Archives: F5

Although Factsheet 5 is temporarily(?) defunct, it is still much talked about. Most of the talk tends to be complaints.

Reverend K: (Jimstermac) writes:
>I'm talking about the NAMBLA ads--"Man-Boy Love". It's
>perverted and criminal for a man to seek out boys for sexual
>partners, and I won't support them or any zine that takes their
>money and doesn't self-censor it's advertising pages to eliminate
>ads like these
Although I agree that there's something amiss in a man who prefers young boys as sex partners, I don't see taking my dislike of pedophilia out on FACTSHEET 5 - that's like killing the messenger. The NAMBLA folks have a right to champion their cause, no matter how much we dislike it. I doubt that they'd win many converts with their ads and if they're stupid enough to advertise, I don't blame Seth (or anyone else) for taking their money - if, indeed, F5 has. I haven't looked in issues for NAMBLA ads.
>(and no, that's not "censorship" because the government is not
>involved--it's proper business practice). You may notice that we
>don't see ads like these in the New York Times or Time magazine or
>even the Enquirer. They have enough sense to not take "tainted"
>ad money. If we were talking about an objection to, say, cigarette
>ads, or Coors beer ads, or something like that, I'd agree with you
> that not buying the zine because of their ads would be stupid
Do you really think that the only form of censorship is committed by the government? What sort of delusional world are YOU living in? The media regularly censors stories and subjects both intentionally and through ommission. I wouldn't expect to see an ad for NABLA in the N.Y. TIMES or any other mainstream media, nor would I expect to see ads for the Revolutionary Communist Party, as an example. Hell, the mainstream media often refuse ads for gay and lesbian groups. It's their right, perhaps, but it's also a pervacious form of censorship. Will you ever see any negative stories about nuclear power or weapons on General Electric-owned NBC or Carribean sweatshops on Disney's ABC network? It's censorship through ommission, so that corporate profits aren't hurt. As for "tainted" ad money supporting a zine, where do you draw the line? Is an ad for Coors beer okay even though the Coors family has long supported right wing causes, dictatorships, death squads and such? You won't buy F5 because of a NAMBLA ad, but would you drive a Ford and put money into the pockets of a company that assisted in the wholesale slaughter of millions of Jew, gypsies, gays, Poles and others by providing the Nazis with financial and material support?
> But I believe that accepting ads endorsing child abuse/
>pedophilia is wrong, and I won't support it in any manner.
That's your choice and your right although I personally believe it to be ignorant and illogical. I believe that all forms of mental and sexual abuse are a terrible tragedy - child abuse, wife beating, pedophilia, rape, etc. Fortunately we live in a somewhat "free" country (although that's changing year-to-year) and even the most disgusting perspectives have the right to be aired. Just as you exercise your right not to buy F5, so too does Seth have the right to publish as he wishes.

Jim Stermac:
"something amiss", huh? Gosh, like they ran a red light or something, right? No, it's perverted, criminal, harmful, predatory, and can ruin a child's life (note the trials of Catholic priests where the boy, now a man, who was violated informs that his life was destroyed by abuse such as is promoted by ads in Factsheet 5--hope I didn't strike a nerve there, Rev. K).
>that's like killing the messenger
No, this is a message that does not HAVE to be sent, and Factsheet 5 is not the innocent messenger that is ordered to deliver a message. Factsheet 5 VOLUNTARILY accepts and publishes ads like these (NAMBLA is not the only one--I haven't gone out of my way to look for them either, but the shirtless boy with a trumpet on page 130 and the photo of a child in the sex chapter on page 74 are rather conspicuous). Sure these sicko groups have a CONSTITUTIONAL right to "champion their cause", but I would argue that we all, and publishers like Factsheet 5 in particular, have a RESPONSIBILITY to not aid and abet their criminal, devastating "cause"--just so you understand clearly, not a legal responsibility, but a responsibility nevertheless. I refuse to support anyone who knowingly fails this responsibility.
>Do you really think that the only form of censorship is
>committed by the government? What sort of delusional world
>are YOU living in?...Hell, the mainstream media often refuse ads
>for gay and lesbian groups. It's their right, perhaps, but it's
>also a pervacious form of censorship.
Here your terminology is failing you. "Censorship" as you apparently use it would encompass my choosing to watch a baseball game on TV instead of a basketball game--that is properly termed a "choice" not "censorship" as you broadly use the term. "Censorship" correctly is used to refer to governmental action (federal, state or local) to restrict information, NOT to non-governmental disemination of information. As to it being within the rights of the media, "perhaps" (I fail to see why you are so ready to acknowledge the right of expression of groups endorsing child abuse/pedophilia but reluctant to acknowledge the same right of expression to non-governmental media), to control their product, this right is expressly stated in the First Amendment to the Constitution (the same place that the sicko groups get their right to say these harmful things). Nowhere is anyone obligated to HELP these groups print their "message". So, while Factsheet 5 clearly has the right to print these ads, so too do they have the right to refuse. The issue, then, is choice. Of course I'm aware that choices are made every day by the media and others--making a responsible choice is exactly what Factsheet 5 has failed to do by accepting these types of ads (whether or not other media have made the difficult choices responsibly is irrelevant to Factsheet 5 and their obligations to us and society in general). Blindly accepting any ad, however harmful, is abdicating their responsibility and, in my view, violating the trust we have the right to expect from members in our community. Absolutely it is my choice to refuse to endorse Factsheet 5 because of their conduct in accepting ads promoting child abuse/pedophilia. I only write here to inform of my opinion and to encourage us all to take a stand against child abusers in any form--legally, by exercising our rights. It is my sincere hope that Factsheet 5 will use their rights to refuse ads promoting child abuse. I fail to see how this is "ignorant and illogical", nor how the sad existence of "all forms of mental and sexual abuse" somehow makes it OK to voluntarily accept the publishing of THESE ads promoting child abuse. Again, Factsheet 5 has the legal right to publish these ads, but also the legal right AND a moral, ethical, societal, responsible right to refuse to do so. I hope they will agree.

