My thoughts on conventions

So, I’ve got some thoughts.

Some of those thoughts are meaningless to some of my friends, so if they don’t seem to apply to you then let it pass by.

I’m thinking about conventions, and whether I’m really of a desire to attend one.

The closest I’ve ever been to attending a convention (science-fiction, gaming, book, movie, whatever) would be to visit the Gulf Coast Renaissance Faire in Pensacola, in years past. To be honest, I’m unsure if that would be considered a ‘convention’ per se, but for the purposes of these thoughts I’ll go with ‘no.’ At least for now. I enjoyed it.

I have quite a few friends in The Royal Manticoran Navy – which is an official fan club for David Weber’s Honorverse series, and I want to attend a convention with them in full cosplay – time, money, and most importantly health allowing.

I also have friends in corresponding fandoms following the novels of Larry Correia and John Ringo. I’d like to attend cons with them, as well, with the same preconditions I have listed above.

Other authors, as well. I do admit that I’d love to find myself at a book signing for my books, too, but that’s a looooooooong way off – and irrelevant to my thoughts here.

Recent events give me pause to think about that desire. As you (meaning my friends in general) may known both Larry and John have not attended conventions that they had been expected at. One was disinvited, one was an agreement due to fears about personal security. Both were done as a result of online outcry of those with strong opinions.

Opinions that – and this is *my* opinion on the opinions – were wrong.

In today’s world, if there’s a public figure that someone disagrees with then there must be a posting, a Tweet, an email, and various other ways to express that disagreement. I don’t think there’s a single public figure of any stripe that has no dissent following them around.

Go look at politics, religion, or sports if you don’t believe me. If you can name one or even two, you’re doing better than me.

So Larry and John expected to attend those conventions. I’m not going to name which ones. Use your Google-fu to get that information, if you’re wondering. They decided to attend to meet fans, discuss their craft and hobbies, have family along, have fun. You know, hopefully like anyone going to something like that.

Before the events’ starting dates rolled around, quite a few with metaphorical axes to grind decided to avail themselves of the postings, Tweets, emails, and various other ways to make the people in charge of the conventions think twice. Unproven allegations, outright lies, and straight innuendo.

One didn’t give the best impression, and the other did have extenuating circumstances which have been ironed out. My concern isn’t really with them.

It’s with the ‘backlash.’

As the last few years have worn on, I’ve been watching protests, of varying degrees, actions from civil disobedience to outright riots, and verbiage from civil discussions to almost knock-down-drag-outs. Come to think of it, there comes to mind that there has been a time or two locally where the cops have been called over for-real fights started over things started online. Rough fights, too. Bloody, bent, bowed, and bad.

What reassurance do I have? Should I decide that I have the ability to go see my friends, assume my persona as Captain Barrow, Grayson Space Navy, or get my books signed by the authors that wrote them, what reassurance do I have that some unknown persons won’t try to wreak havoc like what was done in Berkeley, with the speaker and the supposed Antifa riot?

Or for that matter, after some basketball team won a game? That still makes absolutely no sense to me.

I’m not as strong as I used to be. I’ve got physical problems that’s going to be with me for the rest of my life, and a chance of others popping up as I age. I do have a concealed carry license, plus training from previous employment, that in certain situations would allow me to efficiently defend myself or others. In a convention’s venue, I would adhere to their rules and not avail myself of my weapons. Like any school, bar, airport and so on. Still, I really don’t want to have to be creative in protecting. This sheepdog isn’t in the best form to do it.

I don’t like the thought of going to see a certain author or entertainer with the intent of having fun, and then getting caught up in burning stuff, a riot, things getting thrown that could hurt me or others, just because people don’t like the certain author or entertainer.

Think I’m going straight to worse-case-scenario? Imagine how the security people feel about crap like this. Especially with past incidences and the very real possibility of ‘copy-cat syndrome.’

I don’t like it.

Oh, sure, I know the world is not safe and isn’t the best. I know I can’t hunker down and be a hermit. I’m saying people shouldn’t be jerks.

Yeah, I know. They will be anyway. Too many people on social media and the comment sections of online sources are… ‘judgemental’ is the best term I can think of. I can think of other terms, but like I said to Sharon, I’m usually civil. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to call a spade a spade.

So, sure. I can feel the joy and anticipation of attending a con sucked out by seeing what others do and justifying it as the Right Thing. I’ve seen the phrase “Hit ’em where it hurts – in the wallet” thrown around. The bullying of sponsors, too. That’s another thing. The vendors – just like at a Renaissance Faire – depend on people visiting their stalls or spaces and sampling their wares. How can someone justify steering potentally paying customers from a convention that they might not even be a part of anyway? If a man that handmakes widgets and a woman that handmakes gizmos make it part of their business plan to make the rounds – and takes unsold inventory back to the shop because of people online availing themselves of the posting, Tweets, emails, and various other ways to dampen enthusiasm because they don’t like a guest of the convention, then what exact point are they making?

That the small business owner is cannon fodder in the battle over What’s Pure and Right in the World?

Please.

I went to the Renaissance Faire for a few things. See the jousts, browse the stalls and buy stuff, get food I really enjoyed, watch the bellydancers (I liked this part,) and be entertained. I’d be willing to bet that those that visit conventions do it for just about the same reasons, depending on what kind of venue.

Not to be unwitting pawns in somebody else’s arguments.

So, yeah. I’ve decided to have my say on this. I don’t appreciate having to say it.

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