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Anti-zinester sentiment! How do you feel about the term zinester?

Are all of you folks comfortable with the term zinester? I have big problems with the word because it implies that I am a part of a scene. I consider myself a writer. A writer who would be writing whether or not there are zines. The term zinester is one that started being prominent when the D.I.Y/radical dirty kids appropriated the zine in the mid-nineties when most independant writers went online. That was the same time that zines started to tank in quality because instead of being used as an available medium for anyone, it was fetishized for it's archaic quality by a certain scene who then started pushing zines about the same shit like making out and riding bikes and polyamoury.

Zines have since becoms a "safe place" where only a few topics are covered. You see less zines be older people or contraverisal people or disenfranchised people, very few zines about labor or cultural critique. Years ago, when someone said that they didn't like zines it meant they were square and needed a professional to tell them what to read. Now it means they don't want to read about how great it was on a rooftop on night.

The term zinester and the zine community that is being pushed is really confining. I write a zine because it is a medium I have access to, not because I want to be a part of a community. Have you heard of a book community that just calls themselves that because they all make books? Republican writers chilling with Leftists and people who write cookbooks chilling with a sci-fi author because they are all booksters?

It's also the zinester philosophy that's been pushing the idea that making a zine is the hightest good, no matter what the quality and that everyone should be making one no matter what. Teaching make-a-zine-in-an-hour workshops that encourage people to lower the bar. Fuck that! You should be making a zine if you have something to say. 

I don't really get offended when someone calls me a zinester by accident, it makes sense considering the prominence of the word. However, I always feel the need to correct them. I do take offense the fact that just because I make a zine I'm already a part of a club that I don't feel like I identify with at all. And that writing in zines isn't taken seriously anymore by anyone accept for this scene, because of the stuff that they are promoting.

I think that people can write about whatever they want and I don't have to read it. But I feel like the problem is more with the fact that, due to the speed of the internet making zines archaic has allowed a certain group (the zinester) to say that they are the voice of zines. I feel like some of the best zines being made out there like "Underworld Crawl" are marginalized due to the fact that they don't fit in the zinester scene/community stuff like that.

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I find it completely hilarious that people are caught up on what folks may refer to them by simply because of what they use as a creative outlet. Especially when said creative outlet are zines which are a big "fuck you" to the mainstream publishing world and mostly done by folks who (supposedly) don't give a rat's ass what society or others think of them.

Is it really that seriously weighing on your mind?

Craven Rock said:
Um, I am not whining about anything, I am having an honest discussion about something that is interesting to me and from the looks of it a lot of differant people on here. If it's not interesting to you why are you here? No one is twisting your arm to get on this particular forum and call people out for using abbreviations like idk. No, thank you, I participate in zine culture and have every right to critique things that bother me about it, so I will not go write a blog.

NicoleIntrovert said:
Then don't write zines. Go write a blog. Or a book. No one is twisting your arm to create a zine.

Then you won't be a zinester and you can stop whining about something so absolutely absurd.
"Then don't write zines. Go write a blog. Or a book. No one is twisting your arm to create a zine.

Then you won't be a zinester and you can stop whining about something so absolutely absurd."

While this post is pretty stupid and serves no purpose beyond trying to dismiss what was, up until this point, a rather thoughtful and intelligent discussion I do have to admit that I love the idea of using the phrase "Go write a blog" as a dismissive insult.
In all fairness, though, I was being pretty reactionary in that first post, so I was kind of asking to be misunderstood.

Craven Rock said:
To say that writing about riding a bike is automatically writing about environmentalism makes about as much sense as saying that when I write about driving my car I am writing about trying to destroy the environment.

I have never assumed that most zines are about making out on rooftops My argument is that those zines aren't recognized because of...well you put it well when you were putting words in my mouth...the "fad" element. And that most people that I talk to dismiss zines for that very reason.

I will admit that polyamoury was a poor choice of cliches, though, I should have said crushes.

Laura said:
"A writer who would be writing whether or not there are zines. The term zinester is one that started being prominent when the D.I.Y/radical dirty kids appropriated the zine in the mid-nineties when most independant writers went online. That was the same time that zines started to tank in quality because instead of being used as an available medium for anyone, it was fetishized for it's archaic quality by a certain scene who then started pushing zines about the same shit like making out and riding bikes and polyamoury."
woah.
Personally I find this really really offensive. not just on a personal level, but offensive to the whole history of zines. Zines were created to so that people who didn't have the means to otherwise be published could be heard. Right from the uber nerdy sci-fi writers to the dada-ists to soldiers in the Vietnam War.

Yeah they were used by 'writers', but it was mainly cos no one else would publish them or they wanted to create their own space to publish their work. And also so that they could right about what ever the hell they fancied, be it cycling, socialism, polamory or civil rights.

I think that you are completely wrong to assume that most zines are about making out on rooftops, there are hundreds of zines about political and social issues, and I also think there are great zines about people's personal experiences with issues such as environmentalism (cycling) and sexuality (polamory) and it's very short sighted of you to assume that these are just worthless pieces of paper produced in a fad.
People have said, "why don't you write a zine about it?," to me before to dismiss me, so here it comes full circle. Hey, maybe that's why I'm so insecure with the word zinester. I live a life of eternal struggle! Where do I belong?

