Because I can’t leave well enough alone

One last (hopefully) post on the SFWA flap.
David Gerrold’s view (you can click through to his FB post) is that writers shouldn’t hold back—”we should be willing to be dangerous.” To embrace edgy, controversial views. To support others’ right to do so. And if we disagree with their edginess, respond back (though he seems quite indignant about the fact people responded back to Malzberg and Resnick).
It’s not an unreasonable viewpoint. On the other hand, “edgy” can easily the same purpose as claiming to be politically incorrect, a rationale there’s something daring in spewing cliched prejudices.
On top of that, opening up the Bulletin (or any organ) to edgy, controversial views can have the effect of legitimizing them, moving them into the mainstream. Having, say, a white supremacist write an article on why SF should be white supremacist means arguing with a view that deserves being dismissed and marginalized. No, that won’t make it go away, but I think we’re better off if some views are not treated as worthy of discussion. Not silenced, not denied their right to speak, but not given a platform either.
Of course, as several SF writers on the other side of this debate have pointed out, that cuts both ways. In a given time and place, it could just as easily be a different issue (women’s rights, gay rights) that’s considered too extreme. It’s a fair point.
However, I think there should be some sort of middle ground between having a narrow, pre-approved range of opinions and refusing to turn away any view, no matter how loathsome. Perhaps when this review board gets under way, SFWA can work on figuring out what it is.


Filed under Politics, Writing

2 responses to “Because I can’t leave well enough alone

  1. Pingback: More SFWA, sorry | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: SFWA me, baby, one more time | Cora Buhlert

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