If you’re not outraged, just come sit over here for a minute

So, Steve Rogers, aka Captain America for a bajillion years in comics, is now secretly a HYDRA agent.

This makes Steve secretly a Nazi sympathizer, if not a Nazi.

Many people I know are very upset.

I am not reading the comics.

I read the Time Magazine article and I thought, “Huh, that sounds really interesting! I bet they will get some great stories out of that!”

I know that nothing in comics is permanent change. I look forward to how they will dig out of this hole.

AT THE SAME TIME I am upset.

I recognize that Steve, a character designed to be the best of us, to be the noble agent of good in the face of evil, has been much-beloved specifically for his anti-Nazi stance.

I recognize that this character trope puts a stinking worm of betrayal into every anti-Nazi action he has taken.

I understand that loving the character is now tainted, as we all discover that our hero is vile — what does that make us? How were we so duped, so stupid, so gullible?

YES, everyone who is upset by this also knows that the story is not permanent.

YES, we know it’s fiction.

But culture matters. Stories MATTER, gods above and below, they MATTER, that’s why we MAKE them, because they touch people heart soul. If the story didn’t matter, no one would care. We are hurt because the creators DID THEIR JOB.

Taking a character who tens of thousands of people have admired, looked up too, stood with for his anti-Nazi stance because it was needed and necessary to remember that Captain America would fight for me, too and telling those folks that Steve secretly hated them all along —

— oh, come on. You have to see how that could hurt.

And knowing that this wound is temporary, that it’s for the sake of sales and money and a story beat, that just makes it hurt more, not less. How little we must matter, the people who needed Steve to be the defender of the underdog and the weak, how little we must matter if betraying us for a story beat is so easy.

If you honestly can’t see how that would hurt, I envy you the life that has allowed you to be never harmed by our culture. But if that is you, then please, I beg of you, please sit this conversation out.

I was going to sit this one out, myself. But speaking as one bystander to another, I invite you to join me here.

C’mon. Grab a mug of coffee or tea, find a nice book, and sit this one out with me. There are other fights we can get in, later.

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Hello, everyone I am about to see at Wiscon!

Hello, all you fine folks I am about to see at Wiscon!

This is a quick-reference sheet for folks who like to plan their social encounters ahead of time. The rest of y’all — :waves: — see you at con!

My name is Sigrid Ellis. That’s also my handle on Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat — basically everywhere. Two short-i sounds. Sih-grid. But I respond positively to any reasonably well-intentioned effort.

I use she/her pronouns.

I mostly eat vegetarian/pescetarian, but will eat animals from ethically-sourced cruelty-free places. So, there’s a high chance I’ll do so in Madison, because, *Madison*.

Not really a hugger, so please ask first.

I have a *freaking terrible* lack of ability to remember names and faces both, though I am working on it! PLEASE FEEL FREE TO INTRODUCE YOURSELF AGAIN, especially if you have a different haircut, or we know each other from more than one convention. If I *just* saw you at Minicon, I may be entirely confused talking to you at Wiscon. Seriously, I just called two of my coworkers Thing 1 and Thing 2. Watch my eyes. I will smile at you and say a cheery hello because I recognize you from … something … and start frantically looking for your badge.

Yes, my throat is still mystery-screwed-up in some way, no, I don’t really have answers or explanations, yeah, there’s not much to talk about there.

I am on panels!

Fri, 4:00–5:15 pm Join the Mod Squad: Enhance Your Moderation Skills

Ever go to a panel and spend your time thinking, “With a good moderator, this would be a much better panel?” We will review several ways to be that good moderator, offer tips and tricks, and generally work on improving WisCon’s already high standards for panel moderation. We strongly encourage you to attend this panel if you are moderating at WisCon, especially if it’s your first time. It’s also a great experience if you ever have been, or think you ever will be, a panel moderator anywhere.

Sun, 1:00–2:15 pm There Is No Aging Out Of Fandom

Too often we’ll encounter the phrase you’re so old! Or You’re too old to be a fangirl. Fuck that noise, we’re not going anywhere because we’re not wee kids just dipping our toes into our chosen fandoms. Let’s discuss this ridiculous idea like the mature adults we are, along with other aspects of our experience as aging SF writers and fans, and/or such topics as how SF/F has handled aging.

Sun, 2:30–3:45 pm It Came From the Slush Pile

Editors of short fiction share their slush pile horror stories. What are the turns of phrase that have made you spit coffee over your keyboard? What are the cover letter faux pas writers keep committing? What are the stories that have made you edit your guidelines to avoid seeing their like ever again? Part advice for new submitters, part venting for slush pile veterans, this panel should warn both groups just what they’re up against–or competing against.

