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A Voice for Men tries to jump-start ticket sales for its convention by promising greater punctuality, longer lunch breaks

moneyonfire
Burning hundred-dollar bills: A much better entertainment value than AVFM’s upcoming conference

So Susan Morris, the Conference Manager for A Voice for Men’s allegedly upcoming “Men’s Issues” conference this year. has posted a rather puzzling statement attempting to answer questions she’s been getting from AVFM readers “concerning there being fewer speakers on the programme this year and the ticket price being higher.”

Morris — described on the site as “a British woman, an experienced general and event manager in public service” — assures potential conference goers that, “contrary to the headline which I saw somewhere, the ticket price has not been set at $649!”

And that’s true. If you go to the conference’s website, you can see that, in fact, full price tickets to the event are only $645.

That is FOUR WHOLE DOLLARS LESS than the amount reported by the scurrilous press. And … by Morris herself, later in her post. 

But hey, she suggests, only suckers will be paying the full $649.

The Early Bird Discount ensures that if you purchase your ticket by the 30th of April, you will only pay $399. Buy it between 1 May and 30 June and you’ll still get it at a good discount, at the price of $449. The price will increase in $50 steps until it gets to the buy-at-the-door price of $649 and we expect very few, if any, to do so. In fact, that price has been set to deter people from doing so, so that they don’t hold up those people who have been entered into the pre-registration system and only need to book in.

Morris also insists that

Contrary to the efforts made by our detractors to blacken our name, the ticket price is not aimed at making a profit but breaking even would be nice.

Yeah, it’s not like AVFM founder and chief donation-receiver Paul Elam ever said that he hoped to make some actual profit from the conference. You know, except for that time he said he “hope[d] to make some actual profit” from the conference.

So what’s to blame for the higher price? Apparently, it’s largely due to, er, time-traveling protesters from Detroit?

Last year, you may recall, a group of Detroit-area activists held a protest several weeks before AFVM’s conference was scheduled to happen in that city. There were no protesters at the event itself.

This year, the conference is being held in Elam’s hometown of Houston. But evidently — at least in the fevered imaginations of AVFM’s brain trust — that won’t stop last year’s protesters from driving 1300 miles from Detroit to Houston to protest this year’s event. At least that’s what Morris seems to be suggesting:

The protesters from last year have already vowed to shut us down this year and though we know they will not achieve their aim, they will still be protesting (as is their right, of course). Security and safety of our attendees, speakers and volunteer staff will always be of prime importance and so, to avoid a repeat of last year’s emergency appeal for funding, we have built into the costs additional but reasonable security cover.

Aside from “security cover” from time-travelling protesters, what will attendees get for their $649 — sorry, $645 — that no one is really expected to pay?

Fewer speakers!

“Last year,” Morris writes

in our naivety and enthusiasm, we overbooked the number of speakers for the two day event. During the conference it became clear that the programme was too full and did not allow sufficient time for decent length talks followed by full question and answer sessions. This year we have arranged ten speakers.

Greater punctuality! 

And this year we will ensure that we start each session on time.

Longer lunch breaks! And afternoon breaks! 

We have extended the afternoon break and the lunch time and we will be opening the doors each day at 8am. So, provided you arrive early, you will have over eight hours across the two days to mingle with other attendees and to network. And that’s not including the time spent at the evening events, socialising and networking with other like-minded people over dinner or pizza.

Dinner is an additional $20; Pizza is $15. But the time you spend eating is ABSOLUTELY FREE.

A larger number of unpaid staffers than you would think would be even remotely necessary for an event of its size!

Another factor which people tend to forget is the cost of flying in the speakers and volunteer staff and accommodating them all. Between speakers, panel discussion members and staff, we’ll have some forty five people there.

Free taxi service!

We’re arranging an optional taxi service to collect you from your hotel and take you to the venue and then to return you afterwards.

Wait, scratch that, the Taxi service will cost you an additional $15!

But talking to the cabbie is INCLUDED IN YOUR TICKET PRICE.

And finally, FREE ACCESS to an actual BRITISH WOMAN — namely conference manager Susan Morris herself.

