Be the Change


I’ve been thinking about publishing some sort of snarky rant about the state of the sci-fi community. It’s well-known that we’ve got some growing-up to do, but I don’t think of myself as The Sheriff of Sci-Fi. So rather than laying claim to any position of power, I think it’s fair to say that my job is to apply Ghandi’s famous quote to how I want to interact with the sci-fi community:

“You Must Be the Change You Wish to See in the World.”

There’s a logical fallacy taking place in the world today, which assumes that the only opinions worth listening to are the ones you’re willing to fight for. While I’ll grant you that there is such a thing as righteous conflict, it happens much more rarely than people realize.

It’s also been my experience that the scifi community has a nasty habit of getting distracted from the business at hand. I remember reading the tweets of a recent con and their business meeting … they’re literally bringing together geeks, nerds and auteurs to debate what ‘North America’ means. I kid you not:

So my point is that for me, it’s important to remain focused. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Sci-fi is not profited by channeling my energy into being reactive instead of being creative. In any case, it’s counterproductive. “Never argue with an idiot,” the saying goes, “they’ll drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”

But how do you remain ‘above it all’ in an era where female geeks are marginalized, sexually harassed and stalked online? My thought process is constantly evolving on this, so feel free to add your two cents. Suffice to say, I’m comfortable with saying ‘although I’ve never seen someone get mugged in front of me, I’m reasonably certain I’d step in if I saw it.’ No macho tough-talk required. The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing, but that doesn’t mean I should act like the sci-fi version of George Zimmerman, either.

In the meantime, I can treat people with respect and deal with conflict on a case-by-case basis. I’m just posting this for future reference. I genuinely hope I can remain focused on the business of ‘geek as being, not geek as buying.’ I have other stories to tell.