Let's talk RPS in open debate

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Title: Let's talk RPS in open debate
Creator: telesilla
Date(s): July 21, 2005
Medium: LiveJournal
Fandom: RPS
External Links: Let's talk RPS in open debate; archive link page 1; archive link page 2
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Let's talk RPS in open debate is a 2005 essay by telesilla.

The essay has 255 comments.

"I wrote this for thefannishwaldo in the "top five" meme. While I am going to post all my top five lists, this one struck me as worthy of its own post. So here you have Ruth's Top Five Reasons non-RPS people should embrace RPS.

And yes I do realize that this is going to come across as defensive. I used to sound just like this when I was on the pro-slash side of a huge slash war in Star Trek fandom back in '97. I'm trying to answer this as thoroughly as I can, because Waldo never struck me as someone who went around stirring up trouble just to see the wank, and I've always known her to have a pretty open mind."

The essay has four main points:

  • legality
  • it's often closer to original fic than FPS is
  • now let's talk about morals and invasion of privacy
  • you get to be selfish

Excerpts from the Essay

When you get into the real AU territory, it's essentially original fic that uses the shorthand of the actors names so that you know what they look like. So, really it's just like reading one of elayna88's Quinn/Ben fics, to use an example you'll be familiar with. And really, ALL RPS is AU when you get right down to it. Becuase canon in RPS is largely a matter of personal interpetation and is abandoned right and left by the FPS writers, it's very fluid and often times comes a lot closer to original fic that canon-based FPS. Yes there are rabid fangirls (aka tinhats) who believe that just because Ewan and Hayden kissed at a premier they're involved, or just because Dom and Lij wear the same colors they're doin' it, but most of us treat them with the contempt they deserve. And given the wanksplosion over the HP ships, we all know there's batshit crazy in any fandom.

OK let's look at the big moral issue. RPS is said to be wrong, largely because it's supposedly an invasion of the actor's privacy. First of all, let's be clear here. No matter how private a person any given actor is, they signed up to be a media personality. Part of their job is selling their image and whether they do that by grabbing attention in anyway they can or being aloof and mysterious, they are still only letting us see what they want us to see. They know that they're the stuff of dreams, they know that all over the world people are jerking off thinking about having sex with them or them having sex with someone they've starred with.

So how is bringing the fantasies that the actors and the industry encourage to paper or monitor wrong? How is that that FPS staple, the PWP where the writer dwells lovingly on the sight of Qui-Gon's big hands moving over Obi-Wan's body any different than me writing lovingly about Liam's big hands moving over Ewan's body? How is me borrowing the bodies of these very public people for my harmless fantasies any different than an FPS writer borrowing the bodies of the actors and the original characters created by a writer, director and the actors. I remember once when a round of this discussion was going around my then flist, someone essentially said, "if I have to explain why it's different and FPS is wrong and RPS isn't, then you're an idiot." That's a cop out. I want to know why.
And now the selfishness issue. RPS is growing like crazy and an increasing number of writers are moving over to write it. It opens your options and gives you even more smut to read and even more things to write about. I personally have a hard time with either Aragorn/Legolas or Aragorn/Boromir because I don't think it's at all canon in either book or movieverse. And damn but that's a waste of a lot of hotness; something I can remedy by writing and reading Bean, Orli and Viggo in various combinations, because I don't need canon with them. Since I read both RPS and FPS in some fandoms (KoH, BB, TPM and in some cases HP), I'm having my porny cake with frosting and eating it too.
Which brings me to the number one reason FPS readers should embrace RPS: It's hot. It's Christian Bale with Cillian Murphy astride his lap riding him for all he's worth. It's Orlando Bloom rubbing up against Sean Bean in a shower. It's Karl Urban with Liam Neeson's fist inside him. It's Carrie-Anne Moss tying Miranda Otto up and teasing her mercilessly. It's Milla Jovovich bending Viggo Mortensen over and fucking him with a strap on. So yeah, read it for the same reasons we often read FPS, because it's porn and porn is good.

Some Topics Discussed

Excerpts from the Comments

stakebait: I don't think I could do a reasons why FPS people shouldn't embrace RPS, 'cause I really don't care what other people do. If you like it, go nuts. But here are my top 5 reasons for not embracing it personally.

5. If I don't like the celeb, then I don't care enough to read about them. And I don't like -- or even recognize -- 95 percent of celebs. If I'm going to read original fic, I'd rather read original fic. (And I'd rather read it gatekept by an editor, professionally proofread, and provided in convenient, portable, paperback form.) I read fanfic because I care about these characters already.

4. If I do like the celeb, I don't want to do anything that has a reasonable chance of making them uncomfortable. Is it fiction? Of course. Is it legal -- yes, ironically considering the debate it has a higher standard of protection than FPS, except possibly wrt the strong "right of publicity" protections in California law, and even then it's arguable. Do people have a right to say it? Absolutely.

But that's not the standard I'm using for myself. There are an awful lot of things that people have a right to say that I wouldn't say about a friend, especiallly where they might hear about it. And if I like a celeb well enough to read fic about them, that's how I consider them, even though it's not mutual. I wrote one RPS story and freaked myself out wondering how they would feel if they saw it. The only way I'd really be comfy reading or writing RPF is if the celeb had said it was okay.

3) Canon? What canon? what I like about FPF is a defined and finite universe of canon which can be studied and extrapolated from. I don't even like comics canon because it's too sprawling and contradictory. Real Life offers simultaneously too much information and too little for my taste. Too much, because you could go nuts trying to track down every interview and high school yearbook picture. Too little, because most of the important things are shielded or spun or both. Along with that, and to fill in the blanks, the little I've seen of RPF has an even more thriving market of fanon than FPF does, and I really don't care for most fanon much.

2) Fake people talk good I like clever, witty, fast-paced, unexpected dialogue of the sort that very few real people can match, especially real people who are famous for things other than their verbal skills. There are very few celebs who have enough back and forth dialogues in public for me to be comfy feeling that one *could* catch their tone, and fewer still whose tone I want caught. One can write them smarter, of course, but then my OOC issues prevent me from enjoying it.

1) Real Life bores me. I hardly ever read mainstream realist fiction at all. I like mostly science fiction and fantasy, genres where the world is the metaphor and people kill their demons with their hands explore the unknown in a spaceship instead of on the therapist's couch. Failing that, I want a historical world which is rich and strange to me, if not to the characters. I'm not saying contemporary realism has no literary merit, I'm just saying it's Not My Thing. So any RPF has the considerably disadvantage of having to take place in the real world or strain my disbelief to take them somewhere else. This is just too many steps for me to take.
darkrosetiger: Re: the thin line between fact and fiction...(when is a fact a fact?)