I shall be flying in to Houston from the UK. It will be my first flight, a long one around ten hours and I can’t say I’m looking forward to it. But the end result will be worth it. I am looking forward to meeting as many of you as I can.

Because why not fly your conference manager all the way from the UK at the conference-goers’ expense? Sure, makes perfect sense!

I wonder if a single person has bought a ticket for the conference yet.

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Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

Cheers for that, it was interesting. I like all these theories about art. Have you ever heard any of David Hockney’s lectures? He’s got some very interesting theories; but also the evidence to back them up.

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Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
5 years ago

@Alan Robershaw

Never heard his lectures, never heard of him. I had to look him up.

In my defense, I’m not a fan of pop art nor am I British, but some of his works look awesomely surreal and have neat color choices and amazing shading and paint strokes so now I feel bad about not knowing about him sooner.

Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
5 years ago

HIS PENCIL WORKS!

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Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
5 years ago

His finest work.

(I am being sarcastic.)

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

His own work is quite interesting. He’s a local lad (to where I was born) and once did the cover of the local phone book. Wish I’d kept my copy.

He has some very interesting theories about art generally though; particularly about the use of camera obscura in the late renaissance period

Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
5 years ago

@Alan Robertshaw

Is that about how they used the pictures to project onto canvases to paint a scene or something?

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

His phone book. The two red splodges on the right are the famous ‘cow and calf’ rocks. I used to do a lot of climbing there so this is quite nostalgic for me.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/peterdenton/2155436272

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

Oops *left*. Must be another vision thing.

Yup, his theory is that the artists used a sort of ‘project and trace’ method. Some non artists have tried that with pretty impressive results.

Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
5 years ago

@Alan Robertshaw

I buy it. I mean, anyone can trace and paint by numbers and have something that looks awesomely realistic at the end, and you can adjust the painting size to whatever you want by changing the distance, which is SO MUCH EASIER than trying to put your small sketches onto a larger or small canvas, plus it’s easier to mass produce if they did that. (I don’t recall anything about people finding multiple copies of the same paintings, after all.)

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

(I don’t recall anything about people finding multiple copies of the same paintings, after all.

Well, you may find googling “Isleworth Mona Lisa” interesting, also check out how many copies of “The Scream” there are.

I love how we’ve got a nice cultural discussion going.

Oh, and for extra nerd points I’ll just add that “cartoon” originally meant the preliminary sketches for a painting.

Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
5 years ago

@Alan Robertshaw

I meant multiple copies of Renaissance paintings. And the Isleworth Mona Lisa could possibly have been a scrapped version on the painting that was continued by someone else. *shrug*

But, since we’re having a cultural discussion, design choice but, you know, making them look like pasted-on grapefruits doesn’t seem like a good design choice.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

Ah, that was interesting. I clicked your first link and I came to the theory that maybe he’d used boys as models (as was common in the renaissance), then I read your second link.

Mind you, I know that Michaelangelo might not have been *especially* interested in women’s breasts but you’d think he might have made a bit of an effort; for art.

Hey, whilst we’re being cultured maybe we could tie all this in to the theory that the reason for the popular image of women in high end magazines is because most picture editors are gay [hence the preference for flat chests, no hips etc.]

Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
5 years ago

@Alan Robertshaw

High end fashion magazines or just high end magazines in general? Because I always thought they used models with little fat and not so many curves to save on fabric costs for clothing prototypes and the body type just transferred over to fashion magazines?

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

This is an interesting subject. One of my mates is a fashion designer. She’s done the high end stuff and the more mainstream. Even the high street stuff is designed around English size 8 though, despite nearly half of English women being size 16 and above.

An old flame of mine was lucky enough to be exactly the same frame as the test clothing they design, so she was able to get some nice hand-me-downs.

There is of course the theory that clothing hangs better on very thin framed models. I’m not really the person to comment on this though. A girlfriend once said I looked like I’d been dressed by a relief agency and when I ‘scrubbed up’ I apparently look like “[I’m] trying to go undercover in muggle society”

Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
5 years ago

Are you trying to go undercover in a muggle society?

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

I live in Cornwall now so don’t need to hide anymore 🙂

Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
5 years ago

@Alan Robertshaw

It probably has to do a little with the era’s “ideal body type”.

For instance, flapper dresses look good on people who aren’t super curvy while swing dresses look good on people with curves.

