Fandom Fun

Just a place to have fun with fandom, with a touch of vintage, animals and some writing reference. I'm a writer/artist. Always a fan.

On being a silent, moderate voice in the Sherlock fandom

acafanmom:

emmagrant01:

It’s so freaking hard to talk about anything on Tumblr, isn’t it? It’s frustrating because those conversations were always one of my favorite parts of fandom. But in the last eight months, I’ve found myself staying silent in the face of the vigorous debates that rose in the aftermath of series 3….

I’m going to respond, at the risk of making it all academic and ruining it for everyone (<— this is a joke, intended to lighten the mood, which may or may not read as a joke to you, YMMV, with full acknowledgement that I have been very esoteric and all academicky in the past), with something that I’ve been playing with in my head.

Historically, we’ve thought of fandom as community/ies - virtual places where people share - enthusiasm, ideas, passion, interests, etc. Something they have in common, and it’s the commonality that binds them. In academic literature, it’s not uncommon to see fandom theorized as “imagined communities,” which is an idea borrowed from the political scientist Benedict Anderson (and, wow, his name just took on layers of added significance for me).

An imagined community, as used in fan studies, emphasizes the sense of collective belonging, of a shared vocabulary, values, language - interests - that exceeds face-to-face interactions. And there’s probably no fan that hasn’t felt that way when they’ve stumbled onto a group of people who are talking about something they love in ways that they’ve been thinking or feeling about it all along. I don’t think it’s wrong to think of fandom as imagined community, but what I do think is that, in thinking of fandom as community, we kind of favor the utopian side of communities (camaraderie, friendship, passion, a sense of being in something together, you and me against the rest of the world, etc.).

(so sorry about that last one, by the way)

(and that one too)

But what’s critical to keep in mind, I think, when talking about fandom as community - and something that a return to Anderson’s idea brings into relief - is that Anderson was originally talking about how nationalism happens (the full title of the book, in fact, is Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism). And - think about it. Camaraderie, friendship, loyalty, shared values, a sense of being in something together - people literally kill for that stuff. We’re sometimes even prepared to be beasts to other people - people who don’t fit inside our groups, our communities - if it will strengthen our own sense of connectedness with others (who amongst us hasn’t ever engaged in gossip, not because you’re an intrinsically horrible person, or because you want to bring someone down, but simply because that shared moment of affinity is so alluring?). (Or maybe that’s just me.)

When fandom was in closed - or close-able - settings, and I’m thinking especially of Yahoo! Groups (my own first online fandom, back in 2000) and LiveJournal, I think it was a relatively straightforward thing to create and maintain a sense of community. Regular contributors got to know each other, certain standards of communication were slowly set into place and adhered to, like minds met like minds and differences, in the main, I think were generally kept localized and limited because participants were more or less coming from roughly the same place. I’m generalizing, of course, but this is my own experience of fandom in those days, and when communities did break down - and they did (Doggett OMG John Doggett) - they tended to do so spectacularly with no hope of reconciliation; in a nation-state sense, this would be the kind of thing that splintered one large nation into smaller ones, each with their own inherent values, language, etc.

Point being, I think those days are over.

Tumblr, unlike LJ and Yahoo! Groups, etc., is inherently UNclose-able. It is wide, wide open - much like, you could argue, the world itself has become with the ease of travel. Only online, it’s not travel but these kinds of platforms that enable/make us see so much more than we ever did before - come into contact with so many more people than we ever did before, and suddenly it’s a world that isn’t necessarily built up of shared values. We don’t all see things the same way. 

Yet, the illusion of community is still there. We talk about Sherlock fans, for example (any fandom whatsoever will do) as if there is “the” Sherlock fandom, and I think this is where we start to see the limits of thinking of fandom as community. Because this idea that there’s the one fandom implicitly suggests, I think, that we all share the same language, values, roughly similar experiences, etc. And, as we’ve come to learn, we really don’t. 