In all cases?

Schindler's List is clearly labelled on the cover as being a novel. Much of it is historical fact, but when Keneally starts describing what thoughts were running through someone's head at a given time, he's no longer in the realm of fact--and calling it a novel underscores that.

Then there's something like Primary Colors, which is so thinly fictionalized that the author might have just called the characters "Bill and Hilary Clinton" and been done with it. To me, that reads as being needlessly coy. I'd much rather read about Bill and Hilary than have to read and constantly "translate" the names in my head, which is distracting.
franzi1981: The issue I used to have with RPS was the 'stalking' issue. I used to think that it would come rather close to that, and I'm sure there's some out there that could fall into that category. Though I have yet to read it. With that I mean someone trying to find out what the celeb is doing right now in order to be able to write about that (talking about more than just where they are filming now). But even if people are doing it - I would now put it down as "unimaginative writing". Because it's not something only RPS writers do - we all love to gossip about celebs....

And another part where I can't read RPS is when they are totally ridiculing the person they're writing about. I'm thinkingi of a very specific case over at theatrical_muse at the moment and I'm not sure I should name names as it could bring the wank. *g* It's when the actor behind the character becomes totally unrecognisable. But then again - that would put me off any FPS fic as well.

Someone said to me the other day that it's also a bit about respecting the actor/singer/etc. you're writing about. I think that's true to a point. And I think it's a fine line to walk between the two examples I just brought up - not to come over as unimaginative writer by keeping too close to actual events/knowledge of the past and not make anything up at all - and the other extreme of writing the person so that he/she becomes totally unrecognisable (and most of what I've read doesn't fall in either extremes. Most *g*).

And somewhere along the way, I lost my point. Other than "I agree with all you said, especially the part about the hotness" ;-)
annlarimer: The issue I used to have with RPS was the 'stalking' issue. I used to think that it would come rather close to that, and I'm sure there's some out there that could fall into that category. Though I have yet to read it.

I have come across fic like this (though weirdly, it was het). The writers were utterly convinced that their pairing were star-crossed lovers in real life. The fic was appalling not so much because they wrote about real people, but because they were convinced that the stuff they wrote was true. This made it stalky and invasive and creepy.

After a few more years' experience with RPFers and the general batshitness that is online fandom, I understood that their particular brand of fic was atypical of RPF in general, and that these individuals would be stalky, invasive, and creepy no matter what they wrote. Loonbaggery is not tied to genre, but to obsession.

I'm not big on RPF. It's not my bag. But most of the perpetrators are reasonable people and I can't see that it does any harm.
destina: And if you're willing to indulge in reasoned debate, I'd like to see people's reasons why FPS readers shouldn't embrace RPS.

Well, I can only tell you why I personally don't like RPS; I can't generalize my feelings to all folks who read FPS. :) I think it's not at all a moral and ethical issue; it's just one of personal tastes, etc. There is no right/wrong where RPS is concerned, for me.

I'm a character fan, not an actor fan. I was never a fan who would watch everything a particular actor was in, just because he played a character I enjoyed. For instance, there was what I used to jokingly call the Cult of Ewan in TPM, where people wrote Ewan McG into their stories as characters he played in other movies. I was always like, wtf? Ewan did nothing for me. Liam Neeson did nothing for me, either. But I loved Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon. Ditto for the Cult of Michael Shanks in SG fandom; I don't care who Michael Shanks is shagging, and I don't want to know. I like Daniel Jackson, not Michael Shanks.

So for me, it's not about the actors. I don't want to know anything about their lives, their romances, or their personal quirks; that detracts from my immersion in the fiction they create with their characters. To me, it's not hot to think about two actors kissing when out of character; it breaks the fourth wall, and it ruins my fun. I avoid RPS like the plague, and will continue to do so, for that reason.
secondbanana: I really like your comment about "breaking the fourth wall." I think one of the main reasons I love RPS so much is because people who are good at what they do turn me on. Therefore a good actor is going to be good reading for me. If you don't think about (or want to think about) the man/woman *making* the character, RPS is kinda dull.
cranz: Something beyond my total apathy that sets me off IS the total lack of canon. I always feel so confused. I like having comics and books in front of me that I can point to and go 'they got it right!' Which is more of a reason why I avoid than to dislike. Um. Confusing myself again.
kyuuketsukirui : That actually pretty well describes why I used to be apathetic towards RPS as well. There didn't seem to be any story to it, just actors shagging. For me, the difference came when I realised that I shouldn't even look at it the same as FPS, but rather as original fic. And that's why I like it. I like my fanfic for when I'm feeling fanficcy, and my RPS for when I'm just wanting to read stories, not particularly wanting to read fanfic.
cimness: i like both, but i find writing them to be two entirely different processes. what i like about rps is, yeah, that it's a lot [more] like writing original fic. there is some "canon" about actors' behaviour out there to draw on, but it's small enough to leave a pretty big spectrum for characterisation in between. and i also sometimes enjoy writing the real and the everyday, as you mentioned in your post above. this isn't to say that characterisation can't be wrong in RPS. a lot of the actors ruth writes about, for instance, are fairly little-known compared to the actors of LOTR or the members of boybands in the Big RPS Fandoms.
telesilla: I do understand the lack of a fixed canon as being confusing; I came to fanfic through Star Trek and OMG talk about a lot of levels of canon you needed to know in order to write. This is where, for me, it's a greed thing. Sometimes I want a nice coherent canon and sometimes I want a more free wheeling canon.
mother2012: To me, ... it breaks the fourth wall, and it ruins my fun." I certainly empathize with this opinion! I have never before really gotten into a fandom, and I have found that fixating on a particular actor really does interfere with an unbiased enjoyment of his films.
kyuuketsukirui : One of the main reasons why I like it is because I really like writing stories about ordinary guys in the real world, falling in love and having sex and being angsty and all that. It's very easy to do that with RPS. Yes, I could write original fiction like that, but I really don't have a desire to be published. It wouldn't earn me much money, so why not do it this way and get fb, which while I'm quite mercenary, I value more over the small pittance I'd get if I tried to sell one of my stories.

I like FPS, too. I get bunnies from canon ideas. With RPS it's more like I have story ideas, and here's the guys to write about. I like the personalities I see Jude and Ewan as having, from what I've observed and what I've built myself. They mesh well together. Most times when I want to write a story, those guys will do. Sometimes I might have an idea for older guys, and hey, I can write Liam/Jason. Sometimes I might want to write LotRiPS, because I'm doing it for someone, or whatever, and then I can use those guys. But for the most part, I like the personalities of Jude and Ewan, and so those personalities will fit most any story I want to write. It's more freeing than FPS. I don't have to work within the confines of canon (which can definitely be fun sometimes, but can get old).

