Things That Pass Me By

In e-mail, an (excerpted) comment from a reader:

You didn’t have much to say about the Jonathan Ross/Hugo dust up. That’s not like you.

Well, you know. Two things: One, I had literally just gotten off a boat from a week at sea and was playing catchup on everything, including things that directly related to me, which this did not. I was also doing a lot of napping, because oddly enough, vacations can be tiring. I had barely learned about the incident, took a nap, and when I woke up it was done. So there was that.

Two: I was largely and deeply ignorant of both Mr. Ross and the context of the issue when I first heard about it, and now, several days later, am mostly still aware of all the things I don’t know about everything involving this incident. Anything I would add at this point would either a) be a rehash of things others have said better because they know more or have followed it more carefully, b) serve to expose said ignorance in one manner or another. Which will just make people cranky at me to no real purpose. Aside from a few mostly vague tweets on the topic, I’ve let this one alone.

So, in short: This was a contretemps that I was both unprepared to comment on and which largely got along without me any event. It was a thing that passed me by. I didn’t run to catch it. In the end I think Loncon3’s apology substantially covered what needed to be said, and I’m happy they offered it (note: avoid the comments there, because they’re Facebook comments, and they will just make you unhappy).

In a larger sense, I’m also at a point where if I know I don’t know what I should know about something, I’m gonna want to spend time learning more — or alternately, making the choice that this particular event can get along without me. Or, as it happened in this case, both.

50 thoughts on “Things That Pass Me By

  1. I should note that I don’t want this comment thread to be yet another rehash of all the things that have been commented on elsewhere about this incident. It would be ironic, to say the least, to have all that appended to this particular piece.

    So yeah, please avoid using this thread as yet another platform to gripe pro or con (to whatever side you feel pro or con about) re: Ross/Hugo. I may get Mallet-y on this point.

    May I suggest instead the more general topics of knowing when a discussion does not require one’s own participation, and at what point one feels ready to dive into a discussion online.

  2. I guess the question I ask myself before diving into a discussion online is “What dog do I have in this fight, and does it belong there?” given that some of my “dogs” (pet peeves, hot buttons, Things I Feel Strongly About, &c.) just need to be chained up because they’ll derail the hell out of a discussion if let loose.

  3. I still don’t know what exactly happened. As far as I can tell Ross was invited to do something, there was a kefuffle, then he stepped down? What was the kerfuffle over anyway?

  4. One of the great lessons of our times is that you don’t have to take a side on every Internet debate. As I grow older, I find this much easier to do.

  5. I had wondered about that. Some of us rely on you as our news source for everything douchey that happens in the SF/F community, yanno. :) So thank you for linking to posts elseweb regarding this mess on teh twitterz.

  6. Personally, I don’t do a lot of internet commenting, since by the time I hear about an issue, others have said what I would have, or the post has devolved to the point where two or three commenters are carrying on long, minutae-filled arguments that leave me cold.

  7. Before Ross withdrew, I saw at least a couple posts from people demanding refunds or lamenting that they couldn’t get one. After he withdrew, I’ve seen at least one post lamenting that one can’t get a refund. Is this the fannish equivalent of threatening to leave the country if candidate X wins the election? It’s a special event at a convention that spans five days. Why not just choose to attend or not attend that event?

    I’m reminded a bit of people who get caught up in the inside baseball of con politics and how this or that convention was horribly marked by the actions of this or that member of the convention committee. I’ve been to conventions where I’ve heard complaints like this, and even when stuff hasn’t been executed according to plan, I’ve generally had a good time because most fans are also generally willing to continue to have a good time. .

  8. [Deleted because asking a question of me and then criticizing me for the response before I’ve even responded makes me cranky. Work on your phrasing of questions and wait for a response before editorializing. That will make me less cranky in the future. Also, and incidentally, the question was not on topic — JS]

  9. Mike:

    A reminder that I’m not interested in actually delving into the Ross/Hugo thing here. There are other places to have that conversation.

