Two-Up Truly Queered

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Bodie/Doyle Fanfiction
Title: Two-up Truly Queered
Author(s): Jane Carnall
Date(s): 1989 (the date listed at the circuit archive)
Length:
Genre:
Fandom: The Professionals
External Links: Two-Up Truly Queered
also here

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Two-up Truly Queered is a controversial Professionals Bodie/Doyle circuit story written by Jane Carnall in 1989. It is a responsefic to Jane of Australia's 1986 circuit story, Two-Up.

While some responsefics are written with the permission and/or approval of the original story's author, Carnall's was not.

In the first story, "Two-Up," Bodie and Doyle play a drunken game of "two-up" (strip coin-toss). They begin to become physically intimate, something they'd not done with each other before. When Doyle cuts if off, Bodie accuses his partner of being a prick-tease. Doyle physically assaults Bodie and yells that while Bodie is an attractive man, "Don't you ever say that about me! I'm not gay, never was, don't intend to become gay. [...] Call me a fool, call me a clown, call me old and ugly, if you like, but if you have the idea I'm gay you're vastly mistaken and can go out through that front door and stay out." Bodie apologizes, saying he'd assumed Doyle had been leading him on as a joke. Doyle explains that he had wanted to merely have sex for comfort, but this didn't mean he was gay. Bodie and Doyle then have fabulous sex together.

Carnall was angered by the premise of "Two-Up," and wrote "Two-Up Truly Queered." Carnall quoted and summarized the original story in plain text while injecting her own commentary in boldface. She included: "Well, she's wrong. It went this way--" Carnall changed the story's ending and had Bodie react quite differently to his partner.

"Two-Up Truly Queered" generated a lot of fan discussion regarding the trope We're Not Gay We Just Love Each Other, the ethics of publicly "rewriting" another fan's story without permission, hurt feelings and supposed gafiation, fan allegiances and "taking sides," and how "Two-Up Truly Queered" wasn't really fanfiction but instead a public conversation about political and social views.

Author's Comments

Carnall wrote in 2005:

God, this one takes me back.

I wrote Two-Up Truly Queered (now in the Professionals section of my website) about 15 years ago, in response to a Jane of Australia story, "Two-Up".

[snipped]

I read "Two-Up" when I was visiting Ann: got mad: thought of a rebuttal: and when I got home, wrote the rebuttal, which is this story. It could be read as a MST3K'ing of Jane's story, but though it was written in the spirit of mockery, it was primarily written in anger. I've always been an activist, well - for almost as long as I've been out as a lesbian: and one strand of this activism has been to write political slash stories. [1]

Reactions and Reviews

1993

I don't think that a slash reader needs to be gay to notice, and eventually become, perhaps, uncomfortable with the enormous numbers of "We're not gay we just love each other stories out there."... read the wonderful pair of stories "Two Up" a typical Jane of Australia story and it's politically correct and *wonderful* rewrite "Two Up Truly Queered." [2]

1996

[That Jane of Australia said this responsefic was a reason she "withdrew from active fandom" is] a great shame. Do you know when TUTQ came out, when JoA withdrew, and when she came back? [3]

As someone with a copy of "Two-Up Truly Queered" in front of me, I want to say that Jane Carnall did not make "personal attacks on Jane of Australia's person and morals." She criticized and rewrote the *story*, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but said nothing personal about JoA. It's regrettable that JoA took it personally, as I gather she did, but it never read that way to me.

I began to write a much longer message, quoting the story to show my point, but I decided not to. If anyone wants more details, ask and I'll post you copies of TU and TUTQ and you can decide for yourself.

[Truth in Posting Dept.": Jane Carnall is a friend of mine, as I gather Jane of Australia is a friend of [B's], and I'm trying to defend her from what I think is an untrue accusation, since [B] said honestly that she hadn't seen J.C.'s story and was "paraphrasing the comments [of] others." Again, anyone who wants to see the original texts and make up her own mind can get them from me or other print circuit sources.]

[And in case it's not clear to anyone, including [B], I am NOT accusing [B] of malice in saying that Jane Carnall made personal attacks! It sounds to me as though JoA's feelings were hurt, and friends of JoA's naturally took her side, and the rumors of what J.C. had written outpaced the truth as people who hadn't seen the actual story were told about it by other angry people. [4]
At the time I thought it sounded as though JoA's feelings were hurt, and her friends naturally took her side, and the rumors of what J.C. had written outpaced the truth as people who hadn't seen the actual story were told about it by other angry people. In other words, a classic case of the distorted fandom phone tree at work.[5]

"Two-Up" is dated September 1986; "Two-Up Truly Queered" isn't dated, but I'm pretty sure I got my copy at least six or seven years ago. I'm going to first describe what Jane C. did, for people who haven't seen the original story/ies, and then I'm going to talk a bit about the larger issue, okay?

