Of Conservatives And Conventions
I became aware that something was going on between ConCarolinas (a science fiction convention in Charlotte) and my friend John Ringo, in a tiny private group on Facebook. This is literally the group for my innermost circle, the people I trust.
They were talking about Ringo being Mau-Maued out of ConCarolinas.
I perked my ears up at this, first because of course, ConCarolinas has been a Baen adjacent con, meaning that Baen authors have more or less always attended, and I’ve heard stories of “so we were at con Carolinas, when—” and second because I lived in Charlotte for seven years and still have friends there.
It’s been known for years – as long as I’ve been published in SF/F – that conservatives get invited to be guests of honor at conventions far less often than leftists in SF/F and infinitely less than red-diaper-babies in SF/F, but ConCarolinas seemed like a weird place for a conflagration of snowflakism.
I went over to John Ringo’s page and read about it. As far as I could tell, a bunch of people on Twitter had been badgering both the con-committee and the other (very leftist) guest about inviting someone who was… what the heck was he? I don’t know.
In the beginning, the accusation against him was that he was “Puppy Adjacent.”
For those of you wanting to follow this at home, the score card is this: Five years ago, my friend Larry Correia started a movement called Sad Puppies, which was a half joking attempt to get books not of solid leftist bent (not even right wing, just not preachy left) nominated for the Hugo, which used to be one of the most prestigious fan awards in science fiction.
When Larry tired of the game after two years, my friend Brad Torgersen took it over…
It was supposed to be me, but a cancer diagnosis and emergency surgery stopped it.
Brad ran it creditably, suggesting fan-favorites who had never got nominated (over the last decade, the Hugos have become a log-rolling club of leftists.) He got people who’d never before nominated to nominate, increasing the number of people involved by three fold. And we got practically everyone on our suggestions list on the ballot. (Ours because I was involved both in planning and defending the guys, as was my friend Kate Paulk and my friend Amanda S. Green.)
Imagine our surprise when we found out that:
- We’d promulgated an immutable slate, that had to be voted for in order. We must have managed that by cleverly telling people to read and vote for those they liked, or add others, or whatever, just get involved.
- We were against the participation of women, people of color, and people of different gender identification and orientation in science fiction and fantasy. (How we were supposed to divine all that except perhaps women, is beyond me. And even there, there are gender neutral names.) The fact that three of us, in the “inner council” were women made no difference. Since we’re not leftists, we’re obviously not “real women.”
Oh, by the way, we also nominated women, people of color, and I think at least one gay person for the Hugo. That most of those recused themselves had nothing to do with us, and was a function of the attacks by the left, who threatened to destroy careers of those who stayed on the ballot, or promised them they would get nominated by them next. (On the eve of never, I’ll wager.)
- We’d done this to oppress people by being gatekeepers. Note our coalition was one best selling author (Larry Correia), a promising beginner (Brad Torgersen), a midlist author (me), and two indie authors (Kate Paulk and Amanda S. Green). None of us had or had ever had gatekeeping powers. In fact, the people who called calumnies against us to Entertainment Weekly (who later retracted) and other national publications were gatekeepers, since everything points to their working for TOR.
Anyway, that was the conflagration called Sad Puppies. After our nominees were treated horribly at the 2015 Hugos, after leftists bought memberships by the dozen for the express purpose of voting “no award” over people they proudly admitted they’d never read, we thought there was no point. My friend Kate Paulk, probably the most conciliatory woman in the world, ran it the next year and did everything the left said they wanted done. They still attacked her. I and Amanda claimed the right of succession, but never took it, because it was obvious the Hugos were dead, their reputation destroyed and only academics seeking tenure could be interested in them. The only reason we claimed them was to prevent a few deluded people from trying to ride a movement they had nothing to do with to fame.
So. This is now three years later. There have been no Sad Puppies for two years. And by the way, John Ringo’s extent of involvement in this was to be our friend and to joke about giving Larry and Brad the Don Quixote award.
But he was “puppy adjacent” and the deranged game of post office on the left adduced to him all the things they said we were. You know the drill: racisss sexisss homophobic. (They really need to come up with a more sibilant word for that.)
So the crazy people on twitter started demanding that he withdraw or the con kick him out. The con held firm for a while. And then they found out John had written a book called Ghost. (I’ve never read it, not my thing, but I hear it is in the vein of what used to be called “Men’s adventure” and the character engages in mild S & M and rape fantasies.) In a stunning display of confusing the author and the character, they then started to claim they felt unsafe as though John might suddenly turn into his character and rape them. (I’ll add I’ve known John for over a dozen years, and I’ve seen him tired, and carried away, enthusiastic and depressed, but I’ve never seen him be less than a gentleman.)
