The Who Do We Trust Times
|Title:||The Who Do We Trust Times|
|Date(s):||February 1986-October 1987|
|Fandom:||Starsky and Hutch|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
There were at total of eight issues. The zine includes letters, zine reviews, song lyrics, and art, but no fiction. The UK agent was Tabby Davis.
One interesting note: the word "slash" was never used, only "/."
For other Starsky and Hutch letterzines, see List of Letterzines.
The editor submited a letter to Between Friends explaining the focus of her new letterzine:
First of all, this publication will be limited to "Starsky and Hutch," and, of course, the men who brought them to life. Discussions of the series, fan literature, and other projects of Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul are welcome and encouraged. (I'm a big fan of PMG's directing and am apt to bring it up often.) What I don't want to limit are which universes we'll discuss. I'd like to openly acknowledge the existence of both the "&" and "/" views of this relationship. And "relationship" is the key word, not the explicit physical mechanics of such. I'm going to rely on the good taste of the correspondents (and their respect) for each other to make everyone feel comfortable about participating. We've been through the "do they/don't they" question,- and all the soapboxing in the world won't change someone's viewpoint. So, my only restriction is please, no sexually explicit text or art. I will reserve the right to step in as editor should such inappropriate material be submitted.
About Content Policy
Letters are limited in length to two (2) single-spaced typewritten pages, or their equivalent. No anonymous letters will be printed. Pseudonyms are acceptable, but not encouraged. If you don't feel comfortable writing a letter, send a clipping, cartoon, song lyrics that remind you of the boys, or anything else we all might enjoy. Just let us know you're out there.
Stand on Editing and Censorship
After a fan writes and uses offensive language, the editor responds in issue #7 to some fans' suggestion she be "censored."
Editor's Note: It has never been, nor will it ever be, the practice of this editor to censor letters, except for inappropriate subject matter as stated in the guidelines [explicit slash]. I had hoped everyone would have enough respect for self and others to avoid any sexist, racist, or otherwise derogatory epithets. In the case of those who have not, fellow readers should feel free to make their objections known, as several have already done. I think this is the best way to enlighten any ignorance and, hopefully, raise a little consciousness at the same time.
From the issue's first editorial:
As you can see, this zine is computer-produced on a printer. My Atari and I have gotten to know each other very well in the past few weeks and you can thank the machine for ay lower-than-usual typo rate. As I get friendlier with the computer, the look of the zine may change, hopefully for the better. Any constructive suggestions are greatly appreciated. This is all a real learning experience, but great fun.
The Who Do We Trust Times 1 was published in February 1986 and contains 42 pages.
- the TOTM was how much "The Pilot" differed from other episodes in terms of style
- a fan writes of her optimism and encouragement: Congratulations, Pam, on the first issue of The Who Do We Trust Times, and good luck with the new letterzine. As we begin 1986, I feel very excited about Starsky and Hutch fandom. There are new people discovering the show and the special relationship between the characters all the time, our fandom is growing and continuing to thrive. There are new stories being written, and there is still much to discuss about the show, so I'm glad to see the letterzine gauntlet being picked up by Pam and I hope that the old stand-bys who subscribed to Between Friends, as well as some newcomers with new ideas to share, will be getting The Times.
- a fan lauds a new zine, Celebration and comments on a trope: Wasn't Celebration a very fitting climax to our year of celebrating the tenth anniversary of STARSKY AND HUTCH? I thoroughly enjoyed Tabby's zine. The stories all express what she tried to show through the zine, the love and caring that has always been a part of our favorite partnership. And Tabby herself put so much personal care and time and creativity into the production of the zine, it's truly a labor of love. It was especially nice to read tag stories and the hurt/comfort gems that an anthology zine contains again. I've been wondering for a long time why hurt/comfort seems to have such a "bad reputation' in this fandom and I've come to the conclusion that perhap; it's the definition of hurt/comfort that some of us don' t agree on. I plan to discuss hurt/comfort as a concept and hurt/comfort fiction in the next issue of The Times.
- a fan comments on the recent pressure on Starsky and Hutch by the BBC and other television stations regarding the violence the show portrays: I guess it happens at intervals on your side of the ocean too. Over here, this is just the latest manifestation. We (you too?) do have people who apparently feel they have a divinely-appointed mission to set others right in accordance with their own preferences, prejudices, interpretations - that urge to 'improve' others, to set oneself up as arbiter and judge, which, historically, is very much the basic, common stuff of which dictators are made. Such individuals often claim the most respectable of... you know? -- that 'hurts-me-more-than-it-hurts-you' line <wanna bet?> -- 'doing it for your own good', etc., etc. Whatever the motives, the squelching impact on the chosen target can be the same. And now, is their target, their scapegoat. Again.
With the prospect of The Times I turned back nearly seven years to the very first issues of the very first S&H l/z -- summer of '79. It was very interesting to see there some of the questions being asked then, especially 'what will happen to S&H and to S&H fandom when the series ends?" - 'where do they go after SWEET REVENGE?" - "what sort of future?" Guess we now have a wide choice of answers. Letters speculated on the specific problems in living every day- pertinent and intriguing topic, and another situation which has been, and is still being, explored convincingly in more than one zine. When that great S&H story, Decorated for Death, was first publihed, I recall discussing with Jill that very question - "what now?" But, possibly, for it's a less urgent question than for some other writing. The immediate, contemporary universe and the SF, fantasy! universe of DFD -- the different settings- perhaps pose different questions. Ithink the action-packed, fast-moving episodes/plots were never, for many of us, the main attraction, anyway. The routine, day-to-day situations are among the most interesting, especially in the basic matter of charcterization -- just as (for routine, police work episodes (BUST AMBOY/NlGHTLIGHT, for example) held a special appeal. It's certainly interesting, nearly seven years on, to see how some of these earlier questions have been handled in later writing.
- a fan comments: It sure sounds as if everyone (even the chair people) 'had a nice tiae at the PMS. Really wish that I could have been there but I will make it to the next Zebra Con if it is the last thing I do. At least I have gotten to read most of the glut of zines that came out this fall. I'm so enjoying all of them. Ruth was right, there aren't enough good things to say about Scales of Justice and The Thousandth Man. Coda was also a wonderful zine. I loved the new tags and the insight she (Teri White) used into Hutch's gradual change. And the crossovers were a refreshing change of pace, too. I was most impressed by the quality of the artwork as well. Fantastic!
- Ima Fool contributes a long parody summary of the episode "Targets Without a Badge"
- fans contribute poetry and song lyrics that remind them of SH
- this issue has an essay called "Smithereens" by Paula Smith -- "The show "captures the essence of the bond between Starsky and Hutch. When the chips are down, you can always count on each other. When the whole world is ag'in ya, you still have a friend. When hell breaks loose, your partner is there. Me and thee."
- "The Artsy Guy with the Beard," first of a three-part series by Pam Perry analyzing Paul Michael Glaser's directing talent and style
- this issue has a full-page, calligraphed poem called "High Flight" which is a tribute to the explosion of Challenger
- this issue has two long LoCs about Celebration, see that page
The Who Do We Trust Times 2 was published in April 1986 and contains 66 pages.
- the TOTM was hurt/comfort and why there was an apparent lack of it in recent fiction
- the editor welcomes Merle Decker as an artist: "I am very proud to be publishing her first piece of S&H artwork. Some of you may know Merle from ST zines, and who better to do the cover illo for the "h/c" issue. It's beautiful, and I hope they'll be more. She told me she had a ball doing it. I especially like the little curl around Hutch's finger!"
- a fan offers her kudos: "Congratulations, and thank you, Pam, for a fine first issue of the Times. It's enjoyable, beautifully produced, easy to read- in short, a worthy successor to Between Friends."
- about the TOTM: I am still puzzling whether it was tongue-In-cheek, or whether S&H fans truly believe they are short on h/c. From I have read, (and you would be amazed how much one can read in three months, if one gives up sleep), this Is a fandom blessed with its ample share of h/c. Many of the old, perennial favorites deal with h/c as their focus; their plot mover; the detour to lead into deeper psychological explorations; or the means to test the metal of the famous friendship. In later (and especially "/") fanfic h/c often a starting point, a trauma which strips away pretense, false machismo, and gaming, to provide an emotionally satisfying and psychologically valid shortcut to true feelings, desires and needs. Besides... love IS a helluva comfort, and sex ain't bad either!
