TAFFLUVIA number ten is the April 1987 issue of the newsletter of the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund, North American branch, and comes to you for the last time from outgoing administrators Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden at 75 Fairview #20, New York NY 10040. European administrator: Greg Pickersgill, 7A Lawrence Rd, South Ealing, London W5 4XJ. Incoming North American administrator: Copious details below.
Jeanne Gomoll wins TAFF
Voting has been tabulated in the 1987 TAFF race, and the results are as follows.
FIRST BALLOT: Bill Bowers Brian Earl Brown Mike Glicksohn Jeanne Gomoll Robert Lichtman Hold Over Funds Australia (7 votes): 1 0 0 4 2 0 Europe (80 votes): 4 3 20 42 11 0 North America (232 votes): 26 25 57 86 35 3 TOTAL (319 votes): 31 28 77 132 48 3
Since no candidate obtained an overall majority, counting proceeded to a second ballot. Hold Over Funds was eliminated for having received the fewest votes, and Bowers, Brown, and Lichtman were eliminated for failing to obtain 20% of the vote on one or both sides of the Atlantic" -- in these three particular cases, on both sides. All ballots whose first preference was for one of these candidates were redistributed among the two remaining candidates, skipping indicated preferences for other eliminated candidates. Thus, the second (and final) ballot results were:
SECOND BALLOT: Mike Glicksohn Jeanne Gomoll Total from above: 77 132 European preferences picked up: + 6 + 11 NA & Australian preferences picked up: + 29 + 59 112 202
Thus JEANNE GOMOLL received an overall majority on the second ballot, after leading on the first, and will be the TAFF delegate to the World Science Fiction Convention in Brighton, England over Labor Day Weekend, 1987: Conspiracy '87. Congratulations, Jeanne, and thanks to Bill Bowers, Brian Earl Brown, Mike Glicksohn, and Robert Lichtman for another TAFF race well run. All of the candidates campaigned in a low-pressure and civilized but amusing fashion (mike Glicksohn's flyer parodying Oral Roberts' fundraising techniques was particularly noteworthy); mostly they continued to put their efforts into the kind of fanac for which each of them is known. It's a shame that in a field of five such accomplished fans, four of them should have to lose; but that's sort of inevitable. Just like last time, quite a few voters said they had real difficulty making a choice.
More details of the voting will be found elsewhere in this TAFFLUVIA. On the other side of this sheet we're presenting a breakout of the election as it would have been handled under the old, pre-20%-rule conventions. This alternate tabulation is For Educational Purposes Only, a one-time addendum to clarify the transition. This has been the second race run entirely under the new rules, so if you're still shaky after this you'll have to ask the administrators or something. The second set of figures is also for the benefit of statistics-fiends out there, who'll have two sets of numbers to play with this time instead of just one. Enjoy. If you're not into numbers for their own sake, you can just note in passing that the bottom-line figures are the same in both cases and then skip merrily onwards.
In the meantime, 1987 TAFF winner JEANNE GOMOLL writes to say: "A day has passed since you telephoned with the news, and I'm feeling more capable of responding in complete sentence format, beyond goshwowboyohboy, gee [cont. p. 3]
TAFF 1987. The complete voting breakdown, according to the old, conventional preferential-ballot system. FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. Not to be taken internally. Look sharp. Notes follow.
Bill Bowers Brian Earl Brown Mike Glicksohn Jeanne Gomoll Robert Lichtman Hold Over Funds Eur 4 3 20 42 11 0 NA&A + 27 + 25 + 57 + 90 + 37 + 3 31 28 77 132 48 3
SECOND BALLOT (Redistributing H.O.F.):
Bill Bowers Brian Earl Brown Mike Glicksohn Jeanne Gomoll Robert Lichtman Hold Over Funds Eur + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 NA&A + 0 + 2 + 0 + 0 + 0 31 30 77 132 48
[& 1 "no further preference"]
THIRD BALLOT (Redistributing Brown):
Bill Bowers Brian Earl Brown Mike Glicksohn Jeanne Gomoll Robert Lichtman Hold Over Funds Eur + 0 + 2 + 0 + 1 NA&A + 5 + 3 + 12 + 7 36 82 144 56
[& 1 "no further preference"]
FOURTH BALLOT (Redistributing Bowers):
Bill Bowers Brian Earl Brown Mike Glicksohn Jeanne Gomoll Robert Lichtman Hold Over Funds Eur + 2 + 1 + 0 NA&A + 15 + 10 + 7 99 155 63
[& 2 "no further preference"]
FIFTH BALLOT (Redistributing Lichtman):
Bill Bowers Brian Earl Brown Mike Glicksohn Jeanne Gomoll Robert Lichtman Hold Over Funds Eur + 2 + 10 NA&A + 11 + 37 112 202
[& 5 "no further preference"]
Codes: "Eur" refers to European votes, "NA&A" to North American and Australian votes. (Australians are lumped in with the North American votes because they all happened to come to the North American administrators. Nothing in either the old or new rules mandates that this has to happen.) "H.O.F." stands for Hold Over Funds, the first "candidate" eliminated in this particular race.
"No further preference": always difficult to explain to people not intuitively familiar with a preferential-ballot system's implications. Look, if you vote for Hold Over Funds in first place, and then fail to rank any of the other candidates, then if Hold Over Funds is the first "candidate" dropped (as it was in this race), your vote ceases to matter. It becomes that first "no further preference" vote noted on the chart -- noted only to show that our math is correct and the totals keep adding up all the way down, but for no other reason. It completely drops out of the total number of votes out of which a winning candidate must obtain a majority. This is why it's always in a voter's interest to fill out the entire ballot.
