Thursday, March 26, 2015

In which I vent (incoming wall of text)

I don't normally use my blogging for this purpose, but in the wake of Gencon taking a stance regarding SB101, I've seen a lot of just utterly asinine statements people make when taking issue with it to dance around their true motives. I'm too weary to pick an argument on Gencon's forums or wade directly into the bigotry shark tank elsewhere, but I still want to vent a bit and respond to some of the arguments I've seen out there. I'm not going to make a checklist of every one I've seen and address them all. I'm not here to present a legal case or win a debate. There will be picking and choosing of battles with this. Deal With It.

"It's a shame that Gencon suddenly has to be so political"/"I come to conventions to get away from this sort of thing"

Well, first off, we can't make our way through this world without making political statements of some sort. Upholding the status quo through your actions or inaction is a political statement.  Silence can be a political statement (especially when it implicitly or explicitly upholds the status quo). Any decision we make based on using our personal beliefs to justify affecting the lives of other people is, in some way, a political act regardless of scale.

Second, how lucky for you that you have the ability to avoid the intrusion of politics into areas of your life. It's good that you have a place to go even if just a week a year to get away. Not everyone is so lucky. Some people attend Gencon to enjoy activities and social interactions they can't get at home for political reasons or because of the religious climate there. The people who are going to have SB101 used against them can't opt-out. Some of them are possibly seeking a escape from hostile family or work environments where they have to hide who they are for fear of having their lives upended. You're annoyed at having trouble escaping arguments you don't like; some people come to Gencon to spend time doing things that could get them fired or physically hurt back home.

Gencon taking a stand on this isn't necessarily for or about you. It's about those in the community who are going to be denied a right to do anything about it if Indiana businesses decide to mistreat them. Gencon's not going to put you on a picket line or force you to attend a pride parade of some sort if you attend. It's not about you. This bill isn't about you. I don't mean that in a 'you have no right to complain' sense, but to suggest that your perspective is not the one being served here and you should keep that in mind.

My point is that not everyone can opt-out of politics. Sometimes politics are inflicted upon you.

"It's not really as bad as you think"/"other places have policies that are vaguely similar if you describe them in the proper language"

Okay, y'know what, you put those goalposts down and then we'll talk. (This is a vent post, I'm not obligated to be fair or withhold snark)

Now, I can't necessary see your law or political science degree from here, so it is certainly possible that this bill is written in such a way that only you can understand it, everyone else is wrong, and that nobody who's issued any statement or press release could possibly have grasped it (or found someone to help them grasp it). In this endless world of wonders, anything is possible.

But seriously, dude, that goalpost looks heavy, you should stop moving it around.

"They're only doing this because they want an excuse to leave the city or use it as negotiating leverage"

As I'm pretty sure neither of us has psychic powers or a complicated corporate espionage network, I'm about as qualified to refute this statement as you are to make it.

(Seriously, though, if you have either of those things I think it'd be awesome to see that in action. I've got the phone book and packing peanuts right here.*)

Moving on.

"I take issue with the fact that Gencon is taking my money and using my presence as leverage in this issue"

Well, first off, assuming you've already read my 'it's not necessarily about you' stuff up above (so I don't have to repeat it), I can understand that argument. You do have the prerogative to decide which organizations and events you patronize, based on what they do with your money and attendance numbers.

That said, I think it's pretty shitty taking issue with it because it might benefit someone you don't like for whatever prejudiced reason, especially given how normally Gencon uses the money and numbers to generate advertisements to convince more people to attend and as leverage to attract guests or draw attention to charities. You do have that right regardless of my personal distaste for where you're deciding to draw the line, especially given that this is ABOUT people having their right to make similar decisions diminished.

At least Gencon is being up-front about it. Unlike the intolerant businesses you're defending. (Though I do legitimately sympathize if you've already spent money on the convention you can't get back in badge fees or hotel deposits and the like.)

"By arguing against this bill, Gencon is trying to take away my religious rights"/"Intolerance against my intolerance is just as intolerant"

Go fuck yourself.

That's it. Just go fuck yourself.

"This isn't going to hurt anyone but the relatively liberal city of Indianapolis and the more progressive businesses around the convention center."

Okay, I'm willing to give this argument a fair shake. Because this is point is actually pretty valid by comparison if nothing else. And it's a thorny issue. But Gencon will be taking a stance alongside a number of businesses also protesting this bill. In fact, someone's building a directory of businesses who reject the bullshit that this bill stands for. That directory is at and I'm hoping/expecting to see a lot of those stickers in downtown Indy. Between that website and the stickers and what I expect to be some very active forum threads, I'm sure I'll be able to limit my spending to businesses that aren't run by absolute shitbags.

Yes, that's right, I'm still going to be attending Gencon (this year, at least), in part because I had to pay out the nose for nonrefundable deposits on a downtown hotel room and I don't want to throw that money away. So I'm going to go, I'm going to show my support, and I'm going to do my best to have a good time. But I'm going to be paying attention to what local businesses I do and don't patronize in the hopes that my money goes to support the ones that openly reject SB101 and similar measures. And when I say 'openly reject,' I mean as opposed to ones who'll keep quiet and let people make assumptions for fear of drawing the wrath of the bigots. They don't need rainbow banners, but making a statement somewhere visible will be good.

But as for the long-term issue of Gencon's possible departure hurting the city... It sucks, it'll be a hard choice either way, but I'm of the personal opinion that funneling money into Indianapolis is not Gencon's purpose. Gencon is here to celebrate and serve a community. And even if it is the case of "NotAllIndianaCities," it doesn't change the fact that Gencon has to decide how to serve that community best and even with Indianapolis's support they may decide when the time comes that Indiana just isn't the right environment.

And when Mike Pence is arguing that people have the right to make swathes of the community unwelcome and uncomfortable out of a personal dislike**, that forces Gencon into a position where they have to support one side or another. Doing nothing would be just as political a statement, because it would be implicitly agreeing to the state of affairs that SB101 puts in place.

Because, in case you missed it, not everyone can opt-out of politics. They can be inflicted on you.

Before I go, I'm just going to say that I'm leaving comments open if anyone has anything they'd like to add. Some of my rhetoric aside, I'm willing to at least discuss aspects of this issue. Willing to, not obligated to.

THAT SAID, if you're some Internet rando I haven't seen around these parts before who's making sure to track down every corner of the blogosphere and go after anyone with a web presence because if you don't argue your case then a puppy will die, I will have no reservations regarding deleting and blocking. Because this is the digital equivalent of a discussion on my front porch. It's not an invitation for sealions to flump onto it and shit all over it. Sorry about your puppy.

To those of you willing to play nice, I thank you for your time. Remember to tip your server.

*-- I expect at most two people to get this reference. Don't care. It's here to entertain me.
**-- The sheer number of religious individuals who don't feel obligated to harm others based on race, gender, religion, or orientation makes it very clear that to discriminate is a personal choice. Anyone who claims they HAVE to discriminate because of a holy text and have no personal say in the matter is one of the worst examples of humanity.

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