Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Intolerance at a Supernatural Convention

This post was written by a member who attended BurCon, a Supernatural convention in Burbank.

Two weeks after the convention I am still bothered by my experience there. I finally decided what happened should not pass without comment. The GHPALS blog gives me the forum to vent that I need, and I thank my fellow members for allowing me to use it.

I love the show Supernatural, so when I read about the convention in Burbank I eagerly bought a silver ticket. I saved up so I could stay at the Marriott and really enjoy myself. Mostly I did.

The timing, it turned out, was unfortunate because it started two days after the Presidential election. As we all know, the voting results shocked a great many people who had assumed Mrs. Clinton's election was assured. 

The disappointed and upset included the major Creation staffers and most of the actors appearing at the convention, and they were very vocal about it. Several of them made negative comments about Trump supporters as well as the President-elect. Audience members cheered these remarks, sometimes enthusiastically.

I was one of the finalists in a trivia contest. The last two contestants were always asked where they were from and audience members cheered the location. I answered "Orange County" and the moderator sniffed disdainfully. Evidently he knew Orange County usually voted Republican. I wanted to shout, "We voted for Clinton, you asshole!" but of course I didn't. 

At one point the audience was asked if anyone there voted for Mr. Trump. No one raised a hand.

There had to be someone in that room who voted for him, but no one subjected themselves to the scorn that would have been heaped upon them. I wouldn't have. 

Not raising your hand in such a group is not an act of cowardice. It's an expression of "I don't need the hassle."  The crowds at Mr. Trump's rallies was an indication of his popularity. I know the rally here in Costa Mesa was packed.

Misha Collins was obviously devastated by the election results, since he had campaigned for Mrs. Clinton. He had the grace not to bash Trump or his supporters.

Mark Sheppard, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki made no comment on the election. It's not relevant to the show we were all there to celebrate.

I have read many blog posts reporting on Supernatural conventions. They always say fans are friendly and embracing newbies. I had been looking forward to that happening to me. It didn't, I'm sorry to say. 

Instead I sensed I'd stumbled into an exclusive club, one where only people who thought a certain way were welcome. 

That feeling was reinforced by the flyers someone left on horizontal surfaces throughout the hotel. The tone deafness of the author, who must not have sensed the absurdity and condescension inherent in such a note, is obvious. Trying to be inclusive, the result was exclusive and offensive. If you aren't on this list, you aren't respected because you don't deserve to be.

At least that's how I felt, a white female of European descent who may, or may not, have voted for Mrs. Clinton*, who respects everyone without needing to know their race, ancestry or sexual orientation,

* I'm a firm believer in the sanctity of the secret ballot.

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