John Ringo Out As ConCarolinas Special Guest

A week after ConCarolinas announced John Ringo as a special guest, a choice hailed by his fans but protested by a number of writers on the con program in an extended social media controversy, the con committee has announced he won’t be coming.

Their official statement reads:

ConCarolinas and John Ringo have mutually agreed he will not attend the 2018 event. ConCarolinas wants to provide a positive environment for everyone who attends our events from our guests, attendees, vendors, and staff.

We represent a diverse range of opinions and support that.

We will not tolerate harassment or bullying as stated in our policy.

Any comments regarding this may be sent to concarolinas@concarolinas.org

ConCarolinas ConCom: Jada Diaz, ConChair; Dawson Kriska, Vice Chair; Sue Lambert, Secretary and Treasurer; Luis Diaz, Director of Security

While the official statement focuses on a desire to “provide a positive environment for everyone,” both Ringo and the con chair are spinning a different story.

John Ringo wrote on Facebook:

I just got disinvited from a con due to threats to my personal safety. This is more dangerous to me than the five fatwahs I’ve had over the years from various friendly and peaceful lovers of The Most Holy Prophet. Peace be upon his beard. Allahu Akhbar.

And ConCarolinas chair Jada Hope, responding to questions from Jim C. Hines, said:

Ringo has also unspooled a long commentary on his Facebook page [Internet Archive link] seeking to turn the “safety” complaint back against the protesters who raised it about the author and his fans in the first place. (The excerpt is about half the wordage, see the rest at the link.)

And again with the ‘we do not tolerate harassment or bullying’ without pointing out who that is pointed at.

From my last email with the conchair:

“as ConChair I know this will be an extremely hostile environment and I am concerned for your personal safety. ”

It was mutual, more on that in a moment. But they very much rescinded because they were concerned for my safety.

That was how bad it was getting.

They weren’t concerned I’d grab and axe and start killing all the POCs, women, transgenders, what have you.

They were (justifiably from the comments) concerned for MY safety. And the ‘bullying’ they were commenting on was the bullying by the SJW twitter mobsters.

Why it was phrased as ‘mutual.’

‘Oh, no, John Ringo, no! You’re giving in to the Social Justice Bullies!’

You can phrase it that way. Or you can phrase it this way.

I’m a New York Times best selling author with over 7 million books in print. By far and away I was the largest ‘print’ guest on the list with the largest fan following and thus the biggest draw.

For someone like myself, cons are NOT about marketing. There is very little additional market to be picked up at any litcon, including WorldCon. Cons are places to go to talk with people who enjoy reading science fiction and fantasy and are generally smart and interesting people. To meet new people (one of the reasons I agreed to attend ConCarolinas was ‘new people’), to pick up new characters, to have a good time.

There is very little fiscal reason for someone like myself to attend. Ergo: The best reason is to have fun.

Not for any particular ‘political’ reason, prior to my being invited the guest list for the ‘lit’ side was HEAVILY weighted to the Left. Basically, the entire guest list is ‘between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders’ with the late add of a ‘token Nazi.’

I’ve been to those cons. I know what happens. Every single panel turns into a continuous shitfest. I’m constantly stopped in the hallways to be asked when did I join the Nazi party and how long have I been a Nazi. Forget intentional ‘disruptions’ that are the hallmark of the modern fascists called ‘progressives.’ It would be just another shitfest like WindyCon or (christ, can’t even remember the name of that one, I’ve deleted the memory…) Hell, I dropped my attendance at LosCon over much less furor than this.

The panels consist of someone with no background and no real professional CV spouting some idiocy they learned in a bad writer’s workshop followed by me trying to politely tell them they’re as full of shit as a Christmas turkey and pointing out the reality of writing and publishing. Then I get told ‘That’s not true!’ or ‘You’re wrong!’ with no logical follow-up and it just goes downhill from there. If I sit there mute it turns into a Communist Party Religious Meeting of people speaking Truth to Power and being told how great they are until the next person speaks Truth To Power and so on and so forth. And pretty much every truth to power boils down to ‘The Sun Rises in the West and Revolves Around Moscow Center and Bernie/Obama/Whoever is Jesus and We Have Always Been At War With Eastasia!’

Yeah. No.

…To be clear: This isn’t any loss to me. It is a loss to the con and the attendees who were looking forward to John Ringo attending. It’s even a loss to the Social Justice Bullies since some of my fans might accidentally have bought some of their books.

