Get'em while they're hot, 'cos feminist SF fandom is fixin' to burn Elizabeth Moon to the waterline!
...For intolerance. Or deviation from the approved narrative, more like. Michael Z. Williamson comments and provides links. The famous Instapundit noticed, too. Irony meters are overloading.... Well, they would if there was any sensitivity to irony left over there.
Superquick read: while expressing her understanding that a significant number of Muslims were not happy about the WTC attack and are, in fact, okay-fine folk, she said she still wasn't comfy with the (so-called, it's two blocks away) "World Trade Center Mosque" and some attitudes held by some people. She wasn't teaching a history or sociology class; she didn't appear to me to be wanting to hand down Universal Truth to which all must bow, she merely had an opinion to share. --Oh, yeah, she also pointed out that Islam isn't lookin' any too slam-bang in re women's rights, either. (Which it ain't; if you're a girl, bein' born under almost any other faith -- or none at all -- gives you a much better chance at havin' unhacked genitals, an actual career, your own money, the ability to pick what slobbering idiot you'll wed and not havin' to be beholden to any man for any of it. Mind you, this is in the usual human dice-roll, in which a quarter the faces are still marked "dead by 40." But it's the only game in town and besides, you get to shade the odds about as soon as you learn to talk -- especially if you're not XX in the Caliphate).
Of course a storm of outrage descended, nearly all of it from the daughters (and sons) of privilege here in the First World. In expressing her opinions of a religion, and of the actions of some adherents thereto, Moon is, they tell us, a racist. A vile and terrible person, who must not be allowed to speak at public events; specifically, WisCon, which is some sort of sci-fi feminist convention to which she had been invited as the Guest of Honor. (She's since been disinvited.)
(Yeah, I don't know who Johanna Russ and Ursula K. LeGuin are allowed to chat with there either, now that Marion Zimmer Bradley is gone. But I guess the crowd's votin' Ms. Moon off that island. Srsly, I can think of a handful of other more-or-less explicitly feminist SF writers, all of whom strike me as less mush-headed than most of the anti-Moon crowd. The Moon-loathers, by some amazing coincidence or perhaps a conspiracy by the privileged,* aren't writing stuff they get paid for).
All of which points to, among other things, the dangers of unrestricted democracy. This particular case isn't much of a tempest, especially considering that "SF Fandom" and "people who like to read SF" are only slightly overlapping sets -- I'm not all that certain, anymore, that the first one is entirely contained within the second. I can assure you the second set's a lot bigger, though neither one is especially huge. I rather doubt it is Elizabeth Moon's only chance at the GoH mantle at a 'Con, either. So this is acrimonious, feisty, even icky, but not Big Evil.
However, played out on a larger scale, people's willingness to pillory those who express notions they dislike is exactly why there's a Bill of Rights here in these overly-United States. The First Amendment especially, but about the time they start checkin' to make sure you are not reading or writing down Wrongthink, the ol' Fourth and Second Amendments start lookin' like real good rules, too.
Meanwhile, in that corner of fandom, the hue and cry continues. A lot of it is of the "my ancestors got whupped on all the time and that makes me more equal than anyone else" sort, in which the writer expresses deep, visceral outrage between applying layers of Cheeze Whiz to vegan saltines, sitting at a computer in Mom and Dad's basement. Oh, and capitalism is the root of all this evil -- I learned that all over again, just today.
But even it is not as evil, they screech, as disagreeing. And I think that is insane. I've read and enjoyed (some of) the works of Russ, Moon, LeGuin and Bradley. I'll bet they're not in unitary agreement and I'm damn sure they wouldn't agree with many of my outlandish notions -- and so what? They've all got way better pulpits than I do, too, in large part because they write more entertainingly. Should I hate them for this? Should I try to shut them up?
Oh, hells no.
Go over to Tam's blog; use her Amazon link to buy some Elizabeth Moon books. She's a good writer. I don't know who she votes for, I'm not even sure who she loves and/or hates. And I don't care. Woman can write.
If you only read people who share your opinions, if you only hear from the folks who think just like you, you will be living in a narrow, colorless and ultimately stupid world, no matter what your ideology.
Why put on blinders?
PS1: As for building a special WTC memorial like they're doin' with those two big holes in the ground? Ask yourself who picnics at Little Big Horn. Still wanna do it? Me, I wanna rebuild the towers, higher, and fill 'em up with offices where people make money. Whining is for losers.
PS2: What a group -- any group -- chooses to peaceably do to, with or on property they own is nobody else's business. True in Waco, true in Manhattan. Holds true in Wisconsin, too; it's not the disinviting that bugs me, it's the way folks want her to shush -- and were sooo miffed when she deleted 500-odd comments. Get your own blogs, kids, they're cheap-to-free.
PS3: While I won't wear blinders, I do tend to avoid close, extended contact with religion, SF fandom and organized feminism: all require a degree of True Believingness I haven't got and all of them get in the way of dealing with people one at a time. If I liked herds, I'd run cattle or sheep.
* Judy-Lynn del Rey, perhaps, or Farnsworth Wright. Maybe Avram Davidson or Marion Zimmer Bradley, or...well, it's a long list, and it turns out "pale, male and hale" is hardly a majority. Don't play the dozens of you don't know the history.
YANKEE RADIO TOOL KIT, #106
4 weeks ago