Some final thoughts on LonCon

Yesterday I blogged about the controversy surrounding LonCon’s naming of  Jonathan Ross as the emcee of the Hugo awards ceremony. There hadn’t been much of a response to the announcement until a member of the concom resigned her position in protest to the announcement. Even then there wouldn’t have been nearly as much vitriol as there was except for one thing — she made the decision to take her issues with the con chairs public and published her resignation letter on her blog. From there, the usual characters of political correctness took up the cry and the twitterverse exploded.

I’m not going to rewrite everything I said yesterday. For one thing, a few folks might come hurt me if I put yet again the image of certain PC fanatic “folks” dressed as southern belles in their heads. However, if you missed what I said yesterday, you can find it here.

A couple of things have happened since my post went live that I do want to discuss. The first is that the concom member who posted her resignation online and sparked the controversy has now taken her post private. Funny that she didn’t do that until after Ross stepped down. Maybe she had no ulterior motive in posting something like that so everyone and their dog could read it. However, jaded as I am by the way a certain faction within SFWA works, I have to wonder if she did so because the motivating factor in writing the post in the first place did occur.

The second thing that happened was a fellow decided to educate me on how the whole situation was the result of mishandling of the issue by the concom and con chairs. After all, they could have spun all of this into a something that would have scored them public relations points. Of course, this fellow was doing it on a friend of mine’s Facebook wall where it would get more views, supposedly, than it would here because my friend is an award-winning author. My suspicions about his motivations appear to be confirmed because I suggested he come here, to the blog, to continue the discussion and, well, so far he’s a no-show.

I will admit that the con chairs and the concom mishandled the situation on a number of fronts. But to put the complete blame on them for not turning it into a pr plus is to live in a fantasy world. The vast majority of fandom had not even heard about Ross being picked to emcee the Hugos before the concom member issued her very public resignation. Then the usual suspects picked up the cry of “evil man!” and the whole thing blew up.

I bet if, without the fires being fanned by the PC darlings, you had gone to an average fan and asked if they knew who Jonathan Ross was, they’d say no — unless they were from England. Then if you said he’d been asked by Neil Gaiman to act as host, their reaction would be “Cool. He must really be a fan of SF/F.” In fact, if you look at a number of the tweets and Facebook postings, etc., from those who were protesting him being named as emcee, you will see that most of them had no idea who he was. They were just piling on because someone else said he was mean to women and made fat jokes.

Now that Ross has stepped down, the reactions are still coming in. There are those who say how wrong it was to have an emcee who was more well-known that the people who might win the Hugo (and am I the only one who sees the issue with that statement? If our award winners are that far out of the public awareness, don’t we need to ask ourselves why? Perhaps it’s because they aren’t necessarily writing books that people want to read. Hint. Hint.). Then there are those who say “good” because people who weren’t even planning on going to LonCon said they were glad they’d made that decision if he was going to be there. What?!? Now we have to worry about what folks who wouldn’t be there anyway thin? Then there were those who were glad because they were going and now they wouldn’t have to worry about what might be said.

I’m sorry, when did we become so dainty and delicate that we have to worry about things that might be said?

But it is the double standard that bothers me the most. It struck me again as I was watching part of the Oscars last night with my mother. During the opening sequence, Ellen introduced one of the nominees in the best supporting actress category, noting that she was the oldest nominee that year. Then she shouted at the woman what she’d just said, making a joke out of the possibility that she might be hard of hearing. So here’s a comic making fun of the elderly and someone who might have a handicap. But where is the outrage? I’m not seeing any of the PC dahlings shouting that Ellen should be sorry about what she did or that she should never again host the Oscars. Why aren’t they boycotting her talk show?

It’s that same double standard that condemns a man for telling an off-color joke at a con and then turns around and condemns a man for telling a woman to quit fondling his ass. Men have been the oppressors for so long — by their skewed vision of history — that now it is all right for the empowered women to do to them everything they think a man has done to the female of the species for so long. Of course, that same way of thinking is what brought us such gems of wisdom — and tongue is firmly planted in cheek — that all intercourse is rape for a woman. Yep, you heard it right. There are those “enlightened” women — and some men — who think a woman can’t enjoy sex and that it is nothing but rape every time it happens. I don’t know about you but not only no, but hell no. Rape is non-consensual and, for those poor little darlings, most of us actually do consent and enjoy the hell out of sex. So sorry if you don’t but don’t go around projecting your own issues on the rest of us.

