Friday, May 3, 2013


Many people are uncomfortable discussing Dragon*Con and the event’s
continued involvement with alleged child molester and co-founder Ed
Kramer, but Tuesday’s bloggy thing has received more hits than any
other bloggy thing by a factor of three to one and did that in just
one day.  I’m gratified, not by those numbers, but by the largely
civil discussion that followed my posting the piece.

Most of the responses were favorable and even kind to me, but some
were less so.  I’m a big boy with a thick skin, so I’ll take what’s
thrown at me.  That comes with the territory when one chooses to
write about a controversial topic. 

A friend and former colleague condemned me for the piece and then
compared me to Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.  Which might have stung
if it weren’t so patently ridiculous.  I’m still on my first wife
and I have never abused Oxycontin.

One wag commented that he couldn’t imaging anyone offering sex to
Tony Isabella, much less a teenage girl.  Putting aside that I was
quite the delicious hunk of man-candy in my youth, I think I made
it clear the youngster was more attracted to my hotel room than to
me.  Kidding aside...

None of the opposing arguments swayed me.  One writer described the
folks who criticized me as “morally inept,” but I do recognize it
can be hard to disavow something one has enjoyed and more so when
it’s something one loves.  It’s why some politicians can’t support
equal rights until they find out their child is gay.  The posters
aren’t personally affected by Kramer or the other situations I and
others wrote about, so they dismiss or ignore them.  As I’ve said
in the past - and which Harlan Ellison quotes on occasion - there’s
no fury like that of the uninvolved.

Some folks pointed out that Kramer is innocent until proven guilty
in a court of law.  Which ignores that he has spent over thirteen
years avoiding his day in court through artifice and outright lies.
He has claimed his health made him physically unfit for trial, but
the only reason Kramer’s in jail right now is because he was caught
in an out-of-state hotel with an underage boy.  Yes, he is entitled
to the full protection of the law, but, hopefully, none of us are
so addled as to blithely overlook this.  Nor the credible reports
that Kramer continued to be involved in the convention on a limited
and discreet basis as recently as 2008.  That’s one of many questions
still unanswered by the remaining Dragon*Con owners.

The Dragon*Con mantra that they are helpless to take action against
Kramer or cut off the income that has allowed him to make mockery
of the justice system still makes me cry bullshit.  Yes, Kramer is
a litigious son of a bitch. 

If you read the comments to Tuesday’s bloggy thing and the comments
elsewhere, you will see many useful suggestions were made by yours
truly and others.  All have seemingly been met with the remaining
Dragon*Con owners wringing their hands and proclaiming their utter
impotency in these matters.  Bullshit.

As I wrote on Tuesday...

In all those years, they couldn’t find attorneys with the same or
even greater skills than Kramer’s representation? I can’t buy that.

One of the frequent comments from Dragon*Con supporters is that it
is so unfair to penalize Dragon*Con for the alleged crimes of the
odious Kramer.  There were also comments complaining about my bias
against Dragon*Con and my use of my personal Dragon*Con experience
as prologue to my condemnation of the convention.

In a response to the most recent Dragon* Con article at The Beat,
Sean Knickerbocker wrote:

"I would argue Isabella is highlighting the dysfunctional culture
that Dragon-Con promotes. I would also argue that some of these
responses promote that dysfunctional culture. Other conventions
don’t seem to have these problems. A culture that supports a
company because only 1/3 of it is owned by a pedophile is a culture
that supports sexual abuse. I’m sorry, I just don’t see how it can
be anything else."

If I’m biased against Dragon*Con - and I most certainly am - I made
no attempt to hide that.  The title of Tuesday’s bloggy thing was
“Dragon*Con Dies at the End” and the first sentence was:

I’m not remotely a fan of Dragon*Con.  

If we were playing poker, you’d call that a tell.

Knickerbocker is correct on all counts.  My experiences as well as
those reported by others in comments to my blog and elsewhere are
indicative of a dangerous and unhealthy Dragon*Con culture.  As I
said, if 10% of what I’ve been told is true, the event should die.
The sooner the better. 

I’ll agree that what consenting adults do in the privacy of their
own homes or hotel rooms isn’t a problem.  But, again, reading the
comments here and elsewhere, some of what those consenting adults
do violates the personal space of other Dragon*Con attendees.  And,
as again revealed by the comments here and elsewhere, not everyone
involved in various activities consented to same.

It’s not my intent to write about Dragon*Con in bloggy thing after
bloggy thing.  It’s more fun for me to write the other stuff that
I write about it.  But I wanted to give those who disagree with me
the chance to express their disagreements while also urging them to
do their own research on these matters.  I've done that.

I do have a few concluding statements.

It is more important than ever for those people who have their own
stories to tell about Kramer or Dragon*Con to come forward and, if
criminal activity was involved in those stories, to report any such
incidents to the proper authorities.  I have and will continue to
maintain confidentiality for those who have shared privately their
stories with me.  Their stories are theirs to share as and whenever
they see fit to do so.

It is more important than ever for those who will no longer attend
Dragon*Con, be they fans or professionals, to go public with their
stance.  Make the remaining Dragon*Con owners painfully aware that
they have not done right by those who have attended and supported the
convention all these years.

As to the question of why should innocent Dragon*Con fans, guests
and vendors suffer because of the actions of Kramer, the owners and
others, the answer is that life is full of difficult moral choices.
Those choices might have consequences ranging from the loss of some
income to the loss of a friend.  But one cannot make moral choices
based on their cost, but on their correctness.  I’m confident I’ve
made the right choices here.

Dragon*Con will still die at the end.  There will be questions as
to Kramer’s activities and the other sordid activities reported to
have occurred at the convention...and those questions will be asked
by individuals far more imposing than a mere blogger like myself.

There’s no good reason a better show can’t arise from Dragon*Con’s
ashes.  There’s obviously an interest and a market for a major show
in that part of the country.  I would think other event promoters
are already studying the options available to them and I wish them
well.  Because the fans in that area deserve better.

I’ve said my piece and I stand by it. 

Come back tomorrow and you will find me writing about comic books
or cheesy movies or whatever delights me and hopefully entertains
and informs my readers.  Getting all those crazy hits was sort of
exciting, but it’s not where my heart lies.

I should have some inspirational closing line here, but all I have
is my usual.  I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2013 Tony Isabella


  1. Well said. I'll add that when you write, "As to the question of why should innocent Dragon*Con fans, guests and vendors suffer because of the actions of Kramer?" fandom needs to reevaluate what suffering really means. Not having a con to go to isn't even remotely close to suffering. You're not hurting yourself in any way by passing up an opportunity for entertainment.

  2. Dragon Con will die, indeed. Because the promoters did nothing to solve the problem. And this was because the public was not being made aware of the situation.

    Someone with deep pockets and good organizational skills will step in and create a decent comic/science-fiction/media convention to fill the gap that will be left by Dragon Con. The sooner, the better.