holzman_tweed: (Default)
[personal profile] holzman_tweed
I concur in full with [livejournal.com profile] rozk in her recent statement regarding RaceFail 2009, specifically in her criticism of specific bad behavior on the parts of Kathryn Cramer and Elizabeth Bear.

Also? This, from [livejournal.com profile] bossymarmalade (via [livejournal.com profile] stoneself on [livejournal.com profile] debunkingwhite) is useful, instructive, and quite elegant.

I haven't participated in RaceFail 2009, largely because of time constraints, largely because of the number of people calling specifically to tell me not to even read it because I have enough trouble with high blood pressure as it is. That's an odd space for me to be in as part of the [livejournal.com profile] deadbrowalking modstaff.

But goodgoddam, I've lost alot of respect for alot of people I really thought were wiser than they have shown themselves in the last few weeks, and that's kinda painful no matter how many times I tell myself you can never guess where The Clue Ends for any given person. ([livejournal.com profile] rmjwell wrote an excellent piece on this a few years back, I think talking about Jimmy the Greek and what might be termed "RaceFail 1988."

For all of my adolescent and adult life, I've had two refuges from the crushing pressure of mundania: Heavy Metal and Fandom[1]. Gaming, Comics, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Filking, Costuming. Fannish parties, fannish friends, fannish lovers, fannish art, fannish music alongside the Metal[2], fannish this, fannish that, fannish the other.

In short, fen culture.

My current gaffiation from Cons does not change that.

Like [livejournal.com profile] truepenny says, I "do not want science fiction/fantasy/horror to be a white-only domain." I'll even go so far to say that to the extent that fandom is not welcoming of all fen, we fail as a community and as a culture. I've lived through us struggling to figure out what that means when the fen who don't feel included are female fen, LGBT fen, foreign fen, old fen, young fen, vanilla fen, kinky fen, Christian fen, Jewish fen, Pagan fen, Athiest fen, Liberal fen, Conservative fen, ad nauseum. I've lived through that same struggle when the fen who didn't feel included were Klingons, Furries, Media fen, Hall costumers, Trekkers, Gamers, LARPers, ad nauseum.

And I've lived through that on both sides amidst controversies great and small.[3]

Maybe the takeaway from Race Fail 2009 is that there's a bunch of fen that fandom is failing, and maybe we should be doing better about that? We write and dream of futures wherein we build better cultures than we have today. Those don't just happen, we build them.

[1] Don't get me started on how sad it is that we don't have more filk based on Metal.[4]
[2] And a great big shout-out to the fannish themes of bands like Hawkwind and Tarot!
[3] I still use "Boskone" as a verb akin to saying someone did a "heckuva job".
[4] And another shout-out to Barry and Sally Childs-Helton for "Stairway to Fandom."

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-06 07:20 pm (UTC)
ext_6167: (Default)
From: [identity profile] delux-vivens.livejournal.com
I almost called you last night about all this, lol!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-06 08:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] holzman.livejournal.com
Just as well you didn't -- the lingering wide-eyed, slack-jawed stun from reading Bear's post yesterday morning doesn't translate well in a sound-only context, because I can only make "buh?" sound like it takes so many syllables.

It was our discussion on DBR about Cons that inspired the second half of the post, though.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-06 11:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] silme.livejournal.com
Perhaps you need to talk to Bear in person. Remember that she researched the last two books in the Promethean series whilst staying at our house three years ago. Unfortunately, the internet doesn't always make for great communication. (Bear also is in the middle of moving house right now.)

I've not become involved in any of this argument because I do know Bear outside of the internet. But I ask you, please, give the woman a chance.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-07 12:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] holzman.livejournal.com
My issue with Bear has nothing to do with the Promethean series except insofar as it was in response to a critique of Whiskey and Water that she acted in bad faith by claiming to accept a critique she "knew" to be false.

It is the action in bad faith that I am speaking against. An action, at this point, that she has apologized for. How that apology is backed by actions, only time will tell.

I also know Bear outside the Internet -- Jade and I met her at a reading she did at KGB and had dinner with her afterwards. I found her to be excellent, witty, and thoroughly enjoyable company. Enough so that I was devastated when I started hearing from several other directions that many People of Color have had much less positive experiences of her.

