Re-post: “Warning: Harsh Sarcasm Ahead” (plus additional tirading)

The original post dates back to August, 2014.

A comment I saw today (May 13, 2022) on a blog post about writing certain types of antagonists is what reminded me of this post, and it seems like the sort of thing that bears repeating. (Fuller explanation: One person who made a comment on that other post is the “original poster” from the forum discussion mentioned here. Perhaps ironically, that other blog post was about fictional antagonists who use gaslighting to make life miserable for a story’s MC. I think it’s gaslighting to insist to someone, ‘You say you dislike this kind of fiction, but I say you don’t, so you’re lying!’)

So there I was, looking for a specific quote out of a favorite novel, and the next thing I knew, I was reading the whole thing again.  I laughed, I cried… and then I remembered that I’m a guy and therefor don’t have feelings and don’t want to read anything about characters who have feelings because I’m a guy and guys who read sci-fi only want to read military science fiction about robots who blow shit up because robots don’t have feelings either and feelings are icky and only for girls — eeeeewwwww.

What can I say?  I was behind — way behind — on my sarcasm quota.  I’m caught up now.

An explanation of sorts:  A forum discussion turned ugly because the original poster claimed that all women want to read fiction full of explicit sex scenes and all men hate even the merest hint of a romantic subplot (and also claimed that without explicit sex, there’s no romance or any kind of emotion at all).  Whenever a woman commented that she didn’t like explicit sex in fiction, she was ignored or mocked.  Whenever a man commented that he didn’t mind or even liked romantic subplots as long as those didn’t take over the whole novel or get explicit — this was in a discussion about science fiction, by the way — he was ignored or mocked… and in one case, told that he was not welcome on that forum because he was not a woman and therefor had no right to an opinion about romance in science fiction.  WTF????  Also, since when has emotion become synonymous with explicit sex?  Last I checked, humans feel a lot of emotions that have nothing to do with sex, and even romance doesn’t require that the author describe every single action that occurs after the characters take off their clothes — or even that they do take off their clothes.


Ignore me — I’m just venting.  As has been made abundantly clear to me already, I don’t have a right to an opinion about whether or not any men ever like stories with a bit of romance in ’em, because I’m a man.  Nor do I have a right to an opinion about whether or not more women would be interested in science careers if more sci-fi novels were “Twilight or 50 Shades in space.”  (Wouldn’t that cause be better served by stories that show women doing science and being treated with respect?)  If a writer of paranormal romance says that all women everywhere all the time want to read about explicit (and violent and non-consensual) sex because there’s no real emotion without it and that space opera ought to have more explicit (and violent and non-consensual) sex in it because eighty percent of all readers are women and that’s what all women want to read, who am I (or any other space opera fan, regardless of sex/gender) to disagree with that?

Yeah.  Apparently I’m now getting a head start on meeting the sarcasm quota for next time.

My clone-sibling has openly admitted that he gets a bit teary-eyed when reading the end of David Drake’s The General (which is, by the way, military science fiction, so anyone who insists that readers of military sci-fi don’t have or want emotions can fuck off).  And I make no secret of the fact that my favorite stories are always ones that cause me to have a strong emotional reaction when I read them.  But what the hell do I know?

Today’s May 13, and I feel that I ought to add a comment relevant to both the topic of this post and to the date:

I still have a strong emotional response to that one scene in the middle of Sign of the Unicorn. (I liked the story and all, but I became a fan of The Chronicles of Amber in the moment Bill Roth when said to his friend, “It doesn’t make any real difference to me, but I thought it might to you — to know that someone knows you are different and doesn’t care.”) For anyone to insist that I don’t feel anything when I read fiction because I’m a man, and men don’t have emotions and don’t want to read fiction in which characters have and express emotions… It was wrong — both morally and factually — when “Anna” said that back in 2014, and it’s still wrong. She told many of the women on that forum that, even though they said they’d never want to read a “Fifty Shades in space” sort of story, she knew they were lying, because she knew that all women prefer “Fifty Shades” -type stories above all other fiction. Anyone who said otherwise was, according to “Anna,” unaware of their own opinions, because “Anna” knows what they think better than they ever could.

That sure looks like gaslighting to me.




About Thomas Weaver

For several years, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom (editor). I'm physically disabled, and I currently live with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have eight cats. I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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