Thursday, October 21, 2010

Elizabeth Moon

SF3, the parent organization of WisCon, has withdrawn the invitation to Elizabeth Moon to attend WisCon35 as a guest of honor. Please see the SF3 statement at the SF3 website.

The SF3 Blog is also collecting comments at


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Anonymous said...

You withdraw an invitation to your guest of honor, without explanation either here or at the SF3 website you link to? And there are 0 comments? WTF?

Anonymous said...

Shame on you.

Will there be a ritual burning of her books? Will you hang her in effigy? Will you hold 5 minutes' hate during the time scheduled for her appearance?

Forgive my hyperbole. But truly, your actions in this matter are disgraceful- ignorant, weak, and foolish.

Also, there is no statement on the sf3 site beyond the same naked declaration above. I am very curious to see your rationale.

carolinapinoy said...

"When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, 'This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,' the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives."

Robert A. Heinlein, If This Goes On, 1940

Anonymous said...

I do feel this decision is counterproductive.

Alas, I'm too much of a coward to post using my name at the moment. Those of my friends who know Elizabeth Moon personally are tsk-tsking about the whole business, but my local friends, as far as I've heard so far, expect me to be cheerful about the decision. When I know where my spinning head will stop, I may have more thoughtful comments.

Anonymous said...


kmd said...

@Anonymous, "will there be a ritual burning" etc.

Um, no.

Just a withdrawal of a Guest of Honor invitation.

But thanks for highlighting with your hyperbole exactly what is not at stake here.

Anonymous said...

I am concerned about this. Wiscon is supposed to support female authors in our genre. I hope that this will not be reduced to those female authors who share a particular set of left-wing political views.

Anonymous said...

I think Nisi Shawl will be a wonderful individual Guest of Honor. That said...

To quote the Wiscon Web site: WisCon encourages discussion and debate of ideas relating to feminism, gender, race and class.

Recent events suggest that, had Elizabeth Moon's invitation not been rescinded, the discussions at this year's Wiscon would be completely in keeping with the convention's stated mission, especially with regard to race and class. Said discussions would perhaps have been more heated, more uncomfortable than is typical, but would they not have been that much more interesting? And I suspect that, given the general character of the people who attend WisCon, though conversation might have been heated, it might also have shed quite a bit of light on the subjects discussed.

I'm no fan of the comments Ms. Moon made recently with regard to immigration in the United States, but I think rescinding her invitation creates a missed opportunity for important and timely discussions that have to do not just with current events, but with issues that rarely get discussed in depth in our literature. I can understand why the decision was made, but I'm not happy about it.

pst314 said...

And yet followers of Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Castro, etc are extremely welcome at Wiscon.

trouble said...

I think people are perfectly capable of having a discussion about the issues of race, feminism, gender and class without having to sit at the same table as someone who thinks they're less worthy to be there because of their country of origin or religious and cultural background.

Anonymous said...

I thought y'all had more chutzpah than this.

"WisCon is the first and foremost feminist science fiction convention in the world. WisCon encourages discussion, debate and extrapolation of ideas relating to feminism, gender, race and class."

Does this mean that you do not encourage freedom of speech and thoughts that may be different from your own?

I was thinking of attending Wiscon, but now I will never attend it.

Daedala said...

I am glad to see that Wiscon has had a change of heart regarding this honor.

However, I think that an explanation of the reasons for it is very important. The context-free announcement causes confusion.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Will Shetterly said...

"WisCon [delete "encourages"] [insert "suppresses"] discussion and debate of ideas relating to feminism, gender, race and class."

Fixed that for you.

Will Shetterly said...

pst314, those are also the tactics of good conservative witch-hunters and crusaders. Suppressing speech is not limited to any political ideology.

Anita said...

Censors. Book banners. Book burners. Theocrats. You folks are in great company.

ckd said...

If Elizabeth Moon had been interested in discussion and debate, she wouldn't have felt the need to call the comments on her original post "slag" that was to be "recycled". I see no reason to expect that she would be any more open to discussion in person at the convention.

(I do not dispute that there are moderate, even liberal, Texans, nor that many Texans have all the virtues of civilized persons and are admirable in all those ways.)

Anonymous said...

It makes sense. You'll lose any fans of Ms. Moon attending, of course. But you'll gain SF fans of Wahhabism.

I expect record attendance.

cannibal said...

I ran cons for fifteen years, before I gafiated, but I have never heard of a concom having the unmitigated hubris to act this way to a Pro GoH.

Wiscon deserves to have everyone who prereg-ed demand their money back, cancel their hotel reservation, and not stay in the con hotel. If they don't have a good snow fund, the hotel contract could put them out of business, which would serve them right.

We're talking a livejournal post, people. Nobody's repressing anybody. What's worse, the concom made a decision, and then didn't have the backbone to stick to it after some typical internet comment flaming. SMOFs can be such idiots, sometimes.

Anonymous said...

By rescinding your invitation you exhibit the disgraceful, dogmatic behavior that, in theory, science fiction is supposed to transcend. So much for varying viewpoints and honest discussion in regards to the role of women in the genre. Your cowardly and rude actions are embarrassing and border on the comedic

Anonymous said...

Lots of stuff to think about here. From one side, it's a question of how the attendees feel: offended by, uncomfortable with, curious about the GOH's presence, excited to watch a witch hunt, curious to hear what the GOH says in person. From the other side, how would the GOH feel: Honored? Attacked? Uncomfortable? There are ways to see this decision as a win-win. In other ways, it's a lose-lose. I'm guessing the troika were in a corner. It's a shame it came to this.

MIkhael said...


So SF writers are hypocrites just like politicians, newspaper editors, religious fanatics, and the random housewife next door.

No news here... move along peeps.

Anonymous said...

"(Ms. Moon) should clearly be stripped of her SFWA membership, her books should be publicly burned, after which proceedings she should be stoned on stage at WisCon. I have written SFWA President-For-Life John Scalzi regarding this very serious situation and expressed my expectations that he will not only put this deeply appropriate punishment for holding an opinion contra the SFWA majority in motion, but throw the first stone himself."

Vox Days' comments here:

Anonymous said...

I think this was the wrong thing to do, and as a member of Wiscon I would vote against doing it -- if I had a vote.

Which apparently I don't.

Jonquil said...

The anonymous commenters seem to be missing a point: there is a difference between suppressing speech -- Ms. Moon remains free both to attend the convention (unlikely) and to publish on her blog -- and refusing to honor somebody who has said something bigoted.

Ms. Moon wasn't merely a Guest; she was a Guest "of honor". If she had remained the Guest of Honor, somebody would have written an essay in the program book honoring her. Somebody would have introduced her at the Banquet honoring her.

The ConCom has judged that her recent statements make her unworthy of being honored by WisCon. That doesn't keep her from speaking anywhere she likes.

Todd Wiley said...

Buying Moon's books today, and I'll be damned if I'll spend any money on books by other 'guests' of this farce. Good luck.

ashnistrike said...

It's about time. She can come if she wants, but between her expressed views and her unwillingness to discuss them in any civilized fashion, she doesn't deserve to be honored.

Anonymous said...

I sincerely hope that Harlan Ellison shows up and takes a dump in the punch bowl.

Anonymous said...

I support organizations and events dis-inviting even headlining speakers when they discover that said speaker has said something truly egregious and inflammatory. But I draw the line pretty far, where intent is clear and measured.

I've read the post in question. In this case, Moon makes a balanced, well-reasoned, even-tampered case, and is in no way inflammatory -- unless one translates "inflammatory" and "disagreeing with me." This action taken against her is clearly because of which side of the divide she falls on in an issue that is irrelevant to the event, and is disgusting.

Anonymous said...

Can I just say, as a libertarian, that I hope the people railing against WisCon's decision to not invite someone to their own damn con, and claiming that they do so on the grounds of some weird idea of "free speech", will greet the spontaneous appearence of whatever Wahhabist boogey-man they are currently freaking out about at their own conventions with open arms?

This is the *definition* of freedom, people. You can invite people, and then you can disinvite them if they say dumb, rude, nonsense (or you think so).

Confusing this with book-burning and theocracy demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of the very values you people feebly imagine you're defending.

Will Shetterly said...

ckd, do you think "he did it first!" is a valid defense?

Jonquil, how has E. Moon's work changed? She was not chosen as the Islamic GoH. She was chosen because of the work she has done. Her bigotry is sad, but it doesn't change her work. Will Wiscon GoHs have to sign ideological purity declarations henceforth?

Anonymous said...

Thanks again for showing the world why "feminazi" was an effective slur.

Anonymous said...

Ideological purity standards and a witch hunt, all in one. Is it a Tea Party now? I'm surprised you didn't book Plain as a replacement.


I won't buy another book from any author who attends.

rivenwanderer said...

I think this was the right decision. Cons are for fans--and when an author has verbally flipped off a huge chunk of fans, it's eminently reasonable for a con to choose not to place her in a position of power and honor at the expense of those fans.

Anonymous said...

Jonquil, others, you're no doubt sincere in your stated position, but that position is either Ill-considered or just careless.

Was she being honored for her exceptional political conformity? For her political opinions at all? Were her opinions previously secret, or misleadingly presented?

You are acting to silence someone because you find her opinions distasteful. That is reprehensible. It's outside of acceptable discourse. Argue, protest, object. But when you resort to shutting her up, you're a thug.

And when you say that yanking her podium away from her is not silencing her because she can always speak elsewhere, you're either a fool or a liar. Do you mean to say that your organization is a zero? Do you want your employers/publishers/editors to make detailed political investigations into you all before they will associate with you? Your readers? Reviewers?

They have that right, and having the right to do something is the same as that thing being right and wise. Right?

You have the right to act as you did, but you deserve the harsh judgment you are getting in response. You are wrong.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't invited as a Guest of Honour at Wiscon! Where do I protest this shocking censorship of my views?

lydiabell said...

Do you all seriously think that Wiscon has to honor someone who acts in a way that they consider to go against their stated values, or is this just a convenient hammer for bashing people you don't like? Nobody's keeping her from coming and talking with whomever she'd like -- they are just not extending her a special honor. What principle requires them to do so?

Anonymous said...

I find it disappointing that a group dedicated to the advancement of women has taken it upon itself to punish an author for the "offense" of observing that some immigrant communities assimilate faster or better than others. I find it further disappointing, though deliciously ironic, that the "offended" group is one of the most misogynistic on Earth.