- regarding the TOTM: Why isn't there much h/c in S&H fan fiction these days? Well, I think there are a number of reasons. 1) It isn't that easy to write h/c convincingly. Discriminating readers want more than a few moans, groans, and "Oh... Hutch," "Oh... Starsky." We know that they aren't afraid to touch so, unlike Trek, for example, you don't need to have one of them injured to work that aspect into your storyline. And you'd better have your medical facts straight - you'll hear loud and clear if you don't.... 2) There are only so many ways our heroes can be shot, stabbed, bludgeoned, or otherwise physically assaulted before monotony sets in (and the readers start to wonder how they can still be healthy enough to be on the police force). After a while you simply run out of plots unless you're going to write the ultimate h/c and kill one or both of them. 3) There's already a pretty intimidating body of work in this genre in S&H fandom: "Mojave Crossing", "Wilderness", "Solitaire", and "Bomb Scare", to name but a few. ... Sometimes it's easier to just write a straight-out mystery or adventure story and be done with it.
- more on TOTM: Why isn't there more h/c in S&H fanfic these days? Gee, I'm not sure. Could be that it's more fun to watch h/c than it is to write/read it. I love a good h/c story as much as anything, and crave the them actually. I had noticed that there wasn't much of it in fanfic, but I really don't have a good reason why. Could it be because good fanfic h/c is really hard to write? You have to tread the thin line between being gushy for no reason other than having h/c in the story, and having a good plot to go along with the h/c. It 's hard to do. I've noticed that when I was younger, and had more emotional ups and downs, I could usually write great h/c, prolonging the suffering for as long as possible. But now that my life is stable, and I am happy, it's rather a problem for me to write really wrenching h/c - unless I'm totally depressed at the time.
- more on TOTM: ... what has happened to h/c as of late? To be honest, I hadn't really thought about its gradual "fading" until the topic was suggested. Let me make it clear, I'm a big h/c fan from way back -- even after I got totally immersed in S/H, I still loved a lot of h/c in my favorite stories. Still, if h/c just for the sake of h/c seems to be fading from fanfic now, I'm not so sure that's such a bad development. At the very early start of S&H fandom, a lot of "classic" h/c stories were written: "Mojave Crossing, "Wilderness, Promises to Keep, just to name a few; if markedly fewer h/c stories being written now, maybe it's just because the fans figure it's all been done before, and done so well, that to try to re-do it would be redundant.
- more on TOTM: ... when a story idea has been done just one too many times, it really does become "old hat", doesn't it? It's time to move on to other aspects of the relationship, and I think that's what's happened now. Of course, there's a lot of new people coming into fandom all the time, so we may see a resurgence of the h/c genre, who knows. It's just my "theory," of course, but I think that when someone first "discovers" S&H, there's a very strong tendency to become immersed in writing or reading h/c, because, at the beginning, there's a "rush" you feel that's almost like being in love... Sounds corny, I know, but that's what it was like for me, over ten years ago. You want to write situations in which the two characters you love so much are thrown together, as much as possible, in as demonstrative a way as possible - thus h/c! After that initial developtent period, though, there's got to be more, and that's what we're seeing now.
- a fan comments that this maturing of the fandom has also made much h/c, both in S/H and straight fiction, more psychological as well as more plot-driven: I think there was an analogous sitution in the development of S/H fanfic, too ... Well, at the start of S/H fandom, most of us in it were writing stories for the sole purpose of having the guys get off with each other; after awhile, though, that wasn't enough for a lot of us, so the stories actually developed into having real plots, and it was established that the guys were lovers, but other important aspects of their lives and relationship were being explored, too, as they are now. A good example is the recent zine, Day By Day. It's S/H, and of course vital to the story... but the story is basically a good psychological study of the problems the guys are having with their new relationship, the changes they have to go through... l'm not saying that there still aren't S/H stories being written for the *fun* of just having them get it on together, but as a rule now, most of the stories have developed far beyond that in terms of character growth, change in the dynamics of the relationship, etc. And I see the same thing happening with the "straight" S&H fanfic, too. The physical h/c will probably always retain in one way or another! I'd hate to see it disappear completely, but I "psychological" h/c has taken its place in most cases. As with the S/H writers, it seems the "straight" writers have taken the guys far beyond the stage of "h/c for its own sake" - look at Thousandth Man, or Scales of Justice, or some of the stories in Celebration, for instance. The love and caring is so obviously there, yet there isn't that much physical" h/c -- there's a lot of it emotionally, though, and the relationship has been through changes and growth that we never saw in much of the very early stuff, years ago in fanfic.
- about the TOTM, H/C: I don't believe in it. I don't feel it. It's always seemed to me the kind of thing people should have outgrown when they turned thirteen. I never say to myself, "l'm going to write an h/c story. It's never on my mind. I enjoy the connection, say between Hutch and Starsky in SHOOTOUT, but I've never viewed the "hurt" as some kind of entity to be categorized, or why that "feeling", whatever it is, takes on a life of its own with some people. Apparently, a lot of people. But not me. You can find h/c in my stories if you want to (you can find anything you like), but I sure as hell have never/will never write it as such. Too limiting for me. And some writers have taken it way too far for my queasy stomach. I don't understand it. All I have are questions which I don't particularly want answers to. Is it that for some, any relationship story is an h/c story? That even any painful emotion is viewed as h/c? I really rebel against that idea. Is the only way to have a non-sexual relationship story to be found in hurting one character just so the other character can get close to him? In other words, is h/c an escape valve for underlying sexual tension between two characters, for writers who find same-sex morally wrong or distasteful? I think it is. I also think that what really bothers me is the pain, and the knives, and the blood, and the suffering (shudder). It's all a little (pardon the expression) an unhealthy isn't it?
- more on TOTM: One other issue I'm curious about is the theory that h/c as a substitute for sex in a lot of the fanfiction. I don't buy that in S&H literature. I know that when I'm looking for a "sexy" read, I do not reach for "Mojave Crossing," or "Wilderness," or the like. And the reverse is also true. Hurt/comfort conjurs up none of the feelings and emotions that come from "/" stories. I read each to satisfy a certain mood. I guess I tend to read h/c when I need comforting, it's been a particularly hard day and I need a hug. Those are the feelings which these stories recall.
- more on TOTM: For me, the h/c in S&H is simply beautiful. The touching of foreheads in SHOOTOUT, the stroking of throat in THE fiX, the butterfly-light touch of hand on knee in THE TRAP, the head-hug in COFFIN, the incredible hug in GILLIAN - the list is endless. What we saw on the screen was nothing short of perfect. And that is just some of the dramatic physical comfort. This blockbuster type of h/c shows us the heroic side of the characters and their relationship - look how bravely he bears the pain, see what his partner will go through for him. Seeing the boys being wonderful and strong is terrific on its ovn, but this h/c also allows us to see their vulnerability, too. Their greatest strength is also their Achilles' heel -- as all the bad guys seem to know -- cut one and two bleed.
- more on TOTM: In a way, h/c is a lot like sex. Everthing that leads up to it is crucial. How the characters react to it is crucial. The actual act is often most effective when left to the readers' imagination. I really don't want to see Hutch whimpering over a wounded Starsky or vice versa. I want to see him doing for the other, let his actions speak for him. And to be most effective, I have to believe that the circumstances are not contrived and that the moment in their lives is one of the most important ever.... Some of the best moments for me in the series were when one or the other did cross over into behavior that just bordered what I would consder acceptable between two heterosexual males. Like Starsky's "if this were a western, I'd give you my boots." That said everything. To me it works a lot better that a blatant "I love you."
- more on TOTM: Someone, a while ago, labeled h/c an expression of 'sublimated homoeroticism'. Sadomasochistic tendencies; a yearning to express tenderness; the safest device to break down inhibitions and bring out the drastic/dramatic in characters - all these have been mentioned, pondered and debated as reasons for 'hurting the ones you love', then 'making it all better'. Undeniably, h/c carries a strong, sublimated sexual element. It can also satisfy a more overt need, (with romantic leanings), for tactile and verbal expressions of love, belonging and tenderness. The hurt serves both as sexual gratification in itself, (portal gates have always held a strong link to the libido); and as justification to overcome our own ingrained inhibitions and allow free rein to the tenderness/comfort component. S & H, with their police work and daily life of danger, provide a perfect framework for h/c scenarios, both from the series and the fertile minds of the writers. Add to it the legitisizing aspects of a fandom - the mildly demented throng of like-minded people who all 'do it' - and you have the perfect setup. Which might explain, to a degree, why fandoms like S&H have such resilience, and why they rely so much on fanfic for their continued existence.
