Fandom Ghost: Created Out Of Wholecloth By Fanon/Other Responses

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justgot1[1]: Ok this is totally interesting. I can’t speak to TFA, because I haven’t read any, but I’ve read loads of Inception, and what I noticed there is that Arthur and Eames vary, especially in earlier fics in the fandom, but you get this ‘ghost’ guy Arthur most in romcom fics. And as the fandom has gotten older, almost all the fic that’s being produced now is romcom fics, and that Arthur you’re describing really dominates now. So while aspects of that stock character have been in Arthur all along, it really comes to the fore in the romance fics.

My thought is that we revive him because he’s a stock character. Because when you are given a largely-empty side character, the easiest thing to do is fill him with a stock character we already know and love and just jiggle the details. (I’m picturing, like, those two nerdy guys from Pacific Rim that became a fandom ship, isn’t one of them like this?) We already know how to write/read this guy because he’s a lot like the guy in that other fandom we like.

But you’re right, the fact that we use stock characters to fill in a side character we want to turn into a ship isn’t the interesting part – the interesting part is that over and over, side characters of little importance are turned into dominating ships in fandom and they are nearly always white-guy ships. And it has its own momentum once it’s started; even if the pairing is baffling at first for someone not in the fandom, once a few good writers get on board and write some good fic, then everyone follows and before you know it, your whole fandom is 00Q or Arthur/Eames or Newton/Hermann (I looked it up lol). I’m surprised, and yet not, to find that the same has happened to TFA – I thought Poe/Finn was the biggie in that fandom. Interesting.
mmarycontrary[2]: I nearly missed this because I’ve blocked Kylux and Hux on Tumblr – not Star Wars, because I love stories about Rey and Finn and Leia and trivia about the universe – but just the ones about a pairing I’m not interested in. It would have been a shame if I hadn’t unblocked this post, though. I love fandom; reading against the text and adding new perspectives have enriched my appreciation of all types of stories. I love fandom, but I’ve also disliked some of the things it does to me. If I read or watch a story myself first, I am usually going to focus on a female character to identify with and imagine a future for – and if she doesn’t exist, I usually don’t finish the story. If I’m introduced through fandom before I read the source, I focus on and identify with a male character.
marblenarwhal[3]: This is so interesting.

I tell myself that the reason I like Kylux so much is because of the conflict. Inner conflict, conflict between Hux/Kylo, etc. I like angst, and I like when two halves of a ship are clearly bad for each other. I love hateships, and I always have.

But of course, there’s lots of potential for angst and hateships with Reylo and Darkpilot. And, while I do love both those ships, I don’t find them nearly as compelling as Kylux. Out of all available Kylo-centric ships, Kylux is what I latched onto.

But - would I have latched onto Kylux as hard if they weren’t white?

Well fuck.

I love OP’s commentary so much, because, like a lot of other people, that question does make me uncomfortable. And I’m fascinated by the idea of this ghost - this fandom spectre - who is oh so safe and familiar and comforting, like a steaming bowl of rice pudding. So soothing and creamy and so very, very white…
gen-is-gone[4]: A character to add to this excellent list: Phil Coulson pre AoS, usually shipped with Clint Barton. Also Remus Lupin, but almost exclusively when shipped with Sirius Black. And tons of others that I’m not thinking of. And now I’m wondering: is there some ur example, way back in the fannish metadata? Is there lost somewhere on FFnet the ghost’s original face and we’ve all forgotten who? Like, I dunno, among the Rodney McKays and the Angels and the pre OotP Dracos was there a character who codified this archetype?
shellcollector[5]: Oh my god. This is Fanon Enjolras. This might be the explanation for Fanon Enjolras. Even though there’s loads of contradictory detail in the source material, the gravitational pull of the ghost is still evident.
mizushimo[6]: I don’t know if I agree with the last point, but there’s definitely a character archtype that writers feel the need to conjure into existence. Looking at the list, it seems like…Christian Grey from Fifty Shades of Grey is the ultimate form of this character type. In shojo anime, this character is usually tall, with dark hair and glasses. He’s usually a medical student or aspires to be a medical student.