Given a pioneering woman author who exactly fits the group's mission, versus a group of faux-aggrieved shit-stirrers who fear and loathe their women so much that wives must stay covered lest they be beaten, which side do you choose?

Identity politics is tearing the community apart. I'm beginning to think the community gets what it deserves.

Anonymous said...

Ah... I'll be looking forward to all the new sci-fi writing on robots used to stone women, the female bots will of course keep their heads covered! And of course, all the new books written about glorifying Allah! Now that's what sci-fi is about!

Nicely done!

Anonymous said...

Libertarian, they are free to act in a contemptible manner, and I am free to hold them in contempt. "shut up" is not a valid argument and I don't respect its proponents, whoever they are. Is censorship ok just because it's private? Reminds me of rev. Phelps. Hence the question I asked earlier, whether book burning is next.

FYI, libertarian != nonjudgmental. Libertarians expect to reap the consequences of their actions. For an organization of this type to apply ideological purity tests and censor those that fail is a flaw at it's heart.

They would BEGIN to justify their actions if they would just... begin to justify their actions.

lydiabell said...

Elizabeth Moon only "exactly fits the group's mission" if you believe that feminism doesn't include Muslim women. Because her bigotry insulted and hurt Muslim women, and her mindset encourages discrimination against them.

Anonymous said...

"-- they are just not extending her a special honor. What principle requires them to do so?"

Principle. If they had any, well, they would have stood by their choice, instead of cowering to a misogynistic religion.

lydiabell said...

I can't help noticing that you didn't answer the question.

Anonymous said...

This was not a non-choice, it was a rejection, a sanction, an act of censorship. Dont kid yourselves to the contrary.

lydiabell said...

Also, if a tenth of the people bashing Wiscon's decision are even people who identify as feminists (and would thus have any interest in coming), I'll be shocked.

Daedala said...

I note that none of the people here upset about free speech are upset at Moon for deleting all the comments at the end of her post as slag.

And that most of y'all don't have the integrity to use a name or a handle.

Anonymous said...

She's still welcome to attend.

As a guest of SHAME!

Anonymous said...

Lydiabell, you are arguing against a straw man.

The organization certainly has the right to act as they did.

Just like rev. Phelps has the right to burn a big pile of korans.

You also have the right to defend their actions.

Everyone in this scenario is acting within their rights.

lydiabell said...

So, declining to honor someone because they displayed bigotry is the same as ... displaying bigotry. I have to say, I admire the mental gymnastics it requires to come to that conclusion. Kudos!

(OpenID's gone wonky, but it's me again)

ckd said...

Given a pioneering woman author who exactly fits the group's mission, versus a group of faux-aggrieved shit-stirrers who fear and loathe their women so much that wives must stay covered lest they be beaten, which side do you choose?
I didn't realize that the replacement guest of honor was Mullah Omar of the Taliban. Perhaps I missed that announcement.

Anonymous said...

"Libertarian, they are free to act in a contemptible manner, and I am free to hold them in contempt. "shut up" is not a valid argument and I don't respect its proponents, whoever they are. Is censorship ok just because it's private? "

Dude, if you think that Elizabeth Moon and her supporters are being silenced and censored, you could certainly be a bit quieter about it. The many threads and posts online talking about how bad it all is seem to undermine your position.

Of course, they're not quite as numerous as the actual Wiscon attendees who were posting and complaining about Moon's statements before now, nor the ongoing discussion about how best to approach the Moon issue, including whether to discuss with her, disinvite, or other strategies. Have you read those? Did you take part in them?

And, again as a libertarian (and of course, as a libertarian, it's my Goddess-given duty to derail these threads to bang on about that. It's the libertarian super-power!), I'll defend your right to demand that a bunch of individuals do as you say. I'm just saying that what Wiscon is doing is not actually the same as somebody forceably silencing Moon, suppressing her speech or burning her books.

And I believe it's actually okay for cons, *particularly* political cons, to have some sort of criteria to who they invite, and to disinvite those who don't live up to those criteria.

Private censorship? Pshaw. Are you one of those people who is going to complain if these comments are moderated? (which, incidentally, they probably should be -- these fly-by critics is quickly turning this thread toxic and irrelevant to the real Wiscon community).

Anonymous said...

I read the post, sounds like she was saying building a mosque where people were killed in the name of Islam would not be good for assimilation.

That could be wrong, but does that make here a bigot? Or worthy of a conference insulting her?

Jonquil said...

Thank you for doing this. When the ConCom honors a guest, it honors their body of work, not any individual book; Ms. Moon's bigoted posting -- she deleted all the eloquent comments explaining why it was bigoted -- is part of her body of work.

Anonymous said...

Lydiabell, bless your heart. You're doing it right now.

It is censorship, not obnoxiousness, that I am objecting to.

I am not comparing you to phelps to say you are a bigot. I don't see where you could possibly have drawn the conclusion that that is what I am saying. Not in good faith. Unless you are more limited than you seem to be.

I am comparing you to phelps because of what you have in common with him- a self righteous willingness to punish ideas you do not like through censorship.

Anonymous said...

Jonquil, please do your best to reproduce those eloquent comments.

lanning said...

Given a pioneering woman author who exactly fits the group's mission, versus a group of faux-aggrieved shit-stirrers who fear and loathe their women so much that wives must stay covered lest they be beaten, which side do you choose?

Women? I have women? Why does no one tell me these things?

I hate to break it to you, punkin, but you don't have to be a Muslim, or a man, to find Ms. Moon's screed offensive. Just a person of conscience. Why should Wiscon honor the sort of hateful ignorance and bigotry displayed by your comment?

lydiabell said...

Your inability to see the difference between picking guests of honor and censorship is making it impossible to have a rational conversation.

lydiabell said...

Also, I do wish the anonymice around here would at least pick handles. It makes it so much easier to address comments to the right person.

Anonymous said...

I'm embarrassed for the science fiction fandom that a Guest of Honor has had their invitation to a major science fiction convention "withdrawn" after selling memberships touting that guest's presence. The people cheated are the fans who bought memberships looking forward to seeing a particular author. Or should I say, defrauded?

WisCon has been in the forefront of provoking very useful discussions of gender, race and class in the fandom. This does not give the convention the right to take cheap shots as 'punishment' for the exercise of free speech, especially outside the event.

Those of us who are posting as anonymous fear being trolled or sanctioned for our free speech. RaceFail served as a great example of this, and a warning to those who favor the free exchange of ideas over the preservation of ideological purity.

Jacob said...

1. Wiscon/SF3 has the right to exclude people from representing their organization if they choose to.
2. Moon should understand that taking a stance on one side of a very touchy polital/social topic might have repercussions in relationship to their work.
3. SF3 has not made a statement saying that Moon can't say whatever she wants, or that her opinion should not be allowed to be spoken in any public forum. They are saying that they do not want her opinion to represent them. There is a very big difference between saying someone can't practice freedom of speech and saying you don't want that person giving a speech in your front yard.

Just to put this in perspective, what if Moon had said that the felt child pornography and human trafficking were OK? Would anyone have been upset if SF3 pulled Moon for her opinion? To many people Moon's opinion on the Islamic cultural center near ground zero is they type of intolerance that they are trying to move past and the type of intolerance that they do not want representing their group. I am one of the people who are glad that SF3 took a stance against an opinion that I feel goes against what Wiscon represents: Compassion, tolerance, and understanding.

Anonymous said...

So, where is this "statement" you refer to!? Whether one agrees or not, the least that seems in order is explaining the rationale beyond the simple statement that the invitation has been withdrawn.

lydiabell said...

"Those of us who are posting as anonymous fear being trolled or sanctioned for our free speech."

Is your fear so profound that it renders you unable to make up a fake name?

Anonymous said...


WisCon has decided that their front yard is not a free speech zone. Fandom needs to take notice.

idiotbell said...

"fear so profound . . ."

Another way of attempting to punish free speech: ridicule and disdain.

My reply: disinterest. Neither you nor the conversation is worth the time to invest in creating an identity for the purpose.

Jonquil said...

You can find screencaps of the deleted comments here. Among the people explaining why the posting was bigoted is Will Shetterly, not generally considered a knee-jerk anti-racism activist.

allochthon said...

Thank you, SF3, for making the correct and courageous decision.

Let me remind those who are against this decision. Moon said in the post:

"...many Muslims have all the virtues of civilized persons and are admirable in all those ways."

If that had read "many white men have all the virtues of civilized persons and are admirable in all those ways" you would not be reacting this way.

I fail to see how its dishonorable to hold Moon Moon responsible for her racist opinions.

I fail to see how not honoring a person who views others (of whatever race or religion) as uncivilized is dishonorable.

Moon has not been uninvited. She simply won't be honored by a community she insulted when she declared some of the members uncivilized and unwelcome.

Jacob said...

Also, I can not explain my stance any better than if I just link to this blog:

It is an amazing read outlining the counters for each of Moon's points, but also calls for SF3 to invite Moon and hold panels so that she can have open conversation on this specific topic with the community. I would like to see that, but judging by some of the insults hurled in this blog alone I can only imagine the "debate" that would take place in that setting.

lanning said...

Groups that self-isolate, that determinedly distinguish themselves by location, by language, by dress, will not be accepted as readily as those that plunge into the mainstream.

Sound familiar to anyone? Y'all are idiots. Moon wasn't just talking about Muslims. She wasn't just talking about immigrants. She was talking about anyone who is different. She was talking about YOU.

yeloson said...

I cannot help but note the irony of folks complaining that a convention based on feminism is wrong for attempting to provide a safer space for attendees.

I guess I always thought feminism had room for more than just white women.

Anonymous said...

Lydiabell, it isn't the choice, it's the retraction. Don't eliminate the distinction.

Also, everyone, is it now explicit that ideologically impure participation is not welcome at wiscom? Everyone endorses that approach? Do you all think you are still engaging in intellectual discourse, or are we going to call it something else? Does THAT distinction even matter to wiscom?

Are there any groups that it is ok to have ever offended? Is there a list somewhere? Not to mention some guidance as to where 'the line' is. Since we've thrown genuine respect for the free exchange of ideas out the window, I'd like to know how to avoid the grievous offense that caused the rejection (not the non-selection, please note, but the global judgement of unacceptableness which sprouts oh-so-justifiably from the scary words that got her in trouble) of the former goh.

