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Are you sure the dishwashing liquid isn't toxic in some way? [18 Apr 2005|11:46pm]

[ mood | cranky ]

While I was washing the dishes a few minutes ago I got to thinking why I wouldn't write slash. Alude to it, sure, but put down in words all the dirty juicy images I've conjured up in my mind? Haha, it's not that I'm some kind of closet pervert when it comes to fic writing. I just... can't.

And around the 6th dish or so, it occurred to me exactly why: because if I did so, I'd have put down in real words, created some kind of "physical" dimension, my expectations of love and sex.

Yes, yes, I KNOW I will never have gay man sex... but that's what I'm trying to explain! I don't want to draw the line in the sand, you see. Set the bar and at the same time set the limitations. Because I do believe that one's writing does reveal to both the readers and to oneself just exactly what kind of person you are. Your preferences, your tastes... your level of (im)morality.

Because I truly, sincerely do feel a sense of loss every time I am forced to admit that the extent of my participation in gay man sex -- and slashing left, right, center all forms of "fictional" bishies -- is spectator at best.

I mean, I truly do think if I could break that writer's block of mine and truly cross into the 14A and above ratings I could be a fairly reputable fic writer. But I can't, because you know what? I have to get a boyfriend first. I have no qualms about swinging the other way, but as a friend put it, "Kat, you like guys WAY too much for that to last." And really, at this point, I feel sorry for the poor soul who will eventually cut it for that role. *looks over shoulder wearily if the ghosts of summer pasts are around*

Okay, back to studying. Oh yeah, and I curse Rachel for good measure and thank the gods I am inflicted with these... odd invasions of the thoughts... while I'm conscious and soaping kitchen utensils and NOT in my dreams embodied in the form of Michael Jackson. :P

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*breathes life back into community* [12 Apr 2005|11:39am]

[ mood | aggravated ]

Oh hell, you're about to graduate. Why not?

I firmly believe the following summarize the aims of this community down to a T.

LiveJournal Haiku!
Your name:gwslashresearch
Your haiku:and two boys kissing
and then someone will slip through
their defenses and they
Created by Grahame

LiveJournal Haiku!
Your name:gwslashresearch
Your haiku:just fall away i
mean five angsty guys all in
one--it's just hot
Created by Grahame

LiveJournal Haiku!
Your name:gwslashresearch
Your haiku:slash appeals to you
they save they smile they cry
they love it and *it*
Created by Grahame

Firmly. Believe.
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Happy Easter! [27 Mar 2005|11:37am]

Gah, LJ wouldn't let me comment this because it was too long. I meant this to be short. But then, I always mean them to be short. lol.

So I guess you're asking "how much must you invest before you are considered a true fan? No longer a newbie? etc?"

Hmm, I guess the transition from newbie to fan to veteran is more on the personal level. You say you still feel like a newbie after nine months. Probably because you feel like there's still a lot you don't know or are not confident in knowing yet? For me, the minimum investment before you can even consider thinking yourself a fan is knowing the basic facts and history of the show and it's characters. And then we get to the different level of fans. There's just the spectator and occasional commentator. The "artists", the 'amateur critiques and reviewers' with online access to putting on display their thoughts and opinions, the news and facts gurus, the different 'parties' - for a character, against a character, for how a character used to be, for every possibly coupling imaginable, for NO coupling whatsoever (think the X-Files -- I can't remember the different names, but there were the pro-Mulder&Scully and not so much anti but 'leave it always hanging in the hair' Mulder&Scully). To the few 'parties' I had courted or had been courted by in my fandom history, there was friendly rivalry with opposing parties. But I do know there are cases with extreme actually hateful rivalry between the parties as well. Becomes almost political.

Being a "true fan" ... well, I wouldn't necessarily define it with so much emotional investment. But the way she described it I would definitely say she was a fan. To be moved during a particularly angsty or sad moment, sure. But I think where my ideals waver from the mainstream "true fan" train of thought is that my hopes and dreams for a character are independent of what may actually happen.

Okay, this isn't coming out how I want it to. I'm saying I disagree with so-called "true fans" condemning certain actions and decisions of a character saying it is OOC. That concept always confused me and is one of the reasons why I am always suspicious of fanfics. I guess you could say that is one reason I don't read fics for shows like Angel or Naruto when I am perfectly happy with the depth and themes and complexities of the canon storylines. I believe if you "invest TOO MUCH" into stuff like fanfic or certain 'party ideals', you develop a rather unhealthy feeling of knowing a character and what's best for them better than the creators. If you'd like to see a certain character go down another path, that's what fics are for. But to outright say, "The creators are idiots, what were they thinking? The character would NEVER... it's WRONG what they did. I know the character better than they do." ? *shakes head*
Like the SPuffy affair. Highly unpopular, and I can't say I was a fan of it in the beginning (I became more neutral to the idea later, but throughout it all I was just relieved I didn't have to state my own opinion on it publicly because I had jumped out of that fandom a year earlier), but when some fans began to condemn the writers saying it was NOT how Buffy would've acted... how would they know? Yes, their image of her was forever tainted, but geez, take it like a "true" fan! I believe, basically, that a "true" fan is just that - a fan that appreciates the show and the characters for what they are and what they become. S/he accepts all, even if they aren't very happy with the development, and either adapt or just fall away. I mean, for me it's like telling a loved one, "I love you, but what the hell was that? That is not you. I demand you go back in time and do it the RIGHT way. The way I WANT YOU to do it." You can't tell another person how to live their life. But you can at least guide them afterwards. Try to "fix" whatever problem it is through fics. Basically, a "true" fan accepts on some level or another whatever canon dictates. Because it's canon.

I'd like to think I measure my status in a fandom by how "deep" I have infiltrated it. WHen you first put a foot into it, you see how you're recieved. The next is WHO you are getting attention from. It's a social ladder, really. Then, you know you're on some kind of elevated status when others seek YOU out. For your skills, your opinion, etc. Ask YOU questions. Make requests. Invite you to join some site or group or another.

lol, as one who once ran a pretty successful "underground" fansite (I define "underground" as one that was not affiliated with other major sites and got it's traffic mostly through word of mouth), I craved the power and the attention and the compliments. It's when you gain a reputation high enough that people seek you out to discuss further your beliefs, opinions, stance, etc... that you know you've become a veteran or close-to-being veteran, esteemed fan.

