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. @Lis: Vers’ victim was engaged in harassing her, and Max thinks she should have been nicer to him. That’s at least a simplification, and arguably just wrong; Florschutz’s argument is more nuanced — see below.

    @Hampus Eckerman: 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. No, the writers’ interpretation (as described by Florschutz) of this scene makes her an antihero. Unfortunately, neither of the articles links to any such statement, so fair judgment is difficult (if not impossible). But I note that several Filers have talked about this behavior being part of an arc — which makes the statement that this act is not heroic more plausible: would the Vers who simply slaps aside her superior’s macho stupidity at the end of the movie seem to take pleasure in twisting the knife, or would she simply walk over The Don?

    This is separate from the trollish objections to the scene itself, with the usual complaints (as noted by Stylist‘s article) about the scene “setting back feminism”. As long as the imbalance that makes feminism necessary exists, the what-if-a-man-did-that line is … limp.

    I’m mildly amused to note a possible continuity issue: the revised clip keeps the shot of a stripped mannequin, despite Vers demanding The Don’s jacket. This bit could have been left out, cutting directly to the rear shot of the departing Vers-on-motorcycle — or do we really think that The Don would have taken a jacket off a female mannequin?

    @Ctein: having been lackadaisically assigned to be a moderator by someone I consider commonly careless, I’m not surprised to see it elsewhere; I just dream of the severe instances (such as this one) becoming less common.

    @John A. Arkansawyer: 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. I’m not sure a pill would do the job; there’s a long history of stories of transformations (physical as in Tiresias, or mental overlay as in To Live Again) that have various levels of success. Even W. S. Gilbert commented (albeit on the reverse): “But what attracts you, I confess/I cannot guess/To me a woman’s face is quite/Uninteresting!” (We’ll see how many Filers recognize the source.)

    @Ctein: two grins up! (M-F and you-kids.)

    @Harold Osler: I second your recommendation of Tea with the Dames — lots of dish, lots of historic clips to give context.

    @Ctein: Power dynamics in radical change movements, tricky thing. Are they ever. I don’t know whether you ever met the late Mark Keller; there were times when his sardonicity ran out of bounds, but I remember with glee his dissection of the 4-3 split in an Albanian-oriented group in 1970’s Rhode Island. (The dividing argument was over whether PASSLQity constituted counter-revolutionary bourgeois self-indulgence; it came up because of the scene in Life of Brian.) I usually just watch, having demonstrated preternatural ability to unite people against my arguments (see, e.g., NESFA Rules section 3.2(3) ), and wince.

  2. @Ctein
    Thank you.

    Eric and I are looking into adopting an older child from foster care, and in the process we’ve done some six months of training, much of it about dealing with victims of trauma. In the process, it’s become clear that I myself still suffer from trauma I experienced as a child. When I say that “queer” is a trigger word, I really do mean that; it’s not just a pet peeve. I’ll freely admit that I’m not at my most rational when I’m triggered; no one is. You have spoken for me much better than I could have done for myself. Thanks again.

  3. fwiw, I didn’t read Eli’s comments as toxic either, but I’m pretty new here and don’t know the people/history of the (apparently many) previous discussions. So I’ll go sit on the figurative sideline.

  4. @John A Arkansawyer

    I appreciate that. 🙂


    I think it could comfortably be argued that it was a little rude to essentially go “hey, it might not be worth engaging with this person on this topic” where that person can see it — but that wasn’t even part of the debate, and Eli just didn’t say what they were accused of saying. *shrug*

    I don’t believe everyone else in this thread was there for most/all of the discussions, either, so I’m pretty sure you get to have exactly as much or as little of an opinion as you want.

    @Greg Hullender

    I do know that it hurts and that it sucks to deal with. I have a trigger (and I use that word very seriously, too) to do with people being called liars without it being absolutely, uncontrovertibly proven. And I’m sure you know that that’s happened a lot here, including (perhaps especially) from Filers I get along with very well otherwise. But my feelings don’t mean I get to expect people to stop using a fairly normal tool of debate. If I end up shaking and having to take a break for a bit to calm down, well, that’s my problem, not theirs. I’m not saying it’s easy, and I understand the urge to ask and wish for it anyway (I did, once, but people here quite rightly told me it wasn’t a reasonable expectation which hurt even though I agreed with them, so I get it), but the only person responsible for, the only person who can manage my feelings and my triggers, is me.

    Good luck with your adoption process.

  5. @Greg —

    Eric and I are looking into adopting an older child from foster care

    Oooooo, congrats and good luck! 🙂

  6. Clip Hitchcock:

    “. No, the writers’ interpretation (as described by Florschutz) of this scene makes her an antihero. “

    No. Florschutz’ interpretation is that this scene makes her an antihero. The writer says nothing about such an interpretation. Myself, I don’t interpret it as either heroic nor antiheroic.