- more on the TOTM: It's been kind of difficult to draw conclusions about what is so attractive about h/c. I don't think it's sick or weird to like it, even if you want to write about your beloved hero being physically hurt in a very severe manner. ... But I find that I have a whole different approach to h/c when it comes to my SH writing. Maybe it's because I had the chance to do all kinds of physical mayhem to Kirk and Spock and now I don't need to repeat those kinds of stories with S and H, besides the obvious fact that Starsky and Hutch would never survive what I've done to Kirk and Spock! It seems that at times, hurt/comfort between Starsky and Hutch, even in the aired episodes and also in the fanfiction, is a lot more subtle.
- more on TOTM: And the reason [h/c in SH] works is because the emotions of the characters are there. It's not only the physical demonstrativeness that we look for in h/c, it's the feeling. We all look in our zines for those stories that grab us by the gut and hold on and don't let go. The kind of hurt/comfort that works best in fiction is the kind that is so powerful that we worry and care and hurt along with the characters and that leaves us (and the characters, too) feeling satisfied when the conclusion is reached. I'd like to see more SH fanfiction that achieves that. The top early h/c stories could do it. '"Mojave Crossing" certainly does, and "Wilderness" and stories like that. I can do without the heavy torture stories I've read in this fandom, mainly because they were generally flawed in other ways as well. Mainly they were unbelievable, too much pain for a mere 20th century human male to endure, or the hurt wasn't explained enough or the comfort wasn't satisfying enough.
- more on TOTM: I believe we are all h/c fans to a·greater or lesser degree, aren't we? Is there anybody out there who actively dislikes h/c? Perhaps the relative lack of it in today's fanfic is because it tended to be overdone in the earlier fanfic. Nevertheless, I have to say that some of those early stories retain firm favourites with me, even though I recognise that later writing styles are much improved.
- more on TOTM: Hurt/comfort. Well, I'm not really sure why there's less of it in S&H fandom. It's still around in other fandoms, but a lot of those writers have never written S&H, so it's not a case of people writing in a different medium. Could it be the proponderance of "/"? That the tender, loving scenes, (the "comfort"), are now being written in a "/" context? Or is it that far more of us are writing more original material? By that, I mean that we've created our own characters, our own worlds, and are concentrating on those.
- more on the TOTM: There is very little hurt/comfort being written in Starsky and Hutch fan fiction today. The first reason for this may stem from the simple fact that we have seen so many beautiful examples of our heroes clutching and comforting in the aired episodes. Unlike S&H, STAR TREK, a show in which the friendship between the two main characters was but one element of the entire concept, did not have an episode in which hurt/comfort was showcased. Star Trek fan writers constantly turned to the device as a way to break down the barriers between Kirk and Spock and bring them into more intimate contact. We've been lucky enough to see the intimacy between Starsky and Hutch when one of them is hurting, and that has perhaps tempered our craving to read about physical hurt/comfort in our zines. Besides almost every possible version of hurt/comfort was done in aired S&H: gun shots, stabbings, car accidents, attempted murders, illnesses, kidnappings, bereavements, disappearances. To write about these would be only redundant. An author can say, "but in my story Starsky is shot in a laundromat, not an Italian restaurant, and it's his right shoulder, not the left," but we've still already seen that scenario. Some writers, in an effort not to repeat what was done in the series, choose to carry the hurt in their fiction to extremes, but that's exactly where they get into worse trouble. Starsky and Hutch do not live three hundred years in the future when medical science can find a cure for any disease or repair any injury, and neither one of them has the super-human strength and stamina of a Vulcan. Hurt/comfort that strains our suspension of disbelief too far is impossible to take seriously. Another possible reason given for lack of hurt/comfort stories is that many writers of SH fiction have simply outgrown the genre. If hurt/comfort is viewed merely as a plot device to get the characters to touch, that may certainly be the case. As the episodes demonstrate, Starsky and Hutch touch plenty even without one of them being in pain. But seeing h/c as a device negates its value as a concept. It then becomes easy to say that hurt/comfort is a way of getting the characters to touch and still avoid them having sex or that hurt/comfort is a precursor to a developing sexual relationship between them. Hurt/comfort has certainly been used successfully in other media as just such a device for decades. The handsome hero in the classic western rescued the vulnerable woman and realized he loved her. The man whom a female character did not see in a romantic light got hurt, and when she tended his wound, she began to see him with new eyes. In these ways, hurt/comfort can definitely be viewed as a jumping-off point in the initiation of a sexual relationship. It has also been used as a good substitute for sex between characters who are attracted to each other but who for some reason cannot act on the sexual tension between them. Yet again, seeing h/c as just a stepping stone to or substitute for sex is too narrow a definition. A hurt/comfort story can be as powerful and effective as any other kind. And the characters being lovers does not preclude hurt/comfort taking place between them as well. Yes, h/c is often used by authors who are not writing adult "/" fiction, but that does not negate its validity. Lovers touch each other as a matter of course; 'friends' who can reach out and comfort in an intimate fashion bring a tenderness and poignancy to a story as well as a sense of realism. [...] That is why, no matter what our individual opinions of hurt/comfort are, we cannot escape it and should not attempt to forego it in SH fiction. The "who do we trust" theme implies hurt/comfort by its definition. All of Starsky and Hutch is the giving and accepting of comfort in one way or another, from an understanding pat on the shoulder for that small annoyance, all the way to offering one's life to protect and defend the other. Thus, even stories which are not classified as being hurt/comfort overall may and should contain small scenes that take place in the course of a larger adventure which can satisfy that yearning we have for h/c. Hurt/comfort is part and parcel of the whole structure of the characters' relationship. Even stories which are built around the emotional struggle of one character recognizing that he would like to express his love for his partner physically are, using the broader definition, hurt/comfort. When the physical love is accepted, the emotionally overwrought partner receives his comfort. So many stories being written currently in SH take place following SWEET REVENGE that one final reason may be given for a lessening of hurt/comfort in the zines -- after being so severely wounded at Gunther's hands, who could have the heart to put Starsky and Hutch through any more? Yet the best SH fiction will continue to incorporate the hurt/comfort theme. Stories will be written that challenge the relationship as well as the characters' abilities as cops -- whether they are involved as lovers or just friends. And the stories that will be re-read and remembered will incorporate the giving, caring and sharing that attracted us to Starsky and Hutch in the first place. On or off the force, "&" or "/", that is what makes SH what it is. Perhaps hurt/comfort doesn't have such a bad reputation in SH fandom after all. If most of us didn't like and appreciate it, "Mojave Crossing" would not have been voted Very Favorite Story Overall in the Encore Awards. If hurt/comfort is defined thematically rather than as a plot device; if it is looked on as more than an excuse for blood and bandages and as something that covers the full spectrum from physical hurt to emotional interaction, it can be returned to its rightful place as an important aspect of SH fiction.
- an update on ZebraCon: I hope all of you are planning to come. You are, aren't you? I have 69 members signed up as of today with 3 months left before the deadline. I'm still hoping to have 100 attending members - we've never quite managed 100 before. And let me reassure all of you here and now that ZCon is still an S&H convention! We've just grown to include other similar fandoms, that's all, because a con, or a fandom, like a person, must change and grow if it wants to survive.
- a fan comments on what she sees as a bit of a fandom rift: A couple of observations from a new fan. 1) Two different people that I've bought zines from have commented to the effect that the "/" fans have taken over S&H fandom to the extent that they, as "&" people, didn't feel there is a place for them here any longer, and they have moved on to other things. That may not be true, but at least two different people have perceived it that way. I think this is very sad, as I gather there aren't so many of us that we can afford to drive away some of our number.
- "Smithereens," (I Lost It on Jeopardy) an essay by Paula Smith, the topic: H/C and frission, "a shudder of recognition that something damn real is going on, or that something true has been described exactly right."