I think the problem is that this character type doesn’t exist much in western media (where as the emotional messy guy is a standard). The dynamic must be so good that fans have to create the less represented half of the pair in order to make it exist at all.

#fanon kankri or fanon dirk are the closest to this archtype in homestuck #only certain flavors #hell ive seen ERIDAN be portrayed like this
asphodelimago[7]: I think the directionality on this is reversed, tbh.

Tsundere Neat-Freak is socially privileged. As an adult, he is both respectable and respected, typically rising to a position of authority due to his singleminded work ethic. He either grew up rich and worked to overcome a cold childhood and his father’s disapproval of his choice in work, or he grew up poor and keeps that a closely guarded secret. He has a lot of disdain for less respectable or “less hardworking” members of society, because he believes that since he overcame his challenges, everyone else should be able to. He needs Hot Mess to teach him that other kinds of success are okay, and that mental illness or a different social background can make his brand of success difficult.

It’s a central characteristic of Tsundere Neat-Freak that he is privileged, and that until he meets Hot Mess, he’s never really thought about it.

So of course Tsundere Neat-Freak is almost always white. Unless we’re really changing around social norms, even a rich POC, woman, or trans kid has probably been seen as “less than respectable” for reasons outside their control.

(Test: In settings where the privileged majority is not white, male, and cis, does this trope recur?)

I think it’s more telling that Hot Mess is usually white, and I think that falls into “uhhh, I’m white, would it be racist to write a GIANT MESS OF A CHARACTER who is POC?”.
drst[8]: The “Stargate Atlantis” slash fandom back in the day took a guy who was in a single episode for less than 2 minutes (Parrish) and created an entire, modestly popular ship with him and one of the more recurring white male characters (Lorne). Parrish was basically the dude the OP described. The ship almost entirely mirrored the most popular slash ship in the fandom (McKay/Sheppard) in its dynamics.

IIRC there was more slash fic about this Fanon Ghost White Dude than there was slash fic about Ronon Dex, played by Jason Mamoa (aka not a white dude) and the main male lead Sheppard, even though Sheppard and Dex shared a number of onscreen conversations and a defined relationship that grew over time.

Fandom chooses to be racist over and over and then gets hella offended when people point out that it’s choosing to ignore or sideline POC characters (and women) even though it’s been going on for decades and is well documented.
insidiousink[9]: Really interesting meta, and the idea of the mayo sandwich “fandom ghost” is also a great term. It puts to words something that I’ve been thinking about without any concrete terminology. Not to sound too harsh, but I think the comparison of “fandom cousin of the Frigid Workaholic Romcom Heroine” is pretty apt.

Fandom has problems about race and gender with regards to who is desirable in romantic positions/characterizations, but I think the fandom ghost phenomenon speaks to two separate (but hella related) things: what we consider to be/have been taught are Desirable Romance/Sex Traits manifesting in our archetypes and story telling when we are in as much control of the material as possible (side characters being fleshed out by fandom), as well as the prepackaged white bread mayo sandwich of intertwined race/gender/etc biases being considered the default Ship in when the components are fandom generated (which side characters get fleshed out by fandom.)

(Something I might put forth, although I am not going to be able to be cohesive about it and the whole thing is a powder keg I want to run away from poking, is that I think the mayo sandwiches of fandom seem to be where people who want to write some pretty (great and wonderful and I cast no judging here) messed up things are allowed to happen; when there’s a default that is popular and has many writers/artists, there’s a sense that there’s room enough to have messed up things explored due to the space provided by being the default ship or fandom. like, “we can write/draw this because those who don’t like it can get the same sandwich without this aspect” and people want to avoid racist stereotypes but don’t know how to treat an non-white character as a default so there’s a false sense of ‘security blanket’ for creators there that gets reinforced by content popularity in fandom in a vicious circle.) Anyway that’s a tangent.