  10. John, I agree with your approach on this one. As I have become more mature (*cough* older *cough*) I have also declined to get involved in flame wars, although in my youth, I loved to participate with facts, figures, and unemotional logic. Which always annoys the flamethrower bearers. It seems the LonCon crowd learned that being imperial with a volunteer group is a good way to annoy people, even if the right “thing” is being done. A lesson in human dynamics that is worth learning, even by proxy. What’s the old saying? “How do you learn good judgement? Experience. How do you gain experience? Bad judgement.”

  11. On deciding when to add to a discussion: I have an unusual first name, so I am used to it being unique in discussions in most contexts. However, there is one aviation discussion forum that I am a member of where there is a prominent author also called Errol participating. Although confusion is lessened by him using his full name as loginID, I make sure I am really adding something worthwhile to a thread he is on before commenting. On some occasions (where differentiation was important), I’ve added a tag line within a post of “The other Errol”.

  12. I should have skipped this one. It was a decided case of people sticking their fingers in their ears and going, “la la la, there is no videotape!” Also, I remain glad that I am not currently on Twitter.

  13. I read about the controversy in the online Guardian and though the comments there were mostly polite enough most of them were also quite ‘this is where I stand I can do no other’-ish. So my own sincere contribution was more or less to say I could understand both sides well enough not to want to take sides – and then quite a few people reacted to that by agreeing with that non-stance.

    I guess these kinds of discussions in the comments sections are more attractive to those with defined opinions than those who are inclined to see more sides to things – but that doesn’t necessarily mean the latter don’t follow these discussions. They probably just tend to be less actively involved.

  14. “I’m gonna want to spend time learning more — or alternately, making the choice that this particular event can get along without me. Or, as it happened in this case, both.”

    Does this mean you are not attending the Hugo’s this year?

  15. dpmaine, the event in this case was the controversy over Ross, which could–and did–get along without him. Note the use of the past tense (“as it happened”).

  16. Hm. I missed the whole thing. For those googling around like I’ve been all evening, I think this link is probably a good one-stop shopping, get the scoop in one go, link:

    http://www.bleedingcool.com/2014/03/01/when-jonathan-ross-was-presenting-the-hugo-awards-until-he-wasnt/

    As far as getting into internet conversations, I’ve been slowly coming to the notion that people have already made up their mind and aren’t going to change their position on anything really. You can drop a shit-ton of undeniable evidence on their heads proving their wrong, and that will only cause them to double down on their position, and/or get mad.

    It seems that the process of comign to a conclusion is mostly emotional and/or subconscious. And only after subconsciously reaching a conclusion do people then shore up that conclusion with whatever evidence or logic they want that fits the conclusion they already have. They reach a subconscious position, and then they shore it up with a ret-conned narative that picks and chooses whatever “evidence” and “logic” leads them to the conclusion they’ve already reached subconsciously.

    Most internet discussions are people arguing over their ret-conned narratives. And because the narratives are whatever invention they come up with to fit their subconscious conclusions, they don’t really care if the narrative is complete and total bullshit. So proving that their narrative wrong doesn’t actually change their position, they just keep their position and invent a new narrative to explain it. And/Or get mad at the person who just proved them wrong. So, arguing over the narratives, the logical arguments or logical fallacies, the shoddy evidence, the unproven assertions, and so on is a waste of time. They’re not attached to the narrative. It just explains the subconscious decision they already reached.

  17. I keep writing Tweets, Facebook comments, blog comments, etc. and then deleting them because writing the comment really drives home my near-total ignorance of the topic at hand.

    (This topic is my own limitations, a subject with which I am all too familiar.)

  18. @Greg – I learned that in a training course for salespeople. People make their decision and then rationalise it. When a salesperson gives you facts and figures they’re not really trying to persuade you, they’re giving you info that you can use to justify the decision you’ve already made..

  19. I had never heard of Jonathan Ross before a day or two ago, and now that I have heard of him, I will follow the example of Sherlock Holmes and attempt to forget that I heard of him.

  20. dpmaine:

    “Does this mean you are not attending the Hugo’s this year?”

