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I would be embarrassed to be associated with these goons

The indignant defenders of Vox Day are still ranting away. John C. Wright, who is apparently a fairly popular SF writer, has written an angry denunciation of all those corrupting leftists who have tainted an awards ceremony. It’s remarkable; it’s an essay for which the descriptor “spittle-flecked” is entirely appropriate, and I am surprised that a professional writer would produce something so incoherent. The bottom line: he longs for the good old days when one could be a racist, sexist asshat and still be rewarded for your writing.

At one time, science fiction was an oasis of intellectual liberty, a place where no idea was sacrosanct and no idea was unwelcome. Now speculative fiction makes speculative thinkers so unwelcome that, after a decade of support, I resigned my membership in SFWA in disgust. SFWA bears no blame for all these witch-hunts, or even most; but SFWA spreads the moral atmosphere congenial to the witch-hunters, hence not congenial to my dues money.

I’m not even going to try to go over the details of this irrational mess; Foz Meadows has taken care of that. I just have a couple of general questions for Wright.

  • If you’re standing up for the principle of “intellectual liberty”, why is so much of your essay an attempt to argue that your favorite “speculative thinkers” weren’t actually saying the horrible things they are accused of? One problem here is that Wright is terribly unconvincing: he makes excuses for Orson Scott Card’s homophobia and Vox Day’s misogyny, either by abstaining from actually quoting them or by claiming that their words were taken out of context. When Card writes something like this, claiming that gay marriage will destroy ‘normal’ families

    Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.

    I fail to see how context redeems it. I read the whole thing; it is most definitely a standard bizarre homophobic rant against giving gay people the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexuals.

    Or when Vox Day made his racist, misogynist attack on N.K. Jemisin, it’s damn hard to find any way to excuse this:

    … those self-defense laws have been put in place to let whites defend their lives and their property from people, like her, who are half-savages engaged in attacking them. … Jemisin’s disregard for the truth is no different than the average Chicago gangbanger’s disregard for the traditional Western code of civilized conduct. … Unlike the white males she excoriates, there is no evidence to be found anywhere on the planet that a society of NK Jemisins is capable of building an advanced civilization, or even successfully maintaining one without significant external support from those white males.…Being an educated, but ignorant half-savage, with little more understanding of what it took to build a new literature by “a bunch of beardy old middle-class middle-American guys” than an illiterate Igbotu tribesman has of how to build a jet engine, Jemisin clearly does not understand that her dishonest call for “reconciliation” and even more diversity within SF/F is tantamount to a call for its decline into irrelevance.

    So one problem here is that it is blatantly dishonest to pretend that Card is not homophobic, and that Vox Day is not a racist and misogynist. They are. It’s not a matter of the “thought police” and “witch-hunters”, as Wright tries to claim, propagating untruths about these authors. It’s their own words that condemn them.

    But here’s the big point: if Wright is really trying to wrap himself in integrity and commitment to a principle, it shouldn’t matter. An author could be a baby-raping cannibal, and by Wright’s own insistence that we should judge a work solely by the quality of the writing and not the personal failings of the author, we should ignore the baby-raping and the cannibalism. So why does he spend so much effort trying to minimize the odious political and social views of Vox Day? Revel in them! Go ahead, admit that he’s a contemptible woman-hating racist (as he is!), and then insist that even this terrible excuse for a human being should have his work judged entirely on its merits.

    But Wright lacks the courage of his convictions. Apparently it is important to minimize the defects of his heroes.

  • Why is this an issue of left vs. right at all? That’s what Wright pins all the blame on: a particular set of political views.

    The lunatic Left planned and struggled for years, decades, to achieve their cultural influence. Let us imitate their perseverance, and retake our lost home one mind, one institution, at a time. Start by praying.

    This is a very familiar whine. But step back and look at what people actually object to in Vox Day and others: Racism. Misogyny. Homophobia. Religious bigotry. The very things Wright unsuccessfully tried to minimize in his protagonists. I will charitably assume that Wright deplores racism, misogyny, homophobia, and bigotry of all kinds.

    So why, oh why, do these right-wingers so obligingly associate support for equality with the Left, and identify so readily racism and misogyny etc. with the Right? It is fine with me if they want to draw the dividing line that way, and it’s true enough that the Right has done a wonderful job of shackling themselves to inequity and discrimination and oppression, but I can still imagine (with increasing difficulty, I admit) a conservative wing of American politics that doesn’t necessitate despising every segment of society other than white men.

    And now not only is the Right carrying a lot of unpleasant obligate baggage, but we’ve got a political party afflicted by and ideologically dominated by the Tea Party — and they call us the Lunatic Left.

It seems to me that the real problem here is that wingnuts don’t want to be held accountable for their ugly views — they want to be racist and sexist, but how dare you call them racist and sexist, and worst of all, how unfair to actually penalize them in the court of public opinion for being bigoted scumbags.

But it’s actually quite fair. You’re free to accuse me of being a feminist, an egalitarian, an anti-racist, and I won’t deny it — I’ll actually take pride in it.

Comments

  1. says

    Tomorrow, I may regret writing this while bleary-brained with Percocet, but I think even while drugged up I can make more sense than this Wright buffoon.

  2. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    But it’s actually quite fair. You’re free to accuse me of being a feminist, an egalitarian, an anti-racist, and I won’t deny it — I’ll actually take pride in it.

    Don’t worry PZ, many of us will be saying “amen brother”, and having your back. Get well, and let us worry about the trolls *sharpens titanium fang”.

  3. says

    Go ahead, admit that he’s a contemptible woman-hating racist (as he is!), and then insist that even this terrible excuse for a human being should have his work judged entirely on its merits.

    You are so full of win, the win probably squirts out of your ears.

  4. Alverant says

    Well political conservatives have been pretty good and name-calling. The phrase “ridiculous right” doesn’t really roll off the tongue as “lunatic left”. IMHO they spend a lot of effort on PR to cover up the fact they are so deficient in other areas. It’s easier to shout someone down with catchy names than to have a rational argument.

  5. says

    Start by praying.

    Hear, hear! Let them get down on their knees and spend the hours imploring their god for divine intervention. I’ll wait. (Problem: They never keep praying till god gives them what they want. They always give up and do something that actually bothers people instead.)

  6. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    It seems to me that the real problem here is that wingnuts don’t want to be held accountable for their ugly views — they want to be racist and sexist, but how dare you call them racist and sexist, and worst of all, how unfair to actually penalize them in the court of public opinion for being bigoted scumbags.

    It’s why ‘show, don’t tell’ is such an important principle to live by, both in terms of how you yourself are perceived and how you perceive others.

    Someone can claim to be a good person ’til they’re blue in the face; should their words/actions reveal that it’s far more likely they’re actually an asshole, I’m going to go with thinking they’re an asshole.

  7. atheist says

    …Being an educated, but ignorant half-savage, with little more understanding of what it took to build a new literature by “a bunch of beardy old middle-class middle-American guys” than an illiterate Igbotu tribesman has of how to build a jet engine …

    I think you mean the Igbo tribe, you barely literate wingnut.

  8. PatrickG says

    As a one-time fan of Orson Scott Card, he lost me at:

    Orson Scott Card publicly expressed the mildest imaginable opposition to having judges overrule popular votes defining marriage in the traditional way. The uproar of hate directed against this innocent and honorable man is vehement and ongoing

    I’m actually in awe at how factually untrue this statement is. Card’s rather on the record — rather pointedly, I might add — on the subject,. There is this thing called Google. We can get his opinions in audio, video, and print format, and none of it is “mild”.

