Fandom and me

It wasn’t that long ago that science fiction fandom was a place where people of different ideas could gather. The arguments were often acrimonious, but there was still a sense of common culture, a framework within which people could hold different views, argue and insult each other, and still be part of the same community.

Today I’m seeing a fandom in which that’s mostly gone, replaced not even by conformity to a single set of ideas but by allegiance to a single political party. The double standard is blatant; war, abuse of human rights, warrantless surveillance, and collusion with powerful private interests are greeted with outrage when Republicans support or practice them, but ignored when the Obama administration does.

I don’t want to paint with too broad a brush. There are still a lot of people in fandom who hold fairly consistent views, even if they’re not my views, and will criticize any official who they think is in the wrong without regard to party affiliation. East coast filk fandom still has quite a number of people like that, and the culture is open to a diversity of ideas. The broader trend in fandom, though, is very much toward partisan conformity. Even people who by profession should be on guard against sloppy thinking are joining in.

I’ve been to only one non-filk convention this year (not counting Arisia, where I only worked at a table and didn’t attend any programming) and probably won’t be at another till the next Boskone, which I’m involved in running. They just aren’t offering me what they used to. (Correction: Two conventions. I’d spaced on Pi-Con.)

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