Every few months I feel sad about the loss of fannish culture as I’ve known it in the past. Every few months I make an effort to be more active on Livejournal/Dreamwidth/Tumblr, and every few months without fail that effort gets lost again in what just feels wrong somehow.
I’ve been wondering for years now what’s happened. And I think it’s that fandom, as a whole, has changed drastically.
We’ve lost our sense of wonder.
There’s so little pure excitement and joy about new things, it seems as if we’ve forgotten how to simply be happy and enjoy something. Everything gets taken apart and studied under a microscope of proper representation, privilege and artistic merit. And when it’s found wanting, which inevitably happens to almost all things, it’s torn apart with a viciousness that no friendly group will gather for fear of being included.
We’ve gone from celebrating each bit of progress in opening up mainstream culture to complaining that each step taken is not yet enough, and this creates a feedback loop of criticism and negativity. You’re only supposed to enjoy the perfect gems, while all other offerings must be discarded because they’re flawed in some way.
Take Buffy the Vampire Slayer as an example. I remember watching this when it first aired, and I remember the sheer amazement of having Willow in a homosexual, loving relationship. Sure there was criticism, but in plenty of fannish circles, Joss Whedon got praised to the high heavens for including this and for portraying Willow and Tara as no different than their hetero and/or demon-loving counterparts.
Today I think he’d get torn apart for sending Willow back to Oz at the end (bi-erasure) (brain-fart on my part, of course she later was in a relationship with Kennedy, not wolfie), for killing off Tara (of course the lesbian had to die), for appropriating artifacts of various cultures, for turning Willow evil only after she’d entered a same sex relationship, for so many other reasons. Don’t get me wrong, there was plenty of criticism for this at the time, but we didn’t focus on the bad things so much that we overlooked the massive progress it meant to have two complex female characters in love in a mainstream tv series, and have it drawn just like a “regular” relationship. Today, I fear, the joy over this progress would get lost. It would be seen as a step forward but flawed, and thus not worth anything.
I’ve seen this happening in the Hobbit fandom in the past few years, and in the overall reception of the movie trilogy. Is it perfect? Dear god, no. Is it as good as the LotR movie trilogy was? Absolutely not. The trilogy has flaws, it has bloat, and it has moments that really shouldn’t have been included. But the criticism sometimes feels deliberately hostile and harsh because the movies aren’t perfect. There are plenty of wonderful moments in there, plenty of characters who’ve been given depth they never had in the book.
We got considerably more female representation than before with the Hobbit, in what I think really was the only way to do it without gender-bending an existing character (which would never have flown with the studio or large parts of the book-based fanbase). And yet Tauriel as a character gets massive amounts of backlash. She’s considered the “token female character”, she’s a Mary Sue, she’s too privileged, she’s only there as a love interest… the list can go on for ages. A lot more people find redeeming points with the Necromancer than with Tauriel.
There was a similar reaction to Arwen’s role in the LotR movies, back in the day. At the time, the backlash came from the mostly male gatekeeper fans who considered her not pure enough and not enough of a canon warrior to be allowed to play a bigger role. With Tauriel, Peter Jackson pushed past that and ignored the purist complaints to make the trilogy a less “bloke-ish movie” (to paraphrase from Martin Freeman). He essentially delivered on what we might have wished for in LotR, and in my opinion did fairly well given the studio constraints and their demands for her to be a love interest or scrapped. And yet he gets derision and negativity without acknowledgment that it’s a step forward again to have a new female character with considerable screentime in a movie where the canon material doesn’t make room for her.
I just wish we could go back to praising progress without demanding perfection at the same time. There will never be perfection, so all this attitude achieves is that it leaves a bad taste in your mouth when you watch/read/hear something you like. Let yourself enjoy something, see the good bits without the flaws. See the growth and progress. Hold the content creators accountable for steadily improving, but don’t just tear them apart for not getting it completely right when they’re already pushing the boundaries. They’ll push again next time and gain a little more ground, and it’s in that way that growth happens for us to enjoy.
