?

Log in

No account? Create an account

The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


Previous Entry Share Next Entry
blah. sundays. *again*
bored
seperis
Okay, I have never pretended I have a deeply intellectual side that goes beyond, fire pretty, John pretty, sex pollen awesome. I also like mass murder and destroying worlds, leaving them in a thousand year darkness. Etc.

Responsible Fanfiction by thatpalebluedot, which I saw linked around like everywhere, but honestly? Essay title threw me off being interested. Thinking deeply is what I do when balancing policy questions and practical consideration of state benefits, and honestly, it's been a rough few weeks in fandom. I'm on subsistence-level fanfic reading and that is pretty exclusively devoted to anything ltlj puts out or mmmchelle posts.

I think the problem emerges in that I'm not sure what I'm supposed to take away from it.

There's nothing in it, to me, that I didn't know before. I think I missed something in translation. And reading comments? Did not help at all. Mostly, I was:

a.) not terribly interested in how mainstream sees me. So what the hell do I care if they have some kind of strange freakout. Mainstream are the people who turned Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal into bestsellers and movies. These books are in my work's trading area. They turned American Psycho into a bestseller with a detailed how-to on rape and explicit torture in loving detail. Forgive me if I can't take seriously the idea that "mainstream" has a leg to stand on in sitting judgement on our subject manner.

Beyond that? I. Do. Not. Care.

(but I totally reserve to everyone else the right to care all you want. Honest.)

b.) realism in fiction is right up there with realism in art. When someone can put into terms how cubism or Picasso or post-modern *anything* is actually a dead-on photograph of the world, I will totally take it back. But seriously. What does fiction have to do with reality? The only thing I've ever asked of fiction is that they use good characterization and please stop using wonton. Otherwise, go crazy. I may not read it if it doesn't fall in my specific set of interests, but diversity leads to categories like mpreg, and really, what would we be without mpreg? In a sad place, I wager.

(and I totally reserve to everyone else the right to go the realism route. I'm just saying. My two most popular fic ever involve a.) serial killing mass murders taking over Atlantis and b.) Clark Kent as a *god*. It's like the hypocrite calling the Republican blue.)

(this is a joke, I swear. the Rebublican thing. true of democrats as well. really.)

A very real part of me thinks that the essay is meant more as a guide to those that *do* want to work with more realism than trying to make a point that all of us should gently move away from our lighthearted hooker fics and romantic aliens-made-them-do-it. And I think--think being the operative word--that the murmurs since LJ Strikeout 2007 have been toward the idea that if we are going to be seen, we should make sure we're dressed well and use more base to cover up the more unsightly bits of what we're doing.

It's very--disconcerting. I'm not even close to the more extreme ends of fandom in terms of what I write, and I'm *still* feeling vaguely unsettled by the idea. There's something very uncomfortable in the idea that we'll turn on each other, in groups, as individuals, to claim our normality by condemning them (whoever 'them' may be) for the sake of a nebulous "mainstream". That we allow those outside us to set the rules we are to follow to be accepted. Whatever the hell accepted is supposed to be.

Actually, I'd like a defintion of all questionable words in the above paragraph. I think that would clarify a lot.

I could be totally reading way too much into recent debates. This is what happens when I haven't had coffee. Very tragic.


Personally, I have taken the opportunity to begin writing a fantabulous story in which many things of a dubious moral nature happen. I've always taken great delight in making the reader question the morality of a situation, and I've always considered it a fine pursuit for a writer. The written word is meant to provoke, to stimulate, and I want to wield it to the best of its ability. My audience, I am somewhat ashamed to say, has never mattered. Either they will like it or they won't; I have done my best to interest them, and the rest is left to them. Opinions of what I write will never matter, because I do it to better myself and to simply let the story out of my head. I've never, ever been mainstream, never paid heed to mainstream, because mainstream generally does not know what it wants. Torture is horrible, but Hannibal is sexy! Starving children in Africa are terrible, but starving models for entertainment is hot!

Fortunately, I think the main theme people took away from this (or at least the people I care about) is that we have the right to our interests, and our art, and in a world of ever-decreasing rights, we will hang onto this one tooth and nail. I may not be able to speak against the government without being put in jail without charge, but I can damn well read and write Wincest if I want to.

Huh. ANd LJ will not let me answer. Again.

