Categories
empathy deficit entitled babies misogyny sexual assault sexual harassment

Isaac Asimov: Prolific author, even more prolific sexual assaulter

By David Futrelle

The famously and rather ludicrously prolific science fiction and popular science writer Isaac Asimov — who claimed to have written or edited some 500 books — was born a century ago this month, and the occasion has inspired tributes in a variety of languages.

But there’s an uneasy tone to some of these tributes, because this longtime sci fi hero, who died in 1992, had a dark side hidden in plain sight — he was known not only as a tireless prose machine but also as a man who regularly, and enthusiastically groped women and sometimes tried to force them to kiss him.

Donald Trump bragged about grabbing women by the pussy; Asimov liked to grab and pinch women’s asses. Indeed, as Stephanie Zwan has documented, he was so well-known for this behavior that he was once asked to deliver a speech at a science fiction convention on “The Positive Power of Posterior Pinching.” While Asimov declined, partly because of the hassle of finding women who would consent to appear on stage with him so he could demonstrate his technique on them, he did suggest that he might change his mind “if the posteriors in question were of particularly compelling interest.”

Normally, of course, Asimov didn’t ask permission before pinching, or doing anything else; as he once joked to fellow science fiction luminary Frederick Pohl that, using his particular technique, “you get slapped a lot, but you get laid a lot, too.”

Within the science fiction community Asimov’s behavior was treated (at least by men) as little more than a sort of side effect of his affable personality — like a tendency to make bad puns, which might occasion both groans and laughs. Indeed, it was his reputation as a basically harmless lech that allowed him to get away with routine sexual harassment and assault for decades.

As biographer Alec Nevala-Lee has noted, Asimov’s

reputation as a groper became a running joke among science fiction fans. The writer and editor Judith Merril recalled that Asimov was known in the 1940s as “the man with a hundred hands,” and that he “apparently felt obliged to leer, ogle, pat, and proposition as an act of sociability.” …

It was all framed as nothing but good fun, as were his interactions with women once his success as an author allowed him to proceed with greater impunity. He writes in his memoirs of his custom of “hugging all the young ladies” at his publisher’s office, which was viewed indulgently by such editors as Timothy Seldes of Doubleday, who said, “All you want to do is kiss the girls and make collect calls. You’re welcome to that, Asimov.” In reality, his attentions were often unwanted, and women found excuses to be away from the building whenever he was scheduled to appear.

After his celebrity increased, his behavior at conventions became more egregious, as the editor Edward L. Ferman reminisced of a fan gathering in the late 1950s: “Asimov … instead of shaking my date’s hand, shook her left breast.”

Another Great Man who turns out to have been a massive shit.

Send tips to dfutrelle at gmail dot com.

We Hunted the Mammoth relies entirely on readers like you for its survival. If you appreciate our work, please send a few bucks our way! Thanks!

.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

134 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Naglfar
Naglfar
8 months ago

@C.A. Collins
It’s fantastic that Chuck’s done that.
I’ve never actually read anything he’s written, so I’m not sure if his writing is any good. Since the whole point of his writing appears to be a self-referential satire, I’d imagine it’s deliberately not, but I don’t know.

C.A. Collins
C.A. Collins
8 months ago

@Naglfar: I have to admit, I think the self-referential humor is his brand at this point.
@Lunipuma: Asimov was a well known missing stair. I’ve never heard of Adams being a predator. I’m not saying he wasn’t, but the only Douglas Adams I get doing a google for Name+Sexual Assault is s different Douglas Adams. Do you have a link? Even if you don’t, he might have been a creep, just not talked about.

Naglfar
Naglfar
8 months ago

@C.A. Collins

I have to admit, I think the self-referential humor is his brand at this point.

That would make sense. There’s a limited number of reasons to write that many books about being pounded in the butt by one’s own butt.