RPS gives me the ability to write the sort of stories I want, with the bonus of a wider audience than I'd have for original fiction.
secondbanana: I read a lot of RPS. Some of it AU (where Sean is a TV repairman and Orli needs his "dish checked") and some of it "canon" (filming LotR etc.). I think so long as the attitude toward them is one of pure fantasy it's all well and good. As soon as the tinhats get busted out, I start ot worry.

The best argument I've heard against RPS is the John Proctor "It is my name!" defense. Some people would be really squicked to find out that their name is being used in conjunction with erotic fiction. Actors make money off of their names, faces and the image the portray in the public sphere. In RPS they loose all control over what their name and image is being used for. I could understand someone being upset with that.

I really like what you said about using their names as shorthand because we all know what they look like. One of the things that amuses me most about RPS (and obscure character FPS for that matter) are the things that become like canon. Viggo is all sorts of broody. Orlando is a bottom 99% of the time. Elijah's cock is slim and beautiful. It cracks me up.
nurseowens: I didn't cross the FPS-RPS line that long ago and my reason was that it gave me more possibilities...

To me it is original fiction with familiar faces. I love writing AU's because that gives you almost total freedom.

It's like writing a long form script and filling in who you want to hire to play the characters in the movie. It's a tool for a writer to flesh out his/her characters and a tool for the reader to put a face on the character.

I don't see it as stalking, or invasion of privacy.

I'm using the actors for what they do: they lend us their body and personality (and in most cases: talent) to bring a story to life.

There is a downside to this... I won't read certain pairing because they don't interest me. The consequence of this is that I may very well miss out on an incredible story, simply because I don't like the 'actors' the author has chosen. Non-RPS original fiction would not have that problem, because I would be able to fill in my own 'actors'.

I've tried writing that kind of story. Even without my 'cast of characters' readers would be able to 'cast' my story in a flash, because one of my male characters will always be a version of Viggo ;-) and the rest would probably sound familiar too..
indian skimmer: I'm an occasional reader of RPS (mostly for reasons 1 & 2, it's a big store of easily available porn) but it's never something I could become invested in enough to write. It is largely a matter of disinterest rather than active objection, but I'll get the moral bit out of the way first...

The privacy issue does bother me. I understand your point about actors putting themselves in the limelight, but I can't help thinking that there's a difference between intellectually knowing that people will fantasise about you in private, and then actually being confronted with an description of yourself bent over wearing a collar in print.

For me the difference between writing Bruce Wayne/Lex Luthor and writing Christian Bale/Michael Rosenbaum is that I know Bruce Wayne is never going to read my work and be horribly offended, whereas there's always the vaguest possibility that CB *might*. For me, that's where the line is.

As an aside- the RPS issue I *do* have serious objections to is the explaining away of wives/girlfriends/children. You know those moments when the writer feels the need to put in a line about how horrible someone's marriage is to excuse the rampant gay sex? Those family members *didn't* agree to put themselves in the limelight, and they certainly don't deserve to be spoken about like that for absolutely no reason. That's a moral line I'm never going to be convinced it's okay to cross. [/end unexpected rant]

The bigger problem I have with RPS is almost exactly the point you made about it being basically original fic.

RPS has none of that magical new insight into a character you already love, or a new take on someone you've never previously liked, which is my favourite part of reading FP fanfic and inherently it never can. At the same time if a writer does manage to bring a fully-fleshed RP character to life then the sheer force of that character will take over from any vestige of the actor they were using as inspiration. If you're putting that much energy and time into creating a whole new original character then why not *make* them original, why tie yourself down? Just put "I picture -blank- as being played by -actor-" at the top and then go from there.

Finally, I have to agree with destina. I'm interested in Bruce, I'm interested in Jack and Daniel, I'm interested in Josh and Sam. I'm not all that interested in Brad Whitford, or Michael Shanks. If I want to use their physical appearances for a fic then I'll just use the characters. The actors themselves simply never inspire me.
sidewinder: And without wanting to sound pretentious and writerly, I write because I have stories in my head that want to get out. The size of the potential audience for them isn't something I'd even consider.

Well, that's an age old separate debate I've seen go by time and time again: Do we create purely for ourselves, or for our audience? Or somewhere in between those extremes? Each person will have a very different answer to that question, and I don't think one is necessarily better (or more artistically pure) than another.

I mean, for me, I only can be bothered to write fan-fiction out if I know there are at least a few people who might want to read it. Otherwise I can easily just entertain myself with my stories and keep them in my head. I feel differently about other creative endeavors that come more naturally to me (namely visual arts), and I do feel the compelling urge to create No Matter What in those fields. But even so, I pay attention to which drawings and paintings I create actually stir a reaction (and better yet sales) from my audience. I can't draw purely for profit, but I can't deny I'll put priority on pieces that generate response/sales over those that I know are primarily for my own amusement.

And yes, I'm hijacking the original topic here so I'll shut up now.
kyuuketsukirui : Maybe there are people who would read original fiction, but the problem is where to find them. How would you ever find someone's original fiction in order to read it unless they're your friends? I have no interest in trying to get published. I don't write novel-length fics, so I'm left with various magazines and anthologies, on-line and off, and what they pay is a pittance. I'd rather get ten comments in my LJ than $5 from an online mag like Jack and not know whether anyone read it. *shrugs* I don't think it's pretentious; I just don't think that's the only way for someone to be a "real" writer. Everyone is different. For me, I don't get enjoyment out of reading my own stories, so I would never write them down without an audience, even if that audience were just one other person. If it's just me, I have hundreds of things I could better spend my time on. I write because I want to share the ideas I have.
helens78: But as you've said yourself, there's always been original fic out there. Like Nifty.org and other such places. And I did read original erotica for years and years before discovering slash and fandom. But the thing is, fandom has something that places like Nifty doesn't have: piles of good writing, stuff that's honestly easy to find. Most original fic archives are unsorted -- or only barely sorted -- and you have to work your ass off to find anything that doesn't suck. Sometimes you come across an archive that actually has recommendations, but even then it's like looking for a needle in a haystack.

