Friday, April 17, 2015

Day 3: Anathema only works if you care about being in the group

A cultural war has been raging in a community which I am not a part of, but follow with a great deal of interest.

Science Fiction Fandom.

A group of folks who have never participated in the nominations for the Hugo Awards before, have suddenly taken part. And the people who took part before, are understandably upset that their territory has been 'invaded' by people who are not part of their culture (although probably science fiction fans of a sort).

The 'fannish culture', lets call it, has been calling for the ostracism of the invaders, and one invader in particular, a fellow with the internet title Vox Day. And he brought up a very good point in dealing with all the invective and approbation which has been leveled at him: He's not part of the group, so shunning him doesn't work. He's been denied access to the standard outlets of publishing and discussion, so he's built his own.

Now, I don't subscribe to Mr. Day's opinions, but I do read his blog and find his opposition's depiction of his positions an extreme misreading. The reason I read him is that he thinks through the major positions of the day, and always brings something interesting to the table. Whether I agree or not is immaterial, the fact that he makes me think about things from a different angle is valuable. If I can't read about a position that I disagree with, I soon become very inflexible and much less able to deal with disagreement.

As someone who identifies as gnostic, I know about the approbation by the standard cultural bearers. In some ways, I'm not part of the group. So shunning doesn't work, and calling one anathema isn't an effective tactic. When one holds principles, these tactics are not effective in getting an individual to change their behavior.

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