MidAmeriCon II: Dead Dog Reflections

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This morning my Facebook gave me a memory post from last year which said:

Off the cuff reflection on the Hugos: When those without power speak truth to those in power, it can be amazing exactly how childish those in power choose to be.

I think it is a very good referential point to start my reflections on MidAmeriCon II, with a comparison to what I know about the previous WorldCon in Spokane.

I went into MidAmeriCon II as a nobody to the politics and power struggle that has been going on the past few years, but with a philosophical alignment to one of the factions. From what I saw, the childishness of the previous year was much diminished.

You can go to WorldCon without getting involved in any of the struggle or silliness. We stayed below the radar ourselves. We attended panels, toured the dealer room, interacted with the people in the Con Suites and displays, without needing to reference the hullabaloo about the Hugo Awards/SJWs/Rabid Puppies/Sad Puppies.

The Toastmaster of the ceremonies was a rather big ego, who fortunately was seen very little around the con: I lost track of the number of signs I saw where she was not showing up for a scheduled reading, panel or signing. My one time to get close to her at all was when she was loudly and rudely exiting a panel room and delaying the next one from starting because she hadn’t exited with the people attending the prior panel to let the next panel begin. She gave me an impression of an everything was there for her sense, which didn’t disappear during the Hugo Awards ceremonies. I enjoyed the ceremony much better anytime someone else besides her and her “whip girl” were at the podium.

I also found my observance of the other guests of honor when I saw them at panels to have the same sense of entitlement, though expressed in a more subtle manner. It was interesting the way Patrick Hayden Nielsen took the numbers from TOR as being the entire book-selling/book-buying world. Indie and Amazon don’t exist to him.

I also found it interesting the number of people on panels who echoed Sad Puppy sentiments, even though they obviously fell in the SJW sphere of influence and would otherwise castigate the Puppies if referenced directly. Their own narrative is breaking up. It is either trying to borrow from the Puppies, or some people are coming to these conclusions on their own, and don’t recognize they are just iterations of their opponents position.

My first ribbon on my badge was the Sad Puppy ribbon, followed by the My First WorldCon ribbon. It gathered few comments. Nobody directly referenced it in any way to make me feel uncomfortable. A few people asked questions and used it as a means of conversation. Those people seemed to understand my delineation between the Rabid Puppies and the Sad Puppies. I only ran into one person who seemed to want to talk about the right type of fiction, and he never mentioned seeing the ribbon, so I don’t know whether our conversation just drifted there, or he was obliquely debating.

That conversation got tense enough for my wife that she had to leave and posted on Facebook for someone to come help extricate me. But from my perspective, the guy debating me was obviously much less socially ept than I, and was trying to figure out how to handle my responses to his axiomatic statements. My returning them with a fact and a question asking for a more nuanced response didn’t fit his black and white reasoning, and left him not knowing where to go. I was waiting to see if he might be the one to blow up first, since he couldn’t pin me down into the box he expected. Instead it ended amiably, though with a bit of confusion on his part.

I think the polite conversations with others helped gain allies for the Puppies, and refusing to be baited didn’t lose us any ground.

I agreed with the conversations of other Puppies there, that the people running the conference, and most of the people in the business meeting, didn’t want a fuss, and wanted to do the right thing. They are just stuck in a position where their concept of right doesn’t help them see much of anywhere else they can go, but they are trying. And the SJWs are making themselves smell to many of the people, rather than the Puppies. We just need to stay the reasonable ones.

I haven’t had a chance to look over the details of the Dave Truesdale expulsion. My totally inexperienced perspective is that the expulsion was extreme, and while not knowing the rules, probably more than the policy really allowed. But how we choose to debate it will do a lot to help or hurt the Sad Puppies. We made significant public opinion gains at MidAmeriCon II. Lets not go into “High Dudgeon” (hoping I got the term right), but be balanced and well-reasoned, and don’t insist on everything that is out due. Coming out of it still a little wronged will be better for us in the long run.

We met a lot of friends while at WorldCon: some online that we now have faces, others faces that we now hope to continue online. This will probably be my last WorldCon for quite awhile, and I am glad I had the opportunity to go, and to go as part of the Science Fiction Community, and Sad Puppies in particular.

And now to fade, once again, into the lot of nobodies, the fans of Science Fiction.

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2 thoughts on “MidAmeriCon II: Dead Dog Reflections

  1. TMDFOS

    hi, Rhodri. It was good meeting you and your wife. I really enjoyed out chat about Rob’s book.
    -Ted aka TMDFOS, your (mostly) friendly rabid puppy. 🙂

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