Okay, I need some chocolate eggs now.
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[26 Mar 2005|11:45pm]

So, this is going to be a different type of post (= Hopefully it will be less intimidating than the posts in the past, eh?

Essentially, my prof wants me to be finished "collecting" data. Easier said than done since it is the internet, where everything is ongoing and I just want to squee in delight as people post stuff each day.

But, to wrap things up, and make my life less chaotic... from here on out I'll be um, offering my interpretations of what I've found. I'd like you guys to offer critique on it, suggestions on how it can be changed, if I'm way off-base, or if I'm semi-there, but need to add some stuff. In other words, I'll be offering my thoughts, and I really hope you guys can tell me whether I'm on the mark or not. You are fans, thus you are experts. So, edumacate me (=

Right now, I'm focusing on sort of... how the groups form. I mean, if you look at the GW slash fandom, it's absolutely huge. But, there are pockets of fans, and I've noticed this trend on mailing lists and message boards to sort of talk about different "types" of fans. This is what I've come up with so far:

The types seem to be grouped along two axes - length of time in the fandom and the amount of investment in the series/characters. Investment is something I have in my head but haven't figured out exactly how to define it. So I'd appreicate if you guys would help me out with it. Right now, my thinking is along the lines of characterisations - invested in making the characters 3D, with backgrounds, depth, and personalities. I've noticed a lot of fans complain about the stereotypes on the characters, making Trowa a mute, Heero emotionless, WuFei ranting, etc. But, investment would go beyond just this. It would also mean those who are commited to the series, not just the fandom... so those who love the series, the plot, the characters, and want to explore them. Then there are those who participate in the fandom without being heavily invested in the series. The fandom provides a community space for both groups, but they use it differently...

but, investment would also be something else. Annie pointed out to me that in one fandom she was a part of, being a "true fan" meant you cried when a certain character died, those who had read all of the manga, seen the entire series, and debated the backgroudns of characters.

Then there is also length of time within the fandom. I am not sure how long it takes to lose the sort of "newbie" status (if it even exists). I still feel like a newbie, and I've been a part of the fandom for 9 months now. Maybe it's just me though; I know a lot abotu the series, but I wouldn't consider myself that experienced. Perhaps that isn't true for others. I'm trying to figure out how, if it does at all, length of time within the GW fandom affects the groupings. I mean... there seems to be a distinction between those who were fans of the series prior to it being aired within the United States, and those who became fans after. But... maybe this leads into the above. Maybe those who viewed it prior to being released in the US are sort of automatically viewed as having investment. I mean, it's not like you just stumbled upon it and said "ah hah, this looks fun." You would've had to actually seek it out, rather than letting it fall in your lap. So... more investment?

See? You guys really need to help me with this one. And don't feel intimidated if you're a "newbie" to the GW fandom, it seems to be similar to other series.

Anyway, and then the reason people join the fandom is a big one. But maybe it falls in with investment. I'm not sure. Annie and I were scratching our heads as I was rambling about this the other night, she was going "that's a good topic to investigate" and I nodded and said "yes but it brings on headaches."

But yeah, reason seems to be a huge one too. Did they get involved because they saw it on TV? Because it was the popular thing to do at the moment, fading when something new came along? But, reason also seems to not really matter beyond the "was it popular" thing. I mean, I asked all over the place on why people got into GW, why they like it, and the reasons ranged from the music, to the action, the characters, the slash, etc. Yet they didn't group based on those things.

So maybe it does all come down to investment. But if so... why does that matter so much? I have my ideas, which revolve around my focal interest - interpretation, playing with the cultural norms, etc.

Anyway, yeah. There are also types of slash fans... but I'll get into that when you guys have helped me work out this issue. (=
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today's moment of zen [21 Mar 2005|05:58pm]

[ mood | bouncy ]

I'm sure serabut won't mind my quoting her latest post:

Today's entry title comes from ML - we were talking about fanfics, for some reason, and she was telling the story of that one time when she got roped in to brainstorm a fic involving Mamoru by a friend. And invariably, being fanfic of the 'getting your rocks off' kind, Mamoru got hurt. A LOT. :)) Which then led to observations how the maternal instinct in most girls tend to be expressed through fanfics in the form of extreme torture on their beloved characters, because the payoff is always, ALWAYS the 'comfort' part aka Let The Mothering Begin!

*uses Daniel from SG-1 as example*

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[21 Mar 2005|11:46am]

[ mood | contemplative ]

Ah, because Kat posted, and I read her first few lines and said "ah, i forgot to answer the last three..." And because I want to post the answers prior to reading Kat's (I have this weird desire to know how the answers match up, differ, etc)

Here we go (but really quickly since it is mid-day)

Do your experiences in the fan community influence how you interpret the series, or do you seek out works that are similar to your interpretation of the series? Why?

I think... it's hard to say one way or the other. I look out for fics that align with my interpretation of the characters, the series, the events. I like complex fics, eloquently written, with such depth and such beauty (even through pain) that they blow you away and you're left in awe, where your mind is so ecstatic at having such beauty that it cannot form a coherent thought beyond "that was perfect." Very few series actually do this for me... I'm more of a textual person, I get that feeling through reading it. So, in a way, the fics are always different than the series, they're automatically different from how I see the series. But, I still seek out fics that are similar in interpretation.

But, at the same time, a few talented people can write in such a way that it will forever alter the way that you view the series, the character, the event. They add such depth, or such a different perspective, in such a profound way that you cannot help but have your perspective shaken, altered, reborn. Not necessarily the same way they view it, but definitely different from the way you viewed it before.

And thus, I exist in this cycle of seeking out fics that align with my interpretation, having a few of those fics severely alter my interpretation, more seeking, more altering, twisting and changing and ever growing. Such is being in a fan community. You have your own interpretations, but are ever changing it, building upon it, molding it in response to the debate and interpretations of those around you. How boring to always stay with the original one, or just copy another. No, the fan community challenges the interpretation, adds depth to it, alters it, and you start seeing things in new manners, learn more about the series, about yourself (your biases, your own view of people. your own likes/dislikes, etc), and it gives the series/character new life. Breathes into a new interpretation, a new way of seeing, and thus it will eternally hold your fascination, despite having seen an episode or event or character a hundred times before.

Why why why. I always ask why. I hate that question, but I love the answers. So let's submit to my own torture.

I do read fics that are lighthearted, flufffy, funny, etc. Almost all of them are AU. I read them for amusement, to see a new, hilarious spin on a character. It does not alter the way I interpret the series, though.