To me, there is NO downside.

YES! I caved to the social justice bullies and now I DON’T HAVE TO DEAL WITH TSA! WOOOOT!

And con chair Jada Hope added this response:

Caveat – I am commenting as Jada Hope – individual human being. Even though I am going to post somewhat as ConChair, this is not endorsed by the ConCarolinas ConCom.

This decision sucks. To be concerned for John’s safety to the point of looking at having security guards (possibly armed – an off duty police officer is present at the con during “high traffic hours”) – what fun would that be for John?

Like John, I hate traveling and I’d rather stay in my chair (I’m in it now as I post). And yes, we could have marched to the top of the hill and planted the flag of “Nobody tells us what to do”.

Again, what fun would this have been for John? He doesn’t need the marketing exposure.

I apologize, again personally as Jada the individually member of the human race, to everyone who was looking forward to John attending.

One thing I will address is the rumor that John and I were in collusion to pull a “Gotcha” by delaying the announcement. Very late in February John signed an agreement to be a guest. That Friday I was in a car accident and sustained a concussion aka traumatic brain injury and was under doctor’s orders to not be on the computer or phone. I posted very little from 3/2 until a week and a half ago and a week ago Thursday I ended up with the concussion symptoms coming back full force.

There was no collusion.

I can only apologize to John and his fans for this getting so out of hand.

As my dear friend Sue has said:

“Public stoning is no longer done in the town square. It is executed via social media.”

148 thoughts on “John Ringo Out As ConCarolinas Special Guest

  1. Jada is now putting on the martyr hat. This is just not the way to deal with this.

    These are screencaps of comments posted in a thread that included the tweet to Hines that was mentioned above.

    The bit about “stoning happens on social media” is quoted from a different con programmer connected with DragonCon. That particular phrase was posted without any other comment by the other person. (And they have been publicly silent on ConCarolinas as far as I can tell. (But FB sometimes buries stuff.) But it would seem that Diaz is doubling down on everything despite the urging of folks who know her not to take that route.)

  2. @Mark

    Thank you for that. I posted and then had to go do some stuff before I could double check it.

  3. Michi Trota wrote this almost a year ago today; maybe she was seeing into the future…

    “These events aren’t just about us having fun, they’re about everyone attending having fun. The two aren’t mutually exclusive, and our having fun shouldn’t depend on ignoring harmful behavior on the part of other attendees or members of the organizer staff.”

    And also:

    “It doesn’t mean that you get to ignore potential issues that can impact the viability of your event because dealing with those issues is going to require calling your friends to the carpet. It sure as hell doesn’t mean that you throw the people who’ve tried bringing up these issues to you in private under the bus by framing the problems as their fault for mentioning them in the first place.”

    And also also:

    “There seems to be an idea that cons used to be a fun place before all these expectations of professionalism, and that somehow guests and many attendees treating cons as ‘work’ is ruining what cons used to be. In some magical distant past, attendees came to cons, mingled happily with pros, and cons were parties where everyone had fun, until the dark cloud of professional expectations spread across the land and made it so writers no longer liked talking to fans and making friends with them, forever separated by things like ‘rules’ and ‘codes of conduct’ and ‘anti-harassment policies.’

    https://thebias.com/2017/04/18/volunteers-professionals-and-who-gets-to-have-fun-at-cons/

  4. I have never heard such feeble excuses or contrived scenario’s in my life. John Ringo is quite right not to attend, not because of pressure, but due to dealing with imbeciles and politically correct wannabees. Yes his fans will be dissapointed, but if they read his replies they will be glad he did not attend, and l understand his experiences with panels of Mr and Mrs no experiece or just people placed there due to political norms. So 1 to Ringo and 0 to the Dickheads.

    Jim

  5. I have never heard such feeble excuses or contrived scenario’s in my life. John Ringo is quite right not to attend, not because of pressure, but due to dealing with imbeciles and politically correct wannabees. Yes his fans will be dissapointed, but if they read his replies they will be glad he did not attend, and l understand his experiences with panels of Mr and Mrs no experiece or just people placed there due to political norms. So 1 to Ringo and 0 to the Dickheads.

