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Author Topic: If big themes like sexuality in SF can't be discussed on this forum  (Read 4163 times)
ElectricPaladin
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« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2011, 04:39:40 PM »

See also "You're just being overemotional" and "You're just oversensitive" in Derailing For Dummies for more information, and keep in mind that those of us who feel strongly about this issue deal with your shit all the time and that nothing you say is original. Like, imagine your name is Dora, and every time you meet someone new they make a Dora the Explorer joke, and you're really fucking sick of it. Well, dealing with people who say things like "I'm not homophobic but I don't want to see (gay people doing whatever)" or "Geez you're overreacting so much to X" whenever we state our opinions is kind of like that, only our opinions are deeply held beliefs that we've spent significant time refining (I read a shitload of feminist blogs and basically majored in feminism).

Because we're being all frank and stuff, I'm going to be contrarian and say that I've never found this argument very helpful. Frankly, I've always found it more than a little derailing, itself. I fail to see how it's helpful to tell someone "I'm so sick of your shit that I can't be bothered to talk to you." It's a totally valid place to be, emotionally, but I don't see how it contributes to the discourse. Your opinions are deeply held beliefs... but so are his, and mine, and Scattercat's, and almost every other person who has been on earth for any significant length of time past the end of adolescence. Saying "I majored in this" and "I've thought about this a lot" as though it meant that another's opinions are invalid doesn't accomplish anything, it just puts people on the defensive.

Or, think about it this way: I (like everyone else) once held a lot of opinions that I don't anymore. I (again, like everyone else) changed my mind because of the people I encountered. I had a open mind, and they had open mouths. If they'd said "shut up, you're wrong, and I don't have time for your well-intentioned but ignorant bullshit" I'd probably still be a much bigger jerk than I am today.
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eytanz
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« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2011, 05:00:11 PM »

I'm a bit confused here, electricpaladin - are you responding to what Norareed said or to the manner in which she said it? She was being extremely confrontational, which, while justifiable, is also not particularly helpful. But what she said did not seem very problematic to me.
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ElectricPaladin
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« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2011, 05:06:14 PM »

I'm a bit confused here, electricpaladin - are you responding to what Norareed said or to the manner in which she said it? She was being extremely confrontational, which, while justifiable, is also not particularly helpful. But what she said did not seem very problematic to me.

How so? I think I made it pretty clear what I found problematic about her statement; I'm eager to hear how you disagree with me.
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eytanz
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« Reply #23 on: March 04, 2011, 05:15:54 PM »

I just don't see it; "you're overreacting" isn't a deeply set belief, it's a dismissal of someone else's opinion. Her point about how many times she's heard it is somewhat orthogonal to her main point; it was just as dismissive the first time she heard it.
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Scattercat
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« Reply #24 on: March 04, 2011, 05:20:29 PM »

I'm a bit confused here, electricpaladin - are you responding to what Norareed said or to the manner in which she said it? She was being extremely confrontational, which, while justifiable, is also not particularly helpful. But what she said did not seem very problematic to me.

I think ElecPal was basically saying that while it's understandable that someone would get testy after a daily barrage of the same nonsense, it still doesn't help to actually be testy at people.  That is, it's an explanation, but not much of a justification.

@Balu - I see no reason why 5% of the population can't have 10% of the starring roles in a particular subsection of stories.  Couple of things:  First, this is a trend, not an editorial policy.  Things run in streaks.  Recall the numbers from the original thread; a similar percentage of stories in the same time period were by Tim Pratt, and another significant percentage involved goats.  Stuff happens and it's not always smooth grade-school style turn-taking.  Second, ten percent is still a tiny fraction of the total amount of stories, and any claim that such a trend involves a dominant or overpowering amount is nonsense on the face of it.  This is why everyone assumed that the OP had some... other issues at stake, since while others might have noticed an uptick in the trend of lesbian protagonists, it didn't bother them particularly.

