Isaac Asimov has long been, and still is, one of my favorite authors. He was also a person who regularly sexually harassed women. Both statements can be (and are) true, without me having to give up the former or condone the latter.
Over the course of many decades, Asimov groped or engaged in other forms of unwanted touching with countless women, often at conventions, but also privately and in the workplace. Within the science fiction community, this is common knowledge, and whenever I bring it up in a room of older fans, the response is usually a series of nods. The number of such incidents is unknown, but it can be plausibly estimated in the hundreds, and thus may match or exceed the long list of books that Asimov wrote.
…I regularly hear the argument that Asimov was simply a product of his era. You certainly don’t need to look far to find parallel offenders, including Asimov’s friend Randall Garrett, of whom Frank Herbert recalled, “You could follow his movements … by the squeals of the women whose bottoms he had just pinched.”
But excusing Asimov by saying that some of his contemporaries were guilty of similar transgressions is like downplaying his productivity by pointing out that other authors were prolific.
I find it important to recognize and consider the flaws in the people and the media that we enjoy, rather than shrugging them off or brushing them under the proverbial carpet. It doesn’t mean we have to “cancel” things, banishing entire swaths of previously-enjoyed content when we discover the creator said or did something we find problematic (though in some instances, we may decide to; each person has to determine that for themselves depending on their values and the situation in question). But learning how to hold ourselves and others to higher standards means not ignoring the failures when they appear.
Sometime between September 3rd and September 23rd, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!
The truth about false rape accusations: “Critics argue that reports of rape should be treated with more caution, since men’s lives are so often ruined by women’s malicious lies. But…every part of this narrative is wrong. What’s more, it’s wrong in ways that help real rapists escape justice, while perversely making it more likely that we will miss the signs of false reports.”
Forget the new iPhones, Apple’s best product is now privacy: “I now believe the best product Apple offers is intangible, yet far more valuable than a flagship smartphone. The best product Apple has–and the single biggest reason that consumers should choose an Apple device over competing devices–is privacy.”
The Problem with Panic: "Sexual misconduct, affirmative consent, and the dangers of shame and moralism." A very interesting and thoughtful piece on the current cultural shift regarding sexuality, assault, and accountability.