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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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it started with work then went to interpretations of canon--I have no idea how
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
I'm going through a depressing country music phase, where I want to listen to breakup and death songs. My music tastes are almost constantly at odds with what I want to read. Lemme tell you, anytime the rotation includes one song about murder, two Johnny Cash, and this? There's something odd going on with the playlist.

Currently on the rotation--What Hurts the Most, Rascal Flatts. The video is wrenching as hell.

Work

I had an interview on Friday. It was kind of bad, in that way that bad romantic comedies are bad. They told me one, but teh calendar said two. I assumed that meant they'd changed it--it was Friday, people go to a late lunch. It's the state. It happens. But no, it was one, leading me to run desperately to my computer and print out the calender function off Outlook and shoving it into the interviewer's cubicle with a desperate expression. So the interview went off at two, and the question and answer portion was fine. I'm good with those.

Then came the practical.

I want to give you an image. Let's go with a Stargate image, because hey, it's my lj, I can do that whether it's relatable or not.

You are given a series of copies of something in indistinct patterns written in Ancient and told to creat a spreadsheet from all twenty something pages. Some of the time they black out the name and claim number, sometimes not. Those two things are the only parts of the entire damn thing you understand. MBI number? Account? (Okay, I know what account is). A dizzying variety of acronyms. Some things that refer to money. Some--you have no idea. There are dates. You look at them like they're nuts.

It's STAR and STAR+ and Medicaid related, in case you're curious. You're probably not. Unless you work the programs, I cannot imagine a more boring topic of conversation. God, you should hear our jokes. Even I sometimes shudder in horror when I realize I'm laughing hysterically when someone makes a Medicaid/Medicare misnamed acronym joke. On the other hand, if you work with the implementation, you find yourself feverishly interested in the monthly policy updates, changes to providers, and being deeply and personally invested in whether or not you need prior authorization for non-generic medication.

Okay, what I said above would be very funny to one of us. You see why I don't really talk about my job much anymore.

Anyway, the pay is nice. The fact I'll be doing something new is nice. I had a horrific moment of comprehension today when I broke into my boss' office to reorganize all the personnel files that are about six months to ten months behind, or basically stopped being updated since I was his admin. I am that bored. The height of entertainment....

Wait. I was talking about the interview.

Well, the best part was, we had forty-five to do the spreadsheet (were they *fucking with me*?), the questionaire, and a letter that--God, okay, a letter to a clinic's owning company explaining why we wont' cover something. No, really. I have this--weird and strange need to--do the hardest thing first. I did the questionnaire really fast, but the spreadsheet fascinated me. I had never seen so many sheets of paper in legitimate English composed of such nonsense. Contextually, they were rejections of billing due to third party insurers--I can see people's eyes glazing already, but seriously, this is the height of chic social chat at the office--but mostly, they were long rows of acronyms with monetary value assigned. I read through it all in horror, worked out I was looking in the face of hell, and went back and looked for commonalities.

I'm good at pattern recognition--this is why I interview well for the state. I can usually figure out what they're looking for by paying attention to the wording of questions. This is why I was a good caseworker. That's all pattern recognition in policy. The problem was, it's pattern recognition of a foreign language. And some of the commonalities--like name and claim number--were blacked out on some and not others. I pulled everything that appeared on every sheet, named it something that sounded like I knew what I was talking about, and set up the spreadsheet. I was half way done when my interviewer came over at the thirty minute mark and asked if I would be willing to do the rest on Monday.

I almost laughed. Sure, I said, because seriously, it's not like I'd figure this out without a character map even if I had the whole weekend. I did hte rest today. Didn't finish the provider letter. Didnt' really care. I wasn't qualified for this job when they asked me to interview. No, really. So that I got the interview at all was a surprise. Mostly, I tend to rest a lot of my value on the fact that I'm always good at my job. This isn't bragging. This is boredom. If I'm not good at it, the days pass a lot longer than they should. Being good is being given a lot to do, and look at that, five comes fast.

