Reblogged from bbcssherlock :
Reblogged from soulful-escapist :
So three inches of sleet fell her last night. 200 thousand people are without power. We were one of those people until like ten minutes ago when it magically turned back on.
My Mother: IT’S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!
Reblogged from andythanfictionisafraud :
Reblogged from andythanfictionisafraud :
It’s been building since about two weeks before season 9 started. I think it began when we got the first preview pics of Tracy and a third of my dash sniffed that those shorts meant she was guaranteed to be insufficiently feminist, calling her a slut and decrying the obvious misogyny of the writers unironically and sometimes in the same post. It’s been growing worse with each subsequent episode, and it’s been getting to me. Tonight, watching the eulogizing of Nelson Mandela on half my media feed with a document still open from having painstakingly gone through every single noted character on SPN to have the numbers to back a post addressing factually innacurate accusations concealing very real issues about about the midseason death of Kevin Tran…I was literally moved to tears of anger and frustration.
When I sat down to write this post, it was going to be an upbraiding, a condemnation, a screed lambasting the fandom for hypocrisy, hyperbole, and hysteria. Quite possibly it would have included a furious declaration that I was defriending hundreds of you and telling a goodly number to perform acts that would be anatomically impossible for circus performers.
And that would have been wrong. I try to personally hold compassion above all other ideals, and it was the coverage of Mandala’s life that reminded me that in the case of the fandom, I have not been doing a very good job of that. I have been allowing myself to grow snappish instead of remain patient, to snark instead of share, to judge behavior instead of examine cause, to react to and with anger instead of having compassion for and doing whatever is in my power to soothe the pain and fear behind it.
This post is an apology for that, and for whomever I have hurt in the past few months because of that.
But the issue itself is still there. Why does it seem like more and more, the fandom is a place of intense pain in ways that are not at all the kind of entertainment-pain the narrative is meant to induce, and why are the reactions often seeming so wildly separated from what appears obvious to others or even internally inconsistent? Why is this part of the fandom spiraling apart and acting like something new and awful is happening when the show itself is ranging between “some things they have been doing very consistently for nine years” and “better than they’ve ever been about other things”? My thoughts so far are leading me to a combination of factors, which I am not at all putting forth as any kind of definitive “diagnosis” of fans or fandom, but rather making public my meditations to maybe spur other people to think about them and maybe engage in discussion with me.
Identification and symbolism is a HUGE part of the human psyche. It’s why we would feel gut-punched if a person we loved took a circle of worked metal that matched one we wore off the third finger of their left hand and threw it down. It’s why the pattern of pixels formed into a series of groupings derived of twenty-six characters is creating a voice in your head conveying concepts and images. It’s why leaders can speak for groups, why we root for our athletes at the Olympics, why storytelling exists and works at all. It’s nothing wrong or bad or shameful or crazy or fucked up, and indeed, it’s at the root of our most beautiful of human traits: the capacity for empathy.
But it can also hurt. Because stories work by making you identify with the protagonist on purpose, and circumstance when combined with skillful portrayal can make you identify with other characters as well. Combine these with identification, and you are worrying for Sam as if he was your own brother, longing for Cas but not knowing if it will ever work out, hating the choices you make. Or you’re identifying with Kevin and feeling more and more strained, pushed aside, unappreciated, underestimated, fucked over. With Castiel alone and confused and jerked around and conflicted and unsure of who he’s even supposed to be and loving so many who don’t love him back.
In and of itself - especially in the second act of an arc in a series that is notorious for putting its characters literally through hell - that would be enough to cause a lot of pain and confusion and to feel like things are just getting worse and worse with no hope of improvement (and to search for things that make that feeling make sense, even if you have to stretch for them or they were there all along).
But then it gets combined with something called magical thinking that is symbolism’s twin sibling. If the Olympian wins, we have all won. If Dean and Cas get together and are happy, we can be happy. If Destiel can air on network prime time, your coworker will stop making hurtful gay jokes. This gets super powerful when representation gets involved. You hear a lot of people say things like “When I saw character X, it was the first time I felt like there was a character that represented me, and now that bad thing/good thing has happened to them, I feel like there’s no hope/finally hope for me.”
And suddenly Kevin getting smote isn’t a plot twist, it’s a kick in the face saying that if you felt like he symbolized you, the people behind this thing that you’ve invested so much of your time and heart in would don’t believe you deserve a happy ending.
2. MOVING LINES
There is something called the echo chamber effect that is what happens when you surround yourself with people who mostly agree with you. Right or wrong, it creates the illusion that the entire world - or at least everyone who matters - thinks the same way, reinforcing the tendency most humans already have to use themselves as the baseline. Stepping outside of this is always alarming, regardless of whether you’re the minority or majority, whether you’ve been watching Fox News and listening to Rush Limbaugh and just take it for granted that all gay people are promiscuous and amoral or living in a Seventh Day Adventist community and now you’re looking at a diner menu with no vegan options.