Jeff Koyen: (Reverend K) wrote:
>I believe that it was my esteemed colleage Jeff Koyen who
>mentioned that Seth runs these ads because he believes in open
>discussion of controversial issues (my words, not theirs, and
>Jeff, correct me if I'm wrong). I agree with Seth - if we shut
>out every dissenting voice in this country, especially those that
>we disagree with, then we'd lose much of our strength as a culture.
Sounds about right to me. Methinks that the naysayer (what's his name? I'm so bored by his posts that I can't even remember his name) has a personal interest in this argument. So, it's far from a discussion of free speech for him. It's about rounding up pedophiles and shutting them down. With that in mind, why not change the thread to a more relevant newsgroup? Factsheet 5 hasn't been germane to this discussion since he first used it as a catalyst to attack NAMBLA.

Tom Trouble:
I've read some of the virulent rhetoric that's been tossed around regarding NAMBLA. It seems some folks think anyone involved in NAMBLA must automatically be assumed to be either a pedophile or child abuser and their intentions must be evil, regardless of the facts. Another assumption by some folks seems that Factsheet 5, by virtue of accepting advertisements from this controversial organization, therefore is a tacit endorsement of it, thus, it is "promoting" child abusers and pedophiles. I'm no expert on NAMBLA but aren't they a legally registered non-profit organization in New York? If indeed they have been given legal sanction to promote their ideas, does the *State*, by virtue of accepting NAMBLA as a legally operated entity, also endorse and promote child abusers and pedophiles? Certainly, their position of opposing laws that set absolute boundaries between "men" and "boys" may be deemed controversial or unconventional by current Western societal standards. However, there is a clear distinction between allowing ideas to be expressed and endorsement of those very same ideas. It's called free speech. You are either for it or against it. There is no middle ground here. If you claim yourself a free speech advocate yet you make an exception for a particular group whose ideas you despise you are OPPOSED to free speech, period. I have yet to see anything resembling a reasoned critique of NAMBLA and the various social/political positions the group takes. Surely, somebody must be capable of it without resorting to ad hominem attacks. A rational discussion of the facts would be a welcome relief. I'm also wondering if the same sort of attitudes would prevail if we were to alter the debate. For instance, would the same vitriol be spewed in the case of an adult female in her 20s or 30s engaging in sexual relations with a young teenaged boy? If it is so evil for "man/boy" does the same standard apply to "woman/boy"? Considering the fact that a number of teenaged boys and girls are sexually active, there are going to be numerous instances in our society when sexual encounters will occur between adults (over 18) and what our society perceives as "children" (under 18). I also find it interesting that when it comes to sexual situations our society will commonly refer to those under 18 as children, however, if someone under 18 commits a crime, society suddenly regards them as an adult even if they are only 14 or 15 years old. Very interesting. I simply cannot assume that any sexual relationship involving someone under 18 with an adult must automatically be regarded as coercive and predatory, regardless of gender. That's my two cents. - Tom

P. Bronson:
Ben Is Dead is actually an example of what I was thinking of, because no, it hasn't been reviewed in Factsheet Five since Darby and Killzinesters had their tiff with Seth Friedman over something -- does anyone remember what? I haven't seen Socially Fucking Retarded -- almost two years ago.

