Pixel Scroll 9/19/16 Scroll Like A Pixel Day

(1) OUT OF STEAM. Southern California will be without one of its Halloween traditions this year, and probably for the future. “Ghost Train Cancelled by Los Angeles Live Steamers Board of Directors”. The Griffith Park model steam railroad center will not be giving rides or decorating for Halloween. Jay Carsman, a members of LA Live Steamers, told the Theme Park Adventure blog the reasons.

“The LA Live Steamers Ghost Train’s popularity finally outgrew our volunteer club’s ability to manage it,” said Carsman. “Of course, there were other issues too. For 2015 [sic], we really did not plan to have a Ghost Train at all because of the water pipeline project underway on Zoo Drive. The pipe was huge and due to the tunnel boring and the collapse of part of the old pipe, a fairly long stretch of our railroad began to sink in the ground. Just a few weeks before Halloween 2015 [sic], the city’s contractor for the pipe project shored up the mess and injected cement into the ground to stop the sinking. We went ahead and did the Ghost Train but everything was very rushed and stressful. We managed to do it, but the small group of volunteers who really made it happen were exhausted.

“Compounding the problem for future Halloween Ghost Trains were some financial issues, the city advising that our Ghost Train had become a major safety issue for the park due to the crowds, traffic on Zoo Drive, and parking issues,” stated Carsman. Last, they said absolutely no more flames, torches, and exposed hazardous electrical wiring. Then there was the continuing problem of the scale-model railroad is just not designed for such concentrated heavy use. The trains are models, not amusement park machines and the track is a very small scaled-down version of real train track. Carrying ten or fifteen thousand people on the little railroad during a 10-day period is just brutal for such small machines….”

ghost-train-2015_8456

(2) MIDAMERICON II PHOTOS AT FANAC.ORG. They’ve started a photo album for MidAmericon 2 at Fanac.org. “So far there are 42 photos up, most of them courtesy of Frank Olynyk.”

Shots of the Guests of Honor and Toastmaster are here.

(3) AWARD PHOTO. This year Orbital Comics in London beat off fierce competition to win the Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award. James Bacon who seems to collect opinions on good comic shops around the world took the photo and said; “First time at Orbital Comics since the win. The shop embodies an awful lot of what I consider to be just right in comic shops. Huge amount of small press, great events and a gallery, with a lovely attitude, and Karl and his team really deserve it.”

Spirit of Comics Retailer Award

Spirit of Comics Retailer Award

(4) FOR ANYONE WHO HASN’T HEARD ENOUGH. Dave Truesdale appeared on the SuperversiveSF podcast today. He gives his version of the notorious MAC II panel beginning immediately after the intros.

“[The] theme of my opening remarks….was that science fiction is not for snowflakes, those people who are perpetually offended or microaggressed at every turn, these people are nothing but, they are intellectually shallow emotionally stunted thumb-sucking crybabies who are given validation by such organisations or platforms as the Incident Report Team at Worldcon, or places they can go such as safe rooms at WisCon or other safe places around the internet or social media. Science fiction is not the place for these people because SF is part of the arts and the arts should be always one of the most freeform places for expression and thought and instances of being provocative and controversial there should be. They have invaded science fiction to the point where we are not seeing the sort of fiction,, short fiction at least, any more that we used to, we are not seeing the provocative controversial stuff…”

A bit later he comments on the specifics of his expulsion

“…95% of the audience were probably somewhere along the snowflake spectrum and it was just anathema to them so they went crying to the IRT (the Incident Reporting Team) and a one-sided version of what happened got me expelled from the convention and I think it was a travesty that I never got to give my side and it was more or less just a kangaroo court and I think it was just abominable and set a very bad precedent for future Worldcons and just fandom at conventions in general”

(5) EXPULSIONS THROUGHOUT FANHISTORY. Alec Nevala-Lee, in “The Past Through Tomorrow”, discusses Dave Truesdale’s conduct at MidAmeriCon II, and ends by comparing it with the “Great Exclusion Act” at the first Worldcon.

Afterward, one of the other participants shook my hand, saying that he thought that I did a good job, and essentially apologized for taking over the discussion. “I don’t usually talk much,” he told me, “but when I’m on a panel like this, I just can’t stop myself.”

And this turned out to be a prophetic remark. The next day, the very same participant was expelled from the convention for hijacking another panel that he was moderating, using his position to indulge in a ten-minute speech on how political correctness was destroying science fiction and fantasy. I wasn’t there, but I later spoke to another member of that panel, who noted dryly that it was the first time she had ever found herself on the most controversial event of the weekend. Based on other accounts of the incident, the speaker—who, again, had been nothing but polite to me the day before—said that the fear of giving offense had made it hard for writers to write the same kinds of innovative, challenging stories that they had in the past. Inevitably, there are those who believe that his expulsion simply proved his point, and that he was cast out by the convention’s thought police for expressing an unpopular opinion. But that isn’t really what happened. As another blogger correctly observes, the participant wasn’t expelled for his words, but for his actions: he deliberately derailed a panel that he was supposed to moderate, recorded it without the consent of the other panelists, and planned the whole thing in advance, complete with props and a prepared statement. He came into the event with the intention of disrupting any real conversation, rather than facilitating it, and the result was an act of massive discourtesy. For a supposed champion of free speech, he didn’t seem very interested in encouraging it. As a result, he was clearly in violation of the convention’s code of conduct, and his removal was justified.