So, why do I seek out fics that are similar to my interpretation? Well... because I am very attached to certain characters. And if a fic portryas them in a different manner, I find it offensive and will stop reading. Everybody has a different interpretation, and they're bound to disagree with my own. But to find a character I am so attached to portrayed in a way that is the compelte opposite of how I view that character... I can't do it. I get too attached to them, too involved in their interpretations, their depth, their complexities.

Wow, and I said this would be short
How important are characterisations to you?

Haha, see the above. I am, what one person aptly referred to as a "characterisation whore." When I interpret/view a character a certain way, I do not want to see such character belittled or degraded into some two-dimensional simpleton, or hormonal freak, or abusive prick. I am invested in the characterisation; it is interpretating, and my own views are changing with it. Therefore, to have it destroyed or belittled like that is beyond irksome, and I wont' read those fics.

So... I seek out fics that reflect the character in a similar way as I saw the character. And every now and then you'll find an author who adds such depth to the character it will completely alter the way you view him/her. Same as I said above. These authors are few and far between, but when they come along you jsut go "whoa." They don't necessarily change the way you see the character,b ut they add such depth, complexity, layers. And these are the authors I love - the ones who add new life to the characters, bring them to life. For example... I'll bring up a fic we've all read, Fallen did an extraordinarily good job of portraying Ken and Ran, I think. It added depth, insight, layers of complexity, and in doing so it made the characters more real than they ever were in the series. (That might because I am, like I said, a textual person rather than a visual)

Every now and then I will read a fic that has a different spin on a character, never one that makes the character two-dimensional or degrades him/her, but one that puts a new perspective on the character. And of these fics, the ones I adore are those that kind of turn my head in such a way that I see the character in a new way. More depth because they're more holistic. It sounds like what Ijust said about the authors who add depth, but it's different. The ones that add depth take an interpretation that I already agreed with and just gave it more life. Whereas these authors are ones who offer a slightly different interpretation and add depth to it. Neither is better than the other, they're equally mind-blowing if you find the right author.

I'm not sure if I even answered that question. Ah well. Onwards!

What determines your favorite character - personality, background, qualities, etc?

Haha, I'm betting Kat said angst, right? Or at least included it in the answer (=

I like characters are eternally intriguing. The ones you can never quite figure out, because to attempt to sum up their character in an essay, or two, or ten, or a hundred, would always be lacking. You can never fully express who they are in words, for words are limited. The characters with depth. Those who have suffered, struggled, persevered, moved on, and find hope again. Or, those who are searching for that hope, that means to move on, that means to live and find meaning. Those who have been shaken to the core, and find that they can still go on despite it.

And it goes back to, I think, just the way I admire people. People suffer, immensely. It is our fate. It's why I love the classical Greek works. The heroes have their hearts ripped out, their souls torn apart, and all they are left with are the shards of what they had been. Yet they pick up those pieces and move on. They show that we are stronger than we give ourselves credit for, stronger than anything that can happen. The human soul, spirit, mind, can endure suffering time and time again and it can move on. It may never heal, but it can go on despite the pain. And there is even a beauty, in a sick demented way, in those who fall victim to their own broken existence, and try to persevere but cannot. They find themselves falling into hell, layer upon layer, and while they fight it at first, they eventually give in. However, there is a weakness inherent in such.. giving up, giving in, allowing the darkness to overcome.

And thus... characters who take on these traits, while I appreciate them, they will never be my favorites. As Angel and Wesley said, you can touch the dark, and it will suck you in until you are consumed. But you can always find your way out, find a meaning, persevere and cling to it. And while you have tasted and experienced the dark.. you are always able to persevere despite it.

These characters, to me, have the most depth. Those who have had dark pasts, complex pasts, suffered and overcome. Those who have not suffered, who have never known the evil that exists within us, the darkness that tugs at our souls and seduces us with its whispers... they're boring. Not always entirely boring, but they don't have the depth that comes with suffering.

And like I said, my favorite characters are those who are endlessly intriguing (although this may go back to what I was saying about interpretations forever changing, altering, molding, transforming and growing....)

And I just realized I already wrote an essay on this exact topic for ASYLUM; sorry Kat, this is likely repetitive for you.

Edit: haha, okay I didn't even say what kind of personalities I like. Well... Hm. Usually they're broody, always contemplating life, meaning, existence, the suffering that accompanies it all. They're quiet, because they know no words can express the darkness/depth of their thoughts, and thus it would be pointless to try. Nobody would understand if they tried, anyway. They do not need idle chatter to keep them happy, they are okay alone. in fact, they prefer it, not because they hate people but because they hate loss. And to gain something, to them, means they will eventually lose it. So they're standoffish, never trusting themselves, or others, to let anybody close. Never wanting to experience that pain again. But every now and then, someone will slip through their defenses, and they will find themselves close to that person, despite themselves... and upon that time, they will hold that person so close, so tightly, that they are willing to die (or more profoundly for these characters, to live) for that person. They are fiercely loyal, knowing betrayal, and such knowledge makes them that much more loyal and trustworthy. Those who are lucky enough to get past these characters' defenses, they know beyond a doubt that they will not be betrayed, that they can always, without a doubt, rely on that character. Even if that character crosses over to the dark side, he or she cannot bring himself to betray his/her friends... well okay every now and then they'll seemingly betray, but it serves more as a wakeup than as any full-scale betrayal. For thsoe who go dark, they have their epiphany through the loss, and in doing so they are able to persevere beyond the dark, find meaning to go on... and they become that much more tragic, that much deeper.. that much more my favorite (=

And now that the "short" post has turned super long, I'm off. (=

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[21 Mar 2005|12:14pm]

I figure the most opportune time to get back to those questions is in the morning after I'd just had two tubes of blood drawn from me. lol, and I owe Rachel. :D

How do you think fan works and communities fit into a cultural context? (cultural context in this sense = social relations, political, religious, etc) Do they reflect, comment on, etc?

Hmm, I think how a fanwork or community fits into a cultural context first depends on the "artist" and masterminds behind the fanwork and community. That is, what they find important and/or intriguing about the series in the social, political, religious, etc. sense. Sweet Hell was a perfect example. Let me add Der Mensch to the list for it's more understandable Ghost in the Shell-ish brooding on "What is a soul and what does it mean to be alive? To be truly human?" That fic in particular struck a chord with me not just for the depth that kind of questioning can lead to but also for the interactions between the boys... the tense moments of "almosts" that become regretful "what if"s. What if he just let go of all the social constraints they thought they had, while they still had the time together and just for a moment -- THE moment in the beginning of the story -- opens his heart and reveals what they both knew all along were his real feelings?