Seth Robson:
Neither of our two issues that have come out since that fateful summer of '96 have garnered a review in Factsheet Five. As for Genetic Disorder, Larry hasn't come up with a new issue yet. :-) Do I really care about this, uh, "exclusion"? I'm not losing sleep over it. After all, we're a big, corporate, multi-national conglomerate operated as a joint venture between Rubert Murdoch's News Corp. and Sony. YEE-HAW

Peggy Swanson:
Robert Howingtn was also conspicuously absent from F5 after posting some attacks on Seth & F5 here a whlie back. I'll admit, I thought most of Howington's posts wre full of shit, but it certainly does appear that Seth's retailiatin is to simply publish a Howington-free issue of F5. And that's something i'd worry about if I was publishing something critical of Seth/f5. That said, I think the Becker era at F5, from all indications I've seen in alt.zines, will be a big improvement. I've never met either Chris or Seth, just read their zines and read their posts, and Chris strikes me as someon with thicker skin and a smaller ego.

Dan Halligan:
I think there is a little paranoia going on. Factsheet 5 doesn't review every issue you put out. I have criticized F5 for some things on this list and still get reviewed. And have you gotten any of Howington's zines lately? I stopped reviewing it because it became one folded page, half of it was stuff stolen from the Net. It's more a commercial for Howington than a zine. Why bother to review or trade for something that someone puts less than an hour into making when, if you are like me, you spend 200+ hours working on an issue. -dan

Paul T. Olson:
Give Howington and Friedman A LITTLE CREDIT, will you? For example, Goth Shmoth (my zine) #5,6,&7 were not reviewed in F5 primarily because I DIDN'T SEND THEM. F5 didn't review issues 2,3, or 4 and so like anyone with a brain, I dropped them from the mailing list in exactly the same way that I dropped one of my old college buddies from the mailing list because he never even said as much as, "Hey, I got the zine. It was cool." I'm not going to waste my time sending the zine out for free to people who can't even be troubled to comment on it. That goes for F5, or AYTD, or Opuntia or my old college chums. If someone who PAID for it decided not to comment, that would be a TOTALLY different thing and perfectly within their rights. Howington would have to be a COMPLETE FOOL to keep sending Losers Are Cool to F5. It's nothing personal -- I just can't afford to throw too many copies of my zine down a rathole.

Peggy Swanson:
Two comments. First, isn't it generally agreed that Robert Howington IS "a complete fool"? And second, if we thus assume he does still send his zines to F5, isn't my point still valid? Howington's zines were routinely reviewed, favorably, in F5 until he began criticizing Seth Friedman. After that, his zines are no longer reviewed at all. Assuming he's still sending his zines to F5, my only point is that this is a rather tacky way for Seth to respond. Losers Are Cool... Bunnyhop... Ben Is Dead... Perhaps others. There appears to be a pattern here. Get Seth angry, and you're out of Factsheet Five. It's not quite as serious a problem as the Clinton/Lewinsky situation, but it's something to consider.

Paul T. Olson:
>Two comments. First, isn't it generally agreed that Robert
>Howington IS "a complete fool"? And second, if we thus assume
>he does still send his zines to F5, isn't my point still valid?
Look -- if I give you two and then give you two more, if you wind up with four -- it's not MY problem.
>Howington's zines were routinely reviewed, favorably, in F5
who ISN'T reviewed favorably in F5? That's redundant and repetative.
>until he began criticizing Seth Friedman. After that, his zines
>are no longer reviewed at all. Assuming he's still sending his
>zines to F5, my only point is that this is a rather tacky way for
>Seth to respond.
If I started criticizing Seth (which seemed to be the big pastime on alt.zines before pretending to be Paul T. Olson became the new fad), one of the other things I'd do is TAKE HIM OFF MY MAILING LIST (which I did, actually, just without the criticizing bit).
>There appears to be a pattern here. Get Seth angry, and you're out
>of Factsheet Five. It's not quite as serious a problem as the
>Clinton/Lewinsky situation, but it's something to consider.
Or, get Seth angry and save yourself the cost of the comp copy you'd send him.

