cordelianne: (Joss "In my world...")
I’m in complete agreement with my Buffy quote today, people are the strangest people.

In the past few weeks, I’ve had the misfortune to read a lot of arguments between fans, who are in the same fandom, which are basically people disagreeing about what qualities one must have to call themselves a true fan of a show. To this I say WTF?!!! Since when should other people decide/proclaim for someone else how or why she/he can enjoy a show?! In particular, I’m responding to this discussion on whedonesque about slash fanfiction:

Here's the link. The always fabulous wikipedia has definitions for fanfiction and slash.

I enjoy a good debate about my favourite tv shows (and, trust me, I can have endless lengthy discussions about my fandoms) but this doesn’t seem to be a stimulating debate; rather, people are freaking out because some fans enjoy a show in different ways than they do. This whole situation baffles me because some people are implying that there’s an objective response people should be having to art. This confuses me because I always thought that one’s reaction and relationship to art was subjective and personal (although I’ve always had wacky ideas like that!).

The interesting aspect of the debate on whedonesque is that some of the posters are clearly upset by the suggestion of male heroes having sex with each other. For example, here’s one of the comments:

I see the fascination with slash, but I don't really get it. To me, these guys are, ultimately, heroes. The heroes don't bugger each other in my world. Funny too, that I have absolutely zero trouble with Willow and Tara's relationship. I adore them.

Actually, I’d say the issue isn’t even sex – despite what’s being said – it’s GAY sex (ie. man/man sex). The implied statement is that big heroic men would never have sex with each other. Of course Willow/Tara is okay, it’s all sweet and romantic, and they’re not the male heroes of the shows. Also lesbian sexuality is generally considered less threatening than gay sexuality. The person who made the above comment later clarified that she/he’s hetero and that’s what she/he wants to see in fiction. Lucky for the commenter, that is what predominates in mainstream culture and is why people write slash fanfiction, so they can read and experience queer characters for sexy, hot, angsty, romantic and/or fun entertainment.

Joss Whedon has a very fun response to the above comment:

In my world, heroes bugger each other senseless. Not all of them, but more than you'd think, and probably not who you're thinking.

This comment makes me love Joss Whedon even more than I already do because he’s very open to fan interpretation of his work (as well as directly countering his fans’ homophobic freak-outs). One of my favourite moments – and also much discussed on whedonesque – is in Angel season 5 “Power Play” (5:21) when Spike says: Angel and me have never been intimate. Except that one...

Although Spike/Xander is my favourite fanfic pairing to read (yes I do read fanfiction), I love the dynamic between Spike and Angel particularly in AtS season 5. To me there’s a homoerotic subtext between Angel and Spike, so when Spike says that he and Angel were intimate I was delighted that the show was acknowledging the vibe between them. I’ve always assumed that this comment was a confirmation that as some point Angel and Spike had sex.

Anyway, I discovered that not everyone had the same reaction as I did when I read some comments on whedonesque:

1. And I think they've read a little too much into the 'Well there was that one time...' comment.

2. Umm yeah, I don't think "Well there was that one time..." necessarily translates into "they had intercourse". Assume much?

Ignoring for a moment, the anti-slash bias of the commenters, there’s definitely a valid point about reading too much into Spike’s statement. It is possible Spike just meant that he and Angel had an intimate friendship moment; it doesn’t have to be about sex. However, because it’s never explicitly stated exactly what Spike means by intimate, it’s also assuming much to decide that Spike and Angel haven’t had sex. It’s interesting that the second commenter is particularly upset by the implication of male/male sex (ie. the mention of intercourse). To that I say, homophobic much?

In fact, there’s strong evidence to support the “Spike and Angel have had sex” argument if you take into account Joss’ statement on a commentary track:

I just want to say Angel and Spike, they were hanging out, uh, for years and years and years, they were in, you know, all kinds of deviant, they were vampires... Are we thinking they never...? Come on, people. I'm just sayin'. I'm just sayin'. You know, they're open-minded guys. They may be evil but, you know, they're not bigoted or closed-minded.

