Rocket Stack Rank has answered “An Open Letter With Respect to Reviews Published on Rocket Stack Rank” with an apology and commentary. The open letter was coauthored by Brooke Bolander, Indrapramit Das, Ada Hoffmann, Keffy R.M. Kehrli, Rose Lemberg, Sunny Moraine, Suzanne Palmer, Charles Payseur, A. Merc Rustad, K.M. Szpara, Bogi Takács, and JY Yang, and has been cosigned by well over 100 others since it was posted yesterday.
Rocket Stack Rank’s “Apology & Open Letter Responses” begins:
We apologize to all readers and authors we’ve harmed and offended. Greg [Hullender] has withdrawn from the Locus Recommended Reading List panel.
We apologize for offending non-binary and trans people who use “they” as their pronoun. Our criticism of fictional non-binary characters in stories hurt real people who read and identify with those characters. What we’d previously dismissed as differences of personal preference or as “neutral” linguistic arguments, actually exposed a major blind spot.
We also apologize for trying to “explain” trans people to a cis audience in two reviews (The Black Tides of Heaven & The Red Threads of Fortune). It is not our place to do that no matter how much history Greg had in the LGBT movement, and we should have known that.
Moving forward, we will no longer single out the use of “they” as pronouns for non-binary characters as a Pro or Con of a story. We will treat non-binary characters the same way we treat gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans characters. For existing reviews, we will update each with a correction and comment that links to this post. In general, if people tell us about errors in pronouns or gendering, we’ll thank them for their feedback and correct the errors.
We continue to listen and to learn, and we will do better.
The apology is followed by a paragraph-by-paragraph response to the Open Letter, accepting some of the criticisms, disagreeing with others, for example —
We do not promote ourselves as the one-and-only authority on short fiction, as evidenced by the search link we provide with every story that lets readers find reviews written by people with very different tastes from RSR, as well as direct links to recommendations from prolific reviewers where available.
Other parts of the response vary between accepting the criticisms and making further apology, explaining measures being taken to avoid similar problems in the future, and trying to document the inaccuracy of a few specific criticisms.
Meanwhile, Locus, which has been under pressure to drop Hullender from the Recommended Reading List panel, has issued this statement:
Thank you to those who brought their concerns about RSR to our attention. Greg Hullender will not be involved in the Locus Recommended Reading List. We support our wonderfully complex and diverse SF community, and hope for continued positive dialogue on these issues.
— Locus Magazine (@locusmag) November 30, 2017
[Editor’s note: I have been covering this story in the Scroll, however, I did not want to delay reporting these developments for eight or ten hours til the Scroll is ready to post.]
I’m only going to engage with the way this apology deals with my axis of marginalisation. The apology from RSR once again reduces the criticism of their approach to nonbinary characters to their treatment of neopronouns, without dealing with the detailed criticism of the extent of the transphobia implicit and explicit in their reviews, as discussed in comments on previous posts.
This apology fundamentally ignores the issues raised, once again; it is a defence and a doubling down, not an apology accepting of where wrong has been done.
As per what D Franklin has said, this apology focuses on some details without addressing the whole picture that the open letter painted. The “response to the open letter” section tries to mount a defence on some specifics while often avoiding the broader criticisms.
Greg, you had the opportunity to show you had some insight into why people were upset, but you have not taken it.
+1 to this.
And to this.
E.g picking out and quibbling over whether the use of “exotic” is justified every time it comes up is NOT an answer to the site’s overall treatment of race. I’ve seen various screencaps of nasty, condescending and nonsensical reviews of stories by PoC, e.g. this thread by Rose Lemberg has several. How much more emotional labour by marginalised people does Greg require before actually acknowledging THESE criticisms, let alone doing anything about them?
Glad the Locus RR list won’t be affected by this bias.