When you're looking for a specific type of story, you have a pretty good shot of getting it if you know your RPS pairing "types". If you're looking in a place like Nifty, you have no way of knowing if a story about "Adam" and "Dave" is a story about a 6'4" Irishman and a 5'10" Scot meeting and having drinks, or if it's about a 5'11" bohemian artist type from the States meeting a bouncy little waify pretty boy from southern England, or if it's about two guys who have been best friends all their lives and are just discovering sex. And that kind of thing is important. It's a lot easier to label yourself someone who likes "Viggo/Orli" than it is to say "I want to read about younger man/older man with the older man as an experienced bohemian artist and the younger man as someone who has more energy than a whole box full of Penguin Mints". And on top of that, you're a lot more likely to find it. Given 20 Viggo/Orli fics, you'll likely find the story you're looking for; given 20 Nifty fics, you're very, very, very unlikely to find it.

Some authors might build up a reputation over time for writing specific kinds of fic, maybe. But what about people like me? I've written -- at a guess -- well over 50 different pairings with completely different pairing types. I have a number of different readers who'll jump fandoms with me, but I also have a number of readers who won't. Different people are interested in reading different things. How would I code my headers to make sure the right people are reading it? I could do that on a journal level, but what about on an archive level? The most detailed archive I've ever seen is MasterApprentice, and even then it only has categories like "first time", "romance", "drama", "angst", "non-con", "bdsm". You're already in an archive where you can pretty much expect one pairing type: big strong master takes on young apprentice. (A lot of people don't hold to that type, but if you assume that's what you're getting, you'll rarely be wrong.) Could you sort an archive into different pairing types easily enough that people would be able to find what they were looking for? Probably not. RPS does that all on its own, simply by presenting different actors in different situations that are recognizable just by looking at them on their face.

As for finding quality work, in the fandom world it's actually not difficult. You make friends with people who are interested in the same pairings as you, and those people are very likely to understand intuitively what interests you about the pairing and to point you in places that have similar things to offer. And so on, and so on.

You keep saying "if you all wrote original fic instead of RPS, there'd be a great big community much like the one that already exists." Well, if we had some bacon, we could have some bacon and eggs. If we had some eggs. The fact is that there isn't a boy-on-boy hot-smut original-fic community with the level of detail and sorting and community that we have in RPS already. If there were one, that would be great, but why should we abandon the one that's already here?
esorlehcar : These are exactly the reasons, why I feel still uncomfortable about RPS. I don't want to offend real people. You're making the assumption that character slash does not offend the actors who portray the characters or the writers who created them. This is demonstrably incorrect....There are multiple examples - off the top of my head, Paul Darrow for Blake's 7 reacted very badly to character slash, as did an actor whose name I'm blanking on from Highlander. [1] The incidents that I've heard about (and there more than just these two) predate me, but I'll ask on my LJ for specific details, which I've long forgotten... I know people who were there for them are still around.

I don't write it, because I worry about the fact that people who might read their names in RPS stories, might feel bad, and I don't want to make other people feel bad. I do *not* worry about the author's level (i.e. Lucas, Rowling), because I don't agree with their narrow interpretation of intellectual property.

But what if it's not an issue of intellectual property? What if Lucas genuinely feels uncomfortable with having his creations presented in a sexual context? I would argue, as you have, that fair use still trumps the creator's wishes, provided that no profit is being made.

The aspect of the argument that I'm having trouble with is the idea that if a person who has chosen to live her life in the public eye is uncomfortable with a fan portrayal of herself, that trumps the fan's right to write down her fantasies. In RPF or FPF, there's the possibility that someone will be uncomfortable, but this argument privileges the feelings of the person who, again, has chosen to be a public figure with all that entails.

What I find ironic is that I strongly suspect that most celebrities understand that part of the tradeoff for fame is that you lose the power to control your image. I'm sure Liam would prefer to be able to go on vacation without people snapping pictures of him kissing his wife, but he understands that is part of the game. He's set limits: he doesn't sign autographs when he's out with his kids, for example, and he and Natasha sued a tabloid that published information about them and presented it as fact. As long as I don't shove my fic in his face, or try to claim that it's true, I suspect that he understands that people fantasizing about him is the nature of the beast.
zillah975: Hmm. But start with the assumption that when George Lucas says he dislikes, say, Qui/Obi slash, it's at least in part because the idea of his creations being used in that manner is offensive to him, not just because of copyright issues. He is a real human being who is capable of feeling very bad about how his creations are being used. If you knew that Lucas, Rowling, Anne Rice, or whoever really felt ill and distressed -- not for copyright issues but for personal reasons -- at discovering their characters in FPS, would that cause you the same distress as the idea of actors becoming upset over RPS?
esorlehcar : If you're putting that much energy and time into creating a whole new original character then why not *make* them original, why tie yourself down? Just put "I picture -blank- as being played by -actor-" at the top and then go from there.

You're assuming here that the only reason people write RPS is because they like what the celebs in question look like. I can't speak for everyone, obviously, and I know there are plenty of people for whom RPS is nothing more than a way to write about two guys they find hot having sex (in the same way character slash is for many people, which is why you find whole mailing lists and archives dedicated to pairings whose characters have not shared any screen time). But for me, what seduced me into RPS was the relationship between the people I slash.

For the most part, I find character slash infinitely more interesting than RPS - there's more to work with characters, more hard and fast canon. The characters on the shows I like tend, unsurprisingly, to be a lot more interesting than the actors who play them. I became interested in RPS when I found a pairing (several pairings, actually) where that was not the case, where the actors had intense, amazing relationships with each other that they were (and continue to be) more than happy to talk about publicly. I slash Dom and Billy not because I think it would be hot to see two guy who looked like them having sex with each other, but because their real-life relationship has given me more to work with by far than any character slash fandom I've ever been in.

There's actually a hugely popular writer in lotrips fandom who does exactly what you suggest - "casts" the actors in roles in AU stories and makes then completely unidentifiable except for their names and what they look like. I personally find that spectacularly boring. As with character slash, it's the relationship between two people I find interesting and slashworthy, not simply what they look like.
sidewinder: I can't imagine I would ever be able to get to know someone's character simply from reading interviews and seeing what they did at a premiere once.

I think that really depends. I mean, one good "Behind the Music" special can provide a heck of a lot of fodder to start with. Toss in a few magazine interviews, or a biography (or autobiography), or similar items...and it may not be a set-in-stone "canon" but it certainly can be an ample jumping-off point.

I'd imagine it's probably more than FPF writers often have to work with if they're writing about a minor/sideline character that may not have had a lot of screentime, only appeared in one or two episodes of a show, etc.