There is still that singular perfection, and it's perfect in part because it seemed, at the time, so clearly to promise more. Now she knows: That was the moment, right then. There has been no other. - The Hours, Michael Cunningham

"If you love someone you say it, You say it right then, out loud. Or the moment just passes you by." - My Best Friend's Wedding the movie

Well, for one thing there wouldn't be a story. Or be dramatically less... dramatic. One of the first things we learned in the Buffy fandom and has been repeated time and time again - regrettably, most commonly in the 'teen angst' shows - is to carpe diem. They usually eventually do in any story, but not until well after THE moment was missed. A lifetime of regret, ahh, the exquisite tragedy of it all! There's nothing more angsty and oh-so-attractive to a fandom than that. And when the moment arises once more in some variation or another -- *takes a moment to reread chapter 10 of Sweet Hell*.

Do your experiences in the fan community influence how you interpret the series, or do you seek out works that are similar to your interpretation of the series? Why?
Well, from the above and what you already know about me, I lean towards the latter option of seeking out works that are similar to my own interpretations. But then I assume most people would go to the latter - at least initally - when going through fandom works. The act of going out into the fandom itself searching for work is a moment of transition from one kind of "fan" to another. But the trigger for that kind of reaching out, I believe, first comes from a desire to supplement your already existing interpretations of the series and particular 'favorite' elements of it. Experiences in the fan community will inevitably lead to some modifications or expansions of your 'interpretations' of the series, but otherwise the fundamental beliefs remain the same. Because these were the fundamental reasons you became attracted to the show in the first place.

How important are characterisations to you?
Very VERY much. As you know, even the casting of english voice actors is a touchy subject for me. To make a good story, you must first have good characters. You take away the broody, somewhat laconic personality of a character -- or water it down significantly for the purpose of making a fairytale happily ever after with another character in a fic -- and that is no longer the same character. No one wants to be misinterpreted. In the "real" world, you can be sued for misrepresentation. And there is nothing quite as painful as seeing a beloved character deprived of everything that makes him/her beloved, retaining only his name and physical appearance, and replaced with a shallow and feeble-minded persona whose only purpose in life seems to be to declare his or her love for another. I mean, if one was created to be the tragic anti-hero, you just CANNOT convert him into the lead of Harlequin romance novel. It's a fate worse than the breaking down of a once proud and "strong" character. It's turning him into a clown (no indirect offense towards Trowa, of course!).

What determines your favorite character - personality, background, qualities, etc?
Dark dark DARK. Super chip on his shoulder caused by a rather tragic past. Let's start with Kakashi. He's funny, he's adorable, he teases Naruto and brings down Sasuke's superiority complex a notch in the begining of the series. He reads smutty novels and is always late for meetings, claiming he got lost on the road of life or had run into a beautiful woman. But deep down, he holds the remains of a heart broken more times than anyone should ever sustain in a lifetime. He'd lost it all and is seeing it repeat itself in his student and ward Sasuke. As he once said to an enemy who threatened to kill everyone he cared for, "Everyone I have ever loved is dead." *looks apologetically to Rachel* He's smiling on the outside but broken on the inside. Unlike Sasuke, he's already gone through the crucible and somehow, learned to live on. Learned to keep going on - if only because that is all he can do. His reason for living, to me, is to honor those who no longer are.
On the other hand, Sasuke has only begun his journey. ANd though Kakashi tries to guide him, no two paths in life are ever quite the same. Sasuke seems more intent on finding the MEANS to the reason he has devoted his life to, despite Kakashi's warning that that path only leads to destruction.
Now let's take TROWA. The way he's been represented to me (Rach's characterer essay and the few fics I have read) is that he is SEEKING a reason. A reason to fight, a reason to live, a reason that makes living worth fighting for. And with Ran, and I guess Heero (though I don't really know much about him), though they find not caring and being emotionally attatched to others easier -- they (more often than not) come to wonder if it means they have sacrificed truly "living".

And I guess that is sorta what I'm getting at: that I am attracted to the character and story where one questions what it means to truly be alive. If they are truly living. If their life has meaning and what would give it meaning. The character that, despite all the horrendous things that happen and have happened to him, finds some kind of inner peace or a reason to continue seeking for that elusive "reason" or purpose. In the current Naruto storyline a character named Kimimaro believes everyone is born for a purpose. That everyone has one mission to fulfill. His tragic childhood had driven him to wonder, "Why do I exist? Why do I continue to survive while others who have more to live for - family, friends, lovers - do not?"
Indeed, you could say I believe to some extent in Destiny. Not so much that the rest of our life has been set for us, but that there things that we are meant to do, meant to endure and experience. That includes defying a preordained future (for example, Neji fighting his family curse of "the caged bird"). It's how these characters go in, do, and come out of the crucible that is not fixed and that, given their actions as a result of their history and their development in the series, attracts me to them.

Okay. If not entirely appropriate, at least sufficiently long. :D
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Cultural context [14 Mar 2005|02:42pm]

[ mood | contemplative ]

Here ya go Kat (= The first "hard" question.

Jessie's at work, and my semiotics book only held my interest for an hour, so I said "hey, I need to respond to the gwslashcomm." And here it is (=

Only one question though, I got a bit carried away in answering it and now I'm feeling drained. So I shall respond to the others later.

Onwards!Collapse )

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First set [11 Mar 2005|10:44pm]

[ mood | contemplative ]

Alright, so I feel awkward posting answers to the questions. Mainly because... when we think of questions, I think we typically think of how we would answer it. And this doesn't always mean that we know exactly how we would answer it, but we have general ideas. And when I ask certain questions for GW, I don't always know the answer. Sometimes I'm just curious about it myself... why do I like slash, or the series, or being a fan, etc. I can typically throw an answer out there right away, but it will always be lacking. And to even attempt to fully express why ... (it can't be done, but to come closer to it) would require a lot of thought, rambling, etc.

