The Right Way, The Wrong Way, and the Navy Way

The ConCarolinas controversy has now taken the form of rival petitions.

As reported in yesterday’s Scroll, at iPetitions signers are calling for the “Removal of Jada and Luis Diaz from ConCarolinas Committee”. (Jada Diaz is the convention chair, and Luis, her husband, is head of security.)

Please sign below if you have been a part of ConCarolinas but have decided not to return if Jada and Luis do not step down. Feel free to remain anonymous. This is NOT a forum to discuss issues, this is a platform to show the current impact to the continued survival of the Convention.

However, most of the signers are anonymous, and some of the comments left by signers are critical of the effort. The petition has 114 signatures – including the dissenters – at this writing.

At the end of the con last weekend, ConCarolinas chair Jada Diaz delivered a statement she negotiated with author David Weber (the video is here). Weber, creator of the Honor Harrington series, agreed to be the convention’s guest in 2019 provided the committee met his conditions, including a public statement repudiating those who had issues with John Ringo’s selection as a special guest, with an apology to Ringo, who had withdrawn as a guest after discussion with the chair.

Opponents of the removal petition started an iPetitions effort of their own to support the ConCarolinas chair, “Fight against discrimination in SF”.

Sign this petition to support Jada, Luis, Science Fiction,Authors and a true fan base

Petition is to counter the bigoted petition against Jada and Luis of Con Carolinas and Support Guests from being disinvited because of a vocal minority.

David Weber was among the very first signers, which now include Jon Del Arroz, Lou Antonelli, and Richard Paolinelli. It has gained 117 signatures so far.

David Weber liked the idea of a petition so much he started his own at Change.org: “Ensure Freedom of Speech & Assembly at ConCarolinas” which has gained over 1,600 signatures.

We’re here to support Jada Hope and Luis Diza’s stance on the demands to disinvite guests at ConCarolinas based on unfounded and unproven stories posted by Internet pressure groups.

Our goal is to obtain as many signatures as possible as a way of demonstrating who is truly in favor of diversity by raising our voices. We’d like to count them in the hundreds, but we’d really rather count them by the thousand.

This is not a petition to support inviting guests who the con committee believes would be problems for the con or who do not seem, to the con committee, to be a “good fit” for the people who attend ConCarolinas. We who sign this petition are saying only that once an invitation has been issued, the guest invited should not be subsequently disinvited simply because someone else planning to attend the con will be uncomfortable in that guest’s presence.

We believe that no one, left or right, should have an ex post facto veto right over who can and cannot be invited to a convention nor should the vocal minority, who do not work for the con in any capacity and are simply attending A PRIVATE EVENT of their OWN FREE WILL , be allowed to exert that kind of influence over a convention.

We believe that if ConCarolinas ejects Jada Hope and Luis Diza from the Convention Committee (the managing body of the convention) and reverses the position they have taken on the dis-invitation of guests, then no one who believes in freedom of expression should attend this convention ever again.

Some of us have attended ConCarolinas in the past, as either a ticket-buying attendee of the con or as an invited guest. Under the ‘I’m signing because…” section please indicated if you’ve attended in the past as a guest or attendee and if you will attend in the future if they are removed.

The video below shows the apology that Jada Hope made at the end of ConCarolinas 2018 on June 3rd to John Ringo and re-emphasized the con’s commitment to an inclusive atmosphere for all people….

Weber is heavily promoting the petition in his social media. On his own Facebook page he wrote —

So the counter attack has begun at ConCarolinas. We all knew it would, but I have to admit that I was at least a tiny bit surprised by the speed with which it’s been mounted.

Essentially, there is a move afoot to “disinvite” Jada and Luis from the con committee. There is a petition online seeking 600 signatures in support of that removal. The last time I was there, it had 63.

I believe that the most effective way that we can support Jada’s position at this time — and, people, she deserves all the support we can give her — is to buy supporting memberships for 2019 and post on the Carolinas Facebook page that we have done so — one by one — and why, and inform them that if, in fact Jada and Luis are evicted from the concom, they may have our money this year, but they will never get it again.

For myself, I will say only this. If, in fact, Jada and Luis are removed from the concom, then ConCarolinas is DEFINITELY going back on to my list of cons I will not attend, and I will be urging everyone that I know to never attend that convention again.

Interestingly, when his wife, Sharon, put a link to his call for signatures on The Royal Manticoran Navy Facebook page, run by a large group of Honor Harrington series fans, her post reportedly was removed for violating the group’s rule about political posts, then restored at the request of David Weber.

