All I can see of fandom is something that was once beautiful which has now become painful and almost unbearable.

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Title: All I can see of fandom is something that was once beautiful which has now become painful and almost unbearable.
Creator: Beth Blighton
Date(s): May/June 1991
Medium: print
Fandom: Beauty and the Beast (TV)
Topic:
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All I can see of fandom is something that was once beautiful which has now become painful and almost unbearable is a 1991 open letter by Beth Blighton.

It was published in Once Upon a Time...Is Now #32.

While the letter is a sort of flounce, Blighton did not "officially" do that until 1994.

Some Topics Discussed

The Letter

Three years ago this month I attended my first B&B convention. It was then that I had my first contact with "Fandom". For the ten months before I had hoarded this guilty obsession over a TV show, sneaking out to the living room in the middle of the night or during my son's nap to watch those much needed "fixes". Hell, B&B was the first regular series I ever taped! So imagine, me coming in green and impressionable into a room of like-minded folk who felt exactly as I did about the show. Ah, it felt like a dream come true...

But from where I stand now, (eyebrow deep in something I never even realized I was stepping into) all I can see of fandom is something that was once beautiful which has now become painful and almost unbearable. Like Catherine in "A Happy Life", I feel as if I must do something before there is nothing left. And unfortunately, like Vincent, I am afraid the answer perhaps is to wake from this "dream" and go on with my life.

Why, you may ask? Well, personally, I'm burnt out from all the crap.

I have seen little to none in the letterzines, etc. over the last year that actually had anything to do with supporting B&B. In fact, there's been diddly out there about B&B at all. Oh, there have been plenty of letters griping about the third season's many transgressions or the second's lack of momentum. There's been no end to the personal swipes and zine skewerings. And mixed in there have been the occasional pleas for peace and sanity that have fallen on mostly deaf ears. I find myself hard pressed to recall much that was written that would give the impression to anew fan that we even liked the show at all.

It seems the only time we hear something good about B&B is when someone is trying to illustrate what absolute crap it is now — never a positive comment unless it's being used to bludgeon. And sorry Jeanne [1], the censorship debate diversion doesn't have much to do with B&B either, nice try though it was.

I look around and ask myself "What happened?" I should be happy. I have met so many good people, several of whom have become dear friends. My work has been well-received, appreciated and awarded (for which I'm VERY grateful). I'm doing more and better art than I would have ever thought possible and yet... when I fill my zine orders, I feel so depressed. When I think of going to cons I get the most nauseating, crawly-skinned feeling I've ever had. I feel more like I'm about to meet my doom with the dentist or the gyno than about to goof for a fun filled weekend with my friends. So what gives?

What gives is that a handful (and I do mean a handful) of so called "fans" have managed to wring every last ounce of joy and humor and fun out of something I once loved with all my heart. Their constant attacking of everything and everyone I've ever held dear on B&B, their concerted maligning of the show's writers, creators and actors has been like a doctoral thesis on how to undermine and subvert from within.

They have tried so devoutly to jam their doctrine down my throat and obliterate from the face of the earth any zine or con or editor who might be an obstacle to that continued ramming, that they've very nearly succeeded in making me despise a character I was once quite fond of and have defended, which to me is such a waste. Frankly, I'd say they failed pretty miserably at what they say they've set out to do. Their tactics have not made me feel one iota of sympathy for their cause. In fact, quite the opposite. All they've managed to gain is my total apathy. They've made me tired and bored and have caused me to be come jaded, snappish and mean.

Never before have I felt such an urge to simply throttle another human being who's greatest claim to fame is that they're real good at being a pain in the ass.

I am sick unto death of hearing what low-life sleazebags Ron Koslow, et al, were. I am tired of hearing the writer's (with the exception of the female writers, of course) talents, mental capacities and morals impugned at every opportunity. And I am totally disgusted with this implication that a man as talented as Ron Perlman "ain't crap without the girl!" It turns my stomach when they imply that because he didn't stomp off the set in a snit the minute the show didn't go his way, that he is somehow less deserving of our admiration now. These lies profane everything that B&B ever meant, much more than anything the writers could have thought of doing to the show, and it spits on all the hard work, talent and dedication of Ron Perlman who broke his butt for that character!