Work II

Short version--in 2005, the state sold off a lot of their social services to a private contractor, Accenture, better known under another name as the people who worked with Enron. No. I'm not kidding. I kind of want to cry, but this is typical of the current administration, so whatever. This included caseworker jobs. I was one of those, and changed jobs before they could start pink-slipping us. Well, as predicted, they made a mess of it. A huge mess of the CHIP program, the Medicaids, the--well, name it, they fucked it up royally. Tuesday last week, my mom called me while I was resting my feet in Millennium Park to tell me that the contract had been severed.

I won't try to explain my glee. It's hard to describe without going into strange, surreal comparisons to the Rapture, but suffice to say, there's a level of joy going on here that defies description. It's like--I don't know. I'm ombudsman--I know the level of fuck-upedness going on in the state due to both Accenture and the fact that the state, in prep for the rollout, started pink-slipping like crazy and we lost the best and brightest of our caseworking staff. The tenured. The ones that knew policy backward, forward, and sideways. The ones that coudl do the work. Leavingn the entire state with underqualified trainees in temp positions--so we weren't getting, in some cases, the best people. We were hiring people who knew how to read. Maybe.

Just suffice to say--I am very pleased with the universe.

Fandom

I had this thoughtful topic on gen, slash, and het, but I'm still overthinking my instinctive response to the treatment of non-canon slash and non-canon het unequally, which was hostile. I'm less comfortable with diametrically opposing points of view than I really thought I was. Over-emotional reactions to stories, sure, I know I go places there, but that at least makes sense to me--it's *fic* and the point of fic is emotional engagement. A sudden hostility to a meta surprises me. I got over it quickly, because above and beyond that, it was interesting and thoughtful and brought up some questions I've been asking myself on the blurry lines between slash, het, gen, and the canon that rules them all.

Here abyssinia4077 talks about het, slash, gen, and labeling stories.

A part of this the way I set up my flist; I keep myself fairly isolated from things that really annoy me, so I'm unused to being highly annoyed unless I'm linked or someone points it out to me. A part of me does wonder if we lost something in switching to lj and being able to, in essence, pick our mailinglist mates, instead of having to deal with the annoying people daily and building up a certain level of tolerance for it. Or it could be just me; I'm getting more fixed in what I'm willing to deal with and what I'll blow off because I just am not willing to listen today. Etc. Etc. Etc. Which is a sign of either creeping intolerance or sheer laziness. I'm not sure which. I think I prefer the laziness.



The thing is? The thing is Sleeper and Instructional were written as slash that hadn't happened yet. So was Timeless. So was What I Look For On the Sides of Mountains. The Difference was pre-het and established relationship background slash. All were labeled gen, either by me or someone else, but the gen was in the text only; the slash was the intention and the subtext. I'm the author--I can confirm that, though it can totally be read against my intentions. The first two and Like Running Through Water, my first slash in the fandom, are in continuity with each other unofficially, with wildly different tones and styles.

So I think the problem I'm having isn't the labeling, but the way we label the source itself.

Okay, for example. We have canon, but canon's violently interpretable. Sure, we can do it very literally, but that ends up being a dry history of *events* and visible actions, not people. To make canon work, motivation has to be assigned for every variable, and that's when things get tricky. Everyone comes in with their own motivation. My personal favorite is still the wild and hysterical justifications for Rodney in Irresistible--oh come on. Who didn't snigger through the fic with the long drawn-out description of how much John sucked and deserved for Rodney to mind-whammy him? Or the ones that explain in detail how John's really really a sociopath really pointing to The Storm or the really awesome ones about how Rodney really really loves kids, honest, just not any of the ones we've seen because they all suck?

Right. I'm just saying--I think these are *nuts*. But they *are* interpretable canon--motivation assigned to canon action. So I think they're nuts, but within the strictures of canon, they all--okay, not all work for me, but they are there and can be cited using canon. Motivation can't be proved canonically--canon is a purely visual and audio medium. Which is--not a departure from the above. Just roll with this.

