Dashcon: Where I Draw the Line
First of all, you are officially invited to BallPitCon, where I already have confirmed guests The Ball Pit, Stephen Fry, This American Life, and Martin Freeman, who will be crocheting a square-bottomed necktie while being live-interviewed in the ball pit. The con fee for entrance is $85, but once you get in the doors, that price raises to $850.
I just need to say that none of this lampooning and fol-de-rol and satire would be remotely necessary if the con hadn’t actually done a bit of damage to people. Let’s be real here: I love me a ball pit. I grew up with no dollars and thought a trampoline was the most wonderful invention on God’s green earth (there will be a trampoline at BallPitCon).
What I mean to say is, I think it’s fun and charming to have a bouncy castle and some balls in a pool, really actually I do. I wish I had that at my house. I might buy aforementioned items when I get home, and I was planning to visit the ball pit, in all sober seriousness. This is NOT ABOUT SNARK. Never ever ever would I dream of mocking the ball pit, ever, scout’s honor, if the con itself had not done people harm.
Did it do everyone harm? No. Am I speaking for everyone? No. Am I speaking for anyone save myself and my own opinion? No. Did it do me harm personally? Yes. Am I talking about that fact when I say I am drawing the line? NO.
Am I talking about the fact they withdrew their extremely well-documented offer to pay for my hotel room without doing me the courtesy of informing me that I was now liable for changes, simply assuming that I’m a person who has that sort of skrilla, without so much as a by-the-way text message?
I don’t care that I have to put out for this. I care about the kids–and I mean both everyone under my ripe age of 34 and actual for-serious youngsters–who saved and dreamed and envisioned this con being a place where they could meet some folk from fandom and some folk from Night Vale, presumably without an additional $17,000.00 surcharge.
Where I draw the line is that people were here out of love–love for each other as fans, love for a TV show, love for the ability to create beautiful fanworks and sell them, love for the idea of a gathering about social media and its myriad glories–and not all of them could really afford it (I’ve spoken with several people on this subject), and when you buy something, you’re supposed to get That Thing You Bought.
Does it have to be perfect? No, it doesn’t. The bouncy castle can collapse and I will cheerfully stand in it and pretend it’s a shittier version of a tent. I am not a perfectionist. Ask my copyeditors.
But when you’re using people’s love of a fandom or a social media site to generate revenue and promising them 3,000-7,000 attendees (no), and Night Vale (no), and paying for fees (this is not just me, I am fine, but no), and the people in question are literally teenagers who are being given false information, and then you won’t step up to the plate and answer questions? You’re going to hide? You’re going to make an official statement saying it was PayPal’s fault Night Vale isn’t here?
I am 34 years old, and I feel OK, this weekend has been such a blast with meeting new and interesting people. But please don’t lie to folks who are young, and will take it to heart. And don’t have the money to cover the expenses they are now expected to foot. And don’t have the life experience to shout about it. Are they helpless? Absolutely not. But I am in the position to shrug this off, and I feel terrible for those who can’t.
EDIT as of 12:22 pm: Now they have said it was a mistake my room and beinggeekchic’s was not covered. I thank them for this, and I am happy that part of the problem was resolved in a civil and timely manner.