And, if I throw out my ideas... I'm afraid it will influence/bias your own. Of course, posting retroactively means I've already been biased by yours, so it's all fun (= It's like classes that are taught entirely in discussion format. If you were to write an essay on a question on yoru own, you would come up with one idea. But when you start bouncing ideas off other people, hearing their thoughts, you open up your horizons, start seeing things in new ways, and it becomes different (not worse, typically better) than what you would've originally thought.

This, for me, is the essence of a fan community. So... in a way I don't really worry about ti because that's what we do. That's what it means to be a fan, no?

Anyhoo. I started answering the questions. I've been pondering a few of them more than others, but I wrote up what I thought for each. It's rambly, not coherent. And yeah. It's been a very long two days.

Here we go:

first set of questionsCollapse )

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[02 Mar 2005|08:08pm]

Still not much to "update" about. The conference hasn't contacted anybody to let us know if we did/didn't get accepted. I got my "methodology" paper on the analysis back yesterday. Not very helpful, so I will be emailing the other teacher soon. The professor seems unaware that a semiotics book was assigned for the class. Because I mentioned this type of analysis in my paper, she believes I'm an expert on it and wants me to "teach" it to the class. *smacks head into desk*

I may be presenting next week and welcome all ideas on what I should show on the projector. I try to show examples so the class will stop staring at me blankly. It has to be less than NC-17. Presentations are supposed to only take 20-30 minutes; mine typically take 1.5 - 2 hours. You all know how they go, so no point in explaining why they take so long.

Alright, so let's jump right on into... dun dun dun

Reflections AKA What I Want to Know
Okay. These are going to be vague, again. I know I know, I do it just to be evil. How about I just list them out, and you just answer as you think they mean. Or you can ask me to clarify if they're too vague.

- How do you think fan works and communities fit into a cultural context? (cultural context in this sense = social relations, political, religious, etc) Do they reflect, comment on, etc?
- Do your experiences in the fan community influence how you interpret the series, or do you seek out works that are similar to your interpretation of the series? Why?
- How important are characterisations to you?
- What determines your favorite character - personality, background, qualities, etc?

Okay I guess that's enough for now (= *wanders off cackling evilly*
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Yaare yaare [27 Feb 2005|03:57pm]

[ mood | anxious ]

Now that Jess has already posted I don't have an excuse anymore. I've been putting it off too, but that's because I really never thought about all of this before, not in so much detail. If you can call this detail...

What about anime appeals to you?
Well, it was the animation that drew me into it. It's just so more realistic and different from American animation, or any other type of animation. I love the music and the voice acting, but the main thing is the guys. Everything about them IS JUST SO SEXY. Great character designs, great seiyuus, and GREAT personalities. You just can't get guys like that anywhere, not in real life or in movies, sometimes not even in good books. No, the closest thing to bishies are the cosplayers. The seiyuus really add to it. American VA's just can't compare, though there *are* some good dubbed anime out there. Saiyuki I just love in both english and japanese, and Dragonball Z...Well, the japanese version is more painful than the english when it comes to that series.

The music is another major reason I like anime. Not just the soundtrack music, but the image songs. They open up a whole new way of looking at the characters. And the angst is probably a reason that *everyone* has for watching anime. Yeah, people love angst. It's so fun to watch your favorite characters go through painful things and come out on top. Am I still making sense?

Why Gundam Wing? What about the series appeals to you? What drew you in?
I haven't watched much of it, but it makes for good fanfiction, and good slash. I mean, five angsty guys all in one--it's just hot. It's always been very popular. GW was one of the first animes I ever heard about when I first got into it. A lot of people love it and *everyone* knows about it, so it's hard not to be influenced.

And, what about slash appeals to you? What drew you in, why do you like it?
Basically what Kat and Jess said, because it's forbidden and not exactly smiled upon, and the fact that the characters just don't give a shit. Most of the time. I'm not as interested in slash when it's so very canon, or when it's actually a part of the plot. It's much funner and more exciting to pair characters together yourself. I think it's a girl thing. Most girls enjoy a good love story. Unless it's something like Romeo and Juliet, het stories just aren't as fun.

There is also the kinky part. Ya know, handcuffs and leather. The part where you get to see the good guys 'used and abused'. That's probably about right for my age, huh? Not that I'm calling the rest of you *old*. I'm really not, I just don't want you to think it's weird that I've been into slash since I was 13. :P You'd think because of that I'd have more to say, but I'm not good at sorting out my thoughts. I hope you get something from this. =\

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[26 Feb 2005|09:58pm]

[ mood | mellow ]

Ahem; yes, I'm aware that I put this off for over a week, many apologies. =)

It's also probably not the best thing that I decided now to answer the questions, since I am doped up on various meds and fighting off sleep at the moment. But onwards we go anyway!

What about anime appeals to you? and Why those shows?
For a long time it was the art style. I couldn't get into a show unless it had really good art, or something about the art that drew me in, whether it was a very original style or if it had certain quirks in the style that I admired. I'm still very much an art fanatic. I have a very scary attachment to my artbooks, and I'll buy them just for the artist even if I haven't seen the series. There have been many a sleepless night when I just sat up examining every detail on every page.

Now, I think the seiyuu of a series play a huge factor, too. As much as I love eyecandy, I can just sit and listen to certain voices all day long and just...get lost in them. Which would probably explain my love for drama cds. How did Ana and Gal phrase it when describing Aya's voice in the latest fic? "...his voice is an audible wet dream." And there you have it. =P Simply the auditory version of eyecandy.

Of course, all of the other things that insomnikat mentioned are always good - music, bishies, and lots and lots of angst. I have no idea why angst is so attractive, perhaps you'll have to ask us that question later just to force me to think about it.

What drew me into anime overall was just the fact that it was something new, a change from the everyday junk on television. I've never been a huge fan of television other than certain shows, and I've always been a fan of animation. There is also the fact that once you get into anime, it is such a huge thing to be interested in. I've never gotten bored with being an anime fan, there is always something to check out or discover. Probably way too much, actually.

Why Gundam Wing? What about the series appeals to you? What drew you in?
I first heard of Gundam Wing through my fancel painting actually. I kept seeing this group of angsty-looking guys pop up on other fancel sites and thought, "Hey, they look interesting." That's about as far as it went though, until tobi got the first dvd, and then I was introduced to the characters and read a smidgen of fics. I didn't get really really into it until you did, Rachel. ^_~

I definitely couldn't ask for better seiyuu for the series - there is Koyasu of course, and Midorikawa (Heero and Schuldig from Weiss), Seki Toshihiko (Duo and Sanzo from Saiyuki), and Okiayu (Treize and Brad Crawford from Weiss). Then there were several squee-worthy moments when Seki Tomokazu did minor characters. =P I also rather enjoyed Trowa and Wufei's seiyuu as well, though I had never heard them in anything before.

