I think I just picked a fight, and I'm not entirely sure why.
Discussion on the Buffy Cross & Stake about "Never Happen but I Wish It Would" couples. A poll, actually, just asking for a listing of the poster's favourite pairings. No reasons required, just a fun little thingy.
And I didn't respond, because everybody there who knows who I am knows what my answer is, and enough people had already listed S/X as one of theirs, that I didn't feel the need to chime in, just to chime in.
Then somebody who's a massive B/S fan titled her post "Sees Spike/Xander and begins screaming in pain. It burns!!" and within, added a rather large "Gaaaahhhh!!! NO! ABSOLUTELY NOT!!" Then listed her unconventional prefs as Spike/Faith and Xander/Cordy.
I didn't jump on her prefs. I think S/F is cool if done right, and Xander/Cordy in its heyday was wonderful. I *wouldn't* jump on her prefs, no matter what they were. That wasn't, in fact, the point of the thread. Pissed me off that she jumped on other people's, but I didn't get steamed by it, really. Just replied with a little "It doesn't burn if you do it right, ;-)" tagline.
To which she replied, ha, funny, not what she meant, but funny, and... okay, hell, I gave the link above; it shows the conversation.
What got to me was not that she isn't a fan of Spike slash. *Lots* of people aren't fans. (of slash, or of one individual character being slashed). Lots of people don't think it's likely, and don't prefer to read stories that slash Spike.
It was that she referred to them as poorly written. She took such a huge and nebulous concept -- someone's sexuality -- and decided that it could be reduced to as easy a characterization issue as unrealistic dialogue, or other standard crapfic content. I wasn't taking up for slash (which she didn't condemn as a genre, if it *is* a genre, issue for another time), or for S/X, but for the idea that any slash pairing *you* don't buy, without having read the fic, automatically means the fic is badly written.
harriet_spy made a case for certain pairings being more *likely* to be badly written, based on past experience with reading them, and authorial behavior, but this is an instance where someone is saying that the pairing itself is what makes the story badly written. Spike slash pisses her off. (I can't imagine how she would ever be forced to read it, or could come across it accidentally, so I'm taking the "pisses me off" reference to mean that the very existence of it pisses her off.)
Addendum Oh, arrrrrgh. First she takes back what she damn well *did* say. Then she does the whole "I'm right but it's open to interpretation and we're never going to agree so let's just drop it, happy holidays, kisses" thing.
I *know* these discussion go in circles. But sometimes they go in circles with people actually learning form each other, instead of just refusing to discuss it. Maybe I'm too used to the writers' circle around here, where these things get discussed to death. Maybe it's because I can see a value judgement no matter how many layers of "This isn't a value judgement" you wrap around it. Maybe I want thamiris to post a fascinating and distracting writerly discussion topic, purely for my benefit, regardless of what she needs to do with her real life or her own preferences, because it's all about me, me, me, dammit. :-)