MY FUCKING FANDOM GIVES ME FUCKING FITS, part 34,849

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Title: MY FUCKING FANDOM GIVES ME FUCKING FITS, part 34,849
Creator: hth the first
Date(s): May 20, 2007
Medium:
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis, McShep
Topic:
External Links: page one; archive page one; archive page two; archive page three
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

MY FUCKING FANDOM GIVES ME FUCKING FITS, part 34,849 is a 2007 essay by hth the first.

The post has 276 comments.

Some Topics Discussed

  • first, this post has a lot of "Word, word, wordy McWordkins"
  • includes many, many McShep fans stating that they are very accepting and tolerant and not the "bad" fans this rant was addressing; those fans are someone else
  • McShep
  • ship wars
  • Stargate Atlantis
  • OTPs
  • people have different opinions of what they see in canon
  • tolerance
  • the Ray Wars
  • the power of rants to take on lives of their own
  • fan negativity about the fourth season of SGA
  • the "privilege" of being a fan of a very popular pairing
  • fandom as a zero-sum game
  • LJ and the personal and the private
  • the futility of trying to control other fans
  • apologies

Some Excerpts from the Post

Warning: the following is not nice. It is not just, it is not kind, it is not respectful, and it may not even be sane. I may regret it in the morning, I don't know.

In clicking randomly through lj links this evening, I ran across a post-ep entry from somebody whose name I know from SGA fandom -- I specify that because I want to say she's not someone I have some kind of pre-existing grudge toward; I really only recognize the name and know nothing about her, really (I'm even only assuming it's a "her," out of statistical likelihood). And even though I've been frothing at the mouth for an hour now, I'm not trying to put her in particular on the spot for Fandom Crimes writ large, which is the reason I'm not naming her or being super-specific; I suppose she'd recognize herself, and maybe some other people would, too, but mainly I'm hoping it's anonymous enough to let me vent without putting her in an embarrassing position.

That said.

There was a person, right, a relatively prolific writer of and about Sheppard/McKay, and she'd seen an episode, and the episode contained some pretty obscure potential subtext between two characters that she particularly dislikes as a pairing -- enough that she felt it might give people an excuse to write fic about this pairing. And to paraphrase, she basically said, Oh, God, I hate CharacterZ/CharacterQ, and lately everyone seems to love them, and this will only get those other fans all excited. Maybe I'll just unsubscribe from sga_noticeboard until I don't have to worry about seeing all those CharacterZ/CharacterQ stories floating around.

And I don't exactly know where to begin, but I just -- I continue to be so fucking appalled at the outrageously self-centered, entitled, black-hole-of-need wing of McShep fandom. YOU MOTHERFUCKERS ALREADY OWN EVERYTHING. You are everywhere. Your pairing is everywhere. Are we even *on* the same sga_noticeboard? People are writing you literally a dozen or more stories PER DAY, all about your darling lovelies. YOU HAVE FUCKING WON, ALL RIGHT? Now get off our fucking backs!

I don't know if there will be a mad upsurge in Z/Q fic, but I'm pretty sure that if so, "mad upsurge" = maybe five or six stories MAX, TOTAL written by X/Q fans in response to Episode T. But your VIRGIN FUCKING EYEBALLS aren't capable of doing what we plebes do every day of our lives and PAGING DOWN your flist, past the links to the stories you don't want to read? You're too goddamn good for that? The mere knowledge that other people are out there writing their crazy Other Pairings is so upsetting for you that you have to go lie down with a cold compress until it's over?

Well, lucky fucking you -- because it will be over. If I want to unsub and come back when everybody's writing what I want and not writing what I don't want, I'll be gone for a factor of FOREVER.

And you know what? I do truly think that's what a lot of people want. I think there's a stratum of this fandom that would like people like me to just go away, because all we're doing is breathing the oxygen of the McKay/Sheppard people. And it's not just that they don't like our pairings and they don't care what we do -- I've never read a Lorne/Parrish story in my life, because I don't care and I don't want to; I'm not saying everyone needs to be a fan of everything. It goes way past that. It's not "well, whatever you want, I'll be over here doing my thing," it's this attitude like we are an actual drag to have co-existing within the same fandom. You have to UNSUB? SERIOUSLY? So you don't accidentally read our HEADERS?

I've been doing this fandom thing for many years now (10 years! Jesus Christ!), and I feel like I've had a really successful fangirl career. I'm not the best writer in the fandom; I'm probably not even the tenth best writer in the fandom, but those other ten girls are so fucking AWESOME that they deserve their spots in the sun, and in most cases I'm, no shit, the biggest fan they have. But I'm proud of what I write, and I get some of the best feedback on the planet -- I'm consistently amazed at the time and the attention that my little cadre of readers invests, time and again, in what I write. I'm happy being the kind of writer I am -- I mean, if I weren't, it's not like I'm too stupid to figure out what kind of thing I should be writing to get more attention. If I needed universal validation, I wouldn't have spent the last month of my life writing a giant fucking het epic with an OFC; the story before that I wouldn't have shot John; I'd do a lot of things differently, if being in the mainstream of SGA fandom was my big goal. I love what I do and I wouldn't change it for the world, and I've never been less than humbled and amazed by the attention I do get. This is to say: I'm not on this Earth to win over the McShep brigade, and they could ignore me until the end of time and it really wouldn't phase me at all.

What leaves me shocked and hurt and angry isn't that there's a large segment of the fandom that doesn't care for/about what I do. It's that I genuinely feel like they want us gone -- like they feel that SGA fandom and all its associated pan-fandom space (like noticeboard, for example) is and should be and deserves to be the property of its largest contingent -- as if the fandom should be majority-rules and that those of us who are hanging around loving the fuck out of X/Q or A/C or O/P or whatever it is we're passionate about are basically in the way. We're a nuisance that they have no choice but to wait out, hoping that soon the fandom can go back to what they basically think it is anyway: the glee club for the John and Rodney Show.