Canon is fluid by its very nature. John flew into a hive ship. That's canon. His emotional state when he did it is negotiable. Rodney blew up Doranda is canon. His reasons are negotiable. Carson is doing genetic experiments. That's canon. His ethical and moral spot is ambiguous at best. The only absolutes we actually have are what exactly is seen on-screen, with unassigned or in a really weird twist if you wanted to go here, on-screen verbally assigned motivation at best. John and Teylas unrequited--thing. I can see the same scene as someone else, I see potential, they absolutely don't. It's always fluid.

So with motivation--someone sees a Sheppard/Teyla scene (the ones we've had so far) and says *chemistry*. They can also see a Sheppard/McKay scene and say *chemistry* and it's equally legitimate within the strictures of canon. There's no canon backing at this time for pretty much any pairing besides Sheppard/Chaya, Sheppard/Teer, Weir/Simon, McKay/Alina (sort of), McKay/Brown, Carson/Cadman, and Carson/that chick from the first season. And that chick in The Tower, which was when we all realized John really needs to get out more if naked women showing up in his room does not clue him in.

I'm--going somewhere with this. I guess a part of me doesn't see how to use canon to decide the label of gen, slash, or het, whether or not the pairing involved is canon or not. I'm not sure there's even a default we can go to in labeling gen, slash, or het other than to say "active relationship in the text", which would start excluding a lot of fic from the gen label with a background pairing of any kind. It's actually a weird grey area I found during my del.icio.us tagging, because seriously, more fun than a barrel of *monkeys*, when I have a story that's--okay, say, a conversation between two men with a background relationship between one of them and someone else, but the romantic relationship is basically a given background. Or stories that start off gen and go to het or slash, or involve a friendship with a background earlier and/or later pairing with both together or both with other people.

I think I just spent several paragraphs explaining why I'm starting to think the het, slash, and gen labels may be getting outdated in fandom. Hmm. I'm not sure I even believe that, but then again, using my own fic as guidance, I'm not sure how to label some of them.



Singing along to Buffy the Musical soundtrack. God. It's so good that no one is close enough to have their ears start to bleed.


I work in pharmacy. I get to be part of the people that call some part of your branch for information about those generics of things. We've got insane paperwork, medical latin AND oh yeah. Pattern recognition of a sort of our own too. *eyes cross* I know how you feel about the acronyms. I had them when i worked for SBC(before it got bought out by ATT), and working for pharmacy is no different in the sheer amount of stupid acronyms tossed at you.

The main reason i haven't run screaming? I like the challenge of the place, and there's a bit of a kick to wrangling both patients and occaisionally the more easily distracted and grumpy pharmacists. But first and foremost we end up on the other end of the phone line with insurances nowadays. Which of course includes medicade/medicare part d.

God. Even thinking about Medicare Part D makes me twitch, especially when it comes to the difference between the basic and "premium" plans, or however they are labeling it these days, and clients are completely confused why they have to pay a premium now or why it used to cover this and now doesn't.

*holds up glass in solidarity through Medicare nightmares*

The old labels *don't* work as well, and I think one reason is that people don't have to buy their fanfic any more.

What I mean is--if I wrote fic that was essentially plotty non-relationship fic twenty years ago (let's pretend that it would not, in fact, suck beyond all telling, because I was fifteen and wrote Mary Sues) and then stuck in a background non-canon m/m relationship (that wasn't, like, two OCs who were a couple and who were part of the plot), at least 3/4 of the genzines I submitted fic to on a regular basis when I was in high school would have turned me down flat. Even the ones whose editors also published slash. And one of the reasons would be that they had to sell the thing, and people got touchy about slash, and... yeah.

But then they wouldn't want it for their slash zines, either, because in my primary fandom back then, which had a small ensemble cast, the zines were mostly "adult," period, and that meant smut. Het and m/m with a very occasional f/f story, but definitely smut. (In that fandom, there was precious little canon het, except for Dead Girlfriends/Boyfriends Of the Week, and no canon m/m or f/f. So canonicity was not really a big issue there.)