Rather, then - and some of you have heard me pontificate about this before, and I’m pontificating now partly because I’m giving a paper on this in a couple of weeks so I’m playing through the idea - but rather, I think we’d be better served thinking of fandom as what Mary Pratt calls a “contact zone,” which she defines as:

"social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power"

I think this extends to virtual spaces like Tumblr or Twitter, where discrete ‘communities’ are increasingly unfeasible. As, again, in the world: I live in a multiethnic neighborhood, and I come into literal contact with people of different ages, races, religions, classes every day. And somehow we manage to survive the encounter - mainly because we don’t know each other well enough to rumble, but imagine if we started getting together over the one thing we all share: having children. So, we get together every week and talk about stuff, and I’m prepared to bet that, at some point, differences of opinion (on how to raise children, on what the purpose and value of education is, on a woman’s role within the family, etc.) would arise. We might struggle with language - I’m white, US-born, highly/over-educated - I am, in this sense, at an advantage linguistically in any conversation we may have (unless all the other mothers are Vietnamese, which is a distinct possibility in my neighborhood, in which case I will probably make my excuses at the first opportunity because, while we may have kids in common, it’s going to be difficult to find out what else we might have in common as well).

Which is my ham-fisted way of saying that I think - in the case of Sherlock, for example - that this show, “Sherlock” is a contact zone - one of thousands - in which people who love the thing congregate. And that’s great, and so much amazing stuff can come out of that congregation. INCLUDING a sense of having found your ‘community’. But I think we’re not a community - we’re a LOT of people who have one thing in common, and probably a lot of other things not in common, and I think it’s easy for us to forget the latter part of that when we think about - and concern ourselves with - the idea of “fandom” as “community.” We will not always agree, and so the question becomes one of what we do next.

And for that, for me, I always come back to how I live in a multicultural, multiracial, multisexual, multi-everything world without threatening people or killing people left and right? Different people approach this differently. There will always be people in life - “real life” - who like to mix it up, argue politics, etc. There will be people who find their crowd and never come out, because it’s comfortable there. There will be people like me, who tend to keep people I don’t know well at arm’s length a bit - at least until I know them better. Some people will stand around in cliques and whisper loudly about the kids at the other table. And so on.

So then, for me, the question becomes, what do I do when this is the world online? When fandom isn’t a happy - or even “well, we do have our problems but we love each other” - community, but one that’s intrinsically fraught with grappling and conflict? Do I try to convince everyone that I’m right? Do I listen first, and engage in conversation? Do I alleviate the tension? Do I find a much quieter place to go be a fan amongst the like-minded? I think these are all viable options, but in observing AND participating, my experience has been that the people who are trying to convince others that they’re right have the hardest/most fraught time of it - and maybe it’s because the act of trying to bring people under a common understanding isn’t unlike trying to create a “community” in a place where there’s unlikely to be one?

Which doesn’t answer anything - I mean, I have no solutions, other than what I’ve adopted for myself (and it’s a work in progress): listen when people say they’re not being heard or understood (this was what I did in the epic fans-vs-acafans debate a few months back, and I concede that some arguments from the ‘other’ side had merit), rather than simply trying to make yourself heard. Walk away from intractable difference for the time being - especially if I’ve said my piece. It’s there, it’s available, but I cannot MAKE anyone believe anything they don’t want to, so I abdicate that responsibility. Create or find smaller sites off Tumblr for conversations that require a greater degree of mutual understanding and a shared/common language to really progress. I was in the habit of thinking of these as gated communities at one point, rather uncharitably, but I do this myself (and as it’s impossible for me to be uncharitable, hahahahaha) (<— another joke), and I do it in real life just as much. I am NOT the same person with my sister/brother/mom/spouse that I am in public - not because I’m hiding anything, but because we already know where we’re coming from, so if I say something that could be taken differently in a public context, generally they know how I mean it and that I don’t mean it the inflammatory way. Don’t respond to trolls, because they have a different MO altogether. I ignore assholes on the street, so I ignore them here, and do my best to keep them out of my backyard. I think those are all good tactics for engaging online, and they’re ways to make sense of Tumblr in all its infinite diversity. 

