||[Aug. 4th, 2007|12:12 pm]
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.
Ah, various different issues here. Two of them come down to roughly the same thing - definitions. Is something obscene or art? Depends on your definition, as someone pointed out earlier. Is something fan fiction? Depends on your definition. Think of Jill Paton Walsh's follow-ups to Sayers' Lord Peter novels. The Oz books not written by L Frank Baum. The Heidi sequels. Or what about fictionalised historical characters? It's pretty much the same thing. There are (blurry) legal divides, but I don't think they mark an artistic or even moral line.
I like reading fan fiction because it's easier to get involved with the characters, because you already know them. And you get to play with them, like dolls. I don't think it's disrespectful, I actually think it's one of the highest marks of respect you can have for a creator, that their characters are good enough that you want to see them having other adventures. I'm quite surprised that you're so squicked by the fact that it's sex, because you normally seem down to earth about sex, but you haven't specified that you have so much of a problem with general fan fiction/ fan art. I mean, presumably someone could draw a picture of Harry casting a spell and you wouldn't object, it's just when he's doing something sexual that it's wrong?
That brings me on to the "children's books" thing. I don't like that kind of arbitrary divide anyway, unless it's, you know, Peter Rabbit, but I'd say that Harry Potter, and definitely the later books, are family books in the same way that Doctor Who is a family show. And there's been Doctor Who slash fiction out there for decades. I wouldn't like young kids to get hold of the R-rated fanfic for either fandom, but that doesn't mean I think it shouldn't exist.
And somebody's already mentioned it, but late teenager sex just isn't paedophilia. If they're pre-pubescent, it's paedophilia; otherwise it's ephebophilia, and whether it's morally wrong or not comes down to context and background of the relationship and the country they live in. (I remember huge arguments about whether it was OK to fancy Dawn from Buffy, because the actress was 17, so the Americans thought it was paedophilic and the Brits didn't, much like Harry Potter.)
I tend to regard books as canonical only if they're written by the original authors. For example I think there's something a bit naff about the modern "sequels" to Austen's novels- even though they've been written by reputable writers. This is a personal thing. I don't suppose I want to elevate it into a general rule.
And someone has pointed out- earlier in this thread- that Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea- universally regarded as a modern classic- could be classified as Bronte fanfic.
Dr Who slash doesn't bother me. I don't want to read it, but I don't think it's morally objectionable. But there's a miasma of paedophilia round Potter slash that makes me queasy. I've read all the arguments about the image in question not being paedophiliac, but I suspect they wouldn't necessarily hold up in a court of law.