This is just one, male, outsider's opinion on a particular cultural phenomenon that has crept into my life.

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Title: This is just one, male, outsider's opinion on a particular cultural phenomenon that has crept into my life.
Creator: Homer Sapiento
Date(s): June 1985
Medium: print
Fandom: general, but a focus on Harrison Ford
Topic:
External Links:
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This is just one, male, outsider's opinion on a particular cultural phenomenon that has crept into my life. is a 1985 essay by Homer Sapiento.

It was his contribution to Rogue's Gallery #19 in the form of Sapiento's regular column, A Parting Shot. The essay in this zine does not have an individual title, and the one used here on Fanlore is one of the sentences in the essay.

The editor of "Rogue's Gallery" added this note to the end of the essay:
I wondered whether I should print it. But since RG is for ALL the fans, not just one gender, I decided everyone should read Homer's reactions to storyzines and Rogue. [1]

Some Topics Discussed

  • the author mentions and quotes an article by John Barth in "Film Comment" magazine
  • the author mentions this questionnaire that was recently sent to "Rogue's Gallery" members, and he appears to be worried that something will change in this zine he enjoys, and then he will have no where else to go
  • the author suggests that most other fanzines are for women, and usually quite silly; this means as a male with higher expectations or advanced tastes, despite the fact that fanzines come in all shapes and sizes means he doesn't have a lot of options

Excerpts

Those of you who are 'user-friendly' with 'zines' will probably find nothing fascinating in that, so you'll have to bear with me. This is just one, male, outsider's opinion on a particular cultural phenomenon that has crept into my life.

I saw my first 'fanzine' over two years ago. A story one.

It wasn't bad. In fact, it was quite good. I have the very bad habit of reading anything and everything within arm's reach (that probably accounts for my warped personality). Some of these things provoke thoughts, some take me laugh; you know how it goes. I did have my favorites of the stories in those particular 'zines.' Just as you all, I like some things more than others.
I like [Rogue's Gallery]. It was/is interesting, and it went beyond just stories. Never having seen some of the articles/interviews before, I was duly amazed that someone - anyone would take the time and/or care to put it all together in one lump for the fans.

The next type of 'fanzine' I have flipped through is one I'd title a 'teen-zine.' I know you girls..er, ladies...uh, women? I know you people of the feminine gender see more in Harrison Ford than I do. OK, who's laughing out there? But, it does rankle the nerves, mine at least, to read about all your favorite fantasies. Far be it for me to tell you what those uh...should...never mind...

I shouldn't really quibble what fans write and/or print in a 'zine' meant for the exclusive readership that they have. In one nationally printed teen-magazine which a very young friend subscribes to there was an open debate over whether or not Matt Dillon (the actor not the Marshall) should smoke. Somehow, as an adult, I figure that type of thing was up to him, not to a committee of fans. But, after reading the 'teen-zine', I've found that type of thinking rampant there, too. Especially true after the Ford/Mathison union! Look, ladies, a personal life is a personal life. As someone not involved in this whole area, I'm inclined to wonder if those so free with their criticisms accept it from their own families - let alone from strangers! Somehow, I doubt it.

In Jack Barth's article in 'Film Comment" he dealt mainly with 'fanzines' devoted to horror and films.... Barth said:'...if you have the savvy and stamina to mount a production; and if you have some money...you still can't make a REAL movie. But you can put out a fanzine."

[...]

The 'Film Comment' article went on: 'Every part of the country boasts a fanzine with a distinctive voice. There are angry fanzines and happy fanzines. There are fanzines about gore with nasty pictures, fanzines about monsters with lots of exclamation points, and there's even a fanzine that's published by creatures from another planet. 'Fanzines should be judged, the author said, 'on their values as fanzines. A good fanzine should be critical, and should give a lot of space to readers' comments. A regular publication date is nice, as is a sense of humor.'