    Best of luck with the adoption!

  7. Dear Greg,

    You’re welcome!

    Good luck with the adoption process and hopefully it will be less aggravating for you than it was for David Gerrold. Which was a couple of decades ago, but it was in Southern California which was probably the easiest place in the country to do it then.

    Me, I stuck with adopting parrots. Sure, perpetually the Terrible Threes, but I didn’t have to deal with social services either then or now when I shove him in a cage and throw a blanket over him. Now, if PETA tracks me down… [g]

    Meredith has given you extremely good advice. As a gay man living in contemporary USA, there is simply no way you’re going to be able to avoid frequently hearing That Word because it is, currently, accepted and useful tro the majority of the QUILTBAG community. I expect that at some time in the future it will fall out of fashion, but neither of us will likely live to see that day.

    You need to figure out a coping strategy, something you can do any time you’re triggered to wind yourself back down. Whatever works, it doesn’t have to be sophisticated and clever. Taking 10 deep breaths, reciting a personal mantra, doing an affirmation, allowing yourself two ounces of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream (my personal favorite — seriously). Whatever — you need to come up with something for the sake of your own mental health.

    That something may simply be walking away from a conversation. I’ve got a particular trigger which is sufficiently bad that if people don’t stop when I POLITELY ask them if they could please change the subject that is what I have to do. Or plug my ears and go lalalalala.

    Also, to state the evident, the historical baggage on that subject here seems to be so deep that even when you politely and appropriately bring up your trigger, as you did with me, people will jump down your throat (apparently unclear on the concept that rewarding good behavior is a really good idea and NOT in contradiction with having previously excoriated bad behavior). Good luck getting them to behave differently. A disengagement strategy looks like your only workable option.

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

  8. @Ctein–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.

    Well, that’s actually, for me :), why it works. As an idea, that is. I often feel that ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ are being erased by the insistence on ‘queer’ but I’m also at an age where I pick where I want to spend the energy.

    As far as ‘faggot’ goes, I came out right when it was being ‘reclaimed’ and I liked the idea. Reclaiming it was a way of saying ‘fuck you’ at the time. It was also flipping the feel of the word-it was a male-oriented energy.
    And now that basically two generations have gone by, it doesn’t have the same power. But I’d still rather be a faggot than a queer.
    It IS fun trying to explain to this new generation just why ‘faggot’ and ‘fairy’ meant two different styles back then. Sometimes their eyes just glaze right over.

    Anyone else read “String City” by Graham Edwards? I found it to be a rather fun read and I almost passed it by at the library. Interesting concept and world-building.

  9. @Ctein
    Thanks. Often I do just walk away, particularly when people become uncivil. However, I’m not, in general, willing to suffer in silence. (That’s part of why I became an activist in the first place.) 🙂

    These days, my policy here (and in other forums) is to state my feelings and then generally ignore the negative responses. Sometimes I do see support from people assuring me that it’s not just older guys who feel this way, so I do feel something of an obligation to stand up for those people who’re afraid to do it themselves. I’ve spent a lifetime doing that already.

    I do hold out hope that a younger generation, maybe not even teens yet, will eventually say, “Hey, we don’t want to be defined by an ugly self-hate word; we’re proud of who we are.” I think that’s more likely the more of us there are who won’t be silenced now. That’s a familiar position to me too. 🙂

    Thanks again. If you’re going to be in Seattle, we’d definitely like to treat you to dinner–or at least a drink. And if you’re in Dublin, let’s be sure to meet up.

  10. Dear Chip,

    I’ve since been made privy to more information on l’affaire Baycon, and it turns out it *was* a failure of the “whisper network.” I was simply wrong about that. It’s too bad I can’t go back and append corrections to older comments. (Or is there a way to do that I am unaware of?)

    In my estimation, Baycon is better-than-average on assigning moderators, but they want to do better. They are aware that there are deficiencies in their process, although it is not normal for those to produce such spectacular results.

    (My partner, Paula (not the Lieberman Paula) just said, ” David isn’t a moderator, he’s an accelerant!”)

    Having heard more than one eyewitness account of this (Sumiko’s is the most extensive but it should not be considered authoritative — no one person’s is) the very basic facts are consistent from account to account, although the specific process descriptions vary considerably. Truth is, I can’t figure out any way this wouldn’t have blown up, given who was on the panel. If I were moderating, and I had the foresight and wit (which I probably wouldn’t), I could *probably* have dragged it back on track before it got fatally diverted into present-day diversity issues. But given David’s nature, at some point he still would’ve driven it off the rails, and it would have been necessary to firmly squash him. Not a desirable position for moderator to be in but, sadly, not entirely unheard of.

    As for McGaffey’s astonishingly racist remark, the only option I can think of is the nuclear one: if they do not walk back the remark immediately, unequivocally, and without qualification, I revoke their speaking privileges on that panel.

