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.

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;