Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net


August 20th, 2012

Detail from the cover of Hepen the Watcher; illustration by Sarah AdamsMy fantasy novel Hepen the Watcher is about the violent take-down of a misogynistic society. It’s a humorous book in parts, with what I hope are lively and likable characters. But other sections are grim, as any such book must be.

From time to time, I’ve wondered if I went too far in my depiction of the society, one that is deliberately engineered from On High to despise women and treat them as mindless yet dangerous chattel, its customs strictly enforced despite the better feelings of many men.

But there is no instance of oppression in Hepen the Watcher that hasn’t actually existed in the world with the hearty approval of authoritarian figures. Indeed, most of the goings-on in the book still exist somewhere in the world, while here in the USA it seems that every few days yet another politician — always of the Republican party — steps forward, eager to create more and more laws aimed at regulating women’s sexuality and reproduction. This, from a party with an Orwellian knack for hiding behind words like “liberty” and “freedom,” and crying out against excessive government.

Yesterday, Sunday, both twitter and facebook seemed oddly quiet until midafternoon, when word of Missouri’s Republican Congressional Representative Todd Akin hit. His asinine and ignorant comments on the biology of rape ignited a storm of utterly justified outrage. I’m sure by now you’ve heard what he had to say. If not, you’ll find Mr. Akin’s comments quoted in this essay by Ilyse Hogue at The Nation: The Danger of Laughing at Todd Akin. As Ms. Hogue makes clear, the enemy is not just this one individual who has somehow persuaded the people of Missouri — my father’s home state — to put him in a position of power. The enemy is widespread:

In the multidimensional chess that shapes public opinion, the game is less about individual elections and more about a sustained effort to mainstream radical ideas. In the case of denying women control over their lives, there’s evidence that the bad guys may be winning the long-game.

There is no justification for compromising women’s freedom, equality, and self-determination. Yield no ground. Don’t let the bad guys win.

Posted on: Monday, August 20th, 2012 at 9:53 am
Categories: General.
Tags: ,

6 Responses to “Chattel”

  1. Glen Kilpatrick Says:

    I found the phrase and idea of “legitimate rape” particularly repugnant, and the basic ignorance of “that representative” (I’d prefer to not even use his name, Navajo-style) as regards basic science appalling. Do we really want know-nothings making (or these days, _not_ making) important decisions over all of us? I want my representatives to have a good grasp of the sciences, and to know the humanities too.

  2. Linda Says:

    Totally agree, and yet we — American citizens — vote these willfully ignorant politicos into office. If you get a chance, read David Brin’s essay cited in the next blog post. It’s a breath of fresh air.

  3. Ted Lemon Says:

    The thing that I found frustrating about the outcry that followed was all the calls for people to petition the idiot to recant. Why do political action groups do this kind of thing? The best thing for this idiot to do for the benefit of us all is to keep saying stupid things until his constituents vote him out of office. Maybe I’m naively optimistic that a statement like that might cost him the next election, but a person can hope, right?

  4. Linda Says:

    A person can hope! People like this have always been around and always will be, but the truly despair-provoking fact is there are enough people who approve of their idiocy that they can win positions of power.

    It’s also interesting that Claire McCaskill’s team wanted him to be the GOP nominee because they figured he was so repugnant she would have her best chance at re-election, running against him. Evidently he’s still not repugnant enough.

  5. Eddie Says:

    Pregnancy begins two weeks before conception. At least according to the state of Arizona:

    What will they think up next?

  6. Linda Says:

    Logically (not that we are dealing in any sense with logic) the next step is to require a woman to possess a doctor’s note certifying the status of her womb before she crosses the state line.

    I’ve read that Soviet biology fell decades behind the west, because the “science” had to conform to the teachings of the state. Sound familiar?