(Of course, don't get me started about the idea that non-canon het > non-canon slash in a lot of people's minds, and that was true back then, too. I'm going to ignore that particular aspect of people sucking.)

But now... if I want to write massively plotty fic that also has a small m/m relationship sub-plot... well, I'm doing that right now. And no, I won't advertise it as gen, but I'm going to label it as "[pairing], but the focus of the story is on the plot and not the relationship." And I don't have to *sell* it. If eight people read it, well, okay. I haven't lost huge amounts of money, so as long as my ego can take the idea that a fic that took me a year to (co)write will be read by eight people, we're good.

(Of course, I also have Issues with the word "canon" (I tend to take that very dry, limited look at "canon" and call everything else that you're calling "canon" "plausibly implied by canon" or something similar. Because I'm just that difficult.)

You know, I think I need to outline my comments, or they wander a lot.



For me, everything other than the sequence of events as exactly depicted on screen is flexible, and that pretty much covers anything regarding motivation or emotional response. It's just--interesting to me, to remember that a lot of people take canon very literally for writing purposes when I just can't, not and write a story that works.

I'm thinking more and more that the labels are of far less importance than they used to be, especially in livejournal, where most of us write slash, het, and gen all three, and interact with people with multiple affiliations as far as what they write. It woudl have taken me a long time to stumble onto the wonder that is miss_porcupine's gen fic if I was still mailing-list oriented, because since she writes no slash, there wouldn't have been any interaction unless I happened to also subscribe to a gen or general mailing list as well. And you know, didn't have it on no-mail to read on the web when I remembered to do so. Which I was bad about doing in SV.

... yup, that's one seriously depressing sequence. also? I really like "What Hurts the Most" (the background guitar? the background to the vocals, is what hooked me, though I don't know enough about music to pick out *exactly* what hooked me), but I had never bothered hunting down the video.

Until now.

Tinny, small, jerky on my not-quite-high-enough bandwidth and.

ow.

thanks.

*winces* I should have warned for drinking beforehand. It's gorgeous but--yeah. Gutting. The moment in the bathroom killed me.

Yeah, it does sort of get confusing. Personally, I find the "Nothing that could happen in canon can be anything but gen" rule to be unhelpful and dishonest. I mean, what if your canon is on HBO? You'd be labelling the porn gen, and that's just wrong!

Hmmm... I think the standard, for me, for not being gen is if a romantic or sexual theme is the point of the story *or* if the story prominently features an in progress noncanon pairing.

Like, take Queer as Folk US as an example. If the fic is about Brian's obsession with his car and features Justin in his canonical role as Brian's boyfriend but is not a romance story and does not feature sex, I'd call it gen. If the same fic about Brian's car was written and featured Ted in the role of Brian's boyfriend, something he is not in canon, it would probably be labeled slash. If there was a romance story exploring Brian's canonical sexual and romantic relationship with Justin, then that would be slash too.

If I see Wash and Zoe having hot sex on the page, I'm sorry, I don't care if their relationship is canonical - that's het. The same thing goes slashwise for Jack and Ianto getting it on.

I have been told by certain people(coughreallyoldfandompeoplecough) that het does not exist! It's true! You can have Martha Kent having NC17 hot hot porn with Jean Luc Picard and it's gen. Because there's slash, and everything else is gen.

Yeah. The mind boggles. I'm just glad most of us have gone back to film ratings instead of marking things "Green Watermelon" and "Fuzzy Wombat" and so on.

Oh come on. Imagine the awesome of labeling Fuzzy Wombat. *looking into the distance* My story is rated Yellow Grape for possible squash themes and some collard bits. It's like a game of animal, vegetable, mineral, and could go so horribly wrong.

I think it's a matter of things having to be explained that might be the issue where canon is being brought in as a perspective for labelling stories as gen, het or slash.

