c is for cat

Rules for Anchorites

Letters from Proxima Thule


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Actually I had to go back to Scalzi's blog to see who had written the post; I wouldn't know who "yuki_onna" is. I admire John's ability to read about so much and summarize clearly; I don't see that as a gender issue.

Yes, Game of Thrones has a lot of sex. The "sexposition" scenes with Renly and Maester Pycelle were a bit ridiculous. The scene where the poisoner is being dragged naked to his death, with his dick hanging out, was shocking, and by "shocking" I mean "unexpected". To me the socially interesting plot development was where Daenerys told the Dothraki to stop raping the lamb women, socially interesting because that was about how social change happens, where someone in a position of authority sees advantage in making a progressive change. The show has a lot of violence too, where Ned chops off Will's head, where Ser Gregor chops off the head of his horse, in HD where the level of detail is enough to count the maggots on the dead stag. Personally I might enjoy a non-HBO version a little better, but I'm much happier to see it on HBO than not at all. Not that I cared to see more, but I noticed that the scene with Renly and Loras had Loras step out the shot at a point that they didn't avoid in scenes with other characters. If they spent more time on rape scenes than they do on other sex scenes or other scenes of violence, one could argue that it's sexist, but I don't think that happens in the series. Likewise a lot of the larger conflict in the story is geographic, between different societies. The fact that some people in different societies may dehumanize their enemies to justify their own violence is unexceptional, to the point of being obvious, IMO. Describing evil doesn't validate it; in fact in a fictional context, it sets up the resolution. If these examples don't persuade you, well, we can agree to disagree.

Anyway the link provided didn't link directly to objectionable comments criticizing the critiquer's post, so I can't comment on those. I don't think the critique itself (as it was summarized in Cat's post) was valid, and therefore I think disagreement with the critique is unreasonable.

This post is not about A Song of Ice and Fire. Full stop. I did not make the original post critiquing the book. Go argue with Sady--except the comments are closed because of the things I was actually talking about in this post.

Since you have an LJ account and are commenting here, you can go ahead and stop belittling my blog now.

Your comment about Game of Thrones is what caught my attention. I'm sorry if that led me off topic.

So you took the time to flumph around to check how many "followers" Valente has on LJ, but not the time to even skim her bio? Hrm. Class-ay. You know, Snurri's link to the Derailing For Dummies page was alarmingly instructive because I've been enjoying the aplomb with which you keep ticking off the little boxes next to ALL of the variations. I'm sure something else is wrong on the internet somewhere. I'll have to go check, now.

Edited at 2012-04-06 06:19 pm (UTC)

I met Cat Valente briefly at Boskone a couple months ago. I know she's a respected author. Didn't realize anyone would think my comment was a big deal. Sorry.

I thought you just said you'd never heard of me?

I'm pretty sure I didn't say I'd never heard of you. I used to have time to skim Locus, I follow @tordotcom on Twitter, you've been mentioned many times in those places. Of course Tor.com and Locus talk about a lot of authors, so it's fair to say I'm not familiar with most of them.

I'm trying to scale up, to get a better sense of what other people are reading. Reading John's blog helps with that. (Replying to it, maybe not so much.)

Anyway I'm sorry my first reply came out sounding like an argument.

Actually, pretty much all your replies are coming off like arguments. Hint: if you don't want people to think you're arguing, you might start by not opening every post with an argument.

Okay, I apologize. Wasn't my intent.

Usually I try to avoid arguments like this, but can I just say that perhaps it might have been helpful in this case to find out who Yuki_onna is -- which, not even remotely incidentally, is why John Scalzi is reading her blog in the first place?


Yes, you're right. I'm sorry I didn't realize that level of discourse would be called for.

Perhaps, to be on the safe side, you could attempt thoughtful, well-reasoned, fact-based discourse everywhere you go. Just in case it's called for.

Oh, Rose, you always give such lovely advice.

A study of mitochondrial DNA of the people of Iceland found that almost all the female ancestors were Celtic (from Ireland and Great Britain) while the male ancestors were Scandinavian.

