davemerrill: (Default)
so if you went to AWA in the early years you might remember Alisa-chan. I think she was a Sailor Moon at AWA 2 or 3. She and her boyfriend Derek - you know, foam-hair Dragonball cosplayer Derek, angry holler-at-security-guard-late-Sunday-night Derek, internet-meme Derek - they did a lot of cosplay at a lot of cons and segued away from anime cosplay to super hero cosplay.

Anyway if you've been wondering what Alisa was up to, well, she and Derek are splitsville and she married another guy and that guy is a white supremacist and she and her Hitler-hubby were at the Charlottesville rally two weekends back, marching and hollering "Jews Will Not Replace Us."

Trust me honey, the Jews don't want what you got.

So because this is 2017 everything everybody does is all over social media and social media users were like, holy crap, that's Alisa. And Alisa, or Alyssa, or whatever, she was like, oh yeah, we were at the rally, on the side of the Nazi flags. On the side of the guy that murdered a woman. So there was some blowback on her FB pages, which have been deleted, and the webmaster of Alisa's sexy cosplay photo page took the whole thing down, and a few nerd news sites have covered the story.



Obviously there's been a lot of discussion among the Class Of 1998 anime nerds. How culpable is Alisa? Is she being manipulated by her husband and her husband's repulsive, hate-damaged pals? Is Alisa a grown adult capable of making her own stupid decisions? Or has she always been kind of, well, easily led? How many more white supremacists are walking among us, heads filled with poison? Something to keep in mind as we swing into fall convention season.

Alisa was kind of the first superstar anime cosplayer, kind of the template for the future photo queens and a target for the dudes with huge lenses who camp out all weekend long to capture their elusive beauty. I've seen her at a few recent AWAs but always outside posing for photos, never inside enjoying the con. If she wants to be a white supremacist she can continue to stay outside the con and be a white supremacist somewhere else.
davemerrill: (Default)
So a little while ago on Twitter a Twitter pal in Buffalo mentioned a Niagara Falls convention called "Fan World" and how they were being really vague about whether or not their big Japanese guest was going to show up. They're a "con in a box" type show: a guest list with five musical acts, four voice actors, and five "professional cosplayers" and not much else. They don't have any roots in local fandom and their website was designed by the same guy who designed the website for the Midwest Media Expo, which was a Detroit "fan con" that was cancelled days before it was supposed to take place.


In fact, both the Midwest Media Expo and Fan World Niagara had the same guest, used the same guest bio and the same photo of the guest - Akira Yamaoka - the same guest that Fan World Niagara was now being so vague about.

Turns out that Fan World Niagara just announced that Yamaoka cancelled. Which isn't a surprise, when shows say anything about a guest that may in any way indicate that guest might not show, you can count on that guest not showing.

The con also had an ambitious cross-border event plan, with most events happening on the US side and a few on the Canadian side; the Canadian side events have all been cancelled.

It looks to me like this is Midwest Media Expo all over again - a new show rides a little wave of interest and publicity, but is unable to maintain momentum and withers away after a few years. Who knows if Fan World will make it past two?

I've done a lot of "how to start conventions" panels in the past, and we always holler START SMALL at the top of our lungs, but people don't want to listen. I don't do those panels any more, because people don't listen. They have to find out for themselves that conventions have to grow organically, from the community, that you have to build relationships with staff and facilities and fans (your customers) over time, and that the good will you start with by running a fan event will vanish overnight if you abuse it.

PR emails

Jul. 5th, 2017 04:11 pm
davemerrill: (Default)
As a noted anime blogger (?) I occasionally get emails from PR firms that have been hired by various fan-related events or products, trying to get me to interview somebody to promote their thing. Usually these just go straight into the trash, but every once in awhile I get one that piques my interest, like this latest series of emails (name of convention has been redacted).

The subject line is "Disney World for nerds of all ages", which is a big WTF. There already is a Disney World for nerds of all ages, it's called "Disney World".

