New to the fandom and why do people think Ann Rice is crazy
(I have a backlog of asks, Real Life has been taking my life, and this is the one I decide to answer, bc I am apparently a glutton for punishment) (My senpais re: the topic of allowing writers to write dark fiction (and readers to read it) are @restoringsanity and @freedom-of-fanfic, among others, check them out).
Welcome to our little corner of Tumblrland!
This became a Wall of Text™, but I felt like articulating these thoughts again, as I do periodically. Sorry, no cut, couldn’t find a good place to do it.
Anon, I hope you come into the light and join us, share with us what you like about VC and make our fandom better for being part of it. You might make some of the best friends of your life with us :) I definitely have, and that’s what fandom is about for me.
I think this question was answered very well by @interview-withthevampire here, with supporting links. I was honored to be tagged as a Certified Old in the fandom, yes, I was around in the Dark Ages of the Internet, for the Spec Massacre, but am I a Respected Old? That’s debatable, lol. I have my opinions about VC, and everyone’s headcanon may vary on all of it.
No sense reinventing the wheel in answering the same way as they did, but I have thoughts to add. @interview-withthevampire started their answer as follows, and I want to start mine the same way:
“the reason why Anne Rice is a bit quarrelsome (I don’t want to use “cr*zy”) is because, well, the kindest way to put it is that she’s a bit of an ego-maniac.”
^YES. She’s probably a bit of an ego-maniac, but not “cr*zy.” “Crazy” is what we use to “other” someone, to dehumanize them by calling their mental faculties into question. It’s a gentle teasing at best and a bullying tactic at worst.
One thing you’ll find in VC fandom is that every so often, like a cycle, we’ll get another round of bashing Anne Rice. Whether or not she is a “good” or “bad” person with “good” or “bad” thoughts/intentions, that’s not the purpose of my blog and not what I base my love for VC on. My blog is primarily for entertainment and fandom positivity.
As fandom has begun a shift into examining authors and content creators who create problematic content (also known as ”dark fiction,” which I prefer as a term bc the word “problematic” has become kind of a joke in its overuse), there is a tendency to conflate that content with their beliefs, that they write what they would like to see happen in reality. I strongly feel that creation/consumption of dark fiction is not endorsement of it.
In brief, people might think Anne Rice is “cr*zy” bc of (1) her Real Life actions against her fans and other people, and (2) the problematic content in her books.
Again, I think @interview-withthevampire covered point (1). In the end, Anne Rice is just a human being who wrote a set of books that have gathered a wide spectrum of fans. I think it took her years (decades?) to understand the nature of her fanbase, and as the internet grew around her, it became easier for fanworks and reviews/feedback to publish into the real world. There were no longer the filters in place of people like magazine editors; any blogger could write a review of her works in full view of millions of fans, and they were not required to pull any punches.
AR had to acclimate to that and after fighting the ficwriters for long enough, she chose to stop suing, and learn to coexist with it all. I don’t know of many other authors treating their own fanbases the way AR treated us, so I would guess that authors who have published works since the internet really got in gear have probably all embraced their fanbases from the beginning. Therefore, VC fandom’s bad blood (pun intended) with Anne Rice stands out as being downright BIZARRE now :-P
As far as (2) the problematic content.
What we’re really talking about is whether dark fiction (pedophilia, incest, etc.) should be written about at all if they are not condemned in the narrative. Personally, I believe that creation/consumption of dark fiction is not endorsement of it.
*Bruised banana analogy*
VC, like any media, be it books/movies/music/video games/etc., is like a banana. It might have gross bruises, those parts that you find squicky or otherwise distasteful. It’s fine to point them out, so that others can be aware, but you are not required to do so. Some areas on a given banana are less bruised than others, and you can eat them. Maybe you eat around all the bruises, even the smaller ones. Maybe you don’t mind bruises and you can eat the whole banana.
I admit, on a subjective level, that VC books have gotten much bruisier for me over the years, and there are several that I find so bruised that there is much less to enjoy, but that’s how it is. I STILL LIKE THE PARTS I LIKE.
Maybe the whole banana is ruined for you and you can’t stomach it. Maybe you can bake it into banana bread, turn it into something else entirely! That’s a fanworks’ purpose. Like a fanfic where you remove/revise the bruises from canon and write the story the way you would prefer it to be. Fluff would probably be a banana with very few bruises, if any at all.
I’ve made my own headcanons that have “fixed” canon in a way that greatly improved the stories for me. I’ve read fanfic that was basically providing missing pieces from canon. I’ve seen fanart and cosplay that pretty much illustrated my headcanon of the characters. For me, fandom is about taking inspiration from the canon source material to make your own works, sharing that with other fans, and being supportive of those content creators in whatever way you feel comfortable!
It’s every reader’s prerogative, how much of the “banana” they want to eat, if any at all. No one is forcing you to eat it, and other people enjoying the banana does not trample your choice. Your choice not to eat some/all of the bruises does not supersede other’s choice of eating them.
I’ve said that creating/consuming problematic content is not in itself endorsement of
problematic things in REAL LIFE. As far as I know, Anne Rice has committed no REAL crimes, so
while I would love it if she had a trusted editor/beta reader, I don’t condemn her for exploring dark topics in fiction. More thoughts on that in my #dark fiction tag.
As fans in the fandom, we can like what we like, critique her work, choose what canon we accept, toss the rest. She put it out there and in that sense, it doesn’t matter if Anne Rice is “cr*zy” or not, or if she is a “good” or “bad” person with “good” or “bad” thoughts. Personally, I believe that AR was interested in sex before she was the age of consent and was frustrated that she was being prevented from pursuing sexual relationships. Those explorations led to bruises in her bananas. Those are her bones to pick, so to speak.
I’ve made some of my best friends in VC fandom, and if they or I had left because of the bruises in our bananas, I might never have met them at all. I consider VC to be a gift to us from AR, no more, no less.