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06 July 2011 @ 07:28 pm
The latest SFPA fail (mostly a link roundup)  
So, Star*Line published yet another majorly racefailtastic thing, this time with extra added homophobia, transphobia, and pick-your-bigotry. And that's the fourth in what, a year? (ETA: more like two years, my bad, the illness has screwed with my time sense. Still not good.)

Of course, there's been the predictable "but you're CENSORING the poor wee bigot by OBJECTING!" rhetoric. Again.

And, of course, if only a few people speak up, they don't count and nobody's really objecting, but if multiple people speak up, then they're a mob. Again. There is simply no original thought involved in the pro-bigotry rhetoric here. Is there a generic-privilege-and-fail-denying bingo card? Cause they win it.

Anyway. Not feeding the trolls by linking, but here are some excellent responses, which give enough context to go on (and quote enough terrible "poetry" to require brain bleach, fair warning).

time_shark on growing disappointment with the SFPA, with follow-ups to address egregious misinterpretations of his words.

(Though, personally, I'd say the consistent, repeated inclusion of material like this in the SFPA's official zine, and the predictable subsequent defense of it, is not "could be read as hostile". Is is hostile. Allowing and supporting bigotry is inherently an act of marginalization.)

cucumberseed's excellent takedown of the ridiculous rhetoric around this.

tithenai's excellent takedown of the 'poem' itself.

samhenderson on what censorship actually isn't. Twice, since the first time wasn't enough.

ETA: mariness just made a thoughtful and nuanced post too.

I don't have the spoons for an awesome post of my own, and if I did, frankly, I wouldn't spend them on petty bigots and piss-poor poetry anyway. But I do have a couple things to add.

1) Sadly, they will never get the simple point that Sam's making so well; they're too invested in the privilege-defense mechanism of yelling censorship to care about what the word actually means.
2) When something is mired in bigotry, "I found it funny" is self-indictment, not a valid response to critique. But y'know, those of you who made the same-old "humorless feminist" comments? Thanks for letting us know where you stand.
3) I don't think it's a coincidence that several excellent poets who have been involved in the SFPA stopped writing poetry; it is exactly the sort of toxic environment that saps one's resources for creative work. I really hope you all get fully out, and get back to writing your awesome stuff.
4) I'm going to say this because it seems to me that other people are tiptoeing around it: it's nice that editor Marge Simon apologized, and all. But when it's the fourth offense in not that many issues? Apologies are insufficient. It is well past time to stop fucking up. Either by learning a hell of a lot, or by resigning.
 
 
 
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Erik Amundsencucumberseed on July 7th, 2011 02:41 am (UTC)
Thank you so much; this must have cost you dear, and you add a great deal that I did not feel well enough acquainted with the historical issues of the incident to say.

When something is mired in bigotry, "I found it funny" is self-indictment, not a valid response to critique. But y'know, those of you who made the same-old "humorless feminist" comments? Thanks for letting us know where you stand.

THIS.

I'm going to say this because it seems to me that other people are tiptoeing around it: it's nice that editor Marge Simon apologized, and all. But when it's the fourth offense in not that many issues? Apologies are insufficient. It is well past time to stop fucking up. Either by learning a hell of a lot, or by resigning.

This is a place I did not feel well enough informed to comment. I was unaware of Simon's recent history, and now that I know more, I agree. Thank you for pointing this out.
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on July 7th, 2011 02:49 am (UTC)
Right! Context! I should have posted context. Forgot. Anyway, here's my commentary on Oriental Girl Dances, and seajules' review of the issue of Star*Line containing Jaguar Drums. The rest I've picked up from the linkies I did include.
Erik Amundsencucumberseed on July 7th, 2011 02:51 am (UTC)
Again, thank you so much for links.
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on July 7th, 2011 02:53 am (UTC)
Actually whups, no I'm wrong, that's the issue that contains "oriental girl dances"; I'm not finding the commentary on "Jaguar Drums", though lemme give you the one phrase that stuck in my head from that poem: the drummer is described as having black palms.
Erik Amundsencucumberseed on July 7th, 2011 02:59 am (UTC)
drummer is described as having black palms

*Skeletor face*
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on July 7th, 2011 03:07 am (UTC)
Yeah I had to keep turning my hand over and looking at it after that one. "Yep, back of hand still brown. Nope, palm still not brown."
Alan Yeealan_yee on July 7th, 2011 03:35 am (UTC)
Well, the good thing about this latest example of X-Fail is that I've started adding more cool people to my f-list. Awesome takedowns are awesome.