The basic gist of the first email was "Gamers, cosplayers and anime nerds don’t need to cross the ocean to access authentic Japanese anime, video gaming and manga because CONVENTION is bringing Tokyo to CITY." In other words, it's just one more anime con. This one is special, kind of, because their guest list is heavier than usual with American entertainers... nerd musicians, YouTube "celebrities", and 80s-era standup acts that have theaters in Branson. There are also actual Japanese animation industry guests, but the convention's website does not promote these actual anime guests over the nerd-rapper guests and the cosplayer guests and the video blogger guests. I mean, there are fourteen (14!) different musical acts performing at this "anime convention."

A second email sent a few days later tries a different tack: "A three-day, $60 pass will open 100+ doors for your readers with a convention that is finally all-inclusive. At CONVENTION, they don’t need to pay extra for autographs, events or exhibitions. For a potential blog post, I can connect you with a member of the CONVENTION team to discuss the event, the growth of the cosplay culture and how this shift in conventions from ala-carte to all-inclusive is improving the fan experience."

In other words, this convention is trying to claim "not charging extra for events" is some sort of exciting new policy. Sorry guys, we've been doing it like this all along. Not charging extra for autographs is nice, but all that means is that the convention negotiated a rate with the talent beforehand. The talent is getting paid regardless.

A third email, sent a week later, is a lot shorter and to the point: "This weekend is THE weekend... for CONVENTION! Would you be willing and able to share the news with your anime fans who happen to live in the Midwest and may want to check out the all-inclusive convention this weekend?"

Yes. PR emails are going out the week before and THE WEEK OF their convention. Who exactly are they targeting here? Are there fans who make their anime convention plans a week in advance? Who just says, "hey, I read about this anime con that's happening next weekend, let's take time off work and make travel and hotel plans for this thing?" I don't know anyone that casual. Maybe they're out there. Most anime fans I know have their convention plans nailed down months before the show.

My conclusion is that CONVENTION might want to go with a different PR team next year, one that starts sending out PR emails earlier and that has a better grasp on anime convention culture, and that might actually look at the blogs they're sending this spam to, because my blog is about thirty year old cartoons, not cosplayers or YouTube stars or Yakov Smirnoff.
davemerrill: (Default)
we were at a fan event in a restaurant last Sunday and it was kinda crowded. Shain and I were at a table that had two other spots, and someone from our group was urged to sit down at our table by both the waiter and Shain and I. He didn't want to sit there, though, he wanted to sit against the wall at another table on account of his backpack, which was filled to bursting with... something.

Now, I can remember fans bringing backpacks to anime club meetings in the 1990s, and they'd be gigantic overstuffed backpacks full of giant 1990s era video game systems and cartridges and VHS tapes and issues of Animerica and CDS and manga and whatever he (it was always a he) was bringing to the club meeting to share. A lot of the fans were college students used to filling their backpacks with whatever they were likely to need for the next twelve hours, if I had to venture a guess. I suppose it gets to be a habit, I'm leaving the house, gotta take the backpack. I still see a lot of people at AN staff meetings with the backpacks. Me, I show up at the AN meeting with a pocket notebook and a pen and my phone, and that means I'm good to go.

This event Sunday was not a club meeting. It wasn't any sort of fan organization business meeting at all, strictly a social eat-food-and-socialize kinda thing, and days later I am still haunted by the question... What on Earth was in that backpack? I mean in this day and age you can fit the entirety of 1990s video game history, anime, and manga in the palm of your hand, so it's not that. What was it? A change of clothes? A year's worth of library books? Nice ripe grapefruit? What was so vital to life and comfort that it needed to be hauled into a crowded restaurant and sequestered in its own chair against the wall where it was safely out of everyone's way?

I still see this a lot, particularly at conventions, comic shows, and the like; worlds apparently bereft of hipster messenger bags, worlds where ever carrying implement has to jut out a full twelve inches into space, becoming a giant blunt object smashing into whatever is unlucky enough to be behind Nerdlinger Backpack Man. Because that's what backpacks do, they sit on backs and they get in everybody else's way, especially in crowds.