I firmly believe Spike and Angel have a complex, difficult and meaningful relationship that has definitely included – hopefully still includes - sex; however most of this belief is based in my own postulating from canonical events and statements. This doesn’t mean that what I believe is the truth, but it’s not false either. It also doesn’t mean that other people can’t have differing ideas from mine. That’s why it’s called fiction.

What concerns me is the frequent homophobia that underlies a lot of negative reaction to slash fanfic or homoerotic subtext readings. I have a lot of friends who share fandoms with me and who don’t read slash fanfiction or see/look for the homoerotic subtexts like I do, and they’ve never been upset about the existence of slash pairings. I suspect this is because they’re all queer or queer-positive so their reactions aren’t being informed by a homophobic reaction. It’s possible to disagree with someone without being horrified about how they enjoy a show.

Here’s the thing, I think it is alright if people watch a tv show:

- only for the homoerotic subtext (ie. I mostly like Smallville for Clark/Lex)
- watch a show only because of a hot actor/actress
- because of a favourite canonical romantic pairing (eg. Buffy/Angel, Buffy/Spike, Veronica/Logan, Kara/Lee)
- because they love every aspect of it
- because of the kick ass feminist heroine
- because it’s such a smart show and they love to analyze every aspect of it (something I never do!!)
- for any other multitude of reasons that I can’t think of right now

The other thing to consider is that show producers and networks are also happy if people watch their tv show for any of the above reasons. Why? Because as long as enough people watch a show – for whatever reason - it’ll stay on the air and avoid cancellation. In fact, much of marketing for tv uses the sex appeal of the stars to sell the show. It only logically follows that people will imagine/fantasize about the characters and their sexiness.

I don’t understand why some people think they should regulate how other people should watch a show. As long as my favourite shows continue to be on the air I don’t care why other people are watching them. In fact, I think it’s awesome that there’s so many ways to derive enjoyment from tv, and it makes me happy that there are a multiplicity of ways to be a fan.

I think I’m upset by the homophobic reactions and attempts to regulate fandom because it reminds me of the likelihood of a right-wing, anti-gay Conservative government being elected in Canada later today (ie. Monday evening). I’m not looking forward to a government that has the potential to be repressive, so I’m hoping that my fandoms will not continue to emulate the world of politics.

All I really want to do is twirl my favourite tv shows and their fandoms. Pop culture should be about fun, fun, fun, and not uptight crankiness!!!
cordelianne: (Default)
Joss Whedon & Veronica Mars:

Joss Whedon loves Veronica Mars! He recently posted on whedonesque.com detailing his love for VM. Here's the link to his post. He's all excited about how fabulous VM is - which I totally agree with - and describes it as "The Harry Potter of shows." I love how the connection to Harry Potter describes how VM can also suck you into an obsessive fandom mode in which you want to continually experience the universe and are very invested in the characters. (When I use "you" in that previous sentence, I really mean "me", of course.) Unsurprisingly, I also feel that way about Joss Whedon's shows (which is likely why he and I like Harry Potter and VM).

My unofficial VM conversion campaign is going well, I have most of my friends hooked on the show now. I'm so committed to getting people into VM that I'm lending out my tapes (I normally have a no lending policy). I'm pleased that Joss has declared his love for the show as it should get other Buffyverse fans to check it out. Although my sense is that most people who are into Buffy are already into VM. Veronica Mars really is "the New Buffy" - it's intelligent with excellent dialogue and a smart, independent and fun heroine who's the centre of an enthralling universe of mystery, suspense, humour, pain, drama and often a combination of more than one of the above. What I like about the title "the New Buffy" is that it recognizes that Veronica Mars is it's own show with it's premise (ie. not a copy of Buffy) that happens to share some core qualities with Buffy (namely an intelligent show with a kick-ass heroine).