    Reasking the same question does not magically put it on topic, dpmaine, nor does quoting me on a subject unrelated to the ceremony for the purposes of offering yourself tenuous cover. You should probably just get used to the idea that I’m not going to answer that question in this thread. Because — get this! — it’s not on topic. If it’s on topic on another thread, however, you may ask it there.

  21. JS–

    Okay. How about this:

    ““I’m gonna want to spend time learning more — or alternately, making the choice that this particular event can get along without me. Or, as it happened in this case, both.”

    Can elaborate to what this means?

    This isn’t a trick. It’s not sneaky or rude. Or a trap. I can’t figure out what you mean.

  22. Dpmaine:

    It means that generally speaking, if I am thinking about something or being asked to comment on it, before I comment, I want to be comfortable that I know enough to speak about it, or recognize I don’t know enough and say “yeah, I don’t know enough here, so, no comment.”

  23. JS–

    Thank you. Instead of assuming the worst, it’s not an implausible to think that:

    “or alternately, making the choice that this ***particular event*** can get along ”

    means the Hugo’s. I read this that you had decided to skip the Hugo’s because “this particular event” can get along without you.

  24. I am increasingly finding myself terrified by any kind of argument with a social justice component, because they frequently seem to feature people who have already prejudged someone to be an asshole who will never change or learn, and are not interested in anything they might do unless the person in question has atoned to their satisfaction – which of course will never happen.

    It freaks me out because, I think, I have a perfectionism problem, amplified by depression, and it reminds me that one mistake means you are forever ruined. It is really not something I need confirmed by the world.

    On the other hand, at least I have the privilege to ignore it. I would like not to, I would like to be part of the solution. But it’s a choice between being a more compassionate person and being able to function.

  25. The big lesson I took from the whole thing is, to paraphrase Bill Murray, “don’t tweet angry.” And that applies to people on all sides. Without delving into specifics of this particular incident, Twitter is one of the most amazingly toxic environments if you tend to get angry a lot.

    When you send an email, post a comment, or write a blog, by the time you’ve written a few paragraphs you’ve had time for second thoughts about what you wrote in the first ones and realize whether or not it’s really a good idea. A Tweet is so short that you can have had the impulse, slapped down something angry, and hit enter before you even had time to think about what you were saying. I think that exacerbated this incident, and indeed most incidents these days where lots of people getting angry over something is involved. (I wrote an article about this on TeleRead, which I’m really fond of and tempted to link, but discretion is the better part of not getting malleted; you can find it really easily on Google.)

    When you see an angry Twitter pile-on going on, that’s probably the time when things most don’t require your participation, because odds are whatever you say will only make things worse. At least give it a few hours of thought before you dive in.

  26. Chris Meadows, what this mess really needs right now is yet another man telling the wimmin on the internet to simmer down, and be nice.

    Not.

    Always remember, calls for civility invariably come from the privileged and are aimed at the less privileged. They are disproportionately aimed at women, which is why men who say are increasingly being told to take that call for civility and shove it where the sun don’t shine.

    Cora Buhlert has an excellent blog post up about the aftermath of the Hugo/Ross has been reframed by men (those poor, hurted men and their *feelings*) and used to relitigate past messes in SFF and generally slam women for being uppity.

    That kind of reframing is *why* women have to keep reacting and saying stuff. Silence means letting things slide back to the status quo. Straight White Men control the narrative and can retcon it whenever it suits them (you know, like some idjit at CPAC telling the audience that no state in America has *ever* banned gay marriage). Everyone else has a constant battle against the gaslighting.

    So, Scalzi has little trouble pushing back against a certain RHSD claiming he’s a rapist, but Seanan McGuire will be fighting accusations of personal jealously and unfairness towards Wossy until she’s in the old people’s home.

    Kameron Hurley has a post on this on her blog which says this so much better than I could.

    “At least give it a few hours of thought before you dive in.”

    Twitter is a medium of swift reaction. Those who use it, know this. Including all those involved in the thing Mr Scalzi isn’t involving himself in. I am insulted on behalf of the clever people I know who did react quickly to this at the implication they didn’t *think* before posting, or that their opinion would have altered. Their minds move fast, their minds work very well.