There was another great bit people had written up about TFA fandoms and kylo/rey vs finn/rey ships– harkening back to learned/desired tropes, and race as an aspect of shipping, tho that was primarily about het shipping (in ways I think applies to female-driven dudeslash fandom too.)

(I agree that the C/C ship is another prime example of this, btw; in fact I’d say it was where the ghost got some pretty intense solidification, along with Inception fandom’s two phases of movie release and tom hardy based revival. I first encountered this happening in the fandom that got me onto AO3/tumblr, which was RocknRolla, and that film had a lot to do with certain aspects of Inception, imo.)

(eh, another thing I don’t really want to get into would be the Attributing of The Hot Mess Character and romanticization thereof, but in the check please fandom at least, it’s interesting to see the gravitation to the “opposite” archetype for similar reasons as creation of the previous Ghost.)

And since I love all these contents, it makes it something to think about, and I’m glad to see the discussions on my dash!
roachpatrol[10]: i love this meta, it’s like finding words to something i’ve been groping to articulate for years. remember clint/coulson before Agents of Shield got made and kind of like, confirmed most of the fanon? coulson was absolutely that ghost— and of course, neither he nor clint (nor natasha) could be paired up with nick fury.
#passive racism #how many fics out there feature black nick fury getting to fuck someone through a desk? #if it's in the double digits i will eat my socks #the ghost is a beautiful old friend #we'd rather hallucinate #than deal with our apprehension of black people #(not that i'm exempt from any of this lol)
thecolossalennui[11]: I’ve seen this discussion get really fraught because it often turns on individuals to ~write more progressively~ and to ~eat their vegetables~, which, no, fuck you if you think F/F (or whatever) is “vegetables”, and fuck you if you think you’re entitled to tell fans what to write when you’re not paying them–BUT, as a BROAD TREND, as a pervasive behavior, it’s interesting to analyze and think about. Always do what brings you joy in fandom and don’t feel guilty because you’re not ~holding up the side~ by writing the bestest most progressive fic. Certainly the most wildly popular writers aren’t thinking about that for a hot second, let me tell you.
vrabia[12]: some loosely formulated thoughts because this is an amazing discussion
  1. i wonder how many fans who keep resurrecting this character are or used to be into manga/anime because i spent a few years of my fandom life there and holy shit he’s everywhere. i mean to the point where the archetype is so familiar but if you asked me to name 3 characters off the top of my head that fit that description i’d have trouble with it because they’re basically perfectly interchangeable, sometimes right down to the basic character design.
  2. looking at that list of attributes (perfectionist, hyper-competent, emotionally repressed but still somehow constantly irritated) i realized they’re pretty value-neutral? i mean you can take all of that and put it into arthur, who works for a con and gets involved in high level industrial espionage but is still fundamentally a decent person; and you can put it into hux who’s a Space Nazi. because being a perfectionist/emotionally repressed/sarcastic/annoyed with people who don’t fit your standards isn’t in itself good or bad. the character’s moral stance comes from their actions and context rather than these personal traits. the reverse is you can pretty easily strip them of their morality and just write endless fics where this guy who knowingly orchestrates genocide becomes relatable because at the end of the day he’s stressed and overworked and probably just wants a cup of tea. i’m not saying we should or shouldn’t explore a character’s morality, or that it’s okay to only write about good characters and writing about evil ones means you support their values. just. that it seems particularly easy to isolate this type of character from his context, because ultimately he’s more a collection to traits and behavioral quirks than an actual character.
  3. relatedly, i haven’t actually read enough fic involving hux to have an educated opinion (though it’s interesting how you can get a lot of mileage on fanon characterization just from the kink meme prompts). but a while ago people were talking about how the reason kylo/hux has a lot more staying power than finn/poe (aside from the other reason, you know the one) is that finn/poe is nothing but pureness and fluff all the time, whereas kylo/hux is supposedly more emotionally complex because both of them are fucked up. and aside from coffee shop aus and stuff like that people rarely write or prompt things like light side kylo/hux. there are tons of different incarnations out there of first order finn/poe, and tons of ‘kylo is redeemed and goes back to the resistance’ scenarios. but aside from 1-2 prompts i’ve seen about double agent hux secretly working for the resistance, there are no serious attempts to put this character into a vastly different context. people don’t seem as interested in exploring his morality as much as his opinion on wrinkled shirt sleeves.
  4. this type of character sees very little development, if at all. and somehow he’s still everywhere, which, yeah, is saying something about fandom as a whole.