Some Comments to the Post: Page One

[dodificus]:

I feel pretty naive because I have been a fan of fandom for a *long* time now and I mostly see it through rose tinted glasses, which I guess is a lot easier when you're on the sidelines. My love for fanfic and the rest of it often exceeds my love for the source material...by a *lot*. I'm a fan of the writers and artists and fangirl squee-ers and reccers and communities and *everything*. I have less than no talent for writing/drawing/organising so I'm content to just sit back in awe of the awesome talent that I see *every single day*. If you're good then you're good and it doesn't (shouldn't) matter what area you're using your talent in. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm sorry that there are people out there that have taken, or are trying to take, some of the joy out of your experience here.

And your rodney/ronon stories? They're on *my* Bullet Proof Fic list.
[hth the first]:

Thank you!

My love of fandom is the very thing that makes this frustrating for me. If I *only* cared about the source material, I'd just watch the show and write my little stories and not even notice what other people were saying. But I like being plugged into the infrastructure of fandom; I like reading people's reviews and their fic and the *comments* on their fic and all the rest of it. I could quit doing all that, but I would miss it -- therein lies the problem. *g*
[lamaudite]:

McShep rules? I don't really pay attention to it. I've got my favourite pairings, I've got the ones that are interesting because they're rare or surprising, and I'll often give them a go. I'm not against McShep but I very rarely read them. I'll read them if Ronon (or someone else) is thrown in. Otherwise, it's just too... well, I don't know... common? Watered down?

But to each is own, you know. I think there's plenty to go around for everyone. And if the McShep brigade has to suffer us being around, I couldn't care less. They should. :)

As long as I can get my fic fix, I don't care if I'm being stared at like I've grown a second head because I don't like Strawberry Shortcake. I like Shep, I like McKay moderately, but McShep doesn't do it for me. That should be fine with others just like I don't expect anyone else to rave over the pairings I like.

You say some nitwit is taking offence at that? I say let her wallow in her self-pity party.
[hth the first]:

I think in some ways it's harder to write a popular pairing, for that very reason. Not only is it a challenge to think of something new to say about these people, but there's a psychological mechanism -- I've seen it in every fandom I've been in -- where it's all too easy for writers to get terribly lazy about characterization because, well, everybody knows how right these people are for each other. You can shorthand it; you know your fellow fans will buy your premise whether you bother to put it in the story or not. Overcoming that enough to really do your own characterization, without utterly reinventing the wheel over and over, is actually very hard work. I'm always impressed by the McShep writers who pull it off. More often, yeah -- it comes out watered down, because there's only half a story in place and we're being expected to color in the other half ourselves.

Also, 90% of everything is crap, and 90% of a really popular pairing in a really big fandom is a *lot* of crap. *g*

I wish I had your self-assurance, honestly. I do have issues with being stared at like I'm a freak of nature; my momma taught me not to point at people, because it's rude. *g* I mean, I just think it's fucking civilized to express differences of opinion as fair examples of diversity -- I'll happily tell you that Elizabeth's not my favorite character and I tend not to read Sheppard/Beckett stories, but those are my tastes, my biases. I would never want anyone else to feel like I'm thinking of them as two-headed or dysfunctional in some way if they don't agree with me, and I naively expect the same treatment from others. Usually I receive it, but there's definitely a contingent in this fandom where, not so much.
[mecurtin]:

I believe (in a blurry there's-not-enough-caffeine-in-my-bloods​tream-yet way) that I saw that post, too. I think you may have misinterpreted it. (or we may be thinking of two different posts, because I don't recall anything about unsubscribing from the noticeboard)

The person isn't cranky just because she sees Z/Q stories on the noticeboard, it's because Z/Q shows up as a secondary or background pairing in McShep stories she is reading. So even if she only reads McShep, Z/Q comes creeping into *her* stories.

But then, I just can't get that irritated at what people do in fandom, I follow politics too closely. Politics: Making Fandom Look UnWanky Since ... Forever, Actually.
[liviapenn]:

Let's call your hypothetical fan Susie. Susie's upset by things she doesn't like creeping into "her" stories.

The sheer entitlement in that phrasing makes my head spin.

What makes these stories "hers," exactly? What makes her think she's got some right be upset-- when 80% of the fandom is already catering to her-- to whine about a few rare individuals writing about *background pairings* she doesn't like in "her" stories or "her" fandom?
[cathexys]:

I don't think you should delete, b/c I think this is a totally reasonable and not actually in any way, shape, or form offensive rant.

I can't say that I don't ship McShep and pretty much as time goes on am actually reading more exclusively than I used to. At the same time, I'm glad that there's at least a little subfandom that doesn't, that takes these characters other places and sees them differently! And heck, tenth best or not *g*, you're one of the people that can and will make me read other pairings and make me believe them and ship them for just a little bit.

But yes, the attitude is pretty much like the one when people complain when others love another fandom. Instead of being happy that they are happy, it's a very selfish seeming competition that I really dislike and try hard to suppress when, like, my favorite writer's suddenly writing in a fandom where I have to google the character names, y'know :) I want to be happy for everyone getting their squee, and you're right, you guys are already playing with a humongous handicap! It's not a zero sum game but rather squee increases squee I believe!
[ezust]:
I strongly sense that the McShepper fanatics are (as one commenter hilariously called them) McSheepers – I get the feeling they will ship whatever their legion of fellow fangirls and BNFs ship. They will, by design, ALWAYS steer the big ship of whatever fandom they occupy.
[merryish]:

Okay, that makes me mad. Why on earth would you make a statement like that about every single fan of any pairing? Especially a popular pairing, which is absolutely certain to have many, many different kinds of people who are into it for many, many different reasons?

I don't know how you meant this comment, but it comes off as incredibly narrow-minded and self-congratulatory. If I like a pairing YOU like, I'm in it for the right reasons; if I like a popular pairing, I'm a BNF-worshipping sheep?
[ezust]:

I never said every McShep fan. Aren't we talking here about a segment of nearly evangelical people who seem to think that even the creation of anything non-Rodney/John is a slight to the fandom?

Is it much of a stretch to see that type of fandom participant as commandeering whatever fandom they're in? This isn't even exclusive to SGA. This has been an ongoing thing in lots of fandoms. The normally very congenial dS fandom had a recent ripple due to a discussion about how people "must" only be writing R/R not because they're invested in the pairing, but because they wanted to position themselves to steer a big, new, fancy, fun ship. It doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility that some people – especially those who crave inclusion in a large, rowdy, frantic fandom – would be more willing to actively create that niche, rather than wait to let it appear organically.

