May. 7th, 2012

lazypadawan: (Default)
Bonnie Burton Tweeted today that she has lost her job at Lucasfilm after working there nine years. She was one of the content editors of starwars.com and wrote or co-wrote a couple of books having do to with arts and crafts. Burton posted a lot of crafts projects on starwars.com and the blog. She did all of the fan "celeb" interviews. She was also heavily involved with running prior Celebrations.

I knew something was up when the blog was "suspended" recently for "renovations." According to some replies to Bonnie's Tweet, she had known for at least a couple of weeks she was losing her job.

There seems to be an awful lot of downsizing going with Lucasfilm and Star Wars lately. As previously noted, Steve Sansweet retired as Fan Relations guy and nobody replaced him. The Shop closed last year. Hyperspace was shut down. Content is pretty sparse these days if you can find it with starwars.com's damnable navigation. Maybe the lousy economy has affected Lucasfilm's bottom line and they're cutting costs like everyone else. Maybe this is just changing the team once put together to promote new movies, which we aren't getting anymore. Maybe they want to change the tone of "official" fandom and go in another direction (look for my coming rant, "Why Star Wars Needs To Renounce Geek Culture"). Oh who am I kidding?

There were things Burton did and others at starwars.com did that I didn't like and maybe things did need some shaking up. But I also know she was responsive to fans and it must really, really SUCK to not only lose your job but lose a job anyone would kill to get. Lots of luck to her in the future.
lazypadawan: (Default)
Oh, those rascally expanded universe reading fans! They’ve gotten into a tussle again!

It all started when a gal posted that the books need to “star” more female characters that we’ll actually like. It’s a point that’s been made a zillion times over at Fangirl Blog though it’s not the only site to promote that opinion. Along comes “Chris” over at the popular EU Cantina who posts last Friday why he (I’m assuming it’s a “he” anyway) doesn’t think it’s necessary. The problem is he does so in a rather ham-fisted, illogical way even if he does have a few—and I mean few--valid points. If the line “Star Wars is...(apparently) aimed at young boys” doesn’t make your forehead meet your keyboard, then the line about books on Leia or Padmé would be “snoozers” will (though he'd reconsider if they were action books):

http://www.eucantina.net/archives/11915

Look, bro...there have been plenty of snoozer books that weren’t about those characters. That’s why I hardly read the books anymore. And you can’t tell me that a book about the oddball political relationship between Palpatine and Padme wouldn’t be amazing if done with the same amount of skill as “Darth Plagueis.” You can’t tell me a book about Leia getting involved with the Alliance wouldn’t be great if done right. I have lamented many a time that Del Rey/Lucas Books have strangely left the prominent heroines of Star Wars on a shelf and not taken advantage of their potential. It didn’t help when they recently pulled the plug on the Nomi Sunrider book.

The response to Chris’s piece was enormous. Fangirl Blog, Club Jade, and others filed responses which is all fine and good. Never tell a gal she has no right to complain (same goes for “you’re being hysterical”). But I concur with Chris that what should matter first and foremost is the quality of the book. It didn’t bother me there were no prominent female characters in “Darth Plagueis.” So what? It was the best Star Wars novel in 20 years. Fangirl Blog seemed to blithely dismiss Chris’s arguments with “well, those characters do exist but since I don’t like them I’ll speak for all women and say women don’t like them.” Unless you’ve polled every woman interested in the subject, it’s a rather sweeping statement to make without anything to back it up.

http://fangirlblog.com/2012/05/missing-the-point-star-wars-fandom/

What bugged was the criticism saying this is about “equality.” Am I seriously supposed to believe that I’m a lesser person in society because there aren’t enough Star Wars books starring female characters? This is supposed to keep me up at night? What annoys me about their not using Star Wars heroines in their book is that they’re leaving characters I’d rather read about on the shelf so they can publish novels about no-name Hutts. Maybe the real issue is that the publishing arm of the Star Wars license is making two assumptions about its readership: 1) most people who read Star Wars novels are male and 2) males are not interested in reading about women unless it’s “Leia’s Magical Bikini” or “Padmé’s Handmaiden Tickle Party,” topics that are too R-rated to touch. (I’ll also repeat my lamentation that they haven’t looked at the MASSIVE young women’s market.) Everybody though makes assumptions about their intended market. Sometimes they are accurate, sometimes they’re not. But it doesn’t have to do with “equality.”

Bugging me even more is the argument the books need “diversity.” I know “diversity” is one of those buzzwords that has been beaten into our heads for the past 30-40 years, but I don’t think every single possible group needs to be represented to validate either the books or the readers. Do we really want bean counters to ensure every Star Wars novel has an adequate number of homosexual Jawas with one kidney or transgendered Wookiees in wheelchairs? Where does it end?

But what bugged me the most were the people, mostly commenters, demanding EU Cantina dump Chris. I read his piece in its entirety. The column's arguments might be boneheaded, but he does have a right to be wrong. Attacking the guy with Kafkatrapping phrases like “white male privilege” or demanding his head because he just doesn’t agree with you is typical of what passes for discussion on the internet. One commenter even called the guy a "racist." THERE WAS NOTHING RACIST IN WHAT HE WROTE!! I do worry greatly the younger generation has no respect for the concept of free speech. They seem to think that if it bothers/offends them, it needs to be silenced (trolling notwithstanding). It's frightening, and a whole lot worse than a guy's silly column or the lack of chick power in a publishing line.

December 2012

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