    But he really, really lost me at:

    Mr. Card, one of the finest science fiction writers today

    If this statement is true, the genre needs help. Has he read the trash Card is putting out these days? The Ender’s Children series was awful.

    I’ll probably go read the rest for laughs later, but wow. Just wow.

  9. says

    Wright:

    Law is enforced by solemn ceremonies, oaths, judges in robes, policemen in uniforms, hangmen in hoods. It is objective, official, overt, masculine, and direct.

    Custom is encouraged by countless social cues and expressions of peer pressure. It is subjective, informal, covert, feminine, and indirect.

    Wow. I’m rather speechless here.

  10. epweissengruber says

    Gollancz in England publishes much fine left-wing space opera. Sex, violence, time travel, and socialism. Dump this Vox Day weiner.

  11. says

    Witch hunts aren’t speculative fiction. They’re terrible things that really kill people. Yet, I see defenders of bigotry tossing around the term all the damned time. As far as I’m concerned, Wright is as deeply, offensively deluded as if he’d claimed that Card and Day were being metaphorically herded into gas chambers by Nazis.

  12. Alverant says

    #6 I know. On my last day at one of the worst jobs I’ve had my soon-to-be-ex-boss said she was one of the nicest people I would ever meet, oh and her faith was important to her. Sorry, but that doesn’t counter the fact she yelled at employees, ran a toxic company, and fired someone on their second day when she changed their duties and the employee complained that it was a bait-and-switch.

    If you want to know if someone is nice, watch them in a situation where they don’t have to be. See how they treat the staff at a McDonalds as well as their fellow patrons. If they’re rude to them, they’re not a nice person.

  13. says

    epweissengruber

    Dump this Vox Day weiner.

    Thing is, this guy isn’t a contender in the SF arena at all. This is all about him pushing his fucking agenda, which is apparently OK if you’re a sexist bigot with delusions about history and reality. But not if you’re remotely left-leaning, or just happen to sound like it once, accidentally.

  14. PatrickG says

    @ NakedBunny, #8

    He was on the board of NOM for 4 years, FFS! What a lying douche.

    Seriously, right? I’m almost in awe of the displayed ability to lie through teeth bonded together with dental cement.

    @ Inaji: Ok, apparently I have to go back and read more. That’s too funny, albeit not quite ha-ha funny.

  15. raven says

    Mr. Card, one of the finest science fiction writers today

    One of the worst IMO.

    I read Enders Game when it first came out and thought it was OK.

    Read a few more of his books. He went straight downhill from there and kept going. Halfway through one of them, I just gave up and never read anything more.

    And this is all long before he came out of the closet as a born again Mormon and gay hating bigot!!!

    This guy wasted a few hours of my valuable life that can’t be taken back. Fuck you Orson Scott Card.

    PS I don’t even know who John C. Wright is but I’ve seen enough. No money for his books, not a second of my time wasted. Thanks for warning us, Wingnut Wright.

  16. Al Dente says

    I’ve read Vox Day’s novella “Opera Vita Aeterna”. It failed to reach mediocrity. The writing was strained, the plot had several holes, the protagonist’s motivation was invisible and the world-building was non-existent (Augustine of Hippo and Peter Lombard, Earthly historical figures, were mentioned in a world that had two moons).

    Even if Beale wasn’t a complete asswipe his novella should not be in contention for a major literary prize.

  17. Pierce R. Butler says

    … we’ve got a political party afflicted by and ideologically dominated by the Tea Party…

    Looks like the Percocet ambushed an innocent pronoun there.

    I read Wright’s far-future comedy of manners, The Golden Age, with distinct pleasure – but now wonder if I can ever bring myself to peruse the other half of this diptych without hearing the bootsteps of marching morons between the lines.

  18. V S says

    I don’t particularly care about famous people’s or artists’ weird -ist beliefs… so I really wish they’d stop broadcasting them to all and sundry. If no one likes your real-life bigotry then just stick to writing fiction, and please don’t whine if no one likes that either; if you’re failing on both personal and professional merit then maybe do something else entirely.

  19. karmacat says

    The fact is that no matter how great you think a writer is there are many others who are just as good. So why should we reward the ones who are so hateful and bigoted

  20. raven says

    John Wright lying:

    The lunatic Left planned and struggled for years, decades, to achieve their cultural influence.

    What cultural influence? What lunatic left? Guy is just lying here.

    The rightwing nuts of the Tea Party control the US House and most state governments. Xians still make up 68% of the population. The US is still burdened with racism and misogyny. David Cameron is Prime Minister in the UK and Harper in Canada.

    Let us imitate their perseverance, and retake our lost home one mind, one institution, at a time.

    I’ve got a better idea. Why don’t you just crawl back under your rocks. We spent over a thousand years in your world. It was called the Dark Ages and for good reason.

    Start by praying.

    Sure why not. Pretending to talk to an Imaginary Sky Fairy who thinks just like you for some reason and does nothing is a great idea.

  21. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    by Wright’s own insistence … we should judge a work solely by the quality of the writing and not the personal failings of the author, we should ignore the baby-raping and the cannibalism.

    The real problem comes when the work justifies “the baby-raping and the cannibalism”. Ezra Pound was a fascist and anti-Semite who put his fascism and anti-Semitism into his work. Fortunately- and perhaps significantly- the two went into his worst work. But what if his best poetry had reflected his fascism and anti-Semitism? What if it had justified it? To use your analogy, what if a writer tries to make baby-raping and cannibalism look acceptable? What if they succeed in making baby-raping and cannibalism look acceptable?

  22. raven says

    The fact is that no matter how great you think a writer is there are many others who are just as good. So why should we reward the ones who are so hateful and bigoted.

    True.

    I work hard for my money and have a finite lifespan. Well duh. Just like almost everyone else.

    I do make some attempt to have my spending reflect my values. Never going to set foot in a Hobby Lobby (fuck you Steve Green) or Chick-fil-a. Never going to waste money or time on authors who have nothing but hate and contempt for me and my people.

    There is a huge world of fantasy, dark fantasy, urban fantasy, and science fiction out there and lots of good writers these days. A few I like are Alistair Reynolds, Peter Hamilton, Ursala LeGuin, Iain Banks, Connie Willis, Caitland Kiernan, Caroline Vaughn, Melinda Snodgrass and a few dozen others.

  23. microraptor says

    The fact is that no matter how great you think a writer is there are many others who are just as good. So why should we reward the ones who are so hateful and bigoted

    Word. And if authors don’t want to be judged on their personal beliefs, they shouldn’t climb up onto every soapbox they can find to trumpet them to the masses.

  24. kosk11348 says

    Well political conservatives have been pretty good and name-calling. The phrase “ridiculous right” doesn’t really roll off the tongue as “lunatic left”.

    Maybe we should start referring to them as the “never right.”