(6) BAD WOLF. Bertie MacAvoy had a science fictional encounter this weekend.

Seeing the Tardis is always unexpected:

This weekend I drove to the nearest town for some Thai take-out. As I passed down the aisle of cars I saw a dark blue van on the other side of the row. It had decals on the top of its windows. They read: POLICE CALL BOX. Carrying my tubs of soup and cardboard boxes of food, I crossed over. Each rear door had a magnetic sticker on it, such as are used by people to signify that theirs is a company car. These said SAINT JOHN’S AMBULANCE SERVICE and all the rest of the usual Tardis markings. On the rearmost window had been scrawled in white paint: BAD WOLF….

(7) INFLUENTIAL BOOKS. The Washington Posts’s Nora Krug, getting ready for the Library of Congress National Book Festival next weekend, asked writers “What book–or books–influenced you most?”  Here is Kelly Link’s response:

Kelly Link s books include “ Stranger Things Happen ” and “ Pretty Monsters .” Her latest collection, “ Get in Trouble: Stories ,” was a 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist:

The short-story collection “Not What You Expected,” by Joan Aiken, is one of the most magical of all the books I found at the Coral Gables public library during one of my many childhood moves. I checked it out on my library card over and over. In it were stories about dog ghosts, unusual harps, curses and phones that could connect you to the past. Aiken could put a whole world into a 10-page story, and she was funny as well as terrifying. She made the act of storytelling feel limitless, liberating, joyful.

(8) LOSE THESE TROPES. Fond as we are of the number five, consider “Marc Turner with Five Fantasy Tropes That Should Be Consigned To History” for The Speculative Herald.

…Having said that, here are five tropes that I’d be happy never to see again. (Please note, I’m not suggesting that any book that contains these tropes is “bad” or “unimaginative”; I’m simply saying that I would be less inclined to read it.)

  1. Prophecies

When I was a teen, it seemed every other fantasy book I read featured a prophecy. You know the sort of thing: “The Chosen One will claim the Sword of Light and defeat the Dark Lord”, or “Upon the death of three kings, the world will be plunged into Chaos”. Now maybe it’s just me, but if I foresaw the precise set of circumstances that would bring about the end of all things, I wouldn’t be in a hurry to share it with the world. You can guarantee that somewhere a Dark Lord is listening in and saying, “Well, that is interesting.”

And why is it that whoever makes these prophecies never sees clearly enough to be able to provide a complete picture? It’s never an entirely useful prophecy. There’s always room for misinterpretation so the author can throw in a twist at the end.

Plus, there’s so much scope for abuse. It’s a wonder the bad guys don’t have fun with prophecies more often. “Ah, yes, paradise on earth is just one step away. All you have to do is destroy that kingdom over there. What’s that you say? If you attack, you’ll leave your border with my Evil Empire undefended? Purely a coincidence, I assure you.” *Whistles innocently*

(9) GRAVELINE OBIT. Duane E. Graveline (1931-2016), a doctor who did pioneering research in space medicine, and was briefly a NASA astronaut, died September 5. According to the New York Times:

In 1965, Duane E. Graveline, a doctor who did pioneering research in space medicine, was awarded one of the most coveted jobs the government can bestow: astronaut. But he resigned less than two months later without ever being fitted for a spacesuit, let alone riding a rocket into space. His tenure is believed to be the shortest of anyone in the astronaut program, a NASA spokeswoman said.

Dr. Graveline cited “personal reasons” for his resignation. In fact, NASA officials later said, he had been forced out because his marriage was coming apart and the agency, worried about tarnishing its image at a time when divorce was stigmatized, wanted to avoid embarrassment.

Dr. Graveline, who married five more times and became a prolific author but whose later career as a doctor was marred by scandal, died on Sept. 5 at 85 in a hospital near his home in Merritt Island, Fla.

In later years, Dr. Graveline continued to consult with NASA and wrote 15 books, including memoirs, science fiction novels and works detailing his research into side effects of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, which he blamed for his own medical decline.

Graveline also was a self-published science fiction author with numerous works available through his website.

(10) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • September 19, 1961 — On a return trip from Canada, while in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Betty and Barney Hill claimed to have been abducted for two hours by a UFO. After going public with their story, the two gained worldwide notoriety. The incident is the first fully documented case of an alleged alien abduction.
  • September 19, 2000 — The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, a novel by Michael Chabon about the glory years of the American comic book, is published on this day in 2000. The book went on to win the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

(11) TODAY IN PIRACY. It’s “Talk Like  Pirate Day” and if you show up at Krispy Kreme and talk or dress like a pirate you can get a dozen free doughnuts.

Customers who do their best pirate voice get a free glazed donut. Dress like a pirate and you get a free dozen glazed donuts.

To qualify for the free dozen, customers must wear three pirate items like a bandana or eye patch.

If you’re not willing to go that far, but still want to get the free dozen, there is another option: Customers can digitally dress like a pirate through Krispy Kreme Snapchat pirate filter. Just be sure to show the photo to a team member

(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS

  • Born September 19, 1928 — Adam West
  • Born September 19, 1933  — David McCallum in 1933. His was in arguably the best Outer Limits episode, The Sixth Finger. And then, of course, he was in The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

(13) READING WITHOUT TURNING A PAGE. M.I.T. uses radiation to read closed books reports Engadget.

