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Friday, August 23, 2013

The culture of abuse

The Mad Genius and former SFWA member that is Kate Paulk slogs her way through my response to the SFWA Board report and finds it not only worth reading, but apparently not entirely lacking in entertainment value.  She also determines that SFWA is a "culture of abuse":
Naturally, he has made public his response to the shit-sheet… ahem… report. I recommend reading it. My knowledge of the SFWA by-laws from actually reading the wretched things when the last revision of them came up for a vote is that Mr Beale’s facts are 100% accurate. That’s something I’ve noticed with him: you can disagree with him on how to interpret the data, but the data he offers is usually pretty damned accurate.

Among the many things Mr Beale is totally correct about is the culture of abuse within TOFKASFWA. Name-calling that could make a dock worker blush is one of the charming features of the regular shit-storms, right alongside a truly remarkable lack of originality and wit in the insults being flung right and left… mostly from left to right, but but that’s another story. You’d think a collection of speculative fiction writers could manage better insults than endless conjugations of the standard four letter words (and no, I don’t mean ‘work’ and ‘food’).

Having read Mr Beale’s “vigorous” responses to some of these childish inanities, I can say with a degree of authority that he’s definitely more imaginative, and often more witty. He even manages to be self-deprecating once or twice.

As for the substance of the alleged offenses he allegedly committed: it’s pretty clear that every sin Mr Beale committed against TOFKASFWA was committed in greater quantity by what seems like half the flipping membership. Possibly half the non-flipping membership, too. Since they apparently don’t keep accurate membership records (in violation of their by-laws and the relevant laws for non-profit organization in the two states they’re incorporated in – because their MA incorporation is not over and they’ve taken out CA incorporation. Possibly in violation of Federal laws for their tax status as a non-profit as well) it’s a little difficult to tell what proportion of the membership does anything.
Actually, it's not too hard to tell what the barely published affiliate members who are pushing the pinkshirt agenda do. They clearly spend considerably more time reading obscure feminist sociology papers than they do publishing anything.  I suspect that what will ultimately be seen to have killed SFWA in the end is the removal of the requalifying requirement for Active membership; the techno-democratization of publishing may have eliminated SFWA's original raison d'etre, but it was the makeup of the membership that prevented it from finding a new one still related to the creation of science fiction.

I have to confess that I am just a little disappointed no one has yet managed to identify the stylized way in which I began my response. I mean, I'm not at all surprised that it went right over the head of the relatively poorly read members of the SFWA Board, but I would have thought that more people here would have caught the reference.  I thought it was rather funny myself, but then, as Spacebunny assures me, I am the only one who truly appreciates my own sense of humor.

Kate Another Mad Genius, Dave Freer, also has some interesting thoughts on publishing and probability that the writers here will probably find worth checking out.

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34 Comments:

Anonymous zen0 August 23, 2013 4:11 AM  

Having just now read the opening paragraph of your response, I am going with My Name Is Asher Lev

Blogger John Williams August 23, 2013 4:35 AM  

So, why would any writer care what the Socialist Fat Woman's Association does?

Anonymous FrankNorman August 23, 2013 4:35 AM  

Among the many things Mr Beale is totally correct about is the culture of abuse within TOFKASFWA. Name-calling that could make a dock worker blush is one of the charming features of the regular shit-storms, right alongside a truly remarkable lack of originality and wit in the insults being flung right and left… mostly from left to right, but but that’s another story. You’d think a collection of speculative fiction writers could manage better insults than endless conjugations of the standard four letter words (and no, I don’t mean ‘work’ and ‘food’).


I think we're all starting to notice how so many people on the Secular Left seem to suffer from Tourette's Syndrome.

Anonymous Sigyn August 23, 2013 6:39 AM  

Slightly OT, but meanwhile, you're not allowed to make fun of the NSA, even on a T-shirt.

Does the government even HAVE copyright, uh, rights?

Anonymous Sigyn August 23, 2013 6:45 AM  

Ergh, linky didn't link.

Here you go.