#idk man to me kylo/hux is just endless repetitions of the same thing #two dudes who don't actually like eachother very much are in an angsty/snarky relationship and have a lot of kinky sex #that's-- pretty much it #also interesting to look into except i don't have the energy: #kylo/hux and finn/poe and the portrayal of kink in general #because i've spent a lot of time on the tfa kink meme since the movie came out #and while i don't have like; actual numbers to back this up #i'm getting a serious whiff of 'bad people have a lot more kinky sex than good people' #or at least 'bad people do a lot of less generally socially-acceptable kink than good people' #argh. this isn't coming out right. #basically there's a fair bit of kink written for finn/poe but less so than for kylo/hux #and it would be interesting to see on a larger scale how this is approached
fandomentanglement[13]: This is especially fascinating, b/c I see this in variation in the BBC Merlin ship Arthur/Merlin (and periodically in E/R Les Mis fics). Because the ‘uptight and perfectionist’ straightman (er, you know what I mean) ghost fits on BBC Merlin’s Arthur about as well as it fits on Spock, though, it’s especially apparent when the ghost pops up in fanon. Like, canon Arthur is a hot mess, but he shares *just enough* ghost traits that he can be stripped and refilled without losing too much canon resemblance. Still, the change is noticeable when the traits are swapped to bring him closer to the ghost.

For BBC Arthur specifically, some of the ghost traits are treated as /damage/ when they appear, too, which is an interesting spin. Like, for example, the presentation perfectionism? Arthur must look and act a certain way because worldbuilding reasons and thus must be obsessive about it, not because he would care if there wasn’t all of this pressure. His fanon characterization never slips into prissy, but it takes a running leap and lands smack dab in ‘posh’.

Personally, I’ve been starry-eyed over the OT3, so Kylux hasn’t really been on my radar. I would never have picked up on this specific phenomena, but I did read a thing the other day that charted out where the fics for Star Wars were coming from over time. Somewhere I read an analysis of this post (heck if I can find it, though, QQ) that tried to interpret the data and made a point about how there was an initial burst of fic across the board for Star Wars as everyone spent their first couple of months writing and sharing and generally enthusing, etc. Kylux then began to take primacy as the people from the initial burst wandered to other fandoms and the core ships remained steady. So what does it mean that one of the core ships for SW is Kylux, when Hux is the ghost?

I wager racism/sexism influences, specifically for the SW fandom, but beyond that (since the ghost shows up so often) the fact remains that the ghost is easy. Racist & sexist behavior is exacerbated across fandom b/c you have to actively fight against them not to perpetuate them and we’re just not very good at it yet. The ghost is a very clear archetype that has been reproduced in near-facsimile throughout fandom on hundreds of different white-guy-pairing templates. The ghost is stable and functional. The ideas that occur most frequently are the ones fic writers have absorbed into their creative vocabulary via repetition and then are rewarded for when presented with the appropriate tweaks in canon, setting, or characterization. It’s self-perpetuating and the result of minor, often relatively benign, individual decisions.

Fic is optimized for low-risk/high-reward, and will deliberately retread previously emotionally satisfying beats to produce similar highs, exploit familiarity of character and narrative to bind the reader emotionally to the story and leverage a reader’s experiences to its advantage, and conform to archetypes as executing ideas based on creative influences often means only selectively changing elements to fit the new template in order to remain cohesive. I love me my fic, but I’m under no illusions as to how a fic hits my buttons.