Note here that the "no further preference" amounts noted following each ballot are cumulative; i.e., by the second ballot one vote had fallen into the "no further preference" category, but by the fifth ballot that number had increased to five. Which means that five voters stopped listing their preferences before getting to Glicksohn or Gomoll. Which is their right, but it also means they wasted their chance to affect the race, since the number of votes out of which the winner needed a majority also dropped. In this race, ultimately, it wouldn't have mattered anyway; in a closer race, it might.
[continued from p. 1] thanks! Now I can be incoherent with subject and predicate. ¶ "I would say that this is the first time I ever won anything, but that would be a lie. Competing in a third grade safety contest, I won first prize for a lurid drawing of a little girl about to be flattened by a speeding car as she chases a ball across the street. In 1982 I won a TV set for being the millionth person to buy something at a ShopKo department store. Just last year I was the fifth caller to a local radio station, and they gave me two tickets to a stage production of Brigadoon. ... .And now TAFF! I have been a lucky person. ¶ "Of course, it's been a lifelong dream of mine to win TAFF. Even as I marched up to the front of the grade school auditorium to collect the little bronze medal they gave me for winning the safety contest, and I watched jealously as Carl Peckman won ice cream coupons for his second place prize, I was thinking, 'This is just the beginning. Someday I will stand for the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund.' ¶ "Oh, enough of this. I'm really excited and can hardly wait to make the trip. Goshwowboyohboy! Thank you, everyone."
North Americans and Australians voting in the 1987 TAFF race were: Justin Ackroyd, Harry Andruschak, Jo M. Anselm, Heather Ashby, David M. Axler, Christie Baillie, John Bartelt, Allen Baum, Sheila O. Barrera, Bryan Barrett, Allan Beatty, Doris Bercarich, Richard Bergeron, John D. Berry, Steven C. Berry, Steven Bryan Bieler, Sheryl Birkhead, Paul Birnbaum, Linda Blanchard, Harold Bob, Janice Bogstad, Velma Bowen, Bill Bowers, Jeanne Bowman, Richard Brandt, David Bratman, Seth Breidbart, William Breiding, Dave Bridges, Stephen Brossoit, Brian Earl Brown, Charles N. Brown, Denice M. Brown, rich brown, Allan D. Burrows, Elinor Busby, Linda Bushyager, Randall Byers, Allyn Cadogan, Marty Cantor, Robbie Cantor, Terry Carr, Cy Chauvin, David W. Clark, Deborah S. Claypool, Rich Coad, Eli Cohen, Sandy Cohen, Robert Colby, Chris Couch, Wendy Counsil, Maia Cowen, Susan Crites, C. M. Currier, Scott Custis, Garth Danielson, Phillip Davenport, Grania Davis, Hal Davis, Pam Davis, Camilla Decarnin, Kristine Demien, Frank Denton, Howard DeVore, M. K. Digre, Michael S. Dobson, Cathy Doyle, Michael DuCharme, Shelley Dutton, Harlan Ellison, Gary Farber, Bill Farina, Bruce Farr, Doug Faunt, Moshe Feder, Terry Floyd, George Flynn, Donald Franson, Terry Garey, Linda Gerstein, Richard Gilliam, Alexis Gilliland, Mike Glicksohn, Don Glover, Mike Glyer, Seth Goldberg, Diane Goldman, Jeanne Gomoll, Julie Gomoll, Victor Gonzalez, Joshua Grosse, Luann F. Grosse, John Guidry, R. S. Hadji, Gay Haldeman, Joe Haldeman, Joan Hanke-Woods, Michael Harper, Christopher Hatton, Jane Hawkins, Don Herron, Cohn Hinz, Irwin Hirsh, Chip Hitchcock, Arthur D. Hlavaty, Andrew P. Hooper, Denys Howard, Terry Hughes, Lucy Huntzinger, James Huttner, Rita Isajenko, Olivia Jasen, Frank Johnson, Ken Josenhans, Sandra L. Jordan, Owain Kaiser, Jerry Kaufman, Philip E. Kaveny, Ken Keller, Hope Kiefer, Jay Kinney, George Laskowski, Roy Lavender, Rebecca Lesses, Susan Levy, Ben Liberman, John W. Langner, Denise Parsley Leigh, Paula Lewis, Robert Lichtman, Denny Lien, Eric Lindsay, Douglas A. Lott, Lesleigh Luttrell, Dick Lynch, Nicki Lynch, Candace Massey, Gary S. Mattingly, Terry Matz, Lynn Maudlin, Eric Mayer, Linda McAllister, Rich McAllister, Luke McGuff, Ed Meskys, Perry Middlemiss, Karen Mitchell, Nickianne Moody, John F. Moore, Pat Mueller, Daniel A. Murphy, Janice Murray, Lucy Nash, Donna Nassar, Paul Novitski, Marc Ortlieb, Michael P. Parker, Spike Parsons, Peggy Rae Pavlat, David Pengelly, Tom Perry, Patty Peters, Curt Phillips, Gary Plumlee, Andy Porter, Sarah Prince, Robert R. Reedy, Sharon Reine, Mark W. Richards, Dave Rike, Peter Roberts, Julia Roehrig, Peter Roehrig, Carol Root, Vicki Rosenzweig, Teresa Rozmyn, Richard S. Russell, Louise Sachter, Ron Salmon, Leland Sapiro, Sharon Sbarsky, Jeff Schalles, Ben Schilling, Bruce Schneier, Howard Scrimgeour, Joyce Scrivner, Ariel Shattan, Stu Shiffman, Julie Shivers, Joe Siclari, Patricia Sims, Roger Sims, David Singer, Leslie Smith, Nevenah Smith, Rick Sneary, Edie Stern, Elaine Stiles, Steve Stiles, Richard Stokes, Meg Stull, Geri Sullivan, Taral, Lowry Taylor, Elessar Tetramariner, Pascal Thomas, Amy Thomson, Raymond B. Thompson, Roane Thompson, Suzanne Tompkins, Phil Torotorici, Bruce Townley, Karen Trego, Gregg Trend, Monica Trend, Nikolas Trend, Larry Tucker, R. Laurraine Tutihasi, Anna Vargo, Edd Vick, William C. Wagner, Harry Warner Jr., Jean Weber, Tom Weber, Roger Weddall, Brad Westervelt, Donya White, Ted White, Paul Williams, Marc Willner, Hania Wojtowicz, Gene Wolfe, Donald A. Wollheim, Martin Morse Wooster, Ben Yalow, Carol Yoder, David C. Yoder, Joel D. Zakem, and Ben Zuhl.
