Tuesday, June 19, 2012

This Post Will Hurt Me More Than It Will Hurt You

I've been reading a lot of different interpretations and opinions about Prometheus. Recently, I read a review that stuck in my head for a numbers of reasons. Mostly, it was because this was the first review I had read which claimed that Ridley Scott's film is two hours of coded homophobia.


When I asked the poster why he said this, he said that he was reacting to the fact that Prometheus employed the worst stereotypes of homosexuals, and this was what he was reacting to.

Up to this point, I could have considered such an interpretation. Let me state for the record that, as someone who is gay and holds a Masters degree in reading and analyzing narrative and text, I did not pick up on any such coding.

What stuck in my craw about this review was the fact that the OP wrote it in homophobic language, to "rail against the homophobia of the film."

This doesn't make a lick of sense to me. As a writer himself, surely Nick Mamatas must be aware of the power words hold? Sure, his inner circle and acquaintances may realise what he is trying to do. But others? Readers who come to his words not knowing anything about him?

It's hard for me to make this post, because Nick Mamatas is someone I used to admire. I like what he writes and the creative projects he gets involved with. But I can't let this slide. And since he has already called me a troll, insulted my intelligence and questioned my academic degrees, I suppose sending him any submissions for anthologies in the future ends here. Oh well.

In the end, it's not even that I disagree with his reading of the film, but rather that he refuses to consider any other interpretation. His basic argument is, "I'm right, and if you don't agree with me, you are clearly wrong." I mean, I know that there are some crazy egomaniacs out there, but I expect writers to be more open minded, more considerate. Isn't that how we get to look at things from a multitude of perspectives, how we are able to hone our craft in a bid to reach people of all cultures and backgrounds?

So today, I am disappointed. And it sucks.

It didn't take me long to find more evidence of Nick Mamatas being extremely disrespectful of others and their opinions. He appears to be someone who lords himself and his achievements over others, and think that his degrees mean that he simply cannot ever learn something useful from someone who does not have them.

Here then, is the entire thread from Nick Mamatas' Livejournal in which he tries to explain to me that I am wrong, my opinions suck, and are invalid. I'm not particularly eloquent, I admit. If I'd known the whole thing was going to devolve into the bizarre argument that followed, I'd have probably taken better care with my phrasing.

A final note: Maybe this shouldn't make a difference, but I can potentially see the difference of opinion here from an academic analysis POV. Nick Mamatas has an MFA in Creative Writing, while I have an MA in English Literature. There is a difference between these approaches to text. Possibly, that's where some of the friction may have originated from in terms of how we read text/narrative.

In all honesty, I tried to have a conversation about different perspectives and theory on the nature of text, subtext and narrative. In the end, I couldn't keep repeating myself. 

Endnote: I had the whole thread posted here originally, but it looked messy and things keep being added. So I just kept the link above to the original post.

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