Wrestling isn’t wrestling

In an alternate timeline, if WWF wrestling had had slightly more coverage in the Netherlands in the mid-eighties, rather than being banished to the post-midnight slot on Superchannel/Sky Channel, I would’ve become a wrestling nerd rather than a comix nerd. This video gives a great example of the appeal of wrestling when, as everybody knows, it isn’t real. Starring some people you may recognise.

Nobody’s sidekick

SL Huang talks about writing intersectional characters and why they are important:

I am the protagonist in my own life, in my own story. I am not anybody’s sidekick.

Neither are my characters. Neither are they.

I have now, thankfully, gotten over the knee-jerk reaction that every axis I assign to a character off the straight white able-bodied American male (etc) is somehow an additional layer of disbelief I’m asking my audience to suspend. That I must justify these choices. If I ever feel that urge, I remind myself I am a perfectly realistic person, someone whose birth needed no special reason.

And I do not need anyone’s permission to be a hero.

For me personally, though I really don’t lack for characters with my sort of face, having more diverse, more realistically diverse characters in my fiction is only a good thing. The world really doesn’t need many more white men in its stories. Indeed, one of the reasons why I liked Huang’s Zero Sum Game and Half Life was that the protagonist looks nothing like me. One of the things that GamerGate and the Sad Puppies get so wrong is thinking that diversity is that nobody can actually enjoy reading or playing a character that isn’t exactly like you, when for many of us that’s actually the point.

For an idea of what I want to see more of, Chris Schweizer drew epic badasses from history for Black history month. Until science fiction and fantasy can show a similar list of awesome characters, there’s work to be done.

Alternate History

Alternate history:

That sometime in 1970: The Beatles fired Allen Klein and somehow came upon an agreement of how to run Apple Records, allowing the band members to separate the music from the business, the chief destruction of the band being averted; with the success of “Here Comes The Sun” and “Something” and an amazing back-catalog of unused and new songs, George successfully campaigns for an equal share of his own songs to be featured alongside the Lennon/McCartney originals (with the compromise that Linda and Yoko are allowed in the Beatles’ inner circle if need be); pleased with Phil Spector’s work remixing Let It Be, The Beatles opt to have him produce the bulk of their recordings throughout the 1970s (despite McCartney’s reluctance); John agrees but wants to elaborate on the stripped-down and live-band-sounding arrangements, as revisited in the Get Back sessions from the previous year, but at least for his own compositions written from his Primal Scream therapy sessions; Ringo was, as always, just happy to be there.

One of the things that distinguishes the serious music nerd from the serious music nerd is that the former spends a lot of time and energy not just imagining what if the Beatles hadn’t split up, or what if Syd Barrett hadn’t had his breakdown, but actually create imaginary albums from timelines in which these things did happen. I’ve only discovered this blog the other week, thanks to MeFi, but I’m seriously considering whether it would be eligible for a fan Hugo, because does seems to be the purest form of fannish alternate history making.

GamerGate will get somebody killed someday soon

This is horrifying:

Game developer Brianna Wu has been stalked, tormented, and harassed by GamerGate—the amorphous reactionary movement centered around video game journalism—for months now. But it’s never been as frightening as it was this weekend—when she watched a terrifying video made by a deranged fanatic who claims he crashed his car on the way to her home. “I’m worried my husband and I are going to die,” she tells me.

On the one hand it’s tempting to laugh at a wanker like “Jace Connors”, who embody all the stereotypes of the Internet Hard Man, up to and including saying was in the navy SEALS but still has to drive his mom’s car, but it becomes less funny if you’re the intended victim of this wackadoodle. A bit like ISIS has done in the Middle East, GamerGate is providing angry losers with an “ideal” to harass, threaten and possibly kill for, a direction for their rage. Most of it is sound and fury signifying nothing, but there only needs to be one loon who’s slightly better organised than “Connors” to create a tragedy.

And judging from this incident, it is not an idle worry. These people are tapping out of the same reservoir of rightwing anger that e.g. anti-abortion activists are drawing from. There are a lot of angry, confused young men who’ve latched on to GamerGate or similar causes in other parts of nerddom *cough* Sad Puppies *cough*, who are clearly comfortable with harassing women on Twitter in the worst possible ways and who are only one step away from continuing that harassment offline.