Now that my anger (including basically being told en masse to sit down and shut up, admittedly in an eloquent way) has burned down to simmering rage, I have a couple of things to ponder intelligently:

oyceter asks what those who were silent are going to do, what SF fandom will do to welcome oppressed groups; while I wasn’t entirely silent, I think it behooves me to hash this out and ponder it in a real world context, not just pie-in-the-sky bs.

– why I remain doubly pseudonymous and what I feel that accomplishes.  You all deserve to know, I suppose, not like it’s anything exciting.

– and not on the Racefail topic at all, I should probably talk about Watchmen, should probably watch last week’s Dollhouse, should review the concept of realistically portrayed bisexual characters (just finished Ellen Kushner’s Privilege of the Sword, fab), should should should.

So that’s forthcoming, when it’s not late at night.  Stay tuned.


And on the same topic as the last: I went to Smith, on generous grants from an endowment sponsored by donations big and small and investments both ethically sound and dubious.  My father is a manual laborer, and my mother teaches in a public school.  Yes, I am white.  Yes, I grew up lower-middle-class and went to a good public school and then a good college.  I had opportunities and I am privileged.

But anyone who assumes:
– that class is purely related to what school you attend
– that one can’t be a POC or an ally or a fan who just thinks this is shit if one has had said opportunities…

Well, fuck, there ain’t no hope for you.

(Private to Kathryn Cramer: one of those ISPs was mine.  Bog standard Time Warner Cable from Milwaukee.  Just thought I’d save you the time and effort.)

I don’t usually say things like this.  Mostly because I don’t find it productive.  But wow, hearing about what just happened to Micole as part of Racefail?  That sort of broke me.

The ‘progressive’ SF establishment?  You can all kindly go fuck off and die.  Right now.  You fucking elitist self-aggrandizing asswipes.

How dare you claim to be adults and allies and people who try to expose the truth about society when you play elitist Rovian mindgames with anyone who disagrees?  How dare you claim to look towards the future when you can’t cope with the wave of the present?


I reserve the right to shame your sorry asses.

So Chally was doing that interview meme, and because I enjoy talking about myself, I decided to go for it.  (Chally, btw, had a great post on Octavia Butler linked at io9 recently–some feminist redemption for them, ne?)

If you would like five questions from me, please leave a comment and I’d be glad to ask.

  1. What do you find valuable in blogging?
    If I’m being perfectly honest, blogging for me is to get my opinion out to the greater public; if Anglocentric society is a wall, my thoughts are the pasta I’m throwing at it to see if it sticks.  But I also find that in blogging, I end up formulating and articulating my opinions about various things, instead of just having nebulous feelings.  I have a lot of feelings about a lot of things, but I haven’t always been able to explain why.  Doing so makes me feel more secure and validated in having an opinion.
  2. You’ve got a degree in cultural studies. How does that inform your daily life? Is it hard to switch off from analysing the world around you? How has it influenced your participation in the blogosphere?
    To be honest, it’s…I guess the word is frightening.  I don’t turn on all the time, because if I did, I really would fear for my anger and stress levels; I would be so incredibly frustrated by the constant barrage of social control that I wouldn’t be able to function very well.  Actually, the bullshit is manageable, most of the time.  What really gets to me is the history, the context, the provenance, because it’s such a massive pile of  disenfranchisement  and disrespect of non-dominant people.  It’s definitely a butterfly effect, and if I think about it for too long, I fear it will be impossible for humanity to ever claw our way out from under the kyriarchy.
    But I like having the ability to have that perspective, though obviously I have my expertise limited to American (and a little UK) culture.  It can get me in trouble, though, as cultural analysis is a fairly new field in academia, very pomo and focused on everything being relative.  A lot of times that’s the kind of thing people who are more hardcore theorists don’t like to hear.
  3. You’re in control of the planet. (Not really, sorry.)
    Damn.  Anyway…
    What are your first three actions as Bene the Great?
     That’s tricky, because as I noted in #2, everything has so many ripple effect reactions.  I would say…enforcement of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for everyone on Earth.  Rights and agency for all!  I don’t think I’d need any other specific actions after that that weren’t reactions…
  4. Because your taste in feminist SF is so incredibly full of win, what are your top five picks and why?
    Awww.  I’m not nearly as great as the WisCon people or the bloggers at Feminist SF or the Hathor Legacy, believe me.  And I don’t know if I can do a top five; here are five that I’d deem fairly essential both from a critical and an enjoyment perspective:
    – Nicola Griffith, Slow River.  This was the first book I ever read that had LGBTQI people in it  and their being queer was not the crux of the story.  It was just a matter of fact, and the (very good) narrative goes on alongside it.
    – Octavia E. Butler, Bloodchild and Other Stories.  This collection had a lot more to say to me in terms of realization and thought-provokation than Butler’s novels (except for perhaps Parable of the Talents).  Along with ‘Bloodchild’, ‘Speech Sounds’ and ‘The Evening and the Morning and the Night’ really get to me in terms of understanding disenfranchisement on an emotional level.
    – Suzette Hadin Elgin, Native Tongue.  I’ve seen criticism of this on several levels, but I find a lot of value in it.  The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is a personal interest of mine; I took a linguistics course in college, and while it’s somewhat problematic and not universal as a theory, the general gist of it–that one’s language and terminology and usage shapes one’s perception of the world–is true on a general level, in my mind.  I also like women working together constructively.
    – Marge Piercy, Woman on the Edge of Time.  I’d probably go with this over Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale if given an ultimatum, because it’s about injustice in terms of race, class, and gender, and the consequences of that injustice, both bad and good.  Piercy gets points for her imperfect utopia, too.
    – Ursula K. LeGuin, Always Coming Home.  To be honest, while I like Left Hand of Darkness, I find ACH to be far more vivid and touching in its understanding of personal journeys and social equity.
    A few other books I recommend can be found at the end of this post.
  5. Can you outline a bit of your feminist philosophy? As a whole or any aspect you wish. 
    I’d say my feminist philosophy is a firm part of my own personal philosophy, which is to say that there are either no absolutes or human minds cannot comprehend said absolutes.  I don’t believe a radical destruction of a society will do much for establishing a greater good, that the master’s house has to stay standing until structural supports are replaced one at a time.  But at the same time, I don’t buy into all of the trappings of the kyriarchy, because they’re hurtful and painful.  I think it’s about adjusting the POV through negotiation while trying to be the strongest and best person you can be in the meantime.

