I started out angry, like most people I know. I posted some angry things. I started getting comments in return. Some agreeing with me, some aghast at what happened, some from folks on the other side. And those comments were reasonable. So I started listening. I kept a hard line, but I listened. I dug into what was being said. I want information. I want to know what is going on. It is a mania of mine. I hate not knowing everything. Anytime I go on one of these crusades, and I do more often than is good for me, I know that I will come out the other side with a very different point of view than I started with.
I have talked to an awful lot of people the last week. I've heard a lot of points of view from both sides. These are my conclusions and do not reflect the opinions of anyone else. I'm trying to look at it from all angles. This has proved to be tricky.
First of all the issue of Jan and her termination. This will not be a popular opinion, but I feel that it has to be said. Jan acted horribly to Megan, on mike, on film, so there is no doubt about that, and I am afraid that, as I say that, a lot of the filk community will see that as a betrayal. She got fired and I can't, as someone who has been some sort of a performer for 35+ years now, disagree with the decision. You just don't do that.
The thing is I am also going to go into the con's mistakes. The fact that next years con chair posted his opinions on the front page of the website (it is now on an inner page) is what drove this thing through the roof, and got me going to start with. But the more I look at it, the "sinister plot to dethrone Jan" looks more and more like typically badly run con BS. Things happened, things went wrong. There is no doubt that Jan steps over a lot of boundaries, she is not a particularly politic person and has tunnel vision, which is what makes her an excellent department head, that is what makes the department she runs such a party and I will always go to her party if I possibly can. She is so passionate about what she does. Combine that with just a lot of bad luck and things going to hell, Jan blew up and ended up getting fired.
Jan has apologized, perhaps too late, but has and has owned up to her bad behavior. I have talked to next years con chair have said that the con needs to do the same. I posted some things a week or so ago, I addressed a lot of the problems in my FB page and David did come and answer most of my questions. He understands that he has handled this badly. I'm not saying reinstate Jan, but everyone needs to own up to what went wrong. She saw her department falling apart around her and went after the nearest suspect. People panic. Was it the right behavior … no. Was it typical human behavior … yes.
David acted well within his powers, and for good reason. The manner in which he did it, and then commented on it later was, in my opinion, as bad as what Jan did. Just as you do not call out your tech crew onstage, you do not call out members of your concom on the front page of the website. He regrets that to a very large degree. It was not how he meant it to be but we are a culture that tends to lack filters.
I see a lot of comments about never going to Duckon again. That can only hurt all of us. Most of the rest of the world thinks we're a bunch of weirdos and dammit, we are! But we're a small community. There are really not that many of us worldwide. I see so many people say "I hate >>put fannish category here<<. Fine, but it still belongs in fandom, because we are a small community. I didn't really get it till I heard Tom Smith call an audience "MY TRIBE". We're family here and families tend to squabble. We can't afford to splinter. The factions need to come together, not walk away from each other.
Some personal notes.
Megan took what I said as a direct attack on her. Looking back she had good reason to do so. This hurt her very much. I get so focused on things sometimes that I act in wildly insensitive ways. This was one of those times. I am so sorry. I acted like an idiot, I should not have said the things I said in public without talking to her first. I hope that you can forgive me, even if it is more than I deserve. You are just like one of my kids and I love you and I am always proud of you. You did the best you could in an impossible situation. I am shamed by my behavior. It goes back to that lack of filters thing.
Ann, I owe you so many apologies I don't know where to begin. I deserved everything you said to me Wednesday. Every word of it. I also said some terrible things about you in my FB page. Some in anger, some in a pathological need to be too fucking clever. Several years ago you saved my life. I have repaid you terribly. I hope that someday we can repair our friendship. If we can't it's because I don't deserve it.
David/Slayer … I asked you a question that no one should ever ask a married man. We have already talked about it, and chuckled our way through it. Consider it a dumb ass moment.
Back to the subject.
We all need to step up and own up to our screw ups. Things went wrong, badly wrong. There were bad things said, bad decisions made, and a lot of hate being thrown around. We are geeks together, we are artists together, we need to come together, not keep sniping at each other. We all need to be grownups and try to fix what happened.
I will be at Duckon next year. I hope that a lot of you will too. I hope that Jan will. We need to stick together, not fall apart.