These issues are ACTUALLY raised by wiscon's actions. Even though they sound absurd, I would like someone to at least try to address them.

Anonymous said...

Only utterly inoffensive writers need apply! Not a club I'd be interested in joining.

allochthon said...


"WisCon has decided that their front yard is not a free speech zone. Fandom needs to take notice."

No. No and again no.
Wiscon has decided not to honor a bigot.

Wiscon has taken no action to prevent her from saying whatever she wants.

Wiscon is not preventing her from coming to the convention and repeating her anti-Muslim views.

Wiscon is saying that they do not want Moon's opinion to represent them. That is ALL.

(thank you, Jacob)

lydiabell said...

"Lydiabell, it isn't the choice, it's the retraction. Don't eliminate the distinction."

It's just not clear to me that the distinction is of significance. If she had made her comments before ... I don't know, whatever date, she would not have been chosen. I wonder how many people would object to that, if the reason for not chosing her had somehow become public. The main difference, it seems to me, is that by rescinding a previously extended honor, the whole thing is automatically public. But should Wiscon not have the right to consider new information and rethink their decisions?

"Since we've thrown genuine respect for the free exchange of ideas out the window"

That's just inflammatory and inaccurate. The free exchange of ideas does not require that a group honor a person who displays bigotry toward members of that group -- and yes, there are Muslim feminists who attend Wiscon.

Somebody else (well, as far as I can tell!) mentioned that this action was unfair to people who bought memberships because they wanted to see Moon. That's a fair issue, and I think that if people want memberships refunded for that reason, Wiscon should probably do it. I say "probably" because I don't know the logistics involved. Of course, con guests sometimes cancel and people don't get their money back, but this is a different situation.

Anonymous said...


Scroll to the upper right of this page, where it says "WisCon encourages discussion and debate of ideas relating to feminism, gender, race and class."

Dis-inviting a GoH based on the content of her speech has a chilling effect not on her (she has plenty of other soapboxes) but on any attendee or guest who might espouse views not shared by whoever happens to be on the concom that year.

WisCon chose to revoke an honor already publicized. Several other stances could have been taken, including promoting someone else to co-GoH, issuing a statement distancing WisCon from Moon's free speech, demoting Moon to an ordinary guest . . . but "withdrawing the invitation" is an adverse action.

The only dishonor here is to WisCon, for making a public promise and then breaking it.

I stand by my statement, that WisCon has decided that their front yard is not a free speech zone. Only approved speech need apply in WisCon controlled space.

Does WisCon have the legal right to take this stance? Probably. The NRA can keep the Brady people from talking at their convention, and the Republicans can keep the Democrats from talking at theirs.

However, the pretense of free speech and objectivity in discourse must be dispensed with. WisCon is no longer a place where free speech is welcome. The claim to encourage discussion and debate is a lie.

This is something the convention will have to live with long after the present flap is forgotten.

It is also fundamentally anti-American, anti-science and anti-science fiction.

Redag said...

I'd like to thank SF3 for making this decision. I'd also like to express my concurrence that the withdrawal of the Guest of Honor platform does no injury to Moon's rights of free expression.

What has occurred is a much-needed line being drawn between someone who has chosen to become associated with bigoted sentiments, and an organization constructed around values radically incompatible with those sentiments.

Best of luck to all you guys.

yeloson said...

Not to mention some guidance as to where 'the line' is.

Anyone who attends a feminist convention and doesn't see "a line" at saying to an oppressed group, "You don't know how much we put up with your shit, just by you existing - we COULD do a lot worse to you"...

...clearly missed some key ideas about feminism...

Anonymous said...

Allochthon, do you mean generally that people's statements and actions should not be evaluated for their implications and consequences, only for their intent?

Because if so, I think wiscon owes its former goh an apology, since it is plain from reading her post that it was not intended to be hateful or bigoted.

It is also certain that just like you don't consider yourselves to be blinkered and narrow minded ideological tools, she does not consider herself a bigot.

If you don't mean to make a generally applicable point, can you please fill us in in what makes this a special case?

Meanwhile I and the other critics will continue to natter on annoyingly about the implications, effects, consequences of wiscon's actions.

lanning said...

Let me try to say this in small words. Refusing to honor hate speech does not suppress hate speech. Ms. Moon is free to be hateful wherever she goes.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, SF3 for making this decision. I think it was the right one.

cow said...

Thank you very much, SF3. I had decided not to go because she was still labelled as 'honoured'. She is welcome to make whatever speech she wants; she is welcome to show up and defend it; but I will not support an organization that will *honour* such speech.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Lydiabell, I'm sorry, but it is not the case that it IS right, and wise, and respectable, to do a thing just because you HAVE the right to do it.

That said, I certainly agree, for the umpteenth time, that wiscon HAS the right to act as they have.

Just like phelps has the right to burn a pile of korans, and a lot of other people have a right to do other odious or foolish or self-contradicting or self-defeating things.

lydiabell said...

OK, if I phrase it differently will you answer the damn question?

Is it wrong, or unwise, or not respectable for Wiscon to reconsider their decision to honor Elizabeth Moon in light of her public bigotry toward some of their members?

ckd said...

The Anonymous of October 21, 2010 2:52 PM:
WisCon chose to revoke an honor already publicized. Several other stances could have been taken, including promoting someone else to co-GoH,

Wiscon already had another GoH scheduled for next year: Nisi Shawl.

issuing a statement distancing WisCon from Moon's free speech,

demoting Moon to an ordinary guest . . . but "withdrawing the invitation" is an adverse action.

What do you see as the distinction between "demoting Moon to an ordinary guest" and "withdrawing the invitation to Elizabeth Moon to attend WisCon 35 as guest of honor"? The latter makes no mention of a ban on attendance, nor does it make any statement about whether she might be a participant in program items other than the Guest of Honor speech.

allochthon said...


Please, read what has been stated, by me, others in this thread, and the ConCom:

The Guest of Honor invitation has been withdrawn. Moon has not been disinvited from the con itself. She is more than welcome to come and engage in discussions and debates relating to feminism, gender, race and class.

"Several other stances could have been taken, including promoting someone else to co-GoH"

There IS another GoH, Nisi Shawl. She's been listed as a GoH since the beginning.

"demoting Moon to an ordinary guest . . ."
Which is exactly what has been done.

It's clear you do not know Wiscon. I've never been to a place where speach has been freer. I've been going to Wiscon for 10 years. And free speech has never been more welcome there. We simply choose not to honor a bigot, and we're holding Moon responsible for the conseqeunces of her actions.

"she does not consider herself a bigot."
Nobody considers themselves a bigot. Nobody considers themselves a racist. Are you really making the argument that since she doesn't see herself as a bigot, that she isn't one?

It'll take me a second to respond to the rest of this post containing the "herself a bigot" line.

(I've been saying "we" a lot here. I am not a member of the Concom. Just a long-term member of Wiscon)

Jacob said...

@Anons/mooninites...please put 2 and 2 together and realize that Moon is now viewed by many people as a racist, and a bigot. She can say whatever she wants, but she might be excluding herself by doing so. You can post whatever you want, but people might choose to exclude you in the future based on your opinions. This is how it works in the adult world. There are reactions to your words. Shocking!

This is not an issue about the first amendment. This is an issue about one person being a bigot, and another group not honoring her because she outed herself as such.

It's really very simple.

Anonymous said...

Harlan Ellison just announced that he will attend. You'd better have security standing by . . .the punch bowl.

allochthon said...


"do you mean generally that people's statements and actions should not be evaluated for their implications and consequences, only for their intent?"

The implications are that Moon does not welcome brown people to the United States. The consequences is that she has hurt and insulted many members of the Wiscon and SF community.

"like you don't consider yourselves to be blinkered and narrow minded ideological tools,"

I don't believe I've brought out the ad hominum attacks. You do yourself a dis-service by doing so.

"If you don't mean to make a generally applicable point, can you please fill us in in what makes this a special case?"

A generally applicable point: People who insult and damage a community by publicly saying hurtful and bigoted things, and then summarily deletes all of the discussion explaining why they're hurtful and bigoted, should not be honored by a convention that exists to promote diversity and equality.

allochthon said...

Gah. Grammar all of the place in that last post. My apologies.

sophy said...

Thank you SF3 and everyone involved in making this decision and dealing with the fallout. You've done, and are doing, the right thing. Don't let people who are being willfully ignorant of why what you're doing is the right thing get to you.

Anonymous said...

And your response is exactly why Elizabeth Moon's comments are relevant and necessary. For shame! Wis*con is a Fantasy and SF convention, NOT an apologia to the world for the US being a success.

Futher, as she pointed out, it's time the 'moderate majority' of Muslims get off their butts and shut down the extremists who actively pursue terrorist agendas. What's that you say? Doing so would "infringe" upon the 'freedom' of those same terrorists? Too Effing Bad!

Anonymous said...

It's time the "moderate majority" of Christians get off THEIR butts and shut down the extremists who actively bomb abortion clinics and Federal buildings, and who picket the funerals of US armed-forces members killed in action.

ilyena-sylph said...

I'm so glad to see this. I just wish it had been done before so many people were hurt by her words and her actions after them.

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth Moon is neither a racist nor bigot. Her comments reflected a lot of common sense, and even if you diagree with her sentinments, she is certainly entitled to her free speech.

allochthon said...

Moon is absolutely entitled to her free speech. But please read what she wrote:

"...many Muslims have all the virtues of civilized persons and are admirable in all those ways."

That is bigoted speech. She's welcome to it. Wiscon does not have to Honor her for it.

Steve White said...

I came to this discussion via Instapundit. I'm an occasional reader of sci-fi, and had not heard of Ms. Moon.

Thanks to the bruhaha, I have ordered several of her books from Amazon. I look forward to reading about her.

I would appreciate it if the WisCon folks would put forward a list of the people who agitated to rescind the invitation to Ms. Moon, so that I can be sure to only buy their books at second-hand stores.

Ms. Moon's opinion piece is strongly-worded but is not racist. Her comments are, indeed, instructive.

The central point of the debate: what does radical Islam (Islamicism, if you prefer) say about the status of women? And what does western feminism have to say in response to that? Academic western feminism is very good at ostracizing people in the West who disagree with them (hence the attack on Ms. Moon), but western feminists aren't very good at defending women in other cultures who are being brutalized.

