Fishboob Fail 09
From Fan History Wiki
Now, it almost goes without saying that some women simply can’t handle the fact that anyone would actually be attracted to a pleasantly-fit woman with pleasantly-round breasts. I mean, that’s just the epitomy of awful. Men being attracted to pleasantly-fit women with pleasantly-round breasts? My God! What about all the dumpy fat women, shaped like pears and with cottage cheese down their thighs? What about them?! Who is making them feel beautiful and appreciated??
Clearly, the mermaid on the cover of ROF is an assault on the sensibilities of fat, homely, or otherwise visually-not-so-hot women everywhere. Clearly, something must be done.
And we’re off to the races.
Fishboob Fail 09 (also referred to as BoobFail, CoverFail, HarlanFail or RealmsFail) is a kerfluffle which broke out in science fiction and fantasy fandom in July 2009. The focus was the August 2009 cover of Realms of Fantasy magazine, which was revealed earlier in the year but became the focus of more attention at Readercon and caused some to accuse the magazine of sexism. Many of the same individuals who were involved in Race Fail 09 were involved in this incidence of Fail.
Discussion of the August 2009 cover of Realms of Fantasy - the first cover under its new production at Tir Na Nog Press - first began in June 2009 after a link to it in Nick Mamatas' LiveJournal. Most of the discussion mocked the idea of a fish with "boobs" - nipple-less boobs, no less, only vaguely touching on the subject of sexism.
Then on July 20, 2009, K. Tempest Bradford made a post about a discussion she'd had at Readercon with Warren Lapine and Douglas Cohen of Tir Na Nog Press regarding the cover. She asked him if there might be some equal time given to "male asses" on future covers, given that (as Warren apparently acknowledged) readership of Realms of Fantasy is 4-1 female. Douglas Cohen then jumped into the comment thread, objecting to the way his part of the discussion was paraphrased and presented. "I’ve rather had my fill of flame wars in the past, so believe it or not I am looking to avoid one now," he began, and after discussing the current situation with their back inventory of artwork from the previous publisher, presenting his side of the issue, he concluded with: "The bottom line is that there is no agenda in place under the new publisher (or by me) to have artwork featuring hot naked babes to move copies. How about you wait a few issues? You’ll see for yourself soon enough." Warren Lapine also responded.
Douglas Cohen made a separate post about the Realms of Fantasy Art Department, and conversation and debate continued to spread elsewhere. A commenter named "Charlotte" mocked up a spoof cover for Realms of Fantasy featuring a nude male fantasy figure, which K. Tempest Bradford featured in a post on July 21. Warren Lapine was not especially amused an in a comment to her post, remarked: Tempest, I have no problem with the image and wouldn’t bounce it if an Art Director brought it to me. But I have to admit that the cover text bums me out. I thought we were having a valuable conversation here and now I discover you’re just mocking and belittling us.
HARLAN ELLISON - Thursday, July 23 2009 19:27:11 THE BOOB POSTER For those of you who lust to box the ears of the Terminally Moronic whose pustulent idiocy has made the internet a plague-spa, one of my casual friends has pased along the name of the looneytune who started this whole "REALMS OF FANTASY-Ellison is a sexist" offensiveness. Her name is Kay Tempest Bradford. And she has a blog, I guess. She has dummied-up a truly insulting mock-cover of REALMS that is intended to be offensive to anyone who values my sixty years' work. Now: watch your step. She is apparently a Woman of Color (which REALLY makes me want to bee-atch-slap her, being the guy who discovered and encouraged one of the finest writers and Women of Color who ever lived, my friend, the recently-deceased Octavia Estelle Butler). And she plays that card endlessly, which is supposed to exorcise anyone suggesting she is a badmouth ignoramus, or even a NWA. Ooooh, did I say that? Well, folks, if you'd like to give this termagant a taste of her own approbrium, you got the Public Name in a Public Place, so have at it. Even those of you who are Merely Women, or even Women of Cuhluh. Hey, Kay, mama, y'wanna get into it with me, bring it swineherd! Yr. Pal, Harlan
Harlan's comments caused considerable outrage and was pointed out as a major incident of Race Fail by numerous individuals.,,,, On July 24, Harlan posts another entry in his blog, attempting an apology for his words the day before. He posted:
