The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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i miss ship wars like so much
children of dune - leto 1
This is an unreasonable rant. You are warned. Also, I love all acafen and especially the ones on my flist and I would let you study me if you asked whenever you want, mmkay? I am just saying, this is a rant and I am not reasonable right now.

Reference: That Entire Fannish Survey Thing - Links. Oh God, so many links.

So for the last twenty-four hours, I've been slowly but surely building up to a towering rage at the entire SurveyFail in new and strange ways. I am seriously sitting here with the unflattering realization that fandom--well, me in fandom--is a freaking regency romance heroine in need of rescue like, a lot.

I am aware it is unreasonable to resent this, but I am seriously getting to the point where I spent more time worrying about my fannishness and discussing my fannishness and exploring the cognitive conceptualization of fannishness and like, metaing on the abstract theory of fannishness than actually, y'know, being goddamn fannish. About anything. Anywhere. If I had a timesheet that broke down my fannish activities, it would not include "squee on Merlin" or "squee on reboot" or "writing" in my top ten fannish activities. It would have a lot about a theoretical meaning of being a fan. I mean, I am seriously kind of longing for arguments over feminism in Merlin here*, **. And I don't actually remember liking that sort of thing when it was happening. I miss ship wars, God help me. They did not require an advanced degree to comprehend. I remember those days. They were nice.

[* this is a theoretical construct of an actual fannish meta argument. Not an actual one. I mean, I'm sure it was an actual one, but I don't remember, since I can't remember the last time I engaged in meta about like, source.]

[** yes, this is exaggerated, but I am having a severe case of fannish entitlement.]

Here is the thing. SurveyFail confirms a thing I've been doing every since this New York Arts article thing showed up in google once talking about my fic The Wasteland and using the word slashies or something--if in my inbox is anything from anyone using the words 'research' or 'article', I delete without even like, finishing the email. Sometimes I have felt bad. Right now I am relieved. I do this because I do not know these people or their intentions and safe better than sorry. I have no clue how many legit people I ignored because I have no idea how to tell the difference between "good", "well-meaning", "run for your life", or someone who might be all of those at once. That was not in my fannish welcome package, and really, why not?

[This was seriously a weird article. No clue what was up with that. I still sometimes go to look at it and try to work out wtf.]

It should not be detrimental to my fannish experience that I do not have the IRB memorized. I seriously really would like not to know what the IRB is. I'd prefer not to have to wiki neuroscience and the ethics of experimental human subjects unless I'm writing a fic about it. I liked psychology a lot--that is why whenever I graduate, I will somehow have managed to achieve like, a minor in it by sheer accident, which is why I am a cliche of a college student, because you would not believe how many areas I managed to be three hours short of a minor in--but I also like pizza and I do not want to drag psychology and pizza everywhere I go.

But the thing is, I kind of have to, because while I love the acafen are my white knights and all, oh my God I am hovering behind them with smelling salts while they defend fandom's honor and that is totally not on.

I want to say this--I don't know where I am getting the time to do this. I just don't. This is worse than a twenty-four credit hour semester, because it never fucking ends, it's every semester and I don't even get to graduate and no one gives me a class schedule, it just shows up suddenly and I'm in for a sixteen week course where I have to guess at the reading material and sometimes, I'm not even sure what I'm studying. There are many things I've learned in fandom that I appreciate, but I have to draw a line somewhere, and I have no idea where, because on top of spending time researching things that are actually important to me as a human being, and writing, and enjoying fannish meta, and chatting with friends, and I don't know, actually interacting with my source text, I have to figure out now if some researchers are using my people as fodder for a exploitative book.

I checked my timesheet--apparently I am creating hours from air for this, because the day is still twenty-four hours long, but my fannish life is taking thirty-six all on its own, and I still haven't finished reading History of the Jewish State or found my copy of What If for creative writing, and there's a small but growing pile of books at the foot of my bed that I have yet to get to and I'm two hundred behind on my flist. I mean, this isn't bad time management here; my time management is a damn miracle. It is creating time from a vortex of not-time.

