20 January 2006, later, in my hotel room.
While in bar eating, watched comings and goings. Saw many attractive, youngish women in cute costume. Thought the unsurprising thought that I might like to get to know some of them, one of them. Mused that, unlike “good old days,” they were all likely to be part of a subfandom uninterested in my … um … subfandom and unlikely to know or care who I am, how I fit in, in what ways I might be interesting, what I might have to offer. Were I to approach one and smile and say “hello,” I’d likely be perceived as just another annoying old letch. It saddens me to realize that … um … I’ve spent pretty literally a lifetime developing a reputation and a standing in a community that so few today give a rip about.
Maybe I was in an unusual situation in my early years in fandom, having been imbued with an interest in and some awe about Those Who Had Gone Before by Jim Young’s knowledgeable and infectious enthusiasm, and by reading such books as Harry Warner, Jr.’s All Our Yesterdays and Bob Bloch’s The Eight Stages of Fandom. I don’t know. But I think a greater percentage of folks in our little subculture back when I was most active had some sense and appreciation of history, a sense of who had been important to the development and direction of the community, a sense of what it was that brought and bound us all together than is currently the case. Or is this just the grumpiness of an old phart who’s feeling like an outsider in a setting where he once felt perfectly at home? Perhaps they really are aware, perhaps they really do care about the history of the group … but for different cultural icons and community founders and myths.
Or are they totally “of the present”/“in the present” and just don’t care much about the past? If the latter, what happens to continuity? Why should anyone invest anything in the community? Are there immediate “rewards” which suffice and replace reputation and respect? If you don’t care about the past, do you care about the future? How can you?
On the other hand, and to be fair, back when I was more active there was a much greater chance that a “random” fan at a convention might have read one of my fanzines or read some of my writing or seen me making music at a previous convention or heard about me from friends. And a greater chance they’d turn out to be somebody I knew of as well. Maybe I’m just suffering from an acute awareness of too many years of too little activity. Who’s to say?
These thoughts are too scattered. I’d like to organize them better some day, but I probably won’t get around to it.
To be continued…