There is an old saying, attributed somewhat dubiously to Voltaire: “I prayed the Lord to make my enemies ridiculous, and He answered my prayer.”
I can’t claim any credit here, and I very much doubt any divine intervention was required, as the SFWA has not only managed to make itself ridiculous again, but is now demonstrating that there is no reason for it to even exist anymore.
If you’ve read my body of work here at Upstream over the past year or so, you know I’m not a big fan of the SFWA. From their long and sordid history of hagiographic treatment of serial child molesters to cancelling their own honorees to getting vast amounts of member data leaked, it’s safe to say that SFWA as an organization has entered the “skinsuiting” phase of their existence; a once-valuable entity that had meaning, now merely doing whatever it can to rake in cash on little more than its former notoriety.
If that sounds too harsh, allow me to present what came to mind after I had a chance to pore over their recently released tax returns for 2021. That year’s filings have been of particular interest, given that 2021 saw a highly profiled but spectacularly failed lawsuit.
The “LOLsuit”, as it became known in certain corners of the internet, was the effort of member author Patrick Tomlinson to subpoena Cloudflare into revealing the identities of the users on an Opie and Anthony fan forum that had taken to trolling him. It’s been highly speculated since that Tomlinson received help from SFWA’s Legal Fund for the effort. Many who had taken a look at our previous article on SFWA’s filings from prior years were anxious to see if barely-an-author’s escapades would be reflected in 2021’s long-awaited filings.
Welp, wouldn’t you know it, their legal expenses nearly quintupled compared to 2020 (that year’s filings can be found here):
LEGAL EXPENSES 2020: 17,533
LEGAL EXPENSES 2021: 83,750
Which, naturally, leads me to wonder if 2023 is the year I should consider filing that lawsuit to force the organization to publicly acknowledge that I am still a member. The Legal Legion certainly has a much better record in the California courts than SFWA’s legal team.