Diego Duarte
Diego Duarte
8 months ago

@Katamount

Don’t mean to attack you, your viewpoint or further pry open that can of worms but I sort of dislike the term “cancelling”, and I’d like to take the opportunity to address this and similar expressions that pop up in these debates.

No one is cancelling anybody, these people are being held accountable for the actions and words they very openly espoused in public. Are there misses and dog-piling sometimes? Sure, one mistake can lead to another.

Just today we had to apologize to a law firm because someone in our facebook group decided we should hold a hired attorney accountable for their horrid racist views online. We found out a little too late that the guy hadn’t been working for that firm 6 months ago, but he was still listed as employed there. Obviously we apologized and deleted our comments, as well as updated the info to prevent further harm.

Then again, more often than not, when people moan about “cancelling” and “shutting down the conversation”, what they mean is that they would like to espouse and propagate bigoted views without being subject to any sort of scrutiny, contradiction or resistance whatsoever.

Preventing people from resorting to debunked arguments, stereotypes or sea-lioning isn’t shutting down a conversation, rather it is allowing it to move forward, past the very bigoted views that truly shut down conversations:

Black people behave this way because it is genetically inherent to their race“.

Women evolved biologically to desire the strongest alpha male they could find, that’s why they advocate for open borders!

So in essence, nothing is more harmful to a conversation than absolutist comments that perpetuate bigotry, and telling people to fuck off with these sort of views isn’t “cancelling” or “shutting down conversation”, rather it is preventing it from descending into a cess pit designed to impede any sort of progress, understanding or new discovery.

Crip Dyke
8 months ago

I do have to admit that Vox Day’s writing gave me one of the greatest laughs of all time:

I am the lead designer of First Sword, a combat management game. The game has orcs and men, elves and dwarves. It has goblins and trolls. But it has no women.

This is not because I am misogynistic. This is not because I do not women to play the game. This is because putting women in the game makes no sense, violates the principle of the suspension of disbelief, and will not make the game any better …

Because the game is a gladiator game. Women cannot credibly fight as gladiators. We don’t put women in the game for the same reason we don’t put bunny rabbits or children in the game.

and wait for it …

We could, of course, throw out historical verisimilitude. But we’re not going to. Because we value that verisimilitude far more than we value the opinion of a few whiny women who don’t play the sort of games we make anyhow.

Seriously, Vox can’t win a Hugo, but this has to win some professional historians’ conference “best use of the phrase “historical verisimilitude” in a comedy” award. (Of course, I learned about this epic joke right here on David’s blog, when he covered it at the time.

moregeekthan
moregeekthan
8 months ago

My avatar disagrees with the assertation that lapines make poor gladiators.

(Though, to be fair, Richard Adams could have given the does more to do.)

Naglfar
Naglfar
8 months ago

@Diego Duarte

Then again, more often than not, when people moan about “cancelling” and “shutting down the conversation”, what they mean is that they would like to espouse and propagate bigoted views without being subject to any sort of scrutiny, contradiction or resistance whatsoever.

I’ve seen the exact same thing. The people who seem to complain about being “cancelled” are people who expressed bigoted opinions in the first place and are annoyed people responded. I am opposed to attacking or dogpiling these people, but simply choosing not to consume their work, (i.e. a boycott) is not that. It is a choice as consumers not to support their views.

Re: ContraPoints
I haven’t seen her new video on cancelling, but I’d guess it has something to do with the fallout she experienced after the Buck Angel cameo in “Opulence”. We’ve already discussed that and I don’t want to start another argument, so I won’t venture further ideas since I haven’t seen it (it’s very long and I‘ve been busy lately).

@Crip Dyke
Because orcs are obviously very historically accurate, and only men could hunt them. Like the mammoths, those orcs. /s

Victorious Parasol
8 months ago

@moregeekthan

My money will always be on the rabbit whose Chief Rabbit told him to defend this run.

