So, the reaction to my post on Isaac Asimov’s invitation to give a talk lauding sexual assault at Chicon III (and his turning it down because it would require him to get consent from the women who would act as his props on stage) is getting an interesting reaction. Most of it has been what I expected:
- “Yes, it happened to me/someone I know.”
- “Oh, Asimov? Really? Sad panda.”
- “His female characters always seemed a little weird.”
- “Wow/Grr. I can’t believe (though I do believe) people would behave like this.”
All pretty typical reactions. Not much of the denialism I was braced for.
Then there were the reactions I didn’t expect, like the ones from Earl Kemp, issuer of the invitation himself.
What a wonderful find. Thank you very much for posting this. It’s nice to be reminded of some of the good things. I admit I’ve forgotten this, but it certainly was Ike. (There are better stories about him but not here, not now.)
Yeah, good things. Uh-huh. Good for whom?
Then the second comment, after I’d verified that the first was coming from the appropriate geographical region to be Kemp and not someone trying to hurt his reputation (and after I’d learned a bit more about his reputation):
Stephanie, I’m missing something here. I tried to locate you but couldn’t find you. Would you care to take this private? Contact me?
I am very easy to locate and contact. I am who I am and there should be no doubt about that.
Nope. Not about to take things private. I don’t take anything private with someone who’s demonstrated they think sexual assault is entertainment and haven’t managed to learn better in the last half century. I get quite enough creepy on the public channels, thanks.
I see all the brave people here posting stuff about Earl Kemp, who they do not know, hoping his generation—and he too presumably—dies off. Using their anonymous “handles”, so no one knows who they really are.
How brave of all of you.
How about all those WW2 soldiers who kept pin-ups of girls in their barracks and wolf-whistled USO tours? Should the Nazis have won the war instead?
I kind of assume Kemp’s generation will not be the first to fail to die off, whatever anyone’s wishes in the matter. We’ll get to what prompted this comment in a moment. (Tim Pratt handled the Godwining quite well.)
Then we move over to File 770, where my posting of the letters is discussed as critique relevant to the current discussions in fandom. Kemp left a comment over there as well:
Mike, I’ve decided to ignore them after making two attempts to contact them. I am pissed off because they didn’t ask my permission to illegally reprint my letter.
I am further pissed off about the unknown background story. When those files turned up at the university I was shocked because I didn’t even know they had been stolen from me and sold several times before winding up in their collection. The univ backtracked the routes to see who/when/how it had happened.
I had my own plans for my own personal files. If anything they should have gone to the Eaton Collection, my choice. And they were not to be sold, but donated.
Add onto that the insults from peculiar people who don’t know anything about what they’re commenting on, add to that at least one legal death threat that, along with the stolen copyright letter, (and one stolen from the Asimov executor) are both worthy of legal prosecution.
I wish them all well in their oddly conceived world.
I particularly love the combination of “What they (meaning me?) did was totes illegal, but I’m going to ignore it, and it’s all been investigated by the university before the exhibit, but it’s totes illegal!”
There’s also a reference to a death threat here. I ignored it. I had no idea it was supposed to be something that happened here, as opposed to coming from somewhere else among the thousands of people who read that post or on one of the many blogs or fora that linked to it. Then Kemp’s champion, Andrew Porter commented there as well:
Stephanie Zvan—who assumes I must know her, though I’d never heard of her until I used Google—sounds like a charming person who permits posters on her blog to post veiled death threats against people of Earl’s age.
I sent details of this material to the people on m list of Usual Suspects—which includes FILE 770—and perhaps some sort of harassment charges can be brought.
It’s not an auspicious beginning. I have no idea why Porter thinks I think he should know me. I’ll chalk it up to some bizarre failure of reading comprehension. The rest of that sentence, however, I can’t do that on. Overnight, we’ve gone from “hope his generation dies” to “post veiled death threats”.
And this is somehow a form of harassment. “I don’t like you or what you’re doing (whatever you may be doing now instead of the period 50 years ago under discussion) so I’ll…do something vague regarding someone roughly your age”? Seriously. That’s the best I can do. Try it yourself in the comments if you’ve got some way to make this make sense. To help, here’s the original comment that is the only one Porter can be referring to:
Disgusting. Fucking disgusting.
I love Isaac Asimov’s short stories. But I had to put down a collection of them in extreme distaste recently because I can’t stomach the way he treats women characters. They’re cardboard props interested only in fashion, how their husbands feel, and whether another woman is going to out-gossip them. It’s not just careless, it’s like. . actively stupid and cheap.
The Stepford Wives was not an inspirational novel, Asimov.
And you, Earl Kemp—I can only say I’m glad your generation is close to extinction.
“I’ll murder the entire remnants of your generation in order to get rid of you”, maybe? Nope, I don’t get it. As I commented to Porter:
I promise you, Andrew, that old age is not posting comments on my blog. Seeing that the only mentions of death in the comments involve Asimov (who cannot be threatened) and a note that someone won’t miss Kemp’s generation when they age out, I’m not sure who else could be threatening anyone, veiled or otherwise. Would you like to be more specific about whom you’re publicly accusing?
It’s really kind of strange. I’m left with the conclusion that they’d really like me to shut up about this, but they can’t quite figure out why they should. Except that someone should make me because they want me to.
Yeah, that’s not going to happen either.