Last weekend, while I was having the time of my life, having a politics-free time with some cool folk who enjoy books and genres that I do, fake science fiction news site File 770 had one of their contributors write a weird fan fiction poem about me. Apparently, this person took quite the exception to the fact that I market and promote myself in the wake of some people I don’t know on the internet doing everything in their power to tear me down and delegitimize me. Naturally, not knowing me and never having interacted with me, the person got many of the specifics about events wrong, but his overall message was one that was true enough: these folk can’t get me out of their heads to stop talking about me.
A poem from a random stranger on the internet is a bit creepy, and naturally as it’s meant to target me negatively, I had a bit of a harsh reaction to it at first, but upon reflection I applaud this person’s creativity. If they want to spend their time writing poems about me and hopefully reading my book to come to a good conclusion that I’m not a “real” author or whatnot, that’s great. More power to them.
But what struck me more was the comments that brought me back full circle on this intense journey of blogging and gaining readers regularly since Baycon’s leadership took last year’s election quite personally, opting to disinvite me from their science fiction convention in order to try to send some message that to them, politics is more important than science fiction book releases or even personal friendships.
For those new readers: Baycon took to File 770 to launch a smear campaign of me after that, lying and gaslighting about the topic, which I’ve already shown their true motives on this blog in the past. My public blog was a call to them was to drop the politics, posted after having it made very clear by someone in the know that they would refuse to even open my emails on the topic. My points on the matter were impersonal, and topical, yet was met with some of the most angry, vitriolic personal attacks I’ve ever received. That’s the level of hatred that was involved, and the level I went to try to make sure they cleared up this event so everyone could have a good time in science fiction like in the past.
Baycon, as we found out, not only ignored my warning, but doubled-down with a program slate riddled with angry, one-sided politics. There were other long-time guests who messaged me privately to let me know that they declined their standing invites because the politics had become too thick with this group, and praised me for speaking out on the matter– and yes, despite what they said on the topic, almost every author who puts out even the most unread, semi-relevant work in the last few years has standing invites and gets invited year-after-year. You’re now up to date on the topic if you’re a new reader.
Then it got crazier. One of the File 770 fanfic poem commenters wrote a 400-word rant about Baycon and their interactions with me, specifically on how great of a time that they were all having without me. This person immediately opened with some mild racism directed at your humble Hispanic author and journalist, stating that I don’t “pronounce my name in a Spanish way”. A white woman on the internet demanded that I’m supposed to roll the r’s in Del Arroz harder to make myself some Speedy Gonzalez caricature for her benefit. Someone followed up on mocking my name and heritage on the site, making for a really bizarre display of racism against Hispanics on File 770 that illuminates a lot about the SJW mentality. I incidentally get a lot of racism directed at me from SJWs who can’t handle that I fly in the face of their narrative, and never have once received such treatment from the boogeymen they claim are “problematic.” I reached out to Mike Glyer, the purveyor of the site, for comment, who stated, “Name humor is fundamentally not funny. Ethnic name humor is offensive.” I agree wholeheartedly, and much thanks to Mr. Glyer for that.
The person continued to make all these presumptions about me that are false before going into the meat of her narrative: no one at Baycon knows who I am or even cares about me. This is where it gets pretty ironic, as then it launches into proof of that concept by mentioning how they were all spending their party evening (most conventions have parties after hours) talking smack about me. I’m glad that while I was enjoying myself elsewhere with a group of people who legitimately didn’t know me, that these folk of which I am well familiar with a large number, including some who attended/guested who are still very much my friends, had a good time getting angry at me and mocking me where they safely couldn’t get called out on it.
They went further. A long-time attendee made ribbons – actually spent good hard earned money – to take a line from my original blog on the topic and mock me. For those not familiar with conventions, a custom in recent years has been for folk to attach ribbons to their badges, usually something silly or fun, or in promotion of something. They’re not that cheap to make, so it takes some dedication to want to do it (for those at cons in the near future that I’m attending, come find me to get your Grand Rislandian Army ribbons!). I’d heard about this before, and assumed it was a joke that they wouldn’t remember come convention time. Con-chairman Christopher Castro even chimed in on a Facebook thread to express his pleasure at his attendees mocking me in this manner back when the original word of my blackball from speaking hit. I reached out to him for comment, but he blocked me rather than reply. Word is that they gave out around 200 of these at the convention, $50-75 worth of printing costs and several hours of time dedicated to thinking about me.
Yet… no one knew who I was, according to this poster, including the poster herself who had quite a few details they apparently knew about me. The poster has since followed up to state that someone who called me a “cupcake” was responsible for this information — of whom I understand from use of that term to be Baycon programming director, Susie Rodriguez, the person directly responsible for my removal from speaking and the smear campaign. Nice source. The post then goes on to explain how their guest of honor, one of the writing duo known as James SA Corey, of The Expanse fame, had a look of disgust on his face when I was mentioned (I’ve never met or interacted with them, have no beef with them either. I’ve also reached out to them for comments on this topic as I hope to clear any ill-will up as a misunderstanding. From what I hear, they’re good guys and hard workers.) You see the cognitive dissonance that they have to form in order to make these arguments, which is what happens every time in these instances where SJWs get caught with their absurd behavior, and occurred from day one when the Baycon folk went into scramble mode to try to minimize the damage of being called out on their organization’s political problems.
Those comments went on, and they vary in nastiness as they always do when my name is evoked over there. It’s the same 5-10 people saying over and over how horrible I am or how much I don’t matter. The poem’s right in one regard– they sure spend a lot of time talking about me for how much I don’t matter. Something I said resonates to their core, and the reason, despite the cognitive dissonance, is the fact that these folk have spent decades preaching phony tolerance and diversity to a point where it became a witch hunt to find anyone who’s “not tolerant and diverse.” Those words lost their meaning, and became code for “we don’t like vocal Christians” a long time ago, and has in the last year or so added “we don’t like nationalists” to that. Now they’ve got someone willing to speak against their falsehoods, who not only proves there’s no tolerance or diversity desired with this crowd, but does so from a minority perspective who’s supposed to be leading a charge with them. It’s more than me, it’s what I represent as an anti-narrative to them. The narrative is their religion, and without it, they’re lost, as they’ve used that to fill that God-sized hole in their lives.
But there’s good news with this as well. Their tyranny over Baycon is over. New leadership was announced for the convention for 2018, leadership that I very much approve of. They’re of the same political persuasions, this is the San Francisco Bay Area after all, but they’re not the self-destruct-nuke-at-all-costs SJW types that handled the 2017 events. I expect to see some big changes next year, and hopefully the politics can be dropped from this sci-fi convention and it can get back to fun, as it’s the only thing I’ve asked since day one. I’ll of course be on top of watching this and making sure that pertinent sci-fi fandom news is brought to your attention.
Quick shout out my MANY friends from the guest list Baycon who stuck through me through the lambasting, through the attempts to smear my character through the last year. It was certainly rough with the mass of lies and vitriol flung at me, but I appreciate you being there, even if we don’t talk all that much. I won’t name your names for your own safety, but you know who you are. I love you very much and appreciate your support.