What really drew me in was the drama and angst, of course, and all the late night chats about slashy possibilities - especially between Heero and Trowa. They have become my favorite pairing, though I am not abject to throwing Duo in there as well, since he is just a very awesome character and also has angsty undertones sometimes. Zechs would be the only other reason I grew so attached to the show. How can I not love a bishie with Koyasu's voice? It would be sacrilige. ^_^

What about slash appeals to you?
EEE! Do you really have to ask, being a fellow slash fan yourself? Although, I must admit I was afraid I was going to scare you away when I brought you into a room with posters of half-naked boys and such.

Hmm, so what appeals to me about slash? Again, Kat has already said pretty much all there is to say, I do remember commenting on a fic a long time ago and getting into a small discussion with the author. We were talking about the fact that gay relationships in Japan are not as accepted as they are in the west (her fic only focused on the relationship between the two characters and the struggles they had being accepted) and that it kind of made their relationship all that more attractive. The fact that they didn't care about being accepted anymore, or that they would love each other so much that they would defy the laws of common society just to be together. So I guess that does factor in a little bit as to why I find certain male couples so attractive. I have always been a sap at heart, and prefer the 'love' factor over other pairings that are based on just..sex/rape/etc. Of course, all the better if there is much angst involved in said characters discovering that love, but still. If the love is there, I'm all for it. =)

That probably ties in with why I get so attached to a certain few pairings, and just..remain that way. My OTPs are few, usually only one or two pairings per series, and they stay that way. I don't intermix them or change them later. I have been a Ranken fan from the very start of my weiss fandom history, Sanzo/Goku and Hakkai/Gojyo for Saiyuki, Harry/Draco and Remus/Sirius for HP, and so on. Most of them I base on what is the most canon, although with Harry and Draco..hmm I think that was influenced much more by fanon. But you get the idea. =P

And thus concludes my ramblings for the evening, I know a lot of that you already know, but hey, we can repeat things right? All is good, and feel free to finely-tuned questions (if you're still doing that). It is very hard for me to just ramble on a general topic, I kind of just go to where ever my mind goes first, which isn't always where it should be. heh..

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*yawn* [18 Feb 2005|12:42pm]

Let's see if I can be partially productive first thing in the day (it's technically been the afternoon for the past 20 minutes, but still waiting for the two cups of coffee to kick in).

Hahaha, I think what's surprising is not so much that people talk to you, but that there are actually OTHER people who are as well versed and hold the same fascination in slash as you do. :P

So, whatever. I'm not quite awake yet so the possible repurcussions that you've threatened us with is kind of "eh" to me. What better time to at least satisfy my curiosity with this new set of questions?

What about anime appeals to you?
The pretty drawings. The pretty bishies. The angst. The musical scores. The colors and the pretty landscapes. The angst. The sometimes overwhelming and blinding eye candy. The angst. The sexy white-haired bishies. ... and you just don't get the same deep sexy voice castings in "normal" cartoons. Sexy angsty bishies....

For me, I have three main requirements before getting into an anime. 1) I have to like the anime style. How they're drawn. In layman's term: is there a good supply of good lookin' bishies who hold their katanas in an uber-cool fashion? 2) Music. Anime allows me to be shallow. After visual appeal, I must also like what I hear. It's why once you watch a subbed anime, there's really no turning to dubbed. Dubbed anime is painful. North America has yet to grasp the proper casting technique for seiyuus. Or perhaps they do, but in spite they always cast the most annoying, most stuck-up sounding voice actors out there. They bring tears to my eyes and make my ears bleed. 3) Angst. While the first two lure me in, it's the angst that really hooks me. Superbly angsty storyline with a fairly regular supply of blood and angst and slashy innuendo is a must. The more of all of these factors, the more fanatical I get. Especially if it's cannon. Of course, regular inserts of bitter-sweet and tragic/forbidden romance, hysterical comedy relief, and the whole 'for love, honor, dignity and the beliefs I uphold and fight for' war kaboodle are also highly recommended.

Gosh I love my Naruto.

Most specifically, why Gundam Wing?
Because that's your obsession and you are using your research to - in an indirect and seemingly non-hostile way - force it upon us. Though I'd like to think I am proving to be more resistant than others. :P You no Naruto, I no GW.

What about the series appeals to you?
Well, ever since that dream... Trowa. Yep, Trowa.

What drew you in?
You! YOU!

And, what about slash appeals to you? What drew you in, why do you like it?
It is the forbidden fruit. The affair. The longing looks, the compromising positions, the smoldering close-ups and almost-kisses... the thrill of the "what if they.." Haha, like what pretty much every show on Showcase after 10 tries to aim for. That guilty pleasure factor.
And of course, there is the sex. Slash isn't slash without the sex. And hey, if guys find two girls kissing hot, why not girls and two boys kissing? And then some?

Haha, ohh, did you really expect me to start off with something formal? I'd like to think though that this is an appropriate start. For me, anyway. Something to work up on. Just, ya know, going first and all. Go ahead, throw your worst at me! I dare you to hold me to these responses! Hahahaha....
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Update - Social Hierarchies, and Reflections [17 Feb 2005|07:23pm]

[ mood | accomplished ]

Hey everybody (= See, I'm not completely crappy at updating.

Okay, so these past three weeks here's what we've been doing in class:
UpdateCollapse )

As you can see, not much to say about it on here... Mainly I've been listening to my classmates' projects and offering ideas.

Alright, onto the exciting stuff.

What I'm Working on Now
I'm re-drawing the social hierarchies. I'm also re-analyzing them. I know I know, I already had them drawn up, why would I re-do them? Well, the new form will be included in the thesis. I therefore want to go more in-depth on the various levels and categories. Right now, the social hierarchy I have is a generic hierarchy that most sites use. It's a power hierarchy, witih the webmaster at the top of the power chain, and the un-responsive reader at the bottom. I also list their roles, ranks, and status. I'm tempted to just paste in my paper instead of going over it all again, but most papers last semester were written in a rush, and I doubt I want to share that. Eh, I'm going to copy and edit it. *lazy*

Social hierarchy essayCollapse )

Dangit, it destroyed my formatting.

