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July 20, 2004

Fans: still slans. From the organizers of the 62nd World Science Fiction Convention, upcoming later this summer in Boston, How Noreascon Four Is Not Like the Democratic National Convention.

Some samples:

2. Our promises for the future are supposed to be fiction.

10. When we sling mud, it’s probably in a workshop on making alien pottery.

20. Our speakers are actually entertaining.

34. We won’t be saying nasty things about other conventions.

36. If we rewrite history we label it as fiction or “alternative history”.

Oh, and this too:
66. At both shows, people will play fast and loose with numbers. At Noreascon, this is called “world building”. At the DNC, it will be called an economics platform.
Nice! Now that the organizers of Noreascon have very kindly explained that Democrats are liars, I look forward to seeing their other exciting opinions about the non-fannish affiliations of various of their members. Perhaps Noreascon will take up insulting Catholics next. Or people on one or another side of the gun argument. That should work out well.

Here’s another way a World Science Fiction Convention isn’t like an national political convention:

1. People overseas are rarely thrown in jail for struggling for the right to organize science fiction conventions.

But enough with the humorless jazz! After all, the practice of democracy in America is so firmly established that it’s just fine for Noreascon Four to devote a portion of their web page to expressing science fiction fandom’s traditional contempt for normal democratic politics. Since, after all, it was science fiction fandom that brought America the five-day week, an end to lynching, checks against corporate power, cleaner air and water and, oh yeah, the space program. You may have thought politics and government had something to do with all of those those, but actually, it’s we science fiction fans (who never sling mud, give boring speeches, or prevaricate) who really know what’s what. You know, unlike those “mundanes.”

UPDATE, 25 July: Good on Noreascon 4 for subsequently editing some of the excesses on the page in question. Bad on them for not acknowledging that they’d done so. [01:23 PM]

Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Fans: still slans.:

LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 01:31 PM:

Ow! You nailed it in one, I'm afraid.

Michael ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 01:38 PM:

WOW! Welcome back with a sizzler! There's still a smoky smell in the room here...

And you couldn't be more right. One of the most agonizing aspects of the divisiveness of this Administration has been the recognition that a lot of people and organizations I used to like and find entertaining are actually far less entertaining than I thought they were. Even in the open-source movement; once I realized that Eric Raymond *supported* the war (for the most specious of reasons, dismaying for someone I thought was intelligent) -- that kind of ruined a lot of things for me. One more reason to vote ABB.

Fandom typically includes a lot of self-identifying libertarians (me among them, sometimes -- sometimes libertarian, not sometimes a fan) and the less thoughtful libertarians usually still assume the Republicans are their party. There's nothing more pathetic than libertarian herd mentality. Sigh.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 01:55 PM:

Actually, although I'm not a libertarian, I like activist libertarians a lot more than I like my own subculture's habit of looking down its nose at all kinds of political activism.

I'm not ticked off at my friends in MCFI for taking cheap shots at Democrats per se. (Although some of the comments they saw fit to include further down their list are pretty rank.) I'm ticked because what it really amounts to is a bunch of stereotype-mongering cheap shots at the practice of democracy. It's SF fandom at its smug ugliest.

Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 01:59 PM:

How about:
#45 Their celebrities are politicians and Hollywood actors. Our celebrities are writers, editors, artists, and musicians.
Funny, the Harvard Book Store managed to find enough authors attending the DNC for several signings and a panel discussion.

#61 At our convention, none of the reading matter is likely to be redacted.
And this is a good thing?

Jimcat Kasprzak ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 02:10 PM:

Having read through the entire list, I don't see any items that wouldn't apply equally well to the Republican convention, if a Worldcon happened to be held in proximity to one of those. I don't see where you get any partisanship out of that list.

Not to trivialize anything going on in the political world. But I'll wager the vast majority of science fiction fans are not so deadly serious that they can never laugh at politics. Nor would most of them say that it's wrong for others to do so.

Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 02:18 PM:

34. We won’t be saying nasty things about other conventions.

Excuse me while I just sit here admiring the irony.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 02:23 PM:

Jimcat, if you could read my post and my subsequent comment and still think my issue has to do with "partisanship," you've got to be reading additional glow-in-the-dark words from the forty-seventh Chorp dimension. Not the ones I wrote.

David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 02:24 PM:

You know, before I read this, I had a certain vague regret that, for me, making Noreascon had turned out to be too much trouble this year.

Now, my regret is no longer vague. I regret that, in order to get a supporting membership and vote on the Hugos, I gave these people money.

Steve ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 02:29 PM:

Even in the open-source movement; once I realized that Eric Raymond *supported* the war (for the most specious of reasons, dismaying for someone I thought was intelligent) -- that kind of ruined a lot of things for me.

What, you didn't realize that ESR was... ummm... a personality... before that?

Patrick, the "slans are fans" thing has always freaked me out; the idea of any group of people as a race apart, cut off from the great mass of the marching morons by their unappreciated (but breathtakingly apparent to the initiated) vast mental powers, who should one day rule over them is just hideous. It's the dark side of the picked-last-in-high-school-gym-class stereotype. Throw in a few references to people being too dumb to recognize what's good for them and the word "sheeple" and you have all signifiers of modern political wingnuttery, brewed up in the finest paranoid style. Yuck.

And yet I love Mencken to death. Go figure.

Avram ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 02:33 PM:

34: We won't be saying nasty things about other conventions.

Um, yeah. Right.

A few aren't bad. #65 could have been made funnier by appending "We think." to it. The list as a whole would be twice as funny at a quarter the length.

What we've got here is, I think, not so much fannish smugness as the fannish cargo cult approach to humor, combined with a committee approach. Look at that list of contributors at the bottom of the page. You can see how that page was written, right? Someone brings up the domain name conincidence on the concom's mailing list, and someone else starts the ball rolling with "Yeah, but at our con, there will/won't be any..." and then everyone chimes in with rephrased 80-year-old political jokes, and after they all run out of steam somebody compiles them all into a list, regardless of whether any of them were funny, because hey, we've gotta have the complete list, right, and up they go on the website.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 02:53 PM:

Avram nails it, I think. I particularly like his phrase "the fannish cargo cult approach to humor."