Also, the more I think about it, the more I think that a lot of the ghost’s traits are unrelentingly posh stereotypes mixed with a liberal helping of traits designed to invite sympathy and empathy and/or allow an outlet for emotion/desire despite the otherwise emotional rigidity of the archetype. Like, it’s an artful mix, when taken altogether, because it’s evocative of power, control, and competency, and the ability to focus all of that on the chosen partner. Heck of a fantasy, especially when paired with a disaster of a partner, because you get both the ‘protect and provide a grounding influence/safety for the disaster’ security fantasy as well as the ‘disaster will change them to be better and happier by encouraging their passions’ fantasy. It’s a fairly versatile archetype that can be shoved around to tell a bunch of different types of stories.

I think it’s easy to see why the ghost hits buttons for so many, and on the micro scale the ghost in-and-of-itself isn’t really the issue. When considering the ghost on the wider stage of fandom, that’s when you run into the trends and concerns and meta, which is why this conversation is good to have, as many times as necessary, in whatever context the ghost appears.
kalany[14]: Something interesting to me is that while I’m pretty sure this tripe predates it, the list of traits is very near to a character précis of Ianto Jones.

Note that Torchwood is essentially a really, really high budget fan video.

It’s also interesting to me how many of those traits—not enough to be The Full Trope but enough to be intriguing—show up in

  • gay stereotypes
  • various James Bonds
  • Christian Grey
It’s like there’s something about an uptight white man’s repressed rage or something??
lazaefair[15]: Reblogging this again because Kylux crossed my dash again recently, specifically in the form of a prominent Kylux writer who said that they saw Rogue One and stated outright that they couldn’t find much in it that interested them enough to engage with in a fannish way.


I wonder why.
nandamai[16]: Well. That just explained to me why I like fanon Rodney McKay, while despising canon Rodney McKay and not even liking the show very much. Because that bulleted list is 100% fanon Rodney McKay of McKay/Sheppard fame.

Clearly, I like the type. (And so does fandom.)

McKay is a main character, not a ghost character.* I guess my point is that, given half a chance, fandom will apply this template to any white male character, and a lot of us are suckers for it. I’m not smart enough right now to think about why. But maybe I need to check out some Arthur/Eames …

* Though he does serve to insulate Sheppard from being paired with a MOC (Ronon) or a woman (Elizabeth). IJS.

But back to OP’s point. I think the ghost character theory slots in perfectly with the way fandom will always, always invent an extra white guy to slash with their fave.
backofthebookshelf[17]: YES Lupin! I knew I recognized the character type from somewhere, but it’s been so long since I read HP fic of any kind I’d forgotten. There are definitely main-character characters built just like this, that created ships that were huge in their day - Fraser/RayK from Due South is about 90% this ship. And I do think it’s an attempt to recreate a ship, not a specific character. It’s just that hot messes are easier to find in canon.
fadagaski[18]: Tangential thought: How connected do you think this fandom phenomonon is to the ‘sexy librarian’ trope in mainstream media (be that Hollywood blockbuster or just plain porn)?
mininecro[19]: I’d imagine you could find this character somewhere within the bowels of, say, Sentinel, Due South, or Stargate SG-1. I’ve watched neither, but most modern fandom trends originate in that era.
#I love the inside-looking-out aspect of this #from 'this is racist' #to 'we do it because of this #but we do this because of racism'
queenofairandsnarkness[20]: …Dracula? I feel Dracula is one of the characters (hello, Saberhagen’s Dracula series and the effect of Coppola’s Dracula), though stories like Wide Sargasso Sea and Jean Plaidy’s Romantic Historicals are probably part of it. (what I’m saying- this is all traditionally published literature’s fault!)
isamai[21]: I call this “zero characters” (i promise in russian it sounds better) - I think of them as creation of fandom, when fandom filling the empty space of canon with its own fantasy. I guess, most of these characters are created to be paired with other character.