  25. David Wilford says

    Wright and Beale aren’t worth dwelling on, but Card, it’s kind of sad because he was a good writer who decided it was more important to be a Mormon. Once upon a time, Card had his doubts about his faith and he might have chosen a different path than the orthodox one he followed. Which it too bad, because

  26. David Wilford says

    Wright and Beale aren’t worth dwelling on, but Card, it’s kind of sad because he was a good writer who decided it was more important to be a good Mormon. Once upon a time, Card had his doubts about his faith and he might have chosen a different path than the orthodox one he followed. Which is too bad, because he might have been happier being an iconoclast given writing was his calling. Oh well.

  27. Snoof says

    The thing about Card is that he’s been “that scifi author who write a few good books before he went off the rails” for decades longer than he’d been “the scifi author who’s writing good books”.

    And the “good” bit is debatable.

  28. Julia Sullivan says

    Igbotu is a small town in Ondo State, a southwestern province of Nigeria. Ondo State has several large technical universities; I imagine several people from Igbotu know quite well how to design a jet engine as well as repair one.

    Mr. Beale, on the other hand, doesn’t English very well.

  29. Julia Sullivan says

    Also, the people of Igbotu are Yoruba, mostly. The Yoruba had a grand empire from the 12th through the early 19th centuries, with magnificent stone buildings that survive today. Mr. Beale should be horribly embarrassed by his ignorance.

  30. Alverant says

    I put a lot of thought into the question of “judging a work solely by the quality of the writing and not the personal failings of the author”. I may one day be a published author and would I want people to hold my liberal Atheistic beliefs against me? As Atheists we already face that reality. If it matters that much to a person, then go ahead. A book doesn’t taint the others in a collection except in your mind. It’s an emotional response more than a rational one but as long as it’s our own lives, that’s OK. Card is too crazy for me to consider reading his books, but there could be someone who isn’t as extreme (and never called for taking down the US government) who I disagree with as a person but still like his/her books.

  31. cubist says

    Whatever happened to the Orson Scott Card who used to do Secular Humanist Revival Meetings, in which he spoke strongly in favor of religious freedom for all and keeping Creationism out of public schools, at SF conventions? Can’t imagine the current, homophobe-and-Mormon-zealot, flavor of Card doing that sort of thing any more…

  32. A Masked Avenger says

    So why, oh why, do these right-wingers so obligingly associate support for equality with the Left, and identify so readily racism and misogyny etc. with the Right?

    This post was full of win. The quote above comes closer, perhaps, than anything I’ve heard in a long time, to putting its finger on the problem with the right. Something is clearly out of whack when they (1) immediately recognize themselves when racism is mentioned, (2) immediately associate equality with the evil lib’ruls, and (3) attempt to soft-pedal the bigotries in their midst.

    Although I don’t care for portrayals of all conservatives as racist and misogynist–because it simply isn’t true–the fact remains that the ones who aren’t, are generally enablers of racism and misogyny via the mechanisms above.

    I’ve said something similar about cops before. It may be a “few bad apples” who are committing crimes and brutality, but virtually all cops (and prosecutors) turn a blind eye to those bad apples. They’re not all beating and shooting people, but to some extent they’re all guilty of enabling it to go on.

    Somehow this post snapped something into focus, and I realized that that’s really the core problem with conservatives generally. The ones who don’t hate gay people, minorities, and women, are enabling those who do.

    Hrm. Did the penny finally drop about the real meaning of “silence = consent”? *wanders off musing*

  33. Pierce R. Butler says

    sc_mess @ # 22: What if they succeed in making baby-raping and cannibalism look acceptable?

    It’s been done.

    Donald Kingsbury’s Courtship Rite: Rape & baby cannibalism as seen from Analog. (Whatever your trigger, consider yourself warned…)

  34. says

    These problematic revelations about decent SF authors are why I’m glad I’m an Iain M Banks fan: he was unapologetically a stone-cold joint-tooting malt-sipping godless lefty. It showed through in his writing so clearly that it was no surprise whatsoever to hear it in his own words. Ditto Asimov: a polymath atheist with absolutely no time for bigotry or bullshit; ditto Douglas Adams (no further explanation needed). The other thing about those three is that they’re all dead so there’s very little chance of new information being discovered which would modify my opinion of them to something like “execrable hate-filled bastards whom I no longer want anything to do with”.

    So, um, please, don’t anyone tell me anything bad about Margaret Atwood or Kim Stanley Robinson or William Gibson or Terry Goodkind …

    Anyway, Wright and Card have, through their public displays of ineptitude & idiocy, ensured that I won’t be investigating their canon any time soon. I don’t think I could help myself from actively reading between the lines of every paragraph & conversation.

  35. bargearse says

    Hank_Says@36

    So, um, please, don’t anyone tell me anything bad about Margaret Atwood or Kim Stanley Robinson or William Gibson or Terry Goodkind

    Sorry but Goodkind is a Randite objectivist.

  36. says

    Right, so “don’t tell me bad things about X” apparently means “DO tell me.” Gotcha :D

    My #39 can be applied to 37 & 38 – although Goodkind being a Randroid is somewhat less problematic than Asimov and Adams being sex-pests. It also actually makes perfect sense that an author of rich fantasies would hew toward Rand.

  37. says

    bargearse:

    You’re right that [Randit objectivism] is preferable to sexual harassment but it’s in much the same way that malaria is preferable to ebola.

    I get your point, but someone simply being a Randroid is, I think, markedly different to someone engaging in unwanted sexual advances. Both are obviously objectionable but sexually harassing someone has far more potential for harm – and is, from the outset, far more harmful – than holding to some fantasy-based political view.

    Also, there are probably far more sexual harassers within 10 miles of me right now than there are Randroids, much less Randroids who are prepared to serially violate others’ boundaries in order to make Rand’s delusions a reality.

  38. Graculus says

    At one time, science fiction was an oasis of intellectual liberty

    which time? the time where it took 5 years for Joanna Russ’ “The Female Man” to find a publisher?

  39. militantagnostic says

    `

    Being an educated, but ignorant half-savage, with little more understanding of what it took to build a new literature by “a bunch of beardy old middle-class middle-American guys” than an illiterate Igbotu tribesman has of how to build a jet engine`

    If we gave Vox Day a pile of parts and a socket set I expect that the probability of getting a functioning jet engine would be equal to the probability that Joseph Smith was telling the truth.

  40. bargearse says

    Hank_Says@42

    I guess I should’ve expanded a bit on what I meant because you’ve pretty much said what I was trying to get at. I think we’re in violent agreement here.

  41. chigau (違う) says

    I am charmed by this image:
    Vox Day
    a pile of parts
    a socket set

  42. says

    bargearse:

    I guess I should’ve expanded a bit on what I meant because you’ve pretty much said what I was trying to get at. I think we’re in violent agreement here.

    Why you LITTLE – oh, yup. That we are. Barge on :)

  43. says

    I can still imagine (with increasing difficulty, I admit) a conservative wing of American politics that doesn’t necessitate despising every segment of society other than white men.

    I applaud your imagination; I can no more picture such a thing than a cat voluntarily choosing veganism, and I think that has a much higher chance of actually happening. Despising every segment of society except the dominant one is what conservatism is; they can’t be separated.

  44. theoreticalgrrrl says

    @jaggington

    That link was quite a treat.

    Wright compares having television shows that depict homosexual relationships as natural and normal on the SyFy channel to being on the same level as supporting racism (and drunkenness, adultery, pedophilia, marrying sheep, necrophilia, among other things). “Why don’t we simply call racism an alternate anti-ethnic orientation, similar to hetero-toleration, but different?”

