Generally, talk of feminazis is all overblown, but once in a while the exception that proves the rule walks up and splatters effluvia all over your nice, clean shoes.
Here’s one for which we’ll be bringing out all the replacement words for using crazy as an insult*:
As out of touch with reality as a conspiracy theorist on LSD who’s just been hit on the head with a fifty-pound bag of wind-up toys
Mimsy as a borogrove
Amazingly fucking wrong
“When Sheri becomes Head Queen, what three things will get changed first?” Well, according to science fiction and fantasy author Sheri S. Tepper’s clown-pants answer to Strange Horizons in 2008:
2. The Court of Equity shall define humanity more strictly. Merely being born to human parents in a reasonably human shape will not be sufficient. Human beings have to have certain attributes: most importantly, being a humane creature. Humans cannot purposefully injure others. They have to be capable, once adults, of controlling what they do. Persons who look human but who are uncontrollable or who habitually hurt other people will no longer be defined as human. Every person born of human parents is not necessarily human. Those born to other parents might be, however. Probably the bonobos are human. Whales and dolphins may very well be human. I have met some very humanlike dogs and cats. Mere language does not define humanity.
3. The idea that a term in prison “pays a debt to society” shall be stricken from the vocabulary. Persons who are not human must be perpetually separated from society. People who purposefully hurt others may not—ever—be released to move about in society. This includes crazy people, alcoholics, and addicts who cannot be permanently cured. None of this, “Oh, he’s fine when he’s on his meds, but he forgets to take his medicine.” People who traffic in arms and drugs, wife beaters, serial rapists, pedophiles, and their ilk are included. Walled cities will be built in the wastelands and all nonhuman persons will be sterilized and sent to live there, together, raising their own food. There will be no traffic in, no traffic out, except for studies that may be done which might lead to a “cure.” There will be no chat about this sequestration being “inhumane,” because the persons so confined are not human by definition. (Aren’t you really sick of reading about some guy who’s been arrested six times for driving drunk and finally jailed after killing a family of five, and now he’s getting out because he’s “paid his debt to society”? Who thought up that idiocy?) The cities for nonhumans will not get overcrowded because the inhabitants will probably kill each other off fairly regularly.
As James Nicoll puts it, memetic prophylactic fucking recommended.**
Let’s be honest; as Barry just said to me in IM, “Tepper’s books have always flirted with lefty fascism.” Yeah, true. But we flirt with lots of things. Back in college, we flirted with that jerk who kept talking about how he wanted to fling poo at people like a proverbial monkey. We might even, on one dark day, have flirted with a Libertarian.
Sometimes, in writing, we play with premises that we don’t fully believe are true. We say “what if tendencies toward violence WERE entirely genetically predetermined” and then stagger drunkenly forward with that concept, trying to navigate the increasingly inviting shores of eugenics, and finally just sailing into that harbor, because fuck it, it’s a black box experiment. Sometimes we think “what if there was a story that read just like all that really fucking stupid misogynistic literature from the 30s about how life would be better if women would just DIE already, except it was written about men, and what if that highlighted all the ways in which the first narrative is oddly and uncomfortably embedded in the social consciousness?” Sometimes we write fictions that don’t encompass all the complexities of the world because we want to reflect the claustrophobia, the rage, the terrifying whimpering impotence of one particular experience.
And then sometimes we say, “There is absolutely no difference between a writer doing a book about torture and pain for the delectation of perverts and a Roman emperor ordering a few dozen or hundred slaves into the arena to be tortured and killed by gladiators or beasts for the delectation of perverts.” WAY TO MINIMIZE TORTURE, SLAVERY AND DEATH, MISS WIBBLEWOBBLE.
(Also! Sometimes we say a number of racist things that are harder to pull out in tidy quotes.)
The Rejectionist at Tor.com writes, “In many ways her writing epitomizes the problems of the second-wave feminist movement, a movement that was largely defined by and for middle-class white women and notoriously failed to deal with the complex intersections of gender, race, class, and sexuality that women outside that narrow bracket negotiate daily.”
And that’s all, you know, true. But it vastly avoids the conclusions I want to draw about the interview. Which are that it requires whole new landscapes of invective.
Slitherbutt! Doucheblister! A Marianas trench of tapeworms! Oh, let’s face it, I just want to spout angry gibberish at this point. Kazhagragda, vishgore, unhyrgro, fabprowse, sporfle, squamous, rugose, luftwaffe, ziggurat, lickety-split!
Being a pretty good storyteller (which Tepper is) is not a justification for being a babbling, bungnosed, bowelbrained, barfbellied burpzipper.
Dudette, get off my side. You’re getting your primeval, parasitic compost all over my nice, clean movement.***
*Some replacements are not usable in all situations. Some may be suggested with a tongue-in-cheek tone. Offer not valid in areas where Sheri Tepper may be lurking nearby with a sackful of weasels.
**OK, I added the fucking.
***Feminist movement not in actuality clean.