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August 2012
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colonelrowe [userpic]
Replace "harassed" with "robbed"

Those of you who read this (yes, very intermittently updated) blog because you're somehow associated with the world of science fiction have almost certainly already heard about the sexual harassment incident at the recent Readercon convention and that convention's board's spectacular failure to deal with the incident appropriately. If not, well, I'll just point you to this links roundup and suggest you confine yourself to the top four or five listed unless you have a lot of time on your hands.

I don't have anything to say about the incident and its handling that hasn't already been said elsewhere, but instead am here to talk about much of the internet response. Specifically, I'm referring to the many instances of apologia, victim-blaming, subject-switching, and other reductionist tactics that people have engaged in. I won't name names, link links, or even describe specific techniques because they're not worth the time it would take me to type them.

But that mass of bullshit—which thankfully is a tiny portion of the reaction overall—has raised some questions in my mind that I would like to pose to you, assuming you know the details of this situation.

If the self-admitted wrong-doer, René Walling, had, instead of harassing a guest of the convention, stolen a large amount of money from the book dealers room, how do you think the convention would have reacted? How do you think Walling's friends and apologists would have reacted to a permanent ban from the convention in that case?

Because I'll tell you, I think nobody would have blinked at a permanent ban. And I think the apologists, victim-blamers, subject-switchers, and other reductionists would disappear.


Not all friends are apologists. Some of us think the very definition of friendship is precisely *not* being an apologist.

[And by the way, you are wrong about that last line. I know someone whose thieving is dismissed as "petty" and "attention" seeking by friends.]

Edited at 2012-08-02 02:46 pm (UTC)

Those are both good points, Farah, and I would edit out "friends" from the entry except then your comment might look odd. Apologies.

Thanks! And understood.

Look, maybe the dealer didn't say clearly enough that he didn't want to give that money to Walling. Walling is French Canadian, you know, and Montreal is a much more philanthropic culture. Also, if we ban Walling for life over this, how will people be able to lend each other twenty bucks for lunch? Also, did the dealer explain to the Board that he was unhappy with their two-year-ban decision? He never took money from me, so he can't possibly have taken money from anybody. What about Walling's job and his daughter and his US entry privileges and his fannish life?

But I have a stall in the book room, and he didn't steal anything from *me*!

Book dealers are always going on and on about thievery, but _I've_ never seen anything get stolen in the dealer room!

Totally agreed. Great post!