Because I do think there’s value in being on Tumblr in all its infinite diversity. I’ve learned more about sexuality, gender, class, race - I mean, you name it - in my year and a half here than I have in years of living out in the world, because here I come into contact with people I might never speak to otherwise, and all because we have this one shared thing. I think the contact is critical - but that we have to understand that it’s the nature of contact with people and ideas outside our own experiences to be a bit fraught with conflict and, as Pratt says, grappling.

Um. So, that.

**Please don’t mistake me on this one thing: I am NOT saying that fandom doesn’t feel like community for people. I have found kindred spirits here, and I would say that we’re kind of a community. That’s not what I’m arguing, but rather that the broad idea of “fandom” as “community” is, perhaps, slowing us down/holding us back from understanding how fandom operates within environments that are not conducive to fostering a sense of togetherness.

reblogging for the interesting ideas, not on one side or the other - we’re all on the same side, fandom, just different flavours of it.

[x]

I miss Supernatural!!!!

(Source: itsokaysammy, via supernaturaldaily)

(Source: redfar)

mathylibrarian:

nicegoaleh:

aph-yolobro:

ibelieveinahappilyeverafter:

trancehybrid:

blackwolfgrimm:

kittyboops:

our-savior-the-glow-cloud:

turntechdave:

spatsula:

dardanos:

actualmioda:

Why bring back old memes when we can back this song?

image

2004 is calling me… whispering

numa numa yay

the funny thing about this is I sincerely have followers that were born in the same month i discovered this flash video on newgrounds

fuuccckk I completely erased all memory of newgrounds.

Oh my god it’s back. This is one of my favourite things, if only because my Grandmum loves it so much. I can just start singing it and mimicking the video, and she’ll start laughing so hard she has to take her glasses off because she’s crying. It’s beautiful.

If you don’t put this on your blog there is something wrong with you. DO IT. You know you wanna~

DRAGESTEA DIN TEI!!~~

WHEN YOU PLAY THIS YOU SING EVERY WORD, I DON’T CARE IF YOU CAN’T PRONOUCE IT WORTH CRAP YOU /SING IT/

the thing about this is, it IS an old meme!  You brought  back an old meme ;3

Y’all know it was even part of an episode of NCIS

Even at our swing dance club would play this and we’d all forget about form and rhythm, and just jump around like idiots, bellowing words we weren’t sure of.

(Source: hankhillchan, via with-a-side-of-loki)

nonormy-nolife:

“Sorry about your friend, man.”

(Source: nonormynolife, via thereadersmuse)

slobbering:

Zdzisław Beksiński

"A famous Polish painter  specializing in the field of utopian art, Beksiński executed his paintings and drawings either in what he called a ‘Baroque’ or a ‘Gothic’ manner. His creations are mainly two periods, the first period of the works are generally considered to contain expressionistic color, with a strong style of “utopian realism” architecture surreal, like a doomsday scenario worries. The second period more abstract style, with the main features of formalism.”

Beksiński was murdered in 2005.

(Source: pixography, via lorhawk)

castiel-knight-of-hell:

deans-delicious-pie:

castiel-knight-of-hell:

sherlocksrosydancer:

castiel-knight-of-hell:

sherlocks-sexy-hair-ruffle:

nerdsandgamersftw:

that-nerdy-kid:

mocridhe:

that-nerdy-kid:

i bet the supernatural fandom cant find a gif related to start trek.

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Pacman then. Can they do that?

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What about Thor/Loki?

image

What about doctor who?

