The illiberal factions in fandom just want power. They don’t care much whom they go after, as long as they can flex their muscles. The Worldcon 75 committee has offered the latest sample of this, shoving Dave Weingart out as the filk head.
Note: I’ve discovered that Vox Day has linked to this post, which doubtless accounts for the comments below. I’m not letting anyone turn my blog into a mud-slinging fest, so I’ve disabled comments on this post.
Dave discussed what happened here. In brief: Someone got the notion that Dave should never talk to her. He respected this. One day he inadvertently posted a Babylon 5 video link to a chat group which this other person was also in. For this, he was told he could continue to run filk only if he agreed to end all staff contact outside his division. Of course, it’s impossible to run a part of the program that way, so his only choice was to withdraw.
The concom’s action makes no sense of any kind. It grows out of the notion that “feeling offended” trumps every other consideration and entitles someone to claim any remedy. Well, listen, Helsinki gang. I’m offended. I hope every filker who was planning to go cancels out on you.
I once got a supporting membership. Some early suspicions that people of this kind were running the con led me to back out on it. I never had any real plans to go there, so there’s only one thing I can stop doing. I run a Twitter account called Filk News, which contains various tidbits about what’s happening in the filk world. From here on, I’m giving the Helsinki con no publicity there.
I know Dave personally. He’s a friend and a hard worker with a lot of integrity. Filkers know that. Maybe the Helsinki clique decided filk is beneath their idea of a con. They forget that filkers aren’t just filkers; we include pro writers, regular supporters of conventions, and other people who’ve helped to build and maintain fandom. If the con had just decided to drop filk — well, it can do that. But using bullying tactics to drive us away was a serious mistake.
The Helsinki clique has decided to compound the mistake by smearing Dave. It’s the kind of reaction you’d expect from Donald Trump.
Dave, being a generous person, has requested that people not make personal judgments about the person who triggered the action against him. I agree with him on this. It’s the people running the con who bear the responsibility for their actions. Nor should we blame every member of the concom; the people running a convention are a loosely knit bunch of people, and in the present case are from multiple countries. A few people managed to grab the power to do this. Blame them. Above all, blame the notion that a convention is supposed to be a “safe space” from any kind of unpleasant feelings and that it belongs only to those who are quickest to claim they’ve been emotionally bruised.
Update: Here’s Dave’s response to the latest smears.
Update 2: Dave has withdrawn some of his posts because the Vox Day crowd has decided this situation is an opportunity to have fun at other people’s expense. Some of the links in this post are now broken. This is unfortunate, since they provided the clearest record of what was happening. He’d rather withdraw the material which vindicates him than let the Rabid Puppies use it to make people’s lives unpleasant, and that’s his choice.
Update 3: The Worldcon 75 concom has posted an apology for its actions. It’s put in the vaguest of terms and doesn’t even apologize to Dave by name, but it’s something.