I would remark to David Moles that actually, many of the people organizing Noreascon are my friends, and I really do expect it to be one of the best Worldcons in years. Signed, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, FN.

Along similar lines, I would remark to Steve Cook that the pertinent fact about Claude Degler's loony "fans are slans" stuff is that 1940s fandom resoundingly rejected it. Arguably its strongest effect was to inoculate SF fandom against ever being co-opted by any single idealistic vision. Much to fandom's general good as a subculture.

In other words, I don't actually think the Noreascon organizers are a bunch of smug assholes who think they're better than the common lot. But I do think their well-intentioned ha-ha has wound up being a platform for some of the uglier kinds of thoughtlessness to which our subculture is prone. (I also think that whoever's maintaining this page has begun to lose perspective. As Jimcat observes, most of these exercises in automatic humor could be as easily directed against any kind of politician; which was in fact my primary objection. But a number of the later entries are just straightforwardly nasty political ax-grinding, and not even funny.)

Here's my partisan political point: In a society in which everyone "knows" that politicians and activists are entirely no-goodniks, who has power?

Lis Carey ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 02:58 PM:

Patrick, several of the contributors to that list have so much contempt for democratic government that they've not only run for but actually won, and served in, elective office in their towns, as well as in some cases participating in party caucuses and state party conventions.

Also, many of the contributors do actually live and/or work in the immediate Boston area. It may not be apparent, outside eastern Mass., southern NH, and RI, just how successful the current powers that be have been at crafting "security procedures" that will shut down the city for the week, making the DNC as unpleasant and disruptive an experience as possible for John Kerry's home state.

And given that, in reality, both John Kerry and George Bush actually won their parties' nominations some while back, through a series of somewhat more direct exercises in democracy than their respective national conventions, grumpiness about the national conventions doesn't at all plausibly connect to contempt for democratic government.

Alex R ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 03:06 PM:

I don't think you can blame it all on the subculture of SF fandom...

I mean, it's not as though the culture as a whole isn't full of examples of cynicism about politics, overuse of irony, and devaluation of genuine passion to improve the world through political action.

Let's face it: I don't think that a list like this would be any less likely to appear at a convention of cat lovers, model train enthusiasts, beer drinkers, or knitters.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 03:10 PM:

I would buy this if the Noreascon list were confined to skewerings of national conventions and their excesses. Which it pretty obviously isn't.

As to the excellent character of many Noreascon organizers, see my comment above.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 03:10 PM:

(Alex R slipped in; I was responding to Lis Carey.)

Andrew Brown ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 03:24 PM:

and in the windy city they have a boreascon?

Lis Carey ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 03:35 PM:

Patrick, silly me, my reaction to lists like this has always been to smile or laugh at the items that make me smile or laugh, mostly ignore the rest, and judge the list as a whole by its overall tone, not by its worst/least successful/dullest/crabbiest entries.

Andrew, the Windy City is a fraud. Boston's much windier, in every sense.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 03:48 PM:

Lis, yeah, that's about what I did.

David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 03:58 PM:

I would remark to David Moles that actually, many of the people organizing Noreascon are my friends, and I really do expect it to be one of the best Worldcons in years. Signed, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, FN.

Fair enough, Patrick. I overreacted. This hit me at a bad time; for some reason I’ve got a low tolerance for slannishness this week.

Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 04:35 PM:

But Patrick, you forget.


Personally, I find it one more bad move coming from a Worldcon that seems to have mastered the art, and from a city that is trying to emulate Moscow when it comes to security.

I'm increasingly losing interest in Worldcons as a class, this one has just about fallen off the list. If it weren't for a promise to split a room with someone, I'd definitly not go.

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 05:02 PM:

Erik -- As I understand it, it isn't necessarily Boston's choice to implement all those security measures. The Secret Service are involved ya know.

And I'm afraid I find one superiority dance pretty much like all other superiority dances. Not that I'm immune to the exercise myself though.


Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 05:10 PM:

Patrick: I suspect the Noreascon folks have gotten a bit punchy at this stage of organizing a Worldcon. But, indeed, most Woldcon committees wait to give offence until the actual convention begins.

Ulrika ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 07:10 PM:

Here's my partisan political point: In a society in which everyone "knows" that politicians and activists are entirely no-goodniks, who has power?

Well. Right. Lesson umpty-ump in the life of a post-Libertarian. I used to be quietly smug about my own disinterest in power, which I saw primarily as the will to tell other people what to do. The first person to ruffle this belief was my aunt, who was a shop steward at the time. She shocked me by remarking that she loved the power that came with the position. What could she possibly love about power, I wondered. She loved being able to see that management did right by their employees, she said. Loved being able to do something to see that people got what was fair. At the time, my ability to hear that was filtered through my skepticism about unions and the relative power of labor and management in Sweden, but the kernel stuck with me. Nowadays, I suspect that if all the people who believe in basic fairness for ordinary people eschew power, then very probably there will be plenty of people who don't believe in basic fairness for ordinary people willing to fill that void. It isn't as if the will to power will shrivel up just because people who despise its abuse wish it would. And, just possibly, this turns out to be the key insight in the transformation of libertarian to liberal. But don't tell anyone. I'm still thinking about this.

Temperance ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 07:15 PM:

Unlike Patrick, I DO object to their slamming the Democrats, specifically ... because some of this mud could be picked up by Rethuglicans and used in the wider world outside the con. Jon Stewart snarks at both parties; what's NorEasCon's excuse for calling shots on just one?

David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 07:31 PM:

Um... only one's holding its convention in Boston this year?

Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 07:35 PM:

My, I guess we must take everything so seriously in this election year.

You probably would have been really pissed if they'd used a suggestion I submitted (deleted for being too risque):

We're the convention where the hookers complain
about the lack of work...

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 09:18 PM:

"My, I guess we must take everything so seriously in this election year."

