Pixel Scroll 5/28/19 Pix-El, Last Scroller Of Krypton

(1) BAYCON. The Mercury News shared its very positive impression of last weekend’s BayCon: “Bay Area science fiction fans beam up to San Mateo to talk Star Trek, transgender fans and activism”.

…Speakers over the weekend included Brianna Wu, a congressional candidate from Massachusetts who was one of the most high-profile victims of an online harassment campaign aimed at women in the video game industry in recent years.

In conversations with the attendees on Sunday — an intimacy organizer Chris Castro said is a selling point of BayCon over larger conventions — Wu and moderator Gregg Castro discussed activist burnout and creating spaces for people who want to help but may not be comfortable canvassing or making phone calls. Wu also encouraged more women to run for office, calling it “the best job in the world.”

Also presenting at that panel was Sarah Williams, who grew up in Fremont and now lives in Davis. She said discussing social issues and activism is “almost necessary” in science fiction because it’s so forward-looking. The panels are also useful in fans’ personal lives, she said. As a queer woman, Williams said she knew she had to be supportive when her daughter told her she was a transgender girl.

Still, she said, she needed guidance on what support her daughter would need. She could access that through panels such as “Transfans,” a presentation held on Sunday morning about transgender science fiction fans. Williams said she also knew she could look up the speakers and reach out to them for advice.

However, Sumiko Saulson was present at another panel which didn’t reflect that kind of acceptance, and wrote about the experience on Facebook:

I’m reluctant to get into what happened when I was on a panel yesterday because it was fairly traumatic, but the short of it is that a well-known author guest (David Brin) started the panel by saying he wouldn’t trust regular Americans with this but we’re alpha sci fi writers, then went into a very ableist spiel about how we all know some beings – including, specifically certain humans, and he referenced the developmentally disabled – are inferior, people are just too politically correct to say so. Then he asked a moral dilemma question about if it would be more ethical to uplift animals and have them as servants than to genetically alter humans as servants and make them low IQ

Then he got into an argument with a young enby [non-binary] person in the audience who was sitting near Darcy (Chris Hughes) and the rest of the extremely poorly moderated panel included lots of yelling between the audience and panel, as he’d set the tone. He seemed to be intentionally asking baited or loaded questions….

(The report goes on for several more paragraphs in which some panelists’ conduct grew even more disturbing.)

(2) ANIMENEXT UPDATE. As a result of harassment allegations against AnimeNEXT chair Eric Torgersen (see Pixel Scroll for May 22, item #4), he has been suspended while the con’s board of directors investigate. They made the following announcement on Facebook over the weekend:

…as of April 14th, 2019, Eric Torgersen has been suspended from AnimeNEXT staff, pending this investigation, and will not be present at the 2019 event. AnimeNEXT and Universal Animation, Inc. have hired a neutral third party to conduct the investigation.

Additionally, Mr. Torgersen has not been a member of the board since 2018 and has not been Convention Chairman since 2017.

AnimeNEXT and Universal Animation, Inc. want our convention to be a safe and positive experience. As such, we do not condone harassment of any kind. We appreciate your patience and understanding until this investigation is completed.


The Universal Animation Inc. Board of Directors

(3) ENTERPRISING FANS. Ernest Lilley tells Amazing Stories readers all about the Museum of Science Fiction’s weekend event: “MOSF Escape Velocity 2019 — Dominique Tipper GoH “.

While Amazing Stories editor Steve Davidson was holding down a booth at Balticon, the Capital Region’s largest sci-fi convention, I was an hour away at the Museum of Science Fiction’s annual convention: Escape Velocity 2019.

Escape Velocity is a different sort of con than anything else in sci-fi. Visually it looks like a media con, with lots of large-scale movie props and cosplayers, but behind the closed panel doors, there’s a serious attempt to create a fusion of pop-sci-fi culture, accessible science, resources for educators, and even a few policy wonks talking about the future of space conflict….

(4) PROOF NEGATIVE. Fabrice Mathieu unblushingly presents MOON SHINING » or: How Stanley Kubrick shot the Apollo 11 Mission?  — “an imaginative behind the scenes of the Moon Landing of Apollo 11 directed by Stanley Kubrick in 1969!”

(5) MOON COLLECTIBLES AUCTION. And yet people bid millions on Heritage Auction’s Spring Space Exploration Auction #6206

This was the second installment of The Armstrong Family Collection™ (TAFC) and, when the floor sessions were over, the top seven and fifteen of the top twenty sale prices were TAFC lots. A section of Lunar Module Flown Wright Flyer Wing Cloth and a Lunar Module Flown Wright Flyer Propeller Piece tied for top price at $175,000 each. Currently, the total sales are $4.579 million with Post-Auction Buys continuing.

(6) WHO’S TOXIC? Marvel’s Captain Marvel is coming out on Blu-Ray, heralded by the release of an extended version of a scene from the film. It’s caused an uproar.

Stylist takes this side: “Why Captain Marvel’s deleted scene on toxic masculinity has angered trolls”.

… Captain Marvel counters with a handshake and introduces herself. The man tells her: “People call me… The Don.”

Releasing an unimpressed “wow”, Captain Marvel then unleashes her superhero powers on the man, sending electrical pulses through her hand, forcing the man to his knees in pain.

“Here’s a proposition for you,” she says. “You’re going to give me your jacket, your helmet and your motorcycle, and in return, I’m going to let you keep your hand.”

He quickly hands over his keys, and Captain Marvel lets go, adding: “What, no smile?”

In just a minute-long scene, Captain Marvel sums up what’s wrong with men telling women to smile, and unsurprisingly, that’s made some men angry.

…The men criticising the scene — and attacking Larson — are missing the point, and being purposefully obtuse as to its message.

Yes, it shows Captain Marvel using her powers to harm someone else, but plenty of superheroes before her have done exactly the same, and gone much further than she did. That Captain Marvel is called out for behaviour that male superheroes have got away with for decades is sexist.

And saying the scene will hurt “feminist causes” is a fundamental misunderstanding of what feminism is about — women want equality, and that partially means dismantling the idea that the only good women are nice women.

Max Florschutz takes the other side in “The Captain Marvel Kerfluffle”.

…. Both sides have, as you can predictably guessed, gone up in arms. Both make some good points, and both make some bad points.

However, the reason I chose to take some time out of my crunched day to post about this was because at its core, the argument Disney’s marketing team and the writers of Captain Marvel have claimed is … well, wrong.