As in, a fic that mentions Zoe and Wash being married does not give rise to any curiosity about the rationale behind the pairing itself. Since it's canon, it's part of the scenery, so to speak. Whereas, in a fic that mentions, say, Mal and Simon together, because it isn't canon, it might not just blend in and be a throwaway fact, it seems significant by its very mention even if it isn't meant to be. And where slash and het comes in, most canon characters in the mainstream unless specifically homosexual, are coded as heterosexual and not bisexual, i.e. have mentions of past relationships which are more often than not, completely straight. So, again, when a non-canon pairing is mentioned, and the pairing is of a different orientation than the one established/mentioned in canon, the fact acquires greater import.

I don't think canon is particularly relevant at all in deciding labels since it has nothing to do with what the story is about, but I do think canon is important in making any deviation from it stand out and assume a greater role in the reader's mind, even if the author's intention or the way it was written did not actually underline it. A mention of Brian Kinney married to Lindsay would definitely seem significant to me even if the story was all about Justin making out with Ethan, so it's not necessarily as much a matter of a het/slash bias as it is a view of how far away from established canon histories the characters seem. (That is not to say that there isn't a strong reaction or the existence of a bias, just that it might not merely be about indignation at characters "being gay when they can't be", but more about characters deviating from canon somewhat further).

I think I had a point or two above somewhere. I hope it's still there.

Hmm. But the same can be held for canon *events* as well as canon relationships. It's not that I deny the background needed, but more that there does seem something of a bias toward non-canon het even if the het has no more canon than the non-canon slash.

Or more--okay, let me try this. Two events--can say, a relationship between Sheppard/McKay be considered a greater deviation from canon than say, the Genii staying Allies from Underground? Both would require an explanatory background, but does a different interpretation of canon sexuality equal an actual AU? Or would the relationship be considered of equal deviation from canon as say, Carson/Teyla?

Your comments about canon events/actions and motivation reminded me a lot of RG Collingwood's theories in the Idea of History. His view was that historical events had an outside and an inside. The outside was the dry history of events and actions, or the "what", while the inside, the important bit, was the "why" - human motivation.

When you're looking at an interpretation of human motivation, whether it's an historian's take on a real person's motivation in relation to actual historical events or a fanfic writer's view of a character's motivation in relation to the events of a TV show, the personal history/views/perspective of the person doing the interpreting can't help but become an important part of the context. It's not and can't be an objective undertaking, however careful an interpreter is to get "the facts" right, but I think there is an idea lurking about at the bottom of some discussions about the nature of canon that there is somehow an ultimate standard of truth and objectivity that we all should be striving for in writing fanfic, which generally just ends in frustration for people who have, um, different interpretations of objectivity. *g*

Labelling is getting more and more problematic for me. A reasonable proportion of the fic I write is difficult to categorise. Technically, most of it is slash, except on the rare occasions that I write a het pairing, but I know that often my stories aren't quite what readers are expecting when they see a story labelled with a particular slash pairing, and yet a purely gen reader wouldn't thank me for calling them gen, either. Sometimes, I really want a label that makes it clear to a reader that this is "gen in a slashy universe" or "gen for slashers" or "gen(ish) character study that will end up as slash, I promise!" or... something like that. The label really needs to include something about the nature of *my* perspective of the universe I'm writing about - the writer's orientation rather than just the writer's subject matter, I suppose.


Het, gen and slash will lose their currency because fans will no longer mostly agree on what they are as more and more fans enter fannish practice without any socialisation and make up their own meanings for things.

I'm honestly not sure as labels they have any currency at all anymore, though I'm not sure fannish socialization is the reason, or if it is, in this case if it could be considered a negative.

I think that what is gen and what is slash is only really murky in fandoms where there aren't any same-sex sexual relationship occurring in the canon. In a fandom like SGA, where the only canon romantic relationships we've seen have been het and all slash pairings are necessarily rooted in heavily subjective subtext, I feel it's fairly easy to use the "slash" and "gen" labels.

Now, the use of "het" in a fandom like SGA can be confusing, because if you're writing, say, Beckett/Cadman, that was canon - it's a het pairing, but should you have to label it as such if it actually occurred in canon? People do, but I can see a gray area there.

The people I really feel sorry for are those who write Torchwood fanfic!

