May 06 2006

BlameCon: The Hypothetical Feasibility Study

failuredoor_soco1.jpgPhil, my secretary, informs me that we’ve been inundated with emails about BlameCon. BlameCon is, you may recall, the non-existent patriarchy-blaming convention I made up as a joke the other day. Yet the idea appears to emit the unmistakable odor of allure. More than a few of you have expressed an interest in gettin’ it on.

My question is this: if—and I emphasize “if”—if BlameCon were to materialize, what would it look like, what would it be for, and why would anyone bother to come? Would firearms be allowed? Men? Norbizness? Lipstick? Would there be a workshop on knitting numshucks? Would it be a thinly veiled excuse to have witty, antisocial T-shirts made? Would there be any attempt whatsoever at enlightenment? Who would make the margaritas?

One university faculty member brought up the possibility of blowing some of her annual funding on hosting it at her school. Someone else suggested a sort of turn on, tune in, and drop out weekend in the woods. My own vague and previously unarticulated sense of it was more along the lines of a sybaritic afternoon on a houseboat, with a chef of course, and maybe, after a few drinks, a dramatic presentation of the SCUM Manifesto starring Chris Clarke in the leading role.

Anyway, though the contingency of BlameCon’s ever coming to fruition is remote, if there are any more suggestions, have at it. And please bear in mind that, dammit, Jim, I’m a blamer, not an organizer.


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  1. blog.myspace.com/28371978

    I volunteer to make the margaritas! And the specialty martinis. Mmmm.

  2. hedonisticpleasureseeker.wordpress.com

    Whatever this hypothetical Blamecon becomes, organizing it should not be allowed to turn into too much work (because we loathe extra work and it gets expensive anyway). Simple is good. Too many structured activities is bad.

    Me likey the arts-and-crafts idea. And the feeding frenzy. I’d definitely go!

    And the subject of lipstick: If bodypaint and henna are allowed, then lipstick should be allowed also . . . In general the only test for feminist street-cred should be a willingness to Blame.

  3. vera.wordpress.com

    I’m in, no matter what form it takes. I could help with the T-shirts. Would we need patriarchy blaming wine glasses or latte mugs as well?

    The university campus idea has merit, since campuses have built-in facilities for gatherings. Perhaps the theme of the first BlameCon — besides blaming, of course — could be planning the first annual Radical Feminists On A Houseboat retreat.

    I’d like to include a book fair. I need to create a patriarchy blaming bibliography for my daughters.

    So far as I’ve been able to determine, I’m the only radical feminist in Palo Alto, and it gets pretty lonely. Meeting other blamers would give me the strength to go on. We could form an emergency phone or email tree for people like me who frequently experience an intense urge to blame but have no one to talk to.

  4. faultline.org/place/toad

    That reminds me: I still need to find a French picnic knife.

    Which leading role did you have in mind for Chris, now?

  5. politblogo.typepad.com

    If it’s to be an IBTP BlameCon, it should have the same composition as the blog, including a dillettante named Nameerf who barges in for one of the sessions and gives people a 50 minute shouting lecture about how they are bad feminists compared to him before he’s turfed.

  6. 1. Those who blame the Patriarchy, but still find themselves in agreement with the market theories of Milton Freedman will have their beliefs respected.

    2. Body decoration of any kind is right out. Shaving in any area of the body is discouraged, but permitted.

    3. Fair-trade coffee only (or bring your own hangover remedy).

    4. Men are allowed, but only if they agree to come in drag.

    5. After the ceremonial reading of the SCUM Manifesto, we will all go out and shoot a supposedly transgressive artist who is in reality a mere tool of the Patriarchy.

    5. Twisty will of course be held entirely responsible for the post-conference cleanup.

    6. No refunds will be issued from one week before the conference.

    7. And finally, no ropes, chains, or pulleys may be employed.

  7. politblogo.typepad.com

    By the way, Twisty, do you really have a secretary named Phil?

  8. I make some mean sangria, with triple sec and brandi, among many other wonderful things.

    BlameCon should be as loosely organized as is humanly possible.

    Everyone should bring a tasty dish to pass.


