Feb. 13th, 2017

puppetmaker: (Default)
I have friends who write fanfiction. Some are professionals who have had some of their works published as part of a myriad of licensed properties. Some are those who have written things that have been published but they do this on the side more for fun and as a writing exercise. Others only write fanfiction and put it out there for the amusement of others.

Recently I was chatting with a couple of people online about something or other and a question came up for one of our group if they were going to be updating this fanfiction that they had been writing for the past year or so and putting up in pieces as they wrote it.

“No,” they said, “I am walking away from it and probably never putting anything out there on the net again.”

“Why?!?!?” we asked.

“You are such a good writer!” we said.

“We were enjoying it!”

“You got to continue! It was such cliff hanger!”

Then I said, “What happened?”

And that’s when it all came out.

The fanfic they were writing had a very well warned for elements of mental illness. They were writing this to help them deal with a family member who had committed suicide a while back. They were letting the characters speak for all the questions that they had about why this happened and how could they have missed it and all the other thoughts and fears that come to mind when someone you love decided to check-out.

Someone on Tumblr took issue with something in the story and decided that they had to stop my friend from writing this story because my friend does not suffer from the mental illness that they were writing about. The person who started the campaign against this particular fanfic claims to have that form of mental illness (which was later proved to be an Internet diagnoses and they very well may suffer from it but they have never sought medical assistance for a real diagnosis and some help which they seriously need but I digress).

This person, who is sort of a big deal within the fandom that this was based on, claimed that because they were suffering from said disorder then they should be the judge of who can and cannot write on the subject. I found out later that they had done this sort of thing before claiming that they were part of a minority that was under represented in a fandom, which was disproved by some other people.

But what had happened was that my friend, after politely saying that they would take into consideration the concerns of this person but they were still going to write about the subject, was savagely attacked by this person’s….well friends is too loose a term…minions is closer…minions not only on their fanfiction platform but they went to other social media points and started bashing my friend there as well. This had apparently been going on for a while and it finally wore my friend down and they declared themselves done with the story and the fandom entirely.

Not all bullies are evident. They don’t all wear black hats that say bully on them so you can avoid them. And the Internet has made this even worse.

Suppression of speech even for ‘good reasons’ is still suppression.

People seem to forget that they might be able to say what they want to say, but others have as much right to respond to what is said. Shouting people down to the point where they shut up because they are tired of the noise is not a ‘win’.

I swear that somewhere along the way we have forgotten how to listen. Once we hear something that we don’t like, we just stop and react to the part that we don’t like rather than the whole message or thought.

Between the Social Justice Warriors and the Alt-Reich, the signal to noise ratio is garbled at best right now.

And fans can be the worst at this. The number of people that were willing to communicate with fandom only to drop it like a hot rock when fandom shows how bad it can be.

I think the trend that is bothering me is this new thing that authors can’t write A because they are not A nor have they ever been A. Well I have never been an elf but I can write a story about an elf because I have an imagination and I have empathy for things, situations, and people that I am not.

My friend is going to finish the story but their audience for it is going to be their friends, which is a shame because it is such a good story. I know there are others who have inquired about it and them because they have seen what has been happening within the fandom but they are never going to know how the story ends because of a vocal few that have decided to be the arbiters of what people can and cannot write.

And that is a sad state of affairs indeed.

I am grateful that my friend is going to finish the story and let me read it.

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July 2017

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