Courtesy of the great Brit-Lib (British libertarian) site Samizdata comes this not-The-Onion-piece in The Guardian: “How can our future Mars colonies be free of sexism and racism?”
“We’re going to Mars—eventually,” declares the author Martin Robbins, who “writes about science, pseudoscience and evidence-based politics.”
After space-walking through various cliches about Manifest Destiny and noting, sensibly enough, that said “destiny is rarely great for the people already at the destination,” we get to the meat of the piece. Which, given this is about space exploration and colonization, the meat involved is a hunk of prophylactic social-justice-warrioring that’s about as fresh and substantive as one of those old Space Food Sticks we suffered through in the 1970s.
The first woman to be raped in space has probably already been born. And if that last sentence makes you howl with protest or insist that such a thing just wouldn’t happen, then I’d stop a second and ask yourself why….
To paraphrase Douglas Adams: “Space is white. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly white it is.” It’s also very male and European. Women in space-colony fiction have generally been presented as sexy walking vaginas, whose main purpose is to provide the male astronauts with a place to dock their penis at night. This being necessary in order to “ensure the survival of the species”…
if we really want to create a progressive new world then issues like these should be at the hearts of our efforts from the very start. I hope [private space entrepreneur Elon] Musk and his peers open up that discussion sooner rather than later, and I hope that people like Lee can take part in it. The last thing we need is to wake up in 50 years and find that a bunch of #gamergate nobheads are running Mars.
What’s that line from Barry McGuire’s faux-’60s-protest song, “Eve of Destruction?” Oh yeah: “You may leave here for four days in space/But when you return it’s the same old place.” Sing it, brother, sing it. You can’t win the human race, or the sermonizing of SJWS when it comes to “GamerGate.” Seriously, you’re talking about starting a colony on Mars (which thankfully—and unlike large swaths of colonies formed on Planet Earth—has no native population) and you’re stuck on GamerGate?
In the 19th century, many people feared “monomania,” or fixations on a single comprehensive idea that possessed individuals to their detriment. Monomaniacal characters populate American fiction of that period—think Capt. Ahab in Moby-Dick—but often also to great comic effect. The titular character of Washington Irving’s “The Adventure of the German Student” (which is part of a tightly integrated series of very funny stories in Tales of a Traveler) is one such figure. The student becomes obsessed with the idea that “an evil genius or spirit seeking to ensnare him and ensure his perdition” and, needless to say, he gets exactly what he fears most. Even better is Hollingsworth, a boorish prison reformer in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Blithedale Romance who won’t STFU already about how his very specific, very tedious insights will transform all aspects of humanity. “It cost me many a groan to tolerate him on this point,” observes the novel’s wry narrator.
So it is with Martin Robbins and his ilk. You can figuratively fly off into outer space but when you touch down on the Red Planet, it turns out you might as well never left your mother’s living room. Everywhere you go, there you are. There really is no escaping the prison of your own obsessions. Each of us, walking vaginas or ambulatory penises alike, are just slave girls of Gor.
Reason TV’s Paul Detrick recently talked to a woman who just might die on Mars as part of a planned expedition. Meet Mead McCormick: