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Some thoughts. They ramble and stray.

Pretty much everyone with an LJ has already linked to The Darth Side, but I want to take a moment to sing its praises. It's really just dazzling. Made me cry like a baby. Made me laugh out loud. Made my skin tingle. If you're one of those people who believes there's no such thing as good fanfic, you need look no further to be proved wrong:

"The Force has shaped this life of mine, from birth to this holy now."

Incidentally, here is an interesting interview with the creator. He has tremendous, spicy brains.

A little known fact: quite a few fanfic writers are also published authors in their own right. Seems like professional writers like to play in other writers' sandboxes from time to time as a sort of exercise or recreation. I am currently reading a novel by one of my favorite SG-1 slash writers. I have to confess a fear I'm having about that: her main female character describes a sort of a dislike for women. And she herself is (so far, anyway) not very likable. And I'm beginning to wonder if this might reflect a touch of misogyny in the author herself.

Sigh. I spend all this time arguing how slashers are not woman- haters, and are not perpetuating sexism in fandom. I'd really hate to have to eat my words.

I'm so weary of woman-hating-women. It's infuriating when you're having a nice conversation, and some woman perks up with the old "I really don't like women, because they're so catty and insincere" routine. She will then go on to explain how she's always been much more comfortable with men, and has hardly ever had any close friendships with women, thereby endearing herself to any men that happen to be standing around. It's as if they feel they need to affiliate themselves with the group in power by distancing themselves from their own femaleness. Like Stockholm Syndrome.

I certainly have gone rather far a field from praising The Darth Side. Well, it's my LJ. If you don't want to hear me bitch, go read the funny, angsty thing.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 23rd, 2005 07:51 pm (UTC)
i think what's most interesting about the darth side is that the author probably didn't think that he was writing fanfic, even though he very obviously was. he came from a different tradition, but with the same result.
May. 23rd, 2005 08:32 pm (UTC)
Yeah. It's funny how often I've heard people say "oh, wow. I think I've actually *written* some fic" when they recall that Star Trek episode they wrote in a creative writing class, or the alternate ending they scribbled when they hated the resolution to some X-files episode. Even movies, like "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead" can be fanfic.

I think the impulse to tinker with our favorite universes is very human.
May. 23rd, 2005 10:26 pm (UTC)
i'm personally fascinated by the idea that a fiction can become so inspiring that it attracts the imaginative power of individual creators like iron to a magnet. it happens so often, once you think about it. comic books, role playing games, mythology; famous examples of fanfiction sources include don quixote (there was a second, anonymously written, novel written about don quixote when a sequel was not immediately forthcoming, which cervantes repudiated in the real sequel) and the trojan war (the aeneid was fanfiction, as was the inferno), alice in wonderland, king arthur, beowulf, shakespeare (although the last four beg the question of whether a revision of setting counts as fanfiction). the list goes on, really.

i think that the urge to tinker is powerful, but even more powerful is the ability of the writer to capture the imagination.
May. 23rd, 2005 08:07 pm (UTC)
I quite enjoyed the Darth Side, me.

May. 23rd, 2005 08:33 pm (UTC)
May. 23rd, 2005 08:23 pm (UTC)
Your description of the sandboxes phenomenon kind of reminds of Robert Asprin's Thieves World series. I had never thought of it as fan fic before but I guess it at least has a resemblance. Now that I think about it there is a long tradition of established authors playing with each other's toy's. Especially when it comes to genre fiction
May. 23rd, 2005 08:39 pm (UTC)
Yeah, Thieves World is a great example. And weren't there also a bunch of writers who started playing around in the Cthulu mythos not too long after HPL created it?

I figure, if you're writing in a world you didn't originally create, it's fic. And that's probably why genre fiction attracts so many fic writers. It's the fantastic worlds in which things don't operate normally that are the most fun to play with.