The troubadours of Provence and Occitania promoted the concept of courtly love in part to improve the status of women relative to the notion that physical love was mainly a matter of sinful materialism. Around the same time, the church was promoting the idea of marriage founded on a loving relationship, again to move past the prior notions of marriage being about property and chattel.

Etymologically and historically, the term "seduction" had more of a connotation of deception than romance, i.e. putting a women into a position where she could be separated from her household. In Roman law the crime of rape ("raptus") was a crime against the head of the household for violating the father's property rights.

All of which is to say, rape was a lot more common in the Dark Ages than it was later and tolerated or at least not prosecuted in circumstances that would now be intolerable. Those are the facts as I understand them. "More common" is not at all the same as "more acceptable"; I think showing the violence is Martin's way of condemning it. Martin's setting is much closer to the Dark Ages than it is to the 21st century; that's why it's interesting.

Sorry to go into my own personal detail (because it's not important here), but basically I was brought up in what was in some ways a very traditional liberal milieu, where gender equality is a given among reasonable people. It is exactly because I'm inclined to agree with Cat's argument that I was looking for a simpler, more persuasive version of it. I could have phrased things differently. This subject is part of the whole sphere of human rights, where I have more background in other aspects (international and constitutional law, etc.), so understanding more here helps me understand the whole sphere. In other subject areas it's perfectly normal to ask for a better argument if the one presented isn't clear. It wasn't my intent to use a request for more information as some sort of rhetorical tactic of denial. I know there are plenty of websites where hate-filled comments are common, but I don't frequent those at all because they aren't useful or interesting.

My problem isn't with facts or considering questions thoughtfully; I failed to anticipate how contentious some people would find the subject or the level of formality and context people would expect. I'm sorry if I had a gap of knowledge that offended anyone.

Right, I think you're still missing the "thoughtful" part of my suggestion.

I think I've been doing so. I'm sorry if I missed relevant details coming in, or if I haven't communicated effectively. For what it's worth, to you here I was just mentioning facts about how I came to my original understanding, not continuing any argument.

Of course you didn't realize "that level of discourse would be called for" because you first assumed "Yuki_onna" was some inconsequential chick with a chip on her shoulder whose citations couldn't possibly back up her wrong opinions. She might be of some interest since Scalzi recommended her, but you were disappointed in her post. HER NAME IS ON HER LJ PROFILE. Along with a bio. And the books she has written. And the awards she has won. Her number of readers meant more to you than her accomplishments.

Good grief, just give up now. Every comment you make digs a deeper hole of unsalvageable opinions on your part.

No, I didn't realize anyone would take my comments so seriously. Yes, I should have clicked on more pages and gotten more context. I don't always ignore people who respond to me directly. Sorry I offended you.

I'd also like to point out some people are evaluating Cat's original points by evaluating her credibility. Some people are evaluating the accuracy of her data, even when calling them collective anecdotes, by citing whether they believe her or not. They may be privileging her awards, the books she's written, the people she knows, the people who know her, the hit-counts, etc. Some are claiming her opinions are not worthy because her examples aren't good enough.
Why does any of this count more?
If she had none of these backing her up, would it still be true?
She's said known-male-writers/bloggers do not get the hate and levels of threat experienced by known female ones.
I think it's true just from what I've seen in things on sites like daily Kos. For examples, all I have to do is flip over to the comments in any major media outlet and look at comments on any kind of remotely progressive and feminist topic. Try BBC and any of the major papers. Look at the hate on LA Times, or NY Times.
Some people disagree on the quality level and detail of her links. A further listing of more examples--many many examples--is still a collection of anecdotes. I agree that stats might make this point, but some people don't believe in that science either.
Try looking at Bill Moyers' site, goodness help you.
You could do a whole study on these, you could go through them when the moderators on a newspaper or a broadcast news show do their work. They often have to delete or block those who make death-threats.
You could objectively sort these by racist, homophobic, sexist responses, see how many death threats and diverting efforts are there. You could sort by name to see if a tiny minority are making all the noise. I've stopped looking there for intelligent commentary because it's so buried in this junk.
It isn't being generated out of nowhere.

Edited at 2012-04-09 12:27 am (UTC)

It's more important to tell me I'm wrong.

The fact that you refer to rape as sex is very revealing.

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