During the 1920s, boyish figures were the rage while the 1950s had more of a Marilyn “I Totally Didn’t Waist Train, Swearsies” Monroe deal, so “everyday” dresses were designed around that.

But the fashion industry was more into haute couture, more wearable art than fashion, while mainstream fashion made for the public is inspired by it, so it didn’t matter what the model looked like as long as the dress looked good. But with the rise of wanting to be like movie stars and models, the model body has been the ideal and thus the focus of fashion cuts.

I’m guessing.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

It probably has to do a little with the era’s “ideal body type”.

I’ve always found the idea of ‘ideal body type’ shifting over time; although obviously it appears to be the case. I just wonder how that can be.

I can understand that people have their own preferences for physical attraction but how can that be influenced by the Zeitgeist?

I have a bit of a theory. I wonder if it’s the case that some men treat women essentially as fashion accessories. They’re not necessarily ‘into’ the women they profess to fancy or even date, but it’s a bit like having to have the latest iPhone?

So, in essence it’s a groupthink thing, like “Bugger, everyone seems to like this new band, I’d better clap along and not admit to my preference for Boney M”

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

Hmm, think there needs to be an additional word in that first sentence. Insert the one of your choosing that portrays the idea of ‘difficult to understand’.

Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
5 years ago

@Alan Robertshaw

It’s all about media. A famous actor or actress gets many roles and is extremely good at acting effects people. It influences fashions especially.

For instance, it wasn’t until movies really took off that makeup became popular again. The Victorian and Edwardian era did not do makeup but silent movies, in order to show features better on camera, used bold makeup styles to increase visibility, so when movies took off, people–mostly women–started using makeup to emulate them.

And before film noir started out, fedoras were primarily a women’s hat (in fact, it was a women’s right symbol, I kid you not), but famous (and rich and manly) gangsters started wearing them, along with Dick Tracy and the like, made them popular for men (in the US). The style went out of favor, but then actors started wearing them again, so then everyone had to have one.

That’s why Marilyn Monroe’s curves were so wanted. She was, afterall, a movie star.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

That Fedora thing was very interesting! I gather there’s some Fedora meme thing with the MRAs (I’m not particularly up on this aspect) so is that where it comes from?

Lots of supposedly gender specific things shift over time though. No doubt you know that the blue for boys, pink for girls thing used to be the other way around.

Also Leila Khaled supposed hates the famous photo of her in a keffeya. Nowadays it’s used to portray her as a symbol of the perfect ‘modest’ Islamic woman (and identified as a hijab*), but she originally wore it as it was a symbol of masculinity she wanted to appropriate from the men to show she was an equal.

It must have worked as when the writers of Doctor Who wanted a new non-screaming assistant who could hold her own without having to be rescued they used Leila as a role model.

[*The hijab idea is especially ironic as she was a Marxist atheist from a Christian family]

Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
5 years ago

@Alan Robertshaw

The fedora thing is more of a Reddit thing and, well, Reddit.

I know for a fact that pink was for boys because it was a shade of red, which, of course, is the most manly of colors because it’s the color of blood.

And, yes, she’s a very modest woman indeed.

http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m70f0wSYUp1rrjpupo1_400.jpg

Nothing more modest than an automatic. A rocket launcher would be just a tad too gaudy. Just a tad.

mildlymagnificent
5 years ago

That’s the science, yes, but if you spent your whole life knowing that this color is blue, but this other person sees it as you would see red, how would you really know what anyone sees?

The way real scientists get around this culture/environment/language issue is to use colour chips.

It turns out there are quite a few cultural issues with various languages that lack words to describe colour/hue/shade in detail. Surprise, surprise, what’s been found is that, regardless of a subject’s ability, or not, to describe colours in words that distinguish between them, people from all kinds of cultures and languages have almost identical ability to match colour chips to presented colours.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

A rocket launcher would be just a tad too gaudy. Just a tad.

Ha, perfect, you sound like Nancy Mitford (“One should never be seen with an RPG before Royal Ascot week.”)

