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Readdressing the Balance [Jun. 4th, 2009|07:00 pm]
dalekboy
[Tags|, , , ]
[mood |quixotic]

So, after my post on how Media and Lit Natcons were joined, and how media fandom as a whole got thoroughly screwed, general consensus was that the whole situation sucked.

So what are we going to do about it?

Well, as it happens, there is a Natcon in Adelaide this weekend. With a business meeting. That would be a great place to start. I can't afford to go, but I know a fair chunk of you will be there. Do you want to set things in motion, and back each other up?

The fact that the original business meeting notes vanished may be down to accident, incompetence, or deliberate mishandling is neither here nor there. What matters is that it's well past time the situation was fixed. The deal was that in exchange for merging their Natcon with the Lit one, media fandom would get fair representation, in the awards and by extension, the programming. That's not happening.

There's no doubt that there will be resistance. But you know what, fuck it, a deal was made. And it was broken. There's no doubt that it will take years to rebuild things, to get that side of fandom even caring that there's a Natcon, let alone coming to it. And some would argue there's no point. But there is a point.

It could have gone the other way.

The Ditmars could have been lost, the Lit Natcon no more. They easily had the numbers to do this at a time when the Lit Natcon was not doing well, and they still gave up their awards, and their Natcon, with expectation of a fair deal they never received.

I didn't set out to try and get this thing fixed, I just wanted to make the point that we used to have more awards. But fuck it, now I'm angry. Because you know, I read and love books, but if I had to choose which box I fit in, I've always thought of myself as a media fan. Most of us watch films and TV shows, and love them. In our everyday lives, the Lit/Media divide doesn't exist, but our Natcon is skewed ridiculously heavily towards Lit.

Media fandom believed in community, and for over a decade that community has let them down.

And I think that's long enough.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: jocko55
2009-06-04 10:15 am (UTC)

The Ditmars are not the fan drawcard they should be

I am going and I find the awards situation annoying. the Asfmas had best fanzine, best fanwriter, best fan artist, best fan production--dammit they were fan orientated, where the Ditmars are being pulled to being professional writing awards, because I suspect having "Ditmar award winning title" on the cover sells books. They also have this stupid rule about how many awards are presented, so that things are not consistant year to year.
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[User Picture]From: paul_ewins
2009-06-04 11:35 am (UTC)

Re: The Ditmars are not the fan drawcard they should be

It is probably more accurate to say that some people think that winning a Ditmar will be of help in a writing career. They are wildly naive or quite delusional. But the Ditmars are currently the plaything of the micro-press people who like to play at being professionals. Being able to point to their "Professional" award no doubt bolsters their unworthy egos.

BTW James and Danny, do you think Jacob Blake would be a good Fan GoH of Dudcon 3?
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[User Picture]From: mondyboy
2009-06-04 11:54 am (UTC)

Re: The Ditmars are not the fan drawcard they should be

"But the Ditmars are currently the plaything of the micro-press people who like to play at being professionals. Being able to point to their "Professional" award no doubt bolsters their unworthy egos."

That's a bit harsh Paul.

While the Ditmars might just be nothing more than a popularity award, I admire anyone whose willing to run a small press of their own. Considering it's usually their own money and time, then if they do get an award their often deserving of it.
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[User Picture]From: paul_ewins
2009-06-04 12:25 pm (UTC)

Re: The Ditmars are not the fan drawcard they should be

A bit harsh perhaps, but it pisses me off to see good things crowded off the ballot by the block self-nominations. If we were just talking about "Best Collected work" then maybe fair enough, but it spills over into a lot of the other categories too. If it were other people doing the nominating than I would be less bothered, but they are nominating themselves. What else, but ego?
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[User Picture]From: strangedave
2009-06-04 03:23 pm (UTC)

Re: The Ditmars are not the fan drawcard they should be

I think winning a Ditmar can help a career at a certain point. It is a big public vote of confidence that sometimes really helps a writers public profile and confidence - but I don't think it really sells books, and I don't think it helps a writer whose career is already established.
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[User Picture]From: jocko55
2009-06-06 04:01 am (UTC)

