Are the Science Fiction “Culture Wars” Still Alive and Well?

dragon

Image found at DragonCon.org

I’ve tried to steer this blog away from the more controversial and/or political topics I’ve covered in the past, but then I read Richard Paloinelli’s missive Wikipedia or WikiPravda?. Richard and I share some similar viewpoints, but I lack many of the wounds and scars he’s received in the past, such as those attributed to Mike Glyer at the File 770 science fiction fanzine. I think I was contended with there exactly once. It actually impressed me, since relative to Glyer’s readership, I’m pretty much a nobody.

In the recent past, I’ve heard that Wikipedia, Patreon, and YouTube have been accused of attempting to shut out politically and socially conservative creative voices through censorship and defunding. Since I’m merely a consumer of Wikipedia and YouTube and wouldn’t know what to do with Patreon, I’ve had no personal experience, but on the other hand, I have no trouble believing they are all biased left, either.

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Disney’s Wonderful Opportunity in Casting an African-American “Little Mermaid”

bailey mermaid

Credit: Bailey: Rex/Shutterstock: Mermaid Snap/Shutterstock

I’ve been reading a lot lately about how 19-year-old R & B singer Halle Bailey has been cast in the role of Ariel in Disney’s live action remake of the 1989 animated feature The Little Mermaid. Certainly, a generation has grown up watching and delighting to this film.

More recently, Disney has taken to reimaging many of their 1980s and ’90s animated successes into live action films. I guess “the Mouse” has just plain run out of ideas. Actor Will Smith played the genie in the Aladdin remake, which I haven’t seen, but it’s hard to imagine Robin Williams not being the genie. Actually, I haven’t seen any of the remakes, and probably won’t unless its with my grandchildren (and so far, the next movie my ten-year-old grandson wants to see in the theater is Spider-Man: Far From Home).

According to multiple news outlets including SBS.com.au and The Root, there’s a huge amount of white outrage and a “Big Mad” over (hashtag) #NotMyAriel in twitter. Conservative commentators, including Matt Walsh claim otherwise, and the battle over social justice once more reigns in the news and social media.

Meh.

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Kavanaugh Being Confirmed to SCOTUS or a Snowball in Hell: Which Has Better Odds?

I put the following in a comment on my original Kavanaugh post, but things are heating up and I decided I wanted to write a full essay.

Here’s the comment:

Apparently, a new Cavanaugh accuser has come forward, but her allegations are disturbing for a number of reasons:

In an explosive statement released by (her attorney Michael) Avenatti, Swetnick claimed that in the 1980s she witnessed efforts by Kavanaugh and his classmate, Mark Judge, to get teenage girls “inebriated and disoriented so they could then be ‘gang raped’ in a side room or bedroom by a ‘train’ of numerous boys.”

“I have a firm recollection of seeing boys lined up outside rooms at many of these parties waiting for their ‘turn’ with a girl inside the room,” she alleged in the statement. “These boys included Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh.”

Swetnick alleged she became one of the victims of “one of these ‘gang’ or ‘train’ rapes.” She did not say that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her.

Of course, it’s disturbing that Kavanaugh and Judge, as teens, (allegedly) maliciously got teenage girls intoxicated and then arranged gang or train rapes. If true, there may be scores of victims out there, and even after all this time, the cases could go criminal, or at least result in massive civil trials.

The other part is that Swetnick apparently didn’t do anything to protect these victims. I know that victims themselves often don’t disclose for long periods of time after their assault, but supposedly Swetnick knew exactly what was going on and did nothing either during the event or afterwards. It’s one thing to keep your own assault private, and another thing entirely to fail to protect girls who presumably were your friends and classmates.

All that aside, that’s three separate women coming forward, with the potential of more to come, which looks pretty grim for Kavanaugh.

Oh, as for attorney Michael Avenatti, what kind of lawyer protects his client’s privacy by putting her name and photograph on this twitter account?

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The WorldCon 76 Incident: This Never Happened to Me on Twitter Before

Apparently, discussing WorldCon 76 and the tremendous mess they’re currently in on twitter has involved me in a bit of a conversation. Really, nothing like this has happened to me before. I’m pretty amazed. Of course, it’s more than just the WorldCon issue involved, so just for giggles, I’m posting a screen capture (actually, several merged together) of the entire dialog. I didn’t know what to say, so thus far, I haven’t responded.

twitter

twitter screen capture

the next part.

Is There Value Left in WorldCon and the Hugo Awards?

hugo

Found at io9.gizmodo.com – No image credit available

I’ve continued to consider the problems I’ve read about recently regarding the upcoming WorldCon 2018, which I wrote about yesterday.

Since I’m not published in SF/F (although I am as far as textbooks and self-study guides go), I suppose it shouldn’t be particularly relevant. To the best of my understanding, the Cons (and it has been over 20 years since I attended any SF/F convention), allow fans to meet and greet their favorite authors as well as up and coming talent, plus provide authors a big marketing opportunity, so ideally, it should be a win-win.

Also, again to the best of my understanding, a number of awards, including the Hugos are presented at WorldCon, which traditionally has been a big deal.

But are the Hugos still a big deal?

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Whose Voice Is It, Anyway?

men describe women chart

Found at Electric Lit online magazine (click on the image to see a larger version)

The chart posted above was acquired from the article If You’re Not Sure How a Male Author Would Describe You, Use Our Handy Chart over at the Electric Lit online magazine. As I understand it, the chart was created as a gag, and I found it pretty funny. In fact, I toyed with the idea of writing a story using the chart just as a joke.

Then it took on a life of its own on twitter, as reported at the same magazine, in an essay titled ‘Describe Yourself Like a Male Author Would’ Is the Most Savage Twitter Thread in Ages.

Apparently a male author claimed he could write authentic female characters, and was immediately challenged by Gwen C. Katz (@gwenckatz). A combination of hilarity, hostility, and moral angst ensued. I should say that after writing most of this missive, I noticed these articles were written last April, but they’ve showed up in my gmail inbox from Medium in the last couple of days. Wonder what the message is?

I decided to write about this because I’ve gotten a hold of a review copy of the To Be Men: Stories Celebrating Masculinity anthology edited by Sirius Métier and published by Superversive Press. It was published digitally about two weeks ago (as I write this) and seems to be doing pretty well, both relative to its Amazon reviews (five so far, and all five star ratings) and in terms of sales.

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