fairestcat was asking inclusive fandom events of het and slash and gen writers on and off of lj. This has very little to actually do with that--I got caught up with amireal's comment down in the threads.
Okay, first, a story. Because I always start with a story. It clarifies my point. Okay, it clarifies my point to me.
I've talked about this before, but what the heck, this is lj, we all forget everything but grudges in like, a week. So. A million years ago when SV was stil crawling out of it's diapers after a whirlwind first year--and God, that was a good year--there was a poster on ClarkLexFic--the fic only list, though someone brought the thing over to ClarkLex to debate it out--wait, too many hyphens. Start over. A person posted that there was a massive amount of present tense fic in ClarkLex and blah blah ickycakes whatever, not the point. Discussion took off, became kind of weird, but the word massive stuck in my head, along with the later commentary. Now, getting beyond my ego being bruised--since I was, you know, *posting* present tense fic all over the place, so to speak--I got curious.
Okay, in my defense, I had too much time on my hands, and at the time, I was in that place where I really, really wanted to be right. It was a rare moment where my desire to be right, right, oh my God I am so right eclipsed my inherent laziness. I enlisted a couple of people, gave them a section of the SSA, and asked them to go through and count the number of past, present, and future tense fic. And they really did, while I heckled from AIM. Seriously. I have no idea to this day how I convinced them to do that.
Okay, and becuase I'm just that dorky, I kept the results.
Smallville Slash Archive, circa August-September 2002
327 other than past
66.5% = past
29.7% = present
3.8% = others
(current jenn comment: I think these stats cover a specific period of time--I think the week or month before I posted the stats, to make a comparison)
Past = 55.1
present = 40.6
multi = 4.3
Okay, you ask, the point is?
Perception. It was perceived that present tense was beating past tense with a big fat stick of beatingness. Okay, by like, a few people on ClarkLex. They also said we sucked, but beside the point. Except I never would have gotten all inspired if I hadn't gotten all feelings-hurt, so you see, good things come out of trolling.
I lost my point. Anyway. Perception--strangling the poor past tense on their own intestines. Reality, less than a third of the entire archive. However--big however--the poster perceived the difference because in the last three months before I did this little study, the number of present tense fic were on the upswing in a serious way. And if you had come in during that time and hit the archive for latest, you just might get the impression that the fandom is All About the Present Tense. That I can almost prove, if I get really inspired and go back to study by date, but considering that i do remember what was being posted, I'm about eighty percent sure I'm right. May-August 2002 was a good time for the present tense fic in Smallville. According to the above, so was the month before this poll was posted.
I had a lot more in my diaryland account about this, but that is lost, so I'm working from memory of self-righteous satisfaction here.
The thing about the slash and het and gen separation thing is the idea that:
I still have no idea what the debate is about, exactly. On whether we should all be one large, multipairing, happy fandom where the slash layeth down with the het and watch all their tiny fic spawn play together. Or whether we separate far enough away that we never meet. Or whether the permeable edges are as permeable as we think. Or if That Other Pairing is out to get Our Pairing. Or if it's just preference, or it's actual exclusion, or if it's simply no one who is still bound by physical laws requiring sleep can *ever* read everything out there. I mean, we talk about it a *lot* without actually talking about it much at all, and this is why I rarely do meta right here--I don't understand where most of these conversations go. It seems like the catch-all for whatever is happening at the time that needs a label. Sometimes, it feels like the words 'slash bias' or 'het bias' (I don't think anyone's been accused of being gen biased--isn't that odd now that you think about it?) are used in ways that aren't covered by any actual usable definition to prove a point in a debate. To prove that someone, somewhere, at some point, was being oppressed by those other people.
I mean, the major serious divide between slash and het in a weird way comes down to which lower body orifice we're shoving a cock into*. Unless you count some adventurous het I've read. And even being aware it's more complex than that, it also weirds me out because it's like prostitution being the oldest profession--this is the oldest debate. Before we twitched for mpreg or muttered about incest and looked for the far-off cities of RPS that would be built, we were asking the question "why do you slash characters?" like it's a question that needs to be answered to make the concept relevant. Like that's even a question that isn't on the order of any zen-inducing question like "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" or "What would Jesus do?" It's a question with multiple answers of varying levels of coherency because it's not a question that can be answered to anyone's satisfaction because it cannot be answered. Not in any way that will ever make sense to anyone fully unless they share your brain.
I mean, if I meditaed? That would be my mantra. Right there. Clears my head *wonderfully*.
On the other hand, I always love reading the answers, so asking and answering? So not a complaint here. It's more that--it's so rarely asked for the right *reasons*. It's a complaint or an indulgence or a--an accusation? The question always seems to actually be, "why don't you write het?"
Every time--every time--this debate is dragged out and aired--the number of x/x or x/y fic compared to another is a big one, but also always fun is the infrequent challenges that exclude this or that pairing/group for one reason or another, or the archive that says no whatever pairing/rating/genre or the random troll that wanders by with homophobic or heterophobic commentary that are somehow--and don't even ask me how this happens--are immediately proclaimed The True Voice of the Other Side. Like there is some secret cabal of slashers (hetters) out there quietly working to eliminate everyone who doesn't write their pairing and take over fandom so the one true vision is revealed.
Does anyone--and I'm serious--actually believe that? I mean, really, truly, you sit down and think to yourself, those *slashers* (hetters) are destroying fandom by tying the hands of hetters (slashers) or trolling them off the net?
So today, I'm reading comments and run across a thread and then think, huh. Wow. Do you know what this debate could use? Some actual *facts*.
So here's the actual question I want asked next time the word 'bias' is thrown around anywhere. Because sometimes, I've kind of thought that fandom sometimes might work on the concept that if someone says something enough, or believes it enough, and says it to enough people in enough places, it has to be true.
Can you prove it?
The next time someone, anyone, makes a bias statement, I want *math*. I want percentages. I want a full count and documentation of the places the count was done, who double checked it. Because I want to know when anyone uses the word bias in regards to a group, a community, a person, they're using it as more than a way to get quick sympathy and score points. If you're pissed enough with fandom to see a bias and pissed enough to use the word, and pissed enough to rouse up your buddies, then you are plenty energetic enough to get yourself to counting. You know, I did it? Okay, with help. But Christ, *nine hundred something stories</i>. So we did it. And I bet just about anyone else can do it too.
* Or in femmeslashes case--I really don't have a good way to put that one. Hmm. Give me a couple of hours. Think *spirit*, not letter.