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Call me kerfuffle!girl...

(ETA: I had this locked originally to filter it to the SG half of my flist -- so for you non-SG-interested folks, move along citizen, just a hedge.)

Okay, so... anyone who's heard me talk about the SG Boston Creation Con that happened last month would doubtless have been treated to a mini-rant in the middle of it, on the subject of fans who think it's okay to stand up in a general Q&A and ask an actor what he thinks about slash. UGH. (Also ETA: I just want to mention the fact that this Q&A had a TON of little kids running around in it, some of them asking rather cute questions. Just to provide more context. For the reasons given below, I still think it's inappropriate in any situation, but *especially* in a situation involving small children -- what exactly do you *WANT* an actor to say about slash? What do you *expect* him to say?)

Well, lo and behold, someone posted her con report to metagate, and... it's that person! The one who asked the question! Patting herself on the back for doing so, too.

I wrestled with myself, but I am completely unable to just walk on by and not say anything.

On the one hand, I kind of feel like a puppy-kicker. On the other hand, I feel completely justified, because -- no, it's *NOT* all right, and there is no scenario under which anyone could successfully argue to me that it *is* all right. And if nobody ever says that, then people who missed the Clue Bus in the first place will never have a chance to get on it when it comes back around. And yet... I know it is a personal failing of mine, feeling the need to lecture people. I'm also not really thinking it's something that will *actually* do any good. I'd like to *think* that hitting fans like that with a clue-by-four would result in them actually getting the Clue. But how long have I been in fandom now? Long enough to know how much more likely it is that someone I vehemently disagree with can just go and find the inevitable group of people who agree with *her* and are willing to tell her that the person who says that was uncool is just... bitchy, crazy, whatever. Ehn.

But seriously. The more I think about this, the crazier it makes me. I know that on my flist, I'm probably preaching to the choir (though one never quite knows), but... it has nothing to do with believing in the intrinsic worth of slash. It has EVERYthing to do with... dude. Standing up and saying, "Hi, Mr. Shanks! How do you feel about the fact that I have explicit sexual fantasies about your body, and I write them down and post them on the internet? I speculate in detail about the size and shape of your genitalia, as well as that of your professional colleagues; I try to imagine what you would look like while orgasming. What do you think about that?"

Most people *get*, of course, that fanfic is about the characters. That the speculation is about Daniel, not Michael Shanks. But MS can't help it that it's his body that gets used as a template. He didn't ask for that. What the hell is he *supposed* to think? And that doesn't even broach the additional question of the fantasies being same-gender. Like it or not -- that's what's being implied, when a fan asks an actor about slash. In any other context? We would call that sexual harassment. The context of an actor speaking at a convention doesn't really lessen that. Bottom line -- the actors deserve to be able to go to conventions and *NOT* have total strangers ask them to participate in their personal sexual fantasies. It's not "cute", it's not clever, it's not funny. It's intimate and intrusive, and NOBODY in fandom has the kind of relationship with the actors that would make such an inquiry okay. Oy.

*sigh* I'm going to have to go over there and see if there's been any fallout, though. Oh jesus, please, all I ask is that I don't end up starring on Fandom Wank.

Comments

( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
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drlense
Aug. 12th, 2005 07:37 am (UTC)
Sing it, sister.

I'm behind you all the way on this, although if you do end up on Fandom Wank, I will point and laugh. Because, hee!

I debated posting something very similar to your "Hi! I write explicit sexual stories!" thing, but decided that it would be too much piling on. But I did post a reply. She's just way, way too proud of herself.
destina
Aug. 12th, 2005 07:58 am (UTC)
I can't imagine that there would be fallout, because I think the vast majority of fangirls (and hell, fanboys) wish twits like her would shut the hell up. Ugh. She'll certainly have her supporters; the last time I posted about something like this, my journal was invaded (I mean that) by people with An Agenda who posted about how behind the times I was, re shoving slash in the actors' faces. But a vocal minority is still a minority.
eregyrn
Aug. 12th, 2005 08:09 am (UTC)
BEHIND THE TIMES????

*goggle*

I'm sure there *ARE* people who have an agenda about this. I was guessing that was the case, because of things you hear, here and there, about it. But, basically -- I think they're delusional. I was going to say, I can't figure out what they're *thinking*... but actually I can probably make some guesses. I just think they're... hugely wrong.

If an actor has made it clear that he (or she) is okay with the subject, that's one thing. Even then, I feel pretty strongly that there shouldn't be a discussion about it in a Q&A where there are a ton of LITTLE KIDS running around -- wait for a later, adult-oriented situation. (Some cons have them; the crappy little Boston Creation Con didn't, but that's beside the point.) Or, pay for an autograph or a photo op, and ask the question one-on-one -- I still classify that as RUDE, but at least in that case you aren't dragging everyone else at the con into it with you.

