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One Nice Night

I felt strongly that I had to speak up about Puppygate, and I have. I am glad I did. But do not think for a moment that I've enjoyed it. Though I have done my best to keep the discussion civil, there's still a whiff of venom in the air. (You should see some of the comments I've deleted). It gives one a headache.

With all that being said, it's nice sometimes to restore one's faith in humanity, and I did some of that last night at my theatre. Magician Francis Menotti was performing at the Cocteau, and I went down to catch his act. Francis was wonderfully entertaining, and the crowd was great too. Old people, young people, kids, black people and white people and brown people, men and women, all ooohing and aaahing at the magic and laughing at the jokes, enjoying adult beverages (well, not the children) like our famous Burning Tumblewheel and our new White Walkers. They all came out smiling, and lots of them stopped afterwards in the bar to chat with me and Francis. One young couple were making their first visit to Santa Fe; they had just gotten engaged, and the two of them were bright-eyed and excited and glowing. Made me feel good just to meet them.

That's what worldcons used to be like. Should be like. Could be like again.

Last night restored my faith in people, a little. It's not fandom that's toxic. It's the internet.


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Apr. 12th, 2015 07:45 pm (UTC)
faith in people
Glad to see your faith in people has been some what restored
Apr. 12th, 2015 07:50 pm (UTC)
We recently got married ourselves and are really enjoying our trip to Santa Fe. Going to check out the Cocteau tomorrow for the showing of the Princess Bride. Any restaurants or bars you could recommend in Santa Fe?

Edited at 2015-04-12 07:51 pm (UTC)
Apr. 12th, 2015 08:33 pm (UTC)
Maria's, if you like Mexican food. Tomasita's and the Shed are also very good.

Shoko Cafe for Japanese. They have jalapeno tempura!

Bull Ring for steaks.

And for a bar... Evangelo's and the Matador are good crowded noisy dive bars. For a quiet drink, hey, the Cocteau can't be beat. Try a White Walker.
(no subject) - desert_dragon42 - Apr. 13th, 2015 01:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gonzo21 - Apr. 12th, 2015 10:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 12th, 2015 08:02 pm (UTC)
The gamergate types are a vocal hyper-minority, ser.
Apr. 12th, 2015 08:06 pm (UTC)
And I bet right after you posted this you found out about the first four episodes leaking online. The internet is truly a harsh mistress.
Apr. 12th, 2015 08:17 pm (UTC)
And thank you for speaking up. May calm heads prevail.
Apr. 12th, 2015 08:20 pm (UTC)
I'm glad
You needed a night like that George! I'm glad you were able to unwind and enjoy yourself and your theater.

I know you've had a stressful week but I wanted to say thanks for the posts. I really learned a lot this week and it led me to do a lot of my own research.

And I totally agree with your last comment about the Internet. It's a conversation I have often with my middle school students. The Internet, and the ability to remain anonymous, has truly helped to sour civil debate and discourse.

I wish I could make it your way to share a drink at the theater's bar and say thanks for all you do, but I'll raise a pint at 9:00 tonight from Detroit in your honor.

Hope you have a better week, good sir.

Edited at 2015-04-12 08:21 pm (UTC)
Apr. 12th, 2015 08:22 pm (UTC)
I'm very glad that you had such a lovely evening!

I think it was a good deed you did, making those posts. I have no doubt that reading through all of this plus the deleted venom has been very draining. It's not a pretty issue but a civil space for discussion was needed and you provided it.

Thank you!
Apr. 12th, 2015 08:24 pm (UTC)
The savage cowardice of anonymity.
Apr. 12th, 2015 08:29 pm (UTC)
Restoring a little faith
My best friend moved away from where her family was stationed at an army base in Europe about seven years ago. She lives in New Mexico now and though she has never read your work, she's known how much I love A Song of Ice and Fire and went out to one of the cons you visited to get a copy of Game of Thrones and have it signed by you, for no other reason but our friendship. I hope that helps restore a bit of your faith in humanity too, George! Her selflessness certainly blew me away.
Apr. 12th, 2015 08:43 pm (UTC)
I know how it is to feel almost dirtied by all the hate and overall negativity that comes along with heated, controversied debates. It is depressing, and can ruin your day. It's important to take your mind off of it for some time, and I can't imagine a better way than a magic show for that !

