But now I have something interesting to post about. I had gone to a local con last year and had a good time. First convention in a long time. I missed it this spring but there were other issues with real life to deal with. One of which was my continued following of GamerGate and then Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies over the last couple of years. So besides getting up everyday for the usual stuff there was a lot of reading about politics and the SJW take over of 2 of the book genres I read most often, Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I had made some bad choices over the years and had wondered about why the books seemed so bad and how could it have turned out that way from the cover pictures, blurbs, or reviews, few though they were, that I would read.
I stumbled into the Puppies and came to find that the issues they raised were the answer for my unspoken and often nascent thoughts on my last fews years reading material. So when I saw that WorldCon would be held close enough to home that I could make the short trip without too many issues I jumped at the chance to go and see what the whole hullabaloo was about first hand and make up my own mind. As well as take part in something I'd heard about for a long time but had never been able to go to and that I had, already, wanted to go experience for myself.
All did not go as I had hoped.
The trip went fine despite the hiccup with hotels. The inconvenience wasn't all that bad in the end. Just a slightly longer drive across downtown. The convention itself was also interesting. It wasn't as mainstream as it could have been though I had expected that after reading about it's past. You don't see the big media (tv/movie) names you do at a Comic-Con, nor that sort of fan base. On the other hand you do get to see old hands such as Jerry Pournelle and Dave Truesdale, and grand dames like Kate Paulk. I was sad to miss Alan Dean Foster and Gary Kurtz of Star Wars fame. Quite a few of whose SW panels I was excitedly planning to go see until they couldn't make it and their panels were canceled.
Still there were other highlights I had not expected. The best, and as it turned out the worst, being the Short Fiction Panel I went as a substitute for one of those canceled SW panels. There was a nice lady my group had run into earlier that day who had mentioned the panel as one she would be going to and so I would have a chance to ask her a couple follow-up questions about a subject we'd talked about previously. As it turned out that worked. That was the best part. It also worked out that I became a part of perhaps the biggest controversy of the con. That was the worst part.
At that panel the Moderator, Mr. Truesdale, tried to read a partly prepared intro to the subject of the panel which infuriated some of the other panel members one of whom turned his chair and turned his back to not just Mr. Truesdale but the whole panel (as he was at one end of the panelists table). After another panelist had had her say in response to Mr. Truesdales opening remarks Mr. Neil Clarke turned back and began to speak about tolerance at which much of the audience began a loud clapping. This was the point at which I couldn't take it any longer and called out in response to Mr. Clarke that his actions weren't tolerance. I had to yell quite loudly and repeatedly my comments because of that loud clapping. Something I heard others doing as well as the clapping died down. Though I couldn't understand them and if they were for or against (though I suspect they were against Mr. Truesdale and/or me). This was no different than what I had heard, to a greater or lesser degree, at other panels and groups at other times during the whole of the convention.
Mr. Clarke seemed rather insensed by my comments and replied that "at least I didn't get up and leave." Referring to other audience members who had at the start (a few left later as well) after Mr. Truesdale had prefaced his comments with a warning that some might wish to hear his opinions as they might me somewhat offensive to those of a weaker constitution. At that point there were more comments from the crowd but Mr. Truesdale doing his duty as moderator asked us all to hold any further comments till the Q&A at the end. At which point I went as quiet as a church mouse.
The next morning Mr. Truesdale was expelled and his Con Membership revoked. There appears to have been a lot of special snowflakes at that panel who disregarded his warnings that they might get triggered.
So after that and a lacrimos canine giving me the in on the private Sad Puppies Party Suite the rest of the convention proceeded apace. I enjoyed, for the most part, the rest of my time there. The people I met and interacted with at the Puppy Suite probably being the most interesting and stimulating group. I was happy that Mrs. Paulk let my friend and me in, Rabid Puppy that I am, now. Especially since I was a lurker in all of the Sad/Rabid Puppies planning and online conversations and was therefore unknown to them all. That probably worked out best as far as the rest of the con is concerned.
And now the rest of the story.
When I got home I was too tired to bother with e-mail. Quite a bit a piled up and the the options for internet during the con were slow (convention center, KCCC free wi-fi), limited in bandwidth (a new acquaintance's cellar hotspot gadget), or very expensive (hotel wi-fi) so my connectivity was limited in time and speed and bandwidth. Also my e-mail didn't seem to like connecting from a third party location. I was only able to get one e-mail out at all the whole time I was there and couldn't read much of what was able to get downloaded with the flaky connections. After Thursday I gave up on it completely.
Which bring me to the surprise I got this morning after starting in on my second e-mail account. When I got to it I found 2 e-mails from MidAmeriCon2. The second informed me that they were revoking my membership. It would appear that yelling out comments, at least for me, was too disruptive and a harassment for which I must be punished. Details were thin in the e-mail (which I will copy below) and I had no chance to face my accusers since I was unable to get e-mail during the con and couldn't reply the first e-mail from MidAmeriCon telling me they'd had complaints about me. I probably would have been much more angry at the time had I gotten those e-mails in a timely manner. I was upset that they'd expelled Mr. Truesdale. Since it turned out to be moot I won't complain too very much. I got my money's worth out of the membership for the last 2 days anyhow. They got to keep my money either way so I don't think they should have much to complain about that I, inadvertently, ignored their expulsion.
As for who might have complained about me, other than Mr. Clarke, the only one I think I can identify is the red haired woman in front of me over who's head I yelled out my comment. To whom I would have been glad to apologize to if she found it too loud. She left some time later in the middle and I didn't see her afterward and she didn't turn around to complain nor come up to me after the panel let out.
So that was the big WorldCon controversy I seemed to have stepped into the middle of. I am a bit astonished that I wasn't accosted afterward or in the 2 weekend days while I was walking the halls of the convention center. But on the other hand it was nice to be unaware as I got to do a few more things, go to a couple more panels, watch half the hugos, get one of the author autographs I wanted and buy a couple books and pick up the one piece of artwork I'd bid on and won. I also gave blood as I usually do at cons, at least the couple little fan cons I'd been to a long time back. I did get a few hisses and dirty looks when other con goers read my badge flair and saw either the Sad Puppies flair or the "Wrongfan having Wrongfun" one. I'm not sure which gave people the most heartburn, it might have been a combination of both. I for one didn't go running to any complaint department though. You just have to let that sort of thing roll off your back. Not everyone agrees in this world, no use getting upset at those little microaggressions.
The MidAmeriCon2 e-mail, as promised:
Dear Theodore Xxxx,
Due to multiple reports that identified you as a disruptive audience member during the "State of Short Fiction" panel yesterday, we sent you an email requesting more information from you on Friday at 9:02pm. Because we have not heard from you since that time, we are obligated to act on these reports without your input. Your behavior was in violation of the MidAmeriCon Code of Conduct because harassment of any kind is not tolerated. Therefore we are revoking your membership effective immediately.
Chair, MidAmeriCon 2
IRT Phone (Call or text) 816-800-xxxx