everybody wants to be a cat

fluff memes!

Received word that I'm not teaching music this fall because enrollment is down. So that means I can unlock the fluff memes, and so I have!

Fluff Meme, Round One!
Fluff Meme, Round Two!
Fluff Meme, Round Three, hosted at cherrybina's place! :D

(*cough* in case anyone wanted to spontaneously put more inception fluff on my journal, in between writing a zillion articles, i would come here and make googly eyes of love and adoration at you. <3)

The best thing about this whole series is that my editor actually called it “The Livejournal Trilogy


So, in case you missed it:

Part 1: The Demise of a Social Media Platform: Timeline of LiveJournal’s Decline;

Part 2: Keeping Track of a Fandom Diaspora; aaaaaaaand

Part 3: why we hate tumblr so much but keep using it anyway:

The pros and cons of fandom on Tumblr

For months, arguments about Tumblr have been circulating fandom like a looping GIF. Fandom is using Tumblr more than ever, but many fans hate what Tumblr is doing to fandom.

The argument boils down to two issues: communication and kinds of fanworks. Tumblr is an image-friendly site whose design doesn’t lend itself to text-based blogging and interaction. The emergence of a fan culture that accordingly pays less attention to textual engagement and one-on-one communication has many fans worried.

To help make sense of the debate, here’s a handy pros and cons list the Daily Dot compiled from fans and Tumblr users.

Read more at the Daily Dot, where we will continue to format all our posts in Semagic no matter how the posting interfaces of the internet get *cough* tumblr *cough* *fist of defiance*


so in case you haven't heard, After Elton and After Ellen are having slash tournaments! And Arthur/Eames has miraculously made it to Round 3 (along with Harry/Draco, which is currently doomed because it's facing off against Sterek, sob).

Go here to vote!

LJ: The Demise of a Social Media Platform

Hi, LJ/DW!

At long last our exploration of Livejournal's post-Brad timeline has been published. It spans 5 years and includes interviews with Livejournal's US General Manager, Anjelika Petrochenko, and the head of Russian LJ, Ilya Dronov.

I encourage you, even if you've already severed ties with LJ, as I know many of you have, to check out the timeline in the article, if nothing else, because a) it's cool and timeline-y, and b) it's exhaustively researched and puts a lot of things together in a way that I think is really interesting and compelling. No matter which side of fandom you're currently in, we've all been affected by some of the things explored in this article.

In a 2010 New York Review of Books essay on the Facebook generation, Zadie Smith wrote, “At my screening [of The Social Network], when a character in the film mentioned the early blog platform LiveJournal (still popular in Russia), the audience laughed.” She went on to dub the site “comically obsolete.”

Once universally praised for founder Brad Fitzpatrick’s open-source platform and commitment to a free userbase—he once vowed that LiveJournal would always have basic (non-paying or ad-supported) accounts—LiveJournal is known these days mostly for being popular in Russia (the Russian name for blogging is “LJ.”) and Singapore, and for housing gossip blog Oh No They Didn’t.

What happened?

- The demise of a social media platform: Tracking LiveJournal's decline
The Daily Dot has a great relationship with Livejournal, and I want to be emphatically clear that the LJ staff were all extremely helpful and generous with their time and info when I told them I was writing this article. They are very kind and I enjoyed talking to them, and I do believe they want good things for LJ.

But I also felt that it was very important to document the other side of that story--the perspective of the userbase, which I think most people I know feel has dwindled over the last 5 years. I encourage you to think critically and be objective, but most of all just to read the article, because it documents issues that have impacted a lot of people.

It's obviously impossible to achieve total objectivity regarding a subject that I am incredibly close to, as I undeniably am in this instance; but I think the DD staff pulled me in the right direction and the L J staff was fantastic, and I think this is a well-balanced article that gives you a sense of where LJ has come, and what's in store for all of us as users.

tl;dr please read! thank you! :D

(In b4 every shirt-burning joke ever.)

the myth of a "western media fandom"

I wasn't really around—or rather, wasn't paying much attention at the time—to the backlash around Us, Lim's "representative" fanvid that left a lot of people feeling unrepresented. But I knew about it, registered it, have felt vaguely weird about it ever since.

I wasn't really around because I was, of course, off frolicking in Japanese fandom, without giving much thought, at the time, to what that said about me as a fan, anthropologically speaking.

