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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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it's nothing like a question that can be answered in one word
john behind bars
Environments are in read-only for mass updates. I wish I could explain what that actually is, because it's deceivingly nothing like what those words mean according to the dictionary, but I really can't. I know it's a mass, and it's an update, and while yes, it is, no, it's really not. And it sucks.

However, this rare morning, it gives me a short, brilliant moment to surf friendsfriends.

Sarah T on the lower numbers of John/Ronon in SGA.

Actually, I've kind of vaguely wondered about that, but--the thing is, my first fandom was Star Trek and I came out of that physically incapable of not having a header (though sometimes I break conditioning and remove it) and a taste for random internet drama. I also came out of it unable to believe Kirk was heterosexual and it would still be a year before I stared blankly at my first slash OTP (Pyro/Iceman, in case you were curious).

(Sidenote: I was on there watching or posting actively 1999 -2001--wow. Just. Yeah. This is why flamewars rarely scare me and why I don't often participate; I know some fandoms have been far wankier for far longer and with greater populations and drama, but I'm not sure any fandom post-usenet can hit that same deeply terrifying intensity where there were no prisoners taken and occasionally you realized the ground was being sown with salt. Deeply awesome. Even when you had no idea what Treksmut university was and kept freaking out every time your inbox pinged.)

Right. Moving on. The OTP even in Voyager was Kirk/Spock. I mean, that's an exaggeration, but not much of one. ASCEM(L) was like, KS Central. And I know this because I didnt' read slash and contextually knew at the time the plotlines to three of the winning GO stories.

Now, my question--are there any fandoms who have had more than one major pairing of the same type at the same time? As in, more than one major slash and more than one major het?

Since Trek, I've never been involved in a fandom that did, so I'm curious. And I'm not sure my memories of Trek are accurate, as this was 1999/2000 and I spent about half that time going, oh my God this is the best thing in the world! And um, writing Paris/Seven post-Paris/Torres breakup porn. Because I didn't like Seven and that's how I deal with dislike. It felt like Janeway/Chakotay and Paris/Torres had similiarly strong followings, though J/C was a bit older and larger, and Chakotay/Paris and Paris/Kim seemed relatively even (in retrospect, the locked archives actually skew it even more; I never even *knew* about some of them before Smallville).

I'd ask what everyone thinks influences a pairing to be written, but the answers will be, invariably:
a.) Lots of feedback! OR Feedback doesn't matter! Etc. Etc. Etc.
b.) BNFs! OR BNFs turn me off pairings! Etc. Etc. Etc.
c.) Big Pairings are sheep! OR Rare pairing are boring! Etc. Etc. Wait, didn't we do this recently?
d.) Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. (insert here)

I always wondered if it was just a moment of fannish--unity, if you will, like when a mob forms. Like, remember when you went to cheer at a football game and suddenly in the third quarter and while you've never been the perkiest cheerleader and kinda quiet, you're suddenly filled with bloodlust and helping to lead the crowd in screaming BEAT THE WATERPIGS and lost your voice for a day? (They were hippos. Yes, we got in some much trouble for that one. So very much worth it.) (My algebra teacher was louder than all of us together, though.)(I don't miss being a cheerleader. I do, however, miss controlling crowds with five inches of thigh and some belled shoes. Seriously. I still marvel at that.)

Yes, I'm going to be this incoherent all day; I had no sleep. Also trying to get my John/Ronon recs together, since I kind of think I should feedback the authors and then give the fic their own page.

are there any fandoms who have had more than one major pairing of the same type at the same time? As in, more than one major slash and more than one major het?

Er, hi, Harry Potter. on all counts. Ron/Hermione v. Harry/Hermione. Snape/Lupin v. Black/Lupin v. Snape/Black. Snape/Harry v. Harry/Draco. etc.

That's what I was thinking, but--HP was so massive I'm not sure the percentages that make a majority were that different from smaller fandoms.

From what I remember of my brief time in Due South fandom, there was sort of a co-existence of two major slash pairings at once -- Fraser/RayV and Fraser/RayK. Though, for a while there, you couldn't really call it a "co-existence" since parts of the two sides seemed mutually willing to tear the other side's throat out.

And then there's DC Comics fandom, which is sort of a different universe entirely, fannishly speaking -- it seemed less like there were One True Pairings than there were One True Characters, and every other character was totally fair game when it came to bangin' the OTC. So you had ten thousand permutations of pairings with Bruce Wayne or Dick Grayson or whoever, and all were near-equally represented. At least in my corner of an admittedly insanely huge, multifaceted kind of fandom.