Vers isn’t a hero in that scene. Not by any definition of the term. And to see people so aggressively defending Vers actions as “heroic,” even the writing team? Well … I think that’s in part why the Captain Marvel had the problems it had.

See, the problem isn’t that the scene exists, but that people, creators included, are insisting that it is “heroic.” And it isn’t. It’s far from it, in fact, unless you’re aiming to redefine “heroism” as something completely different. Which I don’t think the writers are trying to do … They just genuinely don’t seem to know what heroism is.

Already there are people defending the “heroism” of the scene online by saying that naysayers are only unhappy because it’s “a woman,” declaring that no one had issues with a male character doing similar in Terminator 2.

No. Because in Terminator 2 the T-800 is nota hero. He’s an anti-hero. If someone declares that heroic, than they’re wrong. Flat out. He threatens physical harm to innocents because he doesn’t care, and has no morals. Classic anti-hero trait.

Vers threatening a slimy guy past simply shutting him down isn’t heroism with the goal of stealing his possessions isn’t heroism. It’s the mark of an anti-hero, just as it was with the T-800….

(7) DOGGONE IT. This week New Zealand’s Stuff showed that a problem persists: “Game of Thrones fans buying huskies from unregistered breeders”.

…A New Zealand husky rescue charity that has dealt with hundreds of abandoned dogs after Game of Thrones ramped up the breed’s popularity is pushing for reform outlawing “backyard breeders.”

Michelle Attwood, who founded the Canterbury-based charity Husky Rescue NZ in 2009, said that hundreds of huskies had been abandoned to her charity every year since Game of Thrones launched – their TV connection clear through names like Ghost, Nymeria, Stark and Snow.

Huskies have become a real “status symbol,” she said, with Thrones fans driving a vicious cycle.

Peter Dinklage publicized the problem in 2017:

At the time he released a statement:

‘Game of Thrones’ star Peter Dinklage is asking fans to stop buying huskies as pets just because they resemble the fictional direwolves in the blockbuster HBO show. The actor warns fans the pups still need constant care after the novelty wears off. “Not only does this hurt all the deserving homeless dogs waiting for a chance at a good home in shelters, but shelters are also reporting that many of these huskies are being abandoned,” Dinklage said Tuesday in a statement released by PETA.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born May 28, 1908 Ian Fleming. The James Bond novels of course which are no doubt genre but also Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang which originally was published in three volumes and became a much beloved film. Like Heinlein, he would do a travelogue, this one called Thrilling Cities. (Died 1964.)
  • Born May 28, 1951 Sherwood Smith, 68. YA writer best known for her Wren series. She’s also co-authored The Change Series with Rachel Manija Brown. She also co-authored two novels with Andre Norton, Derelict for Trade and A Mind for Trade.
  • Born May 28, 1954 Betsy Mitchell, 65. Editorial freelancer specializing in genre works. She was the editor-in-chief of Del Rey Books. Previously, she was the Associate Publisher of Bantam Spectra when they held the license to publish Star Wars novels in the Nineties.
  • Born May 28, 1977Ursula Vernon, 42. She is best known for her Hugo Award-winning graphic novel Digger which was a webcomic from 2003 to 2011. Vernon is also the creator of The Biting Pear of Salamanca, a digital work of art which became an internet meme in the form of the LOL WUT pear. 
  • Born May 28, 1982 Alexa Davalos, 37. Her first genre role i think was Gwen Raiden on the fourth season of Angel. She‘s Juliana Crain currently on The Man in the High Castle. And she was Andromeda in the remake of Clash of the Titans

(9) HUGO AWARDS ON JEOPARDY! TOMORROW.For once you get the news before the show is aired. Kevin Standlee says, “The Hugo Awards will be featured in a category on Jeopardy! on Wednesday, May 29.”

(10) DARKNESS FALLS. Fantasy Book Critic weighs in on “Necromantica by Keith Blenman (reviewed by Lukasz Przywoski)”.

…Necromantica is, essentially, a love story. You feel it in the way Lama speaks to Mornia. You see it in Mornia’s behavior. Remember, they’re not sharing a drink. They’re in the midst of the battle and they slaughter enemies. Call it a dark fantasy romance. I mean, you don’t write a story called Necromantica without it being dark, right?

Lama and Mornia share heart-wrenching stories. Mornia used to live a free, spiritual life and wanted to grow into a healer. By the time the story begins, her life has been robbed from her and ell her loved ones killed. She survived, but she’s broken. Whatever magic she possessed, she used for revenge. Instead of healing people, she focused on black arts and necromancy. …

(11) BY THE HAIR ON THEIR CHINNY-CHIN-CHIN. SYFY Wire’s “Fangrrls” column has published a “scientific” study entitled “A very serious cultural study on beards and which dudes look hotter with them.”

To beard or not to beard, that is the question.

Last year, when the Avengers: Infinity War trailer revealed that Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers had grown a beard, the internet went wild. How is it possible that Evans, this hunky cinnamon roll of a golden retriever boy scout bro, could get even hotter? It was almost unfair, yet there it was. We mourned the loss of Cap-beard for an extended period of time on SYFY FANGRRLS, but it also got us thinking as to what it was about some well-organized facial hair that had us all aflutter.

It turns out that there’s a scientific reason for that. It’s not just pure shallowness! According to a study in 2013 on the subject, facial hair acts as a major influence in shaping people’s ideas about what we expect from men in society. The study revealed that “women judged faces with heavy stubble as most attractive and heavy beards, light stubble and clean-shaven faces as similarly less attractive.” For men, it was the opposite case, with full beards as the most attractive. Those conducted for the study also revealed that full beards were judged as an excellent sign of parenting ability and healthiness, so all your daddy Steve Rogers jokes paid off in a big way.

They go on to judge the beard-appeal and stylings for Jason Momoa, Chris Evans, Henry Cavill, Chris Hemsworth, John Krasinski, Rahul Kohli, Keanu Reeves, and Jason Mantzoukas.

(12) LOVE THAT MECHA. Future War Stories tunes into Japanese TV in “Future War Stories From the East: Armored Troopers VOTOMS”.

…Many of the more famous anime and manga is often defined and remembered because of a certain iconic character, unique setting, or piece of machinery (which is often Mecha). Some imported Japanese animations or comics are lucky enough to be imported wholly to the West along with other associated products like models, video games, or toys. Others were not so lucky and came over to our shores in pieces and over a great length of time, forging fans along with way….

