Shetterly Banned by 4th Street Fantasy Convention

Will Shetterly reports he has been banned from Minneapolis’ annual 4th Street Fantasy Convention.

In 2017, a 4th Street board member recruited Shetterly to help with a writing workshop, however, after seeing the info appear on the con’s website, 4th Street’s Safety Coordinator raised concerns. The board overruled the selection and Shetterly was dropped. Shetterly exchanged emails with people to find out what those concerns were and why the decision was made. Today he published that correspondence because the board has notified him he is banned from 4th Street Fantasy, due to his having raised the spectre of legal action when dropped from the 2017 workshop, and also for his public criticism of the convention.

Shetterly quotes the board’s notice about the ban in section three of his post “Positively Fourth Street, or On being banned for … vague reasons about nearly indescribable things?”

  1. I was done with 4th Street, but 4th Street was not done with me

After deciding I was done with Fourth Street, I rarely thought about it. When I did, I remembered it like Minneapolis’s Uptown neighborhood, a place that was fun that has been gentrified. It never occurred to me that Fourth Street was not done with me, but the convention is like a lover I ghosted—she felt obliged to tell me the relationship is over. On March 8, I woke to find this email:

Dear Will:

On April 27, 2017, as part of an email conversation regarding your removal from a programming item at the 2017 4th Street Fantasy Convention, you wrote “Someone has suggested this decision to imply I’m unsafe in public might be actionable.”

We cannot disregard this implied threat of legal action, particularly combined with your lengthy and detailed public criticism of the convention on multiple platforms. Despite your reassurance in correspondence dated April 30, 2017 that “I just want to reassure everyone that Emma and I have less than zero intention of suing anyone”, the Board of Directors has decided that we are unwilling to open ourselves to liability through further association with you.

We are therefore banning you from Fourth Street Fantasy.

We would like to resolve this privately. These are the practical steps we have taken:

• As stated above, you are banned from Fourth Street Fantasy. You will not be allowed to register for the convention or attend convention events. Please do not come to the Doubletree Hotel during the weekend of the convention.

Thank you for your service as a founder, programming participant, and long-time attendee. We wish you well in your further writing career.

Sincerely Yours,

The Fourth Street Fantasy Board of Directors

Brad Roberts
Scott Lynch
Alex Haist
Arkady Martine
Max Gladstone

Shetterly says he was “done with 4th Street” already (partly for the reasons covered last year in “Steven Brust’s Fourth Street Fantasy Remarks Generate Heat”, which Shetterly commented on extensively.) However, he believes a public statement is needed to clear the air, lest people assume he has been banned for the kind of behavior that has gotten other men banned from conventions.

Soon afterward, I realized these things:

1. The only substance in the Board’s letter is the fact that I’m banned because they’re concerned I might sue them for implying I’m unsafe. Their logic is odd. If I was the sort of person who liked using the law, banning me would make me more likely to sue them. By banning me, they are giving me the only reason I might have to sue them—in earlier times, no one would have been banned for polite disagreement, so people will quite reasonably assume there must be more to the charge.

2. Their letter says I criticize the convention without citing examples because there are none. I’ve always supported the convention. I’ve only criticized its current administrators who speak as if they are the convention—L’Etat, c’est moi is the motto of all petty people who fail to see they are only caretakers.

3. The letter says the Board “would like to resolve this privately”, but a ban means nothing if no one knows about it, the idea that five members of this community could keep anything private is hilarious, and there’s nothing offered to resolve: the Board isn’t dangling any hope of rescinding the ban if I promise to keep from criticizing them in the future. Their “privately” may mean they want to keep the story in the realm of gossip instead of making a press release, but the game of telephone began the moment a Board member told a friend I’d been banned or answered an inquiry about whether I’ll be at this year’s 4th Street.

So the Board has given me three choices:

  1. Do nothing, thereby validating the implication that I’m banned for the same reason other men in our community have been banned.
  2. Sue the Board to make them admit that the implications of their ban are false.
  3. Make the historical record public so people may draw their own conclusions.

Shetterly says he has chosen the last option, thus his post.

[Thanks to Mark Hepworth for the story.]

169 thoughts on “Shetterly Banned by 4th Street Fantasy Convention

  1. Lis, let’s ignore the fact that the aggregated polls at RealClearPolitics were accurate all along–they predicted Sanders beating Trump by 8 to 10% in the popular vote and Clinton beating Trump by 2% because Sanders did much better with independents than Clinton did.

    I like Bernie.

    Because he didn’t win the nomination, he never faced a dollar of attack ads from Trump and all the GOP shadow groups. Hundreds of millions would have been unloaded on him if he was the nominee. I think it’s extremely unproven that he would’ve done better than Hillary in the general election, given that he had a 40-year career of avowedly socialist positions and support for liberal causes and figures that was not introduced by an opponent or the media.

  2. Cat Eldridge (quoting Lenora Rose): JDA seems to think the people here at File 770 were part of the concom

    No he doesn’t. JDA is always throwing false stuff at the wall, knowing that for some readers it will stick. Researching that stuff and reporting here leaves a false impression that he might have misunderstood or made a mistake. He didn’t.

