Evil Monkey’s Fail Fail Fail Win Win Win…Push

Jeff VanderMeer • March 10th, 2009 @ 10:32 pm • Evil Monkey

Evil Monkey:
I love this time of year. The azaleas are blooming bright red, there’s the scent of honeysuckle in the air, and the Internet is all ablaze with flame wars. They say fail, fail, fail. I say, win win win. Stick the knife in.

Jeff:
You suck. You’re sick. You’re a sadist.

Evil Monkey:
No, I’m just a realist. No one likes a spectacle more than I do. Hundreds of lives churned through the grist mill of livejournals and deadjournals, blogs and balrogs. Can you smell it, Jeff? The burning. Oh, the burning.

Jeff:
I remember some advice my agent gave me once in a difficult situation with an editor: “Jeff, you have to find solutions. You have to put aside the past. You have to just forget all the aggravation. And be positive. That’s the only way to make this work.”

Evil Monkey:
I like to ignite the blogosphere just to watch it burn.

Jeff:
That’s just my ailing laptop telling me to get my gun and put it out of its misery.

Evil Monkey:
You’ve not been silent on this, though. You posted comments in a couple of places. Saying you agreed with the posters. That was smart! Playing it safe! Did you really only know about it a couple of days ago?

Jeff:
I didn’t know about it. No, I didn’t. Then after I did know about it, I had no idea what to post. Almost everybody seemed to be acting insane and the only difference was that some of the inmates had more legitimate initial grievances. And I felt like a fuckwit reading it all. Or even trying to make sense of it. What non-fuckwit thing could I say about it? And how could I say it in the right way, with the right words that wouldn’t be misinterpreted by someone or other? And why weren’t people asking for coverage on genre news sites rather than just comments from individual writers? It paralyzed me.

Evil Monkey:
Didn’t paralyze me. I got right on the intertubes and read this and this.

Jeff:
Yeah. I agreed with all of that, too. And with this. And I loved this one, too. There’ve been a lot of great, positive posts.

Evil Monkey:
How could you agree with that and with the other things you agreed with?

Jeff:
Simple. They’re not mutually exclusive. And I know and respect the writer who kinda was at the center of the beginning of the controversy, too.

Evil Monkey:
What about this? Have you read through all of this?

Jeff:
No. I’m a working writer. I don’t have the privilege of spending that much time on anything or I will starve. I think the effort’s important, though.

Evil Monkey:
It’s been fun going through it all. All so dramatic! I love livejournals. They’re like diaries except they’re not!

Jeff:
Regardless of what you think of the discussion itself, it has yielded many positive benefits. It has underscored the predominantly white male nature of the genre community, and that this isn’t a desirable thing. It has had tangible results in some of the efforts by various presses and conventions.

Evil Monkey:
Communist. Pinko. Spy.

Jeff:
And, you know what, I would love a world in which it didn’t have to be said, “I’m editing an anthology and would love to see fiction by minorities.” Until recently, I didn’t even think to say this because it never entered my mind that anyone would ever not submit to a publication that didn’t explicitly state this.

Evil Monkey:
Is it a pain to do so?

Jeff:
No. So we’ll be doing it going forward, like when we read for Leviathan 5. But I wish it wasn’t so.

Evil Monkey:
You’re beginning to bore me. You’re not funny enough. What if I poke you with this stick?

Jeff:
Stop it! I told you it wasn’t funny. Look, we’re largely talking about fiction here, when it comes right down to it. And nothing makes fiction not work more than being ignorant, stupid, or lazy about your subject matter. If an African American audience tells you your African American characters suck, then you should listen. If you think it’s perfectly okay to always be casting the women in your stories in a submissive or traditional role, then you know fuck-all about what makes a good story. If you think the black guy should always die fourth-to-last in the action film, fuck you. The only way we create good fiction is by rejecting stereotype, cliche, and everything else that gets away from showing the world as it is or should be, in some way. Nobody reaches the ideal, and you only have to read Nabokov to know that sometimes you’ve got to inhabit evil and banality and stereotype to get to a truth about cruelty and the human condition. But still…

Evil Monkey:
So you think not to think about these things is FAIL and to think of these things is WIN?