Re: The Ditmars are not the fan drawcard they should be

Yes, as i said in person, Jacob Blake would be good for Dudcon 3. Danny, what do you think?
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[User Picture]From: strangedave
2009-06-04 03:22 pm (UTC)

Re: The Ditmars are not the fan drawcard they should be

The Ditmars have not had that rule about how many awards are presented for nearly a decade. It got taken out when the minimalist 'Jack Herman' constitution was replaced by the separate Ditmar rules in 2000 - which was actually the first year in which the Ditmar awards were combined with the ASFMAs. And they have been pretty consistent since then. And the Ditmars have best fan writer, best fan artist, and only just combined fan production and fanzine into fan production last year. Sorry, this is bringing up problems we more or less fixed nearly a decade ago.

Which isn't to say the Ditmars as they are now don't have problems, but they have different problems.
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From: (Anonymous)
2009-06-06 03:49 am (UTC)

Re: The Ditmars are not the fan drawcard they should be

Oops, LOL, OK, I have not been paying attention. Yeah, it was during 1999 that I had that discussion about number of awards. I just haven't discussed it recently, as I have been busy and was not about to set off another controversy over the ditmars. I think coming to the natcon has re-ignited my interest.
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[User Picture]From: crankynick
2009-06-04 01:44 pm (UTC)
There is, to be fair, nothing that prevents the awarding of more than one set of awards at the NatCon - only a rule that mandates the presentation of the Ditmars.

Rather than fucking about with the NatCon rules and starting yet another round of media fan/lit fan arguments, why not just form a committee to organise categories, voting rules, nominations, etc for the presentation for a set of media awards for next year.

If that coincidentally happens at the NatCon, well so much the better.

Given the existence of awards (particularly ones that they don't have to administer), I'm sure the NatCon committee will find space and time for them to be presented. And maybe even a budget to have a statuette made in your own image to give to the deserving winners.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-06-04 02:28 pm (UTC)
Actually, my little rant here doesn't quite work because I mentioned the awards a couple too many times, so that's what people have fixated on.

My main concerns with regards to the Natcon are broadening the programming so that it's not so Lit-centric, and actively trying to draw the media fans back to the National Convention, since it's meant to be theirs as well.

I think my main problem voicing this was I was making an effort not to make it sound like I wanted new rules enforcing a 50/50 mix in the program or anything as horrifically bureaucratic and unworkable as that. That and the awards were my original starting point for this whole thing.

Get the people turning up, the awards will sort themselves eventually.

As to your suggestion regarding the look of the statuette - you may like the idea of having me sat on your mantle so you can perve on me all the time, but I don't think it would work for most people. But ask nice and I'll send you a picture you can stick over your bed.
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[User Picture]From: strangedave
2009-06-04 03:28 pm (UTC)
Indeed, Swancon Natcons always award the Tin Ducks as well, and often other awards (such as the Chandler, or the McNamara award) are presented at the same ceremony.

But seriously, I think adding categories to the Ditmars (if you think there is a need for them) is a much better idea than starting an additional set of awards. Running a set of awards is a major pain in the arse (believe me, if I didn't already know, I would have learnt that one in the last few weeks) and the number of categories is a relatively small factor in that.
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[User Picture]From: crankynick
2009-06-05 12:01 am (UTC)
Because changing the rules to expand the Ditmars (again) won't create wank and drama at all...
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[User Picture]From: strangedave
2009-06-05 12:16 am (UTC)
Oh, expanding the rules clearly would create wank and drama -- but creating a whole new set of awards would create another independent ongoing source of wank and drama for years.
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[User Picture]From: stephen_dedman
2009-06-05 11:27 am (UTC)
Maybe this is another way that Perth differs from anywhere else, but with the possible exception of Neutral Zone (which I wasn't involved with), I don't know that there's ever been a coherent "media fandom" in Perth. There's an anime fan club, a Doctor Who fan club, and may still be a Star Trek fan club... but with the possible exception of SwanCon 19, I don't remember a time when they ever joined up to organize a multi-media con or any similar event.
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[User Picture]From: crankynick
2009-06-05 12:02 pm (UTC)
I've always thought that the reason that SwanCons have done so well is that Perth fans mostly don't talk to each other between Cons, outside of already existing friendships.
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