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Tumblr is weird.

For a whole lot of reasons, but for me one of the biggest ones is how...disconnected I feel from it. I'm constantly encountering things on it that surprise/confound/irritate me, but I rarely feel comfortable bringing them up on tumblr itself, because I feel like any opinion I express there is liable to be reblogged and taken out of context and get me flamed in six months because dating on folks' blogs is erratic (really now what's the point of a blog with no visible dates?!) Safer to just stick to squee and baby elephants. (and other animals. but baby elephants, guys!)

On lj I rarely felt this hesitant to express myself, because it's a platform I feel comfortable debating on (sometimes a little too comfortable, apologies; but I did get better...) I'd always have the comments to explain myself if I mispoke, and if I was really worried about being misunderstood, I could f-lock. It's definitely possible to debate on Tumblr, people do all the time; but it doesn't work for me personally, to reblog rather than having comment thread discussions, and to have no way to limit yourself to a personal social circle.

Anyway. Am thinking about this at the moment because Welcome to Night Vale fandom has a lot of Opinions, some of which confuse me quite a lot...

For instance, there's this tumblr submissions blog consensualnightvale, for consensual Cecil/Carlos fanwork recs and headcanons, because, to quote, "when sex between Cecil and Carlos is represented within the fandom, it’s often nonconsensual or abusive. And considering at least one of them is canonically POC, it’s important that they’re shown to have a healthy and loving sex life." This is a great sentiment, I quite agree; what confuses me is that as far as I can tell, 99% of the fandom agrees with it as well.

WTNV fandom can be terrifying and incredibly judgmental, in some areas of Tumblr anyway, where some fans come down on other fans harder than the Sheriff's Secret Police after a baguette supplier. But the wank I've seen is about identity-related issues, not noncon. In the past months, I've read (or at least opened/skimmed), probably half the WTNV fic on AO3, including a lot of smut, because that's what a lot of it is and I want fic bad. So I can say with some confidence that, in spite of the dark turns the canon can take, Cecil/Carlos is one of the fluffiest, sweetest ships I've ever read, with erotica to match; far from it "often" being abusive, there is practically zero non-con and surprisingly little dubcon. And I'm not just saying that as, say, a Clex fan; SGA's McShep had way more, and more dubious, dubcon; and they're one of the fluffiest pairings I know!

There is a lot of Cecil/Carlos kink, to be sure. Like the oodles of tentacle fic, but I don't think I've seen actual tentacle rape. The standard Cecil/Carlos tentacle fic goes:

"Oh Carlos, I love you so but I'm a little nervous to, ah, go all the way..."
"Of course, Cecil, we can take it as slowly as you want; but why are you nervous?"
"You see, I have some *blush* unusual anatomy..."
"I don't want to make you do anything you don't want to, of course; but if you wouldn't mind, you could show me?"
"Well..." *unzips*
"OMG CECIL THAT IS AMAZING PLEASE LET US HAVE THE SEX RIGHT NOW WITH THOSE LOVELY TENTACLES...if that's all right with you?"
"OH CARLOS, YOU ARE PERFECT!"
*3K words of tender and detailed tentacle sexing ensues*

Seriously, that's like 100 fics in the WTNV section. (with variants - like this one in which Cecil is a full-blown eldritch abomination whose mid-coitus appearance can literally drive a human mad and Carlos is totally up for doing it anyway; or this one in which Cecil is the one surprised by Carlos's totally normal anatomy.) There's a fair bit of other kinks, e.g. Dom/sub is popular; but most of what I've seen is painstakingly negotiated and educated. Voyeurism via Cecil's clairvoyance is probably the most common edge case, but as fic tropes go that's pretty mild. And I have yet to see a BDSM AU or an Alpha/Omega AU or any of the other more dubconny AUs; or much in the way of any popular dubcon tropes, despite how open the canon is to them. (I suspect a lot of that is because those tropes are often used to instigate a relationship between chars who present as platonic/straight in canon, while in WTNV the chars are canonically queer and involved and so you don't need any hooks to get them together?)

The little non-con I have seen is outside of Cecil/Carlos - there's a subset of Desert Bluff/Strex fans who naturally like it dark, and a bit of rapist!Steve Carlsberg as a device to forward the Cecil/Carlos; but that's the minority. I think I've seen one? fic that had Cecil as a stalker and Carlos genuinely not interested (maybe it went non-con, didn't read that far.)

