Rally to Confirm a Social Structure of Ableism

Dear JStew,

I like political commentary. I like smart, witty political commentary. I like you and Colbert just fine.

And, hey, Rallies to Restore Sanity are great.


Sanity? Really?

So. Mob violence is insanity? Dog-whistling is insanity? Smear campaigns are insanity?

Violent partisanship = insanity. Got it.

I know what you meant, JStew, I really do. I know what you meant to say by insanity.

I know you didn’t mean to equate neurodivergence with evil.

But you did, JStew. You and your TAB network people are doing so right now. You’re making insanity a target for jokes, and a target for attack. And all the progressive people who go to your march and don’t question your language — you’re feeding them the idea that it’s somehow okay to be ableist as long as you’re suitably leftist and ID as progressive.

Which is so not okay.

Wednesday, who is ND

WisCon allows EMoon to speak. Yay.

ETA by Thursday: WisCon has disinvited EMoon. After much dithering. It’s a start, at least :)

Folks, I am angry but not surprised that WisCon is proud to allow EMoon to continue as a GOH.

How can I be surprised? How can I be shocked? Not when the burden of proof is always placed on the marginalised community to forgive and educate their oppressors. Not when the privileged group feels entitled to forgiveness and education. For ‘no matter how bad we mess up, they’ll still give way’, or something.

Because I cannot reconcile a spirit of inclusivity and a respect for immigrants and Muslims with WisCon’s statement.

Even though we strongly disavow these elements of Ms. Moon’s post, we have not rescinded her invitation to be a Guest of Honor, nor do we plan to do so. The WisCon planning committee selected Ms. Moon earlier this year based on her past work and our feeling that she would make a positive contribution to WisCon. After extensive conversation in recent days, and having spoken directly with Ms. Moon on the subject, we continue to believe that her presence will contribute to the Con.

Contribute how? By courting controversy?

We know that opinions are not changed by running away from them, but instead by engaging with them, challenging their assumptions, sharing knowledge, seeking understanding, and by lively and candid discourse.

Yes, it’s up to you, the oppressed to engage, challenge, share, and understand. While being lively and candid. My God. What is this.

We understand that our decision to continue to honor someone who has expressed these views will upset some members of the community

No shit.

but we fervently hope that her inclusion will not lead anyone to feel unwelcome at WisCon.

Oh, right. Hey, Thursday, do you feel welcome? Cuz I’m sure not feeling any warm-hearted welcoming, and I’m not even part of Moon’s target group.

The WisCon programming committee is already accepting panel ideas dealing with Islam and Islamophobia

See above: because Islam 101 and Islamophobia 101 are the responsibilities of Muslims to speak out on. It’s not as if EMoon or those like her have any fucking duty to educate themselves and, I don’t know, not be racist. Because racism is this state that well-meaning white people accidentally, somehow fall into, and need the help of Muslim people and immigrants to get out of.

and we hope to take further steps to welcome new voices from the Muslim world, immigrant communities, and others who might feel are threatened by nativist swings of the political pendulum.

I don’t think ‘Join us, people who are complicit in your oppression!’ is a very reasonable message to send. But that’s just me.

We have every expectation that WisCon 35 will feature some intense, passionate and possibly agonizing debates.

But we’re going to go ahead and hit all your triggers all the same.

Fuck this shit.

Wednesday, the ranty one.

And Thursday thinks she comes across as angry. But hey. Angry is productive. Angry is powerful. Angry is my unrestrained, once-silenced voice being loud. Amen for that.

Signal Boost: GNOME Women Internships Outreach

by Wednesday.

Well, we are geek feminists.

(My dream is to present feminist fan studies at WisCon or something like. [ETA: No longer in the cards. WisCon fail. See: Moon, Elizabeth, and racefail.] And once again I drag out a strong recommendation for the amazing Dhobi ki Kutti’s Promise of the पुरवाई.)

So, signal boost for the GNOME Outreach Program for Women Internships 2010!

Details are as follows:

The GNOME Foundation will be sponsoring at least three internships for women from December 15, 2010 through March 15, 2011. These internships are primarily aimed at female college students from the Southern Hemisphere who will have a school break during this time. However, any woman interested in working on GNOME is welcome to apply, provided she is available for a full-time internship during this time period.