N. K. Jemisin posted about RSR’s review of her story, “Red Dirt Witch,” pointing out that it’s the only one on the site categorized as “Black Historical Fantasy,, and notes that the threats are from Celtic fae, and although the story is set during segregation in the black part of Birmingham, AL, neither segregation or the Civil Rights Movement is the main focus of the story, concluding that “By the logic used here, 90% of the short stories set on Earth pre-present should be labeled “white historical” something or other. Guess what I don’t see in other reviews on the site.”
The actual review of “Red Dirt Witch, well, mini-review. It’s not a particularly, erm, robust review. ”
Nor as I sure it’s a good choice to put a phrase that probably from the story since it’s in quotes in the review:
The descriptions of the lives and personalities in the “Negro neighborhood” ring true, as do the concerns of a single mother anxious about her children’s futures.
An apology, in this context, is a way to attempt a resolution of a conflict and provide an opportunity to move on.
An apology is never a good place to:
– continue the argument
– counter claims
– pick holes in what critics have said
This apology isn’t going to help.
Pogo said it best: “We has met the enemy, and they is us.”
Andrew Porter: Pogo said it best: “We has met the enemy, and they is us.”
Oh, FFS. There aren’t any enemies here. There are just people making the very legitimate request that they be treated with dignity, respect, and equality; and people who need to do a whole lot better at that than they have been.
It’s pretty much axiomatic that a successful apology won’t include attempts at self defense. Or, much more bluntly, as an apology this is shite.
It’s a common mistake to commingle an apology and an attempt at explanation / justification. The apology really has to stand on its own, so that it can be reacted to on its own. Anything that is not part of the apology itself will only serve to detract from the apology.
Only once the apology has been made and accepted, that is when it may be possible (though still not necessarily a good idea) to enter a dialogue on some of the issues.
Of course, just because it’s a common mistake does not make it any less a one, nor is it an excuse for that mistake
But even if we try to look at the apology itself, it rather falls flat right from the start. The opening sentence reads:
as if it is only those who use that one particular pronoun that have a valid grievance, rather than, oh, all trans and non-binary people (and others that I’m forgetting). The next one,
also attempts to define the boundaries to where they themselves see the problems, rather than where the affected people have pointed out the problems lie. And that’s just the first one-and-a-half sentences.
The justification / rationalization / “you’re holding it wrong” parts are also simply not good. One example is this ‘exchange’,
they again ring-fence their response to only those characters who use “they”, and further completely ignore that they make judgements about authors’ “good use of transness” as if that were only permitted as a plot device if used “well” – i.e., judging whether or not trans and non-binary people are “permitted” in a story – ironically, in much the same way that some have complained about whether a character’s sexual orientation ‘are necessary for the plot’ in the case of gay characters (just as one example).
But I’m not going to dissect this further. I had co-signed the Open Letter before RSR’s attempted apology, and it has not changed my mind. And that’s with me being white, cis, straight and male.
I believe Greg does sincerely want to do better. I hope he and Eric continue. I find the site very useful as a one-stop place to keep tabs on what’s been published in the magazines they cover. I appreciate that they make it easy to find info about the authors and other reviews. I always read the stories to form my own opinion before looking at any review. I also always read author bios before reading their story to gain some perspective on where they’re coming from. One of the great joys of reading (particularly short fiction) is to learn about experiences different from my own.
JJ: There aren’t any enemies here.
Of course, that was the point of the strip.
Pogo champions all the values that you are saying this should be about. Plus it’s funny. Plus it is warm, caring, and kind. We could use more of that.
Tom Becker: While this is generally a true thing, its application to the current situation is unclear.
John A. Arkansawyer: IBID.
It seems to me that the last few people keep dancing around something they want to say but not saying it.
What CONCRETE thing is it you want people to do? Be specific. Give examples. Explain why this thing you want is better than what has happened. Not just for you. For them. For their ultimate goal.
I suspect what people want is for Greg’s apology to have been adequate, actually covered all harm and demonstrated genuine reflection. That seems like a universal wish. Where we deviate seems to be on what to do about it and who we want to blame by implication.
