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Aussiecon 4 Masquerade - Who to Blame [Sep. 8th, 2010|10:48 pm]
[mood |tiredtired]

Some of you will have heard about the kerfuffle at the Aussiecon 4 Masquerade. Without going into the details as to why things blew up the way they did after the event (that's something for another post), I just wanted to talk about who was to blame for it.

The person to blame is me. No one else, just me.

I'd like to make that 100% clear.

I'm big on people taking responsibility for their actions, and while Nick is the person who delivered the line one member of our audience seemed to find so very offensive, the reason the anecdote was told was me. In an unscripted moment (we had run out of material quite some time before), I essentially grabbed a gun, loaded it, cocked it, then tossed it to my friend, and it went off in his hands. The amount of control he had over the situation at the time was minimal.

That an individual found the line hurtful is unfortunate, was certainly never intended, and I am sorry that it has caused him pain. However, his choices over how to present what happened, who to demand apologies from, and who he was upset at I have found rather perplexing, hence this post to clear up who should be attacked over the incident.

So, to make it absolutely crystal clear to anyone - Rose and Perry weren't to blame and neither was the Aussiecon 4 ConCom, the hundreds of audience members for laughing at the time, or Nick.

The blame is mine and I'm quite prepared to wear it.

I should also point out that Nick doesn't want me taking the blame, but I am insisting, and have told him to refer anyone hassling him about this issue to me. I will not stand idly by and see him blamed for my mistake. Especially when it's by people who weren't there and are basing all their opinions on hearsay.

I would ask that anyone you see discussing the situation also gets pointed to this post.

[User Picture]From: arcadiagt5
2010-09-08 12:58 pm (UTC)
I have posted a link to this in the AussieCon 4 post that was discussing the issue.

I think that this post is a balanced response to the issue on your part, and for which you have my respect.

Edited at 2010-09-08 12:59 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: dd_b
2010-09-08 02:40 pm (UTC)
Well, that's a stand-up response to the problem.

As I hear more and more first-hand versions of the story, it becomes more and more clear it was perhaps unfortunate, but absolutely not in any way deliberate. And that the conditions the two of you were working under were very hard (unknown amount of time to fill, little or no ability to prepare).

Also it sounds like it was indeed ONE member of the audience who was so offended. I personally wonder (I'm nowhere near having a full set of facts; probably never will be) if perhaps there's enough blame to share some in that direction as well.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2010-09-08 03:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you. And thank you for going to the trouble to seek out first-hand versions of what happened.

One problem with the internet is that some people see something written and take it as fact, then react based on that assumption. There's no allowance made for poor wording, hyperbole, paraphrasing, or deliberate misinformation.

I have yet to see any complaints about that specific bit of the masquerade that didn't come from people who were reacting to the complaints of this single individual factual and acurate.

As it stands I've already been accused, by someone who has read this piece, of having written a homophobic joke for the event even though I clearly state it was an unscripted moment.

This is why there will be a follow-up post.
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[User Picture]From: callistra
2010-09-08 11:32 pm (UTC)
I asked Nick what happened, he told me, and I laughed.
I thought half the joke was that it came from Nick!

I'm sorry this furore is blighting your, and his, memory of the convention.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2010-09-09 09:11 pm (UTC)
Nah, the thing that blighted my con was seeing so little of it, but I wear that 'cos I chose to have kids, and to bring the toddler along :)

The people I'm most upset for are the ones who have been distressed because they took the offended party's version of events as 100% accurate.

Oh, I'm upset for myself, but mostly because being Strokeboy, and having to toddler wrangle full-time while Sharon's back heals, and while recovering from the con, is making it hard to get things written up.

Oh, and one of my teeth disintergrated on the two-day drive home :)

Best week ever!
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From: (Anonymous)
2010-09-09 12:23 am (UTC)
[GregT] Arkem wrote an academic paper on Twitter as a vector for disinformation, a copy of which can be found here: ( http://arkem.org/disinfo-twitter.pdf )

Basically saying that Twitter is better at spreading rumour than fact because information flow is assymetric. If you Tweet to 100 followers, and 99 reject it as bad information, but 1 retweets it, the 99 have no direct way of knowing about or correcting the 1 or the 1's followers.
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[User Picture]From: tikiwanderer
2010-09-09 05:03 am (UTC)
That's... very interesting. Twitter is such a strange beast.
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[User Picture]From: ghoath
2010-09-09 06:01 am (UTC)
Disclosure: I wasn't there and therefore don't know what happened. However, I am vision impaired, and as such have had far too closer an encounter with political correctness and the like, and therefore have an opinion.

ah, such is the price of political correctness on our society.

Gone are the days, from when I was growing up, that if someone offended you, and you reacted badly, you were the one that then had to go and apologise for going off the deep end and acting like an idiot.