BTW, I'm not a person who views the term BNF disapprovingly. I think BNF's are a fact of fandom, a product of our making, and not always (or even usually) a negative force in it.
[merryish]:

Here's the problem -- HTH was talking about *one* fan. Then later it turned into a "type" of fan. Then it was "the McShepper fanatics" -- which I read, apparently wrongly, as referring to McSheppers in general as fanatics. And it just goes downhill from there.

While I'm totally on board with HTH's anger - I've felt it in my tinier fandoms enough to know how lucky I am to be in the majority when I am - I just don't see how any good can come of making judgments about why people like the pairings they like.

It's a fact that a lot of people like McShep. It's a fact that a percentage of those people can be dicks to people who aren't into it. It's not a fact that those people are into McShep because they're sheep, or because they only follow what BNFs do, or any other reason you make up to explain it. The minute you stop talking about how things are and start speculating about people's motivations, you lose the high ground.

Other things that lose you the high ground: thinking it's hilarious to call other people "sheep". Theorizing that people who aren't like you "crave inclusion" and "position themselves" to "steer the ship". Leaving the term "BNF" totally out of it -- which you can't, it's the fannish equivalent of bringing Hitler into a moral argument -- you've now characterized a group of fans as both mindless sheep and manipulative power-mongers. That's quite a one-two punch.

I mean, come on. Either you're intentionally being insulting, in which case own it, or you're completely blind to the impact of words -- in which case you shouldn't be trying to use them. I started off in this thread feeling *rotten* about how some of my fellow John/Rodney fans treated non-J/R fans, and now I'm pissed off at non-McShep fans who over-generalize and project unflattering motivations on others.

Whether you're being insulting on purpose or not - it's a net loss. And it's a net-loss for Hth, too, because now she's got you and me squabbling in her LJ.

Sorry, Hth - this is my exit line, honest.
[Merryish]:

No, don't go! This is important, to be able to get our terminology straight.

I was never talking about just one fan; I was always talking about a certain *type* of fan, as typified by this one comment. If it really was an isolated person, I wouldn't let it bother me at all -- there's a weirdo in every crowd. It's not an isolated person. It's a particular -- I used the word "wing," but "type" will also do, of McShep OTP fanatics. And she used the term "McShep fanatics" as well, and frankly, I didn't read it at all as a change of subject.

Maybe it's not cool to speculate on people's motives, particularly strangers. I'm often tempted to do it, but I try to resist the urge. But -- I mean, look, this is a regular problem in discourse about groups. We're always trying to hammer out acceptable terminology for subsets, so that we can talk about "neocons" rather than *all* conservatives or *all* Republicans, so that we can talk about "fundamentalists" or "dominionists" or "right-wing evangelicals" rather than *all* Christians. And even those terms come under fire. Finding the right words is hard.

I think -- and you know I have all the love in the world for you, you're one of my very most favorite human beings in fandom -- I think you freaked out on this girl by assuming that when she said "McShep fanatics" she meant "all McShep fans, including you, which are definitionally equivalent to fanatics," when it seemed pretty clear to me that she was looking for a term to parallel "neocon Republicans" in that it specified a group whose behavior she finds unhealthy from the large mass of people who are, respectively, McShep shippers/Republican voters.
[merryish]:

I don't think I'm giving you a pass because I adore you -- I mean, it's not like I wouldn't, but in this case I don't think I am. I think what you said, and how you said it, is substantially different from what Ezust said and how she said it.

You're right - you do talk about a "type" and a "wing". But that's very clear segmentation -- two kinds at least, the fans who be crazy and the fans who don't. I think you made your distinctions far better than Ezust did. "The McShepper fanatics" is easily inclusive enough to allow all of us to take offense, especially when followed by the term "McSheep", which she clearly found hilarious -- while "the outrageously self-centered, entitled, black-hole-of-need wing of McShep fandom" is a dividing line, and everything you say after that is clearly targeted to one side of that line.

And maybe that's a writing thing. I don't know if Ezust writes or not, but I know you do, and it shows. You start from one fan who has done a specific annoying thing, you widen it to a segment of fen who do similar annoying things, and then you speak directly about and to that segment. The fact that you're pissed off doesn't take away from the fact that you've aimed well -- you're unlikely to hit anybody you're not aiming at. That's why I was able to come in and read your post and feel *bad* for you, and not feel like you were pissed off at every fan who likes McShep.

Another difference is that your statements are in an LJ post -- not "to" anybody in particular -- while her comment was a direct reply to me, to a comment in which I clearly identified myself as both a John/Rodney fan and as sympathetic to the problem. You took twice the care, in your posted statement, than she did in a direct response.

[snipped]

... when people who like smaller pairings/fandoms get upset because something else is coming in and draining people away from their resource pool, I totally get that. But when someone who already *has* all the marbles get upset because there are other kids near them...with different marbles...who just want to hang out on the same street corner and be marble-players? That's seriously not fair at all. It's not like we're going to run out of street corners.
[janedavitt]:

I'm on the fringes of the fandom when it comes to reading/writing - I pretty much just watch the show. And I'm a McKay/Sheppard fan, yes, but I never forget that when I watched Rising the zing I saw was Sheppard/Ford and right now what pushes my buttons is Ronon/Sheppard with a side order of why does no one write Caldwell, dammit and I have that on my to-do list though I don't know if I ever will.