Apparently this is the rule:

There has been quite a bit of discussion about the appropriateness of the Webers’ request, especially in comments on Dave Cleric’s post to the tRMN group (which is public) where Weber participated. Here is a brief excerpt.

81 thoughts on “The Right Way, The Wrong Way, and the Navy Way

  1. Tasha Turner: Amazing how frequently they default to “only major physical violence counts”.

    As you say, they try to recast the conversation in terms that will disqualify the complaints as legitimate.

    The other day, Benjamin Blatt was on Larry Correia’s FB wall belittling Jaym Gates for not having “physical proof” of John Ringo’s behavior on a panel that she had criticized — even though every other attorney I ever heard knows that oral testimony is evidence.

  2. Stoic Cynic: Best I can figure, it’s got to come out of the sense that their tribe is under siege and anyone not of the tribe becomes an enemy.

    I was raised with this attitude. I was told constantly that my religion was always hated and that I was always going to have to fight to be respected. It led to some extremely unhealthy coping mechanisms. It’s an insidiously evil way to raise a child, and it’s horrible to see in adults. I was literally raised into the viewpoint of “Us vs Them” and it’s taken me most of my adult life to break out of it and become a reasonable soul.

    Regarding David Weber, I noticed a new HH book was coming out and felt a slight twinge of “maybe I’ll reread some of the old books and then catch up” but then this whole nonsense started and that twinge went away. No more interest. To be fair, with the Hugo reading I need to do, I doubt I would have started rereading, but now I know I won’t make the effort.

  3. I was raised with the idea that people are weird. That they have strange customs, beliefs, and traditions, that also often result in weird food.

    And that if you put on your best manners with them, they would often share that weird food, which might be quite tasty.

    Also, they might have stories to tell that aren’t the same ones we already know, or that are interesting variations.

    (It’s perhaps worth noting at this point that this is pretty much how my mother’s Sicilian family and my father’s Irish and French family regarded each other. Even though today, we are all just “white,” not even “white ethnics,” anymore.)

    That these weird people probably did stuff that of course we don’t approve of, usually it hurts no one and is not worth making a fuss over. (For instance, the very different behavior of my mother’s family and my father’s family at wakes and funerals. I’m with Dad’s family on this; the Sicilians are scary at wakes and funerals, but usually no one gets hurt, so just roll with it.)

    In recent years, I’ve come to appreciate, for all my very real problems with my mother, just how wonderful my parents and the extended family on both sides were and are.

    The Puppies and the Puppy-adjacent, though, want to be able to hurt people and pretend they’re not.

  4. @Mike

    I do find a bunch of writers NOT accepting JRs blog recaps as proof of his behavior disingenuous but it’s part of “only physical violence counts”. The lawyer apparently requiring physical proof isn’t unusual as when on the defensive they do everything they can to discredit the victim/survivor. It’s one of the many reasons we don’t report. As is campaigns like LC, JR, and Weber’s.

    I’ve never reported any harassment, incest, or rape as I didn’t need the system to put me through it again and again gaslighting me, telling me I hadn’t actually experienced what I did, I’d i did experience it I was overreacting, I should be over it by now, if the men apologized then I’m obligated to accept and NOT see them as threats.

    What Weber is doing I’ve seen done by so many men over my 50+ years. It’s enabling harassers and rapist whether it’s his intent or not. Intent is NOT magic. When a man goes to bat for a harasser and puts down women who’ve been harassed by a man they send a signal to ALL men that mistreating women is ok and even correct behavior. While Weber pats himself on the back for defending his friend and telling Ringo’s victim she is at fault he has to live with himself for enabling Ringo’s future harassment. Weber wants free speech free of consequences for men like him and Ringo who do NOT respect and HONOR women, POC, LGBT+, disabled people. Their privileged cis white colonialism reflects poorly on fellow USAians.

    I’ve been saying this a lot on my FB and Twitter over the last couple of years: we need to fix our education system to teach the reality of how the USA came to be, the genocide we’ve perpetuated, the realities of slavery, what systemic and institutional racism and sexism is, stop glorifying horrific wars we’ve used for capitalist reasons NOT freedom and calling things “discoveries” when they were invasions. The only way to end the problems in the USA is for the populace to face its history head on, make reparations, and move on truly living “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness“ with equitable rights for all and stop privileging white cis male colonizer descendents and those “adopted in” over all others. Stop whitewashing the history we teach to children.

  5. Call me cynical, but I truly do not see what all the petitioning and counter-petitioning is supposed to accomplish here. This isn’t a governmental body where they’re getting a measure on the ballot, this is basically…what, a glorified Facebook poll?