One might argue that point, but I would refer you to the picture of the young Afghan woman who had her nose hacked off (I'm sure you've seen it). I would refer you to the rampant FGM, the third-class treatment of women in the law, in marriage contracts, and divorce. I would refer you to the acid attacks, for which the male perpetrators are rarely, if ever, punished.

The response of western feminism, and of feminist sci-fi writers whom I have read, is -- virtually zero. Nothing. It's not on their radar.

It is on Ms. Moon's radar. She sees the problem of Islamicism. Yes, there are 'many Muslims have all the virtues of civilized persons'. That is not bigoted, that is an acknowledgement that it is a minority of people within that faith, the Islamicists, the radicals, who are the problem.

The person commenting at 3:47 wants to shut down the Christian extremists who bomb abortion clinics. If one were to point out that 'many Christians have all the virtues of civilized persons', would that be bigoted? Of course not, it would be an acknowledgement of fact, that it is a small number of haters who commit the violence, that most Christians are in fact peaceable.

So too in Islam, and so too in other faiths -- it is the haters and the oppressors who are the problem. Western feminism, particularly the feminists who indulge themselves in gender studies, apparently can't see this.

But Ms. Moon does. Bravo for her. Ms. Moon may not have a place at WisCon. But she now has a place on my bookshelf.

lydiabell said...

Steve, you might consider that you don't know the whole story because Moon deleted the comments to her post.

lanning said...

And now we have mansplaining of feminism. This has been a banner day.

Anonymous said...

After reading the original post - a well thought out and interesting piece - the over-reaction by those who throw the racist or bigot line at all who are not 100% in line with their ideology is just ridiculous. I would just like WisCon to re-affirm that being a guest of honor is not about ones body of work but rather one's political allegiance. This con is a big deal, but clearly it is not big enough to be anything more than a cool kids club - I was kinda sorta thinking about driving up from Chicago but I think I will stay at home.

lydiabell said...

People who think feminists have never heard of or spoken out against horrors perpetrated against women in the name of Islam make me very, very tired. (Not one one-hundredth as tired as they must make Muslim feminists, though.) As do people who think those horrors excuse bigotry against Muslims in general.

Tempest said...

To all the Anonymous people on this thread: if you felt half of the conviction you profess, you wouldn't hesitate to sign your names. If you truly felt that a wrong was being committed, you would sign your names. If you didn't already understand that, by placing yourselves on the side of someone who showed blatant bigotry and then refused to engage in the discussion you all say should be happening, you are siding with that bigotry, you would sign your names.

When injustice occurs, there are many, many others willing to sign their names (even if those names are not legal names, but still the names that identify them) and stand up and say "This is not right." If you are unwilling to do so, it means you're afraid. But you can't be afraid of anything here but revealing yourselves as bigots, so really, I cannot help but feel you're all about as relevant as the gum under my shoe.

Foxessa said...

Hysterics who sneer at feminism, sneer at Wiscon and its goals of feminist and diversity tolerance, never attended Wiscon, don't even like women, don't read Moon or sf/f -- or at least much, and in fact hardly ever heard of Wiscon, are now suddenly all up in everybody's face, screeching about how Islam is mean to women and Moon deserves to be tolerated in their name. And doing it under Anonymous (which isn't the same as pseudononymous, for those can be easily figured out, etc.).

Lordessa, what fools and cowards these beings be.

lanning said...

I'm with Tempest. Own your words, anonymice.

muccamukk said...

Thank you, SF3, for this decision.

This will be the first Wiscon I'm attending, and I am looking forward to it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, SF3, for refusing to honor Moon after her racist attack against many of our sisters.

As someone who's never attended Wiscon, my opinion may not count, but I'm still glad to see you supporting women of color.

Genie Brant

Anonymous said...

I love how taking the "many muslims" comment COMPLETELY out of context dooms Moon as so horrible a racist she should be shunned by the science fiction community entirely.

Good grief!

Tanya Avakian said...

I'm unhappy with the entire situation, but I do not for one minute think that Elizabeth Moon is being censored.

There is a big difference between speech and the entitlement to an honor. Moon exercised her freedom of speech. She had absolute authority to address as many people as possible with her views, to express them as she saw fit, and unlimited access to the venue in which to do so. That's freedom of speech.

Freedom of speech does not mean that one is entitled to have no consequences follow on one's speech. To be made aware that one's speech is offensive to many is not the same as censorship. Nobody on Wiscon has made her take down her blog post. If Moon stands by her speech she can still do so. She is not at any realistic risk to life and limb that has been underwritten by anyone at Wiscon. That's freedom of speech.

People don't like it? Them are the breaks. Are there limits of decency in terms of the response, just as there should be expectations of decency, self-imposed or else legitimately referred to by those in earshot, on the speech itself? Yes. That's censorship? Not unless one has a poor enough opinion of speech to say that any discomfort incurred by using the right to it will automatically silence a person. Does anyone really imagine that a person who in their society, including this one, might risk jail or worse for their speech, would be silenced permanently by a rescinding of an honor from an organization which they don't even appear to respect that much? Supposing a person who lost their invitation were right about the reason--would it change their mind, for fear of not toeing the line? Has it made Moon any less well known or likely to be read? Based on some of the comments here, one would have to say no. Her constituency may have been realigned and more narrowly defined, which is always a risk of speech in the political system we have.

Free speech doesn't mean free in the sense of free beer. To treat it as such is an insult to everyone who has advanced the cause of free speech here and in the world.

I personally wish the whole sorry story didn't boil down to "invite or disinvite, that is the question." Whether she's there or not, her statement and the limited resources at Wiscon's command to deal with the consequences showed up some limitations in the whole concept of social justice as dispensed by meritocracies. It doesn't make a gigantic difference now--the wounds are still wounds--and it may not have ever. Given that Wiscon announced the decision not to rescind, rescinding after all pleases no one, especially since it's not clear the decision was Wiscon's; in a way I am just as glad that the disinvite is not going to be an opportunity for massive self-congratulations on the part of all the nice white womyn, with less need for any replacement to take on all the symbolic weight of restoring Wiscon's sense of itself, because that will have to happen another way if at all. It's also sadly true that as soon as it's possible for anyone to turn the issue into one of free speech, the story's over: the derail has occurred, which is just what I was fearing on the disinvite.

But for the record, now, because the disinvite is a done deal. This isn't censorship. This is more like firing a person from a job. That person has the right to do their job anywhere else they like, with whoever will have them. Their services simply aren't wanted in X place. For the right-wing or libertarian types who have a problem with that? Wow, you're such good socialists!

Eleanor said...

I fully understand how difficult this decision must have been for Wiscon. No one likes to withdraw an invitation. But you really should not honor someone whose opinions you find wrong and deeply offensive. I read Moon's post twice. I found it prejudiced and also wrong about the US. We do not all blend into a single culture, dominated by white people and Christians. We have been varied from the founding of the Republic and we remain varied. I think Wiscon did the right thing.

Eleanor said...

Actually, it might be possible to honor someone whose opinions you found wrong. I wouldn't, but that's me. Deeply offensive is another question.

pgdudda said...

Please remember that a convention is a "private" event, and as such, "free speech" does not strictly apply. WisCon has the right to decide who will represent it, and whose opinions it chooses to endorse by presenting a person as a "Guest of Honor".

Part of the reason for the brouhaha, IMO, has at least as much to do with Ms. Moon's _reaction_ to people challenging her post. Instead of engaging with them, or even just freezing comments, she deleted them wholesale. And left the original post up with comments turned off, while insulting the people who spoke up and challenged her views. In case you missed the first mention: Links to screen caps can be accessed from here: This pretty clearly demonstrates that Ms. Moon is not interested in engaging in the sort of discussion WisCon wishes to encourage, which IMO makes her a poor choice for a GoH, _on top_ of her bigoted opinions. You can engage with someone willing to talk; you can't do much with someone who deletes everything you say and insults you to your face.

grntserendipity said...

Rescinding an invite is NOT limiting free speech. Wiscon proved itself to be a progressive feminist convention who cares about intersectionality.

If you don't like that, I really don't want you at WisCon.

Malcolm Gin said...

If I were reading these comments as part of the WisCon administration, I would ignore every Anonymous comment. Or treat them as if they were from one single commenter (perhaps possessed of an identity disorder).

People, please have the decency to identify who you are even if you are posting extremely negative comments.

I agree with the prevailing opinion that it was an unclear ethical situation before Ms. Moon started reacting to criticism. When she started responding, the situation became clearer. I would love to honor someone who deserves respect, but I'm not sure sure Ms. Moon deserves respect right about now.

lydiabell said...

"I love how taking the "many muslims" comment COMPLETELY out of context dooms Moon as so horrible a racist she should be shunned by the science fiction community entirely."

Avtually, it's the people who are just coming here because they saw a link today who are lacking context. Some of us actually read the whole, miserable original thread, including the comments Moon deleted.

Anonymous said...

When Wiscon disinvites a guest of honor for her comments critical of *radical* Muslims and in favor of American notions of collective citizenship, it strikes me that the Concom has come down on one side of a cultural debate. And I have a hard time accepting that favoring radical Islam over American values is a "feminist" position... What with the Islamic world's treatment of women as second-class citizens to be subject to 'honor' killings, sexual mutilation, isolation, and dehuminizing clothing restrictions.

You can have your little self-congratulating shindig without me. I'll be spending my time and money with real feminists, not liberal apologists for anti-American Islamic fascism.

trinker said...

To all the anonymice and others who are so incredibly concerned about Ms. Moon's freedom of speech.

Where were you when Ms. Moon opted to censor over 500 responses to her blog entry? I suspect you supported her decision, because, after all, it's her blog.

So, why is it now when Wiscon opts after much discussion to rescind Ms. Moon's GoH invite, it is suddenly a bad thing to deny someone use of one's pulpit?

If Ms. Moon had in fact been willing to engage in dialogue, this would have been a far different issue. (Bravo, Ms. Moon, for a masterful attempt at PR spin. Screencaps, alas, tell a different story than the one you attempted to create by revision.)

These are the terms that Ms. Moon set by her decisions.

Wiscon, meanwhile, has not shut down free speech - note how many anonymice have been able to state their feelings on this issue.

Steve White said...

lydiabell said...

Steve, you might consider that you don't know the whole story because Moon deleted the comments to her post.

