(1) REFERENCE DIRECTOR. Chip Hitchcock writes, “Boston has declared a snow emergency, so I followed the email link for information. The front page, https://www.boston.gov/winter-boston, says –“
(2) AGAINST ALL ODDS. Seanan McGuire tweets her animal rescue stories. Worst houseguest, lemur or emu, YOU DECIDE!
(3) 2017 BAFTA WINNERS. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts announced the winners of the EE British Academy Film Awards for 2017 on February 12. Although there originally were items of genre interest in 14 categories, only a few took home the hardware —
- KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS Travis Knight
- FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Stuart Craig, Anna Pinnock
- ARRIVAL Sylvain Bellemare, Claude La Haye, Bernard Gariépy Strobl
SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS
- THE JUNGLE BOOK Robert Legato, Dan Lemmon, Andrew R. Jones, Adam Valdez
(4) NOW BATTING FOR SUNIL PATEL. The Everyone: World Without Walls Kickstarter launched with a cover mockup featuring Sunil Patel’s name first among the story contributors. Today the publisher announced Patel is out, and most of the graphics have been changed to remove his name.
No further explanation was given – the decision likely involves the reasons that other publications cut ties with Patel last October.
(5) FLAMMABLE TOPIC. The cover of the YA fantasy novel Before She Ignites, which features a black girl in a pretty ballgown, struck Justina Ireland as worthy of complaint, not because of the art, but the context.
Last night, someone sent me a link to Jodi Meadows’ new book, Before She Ignites. I didn’t really understand the context until I saw the cover.
The cover, which is gorgeous, features a Black Girl in a pretty dress. Awesome.
But the fact that the cover appears to be the first of it’s kind and it belongs to a white author serves to reinforce the absolute whiteness of publishing. Because even when it wants to increase representation, publishers look to white authors to fill that need.
And that is the exact opposite of what should be happening…
(6) PUSHBACK. Mia Sereno (Likhain), a 2016 Tiptree Fellow, has published a letter to the editors of Apex Magazine complaining about their choice of Benjanun Sriduangkaew to host the “Intersectional SFF Roundtable”, posted on February 10.
I am deeply disappointed to find Benjanun Sriduangkaew, who previously also wrote under the pseudonym Requires Hate (RH), as a contributor to your roundtable on intersectionality in SFF.
It is not your choice to publish RH that I find appalling, but your specific choice to ask her to contribute to a roundtable on, of all things, intersectionality.
It is a well-known fact that RH caused harm to people in the SFF community, disproportionately targeting women of color; there was even a published report on it, which garnered its writer a Hugo. Whether you agree with the circumstances surrounding the publication of the report or not, it cannot be denied that women in the SFF community, among them women of color, spoke about the harm RH caused them.
This leads me to some questions: does intersectionality in SFF not include women, especially women of color? Is intersectionality only important enough that we must write about it, but not so important that we actively value it by considering how much further harm giving RH a platform to talk about intersectionality would cause? By this I mean that RH speaking about intersectionality, when she herself has harmed marginalized people — when she has caused harm by using people’s marginalizations against them — is a grievous injury.
I wonder whether you did not consider these things, or whether you did, but simply valued having RH’s contributions to your intersectional roundtable more than preventing harm. Neither bodes well for your commitment to marginalized people in the community.
I state again: it is not your decision to publish RH that appalls me; you have published her before, and I have simply not read the work. It is your decision to publish her in this specific, slap-in-the-face, salt-in-the-wounds context. Many of those harmed by RH — and the names attached to public reports or posts are not the entirety of them — are meant to be included by the idea of intersectionality; instead, you do worse than exclude.
(7) DAY OF THE DAY
- February 12 – If you’re not living somewhere that celebrates Lincoln’s birthday, then naturally you’ll have to make the best selection you can —
We must, however, acknowledge, as it seems to me, that man with all his noble qualities. still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin. – Charles Darwin
There was a pivotal moment in history when we began to look at ourselves, and at life, in a new way. It changed not just how we perceived ourselves, but how we were related to all the other life and species on Earth. We came to realize, along the way, that we were kin, however distant, of every lifeform on Earth, and that moment was both aggrandizing and humbling, all at once. That moment was when Charles Darwin brought the idea of Law of Natural Selection into the limelight of the scientific world, and we began to see with clear eyes how everything, absolutely everything, was connected.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY
- February 12, 1931 — Today marks the 86th anniversary of the release of Dracula starring the iconic Bela Lugosi.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY COMMANDER
- February 15, 1915 – After he finished playing Pa Cartwright, today’s birthday boy Lorne Greene became Battlestar Galactica’s Commander Adama.
(10) CALHOUN NULLIFIED. Yale dumps slavery supporter’s name on “college”, replaces with computer hero.
Calhoun College will be renamed to honour Grace Murray Hopper, who helped transform the way people use technology.
Hopper earned Yale degrees in the 1930s and became a US Navy rear admiral.
Saturday’s announcement, which follows years of debate, reverses a decision made last year.
The Ivy League university said the move ends the controversy over the former politician and defender of slavery John C Calhoun, whose legacy led to campus protests in 2015.
Four people were arrested in a peaceful protest as recently as Friday after they blocked a road near the residential college.
Yale University president, Peter Salovey, announced in April that the school would keep Calhoun’s name. However he later appointed an advisory panel to determine whether the decision was correct.
Chip Hitchcock amplifies, “For those not familiar with this peculiarity: ‘colleges’ were nominally modeled after Oxbridge but are residential/social only; all undergraduates are enrolled in Yale College.”
(11) DON’T BUY THAT STAR BALONEY. Columnist John Kelly gets to play Snopes when someone asks him if “the Washington Post film critic was fired for giving Star Wars a bad review“; the critic, Gary Arnold, notes that his review of Star Wars was, in fact, highly favorable.
Arnold was quite prescient when it came to how “Star Wars” would be remembered, predicting that the film was “virtually certain of overwhelming popular and critical success. It has a real shot at approaching the phenomenal popularity of ‘Jaws.’?”
Although Arnold never heard the rumor that his “Star Wars” review cost him his job, he has heard another urban myth: that a top Post editor ordered his dismissal after his negative review of Robert Duvall’s “Tender Mercies.”
That’s not true, either. Well, it is true that Arnold didn’t like 1983’s “Tender Mercies.” Duvall played a glum country-western singer by the name of Mac Sledge — “more like Mac Sludge,” Gary wrote.
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Greg Hullender.]