rinue: (inception train)
[personal profile] rinue
There was a flap over the weekend about Jonathan Ross being asked to host the Hugo awards and then being asked not to host the Hugo awards after twitter blew up; it's not really possible to get a telling of it that doesn't slant one way or the other, but I like this roundup from Bleeding Cool because it's predominantly direct quotes from primary sources. (Hat tip to [personal profile] treehavn for the link.)

The summary: Jonathan Ross is a British comedian/host. For an American analogue, imagine Jimmy Kimmel crossed with Jon Stewart. When it comes to awards shows, he's an entertaining host, which means he teases people. That's one of the jobs of an awards show host, whether it's Billy Crystal or Whoopi Goldberg or anyone else. You keep the proceedings from getting so self-serious that they collapse under their own weight.

Jonathan Ross is about at the Tina Fey or Ellen DeGeneres level when it comes to teasing. He's not Chris Rock or Ricky Gervais or Stephen Colbert (all people I like as hosts). He also has bona fides with the SF community - he's written SF; he's been married for almost two decades to Hugo-winning screenwriter Jane Goldman; he's a fan who was going to host for free and who would have brought more viewership to the awards.

He was a great choice to host the Hugos.

Just not this year.

This year, the SFWA is deep into a major schism between people who think as a professional group it should be more welcoming to racial minorities and to women, and people who have literally said girls can't write, don't have senses of humor, need to keep out of the clubhouse, etc. It's been nasty. Any male host at all was going to get caught in the crossfire, and LonCon3, the organizers who asked Ross to host, did him a disservice by setting him up for that fall without (1) warning him and (2) giving him a lot of backup.

Personally, I think the organizers should have been careful to pick a woman, for the symbolism of it, although she would also have had fallout (from the women are not funny, blame the pc police contingent) and would also have needed to be backed up in the face of a predictable flame war.

This was the SFWA's mess, not Ross's, and not really the people who were anti-Ross. Not that there's much SFWA could do to make this year's awards cordial: with the controversy and side-taking, all of which the participants on both sides take very personally, it was inevitable that this year's awards were going to feel like the Gym Mambo from West Side Story. It's too raw right now. Nobody wants to be teased, or have outside attention.

However, I don't think the loudest pro-diversity voices have shown themselves in a good light. I think we've come off like assholes. I think we've done that by being assholes. And yeah, our feelings were hurt and our feelings have been hurt for a really long time, and it's not fair etc. etc. I empathize with us, I really do.

Yet we must acknowledge that we came off like whiny babies, and like everything the other side is afraid of - that we're humorless; that we crucify "nice men" who we take as random symbolic targets; that we're so emotionally damaged there's no point being nice to us; that you wouldn't want us around anyway.

Shit, I don't want to hang out with you people, and I am you people.

In particular, I would like to strike the phrase "safe space" from our vocabulary - the vocabulary in our mouths and the vocabulary in our heads. "Safe space" as in the sentence "this con was supposed to be a safe space for me."


Y'all, let's be real about patriarchy.

Patriarchy is everywhere, including inside your head. The thing about patriarchy is that there isn't an outside of it. You can make a space within a patriarchal system that is safe-er. You can strive to make a space welcoming to minorities, to the disadvantaged, to those of us who have comparatively less patriarchal privilege. You can strive to elevate the voices which have been unheard. And you should. But you can't make a safe space. My feelings regularly get hurt when I'm alone in my own house, when a sad thing occurs to me, like that I'm alone in my own house.

As we know from recent priestly child abuse scandals, the walls of a sanctuary don't actually keep the devil out.

We could also maybe acknowledge when criticizing the "white dude parade" that many of us making these criticisms are also conspicuously white?

(no subject)

Date: 2014-03-07 09:43 pm (UTC)
adrian_turtle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] adrian_turtle
I did not participate in the online conflict, as it seemed to have ended by the time I saw it. (I'm amazed at how fast such things move these days.) I realize that I didn't see every post, much less every tweet, but I didn't see anybody criticizing Ross for being a white man. He was criticized for having a nasty sense of humor. As you say, "like Jimmy Kimmel." That kind of joking is hostile and divisive, and there are lots of funny people who haven't built careers on doing it. I don't think this is the only year it will be inappropriate for the Hugo Award ceremony to focus on nasty humor.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-03-07 11:12 pm (UTC)
movingfinger: (Default)
From: [personal profile] movingfinger
SFWA has nothing to do with LonCon, organizationally. (SFWA has just announced that Ellen Klages will be the toastmaster at the Nebulas, by the way.)

The only thing that could have prevented this was better attention to situational awareness and context by LonCon's committee; they decided early on that they wanted what they wanted and even warnings from within that this was not a good idea had no effect. They knew they were choosing someone who would be controversial within the fandom community and went ahead. Responsibility for initiating this shitstorm is wholly the committee's. They seem to have had absolutely no idea how to manage the announcement and the aftermath.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-03-07 11:55 pm (UTC)
movingfinger: (Default)
From: [personal profile] movingfinger
No worries there, Klages is as witty as most "comedians." And not mean.

As for the LonCon committee: these people are not professionals. They are as lambs to the slaughter faced with real media. Another reason they'd probably best avoid tangling with them.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-03-08 01:22 am (UTC)
movingfinger: (Default)
From: [personal profile] movingfinger
Innnnnteresting. I have never heard that before. Yes, it rings right, doesn't it. Thank you.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-03-26 11:21 pm (UTC)
valancy_jane: (Default)
From: [personal profile] valancy_jane
That fascinates me - booking for reading.


rinue: (Default)

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