Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sigh

I don't have the stamina to post on the Sanders mess. On the up side, if you want to know more about it, Toby Buckell pretty much nailed it here. Making Light is also good on the subject, here. Oh, and what Bear said. In particular, her last paragraph explains why feel the need to comment here.

9 comments:

Mariah said...

Mess indeed. How could an editor (who we would think to be a business Person and -ideally- an intelligent person) be so tactless?

Michael Damian Thomas said...

I'm glad that you posted something on this. The only thing that's bothered me almost as much as Sanders's comments is the relative silence coming from different SF writers and editors on the subject.

Kelly McCullough said...

Michael,

I really felt that I had to post for the same reason that Toby and Elizabeth did. This is not acceptable and I won't be silent on something like this. If it costs me a short story market or two, that's a price that I'm more than willing to live with.

I really hope that as this spreads, more folks will come out against it. I'm hoping the reason that they haven't already is because they simply didn't know about it. My post here followed my discovery of the issue by about an hour. I needed to track down enough info to be informed before I said something.

Michael Damian Thomas said...

Kelly,

I hope that the silence is because of ignorance of the controversy. Unfortunately, I did read some of the posts over at the Asimov’s Forum that went to great lengths to defend the bigotry by deflecting the issue into the realms of copyright law and editor/writer protocols.

It’s clear from posts at Making Light, Bear’s blog, and Toby’s blog that Sanders has a history of such crap. It’s about time that writers and readers do something about it.

Kelly McCullough said...

Yeah, a number of people who I normally respect are not covering themselves in glory on this one.

MariAdkins said...

I had no idea this was happening until I read this here.

lydamorehouse said...

I hadn't heard about this either, so thanks for posting it. I think Toby is exactly right. We need to say this isn't acceptable.

The only other point of order I'd like to weigh in on is the whole issue of whether or not the author had the "right" to post the rejection letter. I didn't go to the original sources so I don't know if the rejection came through the US Mail or through email, but either way, it's my sense that federal law considers the stuff in your mailbox to be yours. (Thus, it's illegal to open other people's mail) It's the receiver's property, not the sender's.

So I think Sander's claim that his words are "copyrighted" seems silly. Not to mention that I agree that there was a moral obligation to let people know about the racism apparent in the rejection letter...

My 4 and 1/2 cents, anyway

Michael Damian Thomas said...

Lyda,

After talking to my copyright-savvy wife and reading a ton of expert opinions, I believe this is the deal with copyright:

The actual email/letter is the property of the recipient and the contents are copyrighted to the sender. If you wish to reprint the letter in its entirety, you need permission from the copyright holder. However, you are allowed to paraphrase and use selected quotations under “fair use.”

Of course, that’s all just a smokescreen. People have been posting rejection letters since there was an Internet without anybody complaining. That issue was only brought up by people who wanted to obscure the real issue of bigotry.

As Bear said in her post title, “If you don't want anybody to know you're a racist, maybe you shouldn't say racist things.” It really isn’t more complicated than that.

Stephanie Zvan said...

Interestingly, Michael, I think the people who brought up copyright actually ended up highlighting the issue of privilege. Between private SFWA communications (where Sanders has long been known for this kind of behavior) and the letter from a person of power (editor) to one without, this incident is pulling back the curtain a bit on how such privileged spaces are used, abused and protected. It's also showing what happens when people refuse to protect those spaces anymore.