I am kicking myself because I didn't ask the guy what was in his backpack. "Man, seriously, I gotta ask, that backpack is jam full of stuff, what the hell is in there?" Maybe I'm being too nosy. But you don't manhandle that thing into a crowded room full of diners, not without a good reason.
davemerrill: (Default)
Well! That one's over with. Got an article in the NOW about Anime Hell, no technical hitches, panels went as planned, everybody seemed to have a good time. We ate lots of food at a Mongolian hot pot place on Sunday night and are still stuffed. Found some interesting and reasonably priced stuff in the dealers room. Got to spend quality time with Neil and Mike. We had the usual fumfoolery getting badged up but I think I know the problem and will put a solution into effect.

Thursday it rained like crazy and it was ugly out there. Friday wasn't as bad. Saturday was nicer, and Sunday was downright pleasant.

Anime North found itself in the center of some political adventures over the weekend. Allow me to explain.

Since Stephen Harper stepped down the Conservative Party has needed to elect a new leader, and to do this they have a conference, and they had their conference in the North building of the Toronto Conference Center. Which is where Anime Hell and Anime North's Costume Contest was last year - AN has always had the South building but had recently expanded into the North building. This year we had to contract back a little.

Anyway, the Conservatives failed to let the attending party voters know which building they'd be in. So lots of Conservative voters were showing up to a parking lot full of cosplayers, ravers, photographers, and anime nerds, confused about what was going on and where they needed to be.

The voting polls closed at 4, leaving a lot of frustrated Conservatives unable to cast their ballots, but they didn't take it out on the anime fans, who instead got a lot of confused looks and some honest questions. And yes, there were a few anime fans who were Party members and who cast their votes (some in cosplay) for the least objectionable Tory candidate.


I think my panels went OK; the Hot Tub panel went much better this time than it did at AWA, the Desert Island panel was interesting and fun, and the Chargeman Ken panel was a blast. Stupid Comics wasn't as well attended this year and I don't know if it was the time slot or if the crowd is getting tired of it. Maybe both. Incomplete Cartoon Education went well and I think we're going to bring that back next year and show more things these kids didn't grow up with. Anime Hell went great- the tech was flawless, the crowd was into it and stuck around until 12:45, and even though I spilled Diet Coke onto the laptop during the show, it didn't miss a beat. That's a win for the new age, I guess.

Now we're really tired. We actually left the con on Saturday to come home and feed the cat, and we wound up napping for an hour. We got home this afternoon and took another nap. The older I get, the more these things wipe me out. I don't know how people do convention after convention and keep their energy levels up. Red Bull and disco naps, I guess.
davemerrill: (Default)

The gist is that predatory harassers in Wisconsin fandom have made a name for themselves, more or less. That dude who got permanently banned from WisCon? Don't make him your guest relations director. That's a no-brainer. And when you do, and your guests start saying, hey, wait a minute, don't double down on the no-braining.

We're seeing a fascinating time in fandom as these cranky old beardos get elbowed out of the way by the the less willing to put up with nonsense & more willing to say "this is unacceptable" in a way that doesn't let fandom hide in the 'fans are slans' cave away from the scary mundanes and their sportsballs.

I've been lucky in that the harasser situations I was personally involved with were dealing with harassers who weren't entrenched in the convention power structure. We could boot their butts to the curb and the facility would issue a criminal trespass warning and that would be it. Dealing with this situation when it involves upper level staff is a whole different beast. Glad I never had to deal with it.

Sad part is that this is the first I've ever heard of "Odysseycon", which is going into its tenth year of being a thing that happens. Not the way you want people to hear about your con, guys.
davemerrill: (Default)
I know that it's 2017 and making fun of furries is sooooo 1998. But come on.

goofy Twitter talk about "punching Nazis" irritates a gang of alt-right Sovereign Citizen furbabies, led by a registered sex offender, leading to a hilariously fake "cease and desist" letter and, oh, all kinds of fandumb.