  3. Rcade, that’s a common claim, but the fact is Bernie has faced attack ads throughout his career. You can’t call yourself a socialist and not expect to get them. Early in the campaign, the Clinton camp hit him with everything they had, only to discover that it made him look better, so they stopped.

    I did a linkfest about that here:

    Now, if you’re arguing that hard core Republican would scream “socialist!” and not vote for him, I completely agree. Clinton was more popular with conservative voters–the only demographic she did better with than Obama was with rich voters. But that’s not where the election would’ve been won. Sanders was far more popular with independents.

  4. rcade: I agree. The GOP boosted Sanders (who I like) as one more way to try and slag Clinton (who I voted for), and if Sanders had gotten the nom, they’d have turned the crap hoses full on him.

  5. Kip W, we all agree that hardcore Republicans never would’ve voted for Sanders. He didn’t need them.

    But if you know anything that decades of attacks on him have not brought out, please share it. His beach house? An expensive jacket that someone gave him? None of those things matter to the people who voted for Obama and Sanders, but did not turn out for Clinton.

  6. I know a fair number of women and PoC who voted for Sanders in the primaries as noted. They tend to get quite annoyed at hearing the story over and over that Sanders was only supported by the Bernie Bros types. It’s simply untrue that women and PoC went for Hillary. Both had supporters in varied demographics.

    Fact is, though, Sanders really didn’t have the votes in the primaries. What would have happened if he did is unproven speculation.

  7. Lenora Rose, the same polls that were accurate about the results for Clinton predicted all along that Sanders would do better against Trump because the independents liked him. Alas, the independents couldn’t vote in most primaries, so the neoliberals defeated Sanders and enabled Trump. I suspect they knew what a gamble they were taking, but neoliberals would prefer to lose to someone like Trump than have a leftist win.

    If you doubt that, see the links to the polls here:

  8. OGH in my note on JDA slaying this site is part of a vast conspiracy says No he doesn’t. JDA is always throwing false stuff at the wall, knowing that for some readers it will stick. Researching that stuff and reporting here leaves a false impression that he might have misunderstood or made a mistake. He didn’t.

    Anyone who calls them selves the leading Hispanic SF writer is intrinsically full of shit. I’ve read his website and it’s obvious that he really believes there’s a SJW based conspiracy against writers like him who are not SJWs. I’ve sampled his writing — it’s poorly written with cardboard thin characters and enough politics of a RW nature to make gore rise in my throat.

  9. Cat Eldridge: I’ve read his website and it’s obvious that he really believes there’s a SJW based conspiracy against writers like him who are not SJWs.

    I think the jury is still out on that one. Everything he does is performative to achieve his goals, and I’m pretty sure that he’s well aware that what he spouts is 100% bullshit. That bullshit has been — admittedly, sloppily — crafted to appeal to the demographic to whom he’s trying to market his fiction and political writing. Why do you think his tweets and posts sound so much like Trump? It’s because he’s deliberately copied that style.

  10. Rcade, that’s a common claim, but the fact is Bernie has faced attack ads throughout his career.

    In the People’s Republic of Vermont, a small state with around as many people as Oklahoma City. Bernie has done well in the political equivalent of Double A baseball.

    Bernie never in his entire political career has faced the sustained attacks and orchestrated oppo dumps he would’ve faced as the Democratic presidential nominee. His Republican Senate opponents were weak, losing to him by 32% in 2006 and 46% in 2012.

    We don’t know how he would’ve done in the big leagues of a general election.

  11. Re: Bernie, honeymooning in Russia and praising Castro wouldn’t have gone over so well. Personally, I agree with the notion that the GOP stayed well away from him in the primaries because they thought he would be easier to beat, and I’m afraid I agree with that.

  12. I’m surprised Clinton supporters would call her people minor league. They hit him with everything they had from June 2015 until April or May of 2016, when they realized the attacks had only helped them lose their enormous lead on him.

    If you don’t want to spend time at the linkfest I mentioned a few comments back, you should at least read these:

    Politifact: “Hillary Clinton wrong that no negative ads have hit Bernie Sanders”

    FAIR: “The Myth That Sanders Hasn’t Been Criticized Won’t Go Away”

    Common Dreams: “Once Ahead by 60 Points, Clinton National Lead over Sanders Has Dwindled to Zero”

  13. Clinton didn’t want to alienate Bernie voters, who she hoped would join her once she’d defeated him, so they handled him with kid gloves. Anyone who states otherwise should produce her campaign ads alluding to, say, his praise of the Sandinistas after attending an anti-U.S. rally in Nicaragua where ‘death to the US’ was one of the rally chants, or a few choice excerpts from the rape fantasy he wrote back in the 70’s. If you can’t produce those, then you can’t say that Hillary hit him ‘with everything they had’ – and the Republicans would not have hesitated to do what she didn’t.

