Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

February 18, 2013

Dragon*Con And Ed Kramer: The Response

There are a couple of widely linked-to posts presenting another side of the story about Dragon*Con and the fact that its profits feed the personal banking account and thus legal coffers of co-founder and embattled accused child molester Ed Kramer. Here is a response from the con. Here is an impassioned post from a fan of the show. I assume that pretty soon someone will check out the legal validity of certain claims here if I can't get to it first. Basically what this argues is that this is an absolutely intractable situation and that the convention founders have done the best they can, but without an actionable way to remove Ed Kramer -- which would involve a conviction, and a resolution to current lawsuits -- they're stuck. I would also assume that most people reading this site who follow the links will be able to separate some of the hyperbole used (you must apply this standard to all things or be a super-hypocrite!) from the stronger claims (the legal mire-related ones).

The weird thing about this to me is that it really only speaks to any sort of boycott of that show if you desire to see that boycott as a punishment against Dragon*Con and its organizers for not doing enough to dissolve that sticky legal relationship. If you just look at not going to that show as a way to keep money out of the hands of Ed Kramer, all of this seems to me to actually invigorate that point. Not only do you not personally put money into Kramer's hands by forgoing the show he co-founded, if the current organizers are somehow compelled by law to keep putting on the best show possible and seeing to it that Kramer profits, everyone simply opting out of the thing may be the only solution to that particular problem until there's a legal breakthrough. That would seem to me to work, unless somehow Ed Kramer can sue individual fans and authors for not seeing to his maximized profits -- we'll probably get to that point as a society someday, but I don't think we're there yet. You do have to want Kramer not to profit more than you want the awesome things a funny-book and genre convention offers. You do have to want a resolution more than you want a brand name to retain its value.

Anyway, comics culture and fan culture more generally is kind of obsessed with finding heroes and villains and acting heroically and punishing villains and being on the right side of things and inserting one's story into someone else's in a way that it often fails to be goal-oriented. In this case, my goal would be not to support this fucked-up situation. Your goal may be different -- in fact, if a conviction is important to you here before making a decision about your support, which is a view I respect and understand, you're going to approach things differently. My goal is relatively easy for me to meet, because I had no desire to attend that show in the first place. If enough people make a similar choice, including those that attend or exhibit, will that lead to some collateral damage? Sure. But so does continuing to attend, at least for now. You put your money down -- or you don't -- and you make your choices.
posted 5:00 pm PST | Permalink

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