If a given story uses a gay character as shock value only, then you can certainly point out that story and say, "Hey, this character here has no traits other than being gay.  What gives?"  The presence of a 10% lesbian quotient is irrelevant to that discussion in any particular story.  If this podcast featured nothing BUT lesbian protagonists, it would STILL be irrelevant, because BEING GAY IS NOT A WEIRD OR NOTEWORTHY THING.  The only reason a character's sexuality should be raised as a criticism against a story is if that sexuality is used in a lazy or exploitative manner.  Make your case on individual stories.  The editors have ALL reassured you that there is no particular policy or political statement intended in the upward-trending percentage of lesbian protagonists, and basically the only reason to keep arguing at this point is because you've got some sort of weird axe to grind with people of different sexualities or if you think that there's some bizarre conspiracy at play.
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Balu
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« Reply #25 on: March 04, 2011, 06:07:12 PM »

I see no reason why 5% of the population can't have 10% of the starring roles in a particular subsection of stories.

Me neither. My point is not that they shouldn't. My point is that it is statistically improbable that they should. This doesn't bother me but it does lead me to wonder why, just as I wonder why we don't have many stories set in outer space or why cats are never the bad guys.

Also SF can be a bit of a miner's canary. This makes me wonder if this surfeit of lesbians is a peculiarity of EP's editorial whim or is it indicative of some change in the real world? I don't know, but it is interesting to think about what such trends in the field might mean.

The editors have ALL reassured you that there is no particular policy or political statement intended in the upward-trending percentage of lesbian protagonists, and basically the only reason to keep arguing at this point is because you've got some sort of weird axe to grind with people of different sexualities or if you think that there's some bizarre conspiracy at play.

A zeitgeist isn't a conspiracy.

10% lesbian quotient

Thanks! I've got the name. Now all I need is the band to go with it.

« Last Edit: March 04, 2011, 06:20:09 PM by Balu » Logged
eytanz
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« Reply #26 on: March 04, 2011, 06:19:30 PM »

Ok, people - this thread has crossed over from becoming a discussion of moderation policy to becoming a continuation of the thread I locked. I'm partially to blame here, but it stops, now. In the previous thread, I said that if anyone has anything more to say about that, they should PM me. That holds again. I'm leaving this thread open for anyone who wants to complain about my draconian moderation practices, but from this post onwards, any posts on the topic of how many lesbians are plausible in fiction that were not preceded by a PM to me will be deleted.

And note, at this point, that this is not because of what is being said. What is being said is immaterial. This is about the fact that it is not appropriate to circumvent a thread lock by moving the discussion to a different thread.
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Scattercat
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« Reply #27 on: March 04, 2011, 06:27:02 PM »

The original post/thread was very combative and accusatory, and this thread likewise opened with a pretty direct attack on the forum moderators.  What is it you want, exactly?  The original complaint ("Too many lesbians") was not really worth bringing up, and if one did feel the need to point it out, it should have been handled much more delicately and without the shouty bits and the implications that lesbians were as outre as robot dinosaurs.  That thread was closed for very simple and clearly explained reasons, i.e. me and the loudmouths taking potshots at somebody who wrote a really tone-deaf post.  (And that first post really was quite offensive to anyone who is queer or a queer ally, primarily because it took as a given the idea that lesbians were somehow noteworthy solely because they were lesbians, and that stories needed a reason for a character to be gay beyond, "Hey, this character happens to be gay.")  

So the OP was written with the proverbial plank in the eye and provoked a shitstorm (or as much of a shitstorm as the EA forums ever sees), and the reasons for the closing were stated in the post that closed that thread.  Why are you still waving a banner about any of this?  It's a bit late to try and divert this particular thread into some kind of coffee-and-snacks chat about possible trends of sex and sexuality in science fiction (there are already several threads about those topics up in the "About Science Fiction" forum).
« Last Edit: March 04, 2011, 06:31:15 PM by Scattercat » Logged

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Balu
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« Reply #28 on: March 04, 2011, 06:29:28 PM »

any posts on the topic of how many lesbians are plausible in fiction that were not preceded by a PM to me will be deleted.

What about posts pointing out how trippy it is that we're haggling over numbers of lesbians as if they're knock off Armanis or kilos of stolen lead roofing ?
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Balu
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« Reply #29 on: March 04, 2011, 06:47:36 PM »

A zeitgeist doesn't require editorial explanation to the readers, either, and one can hardly expect those in the middle of said zeitgeist to be completely aware of the myriad influences upon them.  The editors explained that it was not done with any premeditated intent, and that is the end of it as far as reasonable inquiry should be concerned.