Hmm. I would for any canon or non-canon het pairing if I ever used that label. Though honestly, it'd probably be simpler to list the pairings off instead. *g* To me anyway. I am lazy and this is requiring a lot of thinking.

On the one hand, I'm finding that several newsletters require detailed labelling, down to specific pairing. On the other hand, I agree, the labels are becoming meaningless.

I'd always interpreted gen to mean "there is no sex"; and that worked, when all my fandoms were TV about childless adults in professional situations. (Sometimes having hot monkey sex, but mostly not doing so onscreen.) Now that I find myself in fandoms where things like marriages are canon (e.g. Firefly), I don't know what to do with labels.

It was a surprise to me to realize that a lot of people use gen to mean "it's not about romance" -- heck, none of my stories are about romance! Even the ones about sex are usually not about romance! I just wrote a whole novel about a jillion other things, in which sex is one of many plot-events, and I'm like, can I post this on a gen comm? I don't know! Maybe if I made the comm mods read it, and tell me what to do...

*nods* in some stories, even pairing labels don't tell you much more than either "this pairing appears here, but may actually have only one scene" though I am getting slowly more virulent about wnating things pairing-coded. And at least warnings for mutilation.

It was a surprise to me to realize that a lot of people use gen to mean "it's not about romance" -- heck, none of my stories are about romance! Even the ones about sex are usually not about romance! I just wrote a whole novel about a jillion other things, in which sex is one of many plot-events, and I'm like, can I post this on a gen comm? I don't know! Maybe if I made the comm mods read it, and tell me what to do...

I wonder if there is a equation we could use to map percentage of 'relationship' in a fic and what it needs to be considered gen. Like, so many points for two penises in a bed, sexually, or two clothed in a hall, or--wow. I am making myself giggle a lot. But there is that curiosity--I've done the same thing in my fic, so I am curious what would and would not count.

*skips fandom discussion entirely* I saw the article in the Dallas Morning News about the implosion of the Accenture contract and thought fondly of how you made your escape. :D

GOD, they have made such a mess. People are in serious straits because Perry et al can't stop FUCKING THINGS UP in the name of privatization and supposed profits.

I DID A DANCE OF JOY! Yeah, Perry is--completely incompetent. I keep hoping he'll win the Worst Governor Ever award.

*hopeful*

I have a professional curiosity about Medicaid, Medicare, billing et al.

I've never worked on a billing system myself (thank god), but many of the lab systems I work with must send data to the billing system. It helps in figuring out whether something is fully spec'd, if I know how the billing system works.

I think the slash/het/gen labels still have their place. They don't matter much for pre-slash/pre-het and action/adventure fics, but if a large focus of the story is on a couple, as a couple, I want to know whether it's slash or het.

And I don't care if the couple is canon. I don't want to read McKay/Brown any more than I want to read Sheppard/Weir. Ok, that's a teensy bit of an exaggeration, since a good author might get my interest for the former, and I'll run screaming from the latter every single time.

if a large focus of the story is on a couple, as a couple, I want to know whether it's slash or het.

I want to know what the pairing is, not so much whether it's slash or het. I mean, yes, I have definite preferences in porn, but... just because I prefer reading f/f and m/m porn doesn't mean I like all of it. And just because I avoid most het doesn't mean there aren't a few pairings that I'll drop everything to read.

I had a helluva time coming up with definitions of acceptable material for comics_genfic -- canon pairings of any flavor, non-canon pairings of any flavor, naughty bits, no naughty bits... and finally decided to ignore entirely the canon basis of any relationships (and adopt MPAA ratings -- i.e., anything but straight porn -- no to 'X', yes to 'NC-17', which is a distinction not really made in fanfic). I cited movies for examples: if the original Terminator was a fanfic, it would never have done well if it had been labeled 'het' because of the sex scene -- and it's not about the Kyle/Sarah, anyway. Is The Full Monty slash for having a gay couple or not slash because it's a canon gay couple -- and who really cares because that's not what the story is focusing on?