And that joy and wonder is what I wish we’d all get back.
also? so much of what happened to jack and how he interacts with media opinions of him has to do with when he was first gaining notoreity. 2006-2009 was the entire era of “celebrities gone wild” and things like that. britney shaved her head in 2007, lindsay got two DUIs the same year, and in 2009 (the year jack won the memorial cup) michael phelps (the best male swimmer! ever!) was dragged in the media for smoking weed. hearing people say all these negative things about addicts and mentally ill people (esp. athletes) was undoubtedly hard on my boy and i’m sure he still feels the affects of how fucking cruel media was back then (this was. the height of perez hilton’s popularity so that should say a lot about how mean people were to fuckin kids) to this day. add in the fact that he’s navigating his sexuality and big bob’s son and my boy barely had a chance :(((. i’m so proud of him for rebuilding himself and trying to learn how to ignore what people say. i love him and i wish the world had been different when he was growing up
The silence was almost unbearable. It was only rarely broken by
the beeping of the monitor that demanded a sliver of attention, easily being hushed
by the pressing down of your lazy finger. It was just you in the office,
everyone else had gone to celebrate the success of an offensive mission against
the Resistance. You would have gone too, but the centre needed at least one
able body to look after it. You had drawn the short straw, and so found
yourself in a position of absolute monotony, rocking on your creaky chair as
the steady squeaks and quiet beeps started to cause your ears to ring.
“Hard at work I see.” A robotic voice echoed across the dimly lit
room, surprising you to the point of almost falling off the office chair.
“Blast, Kylo!” You breathed, holding a hand up to your chest. “You
“Forgive me,” He chuckled in response, the delightful sound
contradicting the droning crackles that his helmet produced. “I came to look
for you when you weren’t at the party.”
You groaned as a red button lit up, beeping annoyingly, compelling
you to lean over in your chair to swat it down.
“Unfortunately, I got stuck overwatching the ship’s main console.
Really, quite thrilling work.” You said with a dissatisfied huff. Kylo removed
his helmet, placing it on your work station with a smirk.
“Would you like me to help you… pass the time?” He asked, taking a
seat next to you.
The stadium was slowly emptying. The locker room was empty, the players gone to celebrate their win, Richard Bittle was busy closing and locking doors. When he turned around, he was surprised to see one of his players waiting for him, twisting the hem of his Georgia Football sweater.
- Huh… Coach? can I talk to you?
- Sure, Masterson, what is it?
The kid looked behind him, at the closed locker door. He seemed afraid.
- It’s about your son, Sir. The guys made us swear we wouldn’t tell, but-
Something cold grabbed Richard’s insides. Soon he was running to a deserted corridor, opening a locker door that was never used, and finding his own son lying on the cold ground, covered in bruises.
- Dicky, Dicky answer me-
He took the shivering boy in his arms. Dicky, thank the Lord, opened his good eye.
- I’m here, son, I’m here. What happened to you, who did this-
- They- they said I was a faggot, Coach. I’m sorry, I should have been stronger, I should have-
- Nonsense, it’s not your fault, come here.
And holding his son against him, he barely heard the tiny voice whisper:
- But what if I am? What if I’m gay?
Richard didn’t have the words, so he held his son tighter.
Richard had made his decision before even reaching the house, so when later, that night, after the tears and the reassurances, after Dicky finally fell asleep, his bruises and cuts tended to, he sat down at the kitchen table with Suzanne.
- Richard, I know they’re your team, but-
- I will send my resignation in the morning. Madison High School wants me, I’ll call them as soon as I can.
- Oh. Okay. I was afraid that…
- Suzie, he’s our son.
- Yes. I’m sorry. But what about his figure skating? You know Katya is the best…
- That’s up to him.
If Richard was relieved that Dicky chose to play Hockey instead, he kept it to himself.
The front door slammed, and Dicky let his hockey bag fall to the floor.
-That Tyler is a real-
- Language, interrupted Richard without lifting his eyes from the newspaper.
- Sorry Coach, mumbled Dicky, sitting down in front of him, crossing his arms. It’s just that he’s been acting like a real jerk, showing off and saying stupid stuff…
- Last week you talked about how good he was at hockey for a good ten minutes without breathing. What happened since?
Dicky placed his head on the table and mumbled something.
- Didn’t hear you, son.
- …He got a girlfriend.
- Ah, said Richard, turning a new page. Sorry to hear about that.
Dicky spent the afternoon transforming the kitchen into a war zone.
This hunt had gone extremely wrong and it was entirely your fault; there were no excuses. You had done the recon and you were wrong, you messed up, big time. You thought it was a small pack of werewolves but it turned out to be vampires. They had disguised their kills by taking the hearts out of their victims. You guys walked into the house armed with silver knives and bullets. It was a dirty fight, but you all got out alive. You used anything you could find to take off their heads. Dean found a rusty saw, Sam found an old, worn axe, and you found a samurai sword. You were able to kill most of them but three had escaped.
