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SF Tidbits for 5/5/08

About John DeNardo (13014 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

12 Comments on SF Tidbits for 5/5/08

  1. Robert Davis // May 5, 2008 at 8:26 am //

    Spare us the pro quota BS.

  2. That’s exactly my point. I question isolated stats like this that are seemingly cited to make a point. If a bag of M&Ms is 70% blue and 30% red, wouldn’t I expect a handful to contain about the same ratio? Without knowing the overall ratio, the statistic is meaningless.

  3. Curiously enough, could either of the datahounds who commented ahead of me have troubled themselves to go read back in a feminist blog just a few posts, they’d have come across a data-rich post on the gender balance in three magazines: Are We Talking About Gender and Magazines AGAIN? …Yes.

    But as Robert apparently can’t comment coherently when he gets near a feminist blog

    (at least, someone called Robert, who accidently used the e-mail address R@r.com and commented from the IP address 75.110.95.41, lost all coherence and just babbled when he got near our blog)

    I suppose John has similar problems.

    So there’s the direct link. John, do try and stay awake…

  4. Thanks for the link, Yonmei. More information is all I was ever asking for. Your attitude is just a bonus, I guess.

    I do notice your post only addresses a few short fiction magazines. There are more writers overall than get printed in the mags in any given year, so there is still some ambiguity there, no? However, point taken: there are more male writers being published in the mags than female writers.

    I’m curious, though…what percentage would make you feel like women weren’t being slighted?

  5. Nancy Kress looked at gender among SF writers a while back in her blog:

    http://nancykress.blogspot.com/2008/04/gender-and-awards.html

    Here are her numbers:

    As it happens, gender distribution of SF writers is something I keep track of. Here are the figures from the 2007 SFWA Directory:

    Male names: 58%

    Female Names: 35%

    Other: 7% (These people are unknown to me personally and are using initials, have unisex names like “Pat” or “Terry,” or have non-English names which I don’t know the usual gender for).

    Now, the awards record. From 1977-2007, there were:

    Female Hugo winners: 35

    Male Hugo winners: 93

    Female Nebula winners: 57

    Male Nebula winners: 70

    So women are under-represented for Hugos and over-represented for Nebulas. Why? I have absolutely no idea. Do any of you?

  6. The attitude is just a bonus, I guess.

    I don’t find your attitude a bonus, and I find Robert’s attitude a detriment.

    Your attitude seems to be to complain about how you want data, without actually bothering to ask for it or look for it; Robert’s attitude is to whine.

  7. @Yonmei: I wasn’t clear in my earlier post: I meant your attitude. [Corrected above.]

    And in your hasty hit-and-run, you failed to answer my question, so I’ll pose it again: what percentage would make you feel like women weren’t being slighted?

  8. Wow, John. So, after you linked to FeministSF Blog, and “Rob”/”Robert” follows the link to whine – quite literally: he posted a comment with a fake e-mail address that consisted solely and completely of a whine: you think you have room to complain about my “attitude”?

    If you don’t like people showing up at your blog already irritated with you, deal with your “Rob” commenter yourself – his bad behaviour was the reason I wasn’t inclined to cut you any slack about your lazy attitude, complaining about the lack of data without actually bothering to do any research, not even just reading a bit further back in the feministsf blog. You asked for data: I compensated for your laziness by providing you with a link to data: now you complain that I don’t have a good “attitude”?

    John, the appropriate response to someone providing you with data you could easily have looked up for yourself is “Sorry: thank you.” The appropriate response to someone who was irritated by a troll-friend of yours, who found our blog via your link, is “Sorry he trolled you from our blog.”

    It is neither appropriate nor intelligent, having complained about my “attitude” when I provided you with the data which you were too lazy to find yourself, for you to then complain that I didn’t answer your question.

  9. No, an appropriate response to someone asking for data would be to say “look over here”, not name-calling (“lazy” “datahounds” who must “try to stay awake”). You lose all credibility by choosing emotion over logic and consideration.

    I am left to assume that the answer to the question you are avoiding is: you’ll never be happy.

