writing rengeek magpie mind

December 2014

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writing rengeek magpie mind

The venom cock just won't stay down.

The first rule of venom cock is, we don't talk about venom cock. I mean, I pretty much avoided this kerfuffle the first time, but the second time around it's just so stultifying that I have to participate. coalescent rounds them up over here (no flamewars, guys--it's a community for a university class, and I won't have you giving the English students a bad impression of my genre.)

That said, the whileaway post is really excellent. I haven't read The Sparrow, but that's besides the point; I think it narrows down the fuss nicely.

Now, I'm not going to talk about venom cock. I am going to talk about the Venom Cock Phenomenon (VCP.)

I will also say that I witnessed, though did not participate in, some of the WFC readings (which weren't as wide-spread as some say--it was more a 45-minute wonder), and the comments were less on the content, and more on the quality of the writing.

And the eye-dialect.

Neither of which I can comment on, because I haven't read the book (well, okay, I read the first paragraph of the excerpt. But I didn't inhale.)

I mean, Anne Bishop and suzych certainly swing some extreme content in their books (ratstration! horse sex!) and while I have heard people making flinchy noises discussing those books, I've never seen anybody moved to actually embark upon an eye-of-argonning of same. (That's what they were doing at WFC, by the way. There: the dirty secret is out. It was a mass, spontaneous eye-of-argonization. Nothing more elaborate than that.)

(Here's where I pull out my entitlement and stand on my privilege as a grown woman raised by lesbian separatists. I got better; so did they.) (I'd stand on my privilege as a man, but I haven't got any.)

The issue wasn't the feminism. The issue isn't the dragon smut, or the female circumcision. Feminism does not need saving from the patriarchy in this particular instance. The issue was that a quorum, even a super-majority, of WFC attendees found the prose in Touched by Venom laughably bad.

Feminism is never an excuse for laughably bad prose.

You may not agree. You may think the book has other virtues that make up for the prose. You may think the prose is good. You are entitled to your opinion. But by all you hold holy, please, people, can we go back to talking about something else? Feminism does not need saving from the venom-cock mockers.

I promise you.

Thank you. You may return to your homes.

Comments

Nick Mamatas' response to Liz Henry's review was to call her a "teenyboper."


I did no such thing. I said her special pleading, re: obscenity and some set of classics and SF novels, was typical of the teenybopper crowd. And it is.

1. I've known Liz since 1987 when we were both undergrads at UT Austin. So he's wrong on a matter of fact.


I made no such factual claim. Your claim about me, however, is 100% wrong.


2. He could had said he didn't find any redeeming features in the novel. Liz found something worthwhile in the novel. He could had disagreed with Liz on the matter of opinion.


My post wasn't about the novel, about which I have no opinion. (I have an opinion about the excerpt I read; it was ludicrous and laughable). My post was about two particular claims in the review. The first is that reading the book was somehow relevant to points I made about "poor literary quality" of some books, "the publishing industry" in general, and "the big egos of bad authors." The text of the novel has nothing to do with any of those things.

The second claim I took issue with was her attempt to connect disliking the book's violence with a certain sort of privilege.

4. I think Nick was out of line with the namecalling.

I think you're out of line with your text torture.

I said her special pleading, re: obscenity and some set of classics and SF novels, was typical of the teenybopper crowd.

You said you didn't call her a teenybopper, but here you stick her in that set.

I'm not a literary critic, I'm a fucking programmer, so I'm not going to dispute whether or not Liz's point about violence and privilege worked or not.

My girlfriend reminds me there's two century's worth of rudeness and snark in literary reviews. It's not something I enjoy. I had to put up with three years worth of rudeness over XML syndication formats. I think snark's better used on Bush and company.

As Elizabeth said above, you love to kick over anthills, and here I am being an ant.

I appreciate you responding to my complaint, though it's not worth running any more cycles on this matter.
I said her special pleading, re: obscenity and some set of classics and SF novels, was typical of the teenybopper crowd.

You said you didn't call her a teenybopper, but here you stick her in that set.


No I didn't. I called her argument typical of the arguments of that set.

For example, if you started wearing comically oversized children's wear, say, Oshkosh B'gosh, and I said "Man, that guy is wearing coveralls like some three year-old would", would I be saying "Wow, that guy is really, literally, three years-old, and that's a fact!"? No.

But that is what you're claiming I'm saying.

An implicit claim you seem to be making: someone of a certain age cannot demonstrate attributes (negative attributes at least) typical of those of a younger age.
There is some sort of a crowning irony in you guys choosing to have this fight in my journal rather than your own.

It's always Belgium that gets trampled.
They come for the chocolate, the beer stew, and the tarts.
don't make me sit on you, Nick.

(I keep trying to explain to people that you're classist, not sexist, but I suppose it's a reasonably confusion, given how often gender and class are conflated.)
Well, I'm not quite classist (which generally means snobbery of some sort of other); I want the working class to destroy the ruling class and then create a classless society. The middle class can be an associate of that, or an obstacle to that.
Fair enough. I consider it proof of your abiding faith in humanity, by the way, that you consider this a possibility.
Or history. Exhibit A being the fact that you're not a pregnant peasant poking at the ground with a stick in the Ukraine. (Well, Exhibit A changes depending on whom I'm talking to.)
Actually, my family bailed before the revolution. They came to America in the 1800's (My great-grandfather was a conscript and then a deserter from the Russian army, as near as we can figure) and they were good assimilated American Dreamers.

So, I'm descended from cossacks and hutzuls turned moderately successful capitalists, in the days when a limited sort of American Dreaming was available to people without much education or starting capital. As my dad puts it, they ate their oatmeal without milk and their coffee without sugar, and they did all right.

Which doesn't alter the validity of your example; just the specific case.
I wasn't making a reference to the Russian revolution (or the Narodniks, for that matter) but simply to the fact that Things Change.

A Lot.

Aha! Yes. They do. And the general curve tends up, though it's unfashionable to say so.