Readers react


Vladi­mir Djordjevic, in a cellphone image. (Matt McClain/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

Comment about Gene’s “Flack yourself” column

For your information, there are over 50,000 members of the Public Relations Society of America. Product publicity people account for only a small fraction of that — others include public information specialists in the federal, county and municipal governments, hospitals, school systems, and nonprofit organizations and institutions, as well as corporate PR people who publish their companies’ annual reports, quarterly reports and presentations to Wall Street to keep the public and investors informed.

Not only are you, your income, and your health dependent on many of these, but it is very likely that your newspaper would cease to exist without their help. So, congratulations on your May 6 column — singlehandedly and in one day you have enabled the Post to alienate more readers, subscribers, and advertisers than any other Post reporter or so-called “humor columnist.”

William C. Parker, Williamsburg

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Comment about “The Good Guy,” by David Montgomery

Vladimir Djordjevic asked, “What kind of hero am I if I’m suffering every day?”

The answer? The only kind of hero that truly exists, the person who, without regard, risks life, limb, or freedom, in defense of others.

“Hero” is a word used far too freely and incorrectly these days. Isn’t it time that it be reserved only for those such as Vladimir Djordjevic?

Darrel Salisbury, Lorton

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Comment about “Lost in Space,” by George Gonzalez

While I was happy to see that George Gonzalez’s article (“Lost in Space”) was largely free of the usual bemused and somewhat condescending head scratching that often accompanies mainstream treatments of dedicated fan cultures, I was disappointed that he came to no larger conclusions about those participating in MystiCon or any of the other fan gatherings he cites in the article.

Gonzalez says, “I wasn’t here to judge — I was here to see what I could learn” but never questions his own initial embarrassment over sitting in the “Star Trek” chair, or the reasons that embarrassment had been mitigated by the end of the weekend. He concludes that the “crucial thing about hard-core, nerdy subcultures [is that participants] didn’t really care what anyone thought.” As someone who has researched these subcultures for several years now, I can say that this is only partially true, and more often than not, only true in the safe and nonjudgmental spaces afforded by gatherings such as MystiCon and ComicCon.

Even as historically marginalized cultures are moving into the mainstream, and Geek Chic is embraced by the media (“Big Bang Theory,” “Community,” “Geeks in Love,” “The IT Crowd,” etc.) we still look at “nerd culture” with a combination of discomfort (Why are they so invested?) and snobbishness (They are so invested in that?). Perhaps the question to ask is not why fans are fans, but why we react to that fannishness in the ways we do.

Katherine Larsen, Hyattsville

The writer is an adjunct assistant writing professor at George Washington University and editor of the Journal of Fandom Studies.

Want to share your comments? E-mail us at wpletters@washpost.com (please include a daytime telephone number) or visit washingtonpost.com/magazine.

Beth Chang is an articles and copy editor for The Washington Post Magazine.
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