Good post Bloodlust. And it's nice to see that the event is *intended* to not be as much of a tearing down of people as it might be. But the concern was warranted given the description.
My concern is with reactions here. The people here claiming that this is all just overworked political correctness are just naive about the issue. That's not an attack, I'm not questioning intelligence or ethics. Just info about a topic.
Something isn't bullying because it's critical and negative. It isn't bullying because it 'makes someone feel bad'. Bullying involves an attack against the powerless or relatively powerless. That's the key. Bullying is an abuse of power.
It's a choice, folks. You can choose what makes you happy and what doesn't. But ignoring power abuse with strawman arguments is naive. There is a difference between criticism and bullying/abuse. A real difference.
Nicely put.. Cudos dude!
To me, there are two more important questions:
1) Can you poke fun at a given work without poking fun at the creator, especially if the creator is not named? If you kick the creation, does that automatically mean you kick its creator?
2) If you mock a work and not a person, does that make you disrespectful? I would argue that yes, you can make fun of something (Plan 9 From Outer Space) without tearing down the creator (Ed Wood). I'm not saying every case of mockery is respectful. If this panel planned on showing pictures of the authors and calling them no-talet hacks, then you would definitely be correct. AFAIK, the panel will only focus on the writing. That means it can serve as constructive criticism for the rest of us — to see what bad writing looks like, so it's easier for us to avoid falling into that kind of writing.
I would also argue that no, mocking a given work is not the same thing as mocking a person. True, it can go too far. If someone wrote a respectful piece of fanfic but failed because they are still learning how to use grammar effectively, then I wouldn't find humor in reading it. But if we're talking about Laura Croft having sex with a dinosaur, I see no problem in mocking that.
I hear your concerns about the power differential. A room full of people is a big difference than one person typing away in her room. But since the panel will NOT be naming anyone or giving contact information, I don't see who is being bullied.
Another good post. Also one of the often key things i hear people bringing up on other sites, is Intent. Is the intent of this to demean, or is the intent of this, to point out flaws?
I liken it to some of the better 'counseling sessions' i got in the military versus some of the worst ones i had to endure.
The better ones, pointed out what was wrong, WHY they were seen as wrong, and what i could do to either avoid doing the same in the future, or how to do them, but in a proper manner.
The bad ones, just ragged on me for how dumb i was for doing 'the thing' time and time again, and how Poor i was as a sailor for not recognizing the mistakes myself...
Yes, it's possible to criticize the work and not abuse the author. Is the abuse easy to keep from happening in a forum like this? And again, we know now what the intended purpose is. But we're in part just talking theory here. But suppose one work that wasn't intended to be crappy and was an authentic attempt at writing made its way onto the list? Is the crowd signing up for *this* event, a *crowd* of people, really going to be able to stop at just criticism of the writing? Mobs and group-think are real things. And when you've got potential for abuse of the powerless, what's warranted is an over-cautious approach. The risk and results of abuse happening is worse than the negative effects of restricting the actions of the people in power. In this example, this would mean that not allowing or very carefully monitoring this event is better than running the risk of some poor kid getting crapped on.
I agree, that having an event like this CAN be fraught with danger, especially where you get group thing/mob-mentality involved, but stopping it ahead of time for what COULD happen, rather than what will/shall happen is kind of censoring things a little too much. Its kind of like schools that got rid of tag/dodge ball, cause they felt it MIGHT hurt kids feelings getting picked last for one of the teams.
What ever happened to sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me. People made fun of me because I played D&D. Now they make fun of me because they say I'm to old to play video games. Who cares what other people think or say?
Unsure. I know as a kid growing up in the 70s, that was still the mentality, but as society progressed into the mid-late 80s and beyond, it started getting 'used less and less'. To where we are now, where it seems people find offense with a lot of things said, even if not directed TO Them..
For me, there are generally three levels of concern about any GenCon event:
- The event sounds just peachy (like your basic D&D event)
- The event sounds sketchy (like this one)
- The event sounds like bullshit (like the Blissology sales seminar)
I think sketchy events deserve extra attention before accepting or rejecting them, but I like the idea of letting people decide if they want to go, not GenCon's employees. So yes, I would accept your SPA cosplay mocking event. But no, I would not attend it. To me, there's a difference between something clearly wrong and something that *could* go wrong.
I agree. There are 3 grades, and only the last one should be seen as 'not for our convention' by the staff. Let the other 2 stand on their own two feet, and be made or broken by how many show up..