Ericfishlegs said:
"Then don't write zines. Go write a blog. Or a book. No one is twisting your arm to create a zine.

Then you won't be a zinester and you can stop whining about something so absolutely absurd."

While this post is pretty stupid and serves no purpose beyond trying to dismiss what was, up until this point, a rather thoughtful and intelligent discussion I do have to admit that I love the idea of using the phrase "Go write a blog" as a dismissive insult.
i guess its because the person feels they don't identify with the zine culture. but i agree with you

NicoleIntrovert said:
Zinester = one who writes/reads/participates in zine culture.

What is wrong with that?
From an old Webster Collegiate Dictionary, circa 1940 to 1960:

"-ster [A(nglo) S(axon)l -estre, -istre]. A suffix denoting orig. the female agent, esp. one who does something with skill or as an occupation, as in songster, spinster (orig., a woman who spins). Such formations came later to be regarded as masculine, some of them giving rise to new feminines as in 'stress, as in 'seamstress' (from older 'seamster'), songstress. In the modern period the suffix is joined to nouns (roadster, gangster) and, more rarely, to adjectives (oldster, youngster), the notion of agency tending to be lost, and the suffix often having a depreciatory sense (as in dabster, rhymester)."

I find "zine editor" misleading applied to me, because even though I do publish letters and other contributions, I don't have much of a selection process. It sounds too formal and "professional" for what I do.

"Zine publisher" is just slighly too cumbersome for me, though I don't particularly object to it.

I guess I can see "zinester" as cutesy, but don't at first glance. Like "zine" it almost has it's own intrinsic meaning to me as distinct from "magazine". Let me give a metaphor. Have you ever seen one of the old roundish cars from the 40's, with the yellow and black flames painted on the side? Well, that may the automobilic equivalent of a zine. The odeon art deco theaters, the Hermes Rocket, the various "streamlined" gadgets from the 30's to the mid-50's, and their enthusiasts suggest the "intrinsic meaning" I find in "zine" and "zinester". Of course there's variation within this concept. There's more of a "hands-on craftmanship" and "rough-hewn" sense to the suffix "ster" than "editor" and "publisher". ZinER, just doesn't sound right.

Saying I write/publish/make zines is okay, but sometimes you like to vary your sentence structure a little, and that requires a "self-label" (I am a ....).

Whatever problems I might acknowledge in "zinester", none of the alternatives offered, or I can think of, work for me quite as well, except maybe, "self-publisher".

I'm not going to shun the word, but of course, I may make some effort to avoid referring to any "writers, zine editors, etc." by it who don't want me to. (But the problem is, it seems like there's always some word or expression coming up that irks or offends somebody, and it gets kind of hard to keep track of them all, not to mention communicate, as the list of acceptable words seems to constantly shrink.)

While we're on the subject of irksome words, I've never cared for "blog" and "blogger", and if I ever start "blogging" in earnest, I'm going to have to think of something to replace it with, that's easy and understandable. (But if somebody found it easier to call me a blogger, I could live with it, I guess.)
touche. fair enough.

NicoleIntrovert said:
And using "idk" isn't juvenile?

Saling Pusa Distro said:
idk... personally i feel weird whenever i say/type "zinester". i sounds so... idk, juvinile maybe? to me it feels like it lacks seriusness... but hey that's just what i think... but what else can we call it?
It's been a rough day (also on SE Belmont) but this made me laugh. Thanks.

Mulnix said:
From one zinester to another, take my advice- you should really bake some vegan muffins to work off some of this anger.

When you calm down, give me a call- me and the guys are going to be holding our Men's Knitting Circle over at the regular place on SE Belmont tomorrow night. We're discussing ethical alternatives to innate male aggression, and finding new ways to incorporate Oriental, I mean ASIAN, influences into our lives. The theme of the meeting is : "Can't We all Just Knit Sarongs?"

In the second part of the Men's Knitting Circle, we'll be talking about the latest issue of Body and Soul Magazine over tea and cookies.

And, as a finale, we'll be calling up our ex-girlfriends to apologize for our being moody and controlling.


Won't you join your fellow zinesters?
i have a speech impediment, or a lisp, heh
so it can be kind of annoying telling a person over and over, ZINE, zinester. but whatever.=]
i'm fond of the term and i'm a lil proud to be a ZINESTER..
i usually say im a zine writer.
i think i first came across "zinester" in that book Philosophy of Punk by Craig O'Hara from the 90's. I dont have a problem with the word but im not inclined to use it either. i take Cravens point but i think certain big distros have more influence over trends in zine culture/ content than what the term "zinester" might imply.
i generally wouldnt call myself a "writer" eventhough i do write, in much the same way i dont call myself an "artist" i find it abit pretentious but maybe its a confidence thing on my part... so ill stick with zine writer.
I know this post has been pretty much commented on to death now, but I only just read through it and wanna add my say. Basically, I have no problem with the term zinester. I guess I could understand why some people might take it as being a little clique-y, but for me it just seemed an easy abbreviation like: zinester = zine writER or readER. I enjoy the coinage :)

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