Yep, that's us, All Seriousness All the Time.

Nancy Hanger ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 09:36 PM:

Most of the extraneous/nasty security surrounding the DNC has been foisted on Boston by not the DNC but by the Secret Service and by (drumroll, please) Homeland Security.

Like the brilliant idea of building a wall around the entire Fleet Center, which was "highly suggested" this last week. Yeah, right. A wall. Around a building that is sided on one side by a highway.

Those of us in southern NH are expecting quite an influx during that week of "tourists."

Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 11:32 PM:

Patrick, I think you are overreacting; a certain amount of snickering at the political process is probably healthy, especially since both conventions are probably going to be a thouroughly scripted affairs. I do wish they'd kept it to a canonical list of ten, though, and got rid of the nastier snarks; it goes on...and on...and on...

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 11:53 PM:

I get it. Laurie Mann and Randolph Fritz are people who simply don't read the prior comments in a thread before posting to it. That would explain why their comments appear to come out of an alternate universe in which none of the intervening conversations actually took place.

Naive earnest person-who-takes-things-so-seriously that I am, it doesn't easily occur to me that people do this. Which is probably one of many reasons I'll never be one of the kool in-crowd. Life sucks.

Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 12:43 AM:

Patrick, I read the whole thing.

Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 12:54 AM:

You are one of the kool in-crowd; but the periphery tends to shift around a bit while you are or aren't looking. Next thing we know, you'll be suggesting more radical stuff that's unheard of in fandom -- like having the Worldcon champion an Equal Rights Amendment.

David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 12:58 AM:



Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 01:08 AM:

David, is one allowed to say "[*]" in the Bloggiverse? That expression comes from another world.

Ogre-Eyed ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 01:28 AM:

Though, no doubt, if Noreascon had been in New York and its list had mocked the Republican convention, it would have been hailed in liberal blogspace as a brilliant and witty critique of the GOP, and touted as proof of SF fandom's political awakening to proper Democratic principles.

Matt Austern ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 02:06 AM:

I doubt that. I imagine your average leftist-who-wants-to-make-fun-of-Republicans would prefer making fun of Republicans in a way that's more closely related to the specific charactistics of Republicans that deserve mockery.

Generic snarkiness about politicians, in a way that airily floats free of specific policy issues and specific behavior by specific politicians, gets old pretty quickly. It's bad politics and it's bad comedy. What it feels like to me is an attempt to capitalize on a sort of formless discontent with politics without running the risk of offending any individual by talking about any of the things that might lie behind that discontent.

Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 02:14 AM:

Just to clarify my remark; it wasn't my intent to undercut Patrick's assertion that some of the humor on the Noreascon 4 vs. DNC comparisons list is worth being annoyed about as lowest common denominator gloss -- apart from the question of whether it's a good idea for Worldcon committees to take public stands on political issues. I didn't mean to put Patrick in a box over that.

I was trying to suggest that the historical record offers evidence that fandom isn't always contemptuous of democratic processes.

LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 02:36 AM:

I agree with Patrick that it was clear that the Noreascon list about the Dems' convention was intended in good fun. A couple even made me chuckle.

I can't speak for P. or others, but in my own case, it's just that my own feelings about the state of affairs in our country and the direction we're headed are pretty raw. I'm not in a place where I can laugh at humor that pokes at the Dems, when the left has come under such withering and undeserved attack, and when I see the Democrats as our only real hope of hauling America back from the brink of fascism. (If even they can.)

I guess the moral of the story is that we're livin in parlous times, and at such times, humor can go awry.

It brings to mind a couple of other times in my life. A friend of mine, Rick Berthold, is that UNM professor who made that idiotic crack right after 9-11 (He said "Anybody who blows up the Pentagon gets my vote." Here's a link to an NPR interview.)

The thing is, nothing has ever been sacred to Rick. I remember him showing us one time, gleefully, that a post-doc publication of his on ancient history had a reference in the index to the famous Greek philosopher "Testicles." He used to jog in sumo wrestling garb.

He's just a really smart and incredibly eccentric guy whose humor is usually right on target. It can be annoying at times, but he had made a career of skewering institutions and people who badly needed skewering -- he'd been a huge positive influence on many student's lives -- and then he made one stupid remark at a bad time, and the resulting firestorm that came down on his head has pretty much ruined his life.

Otoh, it's not hard for me to understand why people reacted so violently. I used to work in 7WTC. I ate lunch in the shops under the towers. My 1 y.o. daughter was in child care just down the street. The horror of watching those towers come down, and of that ugly gouge in the Pentagon...knowing how so many people's lives were ended, and others deeply scarred.

It's hard to forgive indifference to our suffering.

When I came back to the States from my Peace Corps jaunt in Kenya, Ethiopia was suffering massive drought and famine. Ethiopian chicken jokes were all the rage. I couldn't laugh at them. I wanted to scream at people. I hadn't visited the camps, but a few good friends of mine had, and I'd also known people whose relatives were there. The horror was just too close, for me.

I attended a talk by a humor writer one time, and she said, humor allows us to acknowledge painful truths, and to distance ourselves from them.

I think when we're too close to the pain, the anger, whatever, we're not ready to laugh about it.

Oh, well. Just ramblings. I'm probably being too geeky here, anyway. No good answers.


Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 03:18 AM:

[continuing after wireless coffeehouse shutdown...]

In 1978, Harlan Ellison, the Worldcon Guest of Honor led a political movement to protest the state of Arizona's boycott of the Equal Rights Amendment at the convention. Patrick wound up in a high position on the Con Committee, after some members of the original committee disappeared. I was actually mostly out of fandom at the point. My knowledge of the event comes from reading fanzines and hearsay evidence. By indirectly hinting that he might have been in favor of the 1978 Worldcon committee taking a public political stand, I actually misrepresented him.

I was partial to the campaign to pass the ERA, back then, and have always identified with the activism expressed by many writers who were involved in the fan press of that time.

