Some of you may have noticed I have no report on Balticon. I have some pictures, and when I get time to upload them to the main server, crop and edit them, as well as write descriptions, it'll be up as a separate page. Short of the long is, I had a good time. I wish I could have had a better time, but there were some personal problems I was having with a few people, and I had actually written two huge, scathing reviews about fandom snobbery, but I have decided to hold off until I have had more sleep and can better control my rants.
One of the problems is that I want, desperately, to tell the sordid truth about some people. But here's the problem: if I am specific and mention names and events, I could start a political war (because the people I'd rant about would probably do such a thing) or seriously hurt the feelings of others I may not mean to. If I am too vague, then some people I am not talking about claim I am talking about them (that just happened recently in a previous entry, and it was exasperating)! Of course, the simple solution seems to be not to write about it at all, which I think makes me dishonest in an online journal. What I write about has already earned me trouble. The reporter's dilemma.
Suffice to say, that while 99.99% of fandom and people who run fandom are nice, decent, people, there are a few outstanding members who are not. My suspicions are that these individuals are sad victims of bad social upbringing, and thus, see fandom as a territory they must rule. I have seen some desperate acts of power this weekend, which I have seen before; it's nothing new. But it's disheartening to show up at, say, some NASFIC bid party, and hear one of the staff slamming another NASFIC bid or the people that run it.
So I wrote some fiction to blow off steam. The following did not happen. I don't think there really is an AltoonaCon or DundalkCon (if there is, I humbly apologize, and will change the names in an edit). None of these people really exist, and yet, they represent an abstract collection of real people I have witnessed. But they are fake. If you think I am talking about you then you are a paranoid freak, and I can't help you. But I must spit some of this poison out before my tongue burns off.
|"The people who run DundalkCon," says a fat man with greasy hair, a thin beard, and a tee-shirt from a government contractor, "are whores, sluts, and thieves." His voice is bursting with a nerdy laugh that could explode out his nose in some attempt of snobbery escape. He's probably quoting a movie line he heard somewhere. His air is arrogant, the swagger in his voice suggests he's at the height of his power, holding a plastic cup of vodka and Mountain Dew as a gesture like he's toasting to the noblemen that surely must surround him at the Round Table he is picturing, instead of the disheveled hotel room he's really in. "All Hail AltoonaCon! Huzzah!" He swigs from his cup, dribbling it into his beard to mix with some fried egg he had yesterday. He holds his cup up high while his minions drink, like he's holding a power ruling scepter above his head. Probably a 5 "Staff of the Magi" with 100 charges or something.|
A skinny woman with gray hair and oversized glasses nods between swallows. She's not tall, only 5' 6", but she's still taller than the person who just gave the toast. "Yeaaaaah!" she says, slightly high on the dozens of M&Ms she had just eaten. She is trying to sound witty, but secretly knows that "Yeaaaaah!" sounded pretty dumb compared to the "sluts and thieves" comment. She takes another swig of her drink. "The trouble with DundalkCon is that they don't know..." she flails; words do not come as easy to her as they do in her fanfic of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "... don't know what's... the thing they do. And stuff." She looks into her cup, all eyes are on her. The hotel cable plays softly in the background. They want her to finish her slam, but she suddenly wishes she hadn't said anything. "Fuck Dundalk!" she says, in an attempt to sound like a patriotic French revolutionist, like the kind she read about while she was getting her BA in English Literature. She slowly drinks from her cup, hoping someone, anyone, will start talking.
"Fuck them up their sorry asses," says a tall man who started balding at 20 and is still bitter about it at 40. His thin and wispy comb-over clings to his forehead with some sort of gel-like substance. He was publicly spurned by a girl once, who now runs publicity for DundalkCon. She actually slapped him when his seemingly innocent lobby back rub turned into something she didn't want. That humiliating incident was over 15 years ago, but he's been replaying it in his head like it happened a few hours ago, and he's still very defensive about it, even though he's probably the only one who still remembers. "Did you know the head of their publicity is a psychodramatic witch?"
"Still feeling her slap?" asks the fat man with a sneer, who remembers anything bad that happened to anyone else to drown out the noise of his own self-doubt. The comb-over guy visibly winces, and covers his face with his cup. It's probably a low blow, and not warranted, but the backstabbers of AltoonaCon will feed off each other like cannibalistic vampires if the pain fodder of another group of people is not available. He gently laughs to the silence, but a loud piece of self-doubt alerts him to the fact that no one else is laughing. He drowns out the self-doubt with a hijack of animosity to the people around him. Waves of anger turn to disrespect, then fade to pity. He thinks these people would be nothing without him. He's right about the first part.
There is an awkward silence. Some people are hoping that comb-over will run his own con someday, but they don't want to show an alliance to him in front of fat guy. Grey-with-glasses is so relieved the center of attention is no longer on her. She twiddles her con badge nervously. She hasn't removed the cup from her face, and the smell of vodka is making her giddy. In less than six hours, she will make out with comb-over, but it will end badly when her own self-doubt uses logic to disable her emotions and she ends the encounter before clothing gets removed. Comb-over's view of women will be re-enforced, and Grey-with-glasses will be unable to make eye contact with him ever again. This act alone will set the seed that starts a political rift between her and comb-over, which will spread, divide, and eventually destroy the "AltoonaCon 2010" bid committee in less than a year. And no one will remember why.
My, a bit bitter, are we, Punkie? This story does NOT represent 99.99% of fandom, but a few select people who really need to assess their paranoid territorial attitudes that they have. Come on, it's just fandom. We're all friends, right? Get a grip. Stop slamming other people and other conventions. Stop. Stop stop stop! And again, if any of this you feel I am "really talking about so-and-so," (or you) I am not (especially the wonderful people at BWSMOF, which are the antithesis of this kind of garbage). These people are fictional. Don't feel bad if you see a little bit of yourself in any of those characters, I see a little of me in them, too, but at least I don't go around thinking my role in fandom is some high and mighty Poobah. It's just silly and aggravating to me, that's all.
Boy, is this entry gonna cause me trouble...
This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000125.html