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Cons & Fandom: concrete and abstract.

tygerr: I currently don't have any time set for my inevitable visit to Texas, but going during Con Season (whichever is most convenient for me and others) sounds like a great idea. Why didn't I think of that before? I don't think it'll be in 2005; it likely won't be within the first half of 2006. Everything depends on my vacation time, my budget, when I think I need the stress relief the most, and whatever visiting with relatives I'm going to be doing. But unless I suddenly decide on a spur-of-the-moment jaunt (which, again, would require time and budget) ... no plans, currently. But that could change.

wibbble: The US has a shortage of Scotsmen in kilts. A severe shortage.

I got a large packet with a con update newsletter current as of February. I was still going over it in general perkiness and looking at the list of planned attendees and wondering who I'm going to meet there who I've always wanted to meet, or who I'll recognize. I'm sure there's probably an LJ community for the con already, and it's probably been there since gods know when, at least for directory and planning purposes. Fen like to organize. At least, a certain subcategory of us do, like to have everything rather obsessively sorted out into categories and patterns both useful and whimsical.

I have roots in fandom. I grew up there in my teens. My Gaming Aunt is classic fen, as is her husband. Dad used to be at least on the outskirts, if not actually fannish...

Some elements of both modern and classic fandom have me running screaming. One of the things about both the Monkeys and about Fandom is that everyone who wants to be a member can be a member. Compared to other social groups, this is somewhat unique. There are very high barriers to entry to the popular crowds. There are reasonably rigorous barriers to entry to being a jock, a prep, and most of the recognized groups in high school settings who are liked, respected, or acknowledged as being well-thought-of by many if not all. But when the misfits band together, pretty much everyone who wants to hang with them gets to. It takes a hell of a lot of anti-talent to get chucked out of a group of misfits.

Fandom has a lot of members. Anyone can be a fan. This includes a lot of the people who would be stopped at the gates of other adult social groups with distinct barriers to entry. Every fandom group (indeed, every fringe group with low to no barriers to entry) has one or several of That Person You Don't Want To Talk To But You Really Don't Want To Hurt Their Feelings Or Upset Them Or They Will Make Everything Unlivable For Everyone. In a group with barriers to entry, they either wouldn't have made it in in the first place, would have found themselves edged out during their trial period, or would have been removed from the group once their unsuitability was discovered.

But in Fandom & like social structures, you can get ejected from a clique or a local group, but not from Fandom itself. Only you can remove you from Fandom, even if you are a Fan Alone because you've been ejected from all the major cons, pre-emptively banned from a dozen other ones, and no one else will even talk to you, not even your mom.

I suspect this is one of the reasons why Fandom has the reputation with non-fen for being a collection place for the assorted range of weirdoes and skeevy people.
Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together
Leaving weyrs to wind and weather,
Setting herdbeasts free of tether;
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new weyr
Where cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh why the empty weyr?

-- "The Question Song", Anne McCaffrey
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