International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day

So there’s this huge bruhaha going on in the SF/F community right now. Reigning VP of the Science Fiction Writers of America Howard V. Hendrix posted a madly controversial commentary about the SFWA and, among other things, writers giving work away on the internet. You can read the post here, along with all the ranting it’s produced. There are a couple of money shots in it, including a bit where he calls people who post professional fiction online “pixel-stained technopeasant wretches”.

The SF community being what it is, they seized upon this and there are now t-shirts, icons, banners, you name it, and to my absurd delight, has declared April 23rd to be International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day, and invites everyone to post pro-level writing that day. I’ll be posting more of 100 Years. :)

Mom thinks anybody using the phrase “pixel-stained technopeasant wretches” in a rant is perhaps deliberately winding people up, which idea amuses the hell out of me. If he is, it’s sure working. :) And whether he is or not, I really think I must have one of those t-shirts, yes indeed. :)

(thanks to for making me aware of International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day!)

9 thoughts on “International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day

  1. ah, we have purchased those tshirts and mugs!

    although so many of us want to be “wenches” instead of wretches.

  2. I saw the “wench” gear, but I prefer “wretch”.

    Because I suffer so, and cause suffering to those around me.

  3. See, Scalzi and Jo Walton think “pixel-stained technopeasant” is sufficient unto itself and implies the wretched part, but I think you really need all four words for full impact. They have a certain rhythm and verve!

    Lo! behold the pixel-stained technopeasant wretch
    bent low in his hovel of dryboard and stucco
    sharecropping words for his corporate liege lord
    His wrist aches, but he toils on.

    (As for Hendrix, of course I completely disagree with him, but have got to respect his followup letter, in which he admits his word choice was poor and points out he’s retiring from the job and doesn’t expect the rest of us to be Luddites with him. But it’s still a great phrase.)

  4. i saw the wench gear but liked the wretch better. also… it sounded more put upon :D

  5. I have been watching this entire brouhaha with great glee, and as one who would cheerily identify as a Pixel-Stained Technopeasant, I shall have to think very hard about what to post. ;)

  6. See, despite not being an author (apart from when I big up the games writing I’ve done and when my ego is out of control) I want one of the t-shirts, ‘cos I think they apply pretty well to those of us who work on the coal-face of the internet. Hmm.. :)

  7. -laughs- I think you need all four words too, and I like your ode to the wretch. *giggle*

  8. It almost makes me wish I had the professional writing practice necessary to produce pro-level fictional writing. Unfortunately, the kind of writing I can do well: (technical documentation)

    1) takes me forever to do, and
    2) is already amazingly prevalent on the web anyway

  9. 1) Doesn’t the prevalence of technical documentation on the net simply mean that your profession is more filled with Pixel-Stained Technopeasants than fiction? ;) It’s all in the interpretation.

    2) Definitions:

    Amateur: work you don’t get paid for
    Professional: work you get paid for
    Pro-Level: Work that, theoretically, is good enough that someone might pay you for it.

    If you post *everything* you write for free, then yes, you’ll probably hurt your sales. But posting one book, especially one book in a series, can be an excellent way to generate sales of the other books. It’s a hook, just like the little old ladies giving away tiny Dixie cups of potato chips in the snack aisle.

    3) I really disagree with the idea that we’ll eventually go all digital, unless some environmentalist law bans paper books. I spend most of my day on a computer for one reason or another. But if I want to own a book, I want it in hard copy. I don’t want to stare at a computer screen, and I don’t want to worry that a hard drive error or the internet going down is going to prevent me from reading it. And there’s a certain prestige to being able to say you have it that’s lacking in electronic format. Plus, it’s hard for an author to sing your copy of electrons. ;)

    They’ve been predicting that computers would kill books ever since the home PC was invented. And yet, all of my local libraries have been expanding in the past few years to hold more books, even though they also have internet access computers in them now. As someone said on one of the discussion threads I was reading, there’s not a current equivalent to the comparison between print books and electronic books that can be pointed to as evidence of how one affects the other.

    4) The notion that posting a book online hurts everyone by reducing the value of work is only arguable if it becomes a majority of authors posting all or most of their writings online. Now, the notion that posting books online hurts the *union* is a different matter. Unions of any sort have a tendency to become self-sustaining entities that must continually create new crises in order to further their own existence, and to continue to demand more so as to continue to present the newest thing they’ve gained for their members. Kind of like congressmen. :P They can also stifle advancement and creativity, by not allowing individuals to rise above anyone else without shouts of unfairness.

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