Trying again.

Yes. Agreed.

And totally long live Wincest!

*raises glass*

I'm with you on the whole "wanting to be validated by the mainstream" thing. I just DON'T GET IT. We write pron about TV shows; the mainstream is gonna find that weird for years or even decades to come. Hell even mainstream fandom--those ever popular fanboys who live in basements--usually doesn't accept us. Not writing about uncomfortable subjects isn't going to change that.

Exactly. The most anyone could hope for woudl be *less weird*.

And honestly? I think the part of the not-understnading? Is based out of why on earth we'd *write* without the potential of making money from it. It's--hmm. Yes. Weird.

a.) not terribly interested in how mainstream sees me. So what the hell do I care if they have some kind of strange freakout

The reason put forth about why fen should care is that mainstream's freakout to fanfiction, especially fanfiction dealing with rape, incest, etc., could cause another LJ Strikethrough. That, even tho WFI was a fringe group person, her attitude about rapefic, cestfic, chan, etc., is generally in line with mainstream's viewpoint, it's yucky nasty stuff and we should be ashamed of ourselves. And given the current atmosphere in government (search and detain first, arrest later and the legislation attempting to make copyright infringement a jailable offense), that we should be aware of the possible consequences, both from being TOSed and more.

But putting on our best clothes, neatening up the place, hiding anything objectionable in the closet or back bedroom so that all the normal people think we're just like them? That attitude reminds me of people patting women on the head in the 50s and telling us not to worry our pretty little heads about such things, that the menfolk know what's best for us.

So I'll be over here instead, in my nice messy place, sorting thru all the fic, picking and choosing what I like and letting others do the same, embracing the diversity of not just fandom but of LJ and all sorts of place on the net like it. We all get to be different and think different and talk different and walk different. Cause you know, if everyone posted cat macros all day long, it'd be a damn boring place.

Yes. Exactly. Word to all of it.

*offers glass*

I just want to know where the line is drawn between Important Art That People Should Be Exposed To and Dirty Inappropriate Porn That Should Not Be Touched By Discerning Individuals, because as far as I can tell, it's blurry, and more important than that, it's ever-moving. I don't really understand how I can condone young adult novels for containing the same issues I'm supposed to be condemning fic for. That's... kind of my gold standard. I keep reading in horror about how kidlit gets banned while authors do their best to fight; I can't quite accept that fandom's response could possibly be to just roll over.

Also? Unless that line between Art and Smut is the same for EVERY SINGLE PERSON EVER, I don't see how anyone can even pretend to mandate what "responsible" writing is. If we can't even settle on a definition, I don't see how we can say what can and cannot be shared.

That line is forever a mystery to me. It's just--yeah. Exactly.

well said

can I agree here? I read what interests me and that is varied and eclectic, sometimes realist, sometimes fantasy, my favourite genre is probably science fantasy/fiction and I reserve the right to read and enjoy well written slash. Having said that like you, I believe writers should write what they want, I may not read it but that does not mean that they should not write it

you know I first got into LJ following a story that you had written, it was QaF I think, then I read most of your other work, I like the way that you write, your characterisation, the language and the flow of what you write. And I like the way you write about your life, how is the preparation for the cruise/tme in the sun going?

*nods* Yes. And you know, now that you say that, the eclectic-ness (is that a word? I have no idea) is kind of the point. No where else would anyone do a Harlequin Sci-Fi Romance With Mpreg!!!!! Er, so tos peak.

And thank you! *blushes* I like to think I'm fun to read? But seriously, have no idea for sure.

*hugs*

If that's the essay I'm thinking of, she also had the rather fantastic notion that if something is illegal, fiction about it can never became mainstream.

Which would totally explain Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal and American Psycho, right?

Which isn't to say I *completely* disagree with her. But she was generalizing way too much.

Yeah, it's a little too--general is kind of what I was thinking, but more, it feels more specialized. More for people that are writing in general a lot more serious than we are for teh most part.

