“Here are Samuel R. Delany, Joe Haldeman, Simon R. Green, Ian R. MacLeod, Ian McDonald and Todd McCaffrey singing the praises of female sci fi greats like Ursula K. Le Guin, Octavia E. Butler, and Andre Norton.” http://www.themarysue.com/heforshe-scifi/at
A timely excerpt from Gangrey.com’s post of Bill Marvel’s book introduction:
“Compassion seems simple enough. It requires we be aware of our subjects’ feelings, that we write in a way that, if possible, minimizes their distress. If the revelations become awkward, we try to balance the good the story does against the harm.
The obligation to be sensitive likewise requires us to be aware of our subject’s needs, for example, for security and privacy. Subjects who don’t know better need to be warned of the consequences publication of a story might bring. We might tell a subject, “If there’s anything that you don’t want your boss or family to know, tell us ahead of time so we can figure out how to handle it.” What we write should never expose children to ridicule, exploitation or danger.
Compassion and sensitivity thus tell us how to approach our subjects from the outside.
Empathy, the word Lee Hancock murmured that morning, is more difficult. Because empathy requires that we approach our subjects from the inside. We try to enter into the emotions, thoughts, the very lives of those we write about. We try to imagine what it must be like to be them. Only by living in their skin at least briefly, by walking in their shoes, can we begin to see that person as he or she is. This requires moral imagination. It is what the good fiction writer does. And it is, I argue, what we writers of nonfiction must do.
There are learned people who will argue that this is impossible, and they may be right. How can we ever fully know another person? But the impossibility does not erase the obligation to try. That obligation demands that our actions as journalists not only be ethically sound, but — taking a word from Janet Malcolm — that they be morally defensible. Ethics is the rules of the game: fairness, honesty and disclosure. Morality is what we owe one another, not as writer and subject, but as fallen human beings. It demands self-knowledge, humility, and charity.
This, I think, sets the bar on its highest peg.”
I’ll admit it: I’m not familiar with one of these books: Recyclopedia: Trimmings, S-PeRM—K-T, and Muse & Drudge by Harryette Mullen. I have quite a collection of “brilliant books” written by Black women, and while most of them do not center just on sexualities, all of them touch on issues of the body and the sensual in one way or another. So much of what has been and continues to be our experience in the West deals with the recovery of ourselves from so much pain, so much damage to our souls.
I’m reblogging Balogun Ojetade’s essay because it’s sticking to my brain and my heart right now with a certain urgency, like it carries some very painful but needed knowledge to those of us who write and read speculative fiction, as well as to those of us who are survivors.
“This award astonishes me, humbles me, and I am honored by it. It recalls to me–with the awareness of mortality age ushers up–the extraordinary writers who did not live to receive it: Roger Zelazny, Joanna Russ, Thomas M. Disch, Octavia E. Butler–as well, from the generation before me, Katherine MacLean, very much alive. I accept the award for them, too: they are the stellar practitioners without whom my own work, dim enough, would have been still dimmer.” ~Samuel R. Delany
For those of you visiting my site for the first time seeking out where I stand on certain issues and problems with regard to popular culture, fan culture, and celebrity culture, I offer you a unique opportunity to educate yourselves and free yourselves from the bondage of fandom. Start with Baudrillard. Then go through my growing collection of Celebrity Readings on Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/collections/4359502/Celebrity-Readings
Good luck, and God/Goddess speed on your enlightenment.
Why am I posting a link to this article here? Simply put, I have been inspired today to do a bit of writing for both of my book projects. I saw Baudrillard deliver this lecture to EGS students in Summer 2004 when I was still a part of EGS as a grad student (I was considering a second Ph.D in Media and Philosophy). I felt this lecture was supposed to be a part of my work, but I was unsure as to how to enter this text. It disturbed me, as it should have disturbed me. I was unable to articulate a clear direction for my dissertation when it came time to present to our advisor, Wolfgang Schirmacher. He directed me back to this lecture. My response? I finished my first Ph.D from UConn in American Literature and moved…
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