I’m Done Running Brony Conventions. Or At Least I Was, Until Trump Won.
Charlie Worthley
33

Alright, so … I have some questions.

Primary question — if you don’t want to “discuss politics [“ comments attempting to do so will be ignored or deleted”, how ironic given the current fears of censorship in the press], why namedrop Donald Trump at all? The man is, as of now, a purely political topic of conversation. You have to know that by namedropping such a volatile and politically-charged person (possibly the most popular news item right now, in fact), you are inviting political discourse? Or, and I hate to think this was on purpose, you want the “brand recognition” of hooking your wagon to the current hot-button news, without actually touching on any of the issues there? Doesn’t that seem rather clickbaity?

On a site like Medium — where “relevant” articles are sorted to the top — it seems you’re trying to shoehorn in a last-minute mention of Donald Trump to an article that barely mentions him simply for pageviews.

In fact, the air of clickbait only seems to be confirmed by your final line of the whole essay, which is often the last impression the reader is left with — “Come to my con!” It seems as if this entire article is an advertisement trying to disguise itself as a current events piece.

It wasn’t enough to open the essay with a link to your convention (appropriate, if it had only been once), but you also have it in your author bio (not your fault Medium puts it at the top and bottom of articles), and them you namedrop another “important” person, as well as namedropping every other convention you worked for — with links to their sites, as well. If it weren’t for the final sentence, that might seem conscientious; now it seems like more free advertisement.

In addition, the photos you chose to use are … I want to say ‘inappropriate’, but I will say ‘not illustrative’ instead. Your header is a zoomed-out, uncertain shot of a group of people sitting on a panel. Is the author among them? We have no way of knowing, especially given that the author photo is of two gentlemen at a distance, with no captions explaining personages. We get another shot of a group; all we are told is that these are “staffers,” and then we finish with a shot of buttons. If you don’t want to share your face across the internet, that’s your decision; but photos of your original characters should stay on a personal blog, not an essay written for public consumption. An original character has less than zero bearing on an article about Donald Trump and someone’s personal journey being impacted by his campaign.

How has Donald Trump impacted your personal journey, by the way? You lead off with him in the title header, so we must imagine that he plays a large role; instead, we get 14 paragraphs describing your entire history of convention-staffing, including three full paragraphs blaming others for “messing up” your con, and how deeply that affected you. A bit of a misstep, considering you make rather paltry efforts to insist that the burnout you experienced was entirely your fault. An editor may have been a good idea, as it rarely goes over well to blame your underlings for not being as perfect as you seem to think you are.

Overall, it’s not that the article is poorly written; you have a pleasant narrative style, and your story is engaging to follow. However, the overall effect is a bit unintentionally Trumpish, despite efforts to avoid mentioning him in more than one paragraph. You spend an enormous amount of time (14 paragraphs!) on yourself, your accomplishments, your history, and then more time still blaming others for not living up to your exacting demands of them — in volunteer positions, no less. There’s a weak effort to appeal to the public opinion that might sympathize with these overworked and unpaid volunteers (‘but I don’t blame the people I just berated — I blame myself for being too exact and detailed in my work’, as if that was a negative character trait?), and then we finish off with an insistence not to make this political, a weak “hate crimes are bad, guys,” and a triumphant return to yourself. The story has come to its happy ending, the bad events (which are largely glossed over) have made me stronger, now go attend the convention and celebrate this great thing I made!

Frankly, it’s more than a little gauche to take a current event — which many people are rightly fearful about, as it impacts not only their futures but their ability to continue living — and then turn it into a fluff piece which is entirely divorced of the inherent politics of the issue. It might only have been tone deaf, if you then didn’t finish off with a cheerful advertisement for yourself.

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