Jo Rhett (jorhett) wrote,
Jo Rhett

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Is it time to retire the Fanzine Lounge?

I like fanzines. Way back in the 1980s I was the sole writer for one, a contributor to two, and did technical support for a more successful and commercial one. I fell out of touch after moving to the west coast, mostly due to lack of time.

When johnnyeponymous started running the Fanzine lounge here in the bay area, I was intrigued and interested. Chris is always articulate and engaged on fanzines, and it got me to start playing catch-up on the local and web-based fanzines.

Unfortunately, the last two conventions which have had Fanzine Lounges don't seem to have any relationship or interest in fanzines. Neither one had any information on fanzines in evidence. Neither one had any conversations about fanzines going on at any time I entered them. They seemed to be 100% focused on drinking and well, being rude to other fans.

In specific, the fanzine lounge appears to have evolved to become Convention-authorized podium for rude and condescending behavior on the part of the people running the lounge. To be specific, cussing and yelling at members of the convention by an overly intoxicated Guest of the Convention hosting the lounge. I have witnessed this behavior on multiple occasions directed at more than a half-dozen different individuals. It would be considered inappropriate in any public forum, even a public space in the hotel. It seems to be completely inappropriate for a convention to support and endorse this behavior.

In the interest of full disclosure, I was involved and perhaps partly to blame for supplying alcohol at the first fanzine lounge that became a late-night party (Westercon San Mateo 2007). But it seemed a very compatible evolution. I am now re-evaluating that as perhaps a bad choice.

I don't have a problem with a convention-supported rooms being a source for alcohol. But when the functionaries in charge of the room engage in nasty and abusive behavior, it reflects badly on the convention, on fanzines, and on fandom in general.

I am going to be asking conventions to retire the fanzine lounge. Or return the fanzine lounges to their original purpose -- to promote and display fanzines. I will also be taking conventions to task for the attitude and behavior of their functionaries in the fanzine lounge, including withdrawing my support and attendance from the cons which fail to do so.

I have more to say to friends of mine -- see the following friends-locked post.
Tags: convention

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