Last week at work we were discussing some child who had gone from K to 12th grade without missing a single day of school. I was the one who kept insisting, "It's NOT wonderful!"
It's not that hard to catch up if you miss a day or two. It's not such a bad thing to take care of yourself instead of succumbing to this stupid all-consuming work ethic. And it IS a bad thing to infect other people with your germs. So I am staying home one extra day and I won't regret it, because I'm staying home instead of giving small children the norovirus.
Like I said, Wiscon was really good. Except for the stomach thing. And the troll.
I've become a lot better able to monitor my emotional state, my level of stress and tiredness, and decide when I needed to have a sleep, alone time, sandwich, or cold drink instead of going to yet another panel. Or a party. Result being that I didn't go to any parties at all, but I also didn't get burnt out. And WisCon was really good at accomodating that, too--they actually had a "quiet room" and a "very quiet room" that you could go to for some chill-out time.
Unfortunately, I wasn't as good at listening when my stomach said "No."Friday
Got to downtown Madison late enough/stressed enough that I decided to drop my things off at the hotel, eat something, and then go to opening ceremonies. I perked up quickly, and said hi to littlebutfierce
, and raanve
, who I met last WisCon, and then their friends wrdnrd
. For my first panel, I decided on "Elves and Dwarves: The Racism Inherent in Fantasy," since, as I noted, "I'm still at full Sanity points." Not full enough to debate descriptivism vs. prescriptivism in language, however!Transcript by badgerbag
, her commentary
, panel reactions caught on video
Yes, pretty much what they said. I felt that some of the people on the panel (not everyone!) were too busy being apologists for their own work to really address the question of whether essentialism is problematic or not in fantasy. There was this strain of thinking that there is NO problem with having all your elves be more graceful and all your dwarves be more strong if it's a genetically-coded Fact, which strikes me as kind of simplistic, especially given how a lot of people still think that racial differences (not in terms of physical features but in terms of intelligence, etc.) are genetically-coded Fact!
I don't know whether that means racism is inherent in fantasy, or (anyway) in Tolkien-pattern fantasy, because generally the panel was too busy self-justifying to actually talk about the panel topic. But then, for what it's worth, most of the panel topics were way too big to cover in 75 minutes, and that's always true of WisCon panels, and it's actually kind of neat, if frustrating! We are all on Livejournal anyway, if we want to talk about things more deeply.
There was some discussion of Drizz't and the dark elves in the Dragonlance setting, which I actually haven't read, but I realized that when I was younger and played D&D I was a naive enough reader not to make any connections between dark elves and black people.
My next panel was the Octavian Nothing book club, with coffeeandink
, and others. Which dissipated my annoyance with the previous panel, because it was great! We discussed the idea of colonialism as a gendered thing, and the contradictions of the American revolution, and generally all the good stuff in the book, but also in a way that linked it up with other texts, and now I have book recommendations!
Oh, and before the panel I was knitting, and as oyceter
and I discussed knitting, it turned out that we were both making Pomatomus
! Which struck me as terribly funny. Except I was making it as armwarmers rather than socks so that they wouldn't be uncouth to try on as I went. Generally Wiscon was a very knitty space and there were three or four people knitting in the audience at most panels I went to.