…What is “Armored Trooper VOTOMS”? VOTOMS is the brainchild of Fang of the Sun Dougram creator Ry?suke Takahashi and despite being developed in 1983, VOTOMS is still an on-going Japanese military science fiction franchise encompassing anime TV series, OVAs, video games, models, and toys. At about the time that Fang of the Sun Dougram was ending its run on Japanese television, Takahashi and Nippon Sunrise animation studio would continue the mecha-centered war stories with the VOTOMS 52 episode television show that aired on TV Tokyo from April 1st, 1983 through March 23rd, 1984….

(13) NOVELLA NOTIONS. Garik16’s Hugo finalist reviews continue with — “Reviewing the 2019 Hugo Nominees: Best Novella”.

Hugo Award voting just opened at the start of May and continues through the end of July.  For those of you new to the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre, the Hugo Award is one of the most prominent awards for works in the genre, with the Award being given based upon voting by those who have paid for at least a Supporting Membership in this year’s WorldCon.  As I did the last two years, I’m going to be posting reviews/my-picks for the award in the various categories I feel qualified in, but feel free to chime in with your own thoughts in the comments….

(14) COLLECTIBLE HARDCOVERS. Gizmodo/io9: “Folio Society Is Doing Special Editions for All of A Song of Ice and Fire…If It’s Ever Finished”.

The Folio Society recently announced that it was releasing a special collector’s edition of A Game of Thrones, the first novel in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Now, on the cusp of the series finale for HBO’s Game of Thrones, it looks like we can expect even more—the entire A Song of Ice and Fire, including those famously still-unwritten books. Of course, that all depends on whether Martin ever finishes them. 

In a statement to io9, the Folio Society’s representative confirmed that it was following up its A Game of Thrones hardcover edition with other books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. The publisher says the project is a collaborative with Martin, who’s been involved “every step of the way.” The first book is available for preorder, and is set to come out on July 16.

(15) [PROCESSOR] POWER TO THE PEOPLE. “The tablet computer pulled by donkey” – BBC has the story, and a photo:

Back in 2016, mobile technology the like of which had not been seen before rolled into the remote community of Funhalouro, in Mozambique.

Pulled by donkey, the container consisted of four LCD screens, powered by solar panels.

It was a mobile roadshow, starting with music to draw a crowd and then switching to a three-minute film on the biggest of the screens.

While the topic – digital literacy – was not the most entertaining, it was engaging for the audience, many of whom had never seen a screen or moving images before.

After the film, the audience was invited to use smaller touchscreen tablets to answer a series of questions about what they had seen.

There were prizes of T-shirts and caps for those with the highest scores.

For those who couldn’t read, the questions were posed in diagram form….

(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “The Shocking Truth of Lightsabers vs. Lightning,” on YouTube, Martin Archer, a physicist at Britain’s Queen Mary’s University, says that if lightsabers are made of plasma, having two of them blast each other is a bad idea and having lightning bolts sent toward a lightsaber is a really bad idea.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian. Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kurt Busiek.]

122 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/28/19 Pix-El, Last Scroller Of Krypton

  1. @Eli, yeah, I was thinking about Triton, and, to some degree, about some of John Varley’s works. Those were all written a long time ago, though. I haven’t seen the notion in recent stories.

  2. @John et al —

    @JJ: I think that means we agree that verbal assault doesn’t justify escalation to physical assault, no matter how satisfying the physical assault might be to watch.


    First: for those who don’t know it yet, I am a woman. Please, no snarky comebacks about talking down to “ignorant wimmins”.

    Second: I understand the satisfaction of that scene, and how it is a reversal of similar scenes staged with male characters.

    Third: I pretty much agree with John here about verbal assault vs. physical assault. I am made uncomfortable by the fact that Vers physically assaulted the biker when he hadn’t touched her.

    BUT —

    Fourth: I think most of the controversy and discomfort of the scene could have been removed if the director had simply added the biker laying his hand on Vers. It need not be anything overtly violent — something as “innocent” as a patronizing hand on the shoulder or arm would have justified her response. And that makes me wonder why the director **didn’t** do something so simple?

  3. @Ctein: I’ve known for some time about some of Brin’s random misbehavior (e.g., patronizing Walton over the nature of fantasy and the Matter of Britain at Boskone in 2003) and his bizarre misunderstanding of sexism (e.g., the belief that Glory Season would get him a Tiptree); since he’s on your coast, you’ll have seen much more than I have — as the concom should have also, but we know how unreliable the fannish grapevine is. OTOH, many concoms feel part of courtesy to guests is letting them have their way in matters that aren’t seen as outright destructive; that may be where the Boskone episode came from. (It started on a panel he wasn’t qualified even to be on but IIRC asked to be on.)

    @Jack Lint: I wonder if reaction to the movie is in part determined if you read the book first. That’s a factor for a lot of childhood memories, especially (ISTM) where Disney is involved; kids even half a century ago could recognize when they were being fed a sugar coating if they’d had the unvarnished version first. (Yes, Mary Poppins, I’m looking at you….)

  4. Ok, I did read the full text of Florschutz.

    And no.

    If he head stayed with her action not being heroic, I would have agreed. It was not. It was the classic power fantasy of getting back, of doing what you always wished you could. It has been shown in countless movies and comics. Jeezus, all pranks Spider-Man has played on JJ Jameson. It is kind of ridiculous to be angry at it in this single place. It was not heroic, but not every single act performed by a hero-to-be is heroic.

    Problem is that Florschutz doesn’t stop there. Suddenly this single scene, regardless of her saving a whole people from genocide, makes her an anti-hero. Suddenly the whole morale of the movie is that Vers’ can make everyone else do what she wants with violence. Suddenly what one writer says is more interesting than what we see. As if the direction makes no difference. Cutting makes no difference. Only script and only writers opinion of script.

    He should have stopped after the first third of his article. Because the rest is interpreting a whole movie based on one single scene. And that is not how it works.

  5. I would’ve enjoyed the scene in the movie. He was intruding in her space and engaging in sexual harassment. A painful hand squeeze is not a serious injury to inflict in an “anonymous jerk gets what’s coming to him” moment in a movie.

    The Don is played by Robert Kazinsky of EastEnders. I haven’t seen the movie yet. Does he make the movie or was this deleted scene his big moment?

  6. Greg: Well, first, my brain’s wiring, like my sexuality, like my gender, is intrinsic to my sense of self. My eyesight less so. I also note that while treatment exists for vision issues, people are not *pressured* to go under the laser for normal daily glasses/contact use. (Not something I would have trusted if the tech were available 60 years earlier than it was, btw). Consent is assumed important.