For example, Sebastian Moran from Sherlock BBC fandom - although he based on Conan Doyle real character, resemblance stops after name. He appeared as mirror!John Watson - same background, different choices - and was immediately shipped with Moriarty. By the way, he also suits that Dark Handsome archetype fandom likes. Rea

But there are a few other types - Figwit-Lindir for example, real!Graves from Fantastic Beasts. I’m sure that every fandom produces at least one “zero character”.
ckret2[22]: I keep meaning to reblog this post because I think that (except for the fact that Jazz is generally—but not always—black-coded by fandom) the above theory perfectly explains the prominence of Jazz/Prowl.

TF fandom wanted for a Hot Messy Guy/Cold Orderly Guy pairing to ship. The oft-under-developed G1 cartoon characters didn’t provide ready-made ones. Jazz, who we see having fun and dancing to music, was made into the Hot Messy Guy, and Prowl, whose defining descriptor in his toy bio is “logical,” was made into the Cold Orderly Guy (even in defiance of what G1 characterization he had, which gave him about as many opportunities to be casual and goofy and friendly as any other Autobot).

Nowadays we have canonical Prowls who more closely fit the Cold Orderly Guy archetype, but that’s most likely backwash from his fanfic characterization into canon (the way many other fanon conventions leaked into canon, like seekers). Cold Orderly Prowl was far more prominent far earlier in fanfic than he was in canon.
magic-owl (replies): I always saw it as: ppl had a thing for the villain, which ppl do, which is VALID people, you can find a villain attractive and like a villain’s character without freaking supporting or condoning their actions, contrary to what “pure unblemished faves ONLY” Tumblr culture has been about lately. When ppl have a thing for anyone, they usually wanna ship them with something. With someone like Kyle, he’s a messed up guy so it’s messed up to ship him with any of the heroes because he’s awful to / Them and they are WAY too good for him, he could never deserve them. So who does that leave to ship him with? OC’s? No, fandom has seemed that cringy. No, the only ppl it’s acceptable to ship him with is someone who’s just as horrible as he is, which leaves Ginger Space Fascist as the most prominent option. People can acceptably ship them both because they’re both horrible people and it’s a match made in Hell. What I’ve noticed is that Kyluxers are some of the only Kylo fans who DON’T try / to justify his actions/woobify him. They know he sucks, they know Hux sucks, and they regularly say they’re both awful people. So, they put them together so they can have a non sketchy villain ship, and that’s how the ship was born? (I’ve never been a fan of either of them, but I’ve seen a bit of fic/art/fanblogs and that’s what I got from it, but idk...)
ozymegdias[23]: It’s Aziraphale.

The slash ghost is Aziraphale from Good Omens- or at least, a shoddy imitation of him.

I don’t think I realized until today how much Good Omens served as a template for most fandom slash dynamics, but this suddenly bit me HARD today. Good Omens was everywhere in early-2000s fandom, and it reached out and touched everything because holy hell (no pun intended) was fandom weird about Anglophilia until like 2015. (There are still pockets of it, but it’s not basically unavoidable.)

And the ghost definitely shows up even in situations where you have a LOT of characterization to lean on. I keep seeing the ghost intermittently trying to be James Fitzjames from The Terror, despite Fitzjames being based on a real person who could be charitably described as a reckless party animal and even in the show being the type to jovially brag about getting shot. More often in that fandom, the ghost leaves Fitzjames alone but it tends to aggressively possess John Irving or Edward Little. It’s happening because by now fandom is looking at pairings and going “So which one of you is the Aziraphale?”, and having the actual Aziraphale and Crowley to compare it to again, especially when played by actors who decided to make them a couple, made it jump out.

(Never mind that Aziraphale is middle-aged and pudgy, including in the miniseries. The ghost certainly isn’t.)