So I'm genuinely curious about the non-con/abusive Cecil/Carlos this consensual blog mentions - whether they're just reading a different set of fic (maybe there was a spate of non-con before I joined the fandom?) Or is it the same fic, but they're reading it entirely differently from me? (I admit, sometimes my non-con detector is miscalibrated...I have read a lot of BL manga...) Or was it intended to exclude specific parts of fandom, or be anti-kink, but worded generally to dodge wank? Or are they not talking about fic at all, but headcanons? I'd like to talk about it, to get an idea of whether I'd have any place there - but I have no idea how to ask such a question on Tumblr that doesn't run the risk of starting up a firestorm, and it's not worth it. Especially not here, where it seems like every conversation I've seen about identity issues in WTNV tumblr fandom within 24 hours devolves to anons telling people to kill themselves. It's...really unpleasant. Which is a shame because the canon is so permissive and its creators so welcoming of fandom, and a lot of the fic and art are brilliant, and I'd like to get to know some of my fellow fans better; but I have yet to figure out how to navigate tumblr such that I can relate in more depth than casual squee, without plunging headlong into wank.

Comments

( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
alessandriana
Mar. 14th, 2014 02:55 am (UTC)
I'm not in WTNV fandom (slowly listening to the podcasts, but haven't touched fic yet), but... in my experience, tumblr has a tendency to see one or two examples of something and take it as a whole TREND that must be REACTED TO. In one of my other fandoms, an actor recently said something controversial about a popular pairing, and there were maybe five or six posts (that I could see in the tag, anyway) by people saying that while they understood the actor had a right to his opinions, they were unhappy and disappointed by it. Then there were the thirty posts that came after that. 'WHY do you all HATE T-Pose SO MUCH!!,' 'He was just SPEAKING THE TRUTH' etc etc. Dunno if that's what happened in WTNV, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Edited at 2014-03-14 02:56 am (UTC)
xparrot
Mar. 14th, 2014 09:58 am (UTC)
Yes, a lot of Tumblr fandom seems dedicated to reacting to things happening elsewhere in fandom with as much passion as possible...squee spreads quickly, but so does everything else. And the "trends" often spring up so fast that a day after the fact it can be hard to trace back to the source, so all you see is the reaction...
alessandriana
Mar. 14th, 2014 12:02 pm (UTC)
Urf. Yes. It's great for meme generation, but not so great for, say, reasoned discussion. Or knowing what the eff is going on.
sholio
Mar. 14th, 2014 02:57 am (UTC)
Tumblr ... yeah; I have that exact problem too, where I'm not comfortable making posts that are potentially provocative, or basically anything more controversial than "here is a pretty thing, and my thoughts on the pretty thing". I feel so exposed posting opinions there, especially since people on Tumblr don't exactly have a habit of sticking to thoughtful commentary rather than commentary of the "YOUR MOTHER'S FACE" variety. XD Which is not to say there's no thoughtful commentary on Tumblr -- some of it is very insightful and great! -- and LJ is not exactly a bastion of reasonable dialogue at all times either. But ... the idea of sending a poor little opinion out into the wild on Tumblr is much scarier to me than posting opinions on LJ, where, like you said, you control the discussion and if it gets to be too much, you can just lock it down.

... actually, I wonder if this is why Tumblr culture is (in)famously hostile about being linked to, because it's a way of exerting control in a medium in which people have very little control to begin with. (Which is probably a very negative way of viewing Tumblr; on the bright side, the way it's set up makes it very democratic -- I don't really notice BNF-dom being as much of a thing in Tumblr fan culture, though maybe it's just that I don't really fan over there enough to have noticed ...)

Anyway, on the actual topic of your post XD, it does kinda sound to me like people mistaking tentacles for noncon (to be charitable) or wanting those icky tentacles out of their fic (to be cynical). Of course, I'm not actually IN the fandom, so my impression of it is solely based on what wanders across my tumblr dash and/or flist ...

ETA: Of all the fandoms, how does WTNV not have A/B/O. XD As long as it wasn't everybody, you could probably drop a few A/B/O people into the mix and they'd fit right in ...

Edited at 2014-03-14 03:03 am (UTC)
xparrot
Mar. 14th, 2014 10:15 am (UTC)
"Exposed", yesssss that's the word for it. Exposed and yet stifled at the same time, because anything you say can be caught up and passed around, but the follow-ups you post may be completely ignored. Most people who read a popular post of yours will never see the rest of your blog at all (at least as far as I can tell...a lot of times I have difficulty even following who exactly said what in a reblogged tumblr conversation; with quotes 3 layers deep it can be tricky to read the indentations. On lj if I read a comment I had opinions about I'd often go to the poster's own journal to see more. I do that with tumblr sometimes but not nearly as much...)