Peggy Swanson: (PaulTOlson) wrote a long post. And he was right. I yield to his superior arguments, and in fact, I took F5 off my mailing list in early 1996, after likewise sending my zine three times and getting not one mention. My zine, however, included no criticisms of Factsheet 5. I think it was probably excluded because my zine was and is a lightweight quickie. I bear Seth no particular ill will, and don't really want to restart the let's knock Seth festival here. But I wish the decisions about what makes the cut in Factsheet 5 wre strictly on the merits of quality. What does it mean whn Becker says Seth got Socially Fucking Retarded, but there's no review in the forthcoming issue oif Factsheet 5? I think it means you've got to be careful about pissing Seth off, or your zine just doesn't exist in Factsheet 5... And I think that's petty and wrong.

Brenda N.:
Maybe this has been discused before i got here, but i'm really a little startled to read that zines are excluded from factsheet five if they criticize the editor. is nobody going to disagree, that this doesn't happen? why isn't anyone else surprised? factsheet 5 has always been my main connection to zines, and it's really disappointing if what you guys are saying is true.

Paul T. Olson:
>Maybe this has been discused before i got here, but i'm really
>a little startled to read that zines are excluded from factsheet
>five if they criticize the editor. is nobody going to disagree,
>that this doesn't happen?
I think The Loser would be willing to spend the rest of his life ranting that his zine was "censored" or something out of F5 by Friedman because Howington criticized Friedman. Personally, I think people who don't like Seth DON'T SEND THEIR ZINES TO HIM (as Dan Halligan would say, "Insert DUH here."). No big conspiracy I've never criticized Seth and MY zine isn't reviewed in F5 (hint: I don't mail it to F5, how are they going to get it?). I think you're just trying to stir up trouble. Besides I thought Seth LEFT F5, and didn't he, just a few months ago, post here that he wanted us to STOP sending zines?
>why isn't anyone else surprised? factsheet 5 has always been my
>main connection to zines, and it's really disappointing if what
>you guys are saying is true.
No one, besides Howington IS saying it's true. Maybe that's a (big) hint that it's NOT true. F5 isn't the only place to get zine reivews, however -- as besides Amusing Yourself to Death, Zine World, Opuntia, Bleeding Velvet Octopus, more and more zines are running their OWN zine reviews and taking charge of their own networking. Bottom line: F5 is not a Federal Agency or a Nonprofit Organization. The editor may put whatever they want in it and if you don't like it, tough titty.

Dan Halligan:
Good point, and I think sometimes the problem is zine editors are putting Factsheet Five on a pedestal. To me it's just one of many places I send my zine for review (and with my zine, a good review in MRR or Punk Planet will generate a lot more orders than one in F5). We review at least 50 zines every issue of 10 THINGS, and I think if most of us were cool about doing zine reviews, it could help us all out getting the word out AND decreasing the dependency on one or two zines for doing all the reviewing for us. To get on my DIY soapbox for a minute, do zine reviews in your zine and stop whining about how other zines review zines. It will help the zine community overall, plus just maybe you will begin to sympathize a little with F5 and Zine World for the sometimes weird criteria they use in deciding what to review. --dan

Robert Howington:
No, I AM NOT gonna spend the rest of my life 'ranting' about F5. I don't need to anymore because, finally, most zinesters have caught on that F5 sucks. Zine World is the world champion of zine review zines. Just look how much it outranked F5 in that Zine Guide poll that came out recently. It blew away F5. 'Nuff said. I'm the only one that has the guts to come on here to say that F5 censors folks. It's not that others don't believe it to be true. I've gotten mail and email from people who say what I say but don't say it publicly because, unlike me, they're afraid to lose face with the rest of the zine world. But not me. I'll fucking say anything on here. And ZW, AYTD and BVO, and the others, have all spawned due to the fact that F5 sucks so bad. Zinesters realized the large amount of slack left by F5 had to be taken up somehow, some way and fast. And they did it. Thank you, Doug Holland. Thank you, Ruel Gaviola. Thank you, Mike Halchin. All three of you have done a great service to zinedom.

Yes, it's fucked up if zines are being censored from F5. But I thought about it for a sec and realized something - If you ran a review zine and someone talked shit about you or it, would you be inclined to review them? Maybe I'd like to think I would, but more likely, one would say, well, fuck you then, if I/we suck so bad, we won't disgrace you with our review.

Peggy Swanson:
Yeah, I think that's what's happened at Factsheet 5, several times, and it's perfectly understandable. It's like a cop who takes extra pleasure in clubbing you and maybe takes a few extra swings because you called him a pig, or a basketball referee who gets a little quicker with the whist;e if you've told him he's a sucky referee. it's human nature. it's also something that someone with some integrity should be on the lookout for, and striuve to rise above. don't you think?

