The X-Rated Files

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Title: The X-Rated Files
Commentator: Austin Bunn
Date(s): May 2000
Medium: Brills Content
External Links: The X-Rated Files (archived copy)
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The X-Rated Files is an article that appeared in Brills Content in May 2000 and featured an interview with slash writer Zoe Rayne. It has the subtitle "An online community of female writers hijack male TV characters into erotic scenarios too hot for the small screen." The article appeared one month after Slate's article Luke Skywalker Is Gay?

"If you didn't know her gender you'd assume that Rayne was a gay man. It's as if she's researched the physics, the entire anatomic organization, of gay sex. In fact, she has. But Rayne's Nemesis wasn't written for public consumption. The 31-year-old Rayne belongs to a highly literate online community of women who are predominantly heterosexual and who write the stories for one another. Their work couples the male characters from Homicide: Life on the Street, ER, Sports Night, The Practice, and numerous other shows with playful abandon."[1]

Reactions and Reviews

Yet another article written for the wider public, which appeared in both the electronic and print forms of the magazine Brill's Content. This one concentrates on slash, however, and its author has clearly made the effort to gather the views of writers as to what slash is and why we write it I thought it reasonable and considered in tone - ... So, what do you think? Fanfic, and possibly slash as a separate subgenre, seems to be becoming flavour of the month with the amateur anthropologists of journalism We've discussed before whether this is a Good or a Bad Thing, but if we must have it openly discussed - and it seems we must - does this kind of article do 'us' justice? On a purely personal level, I have to say that however reasonable the tone, I for one am getting thoroughly sick of being an object of interest for the idly curious. I wish they'd take their notebooks, their magnifying glasses and their stirring sticks and just Go Home. (Harrumph). [2]

I thought it fairly well done; certainly it treated slash more seriously that Luke Skywalker Is Gay?. I guess people always ridicule what they can't understand - its human nature. But if they think slash sites are weird, what about those inciting racism and bigotry, telling how to make bombs, advising on various ways of killing? There's even one where you can see your choice of movie stars face being eaten by rats! I know it takes all sorts to make a world, as the saying goes, but it seems to me there should be more concern shown over people who subscribe to these ideas. We slashers, despite the violent-sounding name ('stroke' would be better - and more appropriate in context!) are completely harmless to society and don't deserve 'weird', 'nutter', 'loser', 'lowlife' and 'perverted' labels. [3]

I read both the articles - Luke Skywalker is Gay? and The X-Rated Files - with interest. I can't help feeling both the authors are taking it all a bit too seriously.

Slash is fun, an entertaining fantasy which hurts no one and brings great pleasure to many women. Maybe it's the fact that it is to do with women and 'erotic' makes it of interest.

Anyway, I'm beginning to feel like a hamster being observed in a scientist's lab! [4]

The major articles made me wonder once again whether slash is becoming more exposed. Are ones like The X-Rated Files and The Enigmatic M. Keegan raising its profile so much that the general public is becoming aware of its existence? Where are they published? Do we find them because we are looking for articles of this nature? Would they be spotted by the man-in-the-street or ignored through lack of interest? We know the words to use in net searches. How easy or likely would it be for someone, without knowledge, to access those sites purely by chance? [5]

Additional Reading


  1. ^ The X-Rated Files (archived copy) (Accessed 17 November 2011).
  2. ^ from DIAL #14, "yet another article" refers to Luke Skywalker Is Gay?
  3. ^ from DIAL #15
  4. ^ from DIAL #15
  5. ^ from DIAL #16