My Secret Life as a Slasher

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Title: My Secret Life as a Slasher
Creator: Henry Jenkins
Date(s): November 14, 2006
Medium: online
External Links: online here; WebCite
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My Secret Life as a Slasher is a 2006 blog post by Henry Jenkins.

In it, he writes about his slash writing, the story Golden Idol, and his interview Slashcast Insider Interview with Dr. Henry Jenkins.


So, my dirty little secret is finally out in the open. A few weeks ago, I did a podcast interview for Emma Grant at Slashcast about slash fan fiction and spoke openly about the fact that I have one published story out there in a relatively obscure little zine called Not What You Think. [1] As a gift to all of my readers out there in LJ-Land, I figured, now that the cat is out of the bag, that I would share some excerpts from the story itself and for the rest of you, I figured I might use this to offer some reflections on the nature of slash as a form of critical commentary, an issue which I raised here in the blog a few weeks ago. The story is called “Golden Idol.” It was published, if you can call it that, in 1998 and promptly disappeared into obscurity. Here’s how the story starts:
Part of the pleasure of publishing the story for the first time in the context of a multimedia zine was to let people slowly discover for themselves who this story was about. I got the idea for writing a Scrooge/Marley slash story while listening to a tape of Patrick Stewart’s one man show version of the Christmas Carol. Suddenly, for the first time, the scene when Scrooge breaks up with his finance Nancy had popped out at me. It was one of the few times in the entire novel that we hear from someone who can see inside Scrooge and really understands what he is thinking. Normally what characters say about Scrooge is projected onto him from a more distanced perspective. I was intrigued by this phrase, “a Golden Idol,” and the way that she presents this “idol” as if it were a flesh and blood rival for his affections. She most likely is referring to his workaholic tendencies and to his greed, those traits we most associate with Scrooge, yet what if she wasn’t? What if there really were a secret rival who stood between Scrooge and his intended bride?

Every line in this scene comes directly from the novel. What I was doing here was recontextualizing Dicken’s original language to offer up an alternative interpretation of what the characters might have been thinking — this integration of original dialogue and internal monologue is a common literary device in fan fiction. I was rewriting it for the purpose of critical commentary and in the process, I was trying to include as many elements from the original novel as possible while offering explanations for the character issues which have long concerned literary critics writing about the book. Even the idea that the partnership between Scrooge and Marley might have a homosocial/homoerotic undertone would not seem radical in the era of queer literary criticism. (For more on this point, see the slash chapter in Textual Poachers). But from an academic perspective, the fact that I used a fictional form rather than an analytic essay to construct this argument might have seen nonconventional.

The Victorians had been very interested in using economic vocabularies to talk about the expenditure of bodily fluids that took place through sexual encounters and so I played with this to describe the relations between the two men.
My story contains very little sex in the end — this is unusual for slash but not unheard of. What interested me was the emotional life of the characters and that is certainly the driving force behind most slash. I have them make love one time in a burst of enthusiasm on Christmas eve and then have Scrooge, alone in the dark, feel shame and crawl away, never to speak of the experience again. The closeness they feel is shattered by their efforts to consummate their relationship sexually (the reverse of what happens in most slash). And this prepares us for the last phases of their life together.


  1. ^ It's actually Not What You Expect, something Jenkins also gets wrong in the Slashcast interview.