At one time or another even the best of us bursts out into "serious, constructive fandom." It is a disease that gets you when you least expect it. Take Stuart Metchette for instance. It came on him very suddenly while he was reading Laney's column in Warp. One second he was a perfectly normal red-blooded American boy, and the next, a stark, raving champion of the star-begotten.
The symptoms were plain to see. The clenched fist raised on high as if holding a gleaming sword; the body drawn up into a pillar of righteousness. He had them all. He even wrote a letter to a fanzine.
Read his deathless prose -- "Some one has to crawl ((?)) all libellists like him periodically or their complacency outgrows caution and they become fan editions of Goebells, McCormick of the Chicago Tribune, and Hearst of world renown. Put Fanzine Scope into early retirement. It doesn't merit publication in anything but the fan version of Keyhole or Whisper." I'll leave it to some semanticist in the crowd to count the number of emotional identifications in that little gem of social protest. I'm more interested in psychological angles. Who is this champion of the weak and oppressed who leaps forth to battle the "Fan Goebells?" (Fanfare please.)' Stewart Metchette, hisself! Sez our hero, in a deep rumbling bass, "If he wants to take someone apart who'll fight back, let him try me."
I'd like to have Laney put me thru the mill, too, as would almost any other up and coming fan. There is, in fandom, no higher glory than to be a human sacrifice to the great ghod, Laney, but all this chest-thumping and sword-waving is hardly the way to go about it. One carefully cultivates Shaverism, Forteanism, serious, constructive fanning and homosexuality for years and years until one gets that certain wild look around the eyes that means one is ready for Laney. Then and only then can one reap one's reward. Rome wasn't built in a day, you know. To be offended by Laney, one must be thin-skinned and tender from lack of feuds and the usual insults fen address to each other as they pass in the jungle. Old fans are generally immune to Star-Begotten-ness.
The worst thing about this disease is that it is contagious. Take the Detroit Science Fantasy League, for instance. The whole administration caught it at once, including what is laughingly referred to as "the Steering Committee." Even an old fan like Ben Singer was not spared. For months, ever since a DSFL member bombed his house, Art Rapp and the Saginaw fen (otherwise known as the Wolverine Insurgents) have brought out, about a week after the "Detroit Stfan" (OO of the DSFL) a satire zine mocking the "Detroit Stfan." For several issues the DSFL put on a great show of ignoring Rapp and his raucous razzberries. Finally, in the fourth issue, their Star-Begotteness broke out in a violent "Open letter to members of the Detroit Science Fantasy League and to members of the Wolverine Insurgents." I was particularly interested, being a member of both groups mentioned. After giving the history of the DSFL and the Insurgents in brief, they said, "At the last meeting they attended, on the 17th of March, they brought with them a publication they had written and printed. To say the least, this said publication (term used for want of a better word) contained material that was untrue, indecent, and libelous about persons they didn't even know. Apparently they had gotten the names from the club paper "The Detroit Stfan" which we had been sending them."
"It seems incredulous * to me that a person of Art Rapp's caliber could have had a hand in such matters."
Here the symptoms are slightly different, as there is, in between the lines, traces of another well-known sign of Star-Begottenness, the persecution complex, or "hurt look."
Or there's the case of the guys who wrote "rebuttals" to Larry Shaw's letter in Super Science, or there's the case of Ray Nelson, who violently thundered, "There is no color discrimination in fandom! Prove one case of anti-negro prejudice! Just one!" until someone pointed out that this remarkable record might be somehow connected with the fact that there are no Negroes in fandom.
Text versions by Judy Bemis, page scans by Judy Bemis and Kim Huett
Data entry by Judy Bemis
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