Con.txt, Day 2
So I got there too late for the Avengers panel, which was just as well because it sounds like it consisted of a ton of squeeing and flailing and I just don't think I could have handled that for an hour. I'll be honest, I saw the film and enjoyed it, but I wouldn't have considered delving into the fandom if the enthusiasm wasn't as contagious and overwhelming as it is.
This probably qualifies as a classic case of Migratory Slash Fandom, but I don't see any issue with going where the enthusiasm is. I've learned a lot about the Avengers I never would have cared to learn about otherwise and it's been pretty enlightening, though I don't see it becoming my one and only fandom love by any means. Comics fandoms unnerve me a little since I've never had any interest in comics, but messing around with movieverse alone seems off somehow, like I'm not a real fan or something (uh, this applies to me only, because I'm awesome at holding double standards like that; I judge no one who writes exclusively movieverse fic, and actually prefer it for reading material since I don't feel like I'm missing tons of convoluted canon backstory)
And now I want modern-day hijinks and Steve taking Thor to Brooks Brothers because he knows that store, damn it and together they make the entire menswear floor swoon.
My dreams are very small. ♥
This was less meta than I expected and more of a brainstorming session where everyone contributed recs for canons that actually contain queer characters. Thanks to bironic, I learned that thingswithwings has a recs post here that focuses on that even more elusive animal, the canon that not only contains queer characters but doesn't condemn them to tragedy.
Next there was time off for lunch and DIY panels, the first of which was our Tom Hardy Party, complete with fabulous paisley sign. This essentially consisted of jabbering with v_greyson, linaerys, corbae, bironic, and a couple other folks about the fabulousity of THard--so time well spent, in other words. It reminded me of what goes on on my Twitter feed basically every day, ONLY IN REAL LIFE WITH PEOPLE'S FACES AND STUFF.
I sat in on a DIY panel about RPS after that, which was mostly me listening and gaining some perspective since I'm not currently in any RPS fandoms. RPS used to be sort of the final frontier for me, the way it sounds like it was for a lot of people--i.e., the mentality that writing about fictional characters is all well and good, but once you turn that sort of attention onto the public personas of actualfax real people it's suddenly crossing the line. It's interesting to hear how people rationalize crossing that line or just don't cross it at all. RPS is basically historical fiction without the history, so it doesn't even make me blink anymore unless you're doing fieldwork by, like, lurking outside Jared Padalecki's front door or something.
At any rate, during this panel someone mentioned the tragic love story of two hockey players who were BFFs and vowed to play together forever and always in the greatest of harmonies, but then were traded to separate teams and tragically pined for each other, but were then joyfully reunited and moved in together and won the Stanley Cup. And all of this happened in the public eye and got international coverage. Apparently Richards and Carter have very strong feelings for each other.
So I hopped back to the THard table, which had become a DIY panel on hockey RPS, and let them sing me the song of their people. Which, dear lord, they did. v_greyson described things my language and informed me that, in the wild world of hockey, Toews is Arthur and Kane is Eames (their names aren't actually Tazer and Kaner! I feel like the whole internet's been lying to me!). I still have a terrible time telling guys in uniform apart (Band of Brothers was very tricky), but Jeff Skinner has the most hilarious face. He looks like a dorky kid taking a school picture and trying to keep from cracking up.
We also talked about how hockey players tend to fan the flames themselves by being ridiculous on Twitter--or, according to v_greyson, THE FANFIC IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE. She also did a panel write-up, complete with links to suggested reading.
Femslash Faire was a lot like the subtext panel in that we came up with a loooot of recs for different femslash canons and got to discuss them a bit. It was exciting to add a bunch more things to my to-read and to-watch lists, but I have no idea where I'm going to find the time to make a dent in it.
