Francine - harvest
I Blame the Dutch mpoetess
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I was going to say something about bitter old fic queens, and how I do and don't agree with jennyo, but I got sidetracked into "Am I old enough in fandom to be a bitter old anything?" Nah. Not really. I've been a consumer since about 1990, when I bought my first slash zine, but I didn't interact with other people until much later. Didn't discuss online, didn't critique, didn't write. James says I'm a bitter middle-aged fic queen. Except without the queen part, I say. I'm a bitter middle-aged (in fan-years) fic civil servant.

But.

Yes, I get a little tired of being quietly and somewhat superciliously told that my intelligence or morality or womanhood or devotion to art depends on whether I see characters the same way as other people, dislike certain sorts of writing and episodes, like others, etc. And a thousand protests of "No, I don't mean you-- where did you see your name on the list of people whose names I didn't name but whose characteristics could conceivably fit the way you feel on some particular aspect of fandom?" will not stop me from feeling insulted. Being told that if I insist on being insulted by insults that were not specifically directed at me, but rather at everyone who fits into whatever mindset the alleged BOFQ has a problem with, it's not the alleged BOFQ's problem, will not stop me from feeling insulted.

But you know what? I don't have to read those people's blogs. If I do, and I get insulted, I can take up the issue with them, or I can write it off as not worth discussing, or I can bitch about it in my own journal. Whatever. Other fans, no matter how much they may annoy -- or delight -- me, do not ruin my viewing experience. Especially if I have to go out of my way to read the things that I know will offend me.

These people do not ruin my viewing experience, because I don't have to let them.

I can see that this might be different when you factor in mailing lists -- there, you're not talking about going to someone else's blog to find an opinion that pisses you off -- it's right there on your list. Public forum without the personal aspect that blogs, even with comment features -- have. Same for places like TWOP, and other community forums. But still, I say -- you know who pisses you off. You can disagree with them and discuss it, or you can ignore it. If you've had it up to here with discussing it, that's cool. You can even bitch that you've had it up to here with discussing it.

But.

When you start yelling at them to shut the hell up and go sit in the corner until they can behave like they're older than 12? You're acting the same way.

When you tell them that they don't set community standards, then you inform them that no one's listening to them and they should fuck off to their own little isolated world? You're acting the same way.

And when you tell them -- and me -- that anybody who's ever written a rant on fandom, or writers, or the suckage of the original text at some point a la Angel S3, owes the fannish community and you in particular good fiction in exchange for it?

Um, no.

Even if you're being over-the-top for humour's sake, still, um, no. Fic is not a debt or a requirement of being a part of fandom. It is never owed, with the exception of things that have been specifically promised to people. I owe you nothing -- assuming you've ever heard of me or even care. The BOFQ's owe you nothing. The cool people owe you nothing, the uncool people owe you nothing, my cat owes you nothing. The idiot who did the most recent piece of lovey-dovey Angel/Cordy schmoop or abused-Xander/sugar-coated-Spike owes you nothing. Joss, in fact, owes you nothing, which you seem to recognise -- so why can't you see the fannish corollaries? Writing fic is, you're right, a hobby. It may be a vocation for some people, or an emotional security blanket, or any number of other, personal things. It's not, and never will be, a commodity.

It's also not the only valuable thing that people can contribute to fandom, just because it's the most valuable thing to *you*. You don't set community standards either. And writing/having written fanfiction is definitely not the only qualification for being able to open one's mouth and bitch about bad writing, bad shows, or bad behaviour. I do write, and I've written recently, and I've been told it was pretty fucking decent -- but don't tell me that if I have another long spell of not being able to write for whatever personal reason, that I'm suddenly less qualified than you to open my mouth about fannish issues. Don't tell me that the friends I have who don't write fiction at all, but come up with brilliant comments on other people's, are less qualified than you to make those comments.

Or rather, *do* tell me that. Say it as loud and as eloquently as you like -- you have the right. But don't expect me to believe it, and don't expect me to see you as behaving any better than the people you're bitching about.

djinanna

2002-05-27 12:34 am (UTC) (Link)

>>It's also not the only valuable thing that people can contribute to fandom, just because it's the most valuable thing to *you*. You don't set community standards either. And writing/having written fanfiction is definitely not the only qualification for being able to open one's mouth and bitch about bad writing, bad shows, or bad behaviour.<<

Thanks for this. As someone who has many opinions, wants to join the party (at least in LiveJournal), but can't even conceive of a fanfic without the plot-in-infancy combusting into the worst kind of MarySue!drivel (:::ick-pooey::: but at least I recognize it and spare others the pain), this kind of external validation (yeah, I'm insecure) really helps. (And I join the crowd to say that your fic contributions are a lot more than just "pretty fucking decent".)