  14. Jayn, I assume you didn’t bother to read the Polifact or the FAIR articles. I’ll quote a few bits from the FAIR article. If you doubt any of it, go to FAIR and check out their links supporting what they say:

    “As Donald Trump caught up with Hillary Clinton in the polls over the past two weeks, the Bernie Sanders campaign has reiterated its last-ditch argument to win over superdelegates and secure the nomination: The Vermont senator is walloping Trump in the polls by over ten points, in contrast to Clinton’s dead heat…

    …The refrain that the Clinton campaign hasn’t run a negative attack on Sanders, thus protecting him from the sort of criticism that lies ahead, is just a lie — one that normally reserved PolitiFact (5/22/16) deemed Clinton’s claim to this effect “false.”…

    …As FAIR noted two weeks ago, the Clinton campaign directly coordinates online media with its Super PAC Correct the Record which has been attacking Sanders with an online troll army, text messages, videos, infographics and talking points for months. So even if one accepts the libertarian myth that Super PACs are somehow separate from campaigns, this cannot be said about this Super PAC, which freely admits it works with Clinton. Using TV appearances and social media, Clinton herself linked Sanders to the Sandy Hook massacre and the far-right Minutemen militia…

    …In nine debates, Sanders has been asked questions about his socialism a total of ten times (roughly the amount of questions asked about Russia). In the very first debate, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, after bringing up Sanders “honeymooning in the Soviet Union” and support for the Sandinistas, pushed Sanders to pledge his loyalty to capitalism with three consecutive follow-up questions. Keep in mind these were the first four questions in the very first debate—the first impression millions of Americans had of the largely unknown senator…

    …In the first two months after he announced, the Washington Post, Guardian, National Review and Politico all explored Sanders’ ties to socialist governments in depth, some focusing on the Trotskyist past Goldberg insists “the media” ignored…

    …Sanders was again grilled in the Disney/Univision debate in March by the unapologetically anti-communist panel… This debate, and the one where Cooper cross-examined Sanders about his lack of allegiance to capitalism, were watched by 6 million and 16 million people respectively….

    …The Washington Post, which didn’t officially endorse any candidate, has run editorial after editorial after editorial after editorial harshly critiquing Sanders. The paper infamously ran 16 negative stories on Sanders in as many hours on the eve of the critical Michigan primary. And a scathing critique of Sanders’s tax plan released by centrist Democratic think tank Urban Institute (this, by the way, also counts as vetting) called for four articles by the Post in one afternoon. The Daily Beast has run several negative stories on the senator, as have other web-only outlets, like Vox and particularly Slate, whose chief political correspondent has been one of Sanders’ most consistent critics….

  15. You assume wrongly. I read the Politifact article, and it does not contradict anything I said in my post above – there were no negative campaign ads from Hillary that compassed his praise of Sandinistas chanting ‘death to US’ or mentioned his rape fantasy. Nor do you actually contradict anything I said, despite your excess irrelevant cut and paste.

  16. Jayn, so long as you admit that Sanders was attacked on national television for those things, only to narrow Clinton’s lead, we’re cool. You’re very right that Clinton didn’t personally attack him for everything he could be attacked for. The national press and Clinton’s tools like Correct The Record did that.

  17. Who out there wasn’t just as certain that Bernie would have gone down under the attack hose as they were the “pussy-grabber” tape would doom Trump?

    Bernie would have had two big advantages running against Trump. One is that Trump has shown being a perfectly manicured product isn’t necessary to win a nationwide election. The other is that he wouldn’t have been fighting James Comey, whose disgust toward both Clinton and Trump has been palpable.

    When this story is told dramatically, Comey is going to be the most interesting character: A man who broke protocol to warn people about a venal politician playing fast and loose with classified information and ended up electing Venality Itself, whose son has been setting up extralegal communications channels to hostile nations.

    He’ll get a great aria, probably at the end, while the missile tracks are projected on a screen behind him. If the playwright is a John Cage fan, possibly the aria will be the end of the opera. The stage manager will throw dice during the opera to decide at random when to cut the lights and trigger the explosion effects.

    So hold on to your optimism! It’s premiering this week, in 4078.

  18. I was rueing the task of reading through this mess. I was right except for one brief moment:

    Robert Wood:

    Capitalism isn’t a subject and can’t do anything. Social movements have created better conditions for working people throughout history at great costs to their participants within that system, but those gains have never been evenly enjoyed and have almost always been fleeting in character.

    “When the axe came into the Forest, the trees said “The handle is one of us””

    And the pixels were all kept equal by hatchet, ax and saw….

    The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom. – Isaac Asimov

  19. Arguing about how Bernie would have done is just re-arranging the decks chairs.
    There’s lots of ‘blame’ to go around if that’s what you want to do.
    From the failure of either Clinton herself or the campaign people who decided not to focus on ‘safe areas’.
    Fox and Bernie supporters ranting about how untrustworthy Clinton was.
    Progressives who sat out the election because Clinton wasn’t pure enough for them (She gave talks to BANKS and WALL STREET!!!!!).
    Republicans who thought they could use him as a smoke-screen for their own agenda.
    And, of course, the idiots who believed a snake-oil salesman who said that he’d say whatever it took to get what he wanted.

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