    I’m confused. If racism is to Wright as much of an abomination as homosexuality, why the support for Day and Card’s racism?

  45. Moggie says

    Inaji:

    Wow. I’m rather speechless here.

    I know, right? My jaw dropped when reading that bit. I don’t know about Wright’s other writerly qualities, but I’ll say this for him: he excels at self-parody.

  46. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    Bargearse & Hank:
    What are the sources for Douglas Adams and Isaac Asimov as sexual harassers? It’s a dodgy assessment at the lower end of the scale- when do emotional attachment and clumsy or unwanted advances become sexual harassment? As a lot of love songs show, it’s a matter of expression too.

  47. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    .Pierce R. Butler @35. Not sure Courtship Rites succeeds or tries in making baby-raping and cannibalism look acceptable. It may be an exercise in imagining a society where they become culturally inevitable, though the reviewers’ references to long lectures make it look like an unsuccessful exercise. If people regard something as completely natural they don’t talk about it. There’s no need to.

  48. says

    What are the sources for Douglas Adams and Isaac Asimov as sexual harassers? It’s a dodgy assessment at the lower end of the scale- when do emotional attachment and clumsy or unwanted advances become sexual harassment? As a lot of love songs show, it’s a matter of expression too.

    Here’s an idea:
    Go over to Almost Diamonds
    Search for Asimov
    Read
    Come back and admit that you’ve been wrong.

  49. theoreticalgrrrl says

    “The Positive Power of Posterior Pinching” is how Isaac’s buddy fondly described it in a letter. Not about emotional attachment or clumsy advances.

  50. Jacob Schmidt says

    when do emotional attachment and clumsy or unwanted advances become sexual harassment?

    “Sure, he keeps grabbing your ass, but he just doesn’t know how to express his affection.”

  51. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    Not a matter of being wrong, Giliell; wanting to know exactly what happened.
    It’s a matter where context is important. To take the instance of raping babies above, the Romans would have seen nothing wrong with a Roman citizen having sex with a baby, as long as the baby was his slave. It wasn’t sexual harassment, it was a Roman citizen exercising his rights over his familias and no more morally wrong than a Roman citizen feeding his eels on live slaves to improve their flavour. At the other extreme, there was an elderly poet recently accused of sexually harassing a young woman whose outraged defence was “I didn’t want to have sex with her. I wanted to write poems to her.”

    If Vox Day had expressed racist views a hundred years ago, most people, whatever their political opinions, would have agreed with them. They might not think they mattered, but “everyone knew” that different races had particular attributes. There was no research into the matter then because there was no need to research something so obviously true. Less than fifty years ago, male adult homosexual behaviour was illegal in England. The “progressive” view was that it should be decriminalised and tolerated, but it was still disapproved of and discouraged. The arguments for civil partnerships and same-sex marriage had occurred to very few people and certainly weren’t widely expressed
    Most people, most of the time, accept and follow the beliefs and customs of their culture and time and never even wonder if they are reasonable. It saves a lot of bother. The astonishing thing about the modern world is how far every prejudice has to be argued for and against. Racial and sexual prejudices are often instilled without thought in childhood. They genuinely become part of someone’s character so that those people are often far more outraged when they need to defend what they believed everyone knew than people who have thought and reasoned about what they believe. It’s quite likely that in twenty years time people who agree with Vox Day now will have very different views and have completely forgotten they ever thought otherwise.

  52. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    “Sure, he keeps grabbing your ass, but he just doesn’t know how to express his affection.”

    Well, Jacob Schmidt , someone who keeps grabbing your ass certainly doesn’t know how to express his affection if that’s what he’s trying to do. I saw similar behaviour in English boys who’d been to single-sex schools many years ago and that was often exactly the case.

  53. bargearse says

    SC numbers

    Bargearse & Hank: What are the sources for Douglas Adams and Isaac Asimov as sexual harassers?

    You’ll have to ask A Masked Avenger that one since they first brought it up. Hank & I were off on our own tangent. Alternatively you could follow up on the suggestion to check out Almost Diamonds.

    Jaggington@49

    After reading that link it’s no wonder Wright described Card’s statements on homosexuality as mild, that’s quite a screed.

  54. Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^= says

    PZ, OP:

    It seems to me that the real problem here is that wingnuts don’t want to be held accountable for their ugly views — they want to be racist and sexist, but how dare you call them racist and sexist, and worst of all, how unfair to actually penalize them in the court of public opinion for being bigoted scumbags.

    They have the moral views of three-year-olds. My grandson is the same way – when he is being told off by his mother for yet another instance of bad behaviour, he cries “I don’t want to be naughty!”

    He isn’t expressing remorse and regretting his lack of self-control; what he is expressing (although he lacks, as yet, the language skills to say so) is the wish that his behaviour not be considered ‘naughty’ so he can continue doing something that he was enjoying (chasing the cats, taking other kids’ toys, stuffing the loo full of toilet paper…).

  55. says

    SC whatever
    What exactly is your point? That the moral consensus was different in different times? Sure, but that doesn’t change the godsdamn facts. If it was considered ok for a roman noble to rape a slave baby it is still rape of a baby. And anyway, this doesn’t change anything about Vox Day, because right now the morla consensus is, for a good reason, that racism is unscientific bullshit. Same wth Asimov: he knew exactly that what he did hurt the women, that they didn’t like it and he simply decided to go on and do it anyway. There’s no excuse for that.

  56. opposablethumbs says

    someone who keeps grabbing your ass certainly doesn’t know how to express his affection if that’s what he’s trying to do

    Well duh. And this excuses sexual harassment and/or assault how?

  57. Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^= says

    55, theoreticalgrrrl

    “The Positive Power of Posterior Pinching” is how Isaac’s buddy fondly described it in a letter. Not about emotional attachment or clumsy advances.

    The message I get from people like that is that they are seeing things entirely from the perpetrator’s point of view, and failing utterly to consider that there might be another point of view – namely, that of the victim.

    There are only actors, and props – actors are, of course, people just like them; and everyone else is just a prop for the actors to do with as they please.

    The shock they express when the ‘props’ turn around and object! Why, it’s almost as if they fear being turned into props themselves! They simply cannot imagine a world where everyone could be an actor, and no-one need be a prop.

  58. arakasi says

    Wright undermines his claim that there is a liberal attempt to quash conservative thought by ignoring the large number of SF authors who are openly conservative that aren’t condemned for their viewpoints. Most authors who write military SF are openly conservative (the only exceptions off the top of my head are Eric Flint and Tanya Huff) and they don’t get this sort of backlash.

    The authors who do get condemned for their attitudes are the ones who stand for bigotry, for racism, and for sexism, and even then it only becomes an issue if the author in question either writes books as a political message or publishes non-fiction that supports these viewpoints. I think that a lot of this backlash comes because SF was one of the earliest forms of popular literature that assumed that we, as a species, could move past the bogotry of the past – that in our future we can do better. Writers like Card and Beale aren’t being open and innovative thinkers, they are trying to drag the field back to the “yellow peril” days of the 20′s and 30′s

  59. Jeremy Shaffer says

    someone who keeps grabbing your ass certainly doesn’t know how to express his affection if that’s what he’s trying to do.

    Not if their affection is for gabbing someone’s ass regardless of that person’s wishes. From what’s been said of Asimov, even by those that defended his actions, that’s what he liked doing so it seems he knew precisely how to accurately express his affections.

