sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (city scape)
Facilitator: Mary Anne Mohanraj AND Tanya DePass

This was a very good discussion. Some of the incidents outlined briefly at the beginning: Racefail '09; the Open Source Boob Project; that time when Harlan Ellison grabbed Connie Willis' breast in front of a huge audience; and MoonFail. Briefly mentioned later: Jim Butcher has been accused of whitewashing the Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago; a list of YA books on Jezebel Bitch magazine where some books were asked to be removed. Mary Anne talked about an incident involving Heather Ross, a crafter. She also talked about an incident involving herself on a "fail" panel two years ago at WisCon, when she was called on something and apologized. She said that her first instinct as a "nice Asian" is to want to smooth things over, and have calm, reasoned debate. She had to be taught the tone argument, had to learn that being upset can be very productive and that sometimes the upset may need to be escalated. During RaceFail she posted to John Scalzi's blog, posts that got over 1000 comments, which were heavily moderated. How would you handle such a situation? She pointed to other resources, including Jay Smooth's brilliant video on how to react when being called on racism.

We talked about trust and relationships and how we should talk about what is wrong because we care. There is a family aspect to WisCon and many of us have social capital there. We hope to "fail better next time."

I wrote down "safer, contentious, and learning spaces" but I am not sure what that means.

It is good to couch criticism in praise, but we all know that sometimes tone does not matter at all, and the person will feel yelled at.
"We're all swimming in a sea of racism, some of it will stick to you." --Nalo Hopkinson.

Try using a mediator: If you can't talk to the person who is failing, maybe someone else can.

I brought up the concept of forgiveness, or one might say acceptance. I don't want to hold grudges, and I want to forgive people even if they don't apologize, because I don't want to be a bitter and angry person. We can accept that sometimes people aren't going to get it, or it may take them years. (Not at all surprising, that I wanted to talk about emotional work!)

Mia said that sometimes ability and age get left behind in these discussions of social justice and in representations in SF/F.

What if you are the first one to notice something wrong?
How do you balance community needs vs. individual needs? Public vs. Private?

It would be great to model disagreements. Have people who know and trust each other a lot, yet who disagree strongly, be on a panel. Model this behavior for people who have not seen it!
sasha_feather: Legend of Korra promo  (Korra)
Octavia Butler and Emergent Strategies with Adrienne Maree Brown

"All that you touch, you change. All that you change, changes you. The only lasting truth is change. God is change." These words of Octavia E Butler's have impacted people very seriously on a personal level -- but how do we apply her wisdom on a political organizing level? How do we approach the strategic planning we're all supposed to do if we accept, and come to love, the emergent power of changing conditions? This session will be half "popular organizational development" training and half inquiry into what the future of organizational development and strategic planning will look like.

Adrienne returns to these books as her grandfather returns to his Bible.

Strategy is a word of military origin. How do we get away from that. Emergent properties are organic and unpredictable.

From Parables Books: Olamina's journey
Go from relationships to networks rather than relying on physical spaces. These are much harder to destroy.

Olamina sees every person she meets as a potential revolutionary or ally. (We discussed the difference.) Every person is connected and can likely agree on some things.

Some people in the movement may turn against it when under pressure. But we can be less judgmental of that and more understanding of people's circumstances.

Are the people in our movement spiritually aligned? Reclaim this word. We are fighting the religious radical right with politics when we could be meeting a spiritual force with a spiritual force. (My small group also talked about the term "shared values").

Put values before structures in your organization.

Xenogenesis books/Lillith's brood

Focus on Adaptation, and on Lillith's capacity for grief and solitude. What would it mean to be non-dominant? Can you win or succeed from a non-dominant position? What about evolving what it means to be human, expanding that definition?


Capacity for connection. Trust and organic hierarchy. Staying under the radar (as activist organizations) until we have the strength to compete as equals.


In Fantasy, Servitude with N.K. Jemisin.

I didn't get a whole lot out of this discussion. We did come to the conclusion that class is often discussed in fantasy books, and that this genre is a good medium for class discussions. We made fun of the trope of the king who just wants to go back to the simple life of the stable boy (ie man pain). I brought up the trope of how a character will go from a relatively privileged position to being sold into slavery, which Andrea Hairston poked fun at, "I have suffered more!", and I realized this trope could be called "cultural tourism". We also decided that realistic descriptions of slavery simply aren't "fun" and therefore are less likely to be portrayed.
ETA: The military is also service, of course, and Nora talked a bit about child soldiers. Why do they exist, when women make better soldiers physically than kids? Well, if you see women as the prize, or as means to make more children, then kids will be used as soldiers over women.

Books mentioned:
Brian Sanderson's Misborn Trilogy
Tim Powers
Carol Emswhiller, The Mounts
Joel Rosenberg - Hero Series
Robin Hood tales
Firethorn and Wildfire - Sara Micklem
Powers, Gifts, and Voices - Ursula K LeGuin
Between the Rivers - Harry Turtledove
Kraken - China Mieville
Blood Child

Voice Workshop with Pan Morigan

I can't even express how awesome this was. It was the BEST THING EVER. Your whole body is your instrument. Be silly and have fun and make stupid noises. I also learned how to stand properly, and thereby got taller. I can't even! I've been to all these voice therapists and doctors and other assorted BS, when I should have just come to this. The difference between doing these kind of exercises and ones prescribed by therapists is that these ones are fun. And they feel good.

I skipped the next couple of programming slots in favor of a nap. Then I went to the "Redwood and Wildfire" performance by Pan Morigan and Andrea Hairston. It was wonderful.
sasha_feather: Bender from Futurama and Star Trek people (Bender Rulz)
The bus ride was loooooong and I had pain in my face and shoulder the whole time. I listened to podfic and eventually took a Dramamine.

[personal profile] jesse_the_k and I stayed at a private dorm about a block from Roosevelt University. It was fine if a bit spartan. For instance, the beds were single, hard dorm beds (although I slept pretty well anyway), and there were desks but no lamps, just a bright overhead light. We were warned that there would be no linens, so we brought our own, but there were in fact linens on the beds. I would have liked an ice machine. We could hear the El go by, but this didn't bother me; I guess I was tired enough to sleep well. I loved the many conveniently located restaurants.

The first program item I attended was "Colonialism in Star Trek". I didn't take notes here, but it was super fun to geek out about Star Trek as an opener to the con. We tried to define colonialism and if it is even a bad thing if the Federation is doing it. We cited examples of when it's a bad thing in canon, or when there are rebellions or moral dilemmas: The Maquis, forced relocations, etc. The issue of racism or "speceism" in Star Trek, ie the human thinking they are better than Ferengi, not taking the Bajoran's relgion seriously, etc. We talked about the Prime Directive, and one episode of Enterprise where we thought is was egregiously misapplied when Dr Phlox withheld medical treatment from some people, thereby committing genocide. This we discussed at length. The Borg are an example of Star Trek style exploration gone wrong. Exploration is a human trait that we admire, but is it always good? Someone mentioned the book "Collapse" about how human presence has destroyed native ecosystems on Earth. It is ethical to colonize unoccupied planets? How would we even know if they are unoccupied? This was a fun and thought-provoking panel. Yay Star Trek! It is streaming on NetFlix now, which means I may never leave the house again.

Board Games followed; I played Settlers of Catan with Gremlin and Ian.
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)

I had a lovely time at Think GalactiCon in Chicago! I squeed about fanfic and vids to a lot of people, including people who are clearly not in fic culture (like [ profile] lcohen), which was pretty funny. I talked more than I expected to.

Panels I attended:
*Species-defined gender roles in SF/F (link takes you to my notes)

*Infinite Diversity (Star Trek); a well-attended panel. I surprised myself by ranting about unethical ST doctors, for example Dr. Bashir in Sons of Mogh. Leah and I brought up the fanvid ...On the Dance Floor by sloanesomething.

*Gender and Sexuality in Fan Fiction. I talked a lot, but I don't remember what I said. I did give a shout-out to General_jinjur's Podfic archive; and I recommended Straight as a Circle by [personal profile] toomuchplor.

*Brown People Harshing My Squee?
About the costs (emotional and otherwise) of RaceFail and doing anti-racist work. Panelists were Candra, Karnythia, Jamie, and Pope Lizbet.

*Skipped the Sunday AM panels; ended up sitting in the commons area with a bunch of the TG concom and assorted people. I remember I did refer to [personal profile] vito_excalibur's parody of comic book art and said I'd post links:

These are from a couple of years ago:

How to Draw Women in Comics (According to Wizard), an LJ post with scans and commentary, by [personal profile] ratcreature.

Then look at [personal profile] vito_excalibur's brilliant reversal of it:

There are also some good parodies here at Girl Wonder (scroll down/go through the pages for pictures).

*Race, Ethnicity, and YA.
I was pleased that I'd heard of or read a lot of these books, which made me feel like YAY I know YA pretty well, but also very sad that there aren't MORE YA books about race and ethnicity. There are so few in this booming publishing market! Candra was keeping a list that will be posted eventually. Nnedi Okorafor was the other panelist (go read her book Zarah the Windseeker; it's awesome!).

Other vids I brought up:
Vogue by [personal profile] luminosity (a 300 fan vid/critique)
"White" and Nerdy by talitha (Psych, Gus)

Other fic I brought up:
Reading Against/Reading With: Mastering the Oppositional Discourse in Textual Healing", by emeraldwoman. ST: Reboot fic.
Daddy was a steel-driving man by livii. Sarah Connor Chronicles fic that address issues of trans identity.

ETA: I think access was pretty good at this con. The food was utterly fantastic! Good location that utilized a university in downtown Chicago--awesome.
I really liked the commons area that combined the dealers tables, food tables, registration, and social events. I *loved* the crafty stuff. (I skipped the main crafting event but did casual crafting on Friday.)
Also, bravo to karnythia for turning off the fluorescent lights for me at the Brown People Harshing My Squee panel.
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
Look at this fucking hotel room! It is like a fucking cruise-liner spaceship in the Fifth Element! Ruby Red is going to show up any moment!

cut for pictures )


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