I couldn’t have said this better myself

Critcizing “dogpiles” as inherently “moblike,” destructive, negative, and childish without considering the content which has evoked this response has the same in-built political and structural issues as the demand that oppressed, discriminated, or harassed groups moderate their tone before their objections will be considered. Both actions attempt to codify behavior while treating speech content as empty; they ignore power differentials; they treat actions or speech acts as if they take place in a vacuums free of social circumstances, historical knowledge, or political influences, rather than as if they are what constitutes or destroys communities.
To riff off Stephen Sondheim: polite language is not good, it’s not right, it’s just nice. And when nice is prioritized over right or good, it’s just another form of oppression. It’s just another attempt by those in power to attempt to maintain the status quo.
What these protests do is establish the limits of community tolerance. You may think whatever you like; what you may not do is take public action in our community space–whether virtual or actual–that perpetuates harm to members of our community.

Read it all here.

gives coffeeandink a standing O

In which I have an opinion about fantasy fiction

In which I have an opinion about fantasy fiction

I know, this is very different from every other day of my life.

Today on Fantasy I have some commentary up about one of the things that annoy me about many fantasy stories and novels I have read:

…my biggest pet peeve is with stories and novels that lack specificity–specificity of place, time, culture, even ethnicity. The reader is given a default medieval Europe-type setting, filled it with random, unspecified peasant or royal types, no discernible culture beyond “they believe in magic” or “X fantastical creatures/races are real”, but not much else. Yes, there are characters who have personalities and Do Things and are specific, and the plot they find themselves in is spelled out, sometimes in great detail, and all of this is good. But it does not excuse the fact that the author has not done the work of creating a fully realized world, because so much of it is left nebulous, or left for the reader to fill in themselves. And I feel this makes for bad fantasy.

I would like to note that though this commentary came about because of the many, many, many conversations I had with folks surrounding the story posted on Monday, this commentary is not specifically about that story.  I am speaking to the trend.  Also, this is not the first time I’ve said something along these lines:

An editor can shout from the rooftops all he or she wants that they would love to see more stories by women, or by minorities, with female and minority characters. However, writers will not believe them if they look at the magazine and see nothing but Blandy McWhitey White in Blandy McNeighborhood in America or Blandy McMedieval Europe or Blandy McDefaulty Man in any setting anywhere.

I’m particularly proud of the phrase “Blandy McWhitey White”.