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Perceptions of approval...

I already went on about this to my husband at 1 AM last night when I got home from the con so it's partly out of my system.

Way back at post number one I explained that I was blogging here under a pseudonym as a way to at least symbolically separate my political ranting from my hopeful professional career writing fiction. My purpose isn't to be deceptive. My purpose isn't to make sure that no one ever finds out that I'm Julie A. Pascal. My purpose is to avoid unnecessarily alienating my potential audience.


I went to Bubonicon, a science fiction/fantasy convention this weekend. Anyone with two neurons to rub together knows that the political/religious/ideological... scope... of those who love speculative fiction of one sort or another is enormously broad.

Anyone, except, it seems Connie Willis or John J. Miller. And maybe they set the tone or something because it seemed that that whole panel seemed determined to speak their minds. Connie began by introducing herself and what she's been doing lately as (from memory) "watching the administration slowly implode and hoping they don't take the country with them." John Miller is in the admittedly annoying situation of having someone else with his name, including middle initial, publishing in a different field. I don't blame him for being upset by this but announcing the problem of having the same name of the guy who wrote "100 top conservative rock songs" as though this is particularly horrific did seem like a huge and unapologetic slap in the face to anyone who was conservative.

And I will say that the *audience* made approving noises. Neither Connie nor John have any reason whatsoever (unless they google their names and find this blog post) to think anyone disapproved of their political comments.

Because who would be that rude?

I sure wasn't going to make *dis*approving noises and disrupt the panel. And I ask you... is it even possible that I was the only person there who self-identifies conservative? Sure, I'm a libertarian sort of conservative but conservative none-the-less. Even if most of the audience was in political agreement it's not possible that there were NOT a large number of fans present who reacted as I did and sat there politely with their mouths shut.

Perhaps if those two hadn't set the tone in that manner I'd have been more tolerant of the digs at religion made by a couple of the other panelists (the panel was about plagues). I will say that I found it rather ironic that the person (I forgot who, precisely) who made a statement to the extent that religion blocked progress combating disease, after the discussion morphed a bit into a discussion of the danger of unintended consequences of human action, felt it was terribly important that we have a serious discussion of the morality involved.

Nope, no irony here.

I will defend my perceptions here to say that I *know* that many of the other panelists on other panels are strongly politically liberal and I did not have anything remotely like the same reaction to them. There is even one woman, Suzy Charnas, who I'd love to get to know because despite the fact that her bio and she, herself, describe her as a feminist (others are as well, I'm sure, but no one else mentioned it or described what they wrote as "feminist" SF) and I generally find feminism off-putting, she expressed herself in an appealing way... *without* an implied criticism of anyone else. Plus she seemed to get what I was saying about something and I think it was her voice (I didn't turn around) who said something from the audience in the very last panel that all the panelists disagreed with and I agreed with... I'd love to talk to her about it!

So, it really is not the politics or beliefs that I'm having a problem with here. It's the fact that I felt personally disparaged. I also am not at all inclined to read anything written by Connie or by John because of that. And that may not be fair of me but it's not punitive of me either. It's not to get back at them, it's that I don't trust them to write in a thoughtful way about those who disagree with them politically if they can't even be thoughtful toward those who disagree with them politically in a situation where they ought to be motivated to promote themselves.


Anonymous said…
I believe I know what you are talking about here. It's like, when a guy at our church told an anti-Bush joke and everyone laughed. Like it was inconceivable that anyone there wouldn't find it funny.

The mean-spiritedness and disrespect of the "Tolerance and Diversity" crowd always amazes me.
Synova said…
I really do think that there is more of an assumption of agreement by the left than there is on the right.

But you also reminded me that it's not uncommon for people in churches to remain silent when the odd person goes on about how evil schools are or how this or that group are a threat. My mom was telling me how one lady at her church had a pet cause that few people sympathized with over-much but no one ever said anything to her about it, they just tucked the pamphlets she provided behind some other ones when she wasn't looking.

Few people like confrontation.

But *most* people realize that issues of politics or religion are issues where many people disagree strongly and being polite, either at family gatherings or public events, means staying off those subjects.

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