Tumblr culture is hostile about being linked to - from outside Tumblr? Hmm, I didn't know about that...can you tell more? (I do find Tumblr culture fascinating to explore, at least, even if I'm not comfortable there...)

And yeah...there are some BNFs in Tumblr fandom still - though their influence is maybe less extensive. And from what I've seen in WTNV and Loki fandom, they're not fanfic writers anymore, but fanartists (the most popular of whom inspire tons of fic and headcanons) and the fans who run submission-type blogs (they can get a fair bit of power as they act as gatekeepers, only posting submissions they approve of, and some of those blogs will have a thousand+ followers?)

A commenter below explained some of the story here (it sounds like the blog was originally in reaction to a particular BNF-y artist in the fandom whose tastes run a bit darker than some like...)

And yeah, I know, WTNV fandom is wild not just for what it has but for what it doesn't have! I just checked AO3 and there's only one fic tagged for A/B/O, and it's not super well-known or anything. I couldn't tell you why it's not - BDSM is quite popular, and about an even mix of who is cast as sub vs dom (at least from what I've seen); but not A/B/O. I also wrote a vampire fic and was surprised to find it was only the second WTNV story with vampires that I could find, other than some Buffy crossovers...
sholio
Mar. 14th, 2014 04:28 pm (UTC)
Tumblr culture is hostile about being linked to - from outside Tumblr? Hmm, I didn't know about that...can you tell more?

I can't remember the exact details, but a year or two ago, there was a wankstorm when a large media blog (again, can't remember which one) linked to several Tumblr fans by way of attribution for whatever topic the article was talking about, and this led to a lot of fury from the Tumblr fen over being linked to without their permission, and a lot of confusion/wtfery from the old-school fen because ... linking is something you have to ask permission for now? Sadly I can't remember what it was in response to well enough to google for it, because it was a really interesting clash of old fanning styles versus new ...

There was a more recent example when Aja on the Daily Dot wrote this post and the Tumblr linkee got really pissed off about being linked to without asking, although in that case it's really MUCH less about linking etiquette as simply the fact that she apparently got epically trolled by SPN fans after the article went up .... and, seriously Aja, you've never heard of someone changing fandoms and keeping their old fandom name? But again, it was framed in terms of "linking to me without asking is bad" -- I'd actually discovered this mess by way of seeing a reblog of one of her posts talking about "people are linking things without permission, bastards" (or words to that effect) but when I actually got to her blog and read what was going on, I found myself basically on her side .... (I wish I could find her posts about it, but this was months ago so they're irrevocably buried in an endless sea of reblogs and asks ...)

I kinda think a big part of it is just that Tumblr people don't have the same vocabulary for talking about stuff -- a combination of being younger and not being in the same social circles as media fen ... so where someone from LJ might frame the issue in terms of social power dynamics (i.e. someone from a big blog has way more social capital than someone from a little blog who's being linked to and getting inundated with a lot of unwanted attention; so would approach trying to get them to stop it from that angle) Tumblr people are more likely to frame it in terms of linking etiquette, and to say "You're linking without my permission, stop it" (and then completely fail to understand why that doesn't get the desired response, because the fen they're talking to are thinking "but you don't NEED permission to link!" and dismissing the issue, when that's not actually what the real issue is).
xparrot
Mar. 14th, 2014 09:32 pm (UTC)
Ahhh, I see. And yeah, that does seem to be miscommunication and different vocabulary. I wonder if it has any relation to the attribution wars that constantly rage across Tumblr, about unattributed art and such - people only want reblogs, not linking...
ravenmoonart
Mar. 14th, 2014 07:22 am (UTC)
I can maybe explain a little of this, as I close to ground zero when consentualnightvale was formed.

A lot of what they are talking about is fic and art passed around on Tumblr itself...some of it very minimally tagged with warnings, or not tagged at all. One well known artist (whose art also inspires a lot of fic) is actively hostile to the idea of trigger warnings.

That particular blog started up right after another user had a horrific (and very public)emotional breakdown after seeing a triggery piece of noncon artwork.

I do think the tolerance for certain things are also pretty low in the Tumblr WTNV community due to a LOT of these folks never having been involved in other fandoms. The canon nature of the couple makes people a bit hyperprotective as well.

I keep dodging in and out of this fandom myself. I adore the show, but the fandom skews SO young, and so very very intense.

xparrot
Mar. 14th, 2014 10:41 am (UTC)
Ahh, thank you for explaining! I really was curious where it came from. (am still somewhat curious, as I've seen quite a bit of the artist's work - I'm making an educated guess that you're referring to the artist formerly known as nazi-nurse? - and I don't recall seeing any Cecil/Carlos noncon, just the Desert Bluffs stuff (which isn't really to my taste, but...))