    Jim

    That’s not how being on a panel works though. (In part because the person you’re disrespecting may be two weeks away from announcing a major publishing deal. Or they have more experience than you do on the subject matter of the panel, even if they only have one self-published book.) Respect Your Fellow Writer.

    If that fails, panels simply don’t work. And you can rest assured that assuming you’re the smartest person in the room when you’re sitting at the front of the room with a bunch of fans watching is a sure way to have karma kick you in the nuts.

  6. @Jim Bowman: To add to @A.G. Carpenter’s first paragraph, Respect Your Fellow Panelist, period. Panels are not just for pros/guests/writers/etc. Most cons I’ve been to have other people on panels as well. One doesn’t have to be published (self- or otherwise) or be some other SFF professional to #1 sit on a panel, #2 have something useful/interesting to contribute, or #3 be deserving of respect.

    @A.G. Carpenter: No doubt you’re aware of this, but I’m not so sure about Jim Bowman, so I wanted to spell it out for him. 😉

  7. @Jiim Bowman
    I have never heard such feeble excuses or contrived scenario’s in my life.

    Well, there’s his own statements about various events he claims happened but which other people present or involved say never happened as he claims…and your say-so, like his, requires actual supporting evidence before your word is accepted as more than just you whining about not getting everything you want when you want it.
    Also, name-calling gets you negative points. Blog residents 1, You -1.

  8. @Kendall

    Very true. (I don’t think I’ve actually sat on a panel that wasn’t an “author” panel due to the way the cons I’ve been to are programmed. But that’s just the panels I’ve been on. I know one con has a science track that usually has some panels that are scientists and authors discussing fiction vs fact kind of issues.)

  9. Reading some posts here by John Ringo’s defenders, I find that rather than persuasive or convincing or eye-opening, they come across as abrasive, rude, and snide. And all that does is lend weight to negative comments I’ve seen circulating for some years about Ringo’s most devoted fans.

  10. @ Laura: Have you noticed that Ringo and his defenders have reframed “being called on your assholism” as “feeling unsafe” and “cons not being fun any more”? What I’m starting to see happening here is a split between who gets to feel “safe” at a given con — assholes or their targets. And one of the ways to tell which cons are falling on which side of that split is to see who they invite as guests, particularly GoHs.

    ETA: And also that being called on your assholism, or people not wanting to deal with you because of your assholic behavior, is very consistently reframed as “being censored because of my politics”. Which is wrong on two counts.

  11. back in the halcyon era when I was blissfully unaware VD even existed, I made a comment on Scalzi’s blog to the effect that I would wind up killing an alpha male if I had to live with one

    And on various occasions thereafter for the next year or two, VD claimed that I had physically threatened him.

    For that to be true, you’d think he’d have to be living with you.

    And an alpha male.

  12. “I have never heard such feeble excuses or contrived scenario’s in my life. John Ringo is quite right not to attend, not because of pressure, but due to dealing with imbeciles and politically correct wannabees.”

    Bless your heart!

  13. @ Lee

    What I’m starting to see happening here is a split between who gets to feel “safe” at a given con — assholes or their targets. And one of the ways to tell which cons are falling on which side of that split is to see who they invite as guests, particularly GoHs.

    Bingo. The problem seems to be that Ringo’s a lout. (I don’t know him, so I’m going by his public statements.) His politics are relevant only as they direct his choice of targets.

  14. Pingback: Geek Radio Daily April 18, 2018 | Geek Radio Daily

  15. A. G. Carpenter:

    And if you ever perform on an accelerating platform, it’ll be the Wanna Bees Pulling Gees.

  16. A.G. Carpenter & Invar,

    If he performs on the hoverbikes on the Forest Moon of Endor, it’ll be the Wanna Bees Pulling Gees Through the Trees. (He could have Ewoks as his backing band….)

    I’ll show myself out

  17. @Cassy B

    If he performs on the hoverbikes on the Forest Moon of Endor, it’ll be the Wanna Bees Pulling Gees Through the Trees. (He could have Ewoks as his backing band….)

    It has been done. Of course the band used the short form name, “Bee Gees,” but those high harmonies?–pure Ewok.

  18. So, this is a derail but…

    If he performs on the hoverbikes on the Forest Moon of Endor, it’ll be the Wanna Bees Pulling Gees Through the Trees. (He could have Ewoks as his backing band….)