I mean, don't get me wrong--yay acafen!--but it's not that I am not acafen, it is that I don't want to be, and I feel like I am spending more time trying to become something that I not only don't want to be but also am not very good at in an independent study setting with no professor to guide my research and a lot of sketchy research material, and I forgot how to do MLA because I found it boring. And yet.

These are the new things I need to learn this week: correct statistical surveying techniques, the history of neuroscience, the entirety of how a proper research study is done, goddamn evolutionary psychology again and I hated that class, and how to analyze a survey for sketchiness. Because otherwise, I have to depend on my flist to explain to me in small words why x is bad and y is not, and while I know the acafen are not petting us all and telling us not to worry our pretty heads, it is seriously not working for me to not know what the hell is going on. It has been banged into us that ignorance is not an excuse for screwing up, and the thing is, I agree so completely. But I'd really like science to get to direct RNA transfer and flatworm-eating as a way of passing knowledge already.

I am reading up on literary critique and I'm only on page thirty and that was in July.

I am actually aware that this is not only a dramatically first world problem, but that my hopes for the universe are unreasonable and beyond unrealistic. But seriously, when I posted Manipulation ten years and one month ago and started this trek through fandom, I really did not see myself here a decade later exploring the underpinnings of my fannish experience using words that I am still not convinced actually exist.

...seriously, this was a rant, not an accusation, I am just kind of burned out. You will notice the run-on sentences? I am trying to figure out where I can schedule in some time for sleep. Also, the study of people's craniums to find out if they were deviant came up and I have a headache. Yes, it is a discredited field and boy, that was interesting. I can honestly say that if I'd known I'd need this when I was taking Physical Anthropology, I would have studied that chapter much more than I did.

In closing--yay acafen! I do not resent you, it's more I resent that I do not have a dolphin brain. My life would be so much easier.

This entire rant is courtesy of Britney Spears Circus. How freakishly appropriate.

ETA: Comment here might clarify why this has apparently become for me some kind of--thing. IDK.

You rock. So much.

Seriously, slash is fun. It's crazy madcap fun. With flamewars and shipwars and bnfwars and wankwars about stupid things like whether or not Gwen and Arthur will end up together, or which Ray is better. (I mean, wtf? obviously RayK is WAY BETTER. And Gwen/Arthur has no basis in canon whatsoever. [snickers]) It's even delicious metafun, so some people can sink their teeth into it straight off the grill and some people are vegetarians and prefer not to engage in it and some people are vegans who vehemently reject the slightest bit of honey meta in their fandom. That's what rocks about fandom--it encompasses so many viewpoints, with infinite room to expand to fit in more as needed.

And we don't all need to be the acafen, the metafen, the fen who can explain what it is and why it is and where it's going and who will take it there. Those fen rock. I love those fen. For a long time, I wanted to BE those fen, and I still wish that, sometimes. (I say this as someone who posted TWICE yelling at our beloved Ogi.) But now I know I'm pretty sure I won't ever be them, and I don't have enough hours either (I think you're stealing some of my hours!) and so I get this, I really do.

You are the sauce of win on top of the awesomecake.

I have a meta hangover and a acaheadache. I want a pony.

*curls up miserably* And coffee. Oh God, coffee.

Okay, so what happened? feel free to link if you're not up for exposition.

The most recent posts here have links to a ton of posts about it.

seriously, i'm acafen and i am sick of this shit. and i'm not even reading most of it. it... argh! let's all scream ARGH real loud, ARGH.

I like this "argh" plan a lot. LIKE HUGELY.

(Deleted comment)
Seriously, I did not see myself wandering around with the concept of fannish theory being a serious part of my life. Just--no.

I can relate to this rant--not now so much, but I had a similar... moment of clarity or whatever about five years ago, and I realized I was actually fine with being a fainting Regency heroine in a lot of areas relating to fandom, because I needed to learn about other things instead and we are not Time Lords. (You know, the whole vortex of not-time you were talking about. Um, it's late!).

