gmonkey42: cartoon Sephiroth (Default)
Someone's trying to get a count of how many LJ accounts are held by members of fandom and you can be counted by joining [ profile] fandom_counts

I've joined but it occurs to me that this might be a trick and they're going to mass-ban everyone who joins. Nahh, as long as we're not violating TOS I think we're safe. But I can't help suspecting that [ profile] fandom_counts is going to be a good way to get the names of all the disgruntled fandom LJers, even if that's not what the originators of the comm intended.

Maybe I should start archiving posts that I want to save.

I do have the l337 skillz to make a blog on my own site, so that's Plan B if the need arises, but I've always liked LJ because it's a lot easier to meet other people online.
gmonkey42: cartoon Sephiroth (Default)
As I mull over the mass account suspensions and my position on them, it occurs to me that as far as the mainstream media are concerned, promoting illegal activity is A-OK if it's violence against women we're talking about.

I don't know the statistics and I don't know where I'd go to find a complete list of the communities that were suspended but I get the impression LJ specifically targeted fanfic communities, which is ridiculous. It makes me wonder how many communities dedicated to veiled but nonetheless virulent misogyny are allowed to continue.

If I didn't have more important things to do and if it wouldn't depress the hell out of me, I'd do some research into that. If anyone else is up for it, I'd love to see the results.

Another thing that rubs me the wrong way about this is the capitalism angle. Both that:

1. SixApart was reportedly motivated by the fear of losing sponsors


2. It's possible to get around this type of corporate censorship but only if you have money. It costs money to have a paid account or to run your own web site. The more you can afford to run your own stuff, the more editorial control you have. I feel strongly that the web has the power to be a great democratizing force, provided we don't allow corporations to take over. It's a weird coincidence that FanLib happened at the same time as the suspensions (or is it not a coincidence? I haven't read that much about either yet). They're both examples of how making the web more profit-motivated makes it worse for the people who use it.

I can see the argument that we're a bunch of spoiled babies who want something for nothing. But imposing artificial restrictions on some people's access to information - this is the Information Age, right? - is just another force widening the gap between the haves and have-nots. Whether "have" and "have-not" refer specifically to money or information doesn't really matter. The result is the same: a more rigid class system. And unless you're on the board of directors at Yahoo, don't believe the lie that you could slip into the upper class and would therefore benefit from that gap. The class division that's happening now - based on money or information - has the effect of simultaneously granting more power to the upper class and shrinking it, while forcing more and more of the middle class downward. I realize I started off talking about people having their (mostly free?) accounts suspended for talking about something most people find disgusting (which makes those people freaks therefore it's OK to treat them badly; that is until something you like gets targeted, but that's another rant.) In the grand scheme of things, this particular incident isn't a big deal. But I can't help finding it insidious. Our rights aren't going to be taken away in one fell swoop, they're chipped at a little at a time, so we won't notice.

I'm not saying we should start protesting in the streets to protect the citizens' right to read Bellatrix/Narcissa. But we shouldn't dismiss this as totally unimportant either. It's just one symptom of a much greater problem.
gmonkey42: cartoon Sephiroth (pirate icon)
I started writing this as a comment in response to [ profile] stella_polaris's post, here, but it was getting long and I decided to make it an entry in my own journal instead.

Briefly, [ profile] stella_polaris said how cool Scully was and how it's so hard to find another fandom/series with such a great female character and I totally agree.

The inability of most writers to come up with good female characters reminds me of how stores that aren't stereotypically feminine (like hardware stores) sometimes have stupid marketing gimmicks to try to get more female customers, like selling hammers with pink flowers printed on them. Like women never want a hammer for, you know, hammering things, as opposed to matching our nail polish.

The problem is rooted in writers having the idea that men are people and women are Other, we're Not-Men, and therefore we can't possibly have the same motivations or feelings as normal human beings. Some writers get that they're supposed to make "strong" female characters and they end up writing the inhuman, ballbusting Mary Sues because that's the only alternative to "damsel in distress" that they can come up with. It's sad.

