reheapablog

Robert-E-Howard: Electronic Amateur Press Association BLOG

Response to “The Lion” (Leo that is): And Why REHUPA Isn’t Dying

REPOSTING #1 – originally posted 11 March 2007

In a post to THE CIMMERIAN BLOG of 11 July 2006, Leo Grin predicts (at least by implication) the not-too-far-down-the-road demise of REHUPA, the long-enduring print APA on things Howard [limited to a circulation of 30 members at any given time]. He goes so far as to claim that its heyday was, of course, when he and fellow REHUPANS Rick McCollum and Steve Tompkins — over several numbers of the compiled journals that comprise the mailings — offered up huge contributions. Evidently he was implying that QUANTITY is more important than QUALITY (or at least AS important). [NOTE: This is not, by the way, an attempt to suggest that the lengthy contributions of McCollum, Tompkins, or Leo himself were not of quality — as well as quantity.]

Leo directly states that “every golden era must eventually come to an end,” suggesting that REHUPA’s is nigh — even though the article is about the 200th! mailing of that APA. He directly states that there has been a “decline in REHUPA.” He maintains that the whole aura of REHUPA has become more of a “private club” of old REH-cronies, “a place to relax and talk Howard, enjoying the company of friends, but in the end a luxury, not a necessity.”

He further asserts that “The necessary part of REHUPA has gone public via an assortment of books, magazines, art projects, and websites.” I guess this means that he believes the necessary part of REHUPA is no more — that “sounding board” of ideas, that place for academic and secular scholars and just plain “fans” of REH to bounce ideas off of one another’s collective heads, that enduring melding of minds and reflection and collective thinking is no longer worthwhile or, as he puts it, “necessary.”

But I submit that that function of REHUPA [or any APA] is not dead or dormant. Nor is the “necessary” part of it finished or somehow already spent.

There is a nice blend of both new and old “blood” in REHUPA currently — and the work of thinking about, studying seriously, and sharing thoughts about REH and related matters has not ended. I think that there are still plenty of admirers of Howard — young and old — out there who would eagerly join this brotherhood of pulp over pixels. [Note that I’m not denying the place of and importance of pixels and the digital media as a tremendous asset to the furtherance of Howardian (and other, nay, ALL) studies.]

I’ll further submit that the seeds of ideas and angles of approach — truly “seminal” concepts — need not be huge or lengthy to have import. Mighty oaks from little acorns . . . . So much for his HUGE-page-counts-are-better argument.

But then Leo turns his attention to REHEAPA, this concept (the world’s first, by the way) for a web-based APA. He says (ironically enough via his BLOG) that:

“. . . the majority [of REHUPANs] (including [himself]) ended up coming down on the side of conservative preservation of the a.p.a.’s status quo [i.e. print form publication]. Why argue with thirty years of success? Why potentially destroy a good thing?”

He argues that REHEAPA was a bad idea because he believed it would “cannibalize” REHUPA. Evidently he believed that it did. He further argues that THE DARK MAN also suffered because — evidently — stuff was being published online in REHEAPA member e-journals and e-zines rather than the print APA or the official scholarly journal for REH.

Well folks, that is pure hokum — and talk about a pot calling a kettle black! Certainly the “pro” or “semi-pro” model of THE CIMMERIAN has drawn more from THE DARK MAN than an accumulated amateur collection of initial musings and — finally! the publication of some already well-mulled over and ready-for-the-world new ideas.

The primary thing APAs offer (both REHUPA in print and REHEAPA online — and all their ilk) is the opportunity to circulate new concepts among a relatively closed group of scholars, experts, and enthusiastic amateurs. REHUPANs get feedback from as many as 29 other minds of similar interest and various angles of approach. REHEAPANS — even though their musings are open to the world at large (although there is a “private to members” and rarely used area in the REHEAPA website) — they get feedback from as many as 11 other members.

The problems inherent in a must-publish-on-schedule and pay-for-content journal, edited by one (or even a few individuals) is that such “jurying” and “knocking around to polish” of articles and concepts too often gets lost. There can be a tendency toward acceptance of material that is lacking or inaccurate. There is a tendency for authors to rush to a premature ejaculation of yet-to-be-developed-and-thought-through “essays.” This is not to say that TC offers no quality material; it is certainly not all gold, but there are most often nuggets. This is not to say that TC is not splendidly-presented and packaged and quite well edited (although it often verges toward a forum for mud-slinging and ad hominem arguments in the letters section). This IS to say that Leo’s own journal and blog and other projects — and the efforts of many, many other people during this era of the Howard centenary — are proof enough that there IS room for a number of venues of Howardian communication and publication. It IS to say that “dilution” was never really a problem.

By the way, the total number of REHUPANS that the first incarnation and first series of REHEAPA postings drew away!? from REHUPA [not true either, since some, including myself, posted the same stuff in both APAs — one closed to 30 and the other open to the world to read] was exactly five! (5!) — 7 if one counts former REHUPANS or ones who have since become REHUPANS. My God! What a blow to REHUPA and THE DARK MAN! The initial musings of fewer than a dozen people evidently bled away such fine scholarship and good material on the life and literature and lore of Robert E. Howard that it ushered in a sort of Dark Age of Howardian Studies.

Hogwash!

REHUPA is even more important now at this time of a renewed interest in Howard. It remains at the center of innovative thought on the literary contributions of Robert E. Howard. This new age of Howardian study, communication, and publication has certainly been aided by the pixel — and, I’ll agree completely that it has, as well, been aided by the pages of The Cimmerian — and The Dark Man, and Two-Gun Raconteur, and Wandering Star, and a book publishing boom with significant works by various individual editors and authors (Herman, McHaney, Finn, Burke, etc.), and now by the REH Foundation. The fact is that there is EVEN MORE ROOM for people to get involved in more relevant activities — because THIS Howard boom is seeing a wave of scholarly endeavor, publication, and important research above and beyond the fan-centric fervor of the original and earlier “booms.”

And yes, there’s even room for a second go at REHEAPA. The SECOND SERIES is beginning. We’re looking for new members. Might one of the new DIGITAL DOZEN be you?

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June 29, 2011 - Posted by | General

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