WisCon Day 4

So Sunday was my super busy day I had 3 panels, one of which was at ass o’clock in the morning, otherwise known at like 8:45, which is my own fault for saying I’d be available at that time but still.

Sunday Panel 1: The first panel was on blogging and if that takes away from your creative time. My answer was yes until I got myself an actual schedule that allows me timw to write generally. Vylar Kaftan talked about setting up her blog and little internet elves. Cecelia Tan discussed how much of her life is now online with correspondence and blogs. Alan Bostick talked about how he was now trying to get his blog to make money instead of just sucking his time away. M.K. Hobson talked about people finding her blog which set us all off to talking about that. All in all we discussed how far we went with what we would and wouldn’t say online where others could find it. It was a small panel (only 10 folks in the audience) but overall I think it went quite well with some back and forth with the audience and such.

When I left the room the Con had been papered with signs saying the flu had come to WisCon and that we all should wash our hands repeatedly.

Sunday Panel 2: Dissecting Diversity – I had been nervous about this panel going in but meeting the moderator and discussing what she wanted to focus on did calm me. Unfortunately the dreaded WisCholera laid her low before the panel itself. I had one friend approach me beforehand and ask that if it went badly was she free to leave or did I need the support of her in the audience. I told her to go ahead and leave if she needed to, about half way through I saw her get up and go. I saw a few other People of Color get up and leave as well. I think that having 5 folks up there, 3 white men, 1 white woman and 1 Man of Color (me) was unfortunate. There should have been the voices of Women of Color in the conversation especially when discussing diversity in full.

It was held in one of the larger halls and there was some good audience participation but there were also a few things that happened in that room that had friends mouthing “Are you okay?” at me during the panel. They could see my anger at some of the things being said which I felt were pure derailment in some instances. I do however think that the panel got better about halfway through. Anyway enough of that.

During this time I was constantly waiting for the hotel to call me and let me know that they had shifted our things to another room (a non-smoking room). I called down finally and they gave me the keys and let me know everything was switched. I called my roommates with our new room number and ran upstairs for a quick Disco Nap before my fourth and final panel of the Con.

Sunday Panel 3: Faux Diversity vs. Actual Diversity went quite well. I think we got to the center of a lot of issues with Diversity and the whitening of characters who are actually of color, for instance Inara and River are both clearly supposed to be read as white within the context of Firefly/Serenity but neither of the actresses would be considered white by modern societal standards. I also got to get that whole thing about Avatar being read as white off my chest and actually had a bunch of support from the audience. So yes, other people know that there are no white characters in Avatar, I can only hope M. Night Shalaman knows it as well (since he’s directed the live-action adaptation). Rachel one of the panelists talked about the horrible Chinese in Firefly/Serenity and how it makes no sense to Chinese speakers. Julia gave the audience (and the panel) a good rundown on why she likes Eureka so much and how it’s racial diversity doesn’t fall into stereotypes (or only rarely does). Janice and a audience member, John argued over whether it’s better to have no characters of Color or badly characterized People of Color on a show. I’m always of two minds when it comes to that argument. I can see how visibility is good and it being easier to improve an existing character than to insert one in a resistant show but at the same time I get so tired of the badly characterized People of Color that I just want them of my freaking screen. 

After that there was dinner, I believe this was the night a bunch of us went out for Ethiopian food, which while not strictly Ethiopian was still damn good. One of the folks we had dinner with, Cabell gave me a fantastic mix CD based on Buffy, which has some f*ing amazing songs on it. There was drinking and then back to the Con for the Martha Jones panel.

I felt like the Martha Jones panel veered way off course at times, like when all of a sudden we (the general we, I was in the audience here) were just discussing companions in general, who our favorite was, why they were this way and on and on. We discussed Donna and Rose and companions from decades past. It was a nice discussion but still not really addressingthe topic of the panel. We did get to talk about Martha and everyone on the panel agreed that she had amazing potential that was squandered and that there were some serious problems with some of the scenarios she was put in most noticeably the Family of Blood episodes where Martha is the maid.

Then it was upstairs, by then the WisCholera was sweeping the Con and people were afraid so the parties were much more subdued and empty. So there was drinking, I won a Vixen Action Figure in the Girls with Capes party admired my friends costumes and then it was off to bed.

Woo, I rushed to get this one out to y’all and again all of the things here are my remembrance weeks after the fact.  

Next: WisCon Day 5

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2 responses to “WisCon Day 4

  1. I think I’m coming to the point where I’d rather have NO COC than badly portrayed COC. In my mind, when you have stereotype COC, you don’t actually have a character of color at all. You have a minstrel, a stand-in, a prop for white imagery and not really a character. It doesn’t do anything good for POC to see that, and for white people, it only reinforces their racist views.

    Finally, as a fan of whatever it might be, it’s easier for me to accept invisibility over being defined negatively. I feel the latter is more silencing than the former.

    Actually, now that I think about it, that’s the big issue with pretendians. It’s not enough to destroy a culture or people, but then to have to place your own fake version of it in it’s place.

  2. bankuei:
    For me it truly depends on the Character itself, I’ve learned to live with some stereotypes in my COC just because they’re always there but when it gets so extreme sometimes I’m glad when they kill off the character. Yes, it’s a horrible deadbrowalking moment but at least I won’t have to see the stereotypical idiot any longer.

    If it’s a basically a good character with a few pop ups of steretypical bullshit I can handle it in the name of having someone that looks like me on screen. But then it also depends on what stereotypical bullshit they’re bringing into it. If it’s something butchering a culture and reconstituting it the way you think it should be, as with Firefly and its Orientalism I have much less patience for it. The black character on detective/medical (CSI, House) shows always being someone who clawed their way up from the ghetto and having connections into gangs on the other hand annoys me but I won’t stop watching a show because of it, maybe ’cause it’s so often used that I’m desensitized to it.

    I also think our views on this issue shift with time, when I was younger I tolerated more BS in my COC than I do now and in the future who knows?

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