Up To Now: ghughu and FooFoo

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Up To Now by Jack Speer, 1939

Up To Now: IPO<——>Up To Now: The Atheism Issue

This world-shaking conflict must be looked upon as a Second Fandom counterpart of the First Staple War; indeed, ghughu is probably the thing Wollheim began working on at the conclusion of that war. (Some of the fighters apply the Staple War rules regarding capitalization of the opposition's name -- ghughu:FooFoo for this writer.)

ghughu was a burlesque on religion, the combination "gh" being frequently applied in such words as ghod and demighod, gholy ghrail, etc. the cult worships ghughu, who, they claim, is wollheim. FooFooists maintain that the real ghughu is a beetle-bodied monster living on the planet vulcan, and Wollheim but his tool. Their organization is essentially ecclesiastical, with high priest John B. Michel at its head, and the general title for lower members archbishop for their respective cities. Where more than one is in the same city, other titles come into play, such as archdeacon infernal of all ghu, ghuardian of the gholy grail, saint, etc.

FooFoo had Its Origin in the Use of That Syllable by The Prophet Bill Holman, in His comic page, "Smokey Stover" and His daily cartoons for newspapers thruout the country. Schoolchildren took to making up foo proverbs ("foo" is also a common noun) of their own, and the West Coast punsters were not exempt. Mary Corrine Gray, known as Pogo, established the Order of FooFoo with herself as Hi Priestess and Ackerman her Right-Hand Man. The idea having independently occurred to Speer, Ackerman put him in touch with Pogo, and he was forthwith dubbed Royal General of FooFoo and also referred to as the Left-Hand Man. Later, a Midi-Man was appointed, also Handi-Maiden and Handi-Man to the Hi Priestess. Later titles conferred by the Royal General in the Hi Priestess' name, and eventually confirmed by a printed permanent membership card signed and countersigned, were such as Grand Vizier, Chief Scientist, Poetess Laureate, and enigmatic ones like Proselytus Prime, Sideralis Beta, Vanday Oon, etc.

As can be seen, the titles are more those of a military monarchy than of a church, and FooFoo is more a Burlesque on ghu rather than a Burlesque on that which ghudom mimics. No more than did the staple organizations, did either of these groups gain a great number of acknowledged members (tho ghudom claims that all who have ever heard of ghughu are thenceforth purple-souled and saved despite themselves, and Foomen claim for their rank and file all who speak foo proverbs), but since, unlike the staplists, they have never come to a showdown, the division promises to be more or less a permanent tradition in fandom. It cuts across other allegiances, and is never taken seriously. Many people regard it as simply silly.[1]

Mention might be made here of other mock organizations which appeared from time to time. There were the Vombi, an unofficial group, who went around saying, "It's utterly Vombish", and explaining the root "vomb" in such ways as, "If that chair you're sitting in turned into a stack of Bar-O at 15¢ for two cans, that would be Vombish". There was the Loyal and Benevolent Protective Order of Wollheim Stooges, which apparently had as its aim the discrediting of use of the term "stooge" by pretending that it was all absolutely true; their ranks were theoretically open to all who had ever disagreed with Will Sykora. Robert G. Thompson, DTm, tried to form a Temponautical Society and was opposed by the Anti-Temponautical Society; both proposed publications but it seems that neither ever saw print ("temponautical" means "time-traveling"). And Bob Tucker achieved some early success with |WAFFF!|, the meaning of the initials of which is known only to members, who must qualify with a proof that the world is flat.

  1. Rosconians, for instance.

Up To Now: IPO<——>Up To Now: The Atheism Issue

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