Blogger Justthisguy August 23, 2013 7:09 AM  

Wow, that Kate Paulk is sharp, and _fierce_. I must remember that I should not get on her bad side.

Anonymous trk August 23, 2013 7:46 AM  

that PDF could be used as a guideline in college on how to write a formal response. Also the 60 line items about McRapey attacking you were too funny. I kept scrolling...and scrolling...and scrolling...

Anonymous Josh August 23, 2013 7:56 AM  

I have to confess that I am just a little disappointed no one has yet managed to identify the stylized way in which I began my response.

Cicero?

Anonymous bbtp August 23, 2013 8:50 AM  

I came here to post My Name is Asher Lev only to find I'd been scooped in the first post. I guess that's how you know this site is full of retards like the SFWA people say...

--bbtp

Blogger James Dixon August 23, 2013 8:51 AM  

> Does the government even HAVE copyright, uh, rights?

Yes, but they're owned by the American people,not the agencies as such. And this was obviously fair use.

Anonymous Daniel August 23, 2013 9:36 AM  

You didn't ask. It is styled after My Name is Asher Lev. It was well played. Probably Nebula-worthy.

Blogger Justthisguy August 23, 2013 9:38 AM  

Projecting much, are you, bbtp?

Blogger Conan the Cimmerian August 23, 2013 9:43 AM  

I thought it was rather funny myself, but then, as Spacebunny assures me, I am the only one who truly appreciates my own sense of humor.

My wife tells me this (or a variety of this) all of the time.

Hail to the King, baby.

Anonymous maniacprovost August 23, 2013 10:13 AM  

Wow, that Vox Day is sharp, and _fierce_. I must remember that I should not get on his bad side.

Hmm, it doesn't sound right when applied to a man of a certain age. Are my ears sexist or was it just that patronizing?

Blogger James Dixon August 23, 2013 10:17 AM  

> Projecting much, are you, bbtp?

I think that was intended as a joke, Justthisguy. But it's really hard to tell anymore, I'll admit.

Anonymous Daniel August 23, 2013 10:38 AM  

Theden has an interesting take on the matter, as well. Bonus coverage of Scalzi in a dress.

Blogger JaimeInTexas August 23, 2013 10:41 AM  

I thought of Former Admiral James Stockdale when he introduced himself.
:)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKpX-5jQjQ0

I also thought of North To Freedom. I think that the first sentence in the book started with "I am David."

Anonymous MendoScot August 23, 2013 11:28 AM  

I've never read My Name is Asher Lev, but the rhetorical style in that first paragraph nonetheless struck me as familiar. Is there an older source?

Blogger Longstreet August 23, 2013 11:37 AM  

I've never read "My Name..." either, but that response was, from the first word to the last, a thing of great, poetic beauty.

"that PDF could be used as a guideline in college on how to write a formal response."
Indeed.

Anonymous Steveo August 23, 2013 12:16 PM  

Ditto with regard to the quality response...

The house of cards of the left is built on a foundation of style over substance. No one, under any circumstances can be allowed to admit the fact that the style is nothing... and the substance everything. Their worldview will not allow it. This negative energy to the rabbit-motive force self-annihilates when they meet; leaving only paralyzed rabbits of stone (which, brings forth the amusing irony with regard to reestablishing substance).

Blogger LP2020 August 23, 2013 1:03 PM  

Gee, I am sad the hilarity might end. But of course, Vox would be proven accurate, the guy didn't lie but presented the facts in response to what I call a pissy report.

Team Vox.

We will see how the rabbits move forward now.

Anonymous Anonymous August 23, 2013 1:14 PM  

Nobody recognizes the beginning of the response because it comes from a Jemisin novel.

Anonymous Myrddin August 23, 2013 2:05 PM  

The numbers/probability post is by Dave Freer. The Mad Genius Club blog has multiple authors, not just Kate Paulk. Sarah Hoyt also writes for them, for instance.

Anonymous TWS August 23, 2013 4:17 PM  

@ Vox & Conan

I believe this is a universal trait of wives. In my memory, every wife I know has said some variation of, "you're not funny" to her husband. Many were couched in gentler terms however.