It's not happening in 1998, it's happening now! Outstanding.
davemerrill: (harvey)
Nerd & Tie has a round up on the exciting world of fandom train rides, fandom cruises, fandom cosplay expos, fandom Sailor Moon Cafes, you name it, it's the exciting world of Angry Goat Productions who apparently have yet to actually produce anything other than websites and bad press.

from the article:
So earlier this week we were pointed towards a supposed scam warning on Facebook about Angry Goat Productions‘s “Sailor Moon and Pop Up Cafe Exhibit.” The Pop Up cafe is supposed to be a part of an event called Cosplay Unplugged Los Angeles (CULA), but for many this is raising red flags.

The more I’ve dug into this and organizer Ray Jelley though, the more confusing the maze has gotten. Are people getting scammed by Angry Goat Productions, or is this simply a case of Angry Goat Productions being really bad at this.

Update: Angry Goat quietly cancels their Sailor Moon events.

Despite promises that tickets would be going on sale soon and that a new venue was being booked, it appears that at least all of the Sailor Moon themed events have now been cancelled. Of course, as we suspected, there were no official announcements made — but the events quietly disappeared from the Angry Goat Productions’ Facebook page and website.

I can't really say "score one for the good guys" here, because it looks like this outfit was, and still is, doomed from the start. Still, it's made for entertaining reading, and some hopefully cautionary examples for future Angry Goats angry enough to want to start their own fan events.
davemerrill: (harvey)
this outfit is putting on a Sailor Moon cruise and a Sailor Moon cafe and a bunch of branded fan events without, as far as I can see, bothering to go through the formality of actually contracting with the owners of Sailor Moon.


They seem to really be pitching for the gullible fan who has a lot of extra cash lying around. Last summer they advertised a 'cosplay train' from LA to the SDCC and if anybody actually bought tickets, they didn't talk about it much on social media. This year they're pitching a Harry Potter LARP on a train and the "American Cosplay Awards" at an LA event and a couple of cruises. It all looks to me like somebody interned at a travel agency and left with some industry contacts and some Sailor Moon clip art. Watch for this one to crash and burn and sink and derail later this year!

Edited to add a blog post with more Angry Goat Information: http://scarlet-rhapsody.com/?p=8815
davemerrill: (harvey)
From the industry website ICv2, part of a column titled "Three Convention Trends We Could Do Without"-

Art scammers. Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen increasing attention to sellers of unlicensed prints and illegal copies of artwork in the exhibit halls of big shows, sometimes right down Artists’ Alley from genuine professionals selling original work. Selling unauthorized prints of someone else’s artwork is wrong for reasons that should require no further elaboration and it’s good to hear that some shows are starting to take a harder line on this. But there are shades of gray once you get past the black and white of out-and-out piracy.

For example, professional artists frequently sell works that feature characters they’ve drawn in comics or other media, but did not create and do not own. Perhaps they pay license fees to the publishers. Perhaps they have tacit or explicit agreements that cover these activities. Or perhaps not. Fans rarely ask their favorite Batman or Sonic the Hedgehog artist to sign a legal release when buying a Con sketch and artists don’t offer.

This kind of thing has been going on at Cons for as long as there’s been Cons and it benefits no one to crack down on it. Sure, IP owners have some risk exposure in this scenario if they don’t protect their rights, but no one wants to go around suing their own artists. Besides, they’d never recover the costs of litigation.

But what about semi-professional artists selling their “versions” of characters they don’t own, didn’t create and never worked on? These fan artists have been around cons forever too, but lately they seem more visible and more present. Some have cultivated a following on DeviantArt or Tumblr. A few of them are pretty good.

If they pay for their tables and fans want to buy their stuff, organizers may be tempted to see this as no big deal. After all, smaller shows need to fill their exhibit halls with dealers, and there’s a shrinking market for traditional collectibles as older, hardcore fans get turned off by escalating prices, crowds and irrelevant attractions.

If I were a professional artist, I’d be pretty concerned about this. Making table at shows is always uncertain. Is it helpful when cons roll out the red carpet for amateur competitors?</i?
davemerrill: (harvey)

Just read it. Go ahead, it's not long. Well, OK, here's the salient points.

