ccfinlay

Yes, The First Question Is Rhetorical

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Apr. 25th, 2007 | 12:15 am

Why do I keep letting myself get caught up in no-win arguments?*

In a related question, I'm wondering how many folks have sold their F&SF Slush Bomb submissions elsewhere. I know of two sales out of the approximately fifty people who participated, but are there any others? Not entirely an academic question, and I understand how slowly the submissions process works and that many of them are probably still out there in Sub-land.** Thanks.

*Holy crap. It's a compulsion.***

**Nothing to do with BDSM or underwater transportation, depsite the name. Yeah, I know, weird.

***This time I swear I'm done. SWEAR!****

****If you click on the link and you don't know where to find the Dave Truesdale column that generated the discussion, don't go look for it.*****

*****Really, don't! Not unless you need to be angry. Either angry arm-in-arm with him, or angry against.******

******Because I like rows of asterices.

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Comments {113}

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stillnotbored

(no subject)

from: stillnotbored
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 04:47 am (UTC)
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*eyes Charlie* Aren't you supposed to be writing?

My slush bomb story got passed up to Eric Flint at Baen five months ago. Still waiting for a yes or no.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 05:21 am (UTC)
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I'll keep waiting for a yes. Good luck!

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Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.

(no subject)

from: slithytove
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 05:08 am (UTC)
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Yeah, that thread was a complete clusterfuck.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 05:21 am (UTC)
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And those never end up being as much fun as they sound like they'll be.

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Nicholas

(no subject)

from: nwhyte
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 05:12 am (UTC)
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Crumbs, what an asshole. (Truesdale, not you.)

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 05:30 am (UTC)
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I did offer a warning.

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Jenn Reese

(no subject)

from: jennreese
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 05:14 am (UTC)
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I sold my bomb story "Lady Blade" to the Prime anthology Japanese Dreams. Not the same profile as F&SF, but something I'm looking forward to reading. :)

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 05:22 am (UTC)
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Oh, awesome! I'm really glad to hear that, Jenn. Congrats.

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(no subject)

from: hkneale
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 05:16 am (UTC)
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Why do I keep letting myself get caught up in no-win arguments?* Because you don't want the other person to assume that lack of argument means silent consent.

Anyhow, I subbed two subs for the slushbomb. (Saves on postage.) One has been trunked until I can find a better way to execute it, and the other one has been requested by an editor, and I'm waiting for an answer on it. The requested piece was also a challenge piece (though not Dead Charlie).

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 05:24 am (UTC)
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I should track down all the Ded Charlies and see what happened to them. It's like a little mob of zombie Charlies out there roaming in the great mall of fiction....

Good luck on the request.

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Rose Fox

(no subject)

from: rosefox
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 05:31 am (UTC)
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I never got anything submission-quality put together for the slushbomb. *sigh* Maybe Next Year.

And please, for the love of all lovable things, get out of that thread now and count yourself lucky to leave with all your extremities intact. What a mess.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 05:44 am (UTC)
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I'm going to give someone close to me a sharp stick, and the next time I feel like replying to that thread or any other, I'll have them poke me with it until I stop.

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shhhh it's a secrit

(no subject)

from: secritcrush
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 05:39 am (UTC)
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Because the internets need entertainment!

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 05:42 am (UTC)
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I said it was rhetorical!

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David D. Levine

(no subject)

from: davidlevine
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 05:47 am (UTC)
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My Slush Bomb story (with female co-author) bounced off of F&SF, Asimov's, and Strange Horizons and is now at Realms of Fantasy.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 12:42 pm (UTC)
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Thanks -- good luck with Shawna.

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tim_pratt

(no subject)

from: tim_pratt
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 06:48 am (UTC)
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You have a sickness. Or possibly you're possessed. Demon, I cast you out!

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 12:43 pm (UTC)
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Wow! I just felt the demon leave me! That's incredible!

Oh, wait, it was just gas.