I suspect what people want is also to be able to focus upon people like Trump who are a blatant ill in the world, instead of flawed human beings who nonetheless sit on the “we want equality” side of the equation. Again, a universal wish. it would be good to be able to direct ourselves at that enemy without being bumped and jabbed by our peers in the meantime. And again, where we seem to differ is on what to do about being bumped and jabbed and on who in fact is actually being so bumped and jabbed.
I think Greg was wrong. I had hoped for some more in the apology. To address the issues about questioning the identity of non-binary persons, questioning why non-binary persons were in stories in ways people would never question people of other genders.
But I’m also exhausted. Because seeing the rollong snowball on twitter, how people are trying to weaponize Greg’s partner to attack him with, lumping him together with Puppies, Frenkel, Trump and everything that is bad in the world drains my energy. And add to that the threats against Bogi Person.
Exhaustion is the right word.
Tom Becker: Of course, that was the point of the strip.
Yeah, no, it’s not the point of that particular strip.
@Lenora Rose: Your suspicions are spot-on in my case:
I added the word primarily, because not-Evil people need criticism sometimes, too, but either version works for me.
(I have thoughts about the rest of that paragraph, for another time and place.)
I only read the twitter threads people link to, I have no presence there. I am more and more convinced that this is the right approach to Twitter.
Greg is not and never was any of “Puppies, Frenkel, Trump and everything that is bad in the world”. He’s a human being who needs to learn a lot in a few areas. So am I. I don’t wish Rocket Stack Rank to cease to exist over this; I may not care for it as a resource, but others do. I don’t wish Greg to end up gafiating because of this exhaustion. I am frustrated and a bit tired but I am still hopeful there’s a way for this to end well. (I am also, as noted several other times, essentially cis, and not a target, and if others feel more anger, I can honour that — so long as it is anger and not violence.)
Nobody, ever, deserves threats. (THAT part of Greg’s commentary he got dead on, BTW). Bogi has done nothing thus far that deserves even significant censure, though that censure (and all too often, even the threats) do seem to be the inevitable fate of someone calling out a popular figure even in a group as relatively small as fandom.
Because seeing the rollong snowball on twitter, how people are trying to weaponize Greg’s partner to attack him with, lumping him together with Puppies, Frenkel, Trump and everything that is bad in the world drains my energy.
Hampus, I’m not @ing you because I have a more general point to make and I also don’t want to make your exhaustion worse.
Johnson & Johnson has long been a case study in how to handle a horrible thing that has the potential to also kill a company due to how they handled product tampering of Tylenol that killed people. They were on it immediately, with warnings that were inescapable, they made no excuses, and they made sure to remove every last bottle. They came back with safeguards in place.
Instead of people refusing to ever buy another bottle of potentially cyanide laced Tylenol, the company recovered market share pretty quickly. Even though people died and even though the original culprit was never found.
A good apology works like a stellar corporate response. There might be some grumbling (or people who never buy your product again), but the vast majority allow you to move on even from utter disaster.
A bad apology just throws tires on the garbage fire and starts choking everyone in the vicinity.
Before RSR posted their response to the open letter, Greg had a prequel of how his approach would be received here in File 770. D Franklin did a fine job of highlighting just where it made the existing RSR-created garbage fire worse and others added their own wisdom. This could have made it clear that there was a very narrow path to take to start to make it right, but you have to be willing to listen. Or at least Google “how to make a good apology no matter how badly we screwed up.”
So, having made a bad situation unnecessarily much worse, it’s not a surprise that there is what looks like an overreaction (I’d call it a completely understandable consequence, but that’s me).
Moral of the story? When you completely screw things up, apologize sincerely without hedging. If you’re good with words, you can also add something about wanting to listen and learn. If you aren’t, don’t. And then shut the hell up and listen.
Not meant to single you out in any way, but:
Over the last couple of years, it looks to me like apology critique has evolved into an art form of its own. However, I can’t recall a single case where anyone’s apology was deemed sufficient and satisfactory (Maybe this is because in many of those causes, the aggrieved party felt that their very humanity was being questioned, which is admittedly hard to forgive; however deadly the Tylenol affair was, this particular problem did not exist there).