European voters were Hazel Ashworth, Mal Ashworth, Tony Berry, John Berry, Terry Broome, Eric Bentcliffe, Jim Barker, Mark Bennett, Avedon Carol, Vine Clarke, Arthur Cruttenden, Ian Covell, Dave Collins, John Dallman, Alan Dorey, Rochelle Dorey, Mike Dickinson, Malcolm Edwards, Dave Ellis, Graham England-Koch, Helen Eling, Stan Ehing, Susan Francis, Gwen Funnell, Abigail Frost, Keith Freeman, Wendy Freeman, Cohn Fine, Jackie Gresham, Ron Gemmell, Roelof Goudriaan, Judith Hanna, Eve Harvey, John Harvey, Anne Hamill, Dave Hodson, Rob Hansen, Alun Harries, Chuck Harris, Sue Harris, Katie Hoare, Steve Hubbard, John Jarrold, Rob Jackson, Terry Jeeves, Roz Kaveney, Paul Kincaid, Dave Langford, Ethel Lindsay, Christina Lake, Richard Lewis, Lynne-Ann Morse, Caroline Mullan, Joseph Nicholas, Simon Ounsley, Roger Peyton, Maureen Porter, Linda Pickersgill, Geoff Ryman, Roger Robinson, Jimmy Robertson, Alex Stewart, Alison Scott, Johan Schimanski, Cas Skelton, Paul Skelton, John Steward, Nick Shears, Chris Suslowicz, Kate Solomon, Arthur Thomson, Peter-Fred Thompson, Pam Wells, Madeleine Willis, Walt Willis, Paul Vincent, Dave Wood, Peter Weston, D. West, and Owen Whiteoak.
Late ballots were received in North America from Chris Bates, Lea M. Day, Kim Konigsberg, Rosalind Mahin, Frank Olynyk, Nigel Rowe, and Laura Spiess, and in Europe from Mike Ford.
European non-voting contributors were Mike Christie, Mike Abbott, Mike Hamilton, and R. Earnshaw. North Americans of similarly generous mien included Martha Beck, Neil Rest, Covert Beach, John Hertz, D. Potter, and the Con-Stellation 5 (Alabama) committee, which donated $50.
Half of fandom seemed to be involved with TAFF ballot distribution at one stage or another; our list surely omits all sorts of helpful people, but to our knowledge Mike Glicksohn, Bill Bowers, Marty & Robbie Cantor, Roger Weddall & Peter Burns, Anna Vargo, Covert Beach & Ken Josenhans, Robert Lichtman, Jeanne Gomoll, Paul M. Wrigley, Terry Hughes, Linda Pickersgill, Pam Wells, Dave Langford, Pat Mueller, NESFA, Janice Murray, Brian Earl Brown, Perry Middlemiss & Irwin Hirsh, Spike Parsons, Cohn Hinz, and Curt Phillips all helped to coat fandom in a fine layer of TAFF ballots, one way or another. Our thanks to them, to the non-voting contributors, and most certainly to the 319 voters: now that's a turnout. Good show, guys.
A final note of thanks goes to Peggy-Rae Pavlat, who sent TAFF four valuable old SF hardcovers (Fantasy Press, mostly) in excellent condition, for future auction: holy cow, gosh, will-you-look-at-that, and other appropriately enthusiastic exclamations. These may show up in Jeanne's mail auction, or get sold at some future convention; we'll see. "Such generosity has sustained the Fund for over 33 years, says the ballot: and as a result, we have the pleasant task of presenting the figures below.
TAFF Financial Report, 1/85 - 4/87
Received from Avedon Carol, 1/85 $4331 .20 Spent on our trip - 1500.00 Spent on Greg Pickersgill's trip - 1535.10 1296.10 Plus bank interest + 189.38 Plus donations (sales, auctions, voting fees, etc.) + 5788.93 7274.41 Spent on administration, 1/85 - 4/87 - 2087.64 Assets of TAFF North America, 4/87: $5186.77
Several points about the TAFF financial report, 1/85 - 4/87
1. The bottom line given above doesn't reflect the cost of publishing this TAFFLUVIA, nor the expense we'll incur when we ship the seven boxes of TAFF auction kipple in our living room to Jeanne Gomoll. Thus, when Jeanne ultimately reports the amount she's received from us, that figure will be smaller than the total given here.