    Compare this to the pressure to be treated for increasingly severe diseases, where technically you have permission to choose your own path, but practically, the pressure is such that you need to have some pretty firm determination to stand against it; and in some cases can be charged with negligence for refusing on behalf of a minor/dependant.

    (In the case of anti-vaxxers, the question of the health of the wider public is also at stake — which is the reason why their consent alone is not adequate to the risks they impose *on others*. If their consent affected only themselves, we would not be having an extended debate on the subject of their rights.)

    In a world where homophobia remains rampant, such as ours, we are much more likely to see pressure for treatment to go the latter way, not the former, where perhaps you cannot be forced to turn straight without your consent, but the pressure to conform would become extremely high, and the potential for punitive measures for refusing would exist. (And the potential that parents would be pressured to do it before you yourself are old enough to consent even higher and more dangerous).

    To get to a world where people can change back and forth, we’d need to start by having eradicated all the prejudices first, AND to a world with absolute consent for all decisions affecting only one’s own body and mind, AND to a world of medical cooperation with a patient’s stated wish. We have none of the three now. (If you think we have medical cooperation… ask a white woman who wants her tubes tied young. Or any woman whose birth plan says no episiotomy but whose post-birth body has a straight-cut scar from the procedure).

    So long as ablism and all the rest exists, it’s likely that even if the *process* of changing brain chemistry can go in either direction, the ability to obtain permission and medical cooperation can only be done to “Cure” the condition people are most often prejudiced against. Ie, you could become neurotypical but not autistic, straight but not gay or bi. Or, also likely, both are technically available but the search for a doctor is beyond most peoples’ means for time, money and energy, making it an exclusionary practice.

    I want none of those worlds, therefore I don’t want the one where the change is on a whim until I am sure we have the preconditions.

  7. rcade: This scene is in the movie in (heavily) abbreviated form. He still tells her to smile, and gets his bike stolen.

  8. Cat Eldridge:

    “I got an implied rape possibility in that scene if she she didn’t cooperate with him.”

    I absolutely got a feeling of physical threat from him. Ignoring her obvious unwillingness to speak. Moving up close. Use hand to force down barrier. Sexual innuendo “You need a ride?” followed by instruction that she should smile. If not rape, some other kind of physical abusive behaviour did seem likely.

  9. Greg Hullender:

    ” (E.g. Why am I offended if someone suggests I should look into a cure for being gay, but it’s fine for someone to suggest I look into laser eye surgery for nearsightedness?)”

    Mostly because that person obviously sees homosexuality as something that should be cured instead of one preference among others (spicy food, synth music, watching soccer).

    But for me the whole concept is ridiculous, mostly because I find the idea of sexual preferences as pure biology ridiculous. Would you cure bisexuals? Experimentalists? Pansexuals? Asexuals? And if so, what other characteristics would disappear? And if homosexuals should be cured, how about footfetishists, shibarikinksters, S/M:ers and so on? Many of them are heterosexual, but do not care about gender when practicing their kink, because it gives satisfaction anyhow.

    The whole concept seems like trying to find a cure against watching Al Pacino-movies. There’s no good reason why this should be done and there’s incredibly unlikely it would be as easy as an eye operation (which for me took less than an hour for both eyes, including waiting).

  10. 1) I had a great time at Baycon, my panels all went well and I learned a great deal at the panels on self-publishing and how to hire an editor. Cargo Cult Books got most of my paycheck.

    I missed the panel in question, but now I find myself on the horns of a dilemma. I owe my love of science fiction and role-playing games to my big sister. She doesn’t do conventions, so over the last few years, I’ve been on the lookout for opportunities to get books I know she loves autographed for her. Baycon was the perfect chance to grab Startide Rising and have Mr. Brin sign it. Even if he misspelled my sister’s name.

    Thing is, my sister is a transwoman. Do I really want to send this to her knowing just how awful David Brin has become?

    6) Vers’ action was not heroic. But at this point, she isn’t a hero, she’s a Kree warrior on a mission. To her, these primitives mean nothing, and she can take what she wants. As the movie is all about her discovering her past and true potential, I see the scene as an example of Kree callowness. She gets better.

  11. rcade said

    “Not even Gigli?”

    Exile to St. Helena for all involved would be sufficient, I believe.

  12. @Hampus
    The world would be a more interesting place if all of those things really were personal choices. I think the biggest problem with the “cure” narrative isn’t the value judgment (although that’s certainly the most offensive part); it’s the idea that the change would only be one-way. It’s a view that impoverishes the world by taking variety out of it.

  13. Dear Greg,

    No, this isn’t a complex issue, it is amenable to very simple analysis. Both in the general case and the specific to this panel. I speak as a fellow traveler [grin] — queer, nearsighted.

    Nearsightedness is generally and non-controversially considered a defect in vision. Further, it carries no particular social stigma nor prejudice. Finally, the fact that I wear glasses shows that I am interested in correcting it. Someone suggesting I look into laser surgery is in no way passing judgment on me nor assuming facts not in evidence. It happens I have good, objective reasons for not getting laser correction, but unless the person suggesting it insists upon pushing the issue after I say not interested, they haven’t committed any offense.

    Conversely, I cannot imagine a circumstance nor conversation in today’s society where someone suggested I look into a cure for being queer that would not be based upon prejudice and opprobrium. Further, it would be someone saying there is something wrong with me when I do not feel there is anything wrong with me.

    I can imagine someone feeling differently — you might not feel nearsightedness to be a vision defect or you might feel your sexual orientation to be one (not everyone is happy with theirs), in which case you might invite or reject different conversations than I would. But you would not be pleased with them imposing their definition of defective on you, I imagine.

    Furthermore, in this specific case, this is not you discussing with me the options for a cure, this is third parties talking, without even involving me, about imposing such a cure — the subjects of eugenics and uplift are inherently nonconsensual. If I were in that audience and panelists suggested that it would be societally desirable to have corrective laser eye surgery imposed upon me, I would not be pleased. Understatement. If it were about my sexuality or gender identity, hyperbolic understatement! (Is that an oxymoron?)

    – pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. http://ctein.com 
    — Digital Restorations. http://photo-repair.com 

  14. Meredith moment of the day. The complete set of Sebastien de Castell’s “Greatcoats” series is available via Amazon in the UK (only….sadly enough) for £9.96.

    Insert tag filled with wit, wisdom, and humour here…

  15. Dear Chip,

    I have no doubt there will turn out to be some understandable albeit unfortunate reason why David ended up moderating anything. Still, it is such an obvious mistake.

