In the wake of yesterday’s #DiversityInSFF campaign on Twitter, David Barnett rushed an article into The Guardian. He quoted from one of my recent blog posts about Worldcon.
The article didn’t go down that well. Mary Robinette Kowal was upset that David hadn’t talked to any women writers. This turned out to be a practical issue. David didn’t actually talk to anyone, he just quoted from what other people had said online. Sometimes you have to do that because the only way to get an article accepted is to deliver it in a tearing hurry while the issue is still hot. David has taken Mary’s complaint on the chin and promised to try to do better.
I spent most of the day doing stuff in Bristol and Bath, and haven’t had much of a chance to study the article until now. I’m pleased that David has managed to get the issue aired, but my impression is that the article was probably accepted because it appeared to paint the SF&F community in a bad light. As usual, there wasn’t nearly enough space to examine the nuances and subtleties of the issue.
Which reminds me of a point I’ll be making at the “bloggers have destroyed criticism” panel at WFC. One of the interesting things about the Internet is that there are no practical space restrictions. You can write very long and tightly argued posts. Some people do. It is the mainstream newspapers, and websites that emulate them, that hold to the “everything we publish online must be very short and simple because our readers have no attention span” philosophy.