    I mean, if a thousand people signed a petition saying I had to keep goats, I’d roll my eyes and do what I was going to do anyway, sans goat. I’m not sure why anyone expects this to matter to the concom or anyone else.

  6. I suspect the initial petition was set up as a way for vendors, con goers, etc… to vent and hopefully to make themselves heard.

    The two counter petitions are rightwing virtue signalling, pure and simple.

  7. I think Cora is correct in her suppositions. I’m finding the counter petitions helpful in cutting down my TBR. It’s not about politics.

    Something to add to “how to decide which books to get rid of” discussion we’re having on other threads:

    1. Has the author made a complete ass of themselves recently and not done a proper apology (TM)?
    2. Has the author shown that it might be unsafe for people to be alone, at conventions, on panels with them?
    3. Has the author stood up for harassers, rapists, thieves rather than the victims?

    If the answer to any of the above is yes their books can probably be culled prior to moves or to make room for new books.

  8. Eh, in the interests of parity, I guess I’d be inclined to give at least the initial counterpetition the benefit of the doubt re: making concerns known, but having Weber campaign to get signatures from people not involved in the con is where it starts to get really nonsensical. But I am covered in mosquito bites and having a savage allergic reaction, so I am perhaps cranky to no good effect.

  9. The two counter petitions are rightwing virtue signalling, pure and simple.

    It is about control, and displays of power. It is always about control and displays of power.

  10. The two counter petitions are rightwing virtue signalling, pure and simple.

    More like both left and right wing and it would be more correct to say there was a Purge petition and a Free Speech counter petition in responce

  11. What Weber is doing I’ve seen done by so many men over my 50+ years. It’s enabling harassers and rapist whether it’s his intent or not

    And that is one of the hard questions the SF, and the community as a whole, is dealing with: Intent vs Consequences

  12. Jeez, that Ringo screed is tiresome. Is he so worried that some body might forget he was a Macho Soldier Male Warrior that he needs to describe anything incouding brushing his teeth in military metaphors?

  13. I think Dan Kauffman has helpfully delineated the issues as far as one side is concerned – it’s a close-to-absolutist version of Free Speech that makes no distinction between public or private, or allows for any context or history. I suspect that this view will not accept that anything less than abusive yelling or physical contact can count as harassment.

    I think this comes as a reaction to several years of improvements in fannish (and wider) con society, primarily via the introduction and enforcement of CoCs at cons, and I fully expect those to be the next element on the firing line – as a section of fandom consider decent CoCs to be non-negotiable, the reaction against them will build. Some of the other elements are becoming clear – framing it as a matter of Free Speech to harness the emotive nature of that concept, claiming it is the “politically neutral” position when in fact it’s a reaction to the new norm, etc.

  14. Mark on June 10, 2018 at 12:29 pm said:
    I think Dan Kauffman has helpfully delineated the issues as far as one side is concerned – it’s a close-to-absolutist version of Free Speech that makes no distinction between public or private, or allows for any context or history. I suspect that this view will not accept that anything less than abusive yelling or physical contact can count as harassment.

    Why is it that I think it will just take one non white person to kneel during Patriotic Time to dissolve all this support for absolute free speech?

  15. Looks like the Purge ConCarolinas poll has 131 signatures
    the Uphold Free Speech has 2985

    Yeah, but how many of those 2985 signatories are people who actually attend ConCarolinas? And those who signed the petition, but don’t attend the con and have no intention to do so are just virtue signalling. I do think that the con chair screwed up badly, but since my chances of ever attending ConCarolinas are close to zero (I live on another continent and if I travelled to the US to attend a convention, it would be WorldCon or SDCC, not a regional con), I never even considered signing, because I don’t have a horse in this race.

    What is more, the intiial petition was about various concerns regarding the ConCarolinas chair. The Ringo thing, which one might frame as a free speech issue (and IMO insulting and harassing people is not a free speech issue – it’s possible to express one’s opinions without being a jerk about it), was only one point. Other points were general organisational issues and the fact that convention security walked around with guns in defiance of hotel regulations and put the entire con and its attendants at risk.

    David Weber and whoever organised the other counter-petition ignored the other points and turned it into a free speech issue.

  16. I’m a little late to the conversation, but I was at ConCarolinas this year for the first time in a few years. And–completely aside from the Ringocalypse–I think maybe whoever was in charge this year ought to be considered for removal, because this convention was a mess, with things I have come to expect as basic con functionality either bungled or not bothered with.

    –We had register ahead of time to get a paper schedule. Those schedules were all printed *alphabetically*, not chronologically. Printing out several hundred schedules for paying guests without checking to see that they are useful is… not anything that falls under the umbrella of ‘competence’.

