walkingshadow: kirk and spock gaze out of the abyss. text: i believe we've found their webcam, captain. (he who fights with monsters)
Thank you to everyone who came by to take the poll about your fanfiction saving and storage habits! It's taking a little while, but I'm working my way through the comments, which are all AWESOME. Feel free to come by at any time and fill it out or add your two cents, as I have no plans of closing it down until I grow weary of discussing these matters at length and in excruciating detail, i.e. NEVER.

Speaking of adding one's two cents. This most recent iteration of "fanfiction is an abomination and you should all be ASHAMED of yourselves" is just as baffling and hilarious and offensive as all the previous iterations, and everyone has already lined up and knocked down all the responses, including:

  • Fanfiction is not illegal;

  • Even if fanfiction were determined to be illegal under current copyright laws, that would not make it immoral;

  • Fanfiction is unstoppable;

  • Fanfiction is not: stealing, trespassing, plagiarism, or rape. That's why there are words for all of those things! (You know what is rape? RAPE. The end!);

  • Fanfiction is a compliment to the author (people love your books! YOU'RE WELCOME), authorial intent is dead, and authors need to let go of the fantasy that they have any control over how their audience engages with a text once it's been released into the wild;

  • Fanfiction (and the community from which it springs, fandom), brings a lot of joy to a lot of people while bringing harm to no one;

  • Fanfiction is not (at least, not necessarily) merely a means to an end (where "the end" is one day becoming a "real" writer of original works), but is in fact an end in and of itself;

  • Fanfiction can and often does (though it doesn't have to and doesn't always) take as much or more time, effort, research, skill, and imagination to produce as "real" fiction;

  • In fact, ALL art is an ongoing conversation between artists both living and dead; all art draws from the same communal well both within and (with caveats) across cultures; and all art is therefore always essentially derivative, the only difference being one of degree and deliberateness. Fanfiction (along with the larger modern-day transformative and remix culture) is merely the latest incarnation of storytelling traditions that are as old as culture itself, and it only seems weird because never before have so many people had access to writing and publishing tools, and this era of rapidly expanding (N.B. not universal) access follows right on the heels of ANOTHER anomolous era, one characterized by 1) very limited access to—and very tightly-held control of—the tools of writing and publishing, not to mention 2) restrictive laws governing who can do what with the finished product (with the advantage almost never going to the creator of OR the audience for the work, but to the handlers, gatekeepers, and middlemen), to say nothing of 3) largely unspoken rules governing who is allowed to write and what they are allowed to write about. As is always the case when a culture or some aspect of it undergoes unrest and transition, one age didn't smoothly begin just as the other ended, and instead they are currently overlapping and generating incredible friction because of it, like tectonic plates sliding against each other;

  • Fanfiction by any other name is written by professional authors ALL THE TIME, and THEY get to be lauded as literary lights! HYPOCRISY.

Regarding that last point: Whether or not you subscribe to the theory that all art is derivative (as I do), I think almost everyone will allow that at least some art—that is, some published, for-profit, critically-acclaimed art—is derivative. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, for example, or Wicked, or Girl with a Pearl Earring. [personal profile] bookshop has a great big list of them right over here. I'm going to paraphrase what I said to [livejournal.com profile] leksa when she asked whether collating these lists was even a good idea, let alone a convincing argument*:

See, whenever this issue comes up (every six to twelve months?), I just want to yell, "RICHARD III, THE END", and have it actually BE the end. But it doesn't work like that, because I don't think the problem is selective memory. I don't think anyone who believes fanfiction is a scourge and a crime ever looks at those lists in this context and suddenly realizes, "My god! Richard III was a real person, I forgot! That makes Richard III fanfiction! And if Shakespeare did it, it must be okay!" I think what they almost always say instead is, that doesn't count. That is, that what Shakespeare did in Richard III (and, you know, ALL of his other plays) was fundamentally different from what fanfiction writers on the internet do when they write stories about Harry and Draco, or the characters in Diana Gabaldon's stories (whoever they may be; I swear I had never even HEARD of this woman before this week), or celebrity figures in our contemporary culture.

