by Victor M. Gonzalez
To some people, the fact that a large sum TAFF money has vanished might not be as significant as the fact that a group of people -- a cabal, if you will -- kept that information to themselves for months. Even many former administrators -- Hansen and Carol, the Nielsen Haydens -- have only recently been told.
Most of us have some connection to TAFF. We have given it attention and money, and we want to know how the races come out and how the trips went. I think that's what trip reports are supposed to do: show fans who support TAFF what their time and money has achieved.
And in the mostly anarchic world of fanzine fandom, TAFF is something that brings us together in an election supposed to give a deserving fan a reward more significant than a certificate or even a big rocket with electric lights.
In my opinion, those who contribute are among those who should know when something bad or good happens to this fannish institution. That didn't happen this time around. Auctions were held, parties thrown and donations freely accepted by Martin Tudor as he travelled the United States.
I, for one, spent what is to me a considerable sum on several vintage fanzines at a Seattle auction, believing that the money would go to next year's race. I also conversed with Martin about the possibility of running for TAFF. He encouraged me to do so.
Obviously, not knowing that anything had happened to the British funds, an intelligent decision about such a move couldn't be made.
But no one told me.
That bit of whining aside, I must admit that I understand the reasons Martin and others kept the news to themselves. Martin's trip would have been compromised; Abi would have had no incentive to come up with the cash. They are reasonable reasons.
Ultimately such policies foster distrust of TAFF and everyone in this particular crew of secret-keepers. Twelve years ago, a fan few had ever met managed to gain enough allies to tear fandom in half with considerably less evidence of a cover-up. This isn't Topic A, but such secrecy gives ammunition to every enemy one might have, and reinforces the already prevalent feelings of many new and fringe fans that the inner core is a clique uninterested in the feelings of those outside.
Thank goodness it all came out before the 1997 America to Britain race starts, less than a month from now.
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by Andy Hooper and Victor M. Gonzalez.
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