So, this thing happened.
Two issues ago, the SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America) had an article in their Bulletin that some people objected to because it showed a lack of respect for women writers and editors. This was appropriately coupled with a chainmail-bikini-clad woman on the cover that even more people objected to. Because we’re not past that by now, yo.
Next issue, the Barbie thing happened. You know, the article in the next SFWA Bulletin that said Barbie remains a role model and popular because “she maintained her quiet dignity the way a woman should.” . . . Right.
Next came this issue. This issue . . .
This issue, Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg decided that the appropriate response to people criticizing their previous remarks as sexist is to throw a fucking shitfit about it. They call the complainers “liberal fascists.” They accuse people who call out sexism of demanding “censorship” and “suppression.” They label such criticism “thought control,” they dismiss their critics as stupid and cowardly, and they imply that people objecting to their statements is tantamount to pushing a freedom-silencing dystopia a la Stalin and Mao.
I am not making this up. I am not exaggerating.
Of course, Resnick and Malzberg, in spewing vitriol at those who dare to criticize them and in proclaiming that they should not be “silenced” or “suppressed” or “censored,” seem to have forgotten something very important about freedom of speech: The right to free speech does not equal the right to a platform. They can have all the freedom of speech they want, but that is in no way equivalent to having the professional publication of a professional organization as their playground for bullying the members of that organization who don’t agree with them. Freedom of speech does not guarantee them this.
Unfortunately, in this case they got it anyway.
Which brings me to: What the hell, SFWA? Do you not have editors? Did no one read this screed before you splashed all six pages across the publication that is supposed to represent you to your members and to the world? How did no one look at this and say, “Uh . . . I don’t think we want this representing the SFWA. I don’t think we even want to be associated with the people who wrote it. Because I don’t think we want to kick a good number of our members in the face and then laugh about it.” How did nobody say that? And if someone did say it, how did nobody listen?
This article doesn’t even walk the line. It’s filth. It’s abusive, it’s dismissive, and it reeks of logical fallacy from every corner.
And now for some other reactions:
Dear SFWA In which E. Catherine Tobler resigns her membership from the SFWA. (A poignant letter and a good summary of events.)
Dear SFWA Writers: Let’s Talk About Censorship and Bullying In which the excellent Kameron Hurley points out how just because the world no longer agrees with all your bigotry, that’s NOT CENSORSHIP.
Radish Reviews is where I gakked the above screenshots from; scroll down to the bottom of the linkspam to see quotes and commentary and the links to the full article.
SFWA — Housebreaking a Puppy or Abusive Relationship? Ursula Vernon compares the SFWA’s continued, repeated offenses to an abusive relationship. Because you don’t just let people get away with that shit; you walk out.
The SFWA Bulletin, Censorship, Anonymity, and Representation An elegant logical takedown by Chris Gerwel.
SFWA Presdent John Scalzi takes responsibility and asks for people to contact him. I think John Scalzi’s a good guy, so I’m going to refrain from sending him my thoughts for now, until the rage coheres into something more articulate.
Edited to add: Update about SFWA responses in my next post, here.