Current SFWA vice president Howard V. Hendrix has made himself the current tempest in a teapot by having a rant posted for him in the SFWA community on Live Journal. While most everyone (understandably) has leapt on the “Technopeasant Wretch” portion, reading the entire thing, there’s a few other bits I find… more telling:

I think the ongoing and increasing sublimation of the private space of consciousness into public netspace is profoundly pernicious. For that reason I don’t much like to blog, wiki, chat, post, LiveJournal, or lounge in A problem with the whole wikicliki, sick-o-fancy, jerque-du-cercle of a networking and connection-based order is that, if you “go along to get along” for too long, there’s a danger you’ll no longer remember how to go it alone when the ethics of the situation demand it.

He seems to be conflating the community-building that has become a staple of the internet with a herd-mentality. Or, maybe he’s just saying that diving into it would be violating his beliefs and “going with the flow”, which would erode his own mental defenses. But… it sounds to me like he’s saying it of everyone.

He seems to have missed the fact that the very places he names are wonderful places to espouse your own beliefs (as he has just done). The act of posting a manifesto is easy for individuals, you don’t have to get it by a committee, you don’t have to find a public forum that will allow you to preach it. Put it on the internet… and people will find it. Better yet, the communities allow you to find a target audience quite easily.

The point is, there is nothing inherent in the internet that keeps you from expressing your own opinion. In fact, it is easier here than any other place. Counterbalancing this fact is that you can fall into a crowd of like-minded people all too easily. This can lull one into a happy state of going along with a crowd that feels the same as you 95% of the time, and ignoring that other 5%. But frankly, if something rubs you the wrong way, it is very easy to speak up and be heard. Whether anyone supports your view is, as always, dependent on how ably you make your point.

Oh, and I will point up something from his most infamous paragraph:

…the noble calling of Writer…

The phrase and, more especially, the capitalization strikes me as indicating a brand of intellectual elitism that I consider as objectionable as the more conventional forms of social snobbery.

There is indeed something noble about the creative spirit, no matter what form it takes. And to my mind, there are few things worse than putting walls around it. Creativity is not something that needs to be put in a protected little garden to keep the yokels out, but something that should be explored and celebrated and encouraged wheresoever it should spring up.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit getting paid would sure be nice, but the real value is in the quality not the pay. The real nobility is in the effort (of invention and self-improvement), not the quality.