Other Tag Responses

mysteriarch[24]: #this is very smart and interesting #I like the idea of a fandom canary in a coal mine #separates the individual from the institutional sin and directs our attention to a systemic problem
persisting[25]: #yeah this #it's a thing i've also noticed but haven't really had the words to describe #(or tbh the fic reading to give details) #but yeah #that character is a constant construction #made and remade over and over #i do wonder if there's something to be said about the 'tight laced figure being forcefully unlaced' as well #whether by love or circumstance some kind of projection or exploration or even just a porny archetype #this character is idea for the sort of things a lot of fandom seems to really love #secretive ashamed sex #sweaty gross quickies #etc etc #and the rituals of cleaning and neatening and erasing the existence of the encounter #but still the same thing bothers me about this too #when this character is invented yet again he is always white #he is always written the same by the same handful of writers until the interpretation disseminates down through everyone else #and we ARE left with the fussy mayo sandwich lol #this plus fandom's incessant need to exaggerate the supposed beauty or whatever of their favorites #idk there's a lot at play here and there's a lot about it i'm not comfortable with #SO THANKS FOR THIS OP HOPE YOU DON'T HAVE A TAG READER HAHAHF[note 1]
dorotheian[26]: #huh #fandom #fanon tropes #that's interesting #it disconcerts me often how quickly fanon springs to life #and when that kind of hivemind/crowdsourcing happens I think this is likely the result #when we talk back to the culture it is in regurgitations #some of those regurgitations have barely been digested
itstartledme[27]: #i get viscerally angry about fandom sometimes #and this is large part of why #the heart wants what the heart wants sure #and/but let's examine WHY in a movie as bright and wonderful as TFA #kyloxhux is the MOST POPULAR ship #the buttoned up white guy with the wild sweaty white guy is fandom's favorite #and when it's not there fandom makes it appear #it's the same with the major ships in hockey fandom #in the case of sports rpf fandom writers take the sliver of personality we get from interviews and style of play #and imagine entire lives that largely fit these very archetypes #sid and geno #pkane and jonny #benn and seguin #but the reason i've stuck around in hockey fandom for over two years instead of getting bored and moving on #is all the room for variety and interpretation #the dominant narratives are there no question #and they are boring as a mayo sandwich #but the cast is infinitely larger #anyway this is some great meta and a solid fandom side-eye #why does fandom feel the need to do this whenever this dynamic does not appear for them #YOU KNOW WHY.gif
theladyscribe[28]: #ooh #OOOH #this is also very very very interesting #if you think about things like #bland everyman agent coulson #who was literally created to be a man in a suit #and then became imbued with many of the same characteristics #as fanon hux and fanon arthur #and became so popular as a fanon character #that the powers that be #gave him a story #THAT #I think #is also something we should pay attention to #meta #(I also see many of these traits in hockey rpf #and I think there are a great many reasons for that #some of them sensible and self-preserving #some of them not #but I also think that the tropes of rpf #are a meta all their own)
radialarch[29]: #mm i like this but i'm also thinking about the times i've seen this guy in other fandoms #as in: this is what mycroft/lestrade looks like #and this is what clint/coulson looks like #and like. those are not canons lacking in white guys #and maybe it's just: this guy always comes back #the question isn't 'why do we resurrect this guy' #sometimes this guy comes with the canon #sometimes people insert him #the relevant question is: 'what are the people who aren't interested in this guy doing' #& obviously this is a question that's been debated hard & often #and the issue is definitely tangled with cognitive biases #but i think that it's not a zero-sum matter #the people who like this guy were always gonna come find him #if you make writing about this guy a Bad Thing they're not gonna write about other characters #they're gonna move on somewhere else where they can find this guy #you gotta make fandom more habitable for people who don't like this guy #and habitable always means: praise the good fics; rather than tear down the bad #(i wanna clarify that i don't think that's what op's doing at all) #(but if i'm not in the middle of wank basically assume i'm in the sidelines popcorning) #(so like. i have definitely stared into the abyss of sw wank) #(and this is what keeps staring back) #welp these tags got away from me #i'm just an archivist
star-anise[30]: #oh wow this is fascinating #and yeah you could do a whole taxonomy of Guys Fanon Keeps Inventing
anhamirak[31]: #good meta is good #How Fanon Hux Came To Be #because he and TFA Hux are definitely not the same character #they just share a face #and it's fascinating because I HAVE seen this ghost in previous fandoms #he's not the only ghost either I think #but it would take more brainpower than I currently possess to come up with definitions for any of the others I know of #there is the Insecure One but that trait comes packaged with a bunch of others #hmm
madmaudlingoes[32]: #fanon is a creole #this guy is the substrate #and we live in the post-canon continuum #if I was getting a different phd that would be my dissertation
orangemeta[33]: #this is very interesting #one weird thing re Inception though #is that there’s also a certain type of messiness we want to pair this character with #b/c Dom/Arthur would be an obvious ship if fandom was just looking for white m/m #but Dom/Arthur is a tiny fraction compared to Arthur/Eames #(at least according to a03 so usual statistic disclaimer) #so I’m wondering in other situations where the white minor character gets elevated into one of the biggest ships #when instead of the stoic whatever he’s emotional and free willed #if there’s a certain type of emotional (messiness) being written to it
onceuponacupoftea[34]: #assumptions about family background/upbringing as well #we did to snape before half blood prince #we did it to john sheppard #the cliches of the fandom ghost fill out all white dude characters #they are all the ghost until canon tells us otherwise
ironically--spiders[35]: #thank you for putting this into words #bc this is a fandom phenomenon ive been observing for many years actually #we either create a whole new personality for a person and that personality is the ghost or we twist the canon to implement the ghost #and i say we because we're all guilty of it at some point or another #its very common in yugioh #ive seen it in all the fandoms ive ever witnessed #even in small fandoms an old fandoms like gatchaman #im too tired to get bogged down into my experience with it but i will one day so ill tag this #save #THIS IS LITERALLY YOSHIKAGE KIRA I JUST REALISED #except thats him in canon #hes canonically the ghost #i camt believe araki made the ghost in like the nineties