There are some books that are simply too delicate to crack open — the last thing you want to do is destroy an ornate medieval Bible simply because you’re curious about its contents. If MIT has its way, though, you won’t have to stay away. Its scientists have crafted a computational imaging system that can read the individual pages of a book while it’s closed. Their technology scans a book using terahertz radiation, and relies on the tiny, 20-micrometer air gaps between pages to identify and scan those pages one by one. A letter interpretation algorithm (of the sort that can defeat captchas) helps make sense of any distorted or incomplete text.

(14) EMMY NOTES. Steven H Silver lists all the Emmy Award winners of genre interest at SF Site News. And he sent along this summary to File 770:

As I noted in my coverage of the Emmy Awards, with their nine wins earlier this week and their three wins last night, Game of Thrones now has the record for the most Emmy wins for a scripted prime time series with 38 (it took the record from Frasier, which has 37).  The record for most Emmys of any type seems to be Saturday Night Live, with 43 (including Kate McKinnon’s win this year).  It took GOT only six seasons to rack up that total, Frasier took 11, and SNL took 41 years.

(15) ALAN MOORE TALKS TO NPR ABOUT HIS NEW PROJECT. The writer of Watchmen is writing a book (without pictures) based on his hometown: “In ‘Jerusalem,’ Nothing You’ve Ever Lost Is Truly Gone”.

Recently, Moore said he’s stepping back from comics to focus on other projects — like his epic new novel, Jerusalem. It’s full of angels, devils, saints and sinners and visionaries, ghost children and wandering writers, all circling his home town of Northampton, England.

Moore still lives in Northampton, about an hour north of London. He rarely leaves, so I went there to meet him.

“This is holy ground for me,” he told me as we stood on a neglected grassy strip by a busy road. It doesn’t look like holy ground — nothing’s here now except a few trees, and a solitary house on the corner. But it wasn’t always this way.

“This is it,” Moore says, pointing to the grown-over remains of a little path behind the corner house. “This is the alley that used to run behind our terrace. This is where I was born.”

(16) OWN HARRY POTTER’S CUBBYHOLE. The house used to stand in for the Dursleys’ house in the Harry Potter films is on the market.

Until he went to Hogwarts, Harry was forced to live there with Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and his cousin Dudley, and returned there every summer.

The house in Bracknell, Berkshire, rather than the fictive Little Whinging dreamt up by J. K. Rowling, but is otherwise as it appeared in the films.

On the market for £475,000, it has three bedrooms, enough for a married couple, their over-indulged son, and their over-indulged son’s second bedroom. Whether there is room for a child to sleep in the cupboard under the stairs is unclear.

[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, Mark-kitteh, Martin Morse Wooster, Steven H Silver, John King Tarpinian, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint and Cadbury Moose.]

 

238 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/19/16 Scroll Like A Pixel Day

  1. John A Arkansawyer:


    @Hampus Eckerman: Did I do that? I don’t think I did.”

    Yes, you did:

    “I suppose that makes me a full-blown racist, then…”

    By that statement, you included yourself in the group you know call close to outright bigots.

    Anyhow, there is a lot to be said sbout unconcious bias. We recently had a study in Sweden on the amount of immigrants in a neighbourhood that would cause ethnical swedes to start move out.

    It turne out that the number varier between 4 and 20% depending on area. Also, it was a very slow process with rich people having much lower acceptance, but when leaving causing the percentage to go up so another group would start to prepare to leave. It seemed to be partially decoupled from socioeconomic status of the immigrants.

    Mostly it seemed to be tied to the level of wellfare in the area, not the colour of peoples skins or their heritage.

  2. And yeah, Tuesdays set out to be intentionally offensive and disruptive

    Tuesdays can be like that.

  3. I would at that I think there is a very large difference between an unconcious bias (that is extremely hard to avoid) and a concious decision.

    Regarding “white fragility”. My experience from Sweden is that the expression only comes up as a response to people who are openly rude and aggressive. I have never seen it be used about someone that is calm and polite.

  4. @DawnIncognito

    My thoughts on Annhilation kind of ran on a similar track. It’s inexplicably mysteriously inexplicable! And then it’s….. the singularity, in a very raw sense. Not the Rapture of the rational, but just the simple human mind pressed up against something it cannot, by definition, understand. And that concept, when stripped of the “don’t you dare call it ritual or creed but it’s a lot like” of other novels of the singularity I have read made it delightfuly creepy to me.

  5. @Hampus Eckerman: Then I was unclear. I don’t consider myself a full-blown racist. By saying that, I meant to imply that your criteria for full-blown racism as you’d stated it set the bar wrongly. Also, do consider how economic distress in the US–you’re Swedish, and I understand your country to be on a better economic footing than mine, so far as people who work, or can’t get work, are concerned–plays into white fragility. So much of what happens in the US is unique to us. Every country is a special snowflake, it seems to me. Mine is maybe a little more so due to being several snowflakes at once.

  6. Hampus, as John A Arkansawyer says: things have been getting worse, economically, in the U.S. especially over the last decade. People are losing jobs and not able to get new ones, a huge swath of middle-class jobs have disappeared due to downsizing or outsourcing to other countries where people are willing to work for a fraction of what American workers would have to be paid.

    There is a lot of desperation and hopelessness amongst people in the U.S. who used to be doing okay and are now really struggling or completely failing (losing not just their jobs, but their homes and their hope that things might ever get better). And horrible people like Trump are capitalizing on that by telling these people that ethnic minorities are responsible for all of their troubles.

