Mini-Editorial: One bit of commentary on the Worldcon kerfuffle, author escapes me at the moment, remarked that there was a time in Fandom when we had a peacemaker (Wilson Tucker) and that not even the divide over US involvement in Vietnam (Galaxy magazine’s twin protests) saw the kinds of internecine fighting we are seeing now over the Baen-Weisskopf-Worldcon thing.
I don’t believe that is entirely accurate (NO era of Fandom has been free from feuds, fights. fuggheads and folderol) and considering that we’re talking largely about times when electronic tech was limited to the telephone and the electro-stencil, I’m very confident that it is safe to say that we do not have a real clue about what fans and pros said or thought. The primary differences I perceive about “then” vs “now” are two: things were slower and less pervasive and there seemed to be more willingness to let the feuds take place off stage and let the primary business of Fandom move ahead.
Those are both perceptions drawn from my personal experience and may be different for others, but all of that is really beside the point, both for this mini-editorial and for the issue at hand as well. All of that may be true, and all of that may have resulted from a greater homogeneity within fandom at the time. But it really doesn’t impact the now, does it?
When Patterson’s biography of RAH was released, there was a lot of commentary about the book and renewed criticism of RAH that attempted to tie his endorsement of the Stay in Vietnam side of the argument to the theory that RAH was a dyed-in-the-wool warmongering fascist – look, he even signed a letter supporting it.
The biography revealed that Heinlein’s stated justification for supporting the war was one of honoring commitments and the damage not doing so could do to international relations in the future. Choose to believe his justification or not (I do, based on everything I have learned about him over the years), but it is an idea in support of that war that I can accept and even agree with. This country should honor all of its agreements, from Native American Treaties to delivering vaccinations when and where they said they will.
Except, at least in the case of Vietnam, the cost in innocent lives required to live up to that commitment became too high. The moral imperative of preserving and protecting life came to overshadow the moral imperative of honoring commitments.
At the time, it is plausible to imagine that changes in the conduct of that war could have redressed that moral imbalance, but those changes didn’t happen.
Worldcon faced essentially the same question: does the moral imperative of preserving the etiquette of invitations outweigh the moral imperative of taking a stand against hate speech?
I believe the answer is NO.
Second Mini-Editorial. Windmill 901.
There has been a monumental shift in the character of fannishness, and it will continue to vex us all unless and until we find some way to address it.
My personal experience of Fandom (traditional, con-attending, fanzine publishing, letter-writing fandom) was that we all worked mightily hard at preserving the fiction that Fandom was special, that we were special and that NOTHING from the mundane world should be countenanced as being of any real import because it belonged to a world that sneered at our activities, called us juvenile, even crazed, and spent no small amount of time and energy letting us know that we and our activities were beneath them.
Sure you might adhere to a different economic philosophy than some other fan – but who cares? Fandom CAME FIRST.
I don’t ever recall seeing a fan self-identify as a liberal fan, a conservative fan, a progressive fan or a libertarian fan. I do recall people writing about their political beliefs, but that was a political belief, not their identity. Their identity was FAN.
A large number of our internecine problems are owing to the fact that many of us, for many different reasons, no longer place the preservation and maintenance of Fandom as their top priority (at least when dealing with other fans).
That doesn’t mean sweep problem people under the rug, it doesn’t mean don’t speak out against discrimination…it means DO address the problems and the people who can cause harm to Fandom, and it means putting that preservation ahead of personal interest, personal politics, personal relationships. And even book sales.
We do this (hopefully) when it comes to our immediate families; will taking the new/better job disrupt the lives of family members too much? Do we really need a new car, or should those funds go into college savings?
For the sake of us all, can we please preface any and all of our fannish activities with the question: is it good for Fandom?
Yes, this was included in last week’s news, but its so cool we’re mentioning it again: Listen to radio stations from all around the world – Radio Garden
Yvonne Rousseau (1 August 1945–13 February 2021)
Valuable commentary for digital convention runners
Recently concluded Boskone 58 can now be viewed in video
In case you were under the proverbial rock this past week, here’s Jason Sanford’s post about Baen’s Forum (File 770, linked to in our News From Fandom feature has far more commentary and links on this subject)
No, they’re not the mythical ice-borers: life discovered below Antacrtica’s ice
Smithsonian article reveals that Aboriginal Australians are the Earth’s oldest society. (Chandler told us this in his short story The Mountain Movers in 1971)
Read this and get even MORE confused with the plot of Avengers: Endgame
Foundation gets a launch date…kinda
Sawyer on Star Trek: TAS. There are actually some good episodes!
Black Church documentary on PBS
Want a Velociraptor for your yard? Buy a chicken, and one of these (T-rex arms for chickens)
Original Spaceship models from The Conquest of Space
Nnedi Okorafor gets the Times Square Treatment from her Publisher (!) (give or take a few blocks)
John Varley going in for open heart surgery this week. Let’s all wish him a speedy recovery!