The existence of the consensualnightvale blog itself I found totally reasonable - making a guaranteed safe space promoting what you like is one of my preferred ways of dealing with fandom! And a lot of the content of the old blog seemed cute (I found it from your reblogs) - but not knowing the history, some of the attitude of it was a bit off-putting; implying that the majority of the fandom was into an abusive reading of the pairing made me question how "abusive" was being defined. That it's arguing against a particular corner of fandom makes more sense.

...I do hold Tumblr itself responsible for a lot of this. >.> Unmoderated tags instead of communities, and uncut art posts, make it much harder for people to monitor their own fandom feeds, which means fandom is naturally inclined to put more of the onus on fan creators to warn/tag/police - to an extent I feel is unfair. It's more difficult to avoid fans who are doing stuff you don't care for; and so rather than "live and let live there's more a sense of "we as a fandom are obliged to judge what is right and proper" (as defined by any individual fan).

Also, so young and so very intense, as you say (that's something that throws me off a bit, as the WTNV fanfic writers I think skew somewhat older and experienced - at least, several of the big early fic were written by names I'm familiar with from fandoms years ago, though most of them tragically seemed to have already dropped out by the time I joined - but Tumblr is so young, and WTNV fandom on Tumblr is so young...and I love the enthusiasm and passion of new fans but at the same time, it can get...stressful!)

--Also, hi~! Nice to "meet" you, after stalking you on Tumblr (I needed more WTNV on my dashboard, I enjoy what you post! :D) --erm and if you're new to my lj, the hugely long comment here isn't me arguing or anything, I just tend to ramble in comments. A lot. When a topic interests me, anyway ^^; Feel free to ramble back or let it lie fallow, whatever you prefer!

(also you're from Alaska? Neat! For some reason I know a lot of Alaskan fen...)

Edited at 2014-03-14 10:41 am (UTC)
ravenmoonart
Mar. 14th, 2014 03:36 pm (UTC)
No, no, not new to your LJ...Ive been had you on my friends list for years! I came across your journal thanks to my friend Sholio...which may explain your unexpected Alaska connection, by the way, lol!

Yes yes yes, to all that basically. Tumblrs format is terrible for content filtering. Also awful for making contact with people, or having actual coherant conversation. For me, the fact that my askbox is largely non functional doesnt help. Compound that with clashing priorities and high emotions and it can make for a messy and stressful combo. There a HIDIOUS drama storm going on currently (involving some obvious trolling) that is pitting the asexual (wtnv) community against the POC wtnv community, and its bad enough that Ive backed away fromTumblr NV altogether untill it sorts itself out. Ugh, seriously, what the hell people?

I very rarely post original content there, although Im playing around with that more. As an artist, Im deeply uncomfortable with a lot of the behavior I see there,(art theft, loss of artist credit, editing etc) so for now Im keeping my actual artwork offscreen, and sticking with talking about technique and medium only. This may change, as I do think its a cool networking tool, but Im really wary.
xparrot
Mar. 14th, 2014 09:45 pm (UTC)
No, no, not new to your LJ...Ive been had you on my friends list for years! I came across your journal thanks to my friend Sholio...which may explain your unexpected Alaska connection, by the way, lol!

Whoops, so you have! ^^; Apologies, until I have multiple conversations with people I have a terrible tendency to forget usernames ^^;;;;

Tumblr's askbox, AAAAAGH (if you privately reply to a message it not only doesn't save your reply but deletes the original message, WTFFFFF~~~!) And yeah, the limits on having conversations definitely doesn't help the conflicts that go on (...I've tracked some of the recent WTNV asexuality wank, wtfwtfwtf. I don't know if I've ever seen the debate before that someone's headcanon counts as representation, what a bizarre argument...)

And yeah, much as I appreciate how Tumblr has strengthened and encouraged fanart in Western fandom, the art-stealing is awful. I've seen it for years in anime fandom (English-speaking fen all too often don't seem to care if they're posting a Japanese fan's art unattributed) but even more prevalent on Tumblr and with less reason (the people who report art after editing out the attribution in particular, that's a special brand of disrespect...)
ravenmoonart
Mar. 15th, 2014 08:05 pm (UTC)
The art issue is a real dilema for me. On one hand, I dont use Tumblr as a professional "exposure" venue for my art, since I dont really see a huge market there for Alaskan regional artwork...but I often want to send encouragment to young artists who are starting out, and my insistance that they are actually REALLY GOOD dammit, and could make a go of it as a career, would hold more weight if they could see that I know what the heck Im talking about!