Anyway, I can't even remember what the discussion that prompted it was about, maybe intellectual property or some other perennial favorite, and I thought, "it's not that I would have any problem following this, but in order to do so and to participate in any meaningful way, I'd have to read the article first--and let's face it, I'm not going to read the article". And again, this is only speaking about my own experience, but it was so fucking liberating. Sort of like what you said above about trying to become something you don't want to be, I stopped doing that a lot (at least when it comes to fandom), stopped worrying about the footnotes and got on with the story.

And I am bookmarking this awesome post to reread when I get caught up in this shit, as I still sometimes do, to remind me I am not alone in that.

Edited at 2009-09-02 08:27 am (UTC)

I really want to--I mean, I seriously every so often just drop all non-source related meta, but it's not even because I am just that committed to understanding all of this that I go back. Unlike many other hobbies I could have picked up, this one seems branded with a damn political statement and set of academic theories. Unlike knitting, participation itself has become a statement, so whether or not I interact with that side, I'm already a member, a research subject, and a living, breathing proof in the subculture.

I can go through days where I don't have to think of that, but then there's this and then there's kink_bingo being apparently a political project based on queer theory (quote), which--okay? I mean, basically, I'm an participant in academic theory just by existing and I don't understand what it is that's being theorized.

I feel selfish for resenting it--I get for acafen, this is their thing and I can't be a good person and grudge that when it doesn't even affect me. Most of the time, I don't, and most of the time, I keep serious levels of oblivion going on. And lots of it I enjoy following and thinking about. But then this happens, or something else, and it's just this reminder all over again I can't just post fic and hang with the meta without also participating in an entirely different world, where writing John as a girl is more than just saying, "I wonder if"--it's a statement or a message or something and I have to figure out what it means and what I meant to by it, because if I don't, people wiht advanced degrees will decide for me.

...I am so tired, seriously. Even I know I'm overreacting. Most of the time, it's awesome. It's just when I realize how very little power I have to define myself, or just skip a definition altogether, that it becomes this--thing.

You rock so much :)

That said, I'm soo glad not to be acafen during things like this. I just read and write what I love, be it gen, het, or slash. All I care about is that these guys have an "agenda" and will use their results for their own profit in a way that will not look good for female slash fans. Do I understand that most of society considers me "deviant"? Duh! Do I want to give very personal data to two very inexperienced researchers who haven't even bothered to learn about the fans they are trying to analyze and use to prove that some women are hardwired differently? Hell, no!

So, here's hoping the negative response will send these guys to sniff around somewhere else with their tails between their legs ;)

Me too. *waves tiny flat of "Go Away Kthx"*

Well, to me being a fan is a hobby. If it wasn't, then I'd worry about all this brouhaha about the survey and what it means and who's screwing who. But it's too much work. People go crazy sometimes - on both sides - and I'm just going to ignore it and have fun instead.

Hee! I like your philosophy!

I am aware it is unreasonable to resent this, but I am seriously getting to the point where I spent more time worrying about my fannishness and discussing my fannishness and exploring the cognitive conceptualization of fannishness and like, metaing on the abstract theory of fannishness than actually, y'know, being goddamn fannish. About anything. Anywhere.

I was just emailing a friend about this the other day- when did fandom stop being, about SHOWS, and start being about meta about fandom?? And it's not that I think that meta about racism and heteronormity and all that stuff is bad, or unnecessary, or irrelevant- I really, really don't! But I miss actually reading fic, you know? And talking about the shows themselves and being excited and squeeing and reading tons and tons of fic and watching the source for ridiculous nuances. A lot. Can't we do BOTH?

I mean, I miss SGA. And some of this is my fault- it seems like the last stuff I was fannish about was nuTrek, which was AMAZING, but brief because it's a movie fandom and as awesome as it is it's not like there's 22 hours of it. I'm not asking for my flist to stop signal boosting and posting about the patriarchy, it would just be nice if there were a FEW fannish posts, too. That weren't about American Idol.