- "Bondings," an essay by April Valentine which examines H/C
- "Ima's Rules for Writing Fools," by Ima Fool, a short parody of on writing H/C
The Who Do We Trust Times 3 was published in June 1986 and contains 46 pages.
- it contains a ballot for the Huggy Awards
- the TOTM was the appealing physical attributes of Starsky and Hutch
- the editor warns fans not to buy the pro book, "Cult TV," as it is full of stupid, careless errors
- part two of "The Artsy Guy With the Camera," by Pam Perry, analysis of "Ballad for a Blue Lady"
- a review by Pam Perry of "Band of the Hand," which was a non-SH film directed by Paul Michael Glaser
- the editor signs on for more: "Yes, that's right. I've decided to commit (myself?) to 3 more issues of this letterzine. Truth is, I couldn't face the empty mailbox. So, subscriptions are now being accepted for issues #4-6, at the same bargain basement price..."
- "Smithereens," (The Good Stuff) by Paula Smith: Everyone knows what the Good Stuff is (as opposed·-to the Right Stuff). In PLAYBOY ISLAND, the good stuff is the sight of Our Heroes washed up on the beach together, as well as grappling on the clifftop till they tumble fifty feet to the foam-lashed sea below. In "Mojave Crossing" it's the pair of them waiting for help to arrive. Starsky blind and Hutch shot in the gut, and knowing that the end may be near, one gasps out to the other, "I love you." You know, The Good Stuff. Why we like the Good Stuff is a fairly unanswerable question; the point is that we do. As I mentioned last month, in order for a story to keep the reader captivated, it must pay off somehow, with a startling insight, a revelation, a thrill -- frisson. Otherwise, what's the use wasting time better spent raising kids or cleaning out the septic tank? There are stories, even trademarked Ghood Stories, that contain next to no Good Stuff: "Huggy Can't Go Home No More" Dotty Barry's "Coign of Vantage." Though these are eminently respectable pieces, fans don't generally select them from the tape or zine pile to look at again. Whereas the mere mention of the leathery hug in GILLIAN or the torture sequence in "Sins of the Father"-- admittedly lesser works -- is enough to send some folks racing for the shelves. These have a payoff, and as a matter of fact, an easily accessible payoff. You don't even have to read the whole story again for the payoff -- just flip to the section containing the Good Stuff.
- a fan revisits the TOTM from the last issue: It's been an argument of mine for years that h/c suggests that pain and only pain allovs human contact, that sorrow, sadness, agony, hurt, blood, gore, and other negatives permit us to reach out and touch while positives such as joy, desire, need (yes, need can be positive because it opens one up) keep us distant. What's bothered me about h/c the most is the language writers choose. The "savoring of the touching, suggests an undercurrent of enjoyment as S and/or H feels his partner up for broken bones, contusions, internal bleeding, etc. The many blond adjectives employed, "the soft, blond hair glistening and damp upon his feverish brow," "the golden hair lined by the light that bounced off the automobile's chrome fender," suggest that Hutch is very appealing to Starsky. Somehow the blond seems to suffer so pseudo-sexually superior to simply supine and semi-conscious Starsky (do you too enjoy alliteration?). I mean, I may look like hell when I suffer, but golden, lovely, bleeding Hutch really looks gorgeous to us and to his worried, concern written all over his face, partner. Perhaps I most resent the use of death/desire/disaster as plot devices in supposedly realistic drama. Ultimately, h/c may be a way for some of us to express our own need for comfort when we are hurting. It's a systematized and none too creative vehicle to express our own need.
- a fan responds to a comment in the previous issue: I just want to briefly disagree with Lynna B. on the differences between a h/c story and a relationship story. Almost any story can be a relationship story, any idea or conflict could be conducive to showing how characters interact and relate to each other. H/c on the other hand, is a relationship story where, very simply put, one of the characters is hurt, thereby allowing the other character to respond on a deeper, more emotional level than is normally possible. That is the vay it is, no matter what your sexual preference is. I really don't think that h/c is sublimating sexual tension. Even in a same-sex relationship, you get a deeper, more emotional response when one of the guys is hurt. And I'm talking about either physical or mental anguish. And, yes, we like to see the touching that goes with it.
- a fan in the UK has this plea: Speaking of fanfic, I'd like to pose a question to editors. With more "gems" due for publication in the not too distant future, one looks to one's wallet -- and cries! Not many of us have money to burn these days and one has to be careful how one spreads the pennies around. It always helps when a new zine comes to us avid readers in the UK via a British distributor -- one saves money and is spared the hassle of purchasing dollars or international money orders. Obviously, the zine producer must never be out of pocket and perhaps the above mentioned arrangement may not be altogether suitable. I'm not certain either way, that's why I'd like to learn from zine producers themselves if it would be financially viable to arrange zine distribution via a UK distributor, providing such an angel could be found.
- about hurt/comfort: As for the last TOTM, just a few closing thoughts in response to comments in #2: first, what h/c is, and how much of it there is in fanfic, depends on one's definition. Second, h/c stories are not exempt from the requirements for any story: plot, psychology, characterization, writing style, etc. Third, as to the criticism that "it's all been done before- — so has everything else, from the first Neanderthal's picture stories on the cave walls and on... And finally, quite a few people do not "feel" the h/c element hence they do not spot, write, or enjoy it! But h/c does exist, independent of whether they believe in it or not, and it does not necessarily or always serve as a substitute for sex — observe the proliferation of stories which include both components. As for h/c being "unhealthy" and immature for anyone over 13 — I would like to believe that fandom is free of this kind of judgmental approach — IDIC is a prudent guideline in all fandoms...
- more on h/c: Cathy, you've hit on something, I think, when you postulate that good h/c is only written when the writer is in the mood. (This also works for S/H, by the way.) In my salad days, if I was hurting or fed up or just generally down, I'd write, and it was usually h/c, Well, denting a "fictional" hero is better than kicking your husband. Or the cat. In a weird kind of way, putting our heroes through the wringer made me feel better. This maybe reveals some horrid mental defect in me... However, watching it did not have the same effect, nor did reading it. Writing alone was the charm.
- on S&H crying: They do tend to get rather weepy in fanfic. Not that they're alone in that-- I can think of of other duos even less likely to burst into floods who who are made to bawl like babies in the fanfic. Besides, the less it happens, the more effective it is when it does, if you get my drift. If they go on like they own shares in Kleenex, it loses all impact.
- on crying in SH fanfic: The day I find any of my fictional "heroes" acting like cold fish towards each other is the day I stop reading fanfic. In face, I have had the misfortune to read such stories once and I know I'll never read them again. As far as I'm concerned, my "heroes" will always be the men who are strong and secure enough with themselves to be able to show such powerful emotions -- and cry -- and let thetr vulnerabilities show. To me, those are the "real men."
- regarding a perceived rift in fandom: I'm sorry that people seem to think that "/" fans have "taken over" S&H. Particularly since there is so much less infighting these days. S/H is an accepted premise in fandom, no one screams and shouts about it anymore, no one needs to stay in the closet. BUT -- it's not all that occupies our minds. Look at the zines currently on sale -- Coda, Celebration, Thousandth Man, Scales of Justice. These aren't S/H -- they're SH, and of the highest quality. I'd like to know who feels they have been "driven away" -- and who it was doing the driving. It's true, we all feel the loss of even one of our number.
- a zine ed suggests this about OOP zines: As for the o/p problems - - for what's it's worth, you have our permission to xerox any of the 10-13 publications. Granted, they may not be the zines you want, but I'd recommend writing to the editors concerned and asking their permission for a xerox. It may be that there's a reprint in the offing, too. Frustration can be overcome with a postage stamp and an SAE. (But it's still nice to send a LoC, even if the zine in question is years old!)
