Some photos of Kiev you need to see.
Not my photos
I apologize for the language above, but it is left whole to show a rather ugly point.
So: My ask box is closed now.
And I’m doing something very, very, very rarely do, and my friends have been begging me to do about this whole thing since day one: meet it head on.
The above ask was sent in by my stalker. This is why my ask box remains closed.
Maybe it is time to show what stalking really is and does.
Imagine getting messages, the type of which make the above seem mild and sweet (add in sexual threats, death threats, and vows to be up to this forever), any time you have any ability for anyone to contact you.
Every day. At times multiple times a day, sometimes in a stream of messages that clog your inbox.
And when you never once address that, they start contacting your friends, your sister, your parents. Your brother in law. Your infant nephew/godson.
Threatens them consistently. Sends them packages. Sends them postcards. Looks up their private info and parades it in front of them.
For 5.5 years.
Things that thus far haven’t helped: An arrest. An international warrant. International attention. Stays in mental health facilities. Nothing deters this behavior.
Stalking is one of the crimes that takes the victim out of the equation, because of how likely it is that being in it exacerbates the situation. And if we do nothing and let the world exist like this, we are enabling a kind of malice that could threaten the very positive and at times powerful ways we exchange ideas and connect to each other.
The Internet is the wild west, and at some point the cavalry’s gotta come in, here.
The FBI has been amazing but are limited by a foreign nation’s wish to completely ignore a situation that has been proven many times over to exist.
I can only be so defiant in private while balancing the need for my and my family’s safety.
You may think, “I’ve seen her at LeakyCons, she’s not affected by this at all!” Never make an assumption by the strength someone is able to project that they are unaffected. And never assume that someone who doesn’t give her life over to something negative completely - disappear from the internet, etc - doesn’t deserve just as much peace and justice as those whose lives lose major functions because of this activity. There is sometimes a paternalistic rise in compassion that rises to meet the level to which a person has been affected. If we start judging that way, we forget that no matter the victim and no matter the effect, the crime is the same and it must be stopped.
So there you go. A glimpse into my life.
If you wish to stand against stalking, please reblog; and as a bonus, please add your own thoughts about the necessity that a country’s law enforcement agency (in this case New Zealand’s) starts to take this seriously.
TW for some horrifying language by this person’s stalker. Still a must-read.
As a follow up to the Doubleclick’s powerful “Nothing to Prove”, I wanted to talk a bit about the sign I submitted (1:40).
Firstly, I like both this song and video not because they are “anti-“ or “against” this fake geek girl nonsense, but because the whole song and vibe of the video are more of a Oh, c’mon. Give your head a shake. You’re being so silly. It’s not a push back, or an attack, or a scream so much as it’s a palm to the forehead and raised eyebrow and a “Did that really just come out of your mouth? Really? ‘Fake Geek Girls’? Do you maybe wanna… think about what you just said?”
Secondly, my sign:
“I have to use a gender-neutral pen name to be respected.”
So here’s the story: I’m a science fiction and fantasy author. Most people automatically assume that as a Caucasian female (cis-female, identifying/presenting female, bisexual) writer, that means I write Middle Grade or Young Adult fiction. When they learn that I generally write for the Adult market they assume Romance or Erotica. When I write genre books, then the next assumption is Urban Fantasy, Dystopian, or Magical Fantasy – fairies, princesses, dragons, like that.
When I explain that no, I write Science Fiction mostly, the next reaction is usually “Oh, but that fluff stuff, right, no real science?”
What, I can’t science because I’m a girl?
Leaving aside the fact that no, actually, I don’t write a lot of hard science fiction because I find the science-telling often gets in the way of the story-telling. (That’s not to say that what science I do include in my books isn’t rigorously researched. I have a military advisor, a historical architecture advisor, two historians, an ex-military dude, a NASA physicist, a biologist, and a poisons expert in my roster.) But the implication is there:
I’m a girl and therefore I can’t science.
The implication of these conversations is that I’m a girl and therefore I have to write books for kids about princesses getting rescued, and unicorns, and fairies with rainbow wings that vomit bubbles. Or ‘trashy’ romance books. (Which… I hate that stereotype. Romance books are never trashy or worthless.)
