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Tony Grist

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Fandom [Aug. 4th, 2007|12:12 pm]
Tony Grist
Fandom- I don't get it.

Why would you want to mess with someone else's characters when you can create your own?

Does J.K. Rowling take pleasure in badly written stories about her characters having sex?  I doubt it.  Why- If you admire and enjoy her work - would you want to disrespect her so? 

Isn't "fan" a bit of a misnomer?

But lets move from the general to the specific. An artist just got banned by LJ because of an image she posted of Harry and Snape.

Only the banning seems ineffective because she's bounced back and the image is viewable. (I'm not giving links. I don't want to give her any more publicity than she's getting already).

I clicked. I was expecting an image of them kissing. Boy, was I in for a surprise.

The characters were clearly modelled on Daniel Radcliffe and Alan Rickman. Isn't this defamation of character or libel of something?

Even more to the point:  British comedian Chris Langham is about to go to prison for downloading images which (I assume ) are comparable to this. 

So- forget morality- LJ needs to guard itself against prosecution.

But I don't want to forget morality. You take characters from a beloved children's book and you produce an image of them that any paedophile would be proud to own (you can quibble over whether Harry looks underage or not if you want to be legalistic and miss the point) and  I can't think of any grounds on which I'd be prepared  to defend you.

A lot of fans are up in arms and banging on about censorship.  I just watched a video of a girl give a little self-righteous speech then attempt to burn her LJ shirt with a blow torch .  Fine. Off you trot to some less scrupulous site and good luck to you!  As it happens, I'm perfectly happy to see you go.

From: bodhibird
2007-08-04 12:45 pm (UTC)
I can say this as someone who's been involved in fandom: The thing is that fans have no idea what they look like to outsiders.

I know you. I know from this journal that you're intelligent, creative, tolerant of human foibles, shrewd about human stupidity and malice. You're one of the very few people on LJ that I know to be wiser and more mature than myself (considering that a vast majority of LJ users are young enough to be my offspring). Yet you can make a post like this, and my fannish side is amazed that someone as perceptive is you doesn't "get it". My non-fannish side, however, which is, thank goodness, in the ascendant at the moment, wants to point fandom here and say, "Look. This is what you look like to an intelligent, sympathetic outsider. Do you get it now?"

Writing fanfic has been a great writing workshop for me. But my dirty secret, so to speak, is that I don't write fanfic for the shows for which I have the greatest respect. Weak source material tends to inspire more fanfic, in the fannish mentality.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-08-04 01:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this reply.

I only really encountered fandom after signing up with LJ. It baffles me- And I'm surprised- even a little shocked- at the intensity of feeling within the community. What it reminds me of is the way things were within the pagan community during the 90s- at the height of the witch-hunting craze- the difference being that paganism stands for something rather more important than the right to create porny versions of someone else's fictional universe.

I understand what you say about writing practice. And I like it that you never wrote about the shows you really respect. It sort of confirms my feeling that fandom isn't really fandom at all. If you love an artist's work you don't mess with it.

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From: bodhibird
2007-08-04 01:25 pm (UTC)
I think fandom was different once--less interested in itself and more in the source material. I've always identified myself as a Star Trek fan, and in the 1970s and '80s people wrote ST fanfiction, made costumes, and held conventions because it was the only way to keep ST alive. It meant something to them, it inspired them, and it had been cut down after only three seasons. That might be hard to remember, forty years and four other shows later. Even now, while people in HP fandom are producing art that to most people looks like a good argument for paedophilia, people who like to dress up as Klingons are doing charity fundraising. I don't mind identifying those folks as my people, you know?

I might also add that Harry Potter fandom is widely considered to be particularly crazy even by other fans.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-08-04 02:47 pm (UTC)
I don't have any problem with trekkers. I can fully understand wanting to live inside that infinitely extendable universe. I'm a fan myself- and I've got a poem somewhere to prove it....

This was the daddy and mommy of all fandoms, wasn't it? And the relationship between the creators and the fans has always been respectful and creative. I've got a friend who is a huge fan- and also the author of an official Star Trek novel.

The Dr Who fandom has the same family ethos to it. The people who are creating the show now were all once childhood fans.
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From: sunfell
2007-08-05 01:01 am (UTC)
I'm an old-school Trek fan, too, and things were a lot different in the 70s and 80s. I retired from fanfic writing about 20 years ago, and never looked back.

Some of these potterfen just don't get it. Maybe they will when the law gives them a big dose of reality.
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[User Picture]From: mswyrr
2007-08-05 07:34 am (UTC)
the difference being that paganism stands for something rather more important than the right to create porny versions of someone else's fictional universe.

All fanfic isn't about "creating porny version of someone else's fictional universe." True, the most focus tends to be on instances where fandom is transgressive, but there are a great many fans writing "gen" fanfic, which is meant to be an admiring imitation and continuation of the author's story, and has no more or less sexual content than the books/tv show/movie it's based on.

Wide Sargasso Sea, a famous book that takes characters from Bronte's "Jane Eyre" and fleshes our their backstory? That's fan fiction. So's the work of the authors who continued the Sherlock Holmes stories. So was the recent Nobel prize winning novel "March," which took a the father character from the famous book "Little Women" and fleshed out his life apart from his family.

The impulse to write fanfic itself is not bizarre or hyper-sexualized. It's the fundamental curiosity that leads writers to explore that might have happened, or how things came to be. Some people chose to focus on sexuality. Many don't. Please don't paint us all with the same brush.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-08-05 09:25 am (UTC)
Thank you for pointing this out.

I hadn't thought of the Wide Sargasso sea as being fanfic but of course it is.
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