Introduction
A theory is the start of a discussion not its end- point. Some fans confuse my passion for fandom with my feelings towards various theories and hypotheses I advance.
I truly do love fandom and regret my decision to
walk away from it all in the mid-1970s. I find it hard to envision circumstances in which I would not continue to be a fan until I die with my fingers touching the keyboard's "F-A-N" keys.
I enjoy speculating and analyzing things. I think most of us introverted fan-types do. It's part of the reason I'm a fanhistory buff. I could never devote the time and energy -- and yes the emotional investment -- in something like fandom without trying to understand it better.
The process of understanding proceeds on two levels, interior and exterior. A lot of my writing in fandom may seem light and humorous. That's my nature. But it doesn't mean that I don't ponder fandom's Cosmic Questions: Why is a Fan? Who are Fans? Why do they choose certain types of activity? What separates fans from non-fans? Are Fandom and Science Fiction a single entity? Is there a systematic way of viewing fanhistory?
The external part of that process consists of discussing and debating these ideas with other people. Sometimes it turns out that I have a valid idea, sometimes the idea needs retooling and occasionally the discussion exposes terminal flaws. Invalid theories are a dime a dozen, and I have no compunction about discarding mine when they don't pan out well.


Beyond the (usual) egotistical desire to be "right" as often as possible, I don't care which way the discussion goes, so long as it proceeds within a context of reasonableness. My being doesn't depend on me being right about any of these things -- or on people agreeing with me, either, if it comes to that.
Too many such discussions in fandom are too subjective and self-involved for my taste. Many fans don't manage their emotions well, and they are easily agitated by opinions that do not agree with theirs. It doesn't make me like those fans less -- well, not MUCH less -- but it does disappoint me.
Just about everyone I know in fandom is smart, but not quite so many have the maturity to consider matters so close to home with suitable objectivity.
My shiny new "Philosophical Theory of Fanhistory" undoubtedly has many points that need clarification -- and perhaps a few that demand complete overhaul.
I wouldn't be publishing this if I didn't welcome comment and discussion, but that discussion will be much more constructive and enjoyable if participants don't take it all so damn personally.
You are now entering the Hot Air zone...