1.Artists/vendors are selling items that clearly infringe the copyrights of others.
2.Artists/vendors often do not understand how IP rights work, and more troubling, often don’t understand the risk they’ve taken on by selling potentially infringing items at a convention.
3.Artists often rely on selling such work to make ends meet.
4.Convention organizations, with few exceptions, turn a blind eye to their vendors’ sale of infringing material.
5.IP rights holders aren’t enforcing their rights – or perhaps not even paying attention to the issue.
6.Consumers (that is to say con-goers) either don’t understand that what they’re doing is supporting theft, or they don’t care.


I regularly hear uneducated arguments, often citing “fair use”, but in 99.9% of the situations I’ve encountered these arguments are utterly inappropriate.

They often go something like this:
•One-of-a-kind, original drawings and paintings of someone else’s IP are okay.
•Since everyone does it, copyright holders must not care.
•If I only sell it at conventions, and not online or in stores, it is okay.
•If I’m not making a profit, it is legal to draw someone else’s characters.

Each and every one of these is false. Let me repeat that. Each and every one of these is false. Any questions?

In any event a claim of fair use is always a question of law and artists/vendors can potentially be dragged into costly litigation over their mistaken belief that there is some sort of legal precedent that allows them to violate someone else’s IP rights.

This actual lawyer type guy details exactly what's been troubling me about conventions and artists alleys and the blind eye conventions turn towards IP theft, the handwaving fans and artists do to try to weasel out of taking responsibility for their actions, and how I feel about table fees from these artists being used to fund the parts of the convention I actually enjoy and am a part of (not great about it, is how I feel). I'm really pleased to see someone with concrete knowledge stepping up to the plate and tackling these issues.
davemerrill: (milky)
So there's one of these hilarious pop culture mashup t-shirt vendors at fan conventions who's now selling shirts that say "(name of convention) Is My Super Bowl". And some of the people who run the conventions that are named on these shirts are like, "how dare they use the name of our convention, that's copyright infringement or whatever." And I'm like, have you LOOKED in your dealers room lately?? It's copyright infringement T-shirt heaven in there!

I was gonna

May. 9th, 2016 01:12 pm
davemerrill: (milky)
I was gonna write an inside-nerd-con-baseball post about one thing, but this other thing is a thing that I thought I'd mention, is that Anime Expo has laid down a lot of new interesting rules for staff, exhibitors, and AA table-ers.


Background checks (that the exhibitors pay for), and now even press and animation industry professionals have to pay to get in. It's a big change and people are ventin'.

Turns out the people running AX these days, or at least handling the vendors and other services, is/are IDG World Expo, who also run MacWorld and E3 and Digital Entertainment World, etc. http://www.idgworldexpo.com/about/

If you didn't think this kinda thing was big business, think again.

Which segues into the thing I was going to talk about before, which is a convention selling lithographs of artwork by a guest, the artwork being of licensed characters, and the convention does not have the license to sell merchandise featuring these characters and didn't even attempt to get the license to sell merchandise featuring these characters, and I don't think it's going to cause any actual legal problems for anybody but it looks really, really, really unprofessional. It just does.
davemerrill: (milky)
So we just had a big anime-con meltdown over on Facebook, which happily melted down more than a month before the actual convention was supposed to have happened. "Akihabara Expo" and/or "Akibaland" was/were a show happening at the Anaheim Convention Center in December, with sponsorship by Crunchyroll and Grimecraft, among others, and lots of DJs and musical acts and producers and DJs and maybe some artists, and an attendee conduct policy that seemed lifted from a rave that informed attendees they could not bring in food, water, or medication and that if they left the facility they would not be allowed back in.

Turns out, most of their guests and sponsors had not agreed to be guests or sponsors, and that none of the facilities, not the Anaheim Convention Center, nor the hotel the convention moved to without announcing it to anyone, had been paid.

So it's vaporware, and hopefully our con chair, who asked everyone to address him as "Michael -san" or "Michael-sempai" - got out of this without being tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. Wounded pride heals but credit scores are more complicated. Especially complicated is the legal status of whatever business he was trying to run; AkibaExpo LLC was registered, then cancelled; the address given for this LLC was a fake, and subsequent inquiries brought forth the information that Akiba Expo was being run as a sole proprietorship, which means, he's on the hook for it all, whatever that might entail.