It's almost relaxing to be in a fandom with just one huge main 'ship, after that.

I love the OTC concept. It can make a slightly less irrational picture of fandom pairings when the epicenters can be easily traced. *g*

If I remember correctly, Highlander had several main slash pairings before Duncan/Methos broke out of the pack: Duncan/Richie, Duncan/Darius, Duncan/Joe, Duncan/Charlie. Maybe he was just a slut? :) The only real het pairings were Duncan/Amanda or Duncan/Mortal Woman of the Season though.

Xena het was the same way - you'd think she slept with anything that moved if it was male, though slash was 90% Xena/Gab, 5% Xena/Alti, and 5% Xena/random Amazon.

*grins* Oh Xena. You are love.

See, Duncan/Methos is all I've ever seen in general. Again, just through random browsing and recs and such. Though I swear Duncan/Richie someone did in the last six months and I was just utterly blank on who on earth that was.

Off the top of my head I can think of one: due South Fraiser and the Rays...I don't know how close the numbers might be but it always seemed that both were pretty healthy numbers.

I could also think of Pirates of the Caribbean on the het side, with Elizabeth and Jack or Will but I really try not to (they scare me.) There seem to be an abundance of parings in that fandom on all sides of the coin.

I'm sure there are more/others but its very interesting how much I avoid those sorts of fandoms....the crazy people, they give me nightmares.

*snickers* The degree of crazy in fandom is always in question, but that it *is* crazy is always a given. But yeah, there are certain degrees I wish to sincerely avoid.

I thought X-Files had a fairly even Mulder/Skinner, Mulder/Krycek following, with maybe more of a lean toward Mulder/Krycek. Popslash (NSYNC fandom); had a fairly even distribution of OTPs, too, with maybe Justin/Lance or Justin/JC at the front of the pack.

*sad* I wish I'd been in X-Files during those heydays.

Comicsfic in general is necessarily multi-pairing due to the size of the casts. There are het and slash pairings that are bigger than most, but...

On a less biblical scale, my first fandom, Homicide was pretty share-and-share-alike with the pairings. At least when I came to it, which was after the big split but before the series died (mid-late 1990's). There were multiple slash pairings, although two (FrankenTim, Lewis/Kellerman) dominated and a few het pairings (Munch/Howard was probably the dominant, although Kellerman/Cox was there because it was canon and there were others). But I can't remember any genuine antipathy toward any pairing. Kellerman/Bayliss, Kay/anyone... There were characters no one liked and no one wrote, but apart from that...

Did comicsfic lean toward an OIC more than OTP as mentioned above regarding DC? I remember wading through OTL when I was in X-Men every once in a while to see what was around. I feel like the archives were more character specific, but it's been a while.

Oooh, Homicide. *mulls* I really need to see that one eventually.

Buffy-Angel fandom. Joss joked about how it was BYOS -- Bring Your Own Subtext -- and that's very true. Slashwise, Spike/Xander and Spike/Angel were probably the most popular, while hetwise probably Spike/Buffy and Angel/Buffy, and possibly Angel/Cordelia later on. Spike? Kinda the little black dress of the fandom, with Angel not too far behind.

That being said, most pairings had a fair sized following and had stuff being produced out there. I wrote mostly Giles/Ethan and Wes/Angel, although I wrote many other combinations at one time or another as well, and I never felt like I was shouting into a void or writing a rare pairing.

There were definitely memorable ship wars -- especially between the Spike/Buffy and the Angel/Buffy contingents, as well as some of the slash pairings. Spike, in particular seemed a very polarizing character (or just seemed to attract more batshit fans perhaps?) although not the only one. And wow, did the character bashing in fics often seem to be an olympic sport and only the bashee getting changed depending on the pairing. For example, IME, Spike/Buffy fic? Xander is probably most likely to get bashed. Spike/Xander? Buffy's most likely.

It was definitely interesting watching the ebb and flow of such things, especially since most of my other fandoms aren't so much ensembles as that one.

And Firefly. That was just pretty much Mal/Everybody or Jayne/Everybody or Simon/Everybody (and Inara and River and Kaylee) as interchangeable as Legos.

Ooh, this is interesting.