At Vividcon last weekend, I had this long rant with my old-school fandom friend Franzi about how when people say "Western media fandom," what they really mean is this very specific chronological order of television-based slash fandom that trace their origins from zines through the early days of usenet and mailing lists and archival through to the current expanded crop of fandoms and fandom-hopping that's led to the pejorative term "militant slash fandom."

Roughly, as a historical timeline, it looks very generally something like Starsky & Hutch-->Star Trek-->X-Files->Highlander->Sentinel->Due South->briefly, popslash (nsync & backstreet boys RPF)->SGA->House->Merlin-> whitecollar/hawaii50/suits/sherlock/avengers/everythingever.

There were, along the way, other large fandoms like Hercules/Xena, Remington Steele/Beauty and the Beast, Buffy and Harry Potter, but to my understanding, they were doing their own things and didn't really operate within the tradition of these serial fandoms, whose members really did pass on their knowledge and tropes and traditions to new members of those fandoms who would then eventually move on or expand their fandom activity to one of these other specific fandoms within the chronology.

I don't want to give too much credence to the idea of "migratory slash fandom," but it does happen. I've seen it happen, we've all seen it happen. I also think that in a post-Tumblr fandom this concept is useless, because Tumblr makes it so demonstrably easy to be in every fandom at once. 

So, in that sense, I understand the impulse behind this recent Vividcon vid, "We Didn't Start the Fire."

But in every other sense that I understand and experience fandom for myself, I am just like, ...what the hell is the point of doing yet another marginalizing vid that tries to draw lines around what "Western" fandom is and where it stops and ends? 

To me, this exercise seems ultimately vague, alienating, misinformed, marginalizing, and pointless.

* Vague because they seem to be using "media" to mean books, musicals, movies, band RPF, and tv shows; but not other kinds of RPF? not gaming? not web comics? not YouTube fandoms?

* Alienating because, hello, no matter what you attempt to include, you're bound to leave something out that deserves to be in a lineup, like, to pull a few off the top of my head, The Mighty Boosh or Nerdfighters or HOMESTUCK, wtf.

* Misinformed because of the absolute lie that all of these fandoms have something in common beyond originating from "the West," whatever that is. Like, I'm sorry, but this video seems to be arguing, to me, that Firefly has more in common with Newsies than with Cowboy Bebop or Trigun, which is absolutely so offensive and so blatantly WRONG that I'm having trouble even understanding why someone could research the fandom and not realize that it would be an offensive and incorrect assumption to put into their vid.

Or that Pirates of the Caribbean owes nothing to gaming fandom even though it was based on Monkey Island.

Or that the 1995 Pride and Prejudice, which was of course part of my very first fandom, the Jane Austen fandom, is somehow connected to Panic!At the Disco and Sleeper Cell and The Simpsons instead of being a part of two centuries of Austen/Heyer fandom with its own distinct culture and traditions, including every Regency Romance ever written.

Just. These things are not all the same. They shouldn't be treated as the same, and they especially should not be treated as the same at the expense of erasing international fandoms that have influenced some of these works just as much, if not more, as other items on this list.  For god sakes, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN IS ON THIS LIST as if it has more in common with Red Dwarf and The Goonies than with Akira Kurosawa djklfajs;dl. I mean, really? Am I the only one really troubled by this?

I get labeled a "militant slash fan" a lot, and one of the reasons that label rankles with me, in addition to the reasons I've described elsewhere, is that it *does* ignore the reality of that very specific history of "migratory" slash fans—and it's not even a disreputable history, just a history of how Western slash fandom got passed down through generations to the point where it proliferated easily around the internet the way it does today. And it ignores the fact that those slash fandoms did not, do not, never have applied to everyone. I came into fandom by way of literary fandoms: Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, and Harry Potter--with a random bout of Kevin Spacey fandom in-between. (And really, Harry Potter fandom was so unlike *any* slash fandom I have ever been in, ever) Years and years later, I eventually wandered into 3 anime fandoms and multiple Asian pop fandoms, mainly by way of following my own intellectual curiosity in part, and my friends in part. This is nothing like the pattern that i'm describing regarding the entity that, IMO, should rightfully be called "western media slash fandom." And I hate, hate, that the fact that after having this very erratic fandom-joining pattern that doesn't line up with any tradition I know of, I am so often getting lumped in with "western media slash fandom" because I have landed at long last in Inception fandom, which is itself an anomaly.