Now, there are lots of lovely MG, YA, NA, Romance, Erotica, Urban Fantasy, Dystopian, Magical Fantasy writers out there of all genders and sexual inclinations –I’m not harping on those writers. They write what they enjoy, I write what I enjoy, and it’s okay! I prefer to write Social Science Fiction. What I’m harping on is the assumption that I can’t write “real” science fiction because I have ladyparts. (Instead of getting into the false assumption that “Accurate” = “hard” = “good” science fiction writing, I’ll just link you to my article on such.)
And that assumption also ends up playing out in such a way that female science fiction writers just don’t get the respect from the readers that male ones do. I haven’t been neglected by the critical press (thanks PW, Lambda, and CBC!), but it’s incredible to be at a convention and what male shopper’s eyes gloss entirely over my books simply because I, a girl, am sitting behind the table. When I take a break from my merch table and ask a male friend to watch my stuff, my sales inevitably go up.
Shortly after Triptych was published, I got an email inviting “Jim Frey” to do an interview with a media outlet I won’t name. I often get called “Jim” in emails, because it looks a lot like “J.M.” with a quick glance. I replied, saying I would be delighted, and sent along my media-kit PDF, where the interviewer could find a bio, my bibliography and filmography, etc. Including my photo. Generally I find interviewers like to have a foundation of research, so I put that page together to make it easy for them. I signed it “J.M.”
When I arrived at said outlet to do the interview, I was shown in, my hand shaken by the interviewer, and he said: “So, you’re Jim’s assistant then? Is he on his way?”
I stopped, stunned, and said. “Jim? Who’s Jim?” (Having forgotten that I’d been addressed as such in the email)
“Jim Frey?” the interviewer said.
“J.M. Frey,” I corrected. “Jessica Marie. That’s me.”
The interviewer was stunned. “You’re a girl?”
I couldn’t help the scowl. “I’m a woman, and yes. I did send you my media package.”
He made some noises when I assumed meant he couldn’t be bothered to read it. As you can guess, it wasn’t a very good interview. He had no idea what to ask me, and in fact had no clue about my work or my history as an academic. I didn’t enjoy myself, he was clearly unhappy I wasn’t who he thought I was, and I have never actually seen anything come of it.
And would he have asked me to the interview if he had realized I was female? Probably not. As bummed as I am that it was a missed marketing opportunity, I’m more peeved because I realized that this interviewer was glossing over what was probably hundreds of fantastic writers just because they’re female.
Needless to say I mentioned James Tiptree Jr and George Sand as often as I could.
Rewinding a bit:
A few days before I had to turn in my decision on what name was going to be on the cover of Triptych, I was browsing the aisles of a big-chain book store, trying to get a sense of what sorts of ways people were titling themselves. I had done a few things (publications and film credits) as J.M. Frey because I felt “Jessica” was just a little too Sweet Valley High to really fit the brand I was trying to build with my work. But for my debut novel, did I want my full name on the cover?
I eavesdropped on a pair of guys, completely in my target demographic, as they browsed the aisle a few feet away from me. My choice to remain “J.M. Frey” was made when I overheard one of the guys say, “Oh, this looks interesting. Read this back cover. Nice blurb from… oh. It was written by a chick. Never mind.”
My photo is also not on the novel for the same reason.
I have it on my website, because I figure by the time a reader is invested enough to search me on the internet, they won’t care about my gender, just about my writing. But for the people just browsing the book shelves, it matters.
And the thing is?
It shouldn’t. What’s between the covers should matter to a reader, not what’s between my legs.
It’s amazing how problematic this apology is. I don’t even think Wil gets that he’s whitesplaining.
For the education of those who might find themselves in this situation, here’s a primer on what’s wrong with this response.
First: “I got a lot of messages like yours that were bordering on antagonizing, but I’ll respond to you”
I didn’t like the Tone those other people used. Yours was appropriate! I’ll talk to you.
Second: “I think it’s a little much to get upset about this, but…”
This doesn’t affect me and I’ve never given it two seconds worth of thought. And even though I’m about to launch into a whole explanation of how I get it, I need you to know that my first reaction is that everyone is oversensitive.
