Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/2hYX2fC at January 05, 2017 at 10:04PM
I have been rereading the MsScribe saga today, which I now believe was so much more than an account of fandom because to have been able to write it is to understand fandom as it operated. This is important because we spend a lot of time on this website talking about how fandom should be, not about how it currently exists, as actual fact. Charlotte Lennox’s analyses of fandom, particularly, of how MsScribe was able to manipulate fandom, were very sharp, and talked about things that fannish people were not necessarily willing to talk about.
A few things struck me as particularly prophetic about this current state of fandom.
- The fandom community is completely defenseless against bad faith actors who know how fandom works.
- Consider MsScribe’s meteoric rise. Consider how knowing the right words is the one and only condition to being considered Good.
- Fandom operates on a couple of perverse incentives:
- Trauma will earn you not only sympathy, which it should, but also earn you authority to speak to a number of topics.
- Trauma had become the only way that you earn authority to speak to those topics.
- In the times of MsScribe, this manifested in her story about her accident and her stay at the hospital, but it was very interesting how she trotted out the story in irrelevant contexts.
- MsScribe has also claimed to have experienced sexual assault.
- Now, this is combined with fandom’s de facto policy of Always Believe. This set of rules on which fandom operates does not mean that Always Believe should be done away with, but that we have to understand that it should come as no surprise that bad faith actors will exploit this rule.
- Accusations of racism and bigotry elevate fandom to a higher level of importance than it actually is.
- I have a post or two about how fandom is not actually important in the grand scheme of things, so I will not belabor the point here.
- Fandom still plays a huge part in the lives of fans, however, so it must be important, right? How do we make it seem more important?
- I believe MsScribe’s stunt with the racist and homophobic sockpuppets presages fandom’s abuse of social justice language. This is not a new point, but by elevating shipping wars to the levels of racism and homophobia, people can claim righteousness and justify their overzealous reactions.
- The thing is that nowadays, fandom no longer even requires sockpuppets to be made. Offences in order to generate appropriate outrages do not need to be odious neo-fascist statements; they are everywhere, manifest. You need to keep up with the latest non-ablest language, or you’re out. This is why fandom will never be able to surpass MsScribe’s sophisticated level of wankatry–there is simply no need for it.
- Separately, it amuses me to no end that fandom remembers Dan Savage as the guy who said some unwise things about asexual folks, and not one of the media dipshits who championed the Iraq war.
So a lot of the dynamics that we’re talking about right now have already been in existence in fandom, literally as early as the first true fandom history was written. Scary, no? But this is also why I completely reject analyses like Devin Faraci’s that paint this generation of fans as particularly “entitled,” as though “entitled” is not the right wing’s favorite bludgeon with which to hit Millennials. I also reject Aja Romano’s lol-tastic version of how fabulous and important fandom is in her numerous, brazenly ahistorical posts for Vox.com. I invite the likes of Charlotte Lennox, who has a real understanding of fandom and its history, as well as a willingness to talk about oft avoided things, to contribute to the discourse instead.
****Coming to you soon, maybe: A long ass post about everything wrong with Faraci’s and Romano’s takes on fandom.
Tags:some of these may be borrowed tags, fandom meta, fandom history, probablyintraffic, DWCrosspost
Tumblr post (this is likely a reblog, and may have more pictures over there)