shweta_narayan (shweta_narayan) wrote,

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You stay classy, Harlan Ellison.

ETA: Ellison has "apologized" for his "snark". Tempest gracefully accepts the apology. Me, I'd like to suggest that qualities like "snark" and "being gentlemanly" are things one needs to show, not tell.
ETA2: kynn has an excellent roundup of what happened here.

Harlan Ellison sez, "I helped Octavia Butler, so I get to be a blithering racist now."

To save people the eye-watering, here is the text of his message:

- Thursday, July 23 2009 19:27:11 THE BOOB POSTER

For those of you who lust to box the ears of the Terminally Moronic whose pustulent idiocy has made the internet a plague-spa, one of my casual friends has pased along the name of the looneytune who started this whole "REALMS OF FANTASY-Ellison is a sexist" offensiveness.

Her name is Kay Tempest Bradford.

And she has a blog, I guess.

She has dummied-up a truly insulting mock-cover of REALMS that is intended to be offensive to anyone who values my sixty years' work. Now: watch your step. She is apparently a Woman of Color (which REALLY makes me want to bee-atch-slap her, being the guy who discovered and encouraged one of the finest writers and Women of Color who ever lived, my friend, the recently-deceased Octavia Estelle Butler). And she plays that
card endlessly, which is supposed to exorcise anyone suggesting she is a badmouth ignoramus, or even a NWA. Ooooh, did I say that?

Well, folks, if you'd like to give this termagant a taste of her own approbrium, you got the Public Name in a Public Place, so have at it. Even those of you who are Merely Women, or even Women of Cuhluh.

Hey, Kay, mama, y'wanna get into it with me, bring it swineherd!

Yr. Pal, Harlan

Uh huh.
To paraphrase, "Tempest is black.  And I helped Butler (let's ignore all the work she did, it was My Discovery), so you darkies should be grateful to me forever after and not call me sexist!  (even if you didn't, and even if I am.)  So now I get to call Tempest racial epithets and other nasty names because I had a black friend!  Which makes me Totally Not Racist as well as Totally Not Sexist."

Tempest has an excellent, calm, clear post about the matter, in which she notes (among other things) that none of the RoF sexism commentary was about Ellison in the first place. (He only entered the picture at all in the mockup RoF cover which Tempest posted but did not make, and that (as I understand) because Warren Lapaine was quoted as saying he didn't need new writers when he had Ellison).

So who left Ellison with the belief that it was all about him?  Of course he didn't check, but... Tempest's right, that rings more of misinformation (whether accidental or deliberate) than just Ellison's planet-sized ego at work.

And it leaves me with only three things to add.

1) I'm curious -- how come we didn't hear "I helped Octavia Butler, so I get to grope Connie Willis now"?  Was it just because that was "a joke"?

2) In the words of the kid Ellison yelled at for running in the halls at Minicon some years ago -- "Whatever, old man."

3) Apparently, from the tenor of responses to Ellison on his board, the fanboys are reluctant to engage because of the "terrorist tactics" of ... people like me, I guess.  Which means!  If you question Harlan Ellison, the terrorists have won!

Anyway I suggest people comment over on Tempest's blog if y'want. I'm not really interested in giving Ellison more airplay than he gets here; this is basically just a heads-up.
Tags: racism
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