This is, in part, a follow up to yesterday’s post about Origins Game Fair ditching Larry Correia. However, while yesterday’s post was more reportage in this one I want to do some philosophizing. If you want reportage/updates skip down to the “Current Acrtions” section but TLDR Origins needs to crash and burn and people need to look at creating explicitly non SJW cons.

Ancient History

In the dim and distant past we had a shared culture – well each nation or region of a nation did – and the bedrock parts of that were shared across nations. For example if you asked people of all cultures and classes in most of Europe or the Americas 100 years ago about biblical stories, proverbs, and parables you would get general common recognition. You could say things about being a good Samaritan, a prodigal son, or selling your inheritance for a bowl of soup and everyone knew exactly what you were talking about. Even Jews or avowed atheists recognized the references even if they didn’t believe the bible/new testament was a holy book. In the Anglosphere that continued with shared understanding of Shakespeare and other major authors. Moderately educated people just knew references to “Romeo” or “Man Friday” or “Tom Sawyer” or “Martin Chuzzlewit” or dozens of others and in general they had a similar interpretation of those characters and their stories.

Not only that we had far more interaction with people of different classes within our local communities. Obviously not everyone knew a Rockefeller but because there was far less to do indoors, we would meet everyone from the local squire/factory owner/other nob to the local ne’er do well/hobo at (usually different) events. Not that the hobo would necessarily talk to the nob but the chances were pretty high that one way or another most people would know people of all sorts. From the ubiquity of servants to the high likelihood that the nobs children would play some kind of game that would sometimes at least include the children of the lowest of the low and all in between, the community would cross all levels. Sure some places (e.g. ghettoes and/or hoity-toity bits of large cities) would not always have the full gamut but there was enough that the reach from top to bottom would be no more than a couple of hops.

We started to lose this with the advent of multiple channels of mass media and the suburbanizing and de-servanting of households in the 1950s. People tended to self sort into areas of similar income and background but sports and popular TV shows/movies could still be shared. While the jocks at school might not share much with the nerds, both the jocks and the nerds (and the other groupings) would be spread across social strata and would share the same subculture. The rise of affordable travel options meant that nerds could and did attend events like SF Conventions that catered to their nerdish interests while jocks could likewise go watch sportsbowls that catered to theirs.

The SF conventions (and later the gaming, comic etc. ones) were almost always non-political (sure there were exceptions – e.g. Wiscon) but as a general rule until quite recently people went to cons to experience and talk about their shared hobby/interests and didn’t care that one guest of honor was a card carrying member of the CPUSA whereas another one was an advisor to President Reagan. In fact cons generally leaned leftish but it wasn’t generally an in-your-face leftishness so non-lefties of various flavors would be more-or-less welcome and could generally find likeminded souls – often at the Baen Barfly Central. In the last decade or two this has no longer been the case and the intolerance has come, pretty much exclusively, from the woke SJW portions of the left. Gradually cons have stopped being so welcoming to people who can be detected as non-Left and in certain cases (coff Shevacon coff) con-committees would get taken over by the intolerant who would then promptly drive off the non-socialists and “unexpectedly” see the entire con go bust a year or two afterwards.

Sarah Hoyt has a post at PJMedia that describes how midlist nonsocialist authors had to keep their heads down before explaining how the Internet/Amazon and so on allowed for freedom. That freedom to not keep quiet almost certainly triggered the current wave of shrill calls for bans, disinvitations and the like, all of which comes from the SJW left who want to insist on the same “diversity” and “tolerance” in fandom as they have more or less achieved in academia, the MSM and Hollywood.

Modern History

The first indication that the worm had turned was Larry Correia’s Sad Puppy campaign which began in 2013. Larry thought it would be nice if the Hugos got awarded for works that were actually interesting stories and not just SJW talking points. For this he was roundly condemned by all right left thinking people and in the process they pretty much proved his point:

  1. I said a chunk of the Hugo voters are biased toward the left, and put the author’s politics far ahead of the quality of the work. Those openly on the right are sabotaged. This was denied.
  2. So I got some right wingers on the ballot.
  3. The biased voters immediately got all outraged and mobilized to do exactly what I said they’d do.
  4. Point made.

