Your Unexpected Art Project for the Week

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Comparative reporting

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Not a metrosexual, then.

The once-great Patrick Moore has clearly succumbed to the brainworms:

“The trouble is that the BBC now is run by women and it shows: soap operas, cooking, quizzes, kitchen-sink plays. You wouldn’t have had that in the golden days….I used to watch Doctor Who and Star Trek, but they went PC – making women commanders, that kind of thing. I stopped watching.”

Intersex Children

What happens when someone is born both boy and girl?

“I grew up a girl. I was always a tomboy, I wrestled, I played softball. I had bladder problems when I was a kid, and when I went in to have my urethra fixed” — at age 3 — “they decided to give me a vaginoplasty and also a clitoridectomy,” that is, surgically reshape the vagina and reduce the size of her clitoris. “When I finally learned all this, I spent a lot of time staring in the mirror” — she pressed her hands flat against her cheeks and stretched her skin of her face back toward her ears — “going: ‘Do I look like a boy? Do I look like a boy?’ Now I think being intersex is pretty weird but kind of sweet. I just wish someone had given me the tools to be able to talk about it.”

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Ellison again

Did I fail to mention, I am 100% guilty as charged, and NO ONE should attempt to cobble up mitigating excuses for my behavior? As with everything else I REALLY DO (as opposed to the bullshit that is gossiped third-hand by dolts), I am responsible for my actions 100% and am prepared to shoulder all consequences, instead of shunting them off to Vice-President ScaryGuy.

Harlan Ellison has just posted an apology over That Incident on his message-board – see here (scroll down; no permalinks), or the main bit cut & pasted on PNH’s LiveJournal.

EDIT: Ed Champion remains Not Happy.

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When it changed

In case you’ve been away from the internet for 12 hours, controversy of the moment is Harlan Ellison’s having groped Connie Willis’s breast onstage at the Hugos on Saturday. Commentary from: Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Gwenda Bond, Catherine Morrison, Gavin Grant, and Ed Champion, the latter featuring a picture from the same event. A representative sample, from PNH:

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.”

It’s not okay. It’s not funny. It wasn’t a blow against bourgeois pieties or political correctness. It was just pathetic and nasty and sad and most of us didn’t want to watch it. It’s another thing that’s going to stop.

I wasn’t there myself, but if it’s as reported by Patrick and others, then clearly there should be some kind of apology/making amends. I’ve certainly not seen any accounts which deny it happened. (Though it should also be recorded that Ellison has in the past done non-zero amounts of work for women’s rights, specifically – to my knowledge – the ERA.) In the meantime, your quote for the day, from Ellison’s introduction to Joanna Russ’s “When it Changed”, in Again, Dangerous Visions (1972):

I’m not trying to start a fight here, you understand, but like newly converted Jews or Catholics, like lifetime cigarette smokers who’ve put down, like alcoholics now on the wagon, those of us who’ve spent the greater part of our lives as male chauvinists get terribly zealous in pointing out the gentlemen in our midst who are still wrong-thinking offenders. […]

What [Joanna Russ] is, is a fine writer, getting better every year. What she’s proving – and “When it Changed” will serve in large measure to further that proof – is that speculative fiction up till now has indisputably belonged to the men, but that squatter’s rights to that territory simply aren’t good enough any more. Not with talents like Joanna Russ around.

And further, she looks infinitely better in a bikini than any of the editors who rejected her novel.

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The Age of Female Computers

Interesting review of When Computers Were Human by David Alan Grier. Not just about how male science has used female workers, but those are the bits most likely to grab your attention:

In the history of computing, the humbler levels of scientific work were open, even welcoming, to women. Indeed, by the early twentieth century computing was thought of as women’s work and computers were assumed to be female. Respected mathematicians would blithely approximate the problem-solving horsepower of computing machines in “girl-years” and describe a unit of machine labor as equal to one “kilo-girl.”