You’re not helpful, Friday!

If I knew I’d be getting such lovely responses, I’d get into the reviewing business much sooner. (I would’ve linked it, but the blogger in question sadly deleted it.)


At the same time, though, I think there can be something dangerous about reviews like these (especially about the Deathless review). They can dissuade authors from stepping out of their own comfort zone (granted, some authors should be dissuaded, but certainly not all). And in a publishing world that is made up largely of middle-class, heterosexual, white characters, when you cut into authors for stepping into someone else’s experience and getting it a little bit (or a lot) wrong, you only perpetuate that status quo. If you tear into people for trying, there’s no incentive for the privileged to step outside of the confines of what they know, and what you end up with is the over-representation of white, westernized characters which only helps to normalize things like racism and exoticism and ethnocentricism. And is that really what you want?

I really like the idea that discouraging authors from exoticizing the experiences of others apparently only helps to normalize racism and exoticism. Who would write about poor unrepresented us, if not the western writers? It’s not like we have authors of our own or our own literary traditions, including SF traditions.  
What is said here is basically the following: No one will be interested in your experiences, if they are not processed through the western viewpoints. And if you dare to complain about how you’re represented, your critique ceases to be useful.
Why, thank you.
What I’m trying to say is that maybe the solution to cultural appropriation is to not just rip someone apart, but to point out what’s wrong, the harm they might have done, and then graciously teach them how to do it right.
Yes. Because the point of our whole existence is to be stepping stones in your learning process. To teach you to become better people. We just have to make sure you don’t stop feeling good about yourself even for a second, and you’ll learn.  But if you fail to feel good, then you won’t learn, and it would  be so much  not your fault. We don’t want that to happen, do we?
Why, thanks again.

2 Responses to You’re not helpful, Friday!

  1. We just have to make sure you don’t stop feeling good about yourself even for a second, and you’ll learn. But if you fail to feel good, then you won’t learn, and it would be so much not your fault.

    I remember now seeing something said about how a lot of the Baby Boomers in America raised their children… that they were always praised and never told that they had failed in something for the fear of discouraging growth. The cult of achievements, as it were, except not the kind you actually achieve and earn, more the kind that you get handed as a sort of offering for trying a little bit. If at all.

    If true, it would explain an awful lot.

    Speaking of which, if anyone else is curious, the Google cache of the page in question is live for a little while longer.

    • Next Friday says:

      Yes, I’ve seen this happening a lot. First sign of criticism, and you can just see how all the processes are shutting down. If I could afford that, I would’ve drowned long time ago.

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