It chafed me a bit to see Patrick characterizing fandom as traditionally contemptuous of the democratic process. I should have just said that, instead of trying to be passively and indirectly clever.

David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 03:58 AM:

Bill: Given that the ultimate source of [*] is a panel that TNH was on, I'd say that it could be used here if anywhere. Anyway, it's useful shorthand that I'd like to see used more widely.

Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 06:56 AM:

Those of us in southern NH are expecting quite an influx during that week of "tourists."

Nancy, my mom is going all the way from southern NH to Indiana to get away from said "tourists" next week. Sounds like a smart move to me.

Jim Henley ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 08:18 AM:

1. Much of the Noreascon comparison table is not, you know, funny. It's labored, repetitious and overly familiar.

2. Nevertheless, uh, Patrick? It's just not feeling like a big deal somehow.

Tim Kyger ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 09:32 AM:

Patrick ---

Geez, I've said the sort of thing you said in your original post back in the day, and I'd get roundly upbraided by both you and Teresa when I'd say it.

Glad to see you've finally seen the light. (Light. Hey, we've got a *motif* goin here, right? )

-- Tim Kyger
Paid political professional for past 15 years; politically active since 1970...and a FORMER fan, then, by that definition.

Mike Kozlowski ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 09:35 AM:

Fans aren't slans; they're Jay Leno.

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 10:43 AM:

Laura, someone once explained to me that sick jokes about disasters originate among the traders on Wall Street, where depraved indifference to the suffering of others is not only pervasive, it's a job requirement. Part of the reason that area had been unsafe at night was that a few hours after the markets closed, traders would roam the streets in drunken, coked-out packs, picking fights with anyone who wasn't wearing a tie, groping innocent women, and enjoying the protection of the police in whatever they chose to do.

(Yes, I or friends of mine have had these encounters and that experience with the police. This is being cleaned up now, it seems...I'm mostly talking about the high 80s to early 90s. During that period I enjoyed and exploited the fact that in casual American speech the words 'traitor' and 'trader' are pronounced identically.)

Did you notice the lack of sick jokes about the WTC bombing? Too close to home. Sick jokes about Waco abounded, though. None about 9/11, though some teenagers did use the term 'ground zero' to mean 'a big mess', as in "Your room looks like ground zero - better clean it up."

David Goldfarb - forgive my lack of slannishness, but what does '[*]' mean? Looks like the name of a character (or fragment of one) from Voyager In Night.

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 10:45 AM:

Oh, and: I agree with Patrick that it's stupid for the NorEasCon committee to have done this. I think they should take it down. (No, that doesn't mean I think they should be FORCED to take it down. I disapprove; I don't advocate censoring.)

LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 11:20 AM:

Xopher, yes indeed. I hadn't made the connection, but used to work for Wall Street, and it certainly makes sense. Big swinging dicks, all.

I too was wondering what [*] (and IOKIFYAMCFI, for that matter...)


Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 12:49 PM:

33. Filkers know more songs than just "Happy Days Are Here Again" and "Don't Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)".

This seems to imply there'll be no filksinging at the Democratic convention, in which case all I can say is "DNC2004 1, Noreascon 0".

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 01:26 PM:

Anticorium: ROFLOL! While there's been some good filksinging here and there (yea, verily, with mine own eyes and ears have I seen and heard it), it seems that filksinging is subject to an extreme form of Sturgeon's Law...

Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 02:41 PM:

There's a word for unwarranted assertion followed by flat denial followed by acrimonious debate - sometimes it's called fly talk.

I am going to flatly deny that filk singing is subject to an extreme form of Sturgeon's law and assert that Sturgeon's law should not apply. That is filk singing is something fen should do for each person's own amusement rather than for public performance. It isn't but it should be.

AJ Budrys long ago lamented the day he had to stop singing along - the day filk changed from something he and other fans joined in to something he and others listened to. When filk became song as performed by skilled musicians and singers - defined perhaps by theme but not by participation.

I don't doubt that Xopher could solo or join a group performance singing SF connected songs that would surpass for wit and music say the Capital Steps doing songs with political connections at the DNC. I do suggest that filking, even at a Worldcon, should be held to a different standard.

Lis Carey ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 02:42 PM:

Laura, it looks like no one has answered, so I will:

"*" is a request for a footnote explaining a reference that the requestor has not understood.

"IOKIFYAMCFI" is a reference to the acronym commonly seen on blogs of the more liberal persuasion, "IOKIYAR", meaning, "It's okay if you're a Republican", refering to the common winger tendency to find perfectly unexceptioable behavior identical to, or significantly worse than, behavior that allegedly heralds the imminent end of civilization, when committed by Democrats--provided that behavior is committed by Republicans.

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 03:57 PM:

Clark, I have no disagreement with you. You mean they don't have singalongs any more? But I was speaking of performances. Bad singers. Some not-so-bad-singers. But overall pretty lame IME.

I don't hold singalongs to the same standard, of course not. And I've participated in many of them, as recently as last fall. I usually sing harmony, which helps keep the pitch from falling ("it does not so much fall as PLUMMET!"), a constant problem with untrained singers (one year at a pagan gathering, during a ritual with very extended chanting, the pitch dropped by a MAJOR TENTH in the course of an hour...the next year I brought a shruti and it was much better). Sometimes I drum, which helps keep the songs from becoming dirges.

So, no acrimony here. Just talking about different things.

Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 04:33 PM:

Lis Carey writes:
Laura, it looks like no one has answered, so I will:

"*" is a request for a footnote explaining a reference that the requestor has not understood.

Lis summarizes nicely. If you're curious, this article, this one, and this one ought to explain the origins of the in-joke pretty well.

It turns out to be a useful addition to our discourse, or as Andrew Plotkin said, "Great; I decide not to go to Minicon, and fandom decides (clearly in retaliation) to evolve in my absence."

LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 04:39 PM:

Lis and Bill, thanks!

(For a minute there, I was going someplace much more anglo-saxon-mech...but in the interests of not grossing everyone out, I won't elaborate further...)


Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 09:29 PM:

That's OK Laura, I went somewhere a lot more Anglo-Saxon, myself. I was just missing the last few letters ... :)


Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 10:34 PM:

Patrick, not only do I agree with your analysis, but it nicely dovetails with an article I came across recently by John Perry Barlow. Money quote:

I felt as if I were watching the best minds of the next several generations blowing themselves into starry oblivions as deep as the desert night, pushing the envelope of strangeness into near-psychosis at a time when the world beyond The Playa seems to have gone quite mad enough already.

If someone like Karl Rove had wanted to neutralize the most creative, intelligent, and passionate members of his opposition, he'd have a hard time coming up with a better tool than Burning Man. Exile them to the wilderness, give them a culture in which alpha status requires months of focus and resource-consumptive preparation, provide them with metric tons of psychotropic confusicants, and then . . . ignore them. It's a pretty safe bet that they won't be out registering voters, or doing anything that might actually threaten electoral change, when they have an art car to build.

Indeed, Burning Man strikes me as only one of many reality distortion fields within which the counter-culture, myself totally included, has sought self-ghettoizing refuge. On reflection, I realized that I felt much the same about the massive protest marches that failed to impede in any way the Administration's unprovoked assault on Iraq. We all had a grand time gathering ourselves by the millions, but we were up against opponents far more practical and smart than Dick Nixon or Spiro Agnew. The current Dick knows that the best way to deal with dissent is give it a spectacle to exhaust its energies on. He knows that we're suckers for a good show, especially one where we get a starring role, so he gives us unmolested stages upon which to mount our extravaganzas and goes on about his corporate affairs.

Also, as I watched the enormously inventive and sweet-hearted burners duct-taping together their creations, I felt a sinking sense of ineffectiveness. We're up against an opposition that can get their machines to fly twice the speed of sound and do so reliably. Granted they do stupid and terrible things with those machines, but at least they get them to work. And yes, ours would probably work too with that kind of funding, but with our disdain for both wealth and the tedious processes of democracy, we have conceded those resources to the thin-lipped monotheists.

The longer I hang around a certain class of long time fan, the more I think it applies to them as well.

BSD ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 11:10 PM:

My brother and father will both be at the DNC, and I find this, as a fan, noxious.

The proper response, in the case of a domain-collision, is for one party or the other to put a link to the other (or both to do so). Rude jokes, especially when, let's face it, fandom isn't exactly hard to mock, are simply the wrong way to go about it.

If it were not self-mocking, which I'm not in the mood for right now, I would start typing up a list from the other side.

David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 11:47 PM:

All right, so we've got as far on IOKIFYAMCFI as "It's OK IF You're A MCFI". Now let's take it down the home stretch.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 11:52 PM:

Oh, show some Google initiative, for cry eye. What's the first result for "MCFI"?

Indeed, it stands for Massachusetts Convention Fandom, Inc., and it's the controlling body that sponsors Noreascon and other Boston-area conventions.

Often resented and zinged by other factions of SF fandom, largely because they really are more together than your average science fiction fan club. Hard to imagine, right?

Easter Lemming Liberal News Digest ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2004, 03:53 AM:

The Sunday late afternoon of ApolloCon I, the new Houston Con, I went to a political rally in Clear Lake. They had a Galveston group The Lefty Hootenanny that had better filk songs than I heard at the Con - all politics, lots of fun.

'34. We won’t be saying nasty things about other conventions.'


#1 on Google for liberal news

E.T. ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2004, 11:05 PM:

Apparently this looks different to people outside of Boston - but you have to realize the city is being darn near shut down by the DNC. Major roads are being closed. Shopkeepers are planning to sleep in their stores because they won't be able to get home. Funeral directors are worried about being able to get to hospital morgues. It's been announced that bags are going to be searched on public transit. Central train stations are being shut down. Even for those of us who are Democrat to the bone (and big Kerry fans), it's going to involve a lot of tooth-grinding. If we don't laugh about it we're going to cry.

David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2004, 04:42 AM:

Well, y'know, it was not exactly obvious that "MCFI" was something that could be Googled. It seemed more likely to be just a completion of the sentence, perhaps something like "My Cherished Fandango Illustrator." I'm a California boy; where was I supposed to have run into the abbreviation for a Boston-area club?

Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2004, 04:46 AM:

Fandom/political crossover: If you see something large and orange in the Wisconsin delegation next week, that's one of ours. "Orange Mike" Lowrey is a delegate at the DNC. He's pledged to Dean.

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2004, 10:55 AM:

I'm a California boy; where was I supposed to have run into the abbreviation for a Boston-area club?

Worldcon bid parties? (If you're not a fan, or not a congoing fan, you might not have heard of them, even still. Also, most fans seem to think NESFA runs NorEasCons. They're entirely separate organizations, completely. They appear to have all the same people in them, but that's sheer coincidence...)

BSD ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2004, 12:43 PM:

I just came to the realization that most colleges and universities start the same week as the RNC -- my brother is going to be orientated, and I returning to such institutions. I guess that midtown isn't going to be on his "Welcome to NYC" tour.

Lis Carey ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2004, 02:18 PM:

Xopher, the overlap goes down when there's an active MCFI worldcon bid, and drops even lower when a Noreascon is is in the offing. Granted, the overlap is pretty high during the periods when MCFI isn't actively bidding for or running a worldcon.

Right now, the overlap is probably the lowest it's ever been, what with N4 about to happen and N3 having been in 1989, a few years before Al Gore's crazy "information superhighway" idea opened for easy access by significant parts of the general public.

Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2004, 03:11 PM:

I shall attempt to include enough cross-references in this posting so that one need not look anything else up and can simply follow the links.

I'm a California boy; where was I supposed to have run into the abbreviation for a Boston-area club?

It's not exactly a club, not like NESFA (New England Science Fiction Association). Massacusetts Convention Fandom Inc. is, as others have noted, the parent non-profit corporation of Noreascon 4.