These days, after one person is offended, popular opinion can jump to the "that person said a bad thing and offended someone" camp, and it gives that person very little room to move. People say all sorts of things, and some people make mistakes with what they say, we need to accept that sometimes someone says the wrong thing, and we move on. Victimising someone just because they incidentally said the wrong thing, ends up harming the public face of good people.

With all this political correctness, it has legitimised people's ability to get upset when someone says something they don't like. IN turn, this has legitimised people being able to jump off the deep end if they hear something they don't like, and thus acting in an undignified manner.

What people don't realise until afterards, is that they are neglecting their own dignity and respect in public life by being so reactive to one sentence, phrase, word etc, by carrying on about it and making it such a public affair.

Furthermore, it is difficult for people to know what to say to someone, if they think that that person is in a group of potential prejudice. I am fed up of going somewhere that provides a public service, and hearing someone say "this person needs help....because...umm" and they don't know what to say, because they don't know what the *correct* word is to describe me. For goodness sake I'd rather have a label, so that people can somehow categorise what my disability is, in terms of "this person needs help because she can't see".

I am thoroughly fed up with saying the right or wrong thing being headline news, I'm thoroughly fed up with people feeling that they have some right to launch off at people because they hear something they don't like, and I'm thoroughly fed up of people not being able to talk to me comfortably, because they are scared of upsetting me by saying something that they don't know if it is the wrong thing before they speak.
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From: (Anonymous)
2010-09-09 06:59 am (UTC)
[GregT] In some of the reaction, there's a conflation of four questions.

(a) Was Nick and Danny's shtick inherently offensive?
(b) Are Nick and Danny homophobic, or otherwise bad people?
(c) Was someone offended?
(d) Should Nick or Danny apologise?

And the trap is to think that if the answer to any question is "no", the answer to all questions should be "no". Clearly Nick and Danny are not bad people, as I'd think the vast majority of people who know them would agree. Equally clearly someone was, rightly or wrongly, genuinely offended and felt genuinely upset.

As Danny has recognised, it's entirely possible to say, "I'm sorry I offended you, I realise it was entirely possible for me to have not offended you, and I wish that's what I had done," without pleading guilty to homophobia. We all wish this person hadn't been offended; Danny is just acknowledging that he was in a position to have prevented it. It's not necessarily an obligation to have prevented it; just that he had that opportunity, and missed it.

It's not a political correctness issue. It's not about what words or phrases we can or can't say in public. It's recognising that one person had a disproportionately bad day, it didn't have to be that way, and that as fans, we support fans, and we therefore support solutions that allow everyone else to enjoy the Worldcon as much as we did.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2010-09-09 09:17 pm (UTC)
The thing I've been fed up with for a long time is people treating hearsay as fact.

But yes, the way people react to stuff in general is vilify. As I posted a while back, a person is not the worst thing they have ever done.
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From: ext_249416
2010-09-21 11:23 am (UTC)
Excellent summary. Thank you.

I remember - after having surgery - having the stick I was using described in an embarassed way as a "mobility aid". C'mon !
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[User Picture]From: murasaki_1966
2010-09-10 01:41 am (UTC)
You shouldn't take all teh blame. I was one of the encouraging noises from the back. After all, I'd heard that story a few times, and while it is a bit tasteless, it's about Nick making an ass of himself. So I am as much to blame as you two.

BTW, we live in a world where 25% of a 1st world nation believe their president is a Muslim, despite HUGE amounts of evidence to the contrary. With belief like that, who needs fact?

As a librarian, I shudder.
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From: ext_249416
2010-09-21 11:25 am (UTC)
Ah yes. There's one lovely photo of a front yard placard reading "Obama is Muslin."

As in cheesecloth, popular for dresses in 1815 and again 1n 1970.
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[User Picture]From: e_dan
2010-09-10 08:13 am (UTC)

Fear not for the reaction of the silent majority (of, um, randoms)

Danny - on behalf of random people who barely know you outside of observing you at cons and sometimes reading your blogs...it would take some REALLY serious evidence to convince me you'd done something evil. Like, done something carelessly tongue-near-cheek in a tired / sick / babied-up moment, sure. Even, like, had an emotion-fart reaction at someone for something which you would likely have apologised for a micro-second after (and continued to clean-up for months afterwards). But...something calculatedly thoughtless or predictably offensive? Puh-lease ;) Anyway; wasn't there, and think it's fair enough you have a concern for people who were or are invested in some way. But as for random_followers who hear about this - worry not about its reception by a silent majority.

ps. obviously I can't really speak "on behalf of random people" - just a turn of phrase :) Dan
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2010-09-10 09:11 am (UTC)

Re: Fear not for the reaction of the silent majority (of, um, randoms)

Thanks matey.

One thing I find interesting is that some of the people who attacked me on this, didn't know or read the guy previously. So they take the side of one person they don't know against another person they don't know. Very weird.

Next con you're at that I'm at, introduce yourself. I can never quite make the connection between LJ people and RL people, and I do like to.
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