Hmm. It was odd, to be honest.

you know, i haven't touched a single aspect of this entire debate with a ten-foot pole because i think it's boring, but the deal with that post: that was someone trying to throw her weight around professionally in the neighborhood of her hobby. and as someone who shares a professional neighborhood with that person (different field, one that is MUCH more kicked around by fan fiction, for what it's worth) i found that insulting on a professional level. fandom's a fucking hobby, man. trying to bring your work into it is stupid no matter what you do, but when you do what she does, it's actually kind of insulting to your work. i said so somewhere at the end of her comments, i'm sure i'll live to regret it.

have always taken with a grain of salt any post to a fannish forum in which the poster feels the need to present credentials. I'm hardly pure in this respect, but I try to avoid those posts.

Egregious crimes against wireless communications technology are my only exception. ;)

A very real part of me thinks that the essay is meant more as a guide to those that *do* want to work with more realism than trying to make a point that all of us should gently move away from our lighthearted hooker fics and romantic aliens-made-them-do-it.

That's how I took it - and I'm trying to get better at reading all meta this way, as an "if you want to be more x, here's how" (which is difficult, since it is sometimes presented as "authors who do x should be taken out back and shot" - I'm thinking mainly of characterization issues here). I strongly believe that people should be able to write whatever they want and take whatever tone they desire, as long as they don't mind me hitting the back button whenever I deem appropriate. What I *do* have a problem with is individuals who are therefore quick to judge me as prudish/bitchy/close-minded. I think it's the same issue that always comes up in conversations about squicks - the difference between someone saying "I think Wincest is really awesome and everyone should read it!" and someone saying "Anyone who is offended or creeped out by the idea of two brothers having sex needs to get over themselves" (not a direct quote, deliberately using an example from a fandom I don't actually follow).

I think the vast majority of authors *are* what I'd call 'responsible', in the sense that either they write about 'serious' issues in a realistic way, or they're honest with themselves and their audiences about what isn't strictly realistic. Frankly, I always go into a story looking for something that I can't find in real life, be it aliens or mpreg or naked John Sheppard. When I think of 'irresponsibility' in fandom, what comes to mind are not fics, but instances when people have been... dismissive, I suppose, of others' concerns. 'Responsibility' comes in the form of saying (either explicitly, or by *not* explicitly saying the opposite) "I know that there are women in fandom who were raped by a teacher and therefore are offended by humorous [student]/[teacher] fics, and I'll respect their right to be offended as long as they respect my right to continue writing them."

I'm also skeptical of anyone who thinks they have *zero* squicks or subject matter intolerance, because I believe that everyone has a breaking point (I'm actually thinking of the part in Freedom's Just Another Word... where Rodney says and what if it were your mother instead, would you still). And I agree that 'mainstream' isn't a great barometer of 'normal' or 'acceptable' - I don't even want get started on that, but just, yes. Basically, I think that we'll never *all* agree on the same line between 'moral' and 'immoral', but - and this was really what I took away from that meta - it's always good to have a reminder that others have a different line, and a reminder of why that may be. Whatever flaws there may have been in her argument, I thought it was calmly and eloquently presented, which is more than I can say for some of the dissenting views, sadly.

(p.s., I don't think I've ever been offended by something you said, and I think this post was also well-presented. and may I suggest this list to take your mind off of the drama? it's how I spent my afternoon. and, uh, sorry that this got long.)

Four words, that's all I have to add:
Flowers In the Attic

*smirks* God bless V.C. Andrews for hitting many of us in a formative phase of our early adolescence.


I think part of the problem I have with the article (don't know whether this is true of you or not) is that it seems to be indicating that we should not write anything uncomfortable. Leaving aside the question of 'uncomfortable for whom,' it strikes me as ignoring the notion of art imitating life. Yes, what we write can be unpleasant. And yes, so can life. Should we all avoid writing something like a murder fic in case the family of a murder victim picks it up and is unpleasantly reminded of bad events? I would say no. Blurbs and summaries make it clear what content can be expected and it's up to the reader to choose whether to proceed or not.

I also have issues with the term 'authorial responsibility.' It seems far too one sided to me - why should the author take all responsibility? Is the reader merely a hapless puppet of the author, forced to read what they write? No. As a reader, I don't blame anyone else for what I read (or what I choose to do with the information I learn as I read). You think for yourself, you act for yourself. Yeah, powerful words can sway you, but ultimately? You have to step up to the plate and say 'I chose to do this.'

