Shame, and Eternal Shame!

At Save the Semiprozine Hugo you can educate yourself about a Hugo Awards category threatened with extinction whose fate will be decided by the 2009 Worldcon Business Meeting.

The site’s most interesting work is showing the zines you’d be saving it for, if you are so inclined, many of which are not particularly well-known despite their business aspirations.

Even the editor of a Best Fanzine nominee, John Klima (Electric Velocipede), has arguments to make in favor of keeping the category alive:

It seems unjust to take away from the people who work so hard on their publications, LOCUS included. LOCUS is a great magazine. I look forward to reading it every month. But I also look forward to a lot of the magazines/publications listed on this site. The people who put out these amazing publications deserve the recognition they get in this category.

Shame on you for wanting to take that from them.

The 700-word post simply chronicles Klima’s various personal reasons for wanting to save the semiprozine category, so agree or disagree, there is nothing incendiary except the last line – “Shame on you…”

“Shame on you” for what? Where is the shame in advocating the elimination of a Hugo category? Of all the unorthodox ideas science fiction fans entertain themselves with, we have to draw a line before we reach that one?

I’ve often thought it curious how the strategy of public shaming enjoys such currency in the internet culture, which otherwise goes out of its way to avoid the puritanical. Even if it’s a pallid and diffuse appeal to internet vigilantism, I expect that’s where Klima’s idea for closing with that phrase ultimately comes from.

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