Meta: a term used in fandom to describe a discussion of fanworks of all kinds, fan work in relation to the source text, fanfiction characters and their motivation and psychology, fan behavior, or fandom itself (via fanlore)
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It's been awhile since I've posted anything, much less something here, because I finally got sucked into the Naruto fandom and there's an awful lot to read in that particular fandom. But something struck me and I just had to write about it.
Naruto fandom has a good quantity of something most fandoms have little to none of, to the point they're often considered mythical: male fanfic writers. Once I got over the shock of male-gaze fanfiction (which reminded me oddly of mainstream writing, but I'm not sure if that says something about me or mainstream writing in general), I was rather pleased to encounter intelligent pieces by male writers. However, in their fics, I increasingly ran into something that irritated me and for the longest time I couldn't put my finger on why.
I rather like polyamoury in my fanfiction. If there's a love triangle, I like the ending most likely to make everyone involved in it happy, even if it requires a lot of work. I whole-heartedly ship the Strawhat Pirates. I happily read pretty much anything marked as involving an OT3 or higher. Heck, the vast majority of the few sex scenes I've ever written involve more than two people. But I didn't for the life of me like most of the fics where Naruto ended up with more than one girl. ( Much more under the cut.Collapse )
This is meta about Mercede's Lackey's books, and The Heralds of Valdermar series in particular.
Every time someone wants to recc Mercedes Lackey's Herald's books, there's inevitably sniggering and apologies muttered on two subjects - the magical talking horses, and the rape. The rape I'll talk about some other post. For now, I want to comment on the horses.
Why is it that people find "magical talking horses" such a laughable, embarrassing idea? There are magical talking swords and alien robots who turn into cars and time travellers who use police boxes and zombies who mysteriously acquire twice their original body weight through ~viruses~. There are parrots who turn out to be gods, mutant turtles who are ninjas, schoolchildren who pilot giant mecha and teachers who take their classes on field trips through digestive systems. There is all this wacky, wacky stuff floating around in the realms of fantasy and sci fi, and talking magical horses are what's got people embarrassed? What utter
Maybe it's because people these days are ignorant about the incredible worth of a horse in the times when the Herald books are set. Considering how automated we are now, perhaps that's understandable. And it's also true that the books themselves don't underline it very much. But consider - in societies with domesticated horses, the animals made almost every aspect of human life easier:
- Farming. Horses served as ploughs, or helped power mills.
- Hunting. They went as fast or faster then many game animals, could help carry home the kills.
- Travelling. They could travel farther and faster then any human on foot, and carry the human with them or pull a carriage/coach.
- Trading. Added to the advantages gained by the advance in travelling, horses also helped in pulling carts of goods and caravans.
- And of course, fighting. A horse makes you more manoeuvrable then most foot units, adds its momentum and strength to your charges, and can be even taught to fight as a semi-independent unit!
There is a reason that english has the expression "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth", and that reason is that a horse is such an incredible gift that you don't give a damn how old & beaten up it is - it's a horse, and that makes it automatically valuable.
Now, you take something that valuable, that versatile, and you make it magical? Make it so that it's telepathic and as intelligent as a human? Make it so that it goes even faster then ordinary horses, has more stamina, is generally stronger, and and can boost your humans' own magical/psionic abilities? That sort of thing is a hell of a lot more sensible then some shitty magic sword or amulet to give your characters. Seriously.
Also, the fact that they are magical and talk shouldn't even be an issue. Cats, rats, swords, dragons and dogs have all spoken (along with all kinds of other crap,) either with actual speech or through magic/telepathy. Horses getting in on the action is hardly a shocker.
Now, don't get me wrong. There's plenty of fertile ground if you want to take a poke at Mercedes Lackey's work. But the fact that it is about ~magical talking horses~ shouldn't be what you're embarrassed about.
And now, of course, I ask the rest of you: any series or concepts you see belittled for reasons you find stupid? Do you want to defend the sparkly vampires? Do you have good reasons for children to pilot mecha? I'd love to see them written up for this community, as comments on this post, or as new entries.
I have a dilemma, and it's a pretty specific one, and I was hoping some outside voices would help me unpack it.
(Fair warning: this question involves a White Person fretting over How To Write [or, in this case, How To Vid] People Who Are Not White. If this is not something you feel up to dealing with today, please start scrolling now.)
Basically, I want to vid Billy Joel's "Tell Her About It." The premise of the song is that it's an Older Guy singing to a Younger Guy with advice on how to properly treat a girlfriend, based on the Older Guy's own past experiences. Like so:Listen, boy, it's good information from a man who's made some mistakes
Just a word or two that she gets from you can be the difference that it makes...
Tell her about it, tell her everything you feel
Give her every reason to accept that you're for real
...and so on. (Full lyrics here
The vid I have in mind involves two of my OTPs (both m/m). Between the available footage and their individual dynamics, it could work in pretty much any combination, with any of the guys being the singer, and either half of the other pairing being the person sung to.
The catch is that, while three of the characters are white, one of them is black. As a result, every combination I've come up with falls into some problematic area or another:( Cut, because this got longCollapse )
#10. Fan Art or Pop Art?