The original story, Jane of Australia's "Two-Up," is a first-time story in which Bodie and Doyle basically play a drunken game of strip coin-toss ("two-up") and discover that they're turning on to each other. After some heavy-duty smooching and admission that they both want to make love, Doyle announces "succinctly" that he's "had a hard day and want[s] to go to bed." Bodie accuses him of being a prick-tease, and Doyle absolutely explodes in rage, flinging Bodie down and sitting on him, yelling, "Don't you ever say that about me! I'm not gay, never was, don't intend to become gay, and the fact that I fancy you could have something to do with the fact that you're my best mate and you're just about the most beautiful physical specimen I've ever seen. Call me a fool, call me a clown, call me old and ugly, if you like, but if you have the idea I'm gay you're vastly mistaken and can go out through that front door and stay out." Bodie shamefacedly apologizes, admitting that he had thought Doyle was leading him on as a joke. Doyle explains that he meant he wanted to get laid in comfort, and they have the requisite great sex and happy ending.

I gather from "Two-Up Truly Queered" that Jane Carnall found the story grossly homophobic. (And she's not the only one.) She rewrote it, quoting and summarizing the original story in plain text while adding her own commentary in boldface. At the crucial moment of Doyle's explosion, she interrupted, summarized the story's ending as its author wrote it ("Jane from Australia thinks that Bodie apologized..." etc.), and concluded, "Well, she's wrong. It went this way--" She then provided her own version of the story's ending, in which Bodie reacts quite differently to Doyle's explosion and subsequent explanation.

So why did the rewrite of "Catharsis" prompt such a furious outburst, when the rewrite of "Two-Up" didn't? (Or did it, and I just never heard about it?) Here's where I'm going to talk about some wider issues.

For one thing, I think that the advent of the net has generally heightened tension about privacy, security, etc. across the board. But there are specific things at stake here. When we were having the thread about writing sequels to other people's stories, I said that one of the things that mattered greatly to me was that the correct writer always get credit (or blame, or whatever) for her own work and not for anyone else's. So there's a big difference between Fan 2 rewriting the ending of Fan 1's story and releasing the whole story under her own name, in which case Fan 2 is committing plagiarism; or under Fan 1's name, in which case Fan 2 is forcing the new ending onto Fan 1's reputation, if you see what I mean -- there isn't a name for this, but I consider it fully as abhorrent as plagiarism; or as "this is a story by Fan 1 of which I, Fan 2, have rewritten the ending from point X," which is what Jane Carnall did. As far as I can tell from the way [J] reported the case, that's also what the person who rewrote the ending of "Catharsis" did. Note also that Jane released her rewrite to the circuit, which the person who rewrote "Catharsis" did not do (although a very good case could be made that sending something out to any mailing list virtually ensures that it will hit the electronic circuit eventually).

As long as the rewrite is *clearly* (*VERY* clearly) marked to show who wrote what, I don't see anything morally wrong with this. Marking it in that way means that Fan 2 is not "blatantly stealing" Fan 1's work, to use [CH]'s phrase. (But please understand that if the rewrite isn't VERY CLEARLY marked -- so that an idiot could tell who wrote what -- I find the action quite as reprehensible as [CH] does.) It's true that my first reflexive reaction was the same anger than [AM] and others felt. Then I remembered "Two-Up Truly Queered," and thought about the issues, and changed my mind.

Fanfic, as I said before and Sandy echoed, is conversation. In "Two-Up Truly Queered," Jane Carnall was quite explicitly having a conversation with Jane of Australia -- or, if you prefer, she was debating her, before an audience of circuit readers. Rewriting a story as the person on the other list did isn't really "writing fanfiction" at all; it's engaging in literary criticism or in editorial work. (Jane Carnall was engaging in a political dispute; she wasn't concerned with Jane of Australia's writing style.) I believe that once a story is released, it is fair game for analysis and commentary -- including commentary of the "it really didn't work, and here's why, and here's how I think it could have worked much better" variety. I think, however, that rewriting a chunk of the story isn't actually a very good way to make such a point, unless it is accompanied by a lot of authorial explanation from Fan 2, pointing out what Fan 1 did that she disagrees with and what she has done instead and why. Ultimately, the rewrite would merely serve to illustrate the critical discussion. The danger in the situation as [J] described it seems to me to be that the story may find its way onto a wider circuit outside the context of its generation, where credit for who wrote what may be lost, and where Fan 2's reason for doing the rewrite at all may be forgotten.

This danger is greatly increased if the re-writer posted the complete rewritten "Catharsis" to the list. I really can't see any need to do that, when her point about writing style, or characterization, or whatever she disliked about the story, could be made just with a few choice examples. But I don't know exactly what her point was, or what she wrote, or what she posted, or how she couched and presented and marked it.

