05 Dec In Which I’m a Potty Mouth
I am trying to gather enough funds to attend the Toronto SpecFic Colloquium, where I am invited to speak. Learn more here: http://www.gofundme.com/specfic2014 and please share.
I wasn’t going to blog today, but then the editor of Amazing Stories decided to comment on my blog (follow the tags to find my previous blog posts on this topic):
What I was trying to say was that we have seen plenty of charges leveled against works that portrayed non white characters who were either stereotypes or poor, representations of their cultures; that they may have been presented as a minority on the surface, but were anything but below the surface. Those are the kinds of works I was referring to as not being ‘genuine’ attempts at introducing diversity.
No. Wrong. Felicity Savage’s piece criticized the selfie, the self-portrait and extended it as a metaphor that could be applied to writers.
Nothing is gained by mapping our fragmented ethnic and sexual identities onto our fiction with the fidelity of a cellphone camera photo.
There was NOTHING there about stereotypes or poor representations, but about FIDELITY as produced by a self-portrait. One could even say that in criticizing the extreme fidelity of a photo Savage was criticizing more realistic portrayals (one imagines autobiographical details would lend that to a story).
Even if we assume that what was being criticized were stereotypes, if you follow the logic, she was criticizing stereotypes and poor representation of POCs by POCs themselves. That’s why people are upset! Because the original piece talked about self-representation, dismissed it, and then went to make a random mention about sparing “a wee drop of compassion for the straight, white, able-bodied, cis-gendered male!”
Why would we have to have any talk about selfies and poor self-representation in a piece about racial stereotypes?
I called the editor a pendejo in my last blog post and he seemed to think it diminished the thrust of my argument. I still think he’s a pendejo, an asshole. Because this is the THIRD problematic blog post by Savage I’ve read in less than six months. The first one was about how “Women should serve in the US infantry. Not in medieval fantasy armies.” Hello, Jirel of Joiry called, she wants to punch you in the face. The second was about the awful, awful foul language people used…when responding to a sexist racist who called a writer subhuman. You see, if you are called subhuman, you should reply with a polite “yes, sir” or “yes, bwana.”
Yesterday SFWA named Samuel R. Delany, Jr. as the 2013 a Grand Memorial Master for his contributions to the literature of Science Fiction and Fantasy. The same day saw this gem leaked from the Secret Masters of Fandom listserves:
“Instead of insulting us, [Hines] could be using whatever influence he has in social media to help recruit more PoC into our circles. They need to know they’d probably be much more welcome here than they might be elsewhere. (After all, many of us would love to befriend extra terrestrials or anthromorphs.)”
and something more from the Secret Masters:
“Yes, fandom is overwhelmingly white. We do have a large minority contingent, though: Jews. Because Jews have a long history of valuing literature, criticism, being different, and integrating into other cultures while being outside that culture. All things that fandom values—though it’s possible those things are valued because there are so many Jews in fandom. What other cultures share at least some of those values?”
Yes. I called Davidson a pendejo because this is not the first time that he publishes some claptrap and because said claptrap tackled a topic that did not need to be tackled. Did we really need an expose on those horrible self-portraits of POCs? The horrible ways in which they insert themselves into stories, in the most superficial and stereotypical ways?
Felicity Savage said:
What speculative fiction does well is diversity on the species level. Our aliens, dragons, orcs, and even or especially our far-future selves ask us, in as many ways as there are books, what it means to be human.
Which is very CLOSE to that quote I posted where the Masters say they’d welcome POCs because they like the idea of extraterrestrials. Because that’s what we look to you. That’s just FUCKING awesome.
Yes, another swear word.
You know what might have been useful, Sir Editor of Amazing Stories? You could have gotten three or four POCs to blog about self-representation in modern science fiction and fantasy in Western markets. Not this stuff that was produced and the subsequent attempts to backtrack. This stuff is shit. Sorry.
It is exhausting to blog about this stuff. I am completely disheartened.