2046:

It was with great excitement that I went to a free screening of the new Wong Kar-Wai movie, 2046, on Wednesday night. The movie, unfortunately didn't live up to my excitement, however it was still very good.

I'm a big Wong Kar-Wai fan so was disappointed that I didn't love it as much as Chungking Express, Happy Together and In the Mood for Love.

I'd still recommend that people see it (particularly if they've seen In the Mood for Love as 2046 is its sequel, of sorts) because it's still an enjoyable movie. My biggest complaint was that it was too long. Now I'm someone who can watch 5 episodes of Buffy consecutively with only brief bathroom breaks so I don't mind long viewing experiences as long as I feel it's not just because the director doesn't want to cut anything out.

As my friend pointed out, Chow (played by the always fabulous Tony Leung) and most of the other characters are expressions of existential philosophy so their constant state of inaction can be frustrating to watch (which aids in the movie feeling long). Fortunately, the excellent performances by all the actors (including the always awesome Gong Li, Faye Wong and Zhang Ziyi), the beautiful settings, costumes, lighting and incredible cinematography make the movie a worthwhile and enjoyable experience.

House:

As a rule, I avoid procedural shows because I'm not interested in law, order, crime, science, and medicine (I have previously made the exception for Numb3rs). After hearing so many good things about House, I finally saw an episode the other day, Role Model (1:17) - which, no surprise, I really enjoyed. I'm now excited to watch more of the show (I've been taping House for a while now and meaning to watch it). Like everyone else who enjoys the show, I love Hugh Laurie's House - prickly yet an engaging character (he's sort of in the tradition of Dr. Cox from Scrubs, if Dr. Cox was in a drama). There's also impressively witty and sharp dialogue - which always wins me to a show. After watching that first episode, I'm considering buying the season 1 dvd, that's how much the show impressed me.

Smallville:

I'm very excited because I've returned to catching-up on last season tv watching. I basically need to watch the 2nd half of this season of Smallville. I found all the episodes (they're scattered on many different tapes) and started watching the first one I need to watch (from February), Recruit. It guest stars Chris Carmack, from the O.C., and it's very fun to see him again. Because it took me so long finding the tapes, and figuring out which episode I need to watch first, I've only seen the 1st 20 minutes of Recruit so I can't really comment on the episode yet. I am, however, pleased that I'm working to get caught up on last season, especially since I'm psyched for the James Marsters presence on Smallville this season!

Amazing Race:

I keep watching the Amazing Race when I get home from work, which is a fun way to relax ... in theory. Unfortunately for me, the Amazing Race is so engaging that I'm awake and alert when I should be going to bed (I work till late at night).

I'm really enjoying the 3rd season! A few random questions regarding it:

If you have instructions that say "walk to the pit stop", how could you possibly interpret that to mean, "ride a cab to the pit stop and then walk in"? I didn't feel sorry for Heather and Eve when they got eliminated as it was a stupid mistake. Shows you that Harvard Law School can't even get you into the final 6, let alone win the Amazing Race.

Would the stress of traveling, exacerbated by competing for $1 million make most of us as cranky and bitchy as Flo is?

Were Michael and Kathy really as nice as they seemed? I was very sad when they were eliminated.

Is Ian as sexist and domineering in real life as he is on the Amazing Race? I sadly suspect yes.

Am I really in love with how kick-ass and cool Jill is? Am I also loving how sweet and supportive John Vito is?

Will the final three be John Vito & Jill, Derek & Drew, and Ken & Gerard? Those are my picks for the final three, so that's more of a hopeful question.

Serenity:

I'm still very excited about the movie - I saw the trailer again at a friend's house the other night which got me even more excited!

A very nice co-worker picked me up the 2nd of the 3 Serenity comics which are bridging the television show and the movie. I'm enjoying the comics so far, although I don't feel qualified to give a good review as I rarely read comics. This isn't because I don't like comics, I do. In fact I plan to read more in the future.

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