As John Scalzi has pointed out, such accusations particularly hurt when the perpetrator is someone you know and like. And a lot of people in the SF community know and like Alan. Including me.
So what should we, as interested and concerned outside observers, do about it? A lot of events scheduled at Borderlands have been canceled, starting with Jo Walton's last night which disappeared that morning - that's how sudden this has been - and a lot of people have declared that, much as it will hurt both the independent bookstore community and their own purchase of SF, they won't do business with Borderlands any more so long as Alan is associated with it.
But here's something that nobody I've read has commented on. Brian Keene, the podcaster who broke the story to widespread attention also said this:
Both women, I think it's important to note here, both of these women have told me, on the record, they don't want to "cancel" Alan. I'm using the popular term. His daughter told us, quote: "He did a lot of good in my life. He made it possible for me to move to San Francisco, he did his best to provide me support while I was growing up, and for the majority of my life he was my best friend. I don't want me speaking out about what happened to come across as me trying to destroy his life or to get revenge on him. This absolutely sucks and I wish it wasn't the case. ..." Alan's ex-girlfriend echoed this, stating that they just want the public to be informed and they want him to get treatment and help.But then Keene immediately went on to say that, despite his long-standing connection with Alan and Borderlands, he will not be doing any more signings there.
Is that not "canceling" Alan? If it isn't, what would be? When these women say they don't want to "cancel" him, do they mean that they're not asking us to cease patronizing Borderlands? If not, what are they preferring that we do?
I've never been in a position to visit Borderlands often, and I'm not planning on going up to San Francisco for any purpose so long as the virus reigns, but someday it will happen and I'd like a little guidance here. I'm not eager to be more outraged and indignant than the actual victims of the actual crime. It is a puzzlement.
I think that "cancel" and "canceling" are not useful terms in this situation.ReplyDelete
1. We'll all have to figure out what our relationships will be, going forward, with the separate entities of Alan and the bookstore.
2. We're not obliged to follow the advice or feelings of the presumed victims, any more than a jury is obliged to impose the death penalty because that is what a murder victim's family wants.
3. It would be interesting to hear from people in restorative justice about possible paths in this case. But we don't know what apologies or restitution Alan has offered to his ex and his daughter.
1. Yes, and figuring it out is what I'm trying to do here.Delete
2. Invalid example. I said " I'm not eager to be more outraged and indignant than the actual victims of the actual crime", not less so.
3. We know what the ex and the daughter think about it.
2. You can certainly turn my example upside down. I was trying to illustrate difference with the victims' views.ReplyDelete
3. I would still be curious about what reparative justice folks suggest as a framework for considering this type of situation.
2. I can't just turn your example upside down. Vengeance and mercy are not commutative. The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It is twice blest. You can't say that of vengeance.Delete
You are free to choose being more or less merciful than his ex and daughter. You are not obliged to follow them. That's all I am saying.ReplyDelete
One is in theory free to do anything, even to endorse evil. So to say one has that freedom is meaningless.Delete
All I'm saying is that my statement " I'm not eager to be more outraged and indignant than the actual victims of the actual crime" cannot be substituted by " I'm not eager to be less outraged and indignant than the actual victims of the actual crime." They're completely different morally, and I have Shakespeare's writ for saying so. To try to pretend that they're equivalent is deeply morally bothersome.
Why should the victims' attitude toward the crime effect your judgement of it? What was done is either worth "canceling" Beatts over or it isn't. Bringing the victims' words into it just sounds like an excuse to not deal with Beatts in as harsh a matter as he deserves. I suspect if Beatts were a Trump supporting Neanderthal (but I repeat myself) instead of a formerly well thought of member of the literary SF/F "community", there would be no difficulty in "canceling" him, nor should there be.Delete
In this particular case, it is genuinely up to you how you want to relate to Alan. You can take the views of his daughter and ex into account if you wish. You are not obliged to. That is all I am trying to say. I cannot explain any further or more clearly.ReplyDelete
This isn't that difficult. If the allegations are true, Mr. Beatts is not (to say the least) a nice guy. If what he did offends you enough to not want to support him financially, you should cease any economic relationship with him. What he did is warrants "cancelling" or it doesn't, his victums' willingness to forgive is immaterial.Delete
As I said, I'm not obliged to do anything. As I also said, "I'm not eager to be more outraged and indignant than the actual victims of the actual crime." That is what I wish, and telling me that I have the ability to violate my own moral principles is a self-canceling nullity and merely a morally bankrupt attempt to waste my time.ReplyDelete
I do not know these people, but I will wait until I get all the facts to pass judgment. Scalzi knows these people and immediately passes judgment. That does not lokk good for the Borderlands person ...or scalzi.ReplyDelete
As you say, you are not eager to be more outraged than the actual victims. You are not, IMO, obligated to cease buying books from the store.ReplyDelete
Some people will feel differently. Especially those who are concerned that there are more victims whose voices are not currently being heard.
I think, as long as you are not imposing your judgement on others by insisting that THEY should not be allowed to stop supporting the store, there is no sound moral reason why others should hassle you.
Life is imperfect. We never have perfect information. No one ever has all the facts, or knows all the good things and bad things that may come from every choice we make. We make decisions based on our best models at the time.
I agree that whatever choice the author makes is ultimately his business and not ours. By making a blog post out of it though, he does appear to be soliciting opinions (though not advice) on the subject. He is free to do as he pleases and we are free (as long as the author is willing to put up with our words, it's his blog after all) to comment on that choice on this blog.Delete