Anyway. That would have pissed me off, too. Sheesh. Suck it up and scroll.
[anatsuno]:

gah. :/

I mean, seriously. I'm a john/Rodney otp-er and things like that - the discourse you object to, not yours - make me twist my head backwards wondering if I've inadvertently oppressed any non-john-rodney fan this week with my thoughtless t-rex-like presence in the fandom. Because of course I take my pairing for granted in a way, it's everywhere, it's easy to immerse yourself in it and forget about the others if you want, and even if you're not looking for that it might kind of just happens anyway, the waters of the mainstream pairing closing over your head. So it does take *some* vigilance not to become the asshole, there... Plus I can't even begin to understand that kinf of earnest opinion. How can anyone be bothered by the mere existence of another pairin? I've always found that ridiculous.
[justbreathe80]:

I am SO with you. My experience in this fandom so far has been negative in this regard. I think people who are into the dominant pairing feeling all bent out of shape about what other people choose to do is one of the stupidest things on the planet. Just like you said, THAT'S WHAT THE MOTHERFUCKING BACK BUTTON IS FOR, PEOPLE! You don't have to read anything you don't like. My favorite pairing (at the moment, anyway) is John/Ronon, and there are maybe, what? Three people writing it? I don't think that John/Rodney people have any footing to be upset by the mere existence of other pairings. I will admit that I don't GET some pairings, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have the right to exist.

The longer I spend in this fandom, the more I think that the SGA fandom is like an bratty adolescent, and I keep waiting for the massive blowup (around things like pairings and BNFs) to happen so that the fandom can grow the fuck up already and be an adult. Meanwhile, I will be hiding in the corner, writing whatever the fuck strikes my fancy, and honestly? If I get a comment from someone like you, whom I respect, I don't care if the majority of people give a shit.
[klia]:

But I think Stargate SG-1 set the trend of people hating on other people's favorite pairings and I think some of those fans maybe migrated to SGA.

I've been into both fandoms, and I can't say I've ever seen any pair wars in SG1. Kerfuffles in that fandom have mostly been shippers vs slashers.

When SGA started airing, kerfuffles flared up pretty quickly. The first one I remember seeing was over a specific story and its McKay and Sheppard characterizations, and how the fandom's earliest writers found them OOC and appalling, and went around bitching about how they were there *first*, and who did these Johnny-come-lately writers think they were, trying to usurp their positions? That was when I backed away from the fandom.
[autiger23]:

Dude, I love McShep. I also love a lot of other pairings. I've been that way in all my fandoms and I've been in it around ten years. So, please don't lump all McShep people in the same boat, because obviously there are some HUGE assholes in the world, of which this person is OBVIOUSLY one. WTF? What a totally asshat.

I completely understand your rant, but I'll also say that I experienced something very similar when I was into X-Files slash and found that Skinner/Krycek was my favorite pairing. That feeling of people not allowing you to just live and let live. And I read other pairings, and there was one I didn't care for, but it's really not that tough to just *not read them*.

That's the part that pisses me off about a large number of people in fandom. Why the fuck do they get worked up or irritated by what someone else likes? Why don't they just read what they like and ignore what they don't? I REALLY don't get this and it's the prime reason that I don't hang out too deeply in fandom. Too many douchebags.
[harriet spy]:
I think what happens is that people tend to forget that they are not being read exclusively by their particular group. I imagine this poster didn't realize that her post would be seen and reacted to by people who don't share her point of view on J/R and Z/Q. Which doesn't excuse it by any stretch of the imagination (hello, it's fucking LiveJournal), but makes it less...actively malicious. (After all, if it had only been heard by people who share her views, no one would have been hurt.)

Some Comments to the Post: Page Two

[hth the first]:

I said originally that I might regret this post in the morning -- and I don't think I do, I mean, at least not all of it -- but I *very much* regret that the way I approached it gave some people the impression that they have to tell me not all McShep shippers are self-centered. I know! I really do know! I like lots of them, and there are many more that I don't really know, like you, but I have no earthly reason to believe they're not totally cool and wonderful.

I'm angry and a wee bit irrational, but I'm not *so* irrational that I would ever suggest that such a large group of people was collectively and completely No Damn Good. That would be, not irrational, what's the word? Right, INSANE. *g*
[blucola]:

SGA is the first fandom in which I literally prefer team fic to the main accepted pairing. Mind you, I read a lot of McShep, but I love all the other characters to pieces. I find myself missing them (sometimes, it really does depend) if a story is completely Rodney/John centric. I'm a romance hound and I'm still new to SGA (became a fan in 2007, no less!) and perhaps that makes me more open to other pairings?

The attitude you're talking about is not a new one to me. I've experienced it many times in the TPM fandom. And in Due South (OMG, which Ray!?!!) I wish folks would remember to be polite and that there's plenty of smutty fun to go around and to not trample on other folks fun. Seriously, is that so hard?
[hth the first]:
...part and parcel of the MO for this particular Wingnut Contingent (and, for weird OTP-ers in many a fandom before this, as well) is the deep and driving, nearly obsessive need to deny or distort any emotions their chosen characters have for anyone else in canon. Guest-stars get the quick and dirty drive-by; recurring characters who are canonically friends or intimates have to be mauled extra-hard to "prove" that they're fake or bad or harmful or ludicrous or whatever else makes them seem neutralized -- I guess otherwise, they're seen as competition. And the thing about fanatical OTP-ers is that they freak out over what feels to them like competition.
[mz bstone]:

Just as that other fan did. She might feel that a lot of her favourites have migrated to other fandoms, or other pairings, or it might be the pairing itself that hits some tic she's got. So she gripes about it in her LJ. And it hits a nerve, makes you feel like you're unwelcome. And you respond:

And I don't exactly know where to begin, but I just -- I continue to be so fucking appalled at the outrageously self-centered, entitled, black-hole-of-need wing of McShep fandom. YOU MOTHERFUCKERS ALREADY OWN EVERYTHING. You are everywhere. Your pairing is everywhere. Are we even *on* the same sga_noticeboard? People are writing you literally a dozen or more stories PER DAY, all about your darling lovelies. YOU HAVE FUCKING WON, ALL RIGHT? Now get off our fucking backs!

Which is, in it's way, as upsetting to me as her post was to you. You express what troubles you, what bothers you. Intellectually I appreciate that. And I don't deny that McShep has a huge presence in the fandom. I know that it's frustrating when you can't find things that answer your tastes. I've been in fandoms like that. So you vent, and it's perfectly reasonable to do so.

However, as a fan who likes McShep but is perfectly happy to have an abundance of other stuff, when people post what you post -- and it happens more than you might realize, since you have the feeling that you're tastes are unwelcome, so you see those posts and think, hey, someone agrees with me -- I feel rather hunted and unwelcome, if you can see that, because I see several of them, and often they don't even throw in the word "wing".

