11 September 2009 @ 09:28 pm
[ profile] lamardeuse has reposted the comment she left at mediapundit (and that Tenny deleted in a fit of cowardice) so that it can be [recorded in its posterity]. (Content, as ever, may be triggery.) Tenny is, in sum, a ridiculous, obnoxious, self-entitled troll - please go over and show [ profile] lamardeuse the support of people who are not, and who get it, and who are awesome in greater measure than he is lacking in understanding and social grace.
11 September 2009 @ 11:40 am
I engaged  
Because apparently I can't leave stupid alone.

[my reply to mediapundit].


asjdfhlakshdfald. the end.
24 August 2009 @ 12:07 pm
GateFail summary at HCN!  
J at [Hard Core Nerdity] asked if I'd write up a summary / analysis of GateFail for their site - and my report just went live! You can find [the whole thing here] - please feel free to pass the link around, (particularly to anyone who came to the topic late and wants to know what's going on), to twitter to @SyFy, and to Digg it, so that the issues we've been raising don't get swept under the rug by TPTB. (tiny url is tiny:

Many, many thanks to [ profile] dogeared, [ profile] kassrachel, [ profile] lamardeuse, and [ profile] siriaeve for their edits and suggestions as this was being drafted! It's a better articulation of our collective criticisms because of their wonderful, generous input ♥

eta: and the comments are already full of Guys Not Getting It. Perhaps I should have used smaller words? Please feel free to hop in in the comments over there, or I fear my head may explode.
Current Mood: curious
22 August 2009 @ 06:15 pm
Over at [ profile] sga_flashfic [ profile] florahart posted a McKay/Sheppard story that offers a beautiful critique of SGU's use of body-swap as a story arc. I love this - it's a great story with its own internal coherence (and lovely McKay/Sheppardness as well!) but it points out (without indulging in any of the problematics of Sabotage) the inherent trauma that body-swap should entail. (I'm making it sound horribly angsty - it's not! But I don't want to give away the plot . . . )

[Click here to read 'Solo']
18 August 2009 @ 06:02 pm
My apologies to people who have used anonymous commenting respectfully, but that option is now disabled on this journal. You can thank the young man who just said (among other things) that Camille Wray wouldn't mind letting someone else use her body for heterosexual sex against her wishes because:

Even though it is her body having sex, she knows that she won't have any memories of the sex occurring and by the time she swaps back into her body, any physical evidence of the sex will have disappeared...

This is the sort of thinking Sabotage enables and perpetuates, PTB, this. Feeling proud?
18 August 2009 @ 10:31 am
Camille Wray and consent  
The issue of consent has the largely (though not exclusively) male readership of Gateworld all in a flutter. How do we know that when Eleanor Perry bodyswaps into Camille Wray's body, they ask, she doesn't have Camille's consent to do whatever she wants with it? And even if she doesn't have consent, it's not rape, because Camille isn't there!

To which I say so many profane things I'm not going to type them.

Let's take this piece by piece.

From what's been released in spoilers about SGU, the body-swap technology they'll be using is the same body-swap technology we've already seen in SG1. That technology does not permit the swappees to converse *before* swapping. This then lessens the chance that Wray can give consent for Perry to use her body for straight sex. The very best that could happen is that Wray tells someone *else* that it's okay - which presumes she magically knows Eleanor wants to have sex in the first place.

Even if there were some way for the Perry and Wray to have the conversation about consent before swapping there are two further considerations.

1) Plausibility. Consider for a second the plausibility of a lesbian woman telling someone else yes, please have sex using my body, and further, have straight sex in my body, and further, have straight sex in my body with a man I dislike.

That, right there, is a male fantasy rather than a plausible set of accommodations for a real woman to make.

2) Duress. At the point the body swap occurs, Eleanor is needed on ship to make repairs that save the vessel and therefore everyone on it. Camille is hardly going to object to facilitating the ship being saved. But if there are *any other requests* attached to that, they are then coerced - Camille choices are constrained by the necessity of saving her companions. That makes any consent obtained coerced.