I don't need to read the comments. Her essay stands on its own, as any essay should.

Let's recap the essay, shall we --

A discussion about success. An understanding that success brings greater responsibilities, not fewer, to the successful. That with rights come responsibilities, and that a citizenry cannot be selfish if a country is to survive.

She then notes the problem of immigration, and how the descendants of past immigrants engage in the same stereotyping against today's immigrants. She believes that we have a responsibility to treat new immigrants with tolerance, and that immigrants, by the act of coming to our country, have a responsibility to honor and accept the founding principles of our country. Majorities have a responsibility to treat minorities as equals, and minorities have a responsibility not to attack the majority.

With me so far?

Then she points out that some, not all, some Muslims are not doing this. That the 'Ground Zero Mosque' is a stick in the eye of America. She points out the forbearance Muslims have had this past decade in America (as is proper: majorities must respect minorities), and how that has NOT been returned (some, not all, Muslims persist in attacking the country).

A previous commenter pointed out the extremism of certain Christians who bomb abortion clinics. It would be wrong to tar all Christians with that brush -- but it would be equally wrong to ignore the fact that, for those Christians who choose to bomb abortion clinics, their particularly ideology is supremely important to them.

As was Muhammed Atta's ideology was to him. It is not 'racist' to point that out, nor is it racist to point out that today, most (not all, most) acts of global terrorism, large and small, are committed by adherents of one ideology.

Ms. Moon closes with a comment that Muslims, and many others (she names a few), should show more understanding of the responsibilities of citizenship. I cannot imagine how that is offensive, but apparently it is.

WisCon has every right to decide who shall be honored at its convention. It is, as several point out, not a matter of 'free speech'; WisCon is a private organization and may do (largely) as it pleases.

But it is tacky. It makes you look small. It is a slap at a woman who was writing sci-fi from a feminine perspective and started doing so at a time when that wasn't common, or rewarded.

It's rather like dissing your grandmother.

Not cool.

Finally, I (as did others) came here because of the spread of the bruhaha on the web. I thank WisCon for introducing me to Ms. Moon; I had not known of her work. Three of her books will arrive from Amazon on Saturday; I am comfortably certain I shall enjoy them.

coffeeandink said...

I'm really glad to see this decision. I can't support a "feminism" that doesn't work for the well-being of all women -- including the women injured by Islamophobia, religious bigotry, and racism. It's good to see that Wiscon shares the same ideals.

lanning said...

What with the Islamic world's treatment of women as second-class citizens to be subject to 'honor' killings, sexual mutilation, isolation, and dehuminizing clothing restrictions.

Islam is not a monolith. You display your ignorance by maintaining that it is. You display your cowardice by doing so anonymously. Goodnight, Moon.

allochthon said...

I don't need to read the comments.

If you are unwilling to educate yourself about what is being discussed, why should we continue to discuss it with you?

wmdix509 said...

I do not support Wiscon convention committee decision to withdraw the invitation. As far as I'm concerned this decision was deplorable and a clear sign of political correctness carried too far.

Also as far as I am concerned this is a first amendment issue the only reason for this was the calls from a group of people to punish Elizabeth Moon for daring to hold and express views contrary to what they hold acceptable. I may not agree with Elizabeth Moon's views but I will defend her right to hold them and to express them.

Also I will be buying her books in the future regardless of the calls to boycott her writing.

Finally let me state that it will be a cold day in hell before WISCON or SF3 receive any support from me after their actions in this case.

William Dix

allochthon said...

When Wiscon disinvites a guest of honor for her comments critical of *radical* Muslims and in favor of American notions of collective citizenship, it strikes me that the Concom has come down on one side of a cultural debate. And I have a hard time accepting that favoring radical Islam over American values is a "feminist" position

Wiscon has not taken a position favoring radical Islam. Wiscon has decided not to honor a bigot.

I will not respond to this argument again.

allochthon said...


I may not agree with Elizabeth Moon's views but I will defend her right to hold them and to express them.

Not a single person has proposed we take away Ms. Moon's right of free speech. Wiscon simply chose not to honor her when she makes bigoted speech.

I am positive that everyone who has been defending the Wiscon decision today would stand up to anyone in defending Moon's right to say whatever she wants. She can come to Wiscon and say it again. She is still welcome. She just won't be a guest of Honor.

I will not respond to this argument again.

Tempest said...

Also, I'm very glad to hear that William and Steve won't be joining us at WisCon. I would be loathe to spend time in their company given the views they've expressed here. I would simply not have a good time if they were around, and WisCon is an awesome good time.

I am amused by the notion they appear to be laboring under that we are somehow butthurt by their buying her books. By all means, do. No one wants to stop you, no one is organizing a boycott. Reading is fundamental. You should try it sometime.

Anonymous said...

I celebrate this decision. Thank you, SF3, for having the courage to not honor a bigot.

- bell

jinian said...

BRB, buying Wiscon membership!

lydiabell said...


"I don't need to read the comments."

You don't need to know the full story about what happened in order to judge people's reactions to it?

Anonymous said...

This opens the door for a better Con, which actually respects freedom of speech, to supplant this one.

And about time, too. This Con has been clearly limited to "left of center only, please" attitudes for years.

nojojojo said...

To the Anonymous of October 21, 2010 11:50 AM... why did you plagiarize my post?

bradrtorgersen said...

Wiscon has made it clear. It values sameness of opinion and thought over diversity of opinion and thought. It fears real disagreement. Openly fears it. In the quest for "safe space" the minds of SF3 have, after some debate, decided that it is in their best interest to collapse before histrionic criticism from people who have made it their business to be histrionic critics.

I hope for three things.

1) I hope that whatever negative press Moon has gotten over this, is more than made up for by the newfound coverage she's been getting in sectors of the internet and the media she might not have otherwise penetrated.

2) I hope that whatever readers Moon has lost, are more than made up for by the numbers of new readers Moon is now getting thanks to the previous coverage. Evidence for this seems quite strong, thankfully.

3) I hope that as the progressive dialectic is ever-narrowed and the list of writers evicted from progressive discussion in SF grows ever-longer, more people will see this ideological witch-hunting for what it is, and refuse to participate on the grounds that is both intellectually dishonest, as well as intellectually lazy.

lanning said...

Ms. Moon closes with a comment that Muslims, and many others (she names a few), should show more understanding of the responsibilities of citizenship. I cannot imagine how that is offensive, but apparently it is.

Perhaps if you had bothered to read the comments, where all of this is explained, your lack of imagination would not have proved such an impediment to understanding the issues involved.


deakat said...

To anonymous at 2:16 pm who said "The people cheated are the fans who bought memberships looking forward to seeing a particular author. Or should I say, defrauded?": If anyone feels 'defrauded' it's quite easy to get a refund. See this link:

To SF3: Thank you! I'm looking forward to moving on from this and having the best con ever in 2011!

It's quite easy to
October 21, 2010 2:16 PM

Steve White said...

lydiabell said...

Steve: "I don't need to read the comments."

You don't need to know the full story about what happened in order to judge people's reactions to it?

I can guess. Since the comments are not available it's rather academic. But I can guess. I've been reading blogs for a long time.

My full point (which you truncated) remains: the essay stands on it own, as an essay should.

allochthon said...

If you are unwilling to educate yourself about what is being discussed, why should we continue to discuss it with you?

As noted, the comments are not available. But I can guess the contents rather well. They seem to be playing out here. If however you have the comments handy I shall do you the courtesy of reading them, simply send me a link.

Ms. Moon does not attack Islam; she attacks those Islamicists who would slam airplanes into office towers, those who would mutilate women, and those who would enjoy the benefits of living in America (or France, or Sweden) without becoming responsible citizens.

If one substituted 'Christian' or 'Jewish' or 'Buddhist' you and others like you would not have a problem with Ms. Moon's statement.

But for some reason that has yet to be explained to me, western feminists ignore what Islamicists would do to them if only they had the power.

To be clear: there is no SF3, and no WisCon, in Riyadh. Or Tehran. Or Peshawar.

It is not bigotry to point that out, nor to point out the responsibilities of people.

I suggest you read her original essay again, this time from the standpoint of individualism rather than group/class/gender identity. If you can do that you will likely figure out what she is saying.

You might not need the comments after that.


lydiabell said...

"I can guess."

So, so very done with this conversation.

allochthon said...

@Steve White

Are you being willfully ignorant? The screencaps of the "Citizenship" comments were linked in by Jonquil over six hours ago. At 2:28pm. And mentioned again by Trinker at 7:20PM.

I *have* read them.

I'm not going to waste my time discussing your 'guesses.'

And, by the way, if your find key fails you, the comments are here:

karenhealey said...

I congratulate SF3 on a difficult and principled decision.

Presenting context and clarification will probably make no difference to Ms. Moon's die-hard defenders, but I feel it would be a welcome reference for WisCon members and other interested parties.

lanning said...

As noted, the comments are not available. But I can guess the contents rather well.

If your guessing in any way resembles your imagination and your reading comprehension, you don't have a clue what's going on here. This link was posted in a previous comment, which you obviously didn't bother to read:


When you're done educating yourself, we can discuss the concepts of "male privilege," "misogyny," and "mansplaining."

wealhtheow said...

I'm so pleased to see that I won't have to honor Elizabeth Moon (which I felt very uncomfortable doing) just because I want to go to Wiscon. I've loved Wiscon for years; it has become one of the only cons I go to, because I adore the intellectual conversations and the attention and value placed on equity for all. Honoring someone who made cruel remarks about an entire group of people (a group that is currently experiencing a particularly bad patch of hate crimes, at that) felt wrong to me. I'm glad to see that the Wiscon leadership believes in the same principles that I do.

WisCon said...

Moderation note: the plagiarized comment at October 21, 2010 11:50 AM has been deleted.

DCB said...

"Is it wrong, or unwise, or not respectable for Wiscon to reconsider their decision to honor Elizabeth Moon in light of her public bigotry toward some of their members?"

Well, I'm not one of the anonymous posters so far, but I'll take a shot at answering. As the Wiscon defenders have pointed out, Moon isn't being censored. Censorship isn't a concept that usually can be applied to private actors, and it doesn't apply here. This is shunning, not censorship. That isn't a compliment.