Moggie
Moggie
8 months ago

I’m sorry, I can’t let mention of Vox Day pass without posting that photo of him, because it’s just so perfect:

comment image

Diego Duarte
Diego Duarte
8 months ago

@Naglfar

I’ve seen the exact same thing. The people who seem to complain about being “cancelled” are people who expressed bigoted opinions in the first place and are annoyed people responded. I am opposed to attacking or dogpiling these people, but simply choosing not to consume their work, (i.e. a boycott) is not that. It is a choice as consumers not to support their views.

It is also pretty telling that the Right has its own version of “cancelling”, which does not only involve boycott (although a very inefficient version which involves buying and then breaking the product), but more often than not escalates into bullying, threats of violence and actual violence.

They are unabashedly ashamed of “cancelling” even minors, such as Greta Thunberg, for telling world leaders to listen to scientists. But call them bigoted for saying racist/misogynist shit and they lose their fucking minds and behave like persecuted minorities.

Let’s not also forget fucking Gamer Gate and the harassment and violence Zoe Quinn experiences to this day.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
8 months ago

Women cannot credibly fight as gladiators

https://www.forbes.com/sites/drsarahbond/2017/04/12/female-gladiators-were-a-part-of-the-lure-of-the-roman-arena-too/

Rather disturbingly, there were child gladiators too…

Nero admired him for this action and entertained him in many ways, especially by giving a gladiatorial exhibition at Puteoli. It was under the direction of Patrobius, one of his freedmen, who managed to make it a most brilliant and costly affair, as may be seen from the fact that on one of the days not a person but Ethiopians — men, women, and children — appeared in the theatre.

moregeekthan
moregeekthan
8 months ago

@Victorious Parasol

“Chief?”

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
8 months ago

Usagi Yojimbo for the win, as far as badass rabbits go.

Moggie
Moggie
8 months ago

None of those are a match for the killer rabbit of Caerbannog.

Naglfar
Naglfar
8 months ago

@Diego Duarte

although a very inefficient version which involves buying and then breaking the product

Honestly that’s not a boycott at all. They’re still giving money to the people they dislike and still spending their own money and energy on it. Doesn’t seem like a great way to put companies out of business.

rv97
rv97
8 months ago

@Knitting Cat Lady

I feel like it would be better if we can engineer society or humanity to not feel tempted by it.

I almost feel like male sexuality is problematic by its very nature – I just feel like that it’s fuelling such a trope and people don’t even see an issue with it. Unfortunately, me being the callous and increasingly cold-hearted and disturbed shit I am, I just feel like I’m succumbing to hate daily.

Why can’t humanity just have a more traditionally feminine-oriented means of being affected by and expressing desire?

Crip Dyke
8 months ago

So there’s a thing where people who are having a good time in a greek restaurant will buy earthenware plates or mugs just so that they can intentionally smash them to show how much delightful, drunken fun they’re having.

They buy the plates literally only so that the world can see them destroy those same plates.

The people who make those plates? Yeah, they’re still in business.

rv97
rv97
8 months ago

@Diego Duarte

I feel like we should just ban EVERYTHING that is even superficially linked to a system that supports violence against or the subjugation to men of women. I’d dare say this includes religion, evo psych and entire fucking political parties. I say religion because mainstream religion is very well and active in promoting repressive values.

I don’t know how one can stop large groups of religious individuals from accepting more repressive attitudes and forcing it to everyone else without it being an infringement on their right to religious freedom. Hell, America entertains this fucking notion by indirectly supporting Islamists and even ditching their previous national motto! Russia guaranteed repressive norms shall take place by reducing the penalties against domestic violence and giving LGBT people a harder time than in the previous decade or two as of writing, now that the pro-atheist Soviet Union is no more.

This world should be leftist as fast as possible or it shouldn’t deserve live to see the end of this decade, hopefully by a giant space rock.