    So yes, in the U.S. the level of white fragility has increased exponentially in recent years. It’s not right, but one can understand why it is happening.

  7. I am still getting notifications from Camestros’ WordPress blog. So it must be something specific to File770 that started about 24 hours ago (my last notifications were 25 hours ago). All my File770 notifications, even for threads for which I was previously receiving notifications (for example, the 7/31/16 Pixel Scroll with the discussion on This Census-Taker), have ceased, even though new comments have been since posted on those threads.

    But if you didn’t make any changes at that time, Mike, then perhaps it’s a change that your server host made. Have you contacted them?

  8. @steve davidson (re #10): why so furious? AFAICT this is a harmless delusion — and I doubt that anybody who’s commented thinks the Hills were abducted by aliens. You seem to be imputing malice from the start; have you read Macdonald’s discussion of the circumstances? It’s plausible that they had some sort of mental dropout due to exhaustion; it’s regrettable that they grabbed for a foolish explanation, but not a ferocious problem compared to (e.g.) today’s other topic(s).

  9. @ Aaron: In point of fact, what idontknow is doing is a bog-standard troll tactic: hijacking the conversation by invoking the tone argument and trying to get people to discuss vocabulary instead of, y’know, the hypersensitivity and pearl-clutching touchiness of right-wing assholes.

    @ Christian: Yes, citation of that particular article is never out of place in this variety of discussion. I don’t think that Truesdale is the same kind of blameless I-just-went-along-with-things person that George Parker is; it’s possible, however, that some of his defenders might be.

    @ Bill: You’re forgetting that these things never happen in a vacuum. Given what he did say (and was kind enough to read into the public record for anyone to see), I would be concerned about the possibility of escalation, which is an extremely common response from Angry White Dudes to being called out on unacceptable behavior.

    @ JJ: Spot-on. It’s not just the opinion, it’s the way they casually brush off the idea that anyone else’s perspective is of any value whatsoever.

    @ John A: And now here you are, replicating the language hijack — but for much more high-minded reasons. Think about that, that one of the first things you think of to do in this kind of conversation is argue about the terms people use.

  10. @Aaron: the methodology used on that EPH data sheet is not completely obvious. Note that the longlist is not in strict numerical order. I’m going to guess that the number given on the EPH list is the number of selection points that each work had when it was eliminated. Remember that the selection points are used to choose which two works to compare, but then the comparison is based on the total number of ballots that the works appear on.

    So, then, the last round in Best Novella had a comparison between “The Builders” and “The Pauper Prince”. “Prince” had more selection points, because the ballots with it on had fewer surviving items — “The Builders” was on something like 440 slate ballots that still had four survivors (having lost only “Fear of the Unknown and Self-Loathing in Hollywood”) plus about 50 organic ballots that were down to about 1 or 2 items each, while “Prince”‘s ballots were all organic and so had fewer surviving works. But the result of the comparison eliminates “Prince”, because (as we can see from the column at left) “The Builders” was on 489 ballots and “Prince” was on 307.

    You can see a similar result further down, where “The Citadel of Weeping Pearls” with 104.667 selection points is below “Fear…” with 97.3833. Presumably that’s the result of a comparison between “Fear…” and “Citadel” eliminating the latter. (Most likely “Fear…” then had to go up against “The Builders” and was eliminated by it – which is exactly what EPH was designed to do.)

  11. @Jeff Jones,

    I mean, because murdering millions of people rarely turns out well in addition to being, you know, wrong? It’s unethical any way you slice it. If you want the explanation in the form of a film, go watch that docudrama about assassinating GWB; even if it were morally justifiable, it’s not going to produce the desired results. Rather the opposite, in fact.

    But it remains true that the government effects change via explicit or implicit use of force, and can do so effectively. There’s a reason racists are really into state’s rights, you know?

  12. If hijacking a panel to grind your own ax (which you brought as a prop) and then monopolizing it further when the other panelists tried to get it back on track (the opposite of what a moderator is supposed to do) isn’t “interference with event operations”, I’m not sure what is. Plus, he was recording it without consent of the other panelists, which is “adversely affecting the relationship with its guests”.

    To be fair, though, he’s an equal-opportunity asshole; he dislikes everyone who isn’t a right-wing straight white cis-male. He might let you slide on one of those, but no more than one. It seems to have escaped him, as Cheryl S. pointed out, that those comprise the vast majority of people on the planet.

    @steve d: So Betty was an out-and-out liar too. Swell. Also, of course DT didn’t want links from you — some of Those People might get into his bubble and…contaminate his precious bodily fluids or something?

    @rcade: I’m pretty sure if he’d said that, he would have been banned from the con even faster.

    @John Seavey: I would like to award you an internet.
    BTW, there was one person who was upset about the booze at MRK’s panel (they had previously been assured by the con there wouldn’t be any), and she apologized to them, too. It was also a MUCH harder thing for the con to expel her, as she still was scheduled for panels. They had to scramble to adjust programming; certainly they must have been tempted to overlook it for that reason. DT wasn’t scheduled for any other programming at the con, so it didn’t actually affect him in the slightest (as we see by the fact he stayed in Puppy Safe Space the rest of the time, apparently not wanting to have anything to do with the unwashed masses).

    @Schnookums: I would also like to award you an internet, and a bonus hard drive for your nym.

