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.

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.