Okay if you read it all, kudos to you. Essentially I just define what each role does, then I go into rank. I have a pretty little figure that goes along with this paper, but it was drawn by hand, so boohoo for you.

So there's a lot that can be expanded upon in this section - namely the power of the readers, and how roles/ranks are completely dependent on locale of the fan. In one site, he or she may be a god, in another a nameless reader. As you can also see, I completely slithered away from doing a popularity hierarchy. I could've very easily done a generalized hierarchy like I did for power, but I'm not *that* ambitious. And it is more complicated because what is popular amongst one group may be unpopular amongst another. And how shall we determine popularity, by number of views? Reviews? Links to it? By how often it's discussed? It's a very.. ambiguous area.

Anyway, that's what I'm semi-thinking about working on (in other words, plan to get to eventually).

Because I promised you guys something to reflect on, let me launch into the new idea I'm pondering/asking around.

Reflections AKA What I Want to Know
So last time around I asked: What do you think a culture is, what does it mean to be a member of a culture? And I asked for any thoughts/ideas about history of fandom experience. Great responses you guys (= I loved them. And when I was showing Dr. W-O the community (I didn't know what other site to go to) I let her see the length of the posts and she was uttelry gleeful that you guys are talking to me about it. I'm not sure whether or not I should feel insulted that she is so surprised that people talk to me...

This is going to require fine-tuning I know it. Too broad and you're going to go, what?? Too specific and I'll be biasing (not that it's objective as is, but y'know).

What about anime appeals to you? I know, this is a difficult question. Because anime isn't a genre, it isn't one show. It's a media style. Nevertheless, I know each of you have your favorite anime shows... why? Why those shows? How do you feel those shows are different from other types of series?

Most specifically, why Gundam Wing? What about the series appeals to you? What drew you in?

And, what about slash appeals to you? What drew you in, why do you like it?

Oh man am I vague. Too many questions? No worries. I'll repost them and bug you about them incessently until I get them answered (= And when you do respond, plan on me doing follow up questions to whatever you say *cackles gleefully*

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The Appeal of Trowa [06 Feb 2005|03:03am]

[ mood | contemplative ]

Okay, so I worked on the "essay" some more. I've been thinking about the topic for the past couple of days, jotting notes about my thoughts. But the more I thought on it - the more complex everything got, the more things shifted, the more one reflection evolved into another. Plus, I was writing mythoughts down in cursive.... and I can't read my handwriting very well, so I have no clue what I wrote for half of it. So tonight I just threw away all the notes and started from the beginning of the draft.

Probably around 75% of it is new. Or at least, it feels like I deleted and then typed out 75%.

I don't think the second draft is much better, but it does elaborate on ideas that I threw out, but never went into. At least, I hope it does. Still didn't cover 1/3 though )=

Onwards!Collapse )

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Research material [01 Feb 2005|12:54am]

[ mood | productive ]

So... since I'm doing tons of research, I think it's only fair that I share the love, so to speak. Plus, this will show those who doubt that this is a legit area of academic study. (=

Would you guys like it if I share notes/sites on my research material? C'mon, fill your non-existant free time with "educational" material!

To start you off:
(*note: I've only skimmed this so far)

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... [29 Jan 2005|03:02am]

[ mood | exanimate ]

Okay, I'm here. It's exactly 2:52am and you know what... I have NOT played any SIMS in the past three days! So consider this my "don't say I didn't make some weak excuse of an explanation before you read."

So. Culture. Well, I guess old school would define it as the common beliefs, traditions, (daily) rituals, language, slang, etc. arising from the fact that a group of people are all living in a certain place and have to get along. Hmm, but since Rach is all post-modern and shovelling her own path through 18 inches of snow... I'd tweak the definition to: a coleection of common beliefs, traditions, and general perception of what is (un)acceptal behavior and action amongst a group of people who (often) dwell in a particular area. The post-modern twist being that the unspecified area is not necessarily a physical domain.

Wow, I either sounded really smart or really BS there. Which means my brain's buzzing. Yay for you!

To be a member of a culture is to be like, "Hey, we have some things in common besides brown eyes and being brainwashed by television that we can be absolutely anything we want and, apart from the occasional teen angst, we'll ALWAYS succeed." It's the ability to be able to walk into a room and feel an instant bond to all these strangers cause you know you have something in common with them besides an affixiation to boyscouts. Something specific like that would be for a club or secret society or help group. Nope nope, to be a member of a culture is to be able to speak the same lingo AND understand each other. Have the same general education (ie, animes are NOT cartoons). Like how Rach noticed that those who got into the Buffyverse were more often than not fellow fans of older fandoms (I get to leave the explaining of that invisible but NOT make-believe world to you, right?). Hmm, I remember having 'met' several La Femme Nikita fans in my time there.

Of course, to be a member of a culture, one first has to create a culture. And one can't create a culture just based on admiration and respect for a certain ... trend, let's say. No, the stakes have to be upped. You can't just be voyeur, you have to get your hands dirty. All bark and no bite. See, the word cult is in culture! It begins with some degree of a personal awakening. Obsession, however, is a strong and vulgar word. I prefer immense devotion and magical/spiritual awe -- just in general having a personal chord struck. Completely converted, devoted people to a cause, a purpose, a way of life --- blah, I think I'm losing my point. But, um, yeah. Being a member of anything required being involved to a certain extent.

So I guess fandoms and anime fandoms have 'evolved' from mainstream trend and the social phenomenon of late 20th century that coincides with the rise of the internet into a culture. In fact, if not for the world wide web, our fantasy worlds would remain just that -- fantasy and locked up in our minds such that only the few truly gifted that come along every other generation can take out and share (in literary form) with everyone else on a wide scale. Culture is formed with the sharing and gradual development of a general set of beliefs, notions, etc. And... and it's vast! It's multi-dimensional. A culture isn't narrow... it encompasses many fields. Online fandom has become that. First it was just a sharing of general information. Facts, pictures, occasional media files. A sharing and indirect recruitment of new members to the cult of anyone whose interest is peaked by what they see and hear. Ideas were exchanged. Shared. Points discussed. But the desire to interact and do more grew. 'Communities' became visible in the form of message boards. Chat rooms. Little digital villages popping up all over the digital realm.

