July 20th, 2006

wombat

The Common Tongue

God knows I'm not trying to dredge up the dead and extremely stinky past here, but I was mulling over the concept of the canon as it applies to contemporary SF&F fandom, partially as a result of what windelina had to say in this post (sorry, it's f-locked) about her reaction to some younger fans who didn't quite get the mockup of HAL9000 that sat outside Main Programming this year at Convergence. It occurred to me that every time we get a big influx of fans, part of what leads the mainstream -however you define it at the time- to exclude the neos is that they just don't speak the language. There are just too many referents to films and TV shows they haven't seen, books and stories they haven't read, and all that sort of thing.

Nowadays, of course, I suppose it's not such a big deal, because there are sufficient ghettos within fandom that you don't really have to deal with anyone outside your circle of Trek fans, Harry Potter fans, or whatever your particular fandom might be. On the other hand, when you venture out to a convention, especially a ginormous Gathering of the Tribes such as Convergence, squatting in your little familiar circle is really a waste of time and money. So as we approach the end of the seventh decade of SF conventions, what is the canon? What do fans need to have experienced to interact intelligently with most of the other fans at Convergence? Is there a canon any more, or has the very notion of a central body of knowledge in fandom become obsolete? If there is a canon, what do you think belongs in it?
Boss Coffee

Maybe Article 9 wasn't the only mistake

Apparently the Showa Emperor wasn't too keen on having Class A war criminals memorialized at Yasukuni Shrine, according to a 1988 memorandum written by one of his grand stewards. The article goes on to note that the Showa Emperor did not visit the shrine after the memorialization took place, although he had visited Yasukuni eight times since the end of the war. One wonders, if he had been able to express his opinion more openly as the titular Head of State, would the the controversial memorialization have taken place? It seems significant that it didn't happen while a relative of the Emperor was chief priest there.