And then we got this:
Published April 16, 2018 | By Jada
ConCarolinas and John Ringo have mutually agreed he will not attend the 2018 event. ConCarolinas wants to provide a positive environment for everyone who attends our events from our guests, attendees, vendors, and staff.
We represent a diverse range of opinions and support that.
We will not tolerate harassment or bullying as stated in our policy.
Any comments regarding this may be sent to [email protected]
Jada Diaz, ConChair
Dawson Kriska, Vice Chair
Sue Lambert, Secretary and Treasurer
Luis Diaz, Director of Security
Mutually? I don’t think they know what that word means. I also don’t think they understand that their little missive makes it sound like John Ringo did something wrong.
This was John’s response on Facebook:
And again with the 'we do not tolerate harassment or bullying' without pointing out who that is pointed at.
From my last email with the conchair:
"as ConChair I know this will be an extremely hostile environment and I am concerned for your personal safety. "
It was mutual, more on that in a moment. But they very much rescinded because they were concerned for my safety.
That was how bad it was getting.
They weren't concerned I'd grab and axe and start killing all the POCs, women, transgenders, what have you.
They were (justifiably from the comments) concerned for MY safety. And the 'bullying' they were commenting on was the bullying by the SJW twitter mobsters.
Why it was phrased as 'mutual.'
'Oh, no, John Ringo, no! You're giving in to the Social Justice Bullies!'
You can phrase it that way. Or you can phrase it this way.
I'm a New York Times best selling author with over 7 million books in print. By far and away I was the largest 'print' guest on the list with the largest fan following and thus the biggest draw.
For someone like myself, cons are NOT about marketing. There is very little additional market to be picked up at any litcon, including WorldCon. Cons are places to go to talk with people who enjoy reading science fiction and fantasy and are generally smart and interesting people. To meet new people (one of the reasons I agreed to attend ConCarolinas was 'new people'), to pick up new characters, to have a good time.
There is very little fiscal reason for someone like myself to attend. Ergo: The best reason is to have fun.
Not for any particular 'political' reason, prior to my being invited the guest list for the 'lit' side was HEAVILY weighted to the Left. Basically, the entire guest list is 'between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders' with the late add of a 'token Nazi.'
I've been to those cons. I know what happens. Every single panel turns into a continuous shitfest. I'm constantly stopped in the hallways to be asked when did I join the Nazi party and how long have I been a Nazi. Forget intentional 'disruptions' that are the hallmark of the modern fascists called 'progressives.' It would be just another shitfest like WindyCon or (christ, can't even remember the name of that one, I've deleted the memory...) Hell, I dropped my attendance at LosCon over much less furor than this.
The panels consist of someone with no background and no real professional CV spouting some idiocy they learned in a bad writer's workshop followed by me trying to politely tell them they're as full of shit as a Christmas turkey and pointing out the reality of writing and publishing. Then I get told 'That's not true!' or 'You're wrong!' with no logical follow-up and it just goes downhill from there. If I sit there mute it turns into a Communist Party Religious Meeting of people speaking Truth to Power and being told how great they are until the next person speaks Truth To Power and so on and so forth. And pretty much every truth to power boils down to 'The Sun Rises in the West and Revolves Around Moscow Center and Bernie/Obama/Whoever is Jesus and We Have Always Been At War With Eastasia!'
My days are spent sitting around, thinking big thoughts, smoking cigars and drinking coffee. The root of the word 'travel' is 'travail.' I wasn't all that with going to Charlotte anyway and only did so because Kelly Lockhart had talked about what a great con ConCarolinas was.
It is not worth my time, money or aggravation. So the only way the Social Justice Bullies 'won' is by allowing me to not have to go through a bunch of bullshit, travail and sit in on their Communist Party Meetings. In a way I'd like to thank them. Certainly for the warning.
I don't blame the con or the con committee for this. They didn't see what they were doing. In a way I'm VERY glad that this online kerfuffle started so that I at least had some warning this time. Walking into one of these in 'white' is the real pain in the ass. I've spoken to them about getting a bit more actual diversity in guests, especially if one of their big names is an 'evil personification of evilness.' Also, it's notable that it was only the 'token Nazi' who was a major draw. Us Nazis actually, you know, sell books. Strange.
Get woke, go broke.
I may attend in the future especially if the lit portion is a bit more weighted to either professionals (ie, people who make most of their money from writing and thus who tend to be more professional about their public persona) or politically balanced. I mean I can get along with Stephen Barnes just fine cause we're both professionals. Name a big name liberal/ progressive/ SJW author I've shared a panel professionally. China Meville and I honestly like each other. It's the 'self published on Amazons' that are the issue.
But I think I'll take a pass on being told what an evil representative of evilness I am by people who have neither my background nor experience nor professional CV nor who actually know me.
I got waaaay better things to do with my life. There are cigars to be smoked, coffee to be drunk and maybe even books to be written. We'll see on that last one.
