Sunday, September 03, 2006

Repent, Harlan! said the Ticktockman

So I'm reading John Scalzi just now, and I see that he's a bit upset that the big news out of the recent WorldCon isn't the Hugo win by Robert Charles Wilson for Spin (which I might read sometime, or I might not -- hey, is it a space opera?) but rather "a certain science fiction writer being a public jackass at the Hugo ceremony".

Well, it doesn't take much awareness of the SF community to figure out who made an ass of himself; I sighed and said to myself, "Gee, I wonder what Harlan Ellison did now". I figured maybe he showed up with the only existing manuscript of Last Dangerous Visions, hucked it into a trash can, and then set it on fire. Either that, or he publicly groped a prominent female SF writer.

So it was the latter: he groped Connie Willis, apparently. On stage. In front of, well, everybody.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden's take on this is exactly right:

Just as with George W. Bush's now-famous uninvited shoulder-rub of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the basic message of Ellison's tit-grab is this: "Remember, you may think you have standing, status, and normal, everyday adult dignity, but we can take it back at any time. If you are female, you'll never be safe. You can be the political leader of the most powerful country in Europe. You can be the most honored female writer in modern science fiction. We can still demean you, if we feel like it, and at random intervals, just to keep you in line, we will."

Apparently Ellison has apologized. Maybe it's enough, maybe not. But behavior like this needs to be squashed like a bug, every time it happens.

(And of course, this post is mainly an excuse to use as a post title a pun on the title of one of Ellison's most famous stories. What a geek I am....)

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