I probably wouldn't have read or even seen Jenny-O's essay if you hadn't referenced it here, but you did, so I did, and it confused me. Cause I'm not on the mailing lists, I don't go to the various fan sites (except when I'm being a spoiler!slut), I'm not on IRC or other chat venues, and I avoid the blogs/journals that tend to upset me unless an individual journal entry is relevant to a discussion on those blogs/journals that do interest me. In other words, I'm out of a big part of the fandom loop. So I read Jenny-O's essay and parts of it made sense, but other parts confused me as I didn't know exactly what-in-particular she was on about (though what-in-general was pretty clear).

So, primed but confused, I read your post. Which clarified what had confused me. Cause what confused me was the stuff you disagreed with her about. The internal inconsistency of the "you're acting the same way" bits, that is, which confused me cause I'm reading and thinking "does she mean -x-? no, she can't mean that cause she just did the same thing, so what did she mean..."

So thanks for the validation. And the clarification. And for the rest of your post, yeah, what you said.

mpoetess

2002-05-27 12:48 am (UTC) (Link)

I can only vaguely guess at who Jen refers to or what situations she means, from her context and far too much bloghopping, so don't assume I understand more about her rant than you do. Or that I'm not missing something, because I've certainly been known to do that!

I fully recognise the silliness of me ranting about other people ranting about other people ranting -- it's both exponential and recursive. And reflective of me having day to day issues with my own writing, and fearing that if I can't put out fiction to entertain people, I'll gradually fade into the woodwork. Or more into it than I already am. But yeah -- the "writers are most important" thing disturbs me, and not just because I have semi-conscious fears that being able to write fiction is just another phase for me, and next month, I'll suck. There are whole neighborhoods of fandom that aren't about producing fanfiction, and the people who live there aren't less qualified to say that Joss/Chris Carter/Rick Berman/whoever is on crack, or so-and-so's latest story sucked/rocked.

djinanna

2002-05-27 01:36 am (UTC) (Link)

>>I can only vaguely guess ... don't assume I understand more about her rant than you do ...<<

Yeah, I get that. But see, I didn't need details of who/what/etc, just that clarification that I wasn't imagining the internal contradictions of what she'd written. And, by virtue of time spent in online fic fandom alone, you know more about the situation and the "players" than I do. Besides, I'm Pollyanna-ish enough to accept that whatever first set her off was probably fully deserving of the rant; I just object to the sweeping generalizations part. (Which may be disingenuous of me, as I've already stated that I don't feel capable of paying my fandom dues in the coin she demands -- nah, sweeping generalizations are *always* fallacies. :::grin:::)

Within the on-line fanfic community, I'm a newbie and so get a little insecure about my place here. I know there's more to fandom than fanfic writing, of course; after almost 30 years of cons, fanclubs, concoms, newsletters, zines, dealers rooms, etc etc, I'd *better* know that. But this is the party I want to be at now, so -- can't contribute the fanfic, hence the insecurity. Maybe I'll overcome it someday.

My own tendency to elevate writers/writing above other things is probably due to the combination of my own college days as an English major plus my asperations of someday actually finishing some of the novel fragments I've got floating around and getting them published. I don't get the idea that either fanfic or pro-fic is inherently superior; they're both (hopefully) about the love of the subject, but fanfic is also about freedom, while pro-fic trades (some of) that freedom for cash -- which does *not* necessarily have anything to do with "selling out", either. (Gross over-simplifications, I know, but I'm straying off-topic.)

And the other problem of telling people who don't write fanfic that they're not qualified to comment on fanfic is that it cuts (already too sparse) feedback off at the knees. I mean, without being able to point and say "I wrote that", would I feel comfortable fb-ing one of Jenny-O's stories? Nuh-uh, not anymore. (And I'm already terrible at giving feedback -- I've been PassiveReader!Girl almost exclusively for the past year-and-a-half since I started reading fic online, until I joined lj.)

>>recognise the silliness of me ranting about other people ranting about other people ranting...<<

Yeah, but sometimes ya just gotta rant. :::grin:::

For me, sometimes the rants of others just strikes a special nerve and I just need to go into full-out rant'n'rave mode. Especially if I try to suppress the urge for any length of time.

