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Natalie Luhrs' Oh Dear: SFWA Bulletin Petition
A lot of people unfairly characterize SF as White Power: the Genre when really quite a lot of it is dedicated to smacking women around.

David Truesdale has written and circulated a petition (this was received directly from David Truesdale)–and gotten a number of SFWA members to sign it.

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

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Truesdale is obviously an extremely skilled writer. I don't think that on my best day I could stick that many errors in logic and dogwhistles into that few words.

Also, on the "cleaned up" second petition that eliminates some but not all of the dogwhistling: I'm completely unsurprised that Harlan Ellison and Jerry Pournelle signed it, but I'm very surprised that CJ Cherryh and Mercedes Lackey did.

(Deleted comment)
(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
You know, I never hoped somebody was suffering from Alzheimers or something before, but seeing that Robert Silverberg had signed Truesdale's petition...

I'm mildly baffled as to why people keep being surprised at Silverberg.

Doug M.

Alzheimer's (Anonymous) Expand
The petition goes all the way up to 11 - pages of ranting which boils down to "What's wrong with being sexy?"

Also: "Andrew Hamilton (c. 1676 – August 4, 1741) was a Scottish lawyer
in the Thirteen Colonies, where he finally settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was best known for his legal victory on behalf of the p
rinter and newspaper publisher John Peter Zenger. This 1735 decision in New York helped to establish that truth is a defense to an accusation of libel. His eloquent defense concluded with saying that thepress has 'a liberty both of exposing and opposing tyrannical power by speaking and writing truth.'"

"...and if there's one thing that is true, it's that Lady Editors who can stuff a wild bikini are what our genre needs."

he doesnt say what Andrew Hamilton looks like in a fur thong... how disappointing..

Almost everyone on the list of the undersigned has some glowing bio after their name... except for four of the seven women who signed. Over half of the women who support this apparently have never done anything of importance, according to the men who wrote the petition. So shocking.

But how do they look in bathing suits?

Don't lose sight of what's really important here.

I also like this: "Would articles espousing different views on racism, sexism, diversity, the environment, and the like be welcomed if they differed from those of some SFWA member who may be "offended" by a different point of view (save for the extremely rare and unsettling cases like that of Vox Day)?"

Does he not understand how guidelines and advisory groups exist precisely because such cases as Vox Day and those thin skinned sexists occur without them?

Also (from the original): adhering to some jumped-up (always subject to change at whim) PC style manual by some hootenanny "advisory board" of boot lickers.

Hootenanny? SIGN ME UP.

Edited at 2014-02-10 05:19 pm (UTC)

I don't know how to thank you for that link. Really.

(Now I'm going to have to track it down and watch it with one hand on a drink and the other on the fast-forward button. Curse you!)

That's what the Big Powers that fomented American Independence and the U.S. Civil War did every damned time in all their screeds: insist they were being made into slaves. They all owned slaves, with just about the only exception, John Adams. I don't recall Adams employing "slave" or "slavery" in his writing either -- though as there's so very much I could be wrong about that as I haven't read nearly all of it.

So, as when the war drums are being beat, beware of all the babies on pikes (or preemies on the floor of neo-natal hospitals), beware whenever you see howling about their slavery.*

Love, C.


* White men principally; as this shows sometimes a woman will get involved. Though in reality, including actuallegal systems, women of any hue and region throughout most of history have far more right to invoke slavery in terms of their condition. Indeed, as the southern Slave Power's Fitzhugh, complacently speechyfied and wrote, our wives are in relation to us as slaves.

You still hear this from right-wing libertarians today. Taxation is slavery! Regulation is slavery! The Civil Rights Act was slavery! National health care is slavery! Everything is slavery except for actual slavery, which — they’ll often insist — wasn’t so bad.

The first ridiculous thing is why the SFWA bulletin was ever anything but a slim, dry quarterly covering issues of importance only to professionals, like pay rates and medical coverage. Why would the organ of a professional organization have a fictional hottie on the cover in the first place?


The newsletter of record for my profession (academic librarianship) has covers exactly as dry and uninteresting as you'd expect.

Seems to me that putting a chick in a bikini on the cover would lead to disappointment among those who picked it up because of said cover. Unless the SFWA Bulletin has way more exciting content than I've been given the impression it does.

Oh, well. I just posted a link to the petition in your other post, and now discover you've posted the discussion link with petition yourself.

