I never know what's going on. I didn't hear about Elizabeth Moon's 9/11 post on her blog until yesterday, when, in response, Wiscon withdrew its invitation to her to be next year's Guest of Honor. Then I tracked down and read her original blog entry, plus some of the subsequent controversy.
Mine is not a political blog. Seldom do I comment on political events, partly because I can't imagine why anyone might care what I think. But this is not just a political matter, it is also an SF one. As a former GOH at Wiscon myself, I have a strong opinion on this issue.
Wiscon's purpose is stated on its website: "WisCon is the first and foremost feminist science fiction convention in the world. WisCon encourages discussion, debate and extrapolation of ideas relating to feminism, gender, race and class." But not, apparently, if those views are unpalatable to the committee.
Elizabeth's blog concerned the building of the Islamic community center in NYC, a few blocks from Ground Zero. I am in favor of building this; I think it is guaranteed by the Constitution, and anyway the building will not be in sight of Ground Zero. Elizabeth argued not that building it should be forbidden, but that Muslims themselves should think twice about the place they are building it, and the impression of cooperation that it gives or does not give to others in their adopted country. Again, I do not agree with her. But that's not the point. Her blog entry is quiet in tone, thoughtful in argument. If you haven't read it, I urge you to do so. Then you can make up your own mind about its statements regarding assimilation, citizenship, and tolerance.
The point IS just that -- reading the blog provides a point of departure for discussion about gender, race, and class -- just what Wiscon is supposed to be about. This discussion could have happened at Wiscon, if Elizabeth were going to be there. It would have been stimulating, and everyone could have had a say. Now that will not happen. In addition, the con will be losing the other thing it is supposed to showcase -- successful female writers of speculative fiction.
I think the Wiscon committee has erred in withdrawing its GOH-ship. This is NOT the equivalent to not inviting a raving racist or virulent anti-feminist. Elizabeth is not those things. Wscon should have honored its commitment to her.