Wiscon's action is really seriously obnoxious. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Moon was being invited to be guest of honor in recognition of a quarter century of writing. Not for years spent bringing electricity to rural villages in Mesopotamia. She was being honored for her career achievements. The Deed of Paksenarrion is exactly as good today as it was in August. She is still a female writer who created a strong female lead character in a series, and did so in a genre which traditionally has been male-dominated; one might think was that was worth noting by a convention of feminist writers. The thing for which she was to be honored has not changed.

What has changed? You know something different about her opinions. Well, so what? Why, fundamentally, do you care that she has these opinions? More to the point, why do you care so much that a recognition of her writing career has to be rescinded? (And yes, I'm also going to have to disagree with lydiabell on that issue as well-- rescinding an invitation based solely on learning what the invitee thinks really is worse than never being invited at all.)

An expression of appreciation of an author's work does not imply an endorsement of her personal opinions. The classic example of this is Orson Scott Card. The author of Queen of Wands (really good webcomic; Google it, you'll thank me later) ran a long commentary once about how her appreciation of Ender's Game, which she had once loved, had shrunk once she learned Card's opinions on homosexuality. Why? The book's no different. Could you, if you were organizing a science fiction convention, say with a straight face that Card's body of work doesn't merit recognition as a guest of honor? Can any of you, again keeping a straight face, deny that you'd be going bonkers if Lord Byron's poetry were taken from some curriculum because it was suddenly revealed that he was bisexual? Wouldn't you then be making the same argument I'm making now, that it's the merit of the work, not the reader's opinion of the writer, that demands recognition?

To their credit, the convention organizers have been explicit (if terse) about their reasoning. They get points for candor if not for tolerance. Because, you see, you don't get to pronounce your belief in tolerance, and then pick and choose whom you tolerate. It's hypocrisy. And more to the point, it's directly hypocritical of this specific action. Moon grudgingly tolerates certain immigrants. Well, you're not even grudgingly tolerating her viewpoint when you withdraw honors based on her expressions of it.

To sum up, rescinding Moon's guest-of-honor status was unwise because it deprives them of an important female writer, wrong because it's being done for reasons irrelevant to the convention, and not respectable because it shuns a viewpoint rather than addressing it, which I think lies somewhere on the spectrum of possible responses between "craven" and "intellectually dishonest." Your mileage, of course, may vary. (Browser error; I apologize if this is a double post.)

hotcoffeems said...

From one Muslimah fan: thank you for making this decision.

I look forward to attending, inchallah.

Eric M. Edwards said...

Revoking an honourary guest's special position is not silencing them. She's already spoken her piece. Which is the issue at hand. In the course of which and in her "defense" of her comments she has revealed herself to be possibly racist on this issue. If you're unsure why people would think this - perhaps because you equate her comments with free speech and nothing more, I'd suggest reading the well reasoned explanation found here.

Even if you disagree - that the SF3 feel she is not best suited to represent them as a guest of honour, is well within their rights. And to do so does not in anyway, social or other, work to restrict Ms Moon's free speech.

WisCon is not attempting to blacklist her, to demand that her publisher remove her existing catalogue of work or encourage them to think twice about new submissions - or from speaking at other conventions. They're not stifling discussion on the controversial subject of Moon's original remarks - no one will be forbidden from talking about this if they so choose and do so with decorum. They're not even banning her from attendance - simply and sensitively, deciding that they can not have her represent them in this manner due to the nature of her previous remarks.

Organizations are free and correct to make sure that those authors they invite, and certainly fete, represent the qualities they are actively seeking to promote. Racist, right-wing, and Islamophobic attacks are not something that SF3 wish to be associated with, and as is their right, have chosen to disinvite Ms Moon on the basis of her remarks and the controversy which they have caused. They are not punishing Ms Moon for a divergence of politics - or her private views held on the subject - but wisely distancing themselves from her public expression of her views, which many found to be unapologetically racist and inflammatory.

The two paragraphs above, are simply not the same thing. The latter does not represent any infringement upon the much valued principle of free speech as would have the former.


Nicholas Whyte said...

Well done SF3. I won't be at Wiscon but hope that those who do go enjoy it.

Eves_Alexandria said...

To be clear: there is no SF3, and no WisCon, in Riyadh. Or Tehran. Or Peshawar.

Yes, because Riyadh and Tehran are completely representative of Islam, and the fact that Islamic rule is oppressive and hateful in some countries means that all Islamic countries are and always will be like that. And presumably that all Muslims share a groupmind or something.

And you know everything that goes on in both of those cities because ... you're omniscient, I assume.

And moderate Muslims never speak out against terrorism, oh no:

This is not a zero sum game. It's possible to find what Elizabeth Moon said deeply offensive *and at the same time* to oppose harmful religious extremism in all its forms.

I don't doubt that there exist Muslims who would want to shut down a convention like Wiscon, if they heard about it; I don't doubt that there are Christians who would do the same. For that matter, the world isn't short of misogynists without any professed religion, as the profusion of 'Men's Rights Activists' online shows. It doesn't mean that we should hold all Muslims, all Christians, or all men, responsible for what some individuals within those groups might believe, as if somehow simply being a member of those groups makes hateful views inevitable. Rather, we should treat each individual as an individual, and take them at their words and actions. And if their words and actions prove them to be someone we disagree with, or even feel threatened by, then we are under no obligation to associate with them or honour them.

torrain said...

@Anonymous (it is so dark, there are so many of you), re: "Libertarian, they are free to act in a contemptible manner, and I am free to hold them in contempt."

If you are free to hold people that you think have behaved contemptibly in contempt, why are you objecting to Wiscon deciding not to honour someone that they find has not behaved in a way worth honouring?

lydiabell said...

"This is not a zero sum game. It's possible to find what Elizabeth Moon said deeply offensive *and at the same time* to oppose harmful religious extremism in all its forms."

You have to be capable of thinking with some nuance on the subject of Islam, though, and that's not really a skill U.S. society is cultivating these days.

happyelfling said...

@the Anonymous who said "This opens the door for a better Con, which actually respects freedom of speech, to supplant this one.
And about time, too. This Con has been clearly limited to "left of center only, please" attitudes for years."

1) ahahahaha
2) ... on second thought, that's it, this is just funny.

amilyn said...

I have never attended Wiscon, but their courage in declining to honor someone who so flagrantly dismissed entire groups of Americans, people, and believers in a public manner has made me consider attending for the first time.

As a sf fan, and a fangirl in general, I find diatribes about how strange-dressing, strange-talking, non-mainstream, weird-acting, differently-believing folks should just "fit in" to be ironic and a bit frightening in this context. My costumed, Klingon- and Tenctonese-speaking, fringe, fannish, multi-political and multi-belief or non-belief friends fit Moon's description of people who have not assimilated into the wider culture quite do I, as do many of my friends, neighbors, colleagues (in a public high school), students...

If anyone should be standing up for safe spaces for people who are different, and refusing to honor those who say things that indicate that "other" people are less than people, less than human, less deserving to be amongst us should be all of us, even the fans who can "pass" in the mainstream society. And the fannish community should be, as it has been, interrogating how open and welcoming and safe it is to non-white fans, who too often are NOT welcomed or are viewed with a suspicion that shames us all.

Thank you, Wiscon, for saying clearly that, while anyone can state views that dismiss others' humanity and belong, you will not honor and give respect to these views or those who state them.

Army Sergeant said...

You know, I find it really obnoxious to have all statements in support of Elizabeth Moon referenced as "mansplaining". You don't know the gender of the commentators. Some of are feminists, and have been fighting the heavy fights in the same trenches Moon fought.

For reference, yes, I'm a cisgendered female. And what you did was wrong. To invite, then continue to invite, then disinvite and publicly shame? To declare a One True Feminism that everyone else must march to or we're not feminists? Shame, seriously, shame.

On the subject of anonymity: this client is not friendly to it. You either have the choice of signing into an account or not.


lanning said...

You know, I find it really obnoxious to have all statements in support of Elizabeth Moon referenced as "mansplaining". You don't know the gender of the commentators.

Heh. If the ONE commenter I referenced with that term, Steve White, is in fact female, then I apologize for my very understandable error.

allochthon said...


Actually, +100.

Army Sergeant said...


If you had referenced by name, I would not have had issue, but you made the first reference to mansplaining in what seemed a response to anonymous chatter.

Also, has anonymous commenting been entirely disabled? If so, man, way to call Elizabeth Moon out on not being willing to listen to dialogue while shutting it off yourself.

mystickeeper said...

Hi Army Sergeant,

Anonymous commenting is temporarily disabled because the person moderating comments on this blog is away from the computer today.

snippy said...

I've never been to Wiscon, but this just makes me want to go EVEN MORE. Plus I adore Nisi Shawl and wish I could be there to honor her.

Lou Antonelli said...

I interviewed Elizabeth Moon this morning and will be writing up a story about this affair for my Sunday paper. It will then be available via the Associated Press.

Lou Antonelli
Managing Editor
Mount Pleasant (Tx.) Daily Tribune
Member, SFWA

Kynn Bartlett said...

Lou, who else did you interview for the story?

Did Moon seem ... silenced to you?

Will Shetterly said...

Kynn, some test cases:

Free speech or not free speech?

Army Sergeant said...

You know what is a chilling silence? That a male-dominated SF3 overrode a female-dominated Wiscon Committee to disinvite a female feminist from a feminist con on the basis of her strident and unpopular opinions.

The fact that other feminists seem to be okay with this makes me throw up in my mouth a little.

And look, I get that a lot of people are all "We are Third Wave Feminists, yo", but if that is really the deal, and you don't want anyone else? Then I think /that/ should be the mission statement, not "we are a place for discussion". Openly say "Third Wave Feminists only-if you don't agree with us on intersectionality, Get The Fuck Out." This way no one is deluded into thinking this is truly a welcoming space for all feminists.

Will Shetterly said...

Dear heads of Wiscon,

I try to avoid spamming, but I'll put this link on both of the blogs where you're collecting comments because, well, I put a lot of thought into it, and y'all did ask for comments. :)

it's all one thing: 6 reasons Wiscon should not have uninvited Elizabeth Moon, or The Inconvenient Feminist

bifemmefatale said...

You people yelling "free speech!" really need to look up the difference between "censure" and "censor". They're 2 different words, seriously.

Lou said...

Kynn -

There's plenty of opinion spewing on the internet, there's plenty of places to quote from. Since Moon was the subject of the dis-invite, she was the subject of my interview.