But the problem with that argument is the inability of some fans to tell the difference between an actor who is being professional, and nice, and fielding an awkward question with grace; and an actor who is genuinely *okay* with the subject. It is not the same thing. Shanks was quite gracious in the way he handled it -- but he clearly did *NOT* welcome it.

Oy. Anyway, yeah. Hmm. I should probably unlock this post; and let 'em come, if they want to, because I'm in JUST a bad enough mood to take people on over it. I didn't lock it to hide it, I just wanted to channel it to the SG half of my flist. Hmm.
katie_m
Aug. 12th, 2005 08:03 am (UTC)
FWIW, I didn't think you were rude; you were clear, but not nasty. I appreciate you saying something, actually. You never know, it can't hurt; she sounds quite young (though this is the point at which you tell me you saw her and she's actually forty-three).
eregyrn
Aug. 12th, 2005 08:15 am (UTC)
We were far enough away from her and kind of seated to the rear of her, so I didn't get a close look. I would have guessed she was in her 20s, at least... but honestly, no way to tell. And I completely managed at the time to overcome the urge to go *over* to her right then and tell her off.
(no subject) - drlense - Aug. 12th, 2005 08:24 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - elishavah - Aug. 12th, 2005 08:25 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - drlense - Aug. 12th, 2005 08:28 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eregyrn - Aug. 12th, 2005 08:47 am (UTC) - Expand
nangi_akki
Aug. 12th, 2005 08:14 am (UTC)
whoa - that entire report set my teeth on edge. i'm saying that's one puppy that needs kicking.
i didn't see any comments, though.
eregyrn
Aug. 12th, 2005 08:18 am (UTC)
Her link was to the "reply" mode -- you have to go up and remove that bit from the end of the http:// line, after the ".html", to see the replies.

Hey, everybody gets to be a neophyte fan at some point. I can't say that I've never been callow (although even at the age of 16 when I went to my first con, I was desperately consumed with looking cool and sophisticated amongst my adult friends, and around the guests, so I kept my mouth shut).

That's mostly why I feel a bit like a puppy-kicker for this. Because she's obviously inexperienced, and it was her first con, and how *would* she know better? (Except by having innate common-sense and manners, of course.) But still.
miera_c
Aug. 12th, 2005 08:21 am (UTC)
I thought you were being emphatic but not rude. Of course, I agree with everything you're saying, so perhaps my judgment is not the best.

I really should've asked the Muppet question. *sigh*
eregyrn
Aug. 12th, 2005 08:40 am (UTC)
I forget -- what was the muppet question?
(no subject) - miera_c - Aug. 12th, 2005 10:15 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - zephyrrs - Aug. 19th, 2005 03:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
cofax7
Aug. 12th, 2005 08:30 am (UTC)
Word. I wish to god Creation would start moderating the Q/A sessions; there would be far fewer questions that make me cringe and want to crawl under my chair.

At the Burbank FS con last year, some woman got her child to ask Ben Browder if he'd like to be married to Claudia Black. The mind reels.

eregyrn
Aug. 12th, 2005 08:52 am (UTC)
Oy. The mind does boggle. There were a *LOT* of kids asking questions at MS's and CJ's talks at this con. Most of them were just cute. MS was letting some folks call out questions from the audience (which included the girl asking about slash), and at one point a kid was talking so softly that he bounded down into the audience to kneel down next to her so he could hear. Really nice, clearly he was enjoying interacting with the kids. I don't recall any of the kid questions being squirmy or seeming prompted by parents. Hmm.

Moderation would be *great*. God, they really ought to.
(no subject) - cofax7 - Aug. 12th, 2005 09:00 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eregyrn - Aug. 12th, 2005 09:11 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tafkarfanfic - Aug. 13th, 2005 03:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
telepresence
Aug. 12th, 2005 08:51 am (UTC)
One of the problems I've always had with fandom, and the problem becomes more difficult for me to deal with every year, is the idea that shame is bad, and disapproval is bad, and only bad people impose their judgement on others, and everyone should accept everything.

No. Fuck that.

I get where it comes from. I'm a geek. I've been that socially maladroit outsider. I've been that person with the political views that don't mesh with the establishemt, I get that it's very liberating to find people in this cruel world who think like you do and squee like you do and lust like you do and all that. I've absolutely been there, god knows. And I appreciate that my friends love me despite my quirks and weirdnesses.

But sometimes I just reach my limit on things, especially as I've gotten older, its one of the reasons I really can't deal with cons anymore. Some things just aren't okay. Saying it in cutesy babytalk or doing it with your cluster of likeminded whackos doesn't make it okay.

Yes, you have the freedom to wave your fists around, and yes, so long as your fists don't connect with my nose, you're within your rights and yes I'm probaly a terrible fascist, trying to suppress your unique, snowflakelike fist waving expression, because dude, you've just gotta be you!

