Archive for July 15th, 2013

A Short Eulogy for @SFWAFascists

Edit: Editing at the beginning, rather than the end today. The below reports of @SFWAFascists’s death were, apparently, greatly exaggerated. The account is live again this afternoon, with the list still at 16 members. The post below was originally made around 11am, eastern time, when the account was temporarily shut down.

Second Edit: …and it’s gone again. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is how things just go for the next few days.

Eventually I’ll talk about something else, I’m sure. But I’m enjoying this subject. From Friday:

Worried that the list will eventually go away when the hosting account either folds, gets shut down, or realizes the list is being coopted, I’ve created a mirror here. It’s called “Doing Something Right” for a good reason.

Sure enough, come this morning there is no longer a @SFWAFascists account on Twitter. So there is no longer a PC Monsters of SFWA list, either under that name or the rather charming second name the list had. My mirror is still live, and contains the sixteen writers who were on that original list before the whole thing shut down. I’m glad I took the few moments to do so, but I wonder…what now.

We’ve hit the intended purpose of the list, to archive together those accounts that the creator or creators of SFWA Fascists felt acted against their interests in maintaining the old boys’ club over at the premier gathering of American science fiction and fantasy authors. That they’ve now tucked tail and run leaves me with a list and no way of knowing who else should possibly be on it. Should I maintain it as-is, serving as a testament to the brief and horrible little account someone decided to make? Should I stay true to the original purposes of the list and grow it as is fitting? There are individuals who I am certain are in SFWA and fighting the good fight, because they do it very publicly. There are other individuals who I don’t know if they’re in SFWA. There are other individuals who I don’t know are fighting the good fight because it’s staying internal to the SFWA members-only sites.

So I guess I’m looking for opinions. What’s the best thing to do with this list?

I realize that’s an odd question, it is, after all, just a list put together on a Twitter account with under 400 followers, but I mirrored the list as a service. Should it be set in stone? Should I add to it? Who should I add? Should I limit it to SFWA members, as was the intent of the original list? Should I care less about the intent of people like those who originally made the list? Should I even go back to the “PC Monsters of SFWA” name?

Ack!

Anyway, leave me a note in the comments if you have any notions about the future of this list. I’m officially thinking too much about it, so I’m looking for farm out that over thinking to others, because I have bigger fish to fry right now. If you think it should grow, let me know a nominee or two.

As for the original account, I’m of two minds about it closing. On one hand, it was created by narrow-minded people for narrow-minded purposes, and as it came to an end felt the need to become increasingly vulgar in its language. On the other hand, having an account like that made it a lot easier to show the kind of opposition people are facing just for voicing the idea that, hey, maybe SFWA narrowly, and genre fandom more broadly, should be a little more inclusive of everyone. That was the odd sort of service it provided in addition to The List. Especially for someone like me, someone living John Scalzi’s easiest life setting of straight white male, it’s easy to be blinded by privilege, to not see that there is a problem out there. The SFWAFascists account was a fantastic running reminder of that problem. Of the backlash that comes from trying to suggest even modest and reasonable changes.

Perhaps this is even part of why it shut down. I obviously don’t know what might be happening behind the scenes, out of the public eye. But from out here, from the outside looking in, the account just vanished over the weekend for unknown and unstated reasons. I’d assign some awareness, that someone realized the purposes of the account could be co-opted, were being co-opted. Or they just decided they said what they wanted to say, vulgarities and all.

Either way, the account is dead. Try not to forget that it lived. Try not to forget that people felt it was necessary. I’ll do the same. It’s part of why the list still exists, and part of why I give a damn about what I’m going to do with it.

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