October 21st, 2010


On E. Moon and Wiscon

The group that runs Wiscon has announced that they've rescinded their invitation to Elizabeth Moon to be a Guest of Honor next year.

For those who've missed it, a general outcry for the removal of Moon as guest arose among many Wiscon regulars after she made this post: http://e-moon60.livejournal.com/335480.html and then failed to respond to most of the comments identifying inaccuracies and problematic implications in her statements about the Manhattan community center proposal, Islam, immigrants, and conformity. Many were willing to engage with her about it, however, until she deleted all the comments on her post and froze it with a disparaging coda (see discussion at http://community.livejournal.com/wiscon/284008.html for instance). Meantime, screen captures of many of the comments exist (see http://maevele.livejournal.com/335158.html) though many of the most poignant comments were made on the personal blogs of fans of color - DeepaD did a roundup of some of those at http://deepad.dreamwidth.org/57932.html.

The initial response of the conchairs, http://wiscon.info/downloads/W35eCube3.html, indicated they did not intended to rescind their invitation to Moon, but today a terse announcement indicated that "SF3, the parent organization of WisCon, has withdrawn the invitation to Elizabeth Moon to attend WisCon35 as a guest of honor".

I followed this some as it was happening, though I didn't find time right away to visit the comments thread on Moon's blog. I read Will Shetterly's collection of her responses to him at http://racefail.blogspot.com/2010/09/mixed-feelings-about-elizabeth-moons.html, appreciated Jim Hines' post at http://www.jimchines.com/2010/09/open-letter-to-elizabeth-moon/ and read N.K Jemisin's posts at http://nojojojo.livejournal.com/221241.html, http://nojojojo.livejournal.com/221476.html and http://nojojojo.livejournal.com/223115.html.

On the last post I linked to by Jemisin, vito_excalibur commented, "I am not hearing any real arguments for why to keep Moon as GoH, and so there's this weird effect where it seems like there's a consensus that the right thing to do is uninvite her...and that doesn't happen." That crystallized some thoughts of mine that I put in a comment, which triggered a discussion Nora and others pointed out was off-topic to her post, so I said I would try to post here about it soon. It took me a couple days (newborn baby keeps me off the computer, plus I wanted to catch up reading the captured screenshots), but this is that post - anyone who wants to respond to what I said, or to what others said in response to me, please do it here.

After further reading, I understand more about why Moon's mainly religiously bigoted post has strong racist tendencies - characterizing American Muslims as immigrants, and pushing for the "normalization" of the Different (which many argue could never go far enough, since skin color can not be erased, and Unreasonable people will still be Unreasonable and one should not kowtow to them) as a prudent path of action.

Jane Irwin has also made a good post, with more links, at http://www.vogelein.com/JanerBlog/racefail/
I've not yet found time to read all those links, but encourage those who would comment to go do so first.