1) I saw your tags on that post of Lizbobs about Twist and Shout and I am so happy that clear thinking meta writers like you agree that it in no way should be as popular as it is. It makes me cringe whenever someone brings it up as if it is actually a ‘beloved’ fic. I’m sorry if this sounds hateful, and I don’t mean to bring hate on the writers who put effort into it, but at some point this fandom has gotta realise that this fic being the ‘flagship fic’ for Destiel is a really REALLY bad thing.
2) Consider this fandom: We are close to getting canon destiel. That could put this show on the map, get real media interest. There is no doubt therefore that some media will dig further into the ‘fandom phenomenon’ behind destiel. Imagine just how CRINGEWORTHY it will be for mainstream media to discover that the most popular destiel fan fic is nothing more than poorly written tragedy porn rip off of Forrest Gump with the standard ‘kill your gays with aids trope’ at the end?!?! It is actually
3) disgraceful and we should be ashamed of ourselves for trying to push this fics popularity. Imagine how, on the chance destiel DOES become canon (which in my mind is rather likely) the writers, creators and actors on this show would feel that their beautiful love story about an angel and a hunter was butchered and turned into something frankly AWFUL?
4) How would Misha feel to know that a so called majority of destiel fans actually idolise a fic where his character dies from aids thanks to his decent into drug abuse?! What the HELL fandom?! WHY is this such a popular fic? It is a disgrace to the show, a disgrace to the characters and frankly an insult to our intelligence as a fanbase looking for LGBT+ representation. We don’t need more gay tragedies. That is pretty much ALL we get in mainstream media.
5) Yes the aids crisis was a horrible tragedy, but after decades of mainstream media giving LGBT people basically NOTHING but tragic stories where there are no happy endings for us, isn’t it about time that this trope DIED? Yet here we are, a modern and at least somewhat progressive fandom, still glorifying a fic that falls under that same tired miserable category. Not to mention that the fic is terrible written and the characters are absolutely nothing like their canon counterparts.
6) Sorry, I know this is getting rather mean, but years of pent up anger about this stupid fic is bringing it out of me in your inbox. Lets all be honest here. Twist & Shout is our ‘My Immortal’. It needs to die. Just like ‘My Immortal’ did for Harry Potter, it gives all other destiel fics a bad name. Can we PLEASE stop glorifying it and admit how shitty it is already.I know this is a harsh message, and I am sure that a lot of people would be upset by me saying these things, but it’s the truth
7) and I’ve spoken to enough people in fandom who silently agree with me. Though we all live in silence for fear of offending this mysterious majority of destiel shippers who apparently adore this fic? I’m sorry, but I am convinced that if we were to do a survey of peoples actual opinions on that fic, it wouldn’t come up positive at all. Popularity grows popularity. That’s the problem here. New people search for the most popular fics on AO3, and they become more popular, and those same new
8) people then believe that T&S is the standard to live up to in destiel fandom. That is an embarrassment for all of us. I just really want the obsession to end. Its not a good thing.
Oh hi. I see you have Feelings™ about this, and since I largely agree…
I’ll start off by linking the post you’re referring to, with my attendant tags on it, here:
as well as a few other tag rambles I’ve gone on over the years here, going all the way back to 2015. So that at least gives readers an idea of how I personally feel about it. And now on to the disclaimer section of this post:
I’ve always been, and will ALWAYS be a proponent of fanfic being a “ship and let ship” environment. I will NEVER assume to dictate what people write, read, or find enjoyment in. I will NEVER judge what “should” and “shouldn’t” be written or enjoyed by ANYONE. FULL STOP.
I am also a fierce advocate for “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” when it comes to discussing fanfic. And that will never change.
But that’s not the issue when it comes to the inexplicable fandom “popularity” of this particular fic. If you read it and loved it, that’s GREAT! I’m glad. More power to you. It’s not the fic itself I have an issue with. I just wanted to make that clear. I am not here to dissuade people from enjoying it, nor to speak ill of the story itself.