HARLAN ELLISON - Friday, July 24 2009 16:35:36 OPEN LETTER TO MS. KAY TEMPEST BRADFORD Dear Ms. Bradford: You have a number of good friends who also happen to be good friends of mine. They have rallied on your behalf, to contact me by phone (four today alone), to tan my bottom in regards to my, well, at best, at very minimally best, my "snarky" response to what I perceived to be yet another Total Stranger Meanspirited Internet Troll Assault. I fear there is still a tot too much "street" in me to let such perceived calumny go unanswered. Apparently, I received inadequate information, some of which I interpreted incorrectly, some of which was simply wrong. One of the heartrending epiphanies of the current Paradigm Shift is that the most adolescently ignorant demographic of this far-from-perfect society needs to (as my President said today) "ratchet down the noise-level." The moment one such as I goes for the okeydoke and begins to believe this "geezer" bullshit, is the moment one realizes that we like in a Momentary-Celebrity Culture, and for everyone claiming sexism, racism, elitism, et al ... there are 10,000 arrogant little twits, semi- literate, semi-humanoid, and less-than-semi-courteous, who truly believe that to have SURVIVED and STILL BE PULLING THE PLOW, is to grant them power over you. Depression and anger and suicide follow therefrom. I am 75. I'm old, I ain't senile. I still work, I still publish, I still have very cool thoughts and do very cool deeds, every day. I'm not quite ready yet to let monkeybrain bloggers who need Google to know who Colette or Guy de Maupassant are, predicate my existence. Mmm. I've drifted. Your friends tell me to back off and not attempt to exact the demonic vigerish that is my wont. Several people known and unknown to me personally advise me that you are rather a cranky soul yourself, so you shouldn't be TOO 'tude about my responding in kind. That it turns out you're not as deserving of my bestial attentions as others I've used as objects of scaphism, warms my li'l ole heart, and if any part of my reply to your various blogs here'n'there was over the line, consider this a gentlemanly apologia. I know this message will get to you, via one or another conduit, so here's my IfYouTalkTheTalk you'd better be ready to WalkTheWalk: I have no idea where you live, but if you are anywhere near where I am, please name the time and the day, and my wife, Susan, and I would be condign taking you for an excellent meal at one of the great joints I frequent. THEN--and ONLY then--you'll be able to make your own informed judgment about me. And you won't have to poison yourself with the fanboy/fangirl gossip that substitutes for ratiocination on this electronic asswipe of a medium. You know where to find me. Respectfully, Harlan Ellison
June 3, 2009
July 20, 2009
- Realms of Covers: K. Tempest Bradford on July 20, 2009
- New Writers? GTFO: K. Tempest Bradford on July 20, 2009
- ROF Art Department: For the Record: Douglas Cohen on July 20, 2009
July 21, 2009
- Follow up to yesterday’s Realms discussions: K. Tempest Bradford on July 21, 2009
- Sexism is Not About Your Ego: Jim C. Hines on July 21, 2009
- First RaceFail... Now... Sexism Fail?: cat_mcdougall in unfunnybusiness on July 21, 2009
- Sharing Some Links About Women in Fantasy Art: Mandolin on July 21, 2009
July 22, 2009
- Realms Of Fantasy cover art stinkfest: Brad R. Torgersen on July 22, 2009
- More on the cover thing: Nick Mamatas on July 22, 2009
- fishboobfail '09: kynn on July 22, 2009
- RoF Drama Dying Down: K. Tempest Bradford on July 22, 2009
July 23, 2009
- Realms cont’d: Women and their bodies, art, photography, marketing: Brad R. Torgersen on July 23, 2009
- Lying Liars Who Lie: inalasahl in unfunnybusiness on July 23, 2009
July 24, 2009
- NOT COOL, HARLAN: nojojojo on July 24, 2009
- fuckwit: kynn on July 24, 2009
- harlan apologizes to tempest...sorta: kynn on July 24, 2009
- Harlan Ellison: Racefail in 2 easy steps!: yeloson on July 24, 2009
- In Which Harlan Ellison Has Things To Say: K. Tempest Bradford on July 24, 2009
- I just wanted to say...: lanning on July 24, 2009
- In Which Harlan Ellison Apologizes: K. Tempest Bradford on July 24, 2009
- Harlan's "apology": nojojojo on July 24, 2009
July 25, 2009
- Harlan and Tempest: Warren Lapine on July 25, 2009
- how to make things worse for your magazine: kynn on July 25, 2009
July 27, 2009
- Open Letter to the SF Community re: Ellison/Bradford Incident: Carl Brandon Society on July 27, 2009