John/Rodney feel to me like a kind of Ur-pairing -- which is to say, they're almost archetypal. Geek (who's braver than he lets on) plus action hero (who's smarter than he lets on!) They hit my OMG HAPPY slash buttons even before I started watching the show. There's something about the way the two of them work that just fills me with JOY.

That said -- I can get behind Rodney/Teyla and John/Ronon (and Ronon/Teyla) too (and oh, those rare OT4 stories totally make my WEEK.) I've fallen so firmly in love with all four of them that I just want them to be happy. I want them to make each other happy, in all sorts of sappy and dorky and X-rated ways. *g* They're family! They're team! So really, as long as the author of the story isn't bashing one character or pairing in order to make the case for another one (which, honestly, I can't imagine anyone I read doing; it's just...poor form, and also lame *g*) I can run with all sorts of pairings in this fandom. Ronon/Keller, sure. Ronon/Elizabeth. (Really I just want Ronon to get some; he's had such a rough decade, right? He deserves some action!)

I'm rambling. What I meant to say is, I think of Rodney/John as my OTP in this fandom, but I will also happily read other pairings as long as the characters I love get to have a moment of happiness somewhere in there.

Re: other fandoms -- I was never all that active in Firefly, at least not when everybody else seems to have been, but I always got the sense it was a polymorphously perverse fandom. Lots of Mal/Simon, sure, but also Simon/Kaylee, Mal/Kaylee, Simon/Inara, Mal/Jayne, Mal/River. There, too, as long as Mal gets some action I'm a happy girl. (We did a panel a few years ago at Escapade about how Mal is the Little Black Dress of the fandom -- he goes with everything!)

What I meant to say is, I think of Rodney/John as my OTP in this fandom, but I will also happily read other pairings as long as the characters I love get to have a moment of happiness somewhere in there.

That's exactly how I feel. Like you said, I'm just so totally buttcrazy in love with all of them, I just want them to be happy - all of them, in whatever permutations that happens to take.

Personally I have always thought it had to do with the combination of reception and relative difficulty in writing/popularity of characters. I've noticed that Ronon is less prominent in SGA fanfiction, period--and I really wonder if it has to do with people either being intimidated by trying to write him true to character, or being unable to see enough depth to his character. I see this with Teal'c in SG-1 as well--what a great character who has been around from the beginning! Yet such a small presence in fandom. It can't all be his reticence...

I was very deep involved with HP fandom for years and years, and I'd have to say that Harry/Draco and Sirius/Remus were pretty much on par for popularity*, with Harry/Snape and Lupin/Snape up there but not quite as popular. The thing with HP fandom is it's so incredibly segmented, it's not even possible to articulate. SGA is as far from HP fandom as possible in almost every way, imo.

*I should add, that with the segmentation of HP fandom comes a lack of perspective when it comes to stuff that you're not as interested in, for lack of a better phrasing. I wasn't into slash at all for HP, so all I can go on is what came to my notice even from my nice little het comfort zone.

I wonder if the lack of John/Ronon comes from something as simple as there being a perceived lack of significant conflict? This would track with there being more Radek/Ronon than John/Ronon...

*nods* Hmm. The conflict thing--good point.

HP is just--yeah. Segemented and utterly huge. So it's hard to use it to model for fandoms.

I want to write another John/Ronon story when I have some time. Though at this rate I'm not going to have time for another month or so.

*hopeful* I like this plan!

Having just this week started watching Magnificent Seven, and reading some fic, it seems like there's a big Chris/Buck contingent, and a big Chris/Vin contingent, and then some Ezra/Vin people, and I'm sure I'm missing some chunk somewhere.

What I don't know, coming in from the outside, is whether one is larger than the other.

*nods* The view from inside as opposed to outside can be radically different, yeah.

The only reason I don't read John/Ronon is that I am so ridiculously OTP for John/Rodney, it makes my heart hurt thinking about it. Oddly, I can read Rodney with other people more easily. Which is weird, because John is the one I love beyond reason, so you'd think I'd be more about him getting his sex on as much as possible.

*g* I'm the complete opposite--very OTP, but John/almost anyone also works for me, depending on sitch.

Re: low popularity of John/Ronon

I notice that SarahT forgot that most read slash fanfiction because we are crazy romantics and I am not sure what is romantic about a pairing where both parties are from DIFFERENT galaxies, thus have no common cultural background (*) and have a clear -or maybe I should say unclear- hierarchical military structure between them.

