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It turns out _Harlan_ was the victim
james_nicoll
From here



...AND MARK:

Would you be slightly less self-righteous and chiding if I told you there was

NO grab...

there was

NO grope...

there was

NO fondle...

there was the slightest touch. A shtick, a gag between friends, absolutely NO sexual content.

Would you, and the ten thousand maggots who have blown this up into a cause celebre, be even the least bit abashed to know that I apologized WAY BEYOND what the "crime" required, on the off chance that I HAD offended? Let me ask you, Mark:

1) Were you there?
2) Did you see it?
3) Are you standing on your soapbox to chide me via 3rd/4th-hand reportage by OTHERS who weren't there?
4) Do you also buy the infinite number of other internet brouhahas that turned out to be misreported?

Here it is, Mark; and for any others who fit the shoe:

In the words of that great American philosopher, Tony Isabella,
"Hell hath no fury like that of the uninvolved."

Does not anyone READ WHAT I WROTE within fifteen minutes of learning of this? Does not anyone wonder why, if it was such a piggish thing I did, as one of those jerkwad blogs calls it, Connie Willis hasn't, after twenty-five years of "friendship," not returned my call on Monday ... or responded to the Fedex packet of my posting here on Monday, which Fedex advises me she received at 2:20 pm on Tuesday?

Can the voluble and charismatic Connie not even pick up a phone to tell the man whose work she "admires deeply" that he has gone a bridge too far? Is she so wracked by the Awfulness of it that she is incapable of saying to his face, you went too far? No one EVER asked her to "bell the cat." She decided that was her role toward me, long ago. And I've put up with it for years.

How about it, Mark: after playing straight man to Connie's very frequently demeaning public jackanapery toward me -- including treating me with considerable disrespect at the Grand Master Awards Weekend, where she put a chair down in front of her lectern as Master of Ceremonies, and made me sit there like a naughty child throughout her long "roast" of my life and career -- for more than 25 years, without once complaining, whaddays think, Mark, am I even a leetle bit entitled to think that Connie likes to play, and geez ain't it sad that as long as SHE sets the rules for play, and I'm the village idiot, she's cool ... but gawd forbid I change the rules and play MY way for a change ... whaddaya think, Mark, my friend, am I within the parameters of brutish pigginess to suggest if she WAS offended, then I apologize ... even if you and a garbage-scowload of asinine pathetic internet wanks get up on their "affront" and tell me how to behave?

I've sat here for four days, quietly, having done as much forelock-tugging and kneeling as I feel -- as I -- I -- not you -- not fan pinheads in far places who jumped and bayed and went after me in a second -- but I --who is responsible for my behavior -- as I feel is proper. And for four days I've waited for Deeply Outraged and Debased Connie Willis -- an avowed friend and admirer of my work for more than a quarter century --to get up off her political correctness and take her pal off the gibbet.

I spent more hours traveling this benighted country, for eight years, state after state after state, lecturing in defense of women's rights and passage of the ERA than any of you have spent mouthing your sophomoric remonstrances.

As the Great American Philosopher Tony Isabella has said, "Hell hath no fury like that of the uninvolved."

My last word on this clusterfuck. If Willis wants in, she knows where you all are. She knows where I am.All the rest is silence.

Harlan Ellison


Uh huh. What a fascinating way of looking at things.

...okay, I may possibly have misunderstood this, but is Harlan saying here that Willis has been rude to him for the last 25 years and he never thought to object to it? Because I'm getting near the limits of my ability to suspend disbelief here.

Yeah, that sure sounds like him, doesn't it? Uh-huh. Right.

Wow.

I used to respect this man's intellect. How frightening.

I used to respect this man's intellect.

Why?

"connie roasted you -- a socially acceptable and expected form of play, particularly at an honors event. you groped her -- a socially unacceptable and unexpected sort of "play" in any situation outside the interaction of consensual lovers. you were way, way out of line. now go scrape your tar off with humility and perhaps you'll be allowed a measure of forgiveness, but don't ever expect it to be forgotten."


Well organized SF Con programming committees like speakers to fill out a questionnaire so they know what their interests are.

One of the questions nobody much talks about in public is: "in confidence, are there any people you do not want to be on a panel with?"

Call it a professional killfile, if you will.

I tend not to hold with killfiles (my convention programming killfile has only one permanent resident -- Jim Hogan -- and a couple of folks who may be added to it depending on the topic of the proposed panel if it involved hot-button issues) but I'm seriously considering Ellison to it. Because not only have I never met the man -- I now have a strong desire not to. And all because of his own words.

Call it a gesture of solidarity with the "asinine pathetic internet wanks".

Those killfiles are useful. The last con I was on programming at, I gave them one name: someone who I know it would be a bad idea for me to be on a panel with, who might not think to list me (and no, I'm not posting details here).

