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Heinlein Society 
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Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:22 am
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Post Re: Heinlein Society
> You're not under the impression that THS had anything to do with the Kansas City event, are you?

No, I gathered from reading the mail elsewhere that they weren't greatly involved.


Tue May 26, 2009 9:19 am
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Post Re: Heinlein Society
hwhall wrote:
> You're not under the impression that THS had anything to do with the Kansas City event, are you?

No, I gathered from reading the mail elsewhere that they weren't greatly involved.

They were not involved at all. Those of us who mounted the event did so because THS decided they had better things to do that summer.

If they had a conscience they'd be forever ashamed.

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In the end, I found Heinlein is finite. Thus, finite analysis is needed.


Tue May 26, 2009 2:35 pm
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Post Re: Heinlein Society
Belonging to the Heinlein Society got me into their party room at the Centennial and I think I paid a reduced admission price. I don't know--it's one of those things I send money to because, because, because I do. They are trying to revive it. At least I talked to David Silver about helping them edit the newsletter--I don't know what happened after that. I think they sent me something to edit but I couldn't get the program working...But I am so out on the fringe of the whole fandom thing except for the part where I love the books, own all the books in various forms and enjoy talking to people who know Heinlein and enjoy talking about him too (very few in my neck of the world, which is why I come here and lurk for the most part). All of which is saying I am not qualified to hold an opinion.


Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:35 pm
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Post Re: Heinlein Society
Suzela57 wrote:
Belonging to the Heinlein Society got me into their party room at the Centennial...

Which, to hear the reports of all THS members who attended, WAS the centennial. I read several that talked about what a wonderful party David threw (and failed to mention anything of the larger event.) It's precisely because of that kind of pissy egocentricity that they didn't bother to have a single meaningful Centennial event.* Hint: THS is not about the Great Bob.

Quote:
and I think I paid a reduced admission price.

Because, in the spirit of harmony and against the better judgement of some of us, we offered it to THS members. Not that we got fork-all in return (see above) except bad joss and several attempts by THS to insinuate itself into the credit.

Quote:
I don't know--it's one of those things I send money to because, because, because I do. They are trying to revive it.

Um, yeah, right. The question begged here is, "Revive WHAT?" Yet more traveling by the THS brass to cons to recruit people to raise money to support more traveling? Or what, exactly? Have you LOOKED at what you get for your contribution? Is it REALLY worth a dime to you or anyone else? I mean, your choice, but you'll note the number of distinguished, thoughtful members who have walked away, heads shaking... might they understand something you don't?

Quote:
At least I talked to David Silver about helping them edit the newsletter--I don't know what happened after that.

Join the club. The problem is that they can't get ANYTHING done at an organizational level and arguably never have - they find volunteers to foist the work onto, with little or no support, and then often as not claim the credit while kicking the volunteer in the ass. (Shall I list some names, or does someone herein want to speak up on that?)

Quote:
I am so out on the fringe of the whole fandom thing except for the part where I love the books, own all the books in various forms and enjoy talking to people who know Heinlein and enjoy talking about him too (very few in my neck of the world, which is why I come here and lurk for the most part). All of which is saying I am not qualified to hold an opinion.

Suze, I am just about as far out of general fandom as you are, and I've done most of what I've done in the Heinlein spectrum out of a sheer love of jawing about the old man's work. So we're not all that different.

And all you need to have an opinion is to step back, take a hard look at what THS has actually achieved, as a group, vs what a well-run group could have achieved given the staggering official support and credence, and ask yourself if they've earned your $35 on any grounds. Or, if you wish to credit them with some of the things they claim (some of us know better), whether they are likely to ever again accomplish anything, having honked off most of organized fandom with their arrogant ways and alienated a good percentage of serious Heinlein fan/scholars.

But it's your money. They demanded it from you, so if it makes you feel better for sending it along, by all means do.


* Think about that for a minute. THS never managed to host, have, champion or hold a single meaningful event or commemoration of Heinlein's Centennial. At all. If they dropped that ball, the biggest one in their term of existence and one they were clearly charged with by dint of their official status and funding... what difference does it make what else they've done? They're clearly not capable of doing the job they were charged with.

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"Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders." - Luther
In the end, I found Heinlein is finite. Thus, finite analysis is needed.


Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:34 pm
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Post Re: Heinlein Society
James, some of us know nothing about THS and its history (save what can be gleaned from looking around its website, plus phrases such as "back when Bill was in charge" earlier in this thread). Could you please take a moment to explain what "staggering official support" consists of, the origin of this support, etc.?


Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:02 pm
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Post Re: Heinlein Society
JJ, I could go on at great length but I've already overstepped my self-imposed limits. I am hardly the only one who has knowledge or deep bitterness at the decade of misdirection, mismanagement and missed chances THS represents.

Others are welcome to step up and tell their portions of the tale - and frankly, guys, I wish you would; it's time and place to quit grumbling in semi-private and air what we know... and what the larger Heinlein community only dimly senses. Speak up.

The one thing I didn't think was unclear, though, was that THS was started more or less directly at Virginia Heinlein's behest, was given formal imprimatur to carry forward Heinlein's legacy, has received quite a bit of financial support directly from the Heinlein Trust and other entities, and trumpets its "official standing" on every paper and electronic page. With that 'staggering support' there is no limit to what they should have accomplished. The vast gap between what a well-run group with those assets and official support should/could have achieved, and what little THS has in actuality accomplished... well, waste of opportunity only begins to cover it. They should practically have a starship ready to lift off the rails; as it is, they can't even keep a web site updated.