  13. @JJ
    First of all, he didn’t “train-wreck” a panel.

    ??? He most certainly did.

    [what he did was] very definition of planning to disrupt the convention.

    No, it was the very definition of planning to disrupt a single panel, one of hundreds, one hour of a full weekend, attended by a small fraction of the membership. The convention as a whole survived just fine.

    As far as “significance,” I have no doubt that people in the room were deeply offended and affected by what he said. Of course, they and their feelings are significant. But I’m linking (as does the CoC) “significant” to “interference with event operations”, not to how it made his audience feel. The conventions event operations were not significantly interfered with – most attendees didn’t know this happened until well after.

    Your last paragraphs completely misread me, and what I think about what happened, and my sympathies to those who were also on the panel and those who were in the room. That’s on me, in that I should have been more clear in what I wrote (though I thought I was pretty clear – what Truesdale did was wrong, and deserving of censure, and I’m not defending him or his actions, although your post is written as if I do)

    @Aaron
    How about I come to your house some time and burn a few of your possessions? You probably own at least a couple thousand things, so it won’t be significant to you.

    How about you don’t. (and further, how about you don’t elevate a discussion about someone talking [which is all Truesdale did] into something felonious and physically violent, like arson – they aren’t the same)

    But if you did, depending on the possessions, it might be significant, it might not, but regardless it wouldn’t be near as significant as if you burned the whole house and contents down.

    What I’m trying to convey is a sense of proportion. If the con uses its greatest punishment against something that affected a relatively small part of the convention, what is appropriate for actions that cause much greater effect? What if he had stood up in the midst of the Hugo award ceremony and started ranting, and had to be physically hauled out of the room? What Rene Walling and James Frenkel have been accused of strikes me as much more egregious than what Truesdale did, but if they been observed to sexually harass someone at Midamericon, the management could not institute a higher level of punishment because it had already maxed itself out. What Truesdale did was wrong, and serious. It did not deserve the convention’s equivalent of the death penalty, however.

    So, to sum up, and to attempt to be clear enough so as to avoid misunderstanding:

    1. Truesdale did wrong. He took advantage of his position as moderator and denied attendees the service and experience they had every right to expect from him.

    2. The convention is entirely within its rights to censure him for doing so.

    3. My own opinion is that, by using the greatest punishment they have to offer (expulsion), they are in effect saying that no other misconduct that may occur is any worse than what Truesdale did.

    Not part of the sum up, but related: Some small fraction of what Truesdale did is on the part of the convention management that selected him to be a moderator. Truesdale brings, if not baggage, then a certain history with the subject, and the con management should have been aware of his sensitivity to what he has called “political correctness.”

  14. rcade: Where in his essay does Shirley claim to be an authority whose opinion should trump others? I don’t see it. I just see an expression of his personal viewpoint.

    That whole piece is Shirley presuming to speak for other people: “We liberals do this”, “We liberals need that”. Who the hell is he to speak for “we liberals” (never mind that based on the various things he says, I would not consider him a “liberal”, and he sure as hell does not represent me)? That piece is just so incredibly patronizing and condescending.

    He says “But people shouldn’t let emotions dictate their interpretation of the rules.” As if it is a fact that that is what happened. As if it is not a fact that Truesdale’s behavior was an egregious violation of the position and power with which MACII had entrusted him.

    He also says about Moon and Wiscon, “Disinviting her for that reason is absurd.” As if Shirley’s determination that what she wrote was “mildly critical” is a fact. (For the record, I was seeing red by the end of her essay not just because she was so inappropriately telling Muslims how they need to behave, but because she presumed to speak for other Americans whilst she was at it, just as Shirley has done.)

    Shirley continues: By all means, progressives, we should call the right-wing on its real sexism — as just two examples, its dismissal of a woman’s right to get paid the same as a man for the same job and its attempts to undermine women’s reproductive health concerns. But this outrage at the Red Sonja cover just makes us look foolish. as if he is the arbiter of how “we progressives” have to decide what or is not sexism.

    If Shirley had chosen to limit his piece to “I”s and “me”s, then you could claim it is just his opinion. But he’s presuming to speak for a whole lot of people in it — as if there’s no question that he is qualified to do so.

    Not to mention that he’s trying to paint the issue of one guy abusing power and behaving like an entitled asshole as a question of “conservatives vs liberals” — which is just incredibly disingenuous on his part.

  15. Bill: ??? He most certainly did [“train-wreck” a panel].

    I would define a “train-wreck” as a panel that unintentionally gets out-of-hand. That happens at cons. It’s not good when it happens — but it’s generally a function of “the heat of the moment” and not a result of deliberate, calculated planning to sabotage a panel with malice aforethought.

     
    Bill: But I’m linking (as does the CoC) “significant” to “interference with event operations”, not to how it made his audience feel.

    Do you think that, just maybe, you are choosing a very technical interpretation of the CoC language in the use of the word “operations”, when what was intended by the concom was a more general definition of “how the con (including its panels) functions”? Because I do.

     
    Bill: Some small fraction of what Truesdale did is on the part of the convention management that selected him to be a moderator. Truesdale brings, if not baggage, then a certain history with the subject, and the con management should have been aware of his sensitivity to what he has called “political correctness.”

    You know, that’s how I felt about it at first: “How the hell did MACII ever think it was a good idea to give Truesdale a moderating position on a panel given his long, documented history of being an asshole?”