It’s the nature of the story itself, versus the nature of fanfic, versus the fandom mystique surrounding it– the fact that it has somehow become the Flagship Fic Standard for ALL destiel fic, and the fact that for some reason the fandom itself seems to push it at the actors and creators and crew members of this show over and over again.
I’ve often wondered if some of Bob Singer’s cavalier attitude about having killed Charlie Bradbury wasn’t directly rooted in the fact that the entire production staff seems to be aware of T&S, even if they haven’t actually read it for legal reasons, but at least know that this particular fic that is apparently glorified in this fandom is founded on the Kill Your Gays trope.
Like, we constantly yell at TPTB to be better than that, and yet THIS is the story we’ve chosen as a fandom to elevate to the highest pinnacle of fanfic glory?
It’s just… depressing.
(and honestly, this fic is THE reason I refuse to read ANY fic that’s tagged “period typical homophobia.” I just… refuse to torture myself with that damn trope anymore)
But from everything I’ve read about it (and from the half a chapter I managed to struggle through myself before noping out), the only thing necessary to make this an original work of fiction would be to change the names of the characters. It’s not even a “file the serial numbers off” job. It READS like original fiction where the characters and plot share little other than the names of our beloved Dean and Cas.
And to me, that’s not why I read fanfic. If I wanted to read about entirely different people, I’d read original fiction, you know? Not struggle to identify with characters that bear little to no resemblance to the characters I actually care about.
It’s not just a problem with AU fic, because I’ve read HUNDREDS, if not THOUSANDS of AU fics that don’t seem to have this problem with keeping the characters “in character” even in entirely different situations. If they can feel like Dean and Cas in a Firefly AU, or a Regency Romance, or a Gothic Horror, or Ancient Rome, or in a fantasy AU where they’re witches or dragons or a freaking octopus, then yeah, they can remain in character in ANY AU. HECK I ADORED AN AU WHERE DEAN AND CAS WERE FREAKING CHICKENS. LITERALLY CHICKENS. And it was more in character than T&S.
I’m not going to presume to suggest the sort of fic that I believe is more representative of the best of our fandom, but having read far more than 5000 fics (I’ve got over 4k in my AO3 history, and I read fic for over a year before I got an account there to start tracking my history, PLUS all the fic I’ve read on LJ, FF.net, tumblr, etc… I mean the real number is probably closer to 10k or even MORE if you count all the little drabbles and things), I have to say that the MAJORITY of fic I’ve read has been far better at representing Dean and Cas as I know and love them.
We as a fandom don’t have to agree on what the “best fanfic” of the lot of them is, but can we at least agree to stop pushing THIS PARTICULAR FIC so forcefully and directly into the faces of the actors, writers, crew, etc.?
If we want THEM to do better by our characters, if we want our shouts of STOP KILLING OUR QUEERS to actually hit home, maybe we need to stop glorifying this particular fic to TPTB at every goddamn turn.
(and second disclaimer: In all my years in fandom, aside from anon messages praising the fic, I have spoken to exactly TWO people who admitted to enjoying this fic. Talking privately with hundreds of others, people express a far less enthusiastic opinion of it. I firmly believe that the vast majority of hits on it are from people just like me and others I’ve talked to about it, that the only reason we ever clicked on it was due to this very fandom mystique, the controversy about its popularity, and curiosity over what all the fuss was about. It’s become a self-sustaining enterprise of generating more and more hits, you know?)
Newbies to fandom and fanfic are often encouraged to go to AO3 and search the ship results by either hits or kudos to read “the best stories” first, and of course T&S is the first result either way.
But as a fic WRITER? Can I just speak for all of us when I say getting a comment that our story was “just as good as T&S” doesn’t really feel like a compliment? Most of us don’t WANT to think we’ve written an OOC Kill Your Queers tragedy porn, or to really be associated with it in any way.
Honestly, we need to stop hating ourselves this much.