Thursday, August 15, 2013
Groucho And Me
I have from time to time contemplated an organization to which I do not belong, the SFWA. Since I have been known to write Science Fiction (as seen here) and I do reside in America (as seen here), the thought of joining has occurred.
Like pipefitters or electricians, it makes sense that scribblers should band together to advance their common interest. I am a software engineer and maintain my membership in the I.E.E.E. for this reason. In fact, in my youth I served on the local chapter's board to advance my profession.
Yet, writing is less like a profession or even a skilled trade and more like something else. ...something that meets in a 12-step program.
many will tell you are commonly objects of abuse and exploitation at the hands of Publishers. Having some kind of collective bargaining unit might make sense. Or even some kind of warning system telling you who to stay away from, or what to avoid in contract negotiations.
I managed to maintain a healthy disinterest in the SFWA because I got the impression it does none of those things. Yet, they made themselves odious a while back by mau-mauing some of their own for thought-crime. I condemned their cultural Stalinism then went back to giving them the benign neglect of which I thought them worthy.
this. And upon expending just a few milliseconds' more effort discovered that Stanislaw Lem had also been evicted.
OK, now I understand what's going on.
This is like academia. The politics is so vicious because nothing important is at stake.
Actually, that's not exactly true. There are people involved. People with feelings. The cool-kids-clique is bullying the unpopular kid to keep everyone else in line. This is inhuman. Come to think of it. It's a good thing that Harrison Ford never ran his anti-Turing-test on some kids I knew in High School.