You Know I Can Hear You, Right? — Revelations about the Internet and the Lesson of St. Fu

“I think the Internet is a grand arena for poorly thought out words.” — Philippa Ballantine, 2/18/2014, on Facebook

1000px-Train_wreck_at_Montparnasse_1895Presently, The Science Fiction Writers of America are at odds with one another once again, its members still in a brouhaha over the divide between men and women in the business. It’s hard to say when this rift started. I know this debate has raged for a long, long time as I remember people engaging in spirited conversations about this when I first entered the publishing game in 2002. There’s been a lot of back-and-forth about feminism, misogyny, old guard mentality, new blood in SFWA, and the like, especially in the wake of the 200th issue of the SFWA Bulletin which attempted to harken back to nostalgic days of the Red Sonja-esque fantasy covers.

It all boiled to a fever pitch yesterday when John Scalzi posted this quote on his blog:

“The problem is that the ‘vocal minority’ of insects who make up the new generation of writers don’t scramble for the shadows when outside lights shines on them—they bare their pincers and go for the jugular. Maybe it is a good thing that SFWA keeps them locked up. The newer members who Scalzi et al. brought in are an embarrassment to the genre.”

— (name withheld) on SFF.net, during the recent unpleasantness.

 Wow. Just…wow.

I have a lot of opinions about SFWA, about the Bulletin, SFF.net and LiveJournal (where a lot of this discussion has raged), and about women in the business; but that is not what is driving me bananas. What I find to be completely and utterly nuts is this fallback position “professionals” (and when you think comparing your experiences with a celebrated Science Fiction author to “your irrational fear of dogs” is a good analogy I use the term “professional” loosely.) are taking. These defensive crouches range from a First Amendment-“I have the right to freely express my opinion on this…” argument to “I’m calling my lawyer!” which, I bet, the lawyer is thrilled to know you’re pulling them up on speed dial.

I have a piece of free advice for these professionals: Please, for the love of God, shut the fuck up. You’re making asses of yourself on many levels, the highest of these being—and let’s be blunt—that you honestly don’t know how the Internet works. Continue reading

Concerning Colorado and the First Amendment

When tragedy strikes, emotions run high. So does opportunity. When you talk about opportunity, does Texas Republican Louis Gohmert come to mind? Well, it should. He was one of the first (if not the first) from Capitol Hill to speak up on the tragedy in Colorado where over 70 people were wounded and 12 killed during a midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises. Yes, he hit all the talking points his staff put together for him. Attack on religion. Founding fathers’ intentions. Gun control. All part of an opportunity to get firsties on proclaiming the real reason behind this horrible shooting in an Aurora movie multiplex. What struck me hardest in his asshattery was his closing statement in this Huffington Post article:

“It does make me wonder, with all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying a gun that could have stopped this guy more quickly?”

Fast-forward to the next day where I am enjoying a lovely wine tasting in Leesburg, VA at the Corcoran Vineyard and Brewery.  It’s a nice afternoon with Pip, the Boom, P.J. Schnyder, and Or Draconis (her boyfriend) and good wine. In the midst of Wine #3, another small group joins us. I’m trying desperately not to stare, but one of the newcomers is wearing a tee-shirt nigh impossible to avoid. In huge, black block letters against stark white, his shirt reads:

Where’s Lee Harvey Oswald Now That We Need Him?

Then, on turning around, I get a look at the back design: a generic drawing of a man’s head, a gun sight, and the top portion of the man’s head exploding outward. Complete with blood splatter.

No. Kidding.

Continue reading