In the Debates held in the Roman Senate prior to the Third Punic War (149–146 BC) between Rome and Carthage, Cato the Censor is said to have uttered the phrase “Carthago Delenda Est” — Carthage must be destroyed.
The time has come for the Republican Party to also be left to the ash heap of history, after inciting and encouraging the failed (for now) coup attempt of 6th January 2021. Because that’s what it was, despite our media’s desperate attempts to call it anything else, for fear of being labeled “liberal” or “fake news.” An armed insurrection with the goal of overthrowing the results of a free election, and installing a leader of their choosing. That is the textbook definition of a coup.
I’m currently catching my breath between the last 5 days spent at MidAmeriCon2 (the 74th Annual World Science Fiction Convention) in Kansas City, and later this week, when we take a cross-country drive to drop my youngest child off at his new college. (The picture, by the way, is author Brooke Johnson, with Laura and I. We’ve been on some panels together at ConQuest and now WorldCon, and had a good time hanging out.) Busy busy busy. But I wanted to get this down.
So, I had been lamenting that I’d missed the opportunity to charge my creative batteries at GenCon again — well, WorldCon took care of that. HOLY CRAP, I’m vibrating.
Spoke on several panels — kinda froze a bit when I noted that Larry Muhfuggin’ NIVEN was in the audience of one of them, hearing ME speak. WHAT IS THIS I DON’T EVEN. Met many, many brilliant people. Had the opportunity for sharing physical location with people that I’ve known for years online — turns out, the people from Twitter have, necks and bodies and legs and stuff. They’re not just disembodied heads in squares. Enjoyed time with folks that I already knew “fer realsies”, even though there never seemed to be enough time.
Came away from the show excited about the future — both for stuff that I’m already working on, and stuff that is just at the “percolating idea” stage. Feeling a much-needed sense of actual enthusiasm for my work, which is wonderful.
A couple of other take-aways from the show:
I’m in my late 40s, and there were rooms where I felt like one of the “young folks.” Seriously. SFF Fandom (with a Capital F) skews WAY old. I’d love to see more effort made to attract a younger cohort, or this stuff is eventually going to die out. It’s been pointed out to me that younger folks often can’t take the time and spend the money to attend — which is true, and not much can be done about that. But content-wise, there needs to be stuff to attract those that COULD attend, by giving them a reason to WANT TO. The ‘fan-culture’ stuff that’s been kinda stale since the mid-70s is not the way to do it. I mean, sure, have that for those that want it — but make more of an effort to recognize and accommodate 21st-Century fan culture, too.
Today, I’ve been reading another spate of post-Con horror stories about creepers, sexists, harassment, social dysfunction. Again. (As an example, this twitter-thread from Alyssa Wong.) Seeing expected messages of support, ally-dom, etc.
I had convos in person with some folks AT the con about this stuff… and the amount of “well, we shouldn’t ostracize” push-back was noticeable.
Here’s the thing, though: the socially dysfunctional won’t stop these behaviors without it, to say nothing of the purposefully abusive. Until we get over the “geeks don’t ostracize” bullshit, it’s never gonna change. So yeah, offer ally-ship & support. But start actively insuring that there are negative consequences for these behaviors. Now.
People do this in your presence? Ostracize the shit out of them. “But they’re socially awkward” can no longer be allowed to be an excuse. Learn how to behave in public, or you don’t get to BE in public. This is Basic Adult Socialization 101. Long PAST time to start enforcing it.
Rant over. The positives far, far outweighed the negatives, in the end.
Also? I need to take more pictures when I’m at a Con. Folks are posting them all over the place.
I’ve been remiss, and have ignored this blog — but then again, everything has been on hold recently. The picture at left is a shot taken by my wife about a month ago — I was unexpectedly hospitalized with a sudden infection.
To copy the update that I posted on Adamant Entertainment’s site: I came down with a very severe case of diverticulitis which resulted in the removal of 12 inches of my colon, and a secondary severe abdominal abscess, which they thankfully caught before it burst (which, I am told, would have likely resulted in severe enough peritonitis to kill me). This resulted in a 9-day hospital stay, and an estimated 6-8 week recovery period involving at-home nurse care and an eventual secondary operation to repair the colon (another week-long stay in the hospital).
Basically, I’ve been getting down with the business of getting well, and as such, everything else has been paused. I’m slowly getting back to work (a few hours each day), and I’m even thinking that I’ll start updating this more regularly (I’ve been tempted to start up my old Friday Music series again, for example).
So for folks who’ve been checking in: I’m still alive, I’m getting better, and I’ll be back soon.