2. We made a serious error in our TAFF platform by offering to travel "two for the price of one," and then compounded it by announcing in the first TAFFLUVIA that we intended to spent only $1000 or so -- a total amount less than some single TAFF winners have spent on their trips. We were landed on by an assortment on fannish elders -- previous TAFF winners and other prominent fans -- who chastised us for that notion on several counts. First, they said, such a policy could easily, under various not-improbable circumstances, wind up conflicting with the promise to (if elected) make The Trip unless prevented from doing so by "acts of God." Second, if the money on hand isn't being spent on TAFF trips, those who've donated to the fund could rightly wonder what is being done with it. It's a good idea for the fund to have a cash cushion, but TAFF shouldn't be in the business of hoarding capital by scrimping on its main purpose. Third, and to us the most striking argument, was that it's a mistake to try and establish some magic "fixed amount" for the TAFF-trip stipend, since circumstances differ so wildly from delegate to delegate. Like, how much time can they take off work? Where do they live -- New York City, with its many inexpensive flights overseas, or Elko, Nevada, where you have to spent several hundred dollars just to get to the western shore of the Atlantic? Do they have any notable disabilities likely to make travel more expensive? And, of course, how much money does the fund have on hand? All of these factors bear upon the question, and the only commonsensical answer is really "spend however much seems necessary and prudent, tourist class accommodations of course assumed." In the end, much embarrassed, we spent $1500 instead of $1000, due to a couple of unforseen circumstances: we were able to spend four weeks on our trip instead of the previously-planned two, and Teresa's narcolepsy mandated more incidental expenditures (taxis rather than mass transit) than we'd anticipated. (Teresa, who's still a touch prickly about being disabled, keeps pointing out that if her co-administrator had acceded to Her Plan to invest the whole US fund in pounds rather than over-valued dollars, TAFF could have turned a very tidy profit on the deal, more than compensating for the haulage costs of schlepping her occasionally-inert form around Britain. At such moments she is sternly reminded that if TAFF is not in the business of excess-capital accumulation, it is certainly not in the business of international currency speculation, harrumph. These things come up sometimes.)
3. The large amount spent by the North American fund on Greg Pickersgill's trip also reflects an unusual circumstance, namely that Greg was able to spend fully eight weeks in North America, longer than any TAFF winner from Europe in many years, and was thus able to travel extensively within North American fandom, visiting fannish population centers which hadn't hosted a TAFF delegate within living memory and whose members had started to complain about this. The list of local fandoms that haven't seen a TAFF visitor lately is still long, but we were glad for the opportunity to put a dent in it.
Of course, the North American fund always spends more money hosting the European delegate than the European fund spends on the North American delegate, for the simple reason that North America is rather larger than Great Britain, or even all of Europe, and thus costs more to get around.. But an added factor is the relative poverty of the European fund. We have TAFF auctions where enthusiastic bidding raises hundreds of dollars; they have TAFF auctions where equally enthusiastic bidding raises maybe £50. Bluntly, there's less disposable income in fandom over there. As a result the North American fund has often handled various expenses for European delegates which in an ideal situation of economic parity would be paid for by the European fund. This seems a reasonable practice.
4. What does the TAFF fund pay for?, people often ask. Here TAFF policy and practice are consistent with that stated elsewhere in this publication; i.e., there are several different answers and the whole question is subject to judgement calls and common sense. Fundamentally, TAFF pays for whatever's needed for a delegate's trip. At minimum, assuming the Fund hasn't dropped below the level at which it's possible, this means tourist-class airfare to and from the host country, Basic Transportation within that host country, and (frequently) Basic Food. Beyond these peanut-butter amenities are Necessary Logistical Expenses, such as a hotel room at the convention if the committee can't or won't furnish one gratis (which is the case more often than you might think). Beyond that lies a hazy area of items which Come Up, like the time we crossed signals with Harry Bell and caused him to wait two and a half hours for us in Newcastle's drafty train station, following which it suddenly occured to us that Harry was highly deserving of a TAFF-sponsored meal at a nearby Indian restaurant, particularly since he was also putting us up for the next couple of nights. TAFF also incurred the gigantic expense of a few rounds of drinks for other fans who were hosting us at various points on our travels. On the other hand, all the durable goods, and most of the fancier meals which we paid for on our TAFF trip came out of our own funds, not TAFF's. In general, the history of TAFF is not rife with instances of wicked TAFF winners gouging the fund for their own private wild good times. The money is there to make sure the business of being a TAFF delegate -- meeting hundreds of fans and talking with them nonstop for several weeks -- can actually happen; sometimes this can be accomplished quite cheaply, and sometimes it's unusually expensive. As with many other aspects of TAFF, any mechanism designed to prevent someone Bent On Evil from spending the money inappropriately would inevitably undercut everything else that's good about TAFF.
5. One more line in the above financial report calls for some further explanation: the $2087.64 spent on administration. That sounds like a lot, and it is; it'll be even more after we pay for this newsletter and tidy up a couple of other details. On the other hand, this sum includes the cost of publishing nine (with this issue, ten) newsletters, each of which went via first class mail to 300-400 fans; of rather a lot of long-distance conversation with thirty years' worth of past TAFF administrators in the summer of 1985 as we worked out the wording of the revised ballot in order to address all the loud fannish concerns we inherited responsibility for; and last but hardly least, the costs resulting from the fact that we don't get to many cons and don't have a car. This final bit has meant that every dollar we raise has a high cost -- less than a dollar, but significant nonetheless. To pick out a random example, the NASFiC auction raised over $200, but it cost us over $70 to get the auction materials to Texas in the first place: $50 for shipping and $20 for the car service that helped us schlep the boxes to the UPS office, since none of our friends have a reliably available car either. (In years past, of course, we could have loaded the boxes into the back of one of the inevitable station-wagons-full-of-fans that would have been making the trek to the con, but these days even poor fans can afford to fly to cons.) Repeat this process several times and you can see how the money piles up -- striking administrative costs and (heavy sigh of relief) commensurately heavy profits. In fact, for every dollar we spent, we raised nearly three. Ultimately, our main method was the mail auction -- something which requires a substantial initial investment (all that printing and postage) but which can pay off handsomely if the items for sale are attractive enough and the "catalog copy" sufficiently inspiring. Besides, there's something essentially proper about supporting TAFF largely through the sale of old fanzines. Not only was TAFFLUVIA the most frequent fannish newsletter of its two-year run, it was probably also the most profitable. Our thanks to an endless host of donors, and we hope they enjoyed the fanzines they bought.