I also do a small smattering of fanart, and putting it up might make more sence, but yeeesh...the art theft thing, if it happened to me would really piss me off.

just an aside, but its amusing to me how many of us are commenting here in the form of loooong essay-like writeups. Lots of tumblr frustration built up, glad its not just me!
ravenmoonart
Mar. 14th, 2014 07:27 am (UTC)
Just an addendum to the above comment...Im ravenstolethesun on Tumblr...We follow each other, so a little of that drama my have come to you via my blog...Sorry about that!
joonscribble
Mar. 14th, 2014 11:42 pm (UTC)
Warning: a huge comment ahead...

While I do have a Tumblr account and use it, I tend to interact sparingly with the Night Vale fandom. Tumblr I think overall tends to have a youngish crowd so there is the drama that just occurs when you're dealing with people of a certain age. Not all, obviously but the odds are high.

I've often run across things I've wanted to comment on but when the issues are huge such as race, sexual orientation, and gender identity, a simple one liner won't cut it. You need to write an entire paper to really get your thoughts across but then you run into tl;dr. So instead Tumblr forces you to reduce it down to two lines which almost always means someone won't understand your meaning and start calling you a monster.

Ironically, I think what makes WTNV a particularly reactive fandom is because the show itself is so inclusive and tries to be representative of many different groups that have often been marginalized. This means it will draw in fans who are often within these marginalized groups. And from my personal experience, having many members of different marginalized groups interacting and being possessive of a fandom can lead to some intense fighting where no one comes out looking very good.

I do get it. Just speaking from a race perspective, I remember being the only non-white kid in an all white school and living in a completely white neighborhood. I grew up watching media where all people who looked like me were either used for comedic effect ("Those crazy Asians and their crazy accents!") or sexualized ("I've got the yellow fever, baby!"). I'm in my 30s and still particular things will pull me to start firing off so I understand why most of the young portion of the fandom will rise up to speak against something they deem an "ism."

But what I find very troubling and something that I really don't know if people will ever get it until you just live a little longer is that there is a fine line between defending your group to not be disrespected versus defending your group by disrespecting other groups. Most of the wars that happen on Tumblr around race, sexual orientation, and gender identity seem to make them exclusive categories with very little room for intersectionality or acknowledging the idea that you can be a minority in one respect but a privileged person in another respect.

I find it kind of hilarious that the sanest fandom I've run across on Tumblr is for Hannibal. People have speculated that it might be that it has older fans or perhaps the fans have taken on the Hannibal message of not being rude lest a cannibal eat you.
xparrot
Mar. 15th, 2014 12:47 am (UTC)
(ahahah *bad Australian accent* "That's not a huge comment, THIS is a huge comment!")

Yeah, I tend to stay out of extensive identity conversations anyway, for a number of reasons (the most major one being I don't feel I have that much personally to add to most of them, or at least not enough to be worth potentially hurting/upsetting people over.) But Tumblr's communication style especially is not conducive to reasoned debate and is encouraging of short and pointed. Which I think is why arguments on Tumblr can go ad hominem so quickly, since those attacks can be brief and emotionally effective.

The age of the WTNV Tumblr fandom is definitely a big part of it as well. Tumblr fandom in general skews younger - the WTNV AO3 fanfic writers I think average a bit older, at least several of the names on the first fic I recognize from fandoms past. But on Tumblr the majority afaict is under-20, and feeling very intensely about everything. Anime fandom used to be really young (I think it's gotten a bit older now as people in it aged!) and often got similarly heated. Tumblr I think skews young in part simply because it's a new platform, and those tend to be draw more young folk looking for their first online communities, while as us older ones are slower to shift over from what we have already (lj used to be younger - a lot of us on it still were in their teens or 20s when they first joined....) But it does leave me feeling "get off my lawn!" at times...

Ironically, I think what makes WTNV a particularly reactive fandom is because the show itself is so inclusive and tries to be representative of many different groups that have often been marginalized.

Yeah, I think this is true! I also have been wondering if some of the conflict is because the canon is doing so much better than average, that fans, rather than uniting to criticize and condemn the canon, instead turn their critical eye on one another?

It's frustrating to me on both a personal and a more general level, because I've fanned quite a lot on small fandoms with minority/marginalized-group characters that weren't very popular, and it's lovely to have one that's actually a larger fandom...but the fandom is so contentious that I'm hesitant to get more involved than I am, or to invite others into it. And that's the opposite of what we want!