To which, I say, Amen!
Since this whole idea Has brought about by Laura O'Brien's questionnaire, anyone offended can go yell at her - it isn't my fault! Thinking about what Barth said, and reading a number of these 'fanzines', I've come to my own conclusion that there are any number of fans out there in the world who would fall under - or into - the categories of these different types of 'zines.' If you don't care for one, you go with the one you do care for. So what's the hang-up out there in 'fandom'?
In reading some 'fanzines', it appears that the tend to fluctuate from a sort of adolescent rivalry to the beginnings of WWW III. I can't speak for the majority of fans, only for myself, but that type of thing is a real big turn-off to me. While there is nothing wrong - in fact, the opposite is true - in having a large amount of confidence, there is something wrong in the determined effort to cut-down a similar project. From what I have seen (and read) it appears that those who are attempting to undermine the more temperate of 'fanzines' don't seem to understand'- or appreciate - that if one goes under, some fans aren't about to 'jump' to the other! Fans have a right to read what they want. And, fans have a right to be fans. Han Solo frowned on committees in STAR WARS and maybe any organized form of anything gets in the way of true enjoyment. That is, if the organizers get carried away with their own importance.

I enjoy ROGUE'S GALLERY. I enjoyed it even before Mrs. Emerson saw something worthwhile in my mind's wanderings. I like the format; the articles, interviews, stories. I even read the poems, although I itch a lot afterwards. I can even take, without too much discomfort, the real gooey things that pop up now-and-then...all that heavy breathing kept the heating bill down during the winter!

If there was an end to ROGUE'S GALLERY, I wouldn't move to another 'fanzine.' Occasionally I might be forced - with nothing else to read around - to sip my coffee or beer over a 'story-zine', but never would I mess with a publication that dealt solely with the size of...you get my drift here.
One thing bothered me about the questionnaire. 1 don't want to see ROGUE'S GALLERY change. For me, it's perfect, but I'm not a good judge when it comes to what fans want. Should it change, it'll probably be for the better - such is my faith in the editor.
I'd just like to say that fans are no different than society at large; we come in all shapes, sizes and intensities. Some of us are a little older than others, but we have one thing in common: Harrison Ford. If some of us forget that, it doesn't help.

Fan Comments

On fanzines and Homer's comments The last time I looked I was a woman. It worries me that I agree with Homer's views and opinions so much. Kind of like I am being disloyal to my gender. Anyway, I got a kick out of his Parting Shot on fanzines and would say I agree with all of his observations. My observations are that fanzines are a unique network and something-for everyone, indeed. I have always held great respect for the publishers, the authors, and the i11ustrators. I thought I wanted to write, and did write a death scene for Han in JEDI, and a SW story where Han left Leia pregnant, unbeknownst to him. Not a very popular scenario among Han fans, but it was different and fun for me. It proved to me that I did not have the dedication it takes to be a writer or enough knowledge of the language.

There is a great deal of fine talent out there which never ceases to amaze me. In my opinion, a few authors in fanzines are far better than the authors that are writing novels and getting paid. I have hopes that someday some of these authors will write out of fandom and get their due on the open market. There are those capable of this and who deserve it.

As for RG, I will second you on it being perfect as is. I am a person who does not like a lot of changes. A few small ones, but nothing drastic. But then I am not a great judge on this type of thing either. We must put our faith in our editor on this one.

My main comment to Homer is on his last paragraph. I found those words a sort of motto or rule that would be good for us fans to live by. I will quote you and add a few words of my own, it you don't mind.

"We come in all shapes, sizes and intensities, but we have one thing in common: HARRISON FORD. It we forget that, take ourselves too seriously, 'lose the meaning' (John Book), or our sense of humor, then it wouldn't be fun anymore."

Thank Homer for the chuckles I have gotten since he started contributing to RG. They have been appreciated. [2]

I like to read the fan articles, and Homer Sapiento's two were particularly interesting... And at last I know that the elusive Homer is male — you never can tell with pen names. I'm glad we have someone to give 'The Male Fan's" point of view of all this. It's a wonder he hangs in there with all the romanticism that's in zines. (It never ceases to amaze me that so many zine writers and editors are female when science-fiction is supposed to be a 'male' interest).

