In Which Harlan Ellison Apologizes
I had forewarning of this a few hours before it was posted but wanted to wait until it was published. This went up on Harlan’s message board earlier:
- Friday, July 24 2009 16:35:36 OPEN LETTER TO MS. KAY TEMPEST BRADFORD
Dear Ms. Bradford:
You have a number of good friends who also happen to be good friends of mine. They have rallied on your behalf, to contact me by phone (four today alone), to tan my bottom in regards to my, well, at best, at very minimally best, my “snarky” response to what I perceived to be yet another Total Stranger Meanspirited Internet Troll Assault. I fear there is still a tot too much “street” in me to let such perceived calumny go unanswered.
Apparently, I received inadequate information, some of which I interpreted incorrectly, some of which was simply wrong.
One of the heartrending epiphanies of the current Paradigm Shift is that the most adolescently ignorant demographic of this far-from-perfect society needs to (as my President said today) “ratchet down the noise-level.” The moment one such as I goes for the okeydoke and begins to believe this “geezer” bullshit, is the moment one realizes that we like in a Momentary-Celebrity Culture, and for everyone claiming sexism, racism, elitism, et al … there are 10,000 arrogant little twits, semi-literate, semi-humanoid, and less-than-semi-courteous, who truly believe that to have SURVIVED and STILL BE PULLING THE PLOW, is to grant them power over you. Depression and anger and suicide follow therefrom.
I am 75. I’m old, I ain’t senile.
I still work, I still publish, I still have very cool thoughts and do very cool deeds, every day. I’m not quite ready yet to let monkeybrain bloggers who need Google to know who Colette or Guy de Maupassant are, predicate my existence.
Mmm. I’ve drifted. Your friends tell me to back off and not attempt to exact the demonic vigerish that is my wont. Several people known and unknown to me personally advise me that you are rather a cranky soul yourself, so you shouldn’t be TOO ‘tude about my responding in kind.
That it turns out you’re not as deserving of my bestial attentions as others I’ve used as objects of scaphism, warms my li’l ole heart, and if any part of my reply to your various blogs here’n’there was over the line, consider this a gentlemanly apologia. I know this message will get to you, via one or another conduit, so here’s my IfYouTalkTheTalk you’d better be ready to WalkTheWalk: I have no idea where you live, but if you are anywhere near where I am, please name the time and the day, and my wife, Susan, and I would be condign taking you for an excellent meal at one of the great joints I frequent.
THEN–and ONLY then–you’ll be able to make your own informed judgment about me. And you won’t have to poison yourself with the fanboy/fangirl gossip that substitutes for ratiocination on this electronic asswipe of a medium.
You know where to find me.
Respectfully, Harlan Ellison
The person who forewarned me was one of the folks who called Harlan and the apology she reported to me was less equivocal than the above, but either way Harlan has said he’s sorry. And, as I suspected, someone or several someones have been feeding him “misleading” information about the whole discussion.
I have three things to say about this. The first is: wow, four people were willing to call Harlan Ellison on my behalf. I know who one of those persons are. I must say, you’re all very brave and very good friends. Thank you. (Also thank you to everyone who has commented here or on other posts expressing outrage and support of me, it means a lot.)
Second, I plan on accepting this apology and not worrying to much over some of the extant details because, as I said in my other post, I have no desire to “get into it” with Ellison. I’m glad someone gave him the facts, which is what I had wanted, but would rather re-enter the world where Harlan doesn’t care about what I say or do. That said, I can’t dictate what the rest of you do. There’s issues here and you’re free to discuss them.
Third, I’m sure some people’s heads are exploding because I got this apology, and not all for the same reason. I don’t expect to get apologizes from certain others but I do expect you all to show at least this level of decency now and in the future, okay? Okay.
ETA: for the defenders of Harlan’s honor who, strangely, started showing up en masse last night: Harlan APOLOGIZED. He apologized! It’s over. Go home! I’m not letting your increasingly bizzare attempts to defend/explain/make better what he did and what he said out of moderation because they are not helpful or appreciated. Plus, they are negated by the fact that he apologized. I accepted, I’m moving on. Why can’t you? Seriously.