Hey, we met in the Asylum, remember? How I loved that place. It was a real place. It was regarded by many of us as our escape and home away from home. Oh how much madness and fun we had. Oh our balls, remember?! *sighs nostalgically*

ANd yes, so now we have actual communities all sharing the same general interests, ideas, knowledge and language (like, say, terms like SLASH and LOL). These communities, like traditional communities, are constantly looking for ways to improve their 'standard of living.' Enhance their living experience. So, we have innovators who expand fandom into more creative expressions. Dojinshi. Our own interpretations of canon. Rach wrote a paper on this.

So cause it's 3:40 now and I do need to wrap up if I want to be greeted with "good morning" rather than "I didn't make you pancakes cause I knew you wouldn't wake up," what is appealing about being a fan? The sense of feeling involved with your chosen cult fandom. RPGs. Fanfic. Music videos. Dojinshi. Fan art! Wouldn't you want to do your best to show your love and appreciation for something or someone? What's appealing about a fan... I guess is similar to what I found appealing about having a fansite. It allows me to get closer to the action. To the characters we have come to adore. LOL, it's playing Sims. Not only do I get to be more intimate with the subjects of my endless fascination and joy, but I get to know others who share the same affinity. And I confess, humans are social creatures. We don't like to be lonely. We like to be accepted for our thoughts and ideas, no matter how out there. We like to feel comfortable and safe and wanted. We want to have a Neverland to escape to with other kids at heart who - for the time being - choose not to grow up.

We like to think there is no such thing as time series analysis and graduate level statistics.

I mean, ancient civilizations worshipped deities and paid tributes to heroes and mythical creatures and spirits throughout history. This... is merely the 21st century version. And dude, the ancient greeks probably wished they'd thought of cosplay (which you KNOW you must do as part of your research eventually. You can't shy from it if you plan to make this the basis of your career!)

In short, that leaves me with one question. *raises brow suspiciously* Who else, if anyone, is reading this besides us crazy folk?

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[26 Jan 2005|01:09pm]

[ mood | dorky ]

*takes a tentative step forward*

I will try to be the brave one and make the first member post (other than you, oh wise anthropologist!). I by no means promise that any of this will make sense. When posed with questions, I tend to just ramble on in hopes that they are answered somewhere along the way. =)

cut for long nonsensical ramblingCollapse )

-Sooooooooo sorry, Rachel, told you I never make any sense. I don't know if I even answered any of your questions. =)

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Week 3 [25 Jan 2005|10:37pm]

[ mood | contemplative ]

Okay, so third week's class went well. I presented for over an hour, then had a lengthy chat after the class with the professor on transnationalism, and how are anthropologists changing their thoughts towards the notion of "culture." She doesn't know much about postmodernism - preferring to stay in the methodologies/theories of the first half of the century... and the chat didn't actually progress very far.

However, I would love to hear what you guys have to say about culture - what do you think it is? What does it mean to be a member of a culture?

This post is actually to encourage you guys to post *ahem.* And I actually have a more "lively" topic - well livelier for me, anyway. I have lately begun noticing that fans of a series typically have a history of fandom membership... e.g. they are fans of other series, and in the past were fans of other shows. Of course, the extent of "fan" participation is not necessarily the same across the series. I'll give an example - my first "fan" experience was watching X-Files when I was 12ish. I fell in love with the show, had tons of books on it, read the novels for it, etc. I didn't participate in any fan community. I found a few other shows that I was a solo-fan of.. and then I hit Angel my first year at USC. Participated in an actual fan community (stumbled upon it when I was searching for episode reviews). Posted on a message board, discussed eps, etc. But I still didn't read any fanfiction or anything. And obviously with Weiss Kreuz and Gundam Wing I upped my fandom experience a bit with the fanfiction, fan art, essays... and err... research..

But it does beg the question - if most fans have a history of fan membership.. then what is it about being a fan that appeals to them? To be quite honest, I can't answer this myself and hadn't even thought about it until I was chatting with someone and it dawned on me I've been a fan of some series or another since I was itty bitty (I had other series I was a fan of when I was like 9ish, but I'm too embarassed to say which ones). And perhaps there's something about our personalities that draws us to series.. but it isn't just any series, no it's certain ones. I watched quite a few programs but never had the same level of involvement as I did with X-Files. So it's something about those shows that appeals to me.. and encourages a more active "audience" role.. and I'm sure it's the same for others.

Any thoughts?

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Week 2 - and a new layout [21 Jan 2005|03:17pm]

[ mood | chipper ]

Ah we have a new layout! Thanks be to Kat, who is extremely busy, but took time out to make the community purrrty (although I'm betting it was far more fun than homework anyway.. and I mean, it has Trowa who could not enjoy that??).

So updates - because I want to get in the habit of doing this, even if I don't have anything to update.

I have to keep a field journal each week... right now it's summing up basically what I did over Christmas. But, once I get all of that caught up, it's going to be summarizing what has happened each week... e.g. so-and-so updated this fic, general description, this words/pages, this many reviews. Or, so-and-so gave this art to so-and-so, features these characters, general description, etc. Also a brief summary of any interactions I have... through reviews, through chatting, whatever. If any of you object to me including you in the journal, feel free to tell me (= Some anthropologists are horridly sneaky, saying "oh well if it's published on a public space (such as the internet), then you don't need to ask permission." Technically... that's true. Even IRB says that. I personally think that's unethical, promotes distrust, and just goes against everything anthropology should be. To me, if you have a trusting relationship with your informants (esp in my case since I am a fan), you should always ask permission. And if you don't have a relationship, you should somehow make a general announcement on what you are doing, what you'd like do, and offer people the chance to opt out of it.

So yeah, long explanation saying if you don't want to be in my fieldjournals, just say so and it's completely fine by me. I try to be very respectful in what I do include, keeping names confidential (you guys are all letters right now, until I can get each of you individually to agree on what you want to be called - which i hope will be soon since I am easily confused), etc. My prof reads the journals, but she doesn't understand anything I say anyway, so I'm not sure how big an issue it is with her. But I play it safe and respectful regardless.

But, lately my journal has been rambles about the dilemmas I have of balancing being a fan vs. being a research. Etic and emic.. outsider/insider, etc. It likely isn't as complicated as it seems to me, but I just worry about people thinking I'm only participating for research, or something like that.

This week has been filled with utter happiness, though. Tons of fics were updated, causing the fan in me massive happiness.

Anyway, this is a community. I opted to go for the community route so you guys can contribute (which I'd love) anything you'd like... insights, thoughts, suggestions, whatever interests you.

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