In case you haven’t heard, IO9 has started a new weekly series called Fanfic Friday. It’s written by Rob Bricken, who previously did Fanfic Fridays over at nerd site Topless Robot.
The sole purpose of Fanfic Friday is to make fun of bad fanfic. I have no fucking idea why io9, which has a mixed but mostly fair track record when it comes to portrayal of fandom (and which recently invited me onto We Come From the Future), has decided to go whole-hog in favor of fic-bashing, but here it is direct from the first column:
For those of you who don’t know, I’ve devoted the last several years of my life to mocking the worst erotic fan fiction the Internet has to offer, for two reasons:
1) for all the glories of this nerd age, we need to remember that there’s a segment of nerd-dom that never will - nor should - be mainstream; and
2) I’m kind of a terrible person.
I’ll fully admit that there’s plenty of good fanfic out there. And really, most erotic fanfic is pretty harmless. You want to write about Captain America and Iron Man boinking their brains out? Fine. Whatever. You want to write about Cap and Iron Man indulging in illegal fetishes, or kids’ cartoon characters engaging in any kind of depravity? That’s getting into creepy territory.
I’ve spent most of 2012 watching the mainstream media “discover” fandom and be shocked at how tittilating/popular/huge/wrong/weird it is, like it’s 1983 and suddenly Trekkies exist and no one knows what to do about it, so they just keep writing the exact same article over and over and over.
But this is io9, and io9 should know better, except somehow we’re getting a homerun of fail: mansplaining and kinkshaming and mocking and stereotyping! And this is coming from a website I generally consider to be one of the good guys.
In previous moments like this one I would feel so frustrated and enraged and indignant and angry, and I would wish so hard that fandom had a louder voice and a way to fight back against media portrayals like this. After 2008, I would feel helpless and frustrated and then I’d go donate to the OTW, because finally, finally, there was an organized effort to give fans louder voices. (Not be the voice, but to empower more voices.)
But today—today, when I felt like this, for the first time EVER, I had a different option. Today, I went to my editor. And I asked if the Daily Dot could start reccing fanfic. And the Daily Dot said, “sounds great, let’s do it.” And just like that, Fic Rec Wednesday was born.
I realize that the Daily Dot is relying heavily right now on my voice as a member of fandom. I realize not everyone may want to hear my voice, and that’s okay. But I’m not alone: I’ve had the good fortune of working with laureninspace, who was the Dot’s first fandom reporter, and who has done more to give fans a voice in the media than anybody else I know, from writing excellent articles on Bronies and Homestuck to convincing the Dot they needed to be paying more attention to fandom. And there will be more fans who will join us. And this is what happens when fandom has a media outlet that actually cares what it thinks. We get fandom reporters! We get articles on Red Pants Monday and Inception fandom and Sterek! We get FIC REC WEDNESDAYS! :D
Please, please, if you aren’t reading the Daily Dot’s fandom coverage, consider doing so. It’s one of the few, very few mainstream media outlets that wants to give fans a chance to speak for themselves. But it can only do that if you let it speak to you, too. :)
Fic Rec Wednesday starts this week! No points for guessing what fic I will rec first. :)
Aja is making the Daily Dot more awesome for fans all the time.