So, that happened

Not going to spend a lot of time on yesterday’s shenanigans. I’m still in Deadline Hell on the UMSP, still in recovery mode from cross-planet/season-hopping jetlag, and still on vacation when all is said and done; I’ve got better things to do. And anyway, I’m too much of a counselor to forget that the most virulent-sounding hatred is always the result of fear. There can be nothing more pitiful — dangerous, certainly, but still, pitiful — than a person whose self-worth depends solely on their perceived ability to diminish others. That is a person who truly has nothing of his own.

Little Vegemite in the big city. Small jar with Brooklyn & Manhattan in the background.

Better things to do.

I will say this: we’ve spent a day talking about this guy. That’s good and necessary; some people would prefer to forget that we have a big problem with racism in SFF, and now we’ve got another Exhibit A of the Especially Blatant variety. But I do want to remind everyone that it’s the Unexamined Privileges and Assumptions variety that does more damage over time, and that’s a far, far more endemic problem in this genre than the odd frothing change-phobe. We have to deal with both kinds of racism if we are ever to begin a true Reconciliation — but each type of bigotry deserves a proportionate response. One day’s about enough for that guy. Now let’s get back to the conversations we were all having before he so rudely interrupted.

Like, holy shit, it looks like over $10,000 has been raised for the Carl Brandon Society, and I’m guessing Con or Bust is probably well past $500 (they’re not the same thing, note — and you still have time to get a matching contribution on Con or Bust)! That’s all kinds of awesome. You can still donate, if you haven’t, and do things like help an up-and-coming writer of color attend Clarion, help fans of color go to SFF cons they would otherwise never attend, and more. But note that CBS and Con or Bust need volunteers as much as they both need money; these are all labors of love on the part of the people involved. They could use more love.

And speaking of love… If you donated yesterday as an expression of support for me, thank you. I got bombarded with emails and texts and FB messages and whatnot yesterday, all of which were supportive — and thanks for that, too. I saw a few of the conversations happening online about this — not many; remember, Deadline Hell — and I know important convos are happening where I can’t see. All that’s very good. Please keep talking. Even an argument is better than silence.

In the meantime, Imma get back to writin’. And, er, contemplating this Vegemite. Yeast, huh? How ’bout that.

22 Responses »

  1. Definitely. In a way, people like that do double damage — first the virulence and violent rhetoric itself, second the obscuring of the very real and very powerful manifestations of systemic racism that just aren’t as flashy, aren’t as laughable and easy to reject by those who benefit from the system.

    $10,000 is amazing, though. Ha, there goes my little “wouldn’t it be cool if we broke $2,000? :D?” comment from yesterday. How much _does_ it cost to attend Clarion?

  2. Tasty tasty yeast. Next time you come here you can stock up on your vegemite and marmite without flying halfway around the world ;)

    Write on!!

  3. I thought your remarks from Continuum were fantastic (tweeted the link, for those among my twitter followers who care about sf/f) and I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with this garbage this week.

    And, yes, made a wee donation to Con or Bust, and though I didn’t indicate officially that it was in your honor, it totally was.

  4. They actually sell it in New York. I’ve just been… hesitant… to try it. :)

  5. It’s an acquired taste, I think! But very good for you :)

  6. Spread the Vegemite *thinly*. It has an extremely strong flavour.

    Good on buttered toast. Also, try it with a slice of processed Kraft cheese on toast.

  7. Don’t Do It!

    For the love of all that is good to you, drop it the trash before you let curiosity overcome you.

    (I had some once in college. It tasted, to me, like a kick-in-the-mouth. And I don’t mean that in a good way. It was like shoe leather eating my face. More power to those that love it, though.)

  8. Oh, oh, Nora… Vegemite?

    I grew up watching my dad spread that stuff (and Marmite) on toast, and it took years before I dared try it. Never again, I swore… well, until an English brewer friend in Korea (where it cannot be bought) made some homemade marmite with his spare yeast and some vegetable stock, and… well, I didn’t like it any better, to be honest.

    I’ve read blog posts by people claiming their homemade marmite/vegemite is much better than the commercial stuff, though. If you actually like it, track down a homebrewer and score a liquid yeast cake off them after they keg a (not-so-hoppy) batch, and make your own… with less salt and better stock. :)

    That is, of course, assuming you like the stuff. It’s not as vile as Mr. You Know Who, but is still a foodstuff I class with natto. And I do not like natto.