- regarding ZebraCon: Two rather disturbing rumours have surfaced recently regarding Zebra Con, and I'd like to take this opportunity to squash them. At MediaWestCon last weekend, I was told that several people were not planning to attend because Zebra Con has "become an all '/' con -- not true! There is no official attitude towards "/", and the con is not slanted... one way or another. Of course"/"is a part o fit--it's a part of fandom. An important part. There will be erotic art work in the Art Show - - in a special section - - and it will no doubt be mentioned during some of the panels. It is a fact that the majority of fans --either SH or PROs -- are at least tolerant of "/", and that tolerance is certainly reflected at Zebra Con. And of course it's no secret that both Jean and I are "/" fans. But as for the con being a "/" con -- no way. The other rumour is that Zebra Con is becoming a PROFESSIONALS con. Honestly, how do these things get started? As I said in my last letter, fandom changes, and so must the con if it's going to survive. It cannot survive as solely a STARSKY & HUTCH convention. There just aren't enough people who are only interested in SH to the exclusion of everything else -- and yes, that includes the committee. We are becoming more of a genre convention -- cops/spys/detectives. But SH will always be a very important part of ZCon. I'd say this year's con is shaping up to be about half and half SH and PROs, with a lot of overlap, and plenty of interest in shows like MV, S&S, and UNCLE as well.
- a comment about S/H zines: Since last issue I have also begun to read a few of the S/H zines. Relax, Pam, I'm not going to get explicit. (Who, me? The Un-sexiest Life Form in the Known Universe?) I begin to suspect I am not going to be a large-scale "/" fan. I had read and enjoyed a couple of commercial same-sex novels, so the concept wasn't new to me except as applied to "our boys.' The first one was fine, something new and different. After that, however, I began to notice a pattern. Almost every story seems to consist of sexual encounters and/or silly lovers' quarrels. All that changes is the background. I'a not offended, but I am fast becoming bored. There are only so many different ways to describe bedroom action, and I think I've read them all already-several times. Just because two people love each other doesn't mean they spend all their time in bed. (Uh, does it?) I don't object to the idea of the guys as lovers, rather like it in fact, but there should be something more than that. Like a story with an honest-to-gosh plot, for instance? I've heard Day by Day is better in this respect.
- a fan lists a number of popular songs that remind her of SH and makes this offer: Anyone wanting a SH-related music cassette -- just send me a blank and some return postage and I'll be happy to do the rest. Always a joy to share sound!
The Who Do We Trust Times 4 was published in August 1986 and contains 54 pages.
- the TOTM may be: "How do you explain your fannish life to your friends and family, if at all?"
- The Artsy Guy, part three by Pam Perry, analysis of "Ballad for a Blue Lady"
- there is a review/long LoC on Nightlight, see that page
- "Smithereens," (Out of the Emerald City and Into the Closet), a column by Paula Smith, this one on why we need fandom
- there are several con reports for ZebraCon #6, see that page
- the editor writes: A little business now, and a reminder about the guidelines. Please try and keep letters to 1 1/2 pages typed, so everyone can have some space. We've been good about the explicitness issue, and I don't think it's put a damper on any of our discussions. The Times has exceeded my expectations as far as the concept of friendliness and respect for others' opinions and feelings. We're doin' okay guys!
- several fans comment that it's the zines that make the fandom, not the show itself: I'm glad to learn I wasn't the only one who lost enthusiasm for the show in its last year(s). I continued to watch it, but mostly out of a sense of duty, plus a lingering hope that maybe this week they'll get it right again... That's why I've been so delighted to find SH fandom and all these mostly good zines... It's been like getting the "good" S&H back again.
- a fan writes: I have often thought that fandom consists of a bunch of people who couldn't leave well enough alone. They just had to give these wonderful guys more adventures, so to speak...
- a fan writes of others knowing of her fondness for SH and fandom: …"/" fandom is messier can of worms. I couldn't write it ... I sure couldn't illo it either, not with a straight face, but, yes, I read it. I have a couple of stories that I'll treasure forever (they made it believable for me) but I really don't advertise it. Nobody I know is that tolerant. My husband knows that I have some zines that deal with the premise, but strangely enough, that doesn't bother him as much as the fact that I must be in love with Lewis Collins. My mother would faint dead away, I am sure. My best friend knows about it, but can't see past the fact that it's homosexuality. My kids are too young to know about it. And I'll take sure that they are a lot older before they see any of it. My daughter is 6 and will often make comments about "Mom's honeyboys."
- about ZCon: I believe I could do something like that once every month! (Once a week would be too often, I think — moderation in all things.) The aspect I found most enjoyable was being exposed to so many new and different interpretations of our boys. While I pick up other ideas from the letterzines and fanzines, it's so much more exciting to be with other fans and exchange thoughts. The panels were wonderful forms for exchanging thoughts and debating perceptions. But I also found it just as enlightening to be in the video room and listen as others pointed out bits of dialogue or business I hadn't noticed in just that way before. After so many years of viewing I seem to have fallen into a rut of 'how to watch," and it was quite refreshing to be exposed to so many new points of view. In particular, I enjoyed Pam's PMG panel and Marian's writer's panel. Pam: I wouldn't mind seeing your presentation turned into a full-fledged panel, if a VCR could be dragged into the panel room. I also can't wait to see what you do with Soul's body... Marian: I've hated every writer's conference I've ever attended, but I could listen to you discuss the craft for hours. (Maybe it's the topic?) Next con, would you consider setting up private tutoring sessions?
- regarding the TOTM and the acceptance of fannish participation by others: Science fiction was one thing, two grungy cops were another... As I think back, my junior high, high school, and university all had Trek clubs. Trek vas status -- S&H was not. My best friends through public school and college all knew of ay fandom activities. They didn't share them, but they tolerated them as I tolerated their little obsessions. Generally, I just never mention fandom to everyday friends. My enjoyment of S&H tends to be very personal and private, and not something I care to share with just anybody. But I would never try and hide my activities from close friends. If they're going to accept me, then they'll accept that, too. However, I don't wave the "/" stuff around very often.
- a fan needs some advice:
- a fan comments on a story: ... I just want to say that when I dig into my zine collection, I pull out "Coign of Vantage" as often as I do one of the h/c stories we all know and love. The quick and easy payoff is all right sometimes, but there are other treasures to be found in digging a little deeper and taking the more difficult road.
- regarding the TOTM: I think that unless you are a person who is really into fandom, in one series or many, you will never quite be able to make an "outsider" understand the fascination of it all. And to me that's perfectly OK, because then I feel as if I belong somewhere special, my own little world that I share most with those who understand that world. It makes me special, and the folks I know through fandom special, too.
- regarding the TOTM: If I am feeling masochistic and try to explain, I usually start with STAR TREK fandom (most people have at least heard of TREK) and proceed from there. The easiest part, really, is explaining why_ a fandom has grown up around S&H — most people I've talked to seem to understand that the fandom is based on the relationship between the two men and not the squealing tires/gun battles/car chases "cop show" aspects. Hell, understand may be too strong a word. Accept, perhaps. The really hard part is explaining THE PROFESSIONALS to someone who's never heard of the show. And then there's explaining "/"… ok, that's the hard part. The few times I try to explain it, I usually just say that I'm fascinated by male pair-bonding, that I enjoy seeing two men who love each other and aren't afraid to say so on screen, that I find a relationship (between two men) involving sexual love to be not only fascinating and highly erotic, but also it's what I see on screen. I mean, what else can one say? We're gonna be looked at as weird no matter what, anyway. Mostly it doesn't bother me ... only when my family dismisses my fannish work and projects as completely unimportant and not worthy of my time. You know, I think the hardest part of all may be explaining how much fandom has done for me. It's a hell of a lot more than just liking a particular show, or some really hot men, or whatever -- it's friendship. And love for each other. And exchanging ideas. And sometimes having your mind opened to new concepts, new ideas. It's learning new skills — art, writing, editing, publishing, and learning from other people. Mostly, it's love. And how do you explain that?????
- regarding the TOTM and at least one ever-hopeful husband: Then, of course, there is the "/" writing. I did discuss this with my husband. He doesn't subscribe to the premise himself, but he doesn't object to it either, and was able to reassure me on the legality of "/" publishing. No, he hasn't read it. I don't intend to push his tolerance too far. I'd take a guess that he likes my interest in fandom because it lakes me happy -- keeps the creative juices flowing, as I'm impossible when they're not — which makes life easier for him. He does think that I can more profitably express my talents elsewhere, but as so many writers seem to progress from fanfic to other things, he continues to live in hope.
- regarding the TOTM: I'd say that some of the answer must be reflected in the whole experience of ZebraCon, when "that" comes to special life. In the creative, renewing sharing of that Con weekend — so much packed into so few days, no minute wasted, with the chance to communicate not just by the usual channels of letters, telephone calls, or voice-tapes, but in all the uninterrupted hours of talking and meeting.
