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This is from Gordon Van Gelder regarding the Truesdale column:

One reason I gave the gig to Dave Truesdale is because his columns tend to be provocative, so I didn’t see any need to shy away from this provocative piece. But it does editorialize and I realize now that people might see my publishing an opinion piece in F&SF/online as an endorsement of it—it is, to the extent that I think the piece makes its point clearly and that the point is valid and worth considering.

[emphasis mine]

So there you have it. Really, the crux of this entire incident rests on that last sentence, and how valid one considers its assertion.

Thu, April 26 2007 » Fiction

11 Responses

  1. Meghan April 26 2007 @ 7:26 pm


  2. Gwenda April 26 2007 @ 8:10 pm


  3. Haddayr Copley-Woods April 26 2007 @ 8:14 pm

    Thanks for pointing this out, Alan. This really makes me feel extremely thoughtful.

    Interestingly, I just left my job at the Women’s Press because I didn’t want to have to worry about offending people, and yet . . .

    I’m pretty annoyed with these two fellas, right now.

  4. Kameron Hurley April 26 2007 @ 9:00 pm

    Oh my.

  5. Christopher Barzak April 27 2007 @ 12:08 am

    Reading this, it seems to me he only says he thinks the piece is valid in that it makes a clear point that he thinks is worth considering, not necessarily that he endorses the point. I think it’s a really thin line of differentiation, but I do think in the end they’re different things. The only thing I think that’s disgusting about Dave’s rant was the writing itself. It’s scattered, rude, annoying, assuming, one-sided even in the attempt to attack the one-sided-ness that, in the hands of some people, feminism can sometimes take in relation to holding men to one kind of standard but not women. It’s examples are largely lost in the morass of a spitting, slobbering, fist-to-god shaking mess, and for all of that I think anything “true” it has to say is lost because of largely absent social skills due to one person’s fundamentalist attitudes towards genre fiction and the gender wars that have historically been waged within it. If prose is a reflection of one’s personality at all, it seems to me Dave is very similar to Gollum.

    I do think Gordon isn’t endorsing the point so much as the article as an article, which is ironic, because it’s the low quality of the writing itself that raises my hackles more than what, beneath the oozing festering cantankerous language employed, is being said. From what I gleaned, he basically thought the Bookslut article was an example of a feminists hypocrisy that sometimes arises about what men can’t say but women can. I think the Bookslut writer actually did get that point from Dave, such as he is, and even must have felt he was right enough to write the apology note that she did, particularly to the Japanese Worldcon, which is probably a good thing, but this still doesn’t mean Dave’s article wasn’t a sorry excuse for composition. I rarely read writing that, by its very nature, makes me go “ugh” and flinch more than Dave’s. Best to avoid reading it altogether.

  6. Alan April 27 2007 @ 12:34 am

    I think you articulated more or less what I was trying to get at, Chris. I think the low quality of the writing is definitely going hand in hand with the poor quality of thought. Actually, I’d even unpack it a little bit more and separate the assertions: “the piece makes its point clearly” (editorial failure) and “the point the piece clearly makes is valuable to the larger discourse” (trickier-a grayer area, but I’d call this an ethical failure of some kind) David’s just a troll-it’s too bad that on the “memory hole” of it’s not too easy to see all of his antics in 2002 on the Tangent board. The feeling that I have with this whole thing, actually, is sadness, b/c this publication which I’ve held in such regard as a kind of shining light in the field, is going down that shitty road, seemingly of its own volition. And that honestly I just can’t understand the mindset to give you-know-who a column in the first place…there’s just that disconnect, you know?

  7. Jackie M. April 27 2007 @ 12:51 am

    I think by now I’ve spent more time reading and re-reading that sentence than GvG actually spent writing it. And I just can’t shake the idea that Mr. van Gelder is just so sick and tired of hearing people moan about bias and perceived gender inequity that when he finally saw DT’s column he thought it a much-needed breath of fresh air.

    When to the rest of us it’s just another stale whiff of the same old shit.

  8. Christopher Barzak April 27 2007 @ 1:54 am

    You know what I think mostly? I think I could have halfway-respected Dave’s article had he not indulged in “satirizing” the Martini piece’s mistakes. Maybe less satisfying but still livable would be even if he’d insisted on having the “satire” included, having *not* gone even *farther* astray with the gender biased language than Adrienne did. Instead he really really indulged, and what people are reacting to is the very intuitive feeling that he really enjoyed writing that “satire” way too much, that in fact it *is* how he feels and sees things, despite trying to call for equal standards in how women get to talk about men in these sorts of online posts that are mostly whining about who didn’t get on a ballot and who did.

    Which, tangentially to this, I’ll add is really funny, because people bitched about the Nebula ballot, which was voted upon in a three step voting process (seems pretty airtight for not being able to logroll in the end of the process) and people bitched about the Hugo too, which, previous to its announcement, was being hailed as the ballot that would show that Nebula what a *real* ballot looks like. Lo and behold it looks even crappier to me, gender-wise, if the readers of science fiction and fantasy periodicals and books can only agree on Naomi Novik as the soul representative for women in the fiction writing categories (if I’m remember correctly). But hey, it’s a vote determined by who goes or went to World Science Fiction Con, not the real entire readership of the genre, so it’s going to have a very specific group of people casting its votes as well.

    Every award has its blind spots though, I guess.

    That’s my off on a tangent to this post. ;-)

  9. TacitHydra April 27 2007 @ 11:52 am

    For the love of all that’s holy.

  10. Eric Marin April 30 2007 @ 1:45 am

    Making (or attempting to make) a point and making a point offensively are two different things. Why publish someone else’s piece that is needlessly offensive? I just don’t understand the decision-making process here.

  11. Susan Marie Groppi April 30 2007 @ 1:34 pm

    I don’t understand either, and “well, we gave him a column, we have to run what he submits” is a meaningless argument, as far as I’m concerned. We give the SH columnists a similarly open-ended assignment, and I’m happy to let them write things that I personally disagree with, but if any one of them submitted something that was openly offensive, we wouldn’t just blindly run it and pretend we’d had no agency in the process. (I don’t know exactly what we -would- do, but I know we wouldn’t do -that-.)

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