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Weekend paradigms/metaphors

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On a mailing list recently, someone commented that in a corporate environment, there are two kinds of people: wolves and bunnies. Wolves, they said, are no-nonsense go-getters, quick and firm decision-makers. They get things done, quickly and effectively and (if necessary) ruthlessly. (I'm telling this from memory, with no particular attempt at accurately portraying the original comment; I may be misrepresenting the commenter.) Bunnies vacillate, and consult other people, and have a hard time making decisions. In an attempt at suggesting that both types are needed, the person commented that you don't want wolves in a position best-suited for bunnies, nor do you want bunnies in a position best-suited for wolves. But it seemed quite clear that they felt it was much better to be a wolf.

For reasons I've lost track of, I brought this up at the Gathering this afternoon at WisCon. We decided that it would be this weekend's metaphor--we'd go around asking people whether they were wolves or bunnies. Someone pointed out that we could also attempt to guess how little time it would take before we got an "I'm neither!" response. Which, of course, happened almost immediately. Some people declared themselves to be a killer bunny, or an aardvark, or a bunny in wolf's clothing, or a cat-bunny, or all manner of other things. Some people discussed the similarities in behavior between actual wolves and actual bunnies. And so on. The question nicely fulfilled its purpose: to provide opportunities for light banter and chitchat and occasional interesting philosophical comments.

(At some point, someone asked if I was the one in charge of coming up with the official metaphor for the weekend. I noted that WisCon is an egalitarian sort of place, and that we're all in charge of coming up with the official metaphor.)

Over lunch, one of my lunching companions came up with a better question, which I dubbed this weekend's Metaphor #2: if you were in charge of the world, what kind of apocalypse would result, due to your personality flaws or mistakes you would make? For example, if I were in charge, I would doubtless cause a Waffling Apocalypse; I would be incapable of making the simplest of decisions, paralyzed into total inaction by the potential consequences, and everyone would starve waiting for me to make up my mind where food shipments should go.

(The Apocalypse Question reminds me of the hilarious extended apologies from Haldeman's classic story "A !Tangled Web." Like: I die. I become so indecisive that I can't decide which kind of water to drink, and I dehydrate. As I am supreme ruler, no one can act until I make a decision, which, being dead, I cannot do. All die. O the embarrassment!)

Later, we found Metaphor #3 on a poster. Barzak, Haddayr, Ben, and M. Rickert are giving a reading on Sunday morning; at one point, Ben handed me a (letter-sized paper) poster advertising the reading, and it ended up stuck to my belly, making me a sort of walking billboard. The reading is titled "Love, Sex, and Weirdness." The question, unrelated to the reading, is: Which of those three would you choose? (I don't think we said what you were choosing for, so you can decide that too.) We decided it didn't have to be exclusive--you can pick more than one. We didn't get much of a chance to field-test this question, so I'm not sure whether it works as well as the others.

. . . In other news, today was kind of mixed. I found myself unable to politely extract myself from a couple of conversations I didn't really want to be in, with people I didn't know. And a combination of my phone being unreliable and my making bad assumptions and forgetting things resulted in all the supplies for Mary Anne's book/press launch party being locked in my room for too long, with no way for M to get to them. :( But the party stuff worked out in the end (thanks primarily to Ben's timely intervention), and there was a lot of other good stuff all day--great conversations, lots of hugs, meeting new babies, meeting SH authors I hadn't previously met in person, tasty food, watching people bounce baby River on their knees, meeting a blogger whose blog I like, generally hanging out with cool and interesting and funny friends, etc. Good stuff. Also, several people cheerfully helped move stuff from one place to another at various times, which made things much easier; thanks to all of you!

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1 Comment

I thought the whole idea was to sometimes be a wolf and sometimes be a bunny, depending on the situation. ;) Have fun at WisCon!

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