Seperis (seperis) wrote,

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sometimes things change

NOTE TO out_there - I FOUND IT! And I was stupid. Let's leave it at that. Email me? I--don't have your email addy.



Saved Convos

Before the days of trillian auto-logging, one had to save convos the old, hard way, hitting Save and putting it in a folder and so much stress. But I was going through some looking for something and ran across a rant to a friend I saved back in 2002. It was--hmm. Surreal.

Related tangent: I reactivated my diaryland account and it is now readable. it reminds me how much *easier* my life is in LJ comparatively speaking. The convo I read the other night covers a period of time of about three entries there as well as some earlier ones.

Here's eomething I realized.

I almost never delete fannish content. In LJ, I might lock to friends every so often, but I don't think I've ever deleted anything, even the stuff where I fuck up publicly. Part of that is laziness, to be honest. But part of it is also the feeling of needing full disclosure. Fandom is rumor-filled, we all know this. To me, it's a lot easier to just have it out there and let it be found than someone, say, muttering under their breath, back in 200X, jenn did *this*.

It also acts as reminder and history lesson, warnings of what to do, what not to do, but more than those things, it's *me*. And a lot of the way I think has altered in the three-four years since I used it last, but a lot also has developed into a fuller version of what then I was only just learning.

This this started a series of critique I did on a story by Hope. There's about three or four entries on the fic.

This is why I stopped publicly critiquing fic for a very long time and still don't do it very often.

It was--hmm. Never mind. I was wrong--not in critiquing, but in not being careful, and in *dragging it out* because people were agreeing with me and that felt awesome. I don't--like myself for that, not least of which because the second entry I linked to was written after the author and her cowriter contacted me tell me they were flamed as a result of my--er, overly critical reviews. I don't remember now if it was once or more than once, but that freaked me out badly and for a long time after, and I still don't really forgive myself for it. I can't fix it. And I can't imagine how on earth the authors must have felt--authors I *knew* and liked and exchanged email and betas with--having to hit my diary for days and see me yet again slamming that story.

Of course, a bit later, liviapenn does something similar to my A Handful of Dust, which was so karmatically justified even at the time, I was like, wow. Payback *fast*. Diaryland was a fairly good practice ground for me, better than lj would have been, since commenting was a lot different and discussions in comments almost impossible. But looking back--four fucking entries on a fic I didn't like? What the hell was I thinking?

A lot of that was selfishness (I DO NOT LIKE AND I AM PISSY, Jesus, the entitlement, at least I learned to lock down that shit so people can bang sense into me instead of losing my shit in public), and some of it was enjoyment of discussion, and some of it was even the enjoyment of attention. SV was very new and a diary was very new and people were reading it was this--huge thing, this surprising thing for me.

Anyway, digression--the convo I found was one I was bitching about what I thought was an unfair critique of one of my fics. Yes, I know, irony. I cover a little of that in the diary somewhere, but most interesting to me is the reasons for it, which now, being oh, five years later, I'm objective enough to read what i wrote about the critique (which is now lost to history darn it) and see what I hadn't really understood earlier and *couldn't* understand until I'd experienced it somewhat and was more familiar with slash fandom.

The concept of the grovelfic.

I ran across it in SV a *lot*, but since I was Lex centric, I only noted the Lex ones, as the Clark ones most of the time seemed utterly justified. QaF had a lot of those, and that was the first time I really had a coherent concept of the phenomenon, thanks to one truly disturbing fic that had Justin doing housework and being the equivalent of a sex slave to make up to Brian for leaving him for Ethan. I remember it hitting my humiliation squick like a mach truck and never letting up, and I kept reading. I can still remember that moment of pure horror and then going over every fic I'd ever written to see if I'd done it. Which I had. Not at that level, and I dont' think I ever hit the level of true grovelfic, but wow, I merrily skirted the line quite a bit and never noticed.