    As for not getting involved, I do when I feel I can add anything and my words add to the weight of numbers. There are tonnes of microkerfuffles on the internet, many to do with outrageous behaviour by American politicians, I now just sigh at. But that’s only because the last election brought a bunch of wankers on this continent I need to spend my outrage on.

  27. Oh but Ann, their butts hurt from all the outrage, and can’t everyone stop being so offended and be kind to each other? Because they are very, very tired of having to hear that women are getting shafted, again. And are unhappy about it, again. And keep opening their mouths, shudder. Tone it down, because they are depressed. And can’t the women be nice to the people shafting them and agree that shafting them is a valid point of view, even if they are upset and discriminated against in the industry? Because then everything will be pleasant and the men will not be annoyed and feel persecuted. The women will still be persecuted and discriminated against, but since they can’t really get angry about it, no one will have to care or listen. :)

    That was my mistake wading into a few conversations on this event. People who are rationalizing turning a deaf ear do not want to be reminded of all the messy stuff underneath. I may still occasionally bite, but I am regulating more conversations to the lost cause, do not bother with that one bin.

  28. Kat Godwin, I think we can all agree that the most important message to take out of the recent messes in SFF is that Upset Straight White Men are the most marginalised, silenced, oppressed and underepresented group in discussions about Upset Straight White Men among those of us who are #soweary.

    And until this rampant injustice and discrimination is rectified, it is clearly important that USWM be given *every* opportunity to keep yelling about how marginalised, silenced, oppressed and underepresented they are. Because it should be obvious to everyone how difficult it is for USWM to get their message out in the liberal-dominated, feminazi-run, commie media which is permanently offended and thus a constant source of Orwellian bullying of the poor USWM underclass.

  29. Well, on this side of the Pond there is something of a divide between those who think that the tragic suffering of Wossy is a terrible and unrightable wrong, and those who think that the latest developments in the Stephen Lawrence case are a great deal more important.

    I suppose that a black woman seeking justice for the racist murder of her son has caused quite a lot of angst in Upset Straight White Men, particularly the ones who really were not at all interested in justice, especially if it meant that they would actually have to do the job that they were paid to do, but I’m having difficulty in summoning up womanly compassion for them.

    This is a flaw, I know…

  30. thanks@greg for the link, I did not know who the players were in that skirmish.

    Since a couple of them are known in other (political) forums for tarnishing (groups of ) people ahead of the facts, I can see why it became a TwitStorm.

    And that link also makes it clear why JS has taken his stance.
    Sorry as someone who just read of the event here, I did not understand fully till I saw the list of those involved and yes it makes sense. ConComs of bigger cons (non SF) will need to be notified of how this fell out and became an issue.

  31. So wait, the rapist post and the twitter attacks on individuals were both attempts to do the same thing, and it’s just the author’s gender that makes us interpret them differently? Ok.

    (backs slowly into bushes, homer style)

  32. Stevie, in case it wasn’t clear, there is a very large and invisible /sarcasm tag that belongs at the bottom of my and Kat’s posts.

    And I totally agree that the Lawrence case (the Lawrence open *wound*) is far more important. But as is usual in these matters, one can be concerned about many things at the same time. Like I learned this week in the worst possible manner that my father has died, and yet I was still engaging on Twitter with people partly as a distract and partly because I can’t do anything about Dad but I can, sometimes, do something to help those being pressured by idiots on the internet (still happening, by the way.)

    Studer, if you’re trolling, shame on you. But if you’re serious, in fact that’s exactly right. Scalzi was using his platform to make an admirable attempt to raise awareness about rape, rape culture, a woman’s right to autonomy over her own body, and institutional misogyny. A good number ( I won’t say all because (a) the entire Hugo/Ross thing happened while I was asleep and (b) I couldn’t be arsed to read all the tweets though I did read most of the sensible blogs) of the tweeters were concerned about the message Ross’s hosting sent to people fighting against con harassment and the belittlement of women in the SFF genre. As with most argument, some people made poor comments, and some people went off on their own little tangent (as is happening now that the MOST important aspect of this to the USWM and their supporters is the butthurt of the USWM.) But many were concerned about the optic, the wider signal sent to non-SWM participants at the Hugos, the continuation of some fairly ugly ‘traditions’ at fan conventions and GOHs and so on.