The internship is expected to be a full-time effort, meaning that the participants must be able to spend 40 hours a week on their project. Participants will work remotely from home. Because IRC (Internet Relay Chat) is one of the primary means of communication within free software projects, participants should be present on their project’s IRC channel while working. They will also be expected to communicate electronically with other project members via other means, including Bugzilla comments, mailing list discussion, blog posts, and personal e-mail. Participants will be encouraged to blog about their work and their blog posts will be aggregated on Planet GNOME.

The GNOME Foundation will provide each participant with a $4,500 (USD) stipend. $500 will be wired on December 17 to participants who have begun their internships, $2000 on February 2 to participants in good standing with their mentors, and $2000 on March 22 to participants who have successfully completed their internships.

h/t to Geek Feminism

A little bit on the EMoon FAIL.

by Wednesday.

[personal profile] jhameia, from Intersectionality Dreaming, has come up with a comprehensive linkspam covering the Elizabeth Moon fail. I think Thursday has tweeted about the fail — Thurs. was, understandably, very annoyed (I tell a lie, for that is an understatement; thou hast never seen an unleashed, Tasmanian Devil-esque Thursday). Altogether, this has not exactly been the best year in SFF writers and race (I do not think, EBear, that ‘deathmarch’ means what you think it means), and that too is an understatement.

[personal profile] sanguinity‘s coverage of the most recent fail, especially as it pertains to Moon’s virulent disregard toward the Native peoples of America in her anti-immigrant screed.

Cat Valente of Apex Magazine has decided to respond to the EMoon fail by opening up a magazine issue that will feature only creators of Arab and/or Muslim descent:

I would like to announce that the November issue of Apex will be an entirely Arab/Muslim issue. It will be beautiful. It will showcase writers of Arab descent and Muslim writers. (I am aware that many folk not of Arab descent are Muslim, that’s why I’m structuring it this way, so that writers from either culture or both can be part of the issue.) It will show how Islam is as much a part of the human experience as any other faith or story system that writers of the fantastic draw from. It will be a small thing, in the grand scheme. It will not save the world. But it will exist, and perhaps in its own way can stand beside the recent ugliness in the SFF world as something bright and good.

I am looking for material, but most especially poetry, from Muslim authors and authors of Arab descent. Let’s make it easy: if you think you might “count,” then you do. Southeast Asian Muslims, yes. American Muslims, yes. Anybody with a connection to the cultures of Islam, yes. The subject of your works can be anything you like, but I am only looking for authors with connections to Islam and/or the Arabic world. Please do not send reprints, we have that covered.

I want to do what I can. This is a thing I can do. I believe it will be extraordinary. #

What pisses me off is how much the word I appears in that submissions call. Dear Nice Lady, it’s not about you. (And if Valente knows that there is over-conflation of Arab identity and Muslim identity in the media, why does she even have to mention it? I don’t get it. It could be phrased quite simply as ‘It will showcase Muslim writers’, or even ‘Muslim writers across cultures and national borders‘ for extra-special guilt-laden inclusivity. Please don’t feed the ‘Arab = Muslim’ troll!)

But we’ll see how it goes. Any publicity is good publicity, amirite? And at least it opens up spaces for writers who are typically ignored in global literature power-play. I think/hope.

ETA: Apex replies here. I am wondering how many of the people calling the shots are Arab and/or Muslim, still.

On Degradation

by Wednesday.

I have been told before, by presumably well-meaning acquaintances, that I ought to refrain from sexual activity because ‘Do you really wish to compromise your self-respect?’

I have puzzled over this statement before, because I saw no link between enjoying sex and having healthy amounts of self-respect. (Well, except in depressive moments, of course. But that has nothing to do with sex. In a depressive fit I can and do blame myself for everything and anything. Such is life.)

And then I realised that, good intentions aside, this statement betrayed one of the most fundamentally problematic issues of sex-negativity. Heterosexual sex (usually interpreted as intercourse) is seen as a power hierarchy in this narrative. It is about control, or conquest — about one party ‘giving’ and another ‘taking’. And of course that has a lot to do with self-respect — because, within this paradigm, heterosexuality is designed at heart to degrade the female partner.

That is one reason I back away so viscerally, well-meaning though my friends may be. Because I really don’t think it’s Andrea Dworkin who said all sex is rape.

(Note: She didn’t. Re-read Intercourse. Not even Adrienne Rich goes that far in Compulsory Heterosexuality, and I loathed the prescriptism of that essay.)