So now we have MZB, Samuel Delaney, and Ed Kramer revealed as child molesters, at best. And the worst part about it, that goes beyond the sickness of their actions, is the apparent willingness of the Science Fiction/Fantasy community to deny and/or defend their actions, and those like them. Of course not all members are guilty of this, but enough leaders and publishers are that it calls into question everything else that they are willing to defend. And that also calls into question everything that they are willing to attack.
It comes to this. My earlier musings on the validity of works already published does not either excuse or even mitigate the actions of the author. While it may be true that evil people can produce great art, it is up to the art community (in whatever medium you may think of), to police itself for those that should be shunned from any community. You can admire the earlier works of Roman Polanski, before it was known that he was a child rapist, but there is no defending the man or any subsequent works. You can still dance to Johnny B. Goode, but you don’t have to induct Chuck Berry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. You may have been touched by MZB’s writings, but there is no way to countenance any lauding of the woman herself.
But the worst part of this whole thing is that it revels a truly degenerate worldview that exists in the minds of those who shape popular culture. They are willing to excuse any behavior, as long as money is being made and fame cultivated. How many Jimmy Savile’s are out there, being allowed to do whatever they like because they are loved by an audience that would recoil in horror if even a smidgen of their crimes were exposed? How many people have sold their souls to keep these secrets safe?
And then there is this: all the people who allowed the abuse and violence to happen are generally faceless and nameless to the general populace. We cannot refuse to read anything else edited, published, or marketed by those who knew, because we do not know who those people are, and we don’t know the depths of their complicity. But when we do know–like in the case of the SFWA–we can withdraw or support, praise, and recognition.
Rename the Nebulas the NAMBuLAs. Make the winning of the award notable for those who refuse to accept it (and why). Make it uncomfortable for those who knew and did nothing, and shine sunlight on the whole wretched nest of roaches. Of course some will disappear back into the shadows. Evil is always with us. But we cannot excuse it, and we cannot let it become the acceptable habit of even the most talented.