I think the majority of McShep fans, based on off-LJ coversations I have, are probably in my school of "hey, whatever!". We don't comment one way or the other about other pairings because we don't care. Shake your own groove-thing, bake your own beautiful cake, whatever works. It's just that the people who are more ... missionary (hrm. my brain went to the bad place.) in their fannish zeal say stuff, while those who don't care, nod, shrug, think: pull a seat up, have fun and then we move on back to doing our own thing. If you're neutral, you tend to not comment one way or the other because it's not a big deal when alternate pairing orientations are represented. We're just enjoying what we enjoy, and more power to you.

So saying things like "self-centred" and "motherfuckers" and "get off our back", while totally within your rights to vent in your space? Are just as unwelcoming and fracturing as what the first fan said. Hell, when I was writing more, I made some effort to be more than just McShep, because it's a good show and I liked to play in the puddles and I wanted to give to others, as well. Mostly? I try to be a good neighbour, and while you maybe don't mean me, it doesn't come across that way.

You have every right to vent. I just wish I didn't feel bad about liking what I like after, you know? I wish the words you used didn't leave me feeling ... not offended, I guess. Slapped, maybe.
[astolat]:
What she said.
[hth the first]:

I get where you're coming from. I mean, obviously my words were not intended to make everyone feel warm and comfortable and affirmed, any more than hers were, so by that standard -- yeah. It's fair to say that we're both being totally judgmental about what other people prefer to do and say.

The thing is -- and I don't know, maybe I should have done more qualifying and whatnot, because the things that I think go without saying...don't always go without saying.

The thing is, I'm sorry you feel slapped, because I wasn't talking about you. You? Sound like the perfect McShep fan -- someone who likes the show overall and tries to write about them embedded in the world of the show, with fair viewings of other characters, and who embrace the "pull up a seat, have fun" philosophy. People like that needn't have any sense that anything I've said here is aimed at them. It's aimed at other people entirely.

And I know it's not the most conciliatory or compassionate or Buddha-like point of view, but I do sort of think a lot of those people, based on what I know of them through their publically posted words, come off as self-centered motherfuckers. Are they? Well, probably not 24/7. But let's just say, I don't think their shippiness is bringing out the best in these people. I don't know, is it wrong to say that? Is it fracturing and divisive within fandom to say that there are people I dislike and this is why?

Yeah, maybe I should've taken more time to stop and say -- again, I thought it was obvious, but of course it's easy to forget how many people may read this who don't know a thing about me (esp. when metafandom gets involved!) -- that I don't hate this pairing and I don't hate all its shippers. I don't even hate *most* of its shippers. In the grand scheme of things, very few.

But you can look at a lot of these comments and see that there's a climate -- unintentional, I know, but real -- within SGA that makes people who are *not* McKay/Sheppard shippers feel marginal, extraneous to the fandom, not very highly valued. When you start out with a group of people who feel that way, it doesn't take all that many people being actively dickish to get to a very combustible point. Should I have a thicker skin, and keep in mind the majority of shippers who are indifferent to me rather than annoyed by me? Probably. Yeah.

Regardless, I'm sorry that you now feel bad about liking what you like. The point of the strawberry shortcake metaphor was to emphasize that I don't find anything ipso facto wrong or gross or weird about liking McShep. To quote myself, Even if I had the power, I wouldn't want to stop people from digging on their favorite thing and I don't want to make them feel guilty for doing so, and I *mean* that, and if I should've said it eight more times to make you believe it, then I guess I should've done that. It's not about that. It's not at all about that, and it's frustrating to see people I *do* consider allies from the next village over react as if I'm implicating them.

I don't want to alienate friends in McShep Town. I don't want them to change their ways. But nor do I want people who I think are *not* my friends and have an actual grudge against me have free reign through the fandom so that I don't risk upsetting people who are peripheral to the argument. I have no idea how to resolve that
[medie]:

I get the frustration, REALLY I do. I've spent my fair share of time bitching about other pairings in my fandoms. Sooner or later, everybody does.

That's kind of the point. No matter how patient, accepting, whatever, sooner or later somebody's going to snap and say something stupid, irrational, or whatever in their journal.

In SGA I've seen John/Teyla fans do it, I've seen Sheppard/Weir fans do it, I've seen just about every single possible pairing fan out there do it. I multiship so I cross the slash, het and femslash lines of pairings and one thing holds constant for all of them.

They all make those kinds of bitchy comments sooner or later where they're convinced that the other pairing fans are, well, engaging in the perceptions you detailed above. Hell, I've seen it three or four times tonight on my flist alone (spin off, I'm guessing from this) and all from fans of varying pairings. Very few of them shared the same pairing.

And yeah, as someone who indulges in the odd bit of John/Rodney (and ironically, felt more accepted and encouraged by fans of that pairing than any of the others I dabble with combined), I was more slapped in the face by what you said than what you related this other person as saying cause, frankly, I've *heard* that stuff so many times and from so many different corners. It's par for the course. I hear it regularly said of John/Rodney but, I suppose, that's because it makes a bigger and therefore easier target.

I hate to say it but, with stuff like this but I just -- I continue to be so fucking appalled at the outrageously self-centered, entitled, black-hole-of-need wing of McShep fandom. YOU MOTHERFUCKERS ALREADY OWN EVERYTHING. ? Even the 'sane' John/Rodney fans are likely to feel like they just got poked in the eye.

God knows I do right now. I'm certainly not going to stop liking the pairing but, up until this point? I'd heard your name associated with nothing but good (and I would've loved to read the OC heavy fic. They are made of win) but right now? Not so much. I mean, I GET the frustration. God knows I've had that moment myself more than once. But, yeah, a little, er, well shell-shocked? :)
[liviapenn]:

I really wish people could take a step back and just realize-- if you're not part of that *wing of fandom* that she's talking about, then this rant is not about you, and Hth is not talking about you, and there's absolutely no reason-- no reason in the world-- to be taking this personally.