It is astonishing to me (which leads me to believe I'm far more of an optimist than I ever believed) that people are working so hard to try and tell us that what happens to a woman's body is not her concern. Our bodies are our selves; there is no magic divide between the two, and even if in the lauded reaches of SciFi, Camille Wray returns to her body after it has been used for ends she would not put it toward on her own. It remains her body, in which she must live out the rest of her life. What happens to it is absolutely her concern, and no one has any right to use it against the wishes she would articulate if she were there.

At this point we've gone past the issue of what actually happens in the show and into the realms of what people are revealing about their attitudes toward women and toward rape. And it's depressing and disquieting as all get out.
18 August 2009 @ 09:41 am
Tweet yourself silly, folks  
For those catching up, Darren Sumner on Gateworld published an editorial yesterday that defended the writers and producers of SGU, and in particular, the episode Sabotage. ([You can read my rebuttal to his wholly inadequate arguments here]. Please link this far and wide so that Sumner's is NOT the last word on this matter.)

Craig Engler, head of SyFy, then tweeted a link to that editorial to everyone who's subscribed to the SyFy twitter feed.

Several people twittered SyFy last night to let them know that Sumner doesn't speak for us - but those got buried until a Ghost Hunters contest. So please, if you have a moment, take the time to let SyFy know that ableist, sexist, homophobic storylines are STILL unacceptable.

If you ever needed proof that such action was needed, consider the number of supporters of Sumner's piece who've come over to my journal since yesterday, trying to tell the rest of us that we don't understand what rape is. Or who've entirely failed to engage with the disability issues at the heart of Why This Storyline Is Such A Bad Bad Idea.

Tweet @SyFy and include #GateFail in your text.
17 August 2009 @ 05:59 pm
A response to Mr. Sumner on Gateworld  
Darren Sumner, at [Gateworld], has an editorial defending the writers and producers of SGU, and the yet-to-be-aired episode Sabotage. His editorial argues that "it’s not fair for viewers to draw conclusions or pass judgment based on" casting calls or audition sides, and critics of Sabotage "miss the point of why science fiction depicts controversial, often disturbing things."

Let's take this point by point.Read more... )
17 August 2009 @ 10:43 am
For those of you returning from weekends away (welcome back Vividconners!), a couple of placeholders for you -

[Joe Mallozzi responds to the SGU imbroglio] and I respond, in kind, (as do lots of other people in comments) about all the ways they're Just Not Getting It.

[As positive step forward] I'm also collecting recommendations for books, films, and web articles about any of the subjects raised by the SGU debacle - issues of consent; rape (especially as related to non-white women); bodily integrity; the media and disability; the media and representations of GLBT communities; disability and sexuality; disability, technology, and the sense of self. Please feel free to add more items to that list as they strike you, and if you have recommendations for resources, leave them in the comments to that entry. I'll gather all the suggestions in a few days and make a resource post.

You might also want to read [ profile] natsuko1978's incredibly powerful comments about her own disability and how the Sabotage storyline fails her: [click here]

16 August 2009 @ 04:35 pm
Bending toward justice  
I'd like to - with all of your help - put together a resource post on the topics that have been raised again and again in relation to SG:U's Sabotage: issues of consent; rape (especially as related to non-white women); bodily integrity; the media and disability; the media and representations of GLBT communities; disability and sexuality; disability, technology, and the sense of self.

(This is likely only a very partial list - please feel free to add things in comments, and I'll update.)

It would be wonderful if, out of this whole mess, we could create a resource post of books, films, and web articles that can act as points of education for anyone who wants to know more on any of these issues, or for whom this discussion was the first time they really considered some of these ideas.

If you have suggestions, leave them in comments. In a few days I'll post our combined ideas, and hopefully we can bookmark it for future reference and use.
16 August 2009 @ 09:42 am
Joe Mallozzi responds  
Joe Mallozzi's responded to the Sabotage imbroglio at his blog: [here]. (Change the xx to tt.)