Now, you were sitting in the backseat of the Impala staring straight ahead, not talking to either Sam or Dean. At first, they tried telling you that it’s not your fault, that any hunter would have made the same mistake. Now, they have stopped trying to talk to you, knowing they aren’t going to get through to you. You have been dating Dean for a little over 5 months now and you were afraid this was his out. He was going to leave you because you were stupid enough to get something so simple, so wrong.
With only the rumble of the Impala to distract you, your mind starts racing. You begin thinking of all the people who will be killed by those three vamps that escaped. The innocent people who don’t deserve that horrific fate. You begin to get exceedingly hot and you can’t keep your eyes focused. You want to jump out of the car but you can’t move, you’re glued to the spot. Your heart rate picks up and you think it’s going to burst out of your chest. So much adrenaline is surging through your body, you’re sure you could run a marathon if you could move. You feel like your brain and body aren’t connected right now. You know you’re sitting down but your legs feel really weak.
Tears are now silently streaming down your face when your eyes come back into focus. The car suddenly stops moving and you strong feel arms wrapped around you. You take in the deepest breath you could muster up and you smell leather and gun powder. You know that smell all too well. You move your body for the first time to see Dean through your tear filled eyes. He keeps repeating, “You’re okay. You’re safe. Just breathe.”
While I was gone, we reached a milestone! 7,000 followers?!?! Thank you so much everyone!! You guys are amazing. To celebrate, I thought I’d make a little prompt list and you guys can send in some character x reader pairings alongside the dialogue for me to write a little drabble for you! Thank you so much, once again, y’all are fantastic ♡♡
I’ll write for Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and the actors within these fandoms
1. “I’m gonna throw up, I hope that’s alright with you.”
2. “Hey, do you think this is a good idea?” “This is probably the worst idea I’ve heard in the past year, but I’m feeling a little tipsy so I’m willing to put that aside.”
3. “Tell me you didn’t eat my fucking lasagna.”
4. “Following people isn’t very polite, you know.”
5. “Can I count on you to dig me out if this collapses?”
6. “I can’t feel my toes.”
7. “I hope you drown in that mug of coffee.”
8. “I broke my nose for this?!”
9. “I love you more than ever.”
10. “You called the cops?!”
11. “Where the hell is the front door?!”
12. “Don’t run!” “But he’s staring at me!”
13. “She would kill you in a heartbeat if it would get him back.”
14. “What happened to the fish?”
15. “I care about you more than you’d ever know.”
16. “Call me back, okay?”
17. “Was that a gunshot?”
18. “You didn’t actually kill him, did you?”
19. “Don’t leave me like this.”
20. “If you get blood on my sheets you’ll be wishing the bullet had killed you.”
21. “Don’t be an asshole this time, okay?”
22. “Wingman? Me? Your wingman?
23. “You’re cute when you hate me.”
24. “Marry me, not that jackass.”
25. “You’re being so needy right now” “I’m aware”
26. “Don’t be so childish.”
27. “Why do you have a shirt with my face on it?”
28. “Wait, are we dating?”
29. “You fucked up our whole night.”
30. “I hate love.”
31. “Don’t let go!”
32. “Where’d my mom go?”
33. “You ruined us.”
34. “You don’t seem to understand… She doesn’t care if she dies.”
35. “How’s she alive?” “I’ve been asking that since she was born”
36. “Would I lie to you?” “Yes! You would!
37. “Why are you touching me?”
38. “You’ve got some balls, pal.”
39. “You couldn’t have chosen a worse time to do that”
“The re-election of the President had placed him beyond the pale of human envy or detraction, as he was above human ambition; all would soon learn to see him, as the speaker and the audience had seen him, a true patriot, benevolent and loyal, honest and faithful. Hereafter all motive of detraction of him would cease to exist, and Abraham Lincoln would take his place with Washington, Jefferson, and Adams, among the benefactors of his country and the human race.”
—William H. Seward, November 1864
Now that it’s officially just past midnight on February 12, 2017…Happy Lincoln’s Birthday, everyone!
Anyone else planning to celebrate Lincoln’s 208th birthday? I made a cake earlier today and decorated for a birthday party I’m throwing on Lincoln’s behalf for a few friends tonight. Should be a good time.
Unrelated side note: what kind of prophet was Seward?! Way to anticipate Lincoln’s legendary status!