So this weekend a bit of a nasty kerfuffle started in SFWA because of an unfortunate article published in the SFWA Bulletin.
I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say that an older member of SFWA who has repeatedly revealed a rather wide streak of misogyny and arrogance took offense at other members calling him on it, and reacted badly (i.e. threw a temper tantrum). Apparently this older member has not realized that freedom of speech also means other people have the right to call you on your asshattedness. In public.
The SFWA board acted swiftly, not to punish anyone for their right to speech (we still believe in that) but to make sure that more editorial oversight is exercised over what is printed in an official SFWA communication.
They also took responsibility for not previously exercising that oversight, and plans are underway to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.
As a SFWA member, personally, I’m satisfied that the Board is doing what it should to protect SFWA going forward (sadly, we can’t boot members for being asshats unless they cross a certain legal line). However, as I’m sure everyone can imagine, this has not stopped people on both sides from deciding to turn this into a mudfight and/or leaving SFWA in a huff.
IMGO, leaving SFWA because we (alas) have asshats in the organization makes me wonder if those people are also going to leave the human race. I think that’s a fair question?
This is particularly grating on a week when some of us have spent our time volunteering to make sure that the SFWA booth at Book Expo America (BEA) runs smoothly, and our members are well-represented to the publishing industry (including librarians, bloggers, and audiobook people, etc). This kerfuffle has totally overshadowed any mention of what we’re doing, and I may be a bit cranky about that.