If you're not acting like people who don't "see the John/Rodney" are blind and stupid and shouldn't be watching the show, and if you aren't posting rants about how you can't even stand to see non-J/R fans post their stories in public places, then this rant isn't aimed at you.

But the thing is, a lot of people *are* acting like that-- acting like McShep ought to be *everyone's* OTP and if you don't see it, you're watching the show "wrong" and you might as well just leave the fandom because no one wants to hear about your non-J/R crap. Those are the people that Hth is talking about.

And I think it's pretty clear from the first 50 or so comments on her post that she is not the only one who perceives that there is a vocal segment of McShep fans-- not a *large* percentage, I don't think, but a very *loud* percentage-- who *are* purposely going around raining on other people's parades.

That goes beyond the usual "my ship vs. your ship" sniping, and it becomes a lot more hurtful than the usual sniping, when it comes from a group that is already in the majority and is never likely to have any serious competition in fandom.
[media]:

People act like that no matter what the pairing is and no matter how many people 'ship it. It's not particularly right of any of them but singling out one group?

And I did notice the 'wing' comment. However, it didn't really negate the fact that it the rest of the post is still going to impact on people who enjoy the pairing and aren't regularly engaging in that particular behavior.

This also goes beyond the usual 'my ship vs. your ship' sniping and people are going to object to it. Even if I didn't enjoy reading John/Rodney, if I were say a hardcore John/Teyla or Teyla/Lorne fan or whatever, I'd still be objecting to it.
[wordplay]:

I don't know if this will help at all, but here's something to consider. Take the two turns of phrase (a) and (b):

(a) outrageously self-centered, entitled, black-hole-of-need wing of McShep fandom

(b) that wing of McShep fandom that is outrageously self-centered, entitled, and a black-hole-of-need

It is a pretty robust finding that for most speakers (b) connotes much more clearly that a subgroup is being discussed than (a) does. This is such a simple distinction to make and the intuition is so strong for most speakers that when someone DOESN'T choose to make this more clear, many readers or listeners will skip right over that tiny little noun and instead just perceive the heavy string of adjectives that precedes it - and for good reason, right? After all, there's a way to make this more clear, but the speaker wasn't really focused on getting that exactly right - she was focused on getting her rant on. And that's all well and good, but rant is a broad spectrum weapon - difficult to focus unless you really take pains to do so.

This is not easy to get right. I have a lot of friends in the Potter fandom who ship Harry/Hermione. They were not the crazed shipper types seeking full-page ads to yell at JKR, and yet some of them have felt very besieged over the last couple of years. My point isn't that ranting should never happen (I enjoy a good rant as much as the next girl) but that expecting people to read between the lines of a rant and figure out exactly what the speaker meant instead of what she said is, I think, a bit much. After all, why should readers be expected to take greater pains than the writer?
[hth the first]:

but rant is a broad spectrum weapon - difficult to focus unless you really take pains to do so.

That's so true. And the nature of the beast is that -- for me, at least -- the moment when you're willing to rant about something is the moment when you're least able to step back and edit everything to a finely honed point. I've noticed that one profound drawback to doing something like this (I'm not sure I *entirely* regret having done it, but I certainly wouldn't recommend it) is that because everything seems so clear to you, it's very difficult to stand back and get into your readers' heads and parse your words for maximum clarity. That's an editing process, and I think it takes an entirely different chunk of your brain.

I'm really sad that the connotations of one word-placement choice have dwarfed for some people a whole lot of other things I said about being a fan of the pairing and wanting McShep shippers to be allies instead of enemies. But it did, and that's how things are. As you say, I didn't write it in a way that encouraged people to take the time to read it really carefully and think about my perspective. Rants are not conversion tools -- and in fairness, I didn't expect this to be, but it would be unfair of me now to be surprised that I haven't convinced some people.
[eurydice]:
Is somebody really going to read this and say, "Yep, I'm a member of the Motherfucking Asshole McSheps. She must be talking to me." It might seem polite to couch everything in nebulous "x, y and z" but in the end, nothing is served by it. Those to whom it's addressed can't see themselves and the rest are all, "excuse me, but I'm not a motherfucker." If one is looking to affect the behavior of a specific person or persons, wouldn't it be more effective to discuss it with them directly?
[liviapenn]:

If one is looking to affect the behavior of a specific person or persons, wouldn't it be more effective to discuss it with them directly?

Sure, because people react *so* well to strangers coming into their journals and telling them what they should or shouldn't say.

I mean, you could say this about pretty much every post that's *ever* posted to metafandom, couldn't you? "If you don't like XYZ, why bother making a post about it in general-- why not take it up with people specifically?" Because sometimes it's more useful to try to create more awareneness *in general*, by making a single post, than fighting a thousand tiny battles specifically.

In this specific case, I think there are two groups of people: the real assholes who actually would *love* it if all non-McShep fans just left the fandom forever, and the people who talk and act in ways that *give that impression*, however unintentionally. The first group wouldn't change their behavior even if you took it up with them specifically, and the second group might be more aware now of how certain things come across now to non-McShep fans. And if they're *not* really assholes, well, now that they're aware, maybe they'll think twice about acting like non-McShep fans are intruding on the party and ruining "everybody's" fun.
[paradise city]:

So I'm supposed to be encouraged by someone who calls people motherfuckers, rants about their virgin fucking eyeballs, and wants people to get off her fucking back to be a better, more tolerant fan? Holy backwards logic, Batman.

[snipped]

You've created three groups of fans: asshole McSheppers (to whom the rant applies, as per the original post), people who may unintentionally acting like asshole McSheppers but are unaware of it (to whom the rant does apply as per your comment), and non-asshole McSheppers (to whom the rant doesn't apply as per your comments). Unfortunately, the second and the third groups are one and the same. You can't tell people the rant applies to them in one comment and that it doesn't apply to them at all in the next.

We're not going to get anywhere on the group issue; clearly you're determined to shift the groups and their definitions around as suits your needs, as noted by other commenters, and I'm not interested in a wank exchange.