  9. Natto! I love it. It’s awesome with spicy mustard. :)

  10. Vegemite is the actual best. DO IT.

  11. And if you like the vegemite at all, try making sandwiches with it and a layer of potato chips…. er, crisps?

    What? That’s not wierd at all… there’s a NZ comic strip called Bogor where the main character ate marmite and cornflake sandwiches… He also talked to hedgehogs, but I don’t think that was the marmite’s fault.

  12. Speaking as an Australian who’s never eaten Vegemite: don’t bother. It’s an abomination. I am constantly amazed that people can’t tell as much from the smell.

  13. Yeast and salt. Lots of salt. I’m an Aussie but I don’t like vegimite. TimTams on the other hand… have you had a TimTam Slam yet? 8-)

    Beale aside, I am so glad that your GoH speech has been making the ripples it has. And I don’t think it can be emphasized enough that women and persons of colour have been HERE ALL ALONG. I winced internally when that guy asked the question (after your speech) about “welcoming the oddballs”, because that’s a reinforcement of the Othering which has been happening all along, the Othering which we need to stamp out. It isn’t a question of welcoming them in, it’s a question of bringing them out of hiding. Not just out of hiding, but making it safe to come out of hiding.

    *hugs*

  14. One day, there will be no racism. No sexism. The disabled will be respected as valued members of society, and ginger-haired people will walk the streets in confidence and safety.

    And then will begin the next great battle that divides civilization: VEGEMITISM.

  15. My friend said that Vegemite is good IF you prepare yourself to like it. Because in America we tend to only eat sweet spreads on bread, we expect it to be sweet but it is NOT. So when offering it to a friend, you go “Here, would you like some of this salty spread? It’s called Vegemite, and it’s salty. You can spread it on like peanut butter, but it’s salty. Here, have a bite – it’s salty – you might like it – it tastes of salt – just a bit to try – so salty – what do you think? Salty, right?”

  16. As a kiwi who just had to go through a Marmite drought (as the factory was fixed up post eq), and had to *make do* with Vegemite…Marmite is far superior. More meaty, less bitter/salt.

    A quick recipe to try (outside of the obligatory on toast): spread some (a couple of knife slather fulls) on casserole beef and slow cook (in oven bag or crockpot). Serve on mashed potatoes and chopped carrots with the gravy thinned down with a bit of water/cornflour. Standard fare in my family for many a young winter.

  17. I once read a poor American describing how he’d tried Vegemite and found it nauseatingly disgusting. He helpfully added a photo of how he’d slathered it on the bread like one might do with Nutella if one was severely sugar-deprived.

    Do not do this.

    Vegemite is essentially flavoured, spreadable salt. When you first try it (and I suspect the same would go for Marmite except that’s of course an abomination, and the national outpouring of woe while the factory was closed post-earthquake was the most hilarious schadenfreude ever) the proper way to use it is to spread it very thinly on the bread and then scrape it all off again. You won’t be able to scrape it all off of course, and this little remainder will be all the flavour you need. If and as you get used to it, you can increase the amount you use to taste.

  18. I’m really interesting in one day trying vegemite since it sounds delicious, but I doubt I will ever get a chance. Let us know how you find it with your usual eloquence.

  19. That looks like a very small container of vegimite. I hope you can get more when it runs out. :)

    BTW the slideshow for the Better Than They Have Any Right To Be anime panel is now up at: http://piratesobg.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/continuum-panel-notes-better-than-they-have-any-right-to-be/

    Thanks again for coming down under and being awesome.

  20. Vegemite is Australia’s undeclared bioweapons program.

  21. Tried Marmite because there was a Kiwi in the lab next door. She said it’s better than Vegemite. If that’s true I’m not touching Vegemite with a ten-foot pole. Every culture has its acquired taste but…eek.

  22. If you take the scuzz that grows in the bottom of a beer barrell while undergoing fermentation, and mix it with all of the salt in the Pacific ocean, and then concentrate it and stuff it in a jar, you have Vegemite. I wouldn’t even feed it to the dog, and that’s assuming he would eat it.

    I heartily second the recommendation for a Tim Tam Slam. If you’re going to eat some fun Aussie stuff, do that. Or sugar up thyself Kiwi-style with Pineapple Lump candy.

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