Jeff:
No. I think it’s ridiculous to use the same internet terminology you apply to a cat falling off a windowsill to a serious discussion like this. It reduces the discussion to a binary system. It’s something George W. Bush would’ve loved.

Evil Monkey:
FAIL!

Jeff:
Maybe I should stop talking to you.

Evil Monkey:
FAIL, or at the very best…PUUUUSH.

Jeff:
I just want everyone to love and appreciate their fellow human beings.

Evil Monkey:
Dirty. Stinking. FAIL.

Jeff:
From this moment forward, I just want people to be nice to one another and to respect each other.

Evil Monkey:
Oh. Could. You. Pick. Up. That. FAIL. For. Me.

Jeff:
You’re a moron.

Evil Monkey:
I’ve got something for you. Here it is in this bag: FAIL.

Jeff:
I will twist your head until it falls off.

Evil Monkey:
You’ve totally destroy my high, man. I feel so FAIL right now.

Jeff:
Have some of this coke I’m snorting.

Evil Monkey:
You’ve got coke? PUSH!

Jeff:
No, actually, it’s the powdered sugar off a donut. Actually, it might be dandruff off the cat. I dunno. Ann’s been in Amsterdam since Sunday. I’m not sure there’s even anything in the fridge. There was some rodent out in the yard I caught for dinner last night.

Evil Monkey:
That was my buddy, Fail.

13 Responses to “Evil Monkey’s Fail Fail Fail Win Win Win…Push”

  1. Larry says:

    That old argument is still going on? I guess it’s proof that idle hands (minds?) lead to mischief or something, as just skimming through the summaries of the summation of the various viewpoints was enough to insure that I’ll regret losing the 20 minutes of sleep I did just now.

  2. Marty Stephenson says:

    Damn. Now I’m thinking about taking out the scene where my black, submissive female housewife character gets shot fourth-to-the-last in her first attempt at robbing a liquor store for secret crack stash money. Damn.

  3. Ben Payne says:

    Great post, man.

  4. Jessica Reisman says:

    I just want everyone to love and appreciate their fellow human beings.

    Jeff, you’re such a hippie. (which makes me one, too, I guess…)

  5. Marty Stephenson says:

    ‘female housewife’? I shouldn’t post comments when I’m tired lol

  6. Alex Carnegie says:

    The idea of Bush and his administration liking and using the whole win/fail thing is pretty funny. I can sort of imagine Bush exclaiming to Rumsfeld “Enjoy your fail Donald, you n00b”, or congratulating Obama on his election success with the words “A winrar is you”

    I do sort of agree with the fact that it reduces everything to binary oppositions (“them” and “us”, “right” and “wrong”, “good” and “evil”), which is the game folks like the Fox News have been playing for quite a while, but the mere fact that anyone is using those terms in a supposedly serious debate suggests that they’re not really attempting to take part in one in the first place. There’s a reason I’m not allowed to use phrases such as “x pwned y’s theory by postulating that…” in academic essays.

    The race & stereotype issue is an extremely fraught one. I suppose I usually think that, because I like to write secondary-world fiction, I’m not often having to confront it head on because I’m not dealing in a direct way with existing earthly races/cultures… but then everything has to come from something…

  7. Sierra says:

    That was an excellent post…..
    thanks for sharing!!

  8. Chrononautic Log 改 » Blog Archive » The world as it is or should be says:

    [...] – Jeff Vandermeer [...]

  9. David Moles says:

    I think the problem with “RaceFail” is that it was coined back in the innocent days of early February when the worst behavior on exhibit was breathtaking cluelessness. Since things got vicious, it isn’t funny any more, but we’re stuck with it nonetheless.

  10. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    David–Ah! That makes a lot of sense. I still haven’t been able to really follow the thing chronologically.

    Jeff

  11. Stella Omega says:

    marty,

    Damn. Now I’m thinking about taking out the scene where my black, submissive female housewife character gets shot fourth-to-the-last in her first attempt at robbing a liquor store for secret crack stash money. Damn.

    I really hope you do, even rhetorically.

  12. RaceFail ‘09 and me « will shetterly had a blog says:

    [...] March 10. Jeff Vandermeer will make explicit announcements that people who aren’t “white” may submit work to… [...]

  13. Jarred Inbody says:

    Is it just me or did this post strike a cord with others. Maintain writing this and I’ll be back again.

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