That John Ringo Thing

I don’t have much to say about writer John Ringo withdrawing from the ConCarolinas con. It isn’t just that most things have been better said elsewhere, it is also that most of the relevant issues have been discussed here in depth already but with different examples. You could probably do one of those fake bingo cards with the talking points that came up.

But while we are here:

  • People on the left or perceived as being left SAYING things? That is treated by the right as an attack.
  • People on the right saying things? That is a valuable expression of free speech.
  • The right are champions of liberty…but not the liberty of people to choose not to go to a con because they are concerned about the harassment.
  • The left objecting to somebody’s poor behaviour is bullying and harassment according to the right but bullying and harassment is simply being “not PC” if you are on the right.

It’s not consistent, its not sincere (no matter how passionately it is expressed) and it certainly isn’t anything to do with liberty.

Is he being punished for his “politics”? Yes but only in the sense that the right have made being obnoxious and unpleasant to other people a political issue and have re-badged people objecting to rude behaviour as an attack on liberty. Nobody was objecting to Ringo because of party allegiance, who he voted for, his views on taxation, his economic theories, his attitude to labour law or trade unions, his view on trade, capitalism, the merits of public healthcare, deficit reduction or electoral reform. As far as I can see nobody was objecting to him on the grounds of more contentious issues such as abortion or gun control.

As for his “safety” that is a very odd explanation for why the con asked him to withdraw. The con was facing other guests not attending and potentially other fans not attending. Are we to believe John Ringo’s safety was imperilled by people NOT turning up?

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56 comments

  1. kiptw

    Mildly curious (not enough to go look) whether anyone’s called this a ‘lynching,’ which is the Right’s favorite term for someone, less Right than they are, saying things about them. If they use anything involving electricity, it’s a “high-tech lynching.”

    I’m encouraged, just a little, from this tacit admission that lynching might be bad, though it could well be a trick of the light, like McCarthyism and Nazism, and depends solely upon where you stand.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Jessica

    He has to position himself as a victim or else he’ll be forced to confront the uncomfortable fact that a great many people think he’s an asshole of the highest order who quite simply isn’t worth wasting their time over.

    A secondary, but important, issue is his extremely problematic fan base.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. delagar

    “People on the left or perceived as being left SAYING things? That is treated by the right as an attack.”

    They’re such snowflakes on the Right. Women (especially Leftists women, but really all women) are just supposed to suck it up when they get rape threats and abuse; but let someone object in any way to anything a guy on the Right wants to do, and we have to hear about poor freedom-loving authors being sent to Gulags, or being stoned in the public square.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Just for reference, here is Pound fantasizing about conservative women being beaten to death in some archived tweets a friend sent me:

      http://archive.is/WUISW

      “Resistance Lich‏ @AaronPound · 18h
      18 hours ago

      More
      When a writer brings an essay like this to a publication, the editor should just be allowed to punch them into unconsciousness.”

      “Resistance Lich‏ @AaronPound · 18h
      18 hours ago

      More
      Actually, everyone should be allowed to simply beat Megan McArdle with a baseball bat any time one meets her.”

      “Resistance Lich‏ @AaronPound · 18h
      18 hours ago

      More
      And if someone clocks McArdle over the head with a bat and it kills her, the world will have a net gain as a result.”

      But I’m sure Mr. Pound thinks he comes off as a reasonable and rational person.

      Like

      • Bonnie McDaniel

        Mr. Chupik: Whether or not Aaron said those things, what does that have to do with the nastiness and misogyny John Ringo spewed? This sounds like a desperate attempt to change the subject to me.

        Did John Ringo write those things, or did he not?

        Liked by 4 people

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        McDaniel: I suspect that the people suddenly outraged about something Ringo wrote and posted online 12 years ago only skimmed the document, or just accepted blindly that it was full of evil and misogyny. I did read it all the way through — twice — and would like to share some of the parts you guys aren’t talking about.

        “Yes, females have a long history of being oppressed. Got that. But I grew up in the period after that was breaking. Are there still pockets of stupid males in America? Yep. I live in the middle of one of the biggest concentrations. Miriam and every other smart, strong woman I know has dealt with stupid males in positions of authority. I’ll let them tell the stories but they were very stupid males.”