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(no subject)

from: ruvdraba
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 07:30 am (UTC)
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Charlie, given our own previous discussions you can well imagine my interest in your tussle, but I was saddened when I saw two bright guys at such loggerheads. Anyway, I had a think about it from some distance, and here's what I have to offer.

I think that David was using invective and calling it satire, and you rightly said it's not satire, but then perhaps missed his intention. So I want to talk about about satire and invective as styles of humour here.

Both satire and invective are counted styles of humour, but not everyone finds both of them funny. Invective is not at all popular among my American friends, but many of my Australian and Irish friends (and some of my UK friends) think it's hilarious - as indeed I do.

H.W. Fowler (Modern English Usage, 1926) contrasts the two in the following ways (my interpretation, not quotation, but it's from here):

Where the aim of satire is to amend (untruth, poor concepts or poor behaviour), the aim of invective is to discredit (behaviour - especially lauded behaviour). So invective is the wrecking-ball to satire's ball-pein hammer.

Where satire is a humour of morals and manners, invective sinks its teeth into misconduct. That's a fairly nuanced distinction, but perhaps it lies in the difference between relationships and the fundamental deeds underpinning them. Satire says: you've damaged the relationship. Invective merely says: you screwed up.

Satire operates by shading and emphasis - exaggeration, understatement, juxtaposition... as you demonstrated really well in your example to David. Invective works by blunt, often aggressive or inflammatory statements which may well be false, ironic, sardonic or satirical in nature. (As I mentioned before, it takes a certain sort of culture to appreciate this. I've found most Americans to be far more polite than my Aussie and Irish friends, and far less engaged by irony.)

The target audience for satire are the self-satisfied. These are people who "know" they're right, and are patiently trying to explain to someone whom they feel is in error. However the target for invective is the general public. (This is still Fowler's opinion). In my opinion, the appeal of invective is social. Aussie and Irish pundits use invective to drag down tall poppies to a common level; Brits sometimes use it to emphasis class or power distinctions.

Often the "lower level" is pretend, people who don't get invective sometimes think it's real. In particular they frequently confuse picking on misconduct with picking on the relationship or the person. They also confuse the pretended posture of the writer with the writer's actual opinions, which are often concealed by irony, sardony and self-satire.

Your fight with David looked like the Satirist vs the Invector. You were fighting over the manners in his expression, and he was fighting over his original intention. The whole argument was confused because the satire/invective distinction wasn't made. It felt very remniscent of some of my own experiences on OWW-sff-writing at times, (and not just with you).

I'll be the first to admit that invective is not the highest form of humour (but neither's satire, let's be honest), but it can be a great launch-vehicle for irony, wit and satire. Invective is not flaming or trolling any more than parody is slander. It does require a certain relationship of trust with your audience - and especially an audience who's willing to believe that they live, at core, on the same grubby level as you.

Anyway, the best examples of invective in comedy are perhaps in John Cleese's Fawlty Towers series. Cleese is brilliant at using invective to highlight wit, satire, sardony and irony - which I think is its real virtue.

Hope this helps!

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(no subject)

from: ruvdraba
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 08:48 am (UTC)
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Sorry to reply to my own reply... I finally managed to track down the Truedale article (until then I'd only been reading the snippets quoted in the arguments about it - enough to get a feel for method, but not context).

Yes, I think it's invective framed in satire. Yes, I'm willing to believe that Dave is honest about his motives, but no I didn't enjoy reading it despite my enjoyment of invective.

I wrote earlier that one of the best uses of invective is to frame wit - and that's where I think the article is deficient. No real clarity or illumination; just diatribe. I think you're right - he should have just gone straight satire - played the ball and not the man (I use the latter term inclusively here). FSF's a community institution and has a responsibility to guide and illuminate; if you're going to provoke with an opinion piece, at least do it constructively.