I think this is what set him off again

redbird

2006-09-01 02:26 pm (UTC)

From the message, by "Mark," that he appears to be responding to:

I could go on, but let me share how I have dealt with guys who grab boobs without permission. I'm an out gay man. Four times now I have been witness to "playful" unwanted boob grabs. Each time, I have "playfully" reached over and cupped the guy's crotch. Each and every one--including the one gay guy--were horrified and offended--including two I've known for years. Familiarity has nothing to do with it. It's an invasion. All you guys here who think it's no big deal, please stop by so I can hold your balls. All you women here who think it's blown out of proportion, get some self-respect.

So, Harlan offered a half-apology for grabbing Willis's breast without permission, and retracted it and denied having touched her when someone said that doing so is as rude as grabbing a random man's balls without permission.

Re: I think this is what set him off again

lederhosen

2006-09-01 03:03 pm (UTC)

Did you see the argument elsethread that boobs are nowhere near crotches on the intimacy scale? That made me wince.

So there's nothing to apologize for anyway, it was just a playful act between two friends who understand each other well enough to be able to play that way - and Connie Willis is proving it by not responding to his phone call or his FedEx! They understand each other *that well*. Or maybe it's just that she's having a incapacitating attack of oversensitivity and political correctness. Or, wait, actually it's all Ms. Willis' fault! Because we all know that doing a roast at a con is socially equivalent to touching someone's breasts! Just the slightest touch, teensy really. And he *has* apologized, after all (and isn't it inconsiderate of Ms. Willis not to have immediately absolved him thereafter)? Just without ever using the words "I'm sorry."

Nothing makes a person look intellectually incoherent like using a bunch of mutually exclusive excuses simultaneously.

I wonder if Connie's even home? (Wouldn't that be amusing? HE on his snit...and she's in Hawaii, ignoring the world...)

As xiphias said when I pointed this out on annafdd's this morning, which is it, Harlan?

What Harlan did was EITHER a harmless joke among friends OR retaliation against being picked on.

But I don't think it's possible for something to be both harmless AND retaliatory at the same time.


And, you know, if "playing straight man to Connie's very frequently demeaning public jackanapery toward me ... for more than 25 years" rankled so much, and if they're such good friends, why didn't he just tell her it bothered him and ask her to pull back?



"ain't it sad that as long as SHE sets the rules for play, and I'm the village idiot, she's cool ... but gawd forbid I change the rules and play MY way for a change"

For any who still don't get it, Harlan changed the rules from the purely verbal by getting physical. That's no small difference. [I'm reminded of the nursery rhyme about sticks and stones...]


Not to mention the most fundamental contradiction in play.
In his first apology explanation, Harlan describes the incident as:
my intendedly-childlike grabbing of Connie Willis's left breast
Now he says:
there was
NO grab...
there was
NO grope...
there was
NO fondle...
there was the slightest touch.




I'll confess, I find myself worried about Harlan's health. Between reports of him feeling unwell, his announcement that this is his last convention, and characterizations that his behvaior at this con was atypically worse... And I don't know what his nonfiction writing is normally like, but these posts by him have been incredibly poor rhetoric...

I don't have a lot of basis for comparison, but he certainly didn't look very well in the photos I saw from WorldCon.

Not content with first belittling Connie in public, then delivering a half-assed apology, he's now attacking the victim?

I'm appalled. He's piling unacceptable act on unacceptable act.

My heart bleeds for him.

Damn, I wish I'd known about this when I posted my thoughts on GropeGate.

Do you think this might be a good idea? :)

ISTR him commenting on use of his name on a t-shirt w/o permission in Xenogenesis.

This is a pile of horseshit that hasn't been seen since Hercules mucked out the Augean stables.



"This is a pile of horseshit that hasn't been seen since
Hercules mucked out the Augean stables."



Hmm, I see that somebody hasn't been following political
developments in the United States for at least the past six
years...


T-shirts?

(Anonymous)

2006-09-01 05:25 pm (UTC)

Maybe we should get T-shirts:

"Harlan Ellison:
Such a tiny man,
Such a huge asshole."

I don't really think making fun of his height is a good thing.

Re: T-shirts? (Anonymous) Expand
The *gentleman* doth protest too much, me thinks . . .

I doubt he actually shuts up about it. And apparently he hasn't realized that Connie doesn't want to talk to him about it. She'd have to acknowledge him if she did that.

Not just that, but again, it's all about him. She should do what *he* wants. It's all about not acknowledging that she has a right to behave the way she wants to, even if it means not talking to him.

Wagner was brilliant (musically) but an anti-Semitic misogynist.

Oh for frick's sake. If grabbing at a woman's breast is "a game", so must be kicking a man in the nadgers. Wonder how he'd have felt if Connie had returned his "playful gesture" in kind.



"Oh for frick's sake. If grabbing at a woman's breast is "a
game", so must be kicking a man in the nadgers. Wonder how
he'd have felt if Connie had returned his "playful gesture"
in kind."



Okay, that's a bit off. As far as I know, a breast-grab, as
demeaning as it is, is not likely to leave the victim doubled
over in intense pain.