And I think, with RPF, it's more about having that "jumping off point" than knowing exact details. I mean, with a lot of FPF, the challenge is truly sticking as close as possible to the canon characterization that is there for all to see. With RPF, you have those "glimpses" instead of a set canon, and you never can tell even how much those glimpses are act/public personna and how much of it is genuine. So you take what you get, come up with "canon" characters in your head that make sense to you, and go from there. At least that's the approach I take.
telesilla: I think the point we're trying to make here is that "within a fictional universe, everything the author invents is fact."

Of course it's not really fact, none of fiction is. My point is that canon is the text and fanfic writers choose which aspects of that text they're willing to incorporate into their fanfic.

You use the example of Schrodinger's Cat and say that with FPF there are things that are unobserved and so we can speculate. This is true, we aren't told every single last thing about every character in a fic.

Although of course when we do that in a fandom with an open canon, we run the risk of being proved wrong when the author opens the box. Look at all the people who didn't think that Blaise in HP was black and wrote him as if he were a white Italian boy (or before they knew he was a boy and wrote him as a girl). They are now wrong as it is a fact in the universe of Harry Potter that Blaise is male and black.

So the person outside the box didn't know the cat was dead but when KKR put that dead cat into the box, she knew. So the cat? Has always been dead.
esorlehcar : I'm still a little flummoxed at the whole "FPS is truth, but RPS can be never be truth and therefore is pointless!" bit, but as I said before, we seem to have a spectacularly different approach to slash as a hobby.
helens78: But you don't feel that with real people there's a pressure to get that characterisation *right* that you don't have with fictional characters?

The ironic thing is that I feel there's far more pressure to get the characterization of a fictional character correct than I do for "real-person" fic. I am fully aware that not only do I not know the men and women I write about, I will never know about them. I don't go out of my way to find articles about them, I don't "research" canon -- I have read a few biographies here and there, but that came well after my characters were fully formed, and it certainly doesn't stop me from writing characters that are different from everything I know about the real people.

On the other hand, I have done as much research into Highlander canon as I could. I've seen every episode of the show -- most of them repeatedly -- and consider it the best compliment in the world when someone says I have a terrific "voice" for Methos, Joe, or Mac. I work really hard at making sure you could imagine Peter Wingfield as Methos saying the snarky things my Methos says. It's important to me that it feels true to the character. I might write an AU in which Kronos defeats MacLeod and Methos and Kronos ride off into the sunset, but I need it to feel true to the characters. I prefer not writing AU fic at all, actually, which gives me trouble with fandoms like Equilibrium where my main hero dies 17 minutes into the movie.

From what you say below, I seem to take exactly the opposite approach in writing that you would. You seem to think there's a recognizable canon with real people that should be respected, whereas with fictional characters, since they don't exist in reality, you don't have to respect anything about the characters or their canon. For me it's just the opposite. I would have no interest in writing fictional fanfic at all if I didn't love the universe to start with, if I didn't want to work within the confines that universe presents. As a result, it's very important to me to get my FPS right, with characterization, with working around different things that happen in canon, and so on. I went back and re-watched several Highlander episodes while writing an AU fic because I didn't want to write that one thing had happened while canon said otherwise. Could I have simply said "well, in my world, MacLeod never went to that swordfight"? Sure -- but it would've felt untrue to me.

RPS is a completely different beast. Since I have accepted that I am never going to meet the people I write about, that I will never know anything about their personal lives, that I don't, in most cases, want to know anything about their personal lives (boy, how much happier would I have been if I'd never known a single thing about Tom Cruise?), I have a completely blank canvas to work from. I'm not writing about the Pierce Brosnan who actually exists on this planet; I'm writing about the adventures of a guy who exists in a totally different reality, one that I either participate in (as with the Establishment), helped create (as with Chiaroscuro), or created myself (as with the Dance With Me universe). That reality is not influenced by our reality unless I want it to be. All I've done is borrow a name and a face that my readers -- and yeah, my readers are important to me -- will know and either be interested in or not interested in depending on whether they find the guy and his characters attractive.

Maybe I'm losing readers by not renaming him. But honestly? I don't expect that I'm losing very many. I doubt I would gain more than I'd lose by renaming him.
kyuuketsukirui : Canon is the facts on the page (or the screen) and nothing more. I don't care what JKR says in an interview regarding the motivations of her characters. Unless the motives are stated explicitly in canon by that character, they are not canon. Even then they are suspect and open to interpretation. However, I completely disagree that RPS should be approached as if we're looking for the truth, cause er...I can't think of anything that squicks me more than someone thinking I'm writing a fic in order to try and figure out what Ewan or Jude actually thinks.
indian skimmer: Most RPSers here don't see a moral difference between slashing a character and slashing an actor, I do. I see a moral difference between reading a piece of RPS and actively creating it, and you don't. It's just a matter of where it's comfortable for an individual to draw that line.

That slight sense of unease I feel about reading RPS isn't enough to stop me, the same way that the slight sense of unease I feel about filching paper from the staionary cupboard isn't enough to stop me.

However, the much greater sense of unease I would feel about actively writing it, is enough to stop me doing that.

I don't think people who do write it are "scum" at all; I'm just expressing my own personal reasons why I couldn't do it. I'm not trying to impose my personal morality on anyone else. People can write whatever they like, and if they're comfortable with it, then I'm not going to try and stop them.
darkrosetiger: But to me, the idea that they're a 'public figure' doesn't matter. They're real people, they exist, they don't deserve to have potentially upsetting things written about them just because they had the temerity to be an actor.

Whereas to me, the idea of being a public figure makes all the difference. If you don't want potentially upsetting things written about you, then you can't take part in the culture of celebrity. Don't go to red-carpet premieres, where people might snap unflattering photos. Don't give interviews talking about previous or current drug use. Don't make sure that your PR people alert the media when you're going to be making an appearance. In fact, don't use the media at all to promote your career and to make sure that your name stays in the public consciousness...and you may want to think about changing careers, because you won't make it in the business.

If you choose a career that relies on your being a fantasy object of desire, it's incredibly disingenuous to complain about the nature of those fantasies.
kyuuketsukirui : You're free to think what you like of me. Frankly, I don't care what you think either. I am not doing anything to harm anyone. I am not making these people read my stories. It's really none of their business what I do or don't do, and I can't see why I should care what a stranger (meaning both this theoretical celeb and you) thinks of me.

Finding out that an author disapproves of fanfic and is truly upset by the idea of people using their characters does not give me the least bit of pause; I don't see why this should be different.

