Given my output of late, it would not be strange to find some people think I am dead. I was laid somewhat low by our current plague last summer, indeed, and if the solipsists turn out to be right I might well have died then and all since has been mere residue.
That wouldn’t explain the previous couple of years, though.
What moved me to break this deadly silence is a suddenly-felt need to address the death of the artist. You know the concept, I’m sure– once art is released into the world, the artist’s opinion of it is only part of the art’s interpretation. This notion survived George Lucas’s efforts to snuff it out (Han did, indeed, shoot first) so I’m unlikely to affect it much… and yet, I will yowl from the depths of my shrouds and rattle my chains.
Social media has lately been full of argument between supporters and detractors of AI-generated art. Or “art” as some would prefer. I thought it might be worth reminding the world at large of a story I wrote a few years back which was a contemplation of how essentially human the idea of Art is.
Thus, I plopped a link to Harmonic Aliasing onto social media. I re-read it, too, since I’ve haven’t looked at it much since I wrote it in 2016. As I read, I realized that in chasing the point I had in view, I had also created something that could suggest a stance which I really don’t occupy.
It could, without any violent mental gymnastics, be viewed as a bit of a screed against transgender transitioning. When I wrote the story, there was rather less open opposition to transgender people living their lives as they see fit– big dumb cishet objects like me, even when sympathetic, might think that there wasn’t anything at all being said on the topic prior to 2018 at earliest, and it wasn’t until 2020 that a specific popular children’s fantasy writer started barking chauvinisms into the all-encompassing ear of Twitter. Like an elephant walking through a field of rabbits, I was entirely unaware of the harm I might be doing.
Now, though… well, I run into the clash of world-views between people trying to be themselves and people who really don’t want them to do that pretty regularly. I am, after all, a dweller in the outer reaches of the writing community (I am well aware how how bright a light I represent), my wife has been a theatre kid since she was a kid in truth, and we are thus in regular conversation with people of diverse gender expressions. We are not required to take a side in this conflict, but… well, as another ghost once pointed out, mankind should be our business.
Moan, wail, rattle! The artist, dead these seven years, lurches through the fabric of the locked door. He unwinds the bandage which keeps his jaw from flopping about, and out of the gaping yawn that results these words emerge in his mossy voice:
“Trans rights are human rights. Cursed be they who imply I have ever thought otherwise!”