  10. No, an appropriate response to someone asking for data would be to say “look over here”, not name-calling (“lazy” “datahounds” who must “try to stay awake”).

    And had you visited the blog and (politely) asked for data, that’s the response you would have got.

    Instead, your waaamonkey responded here with some nonsense about “pro quota BS” and there with an uncontrolled wail and a false e-mail address. You reacted approvingly to his crap: you have no grounds for complaint about my attitude, but I suspect you would react like that to any woman who was not properly subservient and apologetic in th face of Robert’s rudeness and your laziness.

    I am left to assume that the answer to the question you are avoiding is: you’ll never be happy.

    “Never assume, for it makes an ASS out of U and ME.” And while you clearly don’t care how much of an ass you make of yourself, I am left to reflect on the wisdom of the adage “never mud wrestle with a pig, you both get muddy and the pig likes it.”

  11. LOL – very humorous:

    I am left to assume that the answer to the question you are avoiding is: you’ll never be happy.

    “Never assume, for it makes an ASS out of U and ME.” And while you clearly don’t care how much of an ass you make of yourself, I am left to reflect on the wisdom of the adage “never mud wrestle with a pig, you both get muddy and the pig likes it.”

    You again, failed to respond to John’s question and dodged it with arguments and comments I have not heard since grade school. Quite the intellectual response – yes . . . very impressive. 😀 You really should reflect on your own comments they seem to perfectly reflect your own attitude. You have have made all sorts of accusations about Robert and John based on *assumptions* – LOL – and then you keep coming back – because you apparently really do like to wrestle in the mud.

    LOL

    **INCOMING**

  12. I cannot speak for Yonmei, but I will note that the question “what percentage would make you feel like women weren’t being slighted?” is somewhat on the order of “have you stopped beating your wife?” It takes for granted that the respondent wants to impose a quota — the only question is how high the quota should be. (Also reminiscent of that toxic old joke whose punchine goes “we’ve already established what you are, now we’re just haggling about the price”).

    Obviously no specific percentage of stories accepted, submitted, etc., means women aren’t being slighted, because it depends on the quality of the stories. If all women are better writers than all men, the answer to the question is “100%”, if all men are better writers, the answer is “0%”.

    Actually what would make me feel like women weren’t being slighted would be no number at all, but rather that if someone says “wow, the numbers for women published in this mag are crazy low”, the general response would be one of free-spirited introspection, analysis, and interest, as opposed to defensiveness. Attacking the fact of posing the question is the strongest thing that makes me feel like people are being slighted.

    As an example, Strange Horizons publishes far more women than men. If SH responded to questions about this by saying “we do this on purpose to redress centuries of sexism!” I think it would somewhat diminish my respect for their editorial sagacity. If they responded by saying “oh God this again, why do you hound us?” I would feel slighted as a male contributor.

    However in fact SH publicly ruminates on this fact, tracking hte numbers, explaining that while gender is not a factor in their conscious decision making, they do seem to slant this way, discussing what percentage can be attributed to self-selection effects, mulling over and publicly wrestling with the question of what this means and what responsibility if any they might have to address it. This makes me feel, as a man, not slighted.

    What I want is not that editors adhere to strict quotas — what I want is that they are awake and paying attention and trying to examine their own biases, growing and learning, stretching the range in which they operate, soliciting stories from authors who are outside of their usual range, avoiding homogeneity in their stories and authors the same way authors should avoid cliches in their sentences. One hopes therefore that they would treat collations of statistics on their authors’ gender, race, national origin, birth order, height, age, political orientation, and position on the Star Trek vs Star Wars question, not as dangerous calls for quotas, but as possible sources of insight into their own blind spots, limitations, and biases.

    Once a critiquer told me that I have my characters blink a lot. It’s true. I keep writing “he blinked.” as a stand in for other emotional reactions. I also have caught myself over the phrase “looked on with shining eyes.” One would hope the critique “boy howdy, you know, you sure do publish a whole lot of men” would be seen in the same light.

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