  60. Pierce R. Butler says

    sc_mess @ # 53: Not sure Courtship Rites succeeds or tries in making baby-raping and cannibalism look acceptable.

    It succeeded to the degree of gaining a Locus award, the first Compton Crook award and a 1983 Hugo nomination, with brisk sales. Courtship Rite does have a contrived set-up and excessive preachiness, but such are the subgenre obligations of libertarian sf&f.

  61. V S says

    I think the above conversation about harassment is a nice microcosm of sci-fi (or any geeky) culture; we’re desperate to excuse people we like, especially those that offered a little fantasy refuge from our crappy adolescence, etc., and we’ll say things to the effect of “grown men pinching bottoms repeatedly might be a misunderstanding!” in order to do so.

    You don’t need to minimize an author’s bad traits in order to love their good ones, or enjoy their work, in my opinion. It’s better to acknowledge the reality than start saying silly things about “boys will be boys.”

  62. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    Start by praying.

    *ROFL*

    Yeah, OK Wright. Pray away. We shall await the Rise of the Right with baited breath.

  63. John Pieret says

    Being an educated, but ignorant half-savage …

    Jebus, Vox! … Projection much?

  64. leftwingfox says

    I’ve seen the (credible, repeated) accusations about Asimov before, but the accusations about Douglas Adams are new to me. Googling and searching his name here didn’t bring up anything, so I would like a cite please.

    (I’ll admit, Adams is one of my favourite authors, and my absolute favourite of his is the nonfiction environmentalist work “Last Chance to See”)

  65. samihawkins says

    I wish I were surprised to learn that Asimov was an ass-pinching pig, but considering the horny old man vibe running through all his later works, coughPeloratandBlisscough, it doesn’t shock me in the least.

  66. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    Giliell @61 (and others).
    A moral- or any other- consensus is a fact. If raping babies or feeding slaves to eels was acceptable or tolerable to the Roman consensus, it condemns the whole of Roman culture even more than the people who did things like that.
    I wondered about Asimov- I don’t know a lot about him- because I understood him to be a very unathletic intellectual type- an urnerd, you might say- so I thought it unlikely he’d go in for sexual harassment. Douglas Adams was over six and a half feet tall and doubled up as bodyguard for arab sheikhs, so even without setting out to be, he could be scary.
    For what it’s worth, I’m not sure that bottom-pinching is only or even mainly sexual harassment. It takes- took, I hope- place in public and needs an audience. It isn’t aimed at the person groped but at watchers. It’s a display of power more than a sexual advance, as far as the two can be separated.

    Pierce R. Butler: by the sound of it, Courtship Rites imagines a world where cannibalism and child rape are necessary to survival and so socially acceptable. It’s easy to imagine a world where cannibalism is necessary, not so one with child rape. It does seem to make a point of its “daring”, though, which makes it less transgressive. If the author has to say that they’re writing about a society like that, rather than depicting nice, decent, kindly people who happen to be cannibalistic rapists they aren’t doing their job as a novelist very well.

  67. smhll says

    So, um, please, don’t anyone tell me anything bad about Margaret Atwood or Kim Stanley Robinson or William Gibson or Terry Goodkind …

    I’m hoping I’ll get a chance to meet Kim Stanley Robinson when he’s headlining FogCon in Walnut Creek, Cal in March 2015. This is a smallish fantasy and SF con that is focused on books and draws diverse-ish crowd (fairly gender and orientation diverse to my eye). Also more young people than at BayCon.

    I’m hesitating to go to BayCon this year with David Webber headlining as I don’t always play well with Libertarians (Especially if all of us are drinking; strife seems inevitable. Maybe if I don’t drink and I stay away from parties and debates).

  68. Bernard Bumner says

    I’m trying to remember where it was that saw the accusation about Adams – I’m pretty sure it was on FTB somewhere, and I’m also fairly sure that there were no specifics given.

  69. Rowan vet-tech says

    @ SC toodamnmanynumbers-

    I wondered about Asimov- I don’t know a lot about him- because I understood him to be a very unathletic intellectual type- an urnerd, you might say- so I thought it unlikely he’d go in for sexual harassment. Douglas Adams was over six and a half feet tall and doubled up as bodyguard for arab sheikhs, so even without setting out to be, he could be scary.

    WTF does being physically intimidating have to do with being in for sexual harassment?

    For what it’s worth, I’m not sure that bottom-pinching is only or even mainly sexual harassment. It takes- took, I hope- place in public and needs an audience. It isn’t aimed at the person groped but at watchers. It’s a display of power more than a sexual advance, as far as the two can be separated.

    And now you’ve shown that you know shit-all about what sexual harassment is. Are you *honestly* claiming that sexual harassment can *only* happen in private? You *honestly* think sexual harassment is about attraction and not power? You are straight up erasing the individual being touched without their consent from this picture.

  70. says

    sc mess @ 73:

    I wondered about Asimov- I don’t know a lot about him- because I understood him to be a very unathletic intellectual type- an urnerd, you might say- so I thought it unlikely he’d go in for sexual harassment.

    You should really ask yourself why you made that silly assumption, then work on changing those Bayesian Priors which led to said silly assumption.

    You can’t tell by appearance. Harlan Ellison was never a slice of beefcake, and that didn’t stop him from grabbing and squeezing women’s breasts. Ellison operated with the same reasoning Asimov did, hey, they were white, hetro dudes, authors, y’know, so those people the bits are attached to, well they shouldn’t mind at all if they have a grope.

  71. says

    For what it’s worth, I’m not sure that bottom-pinching is only or even mainly sexual harassment.

    Of course it is, you effing dipstick.

  72. bargearse says

    SC numbers

    For what it’s worth, I’m not sure that bottom-pinching is only or even mainly sexual harassment. It takes- took, I hope- place in public and needs an audience. It isn’t aimed at the person groped but at watchers. It’s a display of power more than a sexual advance, as far as the two can be separated.

    I’m going to be generous and chalk this up to cluelessness but really, you should feel embarrassed right now.

  73. A. Noyd says

    Hank Says (#38)

    Gah. Didn’t know that. Source?

    Really? He’s such a massive fanboy of Ayn Rand, his book Faith of the Fallen is a rewrite of The Fountainhead.

  74. A. Noyd says

    Also, @sc_770+: You and your excuses for harassment are disgusting. Go away.

  75. jefrir says

    sc numbers,

    It takes- took, I hope- place in public and needs an audience.

    Are you trying to suggest that bottom pinching doesn’t happen any more? You can’t be that stupid, surely, but I can’t see any other interpretation for this sentence.
    Also, displays of power can come from the physically feeble and are not mutually exclusive with sexual harrassment. Indeed, they are often a major part of it.

  76. addiepray says

    Damnit. Y’know, less than a month ago, my first novel was published- a sci-fi/fantasy, first of a trilogy, put out by one of the biggest publishers. And I have been so proud and excited to be entering into this (for me) new world… I considered joining this group because it seemed like a good place to connect to other authors, learn a bit about promotions, improve my craft, etc. Publishing with a big house is one of the criteria to join, and I thought, “I can be a member of this exclusive club!”

    To paraphrase (and completely change the meaning of) the famous Groucho Marx line, I don’t want to be a member of any club that has assholes like those as members. I think I’ll find another professional organization to give my dues to.

