Imbroglio

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Synonyms:
See also: flamewar, wank, kerfuffle, discourse
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Contents

In fannish usage, an imbroglio is a critical discussion of an underlying societal attitude, usually in the context of criticizing a fanwork or a fannish community for exclusion. (These discussions have centered around race, religion, nationality, sex, sexuality, ability -- about every category of discrimination you can think of.) The term was suggested by zvi[1] to differentiate these serious, often contentious, emotional, and fast-moving discussions from wank, which is defined by the silly behavior of the participants.

Although participants in an imbroglio may act foolish, and indeed the whole discussion may devolve into name-calling and flamewars, in general the discussions proceeding from an imbroglio were not considered fair game for Fandom Wank, and would be found on Unfunnybusiness instead. This distinction, and the collective pan-fannish judgement underlying, explain why Fandom Wank was sometimes called the Rogue Judiciary.

Occasionally imbroglios, though painful at the time, lead to cool (or, perhaps, productive) outcomes. One imbroglio led to International Blog Against Racism Week, now in its third year[2] and the Writers of Color 50 Book Challenge.[3]

This term was commonly used in the 2000s and early 2010s, particularly within parts of LiveJournal fandom. Discourse may be understood as a more recent related term, primarily used on Tumblr beginning in the mid-2010s, although discourse is more precisely synonymous with wank.[4]

References

  1. Do you remember me?, LiveJournal post by zvi, 20 October 2007
  2. International Blog Against Racism Week's blog profile
  3. 50books_poc profile
  4. Winterwood, Lily. "Discourse Is the New Wank: A Reflection on Linguistic Change in Fandom." In "Tumblr and Fandom," edited by Lori Morimoto and Louisa Ellen Stein, special issue, Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 27. http://dx.doi.org/10.3983/twc.2018.1276.