Seth Robson:
That seems to be standard operation procedure: they take 300 copies of a zine, send 3-4 copies to most of the stores, and that's about it. The upshot is that Bunnyhop usually only lingers in most Tower outlets for a week or two before they're all gone, and they generally don't get restocked. So although our sell-through is very very high (usually 20-40 returns out of 300-400 copies sent), we're never on their shelves very long and many people assume they don't carry us. Unfortunately, trying to get ahold of someone in West Sacramento to discuss their draw is like pulling teeth.

Chris Becker:
I wrote a review of Howington's Losers Are Cool. That should be appearing in the upcoming issue. Likewise, a review of Zine World is also running. Some readers of Zine World and Factsheet Five have been concerned that Zine World is being excluded. That is not the case.

Chris Becker:
I haven't seen an issue of Ben is Dead in some time. To my knowledge they are not sending review copies to Factsheet Five. I would be happy to review it. We did get Socially Fucking Retarded in the mail. I thought Seth was reviewing it for this upcoming issue. I just checked and there is no review for it. I assumed Seth did get a copy but looking back I can't say for sure. I don't speak for him. I would have liked to have a review run. If I had known previously that it was not being reviewed, I would have done it myself.

I never had that problem with my old zine SMITE. I put out 9 issues, got reviewed in F5 9 times. I don't think my zine was better or worse than anybody else's...I just made sure that a copy was in the hands of the reviewers before the review deadline....pretty simple, really.

Unless I've missed it, no-one has yet evaluated the first issue of Factsheet 5 with Chris Becker as editor (#63). I was a bit disappointed that the new travel section, to which they seemed so committed an issue ago, got demoted to the back - since quirky is at the front and has most-favoured-genre status, it seems to follow that the stuff at the back is the least favoured. Also, everyone has run out of stamps by the time they get to the back. It's almost enough to make me petition Chris and Seth to review Infiltration as a quirky zine rather than a travel zine (though I'm proud of the company in the travel section). But personal complaints aside, I thought it was an improved issue. I continued to enjoy the brief letters section, and the new news section was also interesting - F5 can't compete with Amusing Yourself to Death or Zine World in that department, but at least they can let everyone who doesn't get AYTD or Zine World in on what was in the news a few months ago. Chris' reviews and articles strike me as being straightforward, which is a good thing. He seems fair, or perhaps fair-to-generous, and he doesn't seem to be carrying on personal vendettas in his reviews (aside from perhaps "Punk Pals Unwashed," p40). I think he could be a little more critical. I respect that he seems to have fulfilled his promises in this group to review everything sent his way. So, now that Chris has proved he can do a good job as editor, here are the future changes I hope he'll try to slip past Seth, in order of urgency:
1. Either eliminate cover scans or make them small and free of charge. As many people here probably know, it takes about three minutes to do a black and white scan and prepare it for publication. It costs nothing. These cover scans are $50 advertisements (as made clear by one review's ad copy asking people to "please mention F5 when ordering to get these special rates," p14). Print the scans of the zines with the most interesting covers, instead of lamely trying to describe them in text, as is often done.
2. Rewrite almost all the section intro blurbs. These are very stale (for example, "Riot Grrrls are getting a lot of attention these days..."). Rethink sections: do Grrrls need their own section, or can their zines be classified by subject (politics, personal) rather than gender? I love humour zines, but why not merge the medley/humour sections? These two almost always overlap. And are the many cooking and pagan zines really quirky, or are they just leftovers?
3. Kill the reviews of recordings, e-zines and other things which are clearly not zines (if anyone mentions barcodes I'm leaving). If someone really wants to review e-zines, post these reviews on instead. Considerably shorten book review section to feature only books with a real connection to zining, rather than all the cool books people have sent to Seth. Use this liberated space to expand upon the reviews relegated to the "other zines" section. Work towards the eventual goal of eliminating the "other zines" section - present short reviews in the same format and point-size as long reviews.
4. Call more attention to other review zines and mail-order joints, possibly with free/traded ad space near the front or back in the generous style of AYTD. Don't bury this important stuff in the "Publishing" section - people who don't make zines would probably be very interested, too.
5. Cheaper Canadian subscription rates. Mailing to Canada isn't that much more. Some zines (like 2600) offer Canadian subs at the same price as US subs. F5 charges almost twice as much. $35US is way too much!
6. Getting pickier: Less San Francisco bias in reviews and fewer spoilers (often, the reviews are presented in such a way that you no longer feel the need to get the zine, because the big joke has been told, or the big climax has been revealed - I think this is sloppy reviewing).
Yeah, I know if I don't like what I'm given I should shut up and start my own review zine, but hey. Posting to alt.zines is easier. Anyone have any other items for an F5 wishlist?