    Scalzi got some ugly reaction to his post, posted about it, and got lots of hugs, kisses and charity donations. Seanan McGuire is being pilloried in national media as a bully, and nothing those few people trying to push back about that is making any difference, even though there is not a shred of evidence she went after Ross in person, or was involved in the main dispute at all (she was asleep too!)

    Yes, I am suggesting gender is making the difference. Wrongly villified SMOFs like Scalzi and his leather wearing, gum chewing gang (Sorry Scalzi, I saw those tweets!) get support, Wrongly villified women like McGuire get rape and death threats, and national media using partisan reporters to launch hatchet pieces on them.

    If you’re going to deny sexism is a thing, you must not only be new to this blog, but new to the fandom. Or, well, a bloke.

  33. I had an interesting conversation with my daughter a few days ago. I’d read an article about a young woman who was doxxed, having unwisely sent her ex-boyfriend a naked photo back when she was a teen, then found that the photo had been uploaded and distributed all over the Internet, that her Facebook and email were hacked, that her name and contact information were distributed with the photo, that men were constantly sending her email and rehacking her email to harass, humiliate and threaten her on the grounds that she was a slut. Having the photo taken down at a few sites, since she was underage in the photo, just meant whole other illegal sites when up to “stop” her and continue to “punish” her, and she had to give up. Even worse, she wouldn’t be able to easily get employed, especially in the moral punishment quagmire of the U.S., because employers would run a search and find the photo and discard her. Changing her name wouldn’t help, since the ones trying to punish her would track it down and do it again. So this young woman’s life was destroyed before she was 21.

    So I told my daughter, you know as you do, never to take a naked photo of herself ever. And my daughter rolled her eyes at me and said that she knows, mom, and anyway, they also take headshots of women from the Net and put them on the naked bodies of other women and distribute that across the Internet with the headshot’s contact information. And that’s the world my daughter lives in; that’s what’s normal. Her life can be ruined if she’s randomly picked as a target by men who want to humiliate and punish her for existing as female. And it’s a twofer, because they also make it harder for women in the work world.

    Despite having a wife who has succeeded in an industry that likes to throw obstacles to her and other women succeeding, Ross has made it part of his very successful career to toss off rude jokes and comments that remind folk that women are nothing except for their bodies. And then when some people complain, he and his media people are outraged that his remarks are considered controversial, which gets lots more media attention. And he’s right, they aren’t controversial. His remarks and act are normal in the society.

    LonCon promised women authors that they would be making an effort for women to be treated as equal professionals. And then they, against any and all advice, broke their word to hire a controversial (normal) entertainer. Because they thought it would be no big deal. And that is normal.

    Women authors are less likely to be published, less likely to get as good a deal as a male author, less likely to receive promotional support, more likely to receive feminized or hypersexualized book covers, more likely to be ghettoized by booksellers especially if they are non-white, less likely to receive review attention, get into anthologies, etc. They have their bodies, clothing and appearance regularly talked about, they get groped and propositioned at cons, and they and female fans are considered fake, stupid sex pots — and those are the compliments. If they speak up about being women authors, if they just talk about their work, or if they complain about anything or anyone whether vigorously or gently, they receive rape and death threats, as occurred in the Ross case. And this is normal.

    Ross’ wife and daughters, because they are female, received similar threats. And this is normal. And when they got those threats, it was instantly proposed that such a happening was the fault of any woman author who was concerned about Ross hosting and completely invalidated any complaint about him, because the behavior of one woman or even of men, means all the women are responsible, should apologize and any complaints they made should be ignored or not taken seriously. (That would be Studer’s argument.) And that is normal in the society.