In the past two years, the social needle of American culture in general, youth culture specifically, Tumblr VERY specifically, and the queer shipping fandom portion of Tumblr very VERY specifically has gone markedly to the left, exponentially so with each degree of echo chambering down. For most fans in that subcommunity, SPN is something that they are involved with for several hours a day via Tumblr and creating and consuming fanworks. This - the MAJORITY of their SPN world - happens within an echo chamber environment where no one blinks an eye at someone who identifies demisexual panromantic genderfluid polyamorous, everyone knows what PoC and WoC mean, and most of us have reblogged if not written essays on rape culture and slut shaming. These standards and norms are reflected throughout our interaction, and a blogger who misgenders another, culturally appropriates in fanart, or makes a racist assumption in a fanfic will be quickly…um…corrected is the most optimistic term.
As I said about a week ago when I compared SPN to a diner Kripke had opened, we have formed a culinary community where we take inspiration from the diner’s recipes and re-create them in accordance to our collectively and personally socially and nutritionally conscious ideal.
Then once a week, we spend 42 minutes eating a meal at the original diner. And they’re on the baseline. MAYBE a LITTLE to the left. Not OUR baseline. Not the one we’ve come to think of as SPN’s baseline because it’s how we engage with the show 95% of the time. The outside world’s baseline. The one where the buns are made with bleached white high-gluten flour and hydrogenated oil and corn syrup and preservatives and were bought from Wal-Mart affiliated Sam’s Club, the burgers are non-organic factory farmed beef, and the tomatoes were conventionally grown thousands of miles away in Chile and picked by exploited workers. But hey, the mustard’s all-natural and the lettuce is pesticide free!
And we lose. Our. Shit.
Because any one of those things would be mortal sins in our echo chamber of the SPN community. Hell, I’ll freely say that they SHOULD be mortal sins in the outside world. But they’re the mainstream’s baseline. The mainstream is a world where most people think rape culture means Viking raiding parties and privilege means being born rich. Where they think WoC is a new wrestling channel, not a single word of demisexual panromantic genderfluid polyamorous makes sense and if you do explain it, they translate it as “gay slut.” And SPN - REGARDLESS of the personal baseline or morals or opinions of the people who work on it - has to work with, make sense to, and appeal to the baseline of the mainstream because even if every single person in the Tumblr echo chamber thought it was the best thing ever, that wouldn’t even begin to be enough to keep them on the air. The mainstream will not yet accept Tumblr’s baseline, nor are they as far left as we are, and as we keep echo-chambering, we keep moving further left faster and faster and widening the gap…they’ve gone about ten steps left since season one, we’ve gone ten steps left since last week, thus creating the sense that they’re getting further away when they’re mostly standing still.
No, I’m not “justifying” or “excusing” racism, sexism, queerphobia, or any of the other issues with the show. I’m not saying we’re not right on these issues. Dude, I’m in the chamber with y’all. Mainstream doesn’t mean ok or good or right or ideal or excusible, and neither does I’m saying that there’s a tendency to assume we’re baseline and the show is shockingly to the right and could join us if only they weren’t dicks. We’re off to the left, and the only way they can move is if the whole mainstream baseline does. Which it IS. It IS moving. 17 states have marriage equality, most in the last year alone, the same year that has seen DADT and DOMA go down. The same year that saw one of the most popular episodes have a lesbian kiss and the season finale show a gay couple paired by heaven. But ain’t nobody coming out as demisexual on a CW show until more than one person in ten at your local 7-11 can identify that as something other than a porn tape with the chick from Ghost.
Keep calling it out. Keep shoving. Keep moving the baseline inch by bloody inch. Or don’t. If it’s not healthy for you or you’re being too hurt by the reminder of how far the baseline is from the echo chamber, stop going back to the diner. They can’t stop serving the factory-farmed beef they have always served until the majority are willing to pay more for humane, and the fan food is AWESOME. But I’m seeing a lot of people being shocked and hurt and “losing faith” and feeling like the continued presence of factory-farmed beef on the menu is new or shocking or things “getting worse” because now they’ve had it for ANOTHER episode and starting to feel like the cooks must not care about them or even personally have it out for them or agree with the majority of the diners that their dietary concerns are ridiculous or frivolous.
3. PRACTICAL IGNORANCE
In a lot of ways, this blog has wound up being at least in small part a class on story structure and the mechanics of writing. This started out when I was talking about acts and arcs and such in my meta and people asked me WTF I was on about, and that’s when I realized that there are a lot of people who really don’t grock how storytelling works as a craft rather than an art or how much the abjectly rigid structure of one hour television serial network drama constrains what you can do and how you do it.
I’ve gotten quite a few people telling me that this has actually helped them a lot. There’s a tremendous difference to how much it hurts to think “Why would they even DO that? Doesn’t it MATTER to them? Why would they bring in that character just to kill them ten minutes later? Can’t things just get better for ONCE?” vs “Ok, this is the end of the third act of this episode, so it’s going to hit the lowest point and they needed to establish the jeopardy and failure of the initial plan by making us love that character in the second act and then having them killed here, and on an overarching level this is the second act so the big picture will only get worse because they’re up the tree and it’s time to throw rocks.”