  9. simplyleftbehind.blogspot.com


    Exibits A, B, and C to add international flavor.

  10. hattie.typepad.com/hatties_web

    I would love to come to such an event. Maybe I could work it out. god it would be fun. At the very least we need to have a virtual festival.
    Listen. You can’t expect that Greek dude to carry all those twigs. He’s a smoker, so he does not have the wind power.

  11. 2. Body decoration of any kind is right out.

    No fair! I’m all kinds of tattooed and I’ve a few unconventional piercings. And other stuff– basically, I’m very decorated and modified in ways that I can’t hide, let alone change for a weekend convention.

    I doubt it matters since this whole thing will very likely not take place in the Greater Boston Area, if it takes place at all.

    If it did, I would be there with several pens and a whole notebook. I have so much to learn.

  12. members.cox.net/thevixen/Cayenne/1.html

    Please, no boring speakers and I hope dogs are allowed. I assume the Margaritas mean that Tacos are the Official Food of Blamecon. Actually, I’m more concerned about dessert.

  13. grannyvibe.blogspot.com

    Before the planning progesses any further, can we please obtain consensus on whether or not the Roller Derby grils be allowed to come dressed in tiny little skirts made of loosely knit frisee? Oh and I’m particularly concerned about the bathrooms: what will be the official State of the Cans?

  14. I can imagine some sort of deprogramming activity.

    Music and art making are always fun – some kind of group effort.

    We could probably have people bring symbols of the patriarchy to do something with. To create bizarre un-rituals around. Or something.

  15. Perhaps we could throw ourselves a little Dionysian frenzy, a la “The Bacchae”. Does anyone have a son they’re not particularly fond of?

  16. kakamak.blogspot.com

    I’m with Dykonoclast: I’m hopelessly forever modified as well. If this is to be in Texas, what with hot weather and all, there’s no hinding any of them. And if the drag queens get to wear eyeliner, I’m holding firmly on to mine as well!

    Brazilian waxes, however, should be forbidden.
    And endive.

  17. Well, if y’all are bringing your body modifications, you can hardly justify barring entry to this boring speaker. (And dessert won’t be served one minute before the question-and-answer session is over, schatze.)

  18. flyinfur.blogspot.com

    I hope that if there’s a knitting session that someone takes the time to teach me. I’ve always wanted to learn. And I never, ever turn down margaritas.

  19. BlameCon should clearly be held in Vegas. There is so much to blame about there, the Convention will literally plan itself.

  20. animeg.blogspot.com

    We should have food, lots of it, and don’t leave out people of color. That drives me batty.

  21. redneckmother.blogspot.com

    What, you don’t think Hula Hut would host BlameCon? I’d attend such a gathering if time allows. I second the patriarchy-blaming bibliopgraphy notion, in part because I am a purely instinctual blamer and need to educate myself. Also, what would a patriarchy-blaming book list for white boys look like? I ask in all seriousness as the mother of two such critters who desperately wants them to grow up to be something other than privileged tools.

  22. redneckmother.blogspot.com

    Bibliopgraphy. Excellent.

  23. marykay.typepad.com/gallimaufry

    Ya know, I’ve organized cons in the science fiction & fantasy world for years. What you want is a relaxacon. You want a big hotel suite with corkage & forkage waived so you can make and hand out food and drink. You want a big room for people to sell books and t-shirts and other nonsense. You MAYBE want a small room for programs on how to more effectively blame patriarchy and knit. Austin would be a great place for it…

    You charge everyone a small membership fee to help cover the hotel, food & beverage costs. Charge folks who want to sell cool stuff a small table fee to cover the costs of the selling room. Try to negotiate a good room rate for people to stay in the hotel. It’s not hard, really. We do it all the time.


  24. I am fairly certain you could get it grant-funded.

  25. faultline.org

    Ron, I think she was calling me a cut-up.

  26. I think everyone agrees that there needs to be lots of food. Planning beyond that – body count comes first. Events for two dozen people would be way different than events for two hundred.

    I’ll put myself down as “interested & probably unable to afford any such trip.”