I'm with you on suspecting that the Gen/Slash/Het label is no longer worthy of primacy... but I don't see them being replaced by anything else any time soon. With so much material out there, shortcuts need to be taken -- only reading authors you know, only reading characters you like, only reading {fill in the criteria} -- and, as irrelevant as the Gen/Slash/Het label may be, it's still accepted as a viable shorthand. People still choose their reading by those labels -- and, more importantly, by the stereotypes that are affiliated with each label -- and a chunk of the fandom (any fandom) would rather read shite in their type (slash, het, gen) than the best gems in another since they believe that there can be no good fanfic in OtherType.

And, well, a lot of people just read fanfic for the porn. Which is why the boundaries around RPS, incest, underaged sex, pick-the-taboo fall so easily before the stampeding masses.

I cited movies for examples: if the original Terminator was a fanfic, it would never have done well if it had been labeled 'het' because of the sex scene -- and it's not about the Kyle/Sarah, anyway. Is The Full Monty slash for having a gay couple or not slash because it's a canon gay couple -- and who really cares because that's not what the story is focusing on?

Good call. And interesting thought, too--I forgot you ran that community and deal with this kind of issue pretty much all the time.

I'm with you on suspecting that the Gen/Slash/Het label is no longer worthy of primacy... but I don't see them being replaced by anything else any time soon. With so much material out there, shortcuts need to be taken -- only reading authors you know, only reading characters you like, only reading {fill in the criteria} -- and, as irrelevant as the Gen/Slash/Het label may be, it's still accepted as a viable shorthand.

Yeah, I don't see it so much replaced as--phased out? At this point, everyone seems to be either pairing based or non-pairing altogther rather than attracted to a story *just* because it's slash. I mean, I read Sherlock/Watson slash, but that was because it was Sherlock/Watson, with these two particular people, not because any slash in the fandom would do. So the slash label for a story, to me, is fairly meaningless, because the first thing I look for is either pairing codes or lack thereof to decide whether to re-read.

God, *could* there be other slash in the fandom?

Which is why the boundaries around RPS, incest, underaged sex, pick-the-taboo fall so easily before the stampeding masses.

I really do wonder about the next taboo to fall. I really, really do.

I've always gone with the whole "gen=no sex, no sexual/romantic relationships" thing. Regardless of if my fic is pre-slash, or rated G, if it has a pairing, or the suggestion of a pairing, I include that pairing in the header because it just makes it so much easier for people that aren't into my preferred pairing(s) to avoid that story rather than have them accidentally stumble into it because I simply blanketed the whole fic as "gen". And knowing how much I personally HATE it when I get surprised by pairings...a McKay/Sheppard with an unmentioned side of Jack/Carter (a pairing I despise with every fiber of my being), I would never willingly do that to someone else. *shrugs*

I find it easier on me too if I stick to the strict definitions of what slash, het and gen are/were when I first started writing fanfic. They can be broken down into "gen-slash" or "gen-het" but it's really a pretty simple fix if all pairings, implied or otherwise are listed. Some authors don't like doing that, and I know I've been burned a few times by reading their stories only to find multiple pairings and ones I hate, so I simply don't read them anymore. And I think most fans are like that. If you get surprised, and not in the good way, too many times by an author, why bother putting yourself through that over and over again? And as for authors, I'm not sure why they'd do that to their 'fans'? *shrugs*

The more fandom changes, the more it stays the same. There were the exact same discussions/arguments when I first joined fandom years ago about what constituted "canon", and what "gen" really encompassed and whether you could call obvious on screen slashy subtext canon etc etc. There's always a tentative argreement that in three or four years gets taken out and beaten again before another tentative 'this is what gen is', 'this is what canon is', 'this is what that is...' kind of agreement gets reached.