I can see PWPs stories, but I cannot see a soulmate kind of pairing between these two characters, because the only things they have in common are:

- they are both good-looking (makes for porn, not in-depth character analysis and drama of the kind most prefer)
- they both fight the Wraith (this could be said of any human in the Pegasus galaxy, so not exactly clear what the attracttion would be)

Even what is often given as common ground between them -the fact they are are both military- is IMHO totally misleading: Ronon is or has become a sniper type, fighting completely alone in a context that includes his whole life. Whereas John is an air force pilot: his fighting on the ground is negligible and his value to Atlantis military efforts centers on (a) his gene and (b) his overall tactics (which seem to be mostly harrassing McKay to come up with a Deus ex Machina solution, but whatever).

And let's not get into the age discussion... Ronon is clearly an adult but with very little life experience having been a runner for so long, and such an imbalance in age and power between them makes for an uneasy contemplation if looking at them as a romantic pairing.

Not all that different from the Sheppard/Ford pairing; and I do not think I am alone in not liking pairings which are not clearly equals. If I didn't mind such an inbalance between sex partners, I'd be reading het.

(*) trust me on this, mixed marriages/couples may sound romantic, but they're not: what do they have to discuss during long winter evenings? What can they joke about? Can you imagine the number of misunderstandings that will never ever be cleared up? My parents were such a mixed couple and I can tell you first hand that these are a recipe for failure of the most horrible kind, the kind that destroys families and children's lives. Not to say that such cannot be successful, only that the odds are overwhelmingly negative, to the point where they usually reflect an attempt to sabotage one's own efforts at a relationship.

And personally I read fanfiction for happy endings, becuase real life provides me with all the examples of heart break I care to see...

Please do not think I am trying to harsh your recent John/Ronon squee -I am all in favor of ppl enjoying whatever makes them happy-, I am only answering this question because you sounded to be genuinely interested in answers.

Re: low popularity of John/Ronon

Actually, you are telling people that a thing that makes them happy - a *fictional thing* - is doomed to failure...because your parents didn't have a happy marriage.

Let's look at John and Rodney here: they are from different countries; they completed very different levels of education; John comes from money and an extremely high level of class in American society, and from what we have seen of Rodney's life, it's quite possible that he doesn't. John was married before; Rodney wasn't. John loves football and surfing; Rodney refuses to go outdoors. John loves kids; Rodney hates them.

John is committed to being in the military. Rodney is committed to being a scientist. John views the world through a militaristic perspective; Rodney views the world through a scientific perspective.

So, basically, what they both have in common is that they are in the same age range. Oh, and they're both white. And men. Surely that's enough for a successful marriage! That'll keep them going through all of those long winter nights!

Like, remember when you went to cheer at a football game and suddenly in the third inning and while you've never been the perkiest cheerleader and kinda quiet, you're suddenly filled with bloodlust and helping to lead the crowd in screaming BEAT THE WATERPIGS and lost your voice for a day?

I may have more to contribute on fandom pairings later, but mostly you've left me wondering what sort of football games you went to that had INNINGS. ;)

Gah. Quarters. Will correct.

random tangental thoughts

1) there was a fandom with 2 competeing slash pairings: due south. You ever hear of the ray wars?

2) My personal thoughts on the lack of John/Ronon are all centered around Rodney. Rodney is a pretty main guy in the fandom, and if he bugs the hell out of you, you're not going to be happy here. Hence, my personal opinion on why so many early John/Ronon adopters moved onto to SPN, leaving a much, much, much smaller cadre of John/Ronon people behind

3) OT4 seems to have become the big way that we include John/Ronon and Rodney in the fandom. IMO, we have a much stronger OT4 presence than other fandoms that I have participated in in the past. So it incorporates: John/Rodney, John/Teyla, Rodney/Teyla, John/Ronon, Rodney/Ronon, and Ronon/Teyla as possible readers. Still a small number of stories, I know, but more than I would expect coming in blind.

Re: random tangental thoughts

1.) Only a few thousand times. And the scandal of Ray/Ray. *g* But I always like to hear it again.

2.) I'm still here. *shrugs* Though Rodney bothers me a lot less in canon than the fandom of Rodney.

3.) True. I'm trying to think of any other fandom that had that kind fo dynamic. I'm almost sure there is one, but I'll need to think more.