More feminist SF reading behind the cut!

Continue reading ‘Throwing Pasta at the Wall’

Guys and Dolls



As Micole says, I have no political justification for liking it.

But I can’t help but watch it.  I suppose you’ve seen one post, you’ve seen them all, but I have something to say, so I’m gonna say it.  Behind a cut (apologies to those on the feed) for spoilers because I am Nice about things like that.  But before I get to the feminism and cultural appropriation pings, a few words from my film/TV analysis/fangirl side.  

Continue reading ‘Guys and Dolls’

Initial, early thoughts on Dollhouse can be found in my comment at Hoyden About Town.

Believe me, I will have more when it isn’t late at night.  Plenty more.

In reading parts and pieces of Racefail 2009/the Great Cultural Appropriation Debate, I read something that resonated not only in the context of Racefail or in discussions surrounding racism.   (…and here’s where I freely admit that I didn’t read everything, or even the majority of things.  I read a lot of recaps because frankly there’s only so much I can read of original stupid without being so outraged that I have to reply in ways that it turned out someone else did in a far better way about a week and a hundred comments ago, and the discussion has long since moved from that point.)  Which is not to say that it isn’t a very important point in the issue of racism:

Don’t expect gratitude if you’ve thrown a few bones, if you’ve been slightly less horrible than others.  Don’t expect to be called a friend or an ally when that’s all you’ve done, and you still do problematic stuff.

Because I massively I can’t find where I read that statement, which I’m paraphrasing.  I feel like it may have been said by Avalon’s Willow, but my poking around is not turning anything up.  If you know where the concept came up, please let me know so I can give credit where it’s due.  Racefail–or rather, this latest outbreak of racefail–has (probably in a very necessary way) exposed the real issues lurking under the veneer of the allegedly progressive SFF community.  It’s vastly important, and I urge readers to look at the link above or the ones linked by myself and Chally in my post from 21 January.

Without negating the huge issue above, though, I found ‘don’t expect me to be grateful when you throw me crumbs’ to be relevant when I found myself face to face, once again, with The Whedon Issue.  If you’re in Anglocentric fandom, chances are pretty good you know that Joss Whedon has a new series, Dollhouse.  Lots of different talk about it has ensued, either massive yays or deeply felt nays about the concept–pretty people who can become whatever the client wants, then have their minds wiped again for the next go, issues of human trafficking, prostitution, etc.  After the preview recently at New York Comic-Con, the flurry of discussion increased…

And I just got, frankly, fed up.  While I’m not about to condemn Whedon as a treacherous patriarchal bastard, I continue to refuse to call him a feminist hero…just because he throws the feminist pop culture/fandom geek a few bones of empowerment does not mean I have to bow and scrape and acknowledge alleged greatness.  He’s done a lot of stuff I don’t appreciate, both towards women and towards minorities.  In Firefly, everyone speaks Mandarin as a second language, but where the fuck are all the Asian people?  First healthy lesbian relationship in primetime, great, but where are the gay guys?  (It’s not like Tony Head wouldn’t snog a bloke.)  How many times do the most powerful women have to be deranged or stone bitches?

And that’s not even getting into the Frank Miller Test, which I have mentioned before and probably will again.  My feelings about sex work are complicated, but I really have problems with the heart of gold vs. traitor dichotomy regarding sex workers in fiction.

Or the massive problem of removing the issue of slavery from a thought experiment about the Civil War.  Or old tropes about relationships.  Et cetera.

I will admit here that I do enjoy a good deal of problematic telly and fiction and comics and films.  I enjoy stuff of Whedon’s creation.  But I’m not going to insist you all acknowledge the feminist nature therein because the creators said they were feminists.  It’s like me trying to tell you that because Heinlein loved strong women meant that he was a feminist who wrote feminist works.  And I’m not going to laud Whedon as a feminist icon or agree with him that he’s a feminist just because he says he is.

But at the same time, I highly doubt he’s a massive tool of the patriarchy. He’s just another flawed ally, in my book.

I’ll be watching, Friday.  I might even enjoy it.  But I’m not going to applaud.  I hope that’s okay with you.