It's remarkably even-tempered and reasonable, especially considering he can often be quite the opposite of those two things. I haven't read the mailbag portion of the post, nor will I be reading comments, but the substance of what he has to say about SGU is worth reading.

That said . . .

I accept - and always have accepted - that casting calls are usually not written by the writers themselves; instead they reflect only what's been communicated to a third party by the writers and producers. It's a small consolation that specific language - "useless," for example - did not come directly from the writers . . . but only a small one. The casting call reflects, on a broader level, the fact that there are people who believe being disabled is to be useless, and that to be disabled is to be undesirable - and in this specific instance they had no qualms about communicating that to agents and their like up and down the breadth of the continent.

That's unacceptable. Prejudice and ignorance are always unacceptable.

I also accept that scripts go through many rewrites, and while I can't help but think denying anything marked 'final draft' is actually a final draft is a very handy get-out-of-jail-free card, I don't doubt that TPTB do revise final drafts even further. Yet that is, again, small consolation - because at the point the pages were released there had been a story pitched, a story spun, and a story gone through early edits. The pages revealed what was acceptable at that stage - a sex-driven Eleanor, a trope of miraculous healing, and a situation of (at best) dubious consent. At best there is, elsewhere, a magical scene where Eleanor and Camille talk about how it's completely okay for Eleanor to use Camille's body to have straight sex with her coworkers. . . all while the clock is ticking and everyone knows that Eleanor's needed on board ship to save everyone, putting Camille under enormous duress. At worst it's out-and-out rape. Contrary to the focus Mallozzi puts on Rush and Eleanor's pre-existing relationship, the real point is that Rush is having sex with Wray's body - the body of a gay woman who doesn't like him. Rape.

What's telling is that if, indeed, the public was never meant to see these things, TPTB and their associates felt safe writing and editing sexist, homophobic, ableist narratives that rely on old tropes about magical healing and the dispensability of women's bodies (particularly the bodies of non-white women) among themselves. Who we are in private is who we are in public - the fact that the audition sides we saw exist at all points to a problem and a series of deeply thoughtless acts at best, outright prejudice at worst. They reflect where we are as a culture, what it's acceptable to imagine, even for a time, about other human beings in the world right beside us.

Someone, somewhere will spin this as the real work of sci-fi, of creative people, to go to our darkest places, to explore questions in often uncomfortable ways. And to those poeple, I say yes, but . . . and I remind you of [ profile] yuki_onna's [wonderful essay] on why every story we tell matters, and why the ethics of our storytelling matters, and why the way in which we treat the bodies of women, and non-white characters, and people with disabilities, even in a draft, matters:

Stories are important. Stories, in fact, are life. They are what is left of our unique experience in this world. They speak--no. They scream. And when an author sits down and constructs a completely imaginary world in their heads, if people like me, people like us, do not exist in it, or exist only to be ridden like animals or raped or murdered or humilated or destroyed so that an audience can acheive catharsis via symbolic annihilation of our lives, bodies, and souls, well, certainly, we can sit down and look at the floor and say: yes, you're right, that is what we deserve.

Or we can stand up. We can scream back. We can band together. We can demand our right to exist, to take part in humanity, to learn, to grow, to evolve, to self-examine. We can tell our stories, to anyone who will listen, to the campfire, to our lovers, to coffee shops, to strangers, to publishers' skyscrapers in New York, to the heavens, to the earth. Yes, you're fucking well right we can.

bonus anger: In the comments to his post, Mallozzi confirms that he knows that if Eleanor has sex in Camille's body without Camille's consent, that's rape. And if that comes to pass, here's where TPTB fall into another giant vat of fail - they make the perpetrator of that rape another woman.(eta: previous two sentences edited to make my meaning more clear.) Camille will be raped because Eleanor wants sex - that doesn't let Rush off the hook; he knows exactly what he's doing and he's the rapist also . . . but it's Eleanor who invites him to have sex with the body she's in, who takes that body and uses it against the wishes of its owner.