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William Shunn

(no subject)

from: shunn
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 10:01 am (UTC)
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I have this same tendency*, and I still have an almost physical compulsion to not let go of an argument, to always be the one to get the last word in -- in short, to win. This was especially true back in the days when I would have interminable arguments online and in email about the Mormon church**. But boy did those arguments waste a lot of time and stomach lining, and I doubt they ever changed anyone's mind.

Of course, recognizing that an argument is no-win*** is the first step toward recovery****. But the really hard part for me about walking away from that argument is the gut-grinding thought that if I drop it, the other person will think they won. It still takes great effort not to respond in that circumstance, but there's a zenlike***** peace to it too.


*The one about not letting an argument go.******

**Enough so that I started a FAQ to respond to "frequently argued questions."

***Kind of like learning to recognize an infinite loop in computer programming.

****As if I've recovered!

*****What is the sound of one voice arguing?

******Not to mention the one about footnotes!*******

*******Which for some reason reminds me of a brilliant little short story I once read somewhere. What was it called?

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Apr. 27th, 2007 02:31 am (UTC)
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I love the frequently argued questions.

There are just some issues that are so fundamental to my identity, for whatever arcane reasons of personal history, that it's almost impossible to disengage -- I'm in the fight before I see my own reaction.

And then there are just certain behaviors that have the same effect on me.

When the person on the opposite side has the opposite but same fundamental reaction, well, the result is inevitable. The only reason to engage is because you feel like it might make a difference to somebody stuck in the middle who hasn't been able to work through everything for themselves yet. But once you've laid out the position clearly, you have to learn to walk away.*

*And when you walk away, leaving a trail of notes, they're footnotes.

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Marissa Lingen

(no subject)

from: mrissa
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 11:24 am (UTC)
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You know, "We published Harlan Ellison, and he's a total asshole," is not a very good way to make me say, "You're right! What good editorial choices your magazine has made!"

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it's a great life, if you don't weaken

(no subject)

from: matociquala
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 11:39 am (UTC)
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Well, at least I know that if I'm consistently a dickhead in public, my career isn't necessarily over.

And hey, I bet I could be a *funny* dickhead....

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it's a great life, if you don't weaken

(no subject)

from: matociquala
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 11:38 am (UTC)
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I sold it the next place I sent it--Baen's Universe.

And if the universe had a killfile, Dave Truesdale would be in it.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 01:48 pm (UTC)
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Ah, that's great! You probably got paid more per word for it too.

I've always thought of the Darwin Awards as the universe's killfile, but maybe I need to readjust that thought....

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Patrick Samphire

(no subject)

from: psamphire
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 12:54 pm (UTC)
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> Why do I keep letting myself get caught up in no-win arguments?

Because the only alternative is to step back and led the assholes run free. Which isn't nice for anyone.

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Michael Merriam

(no subject)

from: mmerriam
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 01:21 pm (UTC)
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Just step away from the thread.

Back!

Go write.

Go!

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karen_w_newton

(no subject)

from: karen_w_newton
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 01:31 pm (UTC)
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Whoa! This really knocks the whole web scab debate off the radar, doesn't it?

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karenmiller

(no subject)

from: karenmiller
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 01:39 pm (UTC)
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Why? Because you're a decent guy with courage who isn't prepared to stand idly by when he sees an injustice perpetrated within his purview.

Being stand-up can sometimes be troubling. But could you live with being the alternative? I don't think so.

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(no subject)

from: ellameena
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 01:49 pm (UTC)
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I sent it to Asimov's, Sheila loved it "but", got feedback, and have permission to resubmit based on the feedback. I unfortunately have a backlog of editorial RFR's, one of them a novel, so I haven't resubmitted yet, but am definitely going to.

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Haddayr Copley-Woods

(no subject)

from: haddayr
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 02:29 pm (UTC)
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I did not participate in the slush bomb; I always send my stuff to them first because they reject quickly, so I felt I have already "bombed" them enough and I didn't have anything to send.

