The OF Blog: One more look at looniness

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

One more look at looniness

Last week, I posted a link to a blog post by Tobias Buckell that discussed some rather uncouth things said in a rejection letter by Helix editor William Sanders. It seems many were so repelled by Sanders' bigotry that they requested their stories be removed from the e-mag. Early this morning, Sanders posted a statement:

By Christ, Melanie, you're right!  Why should you have to do all this extra
work for nothing, just so some silly people can make a big grandstand play to
impress their bloggy pals with the Correctness of their convictions?

I am hereby making a change to the aforestated offer. Effective as of now,
any Helix contributor who wants his/her work deleted from the archives will
have to pay for the privilege. Specifically, it'll cost you forty bucks, payable
to Melanie.

And that's IF Melanie figures it'll take her an hour or less to do the job.
If you've had a whole bunch of stories in the magazine, and/or a lot of other
related entries - award nominations etc. - to be taken out as well, then she's
at liberty to charge whatever she thinks is right.

But forty is the minimum. This is not negotiable.

Come now - forty bucks, that's NOTHING, is it? I mean compared to the inestimable
value of keeping your precious principles all shiny and pretty. Not to mention
the basic principle involved at her end. Call yourselves feminists, do you?
Then you ought to be ashamed of yourselves trying to exploit a woman's labor
like that.

I'm not just jiving around about this. I'm serious as a rattlesnake bite.
You want your stuff deleted, you can pay for the privilege. Not to the magazine
- none of the rest of us will touch a nickel. (Though no doubt Lawrence will
have to handle the transaction, unless you happen to have Melanie's mailing
address.) If you're not sure how to make the check out, email us, we'll forward
it to her.

But inquire first, because it's still going to be up to Melanie whether or not
she wants to fuck with it. I'm done giving her orders on this shit that's not
part of her job. (And if she doesn't want to do it, then you're shit out of
luck, little buddy. Because contractually we're not under any obligation to
do it at all - as a couple of the earlier deserters have admitted.)


(1) This does not apply to those needing something deleted for professional
reasons. I mean anyone who, for example, has a chance to sell a story again
or put it in a collection or something, and the publisher demands that it not
appear anywhere else. If you've got a chance to make a little extra money,
why, that's an entirely different matter. Just write me with the details, we'll
work something out.

(2) This rule is not retroactive. The three or four contributors who have
already had their work deleted will not be affected. Just think, they not only
got to display the purity of their principles - or their solidarity with their
mates in Blogistan; the two concepts seem to be pretty much interchangeable
anyway - but also realized the true American Dream: something for nothing.
Their reward for getting there first.

Now will everyone who posted or otherwise circulated the previous announcement
PLEASE follow up with this addendum, so that we don't have any unnecessary misunderstandings.

(But if anybody doesn't get the word, that's just what they get for not lurking
this newsgroup. After all, all the best people do. Don't you, sweeties?)

Needless to say, looking on from the sidelines, Sanders comes across as...let's see? Ass? Asswipe? Assclown? Something that most assholes would not admit to their society, as being beyond the bounds?, that's not quite right. While it might appealing to many to call him even worse invectives (doubtless someone has wished he'd go felch a rotting corpse or that he'd sodomize himself with barbed wire on his mother's grave), that too wouldn't be the best thing to do (and no, the invectives above are just standard-issue for me when I think the person deserves them; Sanders does this case).

No, a better thing to do is to withhold any submissions (doubtless others have done this), discover what advertising revenues the e-mag might have (if any) and if possible, contact those revenue providers with statements from Sanders. Much more effective to hit someone monetarily than to just take down a story and see if he'll weather the storm and months later start adding new stories from people who would have forgotten/didn't know about the incident.

That I believe would be a better way of dealing with unsavory uncouths. Although I'll admit the invectives are fun to say from time to time.


Anonymous said...

Here's what's worth at least $40.

To Whom It May Concern,

I apologize profusely for the use of a term that I was unaware was religous and racial slur. Mea culpa, though I still contend I wrote the term in ignorance rather than malice. I only ask that you do not penalize Helix, which has produced some quality work, or its authors, many of whom have opinions quite different from mine.


Andrew Wheeler said...

He might be a jerk -- strike that, he is a jerk,and worse -- but he's right that there's no reason why this "Melanie" (whoever she is) should have to work harder for free so that writers can feel morally superior to her and Helix. Depending on what rights Helix bought, these writers are actually asking for a favor -- and doing so in high dudgeon at the top of their voices. I can't see any reason why anyone, even a more reasonable and kind-hearted man than Sanders, would be happy to do what they want.

But I must admit that Sanders does have a knack of saying things in the worst possible ways at all times. (He's been notable for abusive comments before, though they've always before been taken as directed at one person rather than against a group.) I'd hate to see how he wished his mother goodnight.

Larry said...


It would have been best if something like that could have been said, but I'm no longer holding my breath for it.


I do agree that his website person (I think that's the Melanie he refers to) is probably doing a lot of extra work for no extra pay. While I understand why the writers don't want to be associated with Sanders and his publication, I think it would be better to just boycott future submissions, pressure any ad people to stop supporting the venue, etc. rather than to make a third party's life more of a hassle. Money's been received for the stories, contract has been sealed, and unless people want to return the money paid to them as well as have their stories removed, it does strike me as a half-gesture.

NM said...

Depending on what rights Helix bought, these writers are actually asking for a favor -- and doing so in high dudgeon at the top of their voices.

Nope. The first story was removed after Sanders suggested it to the author; the second was removed after an exceedingly polite note which was responded to by castigating the story as a nonsensical Affirmative Action purchase (this from the man who purchased it). The third and forth requests have not been made public.

"High dudgeon" and "top of their voices" is just stuff you made up to sound interesting.

Larry said...

"You?" You mean Sanders and not me myself, right? Not that I'm disputing any of it, since I find the entire thing with Sanders to be unsavory right now.

NM said...

My "you" was a reference to Wheeler, whose inaccurate comments I quoted in my comment to make the antecedent clear.

Larry said...

OK. Wasn't for sure. Thanks for clarifying :D

ThRiNiDiR said...

I'm not commenting this...righteous umbrage? douchebag is what he is...

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