Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder
The Hyperlinks I Forged In Life
Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2010 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.
Disregard the timestamp on this entry, which is leftover from a draft I began on the other side of the world, when the Elizabeth Moon controversy broke. Everything feels unfinished, uncertain, temporary. I finally upgraded my laptop to Lucid Lynx -- yes, half a year after its release. Leonard and I finished watching the first season of the new Reggie Perrin and like it, but not as much as the brilliant original Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin. Gordon Korman's new young adult novel Pop is the most moving thing he's ever written. I talked with my mother on the phone and she sounds happy in Mysore. I feel like I'm on a road trip on a conveyor belt.
Everything Scott writes, of course, but especially him and his readers discussing what's exhausting about running a web publishing organization.
Kate Beaton's Maurice "the Rocket" Richard for Kids made me cry with happiness.
A few weeks ago, speculative fiction author Elizabeth Moon wrote an essay arguing, among other things, that groups of minorities in the United States are responsible for assimilating and seeming non-threatening (a simplification, of course, since if she had written it that baldly maybe she would have understood how absurd her argument was). She then shut down the comment thread on her post and hid all the comments from public view, thus effectively deleting the conversation by which many readers were trying to discuss how and why she was wrong. Yasaman's response on civilization, the meaning of American citizenship, and pride spoke to me, and I thank coffeeandink and Jed for collecting several other of the many thoughtful responses from around the Net. My old Berkeley friend Shweta Narayan, in response, detailed her experiences of assimilation; I had a much, much easier time of it growing up, so hearing her experience is sobering and edifying. And, as usual, Liz Henry tries to build on our dismay to get us to contribute to relevant, productive causes.
Elizabeth Moon is currently one of two Guests of Honor at next year's WisCon feminist sci-fi convention, which has of late been a locus of anti-racist activity. Thus: additional controversy, which I am not attempting to cover systematically in this idiosyncratic selection of links. What can the organizers and participants do to mitigate the implications? Many ask: should she remain a GoH? And it's not like she's the first GoH in WisCon history to have held some abhorrent views, but it's not just about her words, but her actions: the attempted erasure of opposing voices.
I am, right now, deliberately making no plans regarding travel in 2011 so that I can stay free to make plans to take care of my mother. I might go to WisCon, and to other gatherings that honor people who have said or done some things I find breathtakingly wrong. Been there before, will be there again. I was at the GUADEC where Richard Stallman did the sexist emacs virgins comedy act, for instance. But I have my own reasons and needs and tolerances and trade-offs, and will aim not to proselytize others who differ.
On a completely different note, a tearjerking story about family and machines.