    It is certainly the norm to put Guests of Honor on any panels they request being on, unless there is a very obvious reason for not doing so. The whole point of having them is to provide con goers the opportunity to experience them. Moderating, though, is a different matter.

    I can envision conventions that are lackadaisical enough about moderation that they would just assign it to anyone who asks or to a guest of honor because, why not? Baycon is not one of those.

    For that matter, we both know of conventions that don’t assign moderators at all but leave it up to the panelists to choose who will be the moderator. The ways in which that can go off the rail are both obvious and impressively catastrophic. (Imagine a 10 AM panel where an already-drunk Jerry Pournelle announces, right before the panel in the green room, that he is going to be the moderator. Yes, it happened.)

    Boskone 2003 is also where David left Paula speechless. I think, although I am not certain, even at the same party. if you care for the details (or, for that matter, the occasion on which he rendered me speechless), ask me in private.

    – pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. http://ctein.com 
    — Digital Restorations. http://photo-repair.com 

  16. Greg:

    “The world would be a more interesting place if all of those things really were personal choices.”

    Oh, I do not think of them as personal choices (even if you to some degree can choose to not act on them). I would have preferred not to be into kink in a way that leaves me with at most 1% percent of the potential partners I would have otherwise. Most likely less.

    But that I don’t think it is a choice doesn’t mean I think it is biological. Perhaps to some degree, but there is also concept of psychological imprinting at a young age. About half of the kinksters I know have memories for their kinks from around kindergarten, the other half were anywhere from 18 to 50 when they discovered theirs.

    The part of “curing” homosexuality that irritates me most (apart from thinking it is something to cure) is the idea that there is one thing to cure. Instead of most likely a plethora of different factors in different mixes and reasons.

  17. @Hampus
    What I like about the fantasy of having a device to let you pick and choose is that all those kinks would become a palette that a couple (or group) could choose from to create unique experiences.

    Not that I think we’ll see anything like that in the next century. Or even the next 1,000 years.

  18. Dear Greg,

    My previous comment to you got posted before I read your follow-up. It would seem we are on the same page. My apologies for arguing with you.

    The notion of a SF-nal device that would let you pick and choose is an interesting extension of the Varley box. I can’t recall having run across it. The right author could have an interesting time with it. (The wrong author could offend soooooo many people…)

    pax / Ctein

  19. I confess to puzzlement over the question of whether Captain Marvel (to-be, I guess) was sufficiently heroic in putting the squeeze on The Don and making off with his gear. I’m not much of a comics person, and as much as I enjoy the movies, I don’t take superheroes very seriously, so I’m not much bothered by potentially non-admirable behavior on the part of people with outsized powers.* I mean, Tony Stark is a bit of a jerk even after he gets part-civilized by love and Avengerhood, and Batman has that famous dark side, and the Hulk’s main job seems to be SMASH! It seems to me no accident that (in the movies anyway) the straight-arrow sides of both Captain America and Superman can be played for laughs, or at least smiles. (Though I may have to rethink that about Superman after a re-watch of Justice League last night. On the other other hand, as Wonder Woman observes at the end, “Children. I work with children.”)

    Then there’s the obvious near-cliche quality of that omitted scene–I also immediately thought of the kicker from Superman, the bully beat-down that delivers a familiar biter-bit turnabout. And I would note that in both cases the behavior-correction handed out is not disproportionate and even a bit mild, considering what the real-life versions of these bullies often get up to.

    * And John Gardner was fond of pointing out that heroes and monsters are often mirror images of each other–see Grendel.

  20. @Ctein

    My previous comment to you got posted before I read your follow-up. It would seem we are on the same page. My apologies for arguing with you.

    No need to apologize, but I do appreciate it. Now if I could just get you to stop saying “queer.” 🙂

  21. @Greg Hullender

    You know, the word that got thrown around as a slur every five minutes during my formative years was “gay”. I don’t try to stop anyone from using it.

  22. I suspect my kid looks down on me for being boringly monosexual, and I am curious what it’d be like to be attracted to men. If I could take a pill that changed my orientation for a while, I expect I would. I’d be even more interested in a pill that showed me what women see in men, because I don’t understand that at all.

  23. Dear Greg,

    Possibly it will surprise you (pleasantly) that I both empathize and sympathize with your feelings. I am of sufficient age that for half my life “queer” was a Very Bad Word. In the 1980s, when the hard-core folks in the LGB (not yet a T, let alone a Q) community tried to claim the word (I don’t think reclaim — I don’t believe it had been ours), I was implacably resistant for many years. I was (am) part of the hard-core, but it had too many bad associations. I wasn’t comfortable with it even when I joined Queer Nation.

    Eventually I did become comfortable with it, even found it useful and desirable to describe a particular otherwise-hard-to-define socio-sexual position. But it was slow going. And me, an English major who is fascinated by and embraces linguistic drift in a living language like English!

    I can entirely understand if it’s never gotten there for you. I’m going to keep using it publicly, because I think it is acceptable, but if I were in private conversation with you and you reminded me that it discomforted you, I would stop immediately.

    (This is not the same case as the use of the word “gay” as a slur — we had taken enthusiastic possession of that term two decades before the straight world attempted to turn it into an epithet against us. Yes, that held traction for a little while but it was predictably, long term, a rearguard action doomed to failure.)

    It could be worse. Trans-vocabulary is still in serious flux and the number of terms that are universally embraced by transfolk is pretty small ( I think, but I’m not even sure “transfolk” is okay). Which leads to a very funny and true story.

    Several years ago, a friend was gossiping (with a friend of hers) about her daughter, X, who was partnered with a transwoman, Y. At some point Y comes up, so by way of context and clarification my friend says “Y, that’s X’s M-to-F girlfriend…” and continues on. Several sentences later, her friend asks in puzzlement and all seriousness, “But who is X’s girlfriend on weekends?”

    Thank you, you’ve been a lovely audience. Be sure to tip your server on the way out.

    – pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. http://ctein.com 
    — Digital Restorations. http://photo-repair.com 

  24. Dear John,

    When your ungrateful and unrighteous offspring attempt to diss you, simply shake your cane at them and say, “You kids, with your pansexual hookups practically falling out of the trees and into your laps, you don’t know how good you’ve got it. Why, when I was a kid, I had to walk 5 miles just to get a date.

    “Through the snow.


    “Both ways!”

    That’ll get you their respect. I promise.

    ever-helpfully yours,

    pax / Ctein

  25. John A Arkansawyer: I was going on the various descriptions of the scene rather than watching it myself.

    . . .

