THE SFWA BULLETIN KERFUFFLE
I’m late coming to the party. I belatedly realized there was a commotion over the latest edition of the SFWA Bulletin; I had it sitting on my bedside table but hadn’t opened it yet. It’s not like it’s the most important publication I receive in a week.
Even if I had looked at it, I probably wouldn’t have read the offending article, the ongoing “dialogue” between Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg. I find their pieces boring and not useful, a couple of old dinosaurs patting each other on the back about the way it used to be. I ignore their ramblings. I question the editorial wisdom of keeping these dialogues going in the pages of SFWA’s public face. Are we that short of useful material to publish?
And if I had read the latest piece for some reason, before learning about the uproar, I would probably have dismissed it as stupid, or (at best) a dumb but conscious attempt to be provocative, or perhaps a tone-deaf attempt to be ironic. Hardly worth the paper it was printed on.
This leads me to say that while I understand how offensive their comments were to women in the SF field, I think we’re in danger of over-reacting to the importance of this in the big picture. Resnick and Malzberg don’t speak for SFWA – even though they’re given space in a SFWA publication. (Anybody can send in an article to the editor. I have one appearing in the next issue.) Now the beleaguered editor, Jean Rabe, has felt it necessary to resign, and a committee has been appointed to look into the matter.
Someone suggested that any woman worth her salt (in other words: a feminist) would be up in arms over this. I don’t know about that. I’m a lot older than most of the women posting on the subject, and I’ve felt first-hand the sting of gender discrimination, in our field and elsewhere. If you know me, you know I don’t back down quickly or quietly in the face of bullies, male or otherwise. But really, I think this is making too much of something that is quite capable of sinking under the weight of its own stupidity.
There are many, many worthwhile causes to be fought for in this sorry world. Hunger, child abuse, homelessness, gay rights, elder abuse, poverty, religious intolerance, animal welfare, the environment, world peace – pick one and work to improve the situation! My father used to say, “I don’t care what you call me, just don’t call me late for dinner.” Let me get to the table to eat the fruits of my work and talent, and I don’t care if you call me lady or bitch.
Because I’m probably a bit of both