On the subject of internet toxicity (although here the internet is only the platform), have you heard of the GoT season 5 leaked episodes ? What are your thoughts on that ?
Apr. 12th, 2015 08:46 pm (UTC)
I was thinking about this earlier, the toxicity of the internet.

Been reading a lot of books about psychopathy/sociopathy lately, and the estimates are that around 1 person in 10 will score quite highly on the psychopathy scale.

Given the power of the internet to give people voices into our lives, I was reflecting that it's maybe quite surprising that the internet isn't even more toxic than it is. Which... is maybe a testimony to the goodness of the majority.
Apr. 12th, 2015 08:47 pm (UTC)
"It's not fandom that's toxic. It's the internet."

I have to agree. It reminds me of the quote from Men in Black:

"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it."

...and that's being generous to many an Internet user. In addition to being a Game of Thrones and ASOIAF fan, I'm a Bears fan. NFL fan bases can be ugly, too. That was evident during the 2014 season when some bad apples would threaten and insult Marc Trestman's daughters via social media. Would they have done that via letters? I don't know.

It's true that those are the worst fans who drag down the median...but to the people in the spotlight, that doesn't matter. The damage is done.

As an aspiring content creator myself I have nothing but sympathy for how difficult it can be to be a high-visibility author, producer, or sports star in the digital age. I hope that anyone reading this will realize that it's part of their responsibility to RAISE the median of fandom everywhere they go, Internet or otherwise. So people, please always treat others with respect, even the people on the other side of the screen.

Edited at 2015-04-12 08:51 pm (UTC)
Apr. 12th, 2015 09:56 pm (UTC)
Re: Internet
That was evident during the 2014 season when some bad apples would threaten and insult Marc Trestman's daughters via social media. Would they have done that via letters? I don't know.
They might have. There was recently an exhibit of letters received by the Griffith Park Observatory in the early years (long, long before the Internet) and they read like the craziest stuff you ever see Internet posters comment. However, the only people who saw such letters were the people who were paid to process the mail; they were not shown to the general public like comments on the Internet are.
Re: Internet - LaceUpBearDown - Apr. 12th, 2015 10:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 12th, 2015 08:58 pm (UTC)
It's the internet.

In a nutshell, yes.
Apr. 12th, 2015 09:10 pm (UTC)
A Night at the Opera
I envy you and your theatre. I have sometimes felt that way at the Taste of Chicago. There, for a brief moment, ...we get it right. Maybe that's the real magic. What a lovely evening. :-)

I am also sensing a bit of weariness. I feel it too. We are fairly close in age so I feel comfortable saying I am weary of politics being injected into things that are supposed to be, well, ..fun. I keep thinking back to Vonnegut, or the Dean, or Roddenberry.
Of Star Trek Roddenberry said this: "The real joy in Star Trek is that it says 'We don't blow ourselves up, we don't wreck it. We make it. We live on. We solve our current problems, and make it into Space.'"
Now Roddenberry was known to march directly into Social Commentary with nary a thought. And we ALL watch. You know why? Not because we are right or left, but because we are lovers of Science Fiction and Fantasy.
*Sigh* You know what I think? I think we need more of THOSE guys. I think we should look to them for right action.
For now, I say rest. Let younger swords enter the melee. The Hugos will survive.

The North Remembers.

Apr. 12th, 2015 09:12 pm (UTC)
I always had that feeling when I was volunteering with Asian Media Access in Minnesota. Everyone from different walks of life showing up to watch the midnight movie of Jet Li beating someone up. Sadly, there was invasion of idiots who felt like they had to act superior and laugh at everything towards the end. And then that movie theater stopped showing Saturday midnight movies for AMA and chose to show the stupid Rocky Horror Picture SHow instead. But it was a beautiful time for awhile.

I don't know if World Con has always been awesome, but I must be fair and say that I would be much more defensive of Convergence if something was going on (puppygate, Ed Kramer, etc.) that would impact the reputation of the con that I consider to be the place where I see all my friends.
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