Slash & yearn
|News Media Commentary|
|Title:||Slash & yearn|
|Commentator:||Mariko Tamaki (for Xtra)|
|Date(s):||18 May 2000|
|External Links:||Slash & yearn/WebCite|
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Slash & yearn is an article, one of many, that attempts to explain the appeal of slash and why it is mainly women who write it. The essay explores the ties, or lack thereof, between slash and gay fiction. It states that "essentially, slash writers do what queer audiences have been doing for years: elevating gay subtext to full fledged queer tales in short story and epic form."
This article interviews several fans including Minotaur.
Jessica Harris... has been writing, or at least dreaming about, slash since kindergarten, when she developed an obsession with the rescue squad show Emergency, and its stars Johnny and Roy. “I’m not sure that I entirely understood the concept of sex,” says Harris, “let alone gay sex, but I was oddly obsessed with the show.” For many years after that, Harris’s interest in gay erotica would continue, an interest that was channelled, almost two years ago, into writing slash, starting with a series of Mulder/Krychek pieces which she posted on a slash Internet site.
You’d think slash fiction — which is queer and erotic — would overlap with queer and erotic work produced by the gay community. It often doesn’t. Most slash scenarios operate outside the context of the homosexual community with its politics, bars and bathhouses. But this is not surprising when you consider the heterosexual world slash comes from, where homophobia is hardly a concern in the face of, say, alien domination. Slash injects gay sex into this otherworldly picture but it does not, necessarily, venture the next step into gay culture.
One queer presence in the world of slash is a San Francisco native who goes by the on-line name of Minotaur. He gives gay sex tips. On his website he says that when he first entered the slash community, he often found “the writing wasn’t all that good, but just seeing a gay relationship positively portrayed was a revelation.” He got the idea for the website at a slash conference where he “was besieged with ‘can two guys...?’ questions, enough to show that there was a real need for someone willing and able to serve as a technical consultant.”
The “key” to the art of slash is the exploration of subtext, which previously came out of necessity with the lack of same sex relationships on TV. Certainly characters like those on Will And Grace, who seem to have ditched subtext for show tune gay niceness, are in no way a suitable replacement for the seering glances you have to catch on videotape to view clearly on Buffy The Vampire Slayer. That subtext is more potent than what the networks would like to pass off as the “gay lifestyle.” Or maybe slash writers are just more imaginative than the nice people of NBC.