And just when I might have felt the slightest smidgeon of self-doubt or contrition about my last post on science fiction, along comes a fresh sci-fi controversy to prove my point – in exhaustive, exhausting, relentless, grotesque, ridiculous detail. Yes, I’m talking about Dave Truesdale, founder and managing editor of the sci-fi review magazine Tangent, and now vigilante crusader for First Amendment rights to ogle big-bazoomba’d buxom blizzard-bound broads on the covers of the Bulletin of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SWFA) – an organization of which he is not a member.
And to make sure no one is left in any doubt, Truesdale has turned over the homepage of “the genre’s premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy” to a strident masthead declaring SFWA President Endorses Politically Correct Bulletin Censorship. In the ensuing post, he immediately evokes the First Amendment and Andrew Hamilton, as well as Charlton Heston declaring that “political correctness is tyranny with manners.” And he’s circulated a petition which managed to secure quite a few illustrious names, including Harlan Ellison and Gene Wolfe, to endorse his point of view.
Just as a refresher, here is what the SWFA Bulletin reforms are supposed to be about. “The cover of the 200th issue of the Bulletin was part and parcel of the furor that has led to its suspension,” states Truesdale’s petition. “Cries of ‘sexism,’ portraying women as “sex objects,” and other like phrases reached the ears of the President and will now become part of the “review process.” But there is a slightly awkward problem here. Truesdale’s petition on Tangent appears to be a tad different to the original petition, here courtesy of Natalie Luhrs, which includes such memorable passages as: “Gay men frequent gay bars for sex, don’t they? They are sexually attracted to other men and enjoy looking at the male form in person or in gay magazines or on the internet, just as straight men (and women) frequent clubs and bars and the internet for possible sexual liaisons—or merely to look. The same would hold true for the lesbian community. There are certain bars and clubs where lesbians feel comfortable among those of their specific sexual orientation, who, among other reasons, go for possible sexual liaisons.”
All that mysteriously disappeared from the version on Tangent. I wonder why? A shame Truesdale denied us that wonderful primer in LGBT awareness.
C.C. Finlay (yes, that Hugo and Nebula Award nominated C.C. Finlay) states his view of the petition here. first describing the consultation exercise with the membership that led to the SWFA contemplating its new plans. “Some other people who disagree with the results of the survey are now passing a petition to try to silence other members of SFWA and keep things the way they used to be,” he declares. “I also find it ironic that this divisive petition has been created and circulated by someone who is not a member of SFWA and hasn’t been for many years. It makes me wonder what the real goal is of this fear-mongering. If you don’t like the decisions of SFWA’s officers, vote for different officers. If you don’t like the work being done by the volunteers, then volunteer. That’s the same thing I would say to the man who created this petition… only he’s not a member.”
You can have great fun reviewing the legion of other examples of sci-fi bad behavior at the links above. It’s only the tip of the iceberg. Where do they get such appallingly anti-social attitudes, I do wonder. Too long living inside imaginary wish-fulfillment worlds, perhaps?