Some things I've been wanting to post about, on a theme. (Alas.)

First: What fairy tale [*] would you eradicate from existence, given the opportunity?

I would pick Beauty and the Beast, and indeed I have managed to dissuade SteelyKid from asking for it, because that is a really harmful bedrock assumption to have about the way people and relationships work. Possibly a maximally harmful one, at least of the big-name fairy tales. ("Cheaters win," or perhaps more precisely "it's okay to cheat funny-looking people" (Rumpelstiltskin, the Frog Prince) is also bad but less so, I think.)

(This thought brought to you by [personal profile] metaphortunate's insightful post on 50 Shades of Grey and female fantasies.)

[*] In the Brothers Grimm/bedtime story sense, please, not in the smart-ass "religion!1!!" sense (or whatever). Not that that's very likely from y'all, but still.

Second: I commend to your attention this Captain Awkward followup post on creepiness and the posts linked therein. (I hadn't linked to the precipitating posts because I couldn't think of anything to say beyond "these make me so angry that the hairs on the back of my neck are standing up," but you should read those too, to the extent consistent with your own well-being.) Lots of good concrete advice for the creeped-upon and for people who don't want to be creepy (including that it's their job to do something about it, it's not the responsibility of women to fix them, with their magical spell-breaking love or otherwise). Of course nothing will reach creepers who are doing it on purpose, but at least this may reduce the plausibility of their "but no-one ever told me not to touch strangers!" excuses, as well as demonstrating the importance of community standards and support in reducing the acceptability and prevalence of creepiness.

Third: speaking of which, Readercon's Board resigned and the concomm issued this quite good statement of the con's change of position. I am still very angry at the former Board for failing to do its job in the first place and making the concomm go through all that extra work and angst, however.

Fourth: a while ago [personal profile] deepad had a post on words you wished were mainstream. I didn't have any at the time, but gradually I have discovered that I want the ones where just pointing and saying, "fucking (thing)," is self-explanatory. As you can tell from this post, I have been wanting to point and say "fucking rape culture" a lot lately.

(Other candidates: manpain, heteronormativity, slut-shaming, white privilege. I am not sure why these are so much more about sexism than racism; am I missing obvious terms or having a failure of cluefulness?)

Last of my panel notes, though in this case, it's really more like "notes."

Why Is Ancient Evil Ancient?. Erik Amundsen, Elizabeth Hand (leader), Matthew Kressel, Sarah Langan, Kate Nepveu, Ruth Sternglantz.

"Ancient evil" tends to be used as a shorthand for all the things we fear in our hindbrains, and everything lurking in the dark that we can't explain. It calls to mind something primordial that we feel we should have evolved past but still fear on some basic level. When we cite ancient evil in fiction, is its ancientness just a way of disclaiming that the evil isn't our fault, and thereby dodging the need to deal with evils that we could have prevented and could still avert? What if the ancient evil isn't entirely evil, just misunderstood? How do fictional treatments of ancient evil differ in cultures that venerate tradition and age versus those that prioritize innovation and youth?

Read more... )

Readercon

Jul. 27th, 2012 10:27 pm

So I am really angry at Readercon's Board right now for receiving a complaint of clear harassment (the facts of which, as noted in the last link, are not disputed) and then refusing to abide by its stated zero-tolerance policy, for unacceptable reasons.

I do still intend to post notes from my last panel, because I have them and it was fun and it has nothing to do with the Board, but if this stands I'm not willing to do anything for future Readercons, which is a shame because I've enjoyed going and being on programming and running the bake sale the years I've been able, but seriously, that is completely unacceptable.

Being busy pays off: John Stevens has posted video of his Readercon talk/discussion "Theories of Reading and Their Potential Insights into Fantastika," with the text that was the basis below the videos, so now I don't have to post my notes.

If you're like me and prefer to read first, you can pick up the post-presentation discussion at about 2 minutes into the second video, which includes discussion about text-to-speech and Braille from [personal profile] kestrell among others, and a bit about teaching SFF to people who are new to, and uncomfortable with, processing the exposition.

