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29 July 2003 @ 09:01 pm
shades of grey  
I want to be Merry when I grow up. Not for the first time. I wish I were possessed of the powers of reason that would let me argue something so intelligently, and with such composure. Way classy.

Despite my flippant remarks the other day, I actually don't have simple opinions on RPF. In fact, as with a lot of other subjects, I'm not sure that I have opinions, as much as I do thoughts and questions. Either I'm a big wuss, or a waffle, or I just don't care enough--I'm only on the fringes of RPF fandom, after all. An occasional consumer. Actually, for a while now, I haven't given much thought to RPF as a genre, beyond individual stories. I've moved past my initial disquieted challenging phase, to an acceptance phase. I know that along the way there were several discussions on lists and such that influenced and directed my thoughts. But I think the four things that mostly made it palatable were:

  • Reading stories. Really, really good stories. Intelligent, sweet, charming stories.
  • Realizing that most of the sparkly people I knew (RPF fans) were examples of fandom at its best--that they were some of the giddiest, friendliest, sanest, smartest people in my vicinity.
  • Thinking of celebrities as being, in some ways, personas, many of whose facets are created--in many cases fictionalized--by publicists.
  • Hearing more than one person describe how they used to write stories about rock stars in their notebooks as teenagers, which made me see RPF as a not-so-crazy extension of that.

    I know the last two points can't just be taken at face value. Personas still cover real people, and the medium is at least as important as the message--meaning, things written in notebooks don't always equate to things posted online. (Which reminds me of some of the points raised in that speech I posted a link to the other day, A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy.)

    Anyway, I guess the problem with the consent argument is, I don't really agree, at least not for fandoms with fictional characters. I mean, it's great that Joss Whedon says "Go forth and write fan-fiction!" But the fact is, I was reading and writing it years ago, when it had a much stronger whiff of legal transgression, and I am not sure I'd stop if some of my favorite fandoms started getting mobilized, organized, and aggressive about pursuing what they see as copyright infringement. I think it'd be highly misguided if they did, because fandom is a collaborative and creative force, and if you slam your fans, you risk your money-maker. I guess...if I were in a fandom where the suits were trying to suck away all my joy, I might not feel *compelled* to stop writing or reading, but I might end up gravitating away from that particular religion, which didn't respect its worshippers. It might sour a fandom for me. That'd be sad.

    But regarding consent when it comes to RPF, that does make sense to me. And, even though I read RPF, I'm not really *in* any RPF fandoms, and lack insight into their tenets, so maybe I should ask people who are: has consent "historically" been considered an important point or hot topic in those fandoms--in N'Sync fandom, for example? I kind of question whether the majority of people really would stop writing if band members voiced unhappiness. But I raise that question from a very uninformed position, outside of fandom, and don't mean to be offensive. As an example of weirdness to me, though, is that people write stories about Eminem, which--because of his views on homosexuality, as far as I'm familiar with them--seems more subversive than usual. As if to say, "In just seven pages, I can make you a man. A gay man!" Like, it's hard for me to imagine he'd welcome stories like that about him.

    But what do I know? Really. I don't follow celebrity profiles that closely. Definitely not his.

    You know, James Marsters's wigs weren't *that* bad in LMPTM. I am actually feeling more forgiving as I rewatch those early Victorian scenes, now, with the sound off.

    Am I the only one who will probably watch "Freddy Vs Jason"?

    Just wondering.


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    do you want orcs? because this is how you get orcs: My Typekita0610 on July 29th, 2003 09:46 pm (UTC)
    His wigs look better with the sound off? LOLOL!

    And no, I'll be watching Freddie V Jason too. Cause I'm a sad, sad little fan girl.
    Anna S.eliade on July 29th, 2003 09:48 pm (UTC)
    Well, they *were* rather *loud* wigs.

    You made me giggle.
    do you want orcs? because this is how you get orcs: My Angelkita0610 on July 29th, 2003 09:52 pm (UTC)
    Well, we can all use a giggle right now. Fandom is eating itself starting with its bottom.
    elz: faithelz on July 30th, 2003 12:00 am (UTC)
    Fandom is eating itself starting with its bottom.

