The spineless cads who run the Archon Convention Committee have dis-invited Tim Bolgeo as Fan Guest of Honor. His crime? Running an unfiltered, private e-zine. More on Uncle Timmy later. But first a question for the Archon Con-Com:
Have you heard of the Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park? It’s where the term “soap box” comes from. In it’s essence anyone can pull out a stool and say what ever they want about any subject. And in the 170 years that people have been speaking there every conceivable topic has been discussed…and cussed.
You can say what ever you want, you will probably be heckled. However, speakers from Karl Marx to George Orwell have spoken there. Without a doubt people have been offended with what they have heard. In the late 1800’s it was the only place in England where socialists could speak without fear; so decreed by the London County Council and Lord Mayor of London.
But only one time has a serious threat to it’s existence been made. A case involving three fundamentalist Christian women who were speaking in front of Wakefield Chapel in 1997. Some passersby were offended by the speech of these women and asked that they be arrested. They were for Breach of the Peace. So Redmond-Bate v Director of Public Prosecutions. In the High Court ruling Lord Justice Sedley wrote:
“Free speech includes not only the inoffensive but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative provided it does not tend to provoke violence. Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having. What Speakers’ Corner (where the law applies as fully as anywhere else) demonstrates is the tolerance which is both extended by the law to opinion of every kind and expected by the law in the conduct of those who disagree, even strongly, with what they hear.
From the condemnation of Socrates to the persecution of modern writers and journalists, our world has seen too many examples of state control of unofficial ideas.
A central purpose of the European Convention on Human Rights has been to set close limits to any such assumed power. We in this country continue to owe a debt to the jury which in 1670 refused to convict the Quakers William Penn and William Mead for preaching ideas which offended against state orthodoxy.”
In recent years we have heard speakers from the BNP, Islamist preachers decrying the wantonness of women who don’t don the Bhurka…would we call the London County Council, the Lord mayor or Lord Justice Sedley racists and misogynists for allowing this? But that is exactly what is happening to Timmy Bolgeo. The Revenge is a Speaker’s Corner where Uncle Timmy’s worst offense was spurring debate. He didn’t filter…either the speaker or those who heckled the speaker. Exactly like what happens at Hyde Park every day of the week for 170 years.
What makes SFF great is editors and publishers who spur thought and debate, who do not shrink from topics other would feel uncomfortable about. True fans of the genre have seen this from Heinlein to LeGuinn to Octavia Butler and L. Neil Smith. And everyone in between. Those seek to stifle Tim are no different then the High Church Wardens who drug Penn and Mead before the tribunal. I’ve been to Archon twice, but now that the Social Justice Warriors of Archon have prevailed I’ll never go again, people like that scare me.
Such a rush to judgement is cowardly.
The author of the complaint said he had first e-mailed Archon’s board about his concerns in March after reading issues of Revenge online, and not satisfied with the response, he repeated them at an open meeting of Archon organizers this past weekend. The board voted to keep Bolgeo as a guest, he reports, therefore he resorted to social media in protest.
The committee promptly capitulated:
Moreover, it’s stupid. Not just caving in 24 hours, after they voted to retain Uncle Timmy, but in allowing his name to besmirched and losing the valuable resource Tim is.
They called him “anti-science”. He’s not as Dr. Stephanie Osborn points out.
Uncle Timmy is not some redneck unlearned hillbilly. He is a nuclear engineer who made a successful career at the Tennessee Valley Authority, working on nuclear reactors, only recently retired. He is a thinking man. He puts out a newsletter of information, jokes, and other such that he and his readers (I’m one) run across, and he discusses them, and he invites and prints discussion by his readers on that information. Sometimes this involves putting a distasteful story into the newsletter so that he can point out a fallacy. Somehow some anonymous person took a couple of these and twisted them around to make it look like Uncle Timmy believed that tripe AND AGREED WITH IT.
They called him a racist. He’s not. He volunteered to attend one of the first desegregated schools in his area. He established a scholarship for a dear friend of his who was killed while being a Good Samaritan…who just happens to have been Black.
They disparaged the service he has done for Fandom as a whole and many writers in particular as Hugo Nominee Larry Correia points out.
He helped me out when I was first starting my career, and the first out of state con I ever attended as a pro writer was one that he’d been organizing for 25 years.
And Larry is not alone, I can name over a dozen successful writers who benfitted from Uncle Timmy’s advice. They also failed, as Jason Cordova states, to make use of a man who has helped expand fandom and organize successful Conventions for over four decades!
Let’s ignore, for the moment, the forty years that Uncle Timmy has dedicated to fandom in the South and Midwest. Let’s forget that he started and ran Libertycon for 25 years, which is one of the more popular “small cons” around.
One last comment from Jason Cordova.
The reason I am coming to his defense so vociferously (ah hell, biracial man with a vocabulary is rolling up his sleeves) is that back when I was first starting out on the convention scene, not a single con wanted this no-name biracial guy who wrote a book as a guest. Not a one. Cons who pride themselves for their “diversity” told me to kindly “piss off”. Cons that I lived less than five minutes to wanted nothing to do with a local author. Cons who are always claiming to want to showcase new and upcoming authors wouldn’t touch me with a ten foot pole
Some uptight,white, PC-slave, Social Justice Warrior mounts an internet slander campaign claiming that Uncle Timmy is a racist, yet here are two great authors Of Color saying he’s anything but.
One last thing Archon Con-Com? Here’s a list of LibertyCon’s author guests, artist guests and publishing guests. You didn’t even have that strong a list when you hosted NASFC, you’ve never come close since. And you’ve allowed the man who created that to libeled and slandered and then justified his libel and slander by your spineless acts. Shame on you. Fandom deserves an apology from you.