Along the lines of Kathy Millington's club for WRITERS WHO SHOULD NOT WRITE [2] I think there should be a new club for "FANS WHO SHOULD NOT BOTHER TO CALL THEMSELVES FANS ANYMORE." Oh, I can hear the howling and hair pulling I've started with that statement. But I don't know what else to call these "fans" who think B&B's creator is an idiot. (Yep, so totally stupid that he ever came up with these characters at all. Too bad the future of your much-longed-for movie is in the hands of such a dangerous fool.) And how about the misogynist bastards those writers turned out to be, eh? Who'dve thunk they could get past us all those years by writing all that beautiful and sensitive dialogue, huh? Fooled us though, didn't they?

These people haven't been fans of B&B in over a year and a half now. Oh, sure, they've had plenty of fun tearing it to pieces with their oh-so-intellectual observations. Well, guess what? It's a TV show, NOT "The Iliad"! And what's going to happen when there's nothing left to tear off this corpse? Why, they'll just move on to the next "new thing" and suck it dry. Watch out "Quantum Leap"! Oh sure, there's greener pastures out there, new writers to kiss up to, new names to drop. No problem. Oh... but who will be the "TRUE SPIRIT POLICE" when they move on? Who will keep the ledger of how much B&B still "owes" them for their supportive letters TWO YEARS AGO. Oh well, not my problem. Personally, I think that account is about down to zero and should be kept there.

Maybe I just never made any pact with Koslow and Co. I never expected any guarantees. What they gave us is what we got and I've made the best of it. Horrid little "Vincent lover” that I am, I guess I always saw HIS character as the main focus of the show. Everyone else only interested me in how they related to him. I truly believe Vincent is a legendary character, the kind of which we are lucky to see created in our lifetime. He is no less inspiring to me than Robin Hood or Lancelot or King Arthur. My love for his legend is all I have left since the looting and pillaging of this fandom and I'll be damned if I'll let that be taken away by a minuscule little band of malcontents who's opinions I wouldn't even trust to pick out my paper towel patterns.

So I guess what I'm trying to say, for my sanity's sake is... I am going to continue to do my art, MY WAY, for my own enjoyment, and am more than willing to keep sharing it. No, I'm not going away completely, (THAT would be too much like a victory to these schmucks!) but I am getting the hell out of this booby hatchery and going someplace where people still love B&B and are willing to support it and not rip it a new one every time they think of a new cute insult. I believe there is such a place, if I have to create it for myself!

I welcome contact from ANY B&B fans out there who are tired of being told that their love of B&B is somehow less noble because it's unconditional. If you want to talk and have fun, we'll get along just fine. If you think Vincent is sexy, good for you! That's not being frivolous, that's having good taste. If you can still laugh about it all, even better! I can't wait to see you and spend time with you at the cons.

But as for you who are about now pulling out your "Name of the Rose" poison pens or are burning up the phone lines with the terrible new letter Blighton dared to put in "OUT...IN” (and let me guess who you'll be!) — you bore me. I'm through with you. I'm not wasting another single brain cell worrying about your various, unimaginative shenanigans. You really have nothing to do with B&B anymore anyway. And congratulations! What a serious lack of real problems you must have. May you be happy in your communal misery. And I doubt that you could hate me anymore than you already do, so go ahead and enjoy! Have a really good skewer on my account!

As for me, the bottom line is I support "Beauty and the Beast", period.

References

  1. ^ "Jeanne" is the editor of Once Upon a Time...Is Now, the letterzine that this open letter was printed in.
  2. ^ This may be a reference to the attitudes expressed in "The 58th Episode: Satire", a metafic that had just been printed in Lionheart #2, ironically by Beth Blighton herself.