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maybe do adjust your set

Soooooo.

Here's what it is. In the last few weeks, I watched through most of The Walking Dead for the first time. It was mostly idle curiosity, but I did end up finding a great deal more of interest than the incessant complaints about it (which was my only exposure to the show before this) had led me to believe. And though I tried to scribble out a bunch of the random thoughts I had on the show, and/or my exasperation at fandom reactions, something about the push-pull between those two things kept becoming too incoherent to actually post.

So I gave up, and watched the five extant S8 episodes of Show'o'MyHeart instead, and LOVED THEM. And then made the mistake of glancing around online.

At which point, piling onto the morass of TWD grousing, Show's fandom's response pretty much broke me.




You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.

That was several days ago (other rl crap has slowed me down some, as par for the course). In that time, the only conclusion I've come to about fandom generally is that I may as well be standing around on clifftops shrieking "Inconceivable!" I just don't get it. I don't, and I never will. It's dawning on me (I'm slow) that I did the equivalent of wandering into Chuck E. Cheese's in the expectation of haute cuisine. Which is not a value judgement; what fandom is is just not what I'm looking for, not what I enjoy, and definitely not what I have the energy for. Also, while there are adults around, they're hard to find and harder to converse with in any meaningful way. (I count myself lucky to have found as many of you as I have, considering how little I explore; as I've said many times, I ❤ my flisties.)

When I got involved in online fandom, it was to engage in stories and storytelling, not in a dry, academic way but with both intelligent analysis and heapings of squee. Story is fundamentally communal in nature, and I came looking for communities that have grown up around the particular stories I have time to invest in.

I don't know why it should be now that the disparity between what I care about, and what fandom cares about, should hit me so hard. Sure, the response to SPN S8 has been an epic blame-game bitchfest, but that's not new for this fandom, except possibly in terms of scale and saturation. (Who's got two thumbs and the trollingest Show around? Oh yeah, baby.) Once that was merely a matter for my daily popcorn intake levels; now I want absolutely no part of it, I don't even want to skim it. When even the most measured, thoughtful, equitable voices in the fandom have to spend ~paragraphs~ detailing and explaining why Sam isn't being selfish (what. the. everloving. fuck.), there is simply no way to engage any discussion without it becoming framed in those terms, with a side order of asses and umptions all around.

So now I've just sort of been standing here, trying to figure out what comes next.


The man who writes about himself and his own time is the only man who writes about all people and all time. -- George Bernard Shaw

This is what I love: discussing what a story is doing. The operative paradigms of a story's world-building, and how the characters interact with them, how they change and grow and (preferably) learn to navigate them well, together and apart, and in turn impact each other and their world within those paradigms. What they choose, and why, and how the consequences then inform their understanding and subsequent choices. And how all of that can be told skillfully.

And then – once the question of what the story is, in itself, has been meaningfully engaged – comes evaluating what it's expressing about us in our wider reality. Skip the first step (or fail to review and reassess it periodically), and all we do is uncritically project our own understanding onto the story, often trying to steal the story's voice for our own (and reacting poorly when it fails to say what we think it should) rather than listening to what it has to say for itself. (... Which is another way of saying CONTEXT MATTERS, which, yes, I would go around screaming at people just like that if I thought it would do any good whatsoever. Maybe a t-shirt design of some kind?)

I realised I don't know how to do that in fandom. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, it's that I don't know how I can do that; I don't feel like I have a lot to offer that fandom wants. I'm not going to lie, there was a moment or two there where I gave serious consideration to peacing out. But there's very little I like about that idea, and at the top of the list of what I don't like is losing all you guys. I love your voices and passion, and watching whatever you're into pop up on my flist, even if for the most part I'm an awkward penguin and have nothing worth saying or can't join in. And I still want to write about the stuff that I love, still want to explore the stories that interest me and why, even if in the end I'm just burbling away here to myself.

I guess what I'm saying is that I lost any desire to be involved, at least on any level beyond you, the immediately personal. I don't expect anything, I'm not trying to be part of anything, all I really want to do is say hey, look, I think this is interesting, and welcome anyone if they want to join in. I don't know if that makes me part of fandom or not, but I'm not much fussed either way.




Coming soon: hey, look, The Walking Dead.

