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IDIC is a two-page essay by Susan McCutchen.
First printed in an issue of The WKFS Journal, it was reprinted in Communications Console (March/April 1984). "The above is taken from the journal of the Walter Koenig Fan Society. It is reprinted here at the suggestion of Jeannie Peeples, because it states some basic truths that many of us too often lose sight of."
Some Topics Discussed
- IDIC, Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination
- Star Trek fandom
- getting along with other fans
- cliques in fandom
- the actors are not gods, humans are messy
- respect and kindness
- fandom and profit
Excerpts from the Essay
Star Trek is a strange and wonderful beastie, applicable at the whim of each fan according to the particular situation in which that individual finds him/herself. Infinite diversity in Infinite Combination (IDIC) is a prime example of human fan phenomena related to philosophy.
Heavy involvement in fandom is edifying. Virginal at the outset, the naive fan is subsequently sullied, abandoned, and deeply saddened. Cliques a born in this magical, exclusive universe of fandom, ones whose members callously belittle and betray others, displaying no attempt (no matter how high-sounding the philosophical tenets expounded) to accept or to tolerate others. Cliques formed through basic ideological agreement and firm affection are misunderstood, outside forces not caring to delve beneath the appearance of exclusion to discover that a group of individuals often bands together because they feel a warmth in more intimate gatherings and are not comfortable in large social congregations. In Star Trek fandom, it appears that one is required to pay dues, exacted by a leader or leaders existent during and since the early days, entailing nonage to each and every actor/god ever communing with followers of the Star Trek saga, and each and every fan who follows that saga, rather than sere acceptance. Love Star Trek, part and parcel, or leave it, and darken my doorstep no more.
Humans are fallible. Each member of this species has a level of apparent intolerance. Prejudices, whether toward other persons or inanimate objects or ideas, abound. Fallible humans utter unkind words, think unkind and unpure thoughts, feel jealousy, resentment, anger and despair. However, the issue is not the basic nature of the human race, but the fact that fans who do not attempt to live IDIC in a wholehearted manner should not spout it every time they come up for air as though it were the central idea inherent to their personal crusade in life. This sort of crusade, launched by an imperfect being, apes religious ones in which fervent followers of various sects have slaughtered, raped, and pillaged in the name of their truth, and continue to do so today. Branding- those not addicted to science fiction and/or especially to Star Trek as "mundanes" and uttering that term with contempt, unsettles the listener as it comes dangerously close to bigotry. Is the philosophy of the day to be, "I'm an individual...we'll do what I want!"? Must one be rude and childish when dealing with hotel clerks at a convention, holding them in contempt because they are the representatives of a business? If that is the attitude of some, it would be wise to mature a bit, and consider that aside from the camaraderie of friends and acquaintances who gather at a convention for a good time, one of the basic precepts of many participants Is that they are at a convention purely and simply to make money. Dealers are at conventions to sell their wares, even though many of them also appreciate science fiction, A convention committee not committed to paying incurred bills, break even or make money is not very realistic.
Gene Roddenberry is not a god, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Deforest Kelley, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, and all the other actors ever involved with Star Trek are only human beings. They may appreciate the role they play or have played in the Star Trek phenomenon, but it is a job they take to make money. They are not at a convention to become each fan's personal idol who fulfills his/her fantasy, (Recall Hawkeye's remarks to Radar in the "M*A*S*H" episode detailing Radar's disappointment in Hawkeye's O.R. behavior.) An actor need not be worshipped, should not be adored as a paragon of virtue and the ultimate sex symbol rolled into one, but respected as an individual with distinct likes and dislikes, a personality in the public eye, not an icon nor a piece of meat to be chopped into small pieces and distributed among the buyers in the marketplace.
So it should be with individual fans. One need not love or even get along with every Star Trek fan simply because that person likes Star Trek. Does anyone like every co-worker at a place of employment? Does anyone love each and every friend or member of his/her family equally? What should be demanded is proper respect.The same should hold true for the organizations of Star Trek fandom, e.g., fan clubs. Each club is different and tries its best to fill the requirements of its particular members. Therefore, each has something unique to offer. One contributes in one's own way, each "according to his gifts".
More close assessment is in order when considering why one is involved with Star Trek fandom, indeed with the whole phenomenon of Star Trek. One must scrutinize one's behavior and personal philosophy. If one is attracted to IDIC, at least try to reason more thoroughly, and more logically, and attempt to display appropriate conduct according to its tenets. One may not be entirely successful in this endeavor, as humans are naturally erratic and often unfathomable, patently inexplicable, but the reasoning and evaluation may be educational and good for the soul. One may eventually arrive at the acceptance of human nature, with valid reservations, and, ultimately, begin to understand the meaning of the Vulcan philosophy of IDIC.