Trisha’s Take: My response to the Moon Manifesto

I had a very busy day at work yesterday and so at the end of the day when I heard about the latest case of “writer-fail” to move through the sci-fi/fantasy fandom, I gave it a quick read and then moved on.

For some brief background, sci-fi/fantasy author Elizabeth Moon (the Planet Pirates series, the Familias Regnant series) wrote a blog entry on September 11 expressing her thoughts about what it means to be a U.S. citizen and how the group of developers behind the Park51 community center are a big wrong-headed.

Several people took issue with some of her statements, most notably editor Cat Valente, who decreed that the upcoming November issue of Apex magazine will be dedicated to showcasing the works of “writers of Arab descent and Muslim writers.” Valente’s response was re-blogged by British author Warren Ellis, and it all went viral from there.

Now that I finally have a chance to sit down and write (and I’m also attempting to get my writers’ muscles back), here’s my pure reaction to what Moon had to say, without glancing at other peoples’ reactions:

Had the signers of the Declaration been as wedded to personal liberty as the right wing today, there would have been no successful Revolution.

Okay, here she’s proving that she’s no Tea Partier, and in fact, I’ll bet that she’s saying that she doesn’t think that the TP movement is really actually true to its own cause. Nevertheless, any time anyone brings up what they think the “founding fathers” thought in such a declarative manner, my hackles are raised. You can only infer what they believed through their writings and make guesses by their actions.

[They] did not demand that others bear the burdens so they could ride in the well-sprung coach.

My flip response is that some of them owned slaves just so that they could ride in coaches. However, I get what she’s saying in that they personally put their own lives and reputations on the line when they signed the document. I totally grok that part.

When a President’s wife (Laura Bush) publicly announces that she and her husband have suffered more from the war than anyone else–a statement I’m sure most brain-injured and amputee vets and their families would take issue with–and then retire to a cushy Dallas home and a cushy central Texas ranch–with a big estate in Patagonia waiting should they wish–we have an excellent example of citizenship failure right at the top.

I don’t see here where she’s being painted as a Fox News-spouting bigot. I wish she had provided sources, though. Alas, she’s a writer and not a journalist and not a blogger.

When an Islamic group decided to build a memorial center at/near the site of the 9/11 attack, they should have been able to predict that this would upset a lot of people.

Oh boy…. there’s a lot of wrong in this entire paragraph. So much wrong that I’m not going to go into it, but just mark the entire paragraph with a red X and move on.

But Muslims fail to recognize how much forbearance they’ve had.

This “forbearance” came out of the civil rights movement, and is a good thing. Perhaps it’s created its own problem where now people are hyper-vigilant about remaining politically correct, but then again it’s not a bad thing when people who just.don’ don’t understand why people are upset about what they say in public and think it’s okay (see: Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s outburst).

But yeah… there’s one whole paragraph of “fail” and unless she’s made a follow-up statement or concessions, it’s not looking good for Elizabeth Moon.

I can’t speak for the other writers of this blog, but I believe that an upcoming issue of a fantasy mag with Arab or Muslim-writers in it would be awesome, I would totally read and buy that or donate to the website, and I hope you do, too.

If you’re a writer of Arab descent or you are a member of the Muslim faith (or both!) and are interested in submitting to Apex magazine, the submission guidelines can be found here.

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