    And then I came to my senses, and realized that the programming committee had to arrange hundreds of panels, and that there was simply no way its members could realistically be expected to go out and do in-depth research on all of the proposed moderators and panelists.

    And you know what? If he’d been refused a moderator or panelist position because of that, then Truesdale would have made loud public accusations on social media that the programming committee had passed judgment on him and “blacklisted” him — which I have zero doubt would have been exactly what would have happened.

    No, the full responsibility for the way Truesdale destroyed the panel and hurt its participants and attendees rests on Truesdale.

  16. Bill: My own opinion is that, by using the greatest punishment they have to offer (expulsion), they are in effect saying that no other misconduct that may occur is any worse than what Truesdale did.

    I’m sorry, but that’s just bullshit.

    There are a whole range of behaviors that would warrant pulling a badge. Are you seriously saying that since he didn’t murder anyone, or burn the convention center down — which would have been probably the worst things he could have done — therefore pulling his badge was inappropriate?

    What they were saying was that his behavior was bad enough to warrant pulling his badge. They did not make any statement as to whether theft, or physical assault, or murder, was worse or better than what Truesdale did.

  17. “So yes, in the U.S. the level of white fragility has increased exponentially in recent years. It’s not right, but one can understand why it is happening.”

    What you are in practice saying is that racism has increased exponentially. It is not that I don’t recognize the signs. We can see the same thing in Sweden, but on a smaller scale. And that is during a rising economy and falling crime and unemployment rate.

    The changes don’t affect everyone and those that feel they are falling behind, regardless of starting position, becomes voting cattle for the racists.

  18. Regarding Truesdale: The question is first if he should have some kind of punishment that would affect him as a person. We can then see that:

    *) MAC2 couldn’t remove him from further panels as he hadn’t any more.
    *) MAC2 can’t say that he shouldn’t be chosen as moderator for future WorldCons as they have administrative rights for them.
    *) A “stern talking to” would have been meaningless as Truesdale didn’t show any kind of remorse and would only have thought them as being special Snowflakes.

    So what alternative to pulling the badge? Please, give me the alternatives. Don’t just say that it was too much. Tell me exactly what should have been done to discourage this kind of behaviour.

  19. Hampus Eckerman: What you are in practice saying is that racism has increased exponentially… The changes don’t affect everyone and those that feel they are falling behind, regardless of starting position, becomes voting cattle for the racists.

    Yes, exactly. It’s understandable that some humans will react this way — but it’s still horrible that they do.

  20. I’ve seen it said a couple of times in the comments to this post that Trusdale suggested the panel to MAC II. But also that it was a random panel that he happened to be chosen as moderator for.

    Either seems plausible given he’s an editor in the field, but does any one have anything to back either one up?

    I ask because long term planning of even the existence of a suitable panel for hijacking feels more egregious than the evident short-term planning that must have taken place.

  21. @Lee:

    And now here you are, replicating the language hijack — but for much more high-minded reasons. Think about that, that one of the first things you think of to do in this kind of conversation is argue about the terms people use.

    I’m having trouble replying to this because you’re talking about language used here and I’m talking about language used there.

    So yeah, if you want to talk about white fragility here, I have no quarrel with that. I’ll use it right along with you. No problem.

    But if you expect me to say that with a straight face to someone who has been injured by a corrupt and evil economic system, if you expect me to blame them for being so fragile that they couldn’t bear up under the full firehouse of capital, then your expectation is unrealistic.

    I’m not too concerned about whether someone’s whiteness has been wounded. We’re better off without socially constructed whiteness and the privilege accompanying it. And when that shield of whiteness gets stripped away and the human being underneath it is fully exposed to the storm of economic violence directed against them, then I’m concerned about the wounded human. If I had a simple way of describing that woundedness, that injury, without reference to whiteness, that’s what I’d use. I don’t want people nursing their wounded whiteness. That way lies fascism.

    So I’m doing my best to find a way that works.

  22. @lurkertype

    Why thank you! Perhaps one day I shall regale the unwashed masses with the origin of the name, back from a D&D game from ancient times. Well, the first name. The family name is to honor my ancestors and their ornate trousers.

  23. @JJ
    I would define a “train-wreck” as a panel that unintentionally gets out-of-hand.
    Then we disagree on a meaning of “train-wreck”. Which is fine. I think we do agree on what he did to the panel.

    There are a whole range of behaviors that would warrant pulling a badge. Are you seriously saying that since he didn’t murder anyone, or burn the convention center down — which would have been probably the worst things he could have done — therefore pulling his badge was inappropriate?

    What you describe are criminal actions, and the punishment for them would go far beyond what the con could impose.

    Do you not agree that there is a spectrum of ways a person can disrupt Worldcon or its events, that fall short of breaking the law? Consider a person who breaks wind in the con suite — that’s at one end. Consider what Lou Antonelli did regarding police at Sasquan. It had the potential to disrupt the entire convention for all attendees. That’s at the other end. I’d put Truesdale somewhere in the middle between those. And I’d come up with a response between nothing and maximum (expulsion) in reaction to it, if it were my decision.

    But obviously it’s not my decision, and obviously the con felt that maximum sanction was in order, and obviously you agree.

    And then I came to my senses, and realized that the programming committee had to arrange hundreds of panels, and that there was simply no way its members could realistically be expected to go out and do in-depth research on all of the proposed moderators and panelists.