I don't understand why I should stop writing just because it would make someone I don't know feel better, when they would never know that I stopped writing in the first place.
anatsuno: But lots of people get upset at lots of stories in many different ways - homophobic authors get upset that there's slash fanfic written in their universe, some Christians get upset that Harry Potter is very successful because it omg advocates sorcery, fandom members I know get upset at badfic... Fiction upsets people, it's a fact of life.

I do recognize there is a slight difference between random Xtian nutter #324 upset at HP (which doens't specifically 'concern' her/him), Author X upset at FPF-she-disapproves being written in her verse (the link between the upsetting story and the upset person is greater), and finally hypothetical Actor Z upset at story 'Once upon a time Z fucked his co-star in a haystack' (the link is seemingly even greater).

But I think you could, as a mental exercize, try to step one minute into my shoes, and consider it all under that angle (because it's how I look at it, truly): The fiction I produce is labeled as fiction, and doesn't 'concern' anyone who doesn't wish to be concerned by it, i.e., its readers. It is published in settings which, despite being widely accessible (the www), are also sort of not easy to find, and for a circle of readers already 'in the loop'. It's potentially upsetting to a certain number of people for a certain number of reasons, like any piece of fiction is.

I owe an autor who puts into a world a character/setting that made me want to run with it nothing more than the respect of that ability and thanks (and money) for their creation, besides basic human respect (my definition of that likely varying from yours, but I have one nonetheless). Likewise, I owe an actor whom I write fic about nothing more than the acknowledgment that *something* about them made me want to write (and it can be very different things, not simply their looks, like Eso explained above), and basic human respect, and a proper disclaimer that my fiction is not *real* and I know nothing about their real selves.

That is how I look at it, and barring a greater emotional investment than that in an actor (which I am very prone to, actually, but I'm trying to expose my logic here, not the random whims of my emotions), it is indeed very possible that I wouldn't pause either, should the actor declare themselves emphatically against RPF. (And if they do, it means they know about it, and I would hope for them, really, that they're intelligent enough not to look for the very thing that they know will upset them, because that's just plain stupid).
esorlehcar : I tend to suspect most of the actors who would be squicked by RPS would alsoo be squicked by character slash, and that most of the actors who are fine with character slash would be fine RPS, but that's an assumption with no basis in fact, obviously.

What gets about the "RPS might make actors uncomfortable and is therefore sick and wrong!!!!!" argument is how inconsistent it is. The people who make it assume, apropos of nothing, that actors would be deeply disturbed by RPS but feel that character slash is just dandy, and, when it's pointed out that that's also an assumption with no basis in fact, they tend to fall back on "Oh, well, they have a right to be upset if the story uses their name, but not if it only uses their body!" Which continues to strike me as more than a little hypocritical.

I have yet to see a single person in fandom claim that because of Anne Rice's deep-seated animosity to fanfic, people should stop slashing Louis and Lestat. Or that because of Lynn Flewelling's horror when she discovered Night Runner slash, people should stop slashing Seregil and Alec. In fact, when actors/writers/creators/authors dislike slash and say so, fandom reaction tends to be more along the lines of, "Who the hell does s/he think s/he is? I'll write even more slash, that'll show him/her!"

It's an inconsistent argument, and it bugs me. If it's wrong to write RPS because it might upset the actors/musicians/whatever in question, then it's also wrong to write character slash because it might upset the actors/writers/creators/authors. And if we assume the actors/writers/creators/authors in character slash are fine with slash until it's proven otherwise, we should be allowed to make the same assumption about the subjects of RPS.

Out of curiosity, what was your reaction to the John Kerry/George Bush RPS The New Yorker published before the election? I doubt George Bush saw it, but given the way he feels about gays, I have very little doubt that if he had, he would have been livid and disgusted. What about the famous Hustler RPS about Jerry Falwell losing his virginity to his mother in an outhouse? We know how Falwell felt about that. Should those things never have been written because they were wrong and invaded the subjects' privacy?
delurker: Why is it legitimate for them upset about RPS, but not about slash featuring the characters they play?

Well, for me, it's because the characters and the actors are separate from each other. An actor may be bringing the character to life, but they are not the character. Consider how many actors look and act different from the characters they play. When I read FPS, it has very little to nothing to do with the character. Even the character's appearance is separate, because they're clothed and coiffured and made up by the make-up artists in different ways than the actor would ordinarily do. They're saying and doing things that were dreamt up and discussed by a number of different people. FPS is about the character, not the actor. If there is not a split between the actor and the character, then the actor is not doing it right, IMO. It's the same thing that would let me watch Character X massacre a village without insisting that the actor who plays him is prosecuted for human rights abuses, if that makes sense. (And I'm sorry if that example seems to be over the top, but I'm replying late at night.)

Does that make sense? I'd be interested to hear how your viewpoint differs.
sidewinder: Let us not forget that the world of RPS is more than actor-RPS: these days it's sports, politics, and I daresay it probably started with musician-RPS, which has been around for quite some time. Each of these "sub-genres" have their quirks and differences, and reasons why they might appeal more than others, depending on the reader/writers interests.

I mean, for me personally, I was long in the anti-RPS camp because I was first introduced to it via actor-RPS, which did nothing for me. While I do enjoy following actors' other work when I've enjoyed them in particular roles, I just don't find enough about actors' lives away from the camera all that interesting to read or write about. For some reason, though, the rockstar lifestyle captured my imagination--maybe because if I think back it was truly my first and strongest fandom from childhood. Maybe it was because there was that veneer of fiction there to begin with, that "Rock Star" personna that is still probably a fictional device of some kind.

Anyway...so if the question of the hour is 'why FPS readers should embrace RPS', then I'd have to say that there is a wide world of RPS out there of as many different styles and types as the world of FPS, and just because one particular kind didn't appeal personally, don't write off the whole genre.
bubosquared: Let us not forget that the world of RPS is more than actor-RPS: these days it's sports, politics, and I daresay it probably started with musician-RPS, which has been around for quite some time. More or less, yes. The first "proper" RPS fandoms, as in, the ones that could "count" as a fandom in terms of size and output, were mostly musician fandoms (Placebo, Savage Garden, The Cure, Metallica--and heh, one of these things is not like the other ...), but one of the earliest fandoms that "broke off" from RS-X due to size was Damon/Affleck.
sidewinder: I'm talking about PRE-RS-X fan-fiction.

For instance, the Duran Duran RPF that was written/published in 'zines like UMF in the mid-'90s.

And the Tris/Alex circuit-circulated stuff that was basically Jimmy Page/Robert Plant AUs. I don't have a date on those specifically but I think we're talking '80s on that, if not earlier.

