Part of my problem with blogging right now is I simply don’t know what to write about. Sure, there are big, pressing issues, like what has been happing in the SF convention world with John Ringo, Larry Correia, and a couple of years ago, Uncle Timmy. I’m honored to know all three men and have spent time with them. That they were smeared and dragged through the mud is horrifying, and sobering. It could be any of us. It’s easier to go after small targets, and they were no small targets (no, Larry, I’m not referring to your size! Even if you are more than a foot taller than I). I’ve stated before that I will likely not consider attending many cons as a guest, and this is why. The internet mob rules, and cons don’t seem interested in looking at reality when the twitters start throbbing with indignation. It’s an interesting psychological phenomenon, and one that deserves more time than I have to give it now. Let’s say simply that mobs are never a good thing. Not the ones on ‘their’ side, nor the ones on ‘our’ side. Restraint, legality, and professionalism are the best methods to take if we want to stay on the high road. Someone in the last few days coined the term ‘get woke, go broke.’ That’s the path to take. When this all broke, I was literally searching for the Origins con registration page, because I would love to go see Larry without having to travel. And ten minutes later I was pulling my wallet our while my jaw dropped at the sheer idiocy and display of unprofessionalism. Put the wallet away. Give our time, our money, and our energy to deserving causes, and let the idiots wither and die among the cheers of their mob. We know all too well that the mob will turn and rend them for no good reason. We know this, because we are students of history, and the history of the mob is a red and bloody one. From the Senate floor of Rome, to the Krystallnacht of Germany.
But this is a small, small microcosm when we step back and regard the world with unblinkered eyes. Geeky entertainment, be it in the form of books, games, or films, is small business comparatively. What we are seeing play out here has been going on for decades elsewhere. On college campuses, in political lobbying and campaigning. There’s a reason I’m apolitical. I don’t want to get that sh*t on me. For me, ethics, morals, duty and honor are important and it’s apparent you can’t have any of those and be in politics. Human nature. It’s not about games, it’s about the game of life, and the pursuit of ideals. The conventions are attempting to play by choosing a side to back, when there was no need for them to pick a side at all. Ever see a bear break into a beehive? The bear is covered in thick fur, and the bees have short, single-use stingers. The only place the bear is vulnerable is his nose, which is leading the way toward the honey and grubs he needs for sustenance. He can safely ignore the bees. If he does, he’ll waddle away shortly fat and happy. The bees may sting, but they can’t do much damage and they’ll fall back and regroup when he’s gone. The beekeeper might not be happy, but… It’s not a perfect analogy, I know. So… how do we actually hurt the bear? We fence in the beehive, and we prevent him from getting his food. The cons that allow the wasps of twitter to drive them away from the hive of attendees? They are going to have to find someone else to give them honey, because everyone knows wasps don’t make honey. They are just rage-filled stinging machines (ok, I don’t actually hate wasps in real life. Twits, on the other hand? Or those we can safely call social justice bullies? I’ll treat them like I would a wasp).
My working life is about a pursuit of truth through analysis. I work hard at being as accurate as humanly possible with instrumentation support. It revolts me to see no attempt at all to determine the validity of attacks made on the reputations of good men. I know the truth, because these three in particular I know personally, and have known them and of their work for years. But when an attacker with personal motives for revenge on a writer uses a convention to achieve her ends? It’s not hard to discover that. It’s not hard to verify that the slander is baseless. But there was no effort made at all. It’s sickening to see seemingly grown, responsible adults behave like playground bullies and their toadies.
What’s worse is that the whole thing is indicative of the direction our society at large seems to be taking. When it all makes my head swim and I want to scream in frustration and rage at the injustice, I come back into the lab and conduct a few assays and remind myself of two things. One, science is still science, no matter how hard attempts are made to politicize it. When you follow the steps carefully, you get the expected results and replicate the original result. Two: I’m lucky enough to work with quite a number of solid, rational people who both posses senses of humor and the willingness to knuckle down and work hard to get the job done.
Why wasn’t I part of the internet outrage brigade? Well, I was working. I have a job, and a family, and those are priority. Am I completely out of it? Far from it. Like a lot of other workers, I watch, I listen, I lurk, and when the time comes for me to spend my ‘fun money’ and indulge in entertainment options, I don’t patronize the conventions who practice political adhesions. I don’t buy games from companies who espouse diversity from one side of their mouth, and slander men ‘of tan’ and women out of the other side. I frankly don’t care what color shape or sex you might be. If you can make me laugh, entertain me, divert me, that’s enough. I don’t need to consult the thought police to know what I’m allowed to buy and support. I’ll talk to friends, read reviews, and make selections based on quality, not on the stamp of ‘diverse’ or ‘politically correct.’
I suspect that there are a lot of people like me. We don’t have a lot of time to spend fighting off the twits. But we have long memories. And we have the money, because unlike the twits with no jobs and enough time on their hands to join the mobs, we’re working and paying taxes and raising families. The future? Belongs to us, suckers. Parasites that kill their hosts always lose.