To be clear: This isn't any loss to me. It is a loss to the con and the attendees who were looking forward to John Ringo attending. It's even a loss to the Social Justice Bullies since some of my fans might accidentally have bought some of their books.
To me, there is NO downside.YES! I caved to the social justice bullies and now I DON'T HAVE TO DEAL WITH TSA! WOOOOT!
Note it is also an open secret amid professionals that a strong presence on line sells way more than attending a conference. You attend those to meet with your already established fans, not to meet new ones.
However, the fact remains and stands that the SJWs threw a hissy fit, and therefore John was disinvited by a con too wussy to stand the music. The left identified yet another institution whose skin it gets to wear.
But WAIT, there’s more. Imagine my surprise – my having been on the periphery of this, due to being involved in some personal matters and being sick as a dog (both of which explain why I haven’t been posting here) – when people reported I was somehow being associated with all this.
Replying to @Triviameister @braak
John Ringo and Sarah Hoyt, among others, as far as i can tell. I mean, sure, they'd tell you they don't want ME PERSONALLY dead, but they certainly want people LIKE ME dead, and i'm not very interested in why i might be an exception."
Let me make three things very clear:
I have no idea who this person is.
I have never actually wished death on anyone unless they physically attack me.
I can’t even imagine why this person thinks I wish death on people like him/her/zyr/pattycake. I mean I literally can’t even guess. Race? Well, dearies, I come from Portugal, the place the world wiped their DNA. If I throw stones, they’ll likely fall on my own head. Orientation? Not only are many of my fans gay, they are my fans because (the writing not being entirely under my control) I have a ton of gay characters portrayed in a positive way. Transgenderism? Well, holy h*ll, my first published book had a gender changing elf also portrayed positively.
As best I can figure this person must self-identify as stupid. But it’s wrong to say I want stupid people dead. I just want them to shut up and stop trying to push their stupidity at me.
As far as I know, Ringo has about the same positions, being perhaps a little more tolerant sexually than I am (which is saying a lot) and frankly never having mentioned wanting anyone to die in my presence.
So, realizing that, the snowflakes up the gambit:
Replying to @braak @Triviameister @adrienneleigh
And then like, somehow the fact that John Ringo said, "I don't want you to die specifically, or even people to die in general!" is somehow meant to exonerate a politics in which those deaths are an inevitable consequence. I dunno man, I dunno."
Well, it’s a good thing I DO know. I can’t swear to it, of course, but you know, the trend of these snowflakes is Marxist true believer.
I’m not sure how the policies I advocate being libertarian makes it an inevitable consequence these idiots would die. Given how much I’d reduce state power given the chance, it would have to be “I can kill you with my mind.”
But I do know that deaths are the inevitable consequence of Marxism, as Venezuela is proving yet again. And yet, these people, these ignorant children, are all for giving it another try. A hundred million broken eggs, not a single omelet, but it is the people who oppose this tyranny whose philosophy “inevitably” causes death.
And then to put the icing on the cake, these people explain that Ringo and I (I’m not sure why I upset them so much, except by being female, Latin and not falling in line) deserve to be run out of cons anyway:
Replying to @NaomiKritzer @AlteredInstinct @shaunduke
I mean they're objectively badly crafted, though. Not just bad plots/characters/worldbuilding but also just … run-on sentences, wild perspective problems. Profoundly amateurish stuff. @braak says the same is true of Sarah Hoyt, whom i haven't read."
Note this person who has never read me – and who seems incapable of capitalizing “I” – knows I’m not worth reading, and just like Ringo. (If you’ve never read either of us, note that our styles are almost diametrically opposed. And if you’ve never read John’s Black Tide series, starting with Under A Graveyard Sky, you’re missing a treat.) Note also, that it is known and publically available, that my first book was a finalist for the Mythopoeic Award, an award that singles out beautiful phrasing and a sense of enchantment in the language. (I did get over it, yes, thank you so much.)
But they “heard.”
It’s perfectly clear the leftists in my field are profoundly unserious, puerile children, playing at telephone with the careers and works of others. It is clear we scare them, as when we’re not even concerned in a matter they can’t help but drag us in. And yet, it is clear they scare a lot of institutions.
It’s all right though. First, because this game only works so many times, and after a few of these get woke and go broke, the others will hesitate to follow. Second, because you can only be a crybully and claim to be afraid while issuing death threats so much. Sooner or later people get onto you, and then all you can do is cry in your corner “racissss, sexissss, homophobic” to no one.
Apparently, this time hasn’t arrived for ConCarolinas yet. It’s too bad. We’ll hold a minute of silence as they go speeding into the oblivion of a con controlled and played by the extreme left.
John Ringo – and incidentally I – we’ll be fine long after they’re gone.