- about the TOTM and its "more respectable" predecessor: Probably it's true that we interlopers from ST have found it far easier to defend an interest in that vast fandom than in the far smaller universe of S&H. We can cite, with varying degrees of sincerity, some surprisingly sophisticated philosophical motives for our active pursuit of that pleasant obsession. ("IDIC! we cry, quickly tucking our rubber Vulcan ears and our Kirk and Spock dolls out of sight.) And too, ST, as surely the largest of the 'TV cults,' and the celebrant of its 20th anniversary, is currently afflicted with creeping respectability. Oh sure, they still call us 'Trekkies.' But now they smile when they say it... But how to explain/justify a love of S&H, the heart of which is so well hidden behind a camouflage screen of guns and flying fists and screeching tires?
- a fan writes: [My boyfriend] treats most of it with sort of an amused tolerance, I think, but he does read some of ay "/" zines, and my own stories, and he understands and accepts that this is a part of my life that's not just going to "go away." I haven't always been that lucky. About three years ago, I trusted my then-current boyfriend with ay "secret hobby" and the Neanderthal dumped me -- thought I was going gay, or something (the logic of which I STILL don't understand — I mean, I'm sure there's plenty of men that get off on porno flicks of two WOMEN together, right? "Straight" guys! So, I'm straight, so why shouldn't I be able to enjoy ay "male-bonding" fantasies if I want to, without my own sexuality being suspect? I guess there's a double standard there someplace.)
- a fan throws this opinion out: I'd like to throw out an idea that could maybe be a future topic — what are your opinions on the use of women in S&H fanfic, particularly the "straight" stories? I'll lake a sweeping statement that will probably infuriate some people, but I've found — with very few exceptions — that lost of the women in the "straight" stories are there for one reason only — so that the author can prove, beyond the shadow of a doubt, how macho and masculine S&H really are -- God knows they're not 'queer!1 And that's ALL these "love interests" are there for. They don't do anything at all to advance the plot; as characters themselves, they are flat, cartoonish, ridiculously one-dimensional — we can never care about them as people, because they aren't written that way. All they're written as are "sex objects," in a very literal sense, so that our boys can get their satisfaction with someone other than each other. If that's the only way women can be used in an S&H story, I'd rather not use them at all — I feel the S/H writing is lot more honest to women in that sense, because the women characters you encounter in most S/H stories are NOT there for exploitation — even if some of them do have sex with the guys, at one point. These women have been painted as full, real people and their presence in the story actually helps advance the plot. Off-hand, I can think of only two recent "straight" stories where the women were actually real people: The Thousandth Man and The Goliath. Most of the other "straight" stuff, especially lately, has been a bunch of "Mary Sue" wallow -- if the unimaginable ever happens and I felt like reading a Harlequin romance, I'd go out and buy one!
- about ZebraCon from one of the organizers: There are a few Major Policy Decisions Jean and I made about next year's con — and all future ZCons unless we change our minds again -- based on how ZCon 6 went. The first is that from now on we are going to be a STARSKY & HUTCH/PROFESSIONALS convention. This leans that the programming (panels, video) will be devoted to these 2 fandoms. We discovered that trying to please everybody and have something for all the little fandoms in this genre just doesn't work, and takes everything very difficult. We are dropping the 'other' category in the Huggy Awards — it took over an hour just to tabulate that particular section of the Huggy ballots this year! Of course, this does not affect the Art Show or the Dealers' Room. We don't care what you sell at your table, and, as always, art can be from any of the fandoms in this particular genre (i.e. cop shows/detectives, etc.) as well as other roles of the actors concerned. However, we hope the Art Show will be mainly devoted to S&H and Pros. During the next 14 months we will be thinking a lot about ZCon 7 and how to make it even better than this last one — we want to hear from you!... Talk to us.
The Who Do We Trust Times 5 was published in October 1986 and contains 42 pages. It has a small amount of art by Ruth Kurz reprinted from some Harry & Johnny zines.
- the TOTM: What do S&H value most in each other, what does each bring to the relationship?
- there is an essay called "Communications: Me and Thee" by Pat Massie that discusses S&H's relationship and how it relates to Kira
- Ima Fool writes an essay that starts with "Partners? Playmates? Paramours?"
- some fans discuss the trend in fanfic to write in a female character to simply prove S&H aren't gay
- a zined says Murder on San Carmelitas is finished and at the printers
- a fan writes up an extensive astrological dissection of both actors that goes on for three pages
- contains a review for Goliath, see that article
- "Smithereens" by Paula Smith (an essay about fandom as a sort of religion)
- a fan writes about women in the show and how S&H would sometimes "pork some bimbos" for pure animal release. The phrase made at least one other fan write in issue #7 that maybe the editor should censor such offensive language, something the editor declines to do. In issue #7, the "offending" author responds: "Thank you to everyone who kept a sense of humor about the 'porking bimbos' remark in my last letter. Honest, I type these things with a smile on my face and wish that everyone would read them with a smile on theirs."
- a fan writes a very lengthy account (seven pages!) of a month-long cross-country trip in the U.S. by bus to visit other fans
- there is an ad for Partners in Verse, a S&H poetry and art zine by Sandra J. Ferriday
- there is an ad for Blue Warriors
- there is an ad for Lemon Aid, an original universe fanwork by Terri Beckett: "Former, present, and would-be readers of the Vastarnyi & Dexter universe should contact the appropriate address, whereupon they may learn something to their advantage."
The Who Do We Trust Times 6 was published in December 1986 and contains 46 pages. The art is by Ruth Kurz, Betsy Barr, Susan B, Carol Davis, and Tabby Davis.
- Artsy Guy, article about PMG's directing by Pam
- Holiday Images, Little Girl Revisited by Pat Massie
- Ima Fool's Rules for Writing
- a fan writes: "As far as I know, you can't make a songtape without audio dub. I'm still learning. Put the song over the picture for awhile, now I'm laying the picture over the music, but both methods have their pros and cons."
- from a fan who is putting together a zine: My husband never liked my writing (poetry), but he read some of my early Trek and liked it! But I haven't made him read any slash. He started out helping me type in some of my long story, but he was grimacing and gaqqing so, I told him to cut it out. Besides, he types about 5 words a minute while I type like the proverbial wind. (I make mistakes faster than anybody I know, too.) Sometimes, I'm so proud of a story, I want to show it to people, and I forget. Almost showed a slash piece to my sainted mother-in-law, but I remembered just in time. Phew!
- working on a fannish doll: I didn't make my anatomically correct Starsky. I sent then a photograph and ordered him from a catalog, and .. uh.. modified him. He came in blue jeans and a red t-shirt, so he was halfway there already. I just embroidered on a little chest hair, a few ass cheeks, nipples., ahem, made a leatherette jacket, a pair of nifty bathing trunks that he planned to wear poolside at the Paul Muni special - til we found out the pool was outdoors and there was a hurricane out there, got him little handcuffs, dice, gun, shoes and socks. The gun is a Hutch gun, though. Anybody sees a miniature 45 automatic, let me know. My friend [Patricia L] has been sending me little hats from her travels, looking for the ideal one for my Starsky. I'm aiming for 'A Couple of Aces" to come out in April at the "4 Play & Beyond' con in Phoenix...but don't quote me on it. I'll let everyone know when it's near completion.
- a fan chides another: I hate to be picky (but I guess I will be anyway) ... where did the misconception come from that all "/" stories lack plot? First of all, it isn't wrong that the plot of a story be whether or not the characters go to bed with each other. Short stories and vignettes aside, I don't think there is one full length '/" story or novel that does not involve a fully-fleshed plot — it's a little hard to write a hundred pages or so without one. It's the same as saying all female characters are Mary Sues, a misconception. I want to read SH stories that concentrate on the relationship. That's why stories where the main point is their romancing a woman are uninteresting to me, not because there is simply a female character in the story. And while I'm being picky, I just have to comment on your strange way of expressing things. Starsky and Hutch "porking bimbos?!" I don't think even they, in the privacy of their own locker room, use such sexist language as that; why would a self-respecting woman? Any guy that refers to having sex with a woman as "porking a bimbo' is just showing his need for self-gratification. Starsky and Hutch are rather idealistic when it comes to their feelings about love and sex, as Pat pointed out in her 'Me and Thee" article. As Hutch tells Kira, he doesn't have sex with a woman unless he likes her. And I thought we'd all grown up enough to forget about works like 'queer" when referring to homosexual relationships. I don't lean to come down hard on you, but if I missed the point of your letter, I couldn't help it when you hung me up on expressions like that.
