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Not Just a Funky Looking Valley Girl

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I own an almanac.
trinker
I note that there have been two short, to the point updates of current status from Wiscon in the last week. I hope this points to a new philosophy of communication from the concom. It is much appreciated.

This entry is cross-posted at http://trinker.dreamwidth.org/372875.html for the convenience of DW users. There are slightly different conversations happening at each. Currently comment count unavailable comments at DW.

An Open Letter to Wiscon and the Wiscon community
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trinker
I was drafting a more politic, measured note, but the truth is that I'm angry and heartsore and maybe it's the right place to write this from. (I nearly wrote "right this from," and I mean that, too.)

I'm tired of seeing Wiscon failing to step up to the mark in some significant ways, when Wiscon walks the walk as well as can be managed in so many others. Hallway access and mindfulness to gender variance are wonderful, but when there's a continuing failure to respond to crisis at modern speeds, it's clear that it's time for big changes to be made.

I'm mindful of the careful consensus culture that Wiscon is founded on...but it works really badly for communication in crisis, whether outward facing notes to the public, or year to year handling of problem issues. There appears to be a horrible two-pronged approach where some things cannot be done without long deliberation by the mass; and other things are placed on individuals, to be potentially dropped or mishandled as other life crises or misconception or mishandling have unfortunate effects.

I am clear that Wiscon is capable of change and improvement, and that there are people with deep commitments to this process for Wiscon...but I also see the effect of 38 years of institutional practice, born of an era even before there was an internet. APA speeds are not sufficient for the issues Wiscon faces. The knowledge and practices of academia and published feminism and fandom are not the only places where our culture lives in 2014.

It is time for new tools and new processes. Teams rather than fiefdoms. Active recruitment rather than passive welcome. The lack of nimbleness and transparency is an archaicism that needs to end. The inability to simply post, "The concom is aware of the issue and is in discussion" both during MoonFail and in the aftermath of the Frenkel Decision is appalling. Asking everyone to wait with bated breath while the perfect wording is sorted out is an artifact of a bygone age.

The same issues that dog the larger world and create systemic injustices should not be meekly accepted at Wiscon -- not if it wishes to keep the epithet "The World's Leading Feminist Science Fiction Convention". If it hopes to reclaim the title, it must be incorporating all the advances of the newest waves of feminism and social justice.


I thank the emeritus members of Wiscon for their service, and respectfully request that they consider laying aside their comfortable, well-worn processes. There are many things about the running of the physical convention that are functional and worth preserving. From the outside it appears that the communications and philosophy of the convention are in dire need of revison.

Express track to a radically revised Wiscon, incoming.

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My Wiscon will be socially just, or...
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trinker
On reading the discussion at anatarcticlust post, I'm finding the Frenkel subcommittee issue an unfortunate example of the persistence of a certain sort of Wiscon conrunning culture -- slow motions by committees and subcommittees, opaque to the outside despite calls for (and promises of!) transparency; a concern for the legal exposure of Wiscon and the accused transgressors over the mental safety of some of the attendees; and falling back to defense by adherence to procedure. Most maddeningly, despite this, things end up being blamed on individual decisions.

Perhaps it's unfair, as some have claimed, to see these matters of organizational style as problematic, rather than simply cultural. I counter that by noting that Wiscon prides itself on being *the* feminist science fiction convention, not a small (and minor) regional con. (I note with some acerbity that evidently the other end of the scale also precludes effective action on issues of attendee harassment, for other spaces tagged as the premier international gathering.)

"We are volunteers!" Indeed. And yet the claim at other sorts of venues is that their organizations are profit-motivated, and thus unlikely to privilege the emotional safety of attendees. What sorts of organization can have functional codes of conduct? I have been seeing more than a few stepping forward to effect fundamental changes in the assumptions of proper behavior among attendees.

Slippery slopes are often invoked, as if the attendees are troublemaking exception-seekers rather than reasonable members of a community.

Wiscon's programming looks like Third Wave Feminism in action, and for that it's much beloved by many. Wiscon's concom (in the loosest definition of the term, as used by members of the wider Wiscon community who are not *on* the concom) appears not to be on the same wavelength.

Wiscon has an opportunity to be among the vanguard of organizations transforming the cultural expectations around contact and interaction, especially in a fandom where the emergence from a culture of male entitlement is among the most heated issues under discussion.

Wiscon at its inception may have stood lonely, as did the fannishness of which it was a part. In 2014, having a fondness of stfnal topics is no longer a proud and lonely thing. We are no longer in the age of the APA, nor even in the age of rec.arts.sf.fandom -- we are scattered, we are numerous, and we are far less subject to the gatekeepers. Wiscon is feeling Entish in a world that's increasingly lead by fast-acting social media. The slow deliberation would be less disheartening if it appeared to serve the gathering of the widest net for inputs (e.g. Readercon and Arisia's policies, and more importantly the *debate* that lead up to them, and the fallout from the first rounds of implementation.)