    It’s also discrimination that severely limits our daughters’ futures. When you try to change what’s normal in discrimination against a disadvantaged group, the big issue isn’t the raving machobros or the opportunists like Ross. It’s the people who don’t like their normal disturbed, at least on a regular basis. The remarkable thing is that after incidents of this kind, what’s normal does change, just a bit, for some. The cumulative effect of the events that some are so weary of, shifts the narrative. It’s not really a person to person game overall, although it can be. And so sometimes, when the person wants to hide in what’s normal and pretend that it’s not discrimination, it’s better to walk off. You have to make decisions, under the weight of what is normal where you are punished either way.

    But I did like the pieces Ann mentioned, so here are links:
    http://www.kameronhurley.com/with-great-power-comes-great-responsibility-on-empathy-and-the-power-of-privilege/
    http://corabuhlert.com/2014/03/07/the-media-spin-machine-at-full-power-or-this-is-totally-not-what-happened/

    I also find a post by K. Tempest Bradford very relevant to this particular topic:
    http://tempest.fluidartist.com/pearls-before-swine-or-why-i-bother/

  34. Being mindful of our host’s injunction not to relitigate something that’s been thoroughly dissected elsewhere, the only thing I find at all surprising about this is that the organizers didn’t see it coming. And if I’m a “hater” for loathing Ross’ very public shitty treatment of women, and wondering if that’s really the company the Hugos want to keep – I’ll plead guilty as charged. Just don’t expect a lot of sympathy from me when that call get an entirely predictable level of push back from “the community”.

  35. Ann

    My apologies: I had spotted the sarcasm and certainly didn’t intend to suggest that you were focusing on something unimportant; I should have expressed myself better.

    It seems to me that many of the people bewailing the fate of poor Wossy belong to the same demographic that was, and continues to be, outraged and offended by a black woman challenging the status quo; the two instances spring from the same attitudes, expectations and beliefs.

    In many cases the people with those attitudes, expectations and beliefs, will, when challenged, express their utter incredulity that anyone could possibly imagine that they were racist, or sexist or homophobic bigots; the disconnect between what they perceive about themselves, and the way they are frequently perceived by people who are not Upset Straight White Males is almost complete.

    So much so that people would rather spend time pondering whether John’s amusing ripostes to someone trying to dump on him on Twitter constitute an abuse of power, and thus to be deplored, in preference to spending their time looking at the way power is wielded when it comes to covering up the institutional racism which resulted in the failure to make any credible attempts to discover the murderers of a young black boy.

    I am very sorry to hear of the death of your father; my condolences.

  36. It does seem we are beginning to wander into discussing the Ross/Hugo thing directly. Let’s again wander back to the more general, please.

  37. Apologies, John. I was trying to give the perspective of someone who actually lives in central London to the vast number of people reading your blog who don’t; in particular, because we have had yet another horrendous reminder of the abuse of power by those whose job it is to defend us.

    I didn’t realise I was transgressing the boundaries you had laid down.

  38. “we are beginning to wander into discussing the Ross/Hugo thing directly”

    Yeah, can’t have that. It might offend someone who matters.

    Unfortunately the shit is being stirred up by people you know quite well, Mr Scalzi. If you could them to pack it in, I know quite a few women (and guys) who would be very grateful for a break in harassment.

    Oh you want to talk about things you – or we – don’t talk about. How about the things that gore someone else’s ox, like sexism and racism? It’s easy for men to talk the talk on feminism because when it’s just SoWearying, they can throw their hands up and go ‘those women and their PMS’. And white people can do the same about ‘uppity black/brown people’.

    Being an ally means not asking for breaks when it gets tough, not walking off muttering about those ‘toxic’ women/gays/POC/disabled people etc, and certainly not staying silent when one’s friends are making absolute tits of themselves over people you claim to be an ally to.

    In other words, John, it’s nice all this ‘passed you by’. Hope you gave lots of hugs to Seanan and your other women friends anyway. Being an ally is hard work. Unfortunately too many of us aren’t up to the task.