She was fairly open and outgoing with me, but then I am a professional journalist. She knew I would ask intelligent questions, not interrupt her, and not have any hidden agenda.

Silenced? Nope. Dumped on. You betcha.

Will Shetterly said...

bifemmefatale, you seem to assume that only governments can censor. Any institution can. Anyone who has a blog can censor on their own blog. Most censorship is perfectly legal, and no one's disputing that.

But when is censorship the proper answer? An organization that claims to encourage debate should encourage debate. It shouldn't silence dissent, then compliment itself.

Dan Kauffman said...

@Jacob before one calls another a "racist" one might consider learing the definition of the term race and not applying the term racist to that which is not

lydiabell said...


"There's plenty of opinion spewing on the internet, there's plenty of places to quote from."

This does not inspire confidence.

Did you happen to contact anyone at SF3/Wiscon?

Will Shetterly said...

Kynn, you seem to be implying that Lou has an obligation to present a second side of the story. I agree with you, but I think it's hilarious to hear a supporter of banning and disinviting making that argument. Just as Wiscon plays by "our con, our rules," Lou's free to write it up any way he wishes. That's also part of free speech.

Army Sergeant said...

I'm glad she's not showing up after her incredibly rude and probably contract-breaking disinvite. After all, does the Wiscon ConCom really have the funding to get an authentic pillory?

Will, thanks for being a voice on this. I'm really disturbed by how few see a problem with it.

allochthon said...

Lou's free to write it up any way he wishes. That's also part of free speech.

It's not a part of responsible journalism. Lou is presenting himself(?) as a professional.

lanning said...

Lou is presenting himself(?) as a professional.

Perhaps Lou is a professional publicist. The bar there is set much lower.

allochthon said...

Lanning, I've greatly enjoyed your posts here. Thank you so much for your reasonable and articulate stance.

lanning said...

*grins* My pleasure.

Kynn Bartlett said...

Lou, as a journalist myself, I wonder if the standards have changed now so that simply quoting from Internet posts is considered the same as having a second source in a story?

Will Shetterly said...

Wiscon cabal, over on my blog post, I answered a commenter, and it occurred to me that part of my reply might be very pertinent here: "Let's sidestep what's right for a moment and look instead at what's legal: Wiscon had a contract with her. Probably not a physical one, 'cause conventions tend to be very sloppy on legal issues, but they announced that she would be their GoH. A hungry lawyer could go after them for breaking their public contract with her. Heck, they could probably also go after her if they could make a convincing argument that being publicly uninvited by Wiscon has caused damage, commercial or emotional, to her. For Wiscon's sake, I hope they talked to a lawyer before doing what they did."

Army Sergeant, my pleasure. I'm not the only person who disagrees with both Moon's statement and Wiscon's decision, but I'm undoubtedly the most tenacious.

Kynn, really, how do you defend rescinding Moon's invitation to speak while asking for a second source on a story? Can you see no contradiction there?

Benjamin Rosenbaum said...

Will, of course people can make nuisance lawsuits, but she wasn't being hired as a plumber. She was being hired to come give a speech at a con that labels itself as politically progressive. If the CEO of Google says in public "Actually I think Google kind of sucks, I use Bing", and then not only refuses to apologize, but says "I got a lot of email from Google shareholders about this but I deleted them, they were all slag", you don't think a judge would find that this was just cause for termination? Please.

I find it very funny that everyone is accusing SF3 of cowardice. This seems to be not a very intellecutally coherent use of "cowardice". It assumes that some *other people* -- not SF3 -- were appalled by Moon's comments, and that SF3 disinvited her in order to placate these *other people*. This is a fantasy, because from the beginning SF3 was unanimous in condemning Moon's comments, though there was, I hear, a bunch of foot-dragging regarding what to do about it. You could call SF3 disinviting Moon "narrowly ideological", perhaps, but I don't understand "cowardly". For it to be "cowardly", they'd have to be afraid of someone *else*.

If your picture of liberals is formed largely by Fox News I guess you could imagine that the "other people" SF3 were scared of were, like, Al-Qaeda or someone. "Oh no! Moon said something that will make those dangerous powerful Muslims mad! She protested their imposition of Shar'ia on us! We must quickly silence her!" Is that it? Because that's pretty surreal. I can tell you my own reaction has nothing to do with the image of Muslims as powerful, and everything to do with the image of them as vulnerable. When I read Moon's comments it is impossible for me, as a Jew, not to substitute "Jews" for "Muslims" and hear the echo of all kinds of superficially reasoned and considered arguments about how Jews as a people were not entirely capable of true American(etc) citizenship, and while individual instances might be tamed, as a whole we should be regarded with suspicion, and too-vigorous attempts to grant us equality counted as exasperating "bending over backwards".

That's where *I'm* coming from, in demanding Moon be disinvited: rage. You can criticize that motivation, but I don't really see where cowardice comes in....

Benjamin Rosenbaum said...

Also, let me be very clear: I think you should be able to be Wiscon GOH even if you have opinions wildly divergent from those of most of Wiscon's attendees. You don't even have to rescind those opinions. But if your opinions are dangerous to, and hurtful for, the people you are being hired to serve and represent, you at a minimum have a requirement not to treat those people with contempt.

Had Moon said -- on her blog, or in email to the concom, or in comments for inclusion to the eCube mail to Wiscon attendees, or any public way -- not even "I've changed my mind" -- but "I hear what you are saying, I may be wrong, I have not changed my mind yet, and I do not have time to respond to all of you, but I am coming to Wiscon for us to learn from each other." -- then I would have been for keeping her.

But Moon said, basically, "screw you all, you haven't convinced me, I'm deleting everything you said, stand by everything I said, don't feel like talking about it any further, and I'm coming to pick up my check. So there." Under those circumstances, NOT disinviting her would have been cowardice.

(The exception is if you believe that GOH is simply an award for past literature, not an engagement to represent and preside at Wiscon. That's fine -- if you believe that you shouldn't rescind it no matter what the GOH says, even if they say "Hitler should have finished the job and those fat Jew bitches at Wiscon are fools for inviting me." That's fine, if you construe GOH that way -- but I don't think that it's simply an award. I think it would help if SF3 clarified what the job entails.)

Will Shetterly said...

Benjamin, I'm not a lawyer, but I'd find the case fascinating. For example, she's been called a racist. That's obviously damaging; there are people who are now vowing to boycott her work. But is it racist to be prejudiced against Muslims of all hues and not prejudiced against Christians of all hues? (To be clear here, I do think there's merit in Saladin Ahmed's argument that "brown Muslims" are a racialized group in some Islamophobes' minds, but I'm still weighing whether it applies to Moon.)

And, no, I don't expect this to go to court, just as I don't expect the ACLU to get involved. I'm interested in the principles that underlie laws, not the laws themselves.

As for your comment about Jews and other immigrants, dude, I thought you read better than that. She likes Jews and other immigrants--she's obsessed with "the Jewish man in a wheelchair pushed over the side of the ship to drown" and was bothered that "Schools in my area held consciousness-raising sessions for kids about not teasing children in Muslim-defined clothing...but not about not teasing Jewish children or racial minorities." It seems pretty clear that her bigotry is entirely focused on Muslims.

Which is wrong in every way you might say.

But which doesn't excuse uninviting her. Folks who trumpet "discussion and debate" should be prepared to engage in discussion and debate. Does anyone think Nisi is a racist or a bigot? The argument that keeping Moon as a GoH somehow condones her prejudice is clearly countered by her fellow GoH, I would think.

Hmm. The last bit I quoted of Moon's strongly suggests she doesn't see Muslims as a racial group. I keep thinking she would have problems with John Walker Lindh.

As for the charges of cowardice, I dunno. I haven't made them, but I understand them. It sure looks like the PTB waffled, then caved to the pressure of a vocal group known to mob and make anonymous death threats--in Rachel Moss's case, even leaving a threatening note in her office. So if the PTB acted out of cowardice, their cowardice is entirely understandable.

Kynn Bartlett said...

For those who don't know Will Shetterly, he's a D-list science fiction writer who has a grudge against women who speak out against racism. If you've noticed I'm not responding directly to his nonsense questions directed at me, then you've been paying attention.

Will Shetterly said...

Benjamin, I returned 'cause this is sensitive enough that I should be clear: I do think you read well. I'd meant that as friendly joshing. But I think in this case, your rage has made you see more than Moon wrote. That isn't to condone her beliefs. But exaggerating them doesn't help.

Kynn, you're not responding 'cause you got nothin'. Yes, I had a grudge against women and men who lie and mob and censor and ban in an attempt to impose their ideology on the struggle against very real social evils, but now I just pity y'all. You mean well, but you misunderstand the nature of power in the US, so you lash out at individuals like Elizabeth Moon and fail to see that they're victims too.

allochthon said...

Just to be clear, the Rachel Moss case does not apply. The Wiscon PTB absolutely did not leave her a death threat. Nor did the "Wiscon Cabal" (bwahahahaha![1].) She willingly embraced 4chan, and they turned on her.

[1] You actually went there? No, don't answer that.

*follows Kynn out*

lanning said...

Mr. Shetterly makes the tiresomely commonplace error of conflating consensus and conspiracy.

Does anyone know where I can order a wiscon cabal t-shirt?

Will Shetterly said...

allochthon, many of the participants in MoonGate showed up in the Moss affair (did it ever get a name?) and elsewhere. And have you really never heard of the Secret Feminist Cabal? I'm friends with a few of its members. No, they're not all part of directing Wiscon*, but is there a single term to cover SF3 and the Troika?

* Uh, unless they are. For they are the Secret Feminist Cabal!

And I'm amused to see it's become the title of a book:

lanning, I know y'all hate dictionaries, but if there was a consensus, we would not be in the middle of a flamewar.

coffeeandink said...

@ArmySergeant: How are you determining the gender composition of SF3?

lanning said...

Mr. Shetterly confuses consensus with unanimity. He also makes an overly broad and unsupportable generalization in alleging that those who disagree with him are uneducated. In addition, Mr. Shetterly, as is his wont, conflates online debate with flamewar.

Does anyone know where Mr. Shetterly can order a forklift capable of shifting his goalposts?

Mary H. Kretzmann said...

Shame on you! Writers banning writers, for writing! Cowardly...Think it through, people.

Will Shetterly said...