        “They were seeing an unrepentant heterosexual male who could face them on every front and not back down. And, yet, one who clearly cared for and cherished a beautiful, intelligent and strong woman. For Miriam was no chinchilla in that panel. She had manifested what I now call “The Goddess” and it shook my faith in agnosticism. She had Changed far more than clothes. She had entered to do battle in the most feminine possible way. She had simply been. And the aura that she emanated was damned near a divine light.”

        “Then I pulled out a pinwheel.

        “I don’t do pinwheels,” I said, handing one out and preparing to stamp down the dirt on the grave. “Miriam’s firm does. She’s a high end home designer, nothing under a million dollars. The firm’s quite popular in the Nashville area. Rich people will pay just about anything for a Jack Herr House and they want ‘the Goth chick’ to work on it.”

        Oh, shit, and she’s not even a gold-digger! She’s not even his “personal assistant”! She’s got a real job and is in the TOP OF HER FIELD.”

        “There ain’t much more dangerous than a man who knows he’s in the right and just keeps a comin’.

        Except, maybe, a woman. Especially one channeling an avatar.”

        Like

      • Aaron Pound

        Oh I hope people do go look for those sections of Ringo’s screed, since they are surrounded by some pretty condescending, sexist asshollery. You see, people have read the screed, and the fact that you can pull a half dozen paragraphs out of a 38 page long diatribe that, if you carefully excise the material around them, looks only kind of sort of bad doesn’t really make quite as much of a convincing case as you seem to think it does.

        Liked by 4 people

      • Mark Hepworth

        Ok, on the one hand Aaron ought not to have suggested violence *even* in a context which was clearly hyperbole not a serious threat. On the other hand, McArdle’s article was literally suggesting children should sacrifice their lives rather than she have to do anything to help them, which is such a stomach-churningly disgusting thing for anyone to say that I have difficulty not saying something intemperate about her myself.

        More to the point – it’s irrelevant. Just because Aaron is the one who happened to post that pdf here doesn’t invalidate what it contains. Now, I strongly suspect that you first came across that document on File 770, so you will know perfectly well that the contents were read and discussed in detail in the two comment threads, and so when you claim people must have only skimmed it you are being pretty disingenuous. Of course if you really haven’t seen those comments I’m happy to provide you with links. Plus links to other things that Ringo has said that have been read and discussed in detail.
        I don’t really know what you feel those extracts prove, but even if I were to agree for the sake of argument that they show Ringo in a good light, how do they outweigh all the parts where he shows himself in a much worse light? Is “he’s not always like that” much of a defence to anything?

        Liked by 5 people

      • lenorarose

        Mr. Chupik: Would you care to also address the part where he thinks telling a woman he was staring at her tits was actually a reasonable and winning response to the question “Does it always have to be about sex?”

        Because to me, it’s rude to have made that declaration into a mike in front of an entire panel and viewers – and more importantly, despite him taking victory laps over it, he ALSO didn’t actually answer the question.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Cora

        Plenty of us read the entire 38 page screed. And the fact John Ringo writes some nice things about his partner doesn’t mean that he didn’t behave dismissively towards other women and at least one man. Even misogynists love their mothers, sisters, wives, partners, daughters on occasion.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Bonnie McDaniel

        Is “he’s not always like that” much of a defence to anything?

        This is along the same line as the people (invariably straight white men) who say, “But I never saw him doing anything like that!” (which I have seen stated in defense of Jon Del Arroz)

        So? Apparently you think the times you DIDN’T see so-and-so do something cancels out the other times you weren’t there when he DID do something. Sorry, the world doesn’t work that way. It also implies that you think the people who DID see so-and-so do something are liars.

        Liked by 4 people

  4. delagar

    Chupik says: “….the people suddenly outraged about something Ringo wrote and posted online 12 years ago…”

    This is the same excuse people made for Trump’s terrible behavior. “So he brags about sexually assault women and spying on naked little girls! That was YEARS ago!”