That? That's TPTB changing the point of conversation and the context of any ramifications of rape being explored in the series. This is not an exploration of the fact that women live within a culture in which rape is a tool of social control used against them, overwhelmingly by men; this is not a storyline that explores what it is for women live with the fear of rape as an everyday experience and to fear Generic Men because specific ones have hurt you and the ones you love. This is not a storyline that acknowledges that rape has historically been used against women of color to create and maintain their lower standing in society, nor the way charges of rape against white women have been used to intimidate, even kill, non-white men. This is not a storyline that explores why and how the small number of women who *do* rape do it, since I'm wholly sure none of them use body-swapping as their means. This is not a storyline that explores that rape culture is overwhelmingly driven by straight, white men trying to exert and hold onto power - this is a storyline that pushes a large chunk of responsibility off onto women trying to get their kicks.

And all I can say is - Fuck. That. Noise.
15 August 2009 @ 10:16 pm
This body . . . is me  
[ profile] natsuko1978 left a powerful response to GateFail in the comments to my last post. She's graciously given me permission to link to it -[click here] to read her words on all the ways in which the proposed SGU storyline for Sabotage fails her completely:

This body, with all it's problems, is ME. A part of who I am but an important part. Anything I did in another body would be no more real than... than Second Life. Cyber sex.

I have fought and struggled to accept the changes to this body and largely succeeded. I LOVE this body. I want to stay in this body. I want this body treated to maximise what I can do and minimise my pain -- but I want other people to see this body and accept this body. Because you cannot accept ME without it.
15 August 2009 @ 09:54 am
morning updates  
[Feministe] does a beautiful job unpacking everything that's wrong with the disability arc in Sabotage.

Suggested twitter text for @SyFy and/or @stargatecommand - A cogent rundown of why the disability arc in Sabotage is hopelessly flawed and offensive: #GateFail -

Do you have any idea how much most disabled people hate the oh-so-familiar story where a disabled character (always in a wheelchair) gets to *drum roll* WALK AGAIN? To take that one apart a little bit, at least two things are wrong with this story.

It plays into the endlessly repeated cultural conviction that walking and being vertical are somehow essentially more fully human than sitting. This is why disabled children are often kept in painful and awkward braces much longer than they should be, and why it’s been necessary to create wheelchairs that bring people up to “eye level,” (whose eye level was that?). It’s so hard to be taken seriously if you’re not vertical.

It also plays into the able-bodied person’s myth that the only interesting story about disability is the one in which it is cured or magically redeemed in some way. This is a thing of our time and place–150 years ago, the only story about disability was about romantic wasting away. Our culture desperately tries to believe that if you take care of yourself, you will live a really long time and never get sick. Seeing disabled people makes us afraid that we might not live fit and forever. Wheelchairs and the people in them become the bogeyman, the goblin who will be you if you don’t watch your health. To fight the cultural fears, we build myths about people who “walk again.”

The “finally experience intimacy” line from the casting call is the clincher for this myth. Apparently, whoever wrote this believes that disabled people can’t “experience intimacy,” which wouldn’t be true even if the phrase was about love, friendship, deep connection, or true confessions. We all know that those three words aren’t about any of those things: they’re about sex. Of course, disabled people can’t/don’t have sex. Because we’re so afraid of what it’s like to be them, we don’t look at or imagine their bodies. When we have to talk to them, we look relentlessly above the neck, which is one reason we’re more comfortable when they’re at eye level.

News flash! People in wheelchairs have sex. People on respirators have sex. Sometimes they have great sex. And what’s more, they can have sex without being fetishized for their disability.