All of this is indicative of the same idiocy of some cons requiring there to be parity on their panels. They actually require sexes to be equally represented on panels. In other words, if you have three men on a panel, you have to have three women. David Gerrold had a great riff on this on his Facebook page yesterday showing just how ridiculous this sort of thing is. His basic take was that if you have to have the same number of women as you have men, why stop there. Why not have the same number of handicapped as non-handicapped? Or different races or religions or whatever?

All Mr. Gerrold said he cared about was making sure the panelists were qualified to be on the panel. Thank you, Mr. Gerrold. I’ve been to too many cons where panels had one author who actually knew their topic and could discuss it and then others on the panel didn’t have a clue. That sort of thing does no one any good. Worse, I’ve moderated panels where that has happened and I’ve had to try to control those who don’t know the topic but who continue to try to prove they do.

I said yesterday that I wonder where the grown-ups are. I still do. I also wonder how long it’s going to be before those writers and readers who don’t give a flying fig about making sure they are walking in lockstep with the current PC mantra but who only want to write and read entertaining, well-written books simply say, “I’ve had enough” and leave organizations like SFWA to those who think they have a duty to educate us into the right-think way of life. When that happens, the “cool kids” will realize that they have no one left to bully and will turn on one another. While they are busy pointing fingers and passing blame, the rest of us will continue doing what we’ve done all along — writing books people want to read.

About the author

Writer, proud military mom and possessed by two crazy cats and one put-upon dog. Writes under the names of Amanda S. Green, Sam Schall and Ellie Ferguson.


  1. There’s some context you may be missing. As Charlie Stross points out in this comment, convention fandom has just had several years of scandals involving sexual harassment, stalking, racism, and so on. Various high-profile folks have been raising awareness about it. It makes for quite the little minefield for a comedian known for risque humor in public.

    (Double standard re Ellen? Yeah, kind of. But on the other hand, a woman has a little bit more license when it comes to poking fun at a fellow woman than a man does. See also, the scene from “Rush Hour” when Jackie Chan tries to greet the people hanging out at the pool hall the same way Chris Tucker just did.)

    1. I watched a few minutes of the mutual back patting circle jerk called The Oscars, last night. I thought Liza Minelli, might get out of her chair and backhand Ellen there for a minute

    2. Chris, I’m well aware of the issues. But I am also well aware of how certain people (mainly certain authors involved with SFWA) have used this as their pet horse to beat. I’m not saying whether choosing Ross was a good choice. What I have issues with happen to be the double standard that I’m now seeing growing in the field and the fact that this was played out on social media — just like all the previous SFWA blow-ups — and the players weren’t people involved but those who had an agenda.

      And I’m sorry, if you are yelling on one hand about how we need to be inclusive and not let bullying or oppression or harassment take place, you have to apply those standards across the board. When we start worrying about making sure we have the same number of X on a panel as we do Y, no matter what their qualifications, we’re in trouble. When we start yelling that someone shouldn’t be allowed to speak at a function, without knowing who they are or what sort of discussions were held between them and the heads of the function, we are starting down a very slippery slope. Who will be the next group to get to tell the rest of us what is acceptable or not and what are their qualifications for doing so?

    3. When I could still do Con’s on a regular basis, I often worked security. A subject that gets *far* too little attention. The stalking, assaults, etc., are _security_ problem. If there is proper planning, badges get pulled, and reports to police if necessary. (The exception is sexual assault.) _I_ haven’t seen any racism, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened.
      In respect to Con Security, the problem is that no one wants to take it seriously. Sometimes _Hotels_ don’t either, and we get the reason why Louisville will _*NEVER*_ have a World Con. A friend was driven out of Fandom, because of what happened in that case. She won her case in court, but couldn’t face crowds, because of the trauma. Although it was _after_ I had any responsibility for security anywhere, but it’s why we had a “rape policy.” Con com’s (and the con’s themselves), don’t realize _they_are_ responsible for what happens.
      BTW, I am handicapped (since 1976) and disabled since 1994, and don’t mind *some* jokes on the subject. It’s the “Howie Mandel” type “humor” that we dislike. His is abusive and not all funny. Make a “joke” about being in a wheelchair, and I’ll offer “to come up and kick your a–.” (Note: I’m in wheelchair for the rest of my life, due to back problems.) And, laugh as hard as anybody. I save my being offended for more serious issues.

  2. Of course, that same way of thinking is what brought us such gems of wisdom — and tongue is firmly planted in cheek — that all intercourse is rape for a woman. Yep, you heard it right. There are those “enlightened” women — and some men — who think a woman can’t enjoy sex and that it is nothing but rape every time it happens.