I mostly attend panels, so you stand a good chance of finding me in the hallways in between. Most of my meals are scheduled up, but I expect I’ll be around at some of the evening parties.

I look forward to seeing y’all again!

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The Flower Ceremony

Yesterday at church I learned about the Unitarian Flower Ceremony. I went to church knowing that everyone would put flowers in a big arch, and I knew that, moreover, this Sunday was going to include a Dedication of Children (which is what Unitarians do instead of baptism.)

What I did not know was that Norbert Capek, the Prague minister who created the Flower Ceremony, was martyred in Dachau. I did not know that, while imprisoned by the Nazis, he held flower ceremonies in the camp. I did not know that his fellow inmates picked blades of grass, and weeds, and brought them to the circle in the yard and celebrated the beauty in life in the middle of Dachau.

And then, after I learned this, I watched a couple hundred people – children, families, older people — steadily walk up to the arch and the front of the church and leaves flowers. And after the arch was full of flowers the congregation welcomed three kids to the community.

Why, yes, Gentle Reader, I was most certainly crying.

When I was younger, I did not understand *at all* why things like this made old folks tear up. I was explaining it a bit to my kids in the car on the way home and they both have the glorious insouciance of childhood. They do not get why happy things make older people choke up.

Which, I suppose, is all to the good. There’s plenty of time for understanding to come later, when they are older. I’ll just keep sniffling my way through moments of joy and be glad that my kids do not yet understand how fleeting and fragile beauty is.

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I was listening to a podcast, probably Xplain the X-Men, and someone commented that while many superhero comics are about how one wins, X-Men comics are about how one loses — who will you be, what will you do, when you can’t win and all you have left is this moment of choice.

Yeah.

Norbert Capek would understand.

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Book recs

From my recent reading —

* The third book in Paul Cornell’s Shadow Police series, Who Killed Sherlock Holmes, came out this week. If you are not familiar with the series I recommend picking up book one, London Falling. Highly recommended for fans of all those grimy U.K. cop shows where people mutter at each other in thick regional accents and the police force is dominated by institutional inertia and malaise.

* I am currently devouring Joe Hill’s new book, The Fireman. I haven’t finished it yet, so, well, I can’t tell you anything reassuring about the ending. It’s an SF-horror combo in which the world ends when humanity is infected with a fungus that causes both spontaneous combustion and other, darker, problems. Highly recommended for people who like Mira Grant’s work, though I can’t make the guarantee she makes regarding a lack of sexual violence in her work. There is some of that so far, and I’m not done with the book yet.

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Links for May 18 2016

* The Partnership Between Colleges and Helicopter Parents

“Many public universities now rely heavily on parents—particularly those with money, time, and connections—to meet their basic needs.”

I gotta say, I’ve started pondering the whole college thing, now that I have teenagers …

* World Building like a Historian

* John Oliver perfectly describes the Republican Party’s relationship with Donald Trump

* Get rich or die vlogging: The sad economics of internet fame

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Hallway panels for Wiscon

Hallway panels!

Hallways panels are those conversation you end up having in the hallway between panels. The squees you want to squee, the rants you need to rant, the :heart-eyes: conversations with folks who agree with you, the cursing someone else’s house because they don’t ship your ship.

Here is an incomplete list of Hallway Panels I am currently proposing for Wiscon:

Sansa Stark, When Will She Burn the World

Charles Xavier is the Worst, No, Even Worse than Stick from Daredevil

Aging Politics, aka I Watched All of Season 2 of Grace and Frankie And It Made Me Think of Fandom

Cool People We Want to Lure to Wiscon How Can We Get Them

Things I Would Do If Eva Green Asked Me To, Especially If She Was Staring Dead-Eyed Into the Distance and Whispering

Melissa Benoist, National Treasure

WTF, Sleepy Hollow, I Just Can’t Even

What Would You NOT Filk to Hamilton, No That’s Not a Challenge, I Am Genuinely Asking

How Is It That All the Influential/Inspirational Women Authors of My Young Adulthood Are Being Forgotten — Not On My Watch, Buddy, Here’s a Reading List

So, what hallway panels are y’all planning?

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Garden progress

So I got the seedlings from the conservatory, and planted them, and now this weekend it’s supposed to get down to the mid-30s again. Still.

Argh.

Well, I’ll cover the beds and hope for the best.

A pox on your weather, Minnesota. A pox, I say.

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