    *nibbles*

    Needs salt, too.
    Destinadestina on July 29th, 2003 09:55 pm (UTC)
    I am sadly pathetic where Freddy is concerned, and will never pass up an opportunity to watch him. He gives me a feeling of evil, OTT glee. *g*
    Anna S.eliade on July 29th, 2003 09:56 pm (UTC)
    I'm on Jason's side. Jason in space was funny. {g}
    Destinadestina on July 29th, 2003 10:00 pm (UTC)
    Ah, but Jason is the klutziest serial killer in movie history! He moves like a wooden puppet whose joints are glued together. Stiff, baby! In their great death battle, Freddy will win through clever trickery. "Hey, what's that over there? Is it William Shatner?" and then he will throw out a giant striped arm like Plasticman and Jason will trip over it. *g*
    Merry: everythingmerryish on July 29th, 2003 09:58 pm (UTC)
    I guess...if I were in a fandom where the suits were trying to suck away all my joy, I might not feel *compelled* to stop writing or reading, but I might end up gravitating away from that particular religion, which didn't respect its worshippers. It might sour a fandom for me. That'd be sad.

    I'm totally with you. I've always had kind of a hard time separating the creator from the created -- it's why I really don't go to actor-cons, and don't seek out celebrity encounters. I'll go to a concert, but I don't want to go backstage, you know? I don't want to find out something about the creator/actor that would sour me on the show or the fandom, and I'm really susceptible to that. So I think there's a really good chance that I would be so turned off by the creator slamming my favorite thing, fan fiction (and me for writing it!) that I would no longer have a desire to write it in that particular fandom.

    Likewise with RPF. If Chris were to make some kind of statement that he found RPF creepy or hurtful to him, I think I would take steps to make sure that he never came into contact with any *I* wrote about him -- but I'd probably still write it solely for myself and for sharing with my friends, probably off-line. If he made some kind of statement that he found RPF offensive and stupid, I think my desire to write about him would vanish altogether.

    Lucky for me, NSYNC and BSB have heard of RPF -- RPS even -- and laughed it off (Justin was more upset about lip balm with his face on it than slash with his dick in it, in the course of a single interview. The slash he laughed at; the lip balm made him *mad*) or said they read it or found it funny. The BSB talked about it in an interview and seemed to find it wildly amusing. Given ample opportunity and wide audience, none of them even hinted that it upset them.

    And I? Would totally go see Freddy Vs. Jason with you. Because you can't just *stop watching* two series you started watching when you were *two*. =)
    witlingwitling on July 29th, 2003 09:59 pm (UTC)
    No, the wigs were really bad.

    And I'll be there for Freddy v. Jason. I quite enjoyed Jason X. Well, parts of it. The sleeping bag scene was pretty funny.
    Nia: aww Justinpopfantastic on July 29th, 2003 10:18 pm (UTC)
    Okay, something clicked in me from this entry, and now I must try to put words to it.

    As a general rule, consent means fuck all to me so long as I'm not sniping cash away from the suits. Joss Whedon could undergo a personality transplant, come to my house, and berate me for hours on the evils of using someone else's characters to populate own inferior stories, and I wouldn't feel a lick of guilt for writing fanfic about his characters. This is my personal stance, and I do understand how other people may feel uncomfortable to the point of abandoning a fandom when consent of a creator or actor becomes an issue.

    But I think the question about *Nsync slash and consent from a "historical perspective" is interesting, because I see it as a special chicken and egg case. Like, I think one of the reasons that *Nsync has, uh, attracted the attention of so many slash writers has to do with the fact that they are who they are -- and I'm not talking innate slashiness and comfort piling on top of each other here, I'm talking about the sort of laid-back attitude, the friendliness to gay fans, the willingness to do interviews in Out and the like, the comments over the years about finding "those stories about you on the Internet" funny.

    I think this sort of implied consent was a factor in making *Nsync one of the dominant groups in popslash, as opposed to, you know, 98 Degrees (no offense to them, of course...okay, the fact that I think some of the guys in 98 Degrees are related probably didn't help, but you get my gist). And as a result the whole consent issue *hasn't* really been a hot-topic issue in the fandom at all. If *Nsync suddenly held a press conference asking fans to stop writing slash, I probably wouldn't stop writing it but I would think hard about sharing it with others (and I already keep all of it bot-blocked) -- not because I felt I needed *permission* from them, per se, but because I, uh, really like and respect the guys of *Nsync.

