I am writing this post on my phone, in offline mode, while in a plane to the one convention I can barely afford to attend each year. It is possible that the situation on the ground will change by the time I touch down, and I will have to change some portion of it. C’est la vie. I have things to say right now and things to do when I land.
So, my fundraiser to get to WorldCon has been temporarily frozen due to false reports by an unknown individual or individuals that I had been granted a “full scholarship” that included a free membership, transportation, lodging, and even a prepaid debit card for “incidentals”. Imagine!
On Twitter, I described the situation as “someone lied”. I don’t actually know if the person or persons who registered the complaints knew they were repeating something untrue or not. The communities in which these kinds of accusations are born and flourish outwardly hold things like truth, facts, and evidence with a near-religious regard… to the extent that is such things are more oftem distantly believed in on some spiritual plane than seen or felt.
I wrote about this last year, the way the Pups deal in “essential” truths. It is axiomatic to their way of thinking that anyone who opposes them is a larcenous SJW huckster who is well-compensated for their SJWing. Whether it is actually true in any particular case does not matter, as it is essentially true of all of us.
I suspect that there was a sort of cult-mentality telephone game at work. Someone said, somewhere on the web, something like “Why is she begging for handouts? After her performance last year, you know she got an all-expenses paid invitation.” Whether this person was lying, speculating, joking, or earnestly articulating something they wholeheartedly believed in is immaterial. What they said was wrong, but to its intended audiences it had the ring of truth, and so it was all but guaranteed to be repeated as truth, including ny whomever repeated it as fact to GoFundMe’s “customer happiness team”.
I am looking into remedies. The GoFundMe rep requested I submit receipts showing the money is going where I say it’s going… at which point they will release the money. Catch-22! I sent a reply offering a receipt for the airfare (which I was able to withdraw before the account was held, and which just cleared today), or to have whatever agency was said to have provided the scholarship confirm it did not exist. I do not have enough experience to know whether I should be optimistic about this or not. I understand where GFM’s priority is to protect their reputation and prevent fraud.
However this shakes out, I do not expect it to be the last attack on my activities or my attempts to reach WorldCon. I have seen enough people targeted by these tactics to know that the mere fact that I do not lie down in the face of them will be decried as me ” playing victim” for my share of the “victim bucks”, an imaginary bottomless pit of money the world just hands to the targets of harassment campaigns for fun.
But if I start moderating myself to head off their predictable attacks, I will never stop until I have moderated myself out of existence. That is the end game here.
The actual (not essential) truth is that I am not wealthy, or powerful, or well-connected. If I were, I wouldn’t have turned to GoFundMe in the first place. If I were, I probably wouldn’t be nearly as appealing a target of opportunity.
The actual truth is that what I am is reasonably clever, determined, and well-regarded in certain limited circles. I believe those qualities will be enough to achieve my goal.
I have to believe that certain malcontents are stinging over the way their now-annual campaign of hatred has backfired and made them laughingstocks among the communities they have sought to dominate, terrorize, or destroy. I flatter myself to imagine that in some small way, I helped to lead that charge with my example last year. So I can easily imagine why I am now a target.
I will not let this stop me, not from writing my satire or sharing my observations on the emergent properties and governing myths of these reactionary hate mobs, and not from attending WorldCon in Kansas City in August. I will be there. You can count on that.
Update: GoFundMe cleared the hold. The fundraiser is back on: http://www.gofundme.com/ae2worldcon
Second Update: I have written a follow-up post explaining the impact of attacks like this, and the best way to respond.