A Commentary on the "Complete TAFF Guide" I Didn't Publish (by Teresa)
Start with a question: Is it possible to describe how TAFF works, and how a prospective candidate goes about standing in a particular race? After giving it a couple of years' thought and drafting a two-inch-thick sheaf of exegeses, I've arrived at two completely different answers that seem equally valid to me.
Answer number 1: Yes, you can; it's been done year after year on the TAFF ballot. On the face of it this is no great revelation. Nearly everyone who'll read this will have seen at least one or two ballots. You can't hang around fandom for any length of time without running into the things, and after the first few the language on them becomes so familiar -- from the chipper introductory "What is TAFF?" bit and on through the dense midsection ("TAFF has been shown to be an effective decay-preventive dentifrice...") unto the final admonitory "provided that the text is reprinted verbatim, for the love of God Montresor" -- that it's effectively invisible. Only the ever-changing slates of candidates and their platforms are closely read each new time around.
Anyway, that's how I used to think of it: Right, another TAFF ballot ... functional little artifact, two-sides- one-sheet, all very simple and likely to remain so, thanks to the commonsensical general unwillingness to enlarge it into something that would have to be collated and stapled. (I'll indulge in a digressive observation here. Unless there are compelling arguments to the contrary, it's a very good idea for new organizations which are in the process of drafting rules, constitutions, statements of purpose, etc., to include a provision stating that at no time shall said document contain more words than will fit onto two sides of a standard sheet of paper without photoreduction. This guarantees that the organization's energies won't become altogether given over to drafting, discussing, and amending proposed new constitutions. End of digression.)
When the arguments over TAFF started heating up in 1984 and we went hunting for any early statements in print that might clarify the issues, I was startled to find how little wordage had been generated over the years. There were some brief explanations early on, but aside from those the ballots plus a body of oral tradition were most of what we had to go on. So we did; gradually the light dawned on us, and it seems appropriate to quote Walt Willis here: the obvious is not necessarily untrue.
In answer to queries that were raised several years ago, which nearly everyone has long since lost all interest in pursuing, the essential documentation of TAFF is and always has been the language on the ballot, and you all be careful retyping it, okay? Because it really does contain the entire statement of purpose and mechanics of TAFF, either directly or by implication; and the reason there's never been much additional explanatory material in circulation has been that what's already set forth there has been sufficient. The ballot wording has gone through a number of minor evolutionary adaptations over the decades, and as it now stands it's hard to improve on it. I speak here as someone who participated in some very long discussions of proposed changes, endless hours spent fiddling around with little details of phrasing.
Incidentally, that process made clear to me why the precedent for making changes in the ballot form involves consulting with as many past administrators as you can drag in. When we asked them, they turned out to have a surprisingly wide range of experience they could cite about questions that have come up in the past, and how the ballot language related to them. We've thanked the ex-admins. before, and I'll take a last opportunity here to thank them again. If at first TAFF looked dauntingly short of guidelines, once we started asking around there turned out to be an entirely satisfactory body of tradition to fall back on.
As a point of historical interest, or possibly a Word of Comfort to the Easily Alarmed, or just for those of you who're automatically more interested in a paragraph that contains the word "text" (Patrick's already gotten to truckle to his fellow statistics-junkies elsewhere in this TAFFLUVIA): Since we knew that the ballot's gone through changes, one aim in hunting up old examples was to find out how, and how much, its text has been altered. We found that with the exception of a very few specific amendments, like the institution of preferential balloting in 1965, the only real differences were in its format and some wording. The basic ideas and structure of TAFF given on the 1957 ballot are the same as those on the 1987 ballot. The administrative oral tradition was harder to track down and cross-check, and appears to have been slightly more elastic than the ballot language, but it too has been remarkably stable in its theory and application, even when successive administrators have been in widely separated geographical areas, or portions of the fannish social network.
I'll draw some tentative conclusions from what we observed of TAFF's history. There's a considerable amount of continuity and stability there, usually as unobtrusive and unnoticed in its way as the language on the ballot. And the real continuity hasn't inhered in any definite array of words in a document -- those have changed -- nor has the institution been a (temporary) fiefdom of the succession of individuals who've run it. The individuals have been discontinuous; TAFF's basic ideas and practices haven't. At the heart of the matter, the institution of TAFF has inhered in its constituency -- which includes everyone who has a genuine interest both in the fund itself, and in the larger transatlantic community as well -- and also inheres in the ongoing tradition and body of common understanding they create.
Just thought I'd throw that in, though it's probably six times more technical theorizing and analysis than the subject or your collective patience can bear. Sorry about that. Spend a few years thinking about something and you're bound to get to the point of devising analyses like the one above; and this being our last TAFFLUVIA, it's my last chance to print that stuff out and get it off my mental disks. I don't know what audience it speaks to.
