31 May 2013

He Put Up a Barbed Wire Fence to Keep Out the Unknown, or: Why I May Never Join the SFWA

I'm about to give up on the SFWA. And I'm about to be that guy again.

Why, you ask?

Go read this. I'll wait. 

Hear that sound?

That's the sound of me planting my face firmly into my palm. That's the sound of me saying "oh for fuck's sake," muffled by said palm covering said face. That's the sound of me starting to give up hope that the genre I love will ever fully drag itself into the twenty-first century.

That's me. In the spotlight. Losing my religion.

. . . sorry. I'm sure you get the idea by now.

Here's the thing:

The Science Fiction Writers of America is supposed to be a professional organization, folks. It's supposed to be there to be a resource and a recourse for writers out there who need it. And it has almost always done an admirable job of this--better, sometimes, than some of the other similar professional organizations that purport to offer the same services to professionals in other fields. Which is why it's a shame that the SFWA keeps pulling this amateur night bullshit.

With that in mind, a few notes: 

A note to Messrs. Malzberg and Resnick: if government thugs have not kicked down your door, stormed into your house, and taken your computers, typewriters, pens, pencils and paper, and thrown you in jail forthwith, you have NOT EXPERIENCED CENSORSHIP. What you are actually experiencing is all from yourselves: to wit, a hissy-pissy of the sort that I would expect from my four year old son, not from professional men twenty or more years my senior. In short, you are behaving like assholes--excuse me, like childish assholes--because someone dared criticize you for being (get this) kind of assholish in something you said. Well guess what, boys: if the asshole fits, wear the motherfucker. Grow up and stop fucking whining. 

A note to Mr. C. J. Henderson: if you said that shit about Barbie dolls to a woman in my family, you would soon find yourself wearing your nutsack for a bow tie. Bear that in mind as you travel the travails of your life, and consider that maybe you should show a little dignity of your own and respect other people instead of judging them by some bullshit standards that were hidebound when Camille Paglia was a mote in Gloria Steinem's eye.

A note to the SFWA Bulletin staff: Three strikes, kids. At least three. And really, a lot of you should have known better after the Red Sonja cover debacle.

A note to outgoing SFWA president John Scalzi: I know this is SFWA business and you try to keep that separate from your online presence as a writer--but really, nothing about this? No statement as head of SFWA? This all happened on your watch, and whether or not you personally think you are, a lot of people in the community see you as a feminist ally. So, um . . . not cool, you know? Get your Gamma Rabbit on about this, man. Your input is needed.

A note to incoming SFWA president Steve Gould: this is going to land in your lap. Good luck. The field and the fandom has had a hard row to hoe with this kind of nonsense lately. So  . . . yeah, good luck.

A note to SFWA members: 25% of the annual SFWA budget goes into the production of issues of the Bulletin. Those are your dues in action. Speak up. Be heard. Maybe vote with those dues.

And finally a personal note: I am in the middle of getting my writing career off the ground. It was my plan, once I made enough professional sales, to join the SFWA and bear myself proudly as a member. Now, I am reconsidering that plan. Because it is my goal to be a professional writer. And it's quite possible I will have to reconsider my potential membership in SFWA. Because this? This is strictly amateur hour stuff. And a professional in any field should distance him or herself with such amateurish antics. They're an embarrassment. They're a liability.

They're unprofessional. And a true professional can't afford to be associated with them.

To Messrs. Malzberg, Resnick, Henderson, et al: Good luck in the future . . . because as the man said, that's where you're going to be living the rest of your lives. And the future doesn't forget this shit like it used to. bear that in mind as you approach the future . . . otherwise you're going to be relegated to the past pretty damned quickly.

Remain in light, faithful readers. See you soon.

UPDATE: John Scalzi is now taking some responsibility on Twitter--by sheepishly saying, "Yeah, it's on me," and asking people to email him at the SFWA president's office email address, more power to him, while incoming SFWA prez. Gould is engaging in a kind of "I have a black friend!" dissembling that sets my teeth on edge. meanwhile, Malzberg and Resnick have been bitching about "liberal fascism," whatever the fuck that's supposed to be.

Still unconvinced, guys. This is not the kind of organization a professional would want to be associated with.

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