    –The schedule didn’t have a hotel map. We had to either find the two tiny maps tacked to the walls or wander around and hope. (There was a map in the fancier booklet with the guest bios, but at check-in we were neither given one nor told that they existed.).

    –Badge clips existed but were not present or offered when we checked in. I forgot my lanyard, and used a safety pin. (Lanyards were also not available, even for sale; I’m more used to that but I was ticked off already so they get no points).

    –Guests were not given tent cards for panel tables, so we didn’t know who our panelists were so we could buy their stuff.

    –Guests did not seem to have had a list of their panels given to them, either, leaving them to figure it out on their own. This is basic con functionality.

    –There was, aside from ‘security’, not a large presence of con staff or volunteers–I never saw anyone check in on the panels for time or attendance, for instance.

    –That same ‘security’ presence was overt, with a lot of orange vests, an off-duty officer, and multiple obtrusive ‘weapons check stations’, which made it look like the con was following its own rules. (We now know it was not)

    –There was no con suite, nor, I was told, had there been for 5 or 6 years. This is the first con I’ve been to without one since I started going to cons regularly.

    This level of disorganization itself would have made me not come back for a few years at least–the only other con I’ve been to with this level of disorganization died within two years. Any one of these things could just be hey, stuff happens, but all of them together seriously do not bode well for a healthy con.

  17. Dan Kauffman on June 10, 2018 at 1:37 am said:

    The two counter petitions are rightwing virtue signalling, pure and simple.

    More like both left and right wing and it would be more correct to say there was a Purge petition and a Free Speech counter petition in responce

    The first petition isn’t particularly leftwing – it’s more about internal con politics (in sense of who is controlling what and whether they are doing a good job of it). The second petition is a call for a particular policy around invitees that supports the current con’s leadership reversal of policy.

    While they are clearly being treated as symbols of a left-right division, a person could quite consistently sign both for a whole bunch of reasons.

    The whole Ringo saga really does imply some poor decision making by the con leadership, no matter how you slice it. If you think Ringo should have been there then the decision that he should step aside in the face of the controversy was a bad decision. If you think he shouldn’t then the initial invitation was a poor decision and the subsequent repudiation of the con’s own decision to have him withdraw was also a poor decision. I can’t see any way of looking at that mess and thinking “Yup, that was a series of well thought through decisions”. Enough that specific people should set down? Not for me to say and I’m not involved in this con but I can see why people involved in the con might be cross.

    Weber’s petition? Lots going on there and he’s positioned it in a way that it is a counter-petition (and thus involved himself in the inner workings of that con’s internal issues – not a smart move). There’s also lost of surrounding rhetoric about freedom of speech etc. However, the gist of it is a particular principle he wants cons to follow: don’t disinvite authors etc once they are publically announced. Again, I’m not running a con nor am I going to be invited to speak at one, so it really doesn’t affect me. As a policy? It’s not that problematic, it basically means cons should do their due diligence on invitees early on. The net effect of such a policy is not what Weber imagines – it would mean John Ringo or Larry Correia would be less likely to have been invited in the first place.

    Neither petition indicates how the petition is supposed to result in action.

    So a pro-Ringo fan could sign the first because they think he should never have been disinvited and not sign the second because it would mean Ringo would be less likely to be invited to cons.

  18. I find calling insulting and harassing people “free speech” absurd and disingenuous – possibly I’m biased as a woman whose been harassed or had to stop men and white people from harassing others. Free speech has NEVER meant without consequences.

    Weber ignoring all the various issues raised in the 1st petition to focus only on his buddy Ringo’s BEHAVIOR a free speech issue and creating a petition calling for people OUTSIDE the convention to sign is just more disrespect for regular attendees and vendors of the con and privileging his status and connections over others is too typical of cis white men*.

    It’s amazing how those advocating for free speech are FOR suppressing speech by those who object to being harassed, treated like lesser citizens and/or animals, and being insulted for simply existing and who can’t hide our gender or skin color in order to fit in.

    #YesAllWomen #NotAllCisWhiteMen *rolls eyes*

  19. Free speech is not the freedom to behave like a jerk. And it’s certainly not the freedom to behave like a jerk without consequences.

    John Ringo (and Larry Correia) has the right to say whatever he wants. However, people also have the right not to listen to him and not to be subjected to his behaviour. And a con has the right to decide not to let John Ringo excercise his free speech rights during their convention.

    A con has to weigh who is more important, Ringo and his fans or the people who want nothing to do with him. ConCarolinas made its decision.