As fans creating fan content, we’re Gods. We can write, draw, dream, and essay things however we want and only care as much as we personally choose to how many notes and kudos and hits they get. TPTB are running a HALF BILLION dollar property and have 42 minutes and a rigid act structure in which to do it. Learning that they have to make it gluten free, vegan, sugar free, nut free, soy free, corn free, fat free, and raw goes a LONG way towards not being personally wounded that someone gave you a really weird tasting chocolate chip cookie and WTF would they do that when they’re supposedly a professional baker and the ones you make in your crappy little kitchen off the back of the Tollhouse bag are so much better. . 4. FAN-SHAME
The behavior that probably made me angriest and least compassionate is the people I have seen who transparently are using social issues to legitimize their fandom feels, and most of them don’t even seem to realize they’re doing it. They call out characters as not feminist enough while calling them sluts and whores, cunts and bitches. They criticize queer erasure by insisting that if Dean and Castiel sleep with women, they couldn’t possibly be bisexual. They throw around buzzphrases like Privilege, Queerbaiting, Appropriation, Erasure, and Problematic without really understanding them. They bemoan the lack of PoC, but you’ll never find Tamara or the Alpha Vamp on the list of characters they want to see come back. You know exactly who I’m talking about. Maybe you’ve also called them anything ranging from flamingly ignorant to viciously appropriative hypocrites. I’m not proud to say I have.
I’m even more ashamed, because I’ve done it myself in the past, especially when I was a teenager. Fandom is something that a lot of the larger world looks down on, and emotional expression in general is coded feminine and sharply criticized and derided, even sometimes IN fannish circles. There is a certain defiant reclamation of “OMG my FEELS”, but that’s very performative. If you are genuinely curled on the couch sobbing for the death of Kevin Tran because you CARED about that character or screaming at the television dear God NO Dean, don’t DO that, there WILL be people who will mock your pain. They will tell you to get the fuck over it, he’s only a character, you’re weird, you’re crazy, you’re a loser, etc.
But hurt and fear are barely half a breath away from angry, and rage is protective. Wrap that rage further in the armor of something righteous, and it’s both sword and shield. Sick with worry that Dean and Cas will never get together? Stupid flailing shipper weirdo. Angry that the fandom may be queerbaited? You’re a crusader entitled to your rage and anyone who says otherwise is a fucking bigot.
I am NOT saying that everyone who is upset about things they see on SPN or any other TV show from a social justice perspective is doing this. I know many well-informed and passionate people for whom it really genuinely is all about gender equality or racism or queer issues or animal cruelty or whatever else and not a shield or an excuse for anything consciously or subconsciously. Nor does using it that way mean that you don’t actually care about those causes or issues, nor that you are necessarily wrong in your arguments or feelings (and you’re DEFINITELY not wrong to have the feelings in the first place).
But I also remember when I would take you to the mat about feminism and the ethic of exploration and cooperation and post-empirical dystopia on Star Trek Voyager or DS9 to feel ok about how much the shows mattered to me. Jeri Ryan, I still mean everything I said about what a good actress you are and the complexity of Seven of Nine as a character, but I am now old enough to admit in hindsight that I didn’t defend Nana Vistor or Kate Mulgrew nearly as fiercely when they were just as good, and I felt deeply guilty for the things your catsuit did to my puberty. Own your causes. Own your feelings. You don’t have to hide one behind the other because neither are shameful.
Not only are rhetoric, debate, logic, and critical analytic skills no longer a part of standard American public education, we’re dealing with a mishmash of everything from instantaneous capslock feel-jerk reactions posted from cell phones by 13 year olds with trembling thumbs whose first language is not English to 5K essays written by 40 year old university instructors…all of which get instantly stripped of context, passed along the game of Tumblr Telephone, quoted, shaken and stirred with fandom politics and popularity games, reblogged, retagged, and reaction-giffed. Throw in that we’re using language where the most basic concepts of the discourse have no agreed single definition (Is queer a slur or academically correct or both? If you’re also attracted to genderfluid persons, are you still bisexual or is that pansexual and bisexual means binary? Does that include trans* people? What counts as canon? What does Destiel mean?).
When two people can say they want canon Destiel endgame and one is envisioning the show starting now actually portraying a relationship through coming out, courtship and commitment with fully expressed sexuality and the other is thinking the last scene of the series being Dean telling Sam and his wife that he’s just glad they both are finally where they belong, then getting into the Impala, quickly kissing Cas in the passenger seat, and driving off into the sunset to hunt…it’s not going to go well. People will talk past each other if they’re lucky and talk headlong into each other if they’re not.
Of course, again, none of this applies to every fan or every wank or every argument or issue, and it is absolutely not any attempt to invalidate or silence anyone’s views, feelings, or reactions. It’s simply me trying to start looking at the growing disaster that is SPN fandom from an angle of attempted empathy rather than unfair judgement and useless, harmful anger.
Reblogged from edshorrorblog :
Reblogged from edwardspoonhands :
Theme by Lauren Ashpole