Virtue-signaling leftism has rotted so many cultural institutions that many of those who once admired or were part of them have fled the proverbial collapsing palaces.
And still, the Woke Mobsters ruining the groups continue their foolish ways.
Such is the case with the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA), which this year saw its “science” fiction-crafters show themselves to be so removed from real science, they didn’t even have a real convention for their annual Nebula Awards Conference. The unrealistically virus-fearing gaggle had a Zoom-like video meeting, and let people watch if they paid $150.
That’s not a convention. That’s an expensive live-chat.
But, much as politicians manipulated the virus and manipulate the language to their advantage, so, too, did the high-ups behind the Nebula Awards Conference mess with worries and words. Indeed, they not only called a video chat a “conference,” they also booted their “Grand Master” award recipient, author Mercedes Lackey, after she used what they called a “racial slur.”
Here’s more, from Locus:
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) announced the removal of this year’s SFWA Grand Master, Mercedes Lackey, from the virtual conference on May 22, 2022.
And, as Locus notes, the SFWA statement offered:
We learned yesterday that while participating in the ‘Romancing Sci-Fi & Fantasy’ panel, Mercedes Lackey used a racial slur. First, we apologize to our attendees and the other panelists who were subjected to that slur. We’ve disabled access to the panel to avoid any additional harm being caused.
It must have been terrible. Ater all, as Bounding Into Comics’ Jon Del Arroz notes:
Lackey was slated as one of the major draws of the conference, speaking on several panels. ‘Romancing Sci-Fi and Fantasy’ became embroiled in controversy by her statements, even though Lackey dedicates much of her social media presence to promoting minorities and LGBTQIA+ causes.
Indeed, what Lackey said was so bad, the SFWA also declared:
Second, we are immediately removing Mercedes Lackey from the conference and the additional panels she was scheduled for, in accordance with SFWA’s Moderation Policy. The use of a racial slur violates the instruction to ‘Respect all cultures and communities. Do not make derogatory or offensive statements even as a joke.’ That applies to everyone in a SFWA space, at all levels of their career.
So, what in the world did Lackey say?
Attendees stated Mercedes Lackey referred to controversial author Samuel Delaney (sic), infamously known for his praise of NAMBLA, as a ‘colored’ writer.
Lackey allegedly used the term ‘colored’ during the panel several times. Multiple science fiction and fantasy writers have taken to Twitter to condemn her, including author Jen Brown who was on the panel.
SO, will the SFWA now purge any of its members who are, or have been, members of the NAACP – the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People?
Evidently, Lackey’s verbiage is more offensive to the SFWA award-givers than the background of Mr. Samuel “Chip” Delany, whose overt praise of NAMBLA came long before SFWA gave him a Grand Master award.
Perhaps Lackey agrees. She certainly behaved as one might expect a line-toeing, left-leaning individual would. Instead of telling the SFWA to shove their award and their attacks down a gravity well, she apologized.
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As Locus also reports, she quickly published an apology after being booted from the big Zoomie-Con, and she wrote, in part:
On a panel at the 2022 Nebulas, I had the chance to celebrate authors who wrote positive gay characters long before me.
Chip Delany is obviously a major player in that game. Because there are two Samuel Delanys – there’s one from Texas – I wanted to make sure people got hold of the right one. So, in my excitement, I got caught in a mental/verbal stumble between ‘black’ and ‘person of color,’ and as best I can remember, what came stuttering out was something like ‘spcolored.’
And she added:
I’m not an amazing speaker. I stammer, I freeze up, & I get things wrong. I am sorry that I bungled a modern term while bringing attention to an amazing black creator.
Too often, I am called a pioneer, but I’m not – I’m just who some readers heard of first. I wanted to make sure Delany got all the proper credit that he is more than due, and maybe new readers would be inspired to read his work.
Fine and dandy. Her perspective isn’t what mine might be. Not only did she praise a guy whose history of public statements is a little difficult to embrace, to say the least, she apologized for using a term that isn’t a racial slur, and now has contributed to it being seen as such – further limiting the lines of acceptable speech, which is shocking for an author to do. In fact, it's downright dystopian.
Some might say, “Dude. This is a little woke club. It’s not like the Hugo Awards, which is open to votes beyond just writers who are members of the group. You’re not going to their conferences, and not attending their Zoom call “conerences” – it’s not your business.”
But, as a published author with three novels ready to come out, three novellas on the shelves, and a television background rooted in the script departments of “The Outer Limits” and “Star Trek: Voyager,” I think I have a bit of skin in the game.
For far too long, the pop-lit gatekeepers of numerous genres have followed the leaders of the “literary fiction” world down the primrose path of “aggressive acceptance” virtue-signaling. Thus, as Del Arroz correctly observes for Bounding Into Comics:
The Nebula Awards was once considered the second most prestigious award for science fiction writers. In recent years, the awards have become known for controversies over identity politics. Many fans perceive award-winners to be chosen on the basis of race or gender rather than the contents of their work.
I’ve seen woke horror writers attack a true genius of the genre simply because he was going to strip identities from submissions for an anthology he was editing, and he was going to consider the stories based on their merit, not on the racial, sexual, or other “identity” of the author. He was not going to populate the book he was creating with stories that “represented” a certain skin color, etc., but populate it with GOOD TALES.
The attacks he received could have filled a book.
Of course, if you want to see the results of that kind of mindset, simply see how many politically-correct, woke, Identity Politics books populate a nearby chain bookstore, or the “lists” for pop media promoters of books.
Then, compare those race-gender-sexual-orientation-etc. contents with the work that is overlooked.
There is a lot to be said for those who stick up for good writing, solid moral messages, and acceptance of people based on character. For a few years now, a growing group of Sci-Fi and Fantasy fans has risen calling themselves the Fandom Menace (mocking the Disney Star Wars turn towards wokeism in the Star Wars franchise that the Mouse bought from George Lucas). Like the team at Bounding Into Comics, like Gary Buechler, the man behind Nerdrotic.com, we at MRCTV believe in timeless principles and truth, in respecting the work of others, and in avoiding the collectivist poison that has damaged storytelling for many decades now.
Mercedes Lackey is a victim of that wokeism, but she also has been party to it, and the SFWA might want to wake up, before it limits its members to so few words, all they can do is babble, incoherently, and embrace the individual-negating philosophy of identity politics.
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(Cover Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Elkman)