    Saying that a job is hard does not recuse one from the responsibility one might have to do it. Not long ago, people thought that preventing sexual harassment wasn’t possible, and that socially-maladjusted geeks who didn’t understand boundaries were part and parcel of the con experience. But cons found a way to do a much better job at dealing with that problem. Attendees want conventions to be a safe space, and management has an obligation to try and provide that. And like we both have said, Truesdale has a known history. You might not can immediately vet all panelists, but you certainly can do a review of moderators. See, as an example, how the panels for the WFC were improved after the public had a chance to crowdsource-review them.

    If he’d been refused a moderator or panelist position because of that, then Truesdale would have made loud public accusations on social media that the programming committee had passed judgment on him and “blacklisted” him — which I have zero doubt would have been exactly what would have happened.

    Which is more-or-less what is happening anyway. But if he had not been made a moderator, we could have been spared the “train wreck” of a panel.

    @Hampus
    So what alternative to pulling the badge? Please, give me the alternatives.

    I already have. I think that punishment built on public censure with a detailed explanation is better than expulsion in this case, because
    it is more effective in preventing a future occurrence, and in healing the wounds he made. (A suspension just for Saturday wouldn’t have been out of order, either).
    1. It asserts the con’s authority and responsibility for running good panels. It makes clear, as an example for future, that this was wrong and why it was wrong. It’s like a CoC — it makes clear that the concom holds particular standards about events, and expects them to be met.
    2. It validates the feelings of those who were hurt by what he did, and is supportive of those people.

    You can say that expulsion did these things, but the minimal statement the con made about the events provides no context. He was booted, for violating some fairly nebulous catch-all standards. Doing that way left much more room for Truesdale (and his supporters) to say that he was only banned for puppyness.

  24. @ John A: You’re telling people here that they shouldn’t use a particular phrase there. How about you let the person who is actually IN the situation make the call about what phrasing is appropriate, rather than trying to impose a one-size-fits-all regulation from where you stand?

  25. Perhaps it would help Hampus Eckerman (and other international readers) if we were to back up and explain how white Americans are taught to think about race.

    The basic narrative is: everyone used to be horrible and racist, but then the civil rights movement of the 1960s happened and basically fixed everything. Now we live in the bright new world of equality. Any lingering racism is committed only by a few bigoted people.

    (There are occasional cracks in this narrative when, for instance, looking at how minority communities continue to experience disproportionate levels of poverty. But, given the above narrative, you can see how many people come to the conclusion that those communities are full of lazy or stupid people, since by that narrative it can’t possibly be anything to do with racism anymore.)

    The ideal that is encouraged is to be “colorblind”, i.e., completely unconscious of the color of other people. This is believed to lead to the loss of prejudice. (What it actually does, by taking the conscious mind out of the loop, is remove the ability to recognize your own biases.)

    This is why, when a typical white American is told that they may have said or done something that looks like it springs from racial prejudice, they flip out. Because since racism only comes from bad people, you are calling them a bad person. And they are not a bad person, they don’t have those racist ideas, they didn’t even notice they were interacting with a minority because they were practicing colorblindness, and maybe they will even accuse you of being the racist for pointing it out. Because if the ideal is clearing all concept of race from the conscious mind, even the mental tools for understanding racism must themselves be racist.

    Similar issues occur with other prejudices that the US has officially conquered.

  26. @Bill: note that WFC changed program topics, not participants. Inviting comments on people seems to me to offer too much room for trolling. Note, however, that this doesn’t reduce the program committee’s burden of knowing (by their own exposure) the behavior of people they make moderators; if Truesdale had no previous form even as a participant, making him a moderator (if nobody knew how he behaved online, which is possible) was poor planning. (That somebody suggests a panel is not grounds to let them moderate; moderation is an entirely separate skill.) Note however that that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have been canned for what he did. wrt sanctioning him: since a convention is not the state, there is only so much it can do; there is no reason for it not to say that every misbehavior beyond a certain level warrants expulsion just because they can’t legally do anything worse. If you’re looking for more graded punishment, consider whether other conventions will let him in at all.

  27. Bill: Do you not agree that there is a spectrum of ways a person can disrupt Worldcon or its events, that fall short of breaking the law?

    Absolutely. You’ll remember that I said above: There are a whole range of behaviors that would warrant pulling a badge. There is a point on that spectrum where expulsion is the appropriate action for that point and everything to the right of it — not that expulsion is only appropriate for the most extreme point in that range, which is what you originally said:

    Bill: My own opinion is that, by using the greatest punishment they have to offer (expulsion), they are in effect saying that no other misconduct that may occur is any worse than what Truesdale did.

  28. The greatest punishment they have to offer is calling the actual police, which is what they’d do for arson, battery, theft, etc.

    What DT did showed he had the definite possibility of committing further transgressions against the CoC and hurting more people at the con, and thus pulling his badge kept those from happening. (The con had no way of knowing he was going to huddle in Puppy Safe Space the rest of the time.)

    Additionally, pulling his badge meant that if he did have the guts to come out of PSS and return to the con, trespassing charges could be laid, and again, the cops. A higher punishment.

    Pretty much everyone who isn’t a Puppy or isn’t deliberately trying to ignore the facts/be a rules lawyer knows that DT was expelled for abusing the moderator position, which was power given to him by the con. The con giveth, and the con taketh away. Censure only works if the person has a realization that what they did was wrong. And you can bet that from now on, other conventions are going to think many times before inviting him to be on panels. THERE’s your public censure. Just saying “bad Puppy, no biscuit” and giving him a slap on the wrist of one day wouldn’t have been sufficient.

