February 21st, 2003



thamiris writes: I will say that I find direct attacks more dealable than backroom ones. I saw a thread there mocking those who complain about the public nature of F_W, while happily admitting that they skewer people in private, and I was, like, "Yeah, baby!" Because if you wank about someone in public, you show your true face, and people can judge *you* accordingly; you accept this, and it feels more honest to me than presenting the public with a different face. (Full post here.)

This is interesting to me, because "truth" is one of those slippery issues that keeps recurring around my mouth. Not capital-T truth as some philosophical subject of debate, but as a more personal issue. I can see where people would believe this--that it's better to skewer people in public than private. I don't believe it. And now I will meander my way through explaining why.

So the meaning of "wanking" has been reshaped to describe verbal, public acts of self-indulgence, but then the act of pointing this out becomes wanking as well, because the mockery is rarely dialogue--a verbal, connective (sex) act between two parties. It's just another form of self-gratification. It's bugged me for a while that "masturbation" metaphors are used so negatively in fandom; I've seen the term tossed off a lot, meant almost always as an insult in a meta context (though not in fan-fiction, where a "Merry Month of Masturbation" writing challenge isn't going to stigmatize participants).

But on the other hand, that metaphor--wanking--does hang together logically, because it assumes on both sides that it should be a private act. Mockers point personal wankery out when they see it because it's signifying as something that shouldn't be aired in front of an audience. It's a way of saying: "Oh my god, look--that person--she's jacking off on the metro bus!" Which is an interesting analogy by the way, because the bus is a weird nexus of public and private, with a thin border between the two, and you can always tell when someone crosses the line--holding a very personal conversation on their cell phone for instance--because the surrounding, unwilling audience will bristle with tension during a violation of social boundaries.

Anyway. You have the mockers pointing out the masturbation, and their mockery in turn become self-gratification. Call the groups Wank-A and Wank-B, respectively. The problem is that Wank-A members don't think of what they're doing as wankery; they see no social or verbal transgression. What they see is a bunch of people in Wank-B jerking off in public in a self-congratulatory way. If the quoted posts being mocked are snapshots of Wank-A members, it's not unlike people standing around shooting their jizz on photos of someone's face.

Wank-B members don't see it that way.

So, me. I try not to jerk myself off in public, in the sense of indulging certain lame--though very human--qualities which would earn me a reputation for being a big turkey. Not because I reject the big turkiness or my common humanity, but because jerking off is private. Of course, mileage varies on the definition of wankery. I say a lot of personal things in public. If I were going to characterize my verbal acts, though, I'd say they're more of a strip tease than a wank show. I get naked, I flash the crowd, but that's as far as I go, because there's a hell of a lot I'm not sharing, even if some members of the audience think I've hit the sound barrier of good taste and could go no further. And along with this, I keep most of my mockery private too. (And here's where the analogy breaks down a bit for me, because "private" in this case isn't "solitude of my own bedroom" but more like "privacy of my restricted social club," which I suppose you'd have to call a circle jerk.)

I'm definitely hiding some of myself from people by mocking in private. But as I said, I hide a *lot* of myself from people, and I'm okay with that. You're getting persona and simulacrum, and if it seems real to you, then great, because it's a very detailed creation, rendered as authentically as possible. But there's still a line. It may move, but at any given point there's going to be things I consider unspeakable about myself, and I'm going to hide them. Also, I generally try not to hurt people, on principle. I slip and sometimes fail, but I remain conscious of an ongoing effort. And private acts don't generally hurt other people--how would they? What I don't know doesn't hurt me. I'd rather be mocked in private than public. If strangers are going off to rip me a new one in chat rooms, this hurts me less than LJ sniping would. Because I don't know about it. It's one of the few areas where I embrace ignorance.

I'm still talking about pure wanking, not forms of criticism. Wanking as mockery and rudeness and dislike, as an act that merely highlights other people's rejection of me, that reviles things about me I have no intention of changing or feeling bad about. I also mean "me" in a theoretical sense. I have no idea, right now, if people mock me, and I'd like to try and keep it that way. I'm kind of vulnerable. I admit it. Which is probably why I think about boundaries a lot.

And now I feel all serious and must go think about geisha boys.


Late-afternoon LJ acclicktion is the worst. You keep checking for new posts, but everyone on the east coast is eating dinner, so you just dangle and twist on your string.

I was talking about Riley/Spike on a list yesterday. Asked if anyone had ever read any good R/S stories premised not on hate-fucking, but on an actual relationship, and perhaps with a little bit of sweetness thrown in. ::coughcuddlingcough:: Someone dug up one link, and the story looked promising at first, then it became bogged down in lengthy, self-indulgent, and sadly dull sex scenes, and also some master-minion dynamics that I just couldn't embrace. At least, not as they were written.

There was also, on list, a brief talk about the profile of the "average Spikefan." Is there one? And does liking Spike obligate a fan to dislike Riley? Nah. I *have* had my Riley issues, but only when canon took a big, sharp stick and poked me, which will tend to provoke a snarl. I think I still have a few grimaces left in me for the stupidity of "As You Were." Sorry, but Marc Blucas just didn't serve that material well. And vice versa. Still, my irritation may have waned--I suspect I could watch that now without throwing peanuts at the TV.

Riley was solid, wholesome, and kind of dull. He was also nice, dependable until he became a suck-junkie, and a bit of a sweetheart. A vanilla milkshake of a guy. At his worst, he came off as feeling helpless and unwanted when Buffy wouldn't lean her grief on him. Yeah, it was selfish, but it was also human and pretty easy to understand. He liked--loved?--a strong woman, and I think he dealt with that pretty well overall, which was admirable; but he also liked a slayer, and that caused some problems. Big surprise.

So anyway. I'm just saying. He'd be a good, steady boyfriend for the right vampire. Right?


Why must my fantasies always be such hard work? Sniff.