[Jeni], who works on the MGM Stargate website, posts her personal point of view - and seems to have missed the explanations of exactly why so many people are angry. But for all that, if you've been emailing Jeni about this, please stop. She has no influence over the show, and it's not fair to drag her into this.
14 August 2009 @ 08:09 pm
Oh *facepalm*  
I09 covers the SGU imbroglio with the headline "Stargate Responds to Lesbian Body Switching Outrage."

There are so many ways to parse that headline, it ought to be a meme in and of itself.

Anyway, the column is off-target on many things (including saying that I'm most offended by "the stereotypical "genius" quadraplegic assumption" (which . . . what?! the what now?), but these two paragraphs are honestly just funny to me:

We spoke with sources close to the SGU series, and they claimed that the call sheet and casting sides are being taken completely out of context. They encouraged fans to remember that the episode "Sabotage" takes place after a hefty 15 to 16 hours of previous SGU content. The moral issues with "inhabiting" the bodies of crew members are struggled with and addressed by everyone aboard the Destiny. Plus Camile's backstory and personal life on Earth will be explored at a much deeper level.

She won't be simply the lone lesbian on the crew, whose personal life is kept in the closet, they promise. They add that casting sides and call sheets are by no means the final script — they get rewritten, with key details edited out in case they leak, as this one did. They promise that there is more to Eleanor than what you see in the casting call, but it's too spoilery to reveal right now.

TOO SPOILERY TO REVEAL RIGHT NOW. Omg, is that not the TV writer's equivalent of "people on the internets agree with me in email"? :))

eta: After Ellen has an update, and [John Scalzi] has contributed notes to the producers letting them know the concerns being articulated in the blogosphere.

eta II: [Gateworld] (the news portion of the site, not the forums) updates its own summary of the imbroglio so far.
14 August 2009 @ 05:30 pm
more on Sabotage -  
DREDF is still on the case, and widening the circle of disability rights groups involved - [ profile] dogeared has an update [here].
14 August 2009 @ 03:31 pm
"Wright and Cooper" respond on Gateworld  
(No, really, Gateworld? Have you guys heard of press releases?)

Recently, a casting breakdown was released to agents for a upcoming character in our television show, Stargate Universe. The character, Doctor Eleanor Perry, is a brilliant scientist at the top of her field, who also happens to be a quadriplegic. As part of a science fiction conceit that is core to our series, Perry's consciousness is temporarily exchanged with one our series main characters, Camile Wray, who is a lesbian. In the course of the story, Perry has the experience of being able bodied for the first time since she was a child. At the same time, Wray, temporarily encumbered by Perry's physical disability, experiences the unconditional love of her life partner. The language of the breakdown was insensitive and inaccurate, and we sincerely apologize to those who may have been offended. The audition pages that have been under scrutiny were from an early draft and released out of context. It is our desire and intention to portray both characters with dignity and respect, while remaining mindful of the ethical issues we're raising.

Brad Wright and Robert Cooper

[original here]

You know what? Gateworld is not good enough. Tweet for a proper press release (since, as [ profile] inkspottedtea puts it so well: "You're not offending just your fans with your portrayal of these characters, you are offending the groups you've chosen for the characters to be a part. APOLOGISE TO THEM, NOT US.")

In other words, FTN.



In addition, if those of you who are brave enough to venture into the Gateworld forums would care to do so on this issue, please leave whatever comment feels good. I anticipate that there are many people on the Gateworld threads (like the guy who thought sex with Rush would be such a "special" time for Eleanor) who will want to stroke BW's ruffled feathers and tell him we're all a bunch of whiners. We're not.

But GO US on making them release a statement at all :>
14 August 2009 @ 12:58 pm
An official response from SyFy  
From Craig Engler, head of SyFy at these three tweets (thanks to anonymous for the heads up):

Thanks to those of you who sent me a note about the casting call for the Stargate Universe episode Sabotage. Please see my next two tweets:

We're very sensitive to the issues raised by the description of the character Eleanor Perry.

We're working with the Stargate producers to address this & ensure that this character is handled sympathetically and responsibly.