Pam Yam:
I agree with most of your comments, and you said it all much more diplomatically than I would have <smile>. This issue of FS5 is an improvement. I only saw one issue of AYTD, and don't remember the news section as being all that great; maybe I'm not giving them enough credit. But ZW's news section is amazing, especially this issue. There's more zine-related news before ZW even starts reviewing zines than you'll find in Factsheet 5, Obscure, Alternative Press Review and alt.zines all put together. Let's see. Both FS5 and ZW report on the Guinea Pig Zero fiasco, and FS5 has the Hit Man story, which I've read about in the newspaper several times. Other than that, FS5 news is that a maildrop closed, a stamp art gallery went out of business, Oprah Winfrey got sued, etc. This is news? ZW news is that kids all over the country are getting kicked out of school for doing zines, a guy in France is on trial for writing that the Holocause never happened, See Hear names names on who buys the NAMBLA Bulletin, the FCC raids more and more pirate radio stations, the publisher of this zine had a heart attack, another zinester died, another recovered from surgery, Galdalf updates, handing out political zines gets you arrested, and more and more. I don't know about FS5 just being a few months behind the curve, as ZW always has this kind of news and it never makes it into FS%, where many times more readers could be informed about what's going on. The FS5 news section is a beginning. I'll give them that. But (a) it's about fucking time, and (b) I'd like to see them cover some real news that I didn't already know about. I am troubled by the $50 cover scans, because they're advertising that isn't clearly marked as advertising. If they need the money, maybe just run a blurb under the cover that says PAID ADVERTISEMENT. I also notice that out of 30-some paid cover scans, two got publisher's choice, and all got reviewed. That is better than the standard odds. I think the reason there's a "recordings" section is again advertising. Those short pages always generate a lot of ad income. Without record and CD reviews, no record and CD ads.

Jeff Potter:
Yay! Thoughtful, constructive tips on improving a zine! WOW! Alt.zines being ABOUT zines for a change! :) Really, we hardly ever see zine REVIEWS or comment here in the constructive sense. (I exagerrate, but you get the point.) The *news* comment about ZW is enough to make me subscribe. I'm a news-media person in real life...but since it doesn't actually exist in the straight world and is darn rare in zineland, I don't watch TV, read a paper, sub to mags or hardly any zines anymore. It's BECAUSE I'm a newsperson that I can't watch 'news'. I'm a 'local community' person, live in the town I grew up in after travelling world for a decade...but since there is no 'local community' anymore, it seems like a ride my bike thru an invisible one home. SO! What ZW offers sounds like something almost REAL for a change...and I take that seriously! Unfortunately, I've read ZW a few times and see that it has a slant, an axe to grind, its own bias, in its news. It's mainly lefty/anarch news...which is processed thru the exact same grinder Dan Rather's is. But the review here makes it sound like almost close enuf to real to be worth it; maybe the best available. News has always had a slant of course...the left paper, the right paper duking it out. But it's all yellow and not really for adults: amusement freak show sports astrology celebrities, etc. Of course that's what books and literature also are in West Civ these days, so on to the next topic... About the F5 books section: it seems like they should only review tiny press stuff, homebrew books, fringe books by the 'crazy' publishers. (Paladin/Loomp---Spotlight!---ha. Can you imagine a review resource for these? Actually there are serious fringies out there, not all crazy but definitely NOT reviewed elsewhere and definitely CENSORED from both mainstream and alternative bookstores...natural zine allies...many are well-researched, etc., but simply come up with an *unpopular* conclusion---enuf for doom almost everywhere in West Civ), and as you said zine books. Gunderloy had better sectional divisions, more mature. But maybe zining had more adults back then? There's no 'Bicycles' section anymore. 90% kiddy stuff now. Same then?

Dan Halligan:
My zine is the same price for Canada and Mexico as in the US. It's actually cheaper to send it as printed matter to either country than the cost of mailing it first class in the US. So if you send your zine first class in the US, there is no excuse for an increased rate for our neighboors to the North and South. I do think however F5 goes out bulk in the US for a fairly cheap rate, so the Canadian price should reflect the printed matter air rates to Canada. Although $35 seems a bit extreme, it probaly costs about $3 per issue in postage. --dan

I realize F5 elects to send issues via bulk mail in the US and via first class airmail to Canada, but I doubt airmail is the only option. I bet Seth could get a permit to send second-class or bulk mail to Canada. It might be a bureaucratic hassle, but it could lead to a fair number of Canadian subs. As it stands now, it's considerably cheaper for Canadians to pick it up on newsstands ($33.50 Canadian for 6 issues instead of $35 US).