    As a woman, I can assure you my pronouns are she/her. Or, if there’s a need for ambiguity/protection – they/their. (I frequently use the latter when I’m uncertain if someone has a binary-style preference or when I don’t want to call attention to specific binary-style gender because of potential trolling.) [And I’m not snarking or even offended here, just saying… folks do have preferences about pro-nouns, just like I have preferences about my name in person.]

    Secondly, I do find this interesting as a point sample. I’ve had a lot of folks tell me that as an author, using initials is a sure-fire way to let folks know you’re female trying to pass as male. Which I’ve always doubted, to be honest, but it’s interesting to see an example (even if it’s a single anecdotal point) that says it’s not a given.

    Anyway. No harm done here. Just thought I would put that out there.

    /derail

  19. A.G., my mistake; I apologize for misgendering you!

    So, can we look forward to a high-speed tree-sloloming rock performance from you with a furry backing band…? <grin>

  20. Yub nub, yub nub, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive

    Well you tell by the way I use my spear
    I’m a murder bear, I got no fear
    Speeder bikes and Empire goons, I’ve been kicked around
    My forest moon
    And now it’s all right, it’s OK
    I’ve got stormtroopers to slay
    And way above, I think I spy
    A Death Star hangin’ in the sky

    Whether you’re a Jedi or just a little yeti
    You’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
    Feel the walkers breakin’, this tree trunk is a-shakin’
    And we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive

    Yub nub, yub nub, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
    Yub nub, yub nub, stayin’ alive

    Well you might think I’m a teddy bear
    My god’s a droid in a wooden chair
    I may just have stone age tools
    But I’m the end of those Empire fools
    And now it’s all right, it’s OK
    There’ll be some fireworks this day
    And way above, I think I spy
    A Death Star fallin’ from the sky

    Yub nub, yub nub, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
    Yub nub, yub nub, stayin’ al-i-i-i-ve…

  21. @Cassy B

    Truly, no worries. It was just interesting. (Most of the folks who have assured me that initials can’t hide my gender were men. Which always seemed a little like they were telling me they were confused and please use a lady-name so we know which books to avoid.)

    Do my cats count as a furry backing band? You should hear them sing when I open a can of anything. 🙂 (They even have a dance routine.)

  22. Now here’s a sticky wicket, my buddy’s punched his ticket
    But I’m stayin’ alive
    Troopers keep on comin’, on your helmets I’ll be drummin’
    ‘Cause I’m staying alive

    Yub nub, yub nub, stayin’ alive…

  23. @Matthew Johnson: ROFL! Awesome!

    @A.G. Carpenter & @Cassy B: I’d gotten confused and thought Ringo was the “he” in that rhyme. 😉

  24. @A.G. Carpenter & @Cassy B: I’d gotten confused and thought Ringo was the “he” in that rhyme. ?

    Oh, dear. You know he wears a kilt, right? Flying between trees at high speed might result in some rather… adult revelations. o_O

  25. O. M. G.

    Mark – I looked over that FB screed. Amazing.

    For more than a decade I have been trying to show that the only reason “Socialist” shows up in the title of the Nazi party is because of false advertising.

    How anybody with even one functioning synapse can find “progressive” or “socialist” or “lefty” a party whose most prominent political enemy was Bolshevism has continually stumped me.

  26. @Craig R.

    How anybody with even one functioning synapse can find “progressive” or “socialist” or “lefty” a party whose most prominent political enemy was Bolshevism has continually stumped me.

    I have never been able to get that either, but it is a common form of derangement among rightwing Americans. Makes me worry about their education, especially since “The ‘Socialist’ in the party name was a bit of false advertising to win votes” is something you learn in high school over here.

    Also welcome back, Craig.

  27. So John Ringo is such a fragile special snowflake that he considers random people hurting his fee-fees with a few intemperate words in passing to be unsafe? A threat to his safety? Words, not actual physical assault?

    I can hear all the manly-men heroes of his novels laughing out loud at the very concept, and telling him to suck it up and not be such a sissy.

    Meanwhile, I will fail again to get Matthew’s filk out of my head. This will cause measurable harm to me and my productivity tomorrow by keeping me awake late. Nevertheless I will nobly refrain from either suing him or publishing a 38 page screed about my superiority to him for having (possibly) written filk before he was born — certainly prior to the movie he references, AND in the same universe.