What's most disappointing of all is that this post, whose topic could have served as a catalyst for a helpful discussion about point of view and impressions, fell victim to what appears to be one of the great rules of wank: the first rant is always wrong, but the second rant is always right. And there's nothing I can do to change that.
[hth the first]:

In fairness, no, I don't have any illusions that what I said here was encouraging. It was angry and defensive and frankly kind of a jumbled mess; I'm amazed as many people seemed to make sense out of it as did. It was, exactly as promised up front, unkind and unfair and a little nuts.

Do I now think that people are going to go, "Hey, Hth is teaching me a valuable lesson here about how to treat my fellow fans?" Not really. I think the response is going to run the gamut from "That's so true! I feel exactly like that" to "holy shit, she's really flipped out; I had no idea people were taking stuff like this so much to heart" to "what a psycho bitch." Actually, I can read my eleventy thousand comments and see variation on all those things, so I don't even have to speculate.

And I don't think any of those responses are unjustified.

Whether I've improved fandom or squandered my credibility and lowered the tone of debate, I don't know. But I've alredy gone ahead and done it, and even if I did delete the thread, it's not like people didn't see me freak the fuck out; they already know I did. Also, I think there's a lot of interesting conversation in the comments that shouldn't be erased -- and *parts* of my original rant I still think are useful and fair. I've had some people say they got to those parts, even through the part where I indulged in my primal scream therapy, and I'm really glad of that.

In short: kids, don't be like me. I am not your role model for a better, more tolerant fan experience, and I know that perfectly well.
[eurydice]:

I think that, in general, people communicating on-line don't realize how hurtful they can be. I mean, you think you're safely alone, in your ratty bathrobe, eating cold chili out of a can, scratching your ass and picking your nose, coming up with all kinds of snarky witticisms which crack you up to no end. You think you're indulging in all sorts of secret behavior - when actually, the rest of the world is watching and saying "Ok, eww." Ok, now I've creeped myself out a little.

I've been a member of some fandom or other ever since dinosaurs roamed the earth - the real ones, not CGI. And one class of fans who've always seemed homeless to me are gen fans who kind of like all the characters. Nobody takes them seriously. Because they don't ship, they must have no soul or feelings or emotion or passion. Or they're really secret shippers who are too cowardly to come out. Because they're not advocates for any one particular character, they must lack discrimination - or they must be lying, because any moron can see how superior Character X is to Character Y.

A word in favor of X brings out the "AHA! I always knew you were an X-Whore!" A word for Y, brings a hail storm from the other side. And nobody wants a perceived peacemaker around when fandom's in the throes of invigorating outrage. Never mind that we're not all that peaceful. I guess everybody's got something, don't they? :-)
[hth the first]:

Word on the chili in a can syndrome. It's hard to remember that the behaviors that piss you off aren't Random Pixiliated Events, but actually come from a person with their own perspective. I'm no better at that than anyone else, which is to say, sometimes I remember it and sometimes I don't.

Interesting perspective on gen fans; I'd never noticed that attitude, but one thing that's been obvious here is that *no one* notices the attitude when it's not aimed at them.

Some Comments to the Post: Page Three

[tielan]:

You know, I understand the desire not to see a bazillion stories about a pairing I don't like on my f-lists and newsletters.

On the other hand, I'm a minor-pairing fishie in a sea of fanfics that aren't for the pairings I like. So I find my sympathy for the person referenced in your rant a little on the low side.

And, yes, it is difficult, painful, and irritation-inducing to witness those who have the advantage of a lot of fic for their pairings show very little sympathy to those who have a more difficult time locating fic off the fandom bat.
[palebluebell]:

What are you gonna do - yeah? People on lj are just stupid sometimes.

If the poster could see the face of the person they're deriding, whose likes and work they're tearing up for the amusement and titillation of all; if they could see expressions drop in hurt, feel the confusion when a person reads something truly nasty which is undoubtedly aimed at them, their work, or their fandom preferences then maybe they'd stay their hand. I think most would.

Some people are just cunts who like to hurt people, you certainly get those, but most people are good people.

If I've gotten out of line with real life friends, and goodness knows I have, they've let me know with the expression on their faces: I get to see immediately the hurt and pain I've caused. I feel the price of my words.

Sometimes the cause of the pain isn't something I could take back, or would. It's something I must make my stand on, even with a heavy heart at having to hurt someone I'd prefer not to.

A lot of the time I've just wished I'd shut up, and I was glad I could apologise.

LJ posts exist in a false vacuum - you write them without having to pay the cost of seeing the reaction of those you set out to cut. There's no need to take responsibility for the hurt feelings your useless unnecessary rant about some such will cause.

Unfortunately, when the shit hits the fan later, hackles raise up and people's usual reaction is defensive rather than attempted understanding.
[el gillath]:

As a huge McShep fangirl, I'll admit that the SGA slash fandom has a lot of McShep, and McShep is probably the biggest pairing in the fandom. But I wouldn't say the pairing 'owns' the fandom. There are a lot of groups, pairings and authors that don't go near McShep and there are also groups where McShep isn't allowed. McShep is my fave pairing, but I love reading other pairings as well. I genuinly believe that it's not that hard to get away from McShep if you want too. Just because someone likes McShep the most, doesn't mean that they love other pairings or characters. Personally, I ♥ Carson and Ronon, even if Rodney may be my favorite of them all.

And I'm not the most positive person when it comes to s4, because of the changes being made, not because of McShep. Many hate the thought of s4 because of Amanda, saying that McShep will be ruined. That may be true, but just because I think it will chance the dynamic of the show.
[wychwood]:

Asdfsf, that is unbelievable. As a McKay/Sheppard fan, I APOLOGISE ON BEHALF OF IDIOTS EVERYWHERE. So many fans, so many whacked senses of entitlement. I have to admit, I really do enjoy the fact that, in this fandom, my pairing *is* the default - but I hope I don't push that down other people's throats, and I do remember enough of my time with minority pairings in other fandoms that I know what it can be like.

I hope you all keep writing, and keep posting out there, despite the jerks; I rarely read your fic (because our pairings aren't generally compatible *g*), but I've loved what I *have* read. And a more diverse fandom can only be a good thing, really - all the characters deserve screentime, even the ones I don't like ;).

