Random, disorganized, scattershot thoughts on Cook’s post

I’m talking about this post.  And, yeah, my blog post makes no pretense of being organized or coming to any conclusion.

1. I think I need a new category tag that goes, “I’m not a feminist, but…”

2. Just because a bunch of people all get upset about something, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re wrong.

3. In his post, giving examples of pure SF writers, he starts with this: “Issac Asimov, Theodore Sturgeon, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert A. Heinlein to name but four…”  Um, excuse me.  Theodore Sturgeon?  Is there a different Theodore Sturgeon than the one who put human love and sexuality at the center of more stories than I’ll live to write?  Because surely he can’t mean that Theodore Sturgeon as an example of writers who avoided romance.  Am I missing something?

4. I DO agree with him about false advertising, however. I mean, when I pick up a book that claims to be well written, and, in fact, it turns out to suck galactic moose, I get really annoyed.

5. Book of the New Sun, fantasy or science fiction:  Apparently it’s fantasy, on account of the failure of the Earth to wobble properly.  Well, glad we’ve got that settled.  Let’s not talk about Doc Smith, all right?  Next up will be Lord of Light.

6. I really am uncomfortable when I find myself on the same side as so many people I so vehemently disagree with on so many issues.  It’s like when I say something on a panel and the audience applauds–it makes me think I’m taking the easy way out.  I don’t have a pathological need to be in a minority, but not being in the minority makes me twitchy, and I have to wonder if I’m letting myself fall into groupthink.  But then I remind myself that I agree with Republicans on some things–like a passionate hatred for Roosevelt (in my case, because he saved Capitalism), so I guess it’s all right.  And, you know, see point 2 above.

7. What kicks it over the edge for me is the phrase, ” the attention to detail that only women would find attractive: balls, courts, military dress, palace intrigues, gossiping, and whispering in the corridors.”  There is something so utterly, well, EWWWWW about that, that as an admirer of Bujold, I am just unable to not say something.  So I’m saying something.  Here’s what I’m saying: EWWWWWWW.

Okay, that’s all for now.  More later on how women are ruining science fiction.



The Depths of Hypocrisy

I was just thinking of some phrases I’ve heard over the years, where the hypocrisy reaches such a level one can only stand, mouth open, shaking one’s head in wonder.  Here are a few that I’ve actually heard presented seriously:

“But if there was universal health care, think of all the insurance company office staff who’d be laid off.”

“If we don’t bail out the banks, it will really cut into the tips of the waiters who serve the Wall Street millionaires.”

“I’d have more respect for Snowden if he’d given himself up.”

“Those workers on strike against my company just don’t care how much they’re hurting the small businesses in the area.”

“The people of [Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Vietnam &c &c] want us to intervene.”

“People on welfare could support themselves if they really wanted to.”

What are your favorites?


Those Who are Silent on the Defense of Edward Snowden

Today is the Fourth of July, Independence Day.  This is a holiday that means a great deal to me.  In 1776, courageous and principled people took a stand against tyranny, pledging, as the Declaration said, their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.  High-sounding words, but full of meaning.  And if that weren’t enough to make the day special, 150 years ago saw the forces of the Union strike a tremendous blow against slavery at Gettysburg and Vicksburg.   However uncomfortable it makes the contemporary cynic, these were people risking everything for the sake of principle.

The fight against oppression has come full circle; where once it was waged by the United States government, now that government has become the oppressors, and the fight for freedom must be waged against it.  The most recent defender of freedom is Edward Snowden, who exposed the anti-democratic actions of the United States, for which he is being slandered by the corporate controlled media, and pursued with a fury George III and Jefferson Davis couldn’t even have imagined.

Several writers I know stepped up and took a public stand against the persecution of Edward Snowden by sending in statements of support to the World Socialist Web Site; some others, perhaps not comfortable with the WSWS, have written statements of support in other places.

But I can’t help but notice some of the ones who haven’t. Without naming anyone in particular, some of those in the sf community who have been most vocal about gay rights, and feminism,  and anti-racism, and various forms of what is called social justice, have been strangely silent about this broad-based attack on democratic rights here in the US, and, indeed, internationally.  Why is this?

Might it be that they want to stay with “safe” issues, in the sense that anyone you make angry with it can be written off as not worth the trouble?

Might it be that these people are only interested in issues that–whether they are consciously aware of it or not–stand to benefit only those in upper 15% of income levels?

Might it be that they know, or at least sense, that this is a problem that cannot be solved within the confines of capitalism, or, at least, that it challenges society at a deep, fundamental level that what is called social justice only pretends to?

To me, it is tremendously revealing about the nature of these politics that their most fervent advocates are failing to take a clear stand in defense of someone who dared to take an action that benefits the masses of the people against the most powerful enemies of freedom.  Instead, they remain secure in concentrating on issues that fall comfortably in line with those in the middle-class mileu in which they (and, to be sure, I) live and work. They remain secure in concentrating on issues in which they can be comfortably self-righteous without threat to their careers.  They remain secure in concentrating on issues that are comfortably acceptable to those in power.

While Edward Snowden is hounded from country to country, and the full force of the United States government comes down him because he dared to tell us all things we need and deserve to know,  they remain secure and comfortable.

It is revealing; it isn’t pretty.




“People are Stupid”

Earlier today, I was skimming Facebook (I know, bad idea) and I came across that, “People are stupid” thing again.

Of course, it’s true, people are stupid.

That’s why writers like Neil Gaiman who assume an audience of smart people are unable to have a career.

That’s why movies like “Lincoln” that appeal to smart people always flop.

That’s why bands like The Grateful Dead who made music that engaged the brain had no success.

That’s why TV shows like The West Wing that are aimed at smart people never go anywhere.

So, yeah, people are stupid.  The question is, which people?  I’d say it’s the ones who say that people are stupid.

/rant off/