So through a combination of goalpost-moving, equivocation, and good old-fashioned double standards, they wind up with a fallacious line of argument that goes something like, "what you (fans on the internet) write is horrible, because it is fanfiction; what I (the respectable, published, critically-acclaimed author) write is not fanfiction, because it is good."

Implicit in this reasoning is not only the premise that fanfiction can never be "good" and will never be literature; but an even deeper contempt for fandom in all its forms, and for fans in particular (or at least for fans as they are imagined to be), variously women, teenagers, nerds, losers, amateurs, and plebs—the pathetic, the shrill, and the common. It's a righteous, elitist fury directed at the seething masses who are daring to do something they have no business doing, something above them. Well, fuck that.

The reality is that at least some art is derivative; some is posted by amateurs on the internet, and some is published by respectable publishing houses and printed in books; and some of it is good, and some of it is bad, for whatever values of "good" and "bad" you want to work from; but you can't change those values to suit your argument. And every time you try, those losers on the internet are going to be more than happy to explain how ridiculous you sound, using very small words that hopefully you can understand.


* To clarify, and to hopefully better represent [livejournal.com profile] leksa's original thoughts on the subject (see her comment below), obviously these lists are a) true!, b) satisfying and gratifying to those of us within fandom, and c) sometimes genuinely effective in changing people's perspectives wrt fanfiction; but they're limited in their efficacy when people can dismiss those parallels between fanfiction and original fiction (for which I discuss at least one motivation above), OR (as [livejournal.com profile] leksa pointed out) when people accept those parallels, but dismiss and disparage those professional derivative works as much as the amateur ones.


ETA: Thank you for making my point for me, Jasper Fforde!

My thoughts on Fan Fiction are pretty much this: That it seems strange to want to copy or 'augment' someone else's work when you could expend just as much energy and have a lot more fun making up your own. I feel, and I think with good reason, very proprietorial about Thursday and all her escapades; clearly I can't stop you writing and playing what you want in private, and am very flattered that you wish to do so. But anything published in any form whatsoever - and that specifically includes the internet - I cannot encourage, nor approve of.

- Jasper Fforde (emphasis mine)

In the world of Thursday Next, literature is a much more popular medium than in our world, and Thursday is a member of SO-27, the Literary Detectives or LiteraTecs. Her work is centred on Swindon, where she, her husband, infant, and mother live. The importance that literature has in this alternate England is reflected in the fact that so many people want to change their name to that of famous authors that some must be numbered, by law- e.g. John Milton 432. 'WillSpeak' machines are often to be found in public places, such as railway stations- these contain a mannequin of a Shakespearian Character and will quote that character's most famous speeches upon payment.

In addition, the line between literature and reality becomes increasingly thin, allowing characters in the books and those in 'real life' to jump in and out of novels. This leads Thursday to change the ending of Jane Eyre; the joke being that the plot we know in our reality is the far superior change caused by Thursday. This also happens to other classic novels- Uriah Heep becomes the obsequious, and generally insincere character we know, due to an accident inside the book-world and Thursday's uncle Mycroft becomes Sherlock Holmes's brother.

- Wikipedia

There is some Olympic-caliber mental gymnastics going on here! Obviously when Jasper Fforde copies and augments someone else's work, that is not "Fan Fiction". I can't help but wonder how he would feel about a published writer, a fellow author, incorporating Thursday, et al. into their own work. If, say, Neil Gaiman wrote a story that took place in the Socialist Republic of Wales, would Fforde feel just as "proprietorial"? Or would that be an entirely different proposition?