  26. Lis Carey: And how do we do the eyeroll emoji?

    Lis, it’s

    and definitely very needed for this thread.

  27. Contrarius: Third: I pretty much agree with John here about verbal assault vs. physical assault. I am made uncomfortable by the fact that Vers physically assaulted the biker when he hadn’t touched her.

    That should be a non-controversial thing to say. I mean, verbal assault is clearly not equivalent to physical assault. Except. There is some large percentage of women who routinely experience a barrage of unwanted demands from men. Smile. Why won’t you talk to me? Whatcha doin’? Hey, gotta boyfriend? Why are you being so mean?

    And many women who face that barrage work really hard to respond in a way that doesn’t set off the bomb hiding in the shadows.

    So, this?:

    BUT —
    Fourth: I think most of the controversy and discomfort of the scene could have been removed if the director had simply added the biker laying his hand on Vers. It need not be anything overtly violent — something as “innocent” as a patronizing hand on the shoulder or arm would have justified her response. And that makes me wonder why the director **didn’t** do something so simple?

    My answer is that the director didn’t need to. Even leaving aside the fact that she is not meant to be an admirable character at that point, there is some portion of the audience that sees the response as equivalent to the level of implied threat.

  28. I am appreciative of Pax/Ctein’s sharing of his thoughts on the history of the word queer.

    In my own experience (I’m 37, and started encountering the transition of queer-as-slur to queer-as-self-identification in college), as someone who just started grappling with her own queerness this year, that right now I need the fuzziness and broadness that queer implies as an umbrella term. Why not just be precise, you may say. I’m somewhere on the ace/aro spectrum, and as I’ve tried to pin down precisely what that means to me in a manner that would allow me to explain it to others, I’ve encountered a WHOLE LOT of ace/aro vocabulary that people before me created to try to pin down the same thing. A smattering: asexual, aromantic, demisexual, graysexual, allosexual, aspec, non-SAM aro, oriented aroace, alterous attraction, lithromantic, caedromantic. Will all of those be in use in a decade? I hope not. Is it way fucking easier to just tell someone i’m queer and then saving the “I’m aromantic and kinda demisexual but maybe asexual?? i dunno?? it changes??” conversation for another time.

    I realize this is kind of off the topic and maybe oversharing and I’m rambling about it because it’s been on my mind lately, but holy shit, I just love the simplicity and inclusiveness of the word queer. I can get more specific if necessary, but much of the time I’d rather not.

  29. To anyone who feels like engaging with Greg on that language issue, okay, but I’d just like to mention that he’s been beating that drum for many years and has felt free to impute motivations to others in a rather presumptuous and non-reality-based manner. In that particular comment, he not only mocked the entire notion of ever reclaiming any word, but also claimed that people were doing so partly because they wanted to “avoid mentioning lesbians, bisexuals, and transsexuals”. Completely aside from questions of personal sensitivity, I don’t feel that that’s a good-faith argument. In fact, I take it as a personal insult to a sizable chunk of my own community.

  30. To be clear: there are two potential areas of disagreement. The first is that the word has an offensive history so maybe it shouldn’t be repurposed, i.e. the general debate over reclaiming slurs. The other is what it actually means in current usage. Greg has repeatedly insisted that it is meant to be used in an exclusionary way, as in the quote above. And it’s been explained to him repeatedly that he’s mistaken—that in fact quite a lot of the term’s popularity is among people who could also self-identify as lesbian, bi, trans, etc.—but to no avail.

  31. Thing is, my sister is a transwoman. Do I really want to send this to her knowing just how awful David Brin has become?

    If it was me, I’d just say “I got a copy of “Startide Rising” with Brin’s signature. Would you like me to send it to you?” Let her decide.

  32. Dear Eli,

    I recommend you back off on this one (he said with teeth bared).

    Politically there is very little that Greg and I have been in agreement on. (I’m not sure we ever have, before. I identify as radical-left-feminist-poly-bi-queer. Not necessarily in that order.) But this? He is right and you are wrong. How DARE you say that he shouldn’t express his extreme discomfort at the use of that word (and he’s made it clear it discomforts him greatly). Who gave you control over the language?! You are not the gatekeeper, you have no authority.

    And you have no right to impugn his intentions or motives. Ad hominem attacks are always unseemly, ever the more so when they are based on bullshit. If that’s the level on which you intend to argue, you should shut the eff up.

    I went back and read those old remarks which you considered to be in such bad faith and impugning the motives of others. Well, guess what, he’s right, because I have heard people in the community use queer that way, as a way of erasing the individual concerns of other groups. In the parts of the country I frequent, not many of them, they are an ignorable fringe. But they are there and is entirely possible they are a lot stronger in other circles. They are NOT nonexistent.

    I know more than a little something about erasure. I’ve been the butt of it twice in my adult life. Perhaps it is much more of an issue in the circles that Greg runs in. Or perhaps not and he’s oversensitive to it. But it is not a nonexistent problem. As someone who grew up gay and discriminated against in the society, if he is a little oversensitive on the subject, he’s earned that right.

    In turn, your dismissing his qualms as him acting in bad faith plays about as well as telling a person of color who is complaining about police brutality that they’re just playing the race card. You are WAY out of line.

    So far as I am concerned, the linguistic ship has sailed. I no longer find the word queer offensive, I think it is useful, and I think the battle to be fought is to prevent people from misusing it, such as using it for erasure. But I know people who are not comfortable with the word even today, and they are entitled to feel that way.

    And to express that feeling, as fervently as they need to.. A living language like English is the ultimate vox populi. Proper usage is determined by collective usage. Not by you. Nor by Greg, but he hasn’t demanded everyone conform to his preference, he’s expressed polite albeit deep distress at the usage. He gets to do that.

    You on the other hand have demanded he get with the program and improperly attacked him as acting in bad faith. You are the one trying to enforce the language.

    Go play policeman somewhere else. You lack authority, goodwill, and, it would seem, an understanding of the realpolitik.

    – Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. http://ctein.com 
    — Digital Restorations. http://photo-repair.com 

  33. Dear Eli,

    And just to be clear, I am going after you personally because you went after him personally. Back off on that and I’ll back off on you.

    pax / Ctein

  34. “If I could take a pill that changed my orientation for a while, I expect I would.”

    I’d be much more happy to take pills that added sexual options than removing them.

    Regarding the yet another discussion about the word “queer”.