[Editor's Note: You must have forgotten about female scripter Leigh Brackett (deceased), a great science-fantasy author until the sixties when she turned to scripting movies. She wrote the original script tor THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Also should mention Andre Norton whose s-f has thrilled millions over the past 20 years, and also a woman author. SF in all its forms has become a unisex type of writing.] [3]
The intra-fanzine sniping that Homer mentions is indeed destructive. It's not likely to go away though, considering that it even occurs in the "big time." I have seen partisans of Fantasy & Science Fiction (the magazine) refer to Analog as "the magazine with rivets." The partisans of the latter magazine have had equally juvenile things to say about F&SF. Like Homer, I probably won't move on to another fanzine should RG "end." RG & HF are interesting, but as I said before, I'm not a true fan. In general, while I didn't completely agree with everything Homer said, I enjoyed reading his Parting Shots very much. [4]
I can't believe there are people making a fuss about Homer' articles in RB #19. I loved them. I laughed about his comments which I thought were very wickedly witty... I cheered about his remarks on fanzines. My thoughts precisely, I write for SW zines, and I very much enjoy the stories, as I'm sure does Homer, because he writes such great Han/Indy stories, but I know exactly what he means about those few who overstep the mark. I feel very strongly about invasion of privacy, particularly any reference to Ford's marriage. People just don't have any right to sake any comment. It's none of their business. Harrison Ford gives quite enough of his life to pleasing the fans with all his hard work to bring laughter and adventure into their lives in his working hours. And that's where a fan's interest should end. Of course we all wish Harrison well, and want to be assured that he is happy and healthy, since he has given us so much pleasure through his films, but why ruin the man's personal life by hounding his in those few hours he has to relax? That's no way to say thank you. If you like someone, you are eager to respect their wishes for privacy. I think it is a shame that Pat McQueeney had to actually point this out to some Ford fans. [5]

On fanzines and Homer's comments The last time I looked I was a woman. It worries me that I agree with Homer's views and opinions so much. Kind of like I am being disloyal to my gender. Anyway, I got a kick out of his Parting Shot on fanzines and would say I agree with all of his observations. My observations are that fanzines are a unique network and something-for everyone, indeed. I have always held great respect for the publishers, the authors, and the i11ustrators. I thought I wanted to write, and did write a death scene for Han in JEDI, and a SW story where Han left Leia pregnant, unbeknownst to him. Not a very popular scenario among Han fans, but it was different and fun for me. It proved to me that I did not have the dedication it takes to be a writer or enough knowledge of the language.

There is a great deal of fine talent out there which never ceases to amaze me. In my opinion, a few authors in fanzines are far better than the authors that are writing novels and getting paid. I have hopes that someday some of these authors will write out of fandom and get their due on the open market. There are those capable of this and who deserve it.

As for RG, I will second you on it being perfect as is. I am a person who does not like a lot of changes. A few small ones, but nothing drastic. But then I am not a great judge on this type of thing either. We must put our faith in our editor on this one.

My main comment to Homer is on his last paragraph. I found those words a sort of motto or rule that would be good for us fans to live by. I will quote you and add a few words of my own, it you don't mind.

"We come in all shapes, sizes and intensities, but we have one thing in common: HARRISON FORD. It we forget that, take ourselves too seriously, 'lose the meaning' (John Book), or our sense of humor, then it wouldn't be fun anymore."

Thank Homer for the chuckles I have gotten since he started contributing to RG. They have been appreciated. [6]
No way am I getting involved in this fan controversy with Homer. I like his writing and don't want him to stop writing for Rogue because of any bad raps. Tell him not to stop sending you his good material in case he feels it's not well appreciated. I love it! [7]
I found reading everyone's comments on Homer's articles most intriguing. He certainly knows how to stir up a hornet's nest! Things will never be boring with Homer around. Hope we never lose him. I loved Closet Castaways! A great idea by Carolyn Purnhagen made into an enthralling and hilarious story by our very talented Homer. [8]

References

  1. ^ from "Rogue's Gallery" #19
  2. ^ from a letter of comment in "Rogue's Gallery" #20
  3. ^ from a letter of comment in "Rogue's Gallery" #20
  4. ^ from a letter of comment in "Rogue's Gallery" #20
  5. ^ from a letter of comment in "Rogue's Gallery" #20
  6. ^ from a letter of comment in "Rogue's Gallery" #20
  7. ^ from a letter of comment in "Rogue's Gallery" #21
  8. ^ from a letter of comment in "Rogue's Gallery" #21