Ironic Distance

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See also: Puppies In A Box, Lord King Bad
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It may be argued that ironic distance in stories is a symptom of postmodernism, and cannot be found in stories which predate the post-modern movement in fic fandom.

In 2007, cimorene wrote:

I think what a lot of them boil down to [...] what you could call postmodernism. that is to say: an ironic or meta attitude to what we do is what is now in vogue in the main body of media fandom. to borrow a metaphor from wax, the harlequin genre and old fandoms would be tackiness, whereas modern fandom is not tackiness, but kitsch: what happens when tackiness, thoroughly in love with itself, grows hip and gains an elaborate theoretical education and joyously rediscovers, refurbishes, and restores its roots. (this isn't to say that old fandoms weren't witty, intelligent, or highly educated; it speaks, rather, to a general paradigm shift, and obviously to the fashion and not to the whole population.)[1]

One example of fannish ironic distance is the self-mockery that was particularly prevalent among popslash fans, [2] and demonstrated in website names like Temporary Insanity and I will not be afraid of boybands. Another is Lord King Bad.

Self-referential use of the term tinhat is a common example of ironic distance in some RPS fandoms. It is often used by fans who want to celebrate interviews or photographs featuring their OTP as "evidence" that the pair is in love or in a relationship, while simultaneously acknowledging that such an interpretation is implausible and an indulgence in wishful thinking. Fans calling themselves tinhats is usually a marker that they are not real tinhats, as they do not take their shipping that seriously.

Examples of Use


  1. ^ Cimness, characteristics of "old" fandoms. Posted to LiveJournal 9 January 2007 (account deleted). Dreamwidth copy, Wayback machine copy. (Accessed 23 August 2015.)
  2. ^ [ The guide], Archived version, a page from the Puppies In A Box website containing a tongue-in-cheek discussion between Helen and Synchronik that demonstrates the simultaneous impulses to mock and to squee. (Accessed via wayback, Oct. 2008.)