    Never mind that both Ringo and Trump have continued their horrific behavior. It’s not like this was a sudden and singular lapse, from either of them.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. greghullender

    I didn’t follow this one too closely, but did anyone come up with an instance of him actually attacking an individual, or was it just about him posting typical conservative rants? All I saw (and I admit I didn’t look very deeply) were things I think 90% of Republicans believe.

    Like

    • Cora

      He tends to take over panels, ignores panel moderators, was extremely rude to other panelists he deemed nobodies and sexually harassed a woman in the audience. He describes all that in his own words in the document Aaron linked. And according to other people who have been on panels with him, it’s a pattern.

      Liked by 1 person

      • lenorarose

        Nobody has accused him of assault. They have accused him essentially, of the same pattern of behavior that 4th Street considered when they decided to permanently ban Will Shetterly. Talking over people, ignoring requests to stop, and generally being rude.

        Liked by 3 people

    • camestrosfelapton

      No, but lots of examples of him being disruptive and confrontational on panels. Put another way – reasons why you might not have him as a guest speaker rather than reason why you would ban him pre-emptively as a regular attendee at a con. Of course, that’s only what I’ve seen in recent discussions.

      Liked by 5 people

      • Lurkertype

        Nobody likes assholes who take over panels, regardless of their politics, gender, age, or anything.

        “Asshole” is an equal-opportunity, non-political category. It’s equally wrong for the right’s typical straw person “black lesbian SJW” to monopolize a panel as for OH NO JOHN RINGO to.

        But right-wingers suffer from such yooge paranoid persecution complexes that they always think everything is about their politics, not their behavior.

        I’ve been to plenty of panels with SWM older conservatives on them, but they were gentlemen and thus nice to hear from. I’ve eaten and boozed with them quite happily. But, again — they didn’t monopolize panels, harass women, or swagger around acting like they’re better than everyone else.

        Liked by 3 people

    • greghullender

      I was thinking about attending LibertyCon for at least one day since a) it’s in my home town (where I grew up) and b) I’ll be in town to attend my niece’s graduation that weekend anyway. However, I was surprised to learn that it’s already sold out.

      My husband was relieved, since he doesn’t believe we’d be safe there, but I had thought it might be interesting to hear your side of things.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Lurkertype

      BTW, Jon boy, you seem to have a crappy lawyer, so lemme give you some free advice:

      Ever since you filed suit, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.

      As one of Niven’s Laws* says, I’m not responsible for advice not taken.

      *Larry’s a swell guy. He’s one of those polite older SWM Republican authors I was referring to above whom I’ve spent many happy hours listening to and talking to at many cons. He and Fuzzy Pink (her law’s good too) attended a party in my honor once, even.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Kat Goodwin

    Well we’ve got yet another one where con runners don’t think authors in marginalized groups should insist on being treated like equal professionals at their event, that they should put up with aggressive, harassing, and discriminatory asshole behavior because the person is a “character” or been around a long time or they want to make them a special guest attraction of the con. Happened with Reader Con, Odyssey Con, now this one. That was all after the battles on getting cons to have codes of conduct in the first place, which numerous conrunners didn’t want to bother with because they were fine with discriminatory and harassing behavior happening at their cons because hey, it was tradition.

    Authors have to make assessments about the culture of cons, about whether they have a code of conduct and actually enforce it, about whether authors from groups that make them targets will be treated professionally without harassment, will be able to participate equally on panels and get full opportunities at the con. And if the culture doesn’t reflect that, then it’s not worth the money and energy to go to that particular con for marginalized authors. So they’ll walk and go to other cons. If, when they pull out and explain why, the conrunners go into full meltdown mode, that tells these authors that the con culture definitely doesn’t want them there and won’t treat them as equal professionals. Authors from marginalized groups are not going to accept that sort of treatment anymore at conventions from conrunners. They’ve got other places to be and other options now.

    So this will keep happening for awhile, just as it has with the idea of codes of conduct in the first place, and some of the conventions are going to go out of business because authors won’t go to cons like that and they won’t be quiet about that decision either. They and a lot of the fans will look for conventions that will let them participate fully without harassment and be treated as equal professionals.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Lurkertype

      I suppose there will be cons that allow that sort of thing, but they’ll have an ever-limited supply of both guests and authors, and an ever-greater supply of groupthink, homogeneity, and stratification.

