Great LJ Strikethrough of 2007: Seven Things I Wish Fandom Would Not Do

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Title: "Great LJ Strikethrough of 2007: FiveSeven Things I Wish Fandom Would Not Do" ("Great LJ Strikethrough of 2007: Seven Things I Wish Fandom Would Not Do" is used as a title on Fanlore due to coding restrictions)
Creator: hossgal
Date(s): June 5, 2007
Medium: online post
Fandom:
Topic:
External Links: Great LJ Strikethrough of 2007: FiveSeven Things I Wish Fandom Would Not Do"; archive link
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Great LJ Strikethrough of 2007: FiveSeven Things I Wish Fandom Would Not Do is a 2007 post by hossgal.

The writer references two other posts:

Some Topics Discussed

  • Strikethrough
  • porn
  • fan entitlement
  • writing shocking material
  • categorizing internet content more accurately

The Post

(Please to be noting the use of the "I am a fangirl too" pural, here. You guys make me freaking insane, and we're gonna part company someday, but for now ya'll are still My People.)

Note 6 June 2007 Due to the manner in which this post, with an even more problematic approach end edit linked to this entry, overlapping as it does with a household move, I have frozen all reply threads and screened comments. People wanting to discuss with me my views on writer's responsibility, the power of words, and the difference between I think you shouldn't do that, and I'm going to keep saying that until you stop doing it and I hereby ban you from existance, please feel free to contact me at...

1) Assume failure of a publisher, editor, or internet site to permit us to post [anything] counts as censorship - particularly if the alligation of censorship is followed by an assertion of First Amendment Rights. Likewise, crying censorship every time another fangirl says 'dude, I don't think you should do that.'

2) Bandy around "self appointed" - ie, "Warriors for Innocence is a self-appointed watchdog group aimed at pedophilia on the internet" - as though "self-appointed" was a bad thing. Seriously, I think it makes fandom - a larger chunk of self-appointed, self-directed, and self-interested brains I have never seen jumbled together - look very silly.

3) Use "envelope pushing" items as networking 'interests' and as elements for framing communities -

- and oh hell yes, it's been very clear for the length of time I've been on lj (six years and counting) that "interests" are a way for you to find other people interested in what you like, and vice versa -

- particularly in an attempt to make ourselves look "edgy" and "shocking" - and then look surprised when people are, you know, shocked. Or horrified. Or alarmed.

Next thing you'll be telling me is that when you wore a shirt with the collar cut down to your navel, you didn't expect guys to stare at your cleavage. Yeah. Right.

(Please see note on 'interests' in what I think fandom *should* do.)

4) Assume that being not-in-favor-of [x] means either a person ought to be not-in-favor-of [y] (otherwise known as the "you can't reasonably object to chan fic if you don't object to rape fic (or stories about people stealing, or stories about adultry)" argument) or a person must be in favor of banning, deleting, burning and imprisoning and/or executing the producers and consumers of [x] (or, of [x], [y], and totally unrelated topic [42]) (otherwise known as "if you want to get pedophilic porn off the internet, next thing you're going to want to do is ban EVERYTHING!!!" ) (Godwin's law violation optional but generally included.)

People: responses can be graduated. Responses are. That I will look past a great number of things doesn't mean I approve of all those things, and it doesn't mean that "looking past things" is my only option.

5) Continue the trend of deflecting any criticism, ethical evaluation, or application of standards with you have no right to judge me!

I understand that in fandom there is a hell of an inclination against verbalizing standards - we are a walking, talking, giggling mass of you ain't the boss of me. And we have a pathological fear of being judged not worthy.

I think we need to put on our big girl pants and get over it.

We *can* have standards, we *can* publically state those standards, and if we still have a snowball's chance in hell of ever enforcing those standards on each other (fannish self-policing - ha! - Mexican border patrol ain't got nothing on us) we can still say I disaprove of what you're doing, and not get treated like we went after someone with an ax.

Really, getting disaproved of by other fangirls is not going to kill you. Honest. And there *are* upsides.

6) State, in any way shape or form, that it's fiction, it doesn't matter. Just don't. At this point, I'm actively mashing the back button in an effort to not go apeshit on people.

The characters I write about are fictional. The actions they perform are not real.

That I write is very fucking real. That I read absolutely happens. Please do not be insulting me by implying otherwise.

7) On the flip side of #6 - Act as though we intend to change the world with our porn.

Your Sam/Dean PWP is not Uncle Tom's Cabin, your Snape/Harry fic is not Lolita, and neither one of those works was the Magna Carta, The Origin of the Species, the Declaration of Independence, "I Have a Dream" or On Liberty. For pete's sake, don't try to pretend we're trying to change the course of the world, here. We're writing porn, mostly, and we're doing it to get us and our buddies off. If it's important to you to do that, and to express yourself like that, then do that. Own that. But don't make like it's something it's not.

(And if you want to write (and read) not-porn things, fanfic wise, please do so. Gen writers unite!)

There are several other things I would wish Fandom Would Not Do - 98 is a count with historical precedence, and I'm pretty sure with some work I could list that many - but I'm going to leave it there.

Three Things I Wish Fandom Would Do:

1) Go read cofax7's post on what makes up freedom of speech and censorship.

