Men of Tomorrow
I just got done reading Gerard Jones' book Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comics Book (to be reviewed on an upcoming show) and I was struck by his characterizations of science fiction fans in the 1920s. Observe:
...And through fandom, there was now a community - others to encourage keeping one's core in that other world even when school or work demanded the presence of one's outer self...It was a generation of misfits who were given a choice other than the complete withdrawal from the world or indentured service to it...Once in the subculture the boys fine-tuned one another's identities around the self-definition "science fiction fan" - an indifference to clothes and appearance, a manic but unsentimental bonhomie in their meetings, an amused disdain for the drones who didn't understand them...In their correspondence they strutted with forid self-advertisement masked as self-parody, held onto each other with in-jokes and acerbic wit, like fifth-graders with collegiate vocabularies. They craved clearly marked territories. They argued endlessly, obsessively, about whether science fiction must be based on proven concepts or could stray into speculation...They labeled and listed and ranked and included and excluded and collected and with passionate exactitude - such hyperrational ordering being the most entertaining way to keep the disorder of life and emotion in check.(pp 34-37 of the hardcover edition)
Hmm. Monkeys still be monkeys.