"Possessiveness", yeah, I've seen a lot of that - it's usual for any fans, but it's more intense in WTNV than a lot. Sometimes I honestly can't tell if people are feeling more strongly because they're identifying with the chars more than they usually can - or, if I'm feeling more cynical, they're just using the language of identification and representation because it's available to them. (I mean, in my experience in fandom, there are always a number of fans who are obsessive about their OTPs and will defend them fanatically using all available ammunition. In WTNV fandom, one of the big pluses for Cecil/Carlos is that they're a positive representation of a gay couple, and that will come up as an argument for why no fan should ever imagine them breaking up, making their relationship dark, making them asexual, etc, etc, because it will somehow lessen their representative impact. But given that I've seen equally intense arguments about non-canonical OTPs in other fandosm, I'm not entirely convinced it's all about having positive gay icons, rather than being equally or more about fans protecting their OTP...)

But what I find very troubling and something that I really don't know if people will ever get it until you just live a little longer is that there is a fine line between defending your group to not be disrespected versus defending your group by disrespecting other groups.

Yeah...this is something about the online identity debates that has always concerned me. Also from the "allies" side, you'll get people roundly condemning and disrespecting their own groups...and I get why it happens, it's assuaging guilt and proving your own enlightenment, etc; but it's not an effective way to change peoples' minds, and it can be co-opting genuine anger and hurt in the name of making yourself look good or feel better.

(tbc!)
xparrot
Mar. 15th, 2014 12:47 am (UTC)
Most of the wars that happen on Tumblr around race, sexual orientation, and gender identity seem to make them exclusive categories with very little room for intersectionality or acknowledging the idea that you can be a minority in one respect but a privileged person in another respect.

This! This so much. Also a lot of the Tumblr stuff concerning race in particular is really American-centric in ways that can ironically be racist in their own right. A Korean-American and a Korean-Japanese are both going to experience racism, but of extremely different varieties. And likewise the experiences of a Latino American man or an African American man or an Asian America man are going to be very different, even if they are all "Americans of color"; but a lot of debates will conflate them for the sake of making a point.

...and yeah, I don't ever want to get into this on Tumblr because it's a terrible platform to have this kind of conversation on, but it means I find myself gritting my teeth and taking a step or three back sometimes.

Hannibal being a sane fandom - ahahah. Yeah, I bet the average age of the fandom is a big part of that...(I'd like to be in a fandom a little more low-key, but Hannibal is way too dark for me... ^^;;;;;)
joonscribble
Mar. 15th, 2014 01:06 am (UTC)
(ahahah *bad Australian accent* "That's not a huge comment, THIS is a huge comment!")

Heehee! I always apologize for long comments whenever I comment on someone else's LJ and it goes longer than two paragraphs. But it's good to know mine wasn't huge by your standards!

I also have been wondering if some of the conflict is because the canon is doing so much better than average, that fans, rather than uniting to criticize and condemn the canon, instead turn their critical eye on one another?

Huh, does this mean that where there's a fan, there has to be criticism going somewhere? It actually does sort of make sense because being a fan is about a media output that captures your attention in a huge way. This means that at some point you've obsessively stared at it, analyzed it, and probably found some things lacking. Or other fans lacking.

I'm not entirely convinced it's all about having positive gay icons, rather than being equally or more about fans protecting their OTP...

I'm starting to lean toward your hypothesis. There's something about the "possessiveness" again which I think drives this sort of hating when fans start to disagree. People on Tumblr seem to view not agreeing with something as a personal attack which I just don't understand. In a fandom where Cecil can literally look like anything and the show creators have said so, it surprises me how many fans denigrate certain images of Cecil because they actively believe it's an attack on their personal image of him. It's moments like that which make me really go, "Ah, teenage narcissism. It's not all about you. Really."

At the same time, I'm actively aware of how much I try to avoid the issue of describing what my personal images of Carlos and Cecil look like when writing Stranger. I'll describe everything else but that.

A Korean-American and a Korean-Japanese are both going to experience racism, but of extremely different varieties. And likewise the experiences of a Latino American man or an African American man or an Asian America man are going to be very different, even if they are all "Americans of color"; but a lot of debates will conflate them for the sake of making a point.

Yes! There's also this interesting idea or myth that racial minority groups are always in a more enlightened position with respect to other racial groups. We also all hold some sort of stereotype and stereotype others no matter how much we'd rather believe we don't.