I still intend to do posts about my other Readercon panels; I have some notes. But I have no time tonight for more than a quick suggestion to people moderating panels:

When you call on audience members, don't attempt to identify them by gender ("the woman on the aisle in the green shirt"). It's embarrassing if you get it wrong and it's potentially hurtful to people whose identities don't match people's expectations for their appearance. I suggest either "the person" or simply "you" — since you should be making eye contact anyway [ETA: where feasible; see comments] to make sure people know they're being called on — plus identifiers such as location in the room, hair color, glasses, shirt color, and/or presence of knitting. (Skin color is an advanced topic; if you're unsure about using it, it's probably best left alone.)

Morning ETA: this goes for the audience too! If you can't see panelists' name signs, say "Sorry, I can't see the sign for your name, but for the panelist on my far right who said X . . . " For the same reasons as above, and also because it keeps me from fuming about having been called "young lady" for a week. =>

Last night after Chad tagged in to Pip duty and I grabbed a bite to eat, I wandered out to the gazebo in the back of the Readercon hotel because I saw a sign that the Viable Paradise folks would be out there with instruments, and I thought it likely that there would be music.

There was indeed music. [livejournal.com profile] red_mike_yog sang all the verses of "The Man on the Flying Trapeze", which is long but I approve of the ending (we all agreed that it was for the best). [livejournal.com profile] ellen_kushner and [livejournal.com profile] deliasherman sang "From Galway to Graceland", which prompted me to ask Delia if they knew John Hiatt's "Tennessee Plates", another song about dodgy visits to Graceland. Someone whose name I never got did a country-ish version of "Mysterious Ways" on a ukulele (though somehow we never got to "lift my days, light up my nights"), among several other contemporary songs ("Mr. Jones" has a lot more words than I remembered).

Another Richard Thompson song that Ellen played and we all sang, "1952 Vincent Black Lightning," was probably my favorite moment, because it's lovely, it was brave and generous of Ellen to play it, and it was a good example of how performers can cheerfully wing some things. I may never hear the verse

Says James, "In my opinion, there's nothing in this world
Beats a 52 Vincent and a red headed girl.
Now Nortons and Indians and Greeves won't do,
They don't have a soul like a Vincent 52"

without hearing Ellen sing "now fancy-motorcycle and fancy-motorcycle and Greeves won't do," because it made me smile in solidarity—that bit I actually knew, but most of the time I am not nearly so clever at half-remembered lyrics and just mumble.

Also, the last time I found myself in an impromptu music session at Readercon was several years ago, before the ubiquity of smartphones, and the ability to access lyrics sites immediately changes things a lot; it was the only way people got through "Stairway to Heaven," for instance.

Good times, and only one mosquito bite from it, amazingly; other people must've smelled better for a change.

The first of today's panels, "Why Am I Telling You This (in the First Person)?", which I thought was fun.

People who were there: I referred to Jo Walton's classifications of first-person narrations, which I couldn't remember off the top of my head. You can find them at this LJ post, and they are categorized on two axes, immediacy and ease of exposition.

Read more... )

Since I asked y'all for ideas about this panel, I thought I should report back. I am tired but my memory won't get better later, so some sketchy comments.

Read more... )

Anyone who was there remember more than me or want to talk about things further?

Oh, and someone in the audience mentioned Lee and Low Books to me after, which is "an independent children's book publisher focusing on diversity," whose catalog I shall be checking out.

So one of my Readercon panels is called "Guess Who's Coming to Fairyland" and is described thusly:

Many fantasy and SF novels struggle with an issue that, at first glance, looks downright old-fashioned: interracial marriage. The races are non-human, and some of their problems are unique; for example, in Cheryl Brooks's Cat Star Chronicles, the near-extinct Zetithians must breed with other species or die out. Others face very familiar concerns such as being rejected by their families or peers. Their risk-taking is often rewarded with the birth of children who display enhanced or unusual abilities--though those children have their own concerns about not fitting in. How do these themes reflect and interact with real-world tensions around race, marriage, and culture?

I've been meaning to ask you all to poke at my thoughts on this, and I just send the mod an e-mail, so now I can simply cut and paste:

preliminary thoughts )

Mine, that is. (Everyone else's.) Comments welcome.

Read more... )

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