on August 29th, 2006 at 05:31 pm
People have been expressing outrage about Harlan Ellison for more than four decades, and he still ended up in a position to assault writers at award ceremonies, and it's not yet clear whether anything will be done to make this less possible in the future. Harlan Ellison makes a good bit of his living and reputation by outraging people. Using other words, that sentence reads, "Harlan Ellison is paid and rewarded for doing those things which cause people to express outrage. The more outrage they express, the more money and fame he gets." That equation could be broken, but it hasn't been yet.
I don't think it calls for torches and pitchforks. I think it calls for taking the goddamned microphone away from someone who's proven again and again that he can't be trusted with it.
The difference, in what we in the cheap seats can do, is between saying, "Harlan Ellison is nasty! We hate Harlan Ellison!" and saying, "Please do not invite Harlan Ellison to be any part of presentations at this function in the future. The knowledge that Harlan Ellison was going to be on stage would make me less likely to attend or publicize any event."
If you think that's unethical rabble-rousing which is likely to harm innocents, I have to say I disagree, but that's fine. I disagree with people about all kinds of things, and it hasn't hurt me or the people I disagree with yet.