These days there's often ranting about "nerds" and "geeks" -- terms that the world would be better off without, though I have to
admit there's something gloriously awful, in a Love And Death on Long Island kind of way, when would-be sophisticates who spend
half their time discussing Joyce or Sophocles switch to a vocabulary whose current usage was largely forged in the supremely inane universe
of American high school cliques.
I still wouldn't agree with his argument that nerd or geek are slurs; they used to be but they've long ago been reclaimed. But this doesn't matter.
What's important is that Greg Egan saw he had made a mistake and had inadvertently insulted people and then apologised and took action to recitify
this. Well done!
Apparently in their current version, the skin of Drow who convert to good becomes lighter coloured while the "blackness of the drow's skin has
become a permanent sign of their depravity". The Curse of the Lamanites angle seems to have been introduced by self-confessed Canadian author
Lisa Smedman in The Lady Penitent.
Oi. That really is some old skool racist imagery, isn't it? With fantasy there's always the danger, if the writer isn't careful, that old racist
stereotypes are redeemed by applying them to orcs or other fantasy races, but this is so obvious that there really is no excuse. This isn't just
an awkward appropriation of an "exotic" culture to populate some generic fantasyland with, but use of an old idea that has served as a particular
pernicious justification for slavery: the "curse of Ham". From wikipedia:
According to pro-slavery literature, Hamís transgressions, particularly the shaming of his father by looking upon his nakedness, provoked "Noahís curse".
Allegedly, Hamís son Canaan and his descendants were thereafter doomed to serve their American lines for all of eternity. Indeed, when discussing
the slaves of the pharaoh in Exodus, Origen specifically identifies them as descendants of Ham who were punished due to their ancestorís skin color.
In 1823, amidst controversy concerning the justice and morality of slavery, South Carolinian Frederick Dalcho argued: "and perhaps we shall find
that the negroes, the descendants of Ham, lost their freedom from the abominable wickedness of their progenitor (Ham)."
Much worse than some of the offenses that have driven racefail 2009...