So, yesterday, apparently, my post was taken as evidence that I was angry and “always angry.”
This shocked the living hell out of me, as the precipitating incident to yesterday’s post didn’t even rise above “annoying.” I’m fairly sure the person I was interacting with had bought the gospel of literature as social work hook, line and barbed sinker. I’m fairly sure that she didn’t realize the “write to change the world” is just a “social marker” of “real literature” (i.e. that the writer has had an excellent education and knows how to signal it.) I do know it because I not only studied literature, but I studied history of literature and literature criticism. Also, I grew up in a country with a long history. What is now signaled by this “concern for representation of the voiceless” (is this why you guys get so upset when the supposed voiceless shout back? Bah. You ain’t got nothing. Serious revolutionaries silence the “voiceless” before speaking for them. You’re Bush league.) and “writing for social change” is what used to be signaled by putting vast undigested classical quotes in your work, or (like Kit Marlowe) writing your stage directions in Latin. All it means is “I’m special and better than these people and I deserve special consideration and treatment.”
But it was clear the woman I was discussing this nonsense with had NEVER questioned it. Sweet mother of pearl, she admitted she didn’t know the difference between sad and rabid puppies. The practitioners of the big lie just say we’re all the same. She didn’t even know that.
So, no, I wasn’t angry. I was somewhere between annoyed and amused, kind of like when the kid gives the cat chocolate milk, and you know you’ll be cleaning feline diarrhea off the carpet for days, but hey, the kid doesn’t know any better and this is not even misbehavior, just ignorance.
As an aside, I find it very funny that these… Innocents Abroad aren’t even aware of cultural differences enough to understand the tone of my posts. I’ll paraphrase Bridget Correia, here (she was talking about Larry and the example she gave was buying tomato plants.) “Yeah, I sound angry. I was born and raised in Portugal. We get enthusiastic about things. Other times I sound angry — and am not — when discussing which type of tea to buy; when telling my kids about a book I enjoyed; when telling my husband we’ll go for a walk in five minutes; when declaiming poetry; when telling you good morning.”
I sound angry, that is, if you know absolutely nothing of the culture I was raised in. And of course, most of these people know absolutely nothing of any culture except what their professors told them, poor nibblings.
For Portugal I’m considered laid back, bordering on the boring. The first time my husband had a meal with my family he tried to dive under the table, utterly convinced we’d murder each other with the steak knives any minute. We were in fact discussing which shops I should take him to, to buy shoes. (I wonder if he realizes that somehow his kids have the same communication style, helped along by the fact I’m going increasingly deaf, so that I’m perpetually afraid that the neighbors will call the police when the boys shout at each other about their favorite comic books.)
But leaving all that aside, lets say I was really angry. So?
How does that invalidate my take down of their wanting me to write about “minorities” “by the numbers” each one the appropriate stereotype they were taught in school? And, mind you, at the same time, they tell me I can’t write about any minority I’m not (though I’m allowed to write about white, blond, American born men, even though I’ve never been one — go figure) because I can’t possibly put myself in their shoes, since they are apparently aliens, and mere empathy and human fellow feeling won’t do. Oh, and if I write about minorities (which I can’t do, remember?) I have to show them being oppressed forever. I can’t say, have a future in which most of the people in space are dark skinned and when a white man ventures into space he’s sneered at. No, because oppression now is oppression forevah, which is why the poor “voiceless” need crazy people to talk for them and tell other people they have to talk for them/not talk for them/shut up already/write more minorities or you’re a racist/how dare you write a minority when you aren’t one?
How does my reaction to their asshattery invalidate the fact that they’re wearing a stylish colon-hat?
It is the mark of the never thwarted child, who has attained what should have been adulthood without anyone EVER having had the nerve to tell them they are wrong, to think that someone being mad at their nonsense means the person is wrong. Because, I mean, speshull snowflakes are never wrong. Even when they’re being told by a Latina and an Indian man that, yes, they are wrong about what we want out of science fiction.
I wasn’t angry yesterday, just mildly annoyed. And, weirdly, also amused.
However, let me tell you things that DO make me angry:
I don’t get very angry about gatekeepers who try to impose their political opinions on the field when they don’t even know what they’re doing, and are just parroting what they heard at school and in their social circles. They just happen to think that this is the way everyone thinks.
But I get incandescently angry when they then use their bully pulpit to call in slanderous articles to major publications, saying that those who oppose their dominance of awards in the field oppose “women and minorities” writing science fiction. This when not only are those women and minorities organizing the resistance to them, but they’ve treated women and minorities who didn’t fall in line with their ideas like redheaded step children for decades. This is the school bully screaming he’s being harassed. I used to beat up school bullies. I’m much more controlled now, having grown up (you should try it sometime) but I still get angry.
Other things that don’t get me angry include innocent people parroting the cr*p you’ve been feeding them for years. People are people and homo sapiens are social animals.
On the other hand, I get incandescently angry when you use that crap to bully talented writers off the field, to besemirch the reputation of dead and/or older writers who had more talent in their little toes than you have in your entire bodies. If you don’t know damn well that it’s impossible to write more minorities and not to write them at all; if you don’t know that people don’t fit your stupid stereotypes; if you think that ANYONE needs to feel “represented” to read ANYTHING, then I’m sorry for you. There’s clearly some cognitive disorder involved.
But if you know those are idiocies of the first caliber, as most of you doubtless do, and wield them as a hammer to pound more talented people down? Then yes, I get incandescently angry.
You’ll know I’m too angry for words, because I will mock you with GIF posts.
Heed well, this is not a threat, just a reading of the circumstances and the current social mood: moderate your shenanigans. For I only mock you with GIFs, but behind me comes the mob who spanks you with axes.
I have a vested interest in not getting to that point. Superficially, coming from a Latin country, having a masters in language and literature, working in an artistic profession, if the mob doesn’t stop to think — and when do they — they could think I’m one of you and come after me too.
And you must know that I have the greatest attachment to my head. I think it looks best right on top of my neck.
So again I say, stop that crap. I know your parents never spanked you or even told you no, but it’s time you learned to say no to yourselves, and stop pursuing your mean-girl way (particularly if you’re guys) to the top.
You don’t know what you’re stirring.
And I don’t want it splashing on innocents.