      Which is fine — small specialized cons/big parties can go on for years, but they still gotta bring in new blood that isn’t only second or third generation legacy attendees, and that’s tough to do without a regular inflow of the new hot names in the field.

      It’s okay if you want to develop a parallel universe, the way anime and steampunk cons have. But even those tend regional, and after a while you’re all “oh, him/her again? on THAT panel?” The larger established regional cons like Noreascon or Westercon are always looking for new people, some turnover in the panelists, etc.

      I’m sure the same is true overseas, but I’ve only been to US cons.

      Like Kat said, it’s a question of supply, demand, and where people are willing to commit resources. There have been a very few cons I’ll go to all the time (when money or credit allows) regardless of who’s there or who the GoHs are. Others, even if they’re in my backyard, we’ll look at and go “ehhh. guests I don’t care about, panels look same old same old, let’s stay home.”

      And I’m someone who decided three days before a con “Hey kids! Let’s drive 800 miles on a holiday weekend and go there, arriving and returning at midnight! It’ll be fun!” And it was, though the day following was grim. :/ I’ve also bailed on cons early when they turned out to suck, as in “if we leave when it closes today, we’ll be home by 2 AM, let’s check out of the hotel now.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kat Goodwin

        You have an author who at a convention panel publicly sexually harassed a female audience member by saying he stared at her “tits,” which is a crime, and then he bragged about it. (And that was just the most brazen bit of behavior, not the only one on public record.) Then another convention decides to invite him as their “Special Guest” despite that behavior towards female attendees. For a female author that means that this convention won’t enforce their Code of Conduct or even deal with actual crimes, that the convention is likely to contain sexual harassment, that she won’t be treated as an equal professional to the men authors at the convention, that she will be denied opportunities due to discrimination, be dismissed, harassed and belittled at panels for being a woman author, and that her fans who might attend to see her will face similar treatment, especially if fans of the Special Guest author who delight in his sexual and sexist harassment of women attend the convention. If the convention thinks a guy who talks about staring at women’s tits on a panel is so great as to be their Special Guest, then they aren’t likely to do much about women getting groped at their convention, for instance. And any panels with him around are probably going to be a mess. So as a professional issue, this convention is now a waste of her time and money. It will not help her career and it will place her in personal danger. So she doesn’t go to that one. It’s a business decision.

        In the past, women authors had to put up with harassment, sexual assault and discrimination to be able to attend conventions. They gave up their civil rights because the people widely in charge of conventions could enforce discrimination and harassment as normal and acceptable behavior. Authors like Ringo want to return to that climate. But most women authors will no longer put up with that behavior at conventions and won’t be silent about it. And certainly most POC authors of any gender will not, most LGBTQ authors will not, etc. That’s their free speech and freedom of association right. It’s also their business right to decide what is best for their careers and to speak up for better, less discriminatory workplace conditions at conventions. Far right authors like to claim that these protests are an “attack” on them. What it is, is a campaign against harassing and discriminatory behavior that they have openly and publicly done at conventions, as well as often publicly threatened to do some more, to root out that being acceptable convention behavior, since it has actively discriminated against and endangered people at conventions.

        That’s how we got Codes of Conduct in place — but still not in all the conventions and conferences. And there is the issue of actually enforcing those codes of conduct. So authors will make their business decisions accordingly. And they will be holding conrunners specifically responsible for promoting harassing and discriminatory behavior at their conventions. I don’t think that’s sunk in to all the older conrunners quite yet. They keep yelling that they are volunteers. But they’re running the conventions — they decide what’s allowed at the conventions. So if conrunners insist their Guest of Honor has to interact with a known, publicly witnessed serial sexual harasser who also personally harassed her, like with Odyssey Con, there’s going to be an exodus. And those people can be called fragile, extreme, mean girls, whatever — they don’t care. They need conventions to change and get rid of harassment and discrimination as part of their culture and work environment. So they will go towards the ones making an effort in that direction.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Lurkertype

        Hey, if the clueless wanna end up running Old White Sausage Fest, fine. Keeps them away from the decent people.

        Like