  28. I do not recall Ringo seeming quite so fragile or unhinged when last I met him as he does in the recently-linked writings, although that has been a couple of years ago now. But then, that was at a Puppy-friendly convention where he was “in his element,” which may account for the difference. (In fairness, I remember him being an interesting storyteller who usually attracted a crowd when he went outside to have a cigar or two.)

    I have enjoyed several of his books, even the ones where I found his protagonist (and/or other characters) to be pretty messed up – although I can think of one entire chapter which should have been deleted from one of his zombie books, and I remember a section later in that series that had me scratching my head at an apparent inability to count to ten. (Editing matters!) He has an inventive mind, an impressive wordcount, and a wry style of humor that sometimes aligns with my own. If he were to walk into the local bookstore while I was in attendance – entirely possible, as he lives across town – I’d probably say hello and stand a decent chance of him remembering my face.

    But, as noted, I have probably benefited from the “protective coloring” of being a white guy in the South at conventions generally friendly to him, so the odds are good that he believes me to have politics comparable to his own, rather than the opposite. OTOH, he gets along with Eric Flint just fine, and Eric makes no bones about his leanings…

  29. @Rev Bob

    Apparently we’re neighbors of sorts then.

    Also, Flint has the advantage of also being white and male which means he can disagree with Ringo without immediately being lumped into a category where his challenge/disagreement doesn’t automatically brand him as “only spouting identity politics” or “man-hating” or “reverse racist” or whatever. Yanno, privilege.

    Last year at LibertyCon I was on a panel discussing vampires in literature and the development of the genre. I raised a point no one else had mentioned and that was, somewhat, at odds with everything folks had been saying about the early days of the subgenre. They all stared at me, then moved on. Five minutes later the man sitting immediately next to me raised the same point but referred to the moderator as the source of it in the discussion. Suddenly it was a valid topic and they spent another five minutes discussing it.

    Which is why the issue isn’t actually “politics”, as Ringo would like to paint things, it’s about individual people having more intrinsic value in his eyes, in their ability and right to contribute to the discussion. And it’s so instinctive to him at this point that it comes out whether he wants it to or not. (That’s why it’s a bias, not just bad decision making.) Which is why folks who are the subject of that bias don’t feel safe because assurances by others to “keep him in line” or “make him behave” because someone who has to be reminded not to say sexist things to women or make racist jokes about PoC is never going to see them as worthy of respect and it’s only a matter of time before he forgets and uses his out loud voice.

  30. @A.G.:

    We would indeed seem to be at least regional neighbors, and the con you mentioned would in fact be one I consciously stepped away from. I did so because I had begun to feel like an imposter there – someone who didn’t really fit in, but who was accepted because the way I didn’t fit wasn’t visible. As long as I kept my mouth shut on certain topics, everything was fine… but it got harder to smile and play nice while hearing “my side” get caricatured and trashed.

    I figured the parting of the ways was best for everyone. It relieved me of a source of stress and expense, and it freed up a spot for someone more in tune with the con to attend.

  31. @Rev. Bob

    I am not especially comfortable or feel particularly welcomed either much of the time. But I do have some good friends I see there most years. And, for now, I feel like I have the spoons to deal with the stress and a responsibility to try and put at least one voice on the panels that counters the casual racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. In part because I know there are other folks like you who are just trying to talk about the stuff they love and feeling the pressure to keep silent on other things that are important because they don’t have the ability or energy to get in the thick of it.

    I know that if that con doesn’t change in the near future, I will run out of spoons and energy to deal with it. But this year, at least, I will return once more to fight the good fight (so to speak).

  32. @A.G.:

    I, erm, wasn’t really talking about bias in panel content. In my time there, I was primarily occupied in the tabletop gaming area, rather than being able to attend panels, so my discomfort came from the assumptions made in casual conversations.

    As a counterexample, since I did always take pains to attend the Mad Scientist panel, I remember the case of a participant pooh-poohing the idea that fracking posed any kind of risks… and when he cited his experience working for an oil company, the reaction was “well, he’d know” rather than “he has a vested interest in pushing this view.” (Does Timmy still run his “anthropogenic climate change is a hoax” panel every year?)

    There are some good eggs there, sure – but most of them attend one of the other local cons, where I usually feel more welcome. Finances get in the way at present, so I’m not attending any cons in the immediate future, but if/when that changes, I’ll probably pick up Chattacon and Hallowcon first. Liberty’s got such a high Puppy concentration that I don’t foresee it changing at all – not soon, not ever. That’s their core audience; I would sooner expect Ringo and del Arroz to coauthor a tribute to Hillary Clinton.