Handling Problematic Characters was one of those panels that tackled a ton of content and managed to burn through an impressive amount of it in just an hour. viklikesfic, who modded, summarized by reeling off all the topics we touched on, which included writing about characters of different ethnic backgrounds, characters with disabilities, characters who are trans, and so on--any one of which could have easily taken up an entire panel on its own. She's also done a far more detailed wrap-up of the points we covered and some of the conclusions we came to, which can be found here. Point eight was one I suggested because identifying yourself as a member of a certain group is neither required nor guaranteed to get you a leg up, nor should anyone feel pressured to publicly identify as anything, regardless of whether it's a group they actually belong to. There are several things I'm not comfortable discussing on a personal level for various reasons, so I don't.
One thing I wish we'd spoken about in more depth is striking a balance between writing a character accurately and making it clear that you, as the author, don't condone any of their -ist perspectives (god, I think I used Gaston from Beauty and the Beast as an example). I always thought it was common knowledge not to assume an author holds the same beliefs as every character they write, but it seems that's not always the case. A few people mentioned that this can be combated by countering bigotry either in the narrative itself or by having another character speak up about it, although that can be a difficult line to walk without tipping into using-the-characters-as-SJ-mouthpiece territory.
Meanwhile, the quotes board continued to get more and more interesting.
Just for the record, the quote about the hero having sex with her doppelganger was mine, I was talking about Tanith Lee's Unicorn trilogy, and I was very surprised to see someone had written it down. I have no further details on the sudden poop explosion, sadly.
The Phylogeny of Speculative Erotica was the Holy Grail of kink meta. It was hilarious and informative and packed. We touched on what's so appealing about everything from catboys to soulbonding to tentacles. There were a few poor souls who had to have knotting and omegaverse explained to them.
stultiloquentia, who modded along with melannen, gave her grand theory about the prevalence of boypussies in Glee fandom. THIS IS TOTALLY A THING, BY THE WAY. I was into Glee pretty hard up until the Warblers started taking over. Boypussies and werepeen are all up in that kink meme, not to mention all the infantilization prompts I remember. However, her grand theory was that boypussy prompts are less about writing characters as trans and more about taking hurt/comfort and turning it to shame/comfort: Character A is a cis dude who also happens to have a vagina, or a cis girl who happens to grow a cock every full moon, or something along those lines, and Character B soothes all their insecurities and loves them just as they are and everyone lives to sing another day. In effect, it's a very creative way of coding adolescent insecurity and body reclamation.
There were some points not everyone agreed on, like kinks as vehicles that allow authors to write certain scenarios without guilt (no character is a bad guy if sex pollen made them do it, etc.) and kinks that allow authors to circumvent RL factors such as gender identity, trans issues, or disability issues by setting them in different universes (omegaverse, BDSM verse, etc.). But everyone seemed to agree on the appeal of getting to mess with different forms of attraction, incorporating kink into worldbuilding (such as writing soulbonding becuase it's hot vs. writing about the ramifications of living in a world where soulbonding occurs), and kink as a means of exploring characterization.
The last panel for the day was on Age Disparities, so I was there with bells on and I left wanting Steve/Tony fic that explores Tony's daddy issues and Steve's interactions with Howard, but that's a story for another time. A lot of examples of mommy and daddy issues came up during this panel, though, the big one being Harry/Snape and Snape's relationship with James and Lily. Most contributions focused on the older character mentoring the younger (or resisting their advances but ultimately giving in) and the development of the bond between them. Also the ability to enjoy age disparities in fiction when it's a squick IRL, the cultural significance of relationships, and whether the inherent power imbalance of particularly wide age gaps is a DNW or a kink.
When we were brainstorming pairings with large age gaps, I threw out Princess Celestia/Twilight Sparkle since the list was looking a little too manly and one of the mods immediately jumped from Twilight Sparkle to...
I CANNOT UN-MAKE THAT CONNECTION NOW.
bironic has more details on this one, as well as on the speculative erotica panel.
On that note, four different people asked me if I was the person who wrote that Inception pediatrician AU and I'm not so sure that's what I want on my fandom tombstone...
Annnnnd there was the vid show, which was fabulous, and which I'll cover in my last con post because this one is plenty long as it is.
One more to go!