(I'd like to be in a fandom a little more low-key, but Hannibal is way too dark for me... ^^;;;;;)

The show is brutal. But I love how cheery the cast and crew of the show are as well as the fandom in general. Some of the more comical blogs to appear on Tumblr related to Hannibal have been golden. My personal favorites being RL ridiculous texts against images from the show and Everyday Hannibal for anyone who wonders if Hannibal microwaves leftovers like the rest of us normals.
xparrot
Mar. 15th, 2014 01:51 am (UTC)
People on Tumblr seem to view not agreeing with something as a personal attack which I just don't understand. In a fandom where Cecil can literally look like anything and the show creators have said so, it surprises me how many fans denigrate certain images of Cecil because they actively believe it's an attack on their personal image of him. It's moments like that which make me really go, "Ah, teenage narcissism. It's not all about you. Really."

Yeah. Some of that is definitely not just Tumblr; you see it whenever a fan anywhere expresses dislike of something another fan likes - it's so often seen as a personal attack. But WTNV is one of the few fandoms I know in which fans can both love the same character and yet hate one another for loving him in the "wrong" way. Drawing or writing a Cecil that doesn't look like your Cecil headcanon is not invalidating your own headcanon, since it has no impact on the actual canon... (I'm also a little surprised/horribly amused by how freely a few fans make accusations of blanket racism against people who depict Cecil as white, even though most of them still make Carlos clearly non-white. Not to say that there might not be some racism involved; but seriously, if they're accepting Carlos's canonical identity and love and ship him, odds are they're not white supremacists...?)

At the same time, I'm actively aware of how much I try to avoid the issue of describing what my personal images of Carlos and Cecil look like when writing Stranger. I'll describe everything else but that.

Heh, yeah, I avoid descriptions myself...for me it comes easily, I'm not a visual thinker or writer, description is something I have to put effort into. When I first began writing especially people used to complain that they had no idea what my characters looked like, because I never described their physical appearance. For once that habit's a feature, not a bug!

Hannibal fandom does look terrible entertaining, I admit! And I do love a good bit of black comedy...but the show, just, agh, I couldn't take it...
sholio
Mar. 15th, 2014 05:32 am (UTC)
Drawing or writing a Cecil that doesn't look like your Cecil headcanon is not invalidating your own headcanon, since it has no impact on the actual canon

Out of all these interesting comments, naturally the thing that makes me stop and threadjack is completely tangential to the point (except in the sense of analyzing Tumblr fandom behind its back ^^;;;) ... but does it seem to you that Tumblr fen use "headcanon" differently than people in the LJ/DW branch of Western media fandom? It's hard for me to put my finger on it, exactly, except that some of the usage doesn't sound right -- or at least doesn't sound quite like the sense in which I'm used to "headcanon" being used in fannish discussions around LJ. The difference is both semantic and grammatical -- that is, on LJ it seems like "headcanon" is used as a noncount noun (something that works grammatically like "water" as opposed to something that occurs in discreet instances like a cat or a tree), whereas on Tumblr it can be inflected in a variety of ways that sound "incorrect" to me, and it also seems as if the Tumblr usage, while similar, has shades of meaning that the LJ usage doesn't.
xparrot
Mar. 15th, 2014 09:51 am (UTC)
--There is always time & room for analysis of fan-linguistics! :D

To be honest I don't recall really using "headcanon" much on livejournal at all? I may be misremembering, but to me the word seems quite new, something I've only been using for the past couple of years. (Now I wish I had an easy way to search my lj entries to figure out if this is true...?) I don't recall, for instance, saying I had any headcanons for SGA. Before it was "fanon", but "headcanon", for personal interpretations, to me is mostly a Tumblr word anyway. (I want to say that Homestuck was the first fandom I encountered it in, but could be wrong?) And while "fanon" is an uncountable noun - I've never heard people say "there are many fanons", but rather "there is a lot of crazy fanon in this fandom!" - headcanon I usually see, and use myself, as countable, e.g. "I have multiple headcanons for Cecil."

How do you see headcanon used/how do you use it? For me it's kind of a combo of one's personal fanon and one's fanwank explanations for things...
sholio
Mar. 15th, 2014 10:02 am (UTC)
You should have a search box for your LJ in the upper right-hand corner ...? I do, anyway, and I just tried searching for "headcanon" on my LJ and found the first mention in Jan. 2012. Which is definitely pre-Tumblr for me, but it certainly could have come to LJ from Tumblr, and I picked it up that way .... Actually, I'm really surprised it's that recent, because I thought it went a lot farther back than that. :D You're right, though, that "fanon" used to be the word, but I think "headcanon" has taken over from it in most fannish contexts; that's the one I primarily see now.

