The Jon Del Arroz publicity tour via self-fueled controversy continues at Mad Genius Club. Disappointingly it isn’t Dave Freer writing but Jason Cordova. However, what is really interesting is how unwittingly condemning of Jon the piece is.
The piece is a more serious than I would have expected attempt to describe a sequence of events leading up to Jon having his Worldcon membership downgraded to supporting. I’ll be quoting snippets, so it is important to read the whole thing to see the context of those snippets: https://madgeniusclub.com/2018/01/05/stir-the-pot/
What is revealing is how many occasions Jason has to refer to ‘claims’ Jon made. I think Jason is actually trying to write something fair-mindedly but in doing so he inadvertently lays out a pattern of behaviour. There are two questions that arise
- What evidence there is behind the many claims?
- What patterns of behaviour does Jason ascribe to Jon?
In the fifth paragraph Jason describes Jon like this:
“Now, Jon is… pushy, since he plays the same game that most of those who sought to discredit and destroy the Sad Puppies played. He understands how their minds work and pretty much goes right back at them with vigor, cheer, and sometimes even breathless exclamation!”
In the seventh paragraph we get this:
“Jon is local to Worldcon (he lives in the Bay Area) and was on the fence about going to the convention after claiming to have been doxxed (along with his children) by certain unidentified individuals. I remember Jon talking about this either at or shortly after Libertycon 30. At the time I didn’t really know what to think. I doubted that he would lie about something that could be so easily disapproved, but I also had a hard time believing that people who claimed to be on the side of good and equality would doxx one of the few male Hispanic authors out there in the SF&F community. I was in a quandary — someone was lying, but who?”
Jason doesn’t say who the other potentially lying party might be – only Jon is making a claim here. Nor is it purely a choice between Jon lying or not lying – he may be exaggerating for effect or have honest fears/perception of events that don’t entirely match the facts. I can’t find the orig
In the ninth paragraph:
“Here he repeats his claim that his family has been doxxed in the past, and identifies them as members of the SFWA.”
Yet according to Jason, Jon didn’t actually know who (if anybody) had attempted to “doxx” him [it is unclear in what sense Jon means “doxx” here]. So, Jason actually can draw a conclusion here based on the evidence he actually has – Jon is not being entirely truthful. Even assuming the basic “doxx” claim is correct, the claim that SFWA members were responsible is apparently baseless.
In the tenth paragraph, we get the supposed email exchange from Mike Glyer. As it appears, the exchange is innocuous enough (as Jason concedes) yet the “Goodbye Jon” is apparently from a different exchange.
In the eleventh we get this:
“Allegedly members of File 770 lost their collective minds over his joining, but I have yet to find evidence of this. Perhaps it happened and then was later deleted? Or it could have been other comments taken out of hand? At this point of the game, who knows?”
Well, no seriously. At this point in the game even in Jason Cordova’s DEFENCE of Jon, you have a whole set of claims from Jon some with minimal evidence and many with zero. It is actually quite easy at this point to spot that SOMEBODY – one person in particular – keeps making wild claims about specific people doing things for which there is no or limited evidence.
File 770 commenters (if there is a ‘membership’ I haven’t been invited!) did not lose their collective mind and as Jason Cordova notes there is no evidence that they did. A rational person should now (assuming they had any doubt) know the answer to the question as to who is not telling the truth. But no, Jason offers the possibility of a cover-up, i.e. Filee770 ‘members’ losing their collective minds then covering up that they lost their collective minds because…well, he doesn’t offer any reason why they would do either of those things.
In the twelfth paragraph, Jason discusses Jon discussing on Twitter his issues with the conventions code of conduct.
In the thirteenth paragraph, Jason says this about Jon:
“Now, quite a few people would immediately point out that Jon is a dick at times and knows how to push the right buttons. He stirs the pot and some people simply don’t like him. I’ve attended enough conventions as a pro and as a fan to understand that if someone you know has a decent following, is known for stirring the pot, and is planning on attending, you keep an eye out for any concerns they might have so that you can nip any potential problems in the bud and take away any potential ammunition they might try to use to discredit your convention.”
In the fourteenth paragraph, Jason gets to the “banning”.
“His right to attend the convention was banned after it was stated that he had made comments on his personal blog about walking into a hostile environment and expecting problems at Worldcon.
Now, this accusation is somewhat troubling, because I scoured Jon’s site while writing this and I cannot see any indication that this is the case.”
Troubling? He couldn’t find examples in Jon’s blog but he had already found examples of something very similar on Jon’s Twitter and had literally already described Jon as “a dick” who “knows how to push the right buttons” and “pushy” and as playing “the same game that most of those who sought to discredit and destroy the Sad Puppies “. At worst Jason’s complaint could be that Worldcon should have said “Twitter” rather than “blog” but…
..in fact, Jason can’t have scoured Jon’s blog very well because it is trivial to find an example:
“This is exactly why I have to wear a body cam to go to the con to begin with, some of these folk will almost certainly try to frame me for a crime, and I will have evidence to the contrary. Worldcon needs to step it up and make sure I’m protected from these crazies so my friends and fans can have fun.” http://delarroz.com/?p=1912
That easily meets the criteria of
- Being on Jon’s blog
- Jon claiming that Worldcon would be a hostile environment.
In fact, Jon overtly had asked Worldcon to take steps to ensure what he claimed might occur wouldn’t occur. Worldcon did that – just not in the way he expected.
In the sixteenth paragraph Jason goes on to describe the reaction:
“Once word got out that Jon had been more or less “disinvited”, the feces struck the rotary impeller and exploded. People went onto Twitter and lauded the Worldcon’s decision, which smelled a little fishy. Why the emotional outpouring of support for a decision to ban someone who expressed concern over safety issues for friends and self?”
Smelled a little fishy? Again this is how the DEFENCE of Jon had already described him: “a dick” who “knows how to push the right buttons” and “pushy” and as playing “the same game that most of those who sought to discredit and destroy the Sad Puppies “. That’s not me describing Jon but somebody trying to write an earnest defence of him. If Jon’s allies see him that way is really, really do deeply unbelievable that others might be happy that they weren’t going to encounter him at a convention?
Now personally, I haven’t had any issues with Jon directly but that’s just me. My boundaries aren’t other people’s boundaries* and in the very, very, best most generous assessment of Jon’s online persona it would be undeniable that he does not respect other people’s online boundaries – and that would be me being more than overly generous. So no not ‘politics’ per-se, lots of people have plenty of reason to be happy not to encounter Jon in person based on assuming that in person he’d be like he is online. And again that statement is taking being generous to Jon to a FAULT. Taken less generously many people have genuine concerns about the extremity of his online behaviour.
I documented last year Jon openly boasting on alt-right social media platform ‘Gab’ about harrasing a Baen author and misusing their copyrighted materials. Persistent harrassment of others by Jon has clearly stepped beyond the “maybe it is poor social skills” line and into obvious harrassment. Nor is this particularly hidden – really if you knew nothing about Jon other than what Jason Cordova had written about him in that essay it would be possible to rationally conclude that Worldcon probably did him and them a mutual favour.
*[That isn’t a claim that I’m more tolerant or anything, just that my boundaries are different. Firstly some odd things make me uncomfortable that most people are fine with and secondly I know personally I’ve failed to spot bullies attempting to bully me in real life and AS A CONSEQUENCE failed to prevent them bullying others or been taken by surprise when their behaviour escalated. Being oblivious to bullies isn’t virtue.]