If somebody apologizes in general, their apology is dismissed as lacking specifics. If they apologize for specific offenses, the apology is dismissed for “attempts to define the boundaries to where they themselves see the problems”. Each word of the apology is parsed in the least generous spirit possible and probed as an opening to further pile on.
Calling out people, even if they are generally perceived to be on one’s own side, can undoubtedly be a force for good. But when this is done without some measure of mercy or generosity, it becomes a rather toxic pattern.
@microtherion – Over the last couple of years, it looks to me like apology critique has evolved into an art form of its own. However, I can’t recall a single case where anyone’s apology was deemed sufficient and satisfactory
It’s not just the last few years. Children have been offering apology critiques my whole life. My sibs and I did it, my kids did it, growing up the whole neighborhood did it. The internet has become the neighborhood, with all of us free to voice our opinions on the social (and societal) errors of others and it seems to come as a surprise to those who previously were immune to or unaware of the social consequences of bad behavior.
As to not recalling a single instance where an apology was accepted, that’s partly confirmation bias (offhand, I remember Scalzi, Hines and Wendig apologizing at different times in the last five or so years and those apologies were accepted) and partly how condemnation is so much louder and more visible than acceptance, so that’s what is more easily remembered. (Have you ever cut yourself badly but not dangerously? You lose less than half a cup of blood, which really isn’t all that much relative to how much stays inside, and it looks like a fatal crime scene. Condemnation is like that. Plus, the surprise factor of the social change around no longer being able to act badly with impunity.)
eta to OGH: No, I don’t know where the extra characters in my name came from. Sorry to add work!
@Cheryl S – Oh man, you just brought up painful memories of my childhood and my mother making me re-word and re-re-word my apologies to my sister. From “I’m sorry you’re such a jerk” to “I’m sorry if your feelings are so easy to hurt” to “I’m sorry your feelings were hurt” to “I’m sorry I did X. That was wrong, and I’m sorry you were hurt. I won’t do it again.” And then repeating that over and over until it sounded like I meant it. Weirdly, the more I did that, the more I understood the concept of being sorry and apologizing. I think an essential part of apologizing is learning to swallow your pride and admit you were wrong without excusing yourself.
But then, an apology I recall being considered sufficient by many people* was one by a certain Puppy author, who apologized for SWATing someone then immediately turned around and showed he’d learned nothing by sic’ing his followers on a magazine editor. Which made the whole thing even creepier – that he knew enough to understand what he’d done and apologize for it sincerely, but that didn’t change his future actions.
* I was one of those fooled. I recall several people here who were not as prepared to believe the apology.
microtherion: I can’t recall a single case where anyone’s apology was deemed sufficient and satisfactory
The purpose of an apology is not to be accepted or given approval.
An apology’s sole purpose is for the person apologizing to express remorse for what was done, and hopefully to indicate that something was learned and that something will change.
microtherion: Calling out people, even if they are generally perceived to be on one’s own side, can undoubtedly be a force for good. But when this is done without some measure of mercy or generosity, it becomes a rather toxic pattern.
In this specific case, where a pattern of bad behavior, calling-out, and non-apology / faux apology has occurred repeatedly over a period of years, I think that a paucity of mercy and generosity is pretty understandable.
The “benefit of the doubt” is something given to someone who has done something once, before they’ve had the opprtunity to be made aware of an issue with their behavior and apologize and change. Someone who demonstrates a repeated pattern of behavior, despite being given numerous opportunities to apologize, re-evaluate and change, has forfeited the benefit of the doubt.
Also, apologies after someone has hurt a large number of people are never going to be accepted by everyone in that group – because people have their own individual feelings and make their own call about forgiveness. So there can be confirmation bias there too if some people in a community accept an apology but others remain vocally disappointed.
