Heroes, Redemption and Bombs

As most know by now, Monica Valentinelli has withdrawn from Odysseycon as a GoH over harassment concerns, owing to the fact that someone who she had issues with not only worked on the con, but was initially also the guest liaison.  Said individual has previously been banned for life from Wiscon and was fired from TOR over harassment issues.

Odysseycon’s initial response was, at best, inappropriate and at worst, exacerbating.

Following Monica’s withdrawal, another panelist withdrew in support and today we learned that another GoH of the con has as well.

The inbred contingent has not been silent either, falsely characterizing Monica as a Diva with “issues” and lamenting the supposed impact this will have on womenz being asked to GoH in future.  About the only sppropriate response to that is “go piss up a rope”.  No one asked you.

I had a brief chat with Monica on FB the other day following all of the above and I’ll tell ya, Monica is a HERO.  She has chosen to take this incident in stride and to use her experiences to address the issues of harassment.  She’s still in the planning stage, but expects to help produce works that will help educate everyone on these issues.  Expect to hear more about this here.

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Speaking of harassment, conventions and the appropriate handling of the same, I asked the FB hivemind the other day whether or not there should be a path for redemption built into our methodology.  This being Passover and Easter, its at least a question in keeping with the season.

My primary concerns are edge cases..circumstances in which a punishment needs to be meted out, but also one in which it is believed the individuals involved are more victims of circumstance than anything else.  My other concern is the increasingly entangled relationship people and their busineses have with conventions.  A Life Ban on someone who earns a livlihood from convention activities could lead to lawsuits having little to do with harassment.

Basically, I believe that rules systems ought to have built in safety valves, because we are never good enough to anticipate every contingency.

Most folks seemed to agree in principal.  Most seem to have a built-in opinion that after punishment comes an opportunity to get right.

Most are also of the opinion that while desirable, we may not posess the means to offer such a path.  Other strong opinions held that – most (male) harassers get worse over time rather than better; that our focus ought to be on protecting the victims (I view offering redemption as a necessary part of that); and the fact that at least one poster child for these issues has so far not demonstrated (publicly) that he is contrite and wishes to change.

Clearly we will be discussing these issues for some time to come.

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Not strictly SF related is the US’ recent use of the Mother of All Bombs.  Just a couple things to consider if you haven’t already:

  1.  Trump has apparently given carte blanche to the military to use whatever means they feel appropriate to deal with whatever situations they feel they need to deal with.  This, of course, does not absolve the CiC of responsibility, but is nevertheless. a scary development.
  2. Our strongest conventional munition ‘only’ managed to destroy 3 tunnels and kill 90 combatants according to latest reports.  In terms of military calculus, that is NOT a deterrent.   In fact, its near laughable.  I imagine the feelig on the other side is akin to a thief discovering that the giant mastif/pitbull barking inside the house turned out to be a toy chihuahua.
  3. I can’t help but see Trump as a baby, getting to play with all of his new toys.  He got to set off some fireworks (cruise missiles), push some floaties around the bathtub (carrier strike force) and make a big boom (MOAB).  I don’t think the man has ever had a toy he hasn’t played with….

Maybe it is time to re-read the problematic Farnham’s Freehold for all of the practical advice on shelters and surviving a nuclear holocaust it offers….

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