Comments

( 9 speakses — have a speak )
fannishliss
Nov. 10th, 2012 01:46 pm (UTC)
I have a couple of lovely flisters who are really emotionally upset by what's going on on show, and it's actually BOTHERING me. So even though I don't muck about on tumblr, I still see my flisters in emotional distress. Which bothers me, because THIS IS MY SHOW!!! STILL MY SHOW, STILL THE EXACT SAME SHOW I'M SO IN LOVE WITH!!

admittedly, s7 lost me a little with what missyjack just called the "sisyphan task" and i was like YAY PERFECT PHRASE.

s8 is everything i LOVE MOST about show. The essential conflict between two heroes who just see things slightly differently. It's like my sister and me. My husband laughs so hard about all the ways we get on each other's nerves so hard, because we're EXACTLY THE SAME!!! That's Sam and Dean in a nutshell.

So I was watching this week's ep and trying to ignore the chatter in my head that is the two sides gathering evidence about which brother is being the bigger jerk. I'll admit that I used to kind of hate Sammy for being a pissy little whiner. Those days are LONG GONE. I love him SO MUCH right now. And Dean man, the fall he is headed for is gonna be SO EPIC.

So thanks for not leaving the game. Maybe I'll even have the nerve to post a review one of these weeks.

So there was a link over to the superwiki entry on Bobby's Hats, which I made the mistake of clicking on, and then burst into tears. Bobby is essentially my dad, who in RL passed away in 2005, and was not just my dad but also one of my best friends. So I totally get what happened to Dean's heart when he saw Garth in that hat. Except Dean flies into a rage instead of bursting into tears. That's what show means to me -- and why I get the emotional reaction -- and why I'm trying to insulate myself from it as much as possible while still caring a lot about my flisters. :)
borgmama1of5
Nov. 10th, 2012 03:15 pm (UTC)
Oh dear, I have a feeling I'm one of those flisters :(

But I'm feeling more understanding of Sam lately...the last two episodes have done a lot for getting me back into the show, although I better get an amazing reconciliation for suffering through all this season's angst :)
fannishliss
Nov. 10th, 2012 10:37 pm (UTC)
well you're not alone :)

I do feel for fans who are troubled by developments... but I also am trying to feel my own reactions to Show without undue coloration...

it's all good!

I'm glad to hear the last 2 eps worked for you! :)

hugs!
themonkeytwin
Nov. 11th, 2012 02:47 am (UTC)
To be fair, I felt like your distress was very respectfully expressed. There's a HUGE difference between distress and vitriol. Count me in for being glad the last two eps have helped get things back on course for you!
themonkeytwin
Nov. 11th, 2012 01:16 am (UTC)
Pretty much EXACTLY THIS. *clings to, like, the whole comment*


s8 is everything i LOVE MOST about show. The essential conflict between two heroes who just see things slightly differently.

Right? OMG SO GOOD. I love that they've each had a year in a place that exactly answers how they truly see the world, how they think the world really works – and now their spheres have overlapped again and they have to deal with their worldviews being challenged and examined by the only other person in the world who can do that to them. I love that from the jump, Dean's in battle mode, overrevving, and Sam is in decompressed mode, and how they torque each other. And I get why Sam resisted ramping up for a while, but damn was it good to see him get in the ring and push back finally!


trying to ignore the chatter in my head that is the two sides gathering evidence about which brother is being the bigger jerk

Me too. – Although I'll be more cynical and say "gathering evidence on why their ~innocent~ brother is being victimised by the BIG MEAN MEEEENIE". I'm ... gonna need a bigger filter. :/


Maybe I'll even have the nerve to post a review one of these weeks.

Ha, I'll be there when you do, cheering you on.


then burst into tears. Bobby is essentially my dad, who in RL passed away in 2005, and was not just my dad but also one of my best friends.

Oh, sweetie. *HUGS*


I totally get what happened to Dean's heart when he saw Garth in that hat.

I can see that. Me, I was squicked, and angry. I work with a lot of people with a LOT of issues with healthy boundaries, and there Garth crossed the line from stepping up to Bobby's role to assuming he could appropriate the relationship of trust, vulnerability and authority Bobby had earned with the boys. And that teary-eyed "just trying to help" bullshit pisses me off because, NO, in that moment you were trying to take, specifically a place in a relationship that's not yours. So, yeah, squicked. IMO, Dean was right to smack his hand. I was glad that the end of the episode implied that Garth kind of got the message that if he's going to help, it can and has to be as *Garth*, not Bobby, and that he has the potential to grow into a Bobby-status on his own merits.