This is a derailment though, because as others point out, there are so many glaringly fundamental things wrong with this apology, that mean “is an apology ever good enough to be accepted” is an irrelevant debate. I wouldn’t accept this one if similar language/behaviour was directed at me.
The quality of mercy is now strained;
It trickleth as the yellow rain from heaven
Upon the proles beneath. Apology, twice blest;
It blesses him that forced it and him who
Coughed up under duress; ‘Tis mightiest
When the mighty (not very, but ’tis relative)
Use it to get their way and eat it too.
It becomes the throned monarch. It will do
As well as crown and scepter to crack heads,
To mark the sorriest of all the sorry
Sons of bitches who fuck up and are consumed
By public shaming and humiliation,
Whereby doth grow the dread and fear of all.
John A Arkansawyer: …
Yeah, you know, I’ve really had it with you being continually passive-aggressive toward me, for many months now. I’m sure that you imagine yourself to be really clever when you do it — but it’s not clever, it’s just being a jerk. 🙄
Fair enough. But what, then, is the purpose of critiquing an apology?
I have not sufficiently kept tabs on past RSR controversies to opine on this specific case. I was commenting primarily on the general pattern I’m seeing.
Where, then, would you like the rails to lead? What would be your ideal outcome? For RSR to disappear? For it to be continued under new mgt? For it to never publish an unkind word about anybody again?
I don’t wish for any of those things you’ve extrapolated. The future of the RSR site is up to Greg and Eric, and I’ve no interest in making proclamations about it, although I very much hope that others will evaluate their site according to their actions and the impact of those actions on other people – which, given current circumstances and past behaviour, makes promoting or endorsing their platform a pretty gross thing to do right now.
I was making a very specific point about how “will any apology ever be good enough” comes across as an irrelevant thing to ask in this specific case. Sorry if that’s not dramatic enough for your tastes!
@John Arkansawyer this is just to say
I have read
you left in
you were probably
was super on point
it was pretentious
and kinda rude
I took “derail” to mean that you felt I was taking up valuable pixels with my question which should have been dedicated to a worthier discussion. Therefore I wanted to know what it was that you wanted discussed.
@microtherion I see, so you went from feeling silenced straight to putting more prescriptive silencing demands into my mouth! Not what I’m about.
What I mean by derailment is that your comment, and the line it is taking towards this argument, is a significant departure from what was being discussed before – which is about the specific content of this apology and the many ways we feel it falls short of being fit for purpose. What you seem to want to discuss is how, in general, it seems like there is a very high bar for apologies, and by implication, if nobody can pass the bar for apologies, then anyone who makes a mistake is doomed forever and that’s a very unpleasant and toxic way to run society. Which is not something I disagree with, but, as I say for the third time, it does not come across as relevant in this case, because the criticism of this apology you refer to not because it’s failing to clear an impossibly high bar, it’s because it’s failing to get off the ground.
The reason I pointed out the derailment is not to stop you from discussing it anyway (my own judgement is that it’s not the place for it, but expressing that opinion is not the same as claiming control over what can be said), but to explicitly point out the disconnect between what has gone before and what you are shifting to, because in your post it is made to seem like an unambiguous extension of the same argument, and I find that misleading.
But if it’s important to you, I give you my absolute, unconditional blessing to write things I disagree with on the internet – indeed, based on your understanding of my wishes, I’d strongly prefer you not attempt to tailor your posts to them. Peace!
JJ: You’re telling me that it’s not about “There aren’t any enemies here” because the quote was reused on an Earth Day poster? Look back to when Walt Kelly first used it in print in 1953. Hint: McCarthy era.
Tom Becker: You’re telling me that it’s not about “There aren’t any enemies here” because the quote was reused on an Earth Day poster?
I’m telling you it’s not about that because it was about enemies existing. Walt Kelly first used a similar quote in his foreword to The Pogo Papers in 1953:
Traces of nobility, gentleness and courage persist in all people, do what we will to stamp out the trend. So, too, do those characteristics which are ugly. It is just unfortunate that in the clumsy hands of a cartoonist all traits become ridiculous, leading to a certain amount of self-conscious expostulation and the desire to join battle. There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand. Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tinny blasts on tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us. Forward!