/ETA
walkingshadow: text: i chased the internet and got tired. (naked and famous)
Because it's something I've been grappling with for a while myself, I got curious about how other people save and store the fanfiction they read (or intend to read), either on- or offline. And since I just re-upped my paid time on dreamwidth, it looks like conditions are perfect for a poll! For these purposes, when I talk about "saving a story", I mean "putting it (or a link to it) in any physical, digital, or virtual space for your own personal access at a later date, for any reason". So:

A poll! Your personal fanfiction curation habits: describe them to me! )

Obviously this poll is limited to my own experiences and knowledge, so I would dearly love to hear about the practices that work for you. Or practices that are no longer working for you! There's also the fact that I myself am exclusively a reader and not a writer of fanfiction. If you're a writer, does that affect your archiving habits? Do you handle your own fic differently? What about saving other fannish works, like art and podfic and vids and meta? I'm especially unfamiliar with fanart communities and their homes on the web, and with vids I very quickly run into the problem of limited disk space. So what do you do?

Here's how my current system is set up: every story I read that I ever want to lay my hands on again, I a) save in html format to my laptop (which subsequently gets backed up to an external drive) and b) bookmark in my delicious account. It's important to me to have both, since anything can disappear from the internet at any moment (sites go down, links break, C&D letters are served, authors pull their work, etc.), but a library in the cloud is, by definition and design, accessible a) to anyone b) from anywhere. Thus, in a perfect world I would have a perfectly redundant system consisting of local, offline electronic copies and the corresponding referral links to the online versions of those stories.

But (spoiler!) it isn't a perfect world, and this is how things actually shake out:

How things actually shake out )
walkingshadow: tony stark gets his drink on (where's the kid with the chemicals)
On the glorious occasion of the anniversary of her birth, [livejournal.com profile] silentfire and I went to see Sherlock Holmes.

spoilers will spoil you )

In conclusion: A++ WOULD WATCH AGAIN
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (would you be the wind to blow me home)
NCIS(gay): 1.09: Random on Purpose (now with pictures!) )

So that was awesome. I'm now FOUR weeks behind on everything else though, including NCIS: Original Flavor, The Mentalist, FlashForward, Criminal Minds, Lie to Me, Castle, White Collar, and Community. I've given up on Bones and Trauma was canceled; is there anything fantastic out there that I'm missing out on?
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (would you be the wind to blow me home)
I'm two to three weeks behind on all the other television I watch, but I'm aaaall caught up on NCIS: LA.

Week 8: Still the gayest! )
walkingshadow: tony stark gets his drink on (where's the kid with the chemicals)
[profile] smallbeer is asking how would you define "manpain" in a fannish context? for the ultimate purpose of creating a Fanlore entry.

Based on responses in the comments, I have made a flowchart to help us out! Click the thumbnail for the full-size version.

How To Tell If Your Pain is ~Manpain~




ETA: Now with bonus "START" node, title, and attribution! Also more right angles! Oh, hindsight. Is there nothing you can't make obvious??
walkingshadow: the teevee (a candy store with a cigarette smile)
The good news: I'm one week into the hundred push ups training program and well on my way to having TRICEPS OF STEEL. *flexes*

The bad news: Pretty much everything else! This is why I watch TV.

I've only seen a couple of episodes of Castle, and so far I'm ambivalent about it, but I am tickled to death that he was issued a bulletproof vest that says WRITER in place of the usual POLICE or FBI. Sensible! but also hilarious! Obviously the rest of the stable of quirky law-enforcement adjuncts need similarly custom-emblazoned Kevlar. Shawn and Gus's would say PSYCHIC!! (sic) and MAGIC HEAD, respectively; Charlie's would say I DO MATH; Bones would request that hers say FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGIST, but Booth would intercept it and change it to SQUINT. I'm not sure what Cal Lightman's would say, but Neal Caffrey's could read either CON ARTIST or PROP. OF SPECIAL AGENT PETER BURKE; and Patrick Jane's would say BATSHIT INSANE. But of course he wouldn't wear it.
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (would you be the wind to blow me home)
I get the impression that more and more people are tuning in to NCIS: LA, hooray!

