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A Very Special Promise

IF there is a next man or woman (I was groped by a man and a woman working together) who touches me in a way I object to, talks to me about pictures of people eating shit while I'm eating dinner on Vertigo's tab, grabs my ass at a party, pays me back a dollar I loaned with a joke about my services, etc., etc., I am making them a very special promise.

Being on a stage will not stop me. Being at a nice dinner will not stop me. Being at a fast food joint will not stop me. Being alone with you and a driver in an airport limo will not stop me. Being in front of other professionals will not stop me.

I do not have Connie Willis' decorum. (I'm hoping, ultimately, Connie Willis doesn't have Connie Willis' decorum.) Harlan Ellison groping Willis in ANY venue is WRONG. Doing it in front of an audience is just, as far as I'm concerned, ripping away a mask SF and comics have been holding up with both hands (with the help of the "just joking" defenders). Each new incident doesn't make me more tired, it makes me more angry. It energizes me (and others, woo hoo!) to fight. The days of exhausted resignation are over.

I don't have to be nice to impress people, keep jobs, or make others comfortable. I'm fucking tired of you chimps. This is your Very Special Promise:

I will fuck it up with police reports of sexual assault. With public posts to LiveJournal. By telling my friends where they can find the police report online. By talking to other women and men about how you behave.

Consider this your last strained, uncomfortable smile. Your last glance at the dinner plate. Your last "just kidding."

I'm not kidding. I WILL FUCK YOUR SHIT UP.


( 46 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 29th, 2006 12:31 am (UTC)
DO IT. You'll never know how good it feels until you do.
Aug. 29th, 2006 02:12 am (UTC)
Everyone go read Vito's story! TEE!
Aug. 29th, 2006 02:15 am (UTC)
Love to, but it's not a public entry.
Sep. 6th, 2006 05:06 am (UTC)
Hey there,

I don't know you, but I've been following this story and I'm very interested in reading about your story (especially considering the response it got). I know I'm not on your flist, and the entry is protected, but if there's any way you'd be willing to share what happened, I would very much appreciate reading it.
Sep. 6th, 2006 06:40 am (UTC)
I don't remember locking it don, but there must have been a good reason.
The short version: at the NBM dinner during San Diego last year, a cartoonist's wife jiggled my boob with her forearm repeatedly after brushing it accidentally while reaching across me to shake hands with a male cartoonist. Before the dinner, I had met neither of them, though I'd heard of him.
Over my objections (it was not a loud restaurant, they could both hear me), she offered to switch hands so he could have a chance to do the same. They had changed hands and were trying to assault me again. By that time, I had my arms over my breasts and was loudly telling them to STOP.

I had to say STOP at least three times and push their arms (which were locked across me, pinning me to my chair, and smashing my arms into my breasts) away forcefully before they stopped.
I also know they heard me because people at the opposite end of the table were staring at us, trying to figure out what had happened.

I have had a lot of really upsetting shit happen to me at cons, but this was easily the worst in terms of fallout.
On the way to Anime Iowa this year, the first con I flew to in over a year, I had an anxiety attack and ended up in the bathroom for half the flight, retching and crying.
It's no coincidence that I got sick before AI last year. I developed a hacking cough, and other problems that made flying impossible--and I like AI, it's a warm, friendly relaxacon.
It was only the third time in twenty years I have cancelled an appearance. (The other two were for family emergencies.)

The behavior of the two people at dinner is directly related to the sexist culture of comics. (It's not a conspiracy--those take long-term effort and planning!) It is insidious and invisible.
Sep. 8th, 2006 12:34 am (UTC)
Hey there,

I don't know if you locked it, I was actually replying to vito_excalibur's comment in this entry, but I did make another comment directed at you, so I do appreciate your sharing your story with me.

What happened to you is utterly outrageous. It just seems too awful to be true - though I do believe you. I'm so sorry you had to go through that, though I do admire the way you seem to have handled it - especially with this entry.

I've been reading a couple of posts about this and it really reminds me of a book I've been reading, called Women Who Run The Show by Mollie Gregory. It talks about the evolution of women's roles in the film and television world, and it seems like a lot of it can be applied to the comic world now.
Sep. 6th, 2006 06:42 am (UTC)
And oh, how I wish I clonked their heads together like coconuts.

Sep. 7th, 2006 06:00 am (UTC)
Ok...you're on the flist, have at. I mostly use my flist as a reading list that fluctuates wildly with how much time & attention I have to spare; so you may or may not stay on, and either way it's really no reflection on you. I don't know you either. :)
Sep. 8th, 2006 12:27 am (UTC)
Wow. Thank you so much. I really do appreciate being able to read your story, and no worries if you decide to remove me now that I've read it, I'll understand either way. :)
Aug. 29th, 2006 01:52 am (UTC)
Hear, hear!

And I was having doubts about suggesting sexist fandom needing a Year Zero in today's post.
Aug. 29th, 2006 02:12 am (UTC)
Doubt no more.
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 29th, 2006 02:11 am (UTC)
He deserves to be there.
Aug. 29th, 2006 02:15 am (UTC)
Aug. 29th, 2006 02:39 am (UTC)

Adam Rakunas' query about WHY THE FUCK do cons let know creeps in shows and/or tolerate them on premises?

"If I ran, say, a restaurant, and a customer came in, swiped food off people’s plates, wiped his ass with the tablecloth and announced he was going to sodomize his entree as it was being served, I don’t give a stony rat’s ass if that person is the restaurant critic for the New York Times, he’s getting tossed out and barred from returning. You can’t please everyone, but, as a business owner, I damn well better make sure I please the vast majority of my customers, people who are trying to have a nice meal without worrying about the ravings of a steakfucker."

