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Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Ross’

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Please see disclaimer*

Flush with success after rooting out thought-crime recidivist Jonathan ‘Paltrow-Fucker’ Ross and stringing him from the gallows the Committee for the Unification of Narrative Tropes has begun turning its eye on other problematic areas, such as ancient myth.

Committee chair Zutana Alors explained the committees priorities thus:

“For millennia now classical myth has exerted a strong, exclusionary and problematic influence over multiple cultures and has cast a long shadow over all fiction. By attacking the root cause of these particular tropes we hope to eliminate a great deal more problems before they start. Much of ‘science’ fiction and ‘fantasy’ takes its cues from these sorts of stories and changing them should eliminate a great deal of offensive material.”

Pressed for further details the committee released a preliminary report on the changes they’ve decided to make, specifically to Greek mythology.

  • Race is an issue, all the characters are Greek. To fix this people of all ethnicities will be introduced into the mythology, over-represented compared to contemporary demographics to compensate for millennia of literary oppression. The only remaining Greek character is Hades, who will double as a symbol of hegemonic white oppression over that period.
  • As a symbol of beauty Aphrodite creates unrealistic expectations and hence body issues in many young women. As such she is to be replaced by a genderfluid, pre-op, plus-size, disabled transwoman with special needs. This will demonstrate that anyone can be sexy and that everyone is deserving of love.
  • Ares is a phallocentric glorifier of violence and destruction. He creates a problematic template for toxic masculinity. Changed slightly, Ares will make an excellent figure of fun and a cautionary tale to be avoided. As such he is now a buffoon with a giant cardboard sword and is to be renamed ‘Dudebro’.
  • Theseus and the Minotaur has been deemed to be prejudiced and triggering towards Otherkin (those who identify as having animal souls) and will be rewritten into a peaceful encounter wherein Theseus and the Minotaur engage in a long debate. After the debate Theseus will check his human privilege and come to an understanding of his innate, subconscious prejudice to the non-human community.
  • Zeus is also a deeply problematic figure as a womaniser and serial rapist. As a model the committee has looked at how to correct the story of Leda and the Swan. In the new version Zeus approaches Leda respectfully with no obvious intent of seduction or physical intimacy until she expresses a possible interest. They undertake a journey to visit Eunomia, goddess of law and justice, where they draw up a contract of consent before their coupling. Leda changes her mind and says no, Zeus respects that and returns to Olympus. This has required excising Helen of Troy from the canon, but as – like Aphrodite – she presented an unrealistic, platonic ideal of female beauty – this saved even more bother.

The committee was asked by a member of the Culte de la Raison who attended the open meeting why they were devoting so much time to rewriting fictions and where the harm was in what were obviously just stories. He was informed that words hurt before being dragged outside by the Revolutionary Guard, all the while protesting the need for empirical evidence. He was then beaten to death with typewriters to make the point more emphatically.

*Definitions of liberty and equality may vary, fraternity includes sororalty and all points in between. One liberty per customer – to be determined by the committee. Some are more equal than others. Dictionary definitions not accepted. Semantic arguments not accepted. Allegory, metaphor and problematic characterisation or situations not covered. May cause ideological fanaticism. Side effects may include loss of humour, ‘triggering’, excusing bigotry from traditionally oppressed groups and emotional blackmail.

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rosspaltrow460Tragedy struck today when it was announced that mildly controversial comedian and chat show host Jonathan Ross would be hosting and presenting the Hugo Award at Loncon3. In Social Justice circles this news completely eclipsed the impending invasion of Ukraine by the Russian military and was the topic of heated debate amongst feminists and their allies, since Ross has occasionally made jokes about women. The debate has Рthus far Рculminated in the resignation of Farah Mendlesohn from the convention board and calls for a boycott.

Asked for comment, SF&F blogger Petulianta Clarke offered the following:

“This would have been a great opportunity for us to take a step in overcoming sexist stigma. So many people have this idea that all feminists are po-faced, humourless harridans who will raise hell over complete non-issues at the drop of a steampunk fascinator. Jonathan Ross’ selection as presenter of the award shouldn’t have been that controversial and by letting it slide or limiting ourselves to a few angry blogs we could have made real progress in not seeming like censorious tossers.”

Alas it was not to be with a twitterstorm flaring up and the impending participation of international social justice laughing stocks such as PZ Myers, Freethought Blogs and Skepchick (responsible for similar stereotype reinforcing actions in the atheist blogosphere) the opportunity has slipped through the SF&F community’s fingers and preventing the ‘progressive’ bloc looking like fuckwits now seems impossible.

Comment, of course, has been relatively small but silent eye rolling, blocking on social media and opening a new Google Search tab are all on the rise. Off the back of recent non-controversies relating to the SFWA and controversy exploiting and profiteering videos by Anita Sarkeesian it seems unlikely that self-styled social justice advocates will be able to be taken seriously for the foreseeable future, even when they have valid points.

Virtually unknown author of satirical SF, Elton Whitemale offered this comment on the affair:

“It’s shocking to me that an industry that prides itself on its creativity and which has long been associated with controversy and pushing boundaries has become so timid and so ravaged by self censorship.”

He went on:

“We can imagine dragons and faster than light starships, sweeping alien vistas, but we can’t seem to accept someone might tell jokes that are counter to our personal taste, or admit that we don’t like them without involving politics. Why can’t we be more like the Comic Book Legal Defence Fund? They’ve backed people in trouble over hentai featuring monsters, animals and underage girls. That’s commitment to free expression for chrissakes.”

“What the fuck do I know though? Being melanin deficient and having an XY chromosome disqualifies me from having an opinion, apparently. There’s fucking irony for you.”

He added, downing a glass of whisky.

Jonathan Ross is controversial for stating that he wouldn’t mind having sex with Gwyneth Paltrow in 2008 and for being led astray by notorious junkie and David Icke aficionado Russell Brand.

The whole affair looks set to rumble on pointlessly, making all manner of people look bad and stop talking to each other at least until the next controversy du jour pops up, probably by Monday.

Rumours that Harlan Ellison has had himself buried alive for the sole purpose of spinning in his grave over these events have yet to be confirmed.

Update: Ross has withdrawn from presenting the Hugo due to the outrage. An event summed up very well by Sarah Pinborough as:

“It’s pretty Daily Mail actually. “People worried about being abused, abuse man who hasn’t abused them yet”

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