Hopefully the artist alley artists who paid for tables and the attendees who bought badges will be refunded. Hopefully the next time some wannabe decides to start an "anime convention", he'll realize it's a more complex proposition than merely, you know, telling the kind of overblown lies 12 year olds tell each other in study hall about how their dad bought them a Ferrari but it's in the shop right now and how last year he went on a date with all three of Charlie's Angels, to use an example from a childhood fibber I knew.

madox 01

Nov. 1st, 2015 11:24 am
davemerrill: (milky)
Madox was an OVA I would have sworn was released in 1987 but it turns out it was released in 1988. I remember watching it first in the home of a friend of a friend who was in the local club- this guy wasn't in the local club, but somehow he got this new OVA ahead of any of us so-called anime experts. That's the great thing about being an anime fan, because Japanese cartoons are mass culture that seeps in through the cracks and that person you never knew was a fan may have hundreds of tapes of cool stuff at home. Happened to me more than once.
Anyway AnimEigo released it in 1990, it was the first uncut subtitled commercial release of Japanese animation in the United States, which is kind of a big deal. We take this stuff for granted nowadays, that something would get a domestic release without being edited and dubbed with silly voices and the script changed to be silly, or sillier than the original anyways, but in 1990 it was a big deal. Naturally some big-deal anime fans were less than happy that some guy from North Carolina nobody'd ever heard of was going to do what THEY patently could not do, namely import Japanese animation, and this led to some really huffy and in hindsight hilarious editorials from a certain San Antonio-based anime club president, which led to this response from AnimEigo head Robert Woodhead, which the San Antonio club was big enough to print in full, though not without a "rebuttal".

From what I can tell, the anime club prez made some really silly calculations based on figures pulled out of thin air, and concluded that AnimEigo was charging too much and that AnimEigo could never succeed. Since AnimEigo is still in business, somebody was blowing some smoke here, and it wasn't AnimEigo. Think of the paper and ink and membership fees that were wasted on this pointless argument that nobody else in the club gave a flip about, and then multiply that by 12, and then multiply that by three or four years, and you might see why anime clubs of this type died and stayed dead.

AnimEigo re-released Madox in 2005 as a 15th anniversary reissue DVD and I reviewed it for Anime Jump, and that review is now up at Let's Anime. I had that DVD which is now commanding ridiculous prices on the secondary market, and of course I can't find it now. Oh well, as the Chinese say, over the course of a long life one must be ready to lose one's baggage from time to time, or something.
davemerrill: (milky)
So what happened at MetaCon last weekend in Minneapolis is, a vendor was selling bootleg plush toys, was told to stop, refused, was told to leave, refused to leave unless the police made him. The vendor table was surrounded by chairs and the chairs were occupied by staffers, keeping customers from visiting the table. The vendor tried to move one of the chairs, was struck repeatedly by the con chair, and restrained by con staffers.

No, seriously. http://www.nerdandtie.com/2015/09/08/animecon-org-ceo-ryan-kopf-allegedly-attacks-vendor-during-metacon-2015/ Grown men punching each other over bootleg plush toys.

The con chair is no stranger to bad decision-making in the world of fandom, with a ridiculous chain of maid-cafe bullying, con feuding, interlocking directorate corporate con ownership, and sexual assault. Nobody comes out looking like champs in this current story, but as it seems that the vendor is sticking around to press formal assault charges, this particular fan feud has at least one more chapter to go.
davemerrill: (milky)
I wrote this thing over on the d-merrill blogspot blog I have. I am not really sure why I started that blog. I think when I started it, things looked like Livejournal was going away, and I kept it because work sometimes would block LJ, but not Google products (like Blogger). I put Google ads on it and it's linked to the same Google ads account that Mr Kitty uses, so it all goes into one pot, and I made a decision a few months back that I'd just start posting things there that really didn't seem to have a place anywhere else. Movie reviews and anime-I-hated reviews and bloggy type things, so that they might sit there and generate the odd click and the nickel or so of ad revenue for me, instead of for Livejournal. But I don't post there regularly.