(Deleted comment)

djinanna

2002-05-27 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)

Thanks. My *brain* knows this, but my *gut* is where insecurity reigns. So it's always good to have independent confirmation/reminders. (Thus Spaketh ValidationSeeking!Girl :::self-directed sigh:::)

As for reasons I don't feedback authors, the fine art of procrastination runs neck and neck with my insecurities. LiveJournal is helping me work past both, though.

cicirossi

2002-05-27 07:16 am (UTC) (Link)

Sweetie, trust me, the kind of lovely, detailed feedback you send is *always* welcome, no matter what. Fandom is big enough for all sorts of variations/combinations of readers and writers. Stick around and give us the benefit of your episode reviews and insightful fic comments. 'Kay?

djinanna

2002-05-27 07:38 am (UTC) (Link)

Thanks, love. But you make it so easy. And you always respond, which is a whole 'nother level of encouragement. (Feedback as a two-way street.)

mpoetess

2002-05-27 07:58 am (UTC) (Link)

<g> Hey, I allege nothing; I'm guessing too. But no matter how much we do or don't agree on certain aspects of fiction or fandom, you've never held a gun to my head and forced me to read your opinions. No one can make me debate things I don't want to debate or am tired of debating. And though you've said 'neener neener' and occasionally 'God spare me from these people' (or the secular equivalent) I've never heard/read you tell anybody to shut the hell up because they disagree with you.

Plus, you said my kitty was cute.

edited because while I can manage the ridiculously meaningless code for displaying opening and closing brackets, I can't handle typing a "<i>I</i> correctly.

djinanna

2002-05-27 09:19 am (UTC) (Link)

There's ridiculously meaningless code for displaying opening and closing brackets? Wow, cool. Man, this HTML learning curve is painful. But I think I actually like ::: better than the brackets, now that I've been using it instead. Not as much "strenuous" reaching on the keyboard. :::grin::: (See?)

(Deleted comment)

rustmuse

2002-06-01 11:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

& l t and & g t (without the spaces, obviously--I put 'em in so they'd display instead of converting)

There exists another level beyond bracketCode, as well: ampersands can be HTML-encoded to prevent conversion. &amp;lt; (which is itself encoded as "&amp;amp;lt;", which is likewise encoded as "[insert infinite recursions]") translates, when typed literally, as &lt;

gem225

2002-05-27 05:06 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you! You addressed all the points that bothered me about the BOFQ 2 entry, but that I couldn't do more than frown at and say, "But no, that's wrong. I don't know why that's wrong, but it's wrong. I want ice cream now, lots and lots of chocolate ice cream, and I will too bitch about my show and bad writing and rude people if I want to."

Your stories are much more than "pretty fucking decent", and I see from the comments that I'm not the only one to tell you that, and I'm glad.

kaytee4ever

2002-05-27 07:16 am (UTC) (Link)

I want ice cream now, lots and lots of chocolate ice cream

Did you want chocolate sprinkles on that as well? ;) *handing you a big dish of ice cream*



I will too bitch about my show and bad writing and rude people if I want to.

Well, yeah, me, too. I guess I got another interpretation on that BOFQ's from that other posting..it made me think, not of just anyone ranting about bad writing and changes in the show..but more of people who obsess on it. Who raise it to an art form. Who can rarely let go of ranting and get back to the whole "pretty boys snogging/shagging" theme. *shrug* But then it's Monday morning and not enough sleep and not enough caffeine yet today...




Your stories are much more than "pretty fucking decent", and I see from the comments that I'm not the only one to tell you that, and I'm glad.

*echoing these as well* Definitely!!!!!

Offering MP a big dish of ice cream or some gourmet chocolate or whatever makes her smile. ;)

mpoetess

2002-05-28 06:45 am (UTC) (Link)

Well, yeah, me, too. I guess I got another interpretation on that BOFQ's from that other posting..it made me think, not of just anyone ranting about bad writing and changes in the show..but more of people who obsess on it. Who raise it to an art form. Who can rarely let go of ranting and get back to the whole "pretty boys snogging/shagging" theme. *shrug* But then it's Monday morning and not enough sleep and not enough caffeine yet today


Yeah, I think you're right -- Jenny-O was bitching about a certain mindset of people who seem to ruin the show for *themselves* by having absolutely nothing to like about it and still watching it -- to the point where it seems like they're getting *off* on hating a show they used to love, and trying to convince others to dislike it as well -- and very possibly wouldn't admit to liking something good that happened, just because it ruins the mad-on.

And I'm well down with saying "Get over it/yourselves" to people. I'm just shaking my head at the tendency among very smart people to not recognise the same behaviours in themselves that piss them off in others.

kaytee4ever

2002-05-28 07:14 am (UTC) (Link)

. I'm just shaking my head at the tendency among very smart people to not recognise the same behaviours in themselves that piss them off in others.