QuantumInc
QuantumInc
8 months ago

“He didn’t know any better” isn’t an excuse, but it is certainly an explanation. Yes, Isaac Asimov’s behavior makes perfect sense in the context of rape culture. In “rape culture” men are encouraged to be sexually aggressive, sometimes to the point of rape, it also teaches them to expect certain kinds of pushback, even slaps to the face. There has been progress against rape culture but it is still a problem. “He was a product of his time,” we are still kinda in that time.

“Was it acceptable?” is a misleading question. A lot of people accepted it, a lot of people refused it. A better example would be Trump, this blog and others say “not my president” but clearly somebody voted for him. Personally I believe there is an objective moral truth, but human beings can’t know it with absolute perfect guranteed 100% certainty. It is incredibly frustrating to explain why pinching the butt of a random woman or locking migrant children in cages is a bad thing; but it has to be done. This blog is filled with examples of people you can never persuade, but there are still people out there that can be persuaded and yet don’t really understand or agree with basic feminist ideas.

@Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile: Your screen name implies you have read the same things about rape culture as I have, but your actual writing implies the opposite. Feminist blogs are filled with examples of men who commit rape but get away with it because everyone besides the victim, even the police, treat the event like it doesn’t count as a crime, about how the act definitely fits the definition but nobody wants to call it rape. There are even articles literally titled “I never called it rape”. Obviously the feminist writers want to end rape, which is why they write about it, but not everyone is a feminist. Regardless of what you intended to write, when I read your comments here it sounds like you have never met anyone who wasn’t also a feminist. Which seems improbable. I think you understand why rape culture is bad, but I don’t think you understand what epronovost is trying to say.

It is sometimes useless to blame people, even when they are clearly blameworthy. Blaming Isaac Asimov isn’t the same as helping his victims, and it is not the same as stopping sexual assault in the future. If you expect more from men, you do it as a call to action not a prediction. Reading about “rape culture” makes it clear what sort of behavior we should predict and why we should hope for something else. There is a balancing act between encouraging better behavior and not burning bridges with people who might change in the future.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
8 months ago

@QuantumInc : it’s rarely useless to blame people. Blaming Isaac Asimov, for example, let us have a prime example of somewhat who isn’t a disney villain and yet did incredibly sleazy stuff. It help explaining why the reputation of someone isn’t proof he is a good person. It’s a good example of how someone can easily make things look acceptable by his own power.

Finally, and most importantly, it help the victims find closures. I hate people erasing the victims.

In short, dear QuantumInc, get lost. I have little to no patience for rape apologia wrapped in a weak and flimsy excuse.

gijoel
gijoel
8 months ago

Yet another inductee in the league of disappointing authors.

http://amultiverse.com/comic/2019/12/23/jk-rowling-and-the-league-of-disappointing-authors/

DaveTheResurrector
DaveTheResurrector
8 months ago

@Lunipuma

I hope you’re referring to Scott Adams, not Douglas Adams. I’m not ready to be sad about Hitchhiker.

Dave

TacticalProgressive
TacticalProgressive
8 months ago

It seems a not too uncommon, even a rather common thread; that their are authors who are good writers but crappy people. At times, like in the case of HP Lovecraft; such crappyness ends bleeding into and becoming the praxis, to whatever degree: of their own work.

It’s honestly a very difficult tightrope to walk when your faced with writers who have writing talent but have crap personalities and worse ideologies and biases. For me I find their are times I take the stance of “I can appreciate the work; but I can’t stand the author and will call them out as an asshole ceaselessly”, and their are times where an author is just so terrible that I won’t even touch or look at the books they make.

I always have a complicated relationship to a number of the works Tom Clancy has written; as to his (granted uneasy) credit: he was able to make well written and grounded military fiction. However his beliefs and a lot of the themes in most of his personally written works also tent to take environmental conversationalist minded folks, progressives and anyone left of center individuals (such as myself) as “stupid/cowards/evil” and that even Left leaning Military personnel are rather unflatteringly and nominally portrayed as, at best “bureaucratic, pencil pushing dinguses hung up on ‘procedure’ for arbitrary or selfish reasons”, or cowards, idiots and ‘irrational people’ who just suck, to at worse being portrayed as outright traitors who would stab their comrades in the back at the first opportunity and are no better than terrorists.”

