Wednesday, June 9, 2010

mobbing Jay Lake, a WisconFail

In 2010, in the comments to Madrobin's post about attending Wiscon, Jay Lake told a friend, “I probably won’t ever be at WisCon again, sadly, as it used to be one of my favorite cons, but RaceFail has made it very unwelcoming and unsafe for me.”

Someone read that and alerted the usual suspects, who immediately attacked him at the post, in their blogs, and on twitter to prove he was right. (The comments at the LJ are no longer viewable; when Madrobins saw the attack was underway, she shut down the post.)

After Jay was attacked, he wrote “[cancer] Updates, lessons and the nature of anger”, saying:
I know how satisfying it is to have a cause, to pounce on the wicked, the unrighteous and the foolish. I was once young and angry all the time, too. Now I’m middle aged and angry sometimes. But somewhere along the way I decided that justice tempered with peace was a lot more important to me that being completely, absolutely right all the time. (I’ve been down that road. I know people with permanent addresses on that road.)
In “Privilege hates, but doesn't know what hate is”, Yeloson declared Lake was enjoying his privilege and his “white man’s burden” and compared his response to “white women’s tears”.

Tempest Bradford wrote “Thoughts On Jay Lake’s Continued Ass Showing”. Her post is especially fascinating for showing how cultists think. She says early on:
...we have all had that friend who is well meaning and smart, but who says problematic things about race (or gender or religion or whatever) and because they are otherwise awesome you engage with them on a good faith basis and try to get them to understand where they’re mistaken, how their problematic words are hurtful, and how they can possibly do better. When a friend tells you that you’ve got your skirt stuck up in your pantyhoes, you might be embarassed for a bit but you’re grateful a friend was there to tell you, right? Right.
Perhaps the most frightening aspect of cults is their inability to feel sympathy for those who reject the cult.  Though Bradford considers Lake “well meaning and smart”, she’s unable to consider the possibility that her approach might be mis-guided.

Warriors miss what matters when they attack artists: the work. Is Lake’s writing racist? If so, damn him. If not, whether he accepts the Warriors' non-dictionary definitions is irrelevant.