    Also, re: Eminem and subversion, the Pet Shop Boys have a song called "The Night I Fell In Love," which is blatant Eminem slash. It was on Release, and I believe at the time it came out Dr. Dre or someone else went on record saying that Mr. Mathers was greatly amused.
    Anna S.eliade on July 29th, 2003 10:49 pm (UTC)
    Oh, great thoughts--your chicken and egg comments make a lot of sense!

    Also, re: Eminem and subversion, the Pet Shop Boys have a song called "The Night I Fell In Love," which is blatant Eminem slash. It was on Release, and I believe at the time it came out Dr. Dre or someone else went on record saying that Mr. Mathers was greatly amused.

    {g}

    Sorry I spelled *Nsync wrong. I try to remember, but then I see different versions and get all mixed-up and can't retain anything...
    Nia: pop is fantasticpopfantastic on July 29th, 2003 11:06 pm (UTC)
    No apologies. Mostly it's obnoxious when used semi-intentionally by people who are violently bashing the fandom. Because it's kind of like, you know, if someone (someone really crazy, man!) went on an angry rant about Do South fandom. It just results in mean giggling on the part of the opposing side.
    sisabet: xander pretty by anniesjsisabet on July 30th, 2003 04:41 am (UTC)
    Am I the only one who will probably watch "Freddy Vs Jason"?

    I am there. I am there with excitement and glee.


    Re: Eminem and his views on homosexuality - I think it is probably safe to say that he will advocate something in a song - as a form of expression - that he would in no way endorse in real-life. Some of his music tends to dance along an extreme (that is pretty much putting it mildly), but that is just how the genre works. NWA'a "Fuck the Police" may have talked about shooting down cops, but it was more of an expression of anger and helplessness against a corrupt and absolute system that targetted them than a call to violence. As far as Eminem -from what I can tell, based on interviews and such - dude is pretty cool. He also has some of the most compelling lyrics I have ever heard. "Cleaning Out My Closet" is raw and emotional, "White America" is clever and cunning and "Lose Yourself" is probably the best song he has ever done. I like honesty in art. Sometimes it isn't pretty and it squicks.

    Oh - and I have a crush on Dr. Dre. That has nothing to do with anything other than at one point a couple of weeks ago, Dre became Angel in my head and now I love him. Just wanted to share.
    Anna S.eliade on August 3rd, 2003 09:36 pm (UTC)
    Everybody's comments about Eminem have been very interesting--it seems I know even less about him that I thought I did. ;) Maybe I will rent that movie of his...
    anodyna: vamp.willow.gayanodyna on July 30th, 2003 10:54 am (UTC)
    By the way, thank you for the link to that article about the behavior of internet groups. It was fascinating. Also very relevant to some recent weirdness on a board I usually love but lately has been having regular freakouts. I love it when smart people come along and put words to things that are right there in your environment but you can't sort out on your own.
    (Anonymous) on July 30th, 2003 08:17 pm (UTC)
    As an example of weirdness to me, though, is that people write stories about Eminem, which--because of his views on homosexuality, as far as I'm familiar with them--seems more subversive than usual.

    Em subverts his own image all the time and he does a better job of it than I could. Most of his apparently homophobic lyrics could also be taken as homoerotic and when he throws lines out there like "Me and Dre been fucking with hats off," acts out a rather extended session of dick-sucking on CD and then cross-dresses in not one, but two videos, it kind of seals the deal. And that's really just the tip of the iceberg.

    Not sure how he'd feel about RPS about him because I think he'd prefer to be the only person who gets to toy with his image, but I doubt he'd be as squicked by it as some might imagine.

    Embitca
    Mary the Fanmarythefan on August 1st, 2003 05:24 pm (UTC)
    As an example of weirdness to me, though, is that people write stories about Eminem, which--because of his views on homosexuality, as far as I'm familiar with them--seems more subversive than usual.

    Another thought on this, and a bit of a tangent, but Em is one of the last people I'd have sympathy for if he complained about fanfic written about him. He's one of the people I'd be most concerned about his actions in response to it, given the kind of control he tries to keep over his own image, as Embitca said. But I'd also point and yell "hypocrite" loudly and repeatedly. Em is one of the examples I frequently bring up when arguing how RPF is perfectly acceptable in our society when given the veneer of "art" and "professional" work. If Em can rap about Christina Aguilera going down on Fred Durst and Carson Daly (not to mention rapping his fantasies about killing his wife), I don't understand what's so wrong with me writing stories about pretty boys touching each other in sexy, affectionate ways.