    1. nerdlet – MAYBE

  27. did someone say Margaritas?
    I am a citizen of the far west coast, and encountered the expression “a dish to pass” for the first time during a regretable sojourn in the midwest. (I like midwesterners mind you, just not the endless soul-killing hell of bitter grey dispair which comprises midwestern winters).
    Even now the expression causes me to envision a dish being “passed”, as gas or a kidney stone is “passed”.
    I know that is crude, and there’s not a damn thing I can do about that except btp.
    But by all means, let’s bring a dish to share…
    I assume the Blamecon would be in TX?

  28. Although it is self-evident that any city containing Twisty and Stingray is , ipso facto, cool, perhaps you should take a look at your blamers’ map to see where most blamers-able-to-attend hang out. Mebbe? Just a thought.

    Oh – and Convention nametags ? Should have your cybernames on them, not RL names, I reckon.

  29. reclusiveleftist.com

    All I ask is that if it’s going to be in Texas, it not be in the summer. I fear Texas heat.

  30. norbizness.com

    Men and Norbizness are mutually exclusive options, right? Well, here’s another vote for holding it at the Back Room on E. Riverside on May 27th, because VESPERAIN SORROW, MEVYN, and AZRAEL’S BANE will be performing. I know you’re getting tired of reading this, but Celtic death metal! Sweet! (turning on saucer-sized, pleading eyes)

  31. saraarts.com

    I see a street festival with lots of booths, some for food, some for booze, some for T-shirts, some for diatribe. Everyone should be welcome, but bad behaviour (violence, abusive language, institutionalized rape) tolerated in no one. And there should be at least one musical performance by that new smash hit group Twisty and the Ronnabes.

    My booth will offer pineapple and/or strawberry-peach frozen margaritas (depending on the season) and chocolate masala cupcakes. I hope someone else will bring fried oysters, baby arugula and pearl tomatoes.

    Of course, with enough good food and music, I might forget to be angry and blaming. Hmmm… Maybe I don’t quite get the point of this convention.

  32. mypinkshoe.blogspot.com

    Margaritas, Blame, and Twisty. I can’t think of a better way to spend a weekend!

  33. twisty and the ronnabes! brilliant!

  34. I’d love to go to BlameCon, but I probably won’t be able to afford it. Unless things change radically, I’m living near the middle of the east coast.
    On the other hand, if I can afford it, it would make an excellent excuse for a roadtrip.

  35. Twisty

    The unsurprising and total lack of consensus suggest that the concept needs more work. What if the thing were centered around some clever act of guerilla warfare, after the successful bailing-out of everyone from jail, a feast would commence?

  36. faultline.org

    Well, I imagine we can reach consensus on the notion that if hard liquor and firearms are both permitted, Mandos should come incognito. I suspect Mandos would be the first to agree, in fact.

  37. I volunteer to teach knitting to anyone who wants to learn (sock heel of your choice included); I have a distressingly large stash of yarn that I could bring and, I hope, get rid of, and I can lend knitting needles to as many as want (well, up to, say, fifty or so).
    I also volunteer to be the clueless person who comes in, seizes on some comment with only a slight tangential connection to the topic, makes a long reply to it and wanders off again, since that’s more or less my function in life anyway.
    If we’re doing guerilla warfare, can we do it early in the morning so we have the rest of the day free?

  38. witchy-woo.blogspot.com

    No chance of BlameCon being held anywhere in the UK I suppose?

    Ah, well… no worries. Just let me know where and when and I’ll pack my flute and jim-jams and fly.

  39. As a man I hope it wouldn’t be women only, I am willing to accede to cass’s demand ,however; that we attend in drag.

  40. kcsheehan.blogspot.com

    To be a real -Con, won’t we each have to pay $50 or so for an opportunity to stand in line to get Stingray’s autograph? And come in costume as our favorite blamers (and/or fucktards and godbags)? Then for another $350 (the Gaia package; $200 gets you a Wiccan ticket for an unreserved seat in the back row) could we watch as Twisty reminisced about Dude Week? I’m so there!

