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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

noted without comment

Harlan Ellison issues a public apology.

Would you believe that, having left the Hugo ceremonies immediately after my part in it, while it was still in progress ... and having left the hall entirely ... yet having been around later that night for Kieth Kato's traditional chili party ... and having taken off next morning for return home ... and not having the internet facility to open "journalfen" (or whatever it is), I was unaware of any problem proceeding from my intendedly-childlike grabbing of Connie Willis's left breast, as she was exhorting me to behave.

Nonetheless, despite my only becoming aware of this brouhaha right this moment (12 noon LA time, Tuesday the 29th), three days after the digital spasm that seems to be in uproar ...YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!!!

IT IS UNCONSCIONABLE FOR A MAN TO GRAB A WOMAN'S BREAST WITHOUT HER EXPLICIT PERMISSION. To do otherwise is to go 'way over the line in terms of invasion of someone's personal space. It is crude behavior at best, and actionable behavior at worst. When George W. Bush massaged the back of the neck of that female foreign dignitary, we were all justly appalled. For me to grab Connie's breast is in excusable, indefensible, gauche, and properly offensive to any observers or those who heard of it later.

I agree wholeheartedly.

I've called Connie. Haven't heard back from her yet. Maybe I never will.

So. What now, folks? It's not as if I haven't been a politically incorrect creature in the past. But apparently, Lynne, my 72 years of indefensible, gauche (yet for the most part classy), horrifying, jaw-dropping, sophomoric, sometimes imbecile behavior hasn't--till now--reached your level of outrage.

I'm glad, at last, to have transcended your expectations. I stand naked and defenseless before your absolutely correct chiding.

With genuine thanks for the post, and celestial affection, I remain, puckishly,

Yr. pal, Harlan

P.S. You have my permission to repost this reply anywhere you choose, on journalfen, at SFWA, on every blog in the universe, and even as graffiti on the Great Wall of China.


Yes, the "Maybe this is what killed vaudeville" and "Should I say, 'This is because I'm a Jew'" bits kind of ruin what apology he did make.
I'm thinking closer to the latter; it's all a show, and I get the impression he's enjoying it far too much to really feel sorry.

Someone once said of Harlan that he was utterly full of compassion for his fellow being, and felt deeply and sincerely for them, but in a way that made him more likely to punch a beggar in the mouth when asked for change rather than giving them something. It sounds about right; it sounds mad, but it seems to make Ellison-world sense. He's furious about cases like Kitty Genovese (And under the circumstances I hope to god I spelled her name right), inequal rights, and the treatment of minorities, and he pours it into his writing, and he's put his money where his mouth is more than once on all these convictions... and yet he can grope a woman and call it childlike without breaking character. And yet he can be described several times as pretty much needing a handler to get him where he's supposed to be, doing what he's obligated to do.
Actually, I think the How's chances of me playing either the "I'm an old man and my brain is leaking out of my ass" card ... is actually both heartfelt and telling. He's embarrassed. He is also trying to play that for humor, but that line hits close to home, I think.