And as a progressive with a long experience as an Air Cadet; I often wounder how progressive and left of center soldiers feel when one of the big names of military fiction tended to either strongly imply or even outright spell out that they are secretly “cowards, idiots and evil traitors” who are equated as being akin to terrorists because they believe that upholding proper protocol and supporting environmental conservation is important.

Victorious Parasol
8 months ago

@moregeekthan

You know what Thlayli would say to that. 😉

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

“He didn’t know any better” isn’t an excuse, but it is certainly an explanation. Yes, Isaac Asimov’s behavior makes perfect sense in the context of rape culture. In “rape culture” men are encouraged to be sexually aggressive, sometimes to the point of rape, it also teaches them to expect certain kinds of pushback, even slaps to the face. There has been progress against rape culture but it is still a problem. “He was a product of his time,” we are still kinda in that time.

But his behavior grew worse with time, not better. And he died well after the 2nd wave of feminism started. So the notion that he just didn’t know better is bullshit. By the 1970s, it would’ve been general knowledge that sexual harassment is wrong.

Anyway, good news. My cat, Darrow does not seem to have cancer. His ultrasound and bloodwork do suggest he is about to get kidney disease, so he may not be one of those kitties that lives to age 20. But with a kidney diet, and maybe medication in the future, he hopefully has a couple more years.

David Rose
David Rose
8 months ago

@Weird Eddie

Yeah, I don’t think I worded the second part of my comment very well. My point was that it’s so common for famous/powerful people to have their misogynistic behavior swept under the rug (especially back in the days when the idea of women having bodily autonomy was even less accepted than it is now). Given that, it seems that Asimov’s behavior must have been especially egregious, even by the standards of the day.

Naglfar
Naglfar
8 months ago

@WWTH
Hoping the best for Darrow. Good to know he doesn’t have cancer.

Crip Dyke
8 months ago

Y’know, I can’t stop hearing moregeekthan’s name being shouted by the Beastie Boys:

MORE GEEK THAN

dunun … dun dunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn … dow doo

dunun … GINA HARA

Foot on the dancepad
Gunnin’ down BigBad
Playin arcade ports with a spacebar and trackpad
My hobbies aren’t hobbies
But galaxies of blue milk
Cosplay and comics and fanfics and filk
Translocation
To the orbiting station
That’s no moon it’s a holodeck vacation

Itchy trigger finger
But i’m trusting the force
kill the targeting computer
I’m aiming for the ports
I’m past the future
It’s no two thousand and one
internal robot with a cell app gonna get me done
While you’re at the bottom of the gravity well
Geek Girls fly Alcubierre
superluminal.

MORE GEEK THAN

MORE GEEK THAN HARA

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
8 months ago

Yeah, Asimov was a bit of an arrogant asshat and a self-declared dirty old man. (When you have someone who is on record as saying that he’d only ever met two people he considered more intelligent than him, I think ‘arrogant’ is the least of the adjectives that could be used.)

He knew what he did was wrong, but he also considered it ‘all in good fun’, had been able to do it with impunity so far, and he had more than his share of enablers willing to make sure his ‘good fun’ wasn’t affected.

None of this is news to people who have been around the SF fan community for a while. But, sadly, xkcd’s ‘today’s lucky ten thousand’ works for bad news as well.

Cyborgette
Cyborgette
8 months ago

Re cool SF writers: one of faves, who unfortunately doesn’t get a lot of coverage these days, is Joanna Russ. Student of Tiptree, incredibly skilled and incredibly militant writer, and much harder-eyed and less forgiving than Le Guin. Plus her SF worldbuilding is just wonderfully gonzo in the best tradition of 60s and 70s space opera. Some of her views are pretty dated but she’s still very worth reading IMO.