Neither does anyone else who has spoken out so far (although remember I get the digest) except [J] , and [J] didn't give details. So I don't think I have enough info to say whether I think her act was unproblematic, rude but basically inconsequential, or abhorrent. But the latter sounds unlikely.

Can anyone who was highly active in Pros fandom in the mid- or late 80s tell us if there was any fannish reaction to "Two-Up Truly Queered" other than, "Oh, look, Jane Carnall's written a response to Jane of Australia," which was my reaction? I wanted to ask the same question during the sequels-to-other-people's-stories thread -- did anyone *at the time* condemn the actions of the people who were writing sequels to "Consequences" and "Endgame" and so on? [6]

1998

I also like the idea of homophobic characters and enjoy stories where some characters are homophobic (which is pretty canonic given the macho attitude of most TV shows) - my problem is with stories where it seems that the *author* is more or less consciously homophobic. Granted that it is a personal feeling, an inference not completely explainable in a rational way, mightily influenced by one's chips on one's shoulder - sometimes the *author* feels homophobic to me, and it is a very different feeling from having homophobia portrayed in a story.

Maybe we should make a distinction in the labels - "we are not gay we just love each other" for homophobia portrayed, and "they are not gay they just love each other" for a suspicion of homophobic author? (WANGWJLEO as opposed to TANGTJLEO)

>> Do we tend to assume the writer is homophobic, rather than the character, and we're uncomfortable with that? Or what?

Exactly! Bless you for conciseness. I know that authorial intention is a very nasty can of worms - not even the author can say what s/he really "means", how can I blithely attribute them intentions? Yet the nagging suspicion is there - a reflex arc that makes my arm flex in the direction of the fireplace, thereby consigning the offending story to its funeral pyre....

It is not - in my case - confusing the subject with the writers' tastes, I repeat. I know you do not agree or do all that the characters say or do (that would be a real problem in most fandoms 8-) - it is a different factor, which I cannot exactly pinpoint. I will try with an example that I think lots of people know - "Two Up" by Jane (there is even a story written in response to it, I think it is called "Two Up Truly Queered" - who wrote it? My head has holes...)

It is a Pros story of the WANGWJLEO variety - only it is really a TANGTJLEO because the homophobic assumptions are shared by ALL characters and considered *natural* without any reflection given to them. Yes, it might still be a WANGWJLEO depicting a terribly homophobic universe - yet the impression (here we go again, fuzzy feelings - I wish I could explain) is different.

I have to say that I might be prejudiced myself - I admit to being a bit Janeophobic 8-) yet at least someone else, the author of the response felt the same. I ask myself if we are in the same situation of sexual harassment - it is if you feel it is - which is a bit of the problem if we want to attempt a classificatory definition. [7]

"Two-Up" was indeed written by Jane, who is often called "Jane of Australia" to differentiate her from Jane Carnall, who wrote "Two-Up Truly Queered" (and who is Scots). "Two-Up Truly Queered" is a commentary on and alternate version of "Two-Up," in which Jane Carnall demonstrates how homophobic she finds the original story. As does [MS], I gather, and as do I.

(In previous discussions of "Two-Up" -- not on this list -- people have occasionally rushed to assure me that "Two-Up" is a very old story of Jane's, and that she handles such issues much better now; they usually cite the Rainy Days series as evidence. For the record, I'm not talking about her current attitudes and don't want to be understood as saying that she is, present tense, homophobic, just that "Two-Up" is a homophobic story.)

If anyone would like copies of "Two-Up" and of "Two-Up Truly Queered" (they're both circuit stories), let me know, and be sure to tell me your post address. They're short, so don't worry about copying and postage costs, but if you wanted to buy me a Coke at Escapade, I wouldn't say no. [8]

Further Reading

References

  1. ^ from Jane Carnall at her online journal; archive link, February 20, 2005
  2. ^ comments by Sandy Hereld at Virgule-L, quoted with permission (June 15, 1993)
  3. ^ "Two-Up Truly Queered" was written in 1989, as per the date at the end of the story at The Circuit Archive. Jane of Australia permanently left active fandom in 2006. See Jane's Spectacular Gafiation.
  4. ^ comments on Virgule-L, quoted anonymously with permission (November 23, 1996)
  5. ^ Morgan Dawn's personal notes from 1996, accessed October 7, 2014, included with permission.
  6. ^ excerpt from Shoshanna's essay, rewriting -- it's NOT new, & other points (November 22, 1996)
  7. ^ from MS, quoted from Virgule-L with permission (January 2, 1998)
  8. ^ quoted anonymously from Virgule-L with permission (January 3, 1998)