I have decided that the various “fail” events in Science Fiction are like daytime soap opera. The dialogue is purple and cheesy, people love one another one moment and hate one another the next, everything is waaaaay overly dramatic, everyone is rushing around on the verge of towering rage or eternal despair, and nothing ever gets resolved. Everything is just fodder for the next episode, the series stretching on into the future with no forseeable conclusion. Like sand through the hourglass…
When “fail” came trick-or-treating to my doorstep in 2006, I made the mistake of assuming its representatives were rational adults in a reasoned discussion. I didn’t realize I was encountering the gust front of a quasi-cult that was quickly going to be haranguing and harassing authors for a variety of (almost entirely imaginary) offenses — tied to “isms” of one sort or another: racism, sexism, homophobia, et al. I had thought then that it was going to be a civilized discussion — a genuine exchange of viewpoints — and that my interracial marriage actually gave me a somewhat unique perspective on certain aspects of certain “isms,” thus I proceeded into the quicksand with head held high.
Silly me. The “fail” were not a community interested in diversity of opinion. This was a monoculture with a very specific set of orthodoxies, few of which jived with me — in spite of my experience. And so I rapidly found myself made an unperson in the discussion.
I should have walked away. But I’m a bit of a sucker for argument, so I didn’t. The debate intrigued and riled me. So I went on to make it a point of sticking my nose in whenever the “fail” washed up on someone else’s beachfront property.
But because the “fail” behaves precisely like an oil spill, I’m realizing no single human being can combat it. Every time I try, I just walk away slimed and exhausted for my effort. And the spill persists, as if untouched.
After this latest round of “fail” in 2010, I keep hearing Obi Wan’s admonition in the back of my head: you can’t win, but there are alternatives to fighting.
I’d previously thought it proper to stick my head up and say, look everyone, this is pretty much bullshit, this whole “fail” thing, but now I am beginning to see that every time I do that, the mess never changes nor gets any better. The same people perpetuating it actually appear to thrive on the activity generated as a result of confrontation. It gives them something to talk about — fresh energy to rail against evil-doers, evil-thinkers, and evil-speakers.
Thus spending too much time or effort in melee with the cultist complex merely feeds that complex, and I’m not going to let myself be part of that cycle anymore. I wish I’d never started in the first place.
Live and learn. Sometimes it’s harder than at other times.
Goodbye, “fail.” And good riddance.