Tag Archives: fandom

The End of an Era

How’s that for a melodramatic title? “The End of an Era”? My narcissism knows no bounds!

Today I have opted to resign from the Penguicon Board of Directors, ending more than a decade of service to the convention nearly half of which as a member of the Board. There are numerous reasons for this, but as much as I will discuss publicly is described in my letter of resignation, reprinted below. Suffice to say, this isn’t a “rage-quit”, it’s not a call to brigade those who may or may not have done wrong, and it’s not the start of some battle. The direction of the Board and my direction are no longer aligned and so I am distancing myself from them; no more, no less.

I wish the Board and Penguicon both the best, and I will see you all at this year’s event!

Fellow Directors:
Several years ago we as a group met with members of our community to discuss the concerns those members had about the direction of our newly expanded code of conduct and that of the extension of those guidelines by the convention committee. Their apprehensions were and remain valid: certainly the policies outlined could be abused and over-applied; similarly, these policies could be misapplied as zero-tolerance mechanisms for antagonism by those so inclined. All behavioral policies carry risks, and–without strong stewardship and careful oversight–ours could as easily become tools for abuse as they could empty words. We knew this then, and we promised to provide that stewardship and oversight.

I made assurances then as I did over the ensuing years that the purpose of those policies was not to allow such abuses and that those of us on the Board of Directors considered it our responsibility to ensure that these policies were applied evenly, intelligently, and judiciously. I made a personal promise on that call–a promise that I have reaffirmed numerous times in the years since–that I would fight overreaches of these policies as strenuously as I would fight to see them applied where needed; that I would not be a part of a governing body that allows our codes of conduct to fail to be applied nor would I watch them be maliciously applied. I would resign before I would be a part of either type of misconduct.

Since that time, I have had numerous opportunities to honor that promise alongside many of you. I have fought to apply the code of conduct to situations requiring it and I have wrestled with those that would use the policies as a star chamber to punish or expel those they found undesirable. I have found it simultaneously exhausting and fulfilling to do that alongside a board membership that was largely like-minded. Even when we have personally disagreed with one another, I have genuinely felt that we were doing the right thing and fighting together in the direction of that judicious, intelligent application of our guidelines.

Today, however, I come to the end of a much more exhausting and much less fulfilling period. One member of the Board seems to have decided that their agenda is more important than our shared mission and that any attempts that aren’t in alignment with that agenda are to be met with hostility and subversion. More recently, I have watched with some disappointment the formation of cliques within the organization that overlap significantly with the Board and that member. Those cliques, in turn, have started to leverage the guidelines in order to push this singular agenda and–especially since the January 2019 Board meeting–actively abuse the harassment guidelines with the goal of engineering a convention committee of their liking. I remain firmly devoted to our code of conduct, so much so that I cannot abide by the willful abuse of it; an abuse that undermines and lessens the authority of it. With those potential abuses now coming from within our numbers, I find that I must honor the second half of my promise and tender my resignation to the Board of Directors, effective immediately. I cannot prevent the abuses that are on the horizon, and I will not be a part of an organization promoting such malfeasance.

I wish you all well and I know that this year’s convention will be another amazing year. I can only hope that the remaining Directors can find someone with more time and energy to ensure that this mismanagement doesn’t continue to grow.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve,

Signed by…you know…me :)

On the Need to Make Great Things Great Again

Among my plans for the day, today, was to put together a quick writeup congratulating the staff of Penguicon for throwing an undeniably successful convention—the 15th in a series! Instead, I’d like to take a moment to respond to a long-time attendee’s paen to modern divisive politics; a blog post with the snappy title “Make Penguicon Great Again.” In his post, Jay “Tron Guy” Maynard makes the assertion that Penguicon has fallen to the “leftists” and resulting event is no longer one that is comfortable for people like him.  Continue reading On the Need to Make Great Things Great Again