Ah, yes, that is very annoying, and not limited to fandom. ;)

Oh, and I love your Tara icon. Did I mention that before? Just in case, I'm mentioning it now. ;)

mpoetess

2002-05-28 06:41 am (UTC) (Link)

::grin::

Thanks, m'dear.

benaresq

2002-05-27 05:18 am (UTC) (Link)

*applauds*

I agree with every single sentence you wrote, except I couldn't have thunk it out half so good. Um, except for the "bitter" bit, because I hadn't noticed... have yet to be annoyed by any of your meta.

mpoetess

2002-05-28 06:47 am (UTC) (Link)

You being bitter, or me being? I'm not bitter yet. I'm jaded, possibly, but that may just be the hour of the morning and the hour I went to bed, and their proximity to each other. ;)

witchwillow

2002-05-27 07:41 am (UTC) (Link)


In my experience, most of us are just glad to know we're being read.
- harriet_spy


Here, here.

I've gotten some lovely feedback from people who don't write, but that doesn't mean they don't understand the layered context & subtext I see on the show and try to recreate, or amp up.

I used to live w/ one of those people. Incredibly insightful. But ask her to write her own story, and all of a sudden, you're a 3-headed alien holding some strange probe-like device.


I had another thought too, because, like a lot of people here, I was confused about some of the things in the essay.

Suzan Lovet (isn't that her name ? artist at Connexions?) - is an artist. If she complains about what the writers have done/taken a particular show, thus spoiling the chemistry and inspiration for her art - should she be considered to be acting like a 12yr old ? Because she doesn't write ? Does the fact that her art creates part of her livelihood mean she's invalidated from having an opinion because she takes fandom too far ?

Does going to a con, and talking, griping, critiquing a show or several shows mean we're all hopeless children who didn't know better than to spend our money on somethign practical and sensible ?

It's strange, I wouldn't have read the article if you hadn't set up a link to it. But having done so, It does seem humoursly ironic that the article itself, is nothing but fuel/fodder for the very same rounds of mud slinging the writer seems to be complaining about.

And by replying to it, we've all / or at least I feel I have jumped feet first into this defense of freedom of ideas. I wonder, if she hadn't written it, would all of this have started to fade and go the way of mindless grumbling ?

Anyway, I shall read, write & complain about what I want. I *like* the fact that I'm an interactive viewer, I don't just sit there and have the tv tell me everything I should think about a show, characters, etc...

vacation day - holiday - must - rest - brain.

mpoetess

2002-05-28 06:52 am (UTC) (Link)

And you know, I do think Jen-O was being facetious, to an extent. That is, calling for ficficficficfic, which we all want, and saying she's sick of the metafandom bitching and person-to-person bitching and general malaise that seems to hover over fans these days, was serious, but the "You owe us a story" part was hyperbole to make a point. However. The implication that a non-writer doesn't have as much intellectual weight when they talk about fannish things, or a writer who hasn't put anything out recently (which is the point about Bitter Old Fic Queens -- they're writers, or they wouldn't be Fic Queens) loses credibility to criticize others' work, fan or professional, is such... you know. Slippery buffalo poop.

kdorian

2002-05-27 10:03 am (UTC) (Link)

I'm not feelin anywhere near as articulate as some of the other people who have responded, so I'll just say this:

Go you!

And your fanfic is absolutely lovely - I squeel every time I see a new bit of writing with your name on it.

mpoetess

2002-05-28 07:05 am (UTC) (Link)

Thankee, ma'am. Much apperceeayted.

ex_kimera823

2002-05-28 12:22 am (UTC) (Link)

Fic is not a debt or a requirement of being a part of fandom.

Hear, hear. I know several people who don't write fic much (or at all), yet put together *amazing* collections of resources for the fannish community. Summaries, screencaps, clips, merch guides... everything. One of the people I know online spent *years* documenting stuff to make a "Writers Guide" to assist fanfic writers (incidentally, one of the show's actual writers has been rumoured to have checked the guide to keep canon accurate, that's how detailed and thorough it is). Yet he's maybe written 10 fanfics, most of which are parody and not "serious" fic. No one can tell me that he owes ANYONE fanfic. If anything, fanfic writers owe him for making their research a helluva lot easier ;)

mpoetess

2002-05-28 07:11 am (UTC) (Link)

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Hey, zortified has some things to say about why many of us *do* prize writers over other fannish types in our personal hierarchy. I agree with her reasoning; it makes sense.

It's just when people start saying that the writers have the most credibility to discuss writing quality, or show quality, or fandom in general, that I go, "Huh?"