There seems to be a desire to re-invent the wheel...or perhaps just an ignorance of the existence of other transportation technologies. I understand that antarcticlust stepped up into a void, armed with willingness and some experience in a different realm. Forgive me, antarcticlust as I mean no personal insult toward a person with whom I have no prior significant interaction...but this seems rather colonialist, to come in from outside the culture with foreign knowledge, and to lead a council without taking on knowledge of the region's history with the topic at hand. Perhaps the fault lies with the other members of the committee. I do not know.

I can follow the logic of naming the committee for Frenkel, but it seems to me that this lead to a focus on Frenkel rather than the message this action was going to give...and further an excuse-making for the coming fallout as "we're not going to make everyone happy". The question is not "is everyone happy", but "what are the grounds for the various unhappinesses?" It reminds me of the way in which "dudebros" claim that all women will have issues with all interactions with all men, and therefore it's pointless to be mindful of consent and the comfort of women.

There's an implication that the problem is people being unreasonable. I counter by saying that it appears that the issue has been flattened by bureaucratic handling; as if the problem was encapsulated in the words set down on paper, and needing handling as an administrative issue, rather than being indicative of a cultural matrix that needed substantial shake up.

For some of Wiscon's most ardent attendees, Wiscon stands alone. For some of the rest of us, Wiscon is part of a cohort...and this divide seems to be part of the issue. My ideal Wiscon is part of a larger community. Is yours?

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Victoria!
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trinker
Hey, who's reading this that's in Victoria (in Australia) and wants to meet up this week or next?

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Oops.
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trinker
I haven't updated in ridiculous yonks. Sorry about that.

Life in Oz has been...intense.

Headed off to NZ tomorrow to fulfill the terms of my ETA (a not-visa whereat I need to leave every 90 days). Who's in NZ, other than Miche? sinboy, do you have useful tips for me?

Ohana means family...
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trinker
mikz carrying a sleepy A off to bed, after reading to her about How The Body Works.

Yeah. That's a nice thing.

WINTER MARSHMALLOW SALE
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trinker
In time for Christmas/New Year's, I am having a special sale for my friends.

Prices for US shipments:
ALL PRICES INCLUDE SHIPPING

(each packet will contain 8 "generous bite" (3cm^3) portions)

28 pack super box - $150
14 flavor complete collection - $75
12 flavor assorted (your choice) - $65
8 flavor assorted (your choice) - $50
4 flavor sample box (your choice) $25
4 flavor random (my choice) $22

Special pricing available on large orders for party packaging (packed in mass, party favor flat bags and sealing labels delivered for your guests' convenience).

All flavors are made entirely by extracting flavors from real, recognizable food products. No flavoring oils or extracts except for Vanilla and Rosewater.

Please contact me for overseas shipment. I will be extra-thrilled if you figure out what the import issues are for your country and let me know.



AVAILABLE FLAVORS:
Chai
Orange Wattleseed

Red Velvet*
Honey Thyme

Bacon Maple**
Memphis BBQ***

Triple Gingerbread

Grapefruit Brulee
Meyer Lemon
Flor de Jamaica

1001 Nights
Banana & Black Pepper

Matcha

* contains dairy
** contains actual bacon
*** no meat products

VEGAN FLAVOR:
Vegan black cocoa <-- other vegan flavors if there is sufficient demand

If there is enough demand, there will be caffeinated mocha -- there will be a separate pricing for this flavor.

PM me for payment details.

[personal profile] troisroyaumes I think I still owe you a box of something.

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Oh, Burning Man, no...! (part II -
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trinker
Previously posted:
http://www.burningman.com/art_of_burningman/bm13_theme.html

Some ugly Burning Man history:
http://feministing.com/2009/04/14/burning_man_and_the_indigenous/



And something I've been spreading to make people understand why "being proud and secure in one's identity, and successful" isn't enough in the face of systemic prejudice:
freethoughtblogs.com/crommunist/2012/03/26/when-the-rug-is-pulled/

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And yet it divides us
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trinker
http://freethoughtblogs.com/ashleymiller/2012/12/03/ive-lost-my-dad

There's good conversation happening there, but...how many PoC are surprised by this, compared to the number of white people who talk about this as "I can't understand" or "I'm shocked by..." or "I'm surprised by..." ?

I'm neither not understanding, nor shocked, nor surprised. I got over that ages ago.

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Oh, Burning Man, no...!
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trinker
Burning Man just announced its theme for this year.

Cargo Cult

http://www.burningman.com/art_of_burningman/bm13_theme.html

The note that this is problematic has already started, here:
http://eplaya.burningman.com/viewtopic.php?f=325&p=905817#p905816

But so has the usual sneering that anyone who cares about this is looking for offense where none exists.

*sigh*

People dear to me include Burners. I wasn't planning on going to Burning Man this year, but this really makes me not-sad about that.

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