Message Awards

Some thoughts about a new genre fiction award proposal in no particular order…

  1. If you are complaining about fiction that is overly politicized (especially so far as to call it “message fiction”) but fellate the weary corpse of Heinlein, I have to assume you’ve completely forgotten The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Stranger in a Strange Land, Starship Troopers, Farnham’s Freehold, or pretty much his entire catalog! (And I say this as an enthusiast of Heinlein’s work; an enthusiast that owns nearly everything that he’s written—come on now!)
  2. If you complain about the burdensome message of horrible books that you’ve never read, I have less than no respect for your position. I managed to gut my way through some absolutely abhorrent tripe this Hugo season to be able to vote in an informed manner—it’s intellectually dishonest to make such claims from utter ignorance.
  3. At all costs, avoid following behind multiple years during which the Hugo awards were bombarded with claims of  nominations and votes governed by an empowered clique (without any evidence to support those fantastic claims) with an attempt to create a new award that will literally: have overlords in the form of a board of directors; have a rank of judges to disqualify works unilaterally based on perceived politics; and gate-keep nomination and voter membership by virtue of a trust web that can only be described as an algorithmic clique (unless you immediately acknowledge the almost-but-not-quite-funny irony of the proposal.)
  4. If you do the above and fail to call your award “The Cliquies,” you’re fucking dead to me.
  5. You cannot honestly and fairly make the claim that the only reason a convention would invite (for numerous years) a Hugo-winning, Nebula-winning, multiple other fucking award winning author is because of a shift to some kind of political correctness—especially in spite of NUMEROUS FUCKING EXAMPLES of honored guests of the opposite variety (and an equally ponderous amount to indicate that they’ve always invited “lefties”).1
  6. I will also accept, as a name for your award, “The Morissettes” (because it is, in fact, a little too ironic, dontcha think?)
  7. If you rail against “message fiction” because it replaces “good story” with “boring message,” then applaud the creation of a slate of replacements that includes “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds” and consider that to be completely reasonable behavior among adults, then not only do I hate you for clearly having failed to read Wright’s piece of shit, but I doubly hate you for forcing me to gut my way through that sack of message-laden drivel. Seriously, every fucking one of you that put that load of shit on the ballot should be ashamed of yourselves; that’s just fucking mean.2
  8. Another good name for your award is the “Message Awards” I’m not sure what the award would look like for this one, honestly, but I’m looking forward to seeing it.

On a more serious note; I am a huge fan of the idea of anybody who feels that their point of view (or their community’s point of view) is underrepresented by a given set of awards making their own awards. If nothing else, it stands a reasonable chance of encouraging more folks to read, and to read more widely. But don’t piss in my face and tell me it’s raining—if you want to make a symbolic middle-finger to the Hugos, own that shit. Pretending that you’re not creating a new clique to replace the clique from which you feel excluded while doing precisely that so transparently—well, it’s just insulting to all involved really.


1 I say this as Jer, a person who has been attending the convention in question for over a decade. My views are not those of Jer, member of the board of directors, nor do they in any way represent the views of Penguicon, the convention committee, or the board of directors.
2 I’m not kidding, I’ve read scriptures more compelling and Chick tracts with less blatant message.

Twilight “New Moon” in 73 Tweets

After having snarked my way through the entire first movie, “Twilight”, with just my wife to share my pain, I decided to share a bit more…expansively?…with the Intarwebs. Randy, Sheryl, Ger and I set up camp at the Castle and plodded our way through the flick while I live-tweeted my snark. The result is what is found below posted—in order—with time stamps based on movie-start (so that, if you happened to be a masochist, you could follow along).

Oh, my mini review? It sucked. It sucked only marginally less than did the first movie, which is like saying the Spanish Inquisition sucked less than the Crusades, because of the classy red hats (clearly, my knowledge of history is plucked straight from Monty Python, so please don’t confuse me by supplying corrections.) This movie sucked in a way that only another movie that closely adheres to a book that sucks could suck. It sucks in epic, painful, and entirely unfunny ways. Even if it were a sucky B-movie, I could stand watch again with friends to mock…I am unlikely to ever give this movie such treatment. It is more than it deserves. It is decidedly not good. I give it 13 thumbs down. Even if it were reshot with Kristen Stewart nude throughout, it would not be watchable.

Okay, the last bit is uncalled for…I would totally watch that. I love your Kristen Stewart, you and your emotionless face. I forgive you.

Anyway…without further ado, let’s get to the tweets: Continue reading Twilight “New Moon” in 73 Tweets