But even more than my personal history/experience, and even more than any connection to the concept of migratory slash fandom, it makes me cringe and wince and feel awful in a way that I can't articulate to see SOME of my fandoms make this very arbitrary list while others get left off. If you asked me why Pride and Prejudice is worthy of being considered "Western media" moreso than Homestuck, with its vast amount of cultural overlap and broad international reach, I honestly would be at a loss. Or why Dresden Files, which certainly falls into the tradition of popular slash fandoms this video seems to be targeting, isn't mentioned? No clue.

And then there's the fact that my beloved Hikaru no Go, which has at its center themes of internationality and cultural crossovers and being united by our shared passion, on a scale that does not stop at national borders but which literally unites us around the globe, is not on this list because it's not "Western."

That stings. Just a little. Okay, it stings a lot.

Mostly, it just makes me wonder why? And that's why I think this exercise is ultimately pointless. Because, let's face it, with the fucking AO3 resisting internationalization at every turn, with manga/manhua/manhwa fans fighting even to have their genres recognized as distinct and separate from each other, with the OTW not even standardizing UTC as its official time zone, with Us and Sherlock and the Pixiv vs Tumblr art appropriation backlash, how many fucking more displays of appropriation/erasure and divisiveness between Western/International fandoms do we need right now?

I wrote an article the other day on the Jannoskians. None of you have heard of it, but it's a HUGE fandom, and the boys behind it might just be the next One Direction. That fandom? Australian. Where does that fit on the international map?

Trying to draw lines around what is and isn't "western media" just leaves us unable to understand how vibrant and cross-cultural fandom actually is.

And I think that's such a huge shame. It saddens me so much.

The Weapon We Have is Love

Hi, LJ / DW / Tumblr!

I have posted my writeup of LeakyCon for the Daily Dot!!!

The Evolution of Harry Potter fandom

I just want to say that I'm so full of EMOTIONS because. this is HP fandom, this is the fandom that very literally changed my life in many, many ways, both in crappy ways and insanely great ways. This is the fandom I will be in til I die. This is the fandom of my heart, this is the fandom that put me on the path to where I am now, ten years later, doing journalism on Harry Potter fandom.

So if you haven't read any of my writing for the Dot yet, please read this article, because so many of you are in this fandom with me, and I know that you will read it and feel, along with me, all the things I felt while writing it.

I love you guys, I love all of fandom always (even when i hate it!), and I am so happy to be on this journey with you.

    “There will never be anything like the Harry Potter fandom,” John Green tells the massive audience at the Vlogbrothers panel. “You had to have the right people, the right music, and the right stories. But we don’t need to have anything else, because we have this.”

read more at the Daily Dot

LeakyCon 2012!

I am back from LeakyCon! I got to stay with my wonderful friend Cathy / two_if_by_sea and I got to say hi to Chicago, and I got to hang out with flourish and brimtoast and franzeska and more at LC and then later at Vividcon, where awesome folks were kind enough to let me crash hotel rooms and nose around doing interviews!

I also got to watch the Green brothers swordfight and meet the cast and director of THE LIZZIE BENNET DIARIES, OMG! They were so nice and so surprised by the support fans showed them, and it was just really lovely :D :D :D

Look! it's Lizzie and Charlotte! I mean Ashley and Julia! I mean OMG I GOT TO MEET THE CAST OF THE LIZZIE BENNET DIARIES! :D

I was continually reminded over the weekend what a great group of people Harry Potter fans are. The con attendees and the LeakyCon staff were all so gracious to me when I pestered them for interviews and made a general nuisance of myself. I'm very happy that I went, even though I got really sick and am thus currently imbibing something like my 80th hot tea of the weekend.

Plus, I got a hug from Mark Oshiro of Mark Reads Harry Potter, which is legit the primary reason I went. :D SUCCESS!

Bonus: check out the hottie Cathy and I saw on the streets of Chicago Sat. night:


Hey, you guys!

I know this is totally last minute but is anyone going to LeakyCon next week! I just snagged a press pass! (Yes, this means I might get to interview John and Hank Green and StarKid and the Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Maureen Johnson, yes :D)

I can stay with friends if needed, but just in case, I thought I'd poke my nose about and see if anyone had a spare couch for the occasion! :)

Also, coming up at the end of August: Dragon*Con! Who's planning on being there? :D