Yes, it’s that time again. As I write this with Snowmageddon Episode I forget which because there’s still a bloody foot or so of cold white global warming on the lawn and nowhere to shovel the next round (which is forecast to be about another bloody foot), there is yet another SFWA shitstorm grumbling around the horizons.
To be fair, this is to some extent a continuation of one of their previous shitstorms. In that episode of Glittery Hoo Haa-induced madness, two stalwarts of the field and one editor got shitcanned for the terrible sins of describing a female colleague as a beautiful lady who got a whole lot of attention from the males of the field at the time (which frankly was 100% true – and they admired the lady in question for her ability to handle the drooling fanboi lust as well as for being an awesome editor – but that is apparently not good enough for the GHH crowd. Their supplies of glitter must have been interruped by the damn weather) and using a golden age style scantily-clad babe with weapons image on the cover of the Bulletin respectively.
Long story short, the Bulletin went into hiatus, the editor and the authors went bye-bye as far as the SFWA GHH club was concerned and the GHHs slipped back into their customary haze of cronyism and mutual mastubati… *ahem* admiration. Other scandals and shitstorms took over and the whole thing was showing signs of sliding down the blessed memory hole.
(Cue Jaws music)
Then the job guidelines for the next editor were posted… Now, I’d swear that what’s on the site right now is not what I read a couple of weeks ago before the latest shitstorm in a B-cup. Dave Truesdale writing for Tangent Online has a nice summary of the original storm and the current setup, complete with some truly fascinating emails from the current SFWA president (you know, the one whose first major action as SFWA president was to expel the losing candidate). This spawned a petition signed by a pretty damned impressive list of people (if you don’t recognize any of these names, shame on you) of all political leanings from so hard left they’re practically lying on the left sides on the ground to the same degree of lean to the right.
Naturally all who dared criticise the SFWA GHH club were castigated loudly by the usual suspects and a fair few others as well, and the president posted this wonderfully illuminating non-answer which translates to “We’re totally not going to put a leash on the Bulletin editor except when we are. Just trust us. Promise.” Oh, and of course “there will be regular oversight of the Bulletin to ensure that it is inclusive of and reflects the diversity of all our members”. Little things like precisely who or what is going to provide that regular oversight – much less what form it will take or how intrusive it will be – are not mentioned (really, just trust us guys. We totally won’t do anything like kick out a life member for doing things a fraction as bad as… oh wait. We already did that. Well, we totally won’t do it again. Pinky swear.)
In the light of this, perhaps the successful applicant should consider stocking up on glitter for their hoo haa, since possession of a glittery hoo haa in SFWA demonstrably confers immunity for any and all sins – but you do have to get the glitter from the approved suppliers. It wouldn’t do to have insufficiently diverse glitter. Or default bi-gender glitter. Oh, no, that would be just tacky (actually, no, it would be bloody prickly and uncomfortable. And no I do NOT speak from experience. It’s just… small pieces of metallic stuff in an area of the anatomy that’s rather… sensitive. Ow). It must be properly multi-gendered glitter with diverse racial and sexual heritage (but heaven forbid your glitter leans conservative. What? Stranger things have happened).
There is of course the usual display of glittery hoo haa meltdown over the least bit of criticism, in the form of (among other things)
- a sad attempt at fisking which refuses to acknowledge the actual petition and instead tries to savage the first draft, which has about the same impact as an elderly dog savagely gumming the the postman while said postman pets the dog.
- an attempted satire by someone who has no idea what satire actually is.
- an open letter that manages to make the writer of said open letter look a) like a whiny twat, and b) like he’s got no idea what he’s talking about. Admittedly this is probably not hard, to judge by the other posts on his blog, but still… It’s sad to see a grown man act like he’s got a hoo haa full of glitter and it hurts, mommy, it hurts.
- a rather sad attempt to analyze the furor by someone who doesn’t appear to have read the original article by Maltzberg and Resnick that kicked off the whole rolling turd in a bucket.
I’m sure those of you who feel so inclined can go and find more. There’s plenty of it out there, along with the oh-so-edifying spectacle of the so-called young guns savaging the elders of the field for expressing disquiet about the job criteria – or even suggesting that people are getting too worked up about this and could we examine the facts, please (if you doubt, take a look at C J Cherryh’s page on Facebook. It’s ugly). Funnily enough the same folks who cheered along at the notion of kicking out a life member for doubleplusungood thoughtcrime are quite happy to turn on their fellows for the slightest disagreement.
It’s funny as hell, but it’s also sad to watch. The organization founded to help authors and act as their advocate has become a grotesque carnival freak show devouring its own newborn children, as often as not with the publishers who are busily devouring the slightly older authors watching on and approving. Not a word is said about the contracts that try to stop authors writing anything except what the publisher approves (even when it’s a totally different genre and a totally different name), or the contracts that claim the rights to your first born and your dog for all of eternity and beyond (yes, I’ve seen these. I didn’t sign).
Oh well. Time to break out the popcorn and enjoy the show. I just hope the glittery hoo haas don’t get glitter all over me. I hate that stuff.