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bear by san

February 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.


(It was amusing reading the progressively-narrower posts in this thread....)

I'm stilling willing to believe Ellison was being stupid, and wasn't necessarily aware at the time that what he was doing was going to hurt anyone.

Let's assume that what you're willing to believe is true, that the act in question was an honest mistake. Then let's examine the apology. It starts out very strongly, if it's not over-the-top, it's pretty close to the top.

Then the cracks start to appear. 'I've always been like this, and I've been classy about it.' In other words, he's moved away from 'I did the wrong thing' and is now attempting 'How could you possibly be angry with a charming rogue like me?'

Then the cracks get worse, the last paragraph is a not-thinly-veiled statement that he is being criticised due to 'political correctness'. He's turning on his critics and attacking them.

This is not the behaviour of someone who has accepted responsibility for doing something bad - this is the behaviour of someone who is trying to find the right words to make the critics shut up.
(It was amusing reading the progressively-narrower posts in this thread....)

Yeah, it's like reading Japanese all of a sudden.

This is not the behaviour of someone who has accepted responsibility for doing something bad

See, I recognise this behaviour, and I agree it seems designed to take some of the heat off of him, but I don't think it necessarily means he doesn't feel he deserves the heat. I think his self-deprecations were honest. That he's trying to be charming only suggests to me he's automatically trying to ward off pain.
On issues like this, I'm very much a member of the 'take it like a man' school of pain management. The way I see it, the more it hurts this time, the more incentive he'll have to not do it next time.

I agree that the bits of the statement I'm unhappy with are intended to ward off pain. But I think the pain can't be separated from the lesson.