  41. politblogo.typepad.com

    What Chris? You mean I wouldn’t be safe leading a session on nigletizing and scapegoatery?

  42. kcsheehan, you’ve been going to some damned expensive Cons. The ones I’ve been to, you don’t pay for autographs or to hear the guest-of-honor speak. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t pay $350 to hear Twisty speak, of course, assuming I had $350.
    There should definitely be hall costumes, though, and a masquerade, and a party block.

  43. kcsheehan.blogspot.com

    Correction, Ledasmom, I’ve been refusing to go to some damned expensive Cons to gawk at Tolkien’s great grandson and that elf who holds Arwen’s horse.

    Maybe this Con should begin with a knit-in up in Crawford?

  44. arsepoetica.typepad.com

    While I would be first in line for any blamer- (and taco-) filled bacchanal, all this concentrated blame energy (blamergy?) needs an outlet that sticks it to The Man, too. Since godbags are in a frenzy to take control of our wombs, what say we seize upon the public imagination in some way by linking our action (whatever form it takes) to some imminent godbaggery (whatever form it takes)? Maybe we could have a grand guerilla art gesture fake out at one of the fake clinics?

    Then, of course, we can all retire to the veranda for margaritas and the ritual performance of the S.C.U.M. Manifesto where the part of Valerie Solanas will be played by Chris Clarke.

  45. How about bonobo warfare instead?

  46. I’m likin’ this idea, so much better than when I was an all-too-serious activist and sat around with other like me all-too-seriously thinking we’d organize some big gig and have ‘workshops’ and learn and share and all that.

    I like the cutting straight to the meat — if you will pardon the expression. A guerilla warfare against imitation planned parenthood clinics seems a great idea.

    BUT…I’d rather it be a road trip kind of thing where we stage acts of rebellion, disguise and protest at various godbag planned parenthood traps all over the country. We could drink margaritas, run over assholes in pickup trucks whilst on the freeway, stay at cheap hotels and harrass johns, raise hell at Hooter’s Resturants, give Cheny our love at the whitehouse, the possibilities are endless.

    Then we could film it and sell it as an independent film, meant to illustrate the extent of patriarchy in our society and the new feminist revolution. We could probably get grant money for it.

    Although some assbag would probably run my business to the ground while i’m stinking drunk for a month on margaritas and brandy, but oh well. The film and photo album would cheer me up while at the shelter.

  47. faultline.org

    Then, of course, we can all retire to the veranda for margaritas and the ritual performance of the S.C.U.M. Manifesto where the part of Valerie Solanas will be played by Chris Clarke.

    Do I get to pick who plays Warhol? Because I have a list of candidates.

  48. reclusiveleftist.com

    Twisty, please allow me to audition for Solanas. I’ll be happy to send you my headshot and resume. Chris can be my understudy.

  49. damninteresting.com

    I volunteer to help Ledasmom teach knitting – we know each other anyway, so that works. I’ll make the wandering comment in response to her tangent that attempts to drag said tangent back into the main line of conversation without really succeeding.

  50. Maybe all you Right On Knitters could knit some uteri for display outside the Phoney Clinix with signs, like : Keep your hands off my womb, perverts. Sorry, nothing good coming through right now.

  51. I like the road trip idea. You could have the Blame Bus, travelling round Blaming, radicalising as it goes.

    Of course, since this is likely to be held in the US good blog coverage is a must :)

  52. Maybe a stack of knit uteri with a sign: “If you need to control a uterus – TAKE ONE OF THESE”
    Vibrator cozies would be fun. I bet those self-striping yarns would make some spiffy ones.

  53. I wanna play Nico. The heroin-addled ice maiden of death is so up my alley.

  54. what about a virtual con? one way to do it might be for readers to submit guest posts on topics of possible interest, and maybe they can be listed with links to separate pages.

    we’d have to find our own margaritas, but maybe margarita-making can be one of the posts. i’d also vote for food posts, knitting posts, and dog posts, in addition to more serious topics, that bibliography that everyone wants, and the dudely dudes hall of shame.

  55. politblogo.typepad.com

    I’ve participated in semi-virtual cons. ie, conventions where people actually meet each other, but there’s a session or two held by IM on a big screen.

