RPS, Boybands, and Dead Guy RPS

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Title: RPS, Boybands, and Dead Guy RPS
Creator: Michelle Christian
Date(s): June 21, 2003
Medium: online
Topic: Fanfiction, RPS, Popslash
External Links: RPS, Boybands, and Dead Guy RPS, Archived version
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RPS, Boybands, and Dead Guy RPS is an essay by Michelle Christian.

It is part of the Fanfic Symposium series.


About a year or two ago, as several of my friends got into RPS--or, in some cases, finally admitted to being into RPS--I really started to think about the whole concept of RPS and why I feel about it the way I do. These are my reactions and rationale, but I don't claim that my reactions are always, in and of themselves, rational. *g*

First of all, while I have no problem with my friends being into it--some of my best friends, you know, and knowing that most of them, at least, are not the psychotic fruitcakes who would stalk these poor guys or think that the actors/boybands are really, truly doing it, because they actually know the difference between fantasy and reality--the whole concept still bothers me on some basic levels. Just for me personally, if I find myself speculating on someone's private life, even as I love gossip, I feel...dirty. And not in a good way. It's the privacy issue thing, in part, since I feel very strongly that what someone does in their life is their own business, unless they choose to make it mine. It's also, I just recently realized, a matter of--high-handedness, maybe? I have no problem playing with fictional characters' lives, fantasizing, maiming, killing, emotionally torturing, etc., heck I live for that sometimes. But it just seems wrong to do that with real people. And it's not like I don't have a healthy imagination or fantasy life or never speculated on what would happen if I met so-and-so and how they would just loooooove me, but...it feels different. I don't know how or why, but it does. Another reason is that what draws me to fandom, to writing and reading fanfiction, is the characters. And while RPS is more about slashing personas than people, that's just not enough to interest me, to hang my hat on.

And while I was examining why I don't like RPS, I realized that, at the same time, I do: Because I love many historical movies, love to springboard research from historical movies, and many of them are quite slashy. I mean, look at one of my all time favorite movies, "Becket": Not only about real people, but also about about a SAINT! Heresy with a side of perv! So, what is it that makes all this different, I ask myself. Why does a part of me give a mental shiver when I think about slashing Viggo and Orlando, but I'm okay with Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday humping their way across the West? Really, it's all about boundaries.
I came to another conclusion: While many of my friends may have succumbed to the Sparkle, I don't think you could have designed a fandom with the purpose of repelling me and done as well. First, there's the RPS thing, with all the aforementioned problems. Then there's the fact that I don't tend to like coming-of-age/young teens/tweens-centered stories. There's exceptions to this, of course (Buffy, etc.), but for the most part it's true. There was a point where every other gay film coming out seemed to be a coming-of-age story, and I swore if I watched one more movie where a guy makes out/comes out to his high school/college sweetheart and the guy turns out to be an asshole, but gay!boy turns around and moves on, a wiser and better twink, I was going to start killing people. Personally, I prefer my characters to be older and more bitter. Get back to me when you've had the shit kicked out of you by life, and have the scars to prove it, and maybe we'll talk, glitter boy. And then there's the fact that I can't stand the music... *g* And, again, there's the character versus people/persona factor. Oogy and icky feelings aside, there's just not enough with a lot of these guys to hang my fannish hat on. With historical characters, I get the movies (extra fictional veneer) and can then go research them (with the past working--for rationale sake, if not in fact--as an extra layer of veneer). History as the ultimate movie tie-in!