1.) Teaching Child the Finer Points of Do Not Engage.
He's a Sterek shipper but loves the whole cast--seriously, even the annoying ones, it's weird--and a hardcore Destiel shipper who likes Sam, and Tumblr is a daily test of his ability to not get his ass doxxed before he's legally no longer my responsibility. It's a countdown to eighteen, when he can play the youtube, instagram, and facebook personal humiliation angle to his heart's content. Per usual, he finds this completely unfair; this would be, he explains, a learning experience for me as a parent; how to deal with your fanboy kid when he becomes the subject of a massive fandom-wide wank. I reminded him I've been here longer and I have an army and I will troll his ass into the ground, because that too, is a learning experience; do not stress your parent during weirdness at work.
BTW, I need an army, just in case. Anyone got one I could borrow? No reason.
2.) So That Family Legend Thing Was Like, Real?
A couple of months ago, we got a random letter from a firm in Colorado or Oklahoma--I should know this, but it's just so weird--to the estate of my grandfather, who died twenty-one years ago, so passing to my Dad, who died almost two years ago, to us, check enclosed. Not much here, but thing; we own mineral rights somewhere since like, my great-grandpa's time (who died before I was born), or possibly my great-great-grandfather (eighteen freaking hundreds, folks), or so we were told. Much like the Sasquatch and the Loch Ness Monster and the theory of trickle-down economics, it was told over campfires (barbecues and polish sausage?) as a thing that no one actually believed because seriously, who believes trickle-down works?
Right, I digressed, and here's another one; I come from a long, long, Jesus long line of sharecroppers, semi-subsistence farmer, serfs, and ethnic Wends Lutherans running away from religious persecution due to a union between two disparate versions of Protestantism in Bavaria (I looked this up and I still can't tell the difference, but all of them were going to hell from what I understand) while also failing to get anywhere above 'growing enough food to continue the family line, and how'. Which let me say is an accomplishment and possibly a miracle. Some of us live in the Rockies and don't talk to people or possibly shoot at strangers, it's a thing we do. I've heard bears are involved.
So you see why our first reaction was hysterical laughter followed by wtf followed by calling and being genuinely surprised this wasn't a poor British widow whose colonel/general husband died in India (to this day, I still think it was an email from Victorian England; there's no other explanation) but an actual lawyer--seriously, passed the bar and everything--and so many years ago, some great (-great?) grandparent split up shares between their kids and lo, for the first time ever, that shit was 1.) a real thing that was real and 2.) produced (a very small) amount of money that was actually real and came in legal tender form to be--not kidding--deposited in an actual account without anyone (FBI?) muttering "suckers" like those poor people who thought the fake Publisher's Clearinghouse check was real.
Again, very small amount (somewhat more if I kill all the other heirs, the math is very interesting if my how serendipitous genealogy information is accurate but depends on if this is great or great-great-grandpa as origin (if it's great-great-grandpa, I may need a professional consultation for the number I'm getting on the number of direct descendents, because huh, calculators don't lie)), and this proves 1.) wow, so evil really is a light-switch, who knew and 2.) these things actually happen?
The universe moves in mysterious ways. My entire worldview is in revolution, or something.
3.) So That's a Much Better Interpretation Than Mine and I Wrote It.
I read a fantastic review of one of my fic and it was both surreal and gratifying beyond words, but what really got me thinking was reading it again out of the context of the fandom at the time.
It's not just author death in this case; it's well over a decade, the fandom has progressed past all recognition, but far more interesting to me is that it still works, just in a completely different way than it did then, and in some ways much better because it can stand alone like this. To get my intention in the fic--and the readers at the time picked it up immediately--you had to have read not just several other fic in the fandom, but been in the fandom and subject to the atmosphere at the time, enough that you were--if you were me--deeply committed to being very tired of it all.
The thing is--and I say this with mixed feelings--I'm torn on Death of the Author. I don't necessarily believe it, but I'm a massive fan of people who are and practice it, and the reason is why I'm in fandom in the first place. A text is static--it's words on the page, they can't change--but people do, over a week, a year, a lifetime, an age, a millennia. The idea that we are reading Homer exactly the same way as the Greeks did the odd thousands of years ago would imply we've managed, quite literally, to have progressed absolutely nowhere except invented flight and cellphones. What we read, how we read, how we process it, what we see in the text and what we take away from it better be subject to change.
I remember high school and college English as a dark period of my existence--I've never gotten over how I couldn't get the teacher to debate The Lady or the Tiger in eighth grade and I will take that to my grave--and the noble papers I wrote on the real meaning of The Yellow Wallpaper (ghost, obviously) and A Good Man Is Hard to Find (why am I reading this, two thousand goddamn words of making up shit; Man Is Fucked Up, what do you want from me?) and a plethora of forgettable short stories and novels where I was asked to describe what I got out of it and how that was very wrong because reasons (unknown, but definitely there). If there's one defining characteristic of fandom, it's that we all care deeply about the one true interpretation as meant by the author/writer/producer right up until we disagree with them and kill them immediately and write the one true true interpretation their blood, and you get this is metaphorical, right? I can see how that'd be a concern after point two. Metaphor, promise.
Text doesn't change, it can't; it's words. People should. I will happily take a thousand Moby Dick as unsettling psychosexual drama with man/boat/whale threesome on a semen sea--I'll need therapy, but whatever, I'll take one for the team--than risk the stagnation, however small, however irrelevant it may seem, of human thought in which we cannot comprehend the idea of seeing something new, a thought that didn't exist when Homer wrote it that exists now. Anyone who tells you there's nothing new under the sun's never seen anything but a single candle in a dark room.
Brief afterward; it has been a very unsettling work week and insomnia is apparently a feature. I'm kind of looking forward to reading this when I'm rested and relatively sane again. In that way I will never be able to mock Child's tumblr posts again from any kind of high ground, but hey, he won't know that.
Posted at Dreamwidth: http://seperis.dreamwidth.org/994863.html. | You can reply here or there. | comments