On the contrary. The fact that they didn't do it with any premeditated intent is exactly what makes it so interesting.

I don't think it's blowing too much smoke up anybody's ass to say that EP is an intellectual market leader. It's definitely up there with the Best New SF as a sort of state of the genre art. 

You see a real world social trend playing out here you've got to wonder why.

(BTW, I know that the original thread was a hamfisted way of addressing this. I'm just more interested in evolving the debate than worrying about whether Anonymous X might secretly be Bristol Palin).
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Scattercat
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« Reply #30 on: March 04, 2011, 06:51:01 PM »

I think it's time for you to head back up to the About SF forum and start a thread, then.  Link to some articles.  Make it a good time.  I'll participate a little, if something interesting happens.  (I'm not particularly interested in discussions of current zeitgeist, really, and didn't do much in any of the previous threads about this.)

This fighty little thread is def'nitely not the place for it.
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NoraReed
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« Reply #31 on: March 04, 2011, 08:07:25 PM »

I've left a lot of forums because threads like the original one made me feel unwelcome. I really appreciate the intervention on Mur's part.

A lot of us don't have much fight in us. We're used to being dismissed, and we'll lurk and then leave, quietly, when someone complains about us. So thanks to the editor for stepping in on this.

I'd happily jump into a thread about queer themes in science fiction, because I think that's an interesting topic, as long as it doesn't become a Queer 101 space (or a Polyamory 101 space if you wanna get all Heinlein up in here).
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UnfulredJohnson
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« Reply #32 on: October 12, 2014, 01:47:50 PM »

Zeitgeist. Great word. Interesting thread.  I would think the current 'zeitgeist', at least in sci-fi, is quite liberal in its politics. Can you say that? I feel like I can't say that. And why not, what's wrong with saying that?

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eytanz
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« Reply #33 on: October 12, 2014, 04:40:58 PM »

Zeitgeist. Great word. Interesting thread.  I would think the current 'zeitgeist', at least in sci-fi, is quite liberal in its politics. Can you say that? I feel like I can't say that. And why not, what's wrong with saying that?

You can say whatever you want - though if you choose to say it on these boards, you need to do so according to the rules of the forum (i.e. in a manner respectful of other people). I'm not entirely sure why you chose to say it in a three year old thread about a different topic.
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UnfulredJohnson
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« Reply #34 on: October 12, 2014, 06:27:18 PM »

I was just browsing the forums and I saw 'sexuality' and I was all like click, click. I guess people don't post much in the metachat cause it was still up at the top someplace. I had to google Zeitgeist to see what it meant. So thats why I said that.
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Scattercat
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« Reply #35 on: October 12, 2014, 09:28:42 PM »

It's certainly becoming more liberal than it once was, or was perceived to be.  Not sure why anyone couldn't point that out.  For example, we finally have non-white people or non-straight-dude people (or even both at once) finally being nominated for or winning awards that used to look a lot like the lists of U.S. Presidents.  In the sense of being more open and welcoming, that would seem to be a shift toward "liberality." 

But if you want to talk about that stuff, a new thread does seem to make a lot more sense than necro-ing unrelated topics.  Probably also a better fit in the "general off-topic" zone than "metachat," which is mostly about forum operations in themselves.
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Splinters of Silver and Glass - The Mirrorshards Book
UnfulredJohnson
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« Reply #36 on: October 13, 2014, 05:51:22 AM »

I guess I wouldn't want to point that out because 'Zeitgeist' is a clever way of referencing the politics in sci-fi without doing so directly. It also implies so kind of social agenda in sci-fi as opposed to a straight up meritocracy. But maybe thats just me being overly sensitive. Its an argument I have been following on and off for a while and I love to see smart people fight.

I have to admire the sparing in this thread. It's clear and sharp and I don't think I'd last long in argument at this level. Anyway, thats all. You can lock it or delete or whatever.I didn't know you weren't supposed to post in old threads, my bad.
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