You may or may not have heard about this show called NCIS: LA? and you may or may not have positive or negative associations with the parent show from which it was spun off, I don't know; and maybe you've overdosed on law enforcement procedurals, or maybe you've never forgiven Chris O'Donnell for Batman & Robin; but here is what you need to know about this show: Chris O'Donnell is a Dickensian orphan, LL Cool J is a former Navy SEAL who folds origami cranes on stakeouts and spontaneously quotes Spock, and they are terribly, terribly gay for each other. There is banter, there are jokes about being married, there are long, meaningful looks, there is the immortal line "I COMPLETE YOU", and a declaration of love. LL Cool J has committed to his acting decision to always look at Chris O'Donnell with hearts in his eyes, it's AMAZING.

Also Linda Hunt is a ninja.

The plots are so ridiculous and predictable and riddled with holes that I've just started imagining them as MacGuffins to the show's real objective: the whumping of G Callen. G's manpain is not just epic, it's the epic that other epics pass down as legend from generation to generation. Take the most indulgent, unapologetically angsty, hurt-comforty, smarmy piece of fanfic you've ever written or read or printed out and put in a binder and kept under your pillow; and then imagine that binder was given to a major Hollywood studio with a giant budget who serialized it for television and then cast LL Cool J and Chris O'Donnell as the leads. Well, you no longer have to imagine it, because IT HAPPENED IN REAL LIFE. Sometimes we joke about making things up with our minds, but guys, I think this time it actually happened!

For more details, check out these awesome people:

From [livejournal.com profile] laceymcbain: 5 Reasons You Should Be Watching NCIS: Los Angeles

From [livejournal.com profile] gabriellemb: a primer with pictoral evidence of the slashiness.

And from [livejournal.com profile] drlense, hilarious weekly recaps SLASHCAPS, all under her "ncisgay" tag.

Two things about last Tuesday's episode (1.07, Pushback) that only serve to highlight the OTT-ness of it all: )
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (ad astra per aspera)
For reasons that don't bear exploring at this juncture, I no longer have access to a car, and so I have been re-discovering the joys of public transportation and walking all over town. The weather's already turned cold, thank god, and I'm honestly enjoying it; though no one else seems to want me to walk long distances, or at night, or by myself. I find all of those concerns irritating to varying degrees, in that they always come off as condescending and paternalistic, even though I understand that there is a certain amount of real risk. Which also makes me irritated! I have been reading up on rape culture lately, does it show??

Anyway, everywhere is walking distance if you have the time, and I have, seriously, all the time in the world, and time flies when you have your ipod with you! So at first I used this as the perfect opportunity to catch up on all my podcasts; but then I actually caught up on all my podcasts, and I realized I was going to have to wait another week for the next episode of "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!" to air; and THEN I remembered that I had the Star Trek audiobook on my computer but I'd never listened to it. YES.

So here are some random thoughts on what I've heard so far (I'm about two-thirds of the way through), keeping in mind that I've been listening while walking and therefore unable to write anything down, so these are just the random bits I remembered.

Zachary Quinto, that is a lot of talking. I salute you! )
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (spn: read more books)
i spent my weekend a) taking my first wobbling steps at vidding and subsequently losing both the will to live and my SANITY, and b) drinking chocolate martinis and watching the oscars at t. and j.'s; the martinis are ESSENTIAL to surviving the oscar-watching experience.

anyway, some belated supernatural meta i've been sitting on:

google as research tool: symbolism in supernatural 2.15 )

this comic pretty well sums up the above, the internet, and the way i live my life.
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (pop: sound bites are good for snacking)
so far i have been incredibly ambivalent about studio 60. i've seen widely varied reactions across the flist and my own impressions have been up and down, reflecting the unevenness of the show itself. so, because i have no one to talk about this stuff with, i hash it all out for myself here. AT GREAT LENGTH. you're welcome!

i haven't seen this week's episode yet (it's downloaded but unplayed) so please don't spoil me for that.

spoilers for the first four episodes of studio 60 on the sunset strip, with a dislikes-to-likes ratio of 16 words to 1. )

March 2011

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