Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/09/06/alice-sheldon.html
Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/09/06/alice-sheldon.html
I don’t know the specifics of the case, but an 84 year old who needed a caregiver being killed might be considered an act of mercy. I know the law requires that we keep people alive well past the point of no return, but I tend to give a lot of slack for the cases where the caregivers simply can’t continue and basically pull the plug.
It’s not the kind of incident that I think should define a person’s life. I assume Alice Sheldon wasn’t a jerk for her entire life and gatekeeping an entire genre?
Also, is that the actual logo for the award? Because it looks awesome, but would get you in a lot of trouble if you worked for CERN and had to give a talk on TV about your latest accomplishments.
Eesh, that’s the sort of story where all you can achieve by relitigating it is to make an asshole out of yourself. Whatever ideological heading you file it under, the only thing that’s certain is that you’re inserting yourself into a deeply sad and private situation that you’ll never really be in a position to judge.
‘Course, that’s the problem with naming stuff after people, and why you should wait a good long while before doing it.
Everything named after a person is going to have to be renamed. Even Jesus killed a fig tree for no really good reason.
I think all history someone finds repugnant and uncomfortble should be hidden and rewritten as soon as possible.
This seems like a very different situation in many aspects than that which prompted the re-naming of the Campbell awards, so my initial answer would be no.
Of course not. Campbell had odious political opinions, whereas Tiptree merely killed her husband and herself.
Life is overrated. Under other circumstances, like if they were able or younger, this might be more sinister. But she didn’t kill him for her own benefit, and in effect she took the death penalty after killing him.
I was close to death back in March, but I was unaware of what was happening, so I.never got to say “let me die” or “save me”. It was a free pass, a life I was never that happy about, but I was saved enough that just slipping a bit would make things worse rather than get me to Last Day.
Other cases would not be as clear as the couple, and contrarily, I.worry about young people who want to die, even though I wouldn’t say no to myself.
There are a lot more immediate things that need renaming, or shouldn’t have been named for something in the first place.
Just bevause things can be renamed doesn’t mean they should.
Figtreeanity doesn’t have the same ring to it
This is not erasing history. That’s a very silly argument, as no one is going around erasing all references to Campbell or Tiptree, merely acknowledging the problematic nature of the individuals and renaming awards as a result. Much like renaming an elementary school named after a confederate general is not erasing history, it’s acknowledging the full horror and reality of the antebellum south, and that a key aspect of the confederacy was white supremacy and slavery.
Erasing history is ignoring contributions of people of color and women in sci-fi/fantasy, which is precisely what Campbell attempted to do with his policies at Astounding. Ignoring THAT reality is erasing history. The same comparison can be said of the rise of the Lost Cause mythos of the antebellum period and the civil war, which systematically sought to white wash that history, and tell it only from the perspective of rich, southern white men.
Oh, give me a break! Again, that’s just silly.
How is acknowledging facts “erasing” history? It’s actually understanding history instead of replacing history with some heroic, false narrative. Why should we continue to honor and celebrate people who hold backwards, retrograde, and damaging views? How does that make any sense whatsoever?
NO ONE is trying to erase campbell or tiptree from the historical narrative, merely acknowledging them in all their human complexity.
I suspect it will probably be renamed, although I do agree this one is a far more complicated decision. Most of the family seem pretty clear it was a suicide pact and he was failing fast. It’s only more recently that some folks have speculated she outright murdered him out of the exhaustion of caring for him, but since few of those were involved with the situation, I have much less faith in their take.
Ultimately it’s a good time to really reflect on our cult of hero worship, and how often those heroes turn out to be massively flawed individuals who did terrible things to get to where they were in a position of influence and power. We remember them for the power and influence and forget the bodies they stepped on during their climb. All those confederate generals, as Mindy pointed out. They were not only often slave owners who fought for their right to keep owning people as property, but they were traitors to their country. They took up arms against the United States. They lost.
And we celebrate them for this?
Remember them, sure. But it’s time to stop building monuments to these people. And time to reflect on all the awards named after people to determine if they’re really deserving of that name (Vince Lombardi trophy is probably fine, but I’m looking at you, Noble prize awards…)
EDIT: I must also add, the idea we won’t sufficiently “remember” history if we don’t build monuments to terrible people is ludicrous. There are plenty of famous bad people we haven’t raised statues to, but we don’t seem to forget THEM.
I was just thinking that maybe awards should be named after the winner. That way, if the winner turns out to be a jerk, it only affects their one award.
@imbrial It was literally god-damned frigtreeicide!
Actually I had that same thought. It’s really not a bad idea, and kind of a nifty way of honoring the previous year’s winner.
While we’re on the whole renaming thing, let’s take the corporate names off of awards, stadiums and so on. Or at least stop giving the sponsors our headspace. We are under no contractual obligation to namecheck sponsors all the time, so let’s not.
Honestly, the slavery thing is what matters to me. That they fomented a failed rebellion is reason enough for the nation against which they rebelled not to honor them, but if individuals or even communities want to honor rebels, that in and of itself poses no ethical problems for me, as allegiance to a state is an empty end unto itself. What poses the ethical problem for me is why they rebelled, to wit to perpetuate the evil of slavery.
No, dude, it was “States Rights”; all those talking heads on youtube keep telling me so.
While eliding the right to what.
But I don’t want to drift off topic, so we should probably table that tangent.
There is a strong urge among conservatives to “disappear” mental illness.
Wait! “James Tiptree Jr.” isn’t even a real name? …the fuck?
My two cents is that my vote would be not to change it, as the reason seems to based on outside speculation about what might have happened between Sheldon and her husband with only circumstantial evidence that point either to a suicide pact or caregiver murder and we’ll almost certainly never actually know which it was. Campbell’s overt unapologetic racism and the repercussions of his gatekeeping are an unambiguous matter of clear factual record. That said, I’m not someone who pays attention to awards - though I’m happy for people I like when they win them and for the boost it gives their careers - so probably listen to the people who care about the award before heeding my take.
I will point out that one interpretation of entertaining a change in the Tiptree Award could be as an endeavor to demonstrate that a progressive feminist woman is subject to the same standards as a reactionary racist man, but if so then I would respectfully argue that this is subjecting Sheldon to a far different and arguably far less cut-and-dry standard than Campbell. The willingness to walk the walk that no one is beyond criticism is a good one, but in this case seems like a double standard since there just isn’t AFAIK a progressive feminist woman author who did anything comparable to the racist gatekeeping Campbell did for the simple reason that due to historical inequalities there were none in that kind of position of power in SF publishing at that time.