    In RL justice systems, there are plenty of crimes that get you equivalent sentences, be it 5-10 years, life without parole, or the death penalty. Are all the crimes that lead to those sentences equally bad/evil? Nope. We recognize that some crimes are worse than others, but doing fractional sentencing isn’t possible in a system that’s had centuries of codified laws and an entire professional system set up to deal with them. It ain’t gonna happen with a bunch of volunteers over one weekend.

    But in all cases, malice aforethought is judged much more harshly. Premeditation is always going to get a higher penalty. And he certainly did.

    Like JJ said, what he did deserves a badge-pulling, as do a number of other things. What DT did is MUCH more disruptive (insulting people, failure to moderate, recording without permission, forcing everyone listen to his rant, premeditation with props, a written speech, and a recording device) than what MRK did (spur of the moment offers of booze to WILLING people, innocently forgetting the convention center contract about no outside booze).

    Yet, although her “crime” was much less serious, she got exactly the same punishment. And she agreed with it and apologized to all. THAT is the lower bound of misconduct for which expulsion is appropriate.

    Frankly, Spokane was too lenient in even letting CUL in the building. They should have returned his money and not allowed him to attend the con. But that’s an entirely different organization, made up of completely different people. Each Worldcon is in effect a separate “state” (US style) operating under the loose aegis of the “country” Worldcon as a whole, in sort of an Articles of Confederation/British Commonwealth relationship.

  29. lurkertype: Frankly, Spokane was too lenient in even letting CUL in the building. They should have returned his money and not allowed him to attend the con.

    Word.

  30. Each Worldcon is in effect a separate “state” (US style) operating under the loose aegis of the “country” Worldcon as a whole, in sort of an Articles of Confederation….

    Oboy, is it ever. And the “central government” has about as much authority as did the Confederation Congress. Which means I (chair of the WSFS Mark Protection Committee and also of next year’s WSFS Business Meeting) have about the same authority as did the President of the Confederation Congress.

  31. @lurkertype: Frankly, Spokane was too lenient in even letting CUL in the building. If that’s Antonelli’s handle, remember that he only got in because Gerrold said (following an apology) that he should be let in; as Gerrold was the person attacked (not to mention their GoH), Spokane was not in a good position to keep him out. (If not Antonelli, who are we talking about? I was a bit busy managing space, so I may have missed a different kerfuffle.)

  32. If that’s Antonelli’s handle, remember that he only got in because Gerrold said (following an apology) that he should be let in; as Gerrold was the person attacked (not to mention their GoH), Spokane was not in a good position to keep him out.

    I think a good case can be made that by putting the local police on a heightened state of alert about someone who he claimed was “mentally unstable” at the convention, he put everyone at the convention at increased risk. Yes, the threat was directed at Gerrold, but Antonelli’s actions arguably threatened every convention attendee.

  33. Chip Hitchcock: remember that he only got in because Gerrold said (following an apology) that he should be let in; as Gerrold was the person attacked (not to mention their GoH), Spokane was not in a good position to keep him out.

    You are correct about the first part, and wrong about the second.

    Sure, Gerrold was entitled to make a plea for mercy on CUL’s behalf. But the decision was not his — should not have been his. Are cons now going to permit victims to decide the appropriate action against perpetrators, when the CoC is violated? Absolutely not. That way lies madness.

    Spokane was very much in a position to rescind CUL’s membership, and they should have done so regardless of Gerrold’s opinion. CUL’s actions egregiously not only violated their Code of Conduct, they caused risk not just to Gerrold but to all Sasquan attendees by potentially raising the level of police response should any 911 calls have been made from the convention center or hotels during the con.

    This was all hashed out in great detail here on File770 last July-August-September. I encourage you to search for those threads and do some extensive reading, instead of recycling old arguments without educating yourself first.

  34. Bill:

    So your alternative is to do more or less what they did? Ok.

    Petréa Mitchell:

    Thank you for your explanation! I recognize that kind of behaviour from the liberals in Sweden (remember, they are right wing here). Every person should be treated as a an individual, so there must be racist to observe racism or create safe spaces for raceified. A few days ago, some afro-swedes were accused of being like Ku Klux Klan and wanting to lynch people because they drank coffee together and duscusses how black people were treated in Sweden.

  35. @JJ: I encourage you to assume that other people have been paying attention, even if they disagree with your prior conclusion. This goes double if you’ve never been in Worldcon management.

  36. @Chip Hitchcock

    Nevertheless, this question (“should it be left up to victims to determine the penalty to their harassers?”) was hashed out at length at that time, and the salient objections still stand. You are quite free to decide they are unimportant, but it would contribute to your _ethos_ to explain why you feel they don’t apply in the case of David Gerrold and CUL.

  37. Chip Hitchcock: I encourage you to assume that other people have been paying attention, even if they disagree with your prior conclusion. This goes double if you’ve never been in Worldcon management.

    I assume people have been paying attention if their comments seem to reflect the fact that they have been paying attention. Someone who says “Spokane was not in a good position to keep him out” certainly does not have the appearance of having been paying attention.

    I base my opinions of people on what they say and how they behave, not on how many credentials they brandish.

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