Round Files

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Fanfiction
Title: Round Files
Author(s): Rodent (AKA: YouKneek)
Date(s): 1995
Length:
Genre:
Fandom: X-Files RPF
External Links: online here

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Round Files is an X-Files RPF story by Rodent (AKA: YouKneek).

It was the winner of a 1995 Spooky Award.

It was originally posted to alt.tv.x-files.creative.

For other examples of similar fic, see Some Examples of Early X-Files RPF.

Summary

"Many mishaps ensue when David and Gillian find themselves transported to a world where the X-Files are reality, and they have switched places with Mulder and Scully."

Author's Notes: 1999

This story first appeared on atxc in the spring of 1995. Those were fun days and atxc was a playhouse for writers and readers alike. I've been absent from the group for a number of years, having grown weary of the feuding. However, I've recently decided that abandonment was the wrong approach.

In an effort to restore some of the spirit of fun, which I remember so well from my early days at atxc, I'm reposting this story, which was written in that spirit. I hope it hasn't aged too badly

And to any other writers weary of the feuding I encourage you to join me in this effort to take positive action to return atxc to the writers and readers. If we all work together we can rebuild the playground for everyone:) Oh dear, this was written before categories and all. [1]

Author's Comments: 2000

From a discussion about actorfic at alt.tv.x-files.creative:
Interesting discussion. As someone who has actually written what you all seem to be labeling as "actorfic" I guess I'll offer my 2 cents here. Yup, I not only wrote it, I posted it and oddly enough, given this discussion, it actually

won a couple awards on this very newsgroup. Now I'm not sure if Round Files qualifies as actorfic by your definition but it sounds like at least some of you would judge it as such. Technically it's a parody, which curiously enough makes it legal, unlike most fanfic. I treated the principals as fictional characters, making no attempt to portray them realistically.

Where do you draw the line? I'm not sure. I never finished the sequel to Round File because I hit my personal squidge zone of discomfort with the subject matter. Have I abandoned it? Not entirely, I still play with the idea occasionally, trying to figure out a way to do it that's broad enough so as not to be personal. I haven't found that path yet.

Let me throw out something for consideration here though. I personally found the brief insertion of the Ramsey case into one of the recent X-Files eps to be offensive. The writer took a real little girl, who died tragically and used her as a convenient backdrop in a script, picture and all. I didn't see any objections to that, although I don't follow the newsgroup closely. Maybe thers didn't find it offensive. I'd be curious to know how other viewers felt about that, given this discussion.[2]

Reactions and Reviews

1998 Reactions and Reviews: The Author Asks a Question

[a fan commented]: >> What are we talking about here, Virtual Paparazzi? I suggest that those of us who respect the real live human beings that play these characters refuse to participate in this kind of abuse by boycotting all GA/DD/other real person fic. And I support the First Amendment, I also recognize the reality that FOX is gunning for us big-time right now. Why add fuel to the fire? <<<

[the author responded]: Well said, Rachel, but as an author of a story that sort of falls into this category I feel compelled to respond. I wrote The Round Files, in which DD and GA land in Mulder and Scully's universe, several years ago as a parody, a total spoof and labeled it as such with a disclaimer noting that the characters were all fictional. I believe that spoofs such as The Round File are protected under the First Amendment and not considered a violation of copyright either, which leaves just the moral issue to resolve.

One could argue that even in parody, it's a violation of the spoofies' (is there such a word?) privacy. Maybe, maybe not. I tried to keep it pretty generic and avoid the more personal stuff and I went nowhere near involving DD&GA in any sexual or romantic entanglements with each other.

However, as many a pleading fan has noted, I never finished the sequel RoundAbout, which had Mulder and Scully landing in DD and GA's lives in Vancouver. I found it hard to do that side without getting much more personal and I rapidly grew uncomfortable with the whole thing. Maybe I'll finish it someday, maybe I won't. It all depends on whether I can find a path that feels comfortable for me and I'm not convinced I can despite the many opportunities for amusement which it offers.