Please feel free to tweet back with a link to the After Ellen article ([here]) to make it clear that it's not *just* the casting call that's the problem, but the entire structure of the episode!

eta: everyone is so awesome! I'm sitting here reading the tweets directed to @SyFy and it's SO COOL. KEEP TWEETING! ♥ And thank you!
14 August 2009 @ 10:04 am
sustained ruckus making  
Coverage of GateFail (thank you for the moniker, [ profile] merrilily) has spread beyond the fandom blogosphere, which gives us a fresh opportunity to make our displeasure known to TPTB. Consider tweeting TPTB, or leaving a message at their blogs etc, with a link to any of the articles below.

No matter what you twitter, please add #GateFail to your message, just in case the topic has a hope of trending. (Thanks, [ profile] notpoetry!)

1. [Just When You Think It's Safe to Go Back In the TV Water] at After Ellen.

2. [One SyStep Forward, Two SySteps Back] at Shakesville.

3. [Prejudice Against Disability in Stargate: Universe Casting Call?] at Media Dis 'n' Dat

The twitter accounts are, again:

Craig Engler, head of SyFy: @syfy
Head of MGM: @stargatecommand
Martin Gero: @martingero

You can leave comments at Joe Mallozzi's blog at: hxxp:// (change xx to tt)


There are more organization you can contact to make your feelings known below:

Tim Goodman, the television critic at the San Francisco Chronicle, can be reached at

[Jezebel] has a tips email line at

[The Huffington Post] has a tips email line at

[GLAAD] has details on how to report an instance of media defamation [here].

[The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund]. Email:

[Ouch!], a show / network about disability hosted by the BBC. Email:

[The National Center on Disability and Journalism] at ASU. [Contact form here].

Journalist Patricia Bauer focuses on disability issues, and maintains a website to that end [here]. She provides her email address at the website with the note "I’m always eager for new stories, fresh ideas and useful links. Send me an email at: ".

[ profile] bmouse suggests contacting Feministing. You can find their contact form [here]

As ever, if you have other suggestions, leave them in comments and I'll update the list.
13 August 2009 @ 10:59 pm
Sarah Warn, at [After Ellen's Best Lesbian Week Ever], rants about Episode 16 of Stargate: Universe :D

So let me get this straight (pun intended): not only will the lesbian character presumably not have any actual lesbian relationships with anyone on board the ship, she'll be shown kissing at least two men, and having sex with one of them?

Wow. And this is from the network that, when they received a failing grade from GLAAD a few weeks ago, said "we need to work harder." If this is working harder, I'd hate to see what slacking off would look like. . . .

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go find a Stargate that will take me to a galaxy where lesbian characters are actually gay.
13 August 2009 @ 12:40 pm
More resources for ruckus making  
If you'd like to make your objections to the ableist, heteronormative, and all-round skeevy problematics of Sabotage, episode sixteen of SGU's first season, clear to a larger audience, the organizations below may be able to help get the word out:

[GLAAD] has details on how to report an instance of media defamation [here].

[After Ellen] has a 'hot tips' email line at eta: And they've written about the situation [here]! Thanks to everyone who wrote in!

Others have suggested tweeting Craig Engler, the head of SyFy (@syfy), or the head of MGM (@stargatecommand). (You can see a suggested text, as used by [ profile] miera_c [here].)

Producer Joseph Mallozzi has a blog, with open comments, at hxxp:// (change the xx to tt.)

If you'd like to write the producers a piece of snail mail, you can send it to them c/o:

Bridge Studios
2400 Boundary Road
Burnaby, BC V5M 3Z3, Canada

The Bridge Studios website gives (604) 628-3070 as their phone number - it's possible you can ask to be connected to the SG:U production offices from there, but I have absolutely no idea whether that's viable.

Organizations to contact about the disability issues raised by this episode are listed [here].

As ever, if you have other suggestions, please leave them in comments and I'll update the list.

eta: thanks to [ profile] socchan for writing about this over at [Shakesville]!