I have done several instances of this "personal legacy" type of huckstering, never with official support and never with assets other than personal capabilities and the pile of change on my dresser. Doing it that way - and I've done a good job with scratch assets - and doing it with lavish official support is like the difference between trying to build a car in your garage and having Ford's special vehicles division whip you up a custom ride.

There's no excuse. None. And it's time for the sham and posturing to shrivel in the light of day.

My stars, you don't even know the things I haven't touched on... like the worthless puppet show they call a board of directors.

Speak up, gents, speak up.

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"Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders." - Luther
In the end, I found Heinlein is finite. Thus, finite analysis is needed.


Tue Jun 02, 2009 7:30 am
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Post Re: Heinlein Society
James Gifford wrote:
Others are welcome to step up and tell their portions of the tale - and frankly, guys, I wish you would; it's time and place to quit grumbling in semi-private and air what we know... and what the larger Heinlein community only dimly senses. Speak up.


I certainly agree with what's been said in this thread already; I just find myself unable to work up much enthusiasm over it. Cf analogy of urinating in dark pants. "Far better to light a candle than curse the darkness," also. Conservatively, I estimate the Centennial would have been more than twice its size had THS supported instead of initially and vituperatively opposing it. Right now their only significant function appears to be requesting dues, aside from blood drives that are the result of Mike Sheffield's work which he graciously allows them to brand as their own. I did not renew this year and neither was I inclined to argue with THS about it. That the most visible body with Heinlein's name on it should have degenerated into this squalid fizzle is a rank injustice.

How much further would Heinlein's cause be with a better led society? Further, but not perhaps as stellar as you suggest. After THC demonstrated in 2007 that we could deliver the goods, anyone who was looking for a Heinlein appreciation vehicle whose transmission actually worked had ample opportunity to seek us out. People like ourselves have historically done whatever it took to get that job done. They take neither "get lost" nor suffocating indifference for an answer. Self-starters either glom onto the nearest going concern and work their way into a position of leadership, or they start their own. Neither has happened. I conclude that the quality of Heinlein fandom is high - salve, present company! - but its quantity is small and not growing. Rage with me all you like against the injustice of that fact but the empirical evidence is hard to dispute. So a better led THS would empower its rank and file to greater effect, but leadership is thin on the ground all around; incremental rather than evolutionary change is all that could be expected.

This does not mean that Heinlein's memory is dying; it does mean that activities conducted in his name are going through a lull. "Lull" does not equal "total absence" of course - if there are binary-thinking readers of this thread please disabuse yourselves of the notion that I am discounting the Heinlein academic studies, education courses, etc that still proceed; I am however making a vacuously true observation about the lack of growth in Heinlein advocacy leadership.

There is more than one way to honor Heinlein, though, and perhaps we are guilty of too narrow a vision. (I include myself, of course, because I have no good ideas at the moment.) But most things are cyclical, and this too, I believe, shall turn, perhaps when suborbital tourism takes off. Until that season comes, take comfort in the memories of the unprecedented event we pulled off. I know of no equivalent to it. We did not (just) curse the darkness; we lit a candle that will be remembered for years to come (or so I prophesy).


Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:06 am
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Post Re: Heinlein Society
I'm a charter member of the Heinlein Society. I hold out hopes that the 'official' status of the group will be put to better use someday. There are great people involved with some of its activities.

I was a committee chair in the early days and remember those board meetings. I was eventually frustrated by the inability to make a meaningful contribution for the amount of time I was spending in discussions. I do treasure the fact that I got to hang out, at least electronically, with Ginny for a short while. She even sent me an email condolence when my mother passed away. A classy lady.

There are some decent initiatives within THS, but the board has not been able to follow through on most of its vision to show much progress.

I had dreams in my earlier years (I guess I would call it my youth, now) that the Heinlein Forum would become much of what the Heinlein Society lays claim to.

I don't have the time or energy to step up and join the leadership of THS, so I refrain from kvetching more than the above.


Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:42 am
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Post Re: Heinlein Society
JusTin wrote:
I had dreams in my earlier years (I guess I would call it my youth, now) that the Heinlein Forum would become much of what the Heinlein Society lays claim to.

I don't have the time or energy to step up and join the leadership of THS, so I refrain from kvetching more than the above.

I think most of us have had those dreams, JusTin. Some of us have even acted on them. You've done enough to be allowed to speak up on this topic.

My bottom-line opinion is that THS has become such an egregious failure that the Heinlein community is better off without it - with the millstone removed and no organized Heinlein group in existence for a time, rather than the community being laden with the corpse of a massive failure that is beyond restoration or recovery.

As Peter pointed out and as some of us learned the hard way, there is no mass cry for a Heinlein org that lets everyone march in ranks; for all the talk, Heinlein folks are pretty passive. We don't need a cheerleader. In the absence of the misdirecting influence of THS (see Suzela's comments, for example), a fresh start on a new org that serves the, um, peculiar needs of the community is bound to arise. Let's clear the decks for it.


Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:59 am
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Post Re: Heinlein Society
My current feeling towards the topic of this thread is best summed up by this:

Ayn Rand wrote:
Ellsworth Toohey: Mr. Roark, we’re alone here. Why don't you tell me what you think of me in any words you wish.

Howard Roark: But I don't think of you.


Tue Jun 02, 2009 12:10 pm
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