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That said
This will get more attention than the award winners, I'm guessing.

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comment(s); comment here or there.

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And with a grand total of 1(one) comment, the excuse-making has started already.

The apologist also appeared to make a drunk angry response last night, but has reconsidered and removed it. But from the comments in that thread, it's clear that other people were offended, too (by both the speech and the folks making excuses).

Oh, so that rambling comment on Penwing was written while he was angry and drunk? And, according to comments down in the thread, "on my way to the toilet"? That is simply delightful. I can see Martin McGrath is going to make the situation better and not worse.

Also, it's still in the Google cache, unedited:

This is the part removed, I believe:

Sometimes there are things that it are not worth fighting over and sometimes there are things that are worth dying in the ditch for. This might involve burning some bridges. It might involve offending some people I like and respect. But this is my ditch.

Honestly, I think some of the stuff I’ve read online and some of the shite I’ve had people spit in my face in the last few hours has been hysterical.

I enjoy the work I do for the BSFA. I think I have contributed a fair amount over the last (slightly more than) a decade. But, tonight, I’m wondering what’s the point. I’ll be at the BSFA table from 10am tomorrow morning. If you want to try and bully someone, vent your spleen or protest – come and see me – it might be your last chance.

Super extra points for working "hysterical" into the rant like that.

OMG. You mean the version I read was after he toned it down?

Wow, hadn't heard the term "the new man" for so long my mind immediately went to Olaf Stapledon* before I finally remembered that it was a crap term from the Vanilla Ice-Age.

* except I couldn't remember his name initially because his name is basically "Oh lol Stapled-on", which is obviously The Wrong Name.

Indeed, it took me quite a while to remember where I'd heard that term before.

I'm pretty sure the up-to-date OMT in this context is "metrosexual'.

What I immediately thought of was the late-19th century "New Woman".

...mind goes straight to that wicked Kate Beaton, it does, and her velocipedestriennes...

There's no shortage of sexism in the US SF community, but dear gods, from sex ratios in UK anthologies, to who wins awards, to crap like what was reported here, it definitely looks like the UK SF community is considerably worse. I have no idea why this might be true.

It's the apologists I find particularly disturbing.

The apologist on that article just flatly states that he was offended by that which affected him personally; the rest, apparently, was fine. Maybe a little tasteless but okie dokie in his book.

If it's true that people were walking out, we'll be hearing about this elsewhere.

"Do come and have a chat. Perhaps we can put your outrage to positive use."

*palm - staple - forehead*

Yes, well-meant, but not helpful. If it's gone now, I can see why.

(Edited because my browser is not playing well with LJ today and is scattering comments at random. Apologies to our host, et al., for the confusion.)

Edited at 2012-04-09 01:07 pm (UTC)

The apologist on that article just flatly states that he was offended by that which affected him personally; the rest, apparently, was fine. Maybe a little tasteless but okie dokie in his book.

Yeah, that first comment is a doozy, isn't it. That bit was among my favorite moments. Extra points for the implication that if he was personally insulted and could still understand it was all meant in fun, why, anyone complaining must be humorless and oversensitive.

I'd seen some disgusted tweets and wondered vaguely what they were about. Now I know!

Your comment spurred me on to check out some tweets. James is right, we're going to be hearing about this for a while.

Thanks for that link! I'd only seen a few of those tweets.


Down in the comments to Cat Valente's LJ post about Christopher Priest, and how much harder it would be for a woman to get away with a rant like that

there's an interesting discussion about whether or not SF-community sexism is a primarily American problem. Valente says no. I think she's right.

...I suspect the first comment by Foz Meadows might have been partially inspired by the Racefail episode, which really was heavily mediated by national differences: racism is everywhere, but US racism and the responses to it have particular national characteristics emerging from the American experience of slavery which routinely baffle outsiders.

I don't think sexism in the Anglosphere works quite the same way; while the US has particular political problems arising from the power of the religious right (which are part of a currently developing crisis), the patterns of casual sexism are much more universal.

The rest of the Anglosphere seems to think calling a person slang terms for female genitalia as an insult is just hunky-dory. It's *amazing* the knots those people will tie themselves into justifying it.