Now, some of you might object to the oral tradition and the implications and ramifications of the ballot language not being generally available in print. Some of this I'll address under answer #2; for the rest, I can only protest that there's more potential material there than anyone s ever had the time or inclination to write down, and if they had there'd be more secondary material extant than anyone has the time to casually read. With the example of the Worldcon Constitution ever before us -- and given that there's no way, short of holding them all at gunpoint, to get all the living ex-administrators to put their collective experience down on paper -- I'll add that I'm just as glad that the fan funds have remained largely the province of non-specialists. In a pinch consult your own common sense, or corner a current or past administrator and ask them your own questions. (Ask a fan to pontificate? Naw, it'd never work.) If there's any use to someone s eventually producing some kind of "TAFF Guide" pamphlet, it's because fandom itself has grown and diverged so much that the normally self-explanatory ballot has come to seem a bit mysterious and unfamiliar in some quarters. That's a shame, not because it could lead to some hapless fan's Not Doing Things Right in some TAFFish procedure, but because that slight layer of mystification can lead to people feeling like they've been excluded from TAFF s community and activities. That shouldn't happen.
Maybe I'll have another go at writing it one of these days, after all. It'd be a shame to waste that stack of drafts, if I could ever figure out how to go about it (see below). And this seems a good point at which to mention that if you happen to run across old ballots or other discussions of TAFF, we're still collecting them and would appreciate a xerox copy (we'll reimburse costs) plus a note on where the thing appeared. Someone should keep at least desultory track of these things. On the other hand, we've gratefully handed off the administration to Jeanne and Greg and their successors, and they may have their own ideas. That's their privilege; it comes with the work and the worries as a package deal. (From Manhattan there comes the faint sound of cheering, as two tired people sit back and put up their metaphoric fannish feet.)
Answer number 2: No, absolutely not. This alternate interpretation arose from my wrestlings with that stack of drafts, and many promising young typewriter ribbons were ruthlessly sacrificed before I arrived at it and set the project aside. "Describing the perambulations of one man through Dublin on a single day involves more words than I care to even think about," I reasoned, "and a TAFF race goes on for a great many days and has any number of people in it. Clearly, the thing is impossible." (I'm very bad at explaining anything concisely, and open-ended questions and I get along like the La Brea tar pits did with Pleistocene megafauna.)
More seriously, I began to question the advisability of writing the pamphlet at all. There's a dreadful tendency for something that's been put into print to take on a spurious air of authority and completeness, especially if the reader is unfamiliar with the matters being discussed. (As an example, compare the relative plausibility of a newspaper article about something you've never heard of before with the same journal's awkward, incomplete coverage of subjects you do know something about.) Worse, it's hard to write about assorted diverse things without having them all come out sounding like they're of equal importance. In short, I became haunted by the thought that some innocent reader might actually believe he'd gotten hold of a genuinely complete TAFF guide.
It's neither an attempt at evasion nor mystification to say that what can most easily be described concerning large-scale fannish customs is not necessarily the most important stuff. In the case of a TAFF race, we're talking about a situation wherein two (or maybe more, depending on how you're counting them) somewhat divergent fannish communities move toward a consensus decision, the final result of which is embodied in the selection of a representative individual or couple; and that choice is based on perceptions of the candidate's possessing certain intangible qualities, no definitive list of which exists; and the criteria by which this is judged are many, varied, and sometimes contradictory. It sounds horrendously complicated, though of course the voters annually thread that maze with perfect equanimity, probably a great deal more easily than we ever would if we tried to-define exactly what we're voting on and why; so it works quite well.
It may be helpful at this point to drag in the modern Adam Smith, whom I've had waiting behind that potted palm over there:
"Some years ago the sociologist and pollster Daniel Yankelovich described a process he called the McNamara fallacy, after the Secretary of Defense who had so carefully quantified the Vietnam War.
"'The first step,' he said, 'is to measure what can easily be measured. The second is to disregard what can't be measured, or give it an arbitrary quantitative value. This is artificial and misleading. The third step is to presume that what can't be measured easily isn't very important. This is blindness. The fourth step is to say that what can't be easily measured really doesn't exist.' The philosopher A. N. Whitehead called this tendency, in another form, 'the fallacy of misplaced concreteness."' [-- "Adam Smith" (George G. W. Goodman), Paper Money, New York: Summit Books, 1981, p. 37]
To exactly the same extent to which a potential reader lacks an understanding of TAFF as a fluid mechanism that's described (rather than prescribed) by the rules on the ballot, an attempt to describe how that mechanism actually works under any and all circumstances is going to be misleading. Try it and like me you'll find yourself back in Dublin with Mr. Bloom, examining your subject so closely that you start seeing the color-separation dots at submolecular levels of reality. Besides, most people in fandom will already know what you're talking about, so why bother confusing them? Besides, you won't be able to separate out the Important, from the Slightly Less Important, from the Quotidian, from the Permissible But Not In Good Form, from the Inevitable Offhand Remarks, from the Desperately Essential Under Seldom-Seen Circumstances, from the Typos (and of course it would be necessary to do so), without tagging the whole mess with alphanumerics that'd make a systems analyst pale. Besides, you wouldn't be able to explain how each of those elaborately-coded items related to each and all other items without quadrupling your wordcount. Q.E.D., some things are best understood experientially.
Furthermore, with each amplification of the text you add magnitude to the monster of misreading. Is it possible to write a text of any length which cannot be misread, which yields exactly the same intended reading to each reader? No way. God Himself can't; just check out the Biblical-commentaries section of any good library. Functionally -- she said, shifting into a semiotically reclining position -- each word in a text exists in significant relationship with every other word in that text. Therefore, the more words there are to bounce off each other, the greater the yield of potentially richer and more fucked-up interpretations of the work.
