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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?


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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.

Bigotry? Where did you see bigotry?

Ok, not bigotry, just intolerance. I consider them closely related.

Ok, then where was the intolerance? I'll grant some impoliteness on that thread (balanced, I'd say, by the number of people bending over backwards to politely give her the benefit of the doubt), but intolerance is a far more serious charge. No one attempted to silence her or said she had no right to her opinion. They just said they thought her opinion was wrong, and explained why. She expressed that opinion in a forum that was both public and conversational. Was everyone supposed to nod quietly and go away rather than engage her? On her public LJ?

I'm thinking specifically of the comments where people are trying to get her removed as the guest of honor at an SFF convention. Because apparently only people of certain political beliefs are allowed to speak at SFF conventions?

Also, I've been reading her journal for years, and she is constantly speaking out against bigotry, intolerance, and social injustice. I think she deserves to be cut some slack.

We're also talking about a very specific SFF convention that has a stated political agenda, which her post goes directly against.


Oh well then, the fact that she "constantly speaks out against

(Anonymous)
bigotry, intolerance, and social injustice" TOTALLY excuses her from donning same in her post and she should be protected from any dissenting backlash.

/sarcasm, etc.

I don't necessarily agree with those wanting her removed as a guest of honor b/c of her post but "cutting her some slack?" Really? I'm sure she is aware that her opinions, which are put out there on an public sort of forum, could have push back, from either side of the discussion.

Hrm. Did not mean to post anonymous

I stand behind my comment above.

I didn't see those posts--all I saw in that regard was one or two people saying they were reconsidering attending WisCon themselves because she's the GoH. I'd not be in favor of actually trying to get her removed on the basis of this post, even though I found it un-American, bigoted and seriously wrong-headed--and her responses clueless in the extreme.

I've never attended a Wiscon, and mostly know this through rather lackadaisically following the events of Racefail but a) they're explicitly a feminist convention that doesn't shy away from politics b) my understanding is that after the events of Racefail the other year, they've been trying harder to make fen of color more welcome. In light of that context, I don't particularly find possibly removing an author as a GoH for writing a racist screed to be a terribly intolerant thing to do. Elizabeth Moon might be a fine and praiseworthy person in other areas, but that doesn't make her post any less bigoted and awful.

Also, I've been reading her journal for years, and she is constantly speaking out against bigotry, intolerance, and social injustice. I think she deserves to be cut some slack.

A lot of people *are* cutting her some slack, in that they are being polite and reasonable about pointing out to her where she has made some incorrect assumptions (for example that all Muslims are immigrants) as well as some hurtful and offensive statements, and imploring her to think and reexamine her words.

Her past speaking out may mean she deserves to be engaged in conversation about those things rather than just dismissed or yelled at, and that's what a lot of people are trying to do. It DOES NOT mean that what she said isn't hurtful, offensive, or incorrect. It does not mean that she doesn't deserve criticism for the offensive things she said.

(Deleted comment)
I seem to recall your contribution over there was unqualified praise for Moon's post. So either you cosign bigotry, or you didn't see any in her post, which is sensible if you think that private consequences for hate speech are BIGOTRY & INTOLERANCE...you can't recognize what you lack capacity to appropriately define.

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