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I Am A Popinjay
All of Davroz's Life is a Play!

Okay, seriously, this is my favorite day ever. EVER! Okay, after my marriage.

…and the birth of my kids…

…and college graduation…

Well, you get the idea.

The day began simply enough. A friend (or, at least, an acquaintance, I wouldn't presume to speak for her and imply that she considers me a friend, y'know) publicly indicated her intention to ghost1 a convention. A fellow runner of conventions posted a message stating the obvious: that while it is in poor form to ghost, it is even poorer form to do so and advertise that fact publicly. Knowing that there is strength in numbers, I chimed in and stated the same…in my own inimitable way2.

A few people waded in and opined that castigating public advertisement—by recognized members of fandom—of ghosting was a terrible affront and that, for varying reasons, ghosting isn't that bad. I argued the counter. At some point, I have an entire post to put together about why both (that is, ghosting and advertising ghosting) are bad, but that's not the focus of this. The focus is the slightly melodramatic response by a long term member of the group…herein lies the story of Davroz!

Davroz posted the following tidbits. The screed on the left was the first (set) and was in the thread wherein the bulk of the shenanigans went on. That thread can be found here (assuming that the originator of the thread doesn't pull/lock it. I wouldn't blame her, the thread got more than a little out of control.) The missive on the right was in my Facebook thread that pointed to the first thread, in which some meta discussion took place. That can be found here (assuming I don't lock or pull it, which I can't imagine I will.)

Davroz's first rant, text below

David Rozian: Jer Lance, I'm going on the record to say, unreservedly and without any hint of humor or irony, you *really* are a dick! I have never seen someone take what was a simple statement on a person's wall post to such a level of heated diatribe and flaming bulls**t. You are supposed to be in a position of responsibility, being a conchair. However, you have taken it upon yourself to make savaging Amber, Scott and Mike your almighty crusade. Never have I seen such profligate use of scathing personal abuse, excessive expletives, ad hominum arguments, put-downs and vilification. You have the unmitigated gall to take credit for *making* Amber buy a badge. I'm right here next her, and I can say for a fact, sir, she scraped together every cent she had of her own volition, not yours, you arrogant pompous poppinjay!

I watched half of the comments made against you by Scott completely vanish from this thread, leaving only the evidence of your chronic abuse as tribute to your great oratorical debating ability. I fully expect you to crow from the barn-top of your exploits, "See the Great Jeremy Lance, chasing the barbarians from the gate!" From my viewpoint, you've alienated at least four potential paying attendees to your convention.

Well, let me tell you, you bloody knob, you have a bigger problem brewing than poor kids ghosting these events. Irrational dictators around the world are being confronted and toppled for their continued sense of entitlement and abuse of power. Regardless of the 'rightness' (read self-righteousness) of your stand against ghosting, the manner by which you made your case and the inappropriatenss of this choice of venue verges on the legal definition of Libel!

The baldfaced presumption on your part that you may publicly belittle, degrade or humiliate someone on their own Facebook page, without hint of reserve, humility or regret and with apparent belief in your own impunity *DEMANDS* at the very least a formal apology to Amber Roe, Scott Kimlek, and Mike Bastin, and quite possibly a petition to all the board members of all midwestern conventions which associate themselves with you to have you censured, removed and banned from future activities which would put you in any position of authority until such time as you can do so with a civil tongue!

Savage me as you might, I am not going to stand idly by and let you get away with this again. Consider yourself on notice, sir. This tyranny SHALL NOT STAND!

Davroz's second rant, text below

David Rozian: Glad you all find this a "fun" conversation, but has anyone considered that maybe the owner of this wall might not enjoy having their motives, morality and associates so rudely attacked in the manner Jer seems to prefer, ie brusque, unbridled use of expletives and personal put-downs. Honestly, I don't know why anyone supports this hypocrisy, as I see more juvenile use of says you, yo' mamma', and grade-school self agrandisements on Jer's part than Scott. I want to see what his honor, the mayor, would say to a similar attack leveled here. What if this shoe were on the other foot? How about someone accusing a con-chair of malfeasance (true or otherwise)? I want to point you to my response on the original thread, not a defense of ghosting mind you, which the originator of the thread is *not guilty* of, but a serious question of Jer's legitimacy to conduct Con business as evidenced by his tirades, attacks, unsparing abuse and turning of critical facts to suit his arguments. Would you stand for a political leader holding office exhibiting such impolitic behavior *IN PRINT*, on the record? I think apologies are in order, on the record, or censure otherwise!