Or, to put it bluntly, I don't want to write the Summa Theologica of TAFF, you don't want to have to read it, and it wouldn't do what it was supposed to do anyway.
Before I revert to saner and more journalistic prose I have one more rant, so I'll issue a Gross-Generalizations-Concerning-The-American-Psyche Alert. You are encouraged to imagine that the phrase "general underlying tendencies and assumptions" turns up in every third sentence or so in what follows.
A weird thing about us, as a society, is that we exist in an assumed adversarial relationship with authority of any kind. We don't necessarily view our governments and institutions as part of a larger whole containing us as well; nor do we sincerely act as if we feel these structures were legitimately constituted on a consensual basis. Once some person or group gets seen as having any kind of power or authority they're automatically suspect, which is why Worldcon committees practically get blamed for the weather. It also means that laws and rules get turned into a battleground, with each side trying to hold the other to the exact terms of the agreement as though it were a hotly contested business contract. Thus the characteristic American phrase, "Huh? Who says I can't? There's no law against it, is there?"
This leads to the common, badly-confused idea that it's okay to do anything not specifically prohibited. As should be obvious but mysteriously doesn't appear to be, it's impossible to spell out and legislate against all conceivable varieties of social obnoxiousness, or to enforce such laws, particularly given that in a lot of situations there'd be a number of laws that could conceivably apply, and some of them would be contradictory. We think about these things every time we get stuck on a subway car with someone who's being one of NYC's forty-one officially recognized varieties of jerk.
Stupid though it is, as a culture we have a persistent fondness for the idea that the social contract and the exact letter of the law are one and the same thing. Americans like having things set down on paper. In the main they find the concept of an "unwritten constitution" bizarre and distasteful, if not an outright oxymoron. And they don't just like having the stuff on paper; they then go out and examine it, word by word, arguing happily over latitude of interpretation. Americans have the world's only governmental system based on literary criticism and textuality. Gentle reader, I know you're aware that none of this applies to you personally, but I'm sure you're acquainted with at least a few people who think along these lines. Frankly, the idea of publishing a collection of dicta that could be played with like a set of Monopoly rules -- examined for loopholes, gleefully invoked against the other players -- makes me very nervous. If there absolutely had to be such a pamphlet available, I'd want a line of large red type running across the top of each page, saying things like UNOFFICIAL COMMENTARY ONLY, THIS BOOKLET IS GROSSLY INCOMPLETE, USE COMMON SENSE, and DO NOT INTERPRET IN AN ISOLATED CONTEXT. For a good time, phone the Sewanee Review.
3. All that said, nevertheless there are a couple of places where TAFF's ineffably spiff tradition could stand being clarified a bit. In practice always some variation in the way things are handled, but these two instances strike me as potentially troublesome.
The first is the question of whether an administrator should vote. In the past some have, a lot haven't, and it's never been a significant issue. However, we do get some close races, and one of these times we could see one where a single vote is decisive. It's likelier to turn up as a single ballot affecting the order of candidate eliminations and subsequent redistribution of votes, which under the right conditions is enough to tip a race in one direction or another. If and when that happens, the administrator's name had probably better not turn up in the list of voters.
My concern here is not that administrators refrain from voting lest they use their inside information to throw a race to a preferred candidate. If you want to take the most cynical possible view of their motivations (and I don't), the strategic use of a single vote is one of the least effective and most publicly visible ways to influence a race. What does worry me is that it could look peculiar to the losing candidates and their supporters. The appearance of possible malfeasance can do as much damage as the real thing, in terms of hurt feelings and lingering suspicion.
The second question is in regard to the candidates themselves voting. In Britain they customarily don't; over here some do and some don't, and again it's never been a major issue. The scenario that keeps coming to mind is the same very close race hypothesized above. What if one candidate votes and another doesn't? What if the one who didn't vote turns out to be the losing party? There's enough opportunity for hard feelings there that clarifying this matter seems worthwhile. It doesn't matter whether the candidates do or don't vote (the fact that the Brits don't is irrelevant, since they re never in the same races as North American candidates), as long as they all agree to do the same thing.
And with vast good cheer, I hereby toss any possible discussion of these questions into Jeanne Gomoll and Greg Pickersgill's laps. So long, guys, it's been swell. Over and out. [-- Teresa Nielsen Hayden]
Several remarks, and an end (by Patrick)
Regarding Teresa's obituary for the Complete TAFF Guide, our specific apologies to Robert Lichtman, Allyn Cadogan, Dave Rike, Dave Locke, Tom Perry, Covert J. Beach, Marty Cantor, Joyce Scrivner, Richard Bergeron, and Candace Massey, all of whom had requested copies. The stamps they sent are being used on this TAFFLUVIA.
When Lucy Huntzinger won DUFF, she did something that made us feel a little better about our not publishing the TAFF Guide: she phoned to ask for a complete set of TAFFLUVIAs. She'd received them as they came out but couldn't locate them in her papers, and as she explained how she wanted to re-read them in order to get a sense of the details she'd have to attend to as the new DUFF administrator, it occurred to me that in a way we'd published a kind of Complete TAFF Guide already, in ten installments. So... pardon me while I sprain my shoulder patting myself on the back (ouch). That aside, we'd like to emphasize that in no way should the level of effort we've applied to TAFFLUVIA and other TAFF affairs be taken as a benchmark for what a TAFF (or DUFF) administrator should do under more usual circumstances. We took office following several months of unpleasant charges, countercharges, and general unhappiness concerning TAFF, and it seemed to us necessary that the Fund be run in an exhaustively public manner for a while, just to get some understanding of its purpose and operating conditions back into circulation. On the other hand, merely in terms of rate-of-return, if we'd never run for TAFF but instead spent all that time doing freelance editorial work at our usual compensation, we could probably have gone to Britain twice. To our mind administrators should probably publish newsletters, and certainly mail auctions are a fine thing -- but if Jeanne does only four or five in her entire term of office, that'll seem adequate to us. Our impression is that she does in fact have some newsletter and mail-auction notions in mind, possibly even in collaboration with Lucy and DUFF. Sounds like fun.
