Thursday, September 30, 2010

Elizabeth Moon and Islam 3

The question then becomes how do we deal with prejudice. The Wiscon con comm has suggested the following:
We know that opinions are not changed by running away from them, but instead by engaging with them, challenging their assumptions, sharing knowledge, seeking understanding, and by lively and candid discourse. And we think that provides a pretty good short description of a typical WisCon.

One might say that WisCon excels at the difficult conversation -- and sometimes the hardest conversation is with an idol who turns out to be human. We have begun addressing our difference of views with Ms. Moon directly, and will continue to do so over the coming months and at the con itself. We hope you will join us in this difficult conversation.

Timmi Duchamp has a fine post on Ambling Along the Aqueduct arguing that attempting to have a reasonable discussion about pig-ignorant prejudice reduces us to the simplest level of discourse: Prejudice 101. In doing this, we lose Wiscon's great gift, which is sophisticated discussion and a chance to develop our ideas about beyond the introductory level.

So what do we do? There is direct confrontation, a time honored technique of all the various movements that have helped change America: march, run a picket line, carry signs, shout slogans, sit in, walk out, get in the oppressor's face and mess with his daily activities.

People have suggested walking out of Elizabeth Moon's GoH speech. The trouble is, Nisi Shawl is also a GoH; and she has every right to have to good time at the con, not get mixed into an ugly fight.

And direct confrontation may bring us back to the level of Prejudice 101.

My current plan -- as I told con comm -- is to attend Wiscon and avoid every bit of programming that involves Elizabeth Moon. This is something like the English trade union technique called, 'sending to Coventry,' where workers refuse to acknowledge the existence of any fellow worker who does not support the union.

Because I am not a very confrontational person, and because the thought of being in the same room with Elizabeth Moon makes me feel sick, I figure this may be the best I can manage. It's quiet. It won't damage other people's experience of the con.

The only problem is, I have to figure out how to hear Nisi Shawl's GoH speech, without hearing Elizabeth Moon's. I am still working on that problem.


Blogger Will Shetterly said...

Were I going, I would wear a symbol of protest, a green armband, perhaps. Then I wouldn't say anything else at the con. Moon was chosen for her body of work. That work has not changed.

Doing a lot of programming about Islamic and Middle-Eastern fantasy and science fiction seems like a good idea to me, too.

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