Thursday, June 13, 2013

Post 2359 - A Lesson in Parliamentary Procedure

So, how many of you like to have the feces scared out of you?  Really like a good fright?

Regardless of what form you like to see horror in, whether it be in the form of a short story, a novel, a screenplay, a movie whose director takes 98% of the credit for its success, whatever, these things all have something in common.  At some point, somebody sat down in front of a computer, or perhaps even a typewriter, maybe even a tablet, and started writing a story that he hoped would scare others, and probably even himself.

The books, et. al, that are deemed to be superior achievements in the horror genre are awarded pretty cool looking trophies every year by the HWA, the Horror Writer's Association.   They have a banquet and a party and the awards follow.  They call them the Bram Stoker Awards.   (If you don't know who Bram Stoker was, then we can't be friends any more.)  It is on my bucket list to attend one some day.

For I think the third year in a row they will be broadcasting the awards over the internet.  The webcast starts Saturday night, June 15th, at 10pmET.  You can bet that I will watch.  I will even tweet who wins what, just because I wanna.

I watched the awards in 2012.  The MC was writer Jeff Strand, whose work I've heard of but have never read.  My loss, I'm sure.  I have at least one of his novels in my vast horror collection.  If Brian Keene will take a day or two away from publishing something, I would be happy to check out a Jeff Strand book. 

At any rate, Strand kept things moving along quite well last year, but having been in Toastmasters for more than 20 years, he and others made a pretty fundamental mistake that I cannot just overlook.  Namely, they would introduce someone and walk away from the lectern until the introduced person got up there and did what he was brought up there to do.  Abandoning a lectern is something that should never be done.  The lectern is the focal point of a meeting space, whether it be a Toastmasters meeting, a house of parliament, or the Horror Writers Association annual general meeting and awards night.  When the lectern is left unmanned, people in the audience will almost always start murmuring because there is nothing for them to look at or listen to.  Audiences, like nature, abhore a vacuum, and find any way they can to fill it. 

In any environment where Robert's Rules of Order are adhered to, or at least respected, the person at the lectern is in control of that section of the meeting.   That way, when a member of parliament or a member of the legislative assembly asks a question, it is not to another MP or MLA.  The question is funneled through the chair person and then reflected to the person in general.  It ensures that the chair retains control and that only one person at a time is speaking.  That is why the heckling that one hears during a Question Period in parliament is so damned annoying and discouraging to me. 

In the case of the HWA meeting, what should happen is that Jeff Strand or whoever is MC'ing the awards night, would introduce, say, Joe R. Lansdale and remain at the lectern until Mr. Lansdale ambled his way to the lectern, at which time the MC would go sit down somewhere.  When Mr. Lansdale was finished he would yield control of the chair back to the MC, remaining there until the MC got there to relieve him, at which time the MC would have control again.  Mr. Lansdale would return to his seat.  By adopting this procedure, there is always someone at the lectern, eye candy for the audience to look at and to listen to.  Also, this way, people in the audience who do choose to talk amongst themselves will be much more likely to be asked to be quiet.  It's all about respect and keeping control of a meeting.

I hate to be so negative.  I will be watching the webcast with great interest.  In the big scheme of things, this is a minor issue compared to world hunger, VD, or the outcome of the Chicago Blackhawks/Boston Bruins National Hockey League finals.  However, it is sufficiently distracting, and so easily fixed, that I had to bring it up.  Please forgive me for my picayune ways. 

Hmm?  What's that?  You want to watch the webcast as well?  No problemo, effendi.  Just point your browser here Saturday night at 11.  Maybe we can have competing tweets. 

That'd be sweet. 

Tweets that compete. 

Friggin' neat.

See you tomorrow.


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