For anyone claiming the recording Truesdale made without anyone’s knowledge or consent somehow vindicates him, or that he only hijacked the first few minutes of the panel, here’s what I heard from Truesdale’s own recording:
- It begins with introductions
- Then Dave starts reading his “Special Snowflakes” treatise
- After five minutes of this, Sheila Williams cut in and began shooting him down
- Dave pipes in a minute later to try to ask, “But what about conservative SF?” Williams keeps going.
- About nine minutes in, Neil Clarke points out that they’re still off-topic, and gets yelled at by random loud dude in the audience.
- Eleven minutes in, Truesdale says he wasn’t finished. Gordon Van Gelder points out they’re off topic.
- Truesdale tries yet again to get back to the evils of political correctness. Sheila Williams shoots him down again.
- Fifteen minutes in, Truesdale goes off about “a certain group” of bullies who can’t stand disagreement and will crucify you for having other opinions.
- After another minute and a half of this, Williams and others once again try to respond and get back on focus.
- Twenty minutes in, Truesdale starts talking about this one anthology editor who produced a mostly/all-male anthology and got crucified, and why it wasn’t his fault, and–
- Several people try to respond and refocus.
- About twenty-two minutes in, Wiscon is mentioned. Predictably, Truesdale takes a jab at Wiscon.
- Jonathan Strahan defends Wiscon and talks about the goal of listening to *more* people, not fewer.
- Twenty-five minutes in, Truesdale continues to talk about how there’s too much intimidation “from the left.”
- Gordon Van Gelder points out, again, that the panel continues to be off-topic.
I stopped listening at this point, because I’d heard more than enough. Listening to his own recording, the man hijacked at least half the panel for his own personal crusade.
Follow-up blog post at http://www.jimchines.com/2016/08/more-worldcon-thoughts/ (You knew I’d end up doing a follow-up on this one, right?)
Updates since I posted this:
- A commenter at File770 gives another account, suggesting that this was a deliberate and preplanned hijacking on Truesdale’s part.
- Truesdale has announced that he recorded the panel (without permission), and will be posting it at Tangent Online, along with an article about his full remarks.
- This seems to confirm, if there was still any doubt, how much pre-planning Truesdale put into hijacking the panel.
- MidAmeriConII posted a brief statement about Truesdale’s expulsion, noting that he was kicked out for violating the con’s code of conduct. Specifically, he caused “significant interference with event operations and caused excessive discomfort to others.”
Just catching up on today’s Worldcon drama. It began when Worldcon selected Dave Truesdale to moderate a panel on the State of Short Fiction. Instead, it’s been reported that Truesdale used the first 10 minutes of the panel for “a 10 minute monologue on how ‘special snowflakes’ who are easily offended are destoying SF.” (Source) He was literally clutching bead necklaces that he called “pearls.” Some people walked out of the audience. Other panelists shot Truesdale’s assertions down and tried to get the panel back on topic. Basically, it sounds like a mess.
This morning, over on Facebook, Truesdale shared an email he says he received from the convention, revoking his membership for his “unacceptable behavior” during that panel.
To be clear, I’m not at Worldcon. I didn’t see first-hand what happened on this panel. (I have read multiple reports from folks in the audience and others on the panel.) It does sound like Truesdale acted like an ass, derailed the panel, and pissed off a lot of people who wanted to, you know, talk about the state of short fiction.
As you might have guessed, I have thoughts about all this…
- Who the hell thought it was a good idea to put Dave Truesdale in charge of this panel? He’s been doing these rants for years, if not decades. How can the convention turn around and pretend to be shocked by his pearl-clutching derail when that’s pretty much who he is and what he’s known for?
- I’ve seen panel derails and blow-ups before. People have gotten into shouting matches, walked off of panels, and so on. I’ve never heard of someone being kicked out of the con for it. (Not invited back as a panelist, sure. Kicked out? Maybe it’s happened, but it’s not a practice I’m aware of.)
- Right now, we have only Truesdale’s post about him being kicked out. It’s possible there’s more to this than just his ridiculous behavior on that panel.
- As Truesdale has gone public with this, I hope Worldcon will issue a statement clarifying why he was expelled from the convention, and whether he violated convention policies either on the panel or elsewhere.
- ETA: From the Worldcon Code of Conduct: “MidAmeriCon II reserves the right to revoke membership from and eject anyone at any time from a MidAmeriCon II event without a refund. Any action or behavior that … adversely affects MidAmeriCon II’s relationship with its guests, its venue, or the public is strictly forbidden and may result in revocation of membership privileges.“
I think we’ve all seen people derail panels for their own personal agendas. Truesdale’s moderation might have been an epic shitshow, but is it grounds for expulsion?
Like I said, we don’t have all the facts on this. Just people’s comments on the panel, and Truesdale’s own account of why he was kicked out. But it sounds like a mess.