ceri: woman emitting stylized psychic blast (Cockrum Jean)
So much for opening with a joke. This is a post about sf/f/h fandom, but I want to start by talking about a Christian heresy. Here's the Catholic Encyclopedia on the subject of antinomianism, because nobody kicks the creedal rhetoric around so well:

The term first came into use at the Protestant Reformation, when it was employed by Martin Luther to designate the teachings of Johannes Agricola and his sectaries, who, pushing a mistaken and perverted interpretation of the Reformer's doctrine of justification by faith alone to a far-reaching but logical conclusion, asserted that, as good works do not promote salvation, so neither do evil works hinder it; and, as all Christians are necessarily sanctified by their very vocation and profession, so as justified Christians, they are incapable of losing their spiritual holiness, justification, and final salvation by any act of disobedience to, or even by any direct violation of the law of God.
That is, once you're in, you can never push yourself out, or ever be pushed out, because nothing you can do can ever invalidate the fact of your promotion into the ranks of the favored. You're one of the elect, that is, "chosen as the object of mercy or Divine favour, as set apart for eternal life". You've seen the concept around. Fandom as I entered it in the late '70s was distinctly antinomian.

Read more... )

PS. Someday I'm going to learn to write short posts about important subjects. But that day is not this day.
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I've been continuing to ponder the sweep of issues around the sundry *fails, and thinking about what it is that I might usefully contribute. I've been keeping in mind what parts of my exposition draw cautions and objections about ignorant, insensitive baggage, among other things - where it's most clear I need to learn more about what's up with a thing, that's where I should keep quiet for a while as I get clues. The world keeps us richly endowed in ignorant expositors, after all. One subject that I know something about, though, is what it was like to be a white, middle-class, male-bodied and male-identifying part of sf fandom in the '80s, '90s, and '00s. So I can write about that, with an eye on this question in particular: How did I so totally miss the much greater diversity in "media fandom", and what was I thinking about the cultural reach of fandom as I participated?

I'll be wanting to do some research to check and supplement memory, and there are great resources for that online now. I rather expect to ramble up and down the years and take side trips and all like that. What greater value there may be in what I'd like to do, I can't say, and I'm trying not to make over-inflated claims here. I hope that it may be useful in illuminating shadowy background to the current discussion, though. I'm tagging this so that I can keep little chunks drawn together, and may do some compiling once I'm done with a topic.

Side note: I know some of my readers haven't been soaking in this stuff. As a starting point, check out [community profile] linkspam  for links to topics of active interest, some with good historical roundups. The super, super short form is that on several occasions this year, people in and around the world of print sf have come off very badly in handling matters of race and in responding to fans of color raising concerns. For me as a lifelong white fan, it's been unsettling, sometimes appalling, and deeply challenging. Hence this reassessment, because I blew my initial responses about as much as most of my compatriots, and I'd like to be doing better.


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Ceri B.

April 2010

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