By Chris M. Barkley: When I woke up Friday morning, I reminded myself that I was not in my own home, that I was, for better or worse, a representative of the United States and should be on my best behavior as a guest in the warm and welcoming community of the Republic of Ireland.
And then I turned on the news and heard that the “president” of my country has seriously floated the idea of BUYING THE ISLAND OF GREENLAND! (Because he doesn’t have enough real estate for golf courses in the US?)
As usual, the rest of the world made fun of this delightful development on the internet, the best of which was New Yorker satirist Andy Borowitz, whose headline story read, “DENMARK OFFERS TO BUY U.S.” The one stipulation was that the offer was only good for the land, NOT the current government.
I must say that as an American, I am proud to know that no matter how bad our situation seems at the moment, that we, on the whole, have a wonderful sense of irony and humor that will see us through. I hope.
Juli and I rode the tram which stopped right near our apartment. We also bumped into fan Mike Willmont and Dublin Hugo Administrator Nicholas Whyte, who, like us, were on their way to the Preliminary Business Meeting.
The meeting was chaired for the first time by a well-known acquaintance of ours, Jessi Lipp. We started at 10:20 am. They appeared a little nervous but we wished them well because managing the Business Meeting is much akin to the sport of herding cats.
I was nervous for a different reason, Item D-14 on the proposal for the Best Translated Novel. If it passed a procedural vote, the amendment would be passed along to the Main Session on Friday to be debated.
Before the meeting started, I sought out and formally apologized to Cliff Dunn, the Chair of the Hugo Study Committee. I also offered my resignation from the Committee, which he accepted.
The Committee had voted and recommended that the Translated Novel proposal should be discussed for another year. I had willingly broken an unwritten protocol regarding this; I, committee member Mark Richards and Juli had drafted a full amendment for this year’s Business Meeting. While the idea had been batted around the email list intermittently last year, we were adamantly certain that the drafted amendment would pass muster. We sat with Mark as all of this played out.
I admit that I was particularly impatient with the progress of the committee on this issue. When Mark stated that he would support an amendment, I recruited him and my partner Juli on this rogue operation.
As single item on the agenda was passed and scheduled a debate time, I tried to calm myself and expect the worst. And it was.
After Mx. Lipp announced the proposal several people immediately jumped to their feet shouting “postpone indefinitely”, and my heart sank. Mr. Dunn was recognized and he stated that he thought the amendment needed more study.
Mx. Lipp scheduled four minutes of debate time for the matter. I had drafted a longer speech but due to time constraints, I put it in my back pocket and decided to wing it. After Mr Dunn spoke, I was recognized by the chair and went to the podium.
I stated briefly that in these troubled times, we need to be the vanguard of diversity, not the rear guard. That this community was in a perfect position to tell the world that we believed in diversity.
Jo Van Ekeren, a member of the Study Committee stated that a foundation for a new category had not been established and that another year of demographic and statistical study was needed.
Mark Richards offered a defense of the amendment, saying it was needed now more than ever to ensure some measure of diversity on the Hugo Award ballot.
Alas, it was all for naught, the proposal was postponed until such time as the Hugo Study Committee issued a final report.
Cliff apologized to me during the first break in the morning. He told me that in essence, he saved the proposal from being killed outright (which is entirely correct) because he wanted to be assured that the amendment would be perfect for passage.
I thanked him for his efforts but in effect told him that the Best Translated Novel was now in his committee’s hands, not mine.
It was at this moment that Mark Richards came up with the idea of proposing a formal advisory directive from the Business Meeting to future Hugo Administrators that if a translated work should be awarded a Hugo, the translator must be given an award as well. While not being formally codified into the WSFS Constitution, this advisory notice should serve a placeholder for a legal insertion at some later date and as a sign that the Business Meeting is aware of the good work being done in this realm.
In the end, I was not angry or bitter, just sadly disappointed that others could not see what we see and take the necessary action needed to ensure the right thing gets done.
There have been times over the past few months that my thoughts have turned to John Adam’s character in the classic musical 1776. Adams, considered a visionary and the intellectual equal of many of the Founding Fathers of America, was also seen by many of his peers as a crank, self-aggrandizing, egotistical and arrogant.
And, it seems, it is as I am by some of my peers in fandom.
My partner Juli consoled me as Abigail Adams did for her partner. In fact, she told me she was thinking of 1776 all day Friday as things unfolded. She cited a significant moment in the musical and posted it on her Facebook page for me to see:
John: ” You must tell me what it is. l… Well, I have always been dissatisfied.”
Abby: “I know that.”
John: “But lately, I find that I reek of discontentment.
It fills my throat and it floods my brain.
Sometimes I fear there is no longer a dream,
but only the discontentment. “
Abby: “Oh, John. Can you really know
so little about yourself? Can you think so little of me
that you’d believe I’d marry the man you’ve described?
