Reflecting on 48 years of congoing, and what the years to come should be


Originally published at:


Cory’s link includes a full transcript, for those who require text, or just prefer it.

“We work to create a world in which the people who come after us regard us as monsters.” – Josh Olson, paraphrasing Harlan Ellison


I do miss the days of being embraced by freaks when I flew my own freak flag. The culture of hating the other has seeped into even the most inclusive of groups.
Congaing on the other hand is still very inclusive


Me too!

In order to be a welcoming subculture, it’s generally necessary that people with deeply unpopular viewpoint, appearance or tastes be able to hold their view, appearance or preferences without constant harassment from the popular. There are usually limits (UU Churches don’t accept active practitioners of human sacrifice) but those limits are well beyond those of the majority culture.

That’s not something that’s ever been very commonplace among humans, and seems even less common in these highly divided times.

And to be truly welcoming, a group must do more than just express disdain for harassment. If a community constantly expresses by the actions of its popular members that blind people don’t matter and their needs can be ignored, for example, then you’re not a welcoming community - those people would not be popular if you were.


This freak inclusion you speak of, has always struck me as pretty narrow, and kind of brittle. As long as “we” are all freaks of a certain kind, we revel in our percieved inclusiveness, and how much fun it is to Freak Out the Mundanes.

But I also remember being the only one to voice support for the Christian fen who wanted to observe Easter for 55 minutes while the rest of us were happily indulging pagan and atheist and unrelated rituals.

Its surprisingly easy to get identified as part of the “normality” that fandom wants to shelter itself against. The older I get, the easier that becomes.

I stopped going to cons about a decade ago, they no longer seemed relevant to me any more. This piece has me thinking maybe I should reconsider.


Came here for this, was not disappointed.


Science fiction fandom has embraced some pretty deep weird - and some really reprehensible people - but you aren’t wrong.

“If there is anything the nonconformist hates worse than a conformist, it’s another nonconformist who doesn’t conform to the prevailing standard of nonconformity.” – Bill Vaughan (1915-1977)


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