2) Work to be more clear on separating sexual titilation from story element from meta. This is my way of saying that while I think getting even a small handful of pedophile communities, and their sick product, and the sense of justification they got from hanging out with each other, off my damn internet was worth dropping even an equal number of incest-survivors' ljs, as well as some fiction reading communities, I am distressed that more than just the ped communities got caught up in the sweep. I'm not sure if there is anything that lj can do to keep such material off the net, and I'm not sure there's any way for people (such as survivors) to network (ie - by using 'incest_survivors' as an interest, instead of just 'incest') in a way that would not be co-opted by pedophiles or other such scum.

3) In general, write more fic and less meta.

Fan Comments

[hobsonphile]: I... have nothing to add to this. I agree with every single beautiful word.
[suenix]:

Thank you ! I sometimes find the sense of entitlement that fandom has beyond belief. This is a social gathering of people with like interests , no

more . Can't we just enjoy it ?
[hossgal]:

Fandom is generally skitz. But usually fun. The reaction to this latest bit? Not fun for this fan girl, who resents like hell being told she has to be in solidarity with people who produce certain types of porn just because they, too, are fangirls.

Nope, not this fangirl.
[samdonne]:

(otherwise known as "if you want to get pedophilic porn off the internet, next thing you're going to want to do is ban EVERYTHING!!!" )

Who could have predicted that what would finally Bring Fandom Together would be the Save Our Chan campaign?
[cofax7]:

I will note that #4 is a rhetorical flaw that shows up over and over and over again--it is in no way confined to fandom. And since fandom is made up of people, and people are stupid/crazy/illogical (while simultaneously being awesome, funny, and smart), we're not likely to win that battle.

Also, fandom is Soylent Green!

Gen writers unite

Yeah. And good luck with that. *grin*
[se parsons]:

Hey, there is nothing here I don't agree with.

There are smart ways to tag your posts and list interests and dumb ones.

I do think LJ should have been more careful and actually looked at the survivor communities and whatnot and given them warning to change their interests tags, but they were freaked out about legal action as they should have been seeing they are for profit.

I am kind of astonished at the amount of fannish entitlement being generated by all of this, though. But I'm continually astonished by that.
[florastuart]: Yes, to all this - especially #6. *sigh* This whole thing is making my head hurt.
[hesychasm]:

That I write is very fucking real. That I read absolutely happens. Please do not be insulting me by implying otherwise.

I would actually be really curious to see you elaborate on this some. Because it may or may not be obvious to you by now just based on what you know about me and what I read, but I flat-out don't get your position whenever I see you say this. And I wonder if it is just that our worldviews are so very dissimilar. I mean, I understand that "words have power," but I still think that "it's just fiction" has a limiting effect on that statement. (And vice versa, of course, but to a lesser extent.)

Sorry if asking this makes you want to tear your hair out, and feel free to just ignore me.
[samdonne]:

I suppose I still think that we keep adhering so strongly to certain normative values wrt these acts, that I am less inclined to see the danger that posting such stories publicly will lead to increases in the acts.

And yet the collective posting of the stories creates an environment of tolerance, that may, for some, provide reinforcement for the acts. (It isn't the same thing to say that something isn't a single or a main factor, and to say that it's not a factor at all.) The impact of all the stories put together is more that each story taken individually. Which is why the 'there are mainstream works of literature that treat these subjects for titillation, too' argument does not really operate. These works have a limited impact, because together they are not enough to balance out the sum of mainstream treatments, and therefore do not signal a general acceptance of those attitudes. That's a principle of propaganda: flood your setting of reference with your message, preferably using narratives, as people construct themselves through narratives.

You are right to say that only a small minority will be predisposed to be influenced by and act upon the moral characteristics of the behavior setting--as we call it around here--that parts of fandom are generating, and your calculus is reasonable enough, but I wish that fen would also understand that it isn't 'just writing'. It's also promoting the stories, talking about them, squeeing about them, recommending them, discussing canon through that lens, creating fan art, etc, in an environment where little counter-balance is offered, where discussions of RL and fantasy merge, and what you take for granted, that secret disclaimer of 'but we don't find this titillating in real life!', will sail right over some heads.

Once it is out there, it is not kept 'in the privacy of one's own home', and it is having an impact upon the world, it is altering the normative qualities of the behavior setting, whether fen like it or not. The truth of the matter is that no one really knows just how much this is altering those settings, so I, too, as a scientist, have a problem with people claiming that what they write 'doesn't matter'. It's disingenuous to say so. Publishing is acting upon the world. I'd rather fen owned up to it and said, 'yes, we know, we've made the calculus, but the risk appears small, so we've decided to go ahead anyway and have fun'.
[fourteenlines]:

Gen writers unite!

Woo!

I think this is possibly your most well-put post on the subject yet. I haven't engaged in a lot of the recent debate over these topics, admittedly because it's not seen through the lens of a subject that I'm interested in (SPN.) But especially in regards to the subject of fannish self-policing, I wonder if the migration to LJ hasn't done more to break that down than anything. I can't think of how this might be the case, but, just take RPF as an example. It was quite literally not that long ago, even in my fannish life, that the subject would at the very minimum bring about a chorus of, "Hey, that's not cool." It seems like the end of that mostly paralleled the rise of LJ use in fannish circles, but I have no idea whether that is a consequence or a coincidence.

References