And the minor fact that it generates a disproportionate amount of gay pr0n doesn't render it invalid as an art form, gosh darn it.
(Deleted comment)
May. 24th, 2005 02:39 pm (UTC)
I suppose you can define it however you like. The truth is, though, that while lots of fanfic is appalling dreck, there's also some that's really excellent writing. And, like it or not, the same goes for slash (which is simply a subset of fanfic). Yeah, most of it makes your eyeballs bleed, but that goes for most writing of any kind. I've had the good fortune to read some slash that's artfully executed and heartbreakingly beautiful. A few months ago I wouldn't have believed it, but I've discovered that there are some fan writers out that who put most TV writers and even a lot of seasoned novelists to shame.
May. 23rd, 2005 10:41 pm (UTC)
There's also the whole Philip Jose Farmer thing, which is, come to think of it, an extension of traditions from the pulp era. I mean, de Camp was basically writing Howard fanfic, as Bloch and Derleth were writing Lovecraft fanfic.
May. 23rd, 2005 09:02 pm (UTC)
You know, that attitude towards women used to be mine, until I met you, Nixie, Allie, etc. I wasn't *too* strong in that attitude, but I did have it, to a lesser extent, because in my experiences, esp. through high school and college, I had met maybe 2 women that I could trust until I met you guys. Every other one had betrayed my trust in some way.

Then again, I felt that way about men, too, but in a different way. Throughout high school and college, as friends, guys were always reliable, predictable, etc., during those years. I understood them. As dates/lovers/etc., however, they weren't, and I went through a brief "men suck" phase, too. And it was never said 100% seriously, it was always said with a touch of humor.

I'm actually really really thankful that I met you guys, and not just because my life would be less rich without you. :) It's because I'm glad I didn't turn into that woman that hates women. You turned it around for me. :) And men like Rob, the first serious boyfriend after my first marriage, and then of course, Chad, who is wonderful in all his Chadly ways, helped me with my attitude towards men.

Whenever I see people with those attitudes, I recognize them for the defense mechanism they are and send a wish to the universe that those people meet people who help them change that attitude.

May. 23rd, 2005 11:17 pm (UTC)
Aw, sweetie. I am touched and humbled.

Let me hasten to point out that I don't hate the women who have that attitude or anything. I can see the little grains of truth that lead them to such conclusions. After all, society has taught women well the lesson that the only way they can get what they want is to be passive aggressive and manipulative, and we are only lately unlearning that. So people can be forgiven for thinking that women tend to be passive aggressive and manipulative, you know?

Anyway, I'm really delighted if I've been any kind of positive influence. Your friendship has been a real boon to me, too, and I love you and Chad lots!
May. 23rd, 2005 11:24 pm (UTC)
We love you and Eric lots, too!

And yes, you're very right about our societal conditioning and how we draw our conclusions. I hope we the human race continue to unlearn those lessons. :)
May. 24th, 2005 05:19 am (UTC)
I remember once reading [somewhere, don't remember], "Lies are the province of women and slaves." The upshot was this: someone who approaches life from a position of enforced ignorance and powerlessness is not to be trusted, because they assume the need to get what they want by stunted and backhanded means. While it is no longer quite accurate to say that the women we meet are in that situation, the slave mentality is still encouraged among marginalized groups, generally through media stereotypes that affect the way everyone thinks of that group, and with which the group comes to identify. Misogyny and its internalized form won't go away overnight anymore than racism or homophobia will. I think it's fair to say that women who don't have a background that includes strong options for women may resent and loathe their femaleness and the negative qualities it implies to them and to others.
May. 24th, 2005 02:47 pm (UTC)
*nods emphatically*

You know, as is so often the case, I think it comes down to class and privilege. We (you and me) come from backgrounds where education and options for women are assumed and readily available. We're fortunate like that. And at least for me, discovering the whole "loathsome women with slave mentality" thing came as a rude awakening once I was "out in the world". There wasn't much of it in North Arlington when I was a kid.
May. 26th, 2005 02:17 pm (UTC)
It *does* always come back to power and powerlessness, doesn't it? Us enlightened, endquote, folk nowadays don't fear black people, and yet going through a poor black neighborhood at night makes us fearful, besides feel like hypocrites. It really does have nothing to do with race or gender or religion or whatnot, and everything to do with perceptions of people who might express their justified frustration with their position on those in a better place. It won't be truly over untiil the whole power-over, me vs you, competing for resources system of thinking goes away. Slavery never lasts, but it will just swap around places until the system is addressed.
Hope it happens before hell freezes over, but I don't have my hopes up high - humans tend to be pretty dumb until catastrophe forces them to change.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )



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