Okay guys, we’ve known each other a long time, and I think I can ask you the really important question: are we blighted tribesmen in the literature jungle? Do we go about without pants and wear bones on our nose, like those old cartoons about explorers and cannibals?
And if not, why do we attract the sour puss missionaries demanding we put on pants in the equatorial jungle, and lecturing us about how to cultivate the land we’ve been working for centuries, and how to hunt the prey that has fed us since ever?
What I mean is…
It’s not just the SJWs…
Yesterday I was minding my own business, sitting on my front porch, reading my The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, when suddenly an idiot dude…
I was actually on Facebook closing up before going to bed, and noticed a member of my fan group, Sarah’s Diner, had mentioned me in a thread so I went to see what it was. This was a thread outside the diner, started by Everitt Mickey. I don’t agree with him on the beginning of the thread, etc, but suddenly, lo and behold, we have missionary.
This guy came in and opened the sally by saying that he was VERY well read, but didn’t know any of the titles cited (at that point I recall some Niven) and therefore they must be in science fiction, and how science fiction, of course, ages badly. He, himself, once upon a time had read some Card and enjoyed it, but he’d only liked Enders Game. The rest of Card’s work (!) is boring and blah.
As for Heinlein, he was required reading with Starship Troopers for his speculative fiction class in University, because the book demonstrated the uses of propaganda (I was so tired by then, I didn’t even say anything about that, which of course was not the book, was the movie. The book explores war and peace and duty, but propaganda, not so much.) But they’d made fun of his naivite for having male and female soldiers shower together.
At this point I turned huge and green and started stomping around going “Sarah Smash.”
Look, it’s not that I hated the movie – and yes, I know you guys are going to kill me for it. I rather enjoyed it, but I enjoyed it for two reasons: One, I loved seeing Heinlein’s name on the big screen at last. I’m sick and tired of hearing people say that Phil Dick is better for adapting. Um… no. Hollywood just likes his ideas more. Two, I EXPECT movies to butcher the book. Things like the bullshit above are what I expect of Hollywood taking on any non SJW writer.
So I wasn’t as profoundly offended as any of you, but…
I was still rage-bound by this guy attributing to Heinlein the mistakes of the movie. So I stuck my feet down and repeated, mule-like “That wasn’t in the movie.”
At which point, the poor misguided missionary tells me he remembers making fun of that passage in class. (Kids, I’ve taken literature thirty years ago, but really, what part of studying a work is “making fun?” We studied Victorian literature which our professor clearly disagreed with, but we studied it in the context of what it was and how people lived. We didn’t “make fun” of it. How does one “make fun” as a form of studying? The only time we made fun of anything was the pictures of Phillip I and II of Portugal (different numbers for Spain) in our history books in fourth grade. We were also encouraged to deface the pictures, in what was (I now realize) a bit of indoctrination. So… it seems to me that this was not really a literature class, not one in which one learns to read and appreciate texts, right?) So I told him bullsh*t it wasn’t in the book.
And then he tells me (!) that public nudity was a theme in many of Heinlein’s books. (Nudity sure, and I will grant you I haven’t re-read his later books in more than a year, but PUBLIC nudity? Uh. You can pretty much eliminate all of the juveniles. I mean, maybe in Citizen of the Galaxy he was naked at some point, but mostly he wore a loin cloth. Even in the later books, sure in I Will Fear No Evil people went around naked or next to, but I wouldn’t say public nudity was a theme. In fact, the only one in which it could be said that it was a theme, because integral to the plot was Puppet Masters. And yeah, okay, he talks a lot about the benefits of nudity, but the nudity had a reason to exist in the book.) They had studied Starship Troopers and Mistress something of other.
By this point, I was really stomping around and going “Sarah Smash.” You see, I have this condition.
So I told him his class hadn’t in fact taught him anything about Heinlein (or probably science fiction) took exception with his using “Speculative Fiction” to call our field, made fun of his typo and generally started preparing the pot in which we should d*mn well cook these missionaries.
At which point this creature, who had been btw apropos nothing beating us with the idea that Rodenberry was the best and most prolific writer of sf/f ever to live (I’m going to guess they told him that in this class) apropos nothing every three responses, now accused me of being okatu and acted all superior.
I told him that it was more a matter of his lecturing people about things he knew nothing of and my being tired of people maligning a dead man who can’t defend himself.
