May 27th, 2014


Too Brief History of Fandom

Someone posted a brief history of fandom.

Now, I'm not the sharpest fan in the fan pile. Heck, I suspect that I come in somewhere around the foyer when it comes to being a true fan, but I see some big stuff missing that is obvious even to me.

The three biggest are:

  • Clubs

  • Fanzines

  • The BBS

  • Usenet

Fans formed clubs. These would be the earliest fan spaces. Fans get together an be fans together.

Shippers have done what shippers have always done. They've written. They then mimeographed and distributed their collected works to other shippers, and so the fanzine was born in the 30's. Oh, and they wrote articles and opinions, too. And they argued. Fans like to argue. Fans made their space.

Copies came along, and that made everything a bit easier.

With the advent of computers came word processors, and that made things easier still.

Once there were computers, and  modems to connect them to other computers, some brilliant chap write the first computer bulletin board, and so online forums and such came into existence. The first BBS was 1978, and it only goes downhill from there. And you can betcha, tech savy fans made their own spaces again.

When usenet arrived, of course fandom went there, too. I remember folks who loved going onto such places to argue over fannish things.

By the time we get to LiveJournal, web forums have already been established and fandom has had its own space for a long time.

If there's anything to say about fandom in the 2000's, it's not the spaces that they occupy, but the MANY spaces that they occupy. Fandom has radiated tremendously, if not explosively. If there's any story to tell, that's the story.

Weekend Wrap

Jenny's parents go home today. They've been here since Friday. They had a tough time getting here, as 95 did its best impression of a parking, but they did finally roll in the door. Going home, they should have far better traffic.

We joined a pool for the summer (ouch, money) and Miss Dash is working at getting onto the swim team. It's a coin toss if she'll be strong enough to make the main team. Much of our summer social season is based on what happens with that.

I find that going to the pool gives me anxiety, and a surprising amount of it at that. I don't know what's up. I should relax as time goes by. I've had a poor relationship with swimming for quite a while now. I'm game sometimes, but very not game at others. I'll need to sort this all out, or at least let some parts fade.

I cooked some flatiron steaks on the grill. They came out nicely rare and tender. I am rather pleased with that. I had thought that I had fudged it. The grill, however, continues its slow downhill slide. The sparker gave out. Given that we use the grill a few times a year, it's just not been high on my priority list to replace. Maybe in the autumn when grills go on sale.

I'm drilling through "All the Saints Are Dead." I'm finally past the tortuous rearranging, but my missing beat sheet is getting longer. I'm still not comfortable with how the middle plays out. Bits are now seeming too pat. Pat never works with Endhaven stories. They works best as messy, jagged affairs.

All Men

Let's talk about 'not all men.' More specifically, let's tall about THOSE MEN, because they are the elephant in the room and no female and by extension, no male can run from.

Let's do some statistics. (I'm making up the numbers). Let's assume that an aggressive man, the most entitled (the most aggressive 20%), approaches 100 women per time unit. Let's assume that the next 20% approach 50, the third 20, the fourth 10, and the fifth 5. Add the numbers up, and you'll find that the most aggressive men out-approach all other groups of men.

What does that mean? That means that most women will have their view of the world shaped by these most aggressive men. Even though they are in the minority, their aggressiveness puts them into a representative majority, doing a disservice to everyone. I don't have to explain how they do a disservice to women. We already know what they do. No, what I'm going to tell you is that what they do to make the lives of other men miserable.

You see, aggressive men have a great deal of experience with being aggressive, and so they train women to deal with that aggression. Into this battlefield comes men who aren't prepared for that that level of conflict at all, who don't have great experience with the arms race, and yet must navigate the hazards to see any success.

I've seen this in action. I once had a woman that I was interested in spend a year trying to figure out what game I was playing. In the end, she figured out that I wasn't playing a game, I was just interested in her. That is not a commentary on myself, it is a commentary on a world where a woman is forced to assume that all men are playing games, and 50% of the time, if not more, she'll be correct.

So, do you know who those most aggressive men harm? They make life lousy for everyone who isn't them. They make it hard for average Joe to meet average Jane. And who is the average Joe likely to blame for his great unsuccess?

Some men blame themselves, giving up.

Some men blame themselves, throw spaghetti at the wall, and eventually get lucky.

Some men blame themselves, imitate the most aggressive men, and add to the problem.

Some men blame the women, not knowing that their problem is actually with other men, and add to the problem.

What's to be done about this? Unless you can solve high levels of testosterone, I don't know what you can do. The thing is, this sort of thing used to be limited by who you could talk to, but with the internet, the touch of the super-aggressive male has expanded exponentially. For all intents and purposes, in the digital world, they are on their way to becoming all men.