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Rules for Anchorites

Letters from Proxima Thule

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Let's Go Downtown and Watch the Failparade!
illyria
catvalente
Oh, Elizabeth Moon! How could you write a post like that knowing it was bound raise a stink? The only answer is malice. Good citizens don't do that sort of thing, you know.

Honestly, though I know ours is a small community and in the larger scheme we are not terribly important, I am continually embarrassed every time someone raises a rock and exposes how much prejudice is still crawling around at the bottom of the SFF world. I want us, whose job it is to chronicle the future and a wealth of alternatives to the here and now, to be better than this. Why are we not better than this? How can people who make it their business to imagine and empathize with the truly alien offer such meager treatment to other humans?


It's shit like this makes things harder for all of us. I'm so disappointed in Elizabeth Moon right now. *deep frown*

Really? I'm not sure that this is going to change much of anything. We are marginalized as geeks. Muslims are marginalized as Muslims. Mormons are marginalized as idiots. It kind of happens.

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

Fans not all slans. Pros, sometimes schmoes.

Re: "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

ahahaha. That's pretty good.

I just...I feel blindsided by this when it comes from an SFF writer because I feel like my tribe has just been shown to be deficient. Ugh.

It's not so much that SFF is worse than anyone, as it has a particular way of becoming clear about its own racism and bigotry - its fundamental métier is utopian (and dystopian) speculation, and the kinds of imaginary worlds built in this spirit have a way of baring the most problematic desires of the writer.

I don't think they're worse. I just want the people in charge of utopianing to be better.

I've managed to avoid reading it, despite several links to it showing up on my FL. Sooner or later I will succumb, I suspect...

If you want a summary... crap, I can't LJ-cut in a comment...

Uhm...

STOP READING IF YOU DON'T WANT SPOILERSSS!!!

Seriously... stop.

Okay, if you're still reading the summary is this: "Long diatribe about being a Good Citizen(tm) that is actually easy to agree with. Only Good Citizens(tm) don't upset people. Dirty Muslims building Park51 are upsetting people. Therefore, they aren't good citizens. And us white, middle-class priveledged Good Citizens(tm) are getting tired of extending Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness to them because we own them and can't you just THANK US FOR OUR TOLERANCE OF YOUR INFERIORITY!"

And, and an in-ept metaphor for that American Muslims are an ethnic group, not a religion. And something about Muslims being unfit for citizenship because of their religion.

...

I think that gets the salient points.

It runs right off the rails with the first 'should.' Honestly. Danger, danger, danger.

Good citizens don't do that sort of thing, you know.

Well-played!

I've read it several times, and keep not understanding it. I keep feeling like there's some large piece I'm missing that would make the whole thing seem reasonable. I have met and do like Elizabeth Moon, and I think she's made great contributions to the field. I feel certain that she will take the criticism to heart and make appropriate apologies, amends, and clarifications.

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I want us, whose job it is to chronicle the future and a wealth of alternatives to the here and now, to be better than this. Why are we not better than this? How can people who make it their business to imagine and empathize with the truly alien offer such meager treatment to other humans?

Oh gods, THIS! How can people who commonly write about the outsider and the fringes, and what happens when humans meet vampires and alien species and werewolves and elves and... how can they believe, let alone say, such things?

E. Moon wrote a very long-winded, overwrought

and mumbly-wordy screed that can be distilled down to the most basic of sour attitudes. I got from it that she was trying to dress up a lot of prejudicial thoughts in what she felt was "rationale" - it didn't work for me. Pay no attention to the wizard behind that curtain of words.

I agree with your opinion and although Moon's diatribe disgusted me, I still am glad you posted the link to it for me to read.

Re: E. Moon wrote a very long-winded, overwrought

Yep, this. The first few paragraphs I sort of nodded along to, but after that it felt like a set-up, like a "in the great history of our nation, there's been good and bad people, AND I'M GOING TO CALL A GROUP OF PEOPLE BAD!" The foreshadowing was so obvious (like that horribly uninformed reduction of Native-European contact boiled down to "the Indians had this problem." Really?) that I knew what cliff she was driving off of as soon as "9/11" appeared.

Sad, and I share Cat's chagrin. But I'm not surprised; even the utopians are human.


I don't think it's malice, just sufficiently advanced ignorance.

Sarcasm. It's her argument about the "mosque" near Ground Zero.

Honestly, I saw more bigotry and intolerance in the comments excoriating her than in the post itself.

There was definitely plenty of miscellaneous nitwittery and trolling in the comments, no doubt (which, along with just having noticed this, is the main reason I didn't comment there). But that doesn't excuse the original post.

I don't think, as many of the commenters on the OP seemed to, that writing this post makes EM a big ol' unforgivable dyed-in-the-wool racist whose books we should all boycott (or at whom we should blow raspberries at during her Wiscon speech, or whatever). But there is significant inherent (maybe unconscious) bias/bigotry apparent in her words and conclusions, and I do hope that the furor prompts her to reexamine her assumptions about such matters.

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This points out the dangers of propaganda. Coldly calculating operatives dug up the "9/11 mosque" out of obscurity and exploited it. It's got Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove's fingerprints all over it, or their heirs, at any rate.

It seems to have taken root in way too many people who should really know better.

Oh, dear gods.

I'm glad I read it. I almost wish I had time for a point by point refutation.

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I was inexpressibly shocked by that entry. I really like her books, and I've read a lot of other long political rants of hers that made perfect sense to me.

But I really think that, when we write fiction, sometimes we become more than we are. (I strongly suspect that some writers become less than they are, too, but I'm not talking about them right now.) We say things we don't actually know, we make connections our regular brains haven't made. And sometimes all those insights do not follow us back to our circumscribed lives where we have the usual petty irritations, blind spots, distractions, and self- or other-imposed stupidities. So I'm very sad but not surprised that somebody who has written science fiction so well could write an entry like that.

P.