Sadly most of her books are out of print, but you can still find copies of some of them on eBay, and a few have been scanned and uploaded to the Internet Archive.

@Kat

Belated thank you for that link, I’m sharing it with various friends and acquaintances. 🙂

Dust Kitty
Dust Kitty
8 months ago

There’s a reason I’ve tried to cut books written by men out of my literary diet as much as possible. When there are so many better writers out there and so little time to read, there’s no reason for the works of men to be anything more than a guilty pleasure. It’s just easier that way.

At least, that’s my take on it.

epronovost
epronovost
8 months ago

@weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

As for Asimov getting worst with time even though social consciousness about sexual harrasment was groing, there are two important things to remember. The first one is that as second wave feminism was decrying behavior like that of Asimov and so many others and the general perception of women in culture, relationship and sexuality, Asimov probably didn’t felt concerned by those critiques and warning. Let’s take an example.

If people do X and one day people start protesting X, even if they present excellent arguments, even if a person doing X hears them, the very first thing they will learn in 90% of cases is not stopping doing X. They will learn that doing X is wrong EXCEPT when its them doing it because they aren’t quite like the others doing X and they don’t do it with bad intention/in the same way/they are better at it or any other specious excuses. Most people will not change their behavior when they are told a behavior is wrong. Most people find excuses to continue, justify or carve themselves exceptions. That’s a fundamental and common human weakness who is compounded by privilege and popularity.

The second is linked to education and more specifically moral reasonning skills. If you have been raised in the mist of a culture that legitimise sexual objectification of women and a general disregard of women or even people’s feeling, the type of culture in which Asimov grew up in, you simply don’t develop good empathic skills. Without good empathic skills, it’s extremely difficult to crb bad behaviors that affect others. How can you be less offensive when you struggle to identify when people are offended in the first place? Even if you accept the idea that being offensive is wrong, you will remain offensive and refuse to aknowledge it because your senses, dulled and missused, are telling you everything is fine.

What Asimov did was bad. It’s a horrendous behavior to have and it harmed many women. Calling him out right now, almost 30 years after his death might have some cathartic effect for his numerous victims who should never have endured that, but its otherwise completely pointless. But Asimov behavior was just the symptome of a diseased culture. I think that in many cases of sexual harrasment or assault there is often too much focus on the perpetrator, the tree, instead of the culture that molded them, the forest, especially when the perpetrator is a dead man.

A third possible factor for Asimov getting worst with time is age. Many people grow more bold with age as they become less less likely to face backlash, but also with the loss of cognitive function essential for things like restrain. It’s not rare for young libidinous men to become molestor as they age; your archetypical “pervy old man”. Popularity, power, poor empathic skills and a misogynist culture are the perfect ingredients to produce harrassers and rapists and it did.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Asimov probably didn’t felt concerned by those critiques and warning.

Yeah, that’s exactly the point. It’s not that he didn’t know better. It’s that he did know better and kept doing it.

What Asimov did was bad. It’s a horrendous behavior to have and it harmed many women. Calling him out right now, almost 30 years after his death might have some cathartic effect for his numerous victims who should never have endured that, but its otherwise completely pointless.

No it’s not. By calling out great men (or women for that matter, speaking of Tiptree) even if they’re dead, we spread the message that greatness and privilege do not justify abusive behavior. We warn future great men that predatory behavior will not be tolerated just because they’re great.

It’s not about cancelling Asimov to the extent that you’re considered a horrible person if you read his books. It’s about making the future better and safer.

Popularity, power, poor empathic skills and a misogynist culture are the perfect ingredients to produce harrassers and rapists and it did.

True, and that’s exactly why we should call out harassment and rape instead of defending harassers and rapists.

Naglfar
Naglfar
8 months ago

@epronovost

Calling him out right now, almost 30 years after his death might have some cathartic effect for his numerous victims who should never have endured that, but its otherwise completely pointless.