  33. @Rev. Bob

    It is certainly not limited to panels. LC is the only con I attend locally where I absolutely line up con-buddies before I go, just in case. (And that’s even with the ability to know I can walk out the door and be home in 15 minutes.) I’ve had a few men who, even after being pointedly introduced to me, still refused to even say hello (after introduction), much less engage me in conversation. (Including one who cut in on my conversation with a friend.)

    I do figure that if I can put forth a different viewpoint on the panels, it might encourage folks to come and talk to me if they are feeling the same pressure I feel and then I can either point them to other friends or offer support if necessary. *shrugs*

  34. @A.G.: “I can walk out the door and be home in 15 minutes.”

    …huh. We’re more than regional neighbors, then; I’m only 20 minutes away, up in Hixson. If I weren’t still fighting a sinus bug, I’d be tempted to see if you wanted to meet in person sometime soon.

    Heck, for that matter: There’s a standing “Doughnuts and Democrats” meeting up here at the Hixson Community Center on the third Saturday of the month (aka “this weekend”), at 10:30am. I plan to attend this one and head out to vote in the primary after it lets out (around noon). If you’re interested, I’m pretty sure you’d be welcome!

  35. Matthew Johnson, Inspired 🙂

    Re. the underlying kerfuffle – there was talk upstream about the potential of “Armed guards” accompanying John Ringo at the con for his “Safety”. Sorry, but that’s where I bow out, folks. SOmeone who comes to a con EXPECTING fellow congoers to launch missile attacks requireing an armed response – well – I have to ask, at that level or paranoia why is that person even out in public at all ever? And being told that your attitudes, behaviour or utterances are making others feel uncomfortable or threatened is NOT “Attacking” you. Not to the point of needing armed guards to protect you from people whom you are hurting telling you that they are being hurt.Sorry, but while a con is permitted to invite whomever they like as their honored guest a con that does so with someone who needs to be protected from the rest of the con by people with guns is no longer a con that is friendly to me.

  36. Chaz Brenchley: John Ringo thinks he’s a bigger name, and sells bigger numbers, than Seanan McGuire? That … seems unlikely, frankly.

    Yeah, I don’t think so. McGuire is also a multiple-NYT Bestselling Author, she’s published considerably more work than he has (and half of his publications are collaborations), and she has a metric shit-ton of award nominations and wins, to boot.

    Yegods, that must really stick in Ringo’s craw — that a progressive queer woman is a bigger author than he is, and that she was invited as ConCarolinas’ Guest of Honor while he was a Special Guest.

  37. @JJ:

    And she writes better mermaids.

    Speaking of, has anyone else checked out Freeform’s new “Siren” series? Fifth episode aired tonight (I’ll catch it on demand tomorrow), but so far it strikes me roughly as “An American Werewolf in London” meets Splash. That is, it’s got some of the naivete of Darryl Hannah’s character, but it’s considerably bloodier in tone and has a fuller, more visceral transformation than one typically expects from a mermaid show. (The “submerged” form requires no creative camera angles to show on TV; only the head and arms remain passably human.)

    The series concept is that (1) mermaids and sirens are the same critter, (2) this particular town’s revered founder committed atrocities against their nearby population, (3) climate change has forced them to venture closer to shore in search of food, and (4) shadowy military figures have discovered that their DNA has astounding medicinal properties, so they want to experiment on them. The first four episodes focused on one siren getting captured and her sister’s quest to rescue her; I’m interested in seeing where the series goes after that.

    Strikes me as the sort of thing Seanan (or Mira) would write… or watch.

  38. @Rev. Bob

    I forgot to say earlier that Timmy no longer gives the “Global Warming is a Hoax” talk. For a few years someone else gave a similar talk before he and the programming director concluded he had nothing more to add and all the folks who were inclined to sit through it probably already had and it’s been dropped from any sort of regular rotation. (I’m acquainted with the newer presenter of that talk. He invited me to attend his presentation one year and I declined, but I know that part of his argument is that Hannibal took elephants through the alps, but those passes are “blocked by snow” now. Except for when they aren’t. And Hannibal took his elephants through snow anyway so, I dunno. Maybe study some history?)

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