(Other things I’m tired of are what is apparently a habit of American literature classes of showing you the movie for the book. Someone told me how stupid Pride and Prejudice was, and it turned out all they knew of it was the stupid movie made in the fifties, in which it all takes place in the Victorian age and which is as faithful to the book as the more recent ridiculous movie which they made older son watch in his Austen class. Fortunately older son had read all of Austen by twelve, so he decided (as happens) this was a class he needed to highjack. So, his classmates know all about how the movie is a stupid romance movie having very little to do with Austen’s work.)
But the truth is, what I’m really tired of is the academics attitudes about our field. Not just mind you that we’re stupid for reading this stuff or that no serious mind would concern itself with science fiction, but the assumption that they’re so much smarter than we are, because they took a class that “made fun” of our genre. (And not even of a book or a well liked movie in our genre.)
The truth is, they’re wrong on all points. Back when worldcon still was THE con to attend in our genre, I remember hearing organizers trying to figure out when the Mensa AG (Annual Gathering) was for the year, because if they overlapped each con had half the attendees.
Now, I’m not going to praise Mensan’s life skills or economic success or even adaptation to life as it is. The depiction of the Mensan in Dilbert was about right.
However, this is not, precisely, because these are puerile minds, except perhaps in the sense that, like minds in adolescence, high IQ people never stop pondering the big questions, which of course is where SF lives. Not because it’s adolescent, (though a lot of the SJW stuff is) but because it concerns itself with big philosophical/scientific questions. If we are adolescent, then so was Plato and so were Socrates and Aristotle.
And when they try to lecture us… well…They can take their “very well read” and stick it up their blow hole.
Look, I don’t know anyone in science fiction who reads only science fiction. I read just about everything that falls in my hands, though the last “literary” (It’s not. Literary is just a genre so they know where to shelve it. As a determination of literary worth, all it says is “My editor thought this could be read in college”) novel I read was four hundred pages signifying nothing, and so it has remained shelved.
I am going to allude to Heinlein (of course I am) in Puppet Masters when he says they don’t have anything behind the curtain that we don’t have bigger and better in Podunk.
The same goes for science fiction and the rest of “literature.” They ain’t got anything we don’t have bigger and better in our midlist.
Our mysteries are more mysterious, our adventure more adventurous, our characters more fully realized, our commies more communist, and by gum, our pretentious literary trip more pretentious and literary-wanna be. I say without rancor that I could stack “If You Were A Dinosaur, my Love” against the most acclaimed piece of bathos produced by a literature professor. And our recent Nebula winners, even Redshirts, stacks up very well against that communist piece of crap called Chronicle of a Death Foretold. At least our people use punctuation.
Unfortunately, of course, our branch of literary punkin heads are also convinced that they’re inferior to “real literature” and keep doing the fawning and abasing dance in front of academic missionaries.
They are in fact, the tribesmen who run around in discarded tourists’ teashirts, speaking a patois of our native language and gliteratty and trying desperately to be accepted by the judgmental foreigners. And then they sacrifice the shrines of their ancestors and refuse to learn our own culture and the worthy things we accomplished, in order to be thin, debased copies of the missionaries.
Me? I have had enough of them, missionaries and imitations alike. I say we should never again shut up in the face of their gross impoliteness, no longer bother to laugh BEHIND OUR HANDS at their stupid ignorance.
It’s time they realized that we’re not impressed. They depict us as wearing bones through our nose and stoking up the cannibal pot? Well, let’s.
Next SJW who goes on about non-binary gender, we light a fire made up of The Left Hand Of Darkness, Venus Plus One, whatever that book was with the three genders, which I cannot now remember, and oh yeah L. Neil Smith’s too, and for that Matter I Will Fear no Evil and Time Enough for love.
Next SJW who expounds on not having women main characters, we stack up Honor Harrington, and put the pot on top. Yes, there are a lot more, including my own efforts, but screw that, Honor Harrington will suffice.
And next literature major who comes lecturing me about our “infantile” books, gets toasted atop Bradbury and Sturgeon and Willis. Because I can.
Being stupid and poorly read might be a sad way to go through life, but when you then come and lecture people who know more and read more than you, you should by rights be committing suicide.
This tribeswoman has gotten tired of putting pants on and enduring their lectures just so they will leave us alone. They’re not leaving us alone and I’m up to here with them. From now on, I put a bone through my nose and make missionary flambe.