Steakfucker. The life partner of the Cat Piss Man.
Aug. 29th, 2006 04:39 am (UTC)
That just entered my personal lexicon.
Aug. 29th, 2006 02:11 am (UTC)
Aug. 29th, 2006 02:01 am (UTC)
Kudos on ZERO tolerance!
Aug. 29th, 2006 02:13 am (UTC)
Since the method of ignoring the behavior to extinction hasn't worked, it's time for something else.

And thanks for them kudos.
Aug. 29th, 2006 02:21 am (UTC)
That's just disgusting. From what people were saying about Ellison's (good) behavior at this year's Minicon I was kinda hoping he'd finally grown up and stopped being the sphincter I met 30 years ago when I was a neo, but I guess that was too much to hope for.

And he claims to be a feminist. Yeah, right. "Steakfucker" is too kind.
Aug. 29th, 2006 02:36 am (UTC)
I'm really sad about Ellison's behavior because he helped raise money for Jo Clayton's medical care when she was dying of cancer.

And that man did this. Pfah.
Aug. 29th, 2006 03:12 am (UTC)
So does that make him only a part-time steakfucker? Look, he's done some extraordinarily nice things for people over the years, but at the same time he's built himself a decades-long reputation as a world-class asshole, and unfortunately it seems he's spent more time building his reputation than doing good deeds. Only God knows for sure, of course, but what's on the record sure doesn't make him look too good.
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 29th, 2006 02:35 am (UTC)
I am thinking these are the last gasps of people seeing that their world, the world in which they were in charge just because they HAD been in charge, has CHANGED while they were offering some lucky girl a chance to share a hot tub.

Aug. 29th, 2006 02:23 am (UTC)
Word. Just fucking word.
Aug. 29th, 2006 02:37 am (UTC)
Aug. 29th, 2006 02:59 am (UTC)
It's always a nice feeling to officially place "Kicking ass and naming names" on one's to-do list. Best of luck in not needing it, and best of skill it doing if needed.
Aug. 30th, 2006 02:24 am (UTC)
Exactly, and thanks. The response has been most gratifying.
Aug. 29th, 2006 02:59 am (UTC)
I got your back, sistah!!

I've been groped a time or two at cons. Something about us being a "public" personality makes people think that means our bodies are public property. I set them straight REAL fast, and will happily do it again whenever you need me. I've got a great sense of humor, but some shit just ain't fucking funny.
Aug. 30th, 2006 02:25 am (UTC)
I had heard about one, and was most disappointed.

I too, have an awesome sense of humor. It just doesn't extend to insults or power trips.
Aug. 29th, 2006 03:52 am (UTC)


Remember, nice girls do ... smack the shit out of anybody who doesn't treat them like a nice girl.


Should I or should I not touch somebody sexually in public?

a) Is is a close friend of many years and we've frathouse pranked each other many a time both in public and in private?

b) Are we dating, engaged, or married?

c) Are we acting roles in a play?

Aug. 30th, 2006 02:26 am (UTC)
Three excellent tests. My gropers have failed every one.
Aug. 29th, 2006 05:32 am (UTC)
I find it humiliating, now, to say that i have liked some of that creep's work.

He should be humiliated, also -- perhaps if someone points out to him just what it means when a writer has to resort to feeling up a chick on stage to get any attention from fans.

But here, have a complimentary Gabe smackdown to cheer you! It further proves that Ellison's by no means as good with language as he purports to be.
Aug. 30th, 2006 02:29 am (UTC)
Tycho: "We're talking about a person that a couple total assholes find rude."

That about sums it up.
I'd totally forgotten that whole thing, too. Beautiful.
Aug. 29th, 2006 04:40 pm (UTC)
I know some reactions to this will basically be "Maybe if we say "just joking" louder, she'll understand."

Can't wait to laugh at those comments.
Aug. 30th, 2006 02:30 am (UTC)
They're showing up other places. I got cuffed in Elizabeth Bear's LJ for biting someone who played the "just to play Devil's Advocate" game.
I HATE that game, but it wasn't my LJ to say so.
Aug. 29th, 2006 05:11 pm (UTC)
Amen, dude.

I'm seconding kadymae's comment.
Aug. 30th, 2006 02:30 am (UTC)
Aug. 29th, 2006 05:12 pm (UTC)
Ah. You DID hear about it. Wondered.

Heh. Let's fuck his shit up. Right now.
Aug. 30th, 2006 02:32 am (UTC)
He's apologized.
Or, I should say, he's said something apology-flavored. It's an apology the way orange Kool-Aid is orange juice.
Aug. 30th, 2006 05:51 am (UTC)
"Apology-Flavored" is an important term
and needs to be spread around. It describes perfectly what has frustrated many of late to stifled screaming fits in trying to explain why, say, Sen. George Allen did *not* in fact apologize to Mr. Siddarth for calling him a monkey and a furriner the other day, or why "I'm sorry you felt insulted by my actions" *never* counts as an apology...
Aug. 30th, 2006 01:57 pm (UTC)
Re: "Apology-Flavored" is an important term
Use "apology-flavored" at will.
Aug. 30th, 2006 12:48 am (UTC)
I don't have a dog in this hunt about WorldCon (although I had a feeling that this was one best avoided), but I'll always have your back on this. Why else do you think I'm willing to cover for you at CAPE, besides to share polymer clay tips? (Speaking of which, if CAPE's going to run a fall show, let me know. I have to finish something for you for then, and you're going to love it.)
Aug. 30th, 2006 02:33 am (UTC)
I hate that I NEED that, I'm glad I HAVE it.

Consider yourself hugged, ya big lug.
Aug. 30th, 2006 01:58 pm (UTC)
( 46 comments — Leave a comment )


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