Re cursing ministers

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Jan 6, 1983, 10:31:12 PM1/6/83
In response to your message of Wed Jan 5 08:29:49 1983:

On the contrary. Argument about something does not mean a closed mind
(although some portions of this argument get close to it); having an open
mind does not mean accepting everything uncritically. For instance: many
of us are not interested in "...doorways into other dimensions of mind and
spirit..." because the vast majority of people involved in these mishegeese
have been shown to be either dupes or deliberate frauds. (I've derived
occasional amusement from the fact that someone who was for some time the
most wedged member of the Boston school committee bore the same name as
(and could well have been related to) one of the most notorious fake mediums
of the late 1800's.)
I repeat my contention that absence of critical sense is one of the marks
of the fringefan, and introduce the corollary (observable from the earliest
days of anything recognizable as fandom) that argumentativeness is one of the
common denominators of the [trufan] (I hate that term but it carries a useful
sense). Until recently, reading SF at all was a marker of an oddity so great
that it was either ground into conformity or (by reaction) shaped into extreme
cantankerousness. You should read THE FUTURIANS (by Damon Knight); out of
perhaps the most explosive group of fans ever came the first two intelligent
critics of the field and a very large chunk of the creative talent of the 50's.
As to the HARPER'S article, I'm not convinced that any other response is
necessary. Does being open-minded require us to attempt to deal with those
who have adapted a closed mind as a matter of principal (if not income; I
noted on the arpa SFL that the author has been described as a professional
troublemaker/@i(enfant terrible), and certainly HARPER'S is attempting to
improve its once-debilitated financial state by moving toward the literary
equivalent of yellow journalism).
As for your equation of those who oppose the use of "sci-fi" with fascists,
that is simply rude (and rudeness is often a resort of the close-minded).
Certainly Lester del Rey (whom I recall as the first person to point out how
often the term was used by people who knew nothing about the field and accepted
its worst examples as representative) has been a reactionary codger at least as
long as I have been alive; on the other hand, it was David Gerrold who pointed
out the definitive use of the term (CBS executive to Gene Roddenberry: "We
don't need another sci-fi show; we've already got LOST IN SPACE").

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