I am still giving her a chance -- she is not on my friends list because I am a fan (though I am), she's there because I care about her as a person. If I didn't, I'd be much less hurt by what's been going on and I'd just get on with the shunning the way I pretty much I am Cramer. I am hoping very heavily that the actions to follow up her apology I mentioned above don't leave me devastated again.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-07 08:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] silme.livejournal.com
I'm curious to know what people of colour have had bad experiences with her, what sorts of experiences, who they are etc. No, I'm not asking for names. But I'm wondering if they're fans, her peers as writers etc. IE, are they people who really know her?

I look at some of the blog entries deriding her, one of which keeps using 'Elizabeth' as a noun of direct address. Was that address meant to be sarcastic? Obviously, anyone who knows her knows she doesn't go by Elizabeth -- it's not her real first name, after all.

Cramer I've never even heard of until this debacle. I suppose it's sad to say that I've heard of her husband (I've since looked her up). What does that say about our society?

I must admit that the main reason I've not said much about the whole situation is that I've been too darned busy. Admittedly, I've only been skimming most LJ posts recently as I've not had the time to read them thoroughly, and I've not followed this debacle in detail. But Bear spent 2.5 weeks at our house. I knew her before that, and I continue to know her after that. And I also know how the internet can get one into trouble when you're trying to balance too many balls in the air at once.

Since you are a friend of Bear's, why don't you call her and talk with her in person? I'm surprised you're not helping her move since you're not that far away. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-07 04:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] holzman.livejournal.com
I can say that the reports that have reached me concern both meat-life and online interactions. Beyond that, I am not at liberty to discuss details.

I doubt that anyone is addressing her as "Elizabeth" sarcasticly. Rather, I think they are regarding "Elizabeth Bear" as her chosen name by virtue of her publishing under it.

I haven't called and talked with her about it for three reasons. First, I don't have her phone number, and so would have to e-mail. Second, when someone writes a post with comments disabled and threatens to ban people from their journal if they comment on the post elsewhere in the journal; my take-away is not that they would welcome an e-mail or phone call to discuss it.

[1]Which appropraitely casts the degree of intimacy in the interaction -- I'd call her an acquaintance I view favorably rather than a friends life.[2]

[2] And I'd call LJ's choice of terms for it's journal tracking method unfortunate.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-07 05:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] silme.livejournal.com
Ah, I thought you knew her better. Sorry! (I do have her phone number and street address, but I'm not at liberty to give them away. Robin McKinley gave me her home phone number when we were working to get her to speak at the secondary school where I used to teach -- on the condition I would never divulge it to anyone. :)

Most people who know her at all, if they chose to call her by part of her publishing name, refer to her as 'Bear'. That's why I felt it was a sarcastic reference.

And Bear obviously was very, very upset that day. But again, I thought you were good friends with her, and, therefore, talked with her on more of a regular basis, away from the internet. My apologies.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-07 05:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] silme.livejournal.com
Btw, what's 'meat-life'? I don't know that term. :(

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-07 10:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] holzman.livejournal.com
"Meat-life" refers to ativity off-line, wherein the medium of presence is the meat of our bodies rather than any virtual representation thereof.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-08 11:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] silme.livejournal.com
Huh. I'd never heard of that one. Interesting.

off-topic tangent

Date: 2009-03-09 06:12 am (UTC)
elf: Rainbow sparkly fairy (Default)
From: [personal profile] elf
I'd call LJ's choice of terms for it's journal tracking method unfortunate.

Which is why Dreamwidth (not yet open) is splitting the list into two parts: a Watch list and a Trust list.

It's been requested for years that LJ do this; their reaction is "just build filters for the people you want to have access to limited stuff." (Which might be reasonable if the filters were easier to deal with.)

The emotional baggage carried by the word "friend," and the multiple meanings of "someone I care about" and "someone whose blog posts I watch," do not help these discussions.

Two hours of looking later...

Date: 2009-03-07 07:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rmjwell.livejournal.com
It wasn't Jimmy the Greek; I was quoting Keith Olbermann talking about Al Campanis. And it was all in reference to Harlan Ellison grabbing Connie Willis's tit (link to entry here (http://rmjwell.livejournal.com/594767.html)).

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