time_shark (time_shark) wrote,

Oh, Star*Line, why?

ETA 2: Marge has asked me to re-post here the apology she posted in the SFPANet Yahoo Group and on the SFPA Forum. I ask that responses be constructive. Here it is:

> An Apology
> When I accepted S.A. Kelly's poem, "The Green Reich", it was because I took
> it as a wry comment on ultra "political correctness", not directed at anyone
> in particular. I certainly didn't think for a moment that it would offend
> our members and their families or I'd not have accepted it.
> Since its appearance, I am now aware that it certainly was found offensive.
> I'm terribly sorry, and I apologize.
> Marge Simon
> Editor
> Star*Line

ETA 7/1: I wrote Marge Simon a Letter to the Editor this morning that was modified from this blogpost. She's responded that she'll run the letter next issue along with an apology.

My copy of the 2011 Rhysling Anthology arrived today (better last minute than never, for sure) and also the latest double issue of the new quarterly Star*Line.

Unfortunately, the latter contains a poem that rather makes me wonder why it was selected. It's written by S.A. Kelly, otherwise known as Scott Kelly, who's perhaps best known as being, briefly, the editor of a small press zine called valentRange that apparently went defunct after a single issue.

You can read it as kind of a ham-handed and not particularly poetic swipe at those awful PC lefty commies. A dog has been put on trial for peeing on "the Great Statue of Our Grand Chairman." When the prosecutor mistakenly calls it "the Grand Statue of Our Great Chairman," the judge rebukes him. Har har. Those silly PC socialists, okay, fine.

Except. The poem goes for shock value, too, and I believe succeeds, in the wrong way. It's titled "The Green Reich." Okay, PC Nazis, har har. But the judge in charge of the proceeding is described as:

a young black hispanic disabled tri-sexual
manFEM/cybiotic jewslamic skinhead.

Nope, not making that up — "jewslamic skinhead." This individual is then referred to as "he/she/it or they" a few lines down and then addressed by the prosecutor as "your Whateverness."

As a former SFPA President, I read this, and what I think is that the organization's members who might belong to one or more of the groups named, equated with neo-Nazis and than addressed as "Whatever" might bloody well be made very upset by this otherwise extremely mediocre poem.

It's fascinating to me how, when someone writes a piece or makes a post that intentionally says hateful, hurtful things about gays, people of color, and so on, the author often seems to imagine he or she is taking aim at some sort of imaginary "politically correct activist" who isn't actually a part of the named group — and never stops to think even for a minute that the people genuinely being slurred will read what you wrote and never forget the awful thing you said about them. Which is always what happens.

This strikes me as a poem most definitely written in that spirit. I'm very disappointed to see it showcased in Star*Line.


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