On SFWA & Sexism

If you follow many of the SF/Fantasy sites online, you've probably seen, at the least, references and links to a recent brouhaha over the SFWA BULLETIN and some particularly provocative comments by columnists Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg.  If you haven't, author Jim Hines has compiled a long list of links to sites discussing the controversy.

I've said before that my Number One Rule is "Try to not be an asshole."  I got around to formulating this rule by, well, being an asshole on past occasions.  I've learned to recognize some of that past assholery (sometimes with an assist from other people rubbing my nose in it), and try to use that recognition to avoid further social or intellectual errors.

Sometimes that assholery involved attitudes toward or statements about women.  There are a few fanzines or apa mailings from my early years in fandom that I would gladly burn all copies of, because of offhand remarks I made therein.  (Was I really so utterly clueless?  Yes.  Yes, I was.)

So it disturbs me to see two writers I respect, even older than I am, writing words that the twenty-year-old-me might have written.

I'm especially sad to see such a lack of self-awareness from Barry Malzberg, who I've always regarded as one of the Wise Old Men of Science Fiction.

One observation: When I was growing up in the 50's and 60's, "Lady" was what my family named our dog.

(Caveat: I am sixty goddamned years old, and not being an asshole is still a work in progress.  I try; I'm not always successful.)

1 comment:

Carl V. Anderson said...

It is hard to imagine a scenario in which these two were making any kind of innocent a-hole mistake, sadly, especially as it sounds like this was one of successive issues in which they made sexist statements. You are right, it is disappointing. Authors that old with that kind of forum may have lifelong beliefs that they cannot or will not part with, but you would think they would be savvy enough to know what should and should not be said in a public forum of that kind. Guess not.