I'm a bit sorry about my "Wiscon cabal" joke now; I just saw a prominent rightwinger's post titled "LEFTIST/ISLAMIC CABAL TARGETS/BLACKLISTS AWARD-WINNING WRITER, FEMINIST/MARINE FOR GROUND ZERO MOSQUE COMMENT: IN DEFENSE OF ELIZABETH MOON". It is a shame that Wiscon's abandonment of free speech has turned a bigot into a free speech martyr. But this always happens when people abandon "discussion and debate" in favor of suppression.

coffeeandink, earlier you said, "I'm really glad to see this decision. I can't support a "feminism" that doesn't work for the well-being of all women -- including the women injured by Islamophobia, religious bigotry, and racism. It's good to see that Wiscon shares the same ideals."

Of course "all women" should include those injured by Islamophobia, religous bigotry, and racism. But does it include conservative or communist women who identify as feminists but reject neoliberal antiracism?

For anyone who isn't aware of the problems with Anti-racism Theory and Critical Race Theory, a number of people of different races and political orientations have offered criticisms. Two of my favorites are by people of color:

Why Anti-Racism Will Fail by Thandeka.

The limits of anti-racism by Adolph Reed Jr.

Will Shetterly said...

lanning, my bad. I thought people were calling other people racists and bigots and generally behaving in flamewar fashion. I'm very pleased that I'm mistaken. Carry on!

I'm not surprised that you're ignoring dictionary meanings of consensus, but I'm a writer who gets paid sometimes, so I can't. Clearly "unanimity" does not apply here. But, to stay with Merriam-Webster (not my favorite dictionary, but the handiest), do "the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned" or "group solidarity in sentiment and belief" really apply? Seems to me the loudest have spoken and the Masters of Wiscon have decided, but there ain't consensus.

Will Shetterly said...

allochthon, I just realized that your summary of the Moss affair is woefully inadequate for folks who know nothing about it. The notion that anyone in 4chan would go to Wiscon, obtain a program, write a threatening note on it, and leave it in Moss's office is clever, but extremely improbable. Occam's Razor says Moss was threatened by the same people who filled the blogosphere with their wishes that she be stabbed or die in flames.

Also, I received an anonymous death threat in email during Racefail 09. 4chan was nowhere around. It didn't bother me because y'all vent with that kind of hyperbole, but it would've been terrifying to someone with no understanding of how anonymous and pseudonymous cowards behave.

lanning said...

Mr. Shetterly makes the common mistake of assuming that because something is paid for, it's worth the money.

He also knows full well that while the elites of the SF/F writing world do not need online pseudonyms for their protection, their more vulnerable fans do. To conflate those who use online pseudonyms with those who send death threats is not only intellectually dishonest, it is unjust.

Oh. And he also needs to get a better dictionary. *kiss kiss* Bye!

Will Shetterly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Will Shetterly said...

lanning, I don't understand what you're referring to with "paid for", but I'm a communist or a christian, depending on your POV. I don't value anything in terms of money.

My advice to anyone who seeks to publish in our field is to keep your personal views hidden, or share them under a protected pseudonym*. Otherwise, you may be deemed guilty of thoughtcrime, and any work you have done that was admired will be denounced by the ideologically pure.

As for a better dictionary, I prefer the American Heritage and the OED, but I'd be interested to know your choice.

* Coffeeandink's old habit of using her legal name in public posts on her LiveJournal really doesn't meet any reasonable test of "pseudonymity."


Army Sergeant said...

Hearing that the decision was made by the officers of the Board, I looked up the publicly available list of officers and assessed its gender makeup by the gendered names. If this is in error, and anyone has a gendered name that does not match their gender, I certainly apologize.

Weren't you one of the people arguing against anonymous people earlier in the thread? *headsplodey* Is it only okay to defend the anonymous when Will Shetterly comes out because of the RaceFail deal? Also, if this is not a flamewar, I want to know what /is/, sheesh. Every time these battles come up in the community they're almost universally unhealthy.

@Will: There definitely was no consensus as a decisionmaking process. Consensus, outside of its dictionary meaning, is a very specific decisionmaking process, often undertaken by nonhierarchical structures. It involves everyone being heard, and if at any point someone wants to block consensus, they can. This is definitely, definitely, not what happened.

I think I'm also noticing a huge difference here between people who organize actively for tangible results in the world, and people who want to talk about really lofty ideals they want to see in the world. You haven't gained anything tangible because you've kicked Elizabeth Moon out of the community-and make no mistake, kicked her out you have. You have told her and the entire circle of feminist SF that she is Not One Of Us. I wonder how much she's going to feel comfortable organizing?

Beyond that, I'm noticing another disturbing trend here. Elizabeth Moon was honest about her opinions. I don't agree with her opinions, but she was honest about them, and even if she did delete a lot of comments, she engaged in debate for quite some time until the absolute pile-on. Now she, and other authors, have learned a really valuable lesson: keep your mouth shut, if you want to eat. Is this the lesson we want our authors learning? Do we want people to keep their views inside, learning never to raise them for fear of a blacklist?

Will Shetterly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Army Sergeant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lydiabell said...

Army Sergeant: "Now she, and other authors, have learned a really valuable lesson: keep your mouth shut, if you want to eat."

I would rephrase that as, "Don't insult part of your audience if you expect them and their friends to buy your books."

Additionally, unless you can point to any evidence that Moon has suffered financial hardship as a result of this incident, or that anyone has tried to impose financial hardship on her, your claim holds no weight. I don't believe that individuals deciding not to buy her books qualifies, unless an author is actually entitled to have people buy their books.

lanning said...

@Army Sergeant

*headdesk* Are you seriously telling me that Army Sergeant is your legal name? For heaven's sake. The only people who go online using their real names are fools and those powerful enough to protect themselves by other means. People who use pseuds online are not anonymous. Their pseud is the name they use online. It's the name by which they own their words. Those anonymous posters refused to use their pseuds. That was dishonest.

Really, this is Internet 101. My nieces and nephews knew this stuff by the time they were ten years old.

Army Sergeant said...

Man, that was fast. Where'd you go through, my Winter Soldier testimony?

To forestall the inevitable charges that Will just outed someone else's real name and put someone in danger, I don't hide the association of the handle AS with my real name. I would still prefer if people address me by AS in this forum, though. I will also, since it's been mentioned, state that obviously nothing I say here reflects any statement in an official capacity from IVAW.

If anyone links these comments to more private identities, I would ask they please not do so. Particularly after testifying, I've had some right-wing death threats and threats to my family, I would prefer those people not have the ability to track which cons I go to or how I might flag.

That said, I appreciate your thoughts and support, Will. However, I stress that I'm not going to stop organizing in feminist communities simply because I'm not welcome at WisCon, or don't share the particular analysis that they do. I'll also stress that my emphasis is on tangible work to improve the lives of threatened people, not on activist preaching to the One True Choir. Which apparently, seems to be Wiscon's focus.

@lydiabell: Well, for one, being GoH comes with financial rewards: plane tickets, hotel room, etc. It also means you don't have to pay for Wiscon membership ever again. So if she does ever want to come back, though I'm not sure why she would after how she was treated, it will cost her more. It's only been a few days, so we can't see the real impact of how this will cost, but I think there's certainly lost earnings here, more than just fan boycotts.

Will Shetterly said...

Oh, man, Army Soldier, I didn't realize. I just clicked on your name here, then clicked on "my web page" on your blogger contact. I've deleted my comment, but for anyone wondering, here's the important part:

"That Wiscon is not reaching out to feminists like you appalls me. But you give me a lot of hope for your generation. Thank you."

Incidentally, that sort of linkage is extremely common. For example, if you go to Aqueduct Press, click on what coffeeandink calls her "very identifiable first name", then click on "my web page", you go to her LJ. Pseudonymity is trickier than it looks.

I greatly admire what you say on your page.

Will Shetterly said...

lanning, if you're free of consequences because you've hidden your name, you're free of consequences because you've hidden your name. In that, Batman and any Klansman are equals. Really, this is Life 101, and I'll bet your nephews and nieces have figured that out, too.

But after dealing with folks like you, I agree: only the ignorant and the brave use their real names on the internet.

Army Sergeant said...

No no, Will, you're fine, I just said the piece about the death threats and such in case anyone did some digging and actual investigating (trying to hunt down through LJ comments and such to find my more private commentary and potentially publishing /that/ handle). Army Sergeant is in fact a created and fairly solid pseudonym. I forgot that I had made my real name public on my profile after I got for-real outed back in '08, with much less benevolent intention.

I was just concerned because I know this is an issue that folks have jumped on you on, and I didn't want people to either think you were being a jerk, or think that since one pseudonym was outed, all should be.

I obviously think my activism is hugely important-if you're curious as to how it ends up interacting with my feminism or have any other questions you don't want to throw out here, my email is (myfirstname)

lydiabell said...

OK, she lost her plane ticket to a con she's not attending, and she'll have to pay if she ever decides to come in the future. True enough, but hardly "you won't eat."

I'm just so deathly tired of people characterizing this as "Moon said something politically incorrect and is being punished for it" rather than "Moon harmed members of the Wiscon community by publicly espousing bigotry against them and refusing to engage in any kind of discussion about why that's a problem, and Wiscon declined to harm those members further by honoring her."

coffeeandink said...

@ Army Sergeant: I also have looked at the makeup of the SF3 board. That doesn't tell me the makeup of SF3, which voted as a body to rescind Guest of Honor status a month ago, and which also includes the mostly female and 40-person Wiscon Concom.

You're making a lot of assumptions about the relationship between SF3 and Wiscon, and Wiscon's membership and SF3's decision, that are not warranted by the previous discussion both online and offline when you claim without evidence that this was a decision imposed by SF3 without the input of the Wiscon membership.

Terri said...

Will Shetterly said: only the ignorant and the brave use their real names on the internet.

HA! Then clearly, you're the pluckiest ignoramus on the web! At least you're (mostly) entertaining in your stupidity. Keep on truckin', Will.

Will Shetterly said...

Terri, I ain't brave; I'm just pig-headed. I chose to be honest about my identity back when no one knew how the internet was going to develop. If I had it to do over, the person leaving my comments on the web would be Niggerlover, a sobriquet I earned with my blood during the civil rights struggle, and not Will Shetterly. My career has taken hits because I'm willing to take unpopular positions. I can live with that.

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