  77. Rowan vet-tech says

    Addiepray- What’s the title of your book, if you don’t mind me asking? And is it available on Kindle?

  78. says

    SC whatever

    A moral- or any other- consensus is a fact. If raping babies or feeding slaves to eels was acceptable or tolerable to the Roman consensus, it condemns the whole of Roman culture even more than the people who did things like that.

    It tells a lot about you that you constantly focus on the people who did things, never on those who had things done to them. Whether it was acceptable or not does nothing about the harm to the individual, who were people

    For what it’s worth, I’m not sure that bottom-pinching is only or even mainly sexual harassment. It takes- took, I hope- place in public and needs an audience. It isn’t aimed at the person groped but at watchers. It’s a display of power more than a sexual advance, as far as the two can be separated.

    Oh, wonderful, somebody who has apparently no experience whatsoever with sexual harassment deems themself fit to lecture lots of women who have a life time worth of experience. Thank you for vanishing me from all the scenarios in which I was sexually harassed and assaulted, making it all about the perpetrator and some bystanders who in most cases were NOT THERE.

  79. Rowan vet-tech says

    @ Giliell- I’ll bet that SC would be surprised to learn how many of us are women, sadly.

  80. says

    Add me to the list of people who’ve never heard of this Wright fellow; having read a reveiw/ summary of his first book, it sounds to me like he’s trying to do what people like Charles Stross , Ian Banks, and their ilk do, but if he’s got that kind of issue with SF normalizing queer identities, he can’t possibly be very good at it.

    arakasi

    Most authors who write military SF are openly conservative (the only exceptions off the top of my head are Eric Flint and Tanya Huff)

    Also David Drake, and Lois McMaster Bujold (although some might argue whether the Vorkisigan saga entirely counts), but in general you’re right.

    sc_#######
    Others have already pointed out the ways you’re wrong and can educate yourself, I’ll just add my advice that you do so.

  81. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    Rowan vet-tech
    Someone who is large and powerful may be seen as physically intimidating and/or sexually harassing when they aren’t trying to be; someone who isn’t may not be seen as sexually harassing even when they are trying to be.
    If it is aimed at someone other than the person harassed, then those motives and purpose aren’t sexual. Groping someone to show your power to someone else is “erasing the individual being touched without their consent from this picture”. They are a device not a person to the groper.

  82. Rowan vet-tech says

    SC… I will write this in small words. Maybe that will help.

    Sexual harassment is not about getting sex. It is about having power over a person. It is about getting what (generic) you want, not what the other person wants. Turning someone into a ‘device’ using a sexual means is harassment to the person who is being used as such.

    Also, intent is not magic. If someone is ‘seen as sexually harassing’, they are sexually harassing. Big, small, male, female, it doesn’t matter. If I’m merely trying to be friendly by draping myself all over a guy I don’t know and rubbing my hands up and down him, I am sexually harassing him even though I don’t ‘mean’ to be.

    You do not get to decide what is harassment unless the situation is happening directly to you.

  83. addiepray says

    Rowan Vet-Tech @84- “The First Book of Ore: The Foundry’s Edge”. It’s technically “middle grade” (9 and up) but very adult friendly, with lots of pretty dark and complex themes (especially in the next books of the series) It is available on Kindle as well as hardcover.

    I guess there goes my pseudonymous cover here, though you don’t know which of the two authors I am. :)

  84. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says


    Inaji@77 on:l
    It’s a reasonable assumption that someone who is both intelligent and liable to bullying- as Asimov was- wouldn’t be a bully in later life even if he had the chance. It’s seems he didn’t, unfortunately. The same thing applies with Ellison and others like that: why do intelligent and imaginative men behave as vile fools?
    Equally, I don’t think bottom-pinching is sexual, the way Asimov did it, because it isn’t aimed at producing a sexual response. It’s aimed at displaying power to other people. In some ways it’s even more misogynistic than if it was supposed to produce a sexual response- it assumes the woman assaulted isn’t important even as a sexual object.

    Jefrir @ 82,
    well, yes, i assume that even though it still happens, bottom pinching is probably much rarer than it used to because it isn’t socially accepted or tolerated as much any more. Asimov’s games would probably get him a slap in the face now and wouldn’t be applauded by other people as it seems they were.

    Giliell@85:
    Yes, I focus on the people who do things: if you want to know why people do things you focus on them rather than the people they do them to. The fact that many horrible things were acceptable to Roman culture doesn’t make them generally acceptable. It shows that there were some horrible aspects to Roman culture. It’s worth wondering why those aspects were there and were accepted without question for so long and the kind of society they produced, but if you do that it doesn’t mean you approve of them.

    In discussing Asimov’s public groping I’m trying to think out and express something complicated about human nature and I’m sorry if I’m clumsy and unclear.
    Sexual harassment is an attempt to coerce a sexual response from someone else- using power of some kind to force someone to acquiesce in a sexual relationship. In some countries it would be considered rape. It nearly always takes place in a one-to-one situation.
    In the accounts of Asimov at Almost Diamonds it looks as if what he did took place in public and was aimed at a male audience. Asimov was playing games with a woman, regardless of her wishes, to show off his power to his friends. The sexual aspects were unimportant or irrelevant, except that it was acceptable to do that to a woman and that kind of power was accepted and admired, by men at least, and many women felt obliged to acquiesce. In these cases it was “all about the perpetrator and some bystanders ” The women were props in a nasty game they could not escape.

  85. says

    addiepray @ 91:

    The First Book of Ore: The Foundry’s Edge

    Fabulous, just grabbed the e-book from B&N. Thanks!

  86. says

    scmess:

    It’s a reasonable assumption

    No, it was not, and isn’t a reasonable assumption. We’re all sexist, given that no one grows up in a vacuum. All that background and foreground sexism sinks into us all, deeply. It’s on us to be aware of it, and change our thinking and actions. It’s also on all of us to be aware of the privilege we have, and how it shapes our thoughts and behaviour.

    The same thing applies with Ellison and others like that: why do intelligent and imaginative men behave as vile fools?

    It’s very simple. The behaviour demonstrated by Asimov, Ellison, and many others is the height of white, hetero, male privilege. Those people thought they were entitled to anyone else’s body. There’s a whole lot of that thinking going around, it’s a very common attitude.

  87. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    Apologies, Rowan vet-tech, I was using the term “sexual harassment” specifically as meaning “an attempt to coerce a sexual response from someone else- using power of some kind to force someone to acquiesce in a sexual relationship”.
    I do think perception and appearance make a difference though. They shouldn’t, but they do, which was why I wondered about Douglas Adams and the sheer effect of his appearance. An example: I used to know someone who had meningitis as a child which made his eyes look fixed and robotic. He was a very nice chap, but even people who knew him were sometimes momentarily scared when he looked at them unawares. It says something not very pleasant about human nature and human responses that people have to work so hard to overcome their assumptions.

  88. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    The behaviour demonstrated by Asimov, Ellison, and many others is the height of white, hetero, male privilege. Those people thought they were entitled to anyone else’s body. There’s a whole lot of that thinking going around, it’s a very common attitude.