I’ve heard of Reddit of course, but have no idea what it is. I’m in the process of setting up a new enterprise and our marketing advisors sometimes just despair (“You have actually heard of the internet right?”). We have been given some rather handy flash cards that do give bullet points about various types of social media but Reditt isn’t one of them. Presumably it’s not often used for marketing?

Oh, and I think you can go with just ‘Alan’, hopefully Nancy wouldn’t be offended if we weren’t *too* formal.

Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
5 years ago

@Alan

Reddit is used a lot, especially for AMA (ask me anything) kind of deals. It’s used by many YouTube channels, game developers, actors, artist, etc. as a forum to discuss things.

HOWEVER

While Reddit has many good subreddits (or forums dedicated to specific people, places, shows, etc. that are moderated by the user who opened the subreddit), it also has a shit ton of awful shit, like TheRedPill, TheBluePill, PUAHate/SlutHate–all those awful sites we’ve seen on the blog and more, including a subreddit dedicated solely to real pictures of real dead children.

In fact, it wasn’t until recently–I think this year or very late last year–that they cracked down on hosting child pornography when the CEO or whoever changed. Not that it makes much a difference because now they just host links to child porn sites.

Personally, I’m not on it, but it’s a very widely used. It’s like a very industrious city that has many promising building spots which will be great for business, but being just a few blocks away from child abusers and neo-nazis.

It could be an invaluable tool to get to the younger crowd, but if you have a healthy amount of other social network sites, you shouldn’t need to use it. I’d listen to your marketing on this.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
5 years ago

@Alan

A primer on Reddit:

http://gawker.com/5950981/unmasking-reddits-violentacrez-the-biggest-troll-on-the-web

The article mentions that Reddit at one time called itself (and for all I know, still does) “the front page of the Internet.” Yes, the site is that arrogant.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

They’re very good so I will. I’m now desperately trying to fill in a ‘brand’ questionnaire for them.

Thanks for the info on Reditt; think we’ll stick to Facebook!

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

Cheers POM, I’ll check that out.

Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
5 years ago

@Alan

Twitter would also help a lot in reaching the young crowd (teens to 20s). Facebook has become more for parents and older people, so it’s great for reaching this 35+ crowd. Though IDK what your business is so pfff.

Of course, every site has it’s problems, it’s just Reddit has been pretty much the “Old West” of the internet for so long with an “anything goes” attitude it might not ever change (because the users won’t allow it). Not that the new CEO and shit are doing much in the way to change it, anyway.

At least Facebook and Twitter have regulations and the ability to report harassment, so it should provide much safer environments for your potential clients/customers.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
5 years ago

I actually think Youtube has more marketing potential than Twitter, if used properly. For instance, this is a real commercial for a real product that you can really buy:

(I would call this not-quite-worksafe)

I’m trying to imagine something that effective on Twitter, and the best I can come up with is a tweet that links to the youtube post.

Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
5 years ago

@PoM

I was thinking less marketing and more getting in touch with the customer base. Twitter and Facebook allow direct customer interaction.

But I have no idea what Alan’s business is about, anyway. There might not be no need to speak directly to customer.

Also, I had an add for PooPourri around Christmas time. I was like: 😐

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

Hi All

Thank you *ever* so much for the social media tips; that’s really helpful, especially about communicating with younger people.

The business is a “Community Interest Company” (that’s something we have in the UK, a semi-commercial organisation that fulfills a social purpose)

The aim of our CIC is to provide opportunities for people who want to get active but are put off for various reasons. We’re especially aiming at women and younger people hence why your input is so useful.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

Ha, with perfect synchronicity…..

http://dilbert.com/strip/2015-05-10

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
5 years ago

Also, I had an add for PooPourri around Christmas time. I was like: 😐

I’m not endorsing PooPourri. The commercial is brilliant, but the product is very problematic. The fact that it’s being marketed directly to women, and it relies on the “feminine mystique” for its appeal, is not at all okay. Women are human beings with normal human bodily functions, and any framework that requires women to create a fiction to the effect that they are not fully human is never going to be okay. This is part of the same framework that leads to the obsession with sexbots, and the attitude in patriarchal religious groups (I’m thinking particularly of Quiverfull) that women are supposed to perform literally superhuman feats of energy and never get tired or burned out.

So, I’m not recommending PooPourri, even though the commercial makes me lol.

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