In fandom, we feel that there is a "legal grey area" within which we work and move. Fan artists are frequently dismissed, even sometimes by their peers, as "not real artists." However, many of the works created by fans are very similar in nature to works created by established pop artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Shepard Fairey. Is there a distinction between fan art and pop art? If so, where is the line drawn? If there is not, why is there a disparity in how viewers approach fan art and pop art?#11. Deconstructing the "Girly-Girl"
Gender!fail, sexism, feminism and misogyny are hot topics in fandom. We all agree that strong, independent female leads and female side-characters are important in stories and are important role-models for young girls. The legacy of a patriarchal society is that many female characters are - consciously or unconsciously - sidelined into secondary roles and/or are dependent on a male character for success. Are these characters wholly distasteful? Is there any place in the modern world and modern stories for Disney's idea of Sleeping Beauty or for a woman who has no desires outside of being married and raising children?#12. April 1st Special - Hot or Not?
Gaia Online's Johnny Gambino
: Is he as hot as he thinks he is, or just gross and obnoxious? Discuss. :D
Gender is a big deal in Western society and probably other societies as well, but I can't speak for them. You can see it in the pink-vs-blue for the kids and in the gossip rags going on about how this celebrity's child isn't appropriately dressed for their gender until you want to do is scream about who cares what the kid is wearing? It's also led to the gendering of non-gendered entities. For example, a ship is often referred to as a "she" despite the fact that boats will never give birth. And this is in English, which doesn't have gendered articles like French, Spanish, German, etc. have. And now we're gendering robots and other sentient non-biologicals being depicted in fiction.
Go ahead and raise your hand if you saw Wall-E. Now raise your hand if you've seen the beautiful piece of fanart that depicted both Wall-E and Eve as human females. How many of you did a double-take when you saw it? And if you haven't seen it, how many of you paused when you read that piece of art existed?
Now consider Transformers. The very existence of female Transformers like Arcee begs the question as to why a species of sentient alien robots that doesn't even reproduce sexually has females to begin with. This is a question various Transformer continuities - not to mention fandom in general - has been trying to answer for decades. The range of answers is impressive and worth discussing. Some claim Transformers have gender because they could reproduce sexually if they wanted to. Others claim that that not only are there female Transformers but the various builds, like seekers and minibots, are separate genders with there being up to and perhaps over seven different genders in total. And some claim the Transformers have no gender at all but since they're chameleons and mimics, have not only chosen to mimic current human society with its gender obsession but most have chosen to be male because males currently receive more respect. After all, would Optimus Prime receive as much respect if Optimus Prime was female-identified?
What are your thoughts?
Has this impacted people's tendency to meta? Are people shy about talking too much on a subject?#8 I was a painter in another life:
when doing AUs, how do you decide who does what? Do you fit characters to story needs, or vice versa? Do you fudge history to try to avoid *ism issues? What do you think is most important to maintain characterization wise when writing AU - a person's background, overall personality, speech patterns, etc.#9 CPR:
What do you do if you're part of a dying fandom? How do you feel? Do you try and save it? If so, how?
I love a lot of of anime, manga, comics etc, but have always been really bad
at replicating the artistic styles of others. Worse, even when I can do a reasonable facsimile I'm never happy with it artistically.
I recently got into "Avatar The Last Airbender" and have found myself drawing and being happy with lots
of fanart. Thinking about why I think it's a combination of:
- I want to draw it! It's a really good, inspiring show and pretty to look at. But this is also true of all the other stuff I have tried and failed to draw.
- Easy: The style is simple and kind of generic, which makes it easy to draw. Also the fact it's realistic, not too distinctive, and similar to my own style means I can pretty much draw the characters in my own style and have them be recognisable.
- Art doesn't rub me the wrong way: there's a lot of tropes in cartoons/anime etc which I mostly don't mind watching (or can at least ignore) but balk at when I come to draw them. These include over the top absurd costumes, objectifying clothing, GIANT eyes, giant boobs, and other exaggerated features like poofy fringes.
Compare to the last anime I tried to draw fanart for, Revolutionary Girl Utena
. The art is detailed, distinctive, nothing like my own style, has implausibly over the top clothing and GIANT eyes, etc. I love the show but hate
my attempts at art for it.
But after thinking about why I liked drawing Avatar I realised I could counteract all that by drawing the Utena characters in something closer to my own style (yeah, I know, duh). Even if noone else recognises them I'll be happier :)
Of course this is much harder than drawing fanart for something whose style already suits me, and stuff like costumes is hard to change too much without making the characters OOC unless you want to do an AU or something.
Anyway: does anyone else have this issue? What comics etc do you love but can't draw for? Anything you like drawing for more than you like reading/watching? When you do fanart for a drawn/stylised source, how hard do you try to match the style?
Looking at other people's fanart it certainly seems a lot of people like the giant-eyes anime style and use it pretty consistently even when the source doesn't. (And I can quite enjoy such art, even though I'd never draw it. Though I did enjoy using the Sailor Moon generator
#4 Cage match: Amaterasu vs Helios.
If you're pulling a crossover or a fusion, and two people have the same job, who wins? Why?#5 Too much of a good thing.
Do you find canons with enormous amounts of detail, such as Star Trek or Shadowrun, intimidating to deal with? Do you try and incorporate as much of that detail as possible, or do you ignore select parts? How do you chose what to include and what to ignore?#6 Dub vs Sub.
An age old debate, but let's take a good look at the pros & cons.