    This might be a good case to add to SMOFfish discussions and panels on how to do moderating: how does one handle it if a panel member says something that is undeniably and outrageously offensive to/about another panel member?

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

  11. @Harold Osler

    But I’d still rather be a faggot than a queer.

    I actually agree with you on this one, but I wonder why no one has ever tried to reclaim “cocksucker.” If we were going to try to reclaim a word, why not pick one worth having?

  12. Dear Greg,

    If you were to suggest to anybody who personally knows me, “Ctein is someone who is willing to suffer in silence,” they would first do a spit take and then roll on the floor laughing. Age and wisdom have moderated me some, but that’s merely turning the amp down from eleven to, oh, maybe nine.

    The thing is, there are way too many battles out there to be fought, unless you’ve figured out how to get more than a 24 hour day. This one is currently unwinnable and pointless. If it were a Big Thing, like gay marriage was, sure, keep hammering away at the brick wall. But it’s not — it’s a minor point of vocabulary, the stakes are truly minuscule except that it’s a trigger for you.

    This is also the wrong venue. You are mostly speaking to people who are not part of our Community. We get to define our vocabulary and how we self-identify, they don’t. Even if you were to persuade everyone (or anyone) here of your position, most of them do not have standing. They don’t get to have a say in this. They don’t get to define Us.

    (Also, you’re kinda veering in that direction with the “self-hate” remark. Careful, don’t go there.)


    Thank you for the offer, and I won’t forget it. I haven’t been up to the Pacific Northwest in some years, but it’s not an impossibility. Dublin, sadly is not on the table. I just don’t have the time this year. But I am very hopeful for New Zealand.

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

  13. @Greg I actually agree with you on this one, but I wonder why no one has ever tried to reclaim “cocksucker.” If we were going to try to reclaim a word, why not pick one worth having?
    Welllll, not too long ago, at work, someone who was being ‘escorted’ out was having a fit and throwing insults around and called me that.
    All I said was, “You say that like it’s a bad thing” which made everyone else laugh and just pissed him off even more.
    Funny how dead-pan comments get them all worked up.

  14. @Ctein,
    I’m following up only because your last word on me was “Eff them.” As briefly as possible:

    1. I did not say that Greg shouldn’t express his feelings. I think it’s valuable for everyone to hear that point of view.

    2. My comment was not meant to start a fight, or to resurrect one, but to forestall possible future fights involving others. I saw some people attempting to (politely) debate with Greg on this subject—a not unreasonable impulse given that his initial comment was, as you say, also polite. I thought it was worth mentioning that that might not be a good idea, because it never, ever, ever goes well. That’s why the history is relevant. If that makes me a “policeman”, then I guess someone who says “maybe you shouldn’t try to turn left here, a lot of accidents happen at this intersection” is being a traffic cop. My guess is that Greg doesn’t particularly enjoy these debates either and is not trying to start them, but I don’t know.

    3. If it wasn’t clear, what I said about good faith was limited specifically to Greg’s claims about others’ motives. Yes, of course it’s true that for any kind of malign intent you can think of, you can find someone who has that intent. But he was, IMO, clearly characterizing that as being what people mean by it—not just what some people mean, and not just what it sounds like to him. And I can’t take that as being due to Greg’s own bad experiences (which as you say are completely valid), because he was saying it supposedly on behalf of lesbians et al. If I was completely misreading that text, well, people at that time didn’t seem to think so and Greg never said so, but I did provide the link so others could make up their own minds. And again, my intent was not to shout him down, but to show why I think trying to debate Greg about that word is not a good idea. I didn’t complain about the discussion in any other way, and I have not argued against his opinion on this subject except to say that 1. people in the community obviously have a variety of opinions on it and 2. he doesn’t get to say what others’ intentions are.

    While I’m not good at completely hiding how irritated I am at such times, I don’t think your reading of what I wrote was fair. In any case, my opinion isn’t crucial and doesn’t need to be repeated, so I’ll do my best to just skip the thread next time.

  15. Chip:

    I’m mildly amused to note a possible continuity issue: the revised clip keeps the shot of a stripped mannequin, despite Vers demanding The Don’s jacket. This bit could have been left out, cutting directly to the rear shot of the departing Vers-on-motorcycle — or do we really think that The Don would have taken a jacket off a female mannequin?

    The mannequin is where she got the rest of the clothes she wears subsequently. She gets the jacket from the Don, and the NIN shirt, etc, from the mannequin.

  16. “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! “

    I wrote a comment, then thought that “heck no, it would be nice if this discussion would die out while everyone is polite, mostly respect each other and are even mostly in agreement” and deleted it. And forgot that I didn’t answer this.