And, GOD, do I sound as annoying and sanctimonious to everyone else as I do to myself when I reread that last post? Sometimes I think I try too hard to be detached and rational. When really I'm just disappointed and pissed-off.

No, you don't. You sounded careful and analytical and extremely pointed. Not annoying or sanctimonious.

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Leah Bobet

(no subject)

from: leahbobet
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 02:48 pm (UTC)
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I sent mine a few places, got some positive-but-no feedback, and realized I'd written something way too insular to actually be published. *g* So I put it up on my website.

It is there now, boosting my web traffic, spreading my infamy, and adding to my LJ friendslist.

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Comfort me with Apples

(no subject)

from: tanaise
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 04:06 pm (UTC)
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I got bounced, and rightly so, and am now thinking about fixing the ending so that it doesn't suck so much and can be submitted other places. I hate endings. (I also hate my computer which insists on not working properly so I am limited in my attempts to fix it.)

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ruralwriter

(no subject)

from: ruralwriter
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 04:38 pm (UTC)
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Well, after reading your remarks on the forum, I have to say I respect you more. Which usually inspires me to buy another copy of one of your books.

Meanwhile, I'm concerned that my F&SF subscription money is helping to support derogatory language usage. On the one hand, I like the stories in F&SF; on the other...there's the p-word.

Alas, my Slush Bomb story is still seeking a home.

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sallytuppence

(no subject)

from: sallytuppence
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 04:46 pm (UTC)
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My slushbomb story was rewritten and has not been submitted anywhere else.

(the use of the passive there probably betrays how I feel about it...)

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(no subject)

from: southernfront
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 05:30 pm (UTC)
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Repeating what I said at NS Board.

Been lurking off and on.

Frankly, the reaction to Dave's column and the general meme going around that male editors actively discriminate against female aspirants strikes me as more of the standard issue PC Nazism that infects so much dialogue in our culture.

I've told more than one female aspirant, "Write it and send it. If you don't, then don't bitch if the sub stats are screwed up."

Never ends. Shit. Send the stuff to Jed at Strange Horizons. He seems to militantly go out of his way to skew the sub stats so that he meets with the standards of political correctness.

Or to put it in my own politically incorrect, insensitive way, "Quit yer bitchin' and get back to yer' scribblin'."

All this time wasted arguing about it on BBS is time that could have been spent writing and selling stuff. God knows writers like Nancy Kress didn't sit around and moan and groan and bitch about the way things were and she had a hell of a steeper hill to climb than women do today.

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barbarienne

(no subject)

from: barbarienne
date: Apr. 25th, 2007 06:20 pm (UTC)
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Yep, that's right, it's the wimmin's fault that they are underrepresented in the marketplace, and there is not the slightest possibility that perhaps some of the editors have an unconscious bias.

And all women had to do to get the right to vote was show up at the polls, right? No chaining themselves to things, or marching around. Their right to vote was self-evident to everyone.

Ya know, questioning the possibility of bias isn't the same thing as levelling charges. While I doubt that male editors (or female editors--bias isn't aways against the "other") are actively discriminating against female writers, it's not a bad idea to poke at the notion once in a while, to be sure they aren't just thoughtlessly trapped in a rut.

Aw, crap, Charlie, now I'm doing it. Damn yer eyes!

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Wendy S. Delmater

(no subject)

from: safewrite
date: Apr. 26th, 2007 12:29 am (UTC)
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*reads Charlie's comments about Dave's unfortunate column*

Hmmm. Looks to me like years of dealing with trolls on the OWW writing list made you an astute parrier of such nebulous arguments. (Editorial) hat's off to you!

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Marsha

(no subject)

from: msisolak
date: Apr. 26th, 2007 02:17 am (UTC)
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Now see, I just miss the days when Charlie wrote whichever troll into a story and made me laugh hysterically.

*sniff*

Those were the good old days.

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