Hi, my name is Sarah, I'm fannishly entitled. *headdesk*

Is it the hiatus?? Is it the lack of anything going on?? Is it because I'm not particularly bright?

Edited at 2009-09-02 12:35 pm (UTC)

Icon love. (Because I jumped from SGA straight into Bandslash, and let me tell you, the amount of time I had to spend metaing on my source canon dropped considerably because fourth wall, what fourth wall, these people meta on their celebrity and the issues therein for me! And it's a lot easier to slash guys who have pictorial evidence of licking chocolate out of another man's navel, for instance)

As far as what Jenn & you are saying: AGREED. Meta on canon and fanon is great, but I'm not sure about meta for the sake of meta, and I definitely don't need evolutionary psychology and human research ethics and everything else I've had to wiki and google in the last few days clogging up my brain--I have enough stuff related to my actual field of study, and my actual job, and also my fannish source material in there that I occasionally forget important things like birthdays, food, and sleep.

It works for me to just ignore this kind of thing. Though, I have a policy to never take any survey or to cooperate with research. (Like not long ago someone contacted me and they had done some kind of analysis of activity on fanlore, and wanted to interview me because their data somehow showed how much time I waste on fanlore making edits to articles, they had graphs to visualize things and everything, and it was really kind of creepy because I felt sort of monitored, though of course it's public what you edit in a wiki, but still -- I didn't really expect it to be datamined).

Okay, that is--eww. Not awesome. I am finding that creepy as well.

Me. I don't like acafen (or to be precise the posts where they have their aca-hat on, most of them are very likeable otherwise). Nothing against higher education. I have a Masters myself. But the people who try to apply it to fandom strike me as a) sucking all the fun out, b) extremely pretentious, c) heinously wrong, or d) all of the above.

Like the current controversy. I'll agree the survey is crappy science, but the whole bit about it being designed to bolster discrimination and further marginalize segments of society is at least a premature assumption and may turn out to be totally bogus. But some people love a chance to get all wound up, throw big words around, and start yet another epic fail meme.

So, I say, if you don't want to be acafen, then please, please don't be. I know you don't have the personal angst against acafen that I do, but just because you like them is no reason to join the pack. There's absolutely nothing wrong with simply deleting research emails and going on your merry way.

I admit, I have found my fun quotient lowering when I'm trying to work out what percentage of my writing has a secondary agenda that I don't even like, know is there.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with simply deleting research emails and going on your merry way.

See, that I am totally continuing. I am just not up for hyperexamination of my examination. Some people like that, which is totally cool. I am not one of those people. Like, I am finding how much I am not one of those people.

See, I had a teacher years ago (black, female, grew up in the South in the 50's) who got some priceless advice from her mother:

"Honey, put your head up and ignore the fools."

Do that. Also, get some sleep. :)

I saw what was going on out the corner of my eye, and instead of leaping into the fray, continued working on getting Chris Pike laid, and making sure everyone understood how SMOKING HOT Jeffrey Hunter was in 1965. Because in the end, that's probably a more productive use of my time. Also, I'm shallow.

Edited at 2009-09-02 03:34 pm (UTC)

That is because your awesome is very awesome indeed.

I saw that creepy click-through image the study was using, shuddered, and sat back to let the fannish hive-mind suss it out for me while I cheerfully read mcshep_match stories. Which it did! The trolls were sent packing via many excellent posts that used big words that I must admit, I only sort-of caught the meaning of in context. I didn't feel like a Regency heroine, I just felt like my sistahs had my back for me.

I didn't feel like a Regency heroine, I just felt like my sistahs had my back for me.

There is that. I just hate feeling helplessly adrift in the seas of academia.

I haven't had the time or inclination to get involved in this sort of meta for maybe a year? I'm so burned out on constant outrage, and it doesn't help that there's a political element to most of these things that contradicts my personal beliefs in the relationship between individuals and society. In this particular case, I really was too busy with work, and if I have to prioritize my fannish time, I'm almost always going to decide that fun things are more important to me.

