SFWA lunacy

I liked this icon (courtesy of deedop — it’s available to take, right?) slightly better than timprov‘s “Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Wretch,” though the phrase in that one’s good, too.

Where, you ask, did these phrases come from?

From this little rant. Will Shetterly posted it, but the thoughts aren’t his, so don’t flame on him. And oh, skip the first half to two-thirds of it. The actual content starts around the “In another way, too” paragraph.

So read that. And then reflect that the fellow writing it is the current vice-president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

He’s an SF writer, and he hates the Internet.

And that, in a nutshell, is why younger writers see SFWA as an irrelevant waste of their time and money. Also why we younger writers need to join en masse and drag the thing kicking and screaming into the next century.

(No, I haven’t joined yet. But I’m going to, and soon. And boy howdy is it going to be interesting if Scalzi gets elected president.)

0 Responses to “SFWA lunacy”

  1. deedop

    Oh, have at it! I don’t even have a paid account at the moment, so I’m all out of icon space. I was hoping folks would just come on by and grab. 🙂

    And oh yeah on your last comment. Very very interesting. In a good (and long overdue) way, I hope.

  2. kniedzw

    I don’t agree with Hendrix, of course, and I find him offensive. I won’t speak to that half of the equation.

    I will say, however, that the more I am involved with information technology, the more of a neo-luddite I become. The Internet is new enough that there is no clear moderate path to take between connectedness and independence, and it worries me a great deal.

    Not enough to insult people who I believe might overindulge, but his radicalism (from the perspectives of the LJers in the post you linked to) has its basis in what might be considered rational thought.

    …and honestly, I aspire to be in a position where Nick Mamatas calls something I wrote a “piece of yellow-dog shit.” I’ll know I’ve made it then. 🙂

    • Marie Brennan

      His radicalism refuses to think about the situation at all; he’d rather hide from it entirely.

      This is not a position SFWA can afford to take, nor any of its members who really aspire to have lasting careers.

      And I can side with Nick, when the writer in question is being that offensive.

      • moonandserpent

        You know how I often call sci-fi and specfic “conservative”?

        Yeah. Case-in-point.

        And only vaguely related: I hear a rumor that Jeff Vandermeer is running for SFWA president as a write in? Is this just the internets being goofy?

  3. sartorias

    No one knew about this quirk of hendrix’s==peoplve over in the SFWA lounge are expressing surprise.

    But really, it’s time for younger people to join and change things to reflect the changing market.

  4. gollumgollum

    You know, there’s a certain romanticism in escaping the world. That’s probably why he writes SF/F, and that’s probably why he loves living in a cabin in the woods. Some people deal with this imperfect world by trying to change it; others try to remove themselves from (what they see as) the problem.

    I’m sort of torn between feeling bad for this guy and being jealous of him. His cabin in the woods sounds nice. It’s too bad it comes with such anger.

  5. elizawrites

    I dream of one day being a member of the wikiclicki sick-o-fancy jerque-du-cercle networking and connection-based order. Oh please, oh please.

  6. snickelish

    Well. I somehow managed to miss that little rant, until now. I think I am agog.

    And yes, it’s a lovely icon. 🙂

  7. fallenrose

    part 1 of 2

    I did not read the whole thing – I scrolled down to where you said to start. Also, I don’t know the context. That being said…
    I think Hendrix has a point. The internet is amazing, and has a tremendous power to connect people and improve the world. However, it DOES change the way we think, interact with others, and approach our lives in ways that are not always good. In fact, this is exactly what my dad’s recently published book is about. My dad is a techy computer geek who is also a spiritual person and has studied with and worked with semenarians (sp?) and religious folks, who tend to be more of the “neo-luddite” persuasion. He loves technology, but he would completely agree with this Hendrix guy – as would I – that “the ongoing and increasing sublimation of the private space of consciousness into public netspace is profoundly pernicious.” Don’t get me wrong – the internet is an amazing thing that has expanded my world in many wonderful ways and has the power to revolutionize the whole world (it already is) in ways a lot of people can’t even conceive. But there is something to be said about appraising the positive and negative effects on technology on one’s psyche and – dare I say – spiritual life, and being picky about what you embrace. I choose to keep up with LJ because it is an easy way for me to stay in touch with friends that I might otherwise lose touch with and to coordinate plans, share information, learn from one another, etc. But that’s a conscious choice, and I don’t blame Hendrix for wishing to abstain. I wish the internet and the computer didn’t take up so much of my time. For all it improves my life and my ability to connect with other people, there are also ways in which it damages my life. Hendrix says, “A problem with the whole… networking and connection-based order is that, if you “go along to get along” for too long, there’s a danger you’ll no longer remember how to go it alone when the ethics of the situation demand it.” The way my dad put it in his book is that all this connectivity, this blogging, forum surfing, and even cell-phoning and being able to being “connected” at the drop of a hat any time, any place is that we forgot how to be alone in our own skin. We are so used to being “connected” that we are can get uncomfortable and avoid “being alone in our own skin,” listening to our own thoughts, being present in the place and time we are. We do lose something by being constantly connected. While I find the internet a wonderful resource without which life would be much more difficult, and I do think its use is important to the growth of (almost) any industry/business/profitable creative enterprise (including SF writing), I do believe Hendrix will be happier without it, as he says. And I think he is very right in saying that “I persist in insisting that people have a right to push back against technology they perceive to be destructive to their ways of life and their beliefs.”

    • fallenrose

      part 2 of 2

      There is a difference between trying to stop progress, trying to stop the future from coming, and choosing not to integrate technology into one’s life that DOES in fact have a downside, a destructive side. And being hyperconnected all the time DOES have a destructive/negative effect on people – whether that outweighs the benefits it can bring is a personal choice. I think a balance is necessary. If Hendrix feels that blogging would be destructive for him, more power to him! It’s his choice. I think it’s GREAT that he is intentionally choosing a life of living in the moment, in real space and time at a slower pace, being able to be alone with his thoughts. Notice how he didn’t say he was eschewing all computer technology or the internet – he said he’d check his email. He’s just drawing a line in his personal life in what he feels is worth it.
      As an addendum: the “neo-luddite” label is misleading. The Luddites weren’t anti-technology, per se. They were against being replaced by technology, having their livelihoods stolen by machines. I don’t think anyone can disagree with that. Luddites sabotaged the machines that had made their skills useless, taken away both their means of earning a living and their pride in their work. Maybe what they did was stupid, but I don’t think entirely so – they made a point. If technology makes your life worse, why must you accept it? Why must you embrace it? If you can choose to refuse it, than why not? Is new technology somehow magically better? A lot of new technology is rejected and falls by the wayside, so no. I think this is worth thinking about: bigger is not always better, faster is not always better, more “connected” is not always better.
      However, I realize that your point was more that Hendrix doesn’t see the changing, dynamic nature of the market and the potential for the internet to transform and improve the industry. Nonetheless, I felt that something needed to be said.

  8. tacithydra

    I’ve really been enjoying reading the sfwa community over the last couple of weeks. It’s this giant splendiforous culture clash – huge groups of people looking at each other going, “Dude, WTF? No, really?”

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