While facing this revolt some SJWs managed to disinvite Uncle Timmy from Archon for the crime of having running a newsletter that had non-PC humor in it. Various people pontificated but, overall, Uncle Timmy’s fans acted like this was a one-off and didn’t burn Archon to the ground – even metaphorically – which is a pity because it just encouraged the SJWs.

Then there was the rest of the Sad/Rabid Puppy wars culminating in the Noah Ward Assterisks at Sasquan and the snide comments of the MC – Dave Gerrold (remember this name). This led, the following year (2016), to the banning of Dave Truesdale for something and especially for recording his presentation to prove that whatever it was they claimed to be banning him for hadn’t been said. And then in 2017 the SJWs more or less got their revenge on Wil Shetterly (a noted awkward lefty) for bad think about a decade earlier when he failed to bow before the gods of intersectionality. Then having not faced any notable pushback they got John Ringo disinvited from ConCarolinas and now they have Larry disinvited from Origins.

Current Actions

As is to be expected John Ward failed to do anything that might help mend fences. In fact he continued to fail to communicate with Larry directly but instead sent out an email to Origins vendors assuring them that he had saved the con. Insiders suggest this is not quite the case

One of the vendors is noted author Michael Z Williamson. He had a little to say about who needs to be banned:

Here’s the scenario. You’re running an event, and on TWITter or Fecesbook, someone calls out a guest and states, “I wouldn’t feel safe with this person at the con!”

You must immediately ban this person from the convention.

No, not the guest. The person making the public scene.

Here’s why:

This person is arrogating a lot of significance to themselves. The statement assumes that the guest in question either knows this person or will seek them out, and has time allotted for the purpose of interacting with them, any desire to do so, and such interaction must be negative. All of which are almost certainly utterly false assumptions.

For myself, it doesn’t matter to me one way or the other how the complainant feels. Their statement alone makes it clear that interacting with such a person is of utterly no interest or consequence to me. I can find much better people to interact with. Actually, let me rephrase that: I can find PEOPLE to interact with.

In fact, they’re almost certainly well aware they’re perfectly safe, and attempting to drive political opposition into the shadows.

Well, no one ever accused Nazis of honesty.

He also asked his lawyer about his options given that he seems likely to make rather less money than planned, since many of his potential customers seem likely to stay away and his lawyer produced a letter that others may wish to use too:

Other vendors have been asked their position and have self identified as people to shun:

And various other low-lifes made claims that failed to withstand scrutiny:

Mr Skarka failed to provide any additional info but instead got a bit confrontational.

Skarka is otherwise “best” known as a shifty games developer who raised nearly $50,000 on kickstarter 7 years ago and has yet to produce a game. Perhaps if he spent less time on Twitter he might have done it by now. It might also be interesting to see whether 7 years without a product is in violation of Kickstarter’s ToS and therefore whether Kickstarter should try and return the money to the people who gave it to him.

Unsurprisingly the MHI facebook group has seen some new members, and attempts to join by people who probably aren’t legit

Because a 5 day old profile with pictures of KKK and nazi symbols is obviously a real person who admires the work of Mr Correia. (Not)

On the other hand messages and gestures of support came from various places such as the gaming Youtube channel The Quartering:

And to many people’s extreme crogglement Mr Assterisk Dave Gerrold also wrote in support:

So John Ringo got disinvited from one convention and Larry Correia disinvited from another.

Look, I don’t know either of those gentlemen. I have no idea if they’re nice guys or not. But both have solid credentials as SF authors. And to that degree, they are worthy of respect. They’ve proven they know how to win at the difficult game of getting published and getting sales. So it’s understandable that a science fiction convention would consider them worthwhile guests.

Unfortunately — and in no small part due to the fast-acting acid of social media — we are living in an era of hyper-polarization.

Correia and Ringo were disinvited from two different cons because of the uproar attendant to their invitations. Whether the uproar is justified or not — and I will leave that to others to argue, I wasn’t there — there is a larger issue to consider.

There are no winners here. Everybody loses. The convention committee is embarrassed. The convention takes a hit. Those fans who do like the books of these authors lose the chance to meet them. Booksellers lose an opportunity to sell their books. And the authors themselves get hurt. Being disinvited from a convention isn’t just an insult — it’s a deliberate slap in the face.

Now, yeah — I can understand people being offended by stuff that happens that doesn’t fit their pictures of how the world should work. I get offended by six things every day before breakfast. Then I have coffee, I feed the dogs, I empty my bowel — and I feel better.