I'm sure there's plenty more that could be found via old music fandom/fanzine trails...I just haven't gotten around to investigating that closely yet :-)
lunaris1013: I was also very anti-RPS for a long time, first because I wasn't interested in the actors and then because of the boybands. It wasn't until I found out that other people actually crushed on news anchors and ::gasp!:: wrote slash fic about them that I picked up the habit. It's the first fandom I've really written in, and I've been through several fandoms over the past 20 years. Throwing that switch that allows you to embrace RPS is all about finding a type of it that suits you. I find brainy guys who snark domestic policy a turn on, most people don't. Hell, there's maybe three dozen people on our comm so we're a tiny niche fandom. But it just goes to show that there really is something out there for everyone.
flambeau: Re: My (FPS) point of view Maybe it depends on where and what you read? I remember back when I started reading popslash, I came away with the impression that there was a house style - kind of pared-down, very little interiority, dialogue-heavy, frequently in present tense and with way more second-person stories than I'd ever seen in any other fandom. Then the more I read, the more I came to see it as a willingness, within the fandom, to experiment with writing and writing styles, which was very appealing, but I still had the feeling that there were some strong prevailing trends. I do think that if someone manages to stumble into four or five stories in a row that use similar stylistic tricks, they might start extrapolating to the fandom at large, even though it might be nothing more than the result of reading off a single rec page. *g* So, obviously I changed my mind to some extent, but I do vividly remember what my first impression was. Maybe it's all about starting point, where you look and what you find.
helens78: Given the sheer quantity of RPS I've written (and am still writing), I can't possibly argue with any of your points. They're all excellent ones. :) I would say that one thing RPS allows me to do that I can't do in FPS is create a character more or less based on a character portrayed by an actor I like and set him in an entirely different situation. My Pierce in the Establishment is almost entirely based on Thomas Crown, but I wanted to write about an actor and not an art thief. A tweak here, a tweak there... my fanfiction, before I knew it was called fanfiction, was always about taking a character or situation I liked and tweaking it just a touch. So Thomas Crown becomes a hard-edged dominant with a total lack of patience for people who can't keep up with him, but he retains that bared-teeth grin and sense of humor and ego and snark. Stuff like that.

Lately RPS hasn't been firing my jets the way it used to for one simple reason: I'm getting slightly burned out on reality. I want slightly more fantastic settings; I want characters who don't have to deal with home and family problems, with paying the rent, with working jobs, that kind of stuff. So I've been more interested in FPS, where I can write about guys who go around swordfighting and can't be killed and God knows we've never heard how Methos really pays for all those sweaters. Reality can seem very restrictive at times, especially when you have the option to write about Immortals or superheros.

Really, though, that doesn't keep me from writing it, it just keeps me from writing the sheer volume I've been known to write in the past. *g*
lannamichaels: What bothered me for the longest time about RPS was that it was real people. I had no problem slashing the hell out of fake people, but once I came to real people, there was a strange disconnect. I couldn't wrap my mind around writing about men with lives and families and problems of their own. It felt too wrong, though I'm fucked if I can explain why it felt wrong beyond a weird sense of "I shouldn't be doing this." Strangely enough, the feeling about wrongness about writing married men lasted longer than anything, which is why I picked up Gerard Butler instead of Peter Wingfield in the Est.

I first stumbled into RPS through Ben/Matt slash and I liked it and I still do, but that's a whole lot different from the kind of stuff I'm doing now. Ben and Matt know each other, have been friends, and in some wacked out alternative reality, sure, they might have fucked. And that's what made it work, that even though it never did happen, they have been around each other and so there's a connection between the two of them and that some random drunken night, one of them might have felt up the other. It's not like randomly pairing up two real people.

I went from Ben/Matt to LOTRips, which is basically the same thing. You have a group of men in NZ for a year and a half, so it's conceivable that something happened. It only takes a bit of imagination to imagine how Viggo might relax Sean before a helicopter flight. I was also at the time writing a lot of FPS, but it wasn't "why FPS people should like RPS". It was more like this is what I like to read, this is what I like to write. I did write a RPS/FPS crossover, but I don't recall ever purpsely putting Boromir characteristists on Sean, or Aragorn on Viggo. I based characterizations from other fics and from interviews. There's some major fanon on Viggo, which helped a lot.

And then...the Establishment, where any two actors can stumble across each other and fuck. I think that if the Est had been my introdcution to RPS, I would have run screaming. Sure, it's hot, but I like there to be a plausibility there. I don't know if I could have accepted the construct of a kinky club straight from nothing.

But there really is something boring about just writing actorslash over and over again by yourself, which is why I love AUs. I love taking these names and faces and sticking them on original characters and seeing where it goes. And that isn't very much different from FPS, so I guess I'm back where I started: not writing in the real world.
katie m: I'm not comfortable with RPF. Most RPF squicks me, and yes, the professional stuff too--unauthorized biographies, celebrity journalism, People Magazine, the whole shebang. I don't like it, so I avoid it, to the extent that I can. I mean... I don't drink beer, either. There are a lot of people who really like beer, right? And maybe if I put effort into it, I could learn to enjoy beer, rather than feeling mildly nauseated by just smelling it like I do now. Obviously there's good beer out there, which brings people a lot of pleasure. But that doesn't somehow obligate to overcome my dislike of beer, does it?
tularia: I find RPS so much easier to read and write simply because the characters ARE real and any of it COULD be true. Doesn't mean it is, but in my horny, perverted and whacked mind, I would love to think that every scenario I can dream up might, indeed, have happened or be happening!

Reality is much stranger than fiction, and with FPS you are limited to the character that was originally created. Aragorn is not going to be sporting pink-striped hair as the result of a prank by Elrohir/Elladan, because they had no way to DO that sort of thing in that universe. OK, berries would turn blonde hair pink perhaps, but black hair? The possibilities are simply more infinite in RPS.

I do read FPS. But not nearly as much as I read RPS. How many A/L combos can you come up with before everything seems repetitive? Unless you start cross-breeding fandoms (which is sometimes a very good thing!) but then again, you're really leaving the 'canon' of the original character and that leans itself more towards RPS, IMHO. You are, in effect, stripping the character of what personifies that character and creating a whole new identity.

OK, I think I've rambled on long enough, and I hope I made a bit of sense.