  56. myaimistrue.com

    This would be such a perfect excuse for me to visit Austin. However, coming by myself and trying to interact in a real, live social situation is still daunting. I blame my shyness on the patriarchy. But I would still go. And if this really does materialize, I’m volunteering to help design t-shirts, invites, signs, whatever.

  57. saraarts.com

    I’m down with a Crawford knit-in if crocheters can come along and crochet, too. I’m totally against violence that isn’t strictly defensive, however, even attacking people with cream pies to the face (a wasteful, wasteful practice, almost as bad as corset-lacing a taco), unless we are speaking strictly metaphorically. And no, “pre-emptive” doesn’t count as “defensive,” no matter what the President says. The problem with guerilla warfare is that innocents might get hurt, even at the fake abortion clinics.

    Oh, and I do wish we’d call those something else. People go to so-called “abortion clinics” for things other than abortions, including pap smears, AIDS tests, and the entire spectrum of women’s health care. How ’bout we call them “women’s health clinics”? I know, more words. But it’s more accurate and less evil.

    It’s kind of like calling anti-choice agitators “pro-life.” Not only is it untrue, but it helps them spread the message that they are better than they really are. IMO, the term “pro-life” does not belong in the mouth of a feminist unless she’s explaining how being pro-choice is being pro-life — pro-female-life-on-this-planet.

  58. Oh I would SO want to do this. I too have debilitating shyness. It’s really hard for me to communicate in a large group.

    But I want to so badly..

    I can teach crochet, and Hey I might even finish the huge ass blanket I have been trying to finish since my girls were born.. LOL

    I am in the middle of the eastcoast. It would be hard for me to go further then MO. Unless it’s planned in advance of me saving to be able to attend.

    I have some kewl ass recipes too I would love to share. :)

    I also third the suggestion that if a guy wants to come it has to be in drag. If your serious about supporting us, then show it. :)

    I wanted to suggest though, that to defray the costs, we hold it at one of those buildings that are built in a neighborhood like mine. Oakcreek “subdivision” includes mine, they have a central place for a party type and they rent it out all the time. We go there to vote and any other community meeting that involves each neighborhood..

    Twisty you have one of these in your neighborhood? It might be cheaper then a hotel ect.. and will give a warm inviting atmosphere for the BlameCon.

    I have gone to a few Cons, and have always come away disappointed. They aren’t all they are cracked up to be.

    And besides, I need someone to teach me out to make a margarita the right way.. *giggle*

    Count me in if it’s close enough.

  59. I love the houseboat idea. Is there water in Austin? No?

    Well then, the latest environmental sure thing for a govt grant is a study of water; lack of, potability of, divertability of, ownership of (yeah that damn capitalistic shit again).

    Ron? Can you write the grant proposal?

  60. kathymccarty.info

    I like these ideas:
    1) not too expensive because people coming from far away have to buy a plane ticket
    2) Reading the S.C.U.M Manifesto…..YES !!
    3) Men can come, but only in drag…perfect !
    4) knitting.
    5) tacos.
    6) Relaxation being KEY

    another idea: Perhaps there is a way where there can be a kitchen we can use, and attendees can prepare food to share with others! Cheaper than a restaurant, and recipe sharing, and just the general Love Quotient of preparing food for each other. Maybe a restaurant kitchen on a day the restuarant is closed? Somehow I doubt there are many radical feminist restaurant owners, but you never know…

    Oh, and YES, definately a T shirt, because we can proclaim how cool we are by wearing it later. (could I have SAID anything MORE shallow? Well I never claimed to be MATURE) I would buy a mug or other sort of glass too.

    Also, an actual ACTION involving fake clinics would be a HUGE plus. I like the idea of putting the word “FAKE” in front of their sign. In similar signage. So maybe it would stay up awhile before anyone noticed. Or spray painting. THats hard to get off.

  61. Twisty

    Is there water in Austin!

