Friday, 05 Oct 2012 12:57 PM
Reasoned debate is the backbone of any society and those differing opinions are what makes the world go around. Language is such a subtle being, as most writers know. Reading through this a couple of times, I find the author's use of the word 'real' confusing. What or who is real here? I am a real person and I personally don't find the 'Rack' or its use of framing objectionable. While I can understand that some might, it confuses me that the author goes on about 'sexual assault' as though it is a phrase to be bandied about without real depth. Such phrases are triggers, as any author knows. Real sexual assault is terrifying, demeaning and violent.
This nanny state of a society <I>I</I> find objectionable. That people would take my choices away from me. As I said to someone the other day, back in the 60's it was 'burn the bra' and my comment on that was, "Why would I burn a perfectly good piece of clothing which was doing a fine job, thx muchly." It seems that certain groups attempt to shock us by using more phrases such as 'The rape culture' and so forth. I understand the need for harsher treatment of rapists and better treatment for the victims, that isn't my point. My point is knowing the difference between real violence in any shape or form towards anyone of race/creed or colour or gender against a light-hearted reference. Are we so insecure that we have to jump to the defence of such things?
Even in writing fiction. God forbid that we make a racial/religious/sexual slur. I am sorry, but 'real' violence comes from the acceptance that we are victims and everyone is against us and is out to get us. No, we don't bow down and meekly accept verbal or physical violence but let us understand what it truly is.
As the mother of a son who witnessed true violence against men, women and children in a third world country, I feel I am reasonably qualified.
Friday, 05 Oct 2012 11:46 AM via Facebook
I'm siding with OFW here, although I'm glad to see comments in this forum remain civil on both sides. I think this author made an excellent point against herself with her words "Don't be upset and internet." If you're upset, it's always wise to cool down before firing off hasty words in a public forum. Because that is an excellent way to start a shitstorm whether intended or not, and an excellent way for additional people like the OFW editors to be excoriated and abused on the internet just as the author felt she was in the original interview.
Thursday, 04 Oct 2012 03:35 PM via Twitter
Probably not the first person you're hoping to see here, and I promise I'll try to be brief.
First off -- yes, you're right: I should have read the other interviews in the series to get a sense of what they were. You are absolutely, positively, 100% correct there, and I sincerely apologize that I did not. I made an assumption that was incorrect, and not making it would have saved us both a lot of pain. Checking out the publications you're talking to is very good advice, and something I've perhaps lost sight of this summer. I'll be doing that again going forward, and thank you for it.
As for the blog post, where things get a little stickier:
Everything I said, both in my e-mails to Michael (who I was trying to avoid naming, because of the whole not wanting to drop internets on people's heads thing) and in the post, and in its comments, was honest. Fully and completely.
I know you don't know me except glancingly (from the OWW, I believe, and Internet-knowing isn't really the same sometimes), and so from your perspective I am a stranger who is saying bad things about your friend to other people. There is no reason for you to give me any credibility right now. I'm going to ask you to take the risk of giving me your trust on this one, though: Please trust me. I'm not lying, or double-speaking, or acting out of twisted motives. I'm not formenting drama, or talking out of both sides of my mouth. I give you my word on it. I was not speaking with the clearest head, and definitely out of more emotion than I usually like to (don't be upset and Internet!). But I am a mostly sensible person, and I was and am speaking in good faith.
So what's behind the blog post?
I wanted to tell people this happened, and how it felt as the affected party, because I felt like it was -- like I said -- a useful piece of a conversation: The same one that's been happening about this year's Readercon, and around gaming circles and Twitter and a few other places. About how we, as human beings, can make other people feel absolutely horrible with words we don't see the problem with -- not because we're terrible people, but because we're working in different contexts. That when people say the words like "victim" and "violation" there are real feelings and needs behind it, not manipulations to get someone to do what they want. I framed the post with "This is why we keep having this conversation," and that was the thesis, the point. We keep having this conversation because one person can say something and think nothing of it, and have this described affect on another, and we have to be kind to each other and think about this stuff; think about the other person in the room.