— Walt Kelly, June 1953
He later put the phrase quoted above by Andrew Porter into a strip for the 1970 Earth Day poster, which was also about an enemy existing.
Is there anything else you’d like to try to mansplain to me while you’re here? 🙄
JJ: You’re the one who said “Oh, FFS”. I don’t know your gender, but now you’re definitely fansplaining at me. You see people being wrong on the internet and you’re going to fix us right now. Jump on anyone who gets out of line. Set us straight. Tell us how it really is. I think what you really need to do is get a stack of Pogo compilations and chill out. I’m not going to explain why. Figure it out yourself.
I see some fairly dodgy passive aggressive comments on this thread and perhaps I’m overly cynical, but I wonder if any of those comments have come from people who are not white men.
In any case, it appears to come as a particular surprise to those from privileged groups that their group is no longer completely protected by their privilege and might face real and harmful consequences for behaving badly. Again, it may be my cynicism, but I think that surprise (and maybe a little fear) fuels the rush to ask that consequences are tempered by mercy, balance, and impartiality.
That’s not actually how revolutions work.
@Arifel, slow clap.
@kathodus, the ability to be sincerely sorry for doing something horrid is not necessarily accompanied by the self restraint necessary to avoid doing something else horrid a few minutes or days later. I wish it was. And I loved your story. I was raised by wolves, so didn’t have a parent offering that lesson, but the rest of the neighborhood made a great stand in.
Tom Becker: You’re the one who said “Oh, FFS”.
Yes, I did. Because Andrew Porter has a history of making passive-aggressive and hostile comments here on File 770, including saying that objections to being sexually assaulted are “political correctness”, and that someone who didn’t share his taste in SFF should be euthanized.
Tom Becker: You see people being wrong on the internet and you’re going to fix us right now.
Sez the guy who tried to “correct” me, and who is now changing the subject into random, ridiculous accusations, after I pointed out that what I said was indeed correct, and backed it with citations.
Given your bad behavior in this thread, I’m sure you’ll understand when I say that any suggestions you make about what I “should do” will be disregarded.
Just to say
My poetry is terrible
I am sorry I seem to have started some kind of Civil War here. Because as I said, I agree that the apology was lacking. I agree that many issues were never responded to at all.
Forgiveness is individual and there can never be a requirement that someone should forgive or accept an apology. The purpose of an apology is not rehabilitation. You apologize because it is the right thing to do when you have hurt others.
The one thing I found exhausting was not people having opinions about the wording of the apology or if they weren’t accepting it. What I found exhausting was people starting to make up their own fantasies about Greg and in one case even adding racism against his relationship. What I found exhausting were the death threats against Bogi Person. I do not think that is understandable consequences.
I’m sorry I ever wrote something, because it has started a long derailment and meta-discussion that has absolutely nothing to do with the apology or its background. Who cares about how a Pogo drawing should be interpreted?
The apology could have been better, should have been better. I expected more. But it was only a start. The next step is to actually remove the offending language. And then it is the change in behaviour and writing.
I have never understood why someone should forgive something because of an apology. A (good) apology is just a pause and a start of observation. Where you see if a real change has occured. It is not a demand of a clean slate. Can never be a demand of a clean slate.
I will leave this thread now, because right now it is only people venting anger against each other.
Obviously the issues needed to be brought to people’s attention. Bogi was very brave to decide to be the one to do so. It’s disappointing that this apology was defensive and shows that Greg clearly has a ways to go. I’m still hopeful that he can get there, that revisions can be made, and that the site will go on and be better for this. The site has helped me find good stories regardless of what Greg ranked them or said about them.
While I wasn’t directly hurt by things he wrote, I did find them disturbing. Particularly seeing negative comments about the use of pronouns that I knew were the author’s own pronouns. Especially considering that singular “they” appears to have emerged as the most commonly preferred way to refer to non-binary individuals.