I'd say sexism is much less examined there. If we have a current surplus of violent anti-woman ranters, it's because we're examining the problem and have found those assholes wanting.

The maddening thing about reaction is that it can make it seem like things are worse than they'd have been if nobody had rocked the boat. I suppose that's its purpose.

I think that was definitely Martin McGrath's initial purpose with the curiously militant rant on the original version of his post.

Agreed. During Racefail, there was a tangential issue where someone from the UK who was defending TNH called a woman who had criticized TNH a "cunt." The big excuse was that in the UK, "cunt" has nothing to do with female anatomy at all and we were all stupid for not knowing that.

Since then, I've seen that exact excuse trotted out constantly. Just yesterday I saw it in a Doug Stanhope rant. It's popular because these people think it excuses their behavior and they get to act superior to boot.

Shakespeare would be shocked to know the word doesn't mean female genitalia.

Terrific article with some really unfortunate comments.

Now that I think about it, that sentence could be used as a strict definition of "internet."

And tangentially, I have that exact picture of Monty Python on my bulletin board.

"Gimme an ‘L’! Gimme an ‘A’! Gimme an ‘M’! Gimme an ‘E’!"

My god even the criticism sucks.

I have no idea who kidnapped the real John Meaney and replaced him with this second-rate pod-person, but I feel it is important to note that his talk was delivered with the aid of by Powerpoint.


So it was premeditated? Oh, dear. There goes the real ale "defense."

From what I saw/read it seemed that Meaney's speech was a) not funny enough to overcome its use of various stereotypes, b) not meant to offend just rib but c) come just at a time when fandom is sensitive and concerned about gender inbalance and sexism anyway, so not in a mood to put up with jokes best left to seventies standups in a working men's club.

This. It's a pity James is not giving as much publicity to how just mindboggingly awesome this convention was in terms of gender balance, fostering discussion, trying their damnest to provide a safe space, and general inclusion. I have seen more non-white faces at this convention than ever before in British fandom ever.
This is why people got so upset: in another environment, it would have seemed depressingly business as usual, but we had all been primed by the Paul Cornell effect.

As well as the sexism and other general stereotyping, there is another issue raised in the linked post that has been a problem at Eastercon for a while, and would be a problem even if sexism and other bigotries were at last overcome.

From the original post:

"The "humour" in his speech was far too in-jokey. Now, I like a good in joke. Note, good in joke. And even then they should be used with caution. Meaney's speech was one in "joke" after another which relied on you being "in" for longer than I've been alive.

That is not the image of fandom I want to see. It is not the image I want putting out of any organisation I am a member of. It excludes.

Worse, it reflects on non-members as well and reflects on fandom in a completely inappropriate way."

From a follow-up comment:

"Earlier in your comment you provided some make and information that may well be helpful in helping me to start asking why some of his jokes were meant to be funny. This is the other reason I felt excluded. There is a place for in jokes. The BSFA Awards is definitely one of those places. But John's speech was nothing but in joke relying on recognising author photos from before I was born and then knowing everything about them.

I came back later in the evening for Ian Sorenson's play. This had the same problem this year. A lot of very Eastercon in jokes which, had this been my first convention would probably have put me off (I'm immune to the awful puns). But even that had the awful puns and the jokes for people who weren't decades long Fans."

This has a lot do with why a lot of fans, especially the younger ones, are creating their own fannish spaces and discourses, either within established conventions or elsewhere, and leaving the SF establishment, such as it is, to go grey and die.

On an unrelated note, what's Minicon's attendence like these days?

So what I'm getting here is that Meaney's speech won't be up for a Hugo next year?

Apologised and resigned

I have apologised for that post and resigned from the BSFA committee. I did not mean to come across as defending John Meaney's comments, which I thought I was stating clearly were insensitive and inappropriate. I wrote the post after an angry encounter with people who were blaming me for things for which I was not responsible. I should have bit my tongue and stayed of the internet and left it until I was calm. I apologise if I have offended anyone and if I have damaged the reputation of the BSFA - Martin McGrath

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