    …except- as I said- these were intelligent, perceptive and imaginative men. Given the prevalence of anti-Semitism in his youth, Asimov was almost certainly the victim of bullies too. In short, if anyone should “be aware of it, and change [their] thinking and actions” he should have been.
    In fact, common though it is still, it’s an attitude that is disappearing. Compare the common attitudes to women, homosexuals, other races, now with fifty or a hundred years ago and it is astonishing how they have changed. One reason for the noise from racists and homophobes like Vox Day or Wright is because they are growing rarer and they know it. What are conservative or reactionary attitudes now were perfectly “normal” a few years ago. All the same, it seems to be a cultural change rather than an enormous number of people changing their minds because they’ve thought about it.

  89. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    Damn!
    Last sentence above should read:

    All the same, it seems to be a cultural change rather than an enormous number of people individually changing their minds because they’ve thought about it.

  90. greenspine says

    Unlike most of the people here, it seems, I haveread John C. Wright’s books. I read the trilogy that began with The Golden Age and I’ll say the series was… exactly what you would expect from his writing on these other subjects. There were a lot of really interesting ideas in there, but I almost couldn’t get to them through the bullshit. The prose was painfully, painfully overwrought. The dialog was embarrassing – everything is delivered in these operatic voices, like you expect every character to be standing on a mountaintop with one hand on their breast and another holding aloft Yorick’s skull.

    The main thing that stuck out at me was that there are exactly two female characters in the series: one is a sort of distributed-intelligence, vast Gaia sort of creature that is only considered female by convention. The other is a clone of the protagonist’s wife (the original killed herself off-screen when the protagonist was shamed) and is a prop, there to be rescued and talked at. Other than those two, all male. Everybody of importance or agency in the story is male. I really had the impression reading the story that the author didn’t just ignore women, but actively despises them.

  91. brianwestley says

    “But wait, there’s more!”

    For those of you playing bingo, John C. Wright is also a former atheist:
    http://www.scifiwright.com/2011/09/a-question-i-never-tire-of-answering/

    I am more than a presumably rational individual, I am a champion of atheism who gave arguments in favor of atheism so convincing that three of my friends gave up their religious belief due to my persuasive reasoning powers, and my father stopped going to church.

    Upon concluding through a torturous and decades-long and remorseless process of logic that all my fellow atheists were horribly comically wrong about every basic point of philosophy, ethics and logic, and my hated enemies the Christians were right, I wondered how this could be. The data did not match the model.

    Being a philosopher and not a poseur, I put the matter to an empirical test.

    For the first time in my life, I prayed, and said. “Dear God. There is no logical way you could possibly exist, and even if you appeared before me in the flesh, I would call it an hallucination. So I can think of no possible way, no matter what the evidence and no matter how clear it was, that you could prove your existence to me. But the Christians claim you are benevolent, and that my failure to believe in you inevitably will damn me. If, as they claim, you care whether or not I am damned, and if, as they claim, you are all wise and all powerful, you can prove to me that you exist even though I am confident such a thing is logically impossible. Thanking you in advance for your cooperation in this matter, John C. Wright.” — and then my mind was at rest. I had done all I needed to do honestly to maintain my stature as someone, not who claimed to be logical, objective and openminded, but who was logical, objective, and openminded.

    Three days later, with no warning, I had a heart attack, and was lying on the floor, screaming and dying.

    -Then I was saved from certain death by faith-healing, after which–

    -I felt the Holy Spirit enter my body, after which–

    -became immediately aware of my soul, a part of myself which, until that time, I reasoned and thought did not exist-

    -I was visited by the Virgin Mary, her son, and His Father-

    -not to mention various other spirits and ghosts over a period of several days–

    -including periods of divine ecstasy, and an awareness of the mystical oneness of the universe-

    -And a week or so after that I had a religious experience where I entered the mind of God and saw the indescribable simplicity and complexity, love, humor and majesty of His thought, and I understood the joy beyond understanding and comprehended the underlying unity of all things, and the paradox of determinism and free will was made clear to me, as was the symphonic nature of prophecy. I was shown the structure of time and space.

    -And then Christ in a vision told me that He would be my judge, and that God judges no man. I mentioned this event to my wife. Then about a month later, when I was reading the Bible for the first time beyond the unavoidable minimum assigned in school, I came across the passage in the book of John, a passage I had never seen before, and to which no Christian in my hearing had ever made reference, which said the same thing in the same words.

    -And then I have had perhaps a dozen or two dozen prayers miraculously answered, so much so that I now regard it as a normal routine rather than some extraordinary act of faith.

    So I would say my snide little prayer was answered with much more than I had asked, and I was given not just evidence, and not just overwhelming evidence, but joy unspeakable and life eternal.

    This also explains his warm, caring demeanor.

  92. says

    -Then I was saved from certain death by faith-healing, after which–

    How very interestin’. So, definitely a heart attack which was going to be fatal in no short order, and yet, a magical faith healing at just the right time!

  93. says

    Greenspine @ 98, thanks for the rundown on Wright’s writing. I’ve never read any of his work, and with so much good stuff out there, I see no reason to start reading it now.

  94. chigau (違う) says

    I’ve never had heart attack of my own but the two that I have witnessed involved no screaming on the part of the protagonist.
    Mostly just collapsing and lying there whilst others do CPR and call an ambulance.
    yay god

  95. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    So Wright is a published writer who thinks there’s a second “r” in “tortuous”. There ain’t no justice.

  96. Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^= says

    “Screaming” “heart attack” “faith healing”

    Does. Not. Compute.

    I have had heart attacks, and I have an ongoing problem with unstable angina; as chigau (違う) says, you just lie there and wonder if you are going to die, whilst other people (hopefully) make sure you don’t.

    Screaming? Even talking is too much effort.

    When it feels as if an elephant has decided to sit on your chest whilst a family of porcupines takes a stroll through your heart’s blood vessels, backwards; when your limbs have gone on strike because what little blood supply you have left has been diverted to essential organs; and when all you can manage is a tiny nod of the head when the paramedics ask you if you can hear them, you are not going to be calling a faith healer.

    Oh, I have had hallucinations too. But, funnily enough, it was nearly dying that confirmed for me that I really am an atheist to my core. No angels, no gods, no saviours; just a realisation that I knew for certain that death would take away the pain, because there would no longer be a ‘me’ to experience it.

    But faith healing is really good at fixing indigestion, so I’ve heard…

  97. says

    Tigger:

    But faith healing is really good at fixing indigestion, so I’ve heard…

    Heh. The first thing I thought of when reading Wright’s account was a co-worker of mine once upon a time. She had been home, and after dining, became convinced she was having a heart attack, a bad one. She was screaming a la Wright, and the paramedic attending her in the ambulance told her flat out that as she was screaming, she wasn’t having a heart attack. Turned out she had one hella bad case of gas.

  98. anteprepro says

    John Wright’s Fantastical Adventure:

    1. -Then I was saved from certain death by faith-healing, after which–

    2. -I felt the Holy Spirit enter my body, after which–

    3. -became immediately aware of my soul, a part of myself which, until that time, I reasoned and thought did not exist-

    4. -I was visited by the Virgin Mary, her son, and His Father-

    5. -not to mention various other spirits and ghosts over a period of several days–

    6. -including periods of divine ecstasy, and an awareness of the mystical oneness of the universe-

    7. -And a week or so after that I had a religious experience where I entered the mind of God and saw the indescribable simplicity and complexity, love, humor and majesty of His thought, and I understood the joy beyond understanding and comprehended the underlying unity of all things, and the paradox of determinism and free will was made clear to me, as was the symphonic nature of prophecy. I was shown the structure of time and space.