P. Bronson:
I don't know what you mean by San Francisco bias. A lot of zines come from San Francisco, so they get reviewed. Are the reviews unfair, you think? I don't see that...

Yes, that is what I was trying to say. I think the reviews featuring San Francisco places and people are generally more enthusiastic. Sorry, I can't back this up with quotations and facts, it's just an ongoing thing I've noticed since I began reading Factsheet 5 a couple years ago. I doubt even the editors would deny this, though. I certainly admit that I tend to be more interested in people and places I know personally. But it strikes me as something the editors should try to overcome.

Maybe the people at Factsheet 5 just aren't technology friendly. This might explain why they feel $50 US is fair compensation for a 2-minute cover scan.

Jeff Koyen:
Or, maybe you're just a fucking asshole. Why don't you shut the fuck up about what F5 feels justified in charging for a cover scan? Perhaps adding a cover scan to their layout is worth $50 to Seth & Co. Maybe for less, it wouldn't be worth the aggravation and multiple modifications necessary to make it work come production time. You've got no right to dictate what another publisher can charge, so step down until you prove yourself capable of providing a viable, worthy alternative.

The reason I've complained about the cover scans (twice now) is that I'm opposed to the deceptiveness of the practice. I have enough experience in zine/magazine production to know that scanning a grayscale image, optimizing it for output, and inserting the image into a document costs no money, and shouldn't take more than 10 minutes time. I doubt other publishers who use scanned images in their zines/magazines, including the staff at Factsheet 5, would disagree with me on this point. I think charging $50 US for a simple cover scan, and pretending this is anything other than an ad, is an immoral blurring of the line between editorial and advertising. I once worked for a magazine that had an unwritten polciy of providing favourable articles about advertiser's products as part of the "complete ad package". It was a deceptive practice, so I refused to participate. It is ethically suspect to publish subsidized editorial content (including illustrations) without clearly presenting it as advertising to both the advertiser and the reader. I agree that I have no right to dictate what another publisher can do, but I do have a right to offer my opinion. I don't understand why this outraged you.

Jeff Koyen:
Well, then let me disagree for them. Perhaps you publish some little 16-page digest-size piece of pulp. At such a small, amateurish level, inserting a b&w scan is no big deal. In fact, for some of the little guys, the more time one spends noodling around on the scans is less time one needs to spend on the writing and editing. Funny, that. But for larger magazines, the complications of layout are a little more intricate. I'd say, overall, it takes half an hour to insert that cover scan. This includes the scanning, touch-up to account for dot gain (familiar with the term?) and anchoring the image in the text flow (and later hoping that last-minute changes don't force you to move it). Then, perhaps when output-time comes, the cover scan means you can't just send your pages to that 600-dpi laser printer which was always sufficient. Now, you either need to find a 1200-dpi laser or go spend money on imagesetter output. (Don't bother telling me that a 600-dpi greyscale is sufficient. If you do, you'll only betray ignorance. Don't make me bring out my dpi-to-greyscale calculation chart!) Now, let's say one is a freelance writer or designer. Out in the sticks where you obviously live, one can live high-on-the-hog in a swank trailer for $10 an hour. Elsewhere, though, decent freelance wages hit $90/hour. So, for half an hour of additional work--which is undertaken at someone else's request, mind you--$45 or $50 is absolutely, 100% fair. If you can't understand or appreciate that line of thought, then you're obviously still stuck in the little-guy-arbitrarily-fighting-the-big-guy stage of Zine Life. Now, for the larger issue: By offering zines the opportunity to have their cover featured is inviting zine editors to lend their review more weight. I don't recall Seth ever saying that he'd write better reviews for those editors who elect to have their cover included. Face it: Zines don't submit to F5 so that they may get someone else's honest appraisal of their zine. Do they? NO. They submit to F5 so that they may spread the word about their zine and, presumably, extend distribution and readership. So who's kidding whom? F5 has always provided FREE ADVERTISING for zine editors in the form of reviews. Now, he's offering zine editors a chance to emphasize that free advertising which they so eagerly suck up.