It makes me think of those court cases where authors of books are sued because someone has used their book as a springboard for a crime (the suggestion being that the accused individual would never have thought of performing the crime had they not read the book). This fails on so many levels - the fact that the author came up with the idea and yet hasn't killed anyone, so why does the reader get an out, the fact that an author can be sued for writing negative things but no one claims authorial responsibility is to blame when a book makes someone decide to do something for the better rather than the worse.

As a point of interest, I remember reading how a man had read an Agatha Christie book and, like the villain of the book, decided to kill someone with the poison thalium, as it was a rare drug and hard to detect. This man did attempt to murder someone - but was caught, because the nurse who was attending the person he tried to kill had read the very same book and recognised the symptoms of the poisoning from it. Make the authorial responsibility issue look a little different, doesn't it?

And I won't talk about authorial intent, because that's a whole 'nother kettle of fish.

You think for yourself, you act for yourself. Yeah, powerful words can sway you, but ultimately? You have to step up to the plate and say 'I chose to do this.'

But there's tons of people out there who *will not* do this. They have no idea how to change the channel on the TV or hit the back button or put down the book that has a topic they don't like - instead they want it removed from the possibility of their viewing it (this was WFI's real goal, although they'd deny it, what they wanted, what they achieved was to have something they objected to removed from their view, didn't do a thing to stop a single pedophile from harming a single child but they no longer have to look at it and so they can pretend they "saved the children").

These people are the mainstream and they think that the world should be designed to their liking (often with the "think of the children!" as a refrain to justify their liking). These are the same people who think that gay people shouldn't be allowed to kiss in public because it offends them and they don't want their children to see it (because you know, seeing it would instantly infect the child with teh gayness!)

Some of these mainstream people are right here in fandom too, some of them even write slash while claiming that the guys aren't gay, it's just that one guy and they continue to be extremely homophobic while they do this. People can do amazing mental gymnastics sometimes.

ummm, yeah, I said I was going to do work now, didn't I? :)

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
I have no interest what-so-ever in having anything to do with the mainstream in any way, shape, or form.

Also, I must say, anything that I have ever seen in fandom, I have seen in established literature times five. I didn't find fic, and suddenly discover naughty things. If anything, this is tamer than my ridiculous Poppy Z. Brite/Marilyn Manson phase when I was 15 and stupid.

My two most popular fic ever involve a.) serial killing mass murders taking over Atlantis

[gets a little dreamy-eyed]

Your Atlantis Project John is certainly no angel, either, and I loves him for it so.

[pats Jenn's collection of adorable psychos. From a very safe distance. Rodney was still looking for subjects for Carson's gene therapy tests, last time I looked.]

The caveats and disclaimers ran a lot longer than my interest at this time my authorized break, so I shouldn't really be commenting. I liked your Hannibal and American Psycho examples, and will raise you the Saw movie trilogy.

[goes back to pondering AUs of "Crimes Against Humanity" in which a Colonel Sheppard schleps everything they know about the Wraith over to the Crimes-verse so versions of themselves unhampered by rules or consciences can finish the anti-Wraith virus. mmmmmm... Atlantis would be so adorably confused.]

Here via metafandom.

It's very--disconcerting. I'm not even close to the more extreme ends of fandom in terms of what I write, and I'm *still* feeling vaguely unsettled by the idea. There's something very uncomfortable in the idea that we'll turn on each other, in groups, as individuals, to claim our normality by condemning them (whoever 'them' may be) for the sake of a nebulous "mainstream". That we allow those outside us to set the rules we are to follow to be accepted. Whatever the hell accepted is supposed to be.

God yes. I'm protective of fannish spaces and this whole debate has just made me really twitchy because when we start censoring each other we start alienating each other. Fandom needs a very particular kind of forum to function and so much of that is based on free dialog with each other. And I admit I privilege that over just about anything. Maybe other people have other priorities and maybe this is a conversation that needs to be had, but I don't know. It makes me nervous. I don't want anything from the mainstream except that they stay far away from us.

Anyway, you said all that in the part I quoted, except better and more concisely. So thanks.

There's something very uncomfortable in the idea that we'll turn on each other, in groups, as individuals, to claim our normality by condemning them (whoever 'them' may be) for the sake of a nebulous "mainstream".

It's an unfortunate fact of life, though, right? That's what makes the Geek Hierarchy joke possible. "Well, I may be a freak, but at least IIII don't write mpreg," etc.

Anyway. I agree with your post.