Third: “My ancestors murdered untold numbers of Native Americans, and I hate that my country was built on their blood”
This outpouring of white guilt somehow brings it all back to me and how I feel. Curious that.
Fourth: “I never meant to take anything from anyone. I think Spirit Animals are really cool”
THIS WOULD BE THE CRUX OF THE PROBLEM, SIR. SIR? SIR.
Fifth: “I’m not trying to appropriate or lessen anything by expressing how much Kelly Sue inspires me, and how I try to be more like her.”
The point is not what you were or were not trying to do, it’s how what you did affects others. Why don’t you express your admiration for Kelly Sue in ways that are not appropriative? Why MUST you express admiration in this exact way?
Also, how fucking hard is it to say: “Oh, I did not realize that invoking Spirit Animals like that is a problem. I won’t do it again." ? That’s really all you needed to say. You didn’t need to whitesplain or get defensive AT ALL.
Let Wil Wheaton serve as an example of What Not To Do! Trust me on this, y’all.
I didn’t realize that invoking Spirit Animals was a problem, and I won’t do it again. I thought that was clear from my reply, and I regret that I didn’t make that explicitly clear.
Also, would you please excuse the fuck out of me for explaining my thought process, and attempting to share my admittedly complicated and uncertain reasoning. Please excuse me for acknowledging that I’m a privileged heterosexual white male in a manner that was not to your liking. Please excuse me for admitting that I haven’t thought about something that doesn’t affect me, because it does not affect me.Excuse me for — wait. I’m sorry. That’s not what I mean. I don’t mean that I need you to excuse me for anything. What I mean is: you’ve shown us all a spectacular way to alienate a potential ally with your self-righteous anger and indignation.
Here’s a pro tip for you, incredibly angry person: when someone is polite and respectful, reasonable adults ten to reply to them a lot faster and with more thought than we do to someone who is a condescending, angry, belligerent asshole. I sincerely hope that you are able to find peace and happiness in your life, and that you’ll continue to speak out about issues that affect you. As I said, you have to have the courage of your convictions and you can’t just sit down and shut up.
You can also not be a dick about it.
I’ve been turning this over in my head for an hour or so. It’s niggling at me and I wasn’t sure I could articulate why. Now, I think I can.
You don’t get to invalidate people’s emotions, reactions, or anger; you don’t get to dismiss those people as not being worthy of a response because they’re angry while you wait for some not angry person to respond to, while pointing out that they’re soooo reasonable so all those angry people must just be hateful.
There was an article I ran across sometime in the past couple of months. I can’t find it now. I think I ran across it on Facebook, but it might’ve been tumblr (and if it rings any bells for anyone, please send it to me). I think it was written by a transwoman. She got a lot of people telling her, “thank God you’re not like those angry people.” The point of the article was that often, we are angry for a reason, and if you dismiss someone just because they are angry without bothering to understand why they are angry, that is maybe even worse than doing whatever made them angry in the first place. Because you’re not listening. You refuse to listen. You refuse to try to get it. You just dismiss it, because angry.
After I posted on FB to ask if this was familiar to anyone, a friend of mine posted this article from our local newspaper, written by a local African-American pastor. The whole thing is worth a read, but here are some excerpts. Some of them might sound familiar.
I got a lot of messages like yours that were bordering on antagonizing, but I’ll respond to you: this was entirely news to me, and I never meant to be offensive.
I’ll be honest: I think it’s a little much to get upset about this, but I am fully aware that I’m living life on Scalzi’s Lowest Difficulty Setting, with the Celebrity Cheat enabled, so I’ll own that reality up front. My ancestors murdered untold numbers of Native Americans, and I hate that my country was built on their blood, and I hate that the worst poverty in America exists on Tribal lands. What I hate the most is how many Americans don’t know or care. Those issues are, in my opinion, more important than words. Having said that, I see the point you make, that so much has already been taken from native people, and when a White Guy takes something more, it’s uncool.
I never meant to take anything from anyone. I think Spirit Animals are really cool, and I love everything I’ve ever learned about native or aboriginal culture. I’m not trying to appropriate or lessen anything by expressing how much Kelly Sue inspires me, and how I try to be more like her.