    I’m laughin on accounta we’re in the middle of a week-long deluge, and there’s nothing but water as far as the eye can see. 70-mile-an-hour winds, floods, trees crashing down, people swept away, etc. Last night I awoke to the cheerful sound of a waterfall, ran downstairs, and discovered a new water feature in my chimney.

    Non-Texans, whom I pity, always seem to confuse Texas with the Kalahari. Austin, in fact, gets as much rain as Seattle. I live two blocks from a large and exceptionally good-looking body of water called Town Lake, which is a dammed-up river that runs picturesquely through the middle of the city, which turns into Lake Austin, which is full of people on houseboats up to no good.

  62. angryforareason.blogspot.com

    Knit one, margarita two I say!

  63. faultline.org/place/toad

    So as soon as the weather clears, the Knit Brigade whips up a uterus-shaped hot-air balloon, we go get a fill-up at the nearest megachurch, take the Airstream train in tow, and set off for Mordor and pick up Mandos on the way. Good for a start.

    Did Solanas shave her legs? Probably, given the times, but I forget for sure. But Twisty, please make Chris leave the running tights at home. I gotta work with this guy, and the earnest greenies in his office never understand when I break into spasms of um astonishment at odd moments. And for his own good. Tights plus stubble, no good.

    Hey, I got so mellowed at Aloha Sunday today I was singing along with the ukulele band’s renditions of Hank Williams. I’m including that as a warning, in case anybody intends to make mai tais. I don’t often drink mai tais and public safety is the other reason.

  64. You want a structured activity/intervention; you should hold the thing in Bangkok so we can rescue innumerable childlike concubines from the pirate raiders that prey upon them. That, and it’d only cost me $200 to get there, not $2000. The foods good, too. You’d be doing the woman of colour thing. And once you’re in SE Asia, everything’s cheap; you’d get yourselves an international holiday.
    See- win, win, win, win.

  65. I want to try out for Twisty and the Ronnabes. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been on stage in drag. It would be a blast. Does anyone have a beehive wig I could borrow?

  66. Well to hear certain political wonks tell it, there’s no water in America and Canadians should step up to the plate and enable our Bush sock-puppet right-wing dipshit gov’t in its plans to divert all rivers south. Now that we have established there’s no need, at least in Austin, we can carry forth with the houseboat BlameCon plans.

  67. flyinfur.blogspot.com

    We could always go to Topeka and wave knitted uteri at Fred Phelps. He’d be especially fond of the men in drag, I’d think.

  68. Vera – you can call me and rant any day.

    Great link, Katrina. Who said the quote on Liberals? I’ve got to know.

    I’m hoping if there is a BlameCon, that it’s held at UT in Austin or at least somewhere in Austin. I’ll take any excuse to visit Austin – even in Aug. That’s how much I miss it. But if it’s a street festival – naaah.

    Loosely, I’m shy too – we could sit together and laugh hilariously at everything.

  69. If I am allowed to go to BlameCon, do I have to stay out of the way and shut the fuck up?

  70. I’m willing to cook or give shoulder rubs for free lodging at Blame-Con.My other skills (painting interiors and organizing people to close down coal burning power plants) don’t seem suitable for BC.

    It sounds great!

  71. I propose the following:

    someone, somewhere offers to let us use a big house with a big kitchen and some land around it. I don’t really know anywhere like this, but I hear they exist.

    patriarchy-blamers descend, bringing craft supplies, things to barbecue, and margarita fixings.

    we all make t-shirts and hats, get drunk, and cook damn good food. we all stay up late and either camp out or sleep on floors or stay in the many spare bedrooms of the chateau we’re occupying. Twisty sleeps in her new Airstream.

    the next morning (loosely defined), we do it again. if there’s a lake, we go swimming. obviously all of this has to happen in the summer.

    at some point in the 2-3 days of BlameCon, there should be some kind of structured talking about stuff, but more in the realm of performances and discussion groups and knitting workshops than, like, speeches. I volunteer not to give my speech about how activist groups work better when they involve lots of relaxed community-building (i.e. hanging out) time.

    I generally favor allowing both men and lipstick, in the hopes that BlameCon will not be coercive, but only as long as neither the men nor the lipstick get defensive.

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