So, leaving aside, for a moment, the lack of a coherent understanding of such terms as ad hominem arguments, oratorical, irrational, dictator, the difference between rightness and self righteousness, libel, reserve, humility, tyranny, unbridled, morality, hypocrisy, and undoubtedly a host of others—let us instead just absorb this in all of its unmitigated glory. Read it again. Seriously. Read it. Just, let the emotion carry you. Davroz, in his own little world, is the heroic lead in a play where the dastardly Jer is the tyrant dictator of something that matters somewhere…you can just feel it! A lesser man than I might opine that Davroz has lost his grip on reality and might actually believe that all the world really is a stage in the literal sense rather than the metaphorical. It is, to further abuse his use of language, spectacular oration. I might have to do dramatic readings of this bloody thing, it's such a work of art.

Alas, like many works of art, it is largely a work of fiction, as well. Let us begin with the notion that I am not, nor have I ever been, a conchair. I have no desire to do so, nor have I ever expressed anything but abject horror at the thought. Upon my first reading, I stopped there figuring “Well, if he doesn't even know who the conchairs of the conventions are, then why should I care even slightly about his obviously entirely uninformed opinion”; but my wife indicated that the whole of the missive was not to be missed, so I read on.

Upon completion, my initial thought was Wait a fucking minute, did that motherfucker call me a fucking popinjay? What in the name of fucking hell is a popinjay!? A bit of Googling later: A goddamned bird? Oh, a talkative person…yeah, that's fair. Afterward, however, I arrived at a more pressing concern. In Davroz's Play Land(tm), the windmill at which he is so furiously tilting would have me as a dictator, which he then compares to the dictators being put down on the other side of the world currently.

Wait, don't gloss over that thought. Let that sink in: he is literally comparing me bitching someone out for advertising theft from friends to individuals who have committed murder, assassination, and other heinous acts of violence. Seriously! In Davroz's Play Land, heretofore referred to as DPL, “Hey, stealing from friends is a dick move” is the equivalent of violence that resulted in thousands of serious injuries and hundreds of deaths. That seems pretty rational. He basically Godwin3-ed himself

Over on my Facebook, he rails against some imagined hypocrisy (perhaps I am secretly pro-theft-from-friends?) and points out that my friends would never accept such a thing from a real life elected leader, implying, I can only assume, that I am an elected political figure with all that that entails. As such, I eagerly await several years' salary (at an astonishingly reasonable by political office standards of only $10k per year per convention) and invite other board members and convention runners to do the same. I mean, it's only reasonable that if we are to be held by the Crowned Prince of Pompous Language and Bloviating Oratory (which I can only assume is a very real, very important post in DPL) to some standard we should be compensated as such? Just kidding, that notion would be batshit insane!…err…that notion IS batshit insane, my apologies.

Basically, as a work of fiction, these blustery pieces of delight are glorious. If you try to apply it to the situation in any way, you'll find it more than a little nonsensical, so it's best just to treat it like any other fantasy novel written by a someone without much grasp of plot but a huge expensive thesaurus. A HUGE thesaurus. Seriously, epic. Damn, do I ever want to do a dramatic reading of this. That might be my next project!

Oh, and to the young lady in whose thread this so grossly exploded, I do wish to offer both my thanks for her opting not to attend for free and my sincere apologies for spanking the hands of a bunch of unruly children in her thread. In point of fact, only the lead part of that thread in any way actually even applies to her, the rest was mere fact correction and ethics lessons (a course that it seems an astonishing number of members of fandom might consider). To you, ma'am, I say “Have a great con”. To the rest…well…you know what you did, whether or not you admit it to yourself is your own ethical dilemma.

This just leaves the moral of the story, in the form of Things for Jer to Do:

  • Record or arrange for a dramatic reading of this mess.
  • Get I'm Ghosting this Con ribbons for Penguicon (thank you Joe for the amazing idea)
  • Commit heinous acts of violence, murder, and tyranny -CHECK
  • Go back to the business of putting on conventions for the sort of folks that call other people popinjays

1 Ghosting: to attend the convention without paying for a badge for the convention. Typically, it doesn't apply to merely going to the same hotel as the convention, but to hanging out with the convention attendees in convention space without paying.

2 My own inimitable way: I used naughty words like dick!

3 Godwin's Law: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.”