  20. Tasha Turner on June 10, 2018 at 3:37 pm said:

    It’s amazing how those advocating for free speech are FOR suppressing speech by those who object to being harassed, treated like lesser citizens and/or animals, and being insulted for simply existing and who can’t hide our gender or skin color in order to fit in.

    And indeed they are positively delighted about a person being sacked from the staff of a con for being “political”. As has been noted so very, very frequently now – it’s free speech only for some.

  21. I’d mind the free speech absolutism thing less if it wasn’t usually “free speech for me, none for you.” At least then it would be a consistent and deeply held principle, instead of something that people claim is a sincere and deeply held principle while trying to silence people they disagree with. The ACLU I can respect; they really do defend all speech. I still don’t agree with it, but I can respect it.

  22. And indeed they are positively delighted about a person being sacked from the staff of a con for being “political”. As has been noted so very, very frequently now – it’s free speech only for some.

    This, too. It’s totally okay for DragonCon to fire someone for exercising their free speech rights, but if some people call for the ConCarolinas chair to be fired, it’s suddenly a purge.

  23. Oh is carrying a loaded firearm in a venue that explicitly banned them now a matter of free speech? I hadn’t realised.

  24. @Phoebe Barnes
    Thanks for letting us know that there were plenty of organisational issues beyond the ones which made headlines. It’s always good to hear from someone who was actually there rather than second or third hand reports.

  25. Dan Kauffman on June 10, 2018 at 1:33 am said:
    Looks like the Purge ConCarolinas poll has 131 signatures
    the Uphold Free Speech has 2985

    I wonder how many of these 2985 proud defenders of Free Speech have any issue with DragonCon purging staff for voicing political opinions.

  26. Let’s talk about the phrase “virtue signaling”. I can’t think of any way to talk about a controversial issue that can’t be labeled “virtue signaling”.

    I think X is wrong: virtue signaling.
    I think Y should do Z: virtue signaling.
    I think we should all buy A’s books because their LGBTQ protagonist is awesome: virtue signaling.
    I think separating children from their parents and putting them into cages is evil: absolutely, positively virtue signaling.

    “Virtue signaling” seems to mean “any public advocacy with which I disagree”. There is no dispassionate way to determine whether advocacy as virtue signaling or not.

  27. Madame Hardy: “Virtue signaling” seems to mean “any public advocacy with which I disagree”. There is no dispassionate way to determine whether advocacy as virtue signaling or not.

    Well, the proponents of the term would probably say (and have said in many cases), it’s not that they disagree with the position but that the person virtue signalling does not truly believe it, is doing it to get points, blah, blah, blah, blah, and isn’t a real proponent of said position.

    As a concept, it is in the same category as “politically correct,” and “social justice warrior” meaning words coined to be used to dismiss/insult conflicting positions. Ditto “snowflakes.” But context seems to show fairly reliably that these are not used across the ideological positions but come primarily from right-wing (and American? as far as I know, but I may be wrong–certainly Rush Limbaugh popularized “politically correct” some years ago for the right). (Examples of liberals/radicals using it against the right-wing are welcome!)

    As far as I’m concerned, ever since the 1990s, if someone uses these words as if they are meaningful, they are signals that person is not worth engaging with. What’s horrifying to me is how my students will use politically correct as it if is a neutral/approved term: when I ask them what it means, they cannot tell me, and then I give them links on its origins and what it means, and a significant percentage of them are horrified. So it’s a term that’s been normalized.

  28. The intended claim is that the person doesn’t really believe that; they’re doing it to be “in” with the cool kids, or some group to which they want to belong. It then gets spread over every single person holding that opinion, retroactively making whole swathes of the population insincere in their enthusiasm for a thing. This is how the bestseller status and the rave reviews over Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice can ALL be dismissed by the same people who say positive Amazon reviews and good book sales prove that their personal favourite author is just as awesome as they thought. Because I didn’t buy the book out of genuine interest. I bought it, apparently, in hopes that Patrick Nielsen Hayden will check my bookshelves/ebook folder and immediately offer me a 1.3 million dollar contract with Tor.

    Or something.

    But to answer your question, yes, I can’t think of a book review or a policy or an anything on either side of the political aisle that couldn’t be called “Virtue signaling” to discredit it.

    I can think of some few occasions when a person has clearly taken their posture to appeal to their fanbase despite not necessarily believing it himself. When quotes can be found where they said almost the exact opposite at a different time ***and there’s no demonstrated and acknowledged change of heart between to explain it***.

    These are few and far between compared to the number of accusations of such signalling.

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