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This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Thursday, February 22, 2018


I'm participating in a discussion of Forrest J. Ackerman's dubious legacy on the Classic Horror Film Board, and decided to preserve  a couple of my comments here, possibly for fuller development than can be presented on a messboard.


Following up on some of the posts that talk about the difficulty of separating the artist from his art-- or in Ackerman's case, the laborer from his labor-- it helps me to consider that even "depraved" people may have periods of inspiration in which they do or make things that prove valuable to a lot of other people. However, when the inspiration passes, a lot of times they just go back to being plain old crappy people, whether they're perpetually on the make, or swindling victims, or praising fascists.

The point's been made before that not everything depraved in one time-frame is depraved in another, so I won't belabor it, except to state that the point is more of a cautionary warning than an endorsement of relativism.


Well, FJA wasn't a scholar, not even an amateur one, so I don't know that there's any reason for anyone to quote him about anything. For all I know he may have made various pretenses toward scholarship, but I haven't seen them in my few copies of FM. His whole persona hinges on communicating a "gosh-wow" attitude about the things he loved, or said he loved, to his monster-philic readers. I don't have any firm memories of my early encounters with issues of FM, except that when I first laid eyes on a newsstand copy of THE MONSTER TIMES, I remember thinking, "Hey, this has real substantive articles in it, not like FAMOUS MONSTERS!" (Or thoughts to that effect.)

For me his main virtue was that of creating a sense that the overlapping worlds of "SF/F/H" were not just a bunch of unrelated productions. Good and bad, they were all part of a greater whole, and that whole was of interest to fandom, whether the reader was learning about the latest Hammer production or some silent film that came about before the reader was ever born. Of course, one may say that keeping track of everything gave FJA a lot of grist for his publication-mill; but that's the bottom line for almost every endeavor. Somewhere or other I read that he didn't even really like horror that much; that "sci-fi" was his true love. But in terms of his effect, he did get across that sense of "fan-connectedness," which I assume is the main reason people made the trek to visit the Ackermansion.

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