More on topic: Before the repeated Fails, I was seriously considering joining the SFPA. Although I've never done more than dabble in writing poetry, I started reading more of it and came to appreciate it more after I read poetry by a lot of SF folks, most of whom I knew primarily as fiction writers. When I found out some of the things that went on in the SFPA community, I was a lot more hesitant to join. After all the hateful things that people associated with SFPA have said to people I care about and consider to be friends, I've been getting fed up with the organization based on your accounts as well as those of other people I respect. Just as this was the last straw for time_shark, this is the last straw for me. Only instead of *leaving* (considering I've never been a member), I have decided that joining this group will not be worth my money and energy.
shweta_narayan: mangatarshweta_narayan on July 7th, 2011 03:38 am (UTC)
I have decided that joining this group will not be worth my money and energy.

Damn straight it won't :) Part of why I bothered posting is to have that information available to people, because I wish it had been available to me before I joined and wasted way too many spoons.

And. There are lots of awesome poetry people and venues without it, so! You're already part of the awesome spec poetry community.
some guy named Larry: arghlnhammer on July 7th, 2011 04:27 am (UTC)
It is the same last straw for me as well.

---L.
Erzebet YellowBoyerzebet on July 7th, 2011 09:53 am (UTC)
Don't bother joining. I did some months ago and I'm getting out as soon as I cast my Rhysling vote for the *good* poetry. o.O
A moofable feast.alexandraerin on July 7th, 2011 06:53 am (UTC)
Thank you for the excellent round-up. I've seen some of these posts in my friendslist but I'm at pretty much an all-time spoon deficit and without knowing the background and context it was pretty much just a wall of text that shut my brain down.
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on July 11th, 2011 11:12 pm (UTC)
I'm very glad it helped. It was partly a way for me to organize it in my head too :)
pingback_botpingback_bot on July 7th, 2011 11:31 am (UTC)
Thor's Day
User shadesong referenced to your post from Thor's Day saying: [...] I'm comin' up empty. If you have any ideas, let me know! Link Soup * has the ultimate link roundup [...]
Kari Sperringla_marquise_de_ on July 7th, 2011 04:19 pm (UTC)
Oh, good grief. As you say, they need to stop behaving like this.
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on July 11th, 2011 11:13 pm (UTC)
But it's not gonna happen :/ I think by offense #4 without any change, we know that.
Kari Sperringla_marquise_de_ on July 12th, 2011 03:44 pm (UTC)
They do sound toxic.
gwynnega: coffee poisoninjestgwynnega on July 7th, 2011 05:55 pm (UTC)
When something is mired in bigotry, "I found it funny" is self-indictment, not a valid response to critique.

Yes. It's pretty much saying, "By the way, I lack empathy."

it's nice that editor Marge Simon apologized, and all. But when it's the fourth offense in not that many issues? Apologies are insufficient. It is well past time to stop fucking up. Either by learning a hell of a lot, or by resigning.

Despite her apology, the fact she found the poem "wry" (which is akin to watching someone get punched in the stomach and then saying, "Heeee, that must've tickled") makes me question whether she gets WHY anyone was offended.
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on July 11th, 2011 11:13 pm (UTC)
This SO MUCH.
pingback_botpingback_bot on July 7th, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC)
July 8, 2011 Links and Plugs
User charlesatan referenced to your post from July 8, 2011 Links and Plugs saying: [...] (podcast). Advice/ArticlesShweta Narayan on The latest SFPA fail (mostly a link roundup) [...]
delux_vivens on July 11th, 2011 11:09 pm (UTC)
didnt this just happen a--... never mind.
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on July 11th, 2011 11:14 pm (UTC)
Yeah the failers are out in force this month, aren't they?
delux_vivens on July 11th, 2011 11:17 pm (UTC)
... this sort of hot mess is why i have completely written off genre fiction. i srsly cant even bother. its not even the content, its the levels of batshit when ppl criticize the content.
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on July 11th, 2011 11:19 pm (UTC)
Which makes me sad as a writer of genre fiction, but I can see why :/
delux_vivens on July 11th, 2011 11:22 pm (UTC)
i'll support stuff folks like you do, and read and buy when i can. but as far as trying to participate in some sort of genre "community"? or go to cons? (which seems to be the ultimate litmus test of... something...)

i got other stuff to do. *shrug*
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on July 11th, 2011 11:28 pm (UTC)
Yeah, definitely.
I will go back to cons myself when I have the health for it, but with the knowledge that spoon-drain happens there, and I can't just talk other people into coming along because they're not exactly positive experiences for anyone marginalized :(
delux_vivens on July 11th, 2011 11:39 pm (UTC)
*nod*
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )