Ugh. Just…ugh.

Well, since last I addressed this (for what I thought would be the last time: silly me), the “backlash” against FanX Salt Lake isn’t dying down.

Conversely, it’s not really picking up, either.

Aside from (from my vantage point) the original, most vocal group expressing their dissatisfaction with the perceived response by FanX to the original complaints about sexual harassment and its follow-up actions, most folks (again, from my vantage) seem to be satisfied with what has been done to address the situation.

But, since the original slate of authors and guests withdrew from FanX, a couple more notable SLC local individuals/organizations have added their names to the list of future non-participants, even though their relationship with the event and its organizers is long and, by their own admission, has been good (or better than good) overall.

And no, I’m not going to name names of those withdrawing, because that’s not the point. The point is that they made their choices, and whether or not I will need to make my own choice in the future, both as a fan and a member of the media (albeit a small one).

Salt Lake Comic Con (as it was known at the time: fuck San Diego) was the second event to grant me media credentials (the first being Stan Lee’s Comikaze in LA: fuck you, you leeches, for screwing Stan over).

In the five years since, I’ve covered every Salt Lake event (by whatever name), continued to cover Comikaze (or whatever they call it, until this year: sorry fellas, you flushed your event down the toilet last year). I’ve gone out-of-state as media for Wizard Con events, Phoenix events, Denver, and even the debacle in Houston a couple of years ago that was Space City Comic Con.

The point is, without that “foot in the door,” so to speak, do I get to be credentialed for those events? Possibly, but who can say for sure?

I have had dealings with Salt Lake’s organizers (both of them), most good, but some negative, as my early coverage was often not complimentary from a fan’s standpoint. I’ve never shied away from pointing out—loudly, if necessary—when things turn sour at any event, and I’ve had to do that from time to time with Salt Lake.

They know who I am.

Have they stopped allowing me to cover the event as Press? No.

Have they asked me to ease up on them? No.

In fact, at Salt Lake Gaming Con 2017, which they signed on to help organize very late in the process, I was approached by one of the organizers and jokingly asked if I was “official” or “unofficial” press as I was walking the floor (while I was credentialed for the event, I was considering myself a fan at that particular moment, so answered “unofficial” with a chuckle). What followed was a very pleasant discussion about what I was looking at/for and how I thought the event was going, and asking if I saw anything I felt he should know about.

What I saw was engagement: by the fans (which is the point of events such as these), but more importantly, by the organizers.

That’s what makes this entire situation so difficult for me to process. The idea that a problem wasn’t addressed is unthinkable. Do I believe the original response was inadequate? My gut says yes, but my gut also says this isn’t the kind of organization that just leaves it alone and doesn’t fix it.

Now, do they “fix it” to the satisfaction of everyone, on all sides? No. That is simply not possible.

I am tired of a vocal few (not just on this issue, but on every issue) deeming themselves the moral, cultural, and societal arbiters of what is “right” and what is “wrong” for everyone else.

I do not believe in it. I don’t.

And I grow more tired of the ad hominem regurgitation of said positions, despite the clear indications that they have been heard, and weighed, and answered by other fans. Far from helping their case, they come off simply as haranguing, piling on, and/or just screaming into the wind, desperate for “a win” for their side.

For now, I suppose, my choice is still clear: I will not engage in the rampant calls for the founders to step away or sell the event, just because it’s being demanded of them by those who are arrogant enough to claim they know what is or isn’t “the right thing.” I will not “boycott,” “divest,” or whatever other word one might use to describe leaving. I will not be bullied into a position.

Perhaps my decision in this is partly based on that stubborn streak of independence in me, gifted by my Italian grandmother. The part that says, “Fuck you; don’t tell me what to do.”

And yes, my grandmother would have said did say that.

In the end, this is a personal decision for each of us. We must all weigh and measure for ourselves what has gone before, process how we feel about it, and determine what we each will do about it, without simply acquiescing to those who believe they “know better.”

Any number of us may end up in agreement, but that decision is for us to make for ourselves, not for anyone else to make for us.

See you in September. Or not.

Your decision.

One thought on “Ugh. Just…ugh.

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