Thanks for sharing a thought-provoking post!
ladiekatiewench: This might not make any sense or be of any interest. But what I've found with my time in RPS is that I consider myself to be a bit of a tinhat kind of girl. And yet, I am only that way in my own fantasies. I recognize that I truly have no clue what is going on with these boys but when I retreat to my little escape area on my computer, they shag like bunnies. The closest thing I can think of to compare it to is that I have my own personal religious ideas. However, they could be wrong (doubt it, I'm usually right! *winks*). And do you know when I will find out? When I die. And by that time, it really won't matter. And maybe then I will find out that Viggo and Orlando have been having that big gay love affair that I always suspected!
perseph2hades: I think embracing RPS is, in the end, no different than embracing slash in general. That is, no one can make a reader "get" it, or want it.

I've introduced people to slash who I thought would like it, and either they are stunned that such a thing exists, or they shrug and don't feel the slash. So what? they ask. Then one day they read a particular story, with a particular pairing, and their heads explode. It might be the same thing with RPS. It might simply be a matter of hitting that right connection.

RPS squicks some readers, sure, but so does slash generally to non-slashers. As both categories are primarily erotica moved from the realm of the implied into the explicit, they are both either evil and weird, or not. One category can't be more evil/weird than the other since, factually, fiction is fiction, no matter who or what the subject matter.

If a piece of non-slash fiction about a public figure is considered less objectionable than slash, or not objectionable at all (say, a story about Sean Bean finally discovering the wonders of Japanese cuisine), then the question boils down to discomfort over pornographic depictions. Which further boils down to moral turpitude and personal taste. But that, without intending to belittle internal moral or personal codes, is the extent of it. There is no violation of some external cosmic law of right and wrong.

Along the same lines, if a reader is RPS-repulsed on behalf of a public figure, I believe that can only be something personal to that reader, and has no bearing or real world relation to the public figure him/herself. Even taking into account that the writing is inspired by that figure's physicality and mannerism.

I interact with celebrity actors and am acquainted with several, and I can vouch for the fact that the ones who can't separate what is publicly written/said about them from their actual selves fail to separate themselves from a manufactured persona and are the same ones who never survive in the industry. I imagine the same would go for other types of public figures.

As an example, I've been acquainted for a few years with one actor who is written in the Establishment, and while I know he would get a kick out of knowing the extent of perving going on over him, I have never told him about it. I can think of nothing that would be less relevant to him, his efforts, needs, obligations, aspirations, career or personal life, and he of course would never see the person being written about as himself, no matter how incidentally close to life the characterization might be. *disclaims*

The fact of the matter is that good writing is not too common, be it in historical novels, science fiction, so-called "literature," travelogues, magazines and even nonfiction writing. So, if a reader likes a writer's style, I think they should give a try to whatever the writer writes, and leave pre-judgments aside for the time it takes to at least test new waters.

Writing is hard enough as it is, and a writer can and should take inspiration wherever s/he finds it. There shouldn't be a subject matter about which a person can’t write, whether the reader agrees with the subject or not. As Ayn Rand said, never censor yourself. Whether FPS or RPS, canon, AU, orginal, the important thing is that we’re writing.

Jesus. I wrote a bloody dissertation.
ladysorka: I have absolutely no moral quandaries with RPF, though it doesn't really interest me. I've tried reading it, and it just... falls flat for me.

I've mentioned this in other RPF discussions, because I'm fairly sure I know why - I'm not a visual reader.

When I read, I picture absolutely nothing in my head. Not a single thing. There are no pictures, there are no movies, etc. Enough so that seeing, say, a picture in a zine pulls me completely out of a story, because I'm suddenly reminded there's an actual body involved.

And since RPF is concerned primarily with bodies, and with "Man, aren't these two people pretty together?", it does... absolutely nothing for me.

When I read, say, a Due South sex scene, I'm not "seeing" Paul Gross and Callum Keith Rennie in my head - there's just a Fraser-personality and a RayK-personality. I can't see them. It's just two characters, two personalities meshing.

And so RPF and I are just destined to nod at each other at street while never actually meeting, because we just don't get along
esorlehcar : And since RPF is concerned primarily with bodies, and with "Man, aren't these two people pretty together?", it does... absolutely nothing for me.

I don't think that RPS is primarily concerned with bodies any more than FPS is. There are certainly RPS stories that are just about putting two pretty people together, but there are plenty of FPS stories of that genre as well (Xander/Spike, anyone?). I'm with you in that doing absolutely nothing for me... when people smoosh two actors/characters together for no other reason that they look hot together I find it spectacularly uninteresting. But I find it equally uninteresting in FPS as in RPS, and I've see plenty of it in both.

From what I've seen, most of the larger RPS fandoms (lotrips, NSync, etc.) grew and flourished because the relationships between the people were slashy, not because of what they looked. I said this in another comment above, but I went from being completely uninterested in RPS to having RPS as my primary fandom because I found a pairing who gave me more to work with, by a factor of at least a hundred, than any character slash fandom I'd ever been in. I'm not in lotrips because I think Dom Monaghan and Billy Boyd would look hot together, I'm in it because for the last four years they haven't been able to shut up about how much they love each. It has no more to do with randomly putting pretty people together than any of the FPS fandoms I've been in.
esorlehcar : Because I want to like RPF. I do. There's all this fic out there that I'm just missing. I've read a number of RPF stories in a number of RPF fandoms, and aside from that one where Justin Timberlake is a serial killer, I've not liked a single one. And there has to be something I'm missing, or that just doesn't work for me about pretty much the whole genre.

Well, sure, not everything works for everyone. Like I said elsewhere on this thread, I personally have no interest in RPGs. I don't think they're bad, I don't think the people who read and write them shouldn't read and write them - it's just not my cup of tea. And I think a lot of people feel that way about RPS, which is certainly their prerogative.

I tend to doubt I'll ever be in an RPS fandom again, just because the chances of another RPS fandom like lotrips coming along are slim to none. On the whole, I find characters much more interesting than actors, and the relationships between much more satisfying. What lured me into RPS in the first place was a relationship that gave me more to work with, on an epic scale, than any character slash fandom I'd ever found before (or since, for that matter. There is, in fact, so much incredible canon with Dom and Billy that I often thing I've been spoiled for any other fandom ever - I'm not going to find anything like this, in RPS or FPS, ever again).

And I don't think I'm at all in the minority with this. I think a lot of the people in lotrips and NSync were lured in because the relationships gave them as much if not more than any character slash fandom ever had. I'm not claiming to be in the majority either - there clearly are a lot of people for whom it's all about putting hot people together (though again I point out, character slash fandom has no shortage of those, either), which is not my cup of tea. Simply saying that there are plenty of people who like slash for the reasons you like slash, and dislike stories where pretty people are put together simply because they're pretty, who still have RPS fandoms and pairings that they adore.


  1. Valentine?