Political Pondering
The topic at hand is leadership and why it works or more precisely does not work within a tlhIngan fandom framework. The art of tlhIngan fandom is all about attempting to re-create a complete culture from incomplete source material. Some see this as a challenge and some see this as a hurdle, either way it is a daunting task which must be accomplished in order to participate fully.

In fandom (of all types) we tend to organize ourselves into groups. These groups are most commonly called Fan Clubs but the specifics may vary. In order to have a group one must have a leader. The leader is the figurative head of the dragon without which no fire could be breathed. Now this is all well and good in most types of fan clubs, but tlhIngan fandom complicates this so much. tlhInganmey are all about striving forward, taking charge of the situation, being all you can be and then some. The individual who joins a tlhIngan club is usually a Type A personality or at least fancies themselves one. Among other things this means that such individuals rarely take orders well.

In most of the clubs I have observed there is at least one member who “knows” that he could be running the organization better than the current head. When such power struggles occur either the new leader wins or the new leader looses and leaves to form a splinter group.

Such fragmentation is not good for fandom as a whole nor is it the best course of action for most of the individuals involved. That being said, no one seems bothered by the idea of breaking off and forming new smaller groups where before there was unity. It is not unheard of to have splinter movements off of splinter movements. This forces us into diplomatic situations when we should be involved with social situations.

While a certain amount of political maneuvering is inevitable in any organization, we as members should strive to purge all but the most necessary politics. tlhInganmey are warriors not politicians so when we look to role-play these characters we should role-play them as such. The overall goal here is enjoyment, not an ulcer.
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Costumes or Uniforms?
What's in a name, to quote the Klingon Bard, “That which we would call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

When all of us joined a tlhIngan club, we knew that to some extent we would be making a tlhIngan character. We also knew that we would have to look the part, tlhIngan do of course wear clothes. Therein lies the heart of this question, one that some would see as frivolous. As club members do we wear costumes or uniforms?

Certainly the garments we wear as tlhIngan would be considered a costume by outsiders. We have all worn costumes before, as children on Halloween. But these are of a different type. Since they are worn over and over again they must be more durable than the average Halloween Costume. Since they usually look at least a little bit like what our fellow club members wear they take on a uniform quality. Since they tend to bear symbols of awards and advancement we earn as club members, they change as we do. It certainly sounds like they bear some higher significance than a simple costume.

Fan Clubs are not the only organizations to require uniforms from their members. Everyone from the kid at the gas station to the Joint Chiefs of staff wear uniforms of some type. Many fraternal organizations and social clubs have at least a ceremonial uniform.

The answer to this question lies not in what we call our clothes but in how we see them. When I first became involved with tlhInganmey I could never find the pieces of my costume, now I keep all of my uniform in one box. I have other uniforms I must wear for other functions and they are all kept in good condition. I have come to think that as a uniform my tlhIngan clothes are not for the benefit of those who see me but for the benefit of the club I joined. I wear a uniform as do my fellow members.

However I think the name such clothes go by is not quite as important as the esteem we hold them in. If they are kept up to a standard level of care, and given even a small amount of respect then we may wear them proudly. What is important is that we do not discredit our clubs or ourselves by wearing cheap costumes instead of proud uniforms.
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Klingons Take Heed, A Dark Time IS Approaching
Yes, we are entering into the second dark age of thlIngan fandom. The first was of course the time between the last time the classic series aired a Klingon episode to the time Star Trek III was released in theaters. During that dark time it was the fans who kept the flame of the warrior alive. With the help of a few authors in the Star Trek Novel series, and the FASA company the first dark age was made bearable. It was in fact during this period that most of the new ideas and concepts that are still used by the various fan clubs came into being.

Now, we all know that fandom (especially fan clubs) is a fluid thing. The very structure of our clubs has been through many changes, some of the clubs we tend to think of as original Klingon clubs no longer exist in the form we knew them. This is not a bad thing, remember Nal Komerex Khesterex, That which does not grow withers and dies. It is now in our hands to make sure that klingon fandom does not wither and die.

The die hard fans kept the flame alive until the neo-klingons (among which I count my self) came onto the scene, spurred on by the new Klingon appearances in the movies and T.V. shows Now we all must keep the flame alive until the end of this new dark age.

Star Trek:TNG is gone, DS9 which was mainly concerned with cardasians and bajorans punctuated with a few token Klingon stories is gone, Voyager, also gone now was to far from know space to involve Klingons and Generations killed off all of their Klingons (except for Worf, lap-dog to the stars). Even Enterprise which showed promise with an opening sequence about first contact, is now gone. Enterprise did however go out with a bang, and formalize the history of the fusions. There are of course going to be books but there will not be any continuity and then what does make it through our critical eyes will be declared "non-cannon" whatever that is. Yet still it will ultimately be the fans who decide what makes a Klingon a Klingon.

As we enter this second dark age we need to hang together or we will surely hang separately. Klingons need to realize that our only comrades are other Klingons. The Federation has always been well represented and needs little support to make their clubs work, nearly all the media out there is for them. I realize that the very creativity that we praise sometime leads us down weird tangents, causing there to be some strange semi-klingon variants that are distasteful to many, myself included, we must however protect ourselves from the dilution of Klingons into some unknown apparition.

For the sake of the empire and all of who call ourselves Klingon we must stand together in solidarity for the duration of the second and hopefully last dark age.
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