SGA was the first time it drove me nuts, because the first ones I saw were Sheppard-centric--apologizing for being a homophobic military guy, apologizing for not being okay with being outed as in a gay relationship with Rodney, God, post-Chaya cannot even deal. And the post Siege I of John not taking Rodneys' feelings into account when he tried to nuke the hive ship. But then came the post-Trinity Rodney fics where both characters were by turns groveling themselves into the dirt and oh God, that was bad. And the beauty of post-Irresistible, where John explains how he totally deserved being drugged for making a lemon joke. I love those. I do. They make me think longingly of the good days of killfile.

Then my personal favorite is the one where John apologizes post-Common Ground to Rodney for something he said right after he was brought back to life/ That, my friends, is the gold standard right there. Charming.

But--back then? I didn't have the concept of it at all, though in retrospect, there's just as much in het fic as there is in slash, though I called it something differnet and categorized it differentally in my head. I just called it crappy fic. It was especially prevalent in a certain section of Logan/Rogue, anti-Jean X-Men writers, and I dislike them enough to actually want to link it, but see above. *sighs* Maybe one day when I'm feeling *really* crappy. Ask me when I'm in a bad mood, but so do not flame me when you find yourself with a spork in hand.

Okay, the reason the above is mentioned is because of this--it took me a long time to realize that reception of fic in a fandom has a lot more to do with the climate of the fandom at the time than the fic itself. People are surprised when a certain fic suddenly gets canonized and/or picked on. Or rather, surprised at the level of vehemence against it occasionally. My reaction to sex-slave fic is a case in point--a lot of it got posted, and at the very best of times, it's a stretch for me to buy that characterization of John Sheppard (by stretch I mean, I do not buy it at all unless you are adding in either lobotomy or drugged highly), so around the time the last one rolled out, I'd hit my limit. Etc, etc, etc.

So while re-reading my initial reaction to the critique of A Handful of Dust, the intriguing part to me was that it was about the fic, yes, but also about the *trope* itself. It carried a history I didn't intend because I hadn't known there was a history. And the truth is, all fic carries a history when it's posted--the history of everything like it that was posted in the fandom, everything like it that was posted in other fandoms, and the flamewars or arguments that might or might not have occurred at the time of those fics. It also carries the history of the person who wrote it, which can be bad or good depending--say, if you are writing Evil!God!Clark fic, you might want to go back and note that you spent a lot of time critiquing Clark's behavior in terms not altogether reasonable or even-handed, so don't be too surprised the fic was examined on a meta-level as well as a storytelling level.

I think sometimes authors are blindsided by that. I was, and I actually *do* occasionally pre-judge a story by the meta of the author. Such as, Sheppard/McKay writers who spend quality time lovingly detailing how much John sucks? It's instant no-read on their fic, because I carry the memory of the meta with me when I read. A few Rodney-dislikers, where I quickly flip backward and out and avoid avoid avoid. And fact--the more you talk about something, the more you tend to believe it, even if canon proves you wrong later, which is why we still have the slut-Sheppard characterization or the Clark-evil-asshole or anyone, anyone called sociopathic (been there, said that, regret it mightily in two fandoms. I really do wonder, in retrospect, how on earth people could stand me). And it *does* show in fic, no matter how much a writer wants to be fair to both characters. Preference always does. Almost invisible or stamped across the fic like a fingerprint.

So, hmm. A part of me thinks it's unfair a fic has to carry that weight--not only of canon and of itself, but of its author, of its fandom, of a *lot* of fandoms, of the judgements that came before and after. OTOH, it's fascinating that fannish history *can* be traced like this.

Jesus God, it's one in the morning. You know, my original thought here was totally different when I started, a segue into what constitutes fannish responsibility to other fanpeople and the community as a whole, with reference to the otw_news project. I was mulling things I've done that I was not proud of in fandom, and the different ways we all look at our personal responsibilites to our fellow fanpeople.

I did not go there. Hmm.
Tags: meta: fandom, meta: fanfic
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