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Below are 10 entries, after skipping 10 most recent ones in the "Daniel B. Holzman-Tweed" journal:

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November 5th, 2010
02:06 pm
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On language, costume, and empire
Over on Tor, fantasyecho has an excellent essay on how – indeed whether! – Steampunk costume alone can interrogate and deconstruct imperialism, or if additional performance is necessary. Unsurprisingly, it has spurred a discussion that has given rise both to fine insights and unfortunate displays of privilege.

I by no means wish this piece to draw anyone away from continued participation there, but by the same token I want to riff on some of our dialog there without derailing – and boosted signals are always good.
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09:51 am
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There seems to be a trope going around that Steampunks are reacting negatively to people voicing the opinion that they don’t care for Steampunk. Nothing could be further from the truth. Read more...Collapse )

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(4 talking | Talk to me.)

12:19 am
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Some quick shoutouts

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November 4th, 2010
12:44 pm
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Transfail at "deviant"Art
via catvalente on FB:

deviantArt apparently doesn't deviate so much that they care to stop pretending there are only two sexes, let alone genders.

(Talk to me.)

10:05 am
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Regarding Sturgeon's Law, or how on earth did we forget this?!?
I was inspired to write this in reaction to reading Catherynne Valente's recent unfortunate[1] article on Steampunk -- to which I presently decline to link. The specific exchange arises from her defense of her comment that if something calls itself steampunk she is entirely justified in assuming it will suck, because 90% of it does.

I can already hear the groans of any surviving First or Second Fandom who actually read my e-scribblings.

Let me now take everyone back in time, courtesy of James Gunn, to the 1953 WorldCon, at which the great Theodore Sturgeon spoke about the poor quality of Science Fiction criticism:

"When people talk about the mystery novel ...they mention The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep. When they talk about the western, they say there's The Way West and Shane. But when they talk about science fiction, they call it 'that Buck Rogers stuff,' and they say 'ninety percent of science fiction is crud.' Well, they're right. Ninety percent of science fiction is crud. But then ninety percent of everything is crud, and it's the ten percent that isn't crud that is important. and the ten percent of science fiction that isn't crud is as good as or better than anything being written anywhere."

Most people now refer to "Ninety percent of everything is crud" as "Sturgeon's Law," though he called it "Sturgeon's Revelation." In 1958, he expounded on it further:

I repeat Sturgeon’s Revelation, which was wrung out of me after twenty years of wearying defense of science fiction against attacks of people who used the worst examples of the field for ammunition, and whose conclusion was that ninety percent of SF is crud.

Using the same standards that categorize 90% of science fiction as trash, crud, or crap, it can be argued that 90% of film, literature, consumer goods, etc. are crap. In other words, the claim (or fact) that 90% of science fiction is crap is ultimately uninformative, because science fiction conforms to the same trends of quality as all other artforms.
-- Venture Magazine, March 1958

I imagine the fact that SFF authors are saying "ninety percent of X is crap" to dismiss a subgenre of SFF has Mr. Sturgeon turning in his grave. Happily, he illustrated the bankruptcy of the critique and gave the proper rebuke: it's the other ten percent that matters.


[1] Stronger language did occur to me, but I will defer using to such time as I'm willing to devote the time and energy necessary to unpacking them.

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November 2nd, 2010
07:25 pm
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"I closed my eyes and joined them, guarding the young Amongst the amazing grays"

Hail and Fare Well Esther "Shiffie" Mirkin Holzman DiLiberto, 1915 - 2010.

Daughter of Samuel Mirkin and Anna Jaffe Mirkin
Sister of Abraham Mirkin and Diane Mirkin
Beloved wife of Stan Holzman and Charles DiLiberto
Mother of Richard and Robert Holzman
Grandmother of Daniel Holzman-Tweed and Diane Rebecca Holzman Tranum
Great Grandmother of Alexander Elias Tranum

At age 95, my Grandmother died of natural causes.

These are the mysteries: Love, Death, and Rebirth. None can be without the other two. My Grandmother is now reunited with those of our family who had gone before, and in time they will again dance across this stage together.

But right now I miss her.

Current Mood: grieving
Current Music: Lightning Crashes, The Last Amazing Grays
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(16 talking | Talk to me.)

November 1st, 2010
02:11 pm
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Shorter Charles Stross on Steampunk...
Shorter Charles Stross on Steampunk: Nothing says “deconstructing my white male privilege” like policing women's clothing choices and acting as if women and people of color using Steampunk as a way to deconstruct colonialism don’t exist. Where’s my cookie and pagehits?

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October 28th, 2010
03:55 pm
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Taking the stuffing out of a scarecrow
When people put together conferences to have discussions about chemistry, they don’t mean they want to argue about phlogiston.

When people put together conferences to have discussions about biology, they don’t mean they want to debate creationism.

When people put together conferences to have discussions about physics, they don’t mean they want to debate the Pons and Fleishmann “cold fusion” experiments.

When people put together conferences to have discussions about World War II, they don’t mean they want to argue whether the Holocaust was a hoax.

When people put together conferences to discuss gender, they don’t mean they want to debate whether women should be permitted to vote.

In each above case, there are topics that are considered not only settled, but settled so thoroughly that someone asserting to the contrary is rightly regarded as living somewhere in the triangle bounded by the points “ignorant,” “crackpot,” and “con artist.” There are some spaces that address such introductory questions, but they are no longer regarded as controversies worthy of discussion by serious people of good will.

When Wiscon says it encourages discussion, debate, and extrapolation of ideas relating to feminism, gender, race, and class, they do not mean they regard Elizabeth Moon’s virulently bigoted statements as worthy of debate.

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October 27th, 2010
06:34 pm
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Gonna write about Multicultural Steampunk? Don't fail, son.
Steampunk for the Win: Being a Primer on Writing about the Steampunk Phenomenon while eschewing Assorted and Sundry Forms of Ill Mannered Fail

Or

Gonna write about Multicultural Steampunk? Don't fail, son.


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October 22nd, 2010
02:35 pm
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A quick review for fools regarding Moon's disinvitation from Wiscon
Point the First: If you've heard of WisCon but don't know why SF3 rescinded Elizabeth Moon's Guest of Honor invitation to WisCon, you're either living in a shoebox, lying, or a troll.

Point the Second: Free speech is the right to say what you wish and be free from the government penalizing you for it.

If someone tells you they've decided not to honor you because you said some dumb shit? Your freedom of speech is intact.

If someone tells you they don't want to buy your books because you said some dumb shit? Your freedom of speech is intact.

Point the Third: If you think being dis-invited in reaction to saying some dumb shit is anything like book burning, hanging in effigy, witch-hunting, or speech suppressing? If you think Wicon is anything like a government or a Church? You're a dumbass.

(8 talking | Talk to me.)

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