What constitutes 'old-time'?

From Fanlore
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Title: What constitutes 'old-time'? (note: this essay was not titled by the author; the title used here on Fanlore is a line from the first paragraph)
Creator: cited anonymously
Date(s): January 27, 1996
Medium: online
External Links:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

What constitutes 'old-time'? is a 1996 essay posted to Virgule-L. It is quoted anonymously here with permission.

The tongue-in-cheek essay was in response to a fan's suggestion of a panel for the upcoming Escapade about "old-time" fans and/or fandom.

The topic was the many differing definitions and styles of fandom.

For additional context, Meta Essays, List Surveys and Notable Discussions on Virgule-L.

From the Essay

What constitutes 'old-time'? Is it purely a function of length of time in fandom, or is it a reflection of taste (i.e. does it count if you can say, "'eeh bah gum, in my day, it were none o' this email. Computers, that's what we had, nowt but computers and we 'ad to carry the batteries in by oorselves". And do you no longer count as an old-timer if someone can top that with 'Computers? In my day, it were typewriters. An' we had to run on a treadmill to get t'electricity to run t'mimeograph'. Topped by story upon story until we get to Lezlie Shell who can stand up and proudly declare "Infants, all of you, nowt but off-comers.

In *my* day, it were all potatoes, each letter carved on it's own potato, hand printed on t'page, *and* we had t'chew bark for six months just t'get the ink for one story" OR do you get to count as an old-timer if you only like 'traditional' stories where they love each other and live happily ever after--and certainly aren't gay (sorry, couldn't resist that one!) and we don't say 'cock' but 'throbbing member'?

But if we decide that it's all down to length of time in fandom, does it count if it's been serial fandom? In other words, can you add your Starsky and Hutch to your B7, multiply that by feet of Pros circuit stories on your shelf, and then combine it with your new passion for Due South and Forever Knight? And do you lose months, weeks or years of old-timerhood for every fandom you've left behind-- and what *would* we do for those who had clutched het fandom, such as Lois and Clark, to their bosoms?

Of course, some situations are particularly vexingly complex: what do we do about old-time fandoms, such as Trek and Pros where there were people making up their own stories and writing their own stories before fandom had formed round these programmes? Do people get special fan credits for being in fandom before someone created it? Or does that time not count because we hadn't been given fandom yet?

Then, of course, we'd have to decide if it's fair to accept Master of the Revels and Haunted by Devils (demons? hellish things, anyway!) as standards by which everyone should be measured--and should we add or subtract fan-points for those who either didn't like those, weren't impressed by them, or don't do Pros? What about those who want Injured Innocents to be the fan standard? And can Pros standards be applied to non-Pros fandoms, or should non-Pros fandoms all be measured against Horizon Descending?

Once we'd done that (shouldn't take a group of fans much more than a week), we could start on marking fan-points for sex scenes. Well, we could start on that *after* we'd decided if we should add or subtract points for liking/not liking explicit sex and what bonus points should be awarded for writing an entire sex scene without using the words 'hard', 'thrust(ing)', 'partner', 'gasp', 'shudder' and 'their eyes met'.

After that, we could get down to the nitty-gritty. How many fan-points per short story? Does an author get extra fan-points for writing in more than one Universe, or should she have fan-points deducted for not cleaving to The One True Fandom.

Ah. Yes, well, then we'd have to take a couple of months to decide which one is the One True Fandom...

But once we'd done *that*, we could start assigning fan points for AUs, deducting points for teddy bear stories (unless everyone dies), bonus points for h/c, severe penalties for Americanisms in Pros and Anglicisms in Trek.