    I have much respect for Greg and understand his thoughts with regards to this. But this is an international community and “queer” has never had this negative history in Sweden. It has not been used to erase (as it has always been about people who do not fit into the LGBT-label). It has no historical use before being imported as a useful umbrella term. If I stopped using it, it would be erasure of my friends.

    So I will use the label, but I do it in a way where Greg (or other LGBT-people) aren’t included in it. And thus I do not think they should be gatekeepers of what others call themselves.

    I will respect that this might hurt a bit still when I say it. But I hope that the hurt is tempered by understanding how I use it.

    I am more confused with the even longer acronyms i english. QUILTBAG? LGTBQIA+? In Swedish usage, the Q includes the “IA+” and the “UIA”. Some people even include the BDSMF into it.

    So I do think people will have to respect that usage will vary depending on country, region or even age. To be ready to sometimes explain their usage or ask ask questions when they do not understand how others use it. And respect that some older gays might have different feelings.

    (But honestly, Greg. We have had this discussion before. The same people every time. While I do think we should respect each others feelings about it, at some time I do think you need to stop telling us to stop using the word that is important to us. It is exasperating.

    Note that I do not ask you to stop talking about how the word makes you feel. I do think it is a good reminder and that it makes us think on “how” we use it.)

  35. I am ambivalent to the word queer as an identifier for myself. Kinkster and BDSMF, yes. And I do experiment with gender play and taboos. But for it to be Queer, I think with regards to me, that it shouldn’t be something only for sessions or play parties. So I will not include myself as to not deflate the usage.

  36. Ctein:

    “Politically there is very little that Greg and I have been in agreement on.”

    There are several people here that I think I more or less always have been in conflict with regards to politics in discussions (and I kind of miss some of them. Bill? Airboy?). And sorry to say, I’m kind of an idiot when knowing when to quit and when to rein in my feelings (reminder to people that I get very happy when people here tell me to slow down, think, re-read and cool down).

    But I kind of assume that if I sat down with people and started to discuss what is important to us, what we see as problems and what makes us worried, we would be in agreement on an enormous amount of things. But for social media reasons always would discuss what we didn’t agree on. Even if I understand that the cultural divides are much larger in US than in my much smaller Sweden.

    Which btw is my absolute favourite part of File 770, when compared to other forums. That even when we agree here, discussions will not always stop with that, but some of the smartest people I have ever known will continue to add background, nuance and additional information.

  37. As a 48 year-old bisexual guy (who has identified in my life as straight, gay, and bi before I settled on bi as most accurate), I generally dislike the term “queer” because I remember when it was used to hurt me.

    That said, I don’t begrudge others the use of it, and I’m glad it’s being reclaimed.

  38. Dear Hampus,

    You bring up a number of excellent points. One being that if regional differences matter in the US, international ones matter even more! I am presuming that Sweden adopted “queer” from English, that it wasn’t part of your vocabulary until you picked it up from American usage? In that case, it’s not coming with the emotional baggage and history that it has here. For you, it’s simply a neologism. That makes sense.

    The reality is that the language is in flux and will continue to be in flux on these matters. I could see queer falling out of fashion in the future. It might not suit future folks analysis of gender identity, it might even be seen to be retrogressive. Probably will be. Our understanding and vocabulary in this area is somewhere south of primitive. Understatement!

    This is a case where age will matter. Folks of my era, vaguely children of the 60s as they’re called, had very different social concerns and a very different perspective from our parents. It wasn’t so much that we were right and they were wrong as ours were current and theirs had become obsolete. and now, 50 years later, many of their so become current again. Society does not move linearly.

    Many of the concerns I had in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, regarding gender identity are outdated. I very much enjoy talking to radical sexual activists who are in their teens and early 20s, because they know what the current cutting edge issues are, and they have seen the flaws in our previous modeling. While there’s a continuous historical consciousness, their specifics are pretty different from what mine were at their age.

    Accordingly, vocabulary will change and continue to change.

    And then there’s personal preference. I happen to love “QUILTBAG,” because (a) it seems inclusive (that is surely wrong), (b) it is pronounceable (I hate LGBTQ for that reason) and (c) it is a fun sounding word! Are these exactly profound arguments? Naaaah. But they do color my preferences. And, pertinent to the thread, its acceptance varies widely. I picked up the term in the US Midwest. There, most people in the circles I run in know exactly what it means. Back here on the Left Coast, it seems to be largely unknown. No one is offended if I use it, but it doesn’t communicate.


    On the specific matter of the discussion with Greg. He did **not** TELL me to do anything. What he said in entirety was, “No need to apologize, but I do appreciate it. Now if I could just get you to stop saying “queer.” ?” That is expressing a feeling, and a preference, It is not giving me a command. He was very careful not to tell me I couldn’t use the word, only indicating he’d rather I not. That’s entirely respectful and appropriate.

    Had he told me “you don’t get to say that” in so many words, I would’ve reacted very differently. Because he doesn’t get to gatekeep me or my feelings. But he didn’t. He expressed his distress with the word in a 100% acceptable fashion.

    There is no reason for him to stop doing that. If it bothers you to hear that your use of a word distresses someone, live with it. Silencing them is not appropriate, even if you’re tired of hearing them complain.

    The reason I jumped down Eli’s throat is that they took a civilized conversation with good process and attempted to turn it toxic. I shot them down, hard. If they try again I’ll shoot them down even harder.

    I’ve got a personal list of sex-related words that I consider entirely unacceptable at the same time that some other people are trying to reclaim them. If they use those words around me, I will indicate that that is not an okay word for me. I will do it more than once. They may not choose to listen, but so long as I am not ordering them around, it is appropriate and acceptable behavior.

    There was nothing wrong with what Greg said to me, even if it’s a futile effort on his part. We were having a pleasant and positive conversation. I will smack anyone who tries to take it toxic.

    – pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. http://ctein.com 
    — Digital Restorations. http://photo-repair.com 

  39. @Ctein

    I can’t find the comment where Eli told Greg that he shouldn’t express discomfort. Quote, please?

    Nevertheless: “Expressing discomfort” and “spending years pressuring people not to use the word queer for themselves, queer communities, or for people who identify with it” are two very different things, and I would not call the latter polite. Greg has done both. If he’d only engaged in the former, there wouldn’t be a problem.

    Queer got used as a slur, but so has every other word we’ve ever used for ourselves. And it was claimed back before I was even born. I disagree that there’s a material, objective difference between the slur-status of gay and queer. The only difference is how individuals feel about them.

