Monday, August 18, 2003

continuing the public dialogue

another post to a list:

Wanted to let you all know of another “dialogue” I had recently. I read a great book by a SciFi author named Robert Sawyer about a parallel universe in which Neanderthals had evolved and we were extinct (it is called, “Hominds”). Due to a quantum glitch, one of the Neanderthals ends up in our world. Now, the Neanderthal world is not what WE would think of as Neanderthal, i.e., they are not slope-headed brutes. They have evolved with the same body type, but have become very “human” in the sense that their society is based on a rational approach to Neanderthal (i.e., human) behavior. The guy who comes to our world is a physicist! Very cool!

Anyway, the author has a scene in which a human woman is sexually assaulted (by a human) and it is written from her perspective. It is done very well, IMO, in that it portrays all of the reactions and responses that are typical in a situation like that (“typical” in the sense of devastating and largely ignored or derided by our culture). The entire novel is treated with that level of sensitivity – the author is a genius, IMO.

Anyway, I emailed him, told him that I was a sociologist, that I chaired a VAW committee and just wanted to thank him for the way he wrote the assault scene. Guess, what? He wrote me back, thanked me for contacting him, let me know that he had hoped he had gotten it “right” and thanked me for providing him with some confirmation.

Was that hard for me to do? No. Do we have countless opportunities to do that everyday? Yes. Should I stop asking and answering my own questions now before I turn into our Secretary of Defense? Yes.

Anyway, you get my drift, my friends. Please contribute to the public dialogue as Bill H. mentioned awhile back.

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