*hugs* That makes sense to me.

long time lurker two cents...


I'm a loooong time lurker in fandom, and never comment anywhere. Am too horribly shy. But... I just wanted to say that I really sympathize with you being upset. I never pay attention to these fandom wanks, mostly because I, again, lurk, so am not really a part of the collective fannish conciousness. I appreciate that someone actually does care about attacks on fandom and standing up for what is right, and, you know, all of that, but I really don't care.

What I do care about, and what really strikes a chord, is the idea that our participation or enjoyment of fandom and fanfiction is somehow a cultural movement or political statement. I consider myself to be a private individual, and as such consider my hobbies to be no one else's business. I love knitting, for instance, but don't want to really talk about knitting with anyone but fellow knitters.

Knitting, however, is not as controversial a hobby as fanfiction. ESPECIALLY slash fiction, because god forbid females have sexual kinks that manifest themselves in a semi-public arena. I've always found non-fandom fascination with slash fiction to be intrusive, because it is a) not really their business and b) always approached as an abnormality. Something is *wrong* with these women, that they find two men fucking or caring about one another compelling. I don't want to be a science project, and certainly don't want to be one as examined by a (white? heterosexual?) man that makes fundamental assumptions about myself and about anyone sharing my interests.

The thing about the racefail controversy, for instance, is that it was as far as I know, a discussion about writing, and contained mostly within the fandom/writing community. It was a discussion/war containing people who considered themselves insiders in some way to the community of fans. As such, while it was both fascinating and challenging reading, and sometimes a frustrating experience reading posts, I could always read posts and know that the people who were writing them fundamentally sympathized with my experiences and that despite our different outlooks on aspects of how to write and how to treat the Other and blah (insert academic debate that I have neither the education nor the temperament to reproduce), the people I was arguing with were part of a shared community, one that we both self-identified with.

This is no such thing, and as such makes me particularly defensive. In other words, this whole thing gets my hackles up, and I wouldn't want to deal with it either.

Whew. Okay. This is why I don't post more frequently. Anyways... *gives moral support*.

Re: long time lurker two cents...

That was marvelous. Thank you so much for posting this. All of this.

I am seriously getting to the point where I spent more time worrying about my fannishness and discussing my fannishness and exploring the cognitive conceptualization of fannishness and like, metaing on the abstract theory of fannishness than actually, y'know, being goddamn fannish. About anything. Anywhere.

See, that's the main reason why I stopped following metafandom. I check out the occasional link to these train wrecks, sure, but most of the time I read fanfic, watch vids, enjoy shows, and post about what I watched, read and would like to see. Pure fannish bliss! :D (Here, take 1:10 min of German soap opera, not safe for work! And no language skills required *g*)

But the thing is, I kind of have to, because while I love the acafen are my white knights and all, oh my God I am hovering behind them with smelling salts while they defend fandom's honor and that is totally not on.

That doesn't bother me. We have specialists for everything, why not for that? Whenever I'm really upset with something going in fandom that involves outside forces, I tend to donate money to the OTW. That makes me feel better and I can continue to enjoy my fannish space without becoming a meta warrior.

This, yes. People are going to read whatever they want into what you write, whether it's necessarily really there or not. You cannot stop them, and if it's going to affect you then you'll probably find out about it when it does -- meanwhile, you don't have to be giving yourself a graduate-level education in this stuff if that's not where your interests lie. There are people around who already know the background stuff, it's not necessary to learn everything about everything, just pick your own fields to delve into and let experts handle the rest.

In the midst of this example of the scuzziness of humanity, here's something to reaffirm faith in mankind... and ice cream.

OHH! You are awesome! *GLEE*

Seriously, my response to whole situation? "Do I *have* to deal with this?" cause honestly, I'd rather not. But yeah, ethically, I'm more or less obligated to. Especially after I made the phone call and looked at the CVs, and I realized what was happening. It kind of sucks.