That's what show means to me -- and why I get the emotional reaction -- and why I'm trying to insulate myself from it as much as possible while still caring a lot about my flisters. :)

Right. As our different reactions just to Garth in a Bobby hat shows, it connects very deeply to people's experiences. And that's cool – in fact, it's awesome – but volatile and sometimes vicious when not handled well. There's nothing wrong with staying out of the way of that.
borgmama1of5
Nov. 10th, 2012 03:27 pm (UTC)
I hate when 'fans' start dumping on one or the other of the boys...Disappointment in their behavior, yes, yelling at the TV for them to TALK, for pity's sake...um, that I get...But the hate? No, this is the Sam AND Dean show! And we don't know what the writers are planning, so don't scream until you have the whole picture!

I admit I felt show had lost the brotherly connection that I loved when this season started, but the last two episodes are showing layers that are helping me understand where Sam's head is at, and if I can see that, I can hope for a resolution.

I can give you two recommendations for reviews to read that are very incisive and just a delight to read:

http://gaelicspirit.livejournal.com/143213.html (This is her review of 8.05) Her reviews are simply the best...I always save them for last because they inevitably address all the things other reviews have complained about.

http://caffienekitty.livejournal.com/464254.html (Review of 8.05) She never knows any spoilers, so her reviews are 'untainted' by expectations. She speculates as she watches, which gives her reviews an intriguing perspective. And her tie analysis is hysterical and eerily right!

themonkeytwin
Nov. 11th, 2012 02:39 am (UTC)
Disappointment in their behavior, yes, yelling at the TV for them to TALK, for pity's sake...um, that I get...

And yet somehow, they always take like a season to get the message, even with all of us yelling. :D


I admit I felt show had lost the brotherly connection that I loved when this season started

I feel like I must be a very fortunate fan, because I have never, ever felt this way. [Edit – CORRECTION: except in the first half of S6. So yeah, I do get your pain.] To me, the connection is always right there in the foreground, whatever form it's currently taking, but I think that also depends on how connection and disconnection is perceived by the viewer. To me, the issue is never of connectedness (again, we probably define that differently), but of personhood and dysfunction and healthy independence. There's a favourite book I've been skimming back through recently, that basically sums up what I feel about their relationship, and the interplay between healthy independence and support:

The problem, however, is that we not only want our freedom but also fear it. It is this fear that makes us so intolerant toward our own loneliness and makes us grab prematurely for what seem to be "final solutions."... No friend or lover, no husband or wife, no community or commune will be able to put to rest our deepest cravings for unity and wholeness.... Friendship and love cannot develop in the form of an anxious clinging to each other. They ask for gentle fearless space in which we can move to and from each other.... An intimate relationship between people not only asks for mutual openness but also for mutual respectful protection of each other's uniqueness.

Our society seems to be increasingly full of fearful, defensive, aggressive people anxiously clinging to their property and inclined to look at their surrounding world with suspicion, always expecting an enemy to suddenly appear, intrude and do harm. But still – that is our vocation: to convert the
hostis into a hospes, the enemy into a guest and to create the free and fearless space where brotherhood and sisterhood can be formed and fully experienced.... Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines.... It is not an educated intimidation with good books, good stories and good works, but the liberation of fearful hearts so that words can find roots and bear ample fruit.

... And, wow, sorry for the textdump. But that's the journey I kind of see them both on, in different ways, and even though they've got a long way to go, I always see some kind of progress and I have hope that they'll keep taking steps in that direction. I mean, as long as they're alive, there'll be some kind of struggle, because that's what life is, but I have faith that they will keep growing, both independently and together.


And thanks for the recs! When I'm up to it, I'll head over that way and check them out. :)

Edited at 2012-11-11 02:42 am (UTC)
tahirire
Nov. 11th, 2012 07:11 am (UTC)
Yeah, same here. Also I'm too busy to get sucked into the drama anymore, so that helps me not feel compelled to stick around too closely. I'm still watching though. Of course. :)

TWD is great this season (3), my favorite season yet.
themonkeytwin
Nov. 11th, 2012 07:35 am (UTC)
Hey you! It's nice to see your virtual face.

(You know the weird part? The whole thing kind of makes me love Show just a little bit more. Show is such a bad boy.)


TWD is great this season (3), my favorite season yet.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure I got on board at the best possible time for optimum enjoyment. :)
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