A month or so ago there was a little flurry about the number of bondage items at the Eastercon. I pointed out that the issue wasn't that the number of panels, it was the lack of relevance to SF/fantasy. I suggested that it would be quite wrong to have that many knitting items, and gave the example of a sock knitting workshop as the sort of specialised event that would be quite inappropriate to have at the Eastercon.
I then was informed first that there are in fact as many knitting items as bondage items, and second that there will be a sock knitting workshop at Eastercon. I expressed some surprise at this and was told that items of this kind were there because con members had volunteered them.
Today I was reading, on another site, a thread about knitting at the Eastercon. In that thread a knitter explained that she had been approached to do a sock knitting workshop, but had declined -- and she was glad that the committee had found somebody else.
Sock knitting -- like the specialist bondage ties they're having workshops on -- is not a beginner skill; this isn't a 'have a go and try out something new' workshop, it's a specialist workshop for established knitters to develop their skills.
How many SF/fantasy items do you think you will find at a knitting convention? (There might well be one -- a knit a dalek/tardis/clanger type thing, which the Eastercon is also having and which I think is entirely appropriate).
You know, there is scarcely any fannish programme, fan history programme or fanzine programme at this convention. I've talked to fans who are equally concerned about areas of SF/fantasy that they are interested in and that are under-represented. And yet we have dozens, perhaps hundreds of items on topics that have no relevance to SF other than that 'fans like to do them'. And yet, the same committee members who are ignoring swathes of the core of the hobby are going to considerable lengths to develop programming relating to non-SF hobbies.
We need to take some action here, chaps. This group of people have asked to run the Eastercon again in 2012; some of them are influential in the 2014 Worldcon bid (I should stress that I have no concerns about programme for that convention). This isn't a 'general way for geeks to hang out with agreeable company and do interesting geeky things', it's the National SF convention. We should ensure that it is so; that it reflects, in an ecumenical way, the broad SF/fantasy interests of the membership, and that the non-SF items represent an interesting alternative to the main events rather than the main activity.