And as far as how I use it, I guess I've always used it in the same ways that I would use "canon", except to mean "the version of canon that's in my head" -- so I don't think that "multiple headcanons" would be a grammatical usage for me; if I were trying to get that meaning across, I guess I'd say "I have conflicting headcanon for this". It's possible that the issue is just that I have a fairly idiosyncratic way of using the word, though ...
xparrot
Mar. 18th, 2014 12:35 am (UTC)
Ahah! I didn't have the navigation bar showing on my lj, so didn't have the journal-specific search (I looked everyone but couldn't find it until I enabled the bar, wtf lj >.>) When I did enable it - I actually found someone (an anime fan) using "headcanon" in my comments in 2009; but my own first use was mid-2012. So the word is older than I thought but I wasn't employing it. (and maybe it came over from anime fandom?)

--no wait, I actually used "head-canon" in 2011, on a Gintama fic. So yeah, very likely an anime thing, I'd say?

When I use it as a noun I make it countable, "a headcanon", "this is going to ruin all my headcanons" - sometimes I use it as an adjective, e.g. "My headcanon Cecil" as opposed to "my headcanon of Cecil". But not sure if that's standard or idiosyncratic myself!
ah_chan
Mar. 15th, 2014 04:26 pm (UTC)
UGH Tumblr! Pardon me while I rant about Tumblr, and fandom moving to Tumblr vs LJ or dreamwidth. Tumblr has two great killer features for me 1) the idea of reblogs is actually pretty awesome, in that if used correctly, it's incredibly easy to track things back to their source, and to share things, with added commentary if you want to as well 2) the integrated image uploading is something I think DW desperately needs if it ever wants to be picked up more (I would drop Tumblr for posting purposes like a hot potato if DW offered proper image hosting).

But those two features are killed by the implementation 1) like you say, it is incredibly difficult to navigate through conversations on Tumblr - comments and reblogs get lost in likes (WHY CAN'T THEY LIST THE LIKES OUT SEPARATELY?), and there's no one place to see all the threads of the conversation; commenting is extremely restricted both in word count and in who can comment; and like you say, the lack of visible dating on many layouts/entries is INFURIATING; 2) I do not get the way Tumblr processes images, mine always turn out blurry even following guides, particularly if they're longer horizontally than vertically.

Blogspot sounds like it actually now offers a lot of the features LJ was good for plus more, but fandom seems pretty much non-existent on it. It being run by google also makes me a tad leery. *sigh*
xparrot
Mar. 18th, 2014 07:51 am (UTC)
Yes, Tumblr's image hosting is great in its simplicity - which is the main reason I am glad it's become a fannish platform, as it means there's more fanart for Western media than ever before! But yeah, the implementation makes it so difficult to use it for socializing. I really don't understand why you can't render every Tumblr page in your own personal style (especially in the case of Tumblr layouts that lack dates, or posting histories, wtf?!) and why you can't see all comments/reblogs-with-notes for every post - a tree like that would be so useful! Siiiiigh...as it is I don't think Tumblr is ever going to be quite what I want, so I'm just left hoping that a new fannish platform comes along sooner rather than later...
stitcher2ficcer
Mar. 16th, 2014 05:16 pm (UTC)
I haven't been here for quite a while and have not read this entire thread, but I've read or skimmed quite a lot of it and have found the aspects of the discussion on the behavior of young fen vs. that of "older," more experienced fen rather interesting given my particular perspective and relationship to you. I agree that you and your peers in the 30+ age range who have been involved with online fandom since the mid-90s do, in fact, qualify as "older, more experienced." But what does that make us in the 50s/60s range who may not have been online any longer than you, but have been practicing fans in one way or another for rather a lot longer?! Your dad, I'm afraid, applied the term "elderly fans" when I mentioned this to him. I REFUSE to accept that label!

Very interesting post. My brief encounters with your and your sister's Tumblr accounts certainly put me off of Tumblr. Trying to follow things there is even more distasteful to me than trying to participate on Facebook. I just don't see the point of excessive soundbites about daily life or fandom absent possibilities for discussion and without a reliable mechanism for returning to the original source of a thread and the previous thoughts expressed about it... or maybe I'm just reacting to the sense that no thought is expressed--just disjointed clips of sight and sound detached from thoughtfulness and intellectual consideration. I still prefer LJ to any other social exchange forum I've tried.
ravenmoonart
Mar. 16th, 2014 10:17 pm (UTC)
Just stepping in to wave at you in solidarity...50 year old fangirl over here! We really should come up with a cool-sounding moniker for ourselves.
xparrot
Mar. 18th, 2014 12:26 am (UTC)
Well, better than "ancient fans"! :P

And yes, as I was saying to you, Tumblr works best if you're interested in a specific subject and are looking for more content with it, rather than for discussion-style fandom. I do think you might be able to get into it if you found active crafts-related blogs, but it would never satisfy the same things that lj does...
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