It’s not pointless. In addition to what WWTH said, it demonstrates that such behavior is wrong and helps us see the problem and work to address it. You’re right that Asimov is dead, but the society that created him is very much around. We can use him as a case study in rape culture to begin to end it.

It’s not rare for young libidinous men to become molestor as they age; your archetypical “pervy old man”.

That’s still not an excuse. Yes, old men sometimes have reduced inhibitions and can assault people, but many old men somehow manage not to be molesters. My great-grandfather was 90 when he died and he never raped anyone, for example.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
8 months ago

@ epronvost

but its otherwise completely pointless

I would have to disagree. I’ll try to articulate why; I hope I don’t make too much of a mess of it.

It’s related to the idea that we don’t excuse behaviour because “it was different back then“.

I think social pressure, including shame, can be a great tool for modifying behaviour.

So the fact that even years after the fact we condemn behaviour can have an effect on people now.

They are aware, consciously or otherwise, that there’s no sort of societal ‘statute of limitations’ or olly olly oxen free after a certain time has elapsed.

So even if they are engaging in behaviour that does get a pass by contemporary popular standards; they know that one day, even if it is after their death, their memory will be tarnished. Any good works they may have done or significant achievements will be nullified.

At one end of the scale you have thing like my particular hobby horse with the animal stuff. I think it assists the cause if people are aware that their descendants will be as embarrassed by them as we would be about bear bating ancestors today. But It’s also why we prosecute concentration camp guards in their 90s. That has a direct effect on them of course; but even if they escape justice by dying, the societal refusal to give them a pass because “it’s all history now” may, I think, have at least some deterrent effect on people today.

I hope that makes some sense; someone cleverer than me can no doubt put it better.

ETA: Yeah; like WWTH and Naglfar just did.

epronovost
epronovost
8 months ago

I probably didn’t express it correctly, but what I found pointless is talking about Asimov case and staying at it; a sort of “that’s a terrible thing to do and he was shit head for doing so” repeated ad nauseam. Cases like Asimov should serve to illustrate and bring the debate to the level of society and not be “marred” in epidermic reactions about Asimov personnal morality.

I fear reactionnaries thrive on this sort of thing. As long as they can keep the discussion centered on a specific person they can preserve the source of it all from the worst of the scrutiny. Any person who does or excuse that sort of behavior will simply say: I’m “not as bad as Asimov; women actually like it when I do it cuz I’m super alpha” or some other shitty excuses or twisty logic.

Reactionnary can also appeal to the dead person’s legacy to attack feminism as some sort of joyless movement hellbent to destroying all the people you admire and love, a “no fun brigate” and a new form of moral and sexual puritan. Yes, pointing out Asimov flaws is important, but staying laser focus on an individual case like this can be harmful. I guess David missed an opportunity to segway into the broader issue of which Asimov is only part off which would have made for a more interesting entry.

Mr_Devanny
Mr_Devanny
8 months ago

A friend of my mother’s died of AIDS in the early ’90s. It was pretty bad towards the end. The last time I saw him, he looked like a skeleton with skin from a piece of chicken that had been out of the fridge too long pulled over it. He died in a hospice, blind, delirious with fever and pain and crying for a mother who hadn’t spoken to him since she caught him kissing another boy from high school in the late 1950s.

God bless that blood donor, whoever they were. Sometimes there is justice in this world.

DMDR
DMDR
8 months ago

All the filth saying “he was a product of his time”, either out of intellectual dishonesty or sheer ignorance, have it backwards.

His time was a product of men who thought and felt and behaved as he did. And those times WILL come again if we don’t punish men like him wherever they’re found.

kupo
kupo
8 months ago

David missed an opportunity to segway into the broader issue of which Asimov is only part off which would have made for a more interesting entry.

