January 24th, 2010


committee meetings

I'm starting to see how you could miss Swancon committee meetings. Everyone rocks up, brings food and then does a quick swap of stuff - books, DVDs, music. This meeting I scored season 1 of Damages and Season 3 of Big Love. You know where I am and what I am doing for the next couple of days.

Much to blog about but off to visit my niece

Do some insults hurt less?

I'm about to write a bunch of posts, separately, sorry for that but I want to keep a bunch of these things discrete.

I've been thinking a lot about the "Russ Fuss" as I tagged my feminist post on Friday. The comment threads really got me down, to be honest. I know I was not a fun date on Friday night (sorry) and it kinda squelched my wanting to be online all weekend. I didn't reply to any emails that weren't urgent. I didn't feel like being on the AA twitter party. It got me generally down. It got me down because the discussion got derailed and the actual discussion I was hoping to prompt got buried and then disbanded. But that part is for a separate post.

A particular part of the comment thread deeply troubled me - the idea that some sexist or racist comments might be less hurtful or harmful than others. I've been really mulling this over, *are* there comments that might not be *that* hurtful to me? I've thought about this all weekend. And I think this kind of approach comes without any awareness that people who are subject to this kind of treatment don't come to situations, places, people, whatever, with clean slates. People who have experienced sexism, racism or other kind of "isms" come into new situations with the baggage and context of other experiences. Just because you are new to something (an idea, a cuisine, a language, a theory, a behaviour) does not mean that everyone else is similarly.

For example, when I hear an antisemitic comment or in fact, even if I hear a sentence with the word "Jew" in it, no matter how apparently "harmless" this might be - how flip, or how ridiculous or seemingly soft in intent - what *I* hear is someone who in another place and another time might just as flippantly put my name on a list, or might report my name and home address to an authority. I see a person who might in some way play a part in sending me to a gas chamber. I never ever hear a remark about Jews or about *me being a Jew* and not place it within the context of my family's history. I am always aware of the harm seemingly harmless remarks can cause. Or end up causing. And I never ever ever take an antisemitic comment, whether directed at me or not, lightly. My background has taught me that that is foolish to do. And that harmless remarks today can end up in very very harmful actions tomorrow or the next day. And yes, if you are someone who has made such remarks in my presence, I may not have responded to you at the time but I most certainly was offended and hurt and I have not forgotten it.

Which unfortunately is not the same as being given permission to laugh at jokes *I* might make. But that's all part of the complex navigation of this world, isn't it?

What I guess I am saying is that there is no kind of racist remarks about Jews that you can make at me, or in my vicinity that are not deeply harmful. And the same goes for sexism.


No more Feminism 101 here

Readers of this lj might recall a similar discussion here about 6 months ago that was very similar to the Russ Fuss Affair that just occurred here. Both discussions ended up derailing the conversation to one about tone and away from really crunchy discussions about feminism in SF. After the first bout, I realised that whilst I consider myself a feminist, I am not actually well-versed in any feminist theory (there's more than one kind out there). And I am not actually well-read in feminist history, the development of feminist discussions in SF nor feminist SF, itself. And I decided that was not cool. So since then I have begun collecting a few key books that I feel I should have read. And I have decided I need to better educate myself because I am not actually qualified to participate in academic discussion of feminism - discussion I would like to participate in. And this is my blog of my life so it seems natural to record here my thoughts and reactions and feelings as I embark and continue this journey.

Academic discussions of feminism go beyond the kind of discussions that occur in Feminism 101. To be honest, I'm kinda bored and over having the same discussions over and over again that happen in Feminism 101. I'm not really interested in being lectured to about how I need to ask the man nicely for equality. I'm not interested in being told I need to extend the kind of sensitivity and respect in my response to actions that have in no way extended me the same. All these conversations are distracting. I spent this weekend involved in that kind of discussion rather than interesting academic ones relating to the academic work I was originally engaging with.