When I'm not working on my little digest-sized piece of pulp, I work as the production editor of a full-colour, 56-page magazine. I have previously worked on other books and magazines. I've optimized scans for both newsprint and glossy paper and sheetfed and web presses. I have enough experience to realize that scanning and optimizing a B&W image for newsprint is not hard work.
>But for larger magazines, the complications of layout are
>a little more intricate. I'd say, overall, it takes half an
>hour to insert that cover scan. This includes the scanning,
>touch-up to account for dot gain (familiar with the term?)
>and anchoring the image in the text flow (and later hoping that
>last-minute changes don't force you to move it).
Scanning of camera ready art: 1 minute. Touch up in Photoshop: 2 minutes (or 5 seconds per image if you batch process -- which I would). As for keeping the image together with the review, I'll grant that once every single image has been added to the layout a competent designer might have to spend an additional half hour on layout. This is not a process which is repeated with each individual image, unless the designer is an idiot.
>Then, perhaps when output-time comes, the cover scan means you
>can't just send your pages to that 600-dpi laser printer which was
>always sufficient. Now, you either need to find a 1200-dpi laser or
>go spend money on imagesetter output. (Don't bother telling me that
>a 600-dpi greyscale is sufficient. If you do, you'll only betray
>ignorance. Don't make me bring out my dpi-to-greyscale calculation
It seems silly to argue this point, since F5 has no trouble outputting its other ads which are surely just as high resolution as the covers. As you must know, it's pointless to produce images for output onto rough newsprint at a resolution exceeding 85-lpi, so a 300-dpi or 600-dpi laser print will do just fine. Imagesetter? If anyone's betraying ignorance here, it isn't me. (Incidentally, you Americans spell the word "greyscale" with two a's.)
>Now, let's say one is a freelance writer or designer. Out in the
>sticks where you obviously live, one can live high-on-the-hog in a
>swank trailer for $10 an hour.
"Out in the sticks where you obviously live"? Where does this come from? How does this help your point? Are you laughing when you write this nonsense? Toronto's cost of living is among the highest in the world, certainly much higher than San Francisco's. I don't use this fact to justify ripping other people off. I agree with your last paragraph almost entirely. I think it should be printed on the front page of every issue of Factsheet 5.

Stan Matters:
Now that Seth, Chris, and Elvis have left the building, is there noone to defend Factsheet 5? I'm not offering, of course. Just wondering.

I think Jeff Koyen is adopting that role. Just for the record, I'm not attacking Factsheet 5. I'm attacking a specific practice of Factsheet 5, because I think the magazine would be better off if they abandoned the practice. I like Factsheet 5 and wish it well. I first complained about the cover scans in a message filled with praise and suggestions for Factsheet 5.

Mark Ritter:
You're right about the questionable ethics of both overcharging for such a simple task and pretending it's editorial content instead of advertising. It's been said before and nobody's disputed it, so that's probably the consesus opinion. But Koyen and Friedman are friends. Friedman is too burned out to defend his policy here, and Koyen is too infatuated with his angry-man writing style to do the defending in a reasonable manner. I respect you for not stooping to his level and returning insults for insults.

Jeff Koyen:
What are you, some kind of pussy? Can't take a little harsh language and honest emotion? Jeez-louise. Who are all these new zine people? You'll all so damned crunchy and faggy. Loosen up, chico.

Mark Ritter:
Yes, Jeff, I'm "some kind of pussy," "faggy," etc. Now that you've provided sexist and homosexist insults, will you next proceed to racism and anti-Semitism? If you have an opinion or some facts about the actual issue --- Factsheet 5's selling of advertisements disguised as editorial content --- please proceed. An interesting conversation could result. If all you have are insults, suffice to say that I've been down that path already, as insultor and insultee. It leads nowhere worth going, and you will walk that path without me.

Jeff Koyen:
Only if the punchline is worthwhile.

Paul T. Olson:
>F5 has always provided FREE ADVERTISING for zine
>editors in the form of reviews.
There are things that are free and then there are things that are worthless. I've never gotten much response to any review I've had in F5 and I've had some REALLY good ones.

Jeff Potter:
I got good big response to my good review back when Mike ran things. I think it was a tighter ship shooting to a higher mark with a resulting more discerning readership. Older readership? Actually, shooting high impresses anyone, young old smart dumb. I don't mean to slam the RSF's a new F5 for a new scene... I wonder if he COULD dial up like the old F5 even if he wanted to. It's one thing if he's doing what he can (not necessarily lower than the old F5, just different). It's another thing if he's shooting to a diff demographic. If so, I'd suspect that banking on the idiot kids would be only a temporarily popular move, insufficient for a long haul. But maybe it's just as good as ever, maybe it's tons better. Maybe I'm just turning into an old fart. The only real thing that matters is that he's DOING it. (But it can't hurt for folks to nudge, give ideas, etc.)

Stan Matters:
I think people's memories of the Good Old Gunderloy Days are muddied by time. Bigness has brought on a few additional problems, and Seth's burnout hasn't helped, but truth is, overall, Seth's F5 has the same flavor as Mike's.

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