🙄🙄🙄

Michael Suttkus, II
Michael Suttkus, II
8 months ago

Moggie:

@epronovost, did you somehow miss the fact that Asimov himself said “you get slapped a lot”? He knew that many of his victims disliked his behaviour enough to fight back. So please let’s not pretend that he somehow believed all women enjoyed being groped.

Of course he did. My father filled my head with a ton of this stuff. Women PRETEND to dislike being leered at or pinched or whatever, but that’s just a public display to defend their honor. They really take it as a compliment, and as we all know, women get even madder at you if you don’t stare at them!

He also had this wonderful defense of slavery!

Yeah, I’m deprogramming myself a little at a time.

People are complicated. It’s worth remembering that Asimov also had female protagonists when few other sci-fi authors did (Susan Calvin being the most famous) and wrote defenses of feminism. That doesn’t excuse his behaviors, of course.

GhostEDM
GhostEDM
8 months ago

@Suttkus
“I’m deprogramming myself a little at a time”?

You sound like you think this is a process that has an end point. Doesn’t work like that. You’re always going to have impulses you inherited from him. Your first instinct is always going to be to see certain people in a way that is damaging to them. Always, until the day you die. People aren’t that changeable.

If you really want to be a better person you need to live every day with discipline. What not to do, what not to think, what not to consume and above all how to defer to those your body and brain scream at you to dominate.

Good luck. You’ll need it.

Definitely not Steve
Definitely not Steve
8 months ago

Speaking of literature, diversity, and Chuck Tingle, I’m sure people here will appreciate the current Romance Writers of America homepage.

Worth checking out for a laugh, though I am ignorant of the events surrounding it.

AnPrim_Slim
AnPrim_Slim
8 months ago

Famous/”successful” people being abusers is the rule rather than the exception. Good people don’t seek fame or wealth. They just want to settle down with family and friends.

rv97
rv97
8 months ago

@gijoel

Regarding your link, that’s also a shame since I enjoyed reading one or two of Roald Dahl’s books. Granted, I was a child and I had to read fiction daily at school until secondary. The teachers either didn’t know or care and just cared more that children were reading. The teachers did take a racist incident seriously one time though, when someone called another person by a certain remark (not a slur but by referring to their skin color). The author thing just went unnoticed by them.

Talonknife
Talonknife
8 months ago

Sorry to all if my previous post came across as implying Correia was a good person that was led astray or anything like that. I intended to say that I was just surprised by how terrible he turned out to be because his attitudes didn’t really come through in his novel, or at least not to me in my initial readthrough. It seems I didn’t communicate that as clearly as I thought.

Moggie
Moggie
8 months ago

@Definitely not Steve, I guess you mean romancewritersofamerica.com, rather than their real site. Chuck Tingle strikes again!

Claire Ryan documents the story so far here.

Definitely not Steve
Definitely not Steve
8 months ago

Thanks Moggie, that’s the one! I haven’t figured out a way to post links here without my posts being lost to the void.

Naglfar
Naglfar
8 months ago

@Definitely Not Steve
Well, it seems Chuck knows a thing or two about the void judging by his websites, so maybe he can help you.

epitome of incomprehensibility

@Naglfar – the void crabs, at least 😛

@Definitely not steve – You should see a link button above the comment box (third button on the top). Select the text you want to link and cut and paste the URL into the pop-up box.

I think the catch for this link function is that you need “http” not “https”. But if there’s a https and you change it to http, it’ll work, at least in my experience. You could also just cut and paste the whole link into the comment box.

Grain of salt: this is coming from a non-techy user and on your side there may be issues with platforms, plug-ins and other things I don’t understand!

kupo
kupo
8 months ago

But if there’s a https and you change it to http, it’ll work, at least in my experience.

This is usually true, but not always. Some websites are not set up to automatically redirect from http to https. But for most websites this does work.

That said, I am pretty sure I’ve been able to link to https addresses before without issues. It’s not always easy to tell what will inadvertently trigger the spam filter, unfortunately.