Fun! What a ... concept, what a strange, almost ... science-fictional! ... idea. Fun? The word slides through the consciousness, illuminating clusters of neurons as it moves. We remember ... fun? Fandom, fanac -- there's some sort of connection there; must think about this. Isn't there a genzine two years overdue, or a new issue of TAFFLUVIA we have to do first? Must be. Ah, yes, there is something, I knew it: our trip report. How reassuring. Life without fannish obligations would be so -- so purposeless, without form and telos, the Void. Or maybe not. As to that trip report: well, it's been a while since last we spasmodically grovelled, rending our tunics and gnashing our teeth, and it's still unpublished and we're even further beyond our originally announced deadline. On the other hand Teresa hasn't had any untoward cardiac incidents lately, so with a little luck perhaps we'll get somewhere with it in the foreseeable future. No promises, though.
No promises. Future potential TAFF candidates, attend: this is advice. No matter how energetic you feel upon starting down this road, don't promise anything regarding a trip report unless you're a professional journalist with proven experience at writing instant books on fast-breaking news stories. More than a few prolific fans have evaporated before the challenge of telling the story on paper, and laughing cynically at them is a venerable fannish sport -- but Things happen, and you never know but that they'll very probably happen to you. Stu Shiffman's health went to hell, eventually leading to brain surgery; is that a good enough excuse for his delayed TAFF report, please? Key Smith got married and then had a kid who was born with serious disabilities. Avedon Carol actually wrote a full-length TAFF report, but somehow lost the old gung-ho TAFF spirit before she could get it into print (can't imagine why). Rob Hansen published three installments of his report, then had to detour into helping to run a Worldcon. So much for our immediate predecessors. Greg was actually assembling trip-report material the last time we asked him about it. You can see how it goes.
Two major problems seem to hit everyone. The first is easy to understand. To sympathize, merely take a sheet of paper, roll it into the typewriter, and type "This is the trip report from [your name here], the latest TAFF winner, a work of fanwriting in the tradition of The Harp Stateside and The Transatlantic Hearing Aid." Then continue typing. The second problem affects different people to different degrees, but essentially it's the fact that so many of the specific inquiries one gets about one's trip report seem vaguely mocking or cynical in tone. Of course most people simply want to read the damned thing because they're interested in what you might have to say, but the ones you hear from often seem less sincerely interested in the work itself, and more interested in scoring a terribly witty point off you concerning your obvious dereliction of duty. Try writing funny-and-entertaining while flinching.
(Of course, most TAFF winners are notorious layabouts who never did a lick of work for fandom in their lives; that's how they got elected in the first place. Give them half a chance to fink out and gafiate, and they're off like a shot. But I digress.)
As I was saying, we're working on it. A chapter -- from the middle of our trip, and an exception to our decision to not serialize the thing in fanzines -- should be appearing in a particular forthcoming fanzine this year; while we can't promise a copy of that fanzine to all 319 TAFF voters, anyone who wants to send us a SASE can get a xerox of our piece of it, at least. Beyond that, we're currently chewing on the question of whether sequential narrative is the only way to go about it. Rusty Hevelin did a fine DUFF report in the form of a slide show. A friend of ours has already offered to mix one of our dictaphone-note-tapes from the trip into a dance single (more appropriate than you might think, but explanation here would be tedious and premature). And even without such multimedia effects, prose can be used to do more than simply tell a tale of trains, restaurants, and house parties. A TAFF report should convey essences, make observations, provide namechecks, and provoke dialogue. Let the facts find the form. We're still thinking.
Final details: addresses. JEANNE GOMOLL, Box 1443, Madison WI 53701-1443 USA. All future North American TAFF correspondence to. her, please. Europeans, write to GREG PICKERSGILL, 7A Lawrence Rd, South Ealing, London W5 4XJ UK. And for those of you with address files, an ex-TAFF administrators CoA: ROB HANSEN & AVEDON CAROL have just moved to 144 Plashet Grove, East Ham, London E6 1AB, UK.
Ex-TAFF-winner obituary: Terry Carr, 1937-1987, TAFF winner 1965. I feel this ought not go unnoticed in TAFFLUVIA, though damned if I can think what to say about it in this context. In the time we knew him, Terry was never totally well; from the Baltimore worldcon onward, he seemed to look more physically strained every time we saw him. News of his coma and subsequent death came, therefore, as the sort of shock which you half-expect but which hurts no less all the same; it's the single largest reason this issue is late. We both have a hard time imagining fandom or the SF field without Terry Carr, but here we are anyway, stuck on a timeline where this has happened.
You can't say anything about someone's death that doesn't sound like boilerplate. Everyone is irreplaceable. But with Terry gone, I can almost sense a corner of the universe unravelling, a web of significant connections and understandings without which the whole network is diminished. Every time I write something for a fanzine, and suddenly remember that he's no longer there being the most perceptive reader in the audience, I'll miss him. Goodbye, Terry, it was a hell of a privilege. We're left with a hole in the world. [-- pnh]
TAFFLUVIA #10 (and last)
P & T Nielsen Hayden
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