So, I throw this out there as an example. Does Round File qualify as an invasion of the actors' privacy by these standards? Should it be boycotted? Speak freely, I'm honestly interested in what people have to say. [3]

The Fans Respond: 1997

Actually, I think the amount of stories written about real people like CC and DD are in the vast minority... and frankly, I have no wish to write/read anything about DD or GA in any context... it's their characters that I want to hear about, not their personal lives...

but let me point you to a real classic that combines the two... The Round Files by Youkneek... it's wonderful, and I somehow doubt that anyone would come racing to sue over that story... it's a hoot of a read, and definitely not disrespectful of any of the real-life people involved in the show - I think that if DD/GA/CC read it, they'd be falling off their chairs in laughter; not racing for the phone book.

the main point here is respect - for the actors and their works - I LOVED "Shipper Story"; and I can't see CC pointing the Rottweiler Lawyers down on that writer for making jokes about the writers... unless it was done in a nasty way - ie. pain, torture... something that was obviously a bit mentally disturbing and a bit more than just making fun...

there's a vast difference between writing a parody and writing stalking material... [4]

The Fans Respond: 1998

I've been involved in fandom for a very long time and actor erotica and actor slash has always been frowned upon as an invasion of privacy. [5]
If you go back in time a few months and read a post by Yvonne Harrison involving fanfic for Blake's Seven, I think you'll see that the performers DON'T appreciate stories written about them and whether or not they jump each other's bones.

In fact, the actor in question had been lovely to fans, had been, in fact, sitting with them and having drinks and talking and was fascinated by the phenom of fanfic until someone mentioned a story about him and his wife.

He was, needless to say, seriously upset and from being open to his fans and supportive of fanfic, turned one hundred and eighty degrees and opposed it vehemently, if memory serves. [6] [7]
First, let me retire a long-standing debt. I loved "The Round File". I giggled happily at Skinner chewing out DD&GA for not putting the report in a folder, and at their desperate search for a report in the first place (Yeah, Scully'll have it on her machine someplace; she's the organized one!) I was surprised when you stopped where you did, but I know life gets in the way of projects.

As to your question, I don't see what you wrote as an invasion of privacy, except in the most general sense that you used their names. In fact, given DD's quirky sense of humor, he might get a kick out of it!

But whichever poster mentioned the "Blake's 7" story about one of the actors and his wife, well, that crosses the boundary of good taste. I would consider something extremely personal like that an invasion of privacy. [8]
There was this one DD/GA story called "Round Table" that I thought was just wonderful. It also won and award for something so I obviously wasn't the only one. It dealt with the duo falling into a world where "The X-Files" wasn't real, and includes a scene where DD and GA are trying to hide a corpse so that "Scully" doesn't have to do an autopsy. Very funny stuff. But if it involves stating facts about their lives, or about their intentions toward each other or anything else that is unsubstantiated, then I think that's just plain slander. This is the only DD/GA story that I like, and don't understand how some even landed at Gossamer. This is suppose to be an "X-Files" archive. [9]
You know, it just really disturbs me. Just the thought of writing about *real* people some of the very enjoyable stuff that I read here. I like the slash, Mulder Torture, and MSR and all that stuff but it bothers me to think that DD or GA *could* see something like that about themselves. If it was me that was being written about like that it would scare me. Mulder and Scully are *fictional*......sure, they look the same but.......yuck. Not a good explanation, I know, but I can't do any better. It just disturbs me. [10]
It seems like a different concept to me. In it, you are fictionalizing real people, but in a light-hearted way, probably one the actors themselves would get a kick out of. Smut is a whole different can 'o shoepolish.

Although GA has said that she really doesn't take it personally if someone gets their jollies off taking a picture of her head and gluing it on someone else's body, it still seems beyond the limits of common courtesy to write that kind of story.

Particularly because of the way rumors spread. Think of it this way. A smut story taken out of context could start a *nasty* rumor.

There's no way a story in which the plot is "Mulder and Scully land in GA and DD's lives" is going to be mistaken for fact. <shrug> [11]
I think you made the point yourself when you said what's holding up Roundabout - you found that you were getting into personal issues dealing with the lives of the real actors. Round File, while using the names and images, used a very superficial, explicitly fictionalized pair of characters. It had no reflections on personal lives of real people at all. I think I need to clarify that - erotica dealing with DD and GA in bed would be a speculation on the personal lives of the actors, regardless of how goofy it might seem. It would invade their possible realities. Round Files did not speculate on the personal lives of the actors beyond saying that David Duchovny doesn't eat like Fox Mulder and that DD and GA might have memorized a few phone numbers. If Roundabout really does require invading their lives, discussing the personal existence of the actors, then I'd say it should stay on your own hard drive - you know that. If you suggested, for example, that Scully's encounter with Clyde led to their separation and divorce or that Piper has childhood trauma because Dana Scully is in her world that would be sort of invasive. Or if, as some fans seem to fantasize, Mulder showed up and didn't like Tea Leoni. If, on the other hand, you have Mulder and Scully on a relatively generic TV soundstage, with characters you've created and relatively little interaction with the actors worlds in real life . . . well, I'm STILL eagerly awaiting that scene where Mulder signs on, sees the fanfic, is horrified and Scully laughs her ass off! As long as you don't name names then it's fine. Well, you can name MY name. I give you permission to horrify Mulder with my stuff here and now!  ;) But yes, I think there's a very sharp line of good taste and privacy. DD and GA to the extent that they've given interviews to the press and intentionally created a public fiction of themselves do have a fictional existence that has the same name they have. Round Files plays with the fiction of the celebrity. But when those people get to close the door between us and them, their world behind that door is one we should respect and that's the world erotica would invade, or that speculations on their personal lives would invade. That's the world we should stay out of. Goo [12]
I haven't been around here to see the start of this, and just came across this tonight, but my two cents is that I think it's partly about the role that you're portraying.