But you look like a moron, you fist waving...*searches for word*...moron! And to the extent that we're identified as the same or related to each other via our mutial interest in...spaceships or teenaged wizards or wormhole-trotting heroes or metrosexual pirates or people in leather or whatever, your inappropriate fist waving mortifies me and irritates me and I really wish you'd stop it and I'm glad folks like eregyrn will, every once in a while, tell you that to your face. She performs a valuable community service.

Boy, that got way rantier than I intended. I feel all old and cranky.
okojosan
Aug. 12th, 2005 11:23 am (UTC)
Don't freak/squick the mundanes! At some of the cons I've been to, this had to be explicitly said to the fans, because they thought they were perfectly all right in a whole con of people "like them" to do whatever they wanted. Ugh.
(no subject) - eregyrn - Aug. 12th, 2005 11:42 am (UTC) - Expand
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okojosan
Aug. 12th, 2005 11:20 am (UTC)
She sounds like a little kid, with the way she writes. o_o Anyway, yeah, rude question. >_< Some people don't seem to understand the difference between the actor and the character. As, of course, you said.
cdeacon
Aug. 12th, 2005 11:54 am (UTC)
Just wanted to say that no, I don't think you were being rude at all. The fact that people--especially those old enough to know better, as it sounds like this person is--actually ask these questions is so horrifying to me. The part that I hate the most is that, as you said up there, people seem to think that it's cute or something that they're asking these questions, and it's so not; it's just rude and invasive.
bbikitten
Aug. 12th, 2005 11:58 am (UTC)
::much applause::
I read your LJ post before I looked up the fangirl con report in question. And all I've got to say is: woman, why did you pad the sledgehammer so much?

I really appreciate your commentary about why it's just always in bad taste to ask an actor about the sexual fantasies you project on his/her body (slash or no). I'd never thought about it quite that way, but that's spot-on! Honestly, I think you should add that bit to your reply on the fangirl's con report....

jenlev
Aug. 12th, 2005 02:41 pm (UTC)
thank you for your thoughtful post(s). i think that your comment to her was vital and appropriate. one of the things i appreciate about you is your ability to articulate issues such as these with great eloquence. :)
keiko_kirin
Aug. 12th, 2005 02:43 pm (UTC)
Back from reading the fangirl's post and your and drlense's replies -- you were both admirably restrained, IMO. What I found odd about the con report itself was that she was apparently aware that asking about slash wasn't so wise to do, but did it anyway. It surprises me only in being different from other fans (the ones with An Agenda who pounced on Destina -- boy, do I remember that... queasily), who don't display such doubts. So, maybe she will get a clue for the future.

Completely unrelated, but did you get the DVDs I returned?
raqs
Aug. 12th, 2005 05:42 pm (UTC)
dude. i already told you. i would like you BETTER for causing a fandom kerfuffle. aside from the excitement, stupid people occasionally need to be told they're stupid, and why should you increase your blood pressure by restraining yourself EVERY time?
moonshayde
Aug. 16th, 2005 01:54 pm (UTC)
Amen to that.

I was there actually and I was one of the ones groaning.

I write slash.

Now, I do feel bad for the girl who asked the question because I don't think she really realized what she was doing. But on the other hand, it was really really inappropriate. There were tons of little kids there and families that came that probably wouldn't even know what fanfic is. They paid. They came to enjoy this too.

This is how I feel. Writing, fiction, is a creative process of interpretation. That's it. Whether the actors like it or not isn't our business. They have been kind enough to acknowledge that some of us do write and let us be. I am sure if this had been an all adult event, a different conversation would have come to pass. But even then...I don't know. It just crosses that line. But on top of that, this was a family event. Talking about sex, or sexual relations of ANY kind is inappropriate. It ruins it for all of us. ALL of us.

All I can say, rhetorically, is how would *you* like to be asked that question in front of a room of people? If people asked themselves that question first...

...as an aside, did you enjoy the con? I spent the weekend there (despite the fact that I live and school in the area) and met lots of great people. I wish there were more events here in New England. I never get to meet any local people in Massachusetts.
aizjanika
Aug. 17th, 2005 01:45 am (UTC)
I went and read the con report and I saw that the girl said that "other fans" had told her that the cast play along with the slash stuff. I don't know what I think about this whole thing. I heard that at the NJ con or one of the recent ones, someone asked MS about shaving his chest or some such thing. I can't imagine asking such a thing, but that doesn't even come close to the woman who, at two different cons (I have read in reports) went on and on to Joe Flanigan about his pointy ears and something about elves.

OTOH, the girl of the Boston con report just seems young and harmless. If I'd made such a faux pas, I'd rather people be nice about it--but still tell me. If that were my daughter (and, no, I don't think it ever will be), I would want people to be kind to her, too. People make mistakes or do or say stupid things.

I believe that people respond better to kindness than a smack down, and I think you did a nice job with that--and this girl responded positively to it. Did you see her reply to you? She actually replied to herself and not to you, so I wasn't sure if you'd seen it. She was very gracious about it, I thought.
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