Most Worldcons have a parent corporation (usually non-profit in the USA and Canada; in other countries like the UK, laws make non-profit corporations more difficult to set up). The parents of some Worldcons of which you may have heard are:

SCIFI Southern California Institute for Fan Interests => L.A.con IV, the 2006 Worldcon (and also the previous two Anaheim Worldcons, a NASFiC, and some Westercons). Overlaps with, but is not the same thing as LASFS (Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society).

SFSFC San Francisco Science Fiction Conventions, Inc. => ConJose, the 2002 Worldcon (and ConFrancisco, the 1993 Worldcon, and a Westercon, a SMOFCon, and some other conventions).

FANAC Florida Association for Nucleation and Conventions, Inc. => MagiCon, the 1992 Worldcon. FANAC now mostly maintains a growing fan history web site. (They recently agreed to host the "archival" ConJose web page, which is why the web address for the CJ page now starts with their name.)

Those are the Worldcon parent corporations who I can name off the top of my head: there are others like ALAMO (LoneStarCon II) and Worldcon Atlanta Inc. (ConFederation). Other Worldcons set up one-shot special-purpose non-profit corporations (Chicon V Inc. comes to mind) then dissolved them when the convention was over and all funds disbursed.

Kevin Standlee
Native Californian (b. Oroville CA 1965)

Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2004, 03:30 PM:

Actually, when I first read your post, I was adrift in "patchy morning fog" and thought for a minute that they meant the Republican convention. But in either case...//yawn//. You might contrast it with this week's Onion, which has a bunch of jokes about the Dem. convention that are actually pretty funny.

David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2004, 05:33 AM:

Okay, the MCFI is not a club; I used the word because Patrick did. Re-reading his comment, I note that he didn't actually call it a club, but the way he phrased things made it seem that he included it in that category.

Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2004, 09:48 PM:

I just got back from spending most of the week doing fun things that are no longer safe to describe on the Internet, so I'll just summarize.

The explanations for IOKIY... are correct.

Yes, this is important, despite the fact that several people have told me it is not.

#34 is, in fact, an outright lie by the writers of that document. Most, if not all of them, have said negative comments about at least two of the last five Worldcons -- and continue to do so.

And, no, I will not be attending N4. The fact that MFCI has, on the face, violated Article 1.3 of the WSFS Constitution is not really important, since WSFS has no power to do anything about it -- and is proud of that fact.

Currently, I have a tenative offer for the membership, should that change, I'll post in the usual channels.

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2004, 10:17 PM:

The relevant section of the WSFS constitution reads as follows

Section 1.3: Restrictions. No part of the Society’s net earnings shall be paid to its members, officers, or other private persons except in furtherance of the Society’s purposes. The Society shall not attempt to influence legislation or any political campaign for public office. Should the Society dissolve, its assets shall be distributed by the current Worldcon Committee or the appropriate court having jurisdiction, exclusively for charitable purposes. In this section, references to the Society include the Mark Protection Committee and all other agencies of the Society but not convention bidding or operating committees.

If you are going to make accusations about the improper spending of money, let's have some details and proof. As you may recall I have reason to be sensitive about that sort of accusation.


Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2004, 10:27 PM:

Um, Mary Kay, I'm pretty sure Erik is referring, not to money, but to this bit of 1.3:

"The Society shall not attempt to influence legislation or any political campaign for public office."

I don't think he's suggesting anything about money.

Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2004, 10:03 AM:

PNH is correct.

Furthermore, in case nobody can figure out why I'm angry about this. I am (currently) a member of N4. The website is an offical publication of N4. Therefore, this was said in my name, as well as in the names of the other ~4000 members of N4.

That's flat out unacceptable.

And it's just so that they've edited out some of the worse of thier sins without apology.

Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2004, 02:33 PM:

Lis (on the topic of NESFA and MCFI):

Xopher, the overlap goes down when there's an active MCFI worldcon bid, and drops even lower when a Noreascon is is in the offing....

I've heard this before, but I don't really understand the phenomenon. Could you perhaps quantify how much of the decrease in overlap results from 1. NESFAns leaving MCFI, 2. MCFIers leaving NESFA, 3. non-NESFAns joining MCFI, and 4. non-MCFIers joining NESFA? Or is it perhaps less a change in numerical overlap than in effective overlap, due to diversion of the common members' fanac?

Right now, the overlap is probably the lowest it's ever been, what with N4 about to happen and N3 having been in 1989....

Let us not forget MCFI's bid for the 1998 Worldcon, MCFI's bid for the 2001 Worldcon, and of course MCFI's notorious bid activity against a 1998 Worldcon contender after MCFI left the 1998 race. That last is especially worth remembering, as a warning against involving one's cause in political issues outside the cause's area of concern. Perhaps I should say,

Especially worth remembering, as a warning against involving one's cause in political issues outside the cause's area of concern.

Has anyone got a font that goes up to 11?

Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2004, 02:36 AM:

[disclaimer--speaking for -myself- here, all below is personal opinions and commentary, and does not presume to speak for anyone but my own opinion]

Requirements for voting membership in NESFA include attending meetings in person--this effectively limits NESFA voting membership to people who either live in the area or who will go to a lot of time and effort to show up for NESFA meetings.

MCFI's membership includes people who live thousands of miles away from New England, and has since 1975.

When there are active bids going on from MCFI, the organization is more active than when there isn't a bid going on. A bid going on means that there is something that people are working together on planning and running--throwing seriois bid parties is not a trivial undertaking. It pulls in people, some because they like throwing parties and want to help out that way, some because they want to help plan a Worldcon, some because their friend are working on the bid and working on the bid means they get to spend time with their friends they otherwise would not be able to spend with them...

When there is an active Worldcon, there are people who get involved because they want to work on the worldcon and have experience and/or enthusiasm or whatever considered desirable to include them. It takes more people and more effort to put on a Worldcon than run a bid, it's more exciting to put on a Worldcon than running bidding parties usually, and involved more people and more excitement and time running a bid, that being in keep-alive-mode for a non-profit group that sometimes runs worldcons and continued to exist when not doing so and not participating on Other Groups' Worldcons [MCFI has run areas for other worldcons at other worldcons, particularly art shows].

