This just in, an honest question regarding the nature of the Pulp Revolution scene:
As I noted over on Google+, there is something to this. Science fiction and fantasy before 1940 was written by a diverse group of people from diverse regions with diverse perspectives… and written for a very broad audience. Fandom did not really congeal until the forties… and it was a mistake. The ghettoization of the genre at that point twisted the field into something pretty much by losers for losers. In the more extreme cases, you get freaks like Marion Zimmer Bradley… as celebrated as she is evil. For myself, I find even decent authors like Orson Scott Card to be disappointing given the absolutely dreary ending of Ender Wiggin’s romantic prospects. I’m sorry, you don’t have much to offer in tales of imagination if either having a normal family life or else sweeping a girl off her feet are outside the scope of your life experience.
Author Misha Burnett sums up the shift this way: “the fantasy used to be ‘a loser can change himself to become a winner’ and a lot of us were inspired by geek pursuits to make positive changes. Guys were inspired by ‘A Princess Of Mars’ to go into aerospace, or became gym rats to be like Conan, joined the military to follow Sergeant Rock and the Howling Commandos…. But something changed and today’s losers want a message of ‘the world has to change to suit you, and then you’ll be a winner’. Harry Potter was pulled out of his abusive home and brought to the place where he was always the star of the show through no action of his own.”
This inability to take decisive action… this pattern of waiting around for a soul mate that can love you just the way are… this withdrawal into a clique of freaks and losers… it’s not healthy. From a libertarian standpoint, it would make a lot sense to let people self destruct in this manner if that’s what they think they want to do. On the other hand, when these people cross the line into weirdly and aggressively making a virtue out of their own awfulness, a great deal of damage is done.
A case in point would be this exchange over at Katie’s Game Corner:
ALEXANDRU CONSTANTIN: Why don’t you just call out names and actions instead of being vague.
“Dipshit Jones acted like a little bitch at the convention, I told him to quit, and he didn’t.” Say it, shame them. Describe the actions.
I don’t go to gaming conventions because I find gamers disgusting fat bores but whenever we go bar hopping and some dude creeps on my wife or female friends they get handled swiftly and violently.
Maybe you need some friends to watch your back.
LUCAS: I try to avoid bar hopping because I find bros who feel they have to be violent to prove they’re a “man” or because they can’t articulate their thoughts and can’t act in a rational way disgusting and more often than not the cause of issues.
I’m sure there are plenty of people to watch her back, but I think the point was that our hobby should be a safe and inclusive space.
ALEXANDRU CONSTANTIN: Obviously, there isn’t “plenty” of people to watch her back because she’s getting harassed at public events.
DUSTY CRAINE: Alexandru .. Lucus .. Too many people are afraid to speak up for fear of how THEY will be perceived. If it’s someone of influence that you respect and admire, it’s even harder to speak up against their bad behavior. Who wants to alienate a person they admire for the sake of a girl they don’t know? Not many. So they probably say nothing. Or if they do, and it does go down like they expect, and this guy lashes out. Anyone else observing has learned the cost of speaking out. Not many people will accept the consequence of speaking up for a stranger. Certainly there are people who will. I would like to think that I’m one of them, but I’ve not been given the opportunity to test that. So while there may be plenty of people, in number, to watch her back. How many will actually do so?
Notice the mindset difference there.
The guy that embodies a normal, healthy “pulp” attitude takes it for granted that friends stick up for friends. Weirdo Beardo? He’s not even sure what he would do in an awkward social situation because he’s never been put to the test. He lacks the confidence to even commit himself to doing what he understands to be right thing to do.
If you ever wondered why pedophiles can operate with impunity within geek scenes such as SciFi fandom, it’s because of weak losers that can be relied upon to never stand up for anybody or anything.
No wonder Katie doesn’t feel safe at Origins.