Seperis (seperis) wrote,

hummus, take two

Does anyone remember the context of Slash Fiction Is Like a Banquet? I read it within a year of it being posted--probably around 2000, a bit before I started writing slash.

One of the first qualifiers I ever learned to use, and now use obsessively, is "I think". "To me". "From what I have seen". There are a lot of reasons for this--most notably when I was very new in fandom and I'd participate in discussions that I had zero context for but was interested in, but wanted to, you know, not get my ass flamed for saying something incredibly stupid. I mean, sure, I still got singed once in a while, but the habit's been set and I think how I interact with fandom in general now tends to be influenced by that. And a lot of the things I've had problems with over time has been the absolutism of some kinds of meta, whereas I like the open-ended question best. More--I like the fact there's no single right answer, that most of the time there isn't a right answer, and that most people tend to be comfortable aware that their own way of thinking or interacting with fandom is not necessarily the only one.

So Hummus, in and out of context.

I always read it as less a 'stop writing x' or even a 'you should be writing y', but instead as a kind of challenge to writers, and readers, to expand their reading and writing into places they usually wouldn't go.

I think it might sometimes read as an accusation. Or it can be used as one, in fandoms with strong OTPs (aka 'your pairing is oppressing my pairing, and also, you are boring and your hair is stupid.' I love fandom. Until that part starts) or even between fandoms ('your fandom is large and oppresses my smaller fandom, blah boring blah hair'), or far more fun to me personally, really insiduous fanon ('oh my god you do not write anything like canon and your feet smell'). And the always popular and teethgrinding joy of long essays of explanation on how you are thinking wrong (whatever it may be, from pairing to how a story is written to how the characters act to how you interact with fandom). Always a joy to behold.

Fandoms, especially ones after their second anniversary, get into ruts. That is not new. I like ruts--ruts are comfortable and expected and, for me, make fandom fun. I like a certain level of predictibility where I can get comfortable, be able to click, and not, you know, come out marginally scarred or mildly homicidal or disliking the author for weeks and having to filter her out of my flist because I have flashbacks of horror. (Yes, it's neurotic and nuts. Seriously, I do not care. My fannish experience = my rules.) I kind of like hummus. It's comfort food. Metaphorical hummus, that is. I still haven't actually had hummus itself. Sometimes, my hummus is someone else's icky liver casserole, and this could be taking the metaphor too far and too confusingly. It is. Let's try again.

Hummus never struck me as a bad thing, even an overabundance. I mean, no, if I hate hummus, wow, I'm screwed, and trust me on this one, the hummus of SGA is not always my hummus and I spend a lot of time staring resentfully at the newsletter at all the things I cannot eat. Read. That. It's not restricted to pairing, either--I have specific hummus requirements in my pairing, and even more specific hummus requiremetns outside it. So even a hummus banquet can be frustrating.

Here's the thing. I don't actually think there's an overabundance of hummus. I don't even think, most of the time, there's that big a lack of variety in general. There's just an overabundance of what I don't like, and there always will be, forever, because I don't like it. And in almost any fannish meta or discussion, I think a lot of it can be boiled down to that single point. Which is why I hate absolutism--it *is* this way, it *should* be this way, you are *doing it wrong*, you are *thinking wrong*. I am perfectly willing to state that there is far, far too much slut!John fic--but that's because it's not my favorite characterization and I don't read it, so inevitably, I will bitterly note the fic that is and feel marginalized and you know, grumpy. Or ranty. Whatever. That doesnt' change my basic awareness of one pertinent fact--there actually isn't that much of it.

So. This is a really, really strange way of explaining--it's not that anyone should do anything, or that they're doing anything *wrong*, pairingwise, plotlinewise, etc. What it reads to me as is a reminder of what else is out there and that we could attempt. Especially if we are, say, like me, and complain that there isn't enough x fic or too much y fic or get cranky and gripe that they want z-fic and why is no one writing it?. But as an absolute? I don't think even the original writer meant it as a guide to how you should live your fannish experience. (I really love that term, fannish experience.) To me--see, qualifier? Because hey, I can be wrong)--it's more a reminder of the possibilities inherent in what we do as readers and writers.

And okay, that sounds insane. Now I will do work. Sort of. Or pretend to.
Tags: meta: fanfic, meta: writing
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