So, um. Word. And sorry.
[kyuuketsukirui ]:
I agreed with this post until I realised what it was in response to. Way to completely mischaracterise someone and of course, since you don't link to the original post, no one can see what you're doing. Brilliant.
[hth the first]:

Well, I think my paraphrasing of the quote in question is pretty sound. However, the awful part is that what I ended up doing was "characterizing" someone based on one thing they said one time, which is always wrong and stupid. Nobody can stand up to that; there's not a human being in the world who wouldn't come across as a bitch if you chose which one thing they said would stand in for all of them. I've said a lot of things that I wouldn't want to have someone hold up and say "see what kind of person this is?" -- including pretty much this entire post.

I don't know anything about her character; I don't know anything about her. I know she said this one thing that I think was an uncool thing to say, and that reminded me of many other uncool things said by other people altogether, and I set up a situation where I encouraged people to believe that this statement=her. That's a terrible way to treat people, and I've apologized to her for it, although I don't know if linking to her post -- at the time or now, retroactively -- would make it better or worse. I suspect worse.
[hetrez]:

Huh. In the interest of sympathetic allies -- I'm a McKay/Sheppard fan primarily, and that's what I seek out first. But the reason I read fan fiction at all, instead of just watching the show and sitting in my room and thinking, is for the collective aspect. Each new story, each meta essay and conversation I have and conversation I happen to glance at, adds richness and layers to characters I love. Sometimes I disagree with those layers and sometimes the stories/essays/conversations make me sad, as a fan of a character, as a fan of the show. But the communal character is what I am here for, and to that end, I the reader appreciate pairings that are not my favorite, and stories where there is no pairing.

I believe you feel marginalized, or felt, or sometimes feel, and I can't really speak to that one way or the other. I also can't get my thoughts together enough to comment on your whole post. Parts of it hurt and surprised me, though I know that was not entirely your intention. But what I got from your post, mostly, was that sometimes the popularity of the McKay/Sheppard pairing makes you feel less privileged, less central, and less appreciated (or, makes you feel like your pairing preferences are such) -- and that you don't see as many posts that make an effort to acknowledge or integrate the less popular (and privileged and central) areas of fandom. I guess I just wanted to show you where it's integrated and acknowledged.
[moonmip]:

This post just again highlights to me a worrying trend I've seen across the web as a whole, but particularly fandoms (and large ones, especially, where not everyone knows everyone else). The trend is lack of tolerance. Tolerance for other people having different pairing preferences, tolerance for people expressing themselves in different ways and an utter incapability of playing well in the sandbox with others. This makes me particularly sad because I've been in fandom for 10 years now and the trend is just getting worse.

As I'm sure you've heard several times, why can't people just wear blinkers and ignore what they don't want to read? The whole point of a comm like sga_noticeboard (to me, anyway) is that you can scan the headers, take what you like and move on. Why does someone else's preference have to turn into a grudge match? I have several pairings I like in SGA (including J/R, R/R (take whatever R combination you like!), OT4 and Rodney/Teyla. I've noticed a dearth of other pairings lately but I haven't had much time online and thought I was just missing them. I'm appalled to think it may be because so many writers have felt marginalised and 'muscled out' by the vocal majority. I also think it vital to fandom that you have dragged this forward and shoved it under people's noses so they have to see it - awareness is half the battle. Thank you for a needed post. That's it. I'm off to write some Rodney/John/Teyla porn and a Rodney/Ronon fic. *cracks knuckles* Let the rebellion live on! ...hmm. I think there should be some sort of challenge organised, now...the Not a McShep pairing challenge...
[laceymcbain]:

You know, the total committment to the OTP is something I don't really get. I mean, I get it on the level of there's usually one pairing that hits me in particular in each fandom, and often it's the mainstream one. John/Rodney, Clark/Lex. That just seems to be the way my buttons go. But I would never think that fandom has to cater to that, or me, or that anyone had to like anything at all the same as what I like. I'm *glad* there are a variety of pairings and I have to say I *admire* people who can take characters with less than two minutes of screen time and make them come alive. That takes a skill and committment level I don't think I have.

I'm totally in agreement - it sucks to be in the minority interest in anything, and unfortunately there isn't usually much to be done about it except write more of what you want to see. I typically read the pairing that I like best, but often a title or summary will catch me, or I appreciate a particular writer, or I trust the person who recs something different. I'm happy when I read a pairing I don't normally respond to and I go "wow - that absolutely was believable and worked for me."

So as a pretty loyal McShepper, I feel for the plight of the Loyal Opposition. I don't even tend to look at is as opposition - just different strokes for different folks - but I will never understand how people can complain about *what other people choose to read/write*. I write what I like to read, the things that I'm interested in - that happens to be McShep, but it could as easily be something different if an idea struck me. I assume other people are like that, but I guess that's naive.

Anyway, just wanted to say, this McShepper is very happy for the chorus of unique voices in this fandom. You should never feel you have to apologize for it. *hugs*
[arysteia]:

This post, and others like it, remind me of an incident that occurred when I was at Teachers' College.

I was a couple of years older than most of my colleagues, I'd already done postgrad work, and lived overseas, and come back. So I was always confident in discussion and debate oriented classes, loved them, had a lot to say, blah blah blah. And one day my favourite professor just went *nuts* about how rude some of us were, and overly invested in our own opinions, unwilling to listen to others, creating a hostile environment, etc etc. And I was *mortified*. After crying in the toilets for half an hour I worked up the courage to go and see her and apologise.

And she took one look at me, and said: "Oh my god! I didn't mean *you*! You're the best!"

So I kind of half smiled, and she sighed, and added: "This is actually a lesson for both of us. It is always the sensitive and reasonable people who are hurt by this sort of thing, the people you're actually addressing never even notice."

And I've never forgotten it. In my own career I've seen it's true, and on lj I see it time and again.

I love John/Rodney (I'd never call it McShep, I hate that moniker with a passion), and I don't read other pairings within SGA. I wish nothing but good, however, to those that do. I was hurt by your post, and I did feel included, despite understanding who you were actually focused on. I'm replying however, because I liked what you said to Lamardeuse later in the thread. I wish *everyone* would take a breath before they posted.

References