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ę Are We Getting Too Political About Everything? | Main | Women's Hockey Thread, US v. Canada, Gold Medal Game, Closing Minutes Ľ
February 20, 2014

And Speaking of Politicizing Everything: Ostensibly Free-Thinking and Liberal Science Fiction Writers of America Now Purging Members for Being "Sexist"

Sarah Hoyt, a one-time member in the SFWA, tells her tale the way writers have been doing since the dawn of mankind: In gifs.

Another writer (I think) describes the meltdown at the SFWA in text. Warning: Contains sexist, offensive language such as "Glittery Hoo Haa Brigade" and "Whiny Tw*T."

Oh and she's a she, I think, but you know, Patriarchy.

Both writers make a point: The people doing all the kvetching, agitating, and purging are mostly n00bs without many books to their credit who are using political correctness to go after older, more established people in the field.

More: Another writer (I think) digests some of this meltdown. Apparently the SFWA wanted to shut down its quarterly magazine Bulletin until it could guarantee that nothing that wasn't up to its "standards" -- by which it means was PC-approved -- would be published therein.

Here are some of the writers who signed a petition objecting to this censorship:

Notice who has signed the petition, names included at the bottom of the petition. They include (but arenít limited to) Gregory Benford, David Brin, Amy Sterling Casil, C. J. Cherryh, Jack Dann, Harlan Ellison, David Gerrold, Janis Ian, Nancy Kress, Mercedes Lackey, Barry N. Malzberg, Jack McDevitt, Larry Niven, Dr. Jerry Pournelle, Mike Resnick, Robert Silverberg, Norman Spinrad, Allen Steele, Harry Turtledove, Vernor Vinge, Gene Wolfe.

Maybe youíve heard of a few of them?

Only some of the biggest names in the field.

The only name I recognized (other than Gould) who has come out publicly in favor of the oversight committee is C. C. Finlay. The rest are people like Natalie Luhrs (who?) and Angela Korraíti (again, who?). No disrespect to these ladies intended, but Iíve never heard of them, and I make an effort to keep up with new authors in the field. Obviously, there will be some new authors that I miss.

What I do find interesting (and disturbing) is that there seems to be a generational war going on in SFWA. At least it appears that way from the outside. (Iím not a member, have no desire to be a member, but thatís a post for another day.)

The generational war, it seems, is less about the generations than the values each generation holds dear. The older writers are liberal in temperament (by which I mean, they object to censorship, and believe in free expression), and the newer writers appear leftist (and they believe speech must be managed and censored by a Oversight Committee of some sort, say, a Vanguard).

Thanks to TV. No not the TV. I'm just calling the tipster TV.

Correction: It was not the SWFA's "bulletin board" which was shut down, as I claimed; it was their quarterly magazine Bulletin.

Thanks to @rdbrewer4 and a guy who claims to be a pirate for that correction.
More: Merovign offers some thoughts below.

Okay, this is one I actually know something about, though there are many others who are more deeply involved with these peeps because I Saw This Coming Miles Away.

Part of it is the Long March, the need of the left to seek to be in charge when more that three people gather. I've seen "professional managers" take over fan clubs and turn them into propaganda organs. They don't even have an interest in the subject, they just live to turn as many groups as they can get their hands on into platforms for their ideology.

But since this is writing, there's another (similar) layer to it, that I've mentioned before - some people in genre fiction have an inferiority complex because they're not considered as prissy and neurotic as they would be if they were writing "literature."

There is a serious desire, especially when you get to the organizational level, to be "more like the literature writers," and by "literature" I mean the non-genre writers who have their books in the front of the store, get on daytime TV, and generally get lots of beejers from academics and reviewers.

"Literature" is supposed to be the highest quality, most insightful, and most challenging writing. Actually it's often the most turgid, over-complicated, and predictable writing. It has become the Home Of The Politically-Correct in writing.

Some writers have been rebelling against that for a while - for a variety of reasons. One of my extremely lib acquaintances, as a writer, objects strongly to the movement, despite the fact that they are a *lot* closer to its ideals than I am, for some of the reasons in the previous paragraph.

Reason #X why I don't belong to SFWA.
Posted by: Merovign, Dark Lord of the Sith

I've noticed this inferiority-complex showing itself via politically correct messaging. For example, when people interview Stan Lee about Marvel Comics -- well, look, it's a bunch of silly melodrama and pointless fights with costumed Luchador wrestlers, isn't it?

So how does he sell that Marvel was important? He always makes note of Marvel's forays into "serious" issues, whether it's Luke Cage as a symbol of black empowerment (actually-- look, blaxploitation; he's a super-powered Shaft ripoff), Captain America's denunciation of the United States after Watergate, and so on.

Similarly, whenever anyone talks about DC... if I have to hear one more time that the Green Lantern/Green Arrow partnership explored "political questions" and was "socially relevant" and that it was really a landmark event that Green Arrow's partner Speedy became addicted to heroin, well, I will hang myself.

It's not that they don't have the right to tell these stories, or to be proud of them.

It's just that they're really trying to sell the idea that what redeems these frivolous four-color fantasias is that they occasionally Check That Box when it comes to trendy political (usually politically correct or left-leaning) thought.

Is that all it takes? Can I write something that is nothing but pure trash and then toss in some "themes" about the Occupy movement and now my trash has become a treasure?

Sci-fi and fantasy have long labored under the suspicion, rightly or wrongly, that they constituted a branch of children's literature. This suspicion no doubt sings. But children's literature does not become adult literature just because you throw in a "Socially Relevant Theme."

Frankly, that's how children think.

digg this
posted by Ace at 01:29 PM

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