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and a close up of the magazine he’s holding

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game of thrones

image

image

image

(via doctordovahkiinwho)

Yessssssssss:-)

(Source: demonprotection, via cosmic-nerd-angel)


Sungmin’s MAMACITA teaser (coloured by me)
gayonthemoon1239:

rifa:

actualbloggerwangyao:

alvaroandtheworld:

ultrafacts:

Source For more posts like this, follow Ultrafacts

THE BEGINNINGS OF KAWAII

No, no, you have no idea. It actually IS the beginning of the whole so-called “kawaii culture”. And it started because girls started using mechanical pencils, which provided fine handwriting. After being banished (more precisely, during the 80s), this kind of writing started being used in products like magazines and make-up. And, during this time, icons we usually associate with the whole kawaii industry (like the characters from Sanrio) came to life too.
And what many people don’t realize is that this subculture was born as a way for young girls to express themselves in their own way. And it was also used as something against the adult life and the traditional culture, often seen as dull and boring and oppressive. By embracing cuteness, these young girls (and adult women, after a while) were showing non-conformation with the current standards.
So yep. Kawaii is important, and it all started with cute, simple handwritting a few hearts and cat faces in some girls’ school notebooks &lt;3

!!!!!
NO OK THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!
This is also how the kawaii fashions started! Girls began dressing in cute and off beat styles for themselves, they were criticized by adult figures telling them “you’ll never find a husband if you dress that way!” to which they began to reply “Good!”
All the Japanese subcultures and fashions that evolved out of this became a rebellion to tradition and the starch gender roles and expectations the adults were forcing on the younger generations. As early as the 70s and still to this day you’ll see an emphasis on child-like fashion and themes in more kawaii styles and the dismissal of the male gaze with styles like lolita (a lot of western people assume lolita is somehow sexual due to the name of the fashion, but ask any Japanese lolita and they will tell you that men hate the style and find it unattractive which is sometimes a large reason they gravitate towards the style - they can express their femininity and individuality while remaining independent and without the pressure to appeal to men)
Its so so so important to understand the hyper cute and ‘odd’ fashions of Japanese girls carry such a huge message of feminism and reclaiming of their own lives.   

so are you telling me that Japan’s punk phase was really the kawaii phase

gayonthemoon1239:

rifa:

actualbloggerwangyao:

alvaroandtheworld:

ultrafacts:

Source For more posts like this, follow Ultrafacts

THE BEGINNINGS OF KAWAII

No, no, you have no idea. It actually IS the beginning of the whole so-called “kawaii culture”. And it started because girls started using mechanical pencils, which provided fine handwriting. After being banished (more precisely, during the 80s), this kind of writing started being used in products like magazines and make-up. And, during this time, icons we usually associate with the whole kawaii industry (like the characters from Sanrio) came to life too.

And what many people don’t realize is that this subculture was born as a way for young girls to express themselves in their own way. And it was also used as something against the adult life and the traditional culture, often seen as dull and boring and oppressive. By embracing cuteness, these young girls (and adult women, after a while) were showing non-conformation with the current standards.

So yep. Kawaii is important, and it all started with cute, simple handwritting a few hearts and cat faces in some girls’ school notebooks <3

!!!!!

NO OK THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!

This is also how the kawaii fashions started! Girls began dressing in cute and off beat styles for themselves, they were criticized by adult figures telling them “you’ll never find a husband if you dress that way!” to which they began to reply “Good!”

All the Japanese subcultures and fashions that evolved out of this became a rebellion to tradition and the starch gender roles and expectations the adults were forcing on the younger generations. As early as the 70s and still to this day you’ll see an emphasis on child-like fashion and themes in more kawaii styles and the dismissal of the male gaze with styles like lolita (a lot of western people assume lolita is somehow sexual due to the name of the fashion, but ask any Japanese lolita and they will tell you that men hate the style and find it unattractive which is sometimes a large reason they gravitate towards the style - they can express their femininity and individuality while remaining independent and without the pressure to appeal to men)

Its so so so important to understand the hyper cute and ‘odd’ fashions of Japanese girls carry such a huge message of feminism and reclaiming of their own lives.   

so are you telling me that Japan’s punk phase was really the kawaii phase

(via dinalovesjeremy)