Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Weary of Insults by the Stupid and Ignorant

When I get into political discussions, I get called a liberal and socialist. When I get into similar discussion on science fiction and fantasy I get called a SJW (social justice warrior). I get that these people are trying to insult me and usually act accordingly, but what I rarely talk about is how accurate these terms, when applied with their correct meanings, are.

I have been a science fiction and fantasy reader since.... well I can't really remember. At first I read both, not really having a preference, but gradually I dove into science fiction. I think the wide variety of quality media had a lot to do with it. The fantasy options in movies and TV left a lot to be desired back in the 80's. I started out with Star Wars, then Doctor Who, and then (even though my mother had been trying since I was born) Star Trek. When I found Star Trek I become a huge fan. I watched the original series religiously on weekdays and Battlestar Galactica on weekends.

And I read. Asimov, Heinlein, Norton, the Star Trek Pocket Books series, and a host of others. I always had a book with me or was scribbling my own story attempts in notebooks. I am a great fan of behind the scenes stories and I have absorbed the influences, inspirations, and goals of Gene Roddenberry and George Lucas.

What that all culminates in is me. I am a product of what I read, of my family background, of where I grew up. And as a result, my politics are viciously moderate. I do not put up with either extreme conservatives or extreme liberals very well. I don't tolerate bullies or liars or people who twist things around to suit their telling of the story.

So where does that leave me today? I am a firm believer in equality for all. A lot of my beliefs were tempered by Star Trek. Anyone who actually paid attention to what Gene was doing will know that he didn't hold with the racist and misogynistic attitudes of the 1960's. While it is hard to see it to day, he cast the most ethnically diverse and gender equal cast of the decade. He poured his idealism into the Vulcans and their ideal of IDIC (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations). Star Trek featured the first interracial kiss and the first same sex kiss on television. It starred a mixed species character. Gene wanted it to feature a woman as second in command, but that went to far for 60's sensibilities.

From the written word I got more of the same. Equality, diversity, justice, doing what is right, fighting those who don't want things to change. I seriously don't believe that science fiction can exist without the so called 'SJW's because so much of the genre has focused on that for so long. Heinlein's first novel from 1939, For Us, The Living, touches on all this. Asimov challenged us to find the robot, Andrew Martin, human in Bicentennial Man. Time after time, story after story, this is what I have read. This idea by one group that SJW's are a new thing and have "taken over" the genre and are redirecting it from its roots is asinine. This so called SJW movement IS the genre of science fiction. It always has been. The people who use SJW or the more ridiculous GHH are the ones trying to change the genre to suit their political beliefs.

I have this nice chart that shows the voting habits of our US government and it clearly shows how far our government has descended into madness. The right has gotten more and more radical over the last 40 years to the point where even trying to discuss things with those of that bent is an exercise in frustration. This movement that accuses science fiction of being taken over by SJW's seems to stem from the same right-wing insanity. Yes, the stories have gotten more daring, with more homosexual and transgender characters, with more equality for all, but isn't that what we have been building towards? Isn't that what Gene Roddenberry saw in our future? Is that not what Star Trek portrayed? Is that not what the writers were striving for in the constraints of their time?

So I fail to see the danger in what these people fear because it is what the genre has been striving for since its inception. And who cares if a year or two sees more women winning awards than men? We've had it the other way for far too long and it is about time the majority gender gets its due? So if anyone cares to call me an SJW for these viewpoints, or a liberal, or socialist, I see no point in taking it as the insult they mean. It is time to own up that even as a moderate, I have causes to fight and equality of all is a big one.

On one final note, this post/rant was inspired by a blog post by David Mack (http://www.davidmack.pro/blog/?p=5219) that finds him dealing with this issue with someone who has no clue what a social justice warrior Gene Roddenberry was.

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