There was a lesson that was hammered into me while I was still in college, studying theater arts — we are all in this together. We don’t have to like each other, but the health of our entire community depends on our ability to respect each other — and treat each other with grace and courtesy.

Whether or not anyone’s disinvitation was appropriate or not — that’s not the point. The point is that disinviting guests is not a good thing — not for anyone. This is the kind of hurt that no apology can mitigate. And it’s not a precedent we want established in this community.

[Update: Of course support like this from someone on their own “side” could not be permitted so various SJW types, such as a certain Tempest in a Teapot, explained to him that he was wrong and that he needed to recant from his heresy.

Ms Teapot seems to confuse many things, particularly cause and effect. I doubt either John Ringo or Larry Correia care about her and I’m quite sure that, unless she deliberately sought them out at a con, they would pay her no attention at all if they were in the same place. She’s a pathetic attention seeker who claims to be an author and whose commercial success is “limited” – as someone unkindly said ‘her bibliography is the only thing of hers that is thin’. I am not aware of her sales figures but a quick look on Amazon suggests that her appeal seems to be “highly selective” in a Spinal Tap sense. Fortunately she is too young to be the inspiration for this classic SF movie scene:

Anyway despite the general irrelevance of his attackers, Mr Gerrold took a hint and as a result, bravely ran away and removed his supportive posts. Of course the internet is for ever and they have been screen-capped and archived but nice try, I’m sure he’ll buy some kneepads and grovel to convince his critics that he really is truly repentant.]

Future Actions

Now this is where I’m going to disagree with Mr Gerrold. Fans on the right and center need to take a stand here and make clear that there are consequences to this sort of thing. Origins needs to die a painful and fiery death. Mr Ward needs to be perceived as the cause of this death and to be fired with extreme prejudice by GAMA (an organization that BTW is sufficiently nontech savvy that it is unclear what its own twitter ID is – the link on its website leads to the image above). So how do we do this?

  1. Everyone who can needs to request a refund from Origins using / referring to the legal letter above. And if  (when?) GAMA get pissy about refunds they need to communicate with Mr Blatt and see about a class action lawsuit.
  2. Small vendors need to be incented to do similar (offer to purchase stuff when they go to some other con e.g. Gencon)
  3. Would-be attendees need to inform all major sponsors/vendors that they expect the vendors to also make the same point to GAMA and to consider whether to exhibit there next year (realistically they can’t pull out from this year’s event). People need to also inform these vendors that they expect the same behavior if another gaming con does the same thing.
  4. People in Ohio should consider picketing the event and telling those who attend that they should take their money elsewhere. And if that results in counter protests by pussy hat wearers then they should relish the confrontation because nothing is more offputting to a family wanting to have a good time than seeing pussy hats screaming obscenities.
  5. People might also want to write the remaining GoHs and get their opinion and suggest they they also withdraw from the event.
  6. There’s probably no need to crash the registration site since it is already having trouble but checking that and posting the results of it’s on-going failings can’t hurt.

I’m sure smart people can think of other ways to cause pain, and as long as they are legal (i.e. no DDoSing Doxing etc.) they should be implemented

Causing the financial failure of Origins is just one of the things that need to happen. In addition there’s a need to make a little list of the SJWs that caused things or piled on to help. These people need to be face some consequences. A roll of dishonor should probably be created that is good with SEO and which lists their actions so that potential employers and others who may think about doing business with them can see what they may be letting themselves in for.

Finally new explicitly unwelcoming to SJW cons need to be created. These cons should offer things that SJWs hate but others like such as trips to shooting ranges. I’m sure that inventive folks can think of other things that would dissuade the SJW brigade – concealed carry discounts? a religious service? skimpily clad booth babes (and booth dudes)? They need to have attendance policies that are similar to those outlined by MZW above (if you say you are unsafe, you are ejected for your safety) and probably they need to be designed to attract as wide a base of fans as possible so they should have literature, comic, video, gaming tracks. Perhaps encouragement cosplay or furries would be good. The intent here is to convince existing cons that they should do the same or whither on the vine and the threat needs to be credible by having competing cons that are successful on their own and which can be seen as taking the casual visitor away from the existing cons.

A little birdie tells me that cons on these lines may be being planned as I write this. They need support and encouragement.