The mode that MCFI works is in that after a Worldcon it gets quiet, and some of the members drop out--Life interferes with e.g. they may move elsewhere, they may gafiate, they may find some other fannish interest they put a higher priority on, they may have gotten tired of working on Worldcons or only are interested in being involved with Boston ones and putting on Boston ones, etc. Bidding for a Worldcon, the organization gets more active and more people want to be involved because it is running bid parties and needs people to organize and work on parties, generate and distribut flyers, maintain a dynamic website, etc., so more people do get involved and the MCFI membership increases.

Even more people are needed to manage planning and running a Worldcon, and that involves adding more people. And significant numbers of people who get responsible positions at Worldcons are from out of the locale the convention is in, so that increases the membership and particularly the out of town membership.

And once again, after the convention, things come to a lull, and people drop out.

NESFA, again, has a different model. Someone who isn't around, can't be a voting member, they don't meet the meeting attendance requirements. NESFA very much has localized foci, the NESFA Clubhouse has to be kept intact and the floor tiles replaced at time, doors and windows replaced, books moved around, there's Boskone every year and sorting through the stuff in the clubhouse and packing up books to be at the NESFA Sales Table, there's the Gestetner/whatever-the-replacement-name-product-name-is, there are computers, printers, the NESFA Library, NESFA Press books in various states of production, orders to fulfil for NESFA Press, meetings, Instant Message collations with collating and stapling and labeling--those activities involve people physically going to the same place at the same time and working on the same things, month after month for years. It's on-going, and there are one or two meetings a month plus collations and such, Boskone occurs every year, NESFA Press usually gets a table at Readercon and usually has one at the Worldcon, so for those it's pack up books to get hauoled to conventions.... Worldcons don't have the same continuity, and the Worldcon moves around every years, with independent committees and parent organizations.

MCFI formed and incorporated to bid for and run the worldcon Noreascon II. NESFA was formed as an SF club and to be an SF club--different purposes, different organizations, -some- of the same people. There has never been a complete overlap. Not everyone in NESFA wanted to be obligated to work on a Worldcon in Boston. Not everyone who was a volunteer to bid for and run a Worldcon, was interesting in the weeks to weeks NESFA activities. There are lots more SF fans around Boston than are in NESFA, or in MCFI. And there are members of MCFI who live outside the area, while almost all NESFA's voting members live within an hour and a half from the NESFA Clubhouse, with most of those rather less than an hour and a half away.


Regarding Boston in 1998 bidding--originally MCFI was bidding for 1998, with of the people who were members at the time not completely thrilled, they thought it was too soon. When the another group came in with money to offer the Sheraton Hotel to hold a convention there when MCFI had been bidding to run a Worldcon, the "Leslie's Lemonade Stand" committee got formed, to see if it would be feasible to try to run a Worldcon without the Sheraton. Discussion and investigation generated the option of using a combination of hotels spread around Boston's Back Bay, including the Park Plaza which Arisia has been in many times, and running buses around. There was substantial discussion of what would be involved in running such as convention and what it would feel like, and ultimately the vote went against MCFI running that sort of worldcon in Boston involving shuttling people around and having them spread over blocks at different hotels with programming and events spread around. The vote went against it, and MCFI started looking into a bid for Boston in 2001, and the membership voted to shift the bid from 1998 to 2001.

However, the decision to drop bidding for 1998 and for for 2001 was unattactive to a minority of MCFI members. They were were intrigued by the ideas of Leslie's Lemonade stand had come up with and wanted to bid for 1998 based on those. They started up BCEC and BCEC's Boston in 1998 bid.

The issue there was the the Worldcon was under the three year East/West/Central zone rotation rule at the time. If BCEC won for 1998, that would kill the MCFI bid for 2001--because barring things like the site selection being decided by live vote at the Business Meeting at the Convention, the worldcon couldn't be in the same city when that zone had its next worldcon three years later. MCFI being MCFI and not BCEC and its members wanting a worldcon in Boston that would "compact" and not spread out all over the Back Bay, MCFI's members were against the BCEC Bostin in 1998 bid.

[Boston in 2001 changed -latter- to Orlando in 2001 whatn inquiries to the Sheraton-Boston and nearby hotels for 2001 elicited "We would be glad to have you at room rates of $180 a day in 1993 dollars [I don't remembr the year exactly]. That was rather out of the range considered fan-feasible for most fans, scratch Boston in 2001 as feasible. Meanwhile, Orlando facilities came asking if there were people who wanted to run another Worldcon in Orlando. They had the facilities to run a Worldcon using two hotels, the Swan and the Dolphin I think they were, for a 2001 Worldcon with extremely attractive hotel rates. MCFI decided to bid for 2001 for Orlando. The Philadelphia in 2001 bid won, and when weeks after the 1998 convention MCFI members started thinking about 2004, both the Sheraton and the Marriott offerred rates a lot more attractive than the rates proposed for 2001 had been [economic changes can make =huge- diferences]].

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2004, 10:16 AM:

Erik -- as I told Patrick in IM I managed to miss that particular sentence when I read the paragraph. I didn't see it until after I posted. My apologies.

I still don't see how posting a bunch of lame jokes is political activity, but family stuff is eating my lunch right now and I can't spare the time or energy to debate it.


Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2004, 04:05 PM:

The fact that MFCI has, on the face, violated Article 1.3 of the WSFS Constitution is not really important,...

I agree with Mary Kay that making jokes at the expense of a big political convention does not violate the relevant clause of Section 1.3. I really don't see N4 as "attempting to influence...any political campaign" in any meaningful way. They're being disdainful of any big political convention. That did appear to me to be Patrick's complaint in the first place.

I'd like to think they would have done about the same thing had the current party in Boston been that of the Republicans. And I hope Patrick would have been just as unhappy with them even though they would have been making fun of The Other Side.

...since WSFS has no power to do anything about it -- and is proud of that fact.

