writing rengeek magpie mind

August 2014

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writing rengeek magpie mind

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.

Comments

Ok, going to post a thought here, prompted by a discussion with my husband last night. I've posted it in a couple of other places as well, so apologies if you trip over it more than once.

To give Ellison credit, this was actually bizarre behavior for him. He has made a lifetime out of being obnoxious and abrasive, but physically (not verbally, just physically) he has always been more...chivalrous, towards women at least, and at least as far as I know. It is genuinely an odd line for him to have stepped over.

To throw out a thought: the unpleasant medical reality is that he has had several cardiac events, and has been quite ill in the past. A badly-functioning heart tends to spawn off microscopic blood clots. These do not cause major, dramatic damage, as they only stick in the smallest and finest blood vessels; however, they have a tendency because of this to cause creeping, insidious damage, including unobvious "silent strokes" with small areas of local damage.

When this happened to my father a few years ago, some very noticeable effects were poor impulse control and a tendency towards inappropriate sexual behavior -- a really devastating change in a man who had always had a strict rule of conduct. Other effects can be increasingly erratic behavior, increased aggressiveness...yeah, you get the picture.

I agree that Ellison's apology is a bit...hmm...but I think he does realise that he's crossed an unacceptable line, and I find the fact that he has apologised at all significant, since let's face it, the man is not exactly known for making any apology when he's a jerk. What I wonder is if we are actually seeing the result of poor impulse control that he genuinely doesn't have the ability to check, now. We don't know that he isn't in full possession of his faculties and still just being a jerk, but we don't know that he is, either, and this Con seemed to mark some odd behavior even by the usual Ellison standards. We don't know. He might not know. If it is a deterioration of behavior that he isn't in control of and that we might see more of, then it is going to be quite devastating for him and for Susan, both.