The thing about academic discussions, and in fact discussions of any kind of theory, is that they're allowed to be wrong. You're allowed to disagree. Theories move and evolve in time. They are developed and tweaked and expanded. I expect that in my travels, I will find elements in some feminist theory that I do not agree with and cannot relate to. But I would like to explore and discuss that here without those discussions being shouted down by the deafening responses about tone, or condescension, or paranoia or whatever. In other words, I want to go beyond the basic discussion and move into the interesting, thought provoking discussions that I feel I am currently being distracted from having.

I've thought about this all weekend. And, much as I hate to do this, I think I am going to disallow that kind of derailment on those kind of posts in the future. I am going to add this post to my user profile. And I will link to this post in all future posts about feminist theory. And then, I will consider shutting down discussions, by deleting, that I consider to be drawing the discussion offtrack, especially if I think this is being done intentionally. There will be a first warning that I consider that comment to be outside the scope of the discussion and I will direct that person to here. Further comments will then be deleted.


Aurealis Awards

I was very sad to miss the final Fantastic Queensland Aurealis Award Ceremony. Especially considering the enormous honour for Twelfth Planet Press being involved in 7 separate nominations, many of our authors were attending and because it's such a fun industry related weekend.

Instead, I hopped on the freeway down to editormum, hung out with her in her hospital room and watched the awards be announced on twitter. I held the bubby and T kept us up to date with the tweets. It was a lovely way to spend the evening. I got to meet the bub, visit with T and also be with her for the announcement of the category we were nominated in for New Ceres Nights.

We were very excited to see Peter M Ball nab an award for his science fiction short story. We've believed in him for a while now and knew that he very much deserved a nod this year. Congratulations petermball - very well earned!

Congratulations too to paulhaines, jonathanstrahan, catsparx and Kathleen Jennings for your awards!

Here's to 2010 and more awesome fiction to read and shortlist for the next round!


I did other things this weekend

Actually I had a crazy weekend. Friday night I hung out with maelkann. Saturday morning I was out running errands from 9am before meeting up for brunch at Tiger Tiger with P, exp_err, idling and calla_s. Good coffee. Good friends. It was lovely.

I grabbed some lunch and coffee for maelkann and then headed off for my first time at Wai-Con. After lunch was scoffed and I'd been introduced to a few people, I took a tour of the huxsters, tried Ramune and ogled and boggled and had a generally good time. I've not remotely been exposed to Anime or much of the subculture surrounding it but I think I might slightly have been bitten by the bug. And I took lots of ideas away and presented them at the Swancon meeting today.

After Wai-Con, I dropped Benji at my mother's and headed down to Rockingham to visit editormum. There were 8 large drops of rain and one fork lightning on the way. I marvelled at Max and his size - he is totally double the size of my niece but just as totally cute. I think my clock got started, apparently 3 newborns in my vicinity to cuddle and swoon over is the limit. Then you want one. Or something. But you know, not *right now* or anything. Weird feeling though, that I've not ever had before.

I headed home just on end of visiting hours and watched Gilmore Girls, sewed and then had a really good sleep - no Benji waking me up at 3am barking at nothing.

This morning was spent sleeping in, shopping for food for the meeting and then the Swancon meeting. At this meeting we started working on our launch and I realised that we in fact have a con. Previously, at random moments, in these meetings, it dawns on me that I am convening a con (over and over I make this realisation. It's followed by the hot shvitzes.). Today it dawned on me that we've actually planned ourselves a con here. I think this might be progress :)

After the meeting, I went with my mother to babysit the bubby. Mum just rang me to say we totally failed on nappy changing - we changed a nappy not 10 mins before my sister and her husband came home but apparently we missed the critical moment. I took this bonding time to acquaint my niece with Star Trek Voyager - the pilot episode was on. She wriggled and kvetched, though she seemed happier in the Next Gen ep before that. Star Trek indoctrination must occur early.

I also got out to Planet Books this evening whilst grabbing dinner. So if you're after a copy of Roadkill/Siren Beat or A Book of Endings, they have a couple of copies.

And now, now I am watching Big Love and going to sleep. Apparently the week begins again tomorrow. Sigh.