So when I said I did not want a shitstorm, but still posted? Both those things were true. I didn't want people to go decide, "Oh, hey, BAD PEOPLE I WILL PUNCH THEM." I wanted them to think about how they themselves act and speak and are considerate of the other people in their own space. I was hoping that someone might see that third-party example and go, "Oh. I get it."
And the other reason: That hurt. It made me feel frozen and sick and threatened, even though I knew intellectually there was no malice, or physical threat. And I felt like if I didn't say anything, that hurt would be doubled by the fact that I felt like I was then keeping a secret -- that something hurt me and now I had to, for whatever reason, _not tell anybody_ and just let it eat at my stomach. You are right that keeping things to private e-mail would have also avoided any Internet noise, and I could have done so if I really wanted no noise. But that doesn't take into account that the words in the framing story, whether you think they should have or not (or I think they should have or not!) really, really _hurt_. And just as your anger and feeling like an author, who has more power than you, is unfairly attacking you and your colleagues makes you hurt even though that wasn't what I wanted to happen, writing me into a situation with violence and powerlessness, even though you and Mike didn't mean
it to, made me hurt.
I still do not want drama, or some endless, stupid Internet fight where people who are all acting out of very real emotional places just kick each other unproductively and make more bad feeling. In my end of the world, I haven't been permitting it: When people have called you malicious I have corrected them, and when people have tried to sensationalize this I have asked them to take those words down. The point here is not to treat each other badly _more_.
So I want to ask: Is there something I can do, besides the explanations and apologies for my part in the issue above, that will help you and Mike feel less hurt and angry, and get this dealt with and done for all of us?
And also to ask: Please, think about it. Not in the way of "Am I a terrible bad person who kicks puppies!" but "Is a thing I figure is a funny literary device going to cause real sadness and hurt to other people? And if so, how do I want to treat it, or modify it, or counterbalance that in future?"
Like I said to Mike in the last e-mail I sent him, I'm trying to let you know that the depiction you're using with this column isn't a feature, it's a bug, and I'm certain that I am not the only person in the world who will feel this way. The issue will likely come up again, and I just really don't want this to happen again, especially out of a misunderstanding or miscommunication. Because I _know_ you're not out to hurt people. Please don't say "your problem, and screw you if you disagree", or chalk this up to people who are oversensitive, or easily offended, or trying to say they feel victimized just to screw you. It's real hurt. Don't write it off. Please think about it.
Friday, 05 Oct 2012 11:38 AM
I’m saddened to witness a talented writer rousing her followers into demonizing a fellow writer, and by extension every OFW editor, on account of her flair for melodrama. That such a writer has the effrontery of suggesting prior approval of an interview—tantamount to moderating a comment before its posting—is beyond contempt, like any other attempt at censorship.
Friday, 05 Oct 2012 04:57 PM
I’m sorry, Leah, I’ve tried, and I keep trying hard to imagine what would I feel if one of my interviews had been set against a background where Bart Simpson kicks a dog or where an Afghan joked that gals in bukhas resemble shuttlecocks. I love dogs and believe that burkhas are an aberration, an insult to all women and by extension to humanity. But however distasteful, if set in the right context (which The Rack, being a medieval chamber of horrors is) the color in narrative is just that: color; which in no way touches the interviewee.
Perhaps, as a man, I can’t fathom the depth of your sensitivity. Problem is that both Renée Miller (a woman, boy she’s a woman) and myself, perused Michael Keyton’s article and found it excellent, and in no way containing anything that remotely touched you as a person, a writer, a woman or a human being. In other words, just in case there’s any misunderstanding: I stand behind every single word Michael penned in that article and would defend the same anywhere, even in a court of law.
I respect your views and outlook, vive la difference! but the contents of your broadcasted posts paint the three of us as unprofessional, or worse; as perverts. In my opinion, this is grossly unfair.
And by the way, I’m unfamiliar with Canadian press standards, but after scores of interviews in the Internet, printed press, radio and TV, I have yet to see one reporter submitting copy to a subject for approval, as it would go against professional ethics, aesthetics and integrity. For typos and other pests, there are editors and copyeditors.