I was thinking last night about the reasons why people like slash (because, according to [ profile] mijan, some asshole at Phoenix Rising gave a talk claiming that slash fans hate women's bodies and want to be men*. Nice.). I say the reason male slash is so much more popular than femslash in most fandoms is because most fandoms have no more than one, and often zero, female characters that are interesting and well-developed (as characters, not boob-wise) enough to write about. Buffy and Xena are two exceptions, where there are more cool female characters, and there we see more femslash. It occurred to me that Harry Potter fails DTWOF's movie litmus test "The Rule", which states that a movie (or book series in this case) should have:

1. At least two female characers who...
2. to each other...
3. ...about something other than a man.

Harry Potter fails on the third one. We hardly ever see two female characters talking to each other and when they do, it's always about a male. Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure there isn't one single scene out of all six books where two female characters have a conversation that isn't about Harry, Draco or Voldemort. In contrast, the male characters talk to each other about all kinds of things besides women: school, sports, plans for the future, other people of their own gender.

Not that I'm trying to hate on J.K. Rowling - she's no worse than any other mainstream author. My point is that HP slash is naturally going to be pretty male-centric because the source material is male-centric. It's harder to write a relationship between two characters when we never see them interact with each other in canon. I think even more important than the difficulty in writing femslash is the difficulty in getting an audience for it. Fanfic is much more popular than unpaid, web-based original fiction because you already have a built-in audience. That's why bad writers warp the canon characters beyond all recognition: they want to write original fiction but they recognize that if it isn't attached to an established fandom then hardly anybody will read it.

When a fanfic author works with less-developed characters, there are going to be more gaps to fill in with original stuff and the impression I get is, unfortunately, the more original stuff you have to add about the characers, the harder it is to attract an audience.

Therefore, liking male slash doesn't automatically make you a misogynist.


* ETA: OK, it looks like, although the abstract said that, the actual talk didn't. But still.
gmonkey42: cartoon Sephiroth (Sparklypoo)
It was fun while it lasted. I sympathize. And [ profile] potterpuffs got a hell of a lot more artwork done per time than I do. I was thinking about it in the car driving home last night, how I'm getting into these other interests - belly dance, knitting, Puzzle Pirates - and I'm not spending the free time I have doing comics any more. And I felt bad because I know I have fans and I know what it's like to go to a web site where you like the stuff and you keep hoping they'll post something new (cough*grindylowe). I'm even thinking I'll have to drop out of [ profile] hp_art_project. I feel horrible about that but given the nature of the project, I can't do it if I can't do something great for it and I don't think I can right now.

It's not that I'm tired of the fandom. I'm not. The comics are just so time-consuming. I remember when I did my first major comic (pre-X-Files Kids): a Jane Eyre parody for AP English class. I spent my entire spring break making it and it wasn't even scanned, let alone Photoshop coloring. It took me roughly a year to make the Sparklypoo comic. And at this point, even if I had a couple of weeks off, I wouldn't spend them drawing. I've found things I enjoy doing more.

The next thing I want to do is learn how to make Flash animation. I'm hoping to take vacation time in spring so I might be able to do it then. I have an awesome idea for the Pirate Monkey section of the site that involves Flash. I've always felt a little weird getting hits from Harry Potter stuff and would like to shift the focus to my own original stuff.


I'm not going on hiatus or anything. I'll continue to update at my usual barnacle's snail's pace. It's just that [ profile] potterpuffs' announcement made me think about these things.
gmonkey42: cartoon Sephiroth (Default)
I was reading the recent wankitude over at [ profile] deleterius that [ profile] tviokh mentioned in her journal and it got me thinking: a lot of people seem to have the misconception that if people like something then it must be good. I thought about it too when I was in the car with my brother last week. I started ragging on Britney Spears, which I like to do from time to time, because it's pretty funny how she makes millions of dollars for being a singer when she cannot, in fact, sing. That'd be like a construction worker who can't build houses. Like, the houses look OK, but the walls are actually made of cardboard and stuck together with paste. Only in real life, the analogy would be funnier. I'm a little tired right now. So there's my excuse. But I digress.

it's getting long so the rest is behind the cut )

January 2012

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