Of course, this situation has brought more problems than that one to light. But, as Lenora Rose said earlier (and better), I remain hopeful, but can understand and respect that others feel very differently.
@Arifel: You’re right. I’ve spent fifteen years trying to come up with something that follows that first line. I’m convinced someone can do it well, but it still appears not to be me.
@JJ: I’m sorry if you’ve perceived me as being passive-aggressive. I thought directly disagreeing with you was fairly direct. I suppose it wasn’t direct enough. So let me be explicit: I strongly dislike your turn of mind that looks for reasons not to give people a break. It’s a crappy way to view the world and the people in it.
@microtherion: I can’t recall a single case where anyone’s apology was deemed sufficient and satisfactory.
This is because there are hidden agendas. In this case, even the open letter mentions RSR’s increasing influence in the awards cycle. Is this the major concern?
First, hi, how is everyone? I’ve missed you all but depression + major life changes etc..
But happened to wander into this thread and see the question of what do we think Mr Hullender should do/ what would be the ideal outcome?
I personally would like a simple admission that as a reviewer he has a particular viewpoint and a particular set of likes and dislikes that render him perhaps not the best person to rule on stories by the authors or on topics he appears to have a bias against. Open up the staff of RSR to add more reviewers and have multiple reviews of stories or consensus reviews or outsource the reviews of stuff outside his comfort zone.
Or acknowledge that his site is reviews for a particular target audience who like their SF exactly the way he does and is not an arbiter for quality SF short stories across the board.
Or let him go right on doing what he’s doing but take his distinct viewpoint into account when Using his ratings to look for potential award nominees.
locus took the right step in this direction by removing him from their panel. Just as there are review sites for horror movies that are intended for genre fans and evaluate movies on standards that those fans look for, that’s how RSR should be looked at. Not as an arbiter of What Is Good In SF Right Now but as a place to find out what looks good if you happen to be uninterested in or turned off by stories that fall outside a particular comfort zone. The horror site reviews serve their audience’s needs and wants but they aren’t used to decide what movies to seriously consider for Oscar nominations. Let Greg be Greg but adjust the influence allowed to his reviews accordingly.
@John A Arkansawyer: Given Greg’s well-established history here of adamantly insisting – to the people whom he’s offended – that he’s done nothing to cause offense, and the manifest failings of the RSR apology, I don’t think it’s fair to accuse JJ of looking for reasons not to give him a break.
I don’t want Greg to go away. I don’t want RSR to go away. I do want them to do better, and I think that’s going to take some serious self-examination on Greg’s part.
Hampus:of all the people upon here who could be seen as to blame for the unproductive turns in the discussion, including myself, you are close to the bottom of my list…. most of the people who are less guilty are those who haven’t spoken up at all.
Without pinning anything specific on anyone specific, I confess that I am always interested in the mechanics of apologies. This is because if they don’t meet certain criteria, they are not an apology, but just a face-saving sidestep, a bit of self-justification, a poke at the victim, and often a continuation of the behavior they were allegedly apologizing for. It’s not necessarily better than no apology at all.
Non-apologies indicate some awareness that somebody isn’t happy with a thing the apologist (I say it’s a fitting word) has done, and a desire to get them to stop talking about it.
Repeating what others have said, an apology should show an awareness that what ‘you’ did was wrong, regret for the act, sympathy for the victim, and it should promise (and carry through on this) to do better.
It’s not self-forgiveness, and the victim is not bound to accept or even acknowledge it. It’s not a platform for ‘you’ to explain why it was wrong for the victim to be offended. Really, it’s pretty near the lowest rung of what civilization requires of ‘you’ when you screw up like that.
That’s long, but I don’t know what to take out of it. It’s not intended to point at any specific person or thing here: It’s my standard litany of what an apology is. I know about it, because it was pointed out to me along the way, possibly more than once before it sank in. Those individuals who informed me of my own failings in this arena had to stick their necks out to tell me, so I’m sticking mine out now. I hope it’s not too preachy or noxious, but I can’t bring myself to say ‘sorry.’