Blogger Kate Paulk August 23, 2013 4:18 PM  

Myrddin, thanks for pointing out that Dave Freer wrote the Numbers post. The Mad Genius Club is a group blog with an eclectic collection of interests between all of us.

Thanks also for the notice, Vox. I object on principle to what the supposed "advocates" for Science Fiction and Fantasy are doing to authors they disagree with and the industry in general. I'd object to what they're doing to themselves in the process, but they have the absolute right to screw themselves in whatever fashion they choose. It's the taking others down with them that's the problem.

Anonymous Chancellor Gorkon August 23, 2013 4:21 PM  

I wanna guess the John Galt speech from Atlas Shrugged. I'm probably wrong, so don't feel insulted if you're not a fan of that speech or book.

Anonymous VD August 23, 2013 4:50 PM  

I object on principle to what the supposed "advocates" for Science Fiction and Fantasy are doing to authors they disagree with and the industry in general.

I don't disagree. And yet, what bothers me more is them trying to claim the mantle of Tolkien and Heinlein when they are actively urinating on practically everything such men believed.

Martin the American Tolkien? Scalzi the new Heinlein? It is like a sick and twisted joke. They might as reasonably posit R. Scott Bakker the new CS Lewis.

Anonymous Chancellor Gorkon August 23, 2013 5:24 PM  

Yes, upon a bit of research, I found this quote to a book I've never read, and it reads like Vox' opening paragraph.

“My name is Asher Lev... I am a traitor, an apostate, a self-hater, an inflicter of shame upon my family, my friends, my people; also, I am a mocker of ideas sacred to Christians, a blasphemous manipulator of modes and forms revered by Gentiles for two thousand years.”
― Chaim Potok, My Name Is Asher Lev

http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/924688-my-name-is-asher-lev"

I'm still learning how to post a website as a link.

Anonymous Daniel August 23, 2013 5:50 PM  

They might as reasonably posit R. Scott Bakker the new CS Lewis.

You sick SOB. If Bakker ever delivers The Rape Trilogy of:

Out of the Silent Scream
Polyandryland
That Hideous Stench

...I'm going to blame you for inspiring it.

{To say nothing of the possibility of The Lying Witch in the Warg's Robe, Surprised by Joysticks and Till We Have Feces}

The Adversary invents nothing, creates nothing. He can only, only, only ever accept what is already made...and subtract.

Anonymous Daniel August 23, 2013 5:54 PM  

...See also current art. We went from Michelangelo - to geometry - to copies of geometry - to deconstructed geometry - to lint and dust. The good art being made today is not considered to be culturally significant.

Blogger GK Chesterton August 23, 2013 8:32 PM  

On art...I'll actually say this isn't true. I live in a very affluent spot and like going to art galleries. What is in _museum's_ is trash. What is in galleries...you know the stuff real people pay for and hang in their houses and not the stuff paid for by the National Endowment for the Arts, is still pretty good.

Anonymous tungsten August 23, 2013 10:50 PM  

Nice style, Vox! Though, given the limitations of the intended audience, perhaps you should have chosen a more obvious opening verse to adapt for the beginning of your response.

Call me Vox Day. Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having lots or much money in my wallet, and nothing particular to interest me at the moment, I thought I would become a fantasy writer and join the SFWA.

Blogger tz August 24, 2013 4:38 PM  

Perhaps we need a fund to contribute so that Joan Scalzi can fix his contradictory endocrine system along the lines of the recently convicted Womanning.

Anonymous Daniel August 25, 2013 12:46 AM  

On art...I'll actually say this isn't true.

I agree: museums are still positioned as the cultural arbiters - state approved, of course. New good art is everywhere - just not...in the art books, the university classes, the museums, the critics...etc. Go to an art festival where people are trying to make money, and you'll get the good stuff, but if it doesn't impress the clerics, it is not "culture."

You'll see Robert Longo in a retrospective of 80s art, for example...or all that East Village junk. You won't see H.R. Giger.

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