  40. Dear Michael,

    So, doing quick math, that would have you coming-of-age in the 80s, which meant you were just in time for the first modern wave of bi-erasure. Lucky you. I got to fully establish my sexual identity before that hit.

    Now we are coming out of (I hope!) a second wave. Or maybe not. But I’m hoping so. This time around it’s not distressing me, it’s just really ticking me off. I get tired and cranky at the fighting old battles.

    Yeah, like that’s ever going to change.

    – pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. http://ctein.com 
    — Digital Restorations. http://photo-repair.com 

  41. Hampus Eckerman: my absolute favourite part of File 770, when compared to other forums. That even when we agree here, discussions will not always stop with that, but some of the smartest people I have ever known will continue to add background, nuance and additional information.

    I will absolutely fifth this. It’s a delight and privilege to participate in a community with so many brilliant, thoughtful people who have made my life better and made me a better person.

  42. Dear Meredith,


    I refuse to play. I’m not going to give Eli any more oxygen. They tried to turn the conversation toxic. Eff them.

    I quoted what Greg said to me, in its entirety, in my slightly-earlier post to Hampus**. Do you have any quarrel with what Greg said to me or with how he phrased it? If so, we can discuss that. But please remember that I was entirely fine with it, and it was directed at me.

    I do not care about your old grudges. I don’t care what Greg may or may not have said in the past and how you feel about it. I went so far to look at his comments from fergodsakes three years ago that Eli linked to and found nothing to justify Eli’s unrighteous representation of them nor their ad hominem attack.

    I repeat, your grudges are of no interest to me. Do not try and enlist me. I will not be part of a game of “Let’s You and Him Fight.”

    You might also consider the possibility that, having found that extended debate on the subject here is fruitless, Greg meant no more and no less than what he said to me. Because, you know what, people do learn. Even ones you may disagree with.

    Perhaps in other venues he is more contentious on the subject. I do not care. He may well Have been considerably more contentious in the past. Again, I do not care. What I care about is how he interacted with me in the present, and there was not one thing wrong with that by my perception.

    If you feel differently, I will be glad to hear you out, so long as you keep it in the here and now.

    (** the quote did not copy and paste entirely correctly–there was a smiley face at the end, not a question mark.)

    – pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. http://ctein.com 
    — Digital Restorations. http://photo-repair.com 

  43. @Ctein

    I believe I already did: I said it was part of a years-long pattern of pressuring people not to use the word queer.

    I’m sorry you’re not interested in the context or history — for example, in November last year, when he said there was “no excuse” for using “a hateful word” — but I can’t forget it just so you get to see whatever my reaction was whenever it first came up in the massive threads of 2015. If you want to see that one, you can google for it.

    I don’t have a grudge. I have an awareness that Greg is not friendly to my community. I also don’t want “you and him to fight”, I want you to stop misrepresenting the comments of people critical of his years-long pattern of pressuring people not to use the word queer.

    Nothing in Eli’s comments in this thread suggested they thought Greg shouldn’t express discomfort, and they were actually quite specific about not weighing in on whether people should or should not consider queer to be offensive. As far as I can tell your other criticisms were more or less based on what they said, but that one was not. I assume you genuinely thought they said it, since I don’t recall you ever misrepresenting a comment quite so badly, but they didn’t. I consider that sort of misrepresentation, however unintentional, to be very harmful to discussion.

    Perhaps you’re not in much of a position to assume motives, either, since you were so badly wrong about mine.

  44. … But I’ll settle for being on the record that I disagree with that characterisation of Eli’s comments, which I think I’ve covered thoroughly enough now. Or a dragon. I’d also accept a dragon.

  45. @Ctein (and others)–In one rather rambling on-line discussion that I can’t track down now, someone (Maybe Dan Savage) said that one way to deal with the whole queer/gay,etc. issue was to think of Queer as the genus and Gay as the species. That did help me, at least, put into a more concrete form just why the word bothered me at some times and not at others.
    For example, calling a novel “Queer-themed” when the only ‘queer’ couple is two men.
    It’s like saying ‘mammal’ as a short-cut when the actual word should be “elephant”.

    As far as the other acronyms go, “QUILTBAG” is trying too hard and “LesBiGay” is just plain annoying. I want acronyms that are witty or subversive or don’t take themselves too seriously–like the gay asian group here that wanted to call themselves TOFU (Tough Oriental Faggots United).

    On a side note that’s only genre if you really really stretch (Hogwarts)–I highly recommend the documentary “Tea With the Dames” just to lose yourself listening to Judi Densch, Maggie Smith, Joan Plowright and Eileen Atkins gossip, dish and reminisce.

  46. Dear Harold,

    Yes, vocabulary is vexing. I think “quiltbag” is pretty funny and clever, but your mileage might differ. Correction, your mileage does differ. We are far from achieving universality.

    Faggot is, in fact, one of those words on my “don’t say it around me” list. I don’t think it’s close to being reclaimed and, emotionally, I find it more offensive than queer. Which I used to find pretty damned offensive.

    What was that about mileage, again? [Smile]

    I think Dan Savage’s (or whoever) idea doesn’t work for two reasons. The first is that it elevates “queer” to a higher status than any of the, um, species. That’s precisely the issue that concerns Greg and that I have seen in action — that overarching “queer” concerns are given priority over the specific and somewhat different concerns of each, species.

    We’ve seen analogous problems in the past. Long ago (in a galaxy right next door to me), a lot of the early gay rights activists just used the word “gay,” asserting that it was an umbrella term that of course included both gay men and lesbians. Except the social concerns got prioritized such that lesbians got the short end of the stick. Surprise surprise. That’s when it went up to LG, with B and T following along presently. Because the big umbrella really wasn’t that big an umbrella.

    The problem also plays out in the opposite direction. The primary reason Queer Nation San Francisco collapsed was that there was a contingent of Act Up veterans in it who insisted on prioritizing gay concerns and sensibilities over queer ones and consensus broke down.

    Power dynamics in radical change movements, tricky thing.

    A second problem with the idea is that a great many gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender folk live very traditionally (yes, after 50+ years, we can use that word) and they neither wish to identify as queer nor does it correctly describe the life they are living.

    – pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. http://ctein.com 
    — Digital Restorations. http://photo-repair.com 

  47. 6) Sorry for reacting to descriptions and arguments before actually looking at the thing in question. I’m usually a little more on the ball than that. I watched it a couple more times this morning. The Terminator reference goes over my head, but the scene has grown on me on its own terms. It’s old-style comic book instant ironic justice, no heroism required.

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