The Round Files wasn't as disturbing because it used DD/GA in their public personas as celebrities and actors, crossing over into their personal lives in a glancing, glancing way. It's naught more than a parody, a political cartoon, something that could not be seen as hurtful. Honestly, I *was* a bit uncomfortable with the use of the actors. But that's simply because I feel strongly about the issue, and I did enjoy the 'fic. The story used them more as public characters--the people we see portrayed in interviews and award shows, than as private citizens.

But a smut story? That's very close to libel. It speculates upon the actors' private lives, and lays open a part of themselves that they have every right to consider off-limits. It's not a price of fame. Think of it this way--every one that posts here is posting publicly, and thus is in some way, famous. You can criticize a poster here in the manner that they post, or in what they post. But to go further than that is, well, wrong.

The newsgroup is a public forum. If the Enquirer published something like a smut story about DD and GA,they'd run a good risk of being sued. If the only line between us and them is that we're supposedly speculating on truth, and they're alleging truth, well, it's a thin line.

Besides, if you're that fond of DD and GA, why would you want to post something that cannot be anything but hurtful to them? I am, frankly, upset that someone wouldn't think this wrong, morally, legally, and otherwise. You can't just write something hurtful, post it publicly, and then say, "Oh, well, I was kidding. It's a *story*. It's not serious." That's just not a good enough excuse. [13]
And see this is the problem. Who is to say when DD/GA crosses that line from fun fiction into libel. In some cases, it's fairly obvious, in others, it's individual interpretation. And since DD is married and GA has a little girl to consider, I have to say, smut is not very close to libel. It IS libel. And I have to agree with jenroses, I too and uncomfortable with using DD/GA in any story as other than public figures (like I did with Donald Trump in a real novel I'm writing, where I have my comment make a comment about greeting her guests and going to talk to Donald Trump). Even if the stories are labelled as fiction, that does not negate a writer's duty to act responsibly. Using any real life individuals as other than cameo's to add flavor or local color to a story ignores that duty. [14]
Without being overly disrespectful to anyone who might do so, why would you bother? Duchovny and Anderson *have* lives. They get to go to movies, fall in love, buy groceries, own at least one really bad outfit. They don't need more, and besides, it's none of my business what Gillian Anderson's opinion of David Duchovny's choice of breakfast foods is. Mulder and Scully, unfortunately, don't get the same luxuries...this is totally a personal opinion, but the satisfaction I get from fanfic is in the life it gives the characters that would never be seen otherwise, and that the characters would never experience otherwise. [15]
::nods:: I agree, this seems to me extremely disrespectful to these actors... (I say this as someone who wrote this type of thing a long time ago with different people in innocent situations that no one ever saw, but, still, I know the draw is there..) [16]

References

  1. author's notes, and story
  2. Decency Question, Youkneek, March 29, 2000
  3. March, 1998 at alt.tv.x-files.creative
  4. Writing about the actors as oppossed to characters, August 1, 1997
  5. Laurie, March 1998 at alt.tv.x-files.creative
  6. The Blake's 7 issue was far more complicated than the story/memory most fans relay: see The Blake's 7 War
  7. Bliss, March 1998 at alt.tv.x-files.creative
  8. Mary, March 1998 at alt.tv.x-files.creative
  9. Alyssa, March 1998 at alt.tv.x-files.creative
  10. Heidi, March 1998 at alt.tv.x-files.creative
  11. JenRose, March 1998 at alt.tv.x-files.creative
  12. Livengoo, March 1998 at alt.tv.x-files.creative
  13. F, March 1998 at alt.tv.x-files.creative
  14. RuthSleuth, March 1998 at alt.tv.x-files.creative
  15. Khyber, March 1998 at alt.tv.x-files.creative
  16. SF, March 1998 at alt.tv.x-files.creative