Have you forgotten what you used to say to me?”
John: “I haven’t. “Commitment” Abby.”
Abby: “Commitment.” There are only two creatures of
value on the face of this Earth. Those with a commitment, and those who require the commitment of others.”
Do you remember, John?”
John : “Yes, I remember.”
And sometimes I am reminded that commitment has been the key to why I have dedicated myself to seeing Hugo Awards become more successful and diverse. In twenty years of fan activism I have seen many changes and advances. I am quite satisfied if that is all I am known for. And I am happy and grateful for the love of a kind and loving person to remind me that I am loved and have worth.
I Love You, Juli Marr.
Apparently, Friday was Pizza Day: Mr. Richards, Juli and I dined at Milano’s and were treated to an excellent, authentic-looking sausage and cheese pie that was quite delicious.
We then made a courtesy visit to the Press Office for details about where members of the press were going to be seated and stood in yet another queue for a 7 p.m. blue entry lanyard for the symphony concert scheduled for 8 that evening. We were joined in line by our good friends Gary, Carole and John who are fellow members of the Cincinnati Fantasy Group.
The Worldcon Philharmonic – Dublin was led by Conductor Keith Slade who was accompanied by a nearly fifty-piece orchestra. Also on the program were Traditional Flute soloist Eimear McGeown, Mezzo-Soprano Naomi Rogers and our host, two time Worldcon Chair Vincent Docherty.
The program consisted of selections from Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings, two pieces from Ms. McGeown’s album “Inis”, a ferocious version of Mussorgsky’s NIght on Bald Mountain and several other well-known classical works.
The highlights of the evening were the magnificent renditions of the various themes of Star Trek films and series and John Williams scores from E.T., The Force Awakens and most memorably, Episode IV, A New Hope.
I used my phone to broadcast the Star Trek and Star Wars selections live on Facebook, much to the delight of several of my Facebook friends who happened to be online at the time. As I tried to keep the phone focused on the orchestra, my feeling of disappointment melted away as Williams’ powerful scores unleashed a torrent of joyful tears streamed down my face in the darkened theater. As the concert concluded and the lights came up, everyone saw me wipe my dampened face and I did not care who knew I had been moved so much.
Unfortunately, the evening ended on a rather bad note; the five of us took taxis to the Temple Bar area on the other side of the river in search of food. We tried to get into Difontaine’s, a hole-in-the-wall pizza joint about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle and packed with young people intent on becoming obese by sunrise.
Luckily, there was a formal sitdown Italian restaurant called Cafe Topolis was only a few doors away from the awful, doughy bacchanal
Gary had a regular pie with pepperoni while Juli, Carole, John and I dined on a traditional thin crust white pizza with olive oil, sausage, mushrooms and basil. DELICIOUS!
We were hit with the bad news as we divided the bill; Carole could not find her wallet, which contained all of her cards and a majority of her cash. It was quite fortunate that Carole had her passport and phone, but little else.
As we retraced our movements, we all became certain that she must have put the wallet down the side of the seat instead of an intended pocket.
Carole and Gary, who were in the cab in question, could not remember the name of the cabbie or the cab number. We flagged a passing cab and sought some advice. The driver said that as a rule they are very honest and they usually make sure the car is clear before the end of the shift. He advised us to go to the nearest police station and file a report
We googled and found a Garda precinct about 1000 meters from where we were. Carole wanted us to gome home and not worry about her but we were having none of it. When a fan is in trouble we should do everything possible to make sure they get home, no matter what has happened or how late the hour becomes.
We trooped into the station at around 1:30 a.m. local time. Gary, Juli and I sat down with a drunken man who was rambling incoherently, mostly at three women standing at the desk. It turns out that the two women had led a third woman, whom, it turned out to be a stranger they happened upon and did not know, could barely stand due to her total inebriation. As an officer took Carol’s information, the two women sat the drunk on a nearby bench for another officer to collect. As the two women left, the drunk woman made a run for it and made it out the door. I was going to run after her myself but the officer coming to retrieve her and the two samaritans chased her down and caught her before she ran into traffic. The very cross officer proceeded to drag the drunk woman into a holding area for her own safety and we all breathed a sigh of relief.
After Carole was done, we all went out and caught cabs to our various residences; Carol and John in one and the rest of us in another. As of this writing, there has been no word on whether the wallet has been found.
CORRECTION: I was accosted by Edie Stern and was chastised for NOT mentioning that her partner, Joe Siclari, was also a Worldcon Chair (MagiCon, the 50th Worldcon held in Orlando, FL). File 770 regrets the error. We also want to point out that while no currency was seen changing hands at this semi-clandestine meeting, we cannot be certain it had not already changed hands at the time of the incident.
In other words, Just Sayin’…
The Scene in Martin Hoare’s Bar