    Of course it is about pronounciation. I feel kind of stupid now, as I have never tried to speak the english acronyms out loud, I only use them when discussing on the web. And when trying to say “LGBTQ”, I understood why people would long for something easier to say (I’m still confused why people would use LGBTQIA+ though).

    In Sweden, we use HBTQ which is at least a bit less tongue spraining.

  17. A somewhat tangential contribution to the discussion of identity terminology:

    Although nowhere near as publicly contentious as discussions over the use of “queer”, I regularly run into contentions over the use of the identity term “lesbian”. The main driver of these contentions is the deliberate attempt by TERFs to align lesbian identity with TERFism. I have encountered perfectly well-meaning people assume that because I prefer “lesbian” as an identity marker (and because I use the term a lot in reference to my historic research work) that I must partake of TERFism. People have done this knowing nothing else about me.

    But the answer, for me, isn’t for me to dissociate myself from an identity label that has such a delightfully deep history and such rich cultural associations. It’s to continue using the word and refuse to let TERFs lay exclusive claim to it. Even if that means that people that I’m politically allied with vilify me out of ignorance.

    It’s the same reflex I have when people ridicule me for focusing my research and writing on queer women in history — when they ask, “Why would you waste your time on eras that were so awful for queer people?” That reflex is: “Fuck anyone who wants to cede history to straight people.” (My second reflex is “let me explain to you all the ways in which you are mistaken about queer people in history” but the first one is always “like hell!”) The word lesbian is so thoroughly entwined with my personal identity that the suggestion that I should avoid or abandon it is tantamount to suggesting I pretend to be straight just to make people more comfortable.

    It is, to some extent, parallel to the problem when abhorrent political groups latch on to previously neutral signifiers. One can abandon the field to them and gradually back away until one has backed off a cliff, or one can stand firm and say, “No, the problem isn’t with the signifier, the problem is YOU.”

    The problem with accepting negative associations for terms associated with non-normative sexuality is that–given the history of our culture(s)–pretty much every term associated with non-normative sexuality has been assigned negative associations at some point. Accepting those associations becomes an acceptance of erasure. I’d rather be uncomfortable on occasion than have anyone be erased, whether it’s me being uncomfortable with someone else’s identity label, or whether it’s someone else being uncomfortable with mine.

  18. Dear Heather,

    Oh God, how I HATE those TERFs!

    I hadn’t realized they’d been that successful at perverting the label “lesbian.” God knows, it’s not like they haven’t been trying for decades but I’d thought they’d lost traction on that. Oh, optimistic, naive me.

    The only (minimally) positive thing I have to to say on this subject is that at least they are no longer coming after people I care about with guns. (And I don’t mean death-threat talk on the Internet, I mean physically showing up, guns in hand.)

    At least I hope so. I really wouldn’t put anything past those horrible people.

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

  19. Pingback: Top 10 Posts for May 2019 | File 770

  20. @Hampus

    Sorry Hampus, I thought about it and talked it over a little elsewhere, but I was really uncomfortable leaving the discussion where it was, even if it did seem nicer.

    @Heather Rose Jones

    Yes, all of that, and for other communities with a history of wrestling back terminology besides. I’ve seen TERFs try to claim lesbian, and I’d be pretty upset if they managed it even though it isn’t my word. It’s not theirs, they shouldn’t get to have it. I’m glad you’re pushing back.

    (Try and get a room full of disabled people to all agree on identity-first vs person-first sometime, let alone the rest! The idea that there’s One True Right Word for all doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.)

    @Greg Hullender

    No. Queer is not self-hate. Queer is self-affirmation. Queer is saying, I may not be L or G, but I belong in this community, I can make a community with all the people who looked at the mainstream and only saw L’s and G’s and wondered if they were welcome, and yes, all the L’s and G’s who want to be can be in it too. Queer is inclusivity incarnate, for all who want to claim it.

    If you used queer it would feel self-hating to you. But your feelings are not my feelings, they are not the feelings of my community, and you should not be trying to generalise them to everyone who isn’t you. If you restrained yourself to your feelings we could stop having this debate over and over, and I would sure as hell be happy not to. If you have a reason for generalising, feel free to explain it.

    (Also, given your contentious recent history with trans, enby and genderqueer peeps, I’d think you’d want to keep away from repeating terf rhetoric like “queer erases lesbians”. Regulars here know your thing about queer is personal rather than part of a campaign to exclude, but outsiders do not, and you can’t afford that misunderstanding.)


    “He’s polite so if you disagree with his substance then I will feel free to be incredibly rude to you and misrepresent your arguments” is a pretty weird form of tone policing, but it’s not a good look, you know.

  21. Dear Meredith,

    Yes, that would be a very weird form of tone policing.

    But since that isn’t even close (not even on the same planet) to the substance of my objection (nor anyone’s so far as I can see), it’s a rather weird hypothetical and nothing more.

    You didn’t get it. You aren’t getting it.

    pax / Ctein

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