Beyond these strictures, however, SF/F suffers from a peculiar affliction: persistent neoteny, aka superannuated childishness. Most SF/F reads like stuff written by and for teenagers – even works that are ostensibly directed towards full-fledged adults.
SF seems to hew to the long-disproved tenet that complex emotions inhibit critical thinking and are best left to non-alpha-males, along with doing the laundry.
Check out her Being Part of Everyone’s Furniture, too. It concerns cultural appropriation.
At Shattersnipe, fozmeadows discusses the defensiveness of YA and SF/F toward criticism.
And yet, as demonstrated not only by the response to Bourke’s reviews, but by the necessity of Roth’s piece – which was a timely response the string of recent YA author/reviewer incidents - large numbers of the SFF community seem to be struggling with the fairly basic premise, inherent to the very notion of criticism, that no one is under any obligation to be nice.
Can I take a moment to express my thorough dislike of the word nice? It’s such an insincere, simpering, placatory term, like an ambling jaywalker flapping their hands at traffic. Nice is how you describe an acquaintance you don’t know well enough to call kind or likable; places whose primary virtue is inoffensiveness are nice; we tell children to play nice before they’re big enough to understand words like consideration and empathy, so that asking other adults to be nice is about as condescendingly ineffectual as telling them to write their names on their shoes.
More specifically I found the subsequent discussion hugely interesting. It concerns how women are criticized more harshly than men, and how difficult navigating women’s culture as a woman can be, how fraught that navigation is, how you will be asked “Why are you criticizing women’s works all the time?” and shown up as having internalized misogyny through the act of doing so. I do wish the discussion had segued into the matter of male nerds dogpiling women too, but that’s not quite the same subject.
Tiger Beatdown: When anger is all I have and why anger is my feminist stand
So, instead of writing about choice I needed to pause and examine my anger. This anger which is cumulative, which grows inside me and overtakes my capability to articulate bigger pictures; this anger which, I am constantly told, is not “productive”. Because being angry in and by itself, it seems is not part of a political position. Well, I have news for those who obturate discussions on the basis of undesirable anger: MY ANGER IS A RADICAL POLITICAL STANCE. My anger is the basis of my actions. It is my drive and my reason to fight. Right here, right now, let me tell you this: I AM AN ANGRY FEMINIST. And I refuse to be shamed for that.
From the same:
@j.a. earlier today I was joking on Twitter: “When a manly man dude writes a rant we call it “Op-Ed”. When a feminist woman writes a rant we call it “anger”.”
WHITE LIBERAL BINGO, which seems apropos considering recent (and ongoing) events.
- Berates one minority group for bigotry toward another without acknowledging role of white racism.
- Brings up race of POC partner or children randomly, in order to prove lack of racism.
- Says “Talking about racism is so divisive” or Turns every discussion of race into a discussion of class.
You could just as well substitute the second one with “women.” I can’t be sexist, my wife is a woman; I can’t be sexist, my biological mother is a woman; I can’t be sexist, my wife/girlfriend/female goldfish tells me so. Better yet: “my wife is a woman of color, so I can never be racist or sexist!” CHECKMATE.
Ekaterina Sedia is a very linkable lady, because she’s written a lot of good things. Latest: Russian Language Harry Potter Fandom is Awesome, a translation of hypothetical essay titles.
Ridicule of Victims of Violence as a Form of Demonization: Moaning Myrtle
Cho Chang: The Relations with Racial and Ethnic Minorities as a Casual Entertainment
Good Homosexual is a Well-Educated White Men with No Sexual Liaisons: Albus Dumbledore
Indeed. No, if you’re wondering, I’m never letting the Cho Chang claptrap go. Never. Her On exoticism of language also articulates wonderfully why the trend of having non-Anglophones who are fluent in English drop into random non-English words for the exotic factor. As well, Female friends, which is about that trend of women feeling the need to declare themselves “one of the boys” and patriarchy.
Don’t miss Eric M. Edwards’ lengthy, thorough, hilarious review of Mark Lawrence’s Prince of Thorns (plus rape queues, fat people being pushed off high places, and Magical “Nubans”):
Despite saving this very black man and requiring him to run away with this very white child on a quest for vengeance like a gimlet-eyed Huckleberry Finn dragging behind him his Jim, Avatar Jorg never questions why he doesn’t think to ask the Nuban his name.
He is simply the Nuban. Why not? He’s obviously the only black person the prince is going to encounter it seems, unless Avatar Jorg bothers traveling to Nuba. And with his predilections for causing people pain, safe money is on him sailing first for Ling.Still, four years of living and fighting together like brothers on the road and Avatar Jorg still hasn’t bothered to ask the Nuban his name, a man whose life he goes to the trouble of saving any number of times over the course of these four years. So it seems the fate of the Nuban is to remain a nameless black raisin in the midst of a sea of fantasy cream.
Last but not least, Ryan Oakley speaks up about the Watts/Bakker brouhaha.
Having prejudice is entirely human. So is attempting to do better
Do better, motherfuckers.
Because, as things stand, you’re embarrassing yourself, you’re embarrassing me and I’m ashamed to even share a skin colour, let alone a profession or community, with you.
The white man does have a burden. It’s you.
I’m linking this because I feel it’s important to erode the assumption straight white men hold that, when they speak, they do so from a place of absolute safety. Other straight white men will nod along, applaud and praise them with great praise for having braved the scary feminists and the scarier people of color and survived to tell the tale. But that isn’t the case, and for people like Watts and Bakker it stings double when people who share their skin color, orientation and gender speak up against them and tell them they are being total shitstains. They don’t give a shit about a woman or a POC might say, but when those they assume are their bosom friends and staunch allies–other straight white men–call them on their shit, they start hyperventilating (which is partly why Bakker kept posting, and posting, and posting about that August 2011 post from me–because people he respects and calls friends didn’t sycophantically soothe his bruised ego). This is how things won’t happen like this every time. Straight white male supporters: speak up! Engage with the unapologetic neckbeards and call them out. Make them uncomfortable. For those who already have done so, congratulations and thank you.