I didn’t want to spend a huge amount of time poking around on the WorldCon site, but I did notice a page for Future WSFS Conventions. This coming Friday from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM Pacific time, there will be a panel to talk about the future locations of WorldCons. Next year, it will be in Dublin, but beyond that, there are multiple choices.
Now, in addition to location, I can’t help but wonder if other things will be considered, such as “inclusivity.” After all, the folks running this year’s Con had to do some major backpedaling and reorganization in just a few weeks, so I can imagine they’ll want to avoid such a social justice explosion in the future. Naturally, with a whole year (and future years) to plan for, they can consider #OwnVoice panels and such at their leisure, as well as making sure those authors nominated for Hugos represent a proper diversity of disadvantaged voices.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m probably more inclusive than you could possibly imagine (assuming you might not think a conservative could be inclusive), but in my case, I don’t believe in metaphorically throwing the baby out with the bath water. I do believe in bringing in the widest possible spectrum of voices into SF/F. Of course, not everybody can be on a panel, and only so many creative works can be nominated for awards (and I’ve already discussed why the Hugos are not objective or fair, nor do they have to be), but my ongoing concern is that plans will be made so that only the “cool kids” will get to play ball, so to speak.
By “cool kids,” I mean those aforementioned disadvantaged voices and only those disadvantaged voices.
I’ve been accused before of crying “poor little white male me,” and I guess there could be some justification to the allegation, but my point is that it might be a good idea to consider the human race (or those members who choose to write SF/F) when opening up the playground, rather than just shifting your bias from one part of the scale to another.
Living in Idaho, I know my fair share of conservatives, people far, far to the right of me (relative to Idaho, I’m probably more of a moderate), and to the best of my knowledge, none of them are particularly violent. Those I know are intelligent, educated (computer programmers, architects, etc…), considerate, helpful human beings. Yes, many of them vote Republican, own firearms, are religious, and otherwise may be unacceptable to at least some people on the left side of the aisle, but once you get to know them as human beings, you find they’re pretty good people.
So if WorldCon or any other Con is worried that merely being a conservative author makes you a dangerous breed of cat, may I remind you that hostility and violence don’t belong to a political party or a social perspective. Hostility and violence are human choices. The good thing is that having free will, we can choose to behave with kindness and not with cruelty, conservative and liberal alike.
I suspect if we actually sat around a table over coffee or a few beers, we might find out we have a lot in common with each other. Certainly WorldCon board member Andrew Trembley’s declaration is not going to be effective. Let’s try treating each other with respect instead. Who know? It just might work.