Fans are kinda on the front lines, without over dramatizing it. Unlike the actors and producers and screenwriters, we don't have bodyguards, or agents, or lawyers on retainer (there are fandom lawyers, but that's a little different). We're on our own, and yeah, it gets tiring sometimes. We're not *quite* organized enough to get together and say "ok, you people, we pay you to deal with the crap while we do our thing". And one day, all of us, when it gets to be too much? We walk away. Sometimes we come back, and sometimes we don't.

That's why I get so mad when people attack fandom. Honestly, you want to go do crappy research in the commercial porn industry, I will not stop you. But fandom is held together by the personal efforts of "viewers like you". We put a lot into this, person by person. When it gets attacked or misunderstood, *there's no one there to defend it but us*.

Thanks for that, btw. I just caught up--again--on current happenings.

That's why I get so mad when people attack fandom. Honestly, you want to go do crappy research in the commercial porn industry, I will not stop you. But fandom is held together by the personal efforts of "viewers like you". We put a lot into this, person by person. When it gets attacked or misunderstood, *there's no one there to defend it but us*.

Yeah, and that's part of it. I'm seriously not comfortable sitting back and letting other people fight for me, especially when I don't know what is going on. Which actually explains why I get into fits of metalink, actually--once I figure it out, which sometimes takes a while, I try to break it down for people like me who have to go back and read slowly, painfully through it because they, like me, don't have the training, or the interest, or the contacts, or the history. Or like, even the inclination--most of this is not foreign, it's against my instincts and inclinations altogether.

Its' not that I want everyone to stop being aca--but I'd like a representative aca to do like, a break down of events every so often and restrict themselves to vocabulary not used exclusively in graduate level theory of anything. As I am entitled. *amused*

You know me. You know that I am usually last person to know ANYTHING about ANY wank, kerfluffle, or fail - but I got in on the ground floor of this one! I feel guilty for not having known the meaning and guidelines of the IRB!

I want to go back to just reading my fic and not thinking about it.


So, yeah, thank you for this rant - it's better than anything I could have written on the topic.

*hugs you* It has been one of those weeks. Those long, long word-filled weeks.

I love reading the output of your dolphin brain. And I share your rage. I just spent TWO FUCKING DAYS picking threads out of this birdsnest. And I'm a fucking double major in CS and English -- I have NO SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTISE AT ALL, and I still have more than those two morons.

I seriously was using your posts to get me through this. It broke it down into language I knew. I seriously have no idea how you managed to get all of that down. I meant to comment, but see above, I had to have a quick mental breakdown after trying to work out what a goddamn MRI had to do with fandom in applied neuroscience.

...I am not even sure what that last sentence means anymore.

Hi there - also a long-time lurker in fandom. While I find some meta quite enlightening, and am fascinated by everyone's defence of fandom against those "researchers", I too would like to get back to more of the fic, the art, the vids, the squeeing and spoiler speculation. We're in this for fun - we ought to be enjoying ourselves! And lo and behold, there is still great stuff to be found - the new DRP extra, for instance.

But I am hopeful that this over-focus on meta is only until new episodes of Merlin and House and the Sherlock Holmes film come out . . . lots to look forward to!

I support this comment. I want this comment to be true.

*crosses fingers*

You're in good company. I think a lot of people's brains (mine included) have exploded all over their monitors this past year. WTF.


Is there a word for when the brain says "I no longer am interested in learning new things?" Just I am getting there.

Here via an extremely convoluted series of links, and I felt I should comment to say thank you, because you have articulated something I did not even know I was feeling, and I feel suddenly much lighter; knowing I am not alone here goes a long way towards taking a deep breath and getting on with the business of the fannish things I'm interested in rather than trying to keep up with and analyze and understand everything. So, y'know, thanks. :D

Srsly. I am trying to figure out a way to force fun fannish meta wtih teh power of my mind.


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