- the TOTM: "The Fourth Season: Love It or Hate It?" and this inspires much discussion -- one example: I'm no expert on 4th season, but I like it. I don't think 4th season has any apologies to make. It can stand on its own probably better than the three seasons before it. It is different; I can't deny that. But why does it feel so different from the other seasons? It looks different, technically. Fancier camera work; a softer focus scatters light. Hutch's hair shines brighter in 4th; it beams. Hutch also looks radically different. In fact, he's taken on a completely different persona. When I'm looking at 4th season Hutch, I don't see the 1st season Hutch, he has evolved from without a conscious effort. I like being reminded that behind the mustache is that 1st season boy. Starsky behaves differently. To me, he's quieter, more serious; less the child. He seems more inner-directed, like he has a secret; especially in BALLAD and STARSKY VS. HUTCH. In certain episodes, 4th season feels weightless. The actors don't seem as committed. There's an insubstantial air about some of the episodes, like nobody's home. However, this isn't true of all the episodes. TARGETS, SWEET REVENGE, and BALLAD are some of the heaviest episodes ever. The partners drift apart, they fight, they throw their badges away, Starsky "dies" — all in the 4th season. Undeniably though, in the 4th season the show is tangibly coming apart. Not from wear or age, necessarily. I think there was a lot left to do; all the loosened threads of their relationship to be tied up, Starsky to heal and go on. But the show in its 4th season seems more like a box that can barely contain anymore two volatile, ambitious individuals who are beginning the process of breaking out, breaking free. The strain of the actors to break their molds shows in the characters in 4th season. It's like, they knew it was ending, if nobody else did; and they wouldn't pretend it wasn't. Maybe because they had decided to end it. What seems like a lack of commitment to some of the episodes is really, maybe, the two actors moving in another direction entirely from the writers. They always were, to some extent. The schism just seems more plain in 4th season. The actors are summing up. The writers write as if there was never going to be any summing up. Gee, just like television! A more subtle change, which lay exist only in my imagination, is a minute tempering of the relationship. Here's where the boundaries between character and actor really get blurred. (Though some people never bother to make he distinction, anyway. I'll admit, it's hard with these two.) The passionate friendship — whose, I'm not sure — has cooled infinitesimally. Yes, the blaze is still high, and as actors they still defend and take care of each other. But there is a distance there, as if they've already begun to say good-bye. Which brings me to the main distinction holds for me, the thing that drives me bananas about 4th. It's the unshakeable impression that somebody (David & Paul, or Hutch & Starsky?) is trying to tell is something very important ~ about themselves, about the show ~ but couching that something in mystery, in riddles, in a personal code which I don't have the right clues to decipher.... But 4th season has a secret. I'm not talking about an underlying homo-erotic theme, though I happen to believe that's there, too. (In fact, the homo-erotic clues are the only ones that work for 4th season. Look at STARSKY VS. HUTCH again. That title is a bill of divorcement. And Kira has far less to do with their conflict than she — or a lot of fans — believes.) I think the real mystery is what David Soul really means when he says that 4th season was their monument to themselves. But the 'monument' is something only they can see, a hidden structure that only has clear leaning for the two of them. What do we end up with? 4th season is different, but not damagingly so. Certain areas of the foundation have shifted, that's all. 4th season is: an ending, a summing-up, a cooling, and a breaking-free. But somehow, because of those involved, there's something constructive about it all. Building a monument by tearing down a show? I think the two most intimately involved were honest enough not to pretend that things were going to go on unchanged, for the rest of their lives. Clean-shaven men grow mustaches, friendships cool, partners get shot, sometimes in other places besides the convenient and easy-to-fix shoulder.
- a fan addresses another: I thought (hoped) that old refrain about the lack of "p-l-o-t" in S/H stories had gone the way of disco (BIG SIGH!) It's been ay experience that the people who yell the loudest about 'no plot' in S/H are the same people who've read virtually no S/H at all, or just a very small amount. You can't find a plot in Gunther's Revenge? Or One More River? Or The Water is Wide? Or Day by Day? or 'The Thunder and the Rain"? or Forever Autumn? Or 95% of the stories in Code 7, 1-3? Or the vast majority of the stories in Who You Know... and No Pants... or Nightlight? Or 3-11? If you've actually read all those stories and zines, and still can't find any plots ... Actually, my biggest gripe with the majority of "straight" S&H stories is the lack of f-e-e-l-i-n-g...
The Who Do We Trust Times 7 was published in March 1987 and contains 38 pages. The front cover is by Merle Decker. The back cover is uncredited, and there is no interior art.
- the editor is bowing out with the next issue: I am letting everyone know now that #9 will be the last issue of the Times... I'm making the decision now so that maybe by the time August rolls around, I can announce that someone has decided to do another l/z (not a continuation of the Times — that will always be my baby — but a new publication that reflects the views, talents and interests of a new editor). As Elaine Hauptman [of Between Friends] did for me, so will I offer what help I can to a new letterzine. Just drop me a line and we'll set up a time to talk. Please realize the kind of time and energy commitment this is, as well as the sense of accomplishment that comes with it. This fandom needs a forum ~ it's just time that the responsibility for putting it together goes to someone else. 
- about the “ladies of S&H”: In general, I hate to see them around ~ not because I happen to like the idea of an exclusive relationship between Starsky and Hutch, but because I loathe the way they act around then. Talk about testosterone poisoning the brain! I can't bear to watch some of the scenes in HEROES where they're showing off for C.D.Phelps Or look at STARSKY VS. HUTCH … What a pair of primitives. I'd love to see love strong women characters on TV; female people with depth whether as "good guys" or "bad guys," but I hate to see the brainless chauvinistic side women so often bring out in Starsky and Hutch. Look at the way they treat the woman officer in SPECIALIST, or how Starsky starts out treating Meredith in BLACK AND BLUE - irritates the hell out of me. I see Starsky slap Fifi on the ass in DEADLY IMPOSTER and I think WHY do I love that man — how can I like to watch this show? Then I see the two of them interacting and I go under for the third time.
- a fan writes: OK, I'll join the fray on the subject of lack of plot in "/", since I'm in that camp too. Yes, [name redacted], you have a valid point: "It isn't wrong that the plot of the story be whether or not the characters go to bed with each other." Guess we should have been a tad more specific. The thing is, I've already read that particular plot about these particular characters more times and in more variations than I care to contemplate. So when I say I want plot, I mean something besides that. Maybe they could join the police department and become detectives and solve crimes or something ... Seriously, when I read fan fiction it's because I liked the original series and want more of that. And I've often found fan writers do a better job of zeroing in on what was good about a series than the commercial series-related book authors. That was certainly true with S&H! But the series was about two working cops who had a very special partnership, and not an endless series of graphic sexual escapades. I too have read Murder on San Carmelitas and I'm sorry to say I was very disappointed in it. The description of the setting was beautifully done, I felt I could "see" this island. But then I suddenly found myself with the uncanny feeling that I'd somehow blundered into a pornographic, gay Harlequin, and that's what most of the story was a mixture of graphic sex and syrupy romance… How many Harlequins would you say a person has to read before she's entitled to conclude she doesn't care for them? And not at an average cost of $10-15 each, either! Actually I have read quite a few S/H zines, some bought and some borrowed. I liked the first one, No Pants... because it was something new and different to me then, tho even so the stories were developing a noticeable sameness before I finished the zine. I don't say all ‘/’ lacks plot, but too much of it does. I guess my basic rule of thumb would be, if you took out the sex scenes, how much story would you have left?
- another fan says: I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy Murder on San Carmelitas – I found it to be a masterful combination of police and personal plotting. The love element is present in all its nuances — achingly tender and joyful, romantic (not syrupy), sexy - as well as painfully apprehensive and full of that uncertainty of discovery. And all of this is intertwined with a believable crime plotline. Starsky and Hutch are in character throughout and beautifully depicted in Suzan's illos.