JJ: So the “Oh, FFS” was because the quote was posted by Andrew. It’s not about the meaning of what he posted, because you didn’t get that.
I pointed out that what I said was indeed correct, and backed it with citations.
You said “There aren’t any enemies here.”
I said “Of course, that was the point of the strip.”
You said “Yeah, no, it’s not the point of that particular strip.” with a citation that completely missed the point.
I said “Look back to when Walt Kelly first used it in print in 1953. Hint: McCarthy era.”
You said “I’m telling you it’s not about that because it was about enemies existing. Walt Kelly first used a similar quote in his foreword to The Pogo Papers in 1953:”
It’s a good quote. Think about it: “Traces of nobility, gentleness and courage persist in all people, do what we will to stamp out the trend. So, too, do those characteristics which are ugly.” It is about our common humanity. There aren’t any enemies here. Just other people like us.
Given your bad behavior in this thread, I’m sure you’ll understand when I say that any suggestions you make about what I “should do” will be disregarded.
You’re getting way off in the weeds. Try to follow your own principles better. Show some respect.
Tom Becker: Show some respect.
I gave you the benefit of the doubt in my first reply to you. I figured that you weren’t aware of Andrew Porter’s posting history here, and didn’t understand what he was saying. But then you persisted in — and are still persisting in — attempting to “explain” something to me where my original interpretation is correct.
Andrew’s comment was making the point that the people who are asking to be treated wih dignity and respect and equality are the enemies who are persecuting poor, beleaguered Greg Hullender. Except that that’s not what is actually happening, which is that Hullender has a long history over the last 2+ years of behaving badly, being called on it by numerous people, digging his heels in and refusing to apologize, making faux “apologies”, and not changing any of the bad behaviors in question, and is bringing all of this on himself with those choices.
After your comment to me above, the one which begins You’re the one who said “Oh, FFS”. and is the sort of angry bizarre irrational retort I would expect to hear from a small child, and your continued attempts to lecture me, you don’t have the right to demand that I respect you. Well, sure, you can go on demanding it — but given your other behavior here, it’s not going to work for you.
John A Arkansawyer: I’m sorry if you’ve perceived me as being passive-aggressive. I thought directly disagreeing with you was fairly direct. I suppose it wasn’t direct enough. So let me be explicit: I strongly dislike your turn of mind that looks for reasons not to give people a break. It’s a crappy way to view the world and the people in it.
You think that your little Shakespeare poem above was “directly disagreeing” with me? It was not. It was a passive-aggressive shot, and if you don’t understand why, then I encourage you to educate yourself on the characteristics of passive aggression. It’s possible that you were raised around one or more highly passive-aggressive people, so that it is the water you’ve always swum in, and you don’t recognize when you’re doing it that that’s what it is.
And I’ll be frank with you: I much prefer someone who openly admits that they don’t love me and who posts honest disagreement with me, over someone like you who professes to “love everyone”, but sees nothing wrong with constantly making passive-aggressive remarks. Your idea of love and mine are very different.
But now you’ve made an honest, direct comment for once, so I’ll respond honestly to that. You are mistaking my response to the person who is the subject of this thread for my response to anyone who happens to screw up. They are, in fact, very different. I don’t “look for reasons not to give people a break”.
And, like Arifel, I am wondering why people keep trying to change the discussion in this thread from its very specific subject to one of apologies and forgiveness in general.
As one of the “people” you’re presumably referring to, I plead guilty to attempting to branch out the discussion in that direction.
Inasmuch as changing the discussion means preventing the “very specific subject” from being discussed as well:
(1) I have no desire to do so.
(2) I have no power to do so.
(3) I fail to see the objective of the original discussion. Was it to be a sequence of people declaring themselves dissatisfied with the apology? A call to action? If so, what kind of action?