    This is the PIV crowd…look it up if you want the acronym spelled out. What’s truly chilling about this cadre of unshorn sisters of the apocalypse isn’t that they think all intercourse is rape…which is odd enough…no, from these radfem legions comes the idea of “culling” as an answer to all of civilization’s woes.

    Culling, in their parlance, is the practice of having women abort all male fetuses until the gender ratios (meaning the actual, genetic binary setup…not the 50-ish genders Facebook came up with) come back in line with what they deem appropriate. Guess what that means? Men in the vast minority.

    If you try to suggest that PIV reproduction is natural, pointing to vast amounts of data in nature between other mammals both lower and higher, and they will savage you, call your sanity into question, bounce you out of the cool girls club.

    The really scary thing about it is that these women (and some men apparently) are completely sincere.

  3. And another great blog post I just ran across that sums up the whole mess really well:

    As Chuck Wendig says, it was basically the perfect storm of Internet controversy, triggered by some poor decisions by the con staff, exacerbated by US unfamiliarity with Ross and ongoing fandom fatigue after a series of scandals, and further exacerbated by Ross himself..Not really something you can blame any single party for. There’s plenty to go around for everyone.

    1. Chris, I’ll agree that there is more than enough blame to go around, I’ll admit to a few “wtf” moments reading the link you just cited. To say the concom member who resigned did so “somewhat” publicly is a massive understatement. She posted her resignation letter to her LJ and then linked it to her Facebook account. If she is like most of us, it also went to her twitter and other social media accounts as well. It was not locked for just friends to see. That’s a bit more than “somewhat” imo.

      Condemning LonCon for announcing their choice over twitter is odd, imo, since this is how so many announcements are made these days. What were they supposed to do?

      And why the big deal about Americans not knowing who Ross is? Since they don’t, on the whole, know his reputation, why were so many of them condemning him and LonCon for choosing him? Oh, I know. Because someone else said he was a horrible human being who made fun of women. Many of these same folks also noted they were not going to LonCon, had no intentions of going to LonCon and were really glad now that they weren’t going to LonCon.

      Look, I agree mistakes were made. But the real issue began when the woman posted her resignation and reasons publicly. Then the PC crowd jumped in and ran with it and your “perfect storm” was in full force. Yes, the bullying and harassment has to be dealt with but not in such a way that men now feel uncomfortable going to cons or are worried to do something as simple as compliment a woman on how she looks for fear they will be accused of harassing her.

      There is an old adage about letting your money speak for you. If you don’t like who a speaker at a dinner or ceremony is, don’t go. Don’t pay for the ticket. Let the organizers see in concrete terms that they screwed up and did so big time.

      SF/F is a laughing stock these days because of all the SFWA and SFWA-like public debacles. This latest with LonCon hasn’t helped any. The fact that this is what they are going to be talking about instead of who is nominated for a Hugo or who one is simply sad.

  4. Sorry Chris but I’m with Amanda here.

    If what happened to Jonathan Ross was an isolated event, you would have a valid point.

    However, it isn’t an isolated event.

    Anything a man/conservative/religious person says/does is blown out of proportion if some “Liberal” dislikes it and we see a web lynch mob occur.

    It’s really sickening when the lynch mob doesn’t know *what* has actually said or did.

    Sorry, but the kooks make minor “mole holes” into “mountains” and then expect us to take them seriously.

    The sad thing is, many of us now take accusations of sexual harassment, stalking, racism, etc. with a ton of salt because of these kooks.

    When an accidental touching of a woman’s rear-end by a man is turned into rape by the kooks, why should we believe in stories of real rape?

  5. Perhaps the underlying problem of masculine dominance could be solved the way some blacks want the injustice of slavery corrected. Reparations. The blacks usually throw out 400 years as a nice round number. To really atone, lets face it, a little affirmative action or 40 acres and a mule doesn’t cut it. We need to be their slaves for 400 years. Once that little misdeed is taken care of then the women should get a turn. Seeing males have abused women for the entire history of the species…Well, how many thousands of years seems fair to you?

    1. You’re assuming I saw that part of the ceremony and I didn’t. Well, to be honest, I may have been in the room when she did whatever with Liza but wasn’t paying any attention. Awards shows aren’t my cup of tea but I was “watching” with my mother. But, what does it matter, really? She still performed a “joke” that could be viewed as insulting to a woman. Why should it matter if it was showing ageism or transphobicism or whatever? Either of them would have gotten a man in trouble. That’s my point. If you want rules in place, you need to apply them equally across the board.

  6. It’s already happening. Good, successful writers are avoiding the SFWA like the plague (Larry Correia, for instance) and they’re visibly turning on themselves like cannibals (the Mike Resnick affair, for instance.)

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