I was offline most of today because I was working on a book. (Well, there was also a six-mile hike in there, but I consider that productive also.) So I didn’t see the shit hit the fan until tonight.
And you know what? I’m tired. I’m really fucking tired of this. I’d much rather be working on my fucking book. My book has gunfights in it. And explosions. And complexity theory. COMPLEXITY THEORY, PEOPLE. I don’t want to be blogging about some fucking asshole who wrote some fucking petition claiming that SFWA deciding to have more editorial oversight over the professional publication of the organization after massive member complaints last year is somehow “censorship.”
That’s so fucked-up I don’t know where to begin. You know what, maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll just direct you to Natalie Luhrs’ excellently articulate rundown of the situation (it includes links to the full text of the petitions, both the original horribly-racist-and-sexist one and the we’re-going-to-be-slightly-less-inflammatory-here-even-though-we-claim-to-be-against-any-editorial-oversight one, and many of the comments are also well worth reading). Or Rachael Acks’ brilliantly incisive points about how SFWA is supposed to be a professional organization. And then I’ll go back to writing my book, because there’s only so much of this I can take.
But no, there’s one other thing I want to say. What should be angering me here is the same old tired racist/sexist bullshit, these people’s insistence, their fucking entitlement, about their “right” to maintain a toxic environment within a professional organization. But I’m just too tired. Can’t muster the ire.
Instead, you know what’s really sticking in my craw on this one? How fucking stupid the petition is.
It’s an illogical, fallacious, badly-written disgrace.
Look, I’m not even talking about the fact that I disagree with it. There’s plenty of nuance to be had in conversations about free discourse and editorial direction. I’ve had many a civilized debate about that sort of thing, and sometimes I disagreed, vehemently, with the people I was talking to, but they still made sense, they thought things through, they articulated arguments that made me have to think about what they said. There’s value in that sort of debate. A lot of value.
What makes me really disgruntled tonight is that I see the names of people who have signed onto this mess of a petition and I say, “Really? REALLY? You thought it was a good idea to put your name on that? That godawful excuse for an argument that makes no fucking sense?”
We’re science fiction and fantasy! We’re the people who try to build worlds so complicated and consistent that they violate Goedel! We’re the people who interpolate and extrapolate, into the heart of the human condition and into the future, who revel in science and logic and rational thought! Aren’t we supposed to have some understanding of logic? Of what a fallacy looks like? Couldn’t one of those signatories have looked at this stupid-ass excuse for an opinion, found the kernel of truth he or she agreed with, and written something that wouldn’t have gotten a failing grade in a high school English class? You’re supposed to be writers, for crying out loud!
Disagree with me all you want. But for god’s sake, at least have the courtesy to do it intelligently.
(p.s. — I’ve updated the timeline with this. Why oh why are there still things happening to update it with?)
- To be fair, I can’t really find anything in the petition’s arguments that isn’t logically fallacious, so maybe the reason nobody wrote a better one is that it’s not possible. But that should really tell you guys something, shouldn’t it . . .↵