Sunday, May 18, 2014

On being snubbed

The controversy this weekend with Robin Wayne Bailey, who traveled all the way from Kansas City to San Jose, California, to accept an honor on behalf of Frank M. Robinson at the SFWA Nebula awards, reminds me of what happened to me with one panel at the San Antonio Worldcon last summer

They forgot to put the award on the program, and forgot what Robin was there for. Needless to say, he was pissed. Within 24 hours the SFWA was issuing apologies for the obvious flub - which begs the question of how or why did it happen.

I don't think it was any sort of intentional slight. Perhaps what happened to me at WorldCon might shed some light (here I quote some from  my original post):

"There were three woman and me and as we started the panel, since everyone else seemed to hold back, I started off; I really didn't think I would have a lot to contribute, so I thought I say my main spiel at the start and then pipe down.

"Well, I guess the moderator thought I was long-winded and/or boring, because she cut me off in mid-sentence, and then for the next 15 minutes, the three ladies all talked among themselves. This is a phenomenon that has nothing to do with the con; it's an American social phenomenon. Middle-aged American men see it all the time, especially in the workplace. When a cluster of women start talking among themselves, they will pretty much ignore any males around.

"After ten minutes I realized they had forgotten I was there, and I would have dozed off except for the noise."

There was an interruption when someone realized the room for the panel had been messed up, and we all followed a convention officer to a second room where one panelist had been all the time

"Now, while I was sitting on the dais in the first room, I was getting so bored, I thought about going down and being comfortable in the audience. This room change was a great opportunity, then, and when I got to the other room. I sat in the first row and left the ladies to join the young male author on the dais.

"They started right back up a didn't even notice me in the audience, until someone pointed me out, but I told them to carry on, they were doing fine without me."

The other panelists didn't miss me, and just went off on their own world. Some people in the audience obviously thought they were being a bunch of douchebags, and a few guys buttonholed me afterwards and asked me questions they would have if I had been allowed to participate in the panel. We all had a nice visit, and some of the other panelists, when they saw people talking to me, must have realized bad how they looked. All I got were some catty remarks on their exit.

My point is that, when you get a bunch of egotistical artistic types together, they get tunnel vision and end up forgetting there other people out there outside their own tight-knit social circle. SFWA is a badly socially inbred outfit and they probably just forgot Robin was there.

It's wasn't intentional, but it also wasn't right.

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