But like you said about what constitutes canon...everything is subjective. People are going to label fic whatever way they want, regardless of other people's opinions because I think fandom brings out that 3 year old in everyone where we all tend to get that 'don't tell me what to do' attitude. So what slash, het and gen are is going to be, and always will be different for everyone. Like minded people tend to flock together on livejournal ;) to the point that you know who you can "trust" as far as labeling goes, or on the other side, you know who isn't going to care that you don't want to properly label a fic. *shrugs*

I tend to hide in my little corner of fandom and wait not so patiently for the authors I trust to write new fic because they label a fic (to me) properly, where I know what I'm getting and that won't include any nasty surprises like Jack/Carter or John/Weir--or if I'm in a gen mood, where I won't get any romantic pairings at all. ;)

This is all just my two cents. ;)

::goes back into hiding::

I find it easier on me too if I stick to the strict definitions of what slash, het and gen are/were when I first started writing fanfic. They can be broken down into "gen-slash" or "gen-het" but it's really a pretty simple fix if all pairings, implied or otherwise are listed.

Hmm. That makes a lot of sense. When I was on usenet and mailing lists, I was much more careful than I am now about clear labeling for everything, but a lot of that was habit formed from FAQ and list rules/usenet rules. Plus, seriously, people would just *skip* you until you ponied up what the fic was about. The sheer amount of stories released a day kind of forced a level of full disclosure as far as that went--if someone's getting eighteen stories in their inbox *daily*, adn you want them to read, you better get your info down. Here, I'm not sure I always label for minor pairing anymore--usually if it has something to do with the storyline, but if it's background, I don't. I may need to rethink that. Considering how I've reacted to stories that weren't coded to pairing correctly--ooh. Yeah.

Some authors don't like doing that, and I know I've been burned a few times by reading their stories only to find multiple pairings and ones I hate, so I simply don't read them anymore. And I think most fans are like that. If you get surprised, and not in the good way, too many times by an author, why bother putting yourself through that over and over again? And as for authors, I'm not sure why they'd do that to their 'fans'? *shrugs*

Heh, it only takes once for me to be surprised like that and I almost never read them again.

I've always felt that placing gen against het and slash sets up a false dichotomy. Things would be a lot simpler if gen was treated as a genre -- meaning a story in which the focus is not on a romantic/sexual relationship -- and het and slash simply used as descriptors of the type of relationship that might be found in any particular fic.

You could have gen slash, which would mean there was a slash couple somewhere in the story, but that relationship was not the focus. You could also have gen het, or simply gen if there are absolutely no couples in the story. On the flip side, for those searching out the porn, or relationship heavy stuff, you'd have a romance genre in which romance slash fic would be a story where that type of relationship was prominent.

It's odd how fandom formed around the presence or absence of pairing more than actual genre--even in a genre show, there's a differentiation in what the story is actually about. I mean, maybe not odd, but it is very different from how published mainstream works.

The gen label thing

Up until now (I'm working on a multi-ship sgabigbang story), I've written gen; and for several years, I labeled it as such without much thought. More and more, though, I've been feeling that what I'm doing is enabling the homophobic.

OTOH, most of fandom seems to want pretty detailed headers - people want to know what they're getting into. And whenever I read a statement along the lines of, "All the fic worth reading is slash," or "The best fic is slash," or "The amount of fic that doesn't involve pairings is so insignificant as to be completely ignorable," I want to wave the gen flag high and proud.

Also, while I have little sympathy for people who want to avoid all references to the non-straight/all references to sex of any sort, I don't want to go insulting my readers; and, of course, I have no clear view into the heart of anyone, just a general feeling of being viewed as 'safe,' based on the general thrust of the feedback I get, which makes me uneasy.

What I end up doing when I get a comment along the lines of, "I'm so glad I found a gen writer!" is to engage in a dialog about what about the types of stories I write interests me, and work in that I read McShep. But I feel like I should do more.

Re: The gen label thing

Huh. I hadn't really thought of it that way.

Also, while I have little sympathy for people who want to avoid all references to the non-straight/all references to sex of any sort, I don't want to go insulting my readers; and, of course, I have no clear view into the heart of anyone, just a general feeling of being viewed as 'safe,' based on the general thrust of the feedback I get, which makes me uneasy.

Safe from slash or any ship preference? *curious* I'm thinking slash from the context.