ANYWAY, I got an email from a first-time con runner who wanted advice, and I wrote quite a bit of advice, so I biffed and baffed it around into a blog post article. And you can now go read it. All the photos are by me!
davemerrill: (milky)
That's what I'll be doing this weekend, I'll be down at Anime North doing my thing! And what is my thing you may ask?

Friday night it's time for Anime Hell!

At noon Saturday we're going to Travel In Japan!

At 3 it's time for Mr Kitty's Stupid Comics!

At 1pm Sunday join myself and Mike Toole for Dubs Time Forgot!

And at 3pm take a trip back in time to the Class Of '85!

There are still one-day passes available at the door, so I'm told, so maybe we'll see ya there!
davemerrill: (milky)
This may be the first instance of a terror attack at a fandom convention.

Thousands of people were evacuated and 19 people were hospitalized when a convention was disrupted during an intentional chlorine gas leak at the Hyatt hotel in suburban Rosemont early Sunday morning, authorities said.

Nineteen people were transported to nearby hospitals after complaining of nausea, dizziness and other medical problems, according to the statement. All people inside the building were temporarily evacuated and sheltered at nearby facilities, including the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. Investigators located the source of the odor on a stairwell of the ninth floor, the statement said. The manner by which the substance, which was consistent with powdered chlorine, was released “suggests an intentional act,” according to the statement. Police are investigating the incident as a criminal matter.

Lord knows I've dispensed plenty of snark towards furries in the past but I don't wish a chlorine gas attack on anybody. I'm hoping this is some kind of stupid accident rather than a deliberate attempt at harm, but we'll see how the investigation plays out.

This is where a convention staff's evacuation plan really comes into play. AWA had one and we got everybody out during our little fire time at the show last Sept. MFF seems to have good people on its crew; from what I understand the evac went smoothly, and we're talking about a few thousand people here, no small number.

I hope everybody recovers and they find whoever's responsible. I hope this never happens again, and I also hope that con organizers realize they need a plan in case it does. The world being what it is, it probably will.
davemerrill: (milky)
the ironic part is, if not for the irrational hate directed towards Anita Sarkeesian, Brianna Wu, and Zoe Quinn, I would have never, ever, ever heard of them or what they do. Thanks, haters, for publicizing that which you hate.

The criticism I'm reading about Sarkeesian in particular reminds me of the mindset I encountered while writing anime reviews for Anime Jump: the mindset that not only is a negative review objectively 'wrong', but that a negative review is harmful to the industry as a whole, and that negative reviews Should Not Be Allowed. Period. That if I have an opinion that they don't share, then my opinion should be suppressed.

I had a discussion like this just the other day; that Sarkeesian should "shut up" and she "needs to keep quiet" and a lot of investment in the idea that one person can force another person's silence because weepy sad butthurt gamer sadness tears are the worst thing ever. And that's not how it works here in Free Speech World; she's free to say whatever she wants about video games, and you're free to listen or not listen.

Had an amazing discussion after the "Least Essential Anime" panel with someone who had a really hard time comprehending how I could dare to subjectively, arbitrarily dismiss a video game as "not essential". He had lots of reasons as to why someone concerned with video games may find them essential, and that's great - the thing is, I am not in the least bit concerned with video games, at all, and as such I don't feel his particular fave video game was at all essential to my health or well-being. The concept that Other People Do Not Share His Particular Likes And Dislikes, that His Particular Opinions Are Not Universal Truth, was a new one to him, but I believe I managed to drill it in there.

I don't believe these people set out to be speech-controlling fascists, not all of them; what I think is that they spend too much time alone, controlling little figures on a screen, hollering abuse at strangers through their headsets. The concept of discussion, or debate, or having to share the world with opinions not their own is literally blowing their minds. And that's probably a good thing. These are minds that need to get out of their comfort zone.


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