  39. I don’t think that’s really the topic, Ann. Scalzi passed this one by because it was fast and happening when he was away and he usually doesn’t start blogging about something he doesn’t know a lot about, especially when other people do and have been talking about it. I also am not comfortable with Scalzi being the Great White Male Hope of advancing SFF feminism, a role I figure he doesn’t want either, and investing him with a saving power he doesn’t have.

    The Hugo incident was just the recent case that showed me something about this particular topic — deciding when and how to jump in and for how long, and when to sit out. I think it’s harder for folks on Twitter, where everything is immediate and messages are brief. The complex topic of discrimination isn’t easily reduced. I think when you look at a situation, you have to ask yourself, is there any listening going on here likely from the people around, or just anxiety. There is a diminished returns in terms of where you place your time. And if there is good conversation going on elsewhere, you can let it stand and let people chew on it for awhile.

    The reality is, you don’t have to be online and you don’t have to read stuff. No one forces you. So the folk who say they are weary of outrage are attributing power to others talking that those people don’t actually have about a conversation the weary folk chose to listen in on or enter into. And in a way, that effort is kind of a last ditch stand against a change in the normal. And sometimes it’s not worth trying to deal with that last ditch stand. Sometimes it resolves on its own, which is why the Bradford piece was interesting to me, as was O’Neil’s epiphany at Black Gate a few years back. We all have to make decisions about how much to invest in each conversation, even if you and I can’t escape the overall topic and the discrimination that does effect us in life.

  40. “I also am not comfortable with Scalzi being the Great White Male Hope of advancing SFF feminism, a role I figure he doesn’t want either, and investing him with a saving power he doesn’t have. ”

    I would never call anyone a Great White Male Hope of anything.

    But when it comes to engaging it’s worth considering if your voice has any power or not. Often people blog and tweet without any expectation of the subjects hearing them or caring. Thus is was with Scalzi’s “I am a rapist” post, which was speaking truth to power but had zero chance of having more than zero effect.

    In a situation where, just as an example, a prominent someone in SFF is still making loud and angry noises about a situation which was over in eight hours, and those noises are making life very unpleasant for their unjustly named focus, another prominent someone in SFF might have a chance of making their voice heard in the melée. I, in this same example, would not have such a chance.

    Yes, we certainly all have to make choices, and we each have different communication and news channels we concentrate on. But some of us are also at the head of the pipe, not just at the end, and can control how news and communication gets shaped.

    I’ll just co-sign everything Kameron Hurley wrote and duck out of this now.

  41. Ann Somerville:

    I am happy to accept your criticisms.

    I keep my own counsel on when and how to engage on anything, however.

    Some reasons for it I may make public, and some I may not. Likewise, while people may have opinions of what I can and should do in any particular situation, I may or may not agree with them, or that the course they suggest for me is useful, either for myself or for the ostensible long-term goal they have in mind. They are free to disagree with my assessment, based on the information they have.

    I understand and accept that this policy may be frustrating for people who want me to do a specific thing in a specific way. Nevertheless I do retain my own agency, and my own opinions on how to use it.

  42. Ann:

    Yeah, can’t have that. It might offend someone who matters.

    Unfortunately the shit is being stirred up by people you know quite well, Mr Scalzi. If you could them to pack it in, I know quite a few women (and guys) who would be very grateful for a break in harassment.

    … It’s easy for men to talk the talk on feminism because when it’s just SoWearying, they can throw their hands up and go ‘those women and their PMS’. And white people can do the same about ‘uppity black/brown people’.

    Being an ally means not asking for breaks when it gets tough

    Your guilt-trip-fu is strong, grasshopper.

    I think my absolute favorite part is that when a man doesn’t do exactly what you, Ann, want them to do around some sexism, its because he’s being all “women and their PMS” and shit, which is its own form of sexism. So it’s a nice round about way of accusing someone of sexism unless they meet your demands without directly coming out and saying “you’re sexist unless you meet my demands.”

    I just love it when people channel the whole “you’re either with us or against us” thing.

    I’d give it a 9.9.

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