyer fan, myself. But your sneer there at something you haven’t read and haven’t fully understood is on a par with your grasp American politics. I don’t understand it either, but at least I have the sense not to dictate to others who do understand it on what I don’t understand.

    • Yama says:

      That first paragraph wouldn’t be half as offensive if you weren’t trying to come off as “nice.”

    • Cora says:

      Oh dear, the “You’re not a native speaker – you can’t possibly grasp the complexity of our wonderful language” attack. That’s about the only insult that was still missing in this thread.

      BTW, the very same charge could be made against your friend Sarah.

      • Patrick Richardson says:

        Ahh the ad hominem. I see you have not replied to the substance of Dave’s post, but rather to him.

        This is not horribly surprising as I have yet to see you actually reply to the substance of ANY comment.

        Dave did not call you stupid, although you do a convincing impression, but rather bigoted and ignorant. There’s a difference.

        • “Ahh the ad hominem. ”

          you mean, unlike your mate starting off by insulting Cora’s language skills. Which, by the way, are superior to yours and mine, as those many European speakers of English tend to be.

          “There’s a difference.”

          Yeah, you’d know, seeing how you’re speaking from personal experience.

          • Patrick Richardson says:

            From someone who’s idea of a proper debate is to say “bite me?”

            Milady, I’ve read your work, and hers, and Dave’s. Her language skills may be superior to yours, but not mine, and most assuredly not Dave’s.

            • “Her language skills may be superior to yours, but not mine, and most assuredly not Dave’s.”

              Appealing to facts not in evidence doesn’t assist you in appearing less of an arsehole.

              Your contribution to this discussion has been nothing but passing insults. Since you apparently have *no* internet presence (or else you’d have linked it, yes?) I will assume you aren’t an author of any kind, and certainly not one I need to concern myself with, even if I was so minded. I’m not.

              As for ‘Dave’, well, his abusive screed above doesn’t speak well of his language skills or of his intellect, so I think the objective value of your opinion on my writing ability or anyone else’s must be called in question.

              Now do run away and play, little boy. No one wants to see your bottom or hear your lips flapping.

      • Dave Freer says:

        (Shrug) Cora I speak 3 languages reasonably fluently, read several more well enough to make first layer sense of them. I’ve been wrestling with The Laurin at the moment for this book, and fought my way through several of the eddur for A Mankind Witch and Pyramid Power. I know, especially as I’ve talked with experts, how much I’m missing, especially in the eddur, which layer-on-layer. I do have some idea what I am talking about. I wasn’t attacking you. I was making allowances for your apparent incompetence. Consider the two possible alternatives: She didn’t grasp the self-mockery of the crossings out (which you know, if they really thought they were ‘geniuses’ they could have left out) or would you prefer ‘an arrogant woman who does no research before her ad hominem attacks’. Choose. Personally I thought my version more generous. I seldom get around to attacking anyone.

        Sarah has lived and worked in the US for 20 years at least. That’s how many 1000 times your experience? She speaks and writes and English in a volume that you may get to… in twenty years, if you moved to an English speaking country, and read and spoke German rarely. She still makes errors, but they are orders of magnitude less likely and less egregious than yours. I’m not being nasty, unless you consider reality nasty.

        • Cora says:

          And I’ve lived all over the world and have been speaking English since the age of five. Your point it?

    • Anubis says:

      “I don’t understand it either, but at least I have the sense not to dictate to others who do understand it on what I don’t understand.”

      That is a laudable maxim. Your effort to adhere to it could be better though.

      • Pete Newell says:

        Sometimes it seems like making that kind of sweeping statement is about the same as wearing a “Dunning-Krueger, Class of…” forehead tattoo, doesn’t it?

        Of course, by making that observation, I probably look the same way to Freer.

        Dunning-Krueger Awareness is hell.

    • Pete Newell says:

      Thanks, Dave, for making yourself so very clear.

      My list of “stuff I want to buy and read” was getting unmanageable again, and you guys have been very kind about helping me prune it.

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  33. Cora says:

    I’ll be approving whoever is still in the queue and will otherwise be locking this comment thread.

    Go and play elsewhere.

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