    8. -And then Christ in a vision told me that He would be my judge, and that God judges no man. I mentioned this event to my wife. Then about a month later, when I was reading the Bible for the first time beyond the unavoidable minimum assigned in school, I came across the passage in the book of John, a passage I had never seen before, and to which no Christian in my hearing had ever made reference, which said the same thing in the same words.

    9. -And then I have had perhaps a dozen or two dozen prayers miraculously answered, so much so that I now regard it as a normal routine rather than some extraordinary act of faith.

    1. Interesting that he doesn’t elaborate on the “faith healing” part.
    2. Meaningless Christocentric bafflegab.
    3. More interesting lack of specifics. He’s aware of his soul but can’t actually let us know what the soul is or how to become aware of it ourselves.
    4. Wonder if this happened before, after, or during the heart attack…
    5. Ghosts therefore Jesus. I wonder if “I saw UFOs” or “I hunted a Bigfoot” would count as Come To Jesus testimony.
    6. See 2.
    7. LSD is a hell of a drug.
    8. Oh my word, he knew of a Bible verse he never remembered anyone saying! How could you possibly get exposed to Biblical phrases without remembering!? How could you possibly hear such things in a culture so devoid of Christianity and Biblical references!? UNPOSSSIBIBLE!!
    9. “Psh, yeah, my prayers get answered. No need to bore you with the details. Miracles happen to me everyday. I am like God’s favorite grandson or some shit. Nah, I don’t have other examples, just use your imaginations”

  99. Pierce R. Butler says

    sc_mess @ 73: by the sound of it, Courtship Rites imagines a world where cannibalism and child rape are necessary to survival …

    Not quite: the planet’s ecology lacks certain vital nutrients (among other problems), and very few of the babies born have much chance of survival – so this forces both postnatal eugenic culling and cannibalism. Given that convoluted premise, the pre-feudal society Kingsbury imagines has a sort of harsh Spartan integrity. The rape – of an adult woman – around which the plot revolves (some would not call it that, as it’s not directly sexual, but most here would) is the “courtship rite” of the title, and consistent with the extreme social-darwinism of this ethos.

    The premise will repel a lot of people, but Kingsbury writes skillfully. Courtship Rite succeeds as story-telling, in large part by masking its libertarian tendencies through use of a pre-capitalist small-scale-agrarian setting. It made much more of an impression on me than John Wright’s The Golden Age, though the latter also promotes elitist themes by centering on an aloof aristocracy.

  100. anteprepro says

    Wow. John’s baleeted article on SciFi starts off with calling gays “perverts” and using the term “homosex”, then abomination, then says he expects that there will soon be sex scenes involving small children, farm animals, and corpses. You know, the usual foaming at the mouth level of homophobia. Then suddenly he gets defensive about Mormons, and says “Evil is our good” and can’t read the other half of the article for fear that he will get more ridiculous.

    Yeah. John C. Wright can fuck right off. No wonder he is defending Card and Beale. He is just yet another bigot who has wormed his way into the realm of science fiction.

  101. anteprepro says

    Inaji

    Heh. The first thing I thought of when reading Wright’s account was a co-worker of mine once upon a time. She had been home, and after dining, became convinced she was having a heart attack, a bad one. She was screaming a la Wright, and the paramedic attending her in the ambulance told her flat out that as she was screaming, she wasn’t having a heart attack. Turned out she had one hella bad case of gas.

    This actually happened to me in middle school. Incredible amount of pain in my chest, and I was kind of going numb, and I was terrified and thinking I was going to die. And then…flatulence. As embarrassing as it was, the sudden relief from pain and the fear that I was actually suffering a heart attack more than overcame that!

  102. Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^= says

    110, anteprepro,

    That must have been terrifying, you poor kid! I’m so glad it was just gas!

  103. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    John Wright’s The Golden Age… also promotes elitist themes by centering on an aloof aristocracy.

    Well I can get that- and much more, including humour and good prose- in Jane Austen and P.G. Wodehouse, Pierce R. Butler.

  104. says

    SC whatever

    Someone who is large and powerful may be seen as physically intimidating and/or sexually harassing when they aren’t trying to be; someone who isn’t may not be seen as sexually harassing even when they are trying to be.

    Are you seriously trying to play the “oh, it’s not actually sexual harassment, it’s just a misunderstanding” schtick?
    No, it is not. Believe me, I’m quite small. Wether I feel safe with a guy or not does 100% NOT depend on his physical size but completely on his behaviour.
    I am pretty much able to recognize if somebody is groping me, no matter if they’re 5 feet or 6 feet.
    Stop trying to explain sexual harassment to people who’ve had a life-time of it.
    FFS

  105. lindsay says

    @sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d

    I think–no, I know–that your public/private distinction is bullshit. I was repeatedly publicly sexually harassed in the halls of my junior high school due to being ‘blessed’ with large breasts at a young age. Then, two of the boys who regularly sexually harassed me publicly dragged me under the gym bleachers at a school dance and proceeded to sexually assault me… privately. After they had their satisfaction, they publicly bragged about what they did to several other boys.

  106. opposablethumbs says

    scNumbers, you are apparently using your very own definition of sexual harassment – one that does not match how the terms is actually used. Note that you are defining it solely in terms of the perpetrator’s pov – in terms of what the perpetrator is aiming to achieve – and ignoring the pov of the victim, ignoring what the victim actually experiences and the effect it has.
    Not only is intent not magic, it is totally bloody irrelevant here. Who gives a flying fuck that someone just grabbed you sexually but they did it because they wanted to impress a third party rather than giving a toss about the effect on you? What matters is the marginalisation, erasure and harm experienced by the victim.

  107. Juliana Ewing says

    Equally, I don’t think bottom-pinching is sexual, the way Asimov did it, because it isn’t aimed at producing a sexual response.

    Frederick Pohl on Asimov:

    “Accordingly, he began supplying his lacks through a series of affairs.

    I don’t know the identities of most of his partners in the affairs, but as it happens I do know where he had them. That’s because on one later occasion he and I agreed to meet for some purpose in the lobby of a big old Boston hotel just off the Common. When Isaac got there he looked around, grinning, and volunteered that this was the place where he used to take his girlfriends. But he didn’t say who those girlfriends were, and I didn’t ask…But by the latter ’60s, he had become a good deal more adventurous. On meeting an attractive woman — one who was not obviously the Most Significant Other of some male friend–he was inclined to touch her–not immediately on any Off Limits part of her anatomy but in a fairly fondling way. (When I called him on it once, he said, “It’s like the old saying. You get slapped a lot, but you get laid a lot, too.”)”

  108. says

    Pierce R Butler

    It made much more of an impression on me than John Wright’s The Golden Age, though the latter also promotes elitist themes by centering on an aloof aristocracy.

    Walter Jon Williams’ Aristoi is a very interesting exploration of that concept in a post-singularity society. I heartily recommend it. Also his Implied Spaces for a post-Singularity world without one.

  109. says

    sc numbers:

    All the same, it seems to be a cultural change rather than an enormous number of people changing their minds because they’ve thought about it.

    Do what?!
    How do you effect a cultural change without an enormous number of people changing their minds because they’ve thought about it?