Saturday, March 23, 2013

Oh this is confusing. Alistair 'Saddam did have WMDs, and even if he didn't, no civilians were killed or tortured in the invasion Tony and I arranged, absolutely none, the bombs were made of cardboard and the torture photos were fake' Campbell is on board with the campaign to bring the Daily Mail to book over the Lucy Meadows case.

Well, ultimately I'd rather be falsely accused of supporting the Blair/Campbell position than correctly accused of failing to stand up against transphobia. 'I figured I'd rather go down swinging for the right thing.'

Monday, March 04, 2013

Rape in Jack Vance's fiction

While vacuuming the front room this afternoon I was mentally composing a post on the awkward subject of 'Vance and rape', an area that made me uncomfortable years before I came by my extra nobility.

There's an unsettlingly jocular approach in the 50s stuff (Dying Earth, and a throwaway comment in To Live Forever) which perhaps can be put aside as 'of its time'.

But at the other end of the time tunnel, by the 80s and Cadwal Chronicles, the lovely Wayness is attacked twice and successfully defends herself each time. We certainly are not lead to sympathise with the aggressor here, so credit where it's due.

However, a few years earlier there's the Tatzel thing in Lyonesse books I and II which repulsed me on first reading, and indeed was the first time I began to think about what Vance was trying to get me to believe. For those not familiar, in book I heroic Aillas is enslaved by the aristocratic, marauding Ska (no giggling please) and put to work as a slave in the household of Duke Luhalcx. He deals so spiritedly with the concomitant humiliations that Luhalcx's daughter, Tatzel, covertly warns him one day 'Have a care - intractable slaves are gelded.'

Now, I innocently read this as a supportive statement - 'You're twice the man that any of them are, watch out they don't "cut you down to size"'. But clearly Vance means it to be a taunt, because in book II Aillas encounters Tatzel again. She's got lost and broken her leg, and Aillas forces her to travel across country with him and constantly leads her to believe that she's in imminent danger of being raped up good. What a gent!

On arrival at their destination Aillas reveals that the whole rape thing was merely a bantering response to her words in book I, and hands her back over to dad in one piece. He then saunters off to spend the rest of the book being kingly and executing summary justice, before in book III we're forced to endure much of the same from his equally horrible, but less rapey, son.