I told myself I wasn’t going to respond to the Apex blog post Plucking the PC Parrots in the Genre World. Apparently I lied.
I’m not going to rehash a conversation I’ve already had with the author, but a few points kept bugging me and demanding blog time.
Bondoni opens with an anecdote about an American Fortune 50 executive who smugly described hiring an unqualified black woman to meet their quota.
The veracity of this story was challenged in the comments. Personally, I don’t care. Anecdote =/= data. But Bondoni uses this as a lead-in to what he calls ToC Fail, “the PC crowd’s latest insanity,” where people complained about “The Mammoth Book of Mindblowing SF” having only white male contributors.
I’m missing the connection to his anecdote, since not one person in that 200+ comment thread suggested quotas. Nobody in any of the responses I read was advocating for quotas.
My Recommendation: Read what people are actually asking for, and stop derailing discussion by complaining about imaginary quotas.
“Of course, maybe [the editor] was a chauvinist pig. Maybe he went through the stories and systematically removed all of those with a female byline, and anything by Tiptree as well. But … I believe the editor simply chose the best stories he could. And this is exactly the way it should be. The best stories and ONLY the best stories should be included.”
Underlying Assumption: If discrimination isn’t conscious and deliberate, it doesn’t count.
Bonus Assumption: This all-white-male ToC actually represents the best stories.
“It seems to me that we’re still trying to fight a battle that was won years ago.” Bondoni states this more explicitly in the comments: “There is no misogyny in SF/F/H, and no racism, other than that nebulous ‘implied’ mysogyny and racism that we’re all so angsty about.”
Methinks that last sentence should read, “I’ve chosen not to see/acknowledge misogyny in SF/F/H, or racism…” Off the top of my head, without even touching things like Moon v. Wiscon or Racefail:
- Bloomsbury whitewashes the cover for Magic Under Glass.
- Justine Larbalestier on the whitewashing of Liar.
- Visual aid on the casting of The Last Airbender.
- Various defenses of the use of “Sheet head” from the Asimov Forums.
- Harlan Ellison gropes Connie Willis on-stage at the Hugos, because he apparently thought it would be funny.
- Comics are SF/F, right? Check out Women in Refrigerators.
- Or see this lovely licensed Marvel figurine of Mary Jane, from Spider Man.
- Baen’s cover art for their Young Flandry books.
- Nnedi Okorafor discusses the difficulties in getting black characters properly represented on her covers.
- A few first-hand examples of sexual harassment and assault at cons.
- EA encourages congoers to “commit acts of lust” with their booth babes.
- GenCon fails its save vs. misogyny.
Bonus Data Point:Bondoni refers to this article, which found that 85% of publishing employees (with 3 years experience or less) were female. I clicked through to the posted data, which also looked at executive information/salaries. In this “female-dominated” industry, 12 of the 14 publishing executives listed (that would be roughly 85%, right?) appear to be men. But women own the bottom of the totem pole, so it’s all good.
I’m not interested in arguing with Bondoni or in bashing him. I’ve done the former, and I suspect the latter would only reinforce his belief that the “PC Zombies” are out to have dissenters “crucified, tarred, feathered and, if possible, impaled.”
Bored now, and done. This zombie parrot has a goblin story to finish…