Saying No to Indiana

10986884_357158504473273_3404024229990977669_nAs I’m sure most of you know by now, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed his state’s so-called “Religious Freedom” bill into law, a transparent backlash against the growing tide of marriage equality. It is, bluntly, a “right to discriminate based on my bronze-age superstitions, because Invisible Sky Pixie sez so” law. Here’s a dead give-away — if this law was so God-Bless-America AWESOME, the signing ceremony wouldn’t have been held in private.

Many businesses have come out against this latest overreach from the American Taliban — including GenCon, the largest convention in my industry. Now that the law has been enacted, GenCon has said that it will effect their decision to remain in Indianapolis after their current contract ends in 2020.

I don’t have a contract until 2020. I can decide to stay away from Indiana right now. I was not going to attend GenCon as an exhibitor this year (I no longer have shared space in a booth, and the waiting list for new exhibitors is too long), but I was planning on flying in and having meetings, talk with colleagues, & line up freelance work (both as a freelancer and a publisher). I cannot, in good conscience, do that now.

It’s bad enough that my tax dollars go to support the benighted ignorance of Kansas, the state where I currently reside. But I have more of a choice in where I travel for business. Indiana isn’t getting any money from me.

I know I’m not a big deal. My presence or absence will be noted by few. For me, though, it’s about drawing a line.

I see friends and colleagues struggling with whether or not to attend — and those who are attending say that we shouldn’t penalize GenCon, or the folks in Indianapolis who don’t support this law. That we should attend anyway, and show our support for those people, and maybe engage in protest while we’re there.

I’m sorry, but that doesn’t work. The only way things will change is if we don’t go, and we make it clear why.

For boycotts to have any impact, they need to be stark, immediate, brutal and unflinching — even if it ends up isolating the folks in the state who don’t support the law. The only way this gets overturned is if there’s massive economic damage.

For me, “I’m still going, to offer support/protest” veers just a bit too close to coming up with excuses to keep doing something I like, because I like it. I recognize that tendency within myself, and I’m not comfortable with it. Boycotts are not supposed to be comfortable or easy — otherwise they’d have no meaning. They should be a sacrifice on the part of the boycotter.

My fear is that enough people will end up coming up with reasons WHY they should just go ahead and attend that it will undercut the effectiveness of any boycott attempt, especially given the depressingly large percentage of gamers who have expressed support for this law, or bemoaned that gaming “should stay out of politics.”

You see, they’re ALREADY going.

And if you go, you’re counted with them, regardless of your intentions.

You’re a turnstile number in attendance, money going into the economy, and part of the reason why those that enacted this law will say “see? it was all nothing in the end.” Other states will look at that, and be more likely to press ahead with their own laws, knowing that there will be no real blowback.

I can’t be a part of that. I hope you can’t, either.

Doctor Who: Back For 10 Years Now…

Fan-made trailer celebrating TEN YEARS (Holy SHIT) of NuWho.

It’s a great reminder of how wonderful it felt that my favorite show came back, after a 9-year gap since the last attempt — and a full 16 years since it had last been a regular series. It’s easy to forget that — to get wrapped up in the “this episode was disappointing” or “this season wasn’t as good as the last” or “I don’t like this Doctor as much as…” stuff. Doctor Who is back, has been back for a decade, and is bigger now than it has ever been.

That’s… well, “Fantastic!”, to borrow a phrase.


Too Many Fans

So Amanda Palmer set up a Patreon.

Patreon, if you don’t already know, is a creative patronage site — an artist can ask their fans to essentially subscribe to their output, offering a certain amount of money (either per month, or per thing, depending on how the artist sets up the Patreon page). The fan can set their amount, set a cap on how much they can be charged per month (in the event that it’s per thing, and the artist has a prolific month, for example), and can cancel their subscription at any time.

Palmer’s Patreon is per-thing — and everything she produces will be released to the internet for free. The fans are just agreeing to be a part of that process by being (literally) her patrons. The things she creates are not going to go just to her patrons.

The Patreon has been incredibly successful (nearing $15,000 per thing, as I write this), which of course has resulted in the usual chorus of bitching — that Palmer is fleecing her fans, that the money she’s getting is undeserved or excessive, that it’s somehow hurting “TRUE” independent artists, etc.Insurgent Creative

The people bitching, though, aren’t doing the math. They’re just seeing the big number.

There are, as of right now, 1686 backers. Each backer is offering an average of $8.68 per thing (music, video, other artistic projects, etc.).

Less than 9 bucks isn’t a big deal. I’ve given more than that to street buskers.

But 1686 fans doing that means she’s approaching $15K per thing total, and for some reason, that’s why people lose their shit…. which, when you get down to it, is really fucking strange, because they’re basically criticizing an artist for having, somehow, TOO MANY fans.

Sorry for the rant, but I’m just really tired of how every creative field ends up with a bunch of folks turning into High School Mean Girls every time somebody does well.