Proud? No, I wouldn't say that. I'd say that things are the way they are because the alternatives (substantially "WSFS Inc.") are all perceived to be worse by a majority of the people who would vote on any changes.

(But that's what WSFS gets for adopting a governmental system as efficient as that of the US Continental Congress.)

Kevin Standlee

Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2004, 04:15 PM:

Sorry, Kevin, it doesn't fly on the face. The title of the page is "How Noreascon Four Is Not Like the Democratic National Convention." In it, they state, quite clearly, that the platform of the DNC is filled with lies (see #2) and that they can't handle money.

To me, calling the DNC liars and stating that can't handle money, without also explicitly doing the same to every other parties' covention, is clearly attempting to influence an election.

Doing so in my name is wrong.

Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2004, 05:22 PM:


Is your outrage because of any possible perception of political influencing, or simply because they're poking fun at the Democrats?

Would you be so unhappy if it were the Republicans holding their meeting and equally inconveniencing everyone in Boston?

Kevin Standlee
(Currently registered as a Democrat, in case it matters.)

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2004, 05:50 PM:

Kevin, that's unresponsive. Erik is right; the page (at least, before it was silently revised) did indeed state flatly that Democrats and specifically Democrats are liars. That was absolutely a violation of 1.3.

As to the question "Is your outrage because of any possible perception of political influencing, or simply because they're poking fun at the Democrats?", I would ask, why the does Erik, or anybody else, have to claim that they would be equally unhappy if it were somebody else's ox being gored? There's absolutely nothing the matter with Erik taking a particular interest in defending particular people from abuse. Erik has no obligation to claim that he would be just as annoyed if MCFI had chosen to abuse conservatives or Republicans. Your attempt to smear his integrity, at exactly the moment when he has made an undeniably correct point about the WSFS's rules, does you no credit.

I started this exchange, and yet as anyone who actually reads the whole thread can tell, I'm far less annoyed with MCFI and Noreascon than Erik is. (And as anyone reading other threads can tell, Erik and I have a bunch of pretty serious real-world political disagreements.) However, on the plain point of fact here, Erik is exactly right. The page as it was originally published was a violation of the Worldcon's rules and an inappropriate use of its resources. And Erik doesn't have to prove his nonpartisan bonafides to you in order to have standing to say so.

Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2004, 07:18 PM:

I suspect we disagree less than you think. I do appreciate the support.

MCFI will, of course, not be punished for this, other than losing about $100 of at-door income when I sell my membership, and maybe not even that, if the person I sell it wouldn't have done so otherwise.

So, as in all things, it matters not. It's not the first time on this weblog that I've been told that what the Constitution says matters -- it's what Fandom Thinks, and, apparently, Fandom Thinks This Is Okay -- or, at least, SMOFdom does.

I'm tired of conrunning, truth to tell. No matter what you do, somebody hates you for it. I busted ass for Chicon, and I have that fact rubbed into my face almost every time it comes up. I've worked hard on Capricon, now, we've two factions fighting, and, somehow, I ended up on both sides.

And, now, of course, when I point out a flat-out violation of a rule that there's a *very* good chance a member of MCFI drafted, I'm immediatly quizzed on bias.

Never mind helping to start Midfan -- modled, in part, after MCFI, to try and Do Good, Avoid Evil, and Throw A Room Party. So, of course, MCFI pulls this and other stunts. Fat lot of good that example set, isn't it?

So, I'm, as of now, out of the Worldcon *and* conrunning business. Done. Finished. Not My Fault, Not My Problem, Not My Con.

I'm tired of many things. But what I'm really fucking tired of is being always "wrong."

Esp. when, a couple of months later, I start hearing my position as being right. But what does that matter? Chicon, after all, sucked.

Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2004, 07:40 PM:

No matter what you do, somebody hates you for it.

On that point, at least, we're in agreement.

Kevin Standlee
(Fans are not slans -- they are flakes.)

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2004, 08:23 PM:

I busted ass for Chicon, and I have that fact rubbed into my face almost every time it comes up.

I do not understand this sentence. What gets rubbed into your face? Erik -- you are not the convention you work for/on. What people say about the con as a whole is not a judgment of you. The other things you complain about are sort of inherent in dealing with human beings in any arena. More than 2 people means politics. Fans have, on average, worse social skills than most groups, so the politics are messier maybe, but you're going to get politics in any group. Do you plan on resigning from the human race?

I said I didn't have the time, or more importantly the energy, for this, but I have to make one comment. They specified Democratic Convention because that was the one taking place in Boston just before worldcon. I suspect that jokes about politics, politicians, and political conventions are flying thick in Bostonin general. Saying that NESFA or Noreascon is attempting to influence the election by retreading old and often lame jokes is just off the wall to me.

Well, I have to go put my father in an assisted living facility tomorrow. Then I have to go to Ann Arbor for Mythcon -- I have Council duties there that I cannot slough off. And my laptop has died. So I won't be around much until after August 2. I'll try to keep abreast of my email on one of the webmail services.


Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2004, 03:36 PM:

That was absolutely a violation of 1.3.

Did anyone so incensed over the horrible violation of the second sentence of Section 1.3 bother to read as far as the fourth sentence:

In this section, references to the Society include the Mark Protection Committee and all other agencies of the Society but not convention bidding or operating committees.

In other words, even if making fun of a major political convention counts as "[attempting] to influence legislation or any political campaign for public office," it's not being done by one of the groups prohibited from engaging in such activity.

Besides, if using Worldcon resources to engage in anything that could be interpreted as political activity is prohibited, then we'd better go after the Promethus Awards presented at Worldcon by the Libertarian Futurist Society, who are openly political. And we'd better prohibit any parties held by the Libertarian fans under that banner.

Unless it only matters if the political activity is related to the US Democratic and Republican Parties.

Kevin Standlee
(Who doesn't see any connection with appreciating Eric's fine efforts such as running an excellent SMOFCon last December and daring to disagree with him on a technical issue. Being right and good about one thing does not automatically make you right and good about something else not related to it.)