I had just finished my presentation about the mass incarceration of African-American men to a Downtown Rotary luncheon when a woman from the audience approached me.
"Wonderful presentation, Dr. Gee!" she told me, adding she was intrigued by my data and insights about Wisconsin’s mass incarceration phenomenon.
She added, “If you don’t mind, I must tell you that I am so glad that you are not some angry black man!”
This well-intentioned white Rotarian had just heard how Wisconsin has an epidemic and leads the nation in the incarceration of African-American males between 20 and 24 years old.
Giving these kinds of presentations typically takes a toll on me because of the bleakness of the subject matter, the pain in my soul unearthed by the topic and the typically blank stares by people who wonder why we are still talking about racial disparities in 2013.
"I am an angry black man," I responded. "Why would you think I wasn’t angry over what is happening in and to my community? Is it because I put on my best face and ‘safe’ black voice for you today?"
After pouring my heart out to a room of strangers about my community’s ugly realities, was this really the most sincere accolade she had to offer? Yet she insisted, adding that I did not appear as angry as another local black leader. “I am angry,” I said, “just like” that other leader.
My experience is that many white Madisonians have an inordinate fear of being seen as racist. That fear is so paralyzing that it impedes honest dialogue about discrimination, systemic racism and white privilege.
The thought that a white individual could unwittingly participate in or benefit from systemic racism is horrid because these individuals fear benefitting from systemic racism. Typically, that conversation is quickly redirected toward the individual victim because personal responsibility is easier for many whites to discuss than systemic group culpability.
I am not going to be calm about things that matter and it’s so incredibly patronizing to be told that’s not okay. Anger matters because the issues matter. Yes, we can try not to be dicks about things, but we’re not always going to succeed - because the anger is justified. We’re not being dicks for the sake of being dicks. We are passionate, and angry, because things matter. And there’s a pretty freakin huge gap between being a dick and being angry. And if you stop being defensive and get off your high horse and listen for thirty freaking seconds, and try to understand why the anger, maybe we can stop being angry long enough to get something done.
In other words: the response to someone who’s angry because of something you’ve done that they felt was offensive shouldn’t be, “don’t be a dick.” It should be, “I understand you are angry, and I will try to understand why, and if it’s because I was a dick, even unwittingly, I will stop being a dick.”
Things publishers say on bound galleys, advance reading copies, and TI sheets, all sourced from actual copies. Parentheticals added.
- National media appearances (boilerplate, speculative)
- National print features (boilerplate, speculative)
- Major review attention (wishful thinking)
All true. Also “Library Outreach,” which basically means they’ll send an electronic press release to a bunch of libraries and hope for some sales.
This is going to be a long one, just a heads up.
I’ve written this post three times now over the past couple days. The first version was scrubbed, the second lost to a technical error, whatever this is in the end will hopefully be a good thing. But I wanted to respond directly, and in length,…
There are lots of things that have changed, but for me one of the more telling differences in the New 52 is that in the old universe, Kon was the name Clark gave Superboy to signify that he was part of his family, that he had a place and a history and connections. In the new universe, it’s a prejudiced slur that literally means “abomination,” a word to curse at someone with.
Holy fucking shit this makes me want to puke on the pavement.
WOW talk about holding up a mirror and showing how fucking crazy different they’ve treated these characters now from then.
I guess the importance of family and belonging is not as sellable as gritty depressing decay anymore . Wow, fuck me, this is so bad. Young Justice animated naming was even better than this, at least he still got his name from someone who loved him!
Wow yuck wow wow wow wow
This isn’t even someone I love anymore I don’t even know who this character IS anymore.
A couple of my friends pointed out this absurd LinkedIn post from the gentleman behind the actual monetary success of the popular webcomic Penny Arcade, Robert Khoo. Here it is in full — http://www.linkedin.com/jobs2/view/9887522?trk=job_nov — but allow me to summarize:
"We want someone…
Everything here is true. One addition: There’s no such thing as “work/life balance.” Life comes first, and any good manager or employer will tell you that. So when an ad pretends such a thing exists, and then says that they’re coming down on the side of “work” anyway, they’re fucking asshole employers.
this is my favorite post on tumblr okay
THAT COST $7?! WTF AMAZON