"....sent me the link to the page where you’ve listed the job requirement
s for a new editor. (Don’t worry, I’m not applying. :-) ) "

Palmer must have been so relieved....

which again makes me careful where I spend my girl cootie infested money when buying books by certain authors.

I wonder how anti-censorship they'll be if the elected editor turns out to be someone outside the good ol' boys club (I'm imagining N. K. Jemisin as editor).

The other way around, surely. If Truesdale were editor, I'm guessing the hammer would come down hard on PC contributors who wrote things he disagrees with.

So thanks to these brave defenders of free expression my over-the-transom "Trade Journals of Gor" manuscript has a chance?

-- Steve's wondering how many calories he's burning by shaking his head; a donut's worth, or just a couple of cookies?

Would you care to post a few snippets?

These stalwart protectors of free speech don't go far enough. So far this year, I've received six rejection letters--SIX! If they're so broken up over the prospect of editorial oversight at the Bulletin, why don't they go to the logical conclusion! Tear Neil Clarke from his Golden Throne so that I can express myself freely in the pages of Clarkesworld!

Comparing the two versions, I notice that one change is the addition of '(sic)' to the following part of the text:

"Solicit topics and columnists that fit within vision of the Bulletin" (sic)
"Choose cover art for each issue that is line with SFWA standards" (sic)
"Participate in proofing and review process with select volunteer and board

Any theories as to why the first two items got the (sic) treatment but the third didn't? Is there a grammatical or spelling error that I'm missing?

(The biggest difference between the two is that the text in the original beginning with 'It's obvious from the above that I was being brushed off, invited to take a hike, and that President Gould had no intention of being specific in answering my questions' has been replaced with the text beginning 'In light of the preceding correspondence we, the undersigned, object...' in the later version. The two more or less coincide again starting with 'It cannot be emphasized too strongly that the issue here is most decidedly not one of Left vs. Right', with the exception of a few words here and there.)

probably for the missing "the" before "vision" and "in" before "line."

So, one of The Usual Suspects is having a bit of a rant over this. My questions to him via his comment section was:

So every time the board of a newspaper overrides the editor of that newspaper it's a violation of the First Amendment? Every editor of every publication should have sole discretion as to what they publish?

Isn't, in this case, the Board the duly-appointed representatives of the membership that owns the publication? What recourse, if any, do the members have if their publication prints something they collectively disagree with?

What if the editor of a publication decides not to include something in their publication they have violated the author's First Amendment rights? There's no particular reason to expect say, Jerry Pournelle getting the gig.

More to the point, since when does the First Amendment apply to private organizations? SFWA is not Congress nor otherwise affiliated with government.

For that matter, when did The Usual Suspect care about things like freedom of speech? He can't even handle criticism of his novels.

Wow, the revised petition is ludicrous if somewhat less hideous than the original. I'm also very sad to see that Silverberg was one of the few authors who signed the original - I'd thought better of him than that.

I like Gould's "your email is not a question."

Also, it seems to me that by Truesdale's logic, I have the right to make him host/republish The Vindication of the Rights of Woman and The Communist Manifesto, and his only sound argument against a demand that he host Solanas's SCUM Manifesto would be that the author still holds copyright on that one.

I guarantee, no matter what an individual's politics, that there is a LOT of public-domain political, religious, and/or philosophical writing that they disagree with and would not want to give even a single column inch to. (Nor a kilobyte, if we move back to the web rather than a printed bulletin.)

It seems to me that someone who wasn't looking to find fault would see the requirement that SFWA Bulletin content serve the needs of the membership as meaning that this is not the place to put the details of your fantasy football league, recipes for borscht, or a long essay about how wonderful one's grandchildren are.

-- Steve can't bring himself to read, even for the purposes of research.

Aside from everything else...

Honestly, aside from everything else, as I say over on my own site - I just can't believe that sloppy, shambling, slather of resentment calling itself a petition came from the hands of professional writers. It's all but unreadable.

And yet Robert Silverberg and Nancy Kress both worked on editing it, along with unspecified others.

Christ, how embarrassing.

Re: Aside from everything else...

I can see a writer not bringing their A-game to forum comments, tweets, maybe even blog posts depending on the content, but to just toss off a petition like this without any attempt to make it professional is baffling.

Bonus feature: For anyone with the patience to go to his site, the former SFWA writer who shares the same initials as Venereal Disease has signed it.

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