- a fan writes: I'd first discovered S&H back in 1974, just after my marriage broke up. At the time, I was feeling thoroughly disillusioned about love and romance… Along came S&H and showed me the ideal of a strong, caring, non-sexual love between two people of the same sex. I remember thinking then, and still do, that I'd rather have a friend like that than a lover any day. And I've since found friendships with women which are much more enjoyable and rewarding than any ‘romance’ with a man ever was.
- a fan wants to know why a gen-only fan ordered a slash only to complain about it: The flyers, ads, etc. left no doubt that this was a "/" piece. And you must have seen the illos at ZCon last year. So why spend all that money you spoke of for something you know you won't like, then complain that it's not in line with your own idea of the characters? I don't order zines advertised as "&" and then criticize the lack of physical sex. I know what I've ordered and don't expect something different.
- a fan writes that she wishes fans would never "cool" to S&H: It hurts to see a cooling of our own passion for the series. I guess I'd like the fire to always burn just as intensely. I'd like to see a couple dozen zines coming out all the time, I'd like even more fans joining our happy, exclusive group!! But I know that's not quite what's going to happen. We need to enjoy what we have together, here and now.
- No Easy Answers author writes: I can't promise NEA anytime soon. All I can say is, would I NOT write it? Would I give up the chance to write all that payneanguish and have most of fandom queueing up to be the first at the necktie party? Well, the way I see it, either I write it and suffer the consequences, or NOT write it and suffer the consequences.
- the TOTM is about the role women played in the series
- there is much discussion about Murder on San Carmelitas, see that page
- a fan writes that Starsky and Hutch were pretty unliberated when it came to women: "Women are something to 'catch' and screw, if possible, something to put on a pedestal... I don't think S&H have done much for advancing the cause or status of women, except to offer us an example of love, devotion, courage and partnership."
- another fan writes: "The majority of the women portrayed on S&H were hardly representative of the majority of the women who watched the show... I can't say that I think S&H did anything for women, image-wise, but did we expect/want them to?"
- a fan admits there were some terrible women’s roles on the show but goes on to list many female characters that were very positive: Sammie Mason, Judith Kaufman, Molly Bristol, Hannah Kanen, Joan Meredith, Carol Wade, Laura Stevens, Lizzie Thorpe, Sally Hagen, Linda Baylor, Eunice Craig, Maggie Blaine, Mrs. Green, Helen Yeager, Minnie Kaplan to name a few
- there is much fannish discussion over camera angles, characterization, and plotting regarding several episodes
- a fan comments that she agrees that "the fourth season does have a secret… hence all the attempts to resolve it."
- many fans react to an interview with the actress who played the policewoman in “Death Ride” in which she called the show, “a big macho exercise”
- a fan writes: "Why are S&H so fascinating: aside from being good-looking and sexy, compassionate, brave and intelligent the special bond between them is beautiful! it's unimportant that they're both male — they could've been 2 females or woman and man — what's appealing is the exceptional relationship."
- another fan writes that she watches the show specifically for the male bonding
- a fan comments that she hasn’t noticed any Mary Sues in the Professionals fan fiction she’s been reading
- a fan complains that all the new S&H zines are slash
- there is an essay by Pat Massie titled: “Language, Libido, and Community” that talks about gender roles and how men relate to each other
- includes an "Smithereens" essay by Paula Smith called "Plot is What Platitudinists Do Late at Night." It is about some fans' complaints that fan fiction lately lacks plot, what exactly is plot, and if you don't like a story, tell the author.
- a submission request for Shadowplay
- a submission request for TLC
- a submission request for Nightlight #2
- a submission request for a fifth issue of Code 7 which was to be a Professionals slash zine
- a zined says that Cat Tales is sold out
- an ad for Zebra Con #7
- a fan in London plans some get-togethers: "Since the one-day get-togethers held in London during 1986 were so well-attended and people have told me they enjoyed them, I have provisionally booked the Cafe Munchen for three dates in 1987." She lists three Saturdays.
The Who Do We Trust Times 8 was published in October 1987 and contains 38 pages. There is no interior art.
- the TOTM: Discuss the male minor canon characters
- there is much discussion about Murder on San Carmelitas
- a fan asks: "Does anyone know what became of Bird of Paradise?"
- the fans continue to be unhappy with the actress who portrayed the policewoman in 'Death Ride' for the interview in which she said that the whole show was an exercise in macho posturing; there is much discussion over what constitutes masculinity
- the zine ed of Shadowplay says the zine will be delayed as they don't have enough submissions. "We are following on the coat-tails of Code 7 #4 and what with the size of that zine there isn't a whole lot available at the moment."
- a long-time fan writes: It's difficult, though, to keep on writing discussion-type letters issue after issue. Those fans who've been around a little longer may find themselves repeating ideas, and not find too much enjoyment in reading how others have discovered the show and fandom or how newcomers see the program. They may feel they've thought of it all, read it all, or written it all. But a way must be found to keep the link between all of us. No one has the time to correspond with twenty or thirty or more people. An l/z keeps tabs on all those we have met through its pages — and it's certainly cheaper than long distance bills — of course, having the Times never stopped ae from picking up a phone.
- the editor says this will be the last issue, she also says she is concerned that fans are being unkind to each other: Remember, guys, this is supposed to be FUN!! Criticism is necessary, but can't we be kinder in our comments about stories? Most writers don't have rhino hides, and the more who get scared off, the less there is to read. I know we like good quality, but this is not for the Pulitzer Prize -- it's a hobby. I want good stuff just like anyone else, but not at the price of friendship.
- a gen and slash fan writes that the slash debate will never be solved, that folks should live and let live. She discusses her experiences in Star Trek: I never have believed in the K/S premise. I still don't to this day. But because my favorite theme in Trek was the friendship between Kirk and Spock a lot of may friends and acquaintances in the fandom were also those who believed the characters could be lovers. And I haven't shied away from reading their fan fiction. I've tried to fairly judge what I've read. It is possible, or it should be, to separate the writing ability of an author from the premise of her story. There have been quite a few K/S stories I've read and enjoyed. I feel that the writers — within the context of their stories, stories that though I may say "this would never happen" I must add in all truth, "but if it ever did, it might be just like this." That's all any author asks of her readers, after all. "Believe what I say within these pages ... if by my writing, I've supported the premise I'm writing about." It works like this for any theme. A story whose premise is that Starsky is in reality a dope pusher wouldn't work unless the author worked really hard to support the premise. Those people who write have freely opened themselves up to the scrutiny of others — that takes courage because people judge a person by the stories she writes. It shouldn't be that way, but it often is. And someone who says "I don't believe they would ever be lovers, so this cannot possibly be any good" is taking a really narrow viewpoint and cheating herself of some good writing.
- there is an essay about men, women, pornography by Paula Smith: "Violate Me in the Violet Time (In the Vilest Way You Know). Among other things, it discusses Murder on San Carmelitas, see that pages. An excerpt from the essay: That we cast our eroticism in terras of male homosexuals is, according to Kathy E., an old tradition of Western literature; to write in the voice of the unenfranchised. In the 19th century, men wrote in the voice of a woman (Madame Bovary, Anna Karenina), while even more typically, women wrote through animals (Beatrix Potter), children (Louisa May Alcott) or slaves (Harriet Beecher Stowe). By enfranchising the invisible group in this way, by giving the power 'of audience attention to the powerless, the writers also legitimized some of their own concerns that were invisible to the mainstream culture. We do the same thing when we women write our erotica in the voice of gay or gay-acting men. Since our brief in favor of more than just genital sex nonetheless has to do with erotic behavior, it's natural to chose a group excluded on the basis of erotic behavior. And it's more striking to note the transformation when two men take on female that the writers — within the context of their stories, stories that though I may say "this would never happen" I must add in all truth, "but if it ever did, it might be just like this." That's all any author asks of her readers, after all. "Believe what I say within these pages ... if by my writing, I've supported the premise I'm writing about." It works like this for any theme. A story whose erotic feelings, than when two women take on female erotic feelings; hence the paucity of lesbian stories. The characters of Starsky and Hutch make them natural targets — I mean, subjects — because even when 'straight' they manifest the yearning for each other's love and support, the pleasure felt in just cuddling together that is more typically feminine in our culture. They meet the writer halfway. Besides, they're just so darn cute together.