Fanficcy Responses

jadedsoggy[36]: Okay, so what we have is a shapeshifing multiverse hopper/time traveler. He’s just that guy who shows up everywhere. We know him despite only seeing him for a bit. That little way he holds himself back. The way he keeps himself. The way he stands. It varies a bit from form to form, but when you change bodies you change yourself in little ways you might not have anticipated. But at his core, he is that same guy we just know. He hops from timeline to timeline, from universe to universe, looking for that hot messy guy-of-his-dreams. He has a type, i guess. Always looking, always finding, but for whatever reason he always has to move on to the next fandom. Maybe he’s following where the fic writers take him. Maybe he follows because they need him. Maybe they follow him.


  1. ^ sorry - Schnikeys


  1. ^ Archived link here (May 3, 2016)
  2. ^ Archived link here (May 3, 2016)
  3. ^ Archived link here (presumably May 4, 2016)
  4. ^ Archived link here (May 4, 2016)
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  10. ^ Archived link here (May 5, 2016)
  11. ^ Archived link here (May 5, 2016)
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  13. ^ Archived link here (June 9, 2016)
  14. ^ Archived link here (September 27, 2016)
  15. ^ Archived link here (January 2, 2017)
  16. ^ Link here (April 30, 2017)
  17. ^ Archived link here (May 15, 2017)
  18. ^ Archived link here (May 15 2017)
  19. ^ Archived link here (May 20, 2017)
  20. ^ Archived link here (May 22, 2017)
  21. ^ Archived link here (August 11, 2017)
  22. ^ Archived link here (April 5, 2018)
  23. ^ Archived link here (June 7, 2019)
  24. ^ Archived link here (May 3, 2016)
  25. ^ Archived link here (May 3, 2016)
  26. ^ Archived link here (May 3, 2016)
  27. ^ Archived link here (May 4, 2016)
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  31. ^ Archived link here (May 4, 2016)
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  33. ^ Archived link here (May 5, 2016)
  34. ^ Archived link here (May 8, 2016)
  35. ^ Archived link here (May 21, 2016)
  36. ^ Archived link here (May 4, 2016)