Fansplaining: Muggles v No-Maj

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Title: Fansplaining: Muggles v No-Maj
Created by: Flourish Klink and Elizabeth Minkel
Date(s): December 16, 2015
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Fansplaining: Muggles v No-Maj is a podcast by Flourish Klink and Elizabeth Minkel.

Length: 1:04:01.

For others in the series, see Fansplaining.


While in England, Elizabeth interviews Caroline Crampton and Anna Leszkiewicz of @srslypod, the New Statesman’s pop culture podcast; Flourish, back in New York, adds her responses. Topics covered include what the job of a magazine editor really entails, the difficulties of being a fan and a journalist, Britpicking, whether Tumblr is an American space, and how time zones affect our fannish experiences.


Topics Discussed


[Anna Leszkiewicz]: So I was really into a British comedy called The Mighty Boosh which you might know, which I loved and now if I watch it back I’m like “oh God, this makes me really uncomfortable and I don’t like it anymore.” But I guess that’s part of being a fan: sometimes it’s that oh, I’m not actually a fan of that anymore. So I wouldn’t ever really write about that. One thing that I have written about a lot as a journalist is One Direction, and I’m a massive One Direction fan. And that’s been kind of weird because sometimes I just want to talk to other fans and I feel like I have to be like, also I’m a journalist and I might one day write down what you said just now, but maybe not who you were. People don’t always love that when you’re like “oh yeah, I’m a fan, but I also write about the boys in the band,” because it makes people edgy to think—

[Elizabeth Minkel]: Who are these people, are you talking about other fans?

[AL]: Yeah, other fans. So if I’m like, say I’m queueing up outside a One Direction concert and I’m chatting to all the fans, sometimes they’re like “you ask a lot of questions!” and I’m like “yeah, I’m also a journalist!” and they’re like “OK, what do you write about the boys?” They don’t always love that. So that can be where it becomes a little bit like, nervewracking, but most of the time it’s just really really fun because I get to write about the things that I really love, oh, and it’s so great! So like writing about Harry Styles’ outfit at the Music Awards and such—what a great thing to be able to do! I love to be doing that. So, brilliant.
[Caroline Crampton]:.... So Star Wars is obviously coming really soon, massive big deal, so our magazine film critic is also really into the internet and he blogs loads and he’s really great to work with. He is going to do the on-the-day review of the piece so all of his thoughts will be in there. But he’s not particularly a Star Wars fan, he sees it very much as a critic. So I also wanted the piece that gives the feelings of someone who’s been in the Star Wars fandom for so long and now there’s a sequel and how do you feel? And our colleague John has a really good friend who’s massively into Star Wars and is a really good writer, and he had mentioned that he had this idea that actually there’s a collective misremembering going on about the prequels and that actually Roger Ebert thought they were really great and they were critically well-reviewed and they made lots of money not just in the first weekend but continued, so in what sense are we saying they’re bad? So he wrote that piece and it’s very very detailed and really positive and lovely, so yeah, maybe if I didn’t personally want to read that so much, if I didn’t care about that perspective, I would just have gone with Ryan’s review. I wouldn’t have wanted both. So maybe that’s the thing. I always feel like—you have to have confidence in this, as an editor. And sometimes I struggle with that having the confidence part. But you just have to have the things you want to read, and trust that other people feel the same… But we didn’t talk much about, so Anna talked a bit about One Direction and The Mighty Boosh, but I feel like we should also mention some other stuff that we have also been into. Because I don’t want people to go away with the idea that I only like Downton Abbey.

[Elizabeth Minkel]:... one thing I’d love to talk to you guys about before we wrap up is I think about the future of… When I started writing about fan stuff it was maybe three or four years ago, and the landscape is completely different now. And I think it’s going to be completely different in the future. So I kind of want to talk to you guys about that a little bit. One way to start would be to say, I don’t know if either of you had to do this, but I basically had to write a coming out as a fan article, and I worried about—that no one would want to hire me to write in the future. And that’s something if I did that now I would never worry, because I can see there’s so much. And I don’t know if this is something that you guys experienced as you came into it, or if you see that the climate has really shifted about when people know that’s a part of your professional life or your personal life, you know what I mean?

CC: I have actually deliberately not done that, partially because I don’t want to necessarily, and partly also because I feel like that’s making it too easy for people, and by people I mean haters. So I quite often, I will periodically tell off some male journalists on Twitter for using the word ‘hysterical’ about female fans or something. And it’s more effective because I don’t have a big badge on my face saying I’m a fan, you know what I mean?

EM: What, are you saying I can’t yell at these guys?

CC: No no, you can and you absolutely should, but because I haven’t done the badge of honor I’m a fan too but also an editor article, I feel like